"Okay, one more time and you guys can go home," the producer called out to the guys.
“Good. I’m beat,” A.J. muttered, picking up his headphones.
Nick glared over at A.J. He then glared at Kevin. Kevin had used that crappy poem Nick had written in a song. That just happen to be the song they were recording.
“There’s something wrong with Nick,” Sara whispered to Brian.
Brian looked down at her. Worried filled her green eyes as she looked at Nick. Brian patted her on the head.
“I know. This is the thing that he wrote about Kay,” Brian told her. “Unlike us, he and her didn’t have good luck.”
Sara looked up at him. “Careful, Brian. Too much affection, good-bye career.”
Brian looked at her then at Kevin. Kevin was giving him his big brother eye. He patted Sara once more and walked over to the microphone. In a way , he knew how Nick felt. Ever since he had met Sara almost two years ago, all he had wanted to do was show the world how much he loved her. However, she was only sixteen then. She was eighteen now.
“Brian come back to Earth. Now sing,” A.J. said, acting like Ursula from The Little Mermaid.
Brian looked around the room, imitated Arial, and sung:
I had once believed that love
That it was felt above
All the pain and hate
That we make
But, you led me to believe
We would love and live
For forever and ever
But the hate got in the way
And you wanted it that way
With all this hate
Hate in the way
The way that doesn’t include me
It included anyone but me
But, I will still love you and be
Above all other people
You will be mine
No hate, only love
You led me to believe
We would love and live
For forever and a day
But with all this hate
In the way
It ended up this way.
The guys all stopped singing. They all looked at each other.
“Good job. You all did it. You are free to go!”
Brian walked over and grabbed his coat and Sara’s. A.J. gabbed his and followed Brian and Sara out. Howie looked at Nick and whispered something to Kevin.
“I’ll handle him,” Kevin said.
Howie nodded and left.
“Kevin. Please don’t put that on the US album. Or make it a single,” Nick pleaded.
Kevin nodded and said, “Okay Nick. I’ll make sure of that.”
“Thanks. I don’t want Kay to ever hear that,” Nick mumbled, leaving.
Nick fell down onto his bed in his hotel room. It had been a year since he had first met Tim and Kay. He knew he wouldn’t be seeing either of them anytime soon. The group was in Sweden recording for the next album. They’d be here till the middle of January or so. The album would come out in the spring or sometime around them. The were pretty much done with it, other than that stupid song Nick wrote and a song Brian had written for Sara.
“Well, at least Brian has it worse than me. He can’t do anything till she’s older. God, that was mean. Even if he didn’t hear it,” Nick mumbled to himself.
Suddenly there was a knock on his door. Nick pulled himself off the bed and walked over to the door. He opened it to see Sara standing there. She walked in right past him.
“Nick, do you want to talk about it?” she asked.
“About what?” Nick asked, trying to act like nothing was wrong.
Sara fell into a near by chair. Nick took a good look at her. She knew what was up. Nick turned around and faced the window.
“Fine, if you won’t talk, I will. I know that Kay only doesn’t like you because you are a Nick. However, all she had to do was get over it. You didn’t even help her, really. At least the press will not rip you apart if it got to the public,” Sara said. “You are allowed to love her for what it’s worth and let the world know it. Look at Brian. He loves me from the bottom of his heart, but can’t let the world know like he would like to.”
Nick looked back at her.
“Nick, stop making yourself a wreck. If she wouldn’t give you a chance because of your name she’s not worth moping over.”
Nick took a deep breath and fell on to the bed behind him. He knew she was right. He had to move on.
“I hear you, Sara. I do. And I know you’re right. I’ll stop moping.”
“Good. Now play me at a video game. Your choice,” Sara ordered.
Nick sat up and smiled. Sara would never play video games with him, let alone let him pick. He watch her smile back at him.
“You’re on, girl,” he said, jumping up off the bed.
Kevin looked around the room for his pager. It was going off, but he couldn’t find it. He finally found it under a bunch of papers. He looked at it.
“TIM!” Kevin yelled going to the phone. He picked it up and dialed Tim’s house. “May I speak to Tim?”
“This is he.”
“It’s Kevin. You paged?”
“Man, you’re still up?”
“Yeah. I was just going to see if Nick and Sara were still going at their video game.”
“Oh, well I just wanted to tell you that for winter braek me, Kay, and Alexis and her family are coming to Sweden. We may stop by, if that’s okay,” Tim said.
“Um, I don’t know. Howie would love to see Alexis, but Nick,” Kevin said, as he heard a cry of triumph from Nick in the other room.
“What about Nick. He doesn’t have to see Kay. Kay will most likely be out sightseeing and only stop by for a short time. She wants to look into going to school in Sweden.”
“Where she now?”
“University of Kentucky.”
“Cool. I think that’ll be okay. You’ll miss Sara though.”
“Yeah. A.J. and Brian’s friend. Her winter braek will be over a week earlier than Kay’s I guess. She’s also going home for Christmas.”
“Okay. I gotta go. Bye.”
Kevin hung up the phone. Maybe he could get Nick done recording so he could send Nick home with Sara in two days. That’s what he would have to do. Nick seemed to have cheered up in the last hour since Sara had talked to him. She had that affect on people. She could calm A.J. down in a second, convince Brian to keep his head on straight, and help Kevin see he was pushing the guys to hard too quickly. Kevin opened up the door that connected his room to Nick’s. He saw Nick and Sara on the floor in front of the TV. Nick looked a whole lot different than he had that afternoon. Kevin made up his mind. Nick would go home before Tim and Kay arrived.
“Nick,” Kevin said. Nick and Sara stopped and looked at him and he went on to asked, “how about we finish you up recording you tracks so you can go home and spend Christmas with you family? You can leave with Sara.”
Nick looked at Sara then Kevin. He then said, “Sounds good to me.”
Brian walked into the studio after he had taken Sara and Nick to the airport. Howie was on the his cell phone with Alexis.
“So when are they getting here?” Brian asked the room.
A.J. looked up and grinned, “Latin Lover has been on the phone there since you left. Lexi is still on the plane.”
“Sweet D. is going to go broke,” Brian mused, hanging up his coat.
“Nick gone?” Kevin asked.
“Yep. Sara too,” Brian said sadly.
Howie hung up the phone and looked at Brian. “Someday you’ll spend Christmas with her.”
“Look at it this way,” Kevin said, “at least we didn’t hook her up with who Nick came up with when you fist met her.”
“Who? Justin Timberlake?”
Everyone in the room burst into laughter.
“I was right?!” Brian asked, totally shocked he was right. He shook his head and looked at Howie. “So when are they going to get in?”
“They are landing as we speak,” Howie said happily.
Brian sat down in a chair and put on a sad face.
“What’s got B-rok so down?” A.J. asked.
“Howie gets his girl for Christmas and I don’t even get Nick,” Brian complained.
“Get over it,” Kevin said. “We got work to do. Nick may be done, but we are far from done.”
They guys all went into the recording booth and worked for about two hours before they were interrupted.
“Kev!” Tim said, waving.
“Okay, you are done, boys,” the producer said.
Kevin ran out of the booth and hugged Tim.
“Where are the others?” Kevin questioned, as he picked up his coat and put it on.
“The hotel. Is it okay if we all go over there. I know someone who would really like to see Howie,” Tim said, smiling over at Howie.
“Me too,” Howie said, opening the door.
Kevin watched Howie leave followed by A.J. while he asked Tim, “How’d Kay end up with a friend who was almost four years older than her?”
“They took a class together at Belleville Area College one summer and became friends,” Tim said. “Let’s go.”
Kevin followed Tim out the car and hopped in. He saw Brian come out as Howie and A.J. sped away in their rented car. Kevin waved to Brain and Brian got in the car.
“Nope. Went home and took Sara with him,” Brian said.
Tim nodded and started up the car and sped off to the hotel. All the way over Tim and Kevin did a lot of catching up. They had not seen one another since that summer visit. By the time they had finished they had reached the hotel. A board Brian leaped out of the car and was followed by Kevin and Tim. They road the elevator up and went down to the room where Tim and Kay were staying. Tim unlocked the door to find Alexis, Howie, Kay, A.J., Alexis’s older sister Ashley, and Alexis’s younger sister Tammy in there. Tammy was only about ten and was fascinated by A.J. just being in the room.
The first word’s out of Kay’s mouth were, “Where’s Nick?”
“He went home for Christmas,” Brian said.
“Wow, he didn’t add that…” A.J. started but was stopped by elbow in the side from Kevin.
“Went home?” Kay said, showing sadness. However, it was quickly replaced by her normal state. “Oh, heard I was coming so he fled the country.”
“Yeah. He didn’t even know you were coming,” A.J. shot back.
Kay just stuck up her nose into the air and grabbed her purse.
“I’ll be downstairs in the restaurant,” she said. “I don’t know what I ever saw in you Alexander James.”
Brian watched her leave the room. Everyone started talking. They were all happy too for Brian. Kay wouldn’t be all cheerful. Maybe he’d go talk to her. He opened the door and left the room. He tripped over someone sitting on the floor. He looked to see Kay on the floor. She looked at him.
“Why did Nick really go home? Was it because I was coming?” she asked.
Brian looked at the sorry state she was in. Where was Sara when you needed her?
“Nick didn’t even know you were coming, really,” Brian explained, sitting down next to her. “He had been in this really bad mood, well state of being since this summer. But it just got worse as December came. My friend Sara went off gor winter break last week so we flew her out here to try to cheer him up.”
Kay gave him a look. A look to kill.
“NO, no, no. Not that way. She has this way with all of us. Also I wanted to see her. But not until about three days ago when Tim called did she work her magic and get him over this funk he was in. Just then Kevin found out you’d be coming and he didn’t want Nick to go back into the funk. So he told Nick he could go home for Christmas to be with his family. He doesn’t even know you’re here,” Brian repeated.
Kay hung her head. Brian put his hand on her shoulder.
“I learned something. Not all Nicks are the same. Me and my stereotypes have cost me the love of my life,” Kay said, putting her head in her hands. “Now thatI’m out of high school I’ve met a lot of Nicks that are not like the others. But none like Nick Carter.”
“Too bad you didn’t figure that out before you broke the big lug’s heart,” Brian said.
Kay’s head shot up as she wailed, “I know, I know! I tell myself that every damn day. Nothing makes it any better.”
“Sara would,” Brian said suddenly.
“Yeah, Sara can fix everything,” Kay mumbled.
“She can calm A.J. down with in a matter of minutes,” Brian explained.
“Screw A.J. He’s just as bad as the high school Nicks,” Kay grumbled. She stood up and walked off down the hall.
Brian opened up the door and told the room he was going back to the hotel. He trudged down the hall and out the car. He pulled out the keys Kevin had tossed him and hopped into the car and drove back to the hotel they were staying at. He got off the elevator and started for his room. In front of his room stood Sara. He shook his head to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.
“You’re not dreaming, Bry,” Sara said, reading his mind.
Brian took a few steps closer to her. “Is Nick here?”
“Nope. His plane got out before mine was grounded. Ice on the wings. I was sick of the airport so I got a cab and came back here,” Sara explained, brushing the snow off his coat.
Brian smiled. “So I got you all to myself?”
“For the moment. I think I would like to go to bed though. Waiting at an airport for hours and hours doesn’t agree with me. Also, I was on so many planes. Why didn’t you stay to see me take off. You always do,” Sara said, as Brian opened the door.
“We had to finish up recording,” Brian said.
“Okay, where were you just now?” Sara questioned, giving him an accusing look.
“What are you doing?”
“Playing the jealous girlfriend. I don’t get to do that often,” Sara replied with a smile.
Brian pulled her into his arms. “That’s cause you got nothing to be jealous about, other than my good looks.”
“Just for that you get nothing,” Sara said, slipping out of his arms.
She walked over to the couch and fell down. Brian stood where he was for a moment before he walked over to find her asleep. Brian pulled a blanket up over and kissed her on the forehead and went to bed.
Kevin opened the door to Brian’s room. He saw Brian asleep on the couch sitting up. He walked up to it to see Sara asleep long ways on the couch too. Kevin suddenly had the thought that Nick might be around somewhere.
“Brian, where’s Nick?” Kevin asked, shacking Brian awake.
Brian opened his sleepy eyes. He was greeted by the sight of Kevin’s worried face. He looked down to see Sara still there, so he didn’t know why Kevin was so worried.
“What?” Brian asked, rubbing his eyes.
“Where is Nick?” Kevin repeated.
“Home,” Brian said, getting up off the couch.
“Why is Sara still here?”
“Her plans were grounded so she came back here,” Brian said, as he went into the bathroom.
Kevin looked down at Sara, then walked over to the door to yell at Brian while he took a shower. He knew he wouldn’t wake her up. She was like a rock when she was sleeping. Nothing could wake that girl up.
“I got a call from Jive this morning!” Kevin called, picking up the phone to call Tim to ask him if he could take Sara to the airport.
“What did they say?!” Brian asked.
“We got to do more dance tracks! Too many slow songs! Gotta get rid of two! I was thinking that song Nick came up with! He really doesn’t want it out! Tim? Can you take Sara to the airport? Thanks,” Kevin said, hanging up the phone.
“Does Nick know?!”
“No, I have to call him. He might find that good news!”
“I’ll tell him,” said a voice behind Kevin.
Kevin turned to Sara. She looked perfect as usual. Nothing could mess that girl up. Not even sleep.
“Did I wake you?” Kevin asked.
“No. I can tell Nick, if you want.”
“Okay. Is it okay if Tim takes you to the airport? We got a lot of work to do, seeing we gotta write more songs now,” Kevin said. “I already asked him.”
“Fine with me. I’ll get my purse, seeing my bags are already in Chicago by now,” Sara mumbled going off to find her purse.
The bathroom door flew open and Brian stood with a robe on. Water was still dripping from his hair.
“Is Tim already here?” Brian asked.
“Yeah. He’s downstairs.”
Brian stuck out his bottom lip. Kevin gave him a look.
“Fine,” Kevin said, knowing he was not wanted in the room, “I’ll leave.”
Kevin opened the door and left the room. He saw Howie coming out of his room.
“D, we have to do more dance tracks. More songs. Everything has been pushed back,” Kevin said.
“You mean we won’t be on tour till 2003?” Howie asked.
“Fine with me.”
“Fine, you tell A.J.,” Kevin said, walking down the hall as Sara came out of Brian’s room.
“Wait, Sara’s here! She can tell A.J.,” Howie said.
“No way. I get to tell Nick. Bone’s your best friend, you get to tell him,” Sara said, getting into the elevator.
Kevin and Brian sat at the piano in the studio. It was after Christmas and New Years and their break was over. Nick had come back. Tim, Kay, and the others except Alexis had all gone back to the States. Nick had found out and didn’t really seem to care that he had missed them.
“We need a subject of some sort,” Brian said.
“But what?” Kevin asked, hitting the middle C a couple of times.
“As in we’re running out of time?” Kevin jokingly asked.
“No,” Brian said, looking at his older cousin.
Brian began to pick out a melody and make up some words.
Times of trouble come and go.
Times of joy came and went
People never know when the time will come
When they’ll have trouble
Or they’ll have joy
No one can see that
One moment you’re on top of the world
The next the world’s on top you
“Let me try that,” Kevin said.
They leave you with memories
Certain people remember
Certain people remember
Times of trouble come and go
Times of joy came and went
You can never get them back
They come and go as they please
Times of trouble come and go
They leave you feeling alone
Times of joy came and went
They leave you full,
Hoping for the future.
“I think that’s too depressing for us,” Brian said, hitting another note on the piano, then played a minor cord.
Kevin’s ears perked up. “Do that again.”
Brian looked at him unsure of what to make of it then played it again. Kevin played another minor cord. Brian played his again and Kevin played another. Brian caught on to what Kevin was getting at. They sat at the piano pounding out what they had come up with when Nick walked into the studio. He had just arrived in Sweden the day before and was still a little jet lagged. He had used his time away from the guys to do some thinking. Also time to catch up with his Beatles loving friend Paul. Paul had made him watch the movie Help! over and over. When he heard Brian and Kevin playing away the words just came to him.
“Oh, help, oh, help me now/ I need some place to hide/ From the pain,” Nick sung.
Nick had paused so Kevin and Brian sung, “ Oh, the pain.”
“Of this life/ Oh, I need….”
“Oh, I need,” Brian and Kevin sung as Nick went on, “ to fall into your gaze (alright) For the gaze you hold me in (oh, hold me in) Keeps the pain of this life/ Vanish for a time, oh for a time (alright)”
The guys all stopped as Brian and Kevin hit the stop button on the tape recorder.
“Nick, you’re here,” Brian said.
“That’s what I seem to be,” Nick said, giving Brian a sideways look.
“Got any more to that song?” Kevin asked, rewinding the tape.
“No. I just came up with that off the top of my head,” Nick said, sitting down in a chair. “Where’s Howie and Bone?”
Brian looked at Kevin and Kevin looked at Brian.
“You don’t know, do you?” Nick asked, then asked another question, “How’s Tim?”
Once again Brian looked at Kevin and Kevin looked at Brian.
“I know they were here. Sara told me. I’m okay with it. Kev, thanks for looking out for me and sending me home.”
“I just thought,” Kevin started, but Nick quieted him with a raised hand.
“It’s okay. I needed to get away. Also got to catch up with an old friend,” Nick said.
Brian turned back to the piano and stopped the tape as he said, “How can you have an old friend? You’re the baby here.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha,” Nick mocked laughed.
Kevin hit play on the tape player so they could listen to what they had come up with.
From the pain (oh, the pain) of this life
Oh, I need (Oh, I need) to fall into your gaze (alright)
For the gaze you hold me in (oh, hold me in)
Keeps the pain of this life
Vanish for a time, oh, for a time (alright)
“Nick, do you mind if we finish this?” Kevin asked.
“Nope. As long as you give me credit,” Nick said, hitting himself in the chest, thus hitting his necklace into his chest. “Ouch.”
“Good job,” Brian said, laughing.
Nick shot them a look and walked out the door and started down the hall. He walked passed an open door of a recording booth were someone was recording. The door was open so he walked in. Recording was a beautiful young girl was in there singing away with the most wonderful voice he had ever heard.
“Hey, Carter,” said Ray, one of the mixers and producers.
“Hey. Who’s that?” Nick asked, eyes not leaving the girl.
“Vivietta Quinntin,” Ray said.
Nick nodded and watched her closely. Her short chestnut hair swayed back and forth as she sung her song. She turned a bit and looked Nick in the eye. She had the greenest eyes that Nick had ever seen.
“That’s good, Viv,” Ray called into her. “Take a brake and come meet your fellow label member.”
Vivietta set down her ear phones and came out to meet Nick. She was a small little thing next to Nick. She must be only about five feet five or six, maybe. She stuck out her hand for Nick and Nick took it.
“Vivietta Quinntin, if they didn’t tell you,” she said with a warm smile.
“Nick Carter,” Nick said, “of Backstreet Boy fame.”
This got a chuckle out of Vivietta as she let go of Nick’s hand and picked up a bottle of water.
“I knew that,” she said.
Nick hit his own head, “Well, of course you knew that. Jive most likely bragged about me to you when you signed.”
Vivietta laughed as Nick stood up taller.
“Nick, stop making a fool of yourself,” A.J. said, poking his head in the door.
Nick put on a sad face and looked at A.J. A.J. stepped into the room further.
“I’m A.J.,” he said, sticking out his hand.
“Vivietta,” Vivietta said, shaking his hand.
A.J. turned to Nick and asked, “Where’s Brian and Kevin?”
“Down in the piano room,” Nick said. “They’re working on a song.”
“Cool. I guess you heard then, seeing you’re back,” A.J. said.
“Yep. Where’s Howie?”
“At the hotel with Alexis. Let the love birds alone.”
“Howie has girlfriend now?” Vivietta asked. “How sweet.”
“Yep, left me all alone,” A.J. said with sadness. “Now I only have Nick and Kevin.”
“And Brian,” Nick quickly added.
A.J. hit himself on the head and left the room. Nick turned back to Vivietta. She was looking up at him through her green eyes. Nick smiled.
“Well, I best be going. You most likely have more work you could be doing,” Nick said, going to the door.
“Yes. I guess I’ll be seeing you around, right?” Vivietta asked.
“I sure hope so,” Nick said, exiting the room and heading back down to the room where Brian and Kevin had been. He opened the door to see and hear Brian and Kevin singing and playing the song for A.J.
From the pain (oh, this pain) of this life
Oh, I need ( I need, oh how I need) to fall into the gaze
For the gaze of your eyes hold me (oh, hold me in)
The place I can hide for the pain
But only for a time, oh only a time (alright)
Oh, help, oh, help me now
I need (oh, how I need) to find out
What I’m doing with my life
Oh, help, oh, help me now
I need, oh, how I need you now( you and you)
“That rocks guys,” A.J. said, jumping out of his chair. “Nick came up with that?”
“Part of it,” Nick said.
The guys all turned to see that Nick had entered the room. Nick sat down in a chair and looked at Brian and Kevin who were still seated at the piano.
“That should be our first single,” Nick suggested.
“We’ll see,” Brian said. “It’s not done. But, I think that’ll be all for today. I’m beat. I’m going back to the hotel.”
“I’m going to stay here. Maybe come up with some more,” Kevin said, turning back to the piano.
“Now, don’t over work yourself,” Brian warned. “Does any one want to some with me?”
“I do!” Nick said, jumping up.
Brian went over and grabbed his coat and looked at Nick. Nick still had his coat on.
“Didn’t think you’d be staying long, huh? Never took your coat off, Nicky?” Brain teased.
Nick suddenly realized he had never taken his coat off. He looked at Brian and smiled.
“Guess not,” Nick said, following Brian out the door.
They started down the hall in silence. Brian stopped in front of the door that led to the recording booth where Vivietta was. He peeked in the door.
“Wow, that girl can sing,” Brian commented, moving on down the hall.
Nick took one last look in the room. He saw Vivietta singing her heart out. Nick smiled and followed Brian out. He stood up taller as they left the studio into the cold winter air. He was moving on. Slowly, but he was.
“I’ve regained my life,” Nick said mostly to himself.
Brian looked at him as they got into the car and said, “That’s good Nick. Moving on is the best thing for both of you.”
Nick nodded, knowing what Brian meant. Everything would be okay from now on.