Show Me A Reason – Epilogue

Epilogue

You, more than anyone should understand what it might mean. You, more than anyone, understand me.

Seeing Brian walk up towards me made me nervous. I knew he wasn’t offended by the fact I only asked Howie to be one of the groomsmen. Lauren and Leighanne can’t stand each other and honestly as close as I am to Howie, I would’ve asked Brian if I didn’t think the rehearsal didn’t would be awkward as hell between those two. It took years but he and I finally started mending all the broken and burned bridges between us over the years. Looking back, it’s my own fault. I’m the one who couldn’t handle him growing up and getting close to Leighanne. I’ll never completely like her but now I can respect the fact he loves her, which means there must be something good about her.

Still, he never responded to my letter so I was half waiting for him to commit me.

Maybe that’s why he called me to meet him at the pier by my house the night before my wedding. I was leaning up against the wooden railing when he stepped up beside me. I love watching the ocean. There’s something so soothing about watching it crash up against the shore. As much as I love Nashville, I knew I was going to miss that the most when we moved into our new house. Oh I’d still have a place out here but mainly for recording. LA was toxic for me. Tennessee helped me find a peace in my life I didn’t know was possible, at least before that Night of the Zombies.

“I don’t think you’re crazy.” He said out of nowhere. Brian could always read my mind.

I smirked. “You sure? Cause writing it down made me feel like I am crazy. You remember how I was at the hospital. Maybe it was some coke and alcohol induced fantasy my brain cooked up.”

“If you believed that you would’ve written the letter to AJ. Not me.”

“What do you think then?”

He ran a hand through his thinning hair and thought for a moment. You can always tell cause his jaw sort of sets a certain way and he hums though I don’t think he realizes it. “I think that night you or your soul let out a cry for help to God, and He answered you. Same way my mom did for me when I was a baby, and she was answered.”

I kept my gaze on the ocean. How could I even answer that?

“Look at what you’ve done. Look at how many fans tell you your book saved them from doing something drastic or helped them get help they needed. You’ve done so much since getting your act together. Look at everything the group is doing.” He smiled softly. “You were meant to keep living and this Grace you wrote about showed you that.”

“She warned me about Leslie, in her own way. She tried to though I don’t think she was allowed to say it outright.”

“I saw that.”

“You think I could’ve saved her Brian?”

He grew quiet for a moment. After Leslie died I thought a lot about Grace, suddenly saw the warnings. I wondered a lot about what I could’ve done. It’s why I dove into music so heavily when it happened. I needed a way to cope without going back to old habits. “I think you did everything you could. And I think saving yourself was the only thing you were meant to do. Leslie’s up there and she’s happy for you.”

I nodded. “I hope so too. I’d like to think she is.”

“Your parents failed her Nick, not you.”

“I know.” Though I knew deep down he was right, old habits die hard. I wondered if I’d ever stop completely taking responsibility for my siblings.

Then, off on the ocean, where no person could be standing without drowning, I saw her. Not Leslie, no. But Grace. She was in a white dress that blew back in the wind. Her wings were spread out behind her as she dipped her foot into the water. She smiled at me and suddenly I saw another vision. Lauren and I were in the hospital with twins in our arms. I saw the five of us being inducted into the freaking Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Another image flashed of myself as an old man, dying with a smile on my face at having lived a full life. I saw the legacy of the Backstreet Boys, finally recognized for everything we’d done musically, instead of mocked.

Grace waved at me before erupting into nothing but glittery lights fading into the night.

“Nick? You alright?”

“Yeah, I’m good.”

I told you Nick. Her voice seemed to travel along the breeze. You’re going to be just fine.

I didn’t doubt her in the slightest. She’d shown me all the reasons in the world to live.

And I was never going to let them go.

 

The Letter

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