Comforting Lie
Chapter One
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven
Chapter Thirty-Eight
Chapter Thirty-Nine
Chapter Forty
Chapter Forty-One
Chapter Forty-Two
Chapter Forty-Three
Chapter Forty-Four
Chapter Forty-Five
Chapter Forty-Six
Chapter Forty-Seven
Chapter Forty-Eight
Chapter Forty-Nine
Chapter Fifty
Chapter Fifty-One
Chapter Fifty-Two

I am Jekyll, I am Hyde
Found this place to hide
Come seek me

"Okay, that is just not fair. No one should look like that." There was a brief pause. "No, I take it back--I wish I looked like that."

Aaron Carter rolled his brown eyes, laughed, and flopped onto the couch beside his best friend. He'd had the day off and had just returned from a quick trip to the grocery store. His findings were lying in two plastic bags on the coffee table. He focused his attention on the girl beside him, however, and peered over her shoulder at the latest issue of Seventeen. "Who are we looking at now? Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, or Britney?"

"Britney," came the heavy sigh. "It's just not fair."

Aaron bit back another laugh. "So you wish you looked...what? Blonde? Popular? Thin? Perfect? Crest Kid? 'Every heterosexual male on the planet wants to fuck my brains out'?"

"All of the above," Cara admitted, laughing. Aaron rolled his eyes again, but he couldn't help grinning in amusement.

"Cara,'re such a girl." She arched an eyebrow and smirked.

"And Aaron,'re such a guy." She sighed again as her gaze returned to the magazine. "But, seriously, if you were a girl, you'd want to look like Britney too."

Aaron shook his head in disagreement and leaned back into Cara's lap, batting his eyelashes innocently. "No, if I were a girl, I'd want to look just like you, C."

She rolled her eyes and smacked him as his high-pitched giggle rang throughout the small apartment. "Flatterer. I know you, Aaron Carter. You're just trying to get out of dish duty."

Aaron's eyes widened in protest as he sat up straight. "Dish duty? I don't think so, girl! I did the dishes last night, remember?"

Cara burst out laughing. "Air, we had pizza last night. There were no dishes."

He shrugged petulantly. "It doesn't matter! Last night was my night. We didn't have dishes, so I'm off until Tuesday. Tonight isn't my night."

Cara rolled her eyes playfully. "It's not mine either, dork. I did them Friday night when we had the rest of the cast over for dinner."

Aaron's eyes twinkled mischievously, and Cara quickly caught on. They shared a knowing smile before solving the problem in unison. "It's Terry's night."

As if on cue, the girl appeared with two humongous shopping bags that she promptly dropped in the doorway. "Hey all...uh-oh, I know that look. What'd you do?"

Aaron shrugged. "Oh, nothing. Just,'s your night to do dishes."

Theresa's eyes widened, and she began shaking her head almost immediately. "Oh, no you don't. I can smell lasagne already, and I refuse to clean that mess up without any help." She looked immediately to Cara and smiled brightly. "Hey, Care, could you...?"

Cara laughed and stood up, shaking her head. "No way, babe. I cooked dinner. I did my duty for the night." Before Theresa could even attempt to rope Aaron into the job, Cara turned around. "Oh, and don't even try getting A to do it. He's determined to play couch potato tonight."

Aaron grinned widely from his spot on the sofa. "Game's on tonight," he informed Theresa happily. The older woman rolled her eyes.

"Good God, not again..."

Aaron laughed. "Come on, Terry, what do you have against football?"

Theresa threw her hands up in exasperation. "It's got no point to it! Besides, they're playing a new movie on MTV that I really wanna see..."

Both of her roommates looked up at the mention of MTV. "Seriously? New movie?"

She nodded in affirmation. "Yeah, and it's supposed to be really kick-ass. I don't see why you'd choose some lame-o football game over..."

Aaron interrupted her with a wave of his hand. "What's it called and when does it start?"

"It's called Family Affair and it's on at nine."

Aaron grinned. "Hey, that leaves you just enough time to go get some more paper plates!"

Theresa eyed the bags on the coffee table suspiciously. "Then what the hell did you go to the store for?"

Aaron shrugged. "Oh, you know...the usual. I just forgot."

Theresa's hands slid up to her hips, where they rested threateningly. "So get off your lazy ass and get them yourself."

Aaron sighed. "But Terry, you're so much closer to the door. Besides, I'll give you money to buy that new CD you've been freaking out over."

Theresa arched an eyebrow skeptically. "No joke?"

Aaron nodded. "I promise. I'll shell it out right now."

He pulled a wad of bills out of his pocket and handed the correct amount to Theresa, smiling at her to reassure her that there weren't any strings attached to the deal. She took it gratefully and smiled in return.

"A, I owe you big, man. This CD is da bomb, baby..."

Aaron laughed. "Yeah, I know. I figure that, once you've bought it, we'll only have to hear about it half as much."

Theresa glared at him for a moment as though trying to formulate a comeback before firing her attempt at a retort. "You suck."

Aaron nodded thoughtfully. "Yeah, that I do..."

Theresa's hands flew from her hips to her ears. "Dammit, A, I don't wanna know! I'm outta here."

To emphasize her declaration, the door slammed behind her and Cara reappeared from the kitchen, folding her apron and wiping her hands on a dishtowel. "That girl is such a character."

Aaron leaned back into the sofa and closed his eyes, sighing heavily. "Yeah, that she is." His tone was soft to the point of sounding defeated, and he rubbed a tired hand over his face. Cara recognized the look immediately and went to sit next to him on the couch.

"How was your day off?" Her worry heightened when the younger man groaned loudly, and her brow furrowed in concern. "What?"

Aaron removed his hand from his face and opened one eye to look pointedly at her. "Nick called."

Cara's eyes suddenly widened in understanding, and her eyebrows rose and fell accordingly. "Oh. What's up with him?"

Aaron moaned and fell back against the pillows. "The better question might be 'what isn't up with him?' I swear, C, you'd never know that he's the big brother. He does the same crap that he used to do, crap that I've never done in my entire life. As if that's not enough, he's gotten worse about it. He's a shit, plain and simple."

Cara's eyes softened as she recognized tears in her best friend's eyes. She leaned back against the couch as well, ready for a long conversation and no longer surprised that Aaron had been so eager to get Theresa out of the apartment. "What did he do?"

Aaron's laugh was bitter as he spoke. "He called, isn't that enough?" He paused to sigh heavily. "Trying to talk to Nick these days is about as successful as trying to fly with bricks taped to your arms. It just doesn't work, regardless of how many times you've convinced yourself that it's got possibilities. He's impossible to talk to."

"How so?"

Aaron shrugged, closing his eyes again. "You know the story, C. He's a monster, and he doesn't even know what he's doing. However, the other Boys aren't around to screw his head on straight, so I've got to do it."

Cara's eyes darkened as she leveled a stern gaze on Aaron. "A, we've talked about this. Nick isn't your responsibility."

Aaron threw his arms up in frustration as his eyes snapped open. "Well, he's got to be someone's, 'cause Lord knows he can't handle himself. And it's got to be me, 'cause no one else is paying him any attention."

Cara frowned. "Where's the rest of Backstreet?"

"Formerly Backstreet. They haven't been Backstreet for at least four years now," Aaron reminded her sadly. "And if I knew, don't you think I'd have them on his case by now?"

"Why aren't they?"

Aaron shrugged indifferently again, but Cara could clearly see the pain in his eyes. "They probably don't know what's up. Nick kinda lost touch with the other guys after they split."

Cara sighed thoughtfully. "If they really were as close as you say, that should've been reason enough to jump on him."

Aaron looked at her expectantly. "Well, it wasn't, was it?" He paused a moment and an anguished expression crossed his boyish features. "This is horrible, C, but I don't blame them for not wanting to be around him. Most of the time, I don't even want to pick up the phone when he calls."

"I'm sorry," Cara said softly. She'd gotten to know Aaron fairly well while they'd been living together, and she knew how much family--especially Nick--meant to Aaron. She also knew, however, that nothing she could say would have much effect on him, and she had too little knowledge of the situation to do much more than listen.

"Me too," Aaron sighed. "I really, really hate the person he's become. He never used to be like this."

"You can't change who he is, Aaron," Cara reminded him gently. "Granted, you've got influence on him, but you can't make someone become something they aren't."

"No," Aaron agreed, "Nick's already done that. He became someone he wasn't a long time ago, and no one helped him."

"It's up to him to change back, then," Cara said softly. She hated the defeated look on Aaron's face. She wouldn't deny that she'd been a Backstreet fan years ago, but she thought very little of Nick Carter after seeing what he did to Aaron. Her thoughts were interrupted by Aaron's sigh.

"You know, C, that's what bothers me the most. I'm not sure he ever will."

lyrics taken from a song called "Comforting Lie" by No Doubt, on the album entitled RETURN OF SATURN