Kayla let out a sigh as she lay in bed the next morning before her alarm went off. She really wasn't feeling too good about the whole situation. Sure, Nick had made her feel better by helping her with the purging of emotions...but instead of having the catharsis effect, it just left her with the same feeling as before, minus a little of the intensity. She still wasn't going to be able to get involved with the album as much as she'd wanted to. Her parents and sister still weren't coming up for her birthday. And, of course, she still had to finish writing that song before the fourth of March.
Kayla rolled over and buried her face in her pillow. All she had to do was finish up her song and get the album out, and that uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach would go away.
That or it would just be there because of something else.
"You know, you guys really didn't have to do this," Kayla said to the Boys and Leighanne as they sat in the back of a limo. It was finally her birthday, and they were taking her out to dinner.
"Awww, sure we did. It's your eighteenth birthday," Brian said.
"Now you can vote," Howie pointed out.
Nick smiled. "There's a scary thought."
"And get tattoos," A.J. added.
"There's an even scarier one," said Nick.
Kayla smiled. "If you think I will ever get a tattoo..." She shivered. "Needles."
"No, but seriously...I mean, since the thing with your family didn't work out..." Brian said.
"Instead you get the Backstreet family," Kevin finished with a cheesy grin.
"Ugh, talk about dysfunctional," Kayla joked.
"You can say that again," Leighanne agreed, pushing away Brian's hands as he tried to tickle her.
"But that's why you love us, right, Kayla?" Nick reasoned.
"Who said I love you? I just sing a duet with you and get lots of benefits," she said with a smirk.
"Like free food on your birthday?"
"So have you gotten anything so far?" Howie asked.
She smiled wryly. "Not even a phone call."
"Well, you haven't been around your phone all day," Nick pointed out.
"No messages on my voice mail either," she added.
"It's only eight o'clock...there's still time," Nick insisted.
"I guess," she said. She didn't sound too sure.
The limo stopped.
"Oh, we're here," Nick said as the chauffeur got out and walked around to open the door.
"Thanks, Nick, none of us would have ever known," Kayla replied as everyone laughed. They got out of the limo one at a time. Nick was going to get out but smiled and let Kayla go in front of him like the perfect gentleman.
"Are you sure it's open? It looks like all of the lights are out," Kayla said dubiously when everyone was out of the limo, smoothing down the black dress she was wearing.
"It's open. We called," Nick said. "We have a reservation."
"Jeez, come on, I'll show you," Nick said, going up to the door. He pulled it open. "See? Come on."
"Okay, okay," Kayla said as he held the door for her and she walked inside.
"Maybe I should get the lights," Nick decided as Leighanne and the rest of the guys walked in behind them. He flipped the switch.
"SURPRISE!" everyone yelled as confetti was thrown in Kayla's face.
She just stood there and blinked for a moment, stunned by the reception. Everyone in the restaurant laughed at her reaction.
"Oh my," she finally said. "You're all here..."
That got another laugh. People started to get up to come hug her. Kayla was greeted by tons of friends and relatives, including...
"Emily!" she cried as the little girl ran into her arms. She picked her up and kissed her.
"Surprise!" Emily shouted happily.
Kayla giggled, hugging the little girl tightly. When she looked up, she saw her parents. "Dad, Mom! You guys made it!" she exclaimed as she put Emily back down.
"Happy birthday," her father said, giving her a hug and a kiss.
"Happy birthday, honey," her mother repeated, doing the same.
"How did you guys manage to come? I thought..."
"I know, we couldn't. But we heard how upset you were, and we figured that if we both left right after work, we could make it in time for a party," her mother explained.
"Wait. How did you hear? Who organized this?"
"The guys," her father said, smiling.
Kayla turned around to face them. "Guys!" she exclaimed, grinning.
"It was really just Nick," Brian corrected. "We helped a little. So did your parents."
Kayla looked at Nick, a smile spreading across her lips. "You did this?"
He looked a little embarrassed. "Basically..."
"Were you planning it all along, or..."
"No." He shook his head. "I saw how upset you were and I had to do something, so I called your parents and we worked this out," he explained. "Were you surprised?"
"Oh my God, yeah, I wasn't expecting this at all," Kayla said. "Did you not see the look on my face?"
Nick grinned. "I don't know, the confetti blinded me a little."
Smiling, she wrapped her arms around his neck. "Thank you," she whispered.
Aware that people were watching, Nick resisted the urge to close his eyes and smell her hair. "You're welcome," he said simply. By the way, it's because I'm in love with you, he added inside his head. He wanted to tell her so badly. No, wait. He didn't want to tell her. He wanted her to know, and he wanted her to return the feelings.
Kayla pulled away from him and gave him another smile. "So do we still get to eat dinner or what?"
"Of course you do. How could a party that I plan not have food involved?" Nick pointed out with a smirk.
Kayla laughed. "Come on...eat with me," she said, taking his hand and starting to pull him.
"No, you see me everyday. Eat with other people," Nick suggested.
Kayla shrugged. "Okay." She let go of him and looked over at the other side of the restaurant, where a dance floor had been cleared out and a DJ was setting up. "Just save me a dance for later, okay?"
Nick smiled. How convenient. She was playing right into his hands. "I'll do that," he promised.