When Paths Cross, Part 14 by Everybodycrys (everybodycrys@yahoo.com)

Okay here we go with the next part. Remember if you are under 18 or this is illegal in your area then you should not be here. Also this a work of fiction and does not mean to imply the actual sexual orientation of any of the characters real or imagined.

This part took me a while because the last response to the story was less then motivating. I don’t like to believe that I’m in it for the emails, but they do let me know how the story is progressing and help with future installments. This segment is going to finish off the first part of the Matt and Nick story. It will continue, moving on to new situation, although nothing as dangerous as Russell for a while. Same characters and even a few new ones. so enjoy this and I hope to hear from all of you soon. (everybodycrys@yahoo.com

and part 14....

Some times the system works and sometimes one has to fight tooth and nail to get anyone to listen to them. Trying to work it out so the group could disappear for a while proved to be a little of both. During the time they first approached everyone with this and the time they finally got it approved they were really able to determine who their friends were and who was just out to get the quick buck. Kevin who was spearheading the entire thing made notes of these people for future reference, he had every intention of making sure that the people who didn’t care about their well being weren’t with them in the future. It took them about a week to do it and they weren’t sure it was going to happen until the backers of the tour jumped aboard their ship. The companies that were sponsoring the tour would have preferred the tour continue, but they knew it would be better for them in the long run to have their performers alive and happy. This made everyone breathe a bit easier, and it got even easier when the court of public opinion seemed to take their side as well. Once both of these obstacles were out of their way, the rest folded soon not wanting to be seen as heartless or greedy.

It turned out that the place that Kevin had in mind wouldn’t work for what they ended up deciding that they needed. A place that was far away enough from any place that they could relax and not worry about being spotted or recognized, but close enough to get help if they needed it. After a few days of looking, no one had found anything. The guys were starting to get restless, being cramped up in their rooms not allowed to take off anywhere and to afraid to even try.

Matt sat at the window in his and Nicks room looking down at the street below. He had been sitting there for almost a full hour watching the people scurrying around. He sighed in frustration, he wanted to help out but figured that the people working with the group were much better equipped to handle this then him. He turn at the sound of the door opening and smiled when he saw Nick enter. He had been over at Kevin’s room trying to see if anything had come up yet.

“Hey babe.” He said in greeting.

Nick nodded in return, “Hey, sorry I took so long.”

“No problem, I’ve just been vegging here. Whats going on over there?”

“Nothing at all. They can’t find anyplace, everytime someone comes up with something, it gets vetoed by everyone else. I finally bowed out and told them to get me when they came up with a place.”

Matt thought for a second, “Are you sure its a good idea to have so many people in on this thing. I’ve been thinking about it and I’m beginning to think we should just disappear and not tell anyone where.”

“I don’t think they’ll go for that, they like to keep tabs on us at all times.”

“Yeah but what if thats the problem. Russell from what we’ve been able to determine has quite a long reach. He’s probably independently wealthy and buys people on a daily basis. We know he’s not working alone, there’s the security guy from the arena and the caterer that shouldn’t have even been there. They were probably people that Russell paid to get Kenny or any of us out of the arena so he could hunt us.” He could tell that Nick was seeing things different ly now, but he continued, “Who’s to say that people that work for Jive or the Firm can’t be bought either.”

There was a long silence. Matt got up and walked over to Nick. He pulled the blond gently into his embrace. Nick was shaking, just a little.

“Nick, The group might be the only people we can trust.”

Nick cleared his throat, “Then we might never get away. This guys never gonna stop and we can’t get away.” Matt could see the fear whell up inside Nick’s face. His eyes grew moist and he buried him self in to Matt. Holding on so tight, “I don’t want to lose you, I don’t want to see the guy’s get hurt. Ever since we met on Catalina, I’ve been afraid that you were temporary and would leave any second.”

“I’ve told you, I will never leave you. I need you.” Matt whispered, they continued to hold each other, thinking of the weight that was bearing down upon them. Matt thought back to the first time he had seen Nick on the island. A chance encounter on the west end of the island, They hadn’t expected to see anyone over there as most of the tourist went to Avalon on the east end. Suddenly a thought occurred to him. “Nick, I have a idea.”

Quickly he explained what he thought. Nick grinned, he thought it was a great idea. He ran back over to Kevin’s room and got everyone over there. Matt jumped on the phone and started making calls. By the time everyone was there, he had about everything he needed. He put down the phone, made a few more notes on his pad and turned to face everyone.

“Well, what do you have?” Brian asked.

“First off, we need to make sure this stay’s between us.” Matt explained what he thought about Russell and his ability to find them if they let this slip. “If we just disappear then no one will be able to find us.”

“We’re gonna have to let someone know where we are. Its just to dangerous to be that out of touch.” Kevin explained.

Matt nodded in agreement, “Yeah, I thought about that. We keep in touch but we do it entirely through email. Using different names and secure servers to send messages. Those won’t be able to be traced easily back to us as long as we give false information when we sign up and only email a few choice people that we trust. I think Marian is a great choice for one and whoever else you guys think is good.”

Everyone started nodding in agreement, after so long just sitting here they were just itching for a chance to get started.

“So where are we going?” A.J. asked.

“Back to where it all begun...Catalina.” Matt paused for a second to let them soak it in, “We can rent a small secluded house on the west end of the island. Not many people even know that its there. Its perfect, right on the ocean and far away enough that we will be almost completely isolated. The house isn’t even visible from the water. Boats going by wouldn’t think to come on shore to bother us. We can disappear and relax for a while.”

A smile grew on every face in that room, They didn’t even have to say anything, Matt knew they liked the idea. Immediately the ideas started flowing.

“How do we rent it?”

“Lets get a sat dish.”

“We’ll have to pay in cash, thats untraceable.”

“What about a boat?”

Matt sat back smiling, Content to let them handle the details. He was going to get to go back to Catalina. Back to the place where he first met Nick. Finally they were going to get some time together without the dangers that normally surrounded them.

The second the plan was finalized. They went into action. They got their bags together and sent down to the car. A rush of adrenaline raced through them as the concept of what they were about to do hit them. They were going to disappear from public, from their family, management, and fans. Most people would probably tell them this was a dumb and dangerous thing for their careers, but they had a different type of danger to deal with. Many hours later they were on a dock somewhere north of San Diego. Using Marian as a front they had managed to get a boat. They had ended up renting it, not wanting to deal with the title problems buying a boat would have cost them. Kevin nodded his approval at the boat in front of him. A 40 ft Spacious yacht, Brian had suggested a sailboat, but the reliability of that worried the rest of the group. They didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of the channel with a 25 horse power engine to get them to the island. A.J. came up besides Kevin grinning. Kevin looked at the expression on his face and grimaced.

“This isn’t exactly a vacation Bone. We’re gonna have to be real careful even out there. There’s no one to help us if things go wrong.”

“Nothing will go wrong, no one even knows where we are.” A.J. replied.

“We better hope so.” Kevin said before heading for the steps up onto the boat.

It wasn’t long before they had everything stowed aboard and were under way. Taking advantage of the nice weather they plowed ahead, making a beeline straight for the island. Matt sat forward watching the water as they made their way. Nick had fallen asleep below and while normally Matt would have loved to nap with him, he had taken this time to get his thoughts together on his own. He was so focused on his inner thoughts he didn’t look up when Brian came up and sat beside him.

Brian placed a hand on his shoulder, “Hey”

Matt jumped a bit, “Oh, Brian, you scared me.”

“Sorry man, I didn’t mean too, you just looked a bit spaced out.”

“Just been thinking...” Matt trailed off.

Brian looked concerned, “anything you want to talk about?”

Matt shook his head, “No, nothing really. I just want to sort out recent history and put it behind me...figure it out....something.”

Brian nodded his head as if he understood, “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that stuff too.”

Matt looked up understanding where Brian was coming from, “Do you want to talk?”

“A little, I didn’t want to bug you with it right now, but if you don’t mind.”

“No, go right ahead, talking always helps.”

Brian stared out at the ocean, “I’ve been Nick’s friend now, for a very long time. He’s my best friend really. And I would do anything to keep him from being hurt. I don’t know if you’ve been thinking about this, but whats gonna happen after the summer. I know Nick hasn’t...he never thinks that far ahead.”

Matt was caught unprepared, he had thought about that but hadn’t come up with anything. In fact he had been putting that off, being too painful to think about. He saw that Brian was waiting for a response, but had no idea what to say.

“I....”, he paused, shook his head and remained silent. Brian nodded in understanding.

“I’m sorry Matt, I know its painful, but you need to be honest with yourself about this and honest with Nick. If you can’t continue with this, then you gotta tell him soon so he has time to get used to it. He’s gonna be useless if this hits him out of the blue.”

Matt nodded, his eyes tearing up a bit at the thought. Brian continued.

“Not to mention, there’s a kid back there who doesn’t know where his life is heading after the tour. Where’s he gonna go?”

Brian stood up, preparing to make his way back to the pilot house, “I don’t mean to sound so mean about this, but its something we all need to be prepared for. okay?”

Matt nodded showing he understood. Brian walked back towards where Kevin was at the helm. The boat rolled over the waves making good time in the calm waters. Matt turned to look where he could begin to see the outline of the island appearing on the horizon. A dark shape that would soon be taking a solid definite shape, details appearing as they drew closer. Matt wished that his own life would follow those same rules.

After a few hours, Kevin pulled back the throttle to slow the boat. They approached a small bay where there were a few small buoys that marked where one could anchor their boats. He checked the number with the one he had received when he had called the local harbor patrol. They were running the expenses on a cash basis, much like everything else on this trip. It took them a few minutes to remember how to tie the boat. Then they all gathered on deck to make plans.

Kevin pointed at the beach, “Okay up from the beach a bit is the house. You guys start getting the dingy loaded up with all the gear and I’ll swim in, apparently there's a cart we can use to get all the stuff from the beach to the house.” As he said this he was pulling off his clothes revealing his swim suit underneath.

“Jeez Kevin, we’ve only been here a minute and your already taking off to go swimming” A.J. joked, trying to lighten the mood. Kevin smiled and jumped off the side and started swimming for shore. The rest of the group got moving and started loading up their small dingy. It would take a few trips to get everything onto the beach. Kevin reached shore and walked up until he found the small house hidden from view just as promised. He spied the cart and grabbed it making his way back to the beach to meet the guys. When he got their they had already reached shore with the first load. They unloaded quickly not wanting to be caught on the beach if another boat happened by. Brian and Howie helped Kevin load up the cart as Nick took the dingy back for another load. Soon everything and everyone was ashore and relaxing in the house. It was a nice place, had a small kitchen which adjoined the spacious living room. There were three bedrooms also connected directly to the living room. In a lot of ways it reminded the guys of the many suites that they had seen on the road.

“Well, who's in what room?” Kevin asked.

“Me, Howie, and Kenny will take one.” A.J. piped in, already his mind was filled with plans. They might be hiding out technically but nothing said he couldn’t turn this into a nice vacation complete with the normal supply of practical jokes and Howie and Kenny seemed likely accomplices.

“I guess then its me and you.” Kevin said to Brian. Brian nodded and grabbed his bags before heading for one of the rooms. Nick smiled and grabbed Matt's hand pulling him into the remaining room, closing and locking the door behind them.

“For once, we are alone and don’’t have to worry about anyone seeing us.” Nick said smiling as he pulled Matt in close to him. They started kissing. Matt's mind was a bit uneasy as Brian’s earlier conversation echoed in his head. He was starting to get conflicting thoughts but the one that kept pushing its way to the front was his promise to Nick that he would never leave him again. A promise he intended to fight to keep. He pushed aside all those other negative thoughts as he fell on the bed with Nick anxious to explore their new freedom.

After three days, everyone was starting to get a bit of cabin fever. A.J. wanted to go exploring but Kevin was afraid they’d run into some other hikers and blow their hideout. So far they had been pretty much ignored on the news, even MTV. This was good news that meant that no one seemed to be looking for them or so they hoped.

Currently Matt and Nick were relaxing in the living room enjoying some time alone. The rest of the group was down on the beach swimming, tanning, or whatever. Matt had been plagued recently with those voices in his head that kept asking the same questions that Brian had asked on the trip over. He decided that he needed to talk it over with Nick in order to get it resolved.

“Nick?” he said. they were curled up with Nick lying back against the couch and Matt leaning back so his head rested on Nicks chest. Both of them were wearing just their swim suits planning on joining the others in a little while.

“Hmmm” Nick replied as he ran his hands over Matt's chest, enjoying his toned body.

“What happens after the tour?”

“I guess we go back into the studio, start working on the next miracle. Why do you ask?”

“That's not what I meant. What happens with us?”

Nick frowned, “I don’t understand. why would things change?”

Matt sat up and turned to face him, “How can they not?....Nick I love you, but I can’t spend the rest of my life following you around and pretending to be working for you when I’m not. That would make me a prostitute.” He meant this last part as a joke and immediately wished he hadn’t said it when he saw the hurt in Nick’s eyes.

“ A PROSTITUTE!!,” Nick yelled, “Is that what you think of us. Me just using you for sex.” He was getting pissed. Matt tried to backpedal

“That's not what I meant...” He started

“Bullshit! That's exactly what you meant.” Nick interrupted.


“What the hell do you think this has all been about?”

“Please listen...”

“After everything!!?!”

“NICK SHUT UP!” Matt yelled, he was starting to get angry at not being listened too. He knew Nick was angry but he had to be allowed to talk. “That's not what I meant and you know it. I’m just trying to figure things out now, before they get to confusing.”

Nick stood up and walked over to the other side of the room, clearly hurt. Matt sighed. “ We just need to know which direction we’re gonna be heading in when this is all over.”

“ You mean when we’re gonna call it quits before it gets too difficult for you to handle.” Nick spat from across the room.

“You know thats not true.”

“I don’t know whats true anymore, you made me a promise and now when its getting harder you wanna call it quits.” Nick yelled back

Matt was angry now, “My promise? apparently you think that involves me following you around the country like your little lapdog. Maybe I am a prostitute. You gonna start selling me out to your friends?” This last part was harsh and it hit home hard.

Nick walked to the door, “Fuck you”, he said before opening it and leaving, slamming the door behind him. Matt grabbed the nearest item which happened to be a glass from the kitchen and smash it against the wall. He went to his room and fell on his bed. The tears flowed freely now that Nick was gone. He buried his head in a pillow and cried himself horse.

About a hour later the rest of the group headed back for the house. Kevin had spotted another boat that could soon get within sight on the beach and suggested they retired to the house. Howie was teasing Kenny on how fast he was tanning in the little about of time they had been there. He was right, he had been transformed from a pale skinned kid to a lightly bronzed beach bum. They were all laughing about it as they entered the front door. Brian noticed the glass first and called out for everyone to freeze before they cut them selves up on it. Kevin instantly worried and told everyone to stay where they were until he checked it out. He checked the closest room first finding it empty. He went into Nick and Matt’s room and was stunned when he found Matt crying on the bed. He stood at the door unsure of what to do. It was fairly obvious that something had happened he was just unsure of how far he should involve himself. He slowly approached the bed.

“Matt, are you okay? what happened? the glass?” He questioned, hoping for a simple answer.

Matt sat up and looked over at Kevin, he face was red from the tears. Kevin sat on the bed.

“I’m sorry about the glass, Nick and I.....” He paused, Kevin was Nick’s friend, wouldn’t he instantly take Nick’s side. Would he be cast out the minute they all found out that him and Nick were no longer a item? Well, there was nothing he could do about it now. “ We had a fight, Nick left and I got angry. I’m sorry.” He said, the tears started flowing again. He looked up and saw Brian looking in through the door. Kevin placed a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sure it can’t be too bad. He’ll come back and we’ll talk this out. Being trapped here just has everyone on edge.” Matt shook his head, he didn’t think so. Something said that this was it. Brian walked into the room. He knew what had happened and he felt real bad about it.

“I’m sorry Matt, I never meant for this to happen.” He said. Kevin looked up in surprise. “What did you say?” he asked. But Matt waved him off.

“No, its not your fault, you were right we had to talk about it.”

“What did you have to talk about?” Kevin asked, a bit perturbed to being left out of this.

“I just asked him to talk to Nick about their situation after the tour. I didn’t want anyone getting hurt.” Brian answered.

“After the tour? what about it?” Kevin asked.

“Brian meant that he knew that Nick and I were headed for trouble, I can’t follow Nick around forever and he can’t give up the music for me.”

“So, you just ended everything?!” Kevin asked.

“No, I just wanted to talk with him about it and he got....while he didn’t want to talk about it and we both got mad.” By this time everyone was gathered around the door. Matt continued, “I’m sorry....” but he got interrupted by Kevin.

“No need for that, Lets find Nick. I’m sure we can talk this all out. The end of the tour doesn’t need to be the end for you.” He smiled hoping to cheer Matt up. Matt took him up on it and returned a small smile.

“Thanks Kevin.” He replied. Brian handed him a shirt and they all headed out to look for Nick.

They searched for most of the afternoon, finding nothing. No one seemed worried, this was a big place and Nick was probably just letting off some steam somewhere. But as the sun started going down and night took over with no return of their youngest member that attitude slowly shifted towards a panic.

“Where the hell could he be?” Howie asked.

“We checked all over, he’s not anywhere near here.”

“Well where could he go?” Matt asked.

“Where does that road lead?” Kenny asked. Matt looked over at him surprised.

“What road?”

“There's a path that leads to a dirt road about a half mile inland.” Matt turned to Kevin, who shrugged but got out his map of Catalina. He found where the house was and pointed to a dotted line that indicated the dirt road. He traced it back where it lead to Two Harbors, otherwise known as the Isthmus. A.J. wondered if Nick would be that dumb as to actually go someplace where people would recognize him. Howie disagreed, their last trip there, no one had bothered them, if Nick kept out of really crowded places he would probably be okay. Kevin folded the map, he turned to put it away.

“Hey Matt! what.....” He heard Bri call out. He turned around just in time to see the door swing closed. He didn’t need to ask where he was going. They all ran out after him, just in time to see him racing towards the beach.

“Where’s he going?” Kenny asked. They all raced down to beach just missing Matt as he took off in the small dingy.

“After Nick” Brian replied, inside he was feeling like a louse. What more proof did he need that Matt loved Nick with all his heart.

“Do we go after them?” Howie asked eying their boat that still tied up to the mooring. Kevin shook his head, “No, Its probably safer if just Matt goes. They won’t recognize him and hopefully Nick has kept him self out of the busy areas. I guess we just sit here and wait.” The five of them stared out at the darkness which had swollen Matt. Each of them hoping everything worked out okay, but fearing that it might not. Slowly one by one each of them turned back towards the house.

Matt knew exactly where to go as he pulled up alongside the dingy dock. Quickly tying up his boat and hoping it would hold he raced up the ramp and onto the main pier that lead into the heart of the Isthmus. He raced through the populated areas knowing that Nick wasn’t stupid enough to be caught there. Instead he went over to the other side, the area known as Cat harbor and the bench where he and Nick had first talked.

It was dark so he couldn’t tell from far off if anyone was sitting there but as he got closer he could see the shape of someone there. He approached carefully, not wanting to be mistaken about who it was before he said anything.

He walked up behind the bench and was relieved to see that indeed it was Nick, he was still wearing only his swimsuit. Matt frowned at the thought of him being out here in the damp ocean air with no clothes except that. He approached and took a seat on the bench. He didn’t know what to say, so he was silent. The was a long period of this awkward silence before Nick broke it.

“You promised me....”Simple and short, but with those three words Matt could feel the hurt swell up inside him. The anguish in Nick’s voice gave away how much pain he truly was in. Matt wanted to just give in and pull Nick close to him, so he could help heal what he had done.

Nick continued, each word soft and filled with pain, “You told me you would never leave me.” He choked back a sob.

Matt closed his eyes, he didn’t know what to say. anything that came into his head sounded either false or weak. He opened his eyes and faced Nick. Nick was looking at him and in the dim light Matt could see that his eyes watering.

“I am so sorry Nick....” He paused, “ And I’m even sorrier to say that I should never have made that promise.” He broke down, silent again not wanting to continue. Nick shuddered and turned away hiding his pain by looking out at the dark waters.

“Then its over and forgotten.” Nick said his voice colder then before, he still wouldn’t face Matt afraid that his eyes would give away what he truly felt, “ Its probably safer for you if you left anyway.” Nick was about to continue when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

“Nick, I don’t want it to be over. I said that promise was wrong because I can’t be with you forever.”

“But love is suppose to be forever.” Nick responded, his voice pleading.

“This is both of our’s first time with love, forever is a long time Nick, and we don’t know enough about it to say that.”

“I do, I’ve known from the first moment we talked....in this very spot. Matt what I feel for you is a forever thing. Not a passing fad, and not a lie. I thought.....I thought you felt the same way.”

Matt felt the tears sliding down his face. What Nick was telling him was no different then the way he felt. What the future held didn’t matter to him, not if he had to go alone. Nick had started to softly cry. He reached over and took Nick’s hand, who looked up in response.

“Nick, I love you. I love you from the very depth of my soul. All day I’ve felt like dying because I felt like I had lost you. I never want to feel like that again. You are my future and I want to give forever a run for its money.” He stood, pulling Nick up with him, “I knew from the start, when I first saw you here, I looked in your eyes and I knew it then. You are the love of my life and I never want to let you go.”

“What about the promise Matt, you already said you wish you had never said it.” Nick responded

“That promise set the bar too high, we both know that we can’t spend every second of every day, physically together. You have your music and I have my education. I will amend it though.” Matt knelt on the ground before Nick. “Nick....My love... I will never so long as we exist in body or soul, lose my love for you or let you leave my heart. I will be there for you always and forever.” His tears were falling freely now. Nick pulled him up and into a tight embrace.

“Oh god, Matt. That is the best promise I think anyone could make.” Their lips met. Their kiss long and intense, each content to never break the connection that they had formed up here this night. They held each other for over a hour, looking out into the night at the ocean and the stars. Never before had the stars seemed so clear or bright.

Matt held Nick in his arms on the trip back in the dingy. Nick had started to shiver from the chill night air. Matt had the engine at full speed, wanting to get Nick back to the house as quickly as he could. They had stayed relatively quiet, content enough just to be with each other. As they approached their small bay Matt felt Nick grab is arm and point. There moored at one of the other spots was a second boat. Matt went the long way around so he wouldn’t disturb anyone that might be sleeping on that boat. They got to shore and together pulled the dingy up above the high tide mark. Arm in arm they walked up the path towards the house. The lights where all out except for the outside porch light.

“They all go to bed?” Nick asked as they approached.

“I wouldn’t think so, They were all as worried as I was. They wouldn’t sleep until we got back.”

Nick thought about this for a second, staring at the house, then he grunted, “Well it looks like they went to bed to me.”

Matt was about to agree with him when a sense of dread slowly filled him. He glanced back at the beach and thought about the other boat that was there. There had been no second dingy on the beach. Was he just being paranoid, he thought so but was more willing to be safer then sorry later. He stopped Nick about thirty feet from the porch.

“Wait up Nick, I don’t like this.”

Nick saw the look of worry on his face, “You think somethings wrong?”

“I don’t know, but lets go slowly.”

Nick looked at the house thinking, “I’ll go around back and see if there’s another way in. You take a look through the windows and see if you can see anything before you go in.” Matt nodded in agreement and they separated after a quick kiss. Matt walked up to the front of the house sneaky peeks through the windows. The house was silent and dark, he could make out the shape of the furniture in the living room, but couldn’t see if anyone was in there. They probably just went to bed. He approached the front door and slowly opened it, it wasn’t locked. They probably knew he didn’t have a key and had left it open for him. He thought about turning on the light by the door but didn’t want to wake anyone up. He started across the living room to open the back door for Nick feeling more then a little silly.

“Your in late, lad.” The voice boomed out of no where. Matt froze, he didn’t recognize it as one of the guys.

“Who are you?” He asked, hoping to sound braver then he felt. The light flicked on, blinding Matt for a second before his eyes adjusted.

“You don’t recognize me?” The man before him said. Matt stared in terror. He knew him and he remembered him. The man standing right in front of him was Russell.

A long moment passed before anything happened. Matt glanced down and saw the pistol in his hands. He prayed that Nick saw through the window and went to get help with out coming inside.

“I’ve been waiting here for a while now, you guys think that I don’t have anywhere else to be that I can waste precious moments for you and your little fuck.”

Matt didn’t respond, he glanced around the room, trying to find some sign of the fate of the rest of the guys. Russell saw his and guessed what he was doing.

“Your friends, is that who your looking for?” He sneered, “Believe me, they are not going to be a issue for us right now.”

Now Matt spoke, “What the hell did you do to them?” He spoke extra loudly hoping to warn Nick off.

“You don’ t have to worry. I’m not dumb enough to waste a entire music group, especially one as famous as this one. I had about given up hope altogether when you guys decided to take this little vacation and provided me with the perfect opportunity. Did you really think you could disappear?”

“Where are they?” Matt demanded through his teeth. Russell smiled and pointed towards one of the bedrooms.

“Safe and sound, tied up in the back. I didn’t get much trouble out of them, especially after I set the example.” He said this last part with a menace in his voice. Matt looked as he indicted with his gun towards the corner of the room. Matt gasped as he saw the form of someone lying on the floor, crumpled against the wall. He started towards the person fearing the worst.

“Don’t move” Russell ordered. Matt froze, not wanting to push him any further. He was about ten feet away and could see that it was Kenny who was lying there. He felt relief for a second when he saw that there was no blood and if was easy to see that Kenny was still breathing as he was still wearing his swimsuit from earlier in the day.

“What the hell did you do?” He yelled.

“He unfortunately was the first one in, and I had to set the example. Besides he's the only other one I want. If you and the boy disappear, no ones gonna think much of it. You see, you were the game. One I intend to win.” He smiled with this last part and started to raise his gun. Just then a log came crashing through one of the windows. Russell turn at the distraction just as Nick came rushing in through the back door. His plan had been to distract Russell and then rush him. A good plan in theory except for the fact that Russell seemed to be expecting it. He moved with lighting speed, as Nick dove to tackle him, he sidestepped easily and brought the pistol down, pistol whipping Nick on the back of the head. Nick grunted once and then collapsed on the ground at his feet. Matt screamed and rushed towards him, but once again Russell was quicker, he brought the pistol around fired once over Matt's head, making him freeze in his tracks.

“You basturd” Matt yelled.

Russell laughed, “I’m the basturd, you too are the unholy scum fucking each other and I’m the basturd.”

Matt looked back at the bullet hole in the wall, “Why didn’t you just shoot me. That's what you want isn’t it. To kill me, and Kenny.”

Russell laughed again, “That would be too easy, I told you. This is a game and its no fun if we don’t play it right.” Matt looked at Nick who seemed to still be breathing. He was worried about head trauma, Russell saw this, “You don’t have to worry about your boyfriend, he’ll wake up tomorrow with a huge headache. I’ve been doing this for years.” He stated matter of factly as if to impress upon Matt his experience. “Now, you pick up sleeping beauty here so we can put him with his friends in the back.’ Russell waved the gun and Matt moved. He knelt down beside Nick, trying to see if he was okay. Russell waved his gun impatiently. Matt carefully rolled Nick onto his back being extra careful with his head. He positioned his feet and grabbed his arm. Using his own legs as a brace he pulled up quickly, bringing Nick up and over his shoulder. Together they walked back to the bedrooms. Russell opened the door and Matt saw the rest of the guys. They were sitting on the floor next to the bed. All of them had been tied and gagged. They grunted in surprise at the sight of Matt carrying Nick in. They tried to get up but Russell pointed the gun at them and they settled down. He instructed Matt to set Nick down on the bed and roll him on to his stomach. When Matt did this he handed a bunch of line and instructed him to tie his hands and feet. Matt glared at him, but complied, too afraid of the gun to resist. After this was done Russell made him go back to the living room, closing the door behind him. Matt secretly hoped that Brian or someone could check on Nick and make sure he was okay.

“Well now that everything's set, the game can begin. I had hoped that I would be able to chase both of you tonight, but it looks like only one of you will be up to it.” He said indicating Kenny in the corner. “And because I don’t want to be here past tonight I guess its winner take all.” Matt looked at him confused. “Its up to you Matty boy. I hunt you, if you win then both you and the boy are safe. If not then both of you are dead.... By the way, I have never lost.”

Matt looked at Russell, silently plotting his chances for a escape. “How long do I get?” He asked.

“Fifteen seconds from when I say go. That's enough time for you to get out of sight but not enough for you to get to the boats or too far ahead that you could just hide in a bush all night. I intend for this to be a glorious hunt to the death.” He said this last part with such glee as a child looking forward to Christmas morning.

Matt knew he had no choice, glanced around the room to see if there was anything for him to use as a weapon. As he did this Russell went to the kitchen and grabbed a big gun case. Opening it so Matt could see he pulled out a huge hunting rifle with a sight that swelled with electronics. Probably night vision on that thing as well. Russell smiled at him as he changed his pistol for the rifle. “Go!” he said with a smile.

Matt took off, he knew the beach was not a option, he would never be able to swim fast enough that Russell couldn’t pick him off from the beach. He decided that his best chance was to move inland and hopefully follow the road into the town and get help. He silently counted down 15 seconds, listening behind him for any sound. He ran for about five minutes with hearing anything. Stopping for a second to catch his breath, he looked behind him to see if anyone was there. No one seemed to be there, he pondered on whether he should try to circle around and make his way back to the house. Just as he was about to start back, a shot rang out and a puff of dirt jumped up only inches from his feet. Quickly he was off again, this time he ran in zigzag patterns hoping to not make himself a target for Russell. He could hear someone running after him not more then fifty feet away. He put on the speed and was rewarded when the sounds seemed to fall back further. This lasted only a second because mother nature decided to join in. He felt the root grab his feet and suddenly he was flying through the air. He twisted so he wouldn’t land on his face, but the ground didn’t come immediately,but when it did he hit hard. He had fallen down a embankment, he rolled down the side smashing up against everything on the way down. He plunged to the bottom only coming to a stop after hitting some rocks.

He groaned, his body in pain, every inch of it. He silently cursed the root that had tripped him and vowed to kill every plant he owned. He had to move quickly or Russell would find him, but everymove he made hurt.

“Well I thought it would be harder.” He heard from above. He turned on his back to see Russell smiling at him from above. “But I guess it has to end now.” He lifted his rifle pointing it directly at Matt’s chest. Matt closed his eyes, trying to close off the sight of the man that was about to kill him, trying instead to picture Nick as his last thought on earth. He remembered all the times they had together. What they say about your life flashing before your eyes is true and Matt relived every second of his new life with Nick.

The shot rang out, a group of quail which had been sleeping in a bush nearby, took off at the sound. silence then a second shot....and a third. Matt hurt so much, he didn’t feel the shot. In fact he didn’t feel anything after a few seconds as the pain subsided. Slowly he opened his eyes in wonder. Looking down at his body he didn’t see the wound. Looking up he saw that Russell had also disappeared. He sat up quickly, wondering what had happened, ignoring the pain from his aching muscles, he did a quick check and confirmed that he was indeed unshot. He scrambled up the embankment.

Lying on the ground, with three shots to the chest, was Russell. He was dead, a look of surprise on his face as if even in death he couldn’t believe that he had lost. Matt looked down stunned at his would be killer lying before him. Who had killed him? Matt looked up to see someone walking slowly towards him. Gun still raised off the ground and in his direction.

“Is....Is he dead?” the person said.

Matt looked in amazement. Standing before still only in his swimsuit was Kenny. The pistol he held was the one that Russell had left behind in the house. Apparently Russell hadn’t counted on Kenny waking up before he returned. Matt walked slowly towards Kenny, extremely aware that the gun was still loaded and Kenny didn’t seem to be in his right mind.

“ Kenny, yeah he dead. He can’t hurt you anymore. Please give me the gun.” He said reaching out for it.

“I....I killed him?” Kenny voice was soft and cracking. The gun dropped from his hands. Matt moved quickly and caught Kenny who also seemed about to collapse. Kenny fell completely limp on the ground. Matt pulled him into a hug, trying to provide some comfort for the troubled youth. As he held him, Kenny started to cry, a hysterical cry that he had been holding in the entire time. Crying for himself, crying for his family, crying for his old life which had been taken away, crying for his unknown future. Matt continued to hold him. He knew that no matter what happened with his life from now on, he was going to make sure that Kenny was okay and cared for. Tonight the nightmare had ended and the healing could finally begin.

Hours later, the seven guys in the living room were watching the policemen and harbor police walk around investigating. Kenny had waken up shortly after Matt and Russell had left. The first thing he had done was use Kevin’s cell phone to call for help. He had then grabbed the remaining pistol and headed out into the night to find Matt. By the time Matt and Kenny had returned to the house the place was already swarming with people. The five backstreet boys had been found and released. A paramedic was treating Nick who had refused to go to the hospital until he knew where Matt was. The minute they saw each other they ran into each others arms. Kevin and the guys provided what little cover they could. Luckily there were no reporters around and the police didn’t seem to notice. Soon the rest of the guys were swarming around Kenny making sure he was okay and escorting him to the paramedic so he could be checked. He hadn’t said a word to Matt on the way back and Matt was a bit concerned. Now as they sat in the living room, Brian was trying to get him to talk but he seemed withdrawn, unaware of the activity around him. He just kept staring at the wall. Nick signaled that he wanted to talk to Matt alone so they let Kevin know where they were going and headed down to the beach. They couldn’t be truly alone as the place was filled with boats from the police, but for the moment they had the place to them selves.

“I was so scared.” Nick admitted as they held hands walking down the beach.

“I was too, I owe my entire life to Kenny. If he hadn’t shown up I would have been...” Nick stopped him before he could say it. They walked in silence for a few more minutes.

“Matt I never told anyone else outside my family that I loved them. I include the guys as my family. But you are the first true love of my life. When our paths crossed, god proved that homosexuality was not bad, because nothing this good could possibly be bad.” He paused for a second seemily embarassed by the cheesy coments he had just made, but he didn’t care, this was his true love,

“Matt, I love you.”

Matt smiled, “and I love you Nick.”

They continued to walk along the beach. “Say it again.” Nick said smiling.

“I love you.”

This brings to a close the beginning of the Matt and Nick story. Please contact me and let me know what you thought. As I said before, the story will continue in the next segment “And Hearts Merge” same characters with a few additions. and the possibility of bringing NSYNC in to this story. Thanks again for everyone that has been following up to this point.