Val woke up in the morning and stretched. She looked at the time and saw that it was a little after nine o’clock. She yawned because she didn’t get much sleep last night since she was thinking about Nick for half the night. Val slowly dragged herself out of bed and went downstairs. There she saw Brian making coffee.
“Morning.” He said brightly.
“Morning.” Said Val without any enthusiasm.
“Come on Val, you gotta come back with me. This way you’ll see Nick, you guys will make up and neither one of you will be depressed.” Said Brian looking at Val.
“I can’t.” said Val simply.
“Okay, I’ll wait. In the meantime, you want coffee?” asked Brian offering a freshly brewed cup to Val.
“No, I think I’ll get some tea.” Said Val going to the cupboards and taking out a packet of tea.
“Why tea?” asked Brian sipping his coffee.
“I don’t feel very well, my throat’s a little sore. I know tea will help.” Said Val pouring water into a cup. Brian looked at her concerned.
“So shouldn’t you be in bed if you’re sick?” he asked.
“I’m not sick, it’s just my throat, I’ll be fine as soon as I drink some tea.” Assured him Val.
“Okay, for now, but if you get worse you’re going straight to bed.” Warned her Brian.
“Yes sir.” Said Val and saluted jokingly.
“Very funny, it’s nice to see you still have your sense of humor.” Said Brian with a grin.
“Yeah well, gotta have something right?” said Val thinking about Nick again.
“Cheer up, it’ll work out.” Said Brian.
“Yeah sure, whatever you say.” Said Val absentmindedly.
“Come on, let’s go watch some TV, take your mind off of Nick.” Said Brian walking towards the entertainment room; Val followed him.
They sat down on the couch and Brian turned on the TV. After flipping through a few channels, Val and Brian finally agreed on a movie and started watching it. Half way into the movie Val told Brian that she was going to take a nap because she had a headache. Brian gave her a worried look but she told him that it was just a headache, and then she proceeded to go upstairs.
Brian soon lost interest in the movie and decided to call AJ and see how Nick was doing. He dialed his friend’s number and waited till AJ picked up.
“Hey Bone.” Said Brian.
“Hey, how’s everything over there?” asked AJ.
“Well, Val still won’t come back with me and she seems to have developed a slight cold so she’s upstairs resting.” Replied Brian. “How’s Nick?”
“Same as when you left. He still won’t say a word or respond to anything.” Said AJ sighing.
“That’s bad.” Said Brian. “I’ll try to convince Val to come back, I don’t know if I can though.” He said uncertainly.
“Well, try harder. Nick cannot remain in the state that he’s in right now.” Said AJ.
“Okay, I’ll try harder, but I’m not promising anything.” Agreed Brian.
“Okay, I’ll talk to you later then.” Said AJ.
“Bye.” Said Brian and hung up the phone. He looked around the room trying to figure out what to do. He couldn’t come up with anything so he decided to go check on Val. He went to her room and carefully opened the door. Val was sitting on her bed looking at a picture. “I thought you were resting.” Said Brian sitting next to her.
“I was, I woke up a couple of minutes ago.” Replied Val.
“Your voice sounds weird.” Said Brian looking questioningly at Val.
“Yeah, I’m a little stuffed up.” She said still looking at the picture in her hands.
“Val, maybe you should go see a doctor.” Suggested Brian.
“No, don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.” Said Val. Brian looked at the picture she was holding. It was one of her and Nick smiling with their arms around each other. The picture was taken just a week after Nick and Val became an official couple.
“You really miss him don’t you?” asked Brian softly. Val nodded. “Then come back with me Val, please.” Pleaded Brian. Val looked at him and then back at the picture.
“Okay, I’ll go.” She said giving in.
“Finally!” exclaimed Brian and hugged Val tightly. “We don’t have a moment to lose, pack some stuff and let’s go.” He said getting up.
“Sure.” Said Val and went to her closet to grab a couple of things. After she packed a small bag, her and Brian got into the car that brought Brian to Val’s house, and headed back to Manhattan.

*~*~*

“So you think Brian will be able to convince Val to come back?” asked Howie. Him, Kevin, and AJ were playing cards, while Nick was sitting and staring blankly in the window.
“I sure hope so, I mean look at him,” said AJ motioning with his hand at Nick, “I can’t stand to see him like this.”
“I know what you mean.” Said Kevin. “But I think the bigger question is not whether or not Brian will convince Val to come, it’s will Val forgive Nick.”
“Good point, you think she will?” asked AJ.
“I don’t know, what Nick said to her was pretty harsh.” Mused Kevin.
“I think that she will forgive him. I mean, if Nick is this miserable without her, she can’t be very happy without him.” Said Howie.
“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.” Said AJ and the guys went back to their game.
An hour later there was a knock on the door. AJ went to open it and started at surprise at the door.
“Brian, Val!” exclaimed AJ. “You’re back!”
“Yeah, she finally agreed.” Said Brian gesturing towards Val.
“I don’t want to be depressed anymore, and this is the only way to fix things, so I made the decision to come back.” Said Val with a slight smile.
“And you have no idea how glad we are to see you.” Said Kevin coming up to them. “But let’s get down to business, Val, talk to Nick.” He said pointing at Nick who didn’t see Val come.
“Okay, can we have some privacy guys?” asked Val. The other guys nodded and left the room. Val came up to Nick and stood in front of him. “Nick?” she said looking at him. Nick didn’t respond for a moment, but then there was a spark of recognition in his eyes and he looked at Val.
“Val?” he said quietly as if he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Yeah, I came to apologize.” Said Val.
“You don’t have anything to apologize for, I’m just glad you’re back!” said Nick and enveloped Val in a giant hug. She hugged him back remembering how nice it felt to be in his arms. “You have no idea how much I missed you.” Said Nick still not letting go of Val.
“I missed you just as much.” Said Val putting her head on Nick’s shoulder.
“Let’s never fight again.” Said Nick taking Val’s face in his hands.
“Agreed.” She said and then they kissed. At that moment the door flew open and the other four guys stood there grinning. Nick and Val turned towards them surprised.
“Have you guys been listening outside the door all this time?” asked Nick.
“Yeah, pretty much. And so THAT’S what your voice sounds like, we were beginning to forget already.” Said AJ chuckling.
“Very funny, but I know I haven’t been the easiest person to live with for the past few days.” Said Nick seriously.
“Actually you’re wrong. You were a breeze to live with, no complaints, no whining, it was perfect.” Said Kevin, trying to suppress a grin.
“Funny Kev, real funny.” Said Nick sarcastically. Kevin just shrugged. Nick turned to Val. “Come on, let’s get away from these clowns.” He said smiling.
“Sure.” Said Val smiling back. Nick put his arm around Val’s waist and they left the room; a few seconds later they came back.
“Wait a minute, this is MY room, you guys get out!” said Nick realizing that he had left his own room.
“We’re going.” Said Brian putting up his hands as if he was surrendering. The guys left the room and Nick and Val were left alone. Nick put his arms around Val and hugged her tightly.
“I’m so glad you’re back, I was afraid I would never see you again.” he said hugging Val.
“Well, I’m back and you never have to worry about it again.” said Val, and then she sneezed.
“Bless you.” Said Nick.
“Thanks.” Said Val sniffling.
“Are you okay?” asked Nick looking at Val.
“Yeah, I just have a little cold.” Said Val.
“How about some tea?” asked Nick.
“Sounds great.” Said Val smiling.
“Okay, I’ll be right back.” Said Nick and left the room to get tea. Val smiled to herself and sat down on Nick’s bed. Nick came back a few minutes later and gave Val a hot cup of tea.
“Thanks.” She said taking the cup and drinking.
“Anytime.” Said Nick and sat down near her. “So Val, we’re going back to Europe tomorrow.” Began Nick. Val nodded because she knew. “Will you come back on tour with us? It hasn’t been the same since you left.” Said Nick sincerely.
“Yeah, I will. Everything is already taken care of and there are numerous people doing everything at the house and keeping track of all the investments.” Said Val getting sad because she remembered about her parents again. She set down her cup on Nick’s nightstand and sighed deeply. Nick put his arm around Val and pulled her close to him, so that she could put her cheek on his shoulder.
“It’ll be okay.” Said Nick softly and kissed Val.
For the rest of the day, Nick and Val hung out in Nick’s room and did pretty much nothing. Since there was no point in Val getting her own room for one night, she stayed in Nick’s room.
Nick woke up in the middle of the night and realized that Val wasn’t in bed with him.
“Val?” he called softly.
“Over here.” Said Val. She was sitting by the window writing with the help of the moonlight.
“What are you doing?” asked Nick rubbing his eyes. “It’s the middle of the night.” He said looking at the clock, which showed that it was 3:25 am.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to write.” Said Val. Nick came up to her and looked at the notebook.
“What is it?” asked Nick yawning.
“It’s a song that I want to dedicate to my parents. It’s called ‘There’d Be No Me Without You’ (click here to read the lyrics),” Said Val. “I want to put it on the album.” She added.
“Oh, can I read it?” asked Nick. Val nodded and handed him the notebook. Nick turned on a lamp and began to read. “This is really good Val.” He said after he finished reading. “Your parents would’ve loved it.” He added gently.
“Yeah, they would’ve.” Said Val looking outside at the moon and stars.
“Now come on, come back to bed. We have an early flight tomorrow, or should I say today.” Said Nick putting down Val’s notebook and turning off the light.
“Okay.” Agreed Val and went back to the bed and lay down. Nick lay down near her, and Val put her head on his arm. A few minutes later Val heard Nick breathing deeply which meant that he had fallen asleep. But Val couldn’t sleep. She lay awake for the next three hours thinking about her parents, her album, the tour, and Nick.
Nick’s alarm clock went off at precisely six in the morning; he shut it off and stretched. Nick looked to his right and saw that Val was once again not there.
“Val? Where are you now?” called Nick loudly.
“I’m in the shower!” yelled Val from the bathroom.
“Okay.” Nick yelled back and got up from the bed. He opened one set of curtains so that there could be some light in the room. Outside he saw a crisp, but cold January morning. Val came out of the bathroom wearing a thick white robe.
“Good morning.” She said.
“Great morning.” Said Nick grinning at her.
“The bathroom is all yours.” Said Val starting to brush her wet hair.
“Thank you.” Said Nick, kissed the top of Val’s forehead and went to take a shower. Val heard a knock on the door and went to open it.
“Hey Val.” Said AJ.
“Hey, what’s up?” asked Val.
“Nothing, just reminding both you and Nick that you have to be downstairs in a half an hour or we’ll miss our flight.” Said AJ looking around the room. “Where’s Nick?” he asked.
“He’s in the shower.” Replied Val.
“Oh, okay. So I’ll see both of you later.” Said AJ heading towards the door. “Don’t forget, half hour.” He reminded and then left. Nick came out of the shower in a towel while drying his hair with another towel.
“Did I hear voices?” he asked.
“Yeah, AJ stopped by and said that we have to be downstairs in a half an hour.” Said Val heading towards the closet.
“Ok cool. By the way, how are you feeling?” asked Nick putting down the towel in his hand and taking his comb.
“Perfectly fine.” Replied Val and smiled at Nick to assure him of her answer. Nick grinned at planted a kiss on Val’s lips. “But I keep feeling that something is going to wrong.” Said Val with a worried expression on her face.
“What do you mean?” asked Nick.
“I don’t know, I just have this feeling deep down inside that something bad is gonna happen.” Said Val. Nick frowned.
“Maybe you’re just hungry.” He said with a smile. Val didn’t smile.
“I don’t think so.” She said worriedly.
“Well, I’m sure it’s nothing.” Said Nick.
“I hope you’re right.” Said Val.
“I am, you’ll see.” Said Nick. He then went into the bathroom to get dressed. He came out five minutes later fully dressed in jeans, a turtleneck, and a shirt. Val was already dressed in jeans and a warm sweater.
“Ready?” asked Nick. Val nodded. They then put on their shoes, gathered their stuff and went downstairs to meet the other guys. Brian and AJ were already sitting in the lobby talking. They waved to Val and Nick when they saw them coming.
“Hey guys.” Said Nick and Val.
“Hey, did you sleep well?” asked Brian.
“Yeah.” Said Nick.
“Yeah.” Lied Val. She didn’t want to worry anyone with the fact that she couldn’t fall asleep at all.
“Great. We’ll go to the airport as soon as the other guys get here.” Said Brian. Ten minutes later, Howie and Kevin came downstairs and everyone climbed into the bus and went to the airport.
Two hours later everyone settled into their seats on the plane and prepared for a long flight. As Val sat down next to Nick she still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was going to go wrong. The plane took off and minutes later they were airborne.
A few hours later Val was trying to read a magazine and trying to relax. It wasn’t working. All of a sudden the plane lurched violently and began to lose altitude. Val and the rest of the guys started to panic.
“What’s going on?” yelled Howie.
“What the hell?” yelled AJ.
“Everyone please put on your seatbelts immediately, we are having some engine trouble.” Came the pilot’s voice over the intercom.
“Oh my God.” Said Val and her face paled.
“Val don’t worry, we’ll be fine.” Said Nick trying to reassure his girlfriend and himself.
“This is what my feeling earlier today was about.” Said Val finally understanding.
“Forget about the feeling, buckle your seatbelt and sit tight.” Said Nick, Val didn’t react, so he reached over and buckled her seatbelt and then buckled his own. The Backstreet Boys and Val all sat still in their seats as the plane lurched violently once again. Val looked out the window and saw smoke coming out of some part of the plane.
“We’re going to die.” She said closing her eyes and clutching Nick’s hand tightly.


chapter 10 chapter 12