I used to tell myself,
Now matter how bad things were,
That there was always tomorrow.
That you'd stop loving her.
Kayla stopped writing in the spiral notebook for a moment, her brow creased in concentration, as she grasped for more words. It was two days after she had gotten the call from Rick, and she was finally sitting down and writing out her ideas for her new song. So far she had gotten the title and the lyrics to the chorus written to the fragments of a tune she had in her head. Now she was starting on the verses.
The curtain to her bunk started to ruffle, and a moment later, a goofy face appeared in the corner.
"Stop it, Derek, I'm trying to work," Kayla murmured without even looking up.
"Aw...you're no fun," he complained.
"I'm working," she repeated.
He raised his eyebrows. "Is everything okay?"
"Just fine," Kayla said, giving him a sugary-sweet smile.
"Okay, later then," Derek replied, taking the hint and leaving her alone again.
The curtain closed once more. Kayla adjusted the flashlight she was using and focused on her song lyrics again. One more stanza for the first verse...
Her cell phone rang. Rolling her eyes, she answered it. "Hello?"
"Hi, honey," her mother replied. "Bad time?"
"Yeah, kinda," Kayla said.
"Okay. Well, I just need to make sure that I'm buying these plane tickets for the fourth of—"
"I bought them, Mom," Kayla interrupted impatiently.
"Oh, you did? Honey, it's for your birthday. You know your father and I would pay for them."
"It's okay. I got a really good discount because of the guys," Kayla explained.
"Why don't we pay you back?"
"It's fine, Mom," Kayla insisted through clenched teeth.
"Okay, I guess," her mother agreed unsurely.
"I have to go, Mom...I have a deadline."
"Okay. Call when you can."
"I will," Kayla promised, trying not to explode.
"Love you too, Mom. Bye."
Kayla quickly hung up the phone, holding it very, very tightly. Taking a deep breath, she shut her eyes and, with some effort, set it down gently. She ran a hand through her hair and sighed before opening her eyes and once again concentrating on her song.
Just a few minutes later, Kayla was getting some good ideas when the bus came to a stop and people started to get off. Kayla raised her eyebrows and peeked outside.
"We're at the hotel already?" she asked Derek.
"Already? It's been an hour, silly," he said, tapping her on the head.
Ignoring him, she gathered up her stuff and followed her dancers off of the bus. As usual, they had beaten the other buses by a few minutes, so they were the only ones walking into the hotel. Lanie fell into step beside Kayla.
"Hey. Are you okay? Derek said you were really stressed," Lanie said with concern.
Kayla smiled wryly. "Does he ever keep anything to himself?" she wondered.
Lanie grinned. "No, that's why the attempt to keep his relationship on the DL just went straight to hell."
Kayla laughed. "Good point."
"So...are you okay, or what?"
"Well, he's right, I am stressed, but I'll be okay."
"What exactly is wrong?"
"It's two things, mainly. My birthday and this song I'm trying to write. Fucking record label," she muttered good-naturedly.
Lanie smiled. "Well, don't let it get blown out of proportion," she advised.
"Why does everyone tell me that?" Kayla asked, laughing.
"Because that's what you do," Lanie replied. "No, you're not that bad...but all people tend to do that, and it's easy to let it happen."
Kayla nodded as they entered the lobby. "I'll try not to. Are we going to dinner now?"
"Yeah," Lanie said. "While they check us in."
"Great. I'm starving!"
"I'm not. We raided your refrigerator."
She giggled. "Just kidding."
"Haha," Kayla said sardonically. "Are the guys eating with us?"
"Yeah. Why? Do you miss your Nicky?" Lanie teased.
"My Nicky?" Kayla echoed, confused.
"Yeah. Don't you have a thing for him?"
Kayla smiled. "No, who told you that?"
"Oh, I don't remember...it was probably Derek," Lanie assumed.
Kayla shook her head. "Well, you should know by now that he's an unreliable source," she said.
Both girls laughed. "How could I forget?" Lanie asked rhetorically as they walked into the dining room.
One full meal later, Kayla and Nick were laughing at one of A.J. and Howie's stories as they sat at a table with all of the guys and a few other people. No one noticed Johnny, the tour manager, walk into the room talking on his cell phone, his shoulder tense and his free hand holding a piece of paper tightly.
"So then..." Howie was gasping through laughter. "I told A.J...."
"Can I have everyone's attention for just a minute?" Johnny interrupted loudly as he hung up his phone. "I have an announcement."
Kayla was still laughing. Nick pushed her and put an urgent finger to his lips. She tried desperately not to laugh even harder.
"Due to a number of things and a bunch of hell that some people in charge of the venues have been raising, I'm going to have to change the upcoming schedule from about a week from now until I think the second week of March."
Kayla froze. The beginning of March? Oh no...
"Everything has just been screwed up royally. I have a tentative schedule here, if anyone wants to see it."
Nick had his eyes on Kayla, and his heart had probably sunk just as low as hers when the announcement had been made. If this messed up her plans that she had worked so hard on...
"Johnny, over here," Nick called, beckoning towards himself. He turned to his friend. "Kayla, don't worry about it. It might not even affect what you have planned."
"With my luck? Yeah, right," she said sourly.
"Thanks, man," Nick said as Johnny handed him the new schedule. "When are they coming?" Nick asked her.
"The fourth. They're supposed to come to Baltimore," she said, dreading his response.
The disappointed look on his face told her all she needed to know.
"Damn it," she murmured, obviously upset. "Where is it now?"
"It's in Seattle," Nick said slowly.
"It's in Seattle?! Oh, great. Just great!" she snapped.
"Okay, okay, don't worry," Nick soothed, putting an arm around her as Johnny handed the schedule to Brian, who also wanted to see it.
"This ruins everything," Kayla said softly.
"It's okay. They can still come."
"We bought the tickets," Kayla reminded him.
"We can change them. In fact, you don't even have to worry about it. Just call your parents and tell them what happened, and I'll fix the tickets for you," Nick offered.
Kayla sighed, feeling a little better. "Okay."
Nick smiled and gave her a squeeze before pulling his arm away. "Do I need to give you another massage?"
"You call that a massage?" she teased, smiling back.
"Hey, Kayla, look. Now your recording session is pushed back a day. It's on the fourth," Brian chimed in, studying the piece of paper.
"Whoopee. One day later," Kayla said.
"Hey, one day can do a lot," Nick said. "Every second counts. Just be glad it wasn't one day earlier."
Kayla shook her head. "You're too optimistic sometimes, you know that?"
"Oh, yeah, right. Brian is way worse than I am," Nick said scornfully.
"Yep, that's me," Brian said, proudly. "They call me a cock-eyed optimist!" he sang at the top of his lungs, making Kayla burst out laughing.
"God save us," A.J. murmured, putting his head in his hands.
Kayla laughed even harder at that and at Brian's resulting pout. "It's okay, B-Rok...I think you have a nice voice," she reassured him.
"Ugh, I don't!" Nick said.
"Shut up, whiny," Brian retorted.
"I don't whine," Nick muttered.
Kayla smiled and put a hand on his back. "There, there. I know the truth hurts."
Nick held back a grin and managed to glare at her. "Screw you, Miss...Miss..."
"Oh my God, even Nick has to be able to think of an insult for Kayla," Brian commented.
"Ouch," Kayla replied.
"I think he just got both of us," Nick added. "Well, we don't have to waste our time on this. You wanna get out of here, Kayla? They told me this place has a game room."
She laughed. "Okay, sure, if you let me win a couple of times."
"Deal," Nick agreed. He grinned at her and stood up. "Let's go."