Valerie put down the last box of her things and looked around. She had just moved into her very own house. She was 18 years old and a freshman at college. Her new house had two floors and an attic. On the first floor there was a spacious kitchen, a dining room, a living room, a bathroom, and another room, which Valerie wanted to turn into an entertainment room. She wanted to put the TV, and stereo in that room. On the second floor there were three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The attic was right near the roof but it was fairly large. There were boxes all over the house and the furniture hasn’t arrived yet. Since it was Valerie’s first house, she ordered completely new furniture and didn’t take anything from her parents’ house. She was very excited but also a bit nervous about living alone. She walked over to the large row of windows, which lined the entire wall of her living room, and looked outside. She lived right next to the beach so when she looked outside she saw the ocean. She was enjoying the view when she heard her cell phone ringing. She looked around the room and tried to determine which corner it was coming from. She finally spotted the phone and picked it up.
“Hello?” she said.
“Hey what’s up?” said Zack. He was Valerie’s best friend and they have known each other all their lives.
“Nothing much, just looking outside my window in my brand new house.” Said Valerie excitedly.
“New house? When did this happen?” asked Zack astonished.
“Well, I bought it a month ago but I was just able to move in today.” Said Valerie. “Which reminds me, where have you been? I haven’t spoken to you in what seems like years!” she added.
“I’ve been really busy with school.” Said Zack.
“Too busy to call your best friend?” asked Valerie pretending to be hurt.
“I’m sorry Val, but NYU isn’t exactly an easy school.” Said Zack apologizing.
“Yeah, I know, I understand.” Said Val but then got a great idea. “What are you doing today?” she asked.
“As a matter of fact, I’m free.” Replied Zack. “What did you have in mind?”
“You wanna come over and help me unpack? I have so much stuff I feel like it’ll take me years just to put everything where it is!” said Val laughing.
“Sure, do you have furniture already?” asked Zack.
“Nope, but it’s supposed to be here in about an hour.” Said Val. “So when can you be here?” she asked.
“How about now?” asked Zack.
“Huh?” said Val confused.
“Look in your backyard.” Said Zack mysteriously.
“Ok.” Said Val and then went out to her backyard and saw Zack standing there smiling. Val quickly hung up the phone and ran up to hug her friend. “When did you get a cell phone?” she asked.
“A week ago.” Said Zack. “I didn’t tell you because I wanted to surprise you by showing up at your house.
“But wait a minute, you acted like you didn’t know that I moved!” pointed out Val.
“The key word there being ACTED. I called your house today and your mom filled me in. She gave me your address and phone number and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to surprise you.” Explained Zack.
“Oh I see.” Said Val understanding. “Well let’s go inside so you can see everything.” She said and took Zack’s hand and led him into the house. She gave him the tour of the entire house and then they both went into the kitchen. They saw the moving van pull up with Val’s furniture and went outside to meet it. About two hours later, all the furniture was exactly where Val wanted it. She and Zack decided to order pizza since Val had almost no food in the house.
“So Val, you’re gonna be living here all alone?” asked Zack chewing.
“Yeah, and don’t talk with your mouth full, it’s disgusting.” Said Val making a face at which Zack proceeded to open his mouth to show her the food in his mouth. “Eww!” exclaimed Val and threw a magazine she was holding at Zack. He caught it and laughed. “Why do you ask?” asked Val.
“Well, I’ve been wanting to move out of my parents’ house, so do you need a roommate?” asked Zack sheepishly.
“Yeah, that would be so great!” exclaimed Val her mouth forming a wide smile.
“Really? Are you sure?” asked Zack.
“Positive, I mean we’ve known each other forever, there’s no reason why we can’t live in the same house. And there’s more than plenty of room.” She replied.
“Great!” exclaimed Zack. “I can move in next week.” He added.
“Cool. This is gonna be so great.” Said Val realizing how happy she was now that she wouldn’t have to live alone.
“Definitely, oh I almost forgot to tell you something.” Said Zack reaching into his pocket. He took out a piece of paper and showed it to Val.
“What’s this?” she asked looking at the paper.
“Some guys are looking for a new keyboard player for their group. I know you’re really good on it so I thought that you should check it out.” Explained Zack.
“I don’t know.” Said Val uncertainly.
“Come on Val, you’ve been playing the piano all your life! This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for you.” Said Zack earnestly.
“Well, I’ll go, on one condition.” Agreed Val.
“What?” asked Zack.
“If you come with me so I wouldn’t be very nervous.” Said Val looking at him with puppy eyes.
“Sure, no problem, I’ll go.” Said Zack laughing at Val’s puppy eyes. “You didn’t have to make those, I was gonna invite myself to go with you anyway.” He added.
“I see, so who’s the group?” asked Val looking at the paper.
“I don’t know, some band. I think they have four or five guys in it.” said Zack with a careless wave of his hand.
“Oh, so they have a separate group of people who play the music?” asked Val.
“Yeah, they sing and the other people play.” Said Zack. He looked around the kitchen. “You know, you really need to go to the store and buy some food or we’ll starve here.” He observed looking at the empty cupboards.
“Yeah, I know. I’m going tomorrow after school.” Said Val.
“Ok, good.” Said Zack turning his attention back to his pizza. Zack stayed until midnight and then went home. Val took a nice long bath enjoying the peace and quiet and then went to sleep.

It was a week later and Zack was finally moving in. Since he brought so much stuff, Val’s house looked like she was moving in all over again. Val was walking to the kitchen when she tripped and almost fell over a pair of Zack’s shoes.
“ZACK!” she yelled at the top of her lungs.
“What?” he yelled back leaning over the banister.
“If you don’t start cleaning up after yourself I won’t live to see next week!” she yelled pointing to his shoes on the floor. Zack laughed and went down the stairs. He picked up his shoes very slowly on purpose.
“There, are you happy now Your Highness?” he asked trying to control his laughter.
“Funny, you’re a regular riot.” Said Val and playfully pushed him.
“Yeah, I know I am. So are you nervous about your audition tomorrow?” asked Zack referring to the audition for the new keyboard player.
“Not really, the way I see it is, I get so I get it, I don’t so it wasn’t meant to be.” Said Val shrugging.
“That’s the attitude.” Said Zack putting his arm over Val’s shoulders. “What time do you have to be there?” he asked.
“At one thirty.” Answered Val and ducked under his arm and went over to the window.
“You’re not fooling me Val.” Said Zack coming up behind her.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I know you’re nervous.” Said Zack.
“No I’m not.” Insisted Val.
“Yes you are, you always try to avoid looking at me when you’re nervous about something because you know that I’ll see it in your eyes. Also, you always look in the window when you’re thinking about something which worries you.” Pointed out Zack.
“Ok, so maybe I’m a little nervous. About this much.” Said Val holding her thumb and forefinger about one quarter of an inch apart.
“You have nothing to worry about. I’m sure you’re gonna make it, and if you won’t, it’s their loss not yours.” Said Zack smiling.
“Thanks, I needed to hear that.” Said Val leaning back against him.
“Anytime.” Said Zack his heart starting to beat a little faster when Val leaned back against him. He didn’t know what was happening to him. Lately every time he and Val touched, his stomach did this flip and his heart started to beat faster. Zack couldn’t and wouldn’t believe that he could be falling for his best friend so he kept telling himself that he was simply glad to see her.

Val woke up on the following day with butterflies in her stomach. She didn’t know what they were about until she remembered about her audition. Zack was right, she was nervous, as much as she hated to admit it. She reluctantly got up from her bed and went to the kitchen to get something to drink. She first wanted to put on a robe since she was only wearing a very short nightgown but then figured that it wasn’t necessary. She and Zack have been friends forever and neither one of them had feelings for one another. So she went to get her drink. She was standing near the table and drinking when she heard something drop. She whirled around to find Zack standing there with the book, which he was apparently holding moments earlier, on the floor. She raised her eyebrows and looked at him quizzically.
“I um uh…” stammered Zack.
“Why did you drop your book?” asked Val laughing and picked the book up.
“I was startled that’s all.” Said Zack finally finding his voice.
“By what?” asked Val giving him the book.
“By you.” Replied Zack. “I’m not exactly used to finding girls in really short nightgowns in my kitchen.” He said with a slight laugh.
“Well, it’s our kitchen, but if that bothers you I can always go put on a robe.” Said Val nonchalantly.
“No, it’s ok, it doesn’t bother me at all.” Said Zack hurriedly.
“Ok. Well I’m gonna go take a shower now, have fun with your book.” Said Val and walked out of the kitchen. After she left Zack let out a deep breath.
“What the hell is wrong with me?” he wondered out loud. He couldn’t understand his reaction to Val in a nightgown especially when he’s seen her like that before and it never affected him. “I am not falling for my best friend, I am not falling for my best friend, I am not falling for my best friend.” He repeated over and over again trying to convince himself but it still didn’t make his heart beat at the normal speed.

Val sat in the waiting room nervously twisting the ring on her finger. Zack, who was sitting next to her, saw her doing that and put his hand over hers.
“Cut it out, you’re making me nervous too and it’s not even my audition.” He told her.
“I’m sorry, but the closer I get, the more freaked out I get.” Apologized Val and looked at her watch for what seemed like the millionth time.
“You’ll be fine, trust me.” Assured her Zack. She gave him a small smile. Val then heard her name being called and took a deep breath.
“Ok, this is it, wish me luck.” She said getting up.
“Good luck.” Said Zack and gave her a hug. Val smiled and then went into the room where her audition was supposed to be held.

Brian, Nick, Howie, Kevin, and AJ were sitting in a room, which was right next to the room where all the people were auditioning. There was a two-way mirror through which they saw everything that went on, but no one saw them. Even though they knew that the fact that these auditions were being held for them wasn’t released, they weren’t willing to take any chances.
Nick sighed and looked at the ceiling.
“This is hopeless!” he exclaimed. “We’re NEVER gonna find anyone.” He added in frustration.
“Come on, you can’t be sure of that.” Said AJ but he knew that Nick was right. So far they had seen close to 400 people and none of them were what the guys were looking for.
“There’s still about 100 people left.” Offered Brian but even he was giving up hope.
“And the chances of us finding someone there who’s good are..?” said Kevin.
“Good point.” Said Brian. Then they all looked into the other room again as the next person was called. Nick almost fell out of his chair. The girl that was standing next to the piano was simply breathtaking. She had straight light-brown hair, which fell just below her shoulders, her face was very friendly and she had big gray-blue eyes. She moved confidently towards the center of the room and then stopped.
“Hey, what’s her name?” he asked the guys not taking his eyes off the girl.
“Um, Valerie Stans.” Said Kevin and looked at Nick who was openly staring. “Aww, Nicky’s got a crush.” He teased.
“I do not!” retorted Nick.
“Well in that case pick your jaw up off of the floor and let’s see if this girl can play.” Said Brian chuckling.
“Very funny Frick, real funny.” Said Nick. All five guys turned their attention to Valerie who was about to start playing.

Val tried to relax as she prepared to play the piece she’s been working on for the past few weeks. She knew that she didn’t know it perfectly and there was a great chance that she would make at least one mistake. But she pushed the thoughts of mistakes aside and started playing. To her amazement and to everyone else’s she had played flawlessly. The music flowed from her fingers and onto the keys easily and beautifully. She finished and stood up. The directors in the room with her were clapping and so were the Backstreet Boys, but she didn’t know that.
“Ok, you’re hired.” Said one of the directors coming up to her and shaking her hand.
“Are you serious?” blurted out Val.
“Completely, you’re the best we’ve seen all day.” He said smiling warmly.
“Wow, this is so shocking.” Said Val still not believing what had happened.
“Nothing shocking about it, you’re simply amazing.” Said the director and then turned towards the two-way mirror. “Hey guys, come out and meet your new keyboard player!” he called. The five guys came out and went to greet Val.
“Hi I’m Nick.” Said Nick pushing himself in front of all the other guys.
“Hi, I’m Valerie, but everyone calls me Val.” Said Val.
“I’m Kevin and that’s Brian, he’s my cousin, AJ, and Howie.” Said Kevin pointing to each of the guys as he introduced them.
“It’s very nice to meet you all. So what’s your group’s name?” she asked. The five guys looked at each other with confusion. It’s been a very long time since anyone asked them that with such a serious expression.
“You’re kidding right?” asked Nick in disbelief.
“No, why should I be? I mean you look slightly familiar but that’s about it.” Said Val not understanding why it was so weird to them that she didn’t know their group’s name.
“We’re the Backstreet Boys.” Said Brian.
“Cool, I’ve heard of you guys.” Said Val. The guys just stared at her.
“You’ve heard of us?” asked Nick shocked.
“Yeah, are you a new group or something?” she asked and got more weird looks.
“We’ve been together for over 7 years, our albums have gone multi platinum, and we can’t go anywhere without being mobbed by fans.” Replied AJ. “But we don’t like to brag.” He added with a grin.
“Oh sure, that’s not bragging.” Said Val laughing.
“So am I correct in assuming that you’re not a fan?” asked Nick.
“Yeah, you’re correct. I don’t hate your type of music or anything, I’m just more into other groups.” Explained Val.
“Like which groups?” asked Howie.
“Nirvana, Journey, groups like that.” Replied Val. Nick stared at her.
“Those are my favorite groups!” he exclaimed loudly.
“Geez, Nick, yell a little louder why don’t you. I don’t think they heard you in Europe.” Said Brian closing his ears in mock exaggeration.
“You’re being a real comedian today you know that?” said Nick turning to Brian.
“Yeah, well, I try.” Said Brian cracking up.
“Ok guys, enough of that.” Said the director stopping their conversation. “Now, we’re going on tour in one month.” He said turning to Val. “Do you think you’ll be ready to go? In other words, is that enough time for you to learn the songs?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I can do it.” said Val. “How long is the tour?” she asked.
“A little over three months. It starts on January 2nd and ends on April 20th.” Replied the director. “It’s our biggest tour yet. Since the guys have just released their album last week, we need this tour to be the best one yet also. Their album broke all the records selling almost 4 million copies in one week!” he boasted.
“Wow, that’s pretty impressive.” Said Val turning to the five guys.
“Thanks, we never thought it would go this far!” said Kevin his eyes shining. “I guess we have more fans that we realized.”
“Guess so, I’m gonna have to get that album to at least have an idea of what I’m going to be playing.” Said Val.
“I have a copy of it in my book bag.” Offered Nick. “Do you want it?” he asked.
“Are you sure you don’t need it?” asked Val but got a look from him that said ‘yeah right, like it’s so hard for me to get another one’. “Ok thanks.” She said. Nick went to get the CD and returned quickly.
“Here you go, I even signed it for you.” He said smiling.
“Aww, thanks.” Said Val opening the CD case. On the booklet it said: ‘To Val, love Nick.’ “I’ll listen to it when I get home.” She said closing the CD.
“Great.” Said Nick still grinning.
The director then gave Val all of the music notes for the 15 songs that the guys will be performing. She quickly looked over them and saw that they didn’t look very difficult but she was going to have to work her butt off to learn all of them.
“Oh one more thing, Valerie are you in school?” asked the director and Val cringed. She had completely forgotten about college.
“Oh yeah I am! What am I going to do?” she exclaimed.
“Well I’m afraid you have two choices, you can either give up the job and continue going to college or you can take the job but put college on hold for now.” Explained the director. “The choice is yours.” He said.
“Oh man, how do I choose?” said Val seeing that she had a big dilemma on her hands.
“I’m afraid you’re going to have to make that choice quickly because if you decide not to take the job we’ll have to continue the auditions.” Said the director. “So what’s it gonna be?”
Val looked around the room trying to decide. She took a deep breath and made a decision.
“Ok, I’ve decided.” She said.

summary chapter 2