The following evening everyone gathered at A.J.’s place. Neither he nor Howie knowing what was going to take place.
“So what’s the sudden vacation for guys?” A.J. asked. After all, he did get a quick phone call yesterday telling him to be at the airport to pick them up. They didn’t ask, they just told him to be there.
Somberly Nick turned towards Howie and A.J., “Kevin.”
“Oh man, don’t go there. I’ve been over there and it ain’t pretty.” A.J. shook his head. Poor Kevin just wasn’t ready to deal with anything. A.J. tried to go over and get him to sober up. After all Kevin was the ringleader in his own little intervention so many years ago. Since that time he had never taken another drop. His five-year celebration had just passed. Kevin on the other hand wasn’t ready to dry out. If he did, then the he would have to deal with the pain and the depression.
Brian knew what Kevin’s reaction had been when he and Leigh had intruded on Kevin in Lexington. “You got in the door?” Brian inquired.
“Sure, I gotta key,” A.J. shrugged.
“Perfect,” Brian grinned.
Howie had rapidly become perturbed. Not one person had explained why the sudden meeting, beyond ‘Kevin’. “Come on, what’s this all about?
Leighanne reached into her purse and pulled out the videotape and letter. She handed it to Howie, “This.”
“You flew down here to watch movies!” as he looked at the tape and envelope he held.
Brian was at a loss for words. He tapped the box, “It’s a special movie. We’re all supposed to watch it.”
Howie ambled into the A.J.’s theater with the group following him. “Fine, Let’s watch the stupid thing.” Placing the tape in the machine they looked at the fifty-two inch screen.
Nick winced as he whispered to Brian, “I don’t know if I can watch this again on a large screen.”
Leighanne pursed her lips together and shot both of them a look. Nick dropped in the chair without a word with Brian following his lead.
A.J. and Howie watched the tape, making no comments. On occasion they would steal a glance at each other. The tape finished off with the birthday and A.J. hit pause. He looked at the small child on the screen with big piercing green eyes and curly black hair. Taking a long drag off of his cigarette he exhaled and spoke in one measure, “Well, looks like Kev is a daddy,”
Howie came to his senses quickly and went on the defense, “Where did this come from and how do you know it’s legit?”
Nick looked at him as if he were an idiot, “It came from Abe. It’s legit.”
“Oh,” being the only response he could think of.
Five pairs of eyes locked onto the porcelain face on the television. So tiny, so small, but a pretty little thing.
“She’s cute, must get from her mom,” A.J.’s voice grated through the room. The others laughed sensing that A.J. was dealing with this on another plane also. A.J. had wanted a relationship with Cass. Kevin stepped up and told them no playing we’re here to work.
“Yep, she is gonna be a looker,” Nick grinned.
“Well Gentlemen and lady, I suggest we take action. Our big brother is not going to like this one bit.” A.J. grinned. “Too bad I’m going to enjoy it so much!”
“Alex!” Leighanne rebuked him.
A.J. shook his head, “Leigh he said we were there to work. He was workin’ all right.”
“Look guys, he supported you when you needed it. He didn’t pull any tricks or play games. Besides the album that you did there was your best seller ever. It beat Millennium four times over.” Leighanne was getting incensed; they were being insensitive and boorish. Kevin needed them for a change, instead of them needing him. Getting him to realize that he needed them would be a lot more difficult though. A.J. was upset because he wanted Cass for himself. Finding out that Kevin beat him to the punch was like opening an old wound.
“She’s right,” Howie groaned.
“I hate it when’s she right,” A.J. added. As he stared at the screen he wondered if things could have been different. Now getting anywhere near Cass would be impossible. The code among the guys was “I saw it first, don’t cross the line.” Kevin usually being the enforcer of their so-called rules of ethics. Knowing Kevin it would be detrimental to A.J.’s health to go near Cass. A.J. read the letter from Abe and passed it to Howie. Knowing Cass Kevin was the one who was going to be in trouble.
Brian smiled knowing that Leighanne had gotten down to the important aspect. Bringing back his cousin to some semblance of his former self.
“Anybody wanna go for a ride?” A.J. asked.
Everyone looked at him stunned. They needed a plan first.
“You can’t just go over there. We need a plan or somethin’,” Nick bellyached.
“Nick if you stop and plan, one, Kevin will be even drunker then he is now and two you lose the element of surprise.” Lazily A.J. got out of the chair and headed for the front door. Like lambs being lead to slaughter they blindly followed.
Climbing into A.J.’s truck, Nick began firing comments. “This isn’t smart. We don’t have any idea what we’re doing. The last time we did this I ended up with a broken hand cuz of Bone.”
Howie began to chuckle from the backseat. “Just think if that was Bone, what the hell is Kevin going to do to you.”
Nick whipped around in the front seat and glared at him. “Shut-up D!” he shouted. The rest of the ride was silent except for the sniggering in the backseat over Nick’s hand.
They pulled into Kevin’s driveway and the house was dark. The backseat emptied along with Nick. A.J. had to laugh as they quietly shut the doors. “Sssh, he might hear us,” he giggled as he slammed his truck door shut. Leighanne was chuckling into her hand and the fellas were frowning. “Boo!” A.J. grinned. Three Backstreet Boys jumped.
Leighanne was too busy laughing. She was getting a charge out of them. The resemblance between what was taking place and a bad ‘B’ movie was very strong. Nick was actually tipey toeing up the walk. All they need are the black clothes and some face paint, she thought to herself, they would like little commandos.
A.J. walked up to the door and was going to ring the bell until his arm was almost torn out of its socket. “What he hell are you doing?” Nick whispered in the dark.
“Announcing our arrival,” as he slid the key into the lock. A.J. marveled to this day that Nick was
twenty-six years old and Kevin could still strike fear in the man. “Chicken shit,” he uttered as he stamped out his cigarette on the pavement.
Walking in A.J. flicked the light switch on. He again began laughing as he saw three of them clamor to turn it off. “You’re nuts,” Nick hissed.
“Nick dude, ya need to chill. The man is out cold in the studio by now,” A.J. shook his head at the three of them.
“How do you know?” Brian quipped. Enraging Kevin after a three-week drunk just didn’t seem like a good idea after all.
“Because I’ve been here every night and that is where he ends up. He won’t sleep in his bed. He says he’s going to burn it, bad memories.”
The crowd before him weighed his response. Everything clicking at once, A.J. had been watching out for him all this time.
“Let’s get this place cleaned up. If we’re going to sober him up, this place needs to look like it used to.” A.J. grabbed the garbage can and started tossing empty liquor bottles and beer bottles in the trashcan. Satisfied that the cleaning crew could function on their own he decided to go check on Kevin.
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is a work of fiction.
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