Dismally Brian slumped on the hospital bed staring at the white wall ahead of him while the doctor finished the last of his tests. Kevin stood at the opposite side of the room and Brian avoided his gaze, still feeling humiliated after the panic attack that had left him unconscious and had led Kevin to call the police. It had only been a message and now it had led to this, Brian back in hospital with Kevin asking if he was 'okay' every two minutes and the police crawling the area for clues. He suspected that they were as annoyed by the incident as Brian was embarrassed. Yes, the message had frightened him but there had been no real threat in his home and he was a little ashamed that he had actually passed out. He should have stayed calm and then he would have realised that it was only a message and that there had been nobody to harm him. Instead though, he had blacked out and caused even more trouble.
"You'll be relieved to know Mr. Littrell that you're fine," the doctor finally informed him as he wrote a small note down upon his clipboard.
"If he's fine then why did he faint?" Kevin asked.
Brian closed his eyes. Why couldn't Kevin believe that everything was fine? Brian only wanted to escape from this awful place that brought back the terror he had felt when he had thought that he might go to jail.
"Emotional stress," the doctor stated calmly. "From what you've said, he was in an extreme position of distress and fear. My suggestion is that he rest for several days." He looked back at Brian. "You're free to go, just take it easy."
"Are you sure?" Kevin persisted.
"Kevin!" Brian snapped, finally allowing himself to speak his thoughts. "Thanks Doc, we'll be going now."
He slowly stood up and reached for his jersey.
"Brian, are you sure you want to leave now?" Kevin asked in concern. "You didn't bang you head did you?"
"Kevin, the doctor says I'm fine! Can we just go already?"
In the lobby, Brian signed all of the paper work. Police.
"Ah, just the people we wanted to see!"
Brian froze at the sound of Peters' voice. He wanted to get away and return home. The events that had happened before he passed out were vague and fuzzy… and he wanted to keep them that way.
"Actually, we were just leaving," Brian mumbled.
Peters sighed. "We need to talk."
Brian's eyes flickered closed. He should have known that the police would want to talk to him, but he didn't want to talk to them. He wanted to go home and to lead a normal life. Why was that so impossible at the moment? First there had been Liam and now someone had written a note for him.
"Come on, Brian," Kevin said placing a hand upon his shoulder. Brian groaned inwardly, it seemed as if he was trapped now.
Brian turned around and found himself facing Peters and the shifty looking Fren. He nodded slightly and allowed them to lead him down a corridor and into an empty waiting room.
"The doctors said we could use this room," Peters said, closing the door firmly behind them to cut off all escape.
Kevin returned his hand to Brian's shoulder and gently pushed him down into one of the plastic chairs. Brian fought the urge to shrug his cousin's arm away. Why was everyone being so damn fussy and behaving as if he was mentally unstable and needed help for everything? Why wouldn't everyone leave him alone!
Peters and Fren sat down opposite him and Brian still refused to look at their faces. They would want questions answering, but Brian knew he could give them nothing.
"We've searched the entire area, but there's no sign of Liam and nobody saw anything," Peters said eventually.
"Liam is dead," Brian said flatly. "I told you before and now it's been proved."
He clasped his clammy hands tightly in his lap. His worst fear had been confirmed; he was a killer. His fingers nervously wrapped about one another as if for comfort. He bowed his head to stare down at his feet to stop any of them seeing the tears in his eyes. Before, the police had had no proof that he had murdered Liam and so had not locked him up but now they had it.
"We don't know that Brian," Kevin said softly. "It was probably Liam trying to upset you. There was nobody else present at the time, who could know about what happened?"
"We should have made sure that you were protected before we let you go home alone. There was no body so it's obvious Liam is still alive and we should have known that he might return."
Brian held up a hand. "Kevin, you just don't get it do you? If Liam is alive, then why did someone write 'murderer' upon my wall? Why not 'murderer who missed his target'?"
"We still have no proof," Peters cut in. "There is no sign of the body and nobody has come forward to say that they know anything. It's quite likely that the message was just somebody trying to scare you. Perhaps someone found out and thought it would be fun to scare a Backstreet Boy."
Brian bit his lip to prevent himself from replying. The fear was rising within him again.
"We did make one troubling discover however," Fren said suddenly.
Brian raised his head and found the dark eyes peering into his face. "And what was that then?" he asked sarcastically. "The message on my wall perhaps?"
"Brian!" Kevin hissed.
Brian ignored his cousin. Fren had been against him from the very beginning. He could easily remember the man's condescending nature and the way he had laughed at him back in the first interview. It wouldn't surprise him if Fren had written the message himself. He obviously didn't like Brian in the slightest.
Fren ignored both of them. "There was no sign of a break in at all."
Brian froze slightly. The thought had never occurred to him before. There had been no broken windows or faulty locks on the doors, so how had had the author of the message managed to get inside of his house.
"Then how did whoever did this get in?" Kevin asked, voicing Brian's own fear.
"We need to find that out. The only way anybody could have got in was if they had a set of keys," Peters said. He stared at Brian's shocked face. "We need you to check that you haven't got a set missing."
Brian could feel his hands beginning to stick together with sweat. Someone had a set of keys to his house and could break in silently at any time…
"And you have no idea who did this?" Kevin said.
"Someone who knows about Brian's guilt," Fren replied. "Whoever did this knows about his conscience and is taking advantage of that."
'But no one else knows!' Brian screamed inwardly. He should have known that this would not stop haunting him. He should have known that things would never, never return to normal again. Whether it was Liam or the person who had moved the body, someone was grimly determined to scare him to death.
"Here's what we suggest," Peters said, leaning forward in his chair. "We don't know if Brian is in any danger at all, for all we know the message could have been a prank or it could have been meant in a more malicious way. Fren and I will continue our investigation and found out if anybody could have found out about the incident. Also, we'll continue to look for Liam; dead or alive."
Dead or alive. Either option meant trouble for Brian. If Liam was found dead, he could be tried with murder. If Liam were alive, then he would probably try to kill Brian for telling the cops.
"What's going to happen to me if you find him dead?" Brian said, his voice barely a whisper.
"Brian you have to stop feeling guilty. It was self defence," Peters said. "If you did kill Liam, then whoever took the body knows they have no case against you or they would have come to the police before and accused you. The fact that they haven't shows us that they're hiding something."
Or perhaps that person thought that there were better ways than prison to make Brian pay for his crime…
'Stop it!' he told himself. He would only end up having another panic attack and the last one had been embarrassing enough.
"In the meantime Brian, we suggest that you get the locks to your house changed and then stay with a friend for a while," Peters said. "Just until we have some answers."
"What about when we go back in tour in a week's time?" Kevin asked.
The tour… Brian had almost forgotten that they were in the middle of a tour at the moment, but it brought a tranquil breath of calmness to him as he consider the fact. They would practically be in a new town everyday so his stalker could not possibly follow him everywhere. Not even the fans could make it to every town… And of course there was always high security to stop any unwelcome visitors from getting to them.
"You have security staff don't you?" Fren said. "You should brief them on what has happened and have them take extra security measures for a while."
Brian's head shot up to glare at Fren. How could he possibly tell the security guards about Liam? Enough people seemed to know already without handing out more information voluntarily…
"Or we could just explain that Brian might have a potentially dangerous stalker and that they should keep an extra eye on him," Kevin said.
'Thank you, Kevin.' For once Brian was glad that his cousin seemed to be able to read his thoughts.
"Whatever you feel is best," Fren replied. "It may also be in your best interest to have police officers present at all of your concerts. If anything does happen, it will be harder for the attacker to escape unseen."
"Sounds good," Kevin said.
High security would definitely be a relief, but Brian still could not help but feel a little uneasy. After arriving at the hospital, he had almost convinced himself that the message had been a bad dream, but his denial had soon evaporated after his talk with Fren and Peters. Their words had only served to cause the fear in his stomach to grow and creep throughout the rest of his body. The entire mystery of the situation was what chilled Brian's heart the most. Was it Liam or wasn't it? Was he a murderer or wasn't he? Would anything else happen or would God finally allow him to live in peace?
Too many questions… Brian inwardly wished for the thousandth time that everything had just been a dream, but no amount of wishing could ever change hideous reality.
"We'll let you be on your way now," Peters said. "Brian do you have a friend you can stay with?"
"He'll stay with me," Kevin replied. "I'll take care of him before we go on tour."
Obviously, Brian had grown so insane that Kevin felt that he had to speak for him now. Brian could see that the week ahead would be trying. Yes, he wanted to feel safe and secure but he did not need treating like a permanent patient.
Peters nodded. "We have your number so we'll call you if we find anything."
"Thank you for this, officers," Kevin said, shaking both Peters and Fren by the hands.
Brian slowly stood up. The ordeal was over, but now he was left with a feeling of uncertainty still laughing inside of him.
Brian signed himself out at the reception desk
"Do you want me to drop you off at mine and fetch your stuff for you?" Kevin asked as he started the engine.
"No, just go straight to mine and I'll get everything myself," Brian replied.
"Yes, don't worry I'm not going to have a screaming fit and collapse again," Brian said, wondering if Kevin would ever trust him to look after himself ever again. "Oh Kevin, don't tell my mom what happened," Brian added. He could only imagine the fear his mother would feel if she found out…
"Why not?" Kevin asked. "She deserves to know."
"But I don't want to worry her. She's been through enough with me in hospital the first time. If you tell her, then she'll only get a plane over her and there's no need." His mother had always worried about him and Brian knew that the message would only upset her. He was safe and that was all that mattered. She did not need to be made aware of the message.
"All right," Kevin agreed. "But we tell the other guys about the message, so that they know about the extra security at the concerts. I'll have to tell management as well."
"Is there anybody we don't have to tell?" Brian grumbled.
"Don't panic, we'll just say that you have a stalker."
Brian shrugged. He always usually looked forward to the concerts - a chance to make everybody happy and to thank all of the fans for what they had done for him and the other guys. He could easily imagine this one turning into a nightmare with security following him absolutely everywhere and Kevin constantly asking if he was 'okay' and if he was feeling 'all right'.
"Brian, you okay? You've gone quiet," Kevin said suddenly.
There it was again, Kevin the caring, over protective relative. Okay? He had thought he was doing 'okay' until he had found the message.
"I'm fine," Brian replied. "Now would you quit asking me that."
"What do you think is wrong? I've just made a complete fool out of myself over nothing more than a message written in kiddies red crayon. The police are back involved and it's all coming back again."
"Brian, that message was clearly a threat of some kind! You had every right to be frightened after what you've been through. If it was me, I'd have - "
"But it wasn't you, was it?" Brian replied. "It was me."
"Brian you're right, I can't possibly know what you're feeling, but I can try to help you through it. I can try to make sure that nothing like that ever happens to you again."
And that meant that Kevin was going to play the protective motherly role and never let Brian out of his sight. Brian could see his life becoming a prison… He loved Kevin very much and appreciated his support but he knew that he would be completely smothered and that was not what he needed.
Brian closed his eyes. "Kevin I want this to be over. When I went home I thought I could start being normal again, but I can't. Someone's trying to ruin that for me. Kevin who knows what I did? Who wrote the message?"
But Kevin could not answer that question. And neither could Brian. That was what terrified him the most.