Kevin really thought he'd learned from his mistakes by now. There were just things that ought to be obvious after all these years. One of them would be to never, ever think huh, nothing much going on today, because that would be the day that Nick goddamn Carter would walk into your hotel room and say, "So I saw this psychic today and she told me I'm in love with you."
Kevin stopped short on his way to close the door that Nick had just left wide open and looked back over his shoulder. "What?"
"I know, right?" Nick plopped down on the bed and scratched his stomach, acting like he'd just told Kevin that the sky was a very nice blue today. "I didn't see that one coming either."
Kevin did another double take. "Oh," he said. "Oh, okay. I get it. Ha ha, Nick. How bored are you?"
Nick, to Kevin's surprise, actually frowned at him. "Dude, I'm not kidding," he insisted, scooting himself up to lean against the headboard. "I was out walking today because, I don't know, Howie's getting his phone surgically attached to his head so there was nothing to do. And I saw this psychic lady and she told me that the one I was in love with was, like, right under my nose and I just hadn't realized it yet." Nick suddenly grinned. "And that person was tall and dark and completely unavailable to practically everyone, but not to me."
Kevin went to his suitcase and pulled out his shaving kit. "AJ's dark," he pointed out. "And has a girlfriend."
"I also said tall," Nick replied, and Kevin peered over his shoulder again to see Nick swing his legs over the side of the bed and grab a magazine from the nightstand.
"What, so that automatically means me?" Kevin asked. He wasn't exactly sure why he was playing into this. Well, no, he was. He'd just finished talking to Kristin on the phone and she wasn't coming out on the road for another five days, so he really didn't have anything else to do either.
Nick looked up again. "Well, she also said it was someone I'm very close to, who wouldn't believe a word of this if I told them." His lips quirked up in a small smile. "So, yes. Pretty much."
Kevin snorted before disappearing into the bathroom. "Okay, Nick," he said, dropping his shaving kit on the counter. "What are you planning to do with this new knowledge then?"
There was a brief silence from the other room. Kevin started pulling out his shaving gel and some half-empty deodorant that he definitely hadn't put in there - weird. Then there was a shift in his peripheral vision and he looked over to find Nick leaning against the doorframe, watching him.
"You know, I'm not sure yet," Nick said, and the amused look on his face was one that Kevin knew all too well. "But I think it'll be good."
Kevin wasn't actually supposed to be thinking about it the next morning. It wasn't like psychics were reliable anyway. At least not the ones you could just find by a cheap plastic table on every pier in the tourist areas. And okay, maybe Kevin had tried it himself a couple of years ago, but he'd been curious and maybe in a little bit of a crisis and anyway, it wasn't like the psychic he'd went to see had blathered on about his love life. It hadn't been glass balls and smoky mirrors.
Brian and AJ were already on the bus when Kevin got on. AJ was messing with Brian's cell phone while Brian finished up his eggs, leafing through a newspaper without really reading anything. Brian had never cared which one of them used his stuff, so long as nothing got broken or deleted or ruined in the dryer. Kevin supposed that was why Brian always had the least stuff missing when a tour was over. No one wanted to mess with trust like that.
"Uh oh," AJ said, when Kevin went to the counter to grab some coffee. "Eyebrow alert. Did someone piss you off already? It's not even 8am yet."
"What?" No clean mugs anywhere. Kevin sighed and took AJ's coffee instead. "No no. Just thinking." AJ looked indignant for all of two seconds while Kevin brought the mug to his lips before he shrugged and reached for Brian's.
Brian turned another page in his newspaper. It wasn't until now that Kevin noticed he was smiling. "He'll be flattered," Brian said, glancing up. Kevin could almost swear he saw him wink. What the hell?
Oh great. "He told you?"
Brian laughed. "Of course he told me."
"Who told you what?" AJ asked, tucking his hat tighter down on his head. Kevin almost wanted to take it off and ruffle what little hair AJ had left.
"Nick's in love again," Brian announced, grinning fully now. "At least that's what his psychic says."
"What?" AJ's attention snapped back to Kevin, his expression part disbelief and part delight. "No way."
"It was just a joke," Kevin sighed. He took a seat across from the other two and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"No it wasn't," Brian countered. Kevin wondered if there was some way to install a mute button on him. "He came back yesterday all excited. Come on, you know him. If he was messing with us he would've done it to AJ or me." Brian paused. "Probably not Howie. And definitely not you."
"Sure," Kevin said dryly. "Because you three have never conspired to pull a prank before. Whatever was I thinking?"
"Hey, I didn't know anything about it," AJ added, raising his hands in defense.
"And I'm an old man now," Brian chimed in, swatting AJ's hand when he reached for Brian's coffee cup again. "I'm too mature for pranks."
"You were sitting around playing with Baylee's toy trucks when I got on the bus," AJ said. "What are you talking about?"
Kevin turned around in his seat when there was a commotion at the door. Howie was in the process of dragging his overnight bag up the stairs with Nick right behind him carrying his own, saying, "dude, Howie, lift with your knees, man. How much shit is in that thing?"
"Presents," Howie said, heaving the bag up the last step. "Why do I always buy presents?" He dropped the bag on a nearby chair without a care for the fact that he tended to buy stuff that broke easily.
"Well, hello!" AJ chirped, spreading out his arms as he leaned back. "If it isn't Romeo himself! On our bus, no less. Up Close and Personal has never been so appropriate."
Howie and Nick both looked up from their suitcases. "What?" Howie asked.
"Hi, Kevin," Nick said, offering him a happy smile. "You told them already?"
Kevin had a hard time believing Nick was still going through with this. Behind him he could hear Brian stifle a snort. "I didn't tell anyone anything," Kevin replied, his voice even. They were really too old for this. "It's not that funny a joke."
Howie looked at all of them with equal amounts of confusion. "What's a joke?"
"It's not a joke," Nick said firmly, frowning at Kevin for the second time since this all started. He turned back to Howie. "I went to see a psychic yesterday," he told him. "She said I have a thing for Kevin."
"Dude, Nick," AJ laughed. "That's classic. Keep it up, man, I haven't seen Kev's neck veins pop out in a while."
"Whatever," Nick said. As the bus jerked into motion he walked over to the table and took the seat next to Kevin's. "Hi," he repeated, his smile softening.
Kevin didn't know whether to be really confused or really scared. "Nick," he said again, just because he didn't know what else to do. He shook his head instead and returned to his (AJ's) coffee.
"You have a thing for Kevin?" Howie asked, joining them at the table next to Brian.
Nick raised an eyebrow and grabbed Brian's plate of leftover scrambled eggs. "Jealous?"
"What, does no one here know how to operate a kitchen?" Brian asked, but he handed Nick the bottle of ketchup on the table as he said it.
Howie made a huffing sound and toyed with the corner of Brian's newspaper.
"So what are the lovebirds planning for today?" AJ asked, overly cheerful. He shook his head. "Oh wait, what am I saying? Just make sure you put a sock on the doorknob when you're ocupado, all right? We all gotta live on this bus."
Kevin wondered if it would be terribly wrong to throw AJ off the bus in the middle of the highway.
"Okay, say you're actually telling the truth," Kevin began, as he sat down next to Nick in the back room of the bus.
Nick looked up from his cellphone, a small smirk spreading on his face. "Say I am," he agreed calmly.
"I'm married," Kevin pointed out. "Happily married. The kind of married where you don't cheat."
Nick gave him a look that clearly read yeah right, which, okay, probably wasn't entirely off the mark given his and Kristin's past. But they'd both agreed years ago, before the wedding, that the on-again-off-again crap was over. "Whatever," Nick said. "Like you don't have a list."
Kevin just looked at Nick. "A list?"
"Yeah. You know, like when a couple decides that there can be exceptions if they ever want to-"
"I know what a list is," Kevin interrupted, exasperated.
Nick looked at him steadily. Kevin frowned a little, and it took him by surprise when Nick started to smile. "You have a list," he repeated. "And we're all on it."
There was a pause. Nick raised an eyebrow and pushed himself off the couch with a hand on Kevin's knee. He stretched, long and slow, and yawned. Kevin was still looking at him. "How…?"
Nick laughed a little and shook his head. "Please," he said. "Brian showed me his years ago."
"Nick's not in love with me," Kevin said, the next day at soundcheck. Nick and Brian were off on the other end of the stage bouncing a ball around, trying for fancy footwork, and Howie was off on another one of his phone calls. Kevin was sitting on a dusty old table that wobbled every time he tried to shift. He made a mental note not to put any equipment on it later.
"What?" AJ said, tapping his microphone with his fingertip. The sound came out muffled through the speakers. "Are you still on that?"
Kevin didn't reply. He worried his lower lip briefly, eyes squinting in thought as he watched Brian do a flourished little kick when he couldn't catch the ball in time. "If Nick told you that a psychic had said he was in love with you, what would you do?" he asked AJ.
"What, you think that hasn't happened already?" AJ flashed him a grin.
Kevin rolled his eyes. "This group is just packed with comedians lately."
"Anything to entertain you, old man." AJ turned off his microphone and rested his hip against the table. He looked out over the stage and shrugged. "I don't know. He's Nick, you know? He falls fast." AJ made a grimace. "Something I probably shouldn't have taught him, I guess."
Kevin turned his gaze back on the stage. Brian and Nick were testing their mics now, trying to do Abbott and Costello's Who's On First and failing spectacularly. Nick lost it in the middle of "no, who's on first, what's on second," and laughed so hard he had to fall into a nearby chair, his face flushed and full of energy. Brian kept going, using different voices now that he was doing it by himself, and Nick looked over and caught Kevin's eye. Laughter made his eyes bright, and he pushed hair off his forehead as his grin changed into a warm smile. Kevin couldn't help smiling back.
"So you don't think he's joking?" he asked, looking at AJ again.
AJ stared at him like he was trying to figure out if that was a serious question or not. Then he huffed and shook his head. "Kev," he said, and as he pushed away from the table he planted a firm kiss on Kevin's forehead. "I love you, man, but you're a fucking moron sometimes."
Kevin went to Nick's hotel room that night and only had to knock twice before Nick answered, wearing his glasses and sweats and that wide smile that Kevin still couldn’t make sense of.
"I just don't get it," Kevin offered, when he was inside the hotel room and sitting on Nick's bed.
"Don't get what?" Nick asked. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor, periodically opening his nightstand and peering inside before closing it again. Kevin had no clue what he was keeping in there. He couldn't stop staring at Nick's glasses.
"You had a crush on Brian for years," Kevin said quietly. Watched him. "You were in love with Howie."
Nick's eyes darted up quickly before he dropped his head and Kevin saw a small, self-conscious smile form on his lips. "Well, yeah," Nick agreed, shrugging lightly.
"You're not in love with me," Kevin said again, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees.
Nick, in turn, leaned back, putting his hands behind him and stretching out his legs. "How do you know that?" he countered, and it was almost typical stubborn Nick behavior, but not quite.
"Because I'm not them," Kevin insisted. His hands were clasped together. "I'll never be them."
"I know that," Nick said, brow furrowing slightly. "That's not why - you can't compare it like that." He lifted up his glasses to scratch his nose and Kevin smiled despite himself. "I can't love anyone else the way I loved Howie, because, like, Howie's Howie and what we had was just for us, you know? I can't love you that way because you're not Howie." He grinned suddenly and raked a hand through his hair. "And, you know, with you - that's special too. Not less special or more, but the same. Just in different ways. You know?"
Kevin watched him carefully. It didn't make sense. Nick never talked like this. Nick was the most jaded twenty-five year old Kevin knew - he had been in three long-term relationships that all had ended; he picked up guys and girls at bars and never called them again. He flung around I love yous like it was just a normal, every day sentiment, but no matter what, he was always alone again in the morning.
"It's different," Nick said, like he could hear what Kevin was thinking. "It's not like - you're not some random girl I met two weeks ago. You're Kevin."
Nick loved all of them. Kevin knew that. He'd never been with anyone for as long as he'd been with the four of them. Not even his own family.
"What did that psychic tell you?" Kevin asked him. His voice was quieter now.
Nick looked up, eyes wide for a second, then shrugged. "Just, you know, what I told you. That I was in love with someone and I hadn't realized it yet. Someone I knew really well." Nick's smile turned cheeky. "And that all I had to do was tell you that I'd been to see her and the rest would take care of itself."
Kevin snorted. "Regular little Houdini, that one."
Nick smiled and pushed himself to his feet. "Well, I'm not the one who keeps bringing this up."
"What, I'm supposed to ignore it?" Kevin called, but Nick had already slipped into the bathroom and turned on the water. Kevin sat there and listened to the faucet running for a minute that felt like an hour before he got up and went to follow him.
The door was open, so Kevin curled his fingers around the doorframe and peered inside. Nick was gathering water in his cupped hands and scrubbing it over his face, leaving clinging water drops on his brow and nose. He blinked rapidly as he glanced up at Kevin, getting water out of his eyes, and smiled at him again as he reached for a towel. That same smile. Kevin recognized it now. He'd seen it a lot on the Black and Blue tour, back when everything was a mess and Nick couldn't stop touching Howie no matter where they were and who saw them.
Kevin didn't understand it, but he was maybe starting to believe it.
Nick wiped his face with the towel and threw it aside. He grabbed his glasses from the counter and slipped them back on, blinking to readjust his vision. "You tried it too, right?" he asked, wiping his hands dry in his sweatpants. "Fortune telling, I mean."
"Not quite," Kevin replied, after a brief pause. "I went to a clairvoyant."
"Yeah?" Nick leaned back against the sink, blowing hair out of his eyes. "How's that different?"
Kevin smiled. "She didn't try to make predictions," he explained. "We talked. About my dad."
Nick's smile slipped a bit. "Yeah?" he said again.
Kevin nodded. "It was nice actually. All she needed was a piece of jewelry that I'd been wearing for a while, so she got my watch, and then she sat there for a while, you know, just holding it in her hand." Nick's brow was furrowed in concentration, and Kevin's lips quirked at the sight. "So then out of nowhere she asks me if my father is dead. I hadn't told her anything, and I was just supposed to answer yes or no, so I just said that yes, I had. And then she said, 'it wasn't recently, it was a long time ago' and I said yes again. And then she looked right at me and said 'it was a slow death, wasn't it?' And I nearly lost it. Could barely get a yes out." He shook his head and huffed a small laugh. "She told me that he wanted to make sure I knew he was keeping track of me. So, I don't know. Even if it's all a big hoax I don't really care. It made me feel better about the whole thing, at least."
Nick was watching him intently now, all traces of a smile gone from his face. Kevin frowned at him and Nick cleared his throat abruptly, directing his gaze to his feet. "Yeah," he agreed, voice gruff, and scratched the back of his neck. "I'm glad, you know, that - that you get to have that."
In a flash Nick looked very, very grown up, and for a second Kevin's pulse beat a little faster. "Yeah," he repeated, lamely.
Nick looked up at him, and there was a beat of complete, utter silence. Then Nick straightened himself. "Okay," he said, and Kevin heard him swallow. "Sorry to, like, throw you out and stuff, but I'm pretty beat and we've got an early-"
"Okay," Kevin conceded, startling Nick to a pause. Kevin offered him a smile. "It's okay. I'll go."
Nick smiled back gratefully. He followed Kevin out of the bathroom and to the door of the hotel room. "So," he said, looking at a spot over Kevin's shoulder, "I guess, thanks. For not freaking out about this and all."
Nick was nervous about being alone with him. Nick thought he was in love with him. Kevin rested a comforting, if slightly awkward, hand on Nick's shoulder. "Well, it's not like I'm not secretly flattered."
"Yeah," Nick laughed, tucking a hand forcefully through his hair, fiddling with the hem of his ratty t-shirt. He was leaning in before Kevin knew what was happening, pressing a quick, soft kiss to Kevin's lips. Kevin stiffened, and then Nick's fingers were curled in Kevin's shirt. He tugged gently, just once, restraint making his hands clumsy, and Kevin hardly had time to register any of it before Nick pulled back again. His face was maybe a few inches from Kevin's, his breath coming fast and his eyes wide behind his glasses. Waiting for a reaction. Waiting to be pushed away.
Kevin didn't push him away.
Nick made a sound low in his throat and in a flurry of motion Kevin was shoved back against the wall, his mouth covered by Nick's again. But this time Nick took, he pressed their bodies close together and coaxed Kevin's lips apart with something resembling ferocity. Kevin's hands came around Nick's back and Nick moaned, right into Kevin's mouth, his hands scrambling desperately all over before finally settling in Kevin's hair. Nick made another low, aching sound and tried to press closer, biting lightly into Kevin's lower lip like he was trying to hold on. It was the longest few seconds of Kevin's life and he couldn't remember ever wanting so badly for something to not end.
But before long his brain kicked back in action and he grabbed Nick's shoulders, forcing him a step back. They were both breathing hard and staring at each other. Nick's eyes were glassy, his lips red and spit-shiny, and Kevin couldn't get his heart to slow down. "Nick," he said, on a heavy exhale, his grip on Nick's shoulders tightening.
Nick's eyes went unbelievably wide. He looked Kevin over slowly before raising his eyes again. "Shit," he rasped. Quickly he tore himself free and stumbled away, backhanding the shine off his mouth as he went. "Shit. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Fuck."
"Nick," Kevin repeated, stepping away from the wall. "It's-"
"No," Nick said, firmly enough that Kevin actually paused. Nick groaned and turned away, tearing a hand through his hair. "No, you really - you need to go now. Right now."
Kevin, much to his own surprise, did.
He was nursing a cup of coffee and a splitting headache the next morning when Howie came up to him on the bus and took a seat. "Here," he said, pushing a packet of Tylenol across the table. "I grabbed them from the bathroom. No clue whose they are, but I'm guessing they're mine."
Kevin nearly groaned in gratitude. "I love you, man. Thanks."
Howie laughed as he watched Kevin pop two pills out of the packet and reach for a water bottle on the counter. "Lots of love going around here lately," he remarked while Kevin drank.
Kevin did groan that time and rested his head in his hands. "Don't remind me."
Just then there was a loud crash from the bunk area and both Howie and Kevin's heads flew up. "Where the fuck is my Sidekick?" they heard Nick snap. "AJ!"
"What?" AJ's voice came from even further back, probably in the back room of the bus. "I don't have your Sidekick, man."
"Fucking tell me where it is!"
"Dude, did you clean your ears this morning? I just told you I don't have it!"
"Stop yelling." A third voice - Brian - and padded footsteps on carpeted floor. "Here, Nick. It was on top of the TV."
There was a reluctantly murmured "thanks" from Nick and a then a door was shut. Howie and Kevin looked at each other.
"He's not joking, you know," Howie said quietly.
Kevin sighed and rubbed at his temples with his fingertips. "No?" he asked wearily, not really looking for an answer.
Howie smiled a little, and Kevin couldn't tell if it was resigned or just understanding. "You don't remember the last time he was like that?" he asked. Before Kevin could answer Howie just shrugged and leaned back in his seat. "Trust me for my personal experience then."
Kevin had been sitting with his cellphone in his hand for twenty minutes now. It was getting ridiculous. He'd gone to his hotel room to have some quiet time, but there was a clock ticking on the wall and faint thumping music coming from AJ's room next to his. Kevin sighed, checked his watch for the fourth time, and dialed the familiar number.
It wasn't even two rings before Kristin answered. "Hello?"
For a second, Kevin just smiled. "Hey baby," he said warmly.
"Hi stranger," she laughed. Kevin could hear voices in the background. It sounded like the TV. "You guys are busy, huh? I've been getting your voicemail for a couple of days now."
"Yeah, things are … hectic." Kevin picked at a loose thread in his bedspread. "Listen, there's something I need to talk to you about."
There was a pause. "Okay," Kristin said. "One sec, honey." The noise in the background was abruptly cut off and Kevin felt something twist in his stomach. "Okay," she repeated, and Kevin could hear her settling down again. "I'm ready now. And I know that tone. What's up?"
Kevin tapped a beat on his knee with his fingertips. He'd come up with a dozen possible ways of saying this to her, but he knew her, knew her like he knew himself, and he knew she responded best to complete honesty. "Do you remember those lists we made before the wedding?"
There was another beat of silence. "Yeah," Kristin said, slowly.
Honesty. She deserved that. "I think I need to use mine now," he admitted, taking a deep breath once the words were out.
The silence this time stretched out for so long that he started to worry maybe she'd just got up and left the cellphone there on the coffee table. It was probably only seconds really, but it felt like a lot longer. "Kris?" he ventured, at length.
"I'm here." Her voice sounded very far away. "Just - give me a second."
Kevin waited, his fingers tapping a rapid beat now. The pattern on the bedspread was starting to swim in front of his eyes.
"I just," Kristin was back to sounding normal. Kevin breathed out slowly. "It's one of the guys, right? Who? No, wait," she added hastily. "I don't think I want to know that."
"It wouldn't be sex," Kevin explained, keeping his voice even. He couldn't afford to say the wrong thing right now. "Not that kind of sex anyway, just-"
"Yeah, Kevin, I got it," she muttered. "Hands and mouths, I'm familiar with the concept."
Kevin took a deep breath. "I just," he tried, "I couldn't do anything, or start anything, if you didn't know about it."
There was a small pause. "Look, I don't know what you want me to say."
"Say it's okay."
"It's okay," Kristin agreed. "Really."
Kevin broke into a soft smile. They'd talked about this before, once or twice, and Kristin had always known what she was getting into marrying a Backstreet Boy. It didn't mean he appreciated her acceptance any less. "I love you," he said. "You know that, right?"
"Of course I know." Kristin sighed on the other end of the phone. Kevin knew she was sitting there with her feet propped up on the coffee table, her hair in a messy bun and wearing her favorite Disneyland employee sweatshirt. Something in him ached at the image. "Take good care of him, okay?" She huffed a laugh. "Whichever one it is."
Kevin waited another hour, feeling it somehow unfair to both Kristin and Nick if he went in there with the sound of her voice still so fresh in his mind. He went to Nick's room as he was, barefooted and clad in a pair of jeans and an old t-shirt. He was ready for this now, and when Nick opened his door, hair sticking up in every direction and rubbing sleep out of his eyes, Kevin allowed himself to feel the small knot of tension that coiled in his stomach.
"S'you?" Nick mumbled, and suddenly the sleepy expression was replaced with a frown and a hard set jaw. "Don't, okay, I'm finally getting some sleep and I don't want to-"
"Nick," Kevin said, and pushed Nick inside the hotel room. Nick yelped indignantly, but then Kevin kicked the door shut with his foot and yanked Nick in for a slow, slow kiss. He was done questioning, done second guessing everything, because Nick really wasn't joking and Kevin loved him and wanted him and would never, ever let Nick be sad if there was something he could do about it.
Nick had frozen up for all of two seconds before, ever so slowly, that sound was back - that sound that Kevin hadn't let himself hear the first time. His hands came up to grip Kevin's shoulders, hard, and it was Kevin's turn to ease Nick's lips apart this time, inch by slow inch. Nick exhaled heavily into Kevin's mouth, but then he was there, he was responding, each slide of his lips turning more insistent. His hands slid into Kevin's hair and gripped it, just like last time, and Kevin put his hands on Nick's waist to let him know he wasn't going anywhere.
When Nick pulled back for air, Kevin couldn't see him. He hadn't even realized the room was dark. But Nick's breath wafted over his face and his hands slid down to Kevin's shoulders; small, incredulous touches that made Kevin's breath catch. "What about-?" he heard Nick ask, his voice hoarse with sleep and something else.
"She knows," Kevin said softly, backing Nick in what he figured was the direction of the bed. "You're on my list. She knows."
Nick laughed breathlessly, letting Kevin guide him until the back of his knees hit the bedside. "You're staying?" he whispered.
Kevin held on to Nick's hand as the other fumbled for the lamp on the nightstand. "Yeah," he said, watching the light spill over Nick's flushed, disbelieving face. "I'm staying."
Hours later they still hadn't removed a single piece of clothing. It had taken Kevin a long time to relax Nick enough that his kisses finally went from frantic and demanding to slow and exploring. Nick's neck was long and warm and his pulse had beaten rapidly under Kevin's lips. His stomach was soft and smooth and he'd laughed when Kevin's goatee had tickled it. He'd made tiny little gasping sounds into Kevin's mouth when Kevin had rolled on top of him and run his hands slowly down Nick's sides. He'd touched Kevin without restraint, dipping his hands under Kevin's shirt and mouthing the soft spot behind Kevin's ear, breathy whispered words rushing from him until Kevin had buried his face in the crook of Nick's neck and shuddered.
But now, hours later, they were sprawled comfortably over the bed. Kevin ran his fingers gently through Nick's hair as he watched him drop slow, open-mouthed kisses on Kevin's stomach. Like he was tasting him. Kevin's hand stilled.
"You're in love with me," he said. This time it wasn't a question.
Nick snorted against Kevin's stomach. "No shit," he mumbled, pushing Kevin's shirt a little higher up his chest. "I've been telling you."
The light in the room was soft, and Kevin watched it fall on each strand of Nick's hair that he combed through his fingers. "I know," he said quietly. "Think I just needed to say it to believe it."
He felt Nick's grin form just above his navel before he dropped one last kiss there and propped himself up on his elbows. His hair was tousled and Kevin really wanted to put his hands in it again. "So," Nick said, waiting.
"So," Kevin returned. He brushed his fingers down Nick's shoulder and let out a slow breath. "I love her."
Nick nodded slowly. "I know."
"And I love you."
Nick's smile spread a little. "I know."
"I don't know where that leaves anything," Kevin admitted.
Nick smiled again, softer this time, because he'd always been one of the only ones who could tell when Kevin was lying, and Kevin knew it. "I do," Nick said, with a small nod. "S'okay."
Kevin watched him. He tugged at Nick's arm until Nick crawled up so they were at eye level. Without a word Kevin pulled him down for a soft, warm kiss. Nick hummed pleasantly in the back of his throat and trailed his fingers over Kevin's stomach, grinning when Kevin's stomach muscles contracted.
"Tell me something," Kevin murmured, when he was five seconds away from another brain shortage. He nuzzled his nose into Nick's cheek, bumped their noses together.
Nick laughed. "What?"
Kevin pulled back enough that he could see Nick's face properly and raised an eyebrow. "Did you really go see a psychic?" he asked.
Nick laughed again at that, an abrupt, happy sound. He pushed Kevin's shirt collar to the side and placed a gentle kiss on his shoulder. "Sure I did," he said.