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Chapter 16

"AJ, why don't you stop fidgeting?" Howie suggested.

"Bone, you've got to calm down."

AJ's entire body shook. "I--I can't, guys. I'm scared. I can't take this."

"Can't take what?" Rok repeated.

"I can't take this!" the rebel hollered. "It's not fair! We've been through more pain than anyone deserves!"

Kevin looked up. "You have to relax."

"NO! Why us? Kev's dad, Nick's anxiety as a kid, Brian's surgery, my grandparent's struggles, messin' my leg up, Howie's sister! Legal shit! Now this?"

No one had stopped AJ's rage, it seemed deserved. They had gone through a lot. Nick had been ill so many times as a child and even in the present-he became paraniod. Brian always lived with the concern of his heart-he was now distant. AJ had turned into a work-a-holic. Kevin acted overly emotional and Howie became irrational. All five were wishing to neglect reality.

Everyone had gone through their hardships, which affected them as a group. All the media hassle....things never were easy. Now, everyone realized how the strain had been building.

Brian ran his hands through his hair. "Guys, do you remember when we were lat in a waiting room for Nick?"

"Come on, guys! Let's get it together!" Kevin demanded. "This is our first big tour back home! The last thing we wanna' do is screw up!"

"If it's a big tour, why are we practicing in a damn hallway?" AJ snapped.

Howie took a deep breath. "Who knows, AJ....Just be thankful we're here."

Brian twiddled his thumbs. "We need a break. It's too hot in here."

"Suck it up, cuz. Now, let's run the opening routine."

They made the new formation and began the strenuous dance number. Nick's head throbbed with each step...His body felt so weak...His breaths came quick..."Guys----" he gasped. "Bri---" Everything became a blur and his body toppled over.

"NICK!" Brian shouted.

Howie lifted the blonde's limp head. "Nick, what is it?!"

The youngest member lye still his voice barely a whisper. "I feel kinda' sick, guys."

AJ threw Howie his water bottle. "Try to get him to drink....I'll go get help."

Kevin knelt down at the teen's side. "Nick, do you think you're gonna' faint, again?"

"Yeah," he coughed gasping for air.

Kevin placed his hands on the young man's shoulders pulling him forward. "Put your head between your knees."

Nick slowly began to relax. "Water," he croaked.

Howie placed the bottle to his lips. "Drink slowly."

Nick pushed his weight against Kevin, his head becoming heavy. "I'm so dizzy."

"It'll pass," Brian promised stroking his brow.

AJ returned with a young paramedic at his side. "What happened?" the woman asked.

"He just collasped," Brian answered.

"Do you feel sick and weak?" she asked checking Nick's pulse.

"Both," he mumbled softly.

She slide a thremother beneath his tongue. "Hon, have you been taking care of yourself properly?"

He nodded negatively.

"We'll definitely need to take him to the hospital. He might be malnurished and from his skin tone he could be enemic." His temperature registered. "100.5. Do you think you could manage to walk a small distance? If so, you could be taken to the hospital in the van outside. I'm afraid an ambulance would stir up your fans."

The youngest member turned to Kevin. "Could you help me walk?"

Kevin nodded. "Of course."

Brian came back to the modern times. "He had clinical exhuastion."

Howie nodded. "Only thing that got us time off."

"Stupid management," AJ growled.

Kevin sighed. "Think postively guys....New management. And this surgery is routine. Nick is going to be fine." He paused. "We're all going to be fine."

Chapter 17