Chapter   Nine

Nick was busy getting things ready for another three month trip, only this time around the States. It was about a week before he had to leave and we spent every single minute together, except when we were sleeping. The others had gotten used to seeing us together and I'm glad they accepted it so easily. Even though I knew Kevin, Howie, AJ, and Brian were really nice, decent guys, there's always this fear that someone out there would disapprove of this relationship. I'd seen it happen to some friends of mine, and even when they joked about it, I knew it hurt them to know someone disliked them because who they were.

Anyway, like I said, it was about a week before Nick had to leave again. Me and him had just got done picking out what clothes he should take with him (and he's got a lot), so we decided to take a break. Nick went into the kitchen to get us some Cokes and, for the first time since I'd been living with him, I turned on the TV and watched it. I flipped through the channel and stopped when I reached MTV. I'd heard of it before, but never watched it. Now, since Nick was going to be gone, I figured watching MTV would brighten my day somehow.

They were showing this cartoon called "Daria", so I started watching that. Nick came in and almost dropped the Cokes when he saw me laughing at the cartoon. He sat next to me and handed me my drink.

"Couldn't stay away, could you?" he teased.

"Well, you're gonna be gone for a couple months," I said. "I might as well get used to watching TV."

"I'll be back in December, Rosary. I'll call you every day if you want me to. Just don't get mad."

"Nick, it's September. You'll be back in two and a half months. Do you know how long that is in teenage years?"

"I'm nineteen, of course I do. I'm going to be really busy, but not so busy that I'll forget about you, or forget to call. Come here, I want to show you something."

Nick got up and pulled me off the couch. He led me upstairs and walked towards his room. I'd never been in his room, let alone seen what it looked like. Nick opened the door and brought me inside. I looked around. It was nice. He had a lot of weird stuff around, but it definitely fit Nick. He let go of my hand and walked over to a computer. I stood behind him and put my arms around his neck while resting my head on top of his.

Nick switched it on. "Okay, Rosary. This is you first lesson on the internet. Not only will I call you, but I'll email you, too. Now watch me...."

I stood by him and listened as he explained to me how to use the internet. He gave me my own screen name, so if he was online then he could send me an "Istant Message" and we could talk online if we wanted to. He also set up an email account for me so he could email me whenever he wanted to, or I could email him. After he "tested" me on whether I understood, he gave me a kiss.

"Now we're all set," he smiled. "We'll be in the closest touch ever, baby. I promise."

"Okay," I said. "I'm going to go see what's on MTV. Now that I started watching, I can't stop."

Nick laughed. "I'll be down in a minute. I just wanna check my email."

"I'll see you down there." I kissed him on the cheek and left the room.

I walked down stairs and saw "Daria" had just ended and they were showing upcoming shows. "And coming up next, 'Backstreet Boys Live Special'."

Hmmmm, that's cool, I thought. I'm gonna watch it. Finally, I'll see what the Backstreet Boys look like. I walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water and came back just as it started. The beginning was corny. The group was walking in with smoke surrounding them, slow motion, and theatrical music playing. I laughed.

"Come on, it's just a music group," I said to the TV.

Then I saw how many people lined the streets outside the studio, waiting for the Backstreet Boys to show up, so they could see them through the windows and the screaming girls inside. Then it turned into this sort of video collage thing, where on certain areas of the TV screen, a miniature-sized version of a couple videos could be seen. All I saw was five guys dancing, basically.

The host, Carson Daly, introduced himself, then quickly introduced the Backstreet Boys for all the impatient, screaming young girls. I noticed there was a few guys in the audience as well. Very few. What I saw next was the first big shock I got that day. I had looked away and when I looked back, there standing in the middle of about a hundred screaming fans was Nick, AJ, Brian, Kevin, and Howie. At first, I just stood there, unable to move. Then I let out the biggest scream I'd ever let out. Nick came pounding down the stairs.

"What?! What is it?!" he yelled, panicking.

I looked at him and felt the color drain out of my face. I'm living with a Backstreet Boy, I thought. That was my last thought before fainting dead away. When I came to, I was lying on the couch with Nick looking at me worriedly.

"What happened?" I asked him.

"You screamed, I came running downstairs, then you fainted," he said. "You've been out for a few minutes. I was starting to get worried."

I layed back, then everything came back to me. I shot up and almost hit Nick in the face with my head. Luckily, he got out of the way in time.

"You," I said, softly.

"Me?" Nick saw I wasn't looking at him directly, but at the TV. He sighed. "Oh, me."

"So that's why you've been gone so much," I said. "You're a Backstreet Boy."

Nick looked at me. "Alright, you found me out. I wanted to tell you, but I didn't know how."

"'I'm a Backstreet Boy' would've worked."

Nick smiled a little. "Come with me. Now, I have something else to show you."

I got off the couch and followed him to the basement door. I'd never been down there. I figured if Nick wanted me to know what was down there, he would've shown me when he gave me a tour of the house the day I moved in. Another thing was, Nick kept it locked. He got his keys and opened it. Flipping the switch, a light came on and lit the stairway and the basement. We walked down and as soon as I saw the inside, I knew it wasn't a basement.

Nick walked to the middle and waved his arm. "Welcome to one of the recording studios used by the Backstreet Boys." He waited for me to look around before continuing. "When you moved in seven months ago, me and the fellas were in the process of recording the new album, which is now out, of course. The reason we went to Los Angeles for three weeks was to take pictures for the CD jacket of the album, record an episode of MTV's 'FANatic', shoot the video for 'I Want It That Way', and shoot some commercials to promote the new album. We went to New York for the launch party of the new album...."

"What's it called?"

"'Millennium'. We were supposed to go to LA and promote the album on some shows out there, but our management decided it would be better to go to Europe a week early and rehearse more for the world tour. All the LA stuff was cancelled, and I came back here to pack up. A week later, the world tour started."

"Is that what you're doing now? Continuing the world tour?"

"Yeah. We were given a month off before the US/Canadian tour, which is sponsered by MTV and Sears. That's why their showing all that Backstreet Boys stuff. The US tour starts next week."

I sat down in a nearby chair, still feeling stunned. Nick pulled up a chair in front of me and took hold of my hands.

"Rosary, when I met you, you don't know how good it felt to finally meet somebody who didn't know who I was. I knew you liked me for me and not because I'm a Backstreet Boy."

"I remember back then, when I first moved in, and a Backstreet Boys song came on, you and Brian acted so uncomfortable. I didn't even know what the Backstreet Boys looked like until today. All I listened to was the songs on the radio. It never occured to me to get the album or watch MTV to see the videos or anything. Is there anything else you haven't told me?"

"Come on." Nick pulled me out of my chair and towards the back of the room. I saw another door and he opened it. It was his office. It had gold records, awards, plaques, publicity pictures, and posters everywhere. I looked around in awe.

"You guys have done very well," I said.

I looked and saw pictures of Nick with all these girls, who I assumed were fans he'd had pictures taken with. There were pictures of the others with girls, too. Then I spotted a picture of him and Samantha together. It was the first one I'd seen in a long time. Nick had taken the others in the living room down and replaced them with the few pictures we had taken together so far. I didn't say anything, just looked. Nick saw me looking at it and smacked himself in the head. I just walked out and up to my room.

I grabbed one of my bags out of my closet and tossed it on the bed. I walked over to my drawers and started pulling clothes out. My first thought was to leave. Why would he want me when he has thousands of girls all over the world who worship the ground he walks on, I thought. What makes me so different? I continued packing. I was almost done when Nick walked into my room. He saw my bags and his eyes widened.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"I'm leaving," I said. "I'm going back to Mexico."

I grabbed my two bags and walked out of the room.

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