CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
Brian was trembling.
He was trapped. A terrified fox caught in the hunter’s field, but there was nowhere left to run… and he had not even done anything wrong.
Innocence. Where had his innocence gone? Why had it drained away as Liam’s blood had coated his hands? He had never hurt anybody. He had never done anything wrong and yet he was being punished. Someone was hurting him and destroying every part of his mind as it drowned in fearful tears. Didn’t only the wicked get punished?
But Brian was good. The cute, innocent one of the band who never dared to step out of the line of the law. How had he drifted so far away from that guiding star?
He sat at one side of a table while the police officer Walson sat opposite him. As soon as they arrived at the police station, all four of them had been separated into separate interview rooms. They had been subject to body searches and were disallowed from seeing each other until the searches were complete in case they slipped each other something.
What was this going to do to them? The image they had worked so hard to preserve was going to be ruined. It had survived AJ’s rehab, Nick’s arrest but could the already weakening barrier hold up to this? False accusations of drugs?
They had done nothing wrong!
And it was all happening because Brian had killed someone. Alcohol addiction, arrests… but murder had to be the worst, and the darkest secret Backstreet had ever kept. The media were still oblivious to the fact.
It didn’t matter what the police said. It didn’t matter that there was no body. Brian remembered the blood upon his hands. Brian remembered the knife plunging into Liam’s chest and he remembered the choking gasp of death that had sucked the life from him and left nothing more than the lifeless shell at Brian’s feet.
That was what Brian still saw in his mind. He body and those cold, dead eyes. That was what he had seen and that was what played upon his mind. Murder. And now everyone was paying for it.
AJ was in hospital and Brian’s heart screamed with agony as it wallowed in the image of his ashen face, soiled by agonising pain as the blood soaked into Howie’s shirt.
Then there was Nick. Poor Nicky who had already suffered the pain and fear of one unjust arrest that had led to his innocent face being marked by tears, and now he was back at the police station. He had been close to tears on arrival and Brian had seen them trembling in his baby blue eyes, but he had refused to release them like Brian had done and had remained strong. Nick had been brave and had remained strong to comfort Brian, but it had only succeeded in causing the guilt to eat away inside of him. Guilt that Nick was put back in this situation.
What if all of them had been framed? What if Nick went to jail because someone had a grudge against Brian?
Then there was Howie and Kevin. His loving, caring friends were now forced to tumble into Brian’s terrifying world.
None of them deserved this.
“Brian, please just answer the questions,” Walson said gently. “You’re not in trouble, we just want to know what happened.”
“I don’t know what happened!” Brian wailed. “I told you that I don’t know!” His fingers entwined about one another and he could feel them sticking together with the perspiration of his hands.
“All right, just calm down,” Walson said, tapping his pen against the table in annoyance. “Would you like a coffee? Would that help you to relax?”
Brian shook his head, his stomach recoiling at the very thought of anything entering it. As soon as he had stepped inside of the interview room, he had the air in the room pressing down upon his abdomen as if determined to force anything it could out of his body. He could barely breathe with the pressure.
“I want to know how my friend is at the hospital,” he whispered, thinking of AJ’s pale skin and the blood that had soaked his shirt. He gulped slightly and his eyes flickered closed.
“You’ll speak to him soon enough. The paramedics were certain that he was not in any real danger. Now please just answer my questions and then you can leave,” Walson said.
Brian stared at him in disbelief. Walson seemed completely oblivious to the fact that someone had been stabbed and was only concerned with finding about the drugs that someone had tried to place inside of Brian’s bag, or better still that Brian was a drug dealer and that he could have the pleasure of being the one to catch the Backstreet Boy and lock him away in a cell.
Walson sighed slightly. “Brian, as long as we don’t find any trace of drugs in your bags or hotel room, there’s nothing to worry about. Even if we do, we will bear in mind exactly what happened at the stadium and that someone could be framing you.”
“But what if someone had planted them in my room!” Brian said. “I don’t want to go to jail! I don’t want my friends to go to jail!”
“I’m sure it won’t come to that. You have a brilliant career, why would you be throwing that away by getting involved in something this stupid? I want to get to the bottom of this, but I need your cooperation. I just need your version of events. Will you talk to me? I understand that this is stressful, especially at the beginning of your new tour, which is why we need it sorted as soon as possible.”
“I’m sorry… I’ve just been here so long already,” Brian whispered, feeling like nothing more than child who had been accused of stealing cookies before dinner, but this time the punishment was much more severe.
“I’m sorry about the delay, but we’ve had several things to do and we’ve got as many people as we possibly can searching the stadium and questioning your crew. Hopefully it will be over soon.” Walosn leaned forward in his seat. “Now Brian, do you know what it was that was in your bag? If you did have anything in there then just tell us and it’ll go easier on you.”
“I don’t know what it was! And it wasn’t in my bag, someone was trying to plant them on me! They weren’t mine!” Now the child was facing more serious problems and the only thing left to do was… cry.
‘I haven’t done anything wrong!’
He had done nothing. NOTHING! And now he was crying shamefully. He stopped for a moment and Walson waited patiently while he dried his eyes on his shaking hand.
“Okay, do you know why someone would do this to you?” Walson pressed his tone softer now that he had noticed Brian’s fragile nature.
Brian nodded glumly. “I – I have a stalker. I don’t know who it is, but they hate me, they hate me! Please, I want to see my friends!”
“Brian, let me explain the situation. You are not under arrest and I doubt that you will be arrested at all. We received a call from an ex-dealer. He helped us to track down some serious dealers a while ago. He called us and informed us that you had approached him and had tried to purchase a large quantity of drugs. He said that you became violent when he said that he wasn’t in the business anymore. We decided to follow it up and just ask you some questions. For you, things are looking good because our contact has high tailed and ran. It seems like it was a set up and I just need a little information from you that will help us to find out who is responsible for this.”
Brian nodded, but he felt as if he were dead. He had cried so much recently, suffered from so many emotions and situations and they were slowly withering his body and destroying him.
“Now then, you say you have a stalker. Have you informed the police?”
Brian nodded again, but declined from mentioning the recent incident with Liam. Enough people seemed to know his dirt secret already…
“And you believe that this person wanted to send you down for drug dealing?”
Brian bit his lip to prevent more tears from falling and nodded for a third time, not daring to speak in case he began to cry again. Cry… he felt like nothing more than baby. A little kid who had fallen so deeply in trouble without even realising how he had arrived at this point.
Walson sighed. “Look, I can see that you’re scared here and obviously with good reason. If you had have been caught with those drugs, you could be facing jail. Now, tell me everything that happened at the concert. It may seem irrelevant to you, but we’re just trying to create a picture of what happened.”
Brian sniffed slightly and rubbed his face with a sweaty hand. He slowly retold everything he knew about the arrival at the hotel, the press conference and the preparation for the concert… and then there had been AJ’s scream followed by his own panic and terror for his friend.
Walson nodded. “And you didn’t see the attacker?”
“No, I don’t even know how he got in.”
Suddenly there was knock upon the door. Walson looked up in irritation as he saw his partner’s face peering around the door. Brian turned his head fearfully, wondering what life was going to throw at him now and praying that he could survive whatever it had planned.
“Sorry to interrupt, but I’ve got some information you might like to hear,” Redein said.
Walson nodded. “Very well, Would you excuse me for a moment Brian?”
Brian nodded slowly and his big blue eyes watched as Walson exited. He leaned back in his chair and then pulled his knees up to his chest as he stared at the white walls of the interview room. White… the colour of purity and innocence.
Brian could still remember the time he had been innocent… A young boy had never had to even think about having to cope with murder. One who had never even dreamt of being in trouble with the police. It only ever happened to bad boys…
Brian heard the door open and turned to see Walson entering. His hands gripped the chair tightly and his eyes followed the police officer across the room.
“Brian, we’ve finished our search of your hotel room and the stadium and there’s no sign of any drugs, but we also have no idea who the attacker was,” Walson said, sitting back down opposite Brian.
Nothing… Brian was free. He had escaped the clutches of prison once again and his stalker had failed in his attempt to send Brian down. No drugs… they were safe. Nicky was safe from the torment of jail which he had come close to experiencing before… They all were, including Brian.
“What about the security cameras?” Brian asked.
Walson shook his head. “They’d been tampered with and there was no tapes within them. There’s no recording of what happened.”
Brian was silent. He wanted his life back under the control of his own hands where nobody else plotted his fate apart from himself.
“Am I going to be arrested?” Brian murmured eventually. There was no evidence… no drugs… they couldn’t… they couldn’t…
‘Please don’t.’ “No, we just wanted to get to the bottom of what has happened and I think we know now.”
But Brian did not know what was happening. All around him the events were whirling and spinning sickeningly like some carnival ride which transformed everything into a great, dizzying blur.
But he did know one thing and that was that he was innocent, but somebody was trying to break that innocence and expose him to the world as a fearsome monster. But that wasn’t going to happen. He was free… He had never deserved to be here in the first place.
He had always stuck to the law. He had never done anything wrong or ever even wanted to do anything wrong. He would never want his mother to be ashamed of him. He could only imagine her tearful and betrayed eyes if Brian ever did anything wrong in the eyes of the law.
But now everything had spilled out of control and Brian could do nothing but watch as was stolen away from him. Someone was intent upon destroying him and Brian could only wait for each consecutive blow that came to him.
Even if they did not succeed in getting him sent to jail, they would probably succeed in breaking him. He was so close to that edge now…
And somebody was determined to push him all the way.