Rae walked into the living room, where she saw Julia Hulse sitting on the couch, watching MTV.
"Hey, Julia. What's up?" Rae greeted her friend.
"Nothing. Just thought I'd come over," Julia said. "What were you doing?"
"Talking to my friends from Florida. Let me go tell them you're here."
Julia assumed Rae had been talking to them on the phone. Out of the corner of her eye, Julia saw someone walking down the hall. She looked up and saw the most gorgeous guy she'd ever seen. But what really caught her attention was how blue his eyes were. Then another guy came out, around the same height as the first guy, but with brown eyes. And still more guys walked out, a tall one with green eyes, another one with brown eyes, and another one with blue eyes. All Julia could do was stare. Rae walked back in the living room, smiling. The look on Julia's face was classic!
"Julia, this is Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, AJ McLean, and Nick Carter."
"Hi," they all said.
"Hi," Julia said, quietly.
"Guys, this is my friend, Julia Hulse."
"So, Julia, how old are you?" AJ asked.
"Thirteen." Julia was looking at Brian.
"You're the same age as Nicky," Howie said.
"Don't call me that," Nick grimaced.
"Actually, she's older," said Rae. "She turns fourteen next week."
"There's that thing with older people," AJ said.
"I don't remember you mentioning Julia in Orlando," Nick said, ignoring AJ.
"That's because I met her last month. We worked on a class project together, we started talking, now here she sits," Rae explained.
"So you're the guys Rae talked about non-stop," Julia said, trying to get the subject off her. "I can see why."
Brian looked at Rae. "You talked about us non-stop? How sweet."
"Shut up, Brian. Nothing else happened to this summer."
"You and Nick happened this summer," AJ reminded Rae.
"That's true," Rae said, looking at Nick. She smiled, he smiled back.
"So are all you of you originally from Orlando?" Julia asked them.
"No, I'm the only one," Howie said.
"I'm from West Palm Beach, Florida," said AJ.
"Me and Kevin are from Lexington, Kentucky," Brian said.
"They're cousins," Rae said.
"Really?" Julia looked at both of them. They nodded.
"Cool. How about you, Nick? Where are you from?" She looked at Nick.
"Jamestown, New York," he replied.
"Neat. Rae said you're all in a singing group."
"Yeah. We call ourselves the 'Backstreet Boys'," Brian said.
"We're with TransContinental Records, a local record company, and we'll be recording our first song in a few month," Kevin added.
"That's cool. What's the song called?"
The Boys looked at each other.
"We haven't decided yet," said Nick. Lou Pearlman, head of TransCon, gave us three songs to choose from. 'That Was Then, This Is Now', Tell Me That I'm Dreamin', and 'Crystal Hearts'."
"The first two sound okay, but the last one sounds corny," said Rae. "Sing 'Tell Me That I'm Dreamin'."
"Alright," AJ agreed. "Let's show them how it's done, fellas."
They did a little vocal warm-up, then started singing. They put their whole feeling into the song. It filled the house, and Robbie and Mike came from the kitchen to listen. Rae's brothers, Michael, Gabriel, and Phillip, came in from outside with Todd. Everybody stood around the Backstreet Boys and listened. When the Boys were done, their small audience started clapping. They smiled, pleased with themselves.
"So these are the songsters my baby sister was talking about," Michael said.
"Guys, these are my brothers, Michael, Gabriel, and Phillip," Rae said. "And you already know Todd. Big Brothers, this is Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough, and Kevin Richardson."
Rae stood by and watched her brothers determine whether or not these guys needed to be watched. 'That's so stupid,' Rae thought, as she watched all of them shake hands. 'They'll watch them anyway.'
"Dee, Rose called while you were gone and said she'd be here about 7:00," Phillip said.
"I can't wait to see her. It's been three months since I've seen her."
"Who's Rose?" Brian asked with interest.
"She's my cousin," Rae answered. "Her actual name is 'Roseanna', but we call her 'Rose'. She lives in New Mexico. I saw her a month before I went to Florida. She's coming out for my birthday, too, as well as her dad and two brothers. Rose is twelve like me, but four months older."
"I haven't seen her in a while either," said Todd. "I was in summer school when Rae went." Todd walked over to Rae.
"I have to go. My mom wants me to drive her around town and beyond to find you the perfect birthday gift. I'll see you tomorrow, honey." He leaned down and kissed her.
"Alright. Bye, sweetie," Rae said, kissing him back.
"We have to go, too, Dee," Robbie said. "There are still a few things you dad and I need to get before the rest of the family gets here."
"Okay, Mom. See you later." Rae hugged her mom and dad, then they left. Rae's brothers said they still had some things for Rae to take care of, so they also left.
"How many other people are coming?" asked AJ.
"Almost everybody. Gabriel and Phillip came out from New Mexico a couple of days before. So you all get to meet the whole family." Rae smiled sweetly.
"You and Todd back together?" asked Kevin.
"Yeah. We worked things out. It took a while, but we did it." Rae couldn't look at Nick, but she knew he was looking at her. Out of the corner of her eye, Rae could see the disappointed look on his face. 'I still like you, Nick, but me and Todd are fated to be together,' Rae thought to herself.
"That's good. But if he ever tries to hurt you again, call us. We'll fly right over and beat the crap out of him for you," Brian said, good-naturedly.
"Thanks, Brian. Who knows, I may take you up on that."
"You still sound like you don't trust him," Nick spoke up.
"I do, but sometimes I still get angry over what he did."
"But if he did it once, he can do again," Howie said, looking at Rae with concern.
"I know, but it's a risk I have to take. I love him." Rae was speaking to everyone, but looking at Nick, who was looking at her.
"Alright. No more serious talk," said AJ. "Let's do something."
"Julia, you're being mighty quiet," Kevin commented.
"I don't really talk much," Julia giggled.
"You in the same grade as Rae?" Howie asked.
"You're just a regular chatter box, aren't you?" Brian teased. Julia blushed slightly.
'Julia's got a crush,' Rae thought, smiling. She looked over at Brian. 'It looks like he's interested, too.'
"Rae, can I talk to you about something?" Nick looked at Rae.
"Yeah, sure. Let's go into my room."
"Hey, you two! No hanky panky in there." Brian pointed at them.
"Who us?" Rae gave him an innocent smile as Nick grabbed her hand and pulled her to her room.