"Nick! Over here!" yelled out yet another reporter, no wait, it was a photographer. I let out a barely audible sigh and plastered a smile onto my face. A flash went off and nearly blinded me because the damn thing was so close. That was the millionth photo they took in the past ten minutes.
"Man, I swear, it's like someone put up a fucking billboard announcing which hotel we were staying at," grumbled AJ next to me.
"You think we'll get to the bus by the end of today?" asked Brian, longingly looking at our bus about twenty feet away.
"It's way too early for this," mumbled Kevin two steps ahead of me. And he was the patient one.
Kevin was right though. It was only five thirty in the morning and there were at least ten reporters and photographers, plus about two hundred fans waiting for us when we walked out of the hotel.
"Come on guys, you're just cranky from lack of sleep," said Howie cheerfully. We glared at him. How he was awake was beyond me. He didn't get any more sleep that the rest of us.
"Move faster guys," hurried one of our bodyguards, Mike.
The five of us tried to hurry as we pushed our way through the crowd of reporters, photographers, and fans, all trying their best to get a piece of us.
"Brian, I love you!" yelled out a fan. I chuckled and looked over at my best friend, who began unconsciously twisting his wedding band on his left ring finger, obviously missing his wife, Leighanne, greatly.
Five minutes later we finally piled into the bus and pulled away from the hotel
"Where are we going again?" I asked warily, leaning back on the comfortable couch.
"Interview, photo shoot, meet-and-greet, rehearsal, sound check, and last but not least, our concert tonight," said Kevin looking over our itinerary.
"Good thing there are only twenty four hours in a day," said AJ. "Otherwise they'd stuff in two more interviews and another photo shoot," he mumbled.
"How long is the drive to the interview place?" asked Brian from his place on the floor, where he settled comfortably.
"About twenty minutes," replied Kevin. He looked at his cousin. "Why? Planned on getting some extra sleep?" he asked smirking.
Brian sighed. "I guess not."
I stared into the window, looking at the houses passing by. I watched people hurry to wherever it was that they were going. Sometimes, I wanted to be one of them. To make my own schedule and be able to go wherever I please, whenever I felt like it. Being a celebrity had its perks, but also its downsides. When you got to be as famous as the five of us were, you wound up in a form of a prison. Not a literal one of course, but something like it. We weren't able to go anywhere without a bodyguard, or else we'd get mobbed. Phone numbers had to be changed constantly because fans kept finding them out. The tour bus became home, not even a second home, because we spent more time on four wheels than we did in our own houses. Every day was as hectic as the last, unless we had that precious time off, and even then we had to come into the studio to record songs.
Of course, there were plenty of good things about being who we were. Traveling all over the world, I couldn't even count the number of countries I'd been in. We had the money to set up various charities and to try to help those who weren't in the position to help themselves. We had the power to make someone's day brighter with just a smile or a hello. It was a wonderful feeling to hear someone say that our music had gotten them through a hard time. And sure, we were all wealthy, but money wasn't everything.
"Nick? Hello? Carter, wake up!" Brian's voice broke into my thoughts.
"Huh?" I turned my attention to him.
"Let's go, we have an interview to do. You can stare into the abyss later," said Brian letting out a slight laugh.
"Right," I said nodding. Up until then, I didn't even realize the bus had stopped.
We walked out of the bus into the peaceful silence of the street. I sighed contentedly, no one had found out we had an interview there.
"Nick, you're staring at the sky like you've never seen it before," commented AJ.
"Sorry, just thinking," I told him.
"Don't hurt yourself," quipped Brian.
"Ha, ha," I said dryly.
We entered the building and were told to go to the fifteenth floor immediately because, surprise surprise, we were late. I swear, people actually worried whenever we were on time, which really wasn't often.
Three and a half long hours later, the five of us dragged our tired butts back onto the bus.
"I swear, if one more person asks me what my favorite music group is, I'm going to eat my Journey cd's for lunch, or whatever meal time it would be," I threatened but only got amused looks from my partners in crime.
"Speaking of food, when are we getting some?" asked Howie looking at the rest of us.
"There'll be food at the photo shoot," replied Brian. "I hope," he added.
"What city are we in?" voiced AJ.
"Better question, what country are we in?" I asked.
Okay, my question sounded dumb, but you try flying to a different place every week, and then we'll talk.
"We're in Germany genius," said Kevin in his all-knowing tone. Only cause he was the oldest, he thought he knew the most. Ha, there's a laugh. "As for city," continued Kevin. "I have no idea," he admitted.
I was shocked. Kevin didn't know something? Wow. Did hell freeze over? Probably did.
"Where are we flying tomorrow?" asked AJ.
"Back to the states, Florida to be exact," replied Kevin and looked out the window.
"All right guys, everybody off!" yelled out our bus driver and we once again crawled out of the comfortable bus.
"How long is this photo shoot anyway?" I asked, looking in shock and all the clothes in front of me. I looked at the other guys and saw that they had the same expression on their faces that I suspected I had on mine.
"Damn, there's like enough clothes here to dress the entire country!" exclaimed AJ.
"We're gonna be here forever!" groaned Brian.
I sighed. Photo shoots usually involved a lot of clothes, but this was ridiculous.
"Okay guys, first we're going to be taking pictures of all of you in black and blue," said the photographer.
I smirked, as if that concept hasn't been done yet.
But nevertheless, with a bit of groaning and complaining, we all got dressed in the clothes that were picked out for us and went to pose for yet another long round of pictures.
Four hours later we were back on the bus, heading to the meet-and-greet. Thankfully, it was only going to last an hour. The photo shoot hadn't been as tiring as we had expected, but it was still pretty tedious.
I looked out the window and my thoughts drifted to my hectic life once again. I enjoyed it, I really did, but sometimes I just wanted to take a step back and look at it from a different perspective. Like from the perspective of a normal person. I couldn't even remember what it was like to wake up and then go for a walk on the familiar streets of your city. I didn't have that luxury anymore. If I wanted to go somewhere badly enough, I usually put on a hat, pulled down low, and sunglasses. Sometimes the disguise worked, sometimes it didn't. I guess it depended on how many fans saw me walking by and how many of them actually took the time to look closely at my face.
"Hey!" I exclaimed, jarred out of my thoughts, as something hit the side of my head.
Brian snickered. "Did you enjoy staring into the window?" he asked grinning.
I rubbed my head. "What did you throw at me?" I queried.
My best friend shook his head. "I didn't, Bone did," he said pointing at AJ, who was pointing at himself, mouthing the words, "Who? Me?"
I laughed. I knew I was the youngest one out of the entire group, but sometimes I could've sworn those guys were about five years old, instead of in their mid-twenties.
"Jay, what did you throw?" I asked looking at AJ.
He grinned. "Wouldn't you like to know," he commented.
I shook my head and started looking around for anything that was on the floor. I spotted a small pillow. "Was this is?" I asked, holding it up.
All I heard was silence, but I didn't need an answer. AJ and Brian were both grinning like Cheshire cats.
"Okay, that's fine," I said slowly, then hurled the pillow at Brian. Before he could react, I bolted from my seat and ran to the back of the bus. But on my way there, I ran into, literally, Kevin.
"Nicky, what are you, running a marathon?" he asked laughing.
I looked over my shoulder just in time to see Brian running towards me. I jumped behind Kevin.
"Kev, save me!" I yelled.
Kevin looked from his cousin and back to me. "Guys, you're in a bus that's moving, you're twenty-two and twenty-seven years old, may I ask why you're running around chasing each other?" he asked.
"Bri's gonna kill me with the pillow!" I exclaimed pointing at Brian.
Kevin raised his eyebrows, a task which, in my opinion, required serious energy since those things were huge. "Why?" he asked, confusion in his voice.
"Cause I threw it at him," I replied and ducked as Brian threw the pillow.
Unfortunately for Kevin, Brian's aim was off and the pillow wound up hitting Kev right in his face.
"Bri," he growled.
Brian yelped and ran to the front of the bus.
And no, in case you were wondering, there was almost never a boring moment on the Backstreet bus.
I laughed, glad to have gotten away from Brian and his pillow. I felt the bus stop and then heard the bus driver shout at us to get off once again.
We got into the meet-and-greet building with some problems because there were hundreds of fans outside. We sat down at a long table and prepared to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
"Hi," said a little girl, of maybe five years old, shyly, coming up to me and handing me our Black & Blue cd cover.
"Hi," I said smiling at her and putting my signature on the booklet.
"Thank you," she said smiling back.
"You're welcome," I told her and felt my heart melt, she was absolutely adorable with two pigtails and big blue eyes.
"Oh my God, Nick, I love you so much!" exclaimed the next fan. I could tell she was about sixteen.
"Thank you," I said genuinely smiling at her and signing the paper she gave me.
"Can I have a hug?" she asked.
"Sure," I said and got up from my seat. I hugged her and then posed for a picture.
"Thank you thank you, I love you!" she called out as she moved on.
I smiled again and prepared myself for more.
After the meet-and-greet, we all gathered on the bus once again. We were going to the venue for a brief rehearsal, sound check, and obviously, the concert.
"That went really well," said Howie referring to the meet-and-greet.
"Yeah, no one fainted or cried," cracked AJ.
We laughed. We actually had fans faint and/or cry when they met us, creepy.
I glanced at my watch. Four-thirty it showed. The concert was supposed to start at eight so we had plenty of time to finish up, and maybe even *gasp* rest.
After rehearsal and sound check was over, we were all ushered backstage so we can get into our costumes. There was about an hour left till the concert. I dressed quickly and then stopped by the make-up artist cause I didn't really have a choice.
"Hey Nick, have you seen my pants?" asked Kevin walking by me.
I laughed. He was in his boxer shorts. "Kev, try your dressing room," I told him.
"Duh, they're not there," he said sarcastically.
I laughed again. Oh the blackmail I could get away with if I only had a camera with me.
"Think about it, why would I know where your pants are?" I asked.
"Because for all I know, you put gum on them," he deadpanned.
I sighed. "Pull a prank like that once and you're branded for life," I said.
"Exactly," said Kevin and continued the search for his pants.
A half an hour later I, along with the other guys, stood backstage waiting for our time to go onstage.
Kevin did find his pants in case anyone was wondering.
"Okay guys, go!" we heard our cue and ran onstage. The screams of the fans were overwhelming but extremely energizing at the same time. We launched into the first song with tremendous enthusiasm. That enthusiasm lasted until the very last note was sung.
"I am so drained," mumbled Brian, collapsing on the couch on our bus.
"Tell me about it," I groaned, dropping next to him.
"I am so wired!" exclaimed AJ, basically jumping around. He was always that way after a concert. He had way too much energy for his own good.
"Bone, save your energy, we have an eleven hour trip back to the States," said Kevin, also taking a seat.
Howie sat down next to him. "Eleven? That's way too many hours to spend on a plane," he muttered.
"Yeah well," said Kevin, shrugging noncommittally.
I sighed. Yet another plane, I hated flying.
But a half an hour later when I was on that plane, all I wanted to do was fall asleep. And I did, but my last thought was about how hectic this day seemed, but how ordinary it had really been.