Damn Reporters

ONE WEEK LATER
Nick's point of view

"Hey!" I exclaimed when Julianna opened the door.
"Hey Nick!" she said enthusiastically and closed the door behind me. "How was Germany?" she asked.
"It was good, but I swear, Kevin must've been a slave driver in a past life or something," I said groaning. "You remember that first day I called you?" Julianna nodded. "Well, that day we were in the studio from eight in the evening till like six o'clock the next morning! Can you believe that? And it was all because Mr. Perfection had to keep changing the song and we had to keep re-recording it."
"Wow, did you get any rest while there?" asked Julianna and grabbed a soda from the fridge, and then handed one to me.
I popped open the can and took a big sip. "Somewhat yeah, but not too much. Anyway, enough about me, how are you feeling?" I asked.
Julianna shrugged. "I'm good, finally over the whole strep throat deal, thank God!" she said laughing.
"So I hear, I bet you're glad to have your voice back," I commented.
"Oh yeah, definitely. And here's an interesting bit of news, Samantha and Courtney actually started acting nice! Can you believe it? I was so shocked when they apologized. Now, we're all gradually becoming friends," said Julianna, widely grinning.
"Congrats," I said grinning also. "So what you up to this weekend?" I asked.
"I'm going ice skating," she replied.
At that point, I was sure I heard her wrong. "Pardon? Did you say ice skating?"
"Yeah, you know, you put on these things, like roller blades, only without the wheels and then you go and skate on ice," said Julianna.
"I know what ice-skating is thankyouverymuch," I told her. "But I didn't know there was an ice skating rink in Florida," I added.
Julianna shook her head. "There isn't one, that's why I'm going to one in New York City," she answered.
Now I was genuinely confused. "Explain please," I requested.
"Okay, see, I really need a short break from all of this and I figured that if I go back home for the weekend, I'll get the relaxation I need. And while I'm there, I can go ice skating, see my friends and my family," explained Julianna.
"Ooh, okay, I gotcha," I said nodding.
"Have you ever been ice skating?" she asked.
"Nope, never tried."
"You wanna come with me? You can stay at my house. I mean, I have like four guestrooms," she said with a short laugh.
I thought about it. Ice-skating sounded like fun, and if I managed not to break anything, it would be a nice way to spend the weekend. "Sure, I'll come," I agreed.
"Great, I'm leaving tomorrow evening, think you can be ready by, say, eight?" asked Julianna.
I nodded. "No problem, how are we getting back to New York?"
"Plane," she said simply.
I groaned. Great, I just spent like way too many hours on a plane back from Germany, and now I had to take another plane the following day. Did I mention I hated flying? "The flight's only two hours right?" I asked.
"Yeah, why? Are you afraid of planes?" she asked mischievously.
"Afraid of flying," I corrected.
"Which is pretty much the same thing," said Julianna shrugging. "Take warm clothes with you to wear, cause ya know, winter in New York," she said laughing.
I grinned. "Gotcha."

THE NEXT EVENING
Julianna's point of view

"Nick! I cannot believe you didn't even pack!" I exclaimed.
"I was busy," he said defending himself. I watched him scramble to get a duffel bag.
"Yeah, he was busy playing video games," said Brian laughing.
I raised my eyebrow as Nick stopped halfway up the stairs, turned around, and glared at his best friend.
"I was not playing video games!" he informed Brian.
"You're right, I'm sorry," he said and turned his attention to me. "He was playing computer games," he said in a mock serious tone.
I burst out laughing. "You were playing games since yesterday?" I asked Nick, who was standing on the stairs fuming.
"No," he retorted.
"Then what were you doing?" I questioned.
"I can't tell you," said Nick and ran up the stairs before I could ask anything else.
"Sometimes I don't get him at all," I said shaking my head.
"Jul, he's been my best friend for a really long time, and most of the time, even I don't get him," said Brian laughing and leaned back on the couch. "So are you guys really going ice-skating?" he asked.
I nodded. "Yep," I said smiling. "You wanna come?" I offered.
"Nah, I'm spending this entire weekend with Leighanne," said Brian, his smile growing as he said his wife's name.
"I'm guessing you're happy that there's no Backstreet work to do?"
"Oh yeah, a free weekend is so rare."
Nick came downstairs, his duffel bag full of God-knows-what.
"Okay, I'm ready," he announced.
"Finally!" I exclaimed. "And they say girls take a long time to get ready," I scoffed. "Apparently they haven't met Nicky!"
I grinned as Nick threw me a glare at the mention of his least likable nickname.
"Don't-" he began.
"Call me Nicky!" Brian and I chorused and collapsed into fits of laughter.
"You guys are not funny," said Nick crossing his arms over his chest.
"Sure, whatever. Come on, let's go or we'll miss our plane," I said coming up to him and pulling one of his arms.
Brian followed us out the door. "Have a great time guys!" he called out as he got into his car. "And Nick, try not to kill Julianna if you're planning on falling!" He laughed and then drove away.
"Sometimes I wonder why I'm best friends with him," said Nick shaking his head.
My driver opened the limo door. "Because he chooses to be best friends with you for some bizarre reason," I said laughing and got in with Nick behind me.
"Ha, ha," he said dryly.
"Are you okay?" I said seriously.
"Why?"
"I dunno, you haven't laughed once since I got to your house."
"Was I supposed to?"
"Nick, you laugh if someone says hi to you," I told him. "You're a happy person," I added.
Nick shrugged. "I'm just tired."
"From?" I prodded.
"Sorry, can't tell ya," he said yawning.
"All right," I said nodding. If he wasn't going to tell me now, I was sure he would tell me later.

NEXT MORNING

"Nick, get your butt over here!" I called out.
Nick glanced up from the other side of the room, where he was looking at some books that were on my coffee table. "You want my butt over there?" he grinned mischievously. "Does that mean you think my butt is cute?"
I did not understand how he came to that conclusion but decided to run with it anyway. "Yes your butt is cute, now please come here!" I exclaimed.
"Aww, now my butt is blushing cause you said it's cute," said Nick, his grin getting wider, if that was possible.
I sighed in frustration. "Nick, I don't care if your butt is blushing or putting on blush for that natural look, get it over here now!" I yelled.
Nick began to make his way towards me, a confused expression on his face. "Why would my butt put on blush?" I heard him mumble.
I shook my head; that boy could be such a blonde sometimes.
"Okay, I'm here, what do you want from me?" asked Nick standing in front of my face.
"I can't reach that," I said and pointed at my blow dryer on the top shelf.
Yes, I was fully aware of the fact that I was five foot nine but the shelf was really far away. Damn high ceilings.
Nick rolled his eyes. "Ever heard of a ladder?" he asked.
"Yeah, but I don't have one," I replied. "Pleeease?" I begged, sticking out my lower lip.
Nick laughed and reached for the blow dryer. But then, being the annoying person that he is, he held it up above his head.
"Nick!" I whined. "I have to dry my hair!"
"Uh, uh," he said shaking his head. "This is more fun," he added grinning.
A thought occurred to me then. "Hey Nicky, are you ticklish?"
"Don't call-" began Nick and then my words registered in his head. A look of panic crossed his face. "No," he said quickly, too quickly.
"Then it won't bother you if I do this," I said and started tickling his armpit.
Nick's arm immediately dropped, as did my blow dryer, as he tried to bat my hand away.
"Nuh uh," I said shaking my head and started tickling his sides. "That's for not giving me my blow dryer!" I told him.
Nick's laugh echoed throughout my house.
"Stop, stop!" he pleaded, still cracking up.
"Nope," I said grinning and of course didn't stop torturing him.
"That's it!" exclaimed Nick and all of a sudden I found myself looking down at this butt.
The dork picked me up and slung me over his shoulder.
Oh well, as long as I was there.
"Hey!" protested Nick. "Did you just pinch my ass?"
"No," I said innocently.
"What's with this sudden obsession with my behind?" he asked.
"Nick, I couldn't care less about your behind, but you put me in the perfect position to do something to pay you back for treating me like a sack of potatoes," I retorted. "Are you ever gonna put me down?" I asked.
"Let me think," said Nick and rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"Don't hurt yourself," I mumbled quietly, snickering.
"I heard that!" announced Nick. "Just for that comment, I'm not putting you down."
"Niiiick!" I whined and started wriggling around.
"Jul, stop moving, you're gonna make me drop you!" said Nick, tightening his hold on me.
"But I wanna have a conversation with you, not your ass!" I complained.
"There you go mentioning my ass again," said Nick laughing.
"Well there's nothing else for me to look at here," I informed him.
Though his butt did look cute from this angle.
Nick walked over to the couch and dropped me on it. The nerve of some people.
"Ow!" I told him loudly, to emphasize my point.
"Yeah well, you pinched my ass, live with it," he told me smugly.
I shot him a dirty look.
I then proceeded to make my way towards the bathroom and almost fell and broke my neck when I tripped over Nick's duffel bag, which he left in the middle of the foyer.
"NICK!" I yelled at the top of my lungs.
He stuck his head out of the living room. "What?"
"Take your bag and put it in the guestroom will ya?" I said, throwing the bag at him.
"And the guestroom would be where?" he asked catching the duffel.
"Up the stairs, second door to your right," I told him and disappeared into the bathroom.

Nick's point of view

I dropped my duffel bag near the bed in the guestroom and looked around. The room was spacious and even had a balcony on the left.
I shivered and went to close the window. Yep, it was definitely colder in New York this time of year than it was in Florida.
A knock on the door turned my attention away from the weather.
"So, ready to go ice skating?" asked Julianna when I opened the door. She looked me up and down. "I guess you didn't change yet."
I shook my head. "I was trying to figure out what to wear so that I won't freeze," I told her and began taking my stuff out of my bag.
"Just put on jeans and a really warm sweater. Actually, you'd probably be better off if you wear a sweater with a turtleneck underneath cause you wouldn't be comfortable skating in a jacket," she said.
Did I take a turtleneck with me? I couldn't remember. I burrowed through my bag and triumphantly produced a white turtleneck.
"Will this work?" I held up the piece of clothing along with a thick black sweater.
Julianna nodded. "Sure. I'll leave ya to change, come downstairs when you're ready," she said and exited the room, closing the door behind her.
I pulled off the sweatshirt I was wearing and decided to leave the t-shirt I was wearing underneath. Who knew how could it was going to be at the rink. I quickly put on the turtleneck and sweater, followed by my boots, and then started for the door.
"Nick! Make sure you take gloves with you!" I heard Julianna call out. I paused near the door and went back to my bag. I got my gloves and then went downstairs.
"Got them," I told her holding up the gloves.
"Great, ready to go?" she asked getting up from the couch.
"Yep," I said nodding.
"And we're off!" she announced happily and we both headed for the door.

Julianna's point of view

"Where are we?" asked Nick looking around.
"Central Park," I told him parking my car.
"We're gonna ice skate in a park?" he said in a confused tone.
"There are two ice skating rinks here that I know of," I replied as we both got out of the car.
"Oh, okay," said Nick.
I laughed and we went to the rink.
"I think it's closed," commented Nick looking at the rink in front of us. "There's like no one here."
"That's cause I bought out the place for the next few hours," I said as we entered the rink.
"Hi Julianna," said one of the women who worked there.
"Hi Stella," I replied smiling.
"The ice is all ready for you," said Stella smiling back.
"Great. Oh, this is my friend Nick," I said introducing them. "Nick, this is Stella."
"Nice to meet you," said Nick shaking Stella's hand.
"You too," answered Stella. Nick walked ahead of us to check out the rink.
"He's very cute," whispered Stella, leaning closer to me.
I laughed. "Yeah, I know," I told her.
Don't get me wrong; I wasn't about to get a crush on Nick or anything. But I couldn't deny the basic fact that the guy was gorgeous.
We got our skates and headed over to the ice. I saw that it had just been cleaned so it was perfectly smooth and gleaming in the sunlight.
"Okay, let's go," I said stepping onto the ice and gliding a few feet, trying to get used to the skates.
Nick stood uncertainly near the ice and looked at it. "You want me to go there on these?" he asked and pointed at his ice skates.
"Yeah Nick, that's the idea," I said nodding, stifling a laugh at the look on his face. It was somewhere between confusion and terror. Like the ice was gonna eat him alive or something.
"Nuh uh," he said shaking his head. "I'm gonna fall right away," he told me.
I sighed. "That's what the side is for, you hold on to the railing while you learn to skate, genius," I said and gestured for him to come out on the ice.
Nick kept shaking his head.
"Oh for crying out loud, you big baby!" I exclaimed and skated over to him. "Gimme your hand," I said and stretched out my own.
Nick looked uncertainly at my hand.
"It's a hand, not a mousetrap, so stop looking at it like it's gonna hurt you," I said. Nick still didn't make a move to take my hand. "Okay, that's it, you're going out there and I don't care if I have to drag you onto the ice for you to do so," I said determinedly, grabbed his hand and pulled him onto the ice.
"AHH!" Nick screamed, his arms and legs flailing all over the place. He managed to get to the side of the rink and stood there, holding on for dear life. "You know," he said huffing. "I could sue you if I break my leg and can't dance," he informed me.
I smirked. "If you break something, which I'm sure you won't, it'll be because of your clumsiness," I retorted.
Nick pouted.
I laughed.
"I'm glad you find me so amusing," he said, still pouting.
"Boy do I!" I said laughing.
Nick still stood near the side with no intention of moving. I sighed and skated over to him.
"Come on, I'll help ya," I said holding out my hand once again.
Nick bit his lower lip in uncertainty. "You promise you won't let go?" he asked in a small voice. I stifled another laugh; he really was scared of falling.
"I promise," I said nodding.
He hesitantly took my hand and let go of the railing. "Hey, I'm standing and not falling!" he announced proudly, the pout forgotten.
"It's not hard, just keep your balance," I said and began gliding, pulling him with me. "Move your feet like you would on roller blades," I instructed.
Nick nodded and began to slowly glide on the ice, beaming at his accomplishment.
In no time, he was skating beside me with no problem.
"This is fun!" he said smiling.
"Told ya," I said smiling back.
Nick grabbed my hand. "Come on, I'll pull you around," he said and began gaining speed.
I was so glad that I had bought out the rink; it was so much easier to be pulled when there were no other people around.
I laughed as Nick stopped and spun me in a circle around him. I then heard clapping. I pulled on Nick's hand for him to stop too and we looked around. There were about a hundred people gathered near the rink, watching us skate. I grimaced as I saw flashes go off and spotted a few reporters jotting stuff down.
"Next time, we go to a rink that's inside," I told Nick, who nodded in agreement.
"I guess no matter how hard we try, we'll never be just regular people," he observed wryly.
I nodded, frowning.
"But you know what? We came here to have fun, so have fun we will," said Nick and turned to me. "Come on, we're watched all the time, let's just forget about them," he added and grinned.
He did have a point. It's not like I wasn't used to people watching me anyway. "You're right," I agreed and took his hand once again.
We skated around the rink a few more times and then Nick gained speed once again and pulled me with him. He stopped to spin me in a circle but I lost my balance and both of us went down in a tangle of arms and legs.
"Are you okay?" asked Nick laughing.
"Very," I said, also cracking up. "Get off me!" I said squirming. In our fall, Nick had somehow managed to wind up on top of me.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked again, a hint of seriousness in his voice.
"Nick I'm fine, but what I would like to know is why you're still on top of me!" I exclaimed.
Nick grinned sheepishly. "Good point," he admitted. He got up and pulled me up too. We stood brushing off the ice off our clothes. Needless to say, my jeans were completely soaked, and so were Nick's.
"Why does ice have to be so wet?" I complained taking off my wet gloves in disgust.
"Hmm, probably cause it's frozen water?" suggested Nick, though also making a face at his own wet clothes.
"Ready to go home?" I asked him.
Nick nodded. "Oh yeah, but this was fun, we should do it again sometime," he replied and we both skated off the ice.

THE NEXT MORNING

"Crap," I muttered looking at the picture on the front page of the newspaper.
"Did you say something?" asked Nick coming into the kitchen.
"Yeah, guess what? We made the front page," I said and showed him the paper. "Like these reporters have nothing better to report on than us," I grumbled.
Nick ran his hand through his hair as he examined the photo under the headline: Nick Carter and Julianna Palmer - More To It Than Meets The Eye?
"Great, they just had to publish that photo," he mumbled.
I looked over his shoulder at the paper. "I know," I commented. The photo in question was taken right after Nick and me fell, with him ending up on top of me.
Damn reporters.
We'll never live this one down.
"So what do you think? Another press conference?" asked Nick sighing.
"I don't know, but I have established one thing for sure - you and I have very bad luck with reporters," I told him.
Nick gave a short laugh. "You can say that again."
"I don't know, but I have established-" Nick cut me off by closing my mouth.
"I didn't mean literally," he said laughing.
I pushed his hand off of my mouth. "Did you just eat something with a jelly filling?" I asked licking my lips.
"Yep, a Pop Tart," he replied showing me the box.
"Hmm, I didn't know I had those," I said scrutinizing the box. "Can you give me one?"
Nick grinned. "Sorry, it was the last one."
I sighed. "Okay, finish your coffee or juice or whatever you're having and let's get going," I said.
Nick looked up from his cup. "Where are we going?" he asked.
"My parents' house. I told them I'd stop by today and I'm not gonna leave you here alone to be bored, so you're coming with me," I replied getting up and looking for my car keys. "You'll love my sister, she's the most adorable eight year old on Earth!"
"Are your parents gonna ask me a million questions?" asked Nick, also getting up and placing his cup into the dishwasher.
"Why?" I questioned. "You're not my boyfriend, you're just my friend. My parents don't give the third degree to my friends."
Nick sighed in relief. "Good, that makes me feel better."
I laughed. "Come on blondie, let's go," I said throwing Nick's jacket to him.
"But what if your parents won't like me?" whined Nick as we got in the car.
"Nick, you are acting like such a boyfriend, sheesh," I said laughing.
"Ha, ha," he said dryly and buckled his seatbelt.
"Don't worry, my parents like all my friends. Besides, you kinda met them that time Lance and I were in the hospital. But I should warn you, my father does have an extensive gun collection, so I wouldn't say anything to set him off if I were you," I said seriously, trying to hold my laughter inside.
Nick's eyes bulged. "I'm outta here," he said, quickly unbuckling his seatbelt and opening the car door.
"I'm kidding!" I said grabbing his arm and pulling him back inside. "Calm down."
"Are you sure he doesn't have a gun collection?" asked Nick uncertainly. "He could've gotten one while you were in Florida and now he's waiting for some unsuspecting person so that he could scare the hell out of him, or blow his head off!" he said dramatically.
I laughed even harder. "Nick, my dad's a doctor. I hardly think he's the type to have a gun collection."
"Oh, okay, just making sure," said Nick and buckled his seatbelt once again.
"Nicky you are definitely one of a kind," I told him and started the car.
"Don't-"
"Call you Nicky. Yeah, I know you hate it…that's why I do it."


chapter 12 chapter 14