Val was sitting in her hotel room and playing and singing a song she wrote. She had headphones on so she didn’t hear Nick knock and then come in. He just stood there for a couple of minutes listening to her sing and even though he couldn’t hear the music, he felt it in the way she sang. Val then raised her head and saw Nick.
“Hey you startled me.” She said laughing and taking off her headphones.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to.” Apologized Nick and sat down next to her. “What was it that you were singing?” he asked.
“It’s a song I wrote, it’s called ‘The Music of Love’.” She replied giving him the notes.
“This is really good, and why didn’t you tell anyone what an amazing voice you have?” he asked looking over the music.
“Probably because I don’t think my voice is that good.” Said Val shrugging.
“Believe me, it’s really good.” Said Nick earnestly. “So Val, I have a question to ask you.” Said Nick turning to face her.
“Which is?” she asked.
“How would you like to sing this song on stage, at our concerts?” asked Nick his eyes filled with excitement.
“No way! I’d be too nervous, and besides, this is supposed to be a duet, I can’t sing a duet alone.” She said shaking her head.
“Who says you’ll be singing alone?” asked Nick raising his eyebrows and smiling at her.
“You’re going to sing with me?” she asked in disbelief.
“Yeah, I would love to do so.” Said Nick. “The song is really good, and it wouldn’t take me long to learn the words, and this would only make the concert better.” He added.
“Even if I do agree to this, there’s no one who knows the music except me.” Said Val still not giving in.
“You’re not the only member of our band you know, the rest of them learn music quickly and I’m sure they would be able to learn this.” He said gesturing towards the music notes.
“I don’t know.” Said Val uncertainly. “Besides, don’t you have to ask your producers about something like this?” she asked.
“Yeah, but if you agree, we’ll go and ask them right now.” Said Nick getting up.
“Why so soon?” asked Val.
“Because our first concert is tomorrow and it would be great if you and me would sing in all of the concerts.” Replied Nick and stood near the door. “So are you in or out?” he asked. Val thought for a moment.
“In.” she said getting up and walking out of the room with Nick.


Nick quickly told the producers about his idea and they thought it was good. He and Val were scheduled to sing right in the middle of the concert; after the guys had a 10-minute break. Val was very nervous about being on stage because she never really sung in front of anyone except her family. Since the song was slow, there was no choreography required and all Nick and Val needed were outfits. They went to the stylist right after the producers told them ‘yes’.
“Ok, so you need to match, that’s for sure.” Said Liz, the guys’ stylist. “And I know exactly what you should wear.” She said excitedly and started to look through the enormous pile of clothing. She pulled out two outfits and gave each to Nick and Val. “Go put these on.” She said and gestured towards the dressing rooms.
“Ok.” Said Nick and Val and went to get dressed.
Nick came out first since he had a lot of practice changing clothes fast. He was wearing a tight white t-shirt. It had small rhinestones sewn in around the sleeves and the neck. He was also wearing white, slightly baggy, leather pants, which had the same exact rhinestones going down each pant leg. Nick looked at himself in the mirror.
“Reminds me of the video for ‘I Want It That Way’” he said grinning.
“Yeah, but you look good. Just wait until Val comes out, both of you will look perfect.” Said Liz. At that moment Val came out. She was wearing a triangle top, which tied in the back and it had rhinestones sewn in across the top. She was also wearing white leather pants, which, like Nick’s, had rhinestones going down each leg. Only Val’s pants weren’t baggy like Nick’s, they were pretty tight. She was also wearing white platform boots, which were similar to Nick’s, only his were obviously lower.
Nick stood and stared at Val. He couldn’t believe how beautiful she looked.
“Nick, you’re drooling.” Said Liz laughing. Nick immediately snapped out of it and his face turned red.
“That was involuntary, but she really looks good.” He said still looking at Val.
“Thanks.” Said Val smiling widely.
“You two look like the perfect couple.” Commented Liz. She knew Nick liked Val and she suspected that Val liked Nick, only didn’t know it yet. But Liz also knew that Val was dating Zack and therefore, was off-limits to Nick.
“Yeah…ok.” Said Nick getting slightly embarrassed.
“Are you sure this outfit isn’t showing too much?” asked Val gesturing towards her bare back and stomach.
“Val, you’ve got a great body, there’s no reason why you should feel self-conscious.” Said Liz honestly.
“Ok, I guess. Good thing I don’t have to dance in this, the top would probably fall off!” laughed Val. Nick made it seem like he was thinking about that. Val saw him and playfully slapped his arm. “Stop that!”
“I was just kidding!” said Nick grinning.
“Yeah right!” said Liz and Val and then both of them started laughing.
“No fair, two against one.” Complained Nick.
“Sounds fair to me, what about you Val?” asked Liz.
“I think it’s very fair.” Said Val grinning.
“Ok, you’re gonna pay for that.” Said Nick and then all of a sudden picked Val up and carried her out of the dressing room.
“NICK! Put me down!” screamed Val.
“No way!” said Nick laughing. He went all the way downstairs to the first floor of the hotel and turned in the direction of the pool.
“Oh no you don’t!” yelled Val when she saw the pool up ahead.
“Oh yes I do.” Said Nick and then threw Val into the pool. He stood laughing while she swam up glaring at him.
“You’re gonna so totally pay for that Carter.” She warned.
“Oh yeah? How?” asked Nick still cracking up. What Nick didn’t know was that Kevin was right behind him.
“Like this! NOW!” Val yelled and Kevin pushed Nick into the pool. When Nick swam back up, Val was wearing a satisfied grin on her face.
“Cheater.” Teased Nick. “At least when I threw you into the pool, I did it by myself.” He added.
“So? How was I supposed to push you in when I was in the water?” asked Val raising her eyebrows.
“Well…” started Nick.
“Enough you two.” Said Kevin interrupting them. “We have rehearsal in ten minutes and you’re both soaking wet.” He added but couldn’t help but laugh at Nick and Val.
“Ok, we’re coming.” Said Nick getting out of the pool and then helping Val get out. They both ran to their rooms to change out of their wet clothes and to take quick showers. On their way out they stopped by the dressing room to give Liz back the outfits. She wasn’t happy when she saw that the clothing was wet, but she said that it wasn’t a very big deal. Nick and Val thanked her for understanding and then ran out to the car, which would take them to the place where rehearsals were being held. They got there 15 minutes late and everyone was standing and waiting for them. Brian, AJ, and Howie all gave Nick and Val strange looks when they came their hair still wet. Kevin just stood there smirking.
“Ok, I might regret asking this, but why are you both wet?” asked Brian.
“Well, me and Liz were teasing Nick a little so he decided to repay us by dunking me into the pool, after which I had to repay him by having Kevin push Nick into the pool from behind.” Explained Val, smiling when she thought about it.
“Oh really?” asked Brian.
“Yeah, that’s why we’re late. We had to change and shower before coming here.” Added Nick.
“Oookay, you two are too weird.” Said Brian laughing. “Let’s start the rehearsal, we have a show to do tomorrow.”
The rehearsals began and Nick and Val practiced their duet. Since the band didn’t know the music yet, it was a little slow but they sounded great together and the song was bound to be a hit. Overall, rehearsal went smoothly and everyone was free earlier than usual.
Nick and Val decided to go grab something to eat while the others went off to do their own things. They found a Burger King not too far away from the hotel and got their food. Nick didn’t want to take the chance of being recognized so they took their food back to the hotel. They sat eating it in Nick’s room.
“So how are things between you and Zack?” asked Nick casually.
“They’re great. We didn’t have any more fights after the one I told you about.” Said Val chewing her fries. “Of course, I haven’t seen him since we made up either.” She added with a grin.
“So I suppose that everything is good?” asked Nick reaching for his drink.
“Yeah, I’m gonna call him later today to see how everything is.” Said Val looking at her watch. “Oh, I didn’t realize it was this late, excuse me for a minute ok?” she said getting up.
“Sure, go ahead.” Said Nick and then Val walked out of the room. She came back not a minute later.
“That’s weird.” She said sitting down. “Zack is not answering the phone.”
“Maybe he’s out.” Suggested Nick.
“He doesn’t go out on weekdays because he has class early in the morning. Besides I called his cell phone.” Said Val thoughtfully chewing her burger.
“Well, then maybe he’s asleep.” Said Nick.
“Maybe, but I’m having problems believing that he would sleep without hearing the phone.” She said.
“He might be really tired or something.” Said Nick.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I’ll call him in the morning before he leaves for class.” Said Val and reached for another fry. She and Nick continued to watch TV until after midnight and then both simply fell asleep.

Nick woke up and saw Val sleeping next to him. He looked at her for a few minutes just thinking about what it would be like to wake up to see her next to him everyday. He then reminded himself that that’s not gonna happen and he put his hand on Val’s arm and shook her gently.
“Val, wake up.” He said. She stretched and opened her eyes.
“Nick?” she asked confused. “What are you doing in my room?”
“This is my room, we both fell asleep yesterday.” Reminded Nick.
“Oh yeah, that’s right. Now I remember.” Said Val and sat up. “What time is it anyway?” she asked.
“A little after 7.” Replied Nick.
“Perfect, I’m gonna go call Zack since he should still be home cause he doesn’t leave until 7:45.” Said Val and got out of Nick’s bed. “I’ll see you in a couple of hours at rehearsal.” She called over her shoulder.
“See ya then.” Replied Nick and then Val left. She walked out of Nick’s room just in time to see AJ pass by. He stopped and raised his eyebrows gesturing towards Nick’s room.
“Get your mind out of the gutter AJ. We fell asleep.” Said Val before AJ had a chance to say anything.
“Yeah, sure, whatever you say.” Said AJ grinning and then disappeared into his own room. Val sighed and figured that AJ can think whatever he wants as long as she and Nick knew that nothing happened. She then went into her own room and dialed Zack’s number. It rang seven times and then his voice mail picked up. Val hung up and looked at the phone. She thought that maybe Zack turned off his cell phone. She then dialed the house number and waited for Zack to pick up. It rang four times and then the answering machine picked up. Val hung up yet again and thought:
“That was weird, where is he?” she shrugged knowing that she couldn’t do anything about it so she then went to take a shower and get ready for rehearsal.

It was later that day and Val and all five guys were already backstage preparing for the concert. Val was nervous but also excited at the same time. As she put in her earplugs to drown out the screams of fans, she thought about Zack. She tried calling him again not too long ago but still no answer. She then took a deep breath and put Zack out of her mind since it was time for the band to go onstage. She wished all the guys luck and then went out and took her place behind the keyboard. There were thousands of people in the audience and she knew that they were all screaming loudly, but thankfully she couldn’t hear them. She began playing the starting notes for the first song. The rest of the first part of the concert passed by in a blur, and before Val knew it, it was time to go backstage and prepare for her duet with Nick. She quickly ran and changed her clothes and saw Nick to the same. Her hair and make-up was already done prior to this and so she waited for the break to end. Nick came up to her.
“Nervous?” he asked.
“Yeah, somewhat.” She replied looking at him.
“Don’t be, you’ll do great, I know you will.” Said Nick confidently and smiled that smile which made millions of girls melt. That smile was beginning to have an effect on Val too.
“Thanks.” She said and then she and Nick went onstage.
“Ok everyone, this is a special treat for you. Right now, me and this wonderful girl, whose name is Val, will sing a duet for you. This is a song that she wrote the lyrics for and the music. You probably already saw her since she is also our keyboard player.” Said Nick introducing Val. The crowd cheered and then the music started:

Nick: “How do I express my feelings towards you?
How do I let you know the way I feel inside?
You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen,
So how do I tell you that you have caught my eye?”

Val: “I know exactly what you’re feeling,
Cause I know in my heart that you’re the one.
You are the greatest guy that I have ever known,
So now I am telling you that you have caught my eye.”

CHORUS Together:
“This is it
This is the beginning
Of our love
In this world today
And so we sing
Let them hear our voices
In this song
Which is
The music of love

Nick: “I am now the happiest that I have ever been
And it is all, all because of you
I would like to say, that we will be together
Cause nothing can, can tear us apart”

Val: “I know that we are, two in a million
So our love will lead the way
To the right path, for both of us
And I hope we’ll end up at the same end.”


Together: “So here we are, in front of one another
Where we’ll end, we are still not sure
But we know now, our love’s not like any other
And so we sing, and look ahead in time


(sung slowly) “The music of love”

The crowd cheered loudly when Nick and Val finished singing.

chapter 2 chapter 4