Chapter   Twenty-Three

"Wow," Rae said, breathless. "Look at that stage. It's HUGE!!"

"I know," Rose agreed. "The Boys are moving up in the world."

"OUR Boys are moving up in the world," Bryn said.

"Definitely," they said in unison.

Despite her earlier worries, Byrn became pretty close with Rae and Rose. They went shopping together. Nick was kind of surprised that Rae and Bryn had gotten along. He was kind of hoping they wouldn't. Nick smiled to himself as pictures of Rae and Bryn fighting over him went through his mind.

"What are you smiling at?" Rae asked, walking up to him. She put her arms around his waist and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Nick put his arms around her, too.

"Nothing. What was that for?" Nick looked down at her.

"For this morning. And last night. I was really nervous about meeting your family, your girlfriend. You didn't leave me alone." Rae looked into his eyes and smiled.

"I didn't want you to feel uncomfortable at my house," Nick said, sincerely. "That's why I didn't split up you and Rose. Besides, I wanted you near me, so we could talk in the middle of the night like we did at your house."

"Thank you, Nick. I knew you were cool the first time I met you."

"Same thing with me. We'll be friends forever. You know that, don't you?"

"Of course."

"Is it just me, Howie, or does it seem like every time these two are together, they have their arms around each other?" AJ said.

"I believe you're right, AJ. Could it be love?" Howie teased.

"Shut up, you guys," Nick said. "So, what do you want?"

"What makes you think we want something?" AJ asked, innocently.

"You're here, aren't you?"

"Good point. Kevin said to get your butt on stage, the soundcheck's about to start."

"Duty calls," Nick sighed. "I'll see you after?" He looked at Rae.

"Sure," Rae replied.

"Nick!" yelled Bryn, running towards him. "I'm sorry, but I have to go. I totally forgot about this audition I have."

"That's okay. I'll see you tomorrow. With your Christmas present. Good luck with your audition."

"Thanks. Bye, Nick." Bryn gave Nick a kiss. "Bye, everyone!"

"Bye," they all said.

Nick turned back to Rae, who was now with Todd. He couldn't believe they already had their lives planned together. At least he had the chance to get to know her as she before she got back together with Todd. He didn't think he'd get to be with her the way he was when she first came out to Orlando. For some reason, the thought made him feel a little let down.

"Come on, guys, hurry up!!" Kevin yelled from stage. Nick, AJ, and Howie headed to the stage. The Boys began to rehearse a few minutes later.


"Are you nervous?" Rae asked the Boys, backstage ten minutes before a show.

"A little," Nick said. He looked at Rae and saw she didn't believe him. "Alright. A lot."

"But I always say if you're not nervous then something's wrong," said Brian.

"Don't worry, guys. The show's going to be great," Rose said. "We'll be watching from front row, so be sure to look for us."

"My eyes will never leave your face, Rose," Brian said, wrapping his arms around her.

"I doubt that, but thanks for the thought, B-Rok," Rose replied.

"Come on, boys," said Lou Pearlman, walking up to them. "It's showtime."

"We better go find our seats, Rose," Rae said. "Have a good show, Nick."

"Thanks, Rae." Nick gave Rae a hug. Rae put her arms around his neck and hugged him back. When she pulled back, she felt a little reluctant to let go, so she stood on her tiptoes on gave him a small kiss on the lips.

"Look for me." Rae let Nick and dragged Rose away from Brian. On the way out, they hugged the other guys and wished them luck, then took their seats.

"It's about time," Todd said when he saw the girls. "Where have you been?"

"Dragging Rose away from Brian," Rae said, looking at Rose.

"Don't talk, Rae. What did you have to say to Nick that took so long," she inquired.

"I was just calming him down. He's nervous and for a good reason," Rae said, astonished. "Look at all these people."

"Alright, be quiet! The show's starting!" Rose yelled.

The lights dimmed and a huge spotlight lit up the stage. Kevin came out, microphone in his hands. He was acting as MC for about an hour, before him and the Boys performed. He was real good, introducing the performers. Finally, it was time for the Boys to perform.

This time Kevin came out dressed in the clothes him and the guys were performing in.

"As you can see," Kevin began, "I've gone through a bit of a transformation. That's because I have four other friends just waiting to come out. Come on out and introduced yourselves, fellas."

Howie came out on stage. "What's up, Orlando? I'm Howie D. and I'm excited to be here tonight. Hope you enjoy the show and Merry Christmas!!"

Out came AJ with his signature shades. "How's it goin', Orlando? My name's AJ McLean and I went to wish all y'all a Merry Christmas."

Then Nick came out. He scanned the crowd while walking to the center of the stage. When he spotted Rae, he smiled. She smiled back.

"Hello, everybody. My name's Nick Carter and I want to Happy Holidays to the crowd. Hi, Mom!!"

The audience laughed. Then, last but definitely not least, Brian came out to the center stage.

"How y'all doin'? My name's Brian Littrell and I want to wish Orlando a very Merry Christmas and a New Happy New Year. So...."


They all had big smiles on their faces. They sang a couple of Christmas, totally wowing the crowd with their amazing harmony. Then Rae and Rose a major surprise.

"Could we please have Raelene Lopez and Roseanna Waconda come up on stage?" Brian said.

Rae and Rose looked at each other in astonishment. They'd had no clue the Boys were going to do this. They headed towards the steps at the center of the stage. Once they were there, Nick and Brian lead them to some chairs that had been brought up onstage. Rae and Rose sat down.

"We would like to dedicate this next song to Rae and Rose, two very special friends of ours, who came out all the way from Califoria and New Mexico to be here tonight," Howie said to the audience.

Then the Boys started singing an a capella version of "If I Ever Fall In Love" by Shai. Nick sang the first verse to Rae and Brian sang the second verse to Rose:


"The very first that I saw your brown eyes Your lips said hello and I said hi I knew right then you were the one But I was caught up In physical attraction But to my satisfaction Baby, you were more than just a face."


"And if I ever (ever fall) in love again I will be sure that the lady is a friend And if I ever (ever fall) in love so true I will be sure that the lady's just like you Oh, yeah, the very next time, she'll be my friend."


"If you say that I will be your one and only (All: Promise, promise, promise) Promise that you'll never leave me lonely I just wanna be the one you need Oh, baby I just wanna be the one that serves you Sometimes I feel as if I don't deserve you I cherish every moment that we share."


"And if I ever (ever fall) in love again I will be sure that lady is a friend And if I ever (ever fall) in love so true I will be sure that the lady's just like you."

All the end of the song, Nick was down on one knee in front of Rae, holding her hand in his. Brian was doing the same with Rose. The crowd went wild. All the girls were screaming their heads off. Rae and Rose both had tears in their eyes. They got up and hugged their guys, then went back to their seats in the audience. The Boys shouted a good night to the crowd and ran off the stage.

Chapter Twenty-Four:
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