Nick was sitting on the couch of their tourbus with a sports magazine that evening on the way to the hotel when Brian came and sat next to him, a paperback book in one of his hands. Nick looked up and received a nod from his friend.
"Good show yesterday," Brian complimented.
Nick nodded back. "Same to you," he said dully. Ever since he had seen Kayla and Derek flirting with each other like that, it had just brought him down. During the show, he had actually managed to forget about it, but as soon as they got back to the bus and went into their bunks for the night...he hadn't been able to think of anything else.
Brian chuckled. "You know, I thought our solos were gonna be a disaster, but they actually turned out okay."
Nick smirked wryly. "Speak for yourself. Did you hear me crack on that higher part of mine?"
"It's okay, Nicky, you're a growing boy," Brian said in a fatherly tone, clapping his friend on the shoulder.
Nick rolled his eyes sourly and went back to his magazine.
"Just kidding. You sounded fine," Brian said.
Nick just shrugged, not bothering to look up at him.
Brian furrowed an eyebrow. "You look like something's on your mind," he observed. "What's up?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all," Nick murmured.
"Come on, what is it?" Brian persisted. Then something dawned on him, and he smiled. "Oh, wait, I know."
Nick looked up at him slowly. "You do?"
Brian nodded. "It's because Kayla was all touchy-feely with you during our song last night, isn't it?"
Nick shook his head. "Of course not."
"Liar," Brian pretended to cough.
Nick sighed. "Okay, fine. You're close. It's about Kayla, but it doesn't have to do with the duet."
Nick made a face. "I think she likes another guy," he said.
Brian frowned. "Who?"
"One of her dancers," Nick mumbled, looking back at his magazine again. Just saying it out loud made it feel even worse.
Brian's face lit up with recognition. "Ohhh...you're talking about Derek, aren't you?"
Nick looked up at him in surprise and nodded. "Yeah, I am. How'd you know that?"
"She was just telling me about him the other day."
Nick's eyes widened. "What did she say?" he asked quickly, shutting his magazine and tossing it aside.
"For one thing, she said he's one of the biggest flirts she's ever met."
"And?" Nick probed.
"And she thinks he's a really nice guy," Brian said carefully.
"So does she like him or what?!" Nick demanded in frustration.
"Whoa, calm down there. No, I don't think she really has serious feelings for him or anything."
Nick breathed a sigh of relief.
Nick looked up. "But what?"
"She does think that he's really hot," Brian said reluctantly.
"Oh, that's all? Well, so does everyone."
Brian raised an eyebrow. "What? You think so too, Frack?"
Nick laughed. "No, no, I just caught Lisa staring at him the other day."
"Oh," Brian understood. He chuckled. "Lisa was staring at him too?"
Nick nodded. "Yep. So anyway, I'm not worried about her liking him because he's like...I don't know, a universal crush. Not really serious," Nick said.
Brian sighed. "Frack..."
"Why don't you just ask her out?" he asked in frustration. "I can just tell it's going to get really complicated if you keep on like this."
"I can't," Nick mumbled.
"Why?" Brian said. "It's not like she would turn you down! Do you honestly think she would do that?"
"Of course she wouldn't. But you know why? Because I'm a Backstreet Boy and rich and famous," Nick retorted.
"Yes, it is."
"You've known her for two months now. She doesn't see you that way anymore."
"Maybe not, but it's the only reason why she would say yes either way. I don't want it to be like that. All of my so-called 'relationships' have been like that. And for awhile, yeah, it was fun. Dating three different girls in three weeks...it was fun shit. But this time, I don't want it to be like that."
"Nick, it doesn't have to—"
"You know what? This is stupid," Nick decided, getting to his feet. "You don't understand and you're not going to."
"Just forget it," Nick muttered as he walked away and got into his bunk, leaving Brian to sigh and put his head in his hands.