Chapter   Four

"That's our show," Karen heard Howie say. "Thank you all for the support, Backstreet Boys love you!!!"

The crowd just screamed all the louder and Karen covered her ears. I'm not going to be able to hear for a while, she thought. Then she turned to Eryka and saw her screaming, jumping up and down like the rest of the girls. Karen couldn't help it, she had to laugh.

Finally, the crowd calmed down and Karen uncovered her ears. "You ready to go and meet the guys?"

Eryka turned to Karen. "Let's go before I go crazy."

"Alright, let's take off."

Karen and Eryka made their way to the side entrance leading backstage. There were some fans there trying to talk their way backstage. The two girls showed their "Press" cards and were allowed through. Karen could hear some of the girls protesting. Her and Eryka walked over to the the dressing room with 'Backstreet Boys' on the door and knocked. The door opened and they saw Donna Wright.

"Hi," Karen greeted. "I came backstage to see if there was any chance for a short interview."

"Yes, of course," Donna said, letting them inside. "We were hoping you'd stop by after the performance."

Karen and Eryka walked into the room and saw the Boys lounging around. Brian and Nick were playing a video game set up in one corner of the room while Howie and AJ were talking about something. Kevin was by himelf, reading a magazine.

"Brian, you are such a cheater!!" Nick yelled out.

"How could I cheat?" Brian yelled back. "It's a video game!"

"I don't know how, but you cheated," Nick insisted.

"Did not!"

"Did to!"


"DID TO!!"

The two girls just stood there, watching them act like two-year-olds. Then got the surprise of their lives when the two guys started wrestling on the floor. Donna almost fainted, she was so disturbed by their behavior.

"Brian, Nick!!" she yelled out. "Settle down!! We have guests!"

Brian and Nick stopped and looked up, seeing Karen Davidson and another girl with astonished looks on their faces. Howie and AJ stood up right away. Kevin looked up and almost jumped out of his seat when he saw Karen. But he caught himself and calmly put the magazine down, then stood up. Damn, she looks even better today than she did yesterday, he thought.

"Well, you all have interesting ways of relaxing," Karen said with one eyebrow raised.

"Nick and I like video games," Brian said, slowly.

"Do you like rolling around on the floor, too?" she asked them.

"It's just the way we settle things sometimes," Nick told her.

"I'd hate to see all of you in a disagreement," Eryka said, looking at them like they were crazy.

"We're not all like that," Howie said. He had taken an interest in the woman standing by Karen Davidson. "The rest of us actually do normal things to settle an disagreement."

"That's good to hear," Karen murmured. "I have a few questions, if that's all right with you. I wouldn't want to interrupt your wrestling time."

The Boys flinched at her sarcasm.

"Go ahead," Kevin said. "Shoot."

"What were the first thoughts running through your minds when you saw the crowd's reaction to you guys?" Karen asked them. "Did you think it was a good reaction, did you think it was kind of psychotic?"

"The reaction we got out of the audience was very good," Brian answered. "We didn't expect a crowd this large to come see us at this type of event."

"Not that they were here just for us," Kevin said. "They were here to show the support for the other musical acts and donate some money to charity."

"I noticed that most of your fans were about fifteen years old or younger and mostly girls," Karen said. "Why do you think that is?"

"We've come to find that we appeal mostly to teenage girls, eighteen or younger," Howie said. "Sometimes a lot younger. But we've been getting a lot of adults coming to our concerts and singing along with things."

"Could it be because these teenage girls listen to your CD every day?"

"It could be," Kevin said. "But we're hoping that soon, we'll start getting older people interested in our music. We want our music to reach people of all ages, not just teenagers."

Karen wrote down what Kevin had said and looked up at him. Their eyes locked and they stood there, looking into each others eyes for a few moments. All of a sudden, Karen looked away.

"Well, I think that's all," she said. Then she remembered Eryka. "Oh, yeah. Guys, this is my friend, Eryka Garcia. She's a big fan. Eryka, these guys are the Backstreet Boys."

"Nice to meet you, Eryka. I'm Howie," Howie said, walking over and giving her a hug.

"Nice to meet you, too," Eryka said, breathlessly.

The rest of the guys introduced themselves to Eryka and gave her hugs. Eryka looked at Karen with excitement. Karen smiled. Then she all of a sudden felt out of place.

"Eryka, I'll be out walking around to see if I can interview any of the other musical acts," she told her friend.

"Alright, I'll look for you later," Eryka said, distractedly.

Karen left the dressing room, but didn't get too far when she heard someone call her name.

"Karen, wait up!"

Karen turned around and saw Kevin walking up to her.

"Hey, what's up?" Karen asked him.

"I was kind of wondering if you'd like to go out to dinner with me tonight," Kevin said, trying not to feel embarrassed or shy.

"I don't know," Karen answered him, looking doubtful. "I don't think it's a good idea."

"Come on," Kevin said, giving her a winning smile. "It'll be fun. We could get to know each other a little better, talk about anything and everything. What do you say?"

Karen looked at him for a minute, trying to decide. There's no way I can resist that smile even if I tried, she thought. Which I'm not going to.

"Okay, I'll go out with you," Karen said, with a little hint of a smile.

"Cool. I'll pick you up at around 8:00pm," Kevin said. "Where do you live?"

Karen got out her notepade and pen, and wrote down her address and phone number. "Here you go. The directions are on there."

"Alright. I'll see you tonight, Karen."

"Sure thing, Kevin."

They stood in place silently for a minute, then Kevin turned around and walked back to the dressing room. He got there just as Eryka was walking out. She saw the smile on his face and the piece of paper in his hand. I know that's from Karen's little notebook thing, she thought. Eryka said a brief goodbye to Kevin and walked over to Karen.

"I just saw Kevin with the look that said he was walking on air," she said when she reached her. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"

"Kevin asked me out to dinner," Karen told her. "I accepted."

"Oh, girl, we are going straight to your apartment to find you something to wear." Eryka grabbed Karen by the arm and dragged her to her car. Karen laughed at her friend's enthusiasm. For the first time since her mother died, Karen felt a real sense of happiness.


"Alright, Kev," Brian said as soon as he saw his cousin's expression. "What are you smiling about?"

"I'll have you all know that I have a dinner date with the Karen," Kevin said, smiling.

"No way," Nick said. "You have a date with the 'Ice Queen'?"

"I don't believe it," AJ said.

"Believe it. I have her phone number and address right here." Kevin waved a piece of paper in front of AJ's face.

Howie grabbed the paper and looked at it. "Yup. That's her writing."

AJ looked at it, too. "You lucky man," he said. "You actually had the guts to ask her out."

"Maybe it'll cause her to write a good review," Nick said.

"That's the last thing I'm thinking about," Kevin said. "I want to get to know her. I sense something in her that not many people are."

"I hope you're right," Brian said.

"I know I am." Kevin looked at the piece of paper he now held in his hand. I know I am, he thought.

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