"Hey, guys," Katie Richardson said as she plopped down on the tour bus couch between Nick Carter and her older brother Kevin Richardson.
"Well, good morning, sleepyhead," her cousin Brian Littrell replied from across the room. "How late did you stay up till last night?"
She shrugged. "Same time as you guys did."
"We Richardsons like our sleep," Kevin explained, wrapping an arm around his little sister's shoulders. "Isn't that right?"
Katie nodded and grabbed the can of soda from his free hand. "We also like our Sprite," she explained, taking a swig.
"Hey, give me that!" Kevin ordered, grabbing it back as she was drinking from it and almost making her choke.
"Children, children," A.J. McLean chided as he and Howie Dorough walked into the room.
Katie made a face. "How far is it to...where are we going today?" she asked.
"We're going to Oklahoma City, and it'll be another hour," Kevin replied.
She groaned. "I hate driving."
"Better get used to it if you wanna be in this business," Nick muttered.
"You can say that again," Howie replied. "But when I started out, I was--"
"Just like me, and blah, blah, blah," Katie finished for him.
Howie was going to say something but his cell phone rang. "If you'll excuse me," he said coldly, walking out of the room and taking the call.
A.J. laughed. "Yeah, I'm sure that Howie had a real good comeback that he's been waiting for a few years to use. Isn't that right, D?" A.J. shouted, looking down the narrow hall between the bunks after Howie. He saw the reaction that his friend gave him and raised his eyebrows. "Guys, I think that may be the first time that Howard Dwaine Dorough has ever flicked someone off."
"No, you don't count, A.J.," Brian replied, laughing.
"Whatever do you mean, B-Rok?"
"Gee I wonder."
"Hey, Katie, you don't have a boyfriend, do you?" Nick asked all of a sudden.
"Where did in the world did that come from?" Katie laughed.
"Sorry, Kev just reminded me that I have this friend in Oklahoma City, and he thinks you're hot, and I owe him a favor..."
"Uhm, Katie, I don't think that you want to go out with one of Nick's friends," A.J. intervened.
"Why's that?" Katie asked.
"Remember the last guy he set you up with? I think his name was Steve?" A.J. reminded her.
"Oh yeah," she recalled. She turned to Nick. "Never mind, Nick."
"Come on, Katie, please," Nick begged. "Steve was..." He paused, trying to think of the right word.
"A dickhead," she supplied for him.
"Don't say that," Kevin said, hitting the back of her head. She hit him right back on the arm.
"Okay, so Steve was worse than average, but Ben is different," Nick persisted. "Come on, Kev, you can vouch for me on this one."
Kevin shrugged. "Ben's a nice guy...but I don't know if he's your type, Katie," he said hesitantly.
"What the hell do you know about my type?" Katie returned.
"Watch your language," Kevin reprimanded.
"Cut the girl a damn break, Train," Brian groaned.
"Thank you, Brian," Katie said with an angelic smile. "And about this Ben guy--what does he look like?"
"A little shorter than me, brown hair, brown eyes," Nick said.
"Ooh, brown eyes, I love brown eyes in a man. I'll do it--or him, I should say," she replied. "Kevin, I was just kidding!" she added before he could reply.
"I wasn't gonna say anything!" Kevin protested.
"My ass you weren't," Katie murmured.
Kevin pouted. "I'm kidding, Kevvy, I love you," she cooed, hugging him. He took this opportunity to mess up her hair. She wriggled away and hit him over the head with a pillow, laughing the whole time. He got to his feet and so did she.
"You're dead, Richardson!" he murmured, starting towards her.
Katie giggled and started to run away but was stopped when she collided with Howie. She yelped as Kevin grabbed her around the waist and started to tickle her.
"K-Kevvy, stop!" she gasped. "You know how t-ticklish I am!"
He finally released her and grinned triumphantly.
"Oh, shut up!" Katie said.
He laughed. "I didn't say anything!" he reminded her.
"Yeah, but I know what you're thinking, big brother!" She went to sit back down on the couch, but Kevin beat her to it. "Keeeev!" she moaned.
"You can sit on me, Katie," A.J. offered. "Wow, that came out wrong."
"You have a sick mind, Bone," Katie informed him.
"Tell me something I don't know," Brian muttered.
Everyone laughed, and A.J. pretended to be embarrassed.
"So what have I got lined up for today?" Katie asked Howie, who was looking at the schedule.
"You have...one interview with us, one by yourself, and then the show tonight," Howie told her.
"Hooray," Katie remarked dryly.
"Hooray is right," A.J. said. "You're--"
"Lucky to be in this position and blah, blah, blah," Katie finished for him.
A.J. raised an eyebrow. "Might I remind you that it would be very easy for me to pull a Kevin and tickle you?"
"I take it back!"
A.J. smirked. "See, Howie, that's how you gotta do it!"