Chapter   Eight

"I wish I was there with you," Kevin said into the phone. Brian and Nick looked at each other and rolled their eyes.

Kevin had been talking to Karen since they got back to Florida two hours ago. Nick was staying the night with Kevin, Howie, and Brian. AJ just didn't feel like going home yet. Then Howie walked into the room, talking into his cell phone.

"I miss you, too, Eryka," Howie said, softly. AJ gagged causing Nick and Brian to start laughing.

"Hey, could you two keep it down?" Kevin said, throwing them an annoyed look.

"I live here, too," Brian said, defensively. "I can laugh out loud if I want to."

"What about Nick?" Howie pointed out.

"I'm a guest," Nick said, proudly. "I can laugh louder than Brian if I wanted to."

"I'm gonna throw you out the window, laughing my head off, if you two don't shut up," Kevin told them.

"Geez, a little touchy there," AJ said. "Come on, guys. Let's go play some basketball."

"All right," said Brian. "I know when I'm not wanted. I'm leaving."

"Me, too," said Nick. The three of them got up and walked out the door.

Howie and Kevin got back to their conversations. Another hour went by before they hung up. Kevin leaned back against the couch and sighed.

"You really miss Karen, don't you?" Howie asked him.

"A lot," said Kevin. "I haven't seen her since we were in LA for 'The Big Help'. I feel like just running to California to be with her. What about you and Eryka?"

"I wish Eryka lived here in Florida instead of way on the other side of the country," Howie confessed. "She said her and Karen have been invited to a lot of 'social elite' parties since we left."

"That's what Kare Bear said. She also said that Leonardo DiCaprio is as big a jerk as he ever was. Apparently, he's still trying to get the hook up."

"Eryka mentioned that. I guess he's persistant."

"Who cares? He's trying to get with my woman. He better watch it or else he's gonna regret it."

"Getting a little possessive, don't you think, Kev?"

"Maybe. But then you don't have anything to worry about," Kevin said, nonchalantly. "Eryka only has Antonio Sabato Jr. and Brad Pitt going after her."

"What!?!" Howie looked at him with wide eyes.

"Yeah. Kare Bear told me she was asked out by both of them."

"That's it. We're going back to California as soon as possible."

Kevin laughed. "Just tell me when and I'm with you, man."

"Soon. Real soon."

They turned the TV on and started watching Dateline. Brian, Nick, and AJ walked in, dead-tired from their game and threw themselves on the ground in front of the TV. Right when Kevin was about to turn it, he saw Angela Steele's and Karen's picture flash on the screen.

"Tonight, we take a look at 'America's Favorite Actress', Angela Steele and her daughter, the 'Ice Queen' of the media, Karen Davidson. We'll begin with Angela Steele, her fairy tale love story, and her tragic death." The camera switched angles and only a picture of Angela Steele was showing.

"When Angela was only twenty-one years old, she landed a role that would change her acting career forever. A few short months later, she became one of the most well-known actresses in America. Angela then met her husband, former actor William Davidson, on the set of 'Nothing Else Comes Close', in which the two starred. They had a whirlwind romance and married eight months later. On the third anniversary of their wedding, their daughter, Karen, was born. William chose to end his career with Karen was born, but Angela refused to slow down. She won much deserved awards and was admired by many. Then three years ago, Angela was diagnosed with cancer. America was shocked at the announcement. After a long, drawn-out battle, forty-five-year-old Angela Steele died on August 15, 1997, leaving behind a devastated husband and daughter. When we come back, we'll have a one-on-one interview with Karen Davidson to find out how she's been doing and how her career as a music critic is going."

Two seconds later, a commercial came on and none of the Boys said anything. Then one by one, Nick, Howie, AJ, and Brian looked at Kevin. He looked back at them.

"What?" he asked.

"Did you know Karen was Angela Steele's daughter?" Brian asked him. "The Angela Steele?"

"Yes," Kevin said, calmly.

"We've been schmoozing with 'America's Little Sweetheart'?" Howie looked amazed. "Us?"

"Wow, this is so cool," Nick said. "My mom loved Angela Steele. She cried her eyes out when she found out she died. At least that's what dad told me."

"My mom would've loved to have met Angela Steele," AJ said. "How come you didn't tell us, Kev?"

"Because I wanted you to get to know Karen first before I told you," Kevin said. "I was shocked when I found out I had just had dinner with Angela Steele's pride and joy, but that's not all I see when I look at her. Karen is kind, sweet, caring...."

"Here we go again," Nick muttered to Brian. Brian flopped back on the carpet and covered his ears.

"All right, everyone," Howie said, his eyes on the TV. "It's back on."

All of them turned their attention to the screen.

"We're back and now we'll take a look at Michelle Ericson's one-on-one interview with Angela Steele's daughter, Karen Davidson."

The Boys started cheering when they saw Karen on TV, smiling.

"Hello, Karen, how are you?"

"Hi, Michelle. I'm doing okay. How about you?"

"I'm fine. Now, first, let's get an inside look on what it was like growing up for you. Did you feel any pressure to be the perfect child?"

Karen thought a minute. "No, I didn't. My parents wanted my life to be as normal as possible. They didn't treat me any different than any other parent. I still got scolded when I did something bad or whatever, I still had to do chores, stuff like that. I wasn't any different from the other kids at my school. I just lived in a bigger house and my parents were well-known, that's all."

"What about school? Did the other students treat you differently?"

"At first, my mom wanted to put me in a private school, but I convinced her to let me go to a public school. Everything was fine. I had a lot of friends, I joined clubs, did everything. But when I got to high school it was a little more difficult."

"How so?"

"Well, the other kids saw me as Angela Steele's daughter, not as Karen. Some of the girls didn't like me 'cause they thought I was snobby or whatever, and the ironic thing about that was these were the people who didn't even try to get to know me. So I always had some girl I didn't even know saying that I was a this or that."

"What about dating? I bet there were guys lining up for a date with you?"

Karen laughed. "You'd be surprised." She laughed a little bit more. "Actually, I think the boys were scared of me. I think they I was used to going out with rich, good-looking guys whose parents were also famous, but that wasn't true. In fact, I tried to avoid that. Some times the guys would try to use their material things to get me to go out with them and that was a real turn-off for me. But things have gotten a little better on the dating circuit."

"Oooohhhh," Brian teased. "She's talking about you, Kev."

"Shut up," Kevin said, but he couldn't help smiling.

"That's good. Okay. About your mother, Angela Steele, how hard was it for you when you found out she had cancer?"

"I was devastated.... completely devastated. All these questions flew through my mind like, 'Why my mother?', 'What's going to happen?', 'How will I go on living if she dies?'. Things like that. I was only twenty at the time and I was just starting to make a name for myself in journalism. I didn't know what to think about anything."

"What was the first thing you did to unload all your emotions after your mother passed away? How did you deal with that?"

"I wondered around the city for a while. I drove my car around and went just anywhere. Then I went and stayed with my dad for about a week. We helped each other through it. My dad was torn apart when my mom died...."

"I can imagine..."

".... and I didn't want to leave him alone for one day. Finally, he convinced me to go back to work and not to worry about him. I did, and he's been doing a lot better since. So have I. I really don't think that I would've been able to make it through that ordeal without my father."

"Just one more question. What's this I hear about you and Kevin Richardson, of the hottest, new, music group in the country today, the Backstreet Boys? Where did you two meet and is there a budding romance or are you two just friends?"

Karen laughed. "I met the Backstreet Boys doing an album review for the 'LA Times' and an interview for 'Billboard Magazine'. Then I did a review on their show when they performed at 'The Big Help'. I admit it, we did go out to dinner once, but that's it. We're just really good friends. But you never know with those tall, dark, and handsome types. Watch it, girls. He's mine." Karen laughed again. "I'm just kidding."

"Thank you for the interview, Karen."

"No problem, Michelle."

The camera was once again on the reporter. "Well, that's Dateline for this week. Next week, we'll take a look at two of the hottest choreographers today, Fatima Robinson and Eryka Garcia. Until then, goodnight, everyone."

The credits started rolling and Kevin turned off the TV. All the guys started teasing him.

"I think Kevin's in love," AJ said.

"Look, guys," Nick pointed at Kevin. "He's turning red before our very eyes."

"Guys, lay off," Kevin said, still smiling.

"Yeah, I guess we should," said Brian. "We have to save our energy for Howie next week when Eryka is interviewed."

"Oh, man." Howie covered his face with his hands.

They turned the TV back on and started watching movies. Kevin lay on the couch, thinking about Karen. I hope I get to see her soon, he thought. I really miss her. Then Kevin finally started paying attention to the movie.

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