"Guys, when is she gonna get here?" Nick Carter whined. He was standing with the other Boys in front of gate 30A of the Orlando Airport. They were waiting for their new opening act to arrive.
A.J. McLean smirked. "You're that anxious to meet her, Nick?"
"No, I'm hungry, and we're getting lunch after we pick her up," he explained.
"Relax, she should be here any minute," Kevin Richardson replied.
"What's her name again?" Brian Littrell wondered.
"Skyler. Skyler Owen, I think," Howie answered.
Just then people started to spill out of the jetway, and the boys were quiet as they searched for Skyler's face.
"Where the hell is she?" Nick muttered after a moment.
"Patience, Nick," Brian said, obviously amused at the way his best friend was acting.
Nick grumbled something unintelligible under his breath in response.
Just as the last people were leaving, the guys heard bright, cheerful laughter, and a teenage girl and a businessman in his late twenties appeared. The girl looked about nineteen or twenty, and she had blue eyes and long blonde hair. As the guys watched, she waved goodbye to the businessman, who was wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. "Give me a call sometime!" she encouraged as he walked away.
"I will. Bye! Nice meeting you!" the man called over his shoulder as he kept walking.
"You too! Bye!" Skyler echoed.
The Boys exchanged a look. "Skyler?" Howie asked hesitantly.
Skyler's eyes widened, and she turned to see who had called her, even though she obviously recognized the voice. She swallowed hard when she saw the Backstreet Boys standing right there. Skyler told herself to be as calm as possible as they walked up to her.
"Hi, I'm Kevin Richardson," Kevin immediately said to her extending his hand.
"I know," Skyler replied, shaking it with wide eyes. "I'm Skyler Owen."
"We know," Kevin returned, grinning.
"I'm Brian Littrell," Brian said, smiling warmly at her and shaking hands with her. The other Boys also proceeded to introduce themselves and shake her hand.
Skyler thought she would die when Nick's hand touched hers, and she deeply regretted having to ever let go of it.
"Now, can we go to lunch?" Nick asked eagerly after all of the necessary introductions had taken place.
"After baggage claim," Kevin said.
"Baggage claim?!" Nick echoed. He turned to Skyler. "How much stuff did you bring?" he asked, looking at the two duffel bags that she was carrying.
"Enough for four weeks," Skyler replied. "Oh, you don't have to..." she said as Kevin and Howie each took one of her bags.
Howie shrugged. "It's no problem."
"Okay, can we please go now?" Nick begged.
"Hungry?" Skyler assumed.
Nick nodded vehemently.
Skyler smiled and unzipped the back pocket of the bag Kevin was carrying. She retrieved a bag of Ruffles and tossed it to Nick. "Voila."
He grinned and eagerly ripped it open. "You are a lifesaver."
"I know, I know," Skyler joked modestly.
A.J. chuckled and swung an arm around her neck. "So, you excited?"
"Considering that this is basically my dream come true...yeah, you could say that."
"So are we," A.J. agreed. "I heard your demo tape, and...damn, girl!"
Skyler blushed. "Thanks so much," she said, looking at the floor.
"You're welcome," A.J. said casually.
"No, you don't understand. You five guys have been my idols for three years now," Skyler explained.
Brian laughed. "How could you idolize us? I mean, we've got Howie and Kevin...I guess they're relatively normal, except for the fact that their bunks are always spotless, which is just unnatural. Then we have A.J. Just take a look at him and you'll see what I'm saying," Brian said, indicating A.J.'s numerous tattoos and leopard cowboy hat. "We've got me, the Jim Carrey wannabe," Brian continued. "And then...there's Nick," he concluded, nodding towards his friend, who was rapidly consuming the bag of Ruffles he had been given.
Skyler smiled. "I think it's cute," she said, her eyes fixed on Nick.
"Yeah, well, you'll be singing a different tune when you're trying to eat at the same time," Brian predicted, making a disgusted face.
Skyler smiled and shrugged. "Maybe. So...what exactly is happening today?" she wondered.
"Yes, tell us, oh wise one," A.J. begged, turning towards Brian.
"You're going to meet some of the crew and your on-the-road vocal coach, and then later we're stopping by the airport again to pick up your manager and your dancers, I think. Then tomorrow we go to Stockholm to record," Brian said.
"See? The man is a walking calendar," A.J. told Skyler.
She giggled and shook her head. These guys were adorable.
"So wait, you're nineteen, right? Or are you twenty?" Howie asked.
"No, I'm nineteen."
"D wants to know if he can date you," A.J. smirked. "Do you have a boyfriend? Just out of curiosity."
Skyler shook her head. "No, I'm very single. How about all of you?"
"Girlfriend," A.J. said.
"Girlfriend," Kevin echoed.
"Single," Howie confessed.
"Single," Brian echoed.
"Girlfriend," Nick reported through potato chips.
Skyler's heart sank when she heard Nick say that, but she kept a smile on her face. "Oh..."
"What?" Brian asked.
"Nothing...it's just that the big rumor was that Nick and his girlfriend had broken up," she related, careful not to let her voice express the disappointment she was feeling.
"We did," Nick confirmed. "We got back together a couple of days ago."
"Oh." Skyler felt a surge of hope when she heard that. If they broke up before, maybe
they'll break up again, she thought. Then I can...no, I'm being a bitch, she told herself, frowning.
I should be happy for them. No matter how much I want Nick. But as her eyes wandered back to
rest on his face, she couldn't help but wish that someday, he would be hers.