Bianca had a genuine smile on her face the moment we stepped into the Four Seasons hotel where the Backstreet Boys were staying. Apart from the fact that Marianne was late and missed lunch with the Backstreet Boys, it was a great day. I had the suspicion that she purposely skipped lunch just so I could have alone time with Bianca and not have her feel like a third wheel as always.
She had her reservations at first, she wasn’t a fan although a little bit of Marianne’s influence had rubbed off on her. Like how the other night I caught her humming to I Want It That Way and the fact that I saw the Millennium album in her collection of CDs.
“Remind me to thank Marianne later.”She had whispered to me in the middle of lunch. “This is the best chocolate pudding I’ve ever had.”
“And you didn’t even like chocolate.”I teased.
“Not this one, I don’t.”She had beamed as she took another mouthful. She seemed to get along with the guys as well as their partners. There was Brian’s wife Leighanne whom she hit it off instantly with and Mandy, Nick’s girlfriend. I was informed by Kevin that we would meet his wife and AJ’s fiancee later since they were out shopping. From what I learned, Howie wasn’t seeing anyone at the moment.
I couldn’t let my guard down entirely though. Somehow in the back of my mind, I knew I was there to understand the life Nick Carter was living. The fact that I caught the strain on his face when he entered the VIP section of the restaurant got me troubled. It was there for a mere second though, before the smile was back on his face. He seemed to be completely at ease in the company of his girlfriend though.
Mandy was nice. I guess they had finally worked things out, just like Bianca and I did. And I doubt it was any of the guys who had put that strain on his face. It got me anxious to the point where I was itching to pull him to the side and grill everything out from him. I bet he got another phone call from his uncle.
“I’m sorry if I sound blunt, but you look awfully familiar Bianca.”Nick said as he accompanied us back to our room. It made me feel a little bit out of place, having someone as famous as Nick Carter to walk us back to our room. Prior to this visit, I had always been in the company of Nick Carter the nineteen year old young man, but in that hotel itself, I was constantly reminded of who he was. One fifth of the famous Backstreet Boys.
There was security within ten steps from them. Often, their lunch would be interrupted by some men in nice suits, informing them of changes in their schedules. They had the head chef to come over and take their orders and had their own waiters and waitress to serve them. They didn’t seem to be bothered by them though. AJ even asked if he could have a simple cheeseburger for lunch.
“Yeah. Felt like we’ve met before.”
“Careful there Nick, you’re beginning to sound like a bad pick up line.”I joked.
Nick laughed and shook his head. “Damn it, I’ll come back with a better line then.”
Bianca slapped his arm playfully and giggled. “I can see why Marianne thinks you’re adorable.”
“She’s right you know.”Nick said.
“Anyway, to answer your question Nick, no, I don’t think we’ve met. Besides, I don’t think I’d forget ever running into a celebrity.”Bianca said.
Nick shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so. Anyway, I’ve got to start packing my stuff and head for soundcheck. Jason will come pick you guys up for the show. Oh, if Marianne is planning on missing the show, tell her I’ll have the concert stop just so I can go over and give her a piece of my mind.”
“She wouldn’t miss it for the world.”I assured him.
“Good to know.”Nick smiled. “Nice to finally meet you Bianca. I hope you enjoy the show.”
“I’m sure I will.”Bianca beamed.
“Oh Nick, can I talk to you for a sec?”I asked after Bianca entered the room. [okay so we got a suite].
“Yeah sure.”I closed the door behind us and only with his bodyguard standing far enough not to be within ear shot, I decided to ask him point blank.
“Have you been getting the calls since last I saw you?”
He bit his lip, we lost eye contact when he started fidgeting. “You understand that I need to know this, right?”
“Are you gonna tell Jim about this?”
“No I’m not. But Nick, if it gets out of hand, you know I have to, right?”
“It won’t get out of hand, I promise. He's my uncle, I know him.”
“You also know that uncles don’t go around threatening their nephews.”He went silent and I almost lost him then. I learned that Nick hardly ever got frustrated but when he did, it would be difficult to have him open up to you again. “Look Nick, I’m glad you told me this. I promise nobody else has to know as long as you work with me okay? I need to know if he’s been calling you again.”
Finally, he nodded. That was all I needed to know.
The crowd was excellent, the best yet since we started the leg. Even Mandy was bold enough to be in the VIP section, cheering us on even when eyes were glaring at her. I was a little down during sound check, the conversation I had with John still troubling me. I wondered if it was a good decision to tell him in the first place. I knew he was going to be all up in my face now, just like he did earlier.
What irked me most was the fact that he sensed I was troubled even when I tried damn hard to put on a smile. If my doctor could see the cracks, only time would tell when Kevin and the rest of the guys would be up in my face next. Mandy was different though, she knew he was harassing me but asked no questions, just go along with what I felt right. She made it all seem so simple.
After the show we were given an hour to ourselves while the crew took charge to get everything on the move to the next venue. I took that chance to play host again to my guests. I hardly had anyone fly over for the shows, the only one who had been with me was my girlfriend therefore the change was great. I decided to invite them into my tour bus since we were only waiting for the green light to start moving.
Bianca was very interested in the special effects we had on the show and Mandy was seasoned enough to fill her in on that. Johnathan wasn’t as vocal throughout the whole thing, he was doing one of his doctor traits again, just observing me and offered very little. I don’t think he knew that I noticed this though. He was pretending to be amused at how Marianne and I just kept on bantering on each other about useless information.
“Okay, use your finger to write the number eight,”I said. Marianne hardly questions my intentions, she would do it in a heartbeat and it made me feel good. It’s little things like that, the trust and faith someone puts in you without doubts, that made me feel important.
“Like this?”She asked as she fingered the invisible number in front of her. I nodded. “Right. Now, while you’re doing that, with your right leg, try making out the shape of a circle, in a clockwise direction.”
She did it in a heartbeat and broke into a fit of laughter when she realised she couldn’t do both at the same time. It was infectious and I found myself in a fit of laughter of my own. I was about to gain control of myself when I caught Johnathan failing miserably to attempt the same feat. Another fit of laughter engulfed the bus, Marianne calling him a goof ball in between gasping for air.
“Hey, wanna know something else that’s fun?”Mandy asked all of a sudden, her eyes full of excitement.
“Do tell.”Bianca said after failing terribly to make Johnathan give up on his attempts.
“The recording studio on AJ’s bus.”Mandy said. “It can make you sound like cartoon characters and you can record your voice or a song right there and have it in a CD in minutes.”
Bianca gasped. “For real?”
“Yup! Wanna go see?”
They were gone in a second. I think Mandy knew that I needed to talk to John alone before we left and I think my doctor had the same idea too because he passed on the chance to have his voice turned to cartoon characters and burnt in a CD.
“We need to talk.”I said.
“I need to know that I have your word that you’re not gonna tell a soul about my uncle.”
“You’re putting me in a very difficult position here Nick.”
“What’s so difficult? It’s not something new John, he’s been doing this for the last two years and I’m handling it alright.”
“And how long are you planning to keep on giving him what he wants? Look, I can give you my word but you got to be straight with me Nick. You didn’t really tell me the whole story, only that he’s been harassing you. We need to talk about that.”
I eyed the door, making sure it was locked and that we were alone in the bus. Except for David the driver though, but he had that headphone surgically attached to his ears, I had nothing to worry about him eavesdropping on us. I turned back to John, who was patiently waiting for an explanation.
“He only wants money. He's a huge gambler you know, and he owes people money for that. If I give him what he wants, he promised not to hurt my sisters. You know, he’s playing guardian to Leslie and Angel when my parents are on the road with Aaron. I have sleepless nights whenever the girls stay with him. He almost did something once, only cause I was too busy and didn’t get his messages. He wants money John, I have lots of that.”
“It’s not even about the money Nick,”John sighed. He ran his fingers through his hair, his gaze fixated on the bowl of candies next to me. “did you try talking to your parents about this? Maybe send your sisters to another uncle or aunt?”
“He’s very close with my mom, among all of mom’s siblings, he’s the one who’s the closest to us. And he’s got kids of his own, you think mom’s gonna believe me if I tell her he’s gonna hurt his own nieces?”I explained, almost wanting to nibble on my nails again but stopped myself half way. Mandy had a hard time manicuring them back to health and I wasn’t planning on having her whining at me for what I did to her artwork. “Besides, things haven’t been great with mom lately, can you imagine if I tell her that I think her beloved brother is threatening me? There was a time when mom would believe anything I said and jump on anyone who wanted hurt me but that was all in the past. I don’t want to risk our relationship further.”
“How about your dad then? Did you try telling him?”
“He’s got my entire family wrapped around his little finger man. Even my sisters love him. They have no clue at all. And I don’t think I can convince them otherwise seeing that I am the black sheep of the family right now. That’s a whole new other story though.”I said. “I’m sure you wanna discuss that on our next session, which I promise I’ll tell you. Just not right now.”
He nodded and the silence was unbearable.
“So, do I have your word or not?”
Finally, he nodded and offered me a weak smile. “You have my word. But you got to promise to keep me up on this. What’s your next step? He’s calling you for money again right?”
“Yeah. The girls are living with him again next week, I heard mom is touring with AC and dad got a new house project somewhere.”
“So he only calls you when your sisters live with him?”
I nodded. “Not really. He calls me whenever he needs money.”
We heard voices outside the bus and instantly knew that the girls were back. I also heard one of our bodyguards shouting out orders that we were moving to the next venue in five minutes.
“Okay, here’s what I want you to do,”John said, his voice dropping to a loud whisper. “I want you to call me and keep me up to date about your uncle. I’m not going to step in for now, whatever your decision is, I’ll support you. But you have to remember Nick that one of these days, you have to break away from him and take a stand. But you gotta have to want it, I can’t force you. And I want you to keep writing in your journal, I’ll see again when you’re done touring in two months.”
I nodded vigorously, too afraid to say anything in fear someone might overhear.
“Anytime, you hear me? Anytime you feel the need to talk to me, call me, I’ll be there.”
“I will, thanks man.”
Exactly five minutes later, I saw him out of my bus and as we started to move, Mandy and I waved goodbye to them. I felt sad that the only person I could confide in about my problem would be miles away from me. Not that I couldn’t confide in the guys, I just knew that they’d tell it to management and everything will be out there and I knew for sure, mom was going to hate me, if she hadn’t already. Besides, I could handle this on my own.
Which wasn’t exactly what happened when things just got worse from there and I found myself calling John at 3 in the morning two weeks later in yet another random hotel room, hyperventilating and about to lose my mind
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