Chapter   Three

"Quit playing games with my heart," Eryka sang along with the radio.

Karen started laughing as she listened to her friend sing "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)". The song was blasting from the radio as they drove to the location 'The Big Help' was being held. As they arrived, security waved them by when Karen showed her 'Press' card. Eryka also had one, even though she wasn't in the journalism business of music. Karen got her one anyway.

Since all people of the press were being let in first, all the spectators and fans of the musical acts were being held back. Karen and Eryka put their passes around their necks and flashed them to be let through the entrance. Sometimes, they liked to pull out the passes in front of the fans, but they didn't do that this time. A security guard lead the two women to their places in front.

As the time passed, they checked out all the things going on around them. Soon the fans were let in and the noise level rose. Karen took out her notepad and took notes on the crowd around them. There seemed to be a lot of girls that couldn't be any older than fifteen years old. Finally, just when Karen was getting tired of just sitting there, surrounded by a bunch of fifteen-year-old-and-under girls, annoyed parents who lost their daughters and some of the other reporters and photographers coming up to her and asking her how she was doing since her mother died, the show got started.

There were a couple of first performances were good, then the Backstreet Boys came onstage and the crowd went crazy.

"Can you believe this noise?!" Karen yelled to Eryka.

"Oh my god!! There's Howie D. in the flesh!!" was all Eryka could say as she stared at him.

She's gone out of her mind, Karen thought as she watched her friend yell out Howie's name and tried to get his attention. She couldn't help but smile. Then she saw Kevin. He was scanning through the crowd. Finally, he spotted Karen in the front. Karen didn't know what to do.

Eryka had stopped trying to get Howie's attention and looked over at Karen. She looked in the direction Karen was looking and saw Kevin and Karen staring at each other. Looks like they're scoping each other out, Eryka thought. She nudged Karen on the shoulder.

"See something you like?" she asked her friend.

Karen looked at Eryka. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, come on, Karen Davidson. I saw you staring at Kevin Richardson," Eryka said, knowingly. "And from what I saw, he was pretty interested, too."

"I admit, he's good-looking, but that doesn't mean I'm interested," said Karen, matter-of-factly.

"I think the 'Ice Queen' is about to melt," Eryka predicted.

Karen playfully hit Eryka on the arm and started laughing. She continued to smile as she looked back at Kevin. The Boys had started performing, but Kevin was still looking at her. When he saw her smiling, he smiled back. Karen thought she was going to pass out, so she looked away and studied at Brian instead.


"Alright, fellas, let's get going," Donna said. "You're up next."

"Do you know if Karen Davidson is here?" Kevin asked her.

"I didn't have time to check, but if she is out there, give it your all 'cause this could boost your sales." Donna then went to go check to see if everything was ready for the Boys' performance. She wanted everything to be perfect.

Kevin started thinking about Karen again. The day before, when they shook hands, he felt like he'd been shocked. He didn't know why he was so affected by her, but he got the feeling she was just as affected as he was. All of a sudden, Kevin saw a hand being waved in front of his face.

"Hey, Kev," Brian said. "What's up with you?"

"I was just thinking," Kevin said, nonchalantly.

"Probably about the 'Ice Queen'," AJ said, smiling knowingly.

"What makes you think that?" Kevin asked him.

"I heard you ask Donna about her," AJ answered. "Admit it, Kev. You want to 'get to know her' a little more."

"Shut up, AJ," said Kevin, rolling his eyes. "So what if I'm a little interested. It's not like I'm in love with her."

"That's a good one," Nick said, laughing. "I almost believed that."

"Guys, lay off of him," Howie said. "We go on in about two seconds. We have to concentrate. Karen Davidson has the power to make or break our careers right now."

The Boys walked over to the side of the stage and waited to go on. Finally, they were introduced and they walked up onstage. The crowd started screaming. Nick, Kevin, Howie, AJ, and Brian waved and smiled at the audience.

Kevin smiled and waved, while scanning the crowd for Karen. Just when he thought she wasn't there, he spotted her right in the front. He watched her as she said something to the woman next to her. Then she saw her start to laugh as her friend started screaming and jumping up and down in excitment. Just then, she looked away from her friend and straight at him. His heart started pounding in his chest.

Their eyes locked and they stared at each other. Karen's smile slowly faded from her face. Then her friend took her attention away from him. Kevin continued to smile and wave to the crowd. He couldn't believe how many people had shown up, showing their support for the Backstreet Boys. The music to their song started and the Boys started their performance.

Kevin looked back at Karen. Her friend said something to her and Karen hit her on the arm, laughing. Then looked in his direction again, continuing to smile at him. Kevin smiled back. They stood there smiling at each other for a few seconds, then she looked away and started taking notes on the other guys. I wonder if she'll be backstage when this is over, he thought. What are you going to do, Kev? Ask her out to dinner? Kevin thought about the idea for a second and decided to do just that. With his mind made up, he focused on his performance and vocals.

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