"Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" AJ belted out as the opening chords of Larger than Life filled the arena.
Another night, another show. To AJ and the rest of the boys it was routine. To the forty thousand screaming girls in the audience, it was euphoria. Two songs into the concert, sixteen to go. The arena was packed to capacity with every seat in the house filled. That is, except for the three in the front row. Even the boys had to wonder why these were empty. It was unheard of not to fill the front row in a Backstreet Boys concert.
Brian Littrell stared at the seats with growing confusion. He didn't know it yet but something in his heart was already tugging his eyes to those chairs, making him wonder and question. He was tired from drinking hard the night before and wanted desperately for the show to be over. If anyone in the audience was over the age of 12, they would realize he was having a massive hangover. Brian felt like a robot doing the motions, but managed to do them to a satisfactory level. He was sure he would be hearing from Fatima later.
"Hurry Tay!" Jenny urged, as Taylor tried her best to wheel her little sister down the stairs. Hailey, Jenny's friend bounced behind them.
Taylor had scored front row tickets through a friend who worked at Ticket Master to her sister's favorite band and was now officially half an hour late. She hadn't realized it would take this long to drag Jenny's wheelchair through the arena. She cursed herself for not being earlier.
The Backstreet Boys were the reason Jenny breathed, the reason she lived, the reason she hadn't died so many times before. Jenny was a victim to a tragic spinal disease called Spinonis Clara, a disease affecting only one out of four million children. All throughout her ten years here on earth, Jenny had suffered from seizures and blackouts from her illness. She was paralyzed from the waist down, at risk of dying any second, and in more pain than any child should be, but a smile never left her face. She was the strongest person Taylor knew.
Jenny was in love with Nick. She plastered her walls with photos of him, memorized every bit of information she could get her little hands on. Jenny had once told Taylor that during her seizures she pictured Nick's face and silently played a Backstreet Boys song in her head. She said they kept her alive. And Taylor felt it was her duty to see to it that her sister met these men who had inspired her so much.
Unlike Jenny, Taylor didn't worship the Backstreet Boys. Perhaps it was the fact that she was twenty three and into more mature sounding music. Taylor loved the classics. In fact, the only new music she listened to was Mariah Carey. But she had to admit the Backstreet Boys could carry a tune.
Finally they were at their seats. Jenny and Hailey squealed with delight and Taylor smiled at the girls before turning her attention to the stage. The Boys were all moderately handsome, even with sweat dripping off their bodies like water rushing from a faucet. They danced fabulous, except for the short, cute one... what was his name? Taylor fought to remember every piece of Backstreet trivia Jenny had ever given her.
She knew for a fact he wasn't Nick. She had seen far to many pictures of him to not know who he was. Could it be AJ? No, AJ was the wild one. He certainly didn't look wild. Brian. It had to be him.
She turned to her sister. "Does Brian always dance this bad?" she screamed in her sister's ear over the music.
Jenny looked over and her eyes got wide. "Oh my God, no! Whatís wrong with him? I hope he's not sick."
"I'm sure its nothing." Taylor reassured her, knowing full well what it was. She had seen the look on Brian's face too many times on her own to not know what was wrong with him. The poor baby had a hangover.
Interested now, Taylor studied him closer. His curly brown hair looked purplish in the light from the stage. He was swimming in sweat and she could only imagine how he must smell. His normally crystal blue eyes were red and bloodshot and his face was ghostly pale. Brian was the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
Why hadn't she noticed before when Jenny showed her pictures of the group? Sure she thought they all looked good, but Brian didn't stand out. Now it was as if he was the only person in the whole arena. Things were moving in slow motion as she filled her mind with images of him. Everything this man did was sexy. Every breath, every movement. Taylor felt her knees going weak.
"Snap out of it" she ordered herself, crashing back to reality. She laughed at herself for being so stupid as to have a star crush. She felt like a teenybopper. Taylor looked around. Girls were screaming. Girls were sobbing hysterically. Everyone in this stadium was in love with one of them.
Remembering the real reason she came here, Taylor made her way to one of the security guards, not at all being intimidated by the fact that he was three times her size. If she had learned one thing in her life, it was how to use her looks to her advantage.
Taylor wasn't conceited, she was just the opposite, but she couldn't deny she was pretty. Her glossy light brown hair hung halfway down her back, accenting her tanned skin and sky blue eyes. She had a petite 5'3 frame that she dressed in pretty clothes. Not too skimpy, but stylish.
"Excuse me sir." she said to a guard.
"Yes young lady, how can I help you?" he grunted.
"My name's Taylor." she stuck out her hand. He just looked at it.
She assumed it was his name and went on. "I'm so sorry to bother you, but do you see that little girl in the wheelchair?"
He turned his massive neck. "Yea"
"Thatís my little sister. Her name's Jenny. She has--"
Q interrupted. "A life threatening disease and her one wish in life is to meet the Boys. You want backstage passes. Am I correct?"
"Y-Yes sir." Taylor answered, her confidence plummeting. She knew what he was going to say.
"Do you know how many times I have heard that story? Why don't you go back to your seat now and let me do my job."
Taylor turned around defeated. Tears welled up in her eyes as she walked away. Suddenly her anger boiled over. It wasn't fair of this man to do this to Jenny. She spun around and marched back. And that was the second AJ chose to look down from the stage.
He saw Q, Kevin's guard having a heated conversation with a beautiful girl. He admired her backside from where he was standing until he noticed her shoulders shaking. She was crying.
The song ended and the boys were rushed downstairs through a cloud of smoke. As a million people surrounded him,dressing him and wiping his face, AJ asked another guard to call Q.
"Please. I'm begging you!" Taylor sobbed, fully aware of the dirty looks she was receiving from the little girls around her.
"Young lady, if you don't go back to your seat now, I'll have to escort you out of the building." He said harshly. The truth was he would give her tickets if he could. This was strictly against the rules and would cost him his job. His ear piece buzzed. "Shit hold on" he muttered, turning away.
"Q. Get back here quick. J wants you and they have to be onstage in forty seconds."
"10-4" he turned around to Taylor. "I have to go. I would suggest you go back to your seat and try to get ahold of yourself."
Racing back through the maze of the stage, he found AJ. "Yes sir, how may I help you?" Q panted.
"Why were you fightin wit dat girl?" AJ mumbled between swigs of his water.
"She wanted backstage passes, sir."
"Give the girl what she wants. Tell her itís from a friend." AJ ordered before being whisked away by a stage manager.
"Where were you Tay? They're about to sing Thatís What She Said" Jenny asked when she came back.
"Just looking around." Taylor muttered, not wanting her sister to know what she had tried to do.
Taylor crossed her arms, angry at the guard, angry at society, angry at the Backstreet Boys. She glared at the stage, but her gaze softened when she saw Brian playing the guitar. "At least one of them has some damn talent" she muttered.
The melody of the soft music filled her. This seemed to be Brian's solo. He sang this song with more emotion, more soul... almost like it was personal. She found herself lost in his music.
Taylor tore her eyes away from Brian's silhouette and forced herself to look at the other performers. It almost seemed like AJ was looking at her, but she quickly dismissed the thought. Even when he nodded his head, made a little smile, and seemed to be looking her in the eye, she didn't think twice.
Their voices blended together into a perfect harmony. It was beautiful. When Brian sang, his voice stood out. It wasn't monotonic like the rest. It was pure and golden, like an angel. Like Brian and the Backstreet Boys, this song stood out from the others. There was more soul, more spirit. She would learn later Brian had written it.
"Excuse me miss..." a voice broke the spell the music had cast. It was the bodyguard Q.
Taylor stared at him, confused, as he handed her three laminated cards tied to strings. She squinted her eyes to read what it said. She couldn't believe it.
"Ahhh thank you so much!" she squealed, giving him a hug and jumping up and down like a child.
Q grinned. This was the best part of his job. "Don't thank me, thank him." he nodded toward the stage.
Taylor looked up and AJ winked at her. She was confused. "He got these for me?"
Q chuckled. "That's AJ for you."
She eyed him for a second before turning to Q and thanking him again as he left to return to his duty.
"Oh girls..." Taylor yelled and Jenny and Hailey turned around. She dangled the passes from her fingers and watched as their eyes grew wide. They looked at each other and screamed.
Handing Hailey her cell phone, Taylor said "You better call your mom and tell her you'll be later than expected. You have some Boys to meet."
I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life...