Chapter   One

'When are they going to get here,' Victoria Johnson thought. She was walking around the mall in Orlando, Florida, waiting for her older brother to show up with some of his friends.

Victoria, or VJ as she was called by her family and friends, had half a mind to leave right about then. Until she saw a guy out of the corner of her eye looking at her. VJ pretended to look around the store she was in and took a good look at the guy.

'Hmmm, not bad,' she thought. 'He's pretty cute. Maybe this trip won't be a total waste after all.'

VJ walked around the store in his direction to see what he would do. The guy was going in her direction, too.

'I wonder what he'll do if I leave,' she thought. With her mind made up, she walked out of the store and across the way to Spencers. It was fairly crowded in there, so VJ thought it was a good place to test her 'admirer'.

As VJ began making her way around Spencers, she keep her eye trained on the entrance. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the guy walked in. That made her smile.

'Okay, now for the conversation starter.' VJ made her way towards the back of the store and waited until he was nearby to inch toward him. When he was in the spot she wanted him to be, she casually made her way over to him. Pretending to act like she didn't see him, VJ lightly bumped into him.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she said. "I wasn't paying attention to where I was going."

"That's all right," the guy said. "No harm, no foul."

"Thanks." Then VJ turned around and started to walk away. The guy started walking beside her.

"My name's Brian Littrell," he said, holding out his hand. VJ noticed the slight southern drawl he had and smiled.

"Hi. I'm Victoria Johnson," VJ said, shaking his hand. He smiled at her.

"Nice to meet you, Victoria. So, what brings you to the mall?" Brian asked.

"I'm meeting my brother and his friends, but they haven't shown up yet. And they always complain about me taking forever."

Brian laughed. "I guess that means you've been waiting a while."

"Yeah. They're about half an hour late. I'm beginning to think they forgot about me."

"Why don't I keep you company until they show up," Brian suggested.

VJ smiled. 'Just what I was hoping.'

"Sure, thanks," she said. They walked out of Spencers and toward the food court. "Are you from around here, Brian?"

"I'm originally from Kentucky, but I moved here over two years ago," he said. "How about you?"

"Yeah. Born and raised. My parents are from California, though. They moved out here before I was born."

VJ and Brian had reached the food court and sat down at a table.

"What do you do out here?" asked Brian.

"I go to school for music and dance," VJ answered. "Do you go to school?"

"No, I didn't have the chance to persue college," he said.

"Why not?"

Brian sat there, quickly trying to come up with an answer. He didn't want to tell Victoria about his real "job". He was saved 'cause she had spotted her brother.

"I'm sorry to do this to you, but I just found my brother," VJ said, getting up from her seat. "Maybe I'll see you around sometime."

"How about you give me your number and I'll call you," Brian said.

"Sure." VJ took a piece of paper and a pen out of her purse and wrote down her number, then handed it to Brian. She saw her brother looking at them. It looked like he was about to come over and make a scene.

"My brother is giving us the evil eye, so I better go. It was nice meeting you, Brian Littrell," she said, with a smile.

"You, too, Victoria Johnson," he said, smiling back.

"Bye." Then VJ turned around and headed towards her brother and his friends. She gave her brother a hug and sat down next to one of his friends, who promptly put his arm around her.

"Who was that?" her brother, Paul or "PJ", asked her.

"Just a guy I met while waiting for you guys to show up," VJ told him. "And you guys are forty-five minutes late."

"Traffic was a bitch," PJ said. "Be glad we showed up."

"Sure, whatever," she said. VJ looked around at the table she and Brian were sitting at, while her brother and his friends started talking. Brian was now accompanied by a tall, blonde guy and a blonde girl. She watched as they got up and headed for the exit. Brian had his arm around the blonde girl.

'Oh, well,' VJ thought. 'Can't expect a gorgeous guy like that to be free.'

So she turned and joined in the conversation at her table.


"You're pretty quiet, B-Rok," Nick Carter said. He looked over at his best friend for a minute. "What's up?"

"Nothing," Brian said.

"Yeah right," BJ Carter said. She was Nick's younger sister. "I bet you're thinking about that girl you were with earlier."

"So what?" Brian said. "I'm allowed to think about a girl."

"But we've never seen her before," Nick said. "Who was she?"

"Her name's Victoria Johnson," Brian said, dreamily. "I met her when you and BJ were over on the other side of the mall, at Foot Locker."

"She's pretty," Nick commented. "How old is she?"

"Don't even think of going for her, Kaos. I saw her first."

"I wasn't thinking that. She looks older than me."

"Since when did you mind and older woman?"

"Never," Nick smiled devilishly. "I just want to know."

"Well, too bad, 'cause I don't know either."

"My guess is probably about seventeen, eighteen, maybe nineteen," BJ said. "Did she say anything about going to school?"

"She said she went to a school for music and dancing," Brian said. "But she could still be any age for that. I'll just have to wait 'til I call her to find out."

"You got her number?" Nick asked.

"Of course, Kaos. Did you think I'd let an opportunity like that pass me by?"

"Not the B-Rok I know."

Brian pulled into the parking lot of the apartment complex he lived. He shared an apartment with his cousin Kevin Richardson and one of his closest friends, Howie Dorough. Brian, Nick, and BJ got out of Brian's jeep and walked towards the building.

"Thanks for letting me and BJ stay with you," Nick said.

"No problem. Kev and Howie went to visit their families 'til the weekend. Where's Leslie, Angel, and Aaron staying?"

"They're staying with our next-door neighbors," BJ said. "Mom and Dad left them there while they went to go see our grandparents."

"Oh," was all Brian said. He was thinking about Victoria again. He opened the door the apartment and let Nick and BJ in. Nick headed straight for the Nintendo.

"Come on, B-Rok," he said. "I challenge you to a game of Mortal Kombat."

"You're on, buddy," Brian said. He sat next to Nick and became deeply immersed in game with Nick. But Victoria never completely left his thoughts.

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