"I sucked!" Kayla complained to Linz and Sara the next day at school.
Sara laughed. "I'm sure you didn't suck."
"Oh, yes I did," Kayla replied cheerfully.
"What makes you think that?" Linz asked.
"Maybe the fact that I cracked on a high note and missed two lyrics on the first song," she returned.
"Ooh," Sara said sarcastically. "Big deal."
"It is a big deal!"
"What about the second song?" Linz wondered sensibly.
"I did okay on that one. I just know that I could have done so much better, though," she sighed.
"Kayla, I'm sure you're just being overcritical, as always," Linz reasoned.
"Am I really overcritical?" Kayla asked with a frown.
"Yes!" Linz and Sara answered in unison.
Kayla sighed. "Well...I don't know...I might have done okay, I guess, but...that doesn't mean that I have a chance at getting the job. Someone who did a perfect job is probably going to get it," she said sadly.
Linz and Sara exchanged a look. "Kayla—"
"Here's my class. See you guys later," Kayla said quickly, hurrying into her classroom.
"I wonder when the results of the auditions will be announced," Kayla mused a week later as she and Linz walked into Kayla's house one Sunday afternoon. "Not that I think I made it or anything, but I'm wondering who did," she finished quickly.
Linz shrugged. "Beats me. So anyway, you know that new guy?"
Kayla shook her head. "Don't think so. What's his name?"
"Oh, yeah, him. He's really hot!" Kayla commented.
Linz nodded. "Yeah...he asked me out today."
"All right!" Kayla said, holding out her hand for Linz to slap. "So where is he taking you?"
Linz shrugged. "The movies, I think. I'm not sure. But you know what? It really doesn't matter."
Kayla laughed. "Yeah, I know how you feel. When Scott..." She trailed off and looked like she was going to throw up for a moment.
"Kayla..." Linz bit her lip. "Just forget about him, okay? He's a prick."
"I know, I know, and believe me, he's the last thing on my mind right now," Kayla assured her. "You just reminded me of...never mind."
"Riiiight," Linz said, grinning.
"Shut up," Kayla shot back.
"So anyway, who's coming over here tonight?" Linz asked suggestively.
Kayla grinned slyly. "Kevin. As always. Did you really have to ask?"
Linz shook her head. "Nahhh..."
Just then the phone rang, and Kayla reached over to answer it. She checked the caller ID and saw that it was a blocked number.
"Who is it?" Linz wondered.
Kayla shrugged and pressed 'talk.' "Hello?"
"Hi..." a strangely familiar voice answered hesitantly. "Can I speak to Kayla Prescott?"
"This is Kayla speaking," Kayla replied. "Who's this?"
"This is, uhm...this is Brian Littrell."
Kayla's heart stopped for a second before she realized what he had said and laughed at her stupidity. "No, seriously, who's this?"
"I'm being serious. This is Brian Thomas Littrell, born on February 20, 1975, brown hair, blue eyes, good smile, nice body...need more proof?"
"That'd be nice," Kayla said sarcastically.
She could hear the man—whoever he was—clear his throat before starting to sing softly.
"Looking back on the things I've done
I was trying to be someone
Played my part, and kept you in the dark
Now let me show you the shape of my heart."
Kayla's eyes widened as she heard the man sing. There was only one person on this planet who could sing like that.
"Believe me now?" Brian asked playfully, hearing her surprised silence.
"Y-Yeah," Kayla stammered, her heart pounding so fast she thought it would explode.
'What's wrong?' Linz mouthed to Kayla, grabbing her arm. She just shook her head, pulling her arm away.
"Listen, I'm calling to relay some really good news," Brian went on. "You know how about a week ago, you auditioned for the duet with me and the other guys?"
"Y-Yeah," Kayla said again.
"You got it, girl!" Brian said excitedly.
Kayla was literally speechless. All she could do was let out a muffled squeak.
Brian laughed at her reaction. "Listen, I can't talk now because we have an interview, so—hey, Kev, say hi to Kayla," Brian called suddenly, interrupting himself.
Kayla thought she would faint dead away as she heard, "Hey, Kayla! Congrats!" in the background from none other than Kevin Scott Richardson.
"Anyway, can I call you back to work out the details in two hours? Will your parents be home?" Brian asked calmly.
Kayla nodded for a moment before she realized that he couldn't see her. "Yeah, they'll be home."
"All right. I'll talk to y'all then. And great job at the audition, by the way. When we combined your voice with ours on 'For The Rest Of My Life,' it was amazing."
"Th-Thank you," Kayla murmured.
"Welcome. Bye, bye, bye!"
The muscles in Kayla's face were too stiff to let her crack a smile, let alone laugh. "Bye," she echoed, waiting until she heard the click on the other end of the line to hang up. She stared at the telephone in amazement for a second before she slowly turned up to face Linz, who was eying her with extreme curiosity.
Then Kayla's baffled expression melted slowly into a smile, a bigger smile than Linz had ever seen on her friend's face. "I GOT THE JOB!!!!!!!" she shrieked.
The next thing she knew, Linz was hugging her tightly and jumping up and down, and both of them were screaming at the top of their lungs and laughing, though Kayla felt tears running down her cheeks. It was quite awhile before Kayla regained control of herself. "My mom, I have to tell my mom," she murmured mindlessly, grabbing for the phone. Kayla quickly dialed a number, and her mother picked up her cell phone.
"Mom, GUESS WHAT?!" Kayla cried.
"What? What is it?" Mrs. Prescott asked, sounding worried.
"I got the part! I'M DOING A DUET WITH THE BACKSTREET BOYS!" Kayla shouted.
Mrs. Prescott gasped. "Are you joking?"
"No! Brian Littrell just called me and told me that I GOT IT!" she screamed.
Mrs. Prescott let out a whoop of joy. "That's incredible! Congratulations, sweetie!"
"Thanks, Mom!" Kayla replied, laughing out of happiness.
"I'm on my way home right now," Mrs. Prescott promised. "Oh my gosh, my little girl is going to be famous!"
Kayla let out another happy giggle. "I know, I can't believe it! I'll see you soon, Mom. I love you!"
"Love you too. Bye."
"Bye!" Kayla said before hanging up the phone. She turned to Linz. "I have to call my dad, and my grandmothers, and Sara, and my cousins, and...OH MY GOD! I'M GOING TO MEET THE BACKSTREET BOYS!" she suddenly yelled out again, almost in hysterics.
"Whoa, Kayla, calm down," Linz said, laughing. "Take some deep breaths."
Trembling, Kayla quieted down and tried to do what her friend was telling her to do. She inhaled deeply and let out a shaky breath.
"Now...who do you have to call? Let's make a list and tell them, all right?" Linz suggested. "Otherwise you're going to go crazy!"
Kayla smiled and, still shaking, reached for a pen and paper. "All right. My dad...Sara..." She started to write down names. Soon she had practically the whole paper full.
"Okay, I think that's enough for now," Linz said, seeing the number of names scribbled down.
When Kayla looked up at her best friend, there were tears in her eyes. "Linz, do you realize what this means? This is my dream. My dream is coming true."
Linz grinned. "I know. Isn't it incredible?"
Kayla put a shaky hand to her mouth as she started to cry. "Linz..." she whispered.
Linz smiled and hugged her best friend. "It's okay, Kayla," she said. "You big baby," she added with a grin.
Kayla laughed as she wiped away tears. "I'm sorry. I just—"
"I know," Linz said. She picked up the phone and handed it to Kayla. "Now, get started on that list of yours or you're
going to be up all night."
Lyrics from "Shape Of My Heart" by Backstreet Boys
From Black & Blue
Words and Music by Max Martin, Rami, and Lisa Miskovsky