“Big deal, so everyone knows we crashed into the ocean.” Said Brian. “It’s not like it’s some scandal or something.” He added.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Agreed Kevin. The guys stayed and chatted with Nick and Val for a while longer and then left to go back to the hotel.
A couple of days later, the guys and Val were once again on their way to the airport. No one wanted to get on another plane after what happened before, but they knew that they had to get to Europe to continue their tour. They all stood in front of the entrance to the plane and then reluctantly went in.
“No bad feelings?” asked Nick as he buckled his seatbelt.
“Nope, but I still don’t want to be here.” Said Val buckling her own seatbelt.
“I know, believe me, neither do the rest of the guys.” Said Nick looking at the rest of the group who were sitting with tense expressions on their faces waiting for the plane to take off. A few minutes later, they were in the air. About ten minutes after the plane took off, Nick fell asleep since he initially hated to fly, the thought of crashing again only made him more scared. Val tried falling asleep, but was unsuccessful. She looked around the plane and saw that the guys were all in different places. Kevin sat in the front engrossed in a book; Howie was a few feet away from him listening to music on his cd player; AJ was writing something in a notebook, and Brian was sitting and staring into the window. Val decided to go over to Brian.
“Hey.” She said sitting down next to him. “Penny for your thoughts?” she asked smiling. Brian smiled back.
“I was just thinking about stuff.” He replied.
“What kind of stuff?” asked Val.
“About what happened the last time we were on a plane.” Said Brian wryly.
“Oh that, I’m trying to get it out of my mind.” Said Val shuddering at the memory.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. But getting away from that topic, did you talk to management about your album yet?” asked Brian.
“Yeah, I spoke to them yesterday and they said that as soon as we get to Europe, I’m gonna have to go back into the recording studio if I want to have a chance of releasing it on the date that was planned.” Answered Val. She looked at Brian. “Do you think that I have a chance of making a career out of singing?” Brian looked surprised.
“You’re having doubts?” he asked raising his eyebrows. Val nodded. “Val, don’t worry, your voice is wonderful and I heard some of the songs that you recorded, they’re great!” he said enthusiastically. “Your album will do fine, it might even beat ours.” He added with a grin. Val grinned.
“Yeah right, like I could ever beat the Backstreet Boys!” Said Val dramatically emphasizing the group’s name. Brian laughed.
“You never know.” He said. He then got up. “I gotta go take care of something, I’ll talk to you later.” He said, kissed Val’s forehead and then left to another part of the plane. Val thought about what Brian had said about her not needing to worry and decided that he was right. She was thankful for the opportunity to record her songs and she figured that if the album doesn’t do well, then it wasn’t meant to be. With that thought in mind, the returned to her seat next to Nick, took out a magazine from her bag, and began to read.
Twenty minutes later Nick woke up.
“Are we there yet?” he whined.
“Nope, sorry, we still have a long way to go.” Replied Val. She looked at Nick and couldn’t suppress a smile because his hair was sticking up all over the place from sleeping.
“What?” asked Nick when he saw Val smiling.
“Oh nothing.” She said innocently trying not to laugh.
“Oh come on, what?” asked Nick his mouth now forming into a smile because Val’s grin was contagious.
“Well, let’s just say that that hairstyle is a very interesting look for you.” Said Val and then burst out laughing.
“Hey!” protested Nick and tried to ruffle Val’s hair. She ducked away from his hand and ran to the front of the plane to hide behind Kevin. He looked up from his book and looked at Val questioningly.
“What are you doing?” he asked amused.
“Hiding from Nick.” Replied Val and then ducked when she saw Nick heading towards her and Kevin. Nick had spotted Val and had a huge grin on his face. Kevin was kinda sandwiched between Nick and Val since Val was on his left side and Nick was on his right. Kevin looked from Nick to Val and back again trying to figure out what they were up to. Nick tried to tickle Val by reaching over to her, but she moved away and Nick wound up falling on Kevin. That got Val and Nick laughing even harder and soon Kevin joined them.
“What are you two, five?” Asked Kevin laughing and pushed Nick off of him.
“Nope, more like four.” Laughed Val and tried to get away from Nick again.
“Oh great, hey anyone wanna baby-sit?” yelled out Kevin jokingly to the other guys on the plane. That got their attention and the three of them went over to Nick, Val, and Kevin to see what’s going on.
“I’m sorry, but I thought I heard you ask if anyone wanted to baby-sit.” Said AJ curiously looking at Nick who had gotten past Kevin and was tickling Val non-stop, and cracking up because Val was tickling him in return.
“I did, look at those two.” Said Kevin pointing at Nick and Val. “They’re acting like two five year olds.” He added.
“Four.” Said Val in between laughs.
“Even better.” Laughed Kevin.
“I don’t know, that looks like fun.” Said AJ and jumped on Nick and Val and the three of them proceeded to roll around on the floor laughing. Brian and Howie then joined them and soon Kevin was the only one left standing.
“Oh come on you guys, grow up.” Said Kevin rolling his eyes. Val and Nick looked at him mischievously and then Val grabbed Kevin’s left arm, and Nick grabbed his right, and they pulled him onto the floor with the rest of them. Kevin tried to get up but got tangled in a mass of arms and legs. The six of them kept rolling around on the floor for the next half hour and then they all lay on the floor exhausted from laughing so much.
“That was fun.” said Howie.
“Yeah definitely.” Agreed Brian. “What were you saying about growing up Kev?” he asked.
“Okay, I admit it, I had fun.” Said Kevin smirking.
“See? And you were calling us five year olds.” Said Nick laughing.
“Okay, you two are not five, you’re more like seven.” Laughed Kevin.
“Ha ha, very funny Kev.” Said Val sarcastically.
“I know.” Replied Kevin.
A few hours later they all arrived in Italy safe and sound and went to their hotel to sleep.
The following day the guys and Val went to rehearse for an upcoming concert they had that same day. Val was only supposed to rehearse her song with Nick because afterwards she was supposed to head over to a different building to take pictures for her album booklet. She and Nick were done rehearsing the song after about an hour and so Val went to take the pictures.
She got there right on time and was done about three hours later. She was supposed to meet Nick back at the venue so she hurried and packed up her stuff to go there.


Nick looked at his watch for what seemed like the thousandth time.
“Where is she?” he exclaimed.
“Nick, the pictures probably took longer than expected.” Said Brian.
“Yeah maybe, I’m gonna call her.” Said Nick taking out his cell phone and dialing Val’s number. The phone rang once and then Nick heard: ‘Hi you’ve reached me, Val, you know what to do *beep*’. “Hi baby, it’s me, where are you? You were supposed to be here a half an hour ago. Okay, I guess you got held up at the photo shoot, call me when you get this, love ya, bye.” Said Nick leaving a message on Val’s voice mail.
“She’ll call back soon I’m sure.” Said Brian reassuring Nick.
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Agreed Nick. The guys then went back to rehearsal. An hour later Nick was visibly frustrated and worried. Rehearsal was over for that day and the guys were gathering their stuff in preparation to leave.
“Okay, now I’m really worried.” Said Nick grabbing his towel and wiping his face. “I’m gonna go to the place where Val was taking the pictures in, anyone wanna come with me?” he asked looking at the guys.
“I’ll go.” Said Brian getting up.
“Ok cool, let’s go.” Said Nick and the both of them went downstairs.
They got to the building twenty minutes later and went inside. They asked the receptionist where Val was supposed to be and she directed them to the right room. They went in, but did not see Val.
“Excuse me, can you please tell me where Valerie Stans is?” asked Nick talking to one of the photographers.
“She’s not here, she left over an hour ago.” He replied looking up from his camera.
“Are you sure?” asked Brian. The photographer nodded. “Okay, thank you.” He said and turned to Nick. “Now what?” he asked.
“We go to the parking lot to see if her car is still there.” Said Nick and he and Brian went back downstairs. They got to the parking lot and soon located the rented car that Val was supposed to be driving.
“I don’t get it, the car is here, but she’s not.” Said Brian shaking his head.
“I have a bad feeling about this.” Said Nick and looked around for any signs of Val, he found none.

chapter 12 chapter 14