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Question: Would you like an itty-bitty contest to win a sneak preview of the sequel to 'ADM'? I'd be relying on you for a little feedback, as well.
Yes, I'd love a chance at a sneak peak! - 1 (50%)
Uh ... sure. If the contest isn't too hard, I'll do it. - 0 (0%)
Nah. Contests aren't for me. - 1 (50%)
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Author Topic: 'A Different Man' & 'Unexpected Things' (Sequel)  (Read 1340 times)
Guitargurl
Fledgling
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Posts: 41


« on: January 14, 2009, 12:43:40 PM »

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to share a few little behind the scenes things from "A Different Man" and the up and coming sequel, (which is still untitled).

First of all, if you haven't finished reading "A Different Man" then you should probably do that first, as there will be spoilers on this thread that could ruin things for you. Turn back now. Lol. You've been warned.

The story is finished now and posted in its entirety.

There will be a sequel that I am planning to post sometime soon, as well.


Okay, now for the fun stuff.

If any of you would like to see a picture of Cole's wedding dress, visit the link below. I did a lot of searching online for dresses to find the perfect dress. I just thought it might be fun for you to actually get to see it. Scroll down a little and you'll see that there are several views you can look at. The dress is called 'Girl with a Twirl'.

http://www.brides.com/fashion/dresses/feature/slide/3114?#_slide=3119_chip=0

Also, I'm considering having a little contest for someone to earn a sneak-preview at the sequel.

What do you all think about that? It wouldn't require too much effort, but it might be fun. Depending on your responses, I will or won't do that, so let me know what you think.

Anyway, if I can come up with any more behind-the-scenes material I will post it in this thread for you. Check back on occasion. Also, I will try to post something in the updates for the sequel to let you know that there is something in this thread to view and read.

Thanks and keep and eye out for that sequel!
« Last Edit: February 03, 2009, 01:45:56 PM by Guitargurl » Logged

Guitargurl
Fledgling
*
Posts: 41


« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 02:11:03 PM »

Hey all,

So, I have been working hard on the sequel to 'A Different Man' titled 'Unexpected Things'. The name comes from a line in Unsuspecting Sunday Afternoon, so that's why you'll recognize it.

After lots of debating, I realized that the first few chappies I wrote for the sequel just didn't fit into the time line the story needed. As a result, I wanted to post those chappies here for you to enjoy while I work out the details. This will give you a little something to read until I can post the first few chappies of 'Unexpected Things'.

There are a few chappies that I'll be posting here, even if I only get to put one or two up today. Also, keep in mind that these are rough drafts and were never edited for the final version. There may be small mistakes but it shouldn't be too bad.

Although these are not going to be officially included in the story, I spent a LOT of time writing them, so I would still LOVE to read your feedback and comments if you'll post them in this thread.

As always, happy reading! And keep an eye out for 'Unexpected Things' in the updates!

To give a little background: These sections are taking place during the final few dates of the North American leg that took place in the West. (The dates that were eventually added even after we all thought the tour was over.)

Section 1

             I leaned over and grabbed my cell from the nightstand, speed-dialing Brian’s number. He picked up on the second ring.
   “Hey,” he said cheerfully.
   “Hey, Bri,” I said. “I have some bad news.”
   “What’s up? Is everything okay?”
   “Things could definitely be better,” I said with a sigh. “Nick is sick, and I’m not just talking about a little cold. Let’s just say it’s been a rough night.”
   “Awe man,” Brian drawled. “Poor guy. Can you do anything for him?”
   “I’m working on that,” I said. “But I have to worry about the rest of you, too. We need a little group meeting.  Can you arrange that?”
   “Sure thing,” he said. “Leighanne’s taking Baylee out for a few hours so we can use my room. I’ll get Howie and AJ here. We‘ll be ready in twenty minutes.”
   “Perfect. Thanks, Bri,” I said as I closed my phone. Next to me, Nick groaned and opened his eyes, turning his head to find me. “It’s okay, baby,” I said to him. “I’m right here. Just rest.”
   He coughed and I reached over to check his temperature. I could feel the heat radiating off of him inches before my hand touched his forehead. I moved closer and planted a kiss there, desperate to ease his discomfort in any way that I could.
   “I’m going to get you some more cool towels,” I said softly. “It will make you more comfortable.”
   He nodded, closing his eyes again. I checked the clock and wondered when the ibuprofen would begin to work on his fever. I re-wet the towels I’d been using with  luke-warm water and rung them out until they were only damp. Then I went back in to the bed and pulled the blanket down to Nick’s waist. He didn’t budge as I draped the damp towels across his chest and stomach.
   I bent down to place a cool wash rag on his forehead and whispered softly, “Just sleep, baby. I’ll be in the shower. Holler if you need me.”
   He moaned softly in acknowledgemen t and I slipped into the bathroom and turned on the shower. I hurried to wash my hair and clean up and then toweled off to get back in and check on him. He was fast asleep. I got dressed in a tank top and some cut off sweats and pulled my still-damp hair back into a high ponytail. With only five minutes left until I was supposed to be at Brian’s room, I checked to make sure that I had everything I needed in back in my med bag. I felt Nick’s forehead again, relieved to find that his temperature seemed to be dropping if only slightly.
   I went to the door, med bag in hand, and asked Drew if he’d step inside to keep an eye on Nick while I was gone.
   “Just call me if he needs anything,” I said as I slipped out. “I’ll be in Brian’s room.”
   When I knocked on the door, Brian opened immediately. Howie and AJ were sitting in the lounge chairs on the other end, and looked up as I walked in.
   “Hey Cole,” Howie said.
   “Morning, beautiful,” AJ added, smiling at me.
   “Hey guys,” I said, taking a seat on the last empty chair that Brian gestured to. He sat down on the edge of the bed near us and clasped his hands together, looking very concerned and fatherly.
   “How’s Nick doing?” he asked.   
   I shook my head, wondering where to begin. “Not so great,” I admitted. “I think it’s a really nasty strain of the flu.”
   There was a collective sigh from all of them and I shrugged my shoulders, wishing I could take it back and pretend it was all a bad dream.
   “Poor guy,” Howie said, shaking his head. “How does he feel about the show tonight?”
   “I haven’t even gotten that far with him yet,” I stated. “Honestly, it doesn’t look good. The situation is this: Nick is barely coherent right now. He’s been burning up with a fever of 103. He’s weak and achy and I’m not convinced he could stand on his feet for five minutes right now. I’ve talked with Johnny and he’s got someone picking up a prescription for an anti-viral. I’m hoping we can get that to him in time to help. We’ll just have to see from there.”
   “Shit,” AJ said, which pretty much summed up the way we were all feeling, especially my poor Nick.
   “So, first things first,” I said, trying to collect my thoughts. “This virus is nasty and we don’t need all of you catching it. Raise your hand if you’ve experienced any or all of the following symptoms: Cough, sore throat, aches, chills, fever, sinus problems…?”
   I looked at each of them in turn. Brian shook his head, and so did Howie, but when I looked at AJ he had an extremely guilty look on his face and raised his hand slowly.
   “Not you, too,” Howie said, disbelieving.
   I gave AJ a sympathetic smile and opened my med bag as I walked toward him. He slumped back in his chair in defeat as I set the bag on the coffee table next to him.
   “When did this start, and exactly what are you feeling?” I asked as I found my in-ear thermometer to check his temperature.
   “I basically just woke up this morning feeling kind of crappy,” he admitted. “It’s nothing like Nick, though. I hope it doesn’t get that way.”
   My thermometer beeped and I glanced at the reading. “Your temp is 99.1,” I observed. “That’s a little high but nothing to lose sleep over. How does your chest feel?” I asked as I reached for my stethoscope and put it on.
   “Uh, a little tight, maybe,” he stated as I slipped the bell under the collar of his t-shirt and listened intently. I glanced at Brian, who was chewing on his bottom lip in silence as he watched, and then AJ leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees so I could listen to his lungs from the back.
   “Your lungs sound clear, so far,” I announced as I put the stethoscope around my neck and knelt on the floor by AJ’s knees. “That’s great news.”
   AJ nodded and then I felt his neck for swelling in his glands. The swelling was minimal. Also good news.
   “How’s your throat?” I asked.
   “Dry,” he said. “That’s about it.”
   “Okay,” I said, leaning back to gaze at him. “I’m going to call in an anti-viral for you, too. It seems like you’re just at the beginning of this flu, and we definitely don’t want it getting worse.” I squeezed his hand and he squeezed mine back, watching me with those big brown puppy-dog eyes. “I know this is a lot to ask, but I think you should rest today as much as possible. I’ll let Johnny know what’s going on.”
   “Doctor’s orders?” he asked, half-smiling.
   “You bet your skinny little butt.” I turned so that I could look at Howie and Brian as well. “As for the show,” I added. “I hate to say it, but I think we’re going to have to cancel.”
   Brian took a deep breath and let it out slowly, wringing his hands in deep thought. Howie looked at AJ, who didn’t react nearly as strongly as I had suspected he would, and then to Brian.
   “I can give you guys a few minutes to talk,” I said, moving to stand up.
   “No,” Brian said, reaching out to grasp my wrist. “You know more about this than anyone. I think we all agree that we could use your input.”
   I nodded, feeling the pressure of the entire situation grow heavier on my shoulders. “Okay then. Well, Nick is definitely not up to performing tonight. I think that goes without say. Things can only get worse if AJ doesn’t get the rest he needs to fight this off, so that leaves only two of you. I just don’t see that happening.”
   “Definitely not,” Howie agreed.
   “So, what’s the plan?” Brian asked.
   “I think we all need to stay put here today and lay low. Nick shouldn’t even be traveling. Poor guy could no more sit on a plane than fly to the moon.” I glanced around at the grave faces they were all wearing and it broke my heart just a little. “I know you hate to disappoint the fans,” I said softly, “But I would never recommend this if I didn’t think it was necessary. It’s my job to keep you guys healthy, but I‘m not only speaking as your doctor, but as your friend.”
   “You’re right,” Brian said. “You’ve always done everything you could to get us on stage, despite whatever bug is going around. If you think we should cancel, then we’d be pretty stupid not to take your advice. If there‘s one thing you taught me all those years ago, it‘s that our health has to come first. Nick deserves that.”
   “The fans are great. They’d never want us to do something to put ourselves at risk,” Howie said. “They’ll understand.”
   “So, I guess it’s decided,” AJ said. And we all nodded in agreement.
   I reached into my med bag and pulled out some bottles of supplements. I tossed a bottle to each of the guys and said, “This is something to help boost your immune systems. It’s natural. You all need to be drinking lots of water, as well. Trust me, you don’t want to catch this virus.”
   “Amen to that,” AJ said, lifting his bottle of herbs into the air in agreement.
   “You, off to bed,” I said to him with a smile. “I’ll be checking in on you later.” He got to his feet obediently and thanked me before leaving the room, probably to go enjoy some Adult Swim.
   I looked back at Brian and Howie and added, “Share this stuff with your wives and Baylee. They don’t need to catch this anymore than the rest of us. And yes, it’s safe for Leigh’s pregnancy,” I said to answer Howie’s question before he asked it. They both nodded obediently. I pulled out my Blackberry and sent a second anti-viral prescription to the pharmacy, and then picked up my bag. “If anyone else starts to feel the beginning of this flu coming on, let me know immediately. We can nip it in the butt if we catch it in time. Hopefully, AJ will be over this by tomorrow.”
   “And Nick?” Brian asked.
   “We’ll cross our fingers for Vegas,” I said, trying to be realistic. “I’ll take good care of him.”
   “We have no doubt that you will,” Howie added, smiling at me.
   “I can call Johnny and fill him in,” Brian offered. “Did you need me to pass anything along to him?”
   “Yeah, let him know that there’s a prescription waiting for AJ as well. We need it picked up, even if he has to send someone back for it.”
   “Will do,” Brian said, forcing a smile for me. “And Cole,” he added. “Thanks … for your honesty. It may not be what we wanted to hear, but that’s exactly why we needed you here.”
   “Someone has to be the voice of reason,” I teased, making him grin. I said good-bye to them and made my way back down the hall to the room Nick and I were sharing. When I let myself inside with the key card, Drew was sitting in a chair as far away from the bed as he could manage. I smiled at him and mouthed a silent ‘thank you’. He nodded and smiled back before getting to his feet and slipping out the door to his post in the hallway.
   Nick was sleeping, and I saw that he’d tossed the damp cloths on the floor and rolled over. I went to him and sat my bag down before carefully climbing onto the bed so as not to disturb him. I propped my head up with one arm and rested my free hand on his cheek gently. He moaned softly and leaned in to my touch. His temperature hadn’t changed much since I’d left, but at least it hadn’t gone up.
   
   I smelled something sweet that reminded me of home, and I took a deep breath, filling my lungs completely. Then I realized I was smelling Cole’s perfume. I forced my eyes open, blinking until they came into focus. She was lying on the bed with me, and the smile playing on her lips didn’t completely conceal the worry embedded in the deep green of her eyes.
   “Hey there,” she said softly, brushing her fingers through my messy hair. “How are you feeling?”
   I felt better just seeing her, but I knew that wasn’t what she was asking. I took a heart beat or two to assess my aches and pains.
   “Hot,” I answered, and then smiled when I realized how what it had sounded like.
   “That’s a given,” she said. She grinned at me and placed her hand on my bare chest, gently raking her nails along my skin. “I didn’t want to wake you.”
   “What time is it?”
   “Almost eleven,” she added. “I want to check you over again, but just rest. I‘ll only take a minute.”
   I nodded and she reached over to the floor and retrieved her med bag. She pulled the stethoscope out and put it on. I smiled at just the sight of her. What is it about the whole doctor thing that’s so damn sexy? I’ll never understand, but I’d always thought of it that way, at least with Cole. Maybe it was because I’d never known her to be any other way. She was always taking care of people. And as much as I liked being taken care of, I didn’t like that it wasn’t just for fun this time. The dull ache I felt all over my body and the tightness in my chest wouldn’t let me forget that.
   She listened to my chest, and I realized as I tried not to cough that I could feel my heart beating in my head.
   She felt my neck again, checking my glands as she had done so early this morning. She forced a smile for me when I looked up at her, and that told me pretty much everything I needed to know.
   “That bad, huh?” I groaned.
   “I’ll take good care of you,” she said sweetly. “Your prescription is on its way, and the ibuprofen seems to be working on your fever somewhat.”
   My coughing fit interrupted whatever she was trying to say next, and she gave me a worried look and rubbed my shoulder until it subsided. “What am I going to do?” I practically wheezed. “We’re supposed to be in Phoenix by-”
   “Shh…. It’s okay. We’re not going anywhere, baby. You’re in no condition to travel, let alone go onstage.”
   I studied her face with as much concentration as I could muster and realized she was serious. “What … what about the show and the guys?”
   “I just spoke to them,” she said. “They agreed that it’s best to cancel Phoenix.”
   I was feeling a mixture of half-relief, half-guilt at being the reason the show wouldn’t go on. She must have read it in my eyes because she cupped my face and leaned closer.
   “Sweetie, AJ is getting sick, too,” she said. “He’s not as sick as you are, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep it that way. The best thing to do is concentrate on getting you both well again, and keeping Brian and Howie that way.”
   “What about Vegas?” I asked, knowing that it was only a couple of days off.
   “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” she assured me.
   I opened my mouth to speak but a knock on the door made me pause.
   “I bet that’s you’re anti-viral,” Cole said as she stood up and went to the door.
   I let my head fall onto the pillow with a sigh, which resulted in a few more seconds of coughing. I heard Cole talking to Drew and someone I didn’t recognize but my brain was in too much of a fog to focus and I decided it wasn’t that important that I understood what was going on. Cole was taking care of things. She always did. It would all work out somehow.
   Cole returned a few minutes later with a glass of water and two pills that she made me swallow. “Can I get you anything? Do you think you could eat something?”
   “Nah,” I said, rolling toward where she sat on the bed. “I think I just need to sleep.” A fit of coughing overtook me and I sighed when I could breathe regularly again. She bent down and kissed me on the forehead, her lips lingering there for a moment.


   I was still surprised by the heat radiating off of Nick’s skin every time I touched him. I wanted his fever to break. If nothing else, then only for the sake of his comfort. I got another cool, damp washcloth and laid down next to him on the bed. He moaned softly when I put it on his forehead, but otherwise didn’t budge. I curled up next to him, resting my hand on his hot stomach, and closed my eyes. I found that I was actually quite exhausted. I realized it was because I had spent much of the night watching over Nick and trying to keep his fever from reaching dangerous levels. I hadn’t actually slept since about three in the morning. No wonder I was tired. Nick’s steady breathing, with the exception of a few short coughing spells, lulled me into a deep sleep.
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Guitargurl
Fledgling
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Posts: 41


« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2009, 02:18:50 PM »

It was just after lunch when we arrived at the Palms in Las Vegas. Nick had slept through the entire flight, which was a short one compared to most flights we’d been on. He and AJ had been taking the anti-viral religiously and Nick’s condition had improved some. AJ had managed to avoid the worst of the flu and was feeling more and more like himself every hour.
   Nick, although he was putting on a brave face, was still not up to par. He was bound and determined not to cancel another show, and I was trying to be supportive and make sure that he felt as good as possible on stage tonight. His voice hadn’t been the same since he’d gotten sick, and he’d been trying to give it a rest, speaking only minimally to make it to this point. Now that we were in the room and he was changing into something to wear for the sound check, I was wondering how he was really going to pull it off.
   “Just get comfortable, honey,” I said to him. “It’s no big secret that you’re sick.”
   He glanced at the clothes in his luggage and shrugged. “Touche.” He pulled some baggie clothes on and plopped down on the bed next to me.
   “Are you sure you’re up to this?” I asked him, rubbing his back to soothe him.
   “No, I’m not sure. But I have to do it,” he said. “I can’t be the reason we don’t go on stage again tonight.”
   “I want you to do what you feel you should do,” I continued. “I just worry about you. The fans want you to get well. Nobody blames you.”
   “I blame me,” he said. “AJ’s ready to get back out there now, so I’d be the only thing stopping us. I’ll get through it somehow.”
   “I know you will,” I said. I wrapped my arms around him and he turned to bury his face in the crook of my neck.
   Howie’s wife, Leigh, and I watched sound check from the side of the stage. Nick was armed with Dragon Balm, but anyone with two eyes would have known he wasn’t feeling well if they even glanced in his direction. The vibrant gleam was gone from his eyes, his face was red, and the smiles he forced for the fans were a vague imitation of the ones I loved so much. As soon as he could escape backstage after sound check, he did, right into my arms.
   I desperately wanted to just lead him right back up to our room and into bed so he could rest, but I knew that wasn’t what he wanted, even if it was what he needed. “You’re almost there,” I said to him, trying to be encouraging. “A few more hours and this will all be over with. Tomorrow is a new day, you could feel quite a bit better by then The flu is often like that. One day you feel terrible, and the next you‘re on your way back to feeling better again.” I took his hand and we made our way to the couch where we sat. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back as I checked him over quickly. I wanted to make sure his vitals were good after being out there for sound check. If his body wasn’t up to handling that, it would be a pretty good indication of what the real show could do to him tonight. We needed to be prepared. I was in the process of checking his blood pressure when Brian approached us. He sat on the arm of the sofa next to Nick, laying a supportive hand on Nick’s shoulder.
   “How you doing, kid?” he asked.
   “Good as I’m going to be,” Nick replied, and then he opened his eyes and forced a smile that Brian could see right through.
   “Maybe I’m asking the wrong person,” Brian said, looking at me with pleading eyes.
   I didn’t know what to say to him. Nick was determined to make the best out of this, and I was doing everything in my power to help him through it. I shrugged as I moved the bell of my stethoscope under the collar of Nick’s tee-shirt to listen to his heart and lungs.
   “The last thing I want is for you to make yourself more sick,” Brian said, looking at Nick again. “Don’t over do it tonight, okay? And rest up until show time.”
   “Will do,” Nick said. Then he laid his head in my lap and fell asleep.

   Cole pulled me aside moments before I was supposed to take the stage with the guys. I was adjusting my boxing robe when she approached. I’d only left her in the lounge ten minutes before, but she had wandered through the maze to find me again, and she looked like she was trying to hide the worry in her eyes.
   “Is everything okay?” I asked, wondering what would have made her brave the backstage area when I’d just seen her.
   “Yeah,” she said, sounding more like she was trying to convince herself than me. “I … I want you to promise me something,” she said, her green eyes pleading with me.
   “Of course,” I answered, wanting to relieve some of the anxiety that was radiating from her, despite her effort to mask it. “Anything, baby.”
   “I know you’re strong, Nick,” she began, forcing her voice to be calm. “And I admire what you’re doing for the guys and the fans here, I really do. But this isn’t a contest. You don’t get a gold medal for performing while you’re sick….” She paused then, and she looked like she was desperately searching for the right words.
   “Just tell me what you want me to do,” I urged, taking her hand and pulling it to my chest. She bit her bottom lip and sighed.
   “Just promise me that you’ll pay attention to what your body is telling you,” she whispered. “If it gets to be too much out there, just get back here to me so I can help you.”
   I smiled at her, the first real genuine smile I’d managed in a few days, and I saw some of the worry dissipate from her eyes as I gazed at her. “I promise,” I said. “Brian already gave me the lecture about not killing myself out there tonight.” And he had. Brian had been under a lot of pressure to perform despite his heart problems in the earlier days. It had been wrong, but it had happened. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t feeling the same pressure. The truth was, any pressure I was feeling tonight was coming from my own desire to beat this stupid flu that had been kicking my ass. “Besides,” I added. “I have three big brothers out there to look after me. We’ve already made a few adjustments to the set list, and they know I’m going to be leaning heavily on them to get through this. I’ll be okay.” She looked at me, not quite convinced. “Listen” I said. “You watch the show from the lounge, like usual, and then if at any point you start to worry, come back here and you can see me between sets while I change. Then you can decide for yourself how I’m doing.”
   She smiled at me, and I knew I’d struck gold. I pulled her into my arms, and reveled in the peace that I felt while I held her. It was a moment of calm in the middle of the storm, as stage hands and lighting guys and the band and the other guys milled around us, the fans chanting “Backstreet Boys” from the crowded arena.
   “I just worry about you,” she said when she pulled back.
   “I know. And I love you for it,” I replied.
   “Good luck,” she added, just as AJ called for me to join him and Brian and Howie. Ready or not, it was show time.
   Surprising enough, the introduction and the first number went fairly smoothly. I could tell my body was not reacting as smoothly as I was used to, and I tried to ignore that fact so it wouldn’t throw me off completely, but I managed to get through “Larger Than Life”,“Everyone” and “Any Other Way.” Unfortunately, my voice decided that it had had quite enough, thank you, and started to go out shortly after that.
   When my verse was approaching in “You Can Let Go” I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off. Thinking as quickly as my disoriented mind could, I got Howie’s attention on the stool next to me and mouthed to him that I needed him to take it.
   Unaware of what was going on while he sang, AJ added his usual, “Go Nick,” after his verse, and then was surprised when Howie began to sing instead of me. He quickly added, “Go Howie,” and laughed a little to try and correct it. I gazed out into the adoring faces of the crowd and saw a mixture of responses to this. Most faces were confused, some looked sympathetic as they gazed at me, sitting there in silence while my verse went on without me.
   I flashed back to London, which hadn’t been all that long ago. I’d had pneumonia that night, and still managed to sing every word. I hadn’t been 100%, for sure, but I’d pulled it off to the best of my ability. Now here I was, with a case of the flu so bad that I wasn’t even able to pull my own weight on stage. One glance at one of the large monitor screens revealed the frown on my face and I had to push the thought away as the chorus came and I tried to sing along with the others. I found that I was able to do that pretty well, as long as I wasn’t having to carry the melody alone. That much, at least, I could do.
   When my lead approached on the next song, Howie gave me a questioning glance, not sure whether to take it for me or not. I shrugged and nodded toward him, not trusting my voice. He took over for me from that point on without hesitating, and I was impressed by his ability to step into parts of the songs that he wasn’t used to carrying. He did it well, too, and that helped me to relax a little.
   I was able to move along with him and Brian and AJ in the dance steps and different formations, probably only because we were near the end of the tour and I’d done the routines so many times that I was able to run on auto-pilot without much concentration. The only word to describe what I was feeling is disconnected. It was like I was running in slow-motion, almost in a dream-like state. A few songs later I decided to brave a verse again, and Howie saw that and stepped back for me. After the first line, I realized my voice still wasn’t up to it, and I held my mic out to the fans and said, “I need you guys to help me out tonight.”
   They responded faithfully, carrying the rest of my lines for me until Brian came in for his part.
   At one point I realized I was just telling myself to get through to the next part of the show when we sat on stools, or sat around the poker table to sing. Those songs were enough of a break for my body to allow me to get back on my feet for a number or two before we got to sit down again.
   If at any time I wondered if I looked as sick as I felt, my face would appear on one of the large monitors and confirm my suspicions. I just wasn’t myself tonight, and I hated it.
Logged

Guitargurl
Fledgling
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Posts: 41


« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2009, 02:21:45 PM »

Deleted Scenes from 'Unexpected Things'

Section 2 Part. 2

When it came time Howie’s solo, he went out while the rest of us stayed backstage. Cole was there waiting for me when slipped through the curtain on the side of the stage. She had a bottle of water, some dragon balm, and a chair waiting for me. Oh, and apparently some cool, wet towels, because she pressed one to my forehead as soon as I sat down in the chair.
   “Are you okay?” she asked, coming to kneel between my knees so she could look directly at me. I took the water bottle she held out for me and downed half of it before I answered.
   “Not really, but I‘ll get through it,” I admitted, Then I avoided adding more to my answer by lifting my sweat-soaked shirt over my head and letting it fall to the floor at my side. Howie’s solo wasn’t over yet, and mine wasn’t going to happen, not tonight. I welcomed the small break. Back here, I didn’t have to pretend everything was okay. Back here, I was just a terribly sick Nick. Cole took another damp towel and patted my chest, stomach and back with it, trying to busy herself with anything to help me. The evaporation of the cool water on my feverish skin felt great. I closed my eyes and hung my head for a moment, enjoying it. On some level I was aware of her pinching my wrist to time my pulse, which I guessed was high. The pounding rhythm of it in my head was a pretty good indicator of that, but I was trying not to think about it.
   I let myself zone out for a bit, and then the motion and sound of someone snapping their fingers in front of my face pulled me out of it. I looked up to see a concerned Brian kneeling next to Cole in front of me.
   “Hey buddy,” he said, laying a hand on my shoulder.
   “Hey,” I managed.
   “We’re not killing you out there, are we?” he asked. “You remember what we talked about? You have to know when enough is enough.”
   I nodded and said, “I‘m going back out. Just sorry I’m not much help,” I added, feeling the strain in my voice.
   Brian frowned at me and then tried to cover it with a smile. “What are you talking about?” he said. “You could just sit on your ass out there and that baby face of yours would keep them all screaming for hours. For that matter, if leaving your shirt off helps you stay cool, I‘m sure the girls wouldn‘t mind that view either,” he teased.
   I tried to smile for him and he tousled my hair in a very realistic imitation of Kevin and then motioned for Cole to follow him. They left me sitting for a moment, and I didn’t even care that they were discussing me, as they surely were.
   When Cole returned, she wiped the droplets of now warm water from my skin and then rubbed some more dragon balm into my chest. She helped me to change my clothes and I finished my bottle of water and met her gaze. Her green eyes were blazing with worry, and I knew it was taking all of her self-control not to beg me to end it and crawl into bed. The only thing keeping me going at that point was the fans. I thought about all their wishes for me to feel better that had come through during the texting before the show. They were so loyal and deserving of a great show. I couldn’t give them great, but the least I could do was be out there, giving it my best. They’d never asked more of me than that.   
   And so the show continued, with Howie or the audience singing most of my lead. I blended what voice I had left into the melodies and harmonies and danced despite my body’s yearning to lie down and go to sleep. I wandered the stage a lot, waving and trying to make eye contact with as many fans as possible. I wasn’t feeling sexy at all, but in true Backstreet fan fashion, the girls were screaming at my every attempt to be. The guys gave me encouraging thumps on the back and questioning glances when we turned our heads to the back of the set just to make sure I was still good to go. Their energy combined with that of the fans kept my spirits high, even if my body was dragging.
   When it came time for lollipops, I took a seat on a stool while AJ announced that, in his words, “One of the fellas is sick and won’t be participating, but the rest of us are ready for our lollipops.” I sat back and watched as the fans went crazy over a kiss on the cheek from the guys. This was truthfully one of my favorite parts of the show on a normal night. I cherished the chance to give something back to the fans who had been with us for so long. The fact that something as simple as a kiss on the cheek could mean so much to someone was a truth I appreciated, but tonight I was happy to watch from a distance, knowing that the one thing a fan might not want from me was this stupid, stupid flu.
   Not surprisingly, the show seemed to take closer to four hours because of the way I was feeling, but finally the moment came when I was bowing and making my way off the stage. It wasn’t over, not completely, because we always went back out for an Encore of “Shape of My Heart” but I was starting to feel like I was shaking from the inside out. It was disconcerting, and Brian was reading it all over my face.
   He took me by the shoulders as soon as we were out of sight of the fans. One good look at me and I knew what he was thinking. I wasn’t about to argue. I was done. I’d given absolutely everything I had and there was nothing left. I didn’t have even one more song in me.
   He motioned for security and the next thing I knew Drew was wrapping my arm over his shoulder and helping to support my weight. I could walk, at least I was pretty sure I could, but I accepted his help without a word.
   “Get Nick to his wife,” I vaguely heard Brian say. “If I know her, she’s already on her way here from the lounge.” Then he took my face in his hands and said, “You did great, Nick. It’s over. Now it’s time to rest.”
   I managed a nod and    felt my feet moving on their own accord as Drew led me down through the maze toward the lounge. Behind me, the opening notes of ’Shape of My Heart’ began as the rest of the guys went out again with me. As Brian had predicted, my sweet wife was anticipating this and met us halfway through the long hallway.
   “Oh Nick,” Cole said as she rushed toward me. She took a heartbeat to survey me and then ran back toward the lounge to open the door so Drew could help me inside. I collapsed on the couch, relieved that it was all over. Cole was kneeling by me again, and Leigh was right beside her, the two of them fussing over me as I let my mind drift in and out of awareness. Cole was here and everything was fine again.

   
   “I’m here, baby,“ I said to Nick as I pressed my hand to his heart to feel it pounding with exertion. He moaned softly and his blue eyes met mine for an instant before he closed them and gave in to the exhaustion.
   “I can’t believe he made it through the entire show like this,” Leigh said as she helped me to put some more cool towels on him.
   “Neither can I,” I admitted. But if I had taken the time to think more deeply into it just then, I wouldn’t have been as surprised. When I’d first come onto the scene, Brian had nearly worked himself to death by postponing surgery after surgery for a life-threatening heart defect. Was it really that shocking that Nick would drive himself to complete exhaustion just to avoid letting down the fans in one more city? Probably not.
   “Is he okay?” Leigh asked, seeing how unresponsive Nick was.
   I opened my mouth to answer her when a knock on the lounge door interrupted me. I glanced over my shoulder to see a fairly young guy in a paramedic’s uniform poke his head inside. He glanced at us and said, “Sorry to interrupt. I know he was struggling out there tonight.” He nodded toward Nick. “When I saw that he didn’t go back on I thought I’d come back to see if everything is okay and if I can help.” I glanced at him and he looked competent so I nodded for him to come inside. “The flu, huh?” he asked as he set his bag down on the floor and gave Nick the once over. “I treated a girl with a twisted ankle early in the show who filled me in,” he added. “How is he?”
   I took a deep breath and sighed, running my fingers through Nick’s hair, damp with sweat. “Not so great,” I replied. “He overdid it, not that I‘m surprised.”
   “The girl downstairs told me that his wife is a doctor, I’m assuming that’s you. You probably don’t really need my help but I’d be happy to get his vitals for you so you can sit with him.”
   I decided that was probably the best idea I’d heard all night. Leigh nodded to me that she agreed and I climbed up onto the couch and moved Nick gently until his head was resting in my lap and I was cradling him in my arms.
   “Thank you …”
   “It’s James,” he informed me when I hesitated.
   “Thank you, James,” I said as I watched him open his bag and kneel on the floor next to the couch.
   “It’s no problem,” he said.
   He pulled a small portable O2 mask out and passed it over to me. I held the mask over Nick’s nose without laying it directly on his face so he would get the benefits of the extra oxygen with every breath but the mask wouldn‘t disturb him. James checked his blood pressure next and called out the reading to me. It was high, but not unexpected after the night Nick was having. I stored the reading away in my mind for comparison later, doing the same with his pulse rate. As long as it dropped after some rest, it wasn’t anything to be too concerned about. Under my hand, I could feel that Nick’s breathing was already leveling out to a normal pace, and the thumping of his heart was calming as well.
   Brian burst through the door a moment later, and I watched him quickly scan the scene in the room. James was taking a reading of Nick’s temperature with a digital ear thermometer and I was cradling an unresponsive Nick in my arms, the oxygen mask still in my hand.
   I didn’t realize at first why the look of panic shot across Brian’s face, but seeing the paramedic in the room had added a whole new level of worry into the situation for him.    
   “What’s going on?” he asked, his chest heaving. He’d probably run straight off the stage to get back here. “Cole, is he okay?”
   “Brian, it’s okay,” I said, gesturing for him to come closer. “This is James. He saw Nick struggling on stage tonight and thought he’d offer to help when Nick didn’t rejoin you for the last song. He’s just checking Nick’s vitals for me so I can hold him. That’s all.”
   Brian looked at James for a second and then at Nick and back to me. “Damn. You scared me,” he said, running a hand over his hair. He breathed a sigh of relief and then offered his hand to James. “I’m Brian,” he said.
   “Nice to meet you,” James offered. “Sorry it wasn’t under different circumstances.”
   “I’m the one who’s sorry,” Brian added. “Thanks for your help.” He shifted his weight nervously and then looked at Nick again, a frown tugging at the corners of his normally upturned mouth. “Did he … pass out?”
   “Not exactly,” I said. “He just crashed once he hit the couch. He’s pretty beat.”
   “This is my fault,” Brian said, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I let him do this to himself.”
   “Listen to me, Brian,” I said. I had known that he would try to take responsibility for this if it didn’t go as smoothly as we had all hoped. Howie and AJ walked into the room, but didn‘t say a word, sensing that they were interrupting something. “And this goes for all of you,” I added, including them in the discussion midway. “If I’ve learned one thing it’s that it’s damn near impossible to get a Backstreet Boy to change his mind once he’s set it on something. You guys are all so stubborn, sometimes.”
   “I prefer the word driven,” AJ offered, almost making me lose my train of thought.
   I smiled then and caressed Nick’s peaceful face gently as I spoke. “Nick chose to go out there and perform tonight. Don’t you dare go blaming yourselves because he wanted to give the fans a show. This is what he wanted, and he’s going to be fine,” I added. “He just needs to rest up.”
   Brian surveyed Nick again, chewing on his lip. “Really?”
   I gestured to James for confirmation and he nodded. “He’s had a rough night,” James concluded. “You might be surprised at what a good night’s sleep can do for a guy.”
   Nick moaned just then and I lifted the mask away so I could see his face clearly. “Nick, honey, can you hear me?” I asked. His eyes fluttered for a second and then opened to fix on me. “It’s okay, baby. I’ve got you now.”
   “Hey Nick,” Howie called out to him from across the room. “You put up one hell of a fight tonight, buddy,” he said.
   Nick turned his head to see his brothers standing together a few yards away. Brian stepped forward and kneeled down next to James, who Nick didn’t even seem to notice.
   “Will you ever learn to listen?” Brian scolded Nick lightly.
   Nick looked at him for a second and then blinked and groaned, “Not likely.”
   I smiled and Brian grinned, reaching out to touch Nick’s arm.
   “I think it’s time to get your sarcastic ass in bed,” Brian said.
   “I couldn’t agree with that more,” I stated.
   “Cole, the man is obviously very ill. Whatever you have in mind might just have to wait,” AJ teased.
   I rolled my eyes at him, trying to hide my amusement at his remark as Howie smacked him on the arm for me. “Thanks, D,” I said to Howie.
   “Any time,” he replied, smiling as AJ chuckled and rubbed the sore spot on his shoulder.
   With a little help, Nick and I were back up in our hotel room twenty minutes later. He was lying in bed, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers, and I was snuggled up next to him, glad that the show was over and that Nick had pulled off any semblance of normalcy during it. He really had danced his little butt off despite being so sick.
   “Just for the record,” I whispered to him. “If they did give out gold medals for performing when you’re sick, you’d be getting one tonight.”
   He smiled at me and pulled me closer. I planted a soft kiss on his chest and rested my head in the crook of his shoulder, closing my eyes. We left the window open, the Las Vegas breeze and the sound of traffic drifting in through it. I drew the sheet up over us, knowing that Nick wouldn’t be able to stand the heat of more blankets than that. His fever was considerably lower than it had been this morning, but he was still extra warm to the touch. I slept warm and deep against him, and Nick didn’t make sound, resting peacefully for the first time in several nights.
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Guitargurl
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2009, 10:22:06 AM »

I woke up to the sound of a horn honking from the street below. I rolled over in bed to find Cole lying next to me. She was sleeping deeply, a tangle of soft curls falling all around her on the pillow. I brushed a curl away from her face and realized that my head felt clearer than it had in days. I hadn’t had a shower last night, at least, I didn’t remember having one. I slowly climbed out of bed, feeling stronger than I expected to, and made my way into the bathroom. As I washed myself, I also realized I didn’t remember a lot about last night. The concert was starting to blur together into a big mess of jumbled memories of me not singing much, and trying to pretend I felt better than I did. I knew I wasn’t kidding anyone. The fans knew me well enough to know that I was feeling like crap, but I hoped they didn’t feel shafted by my performance and the fact that we’d had to cut out ‘Panic’ and my solo..
   I remembered getting off the stage, and following Brian’s orders to get to the lounge. Drew had helped me get there. I’d let myself collapse on the couch once I knew Cole was with me. I vaguely remembered seeing the rest of the guys in the lounge at some point. Everything was pretty hazy after that. How had I gotten back to my room? I shook my head to clear it, and then regretted it instinctively, until I realized that the act hadn’t caused shooting pain to race all through my head.
   Was is possible to be feeling this much better after having a night like that? I finished washing and shaved for the day before toweling off. When I walked back out into the room in my towel, I saw Cole stirring. I sat down on the edge of the bed and she rolled toward me, slowly opening her green eyes.
   “Nick?” she asked, sitting up in surprise. I smiled at her and reached out to touch her face. “Baby, how are you feeling?” she questioned.
   “After last night things could only get better, right?” I said.
   She looked at me hopefully and pulled me closer. Her hand went first to my bare chest, and then to my forehead, feeling for my temperature.
   “Your fever,” she observed with wide eyes. “It’s gone.”
   “Can you believe it?” I said, sharing in her amazement. “I woke up this morning feeling mostly human for the first time in days.”
   “That’s saying something after the night you had.”
   “Yeah. That’s all a little fuzzy today,” I admitted. “I don’t even know how I got back here last night.”
   “Doesn’t matter,” Cole said, as she got to her knees and moved closer to me. “I’m just glad you’re feeling better.”
   “Me too.”
   She wrapped her arms around my neck and hugged me close. I sighed in content and breathed in the smell of her. Today was going to be a much better day than I would have guessed it could be.
   “The key is not to overdo it now that you’re getting some of your energy back,” she added when she pulled back, gazing at me. “You could wind up back in bed again if you’re not careful.”
   “Yeah, I don‘t want that,” I replied.
   “You might want to give Brian a call, though,” she said. “He’ll want to know you’re feeling a little better.”
   She got up to take a shower and I found some clothes in my luggage and got dressed. Then I pulled out my phone and dialed Brian’s number as I sat down in one of the oversized chairs in the room. A smile crossed my face when Baylee’s little voice sounded on the line.
   “Hi?” he said. I’d missed the little guy lately, since he was old enough to be in school and he and Leighanne were in Atlanta most of the time. They came out as often as they could to see Brian, but it just wasn’t the same as when they’d come everywhere with us like the last tour.
   “Hey Baylee, it’s Uncky Nick,” I said with a chuckle. “Can I talk to your Dad?”
   I heard Leighanne’s voice in the background, probably trying to wrestle away the phone.   
   “Daddy!” Baylee hollered loudly into the receiver. “Uncky Nick wants to talk to you!’
   I laughed and pulled the phone away from my ear until he was done. I heard Brian’s voice as he took the phone.
   “Nick?” he asked when he came on the line.
   “Hey Bri. I like the new answering service,” I said with a chuckle.
   “Nick, am I glad to hear your voice,” Brian said, and I could hear the smile in his tone, and the relief.
   “Gee Bri, I didn’t know you cared so much,” I teased.
   “You sound much better today,” he observed. “How are you feeling?”
   “I’m not a hundred percent yet, but I’m on my way back to it,” I answered. “The show will be much better tonight in Hollywood.”
   “That’s a relief,” Brian said. “After last night, I was seriously considering having to cancel tonight.”
   “Nah. It’s our last show in the states for this tour. We’re going out with a bang. Besides, isn’t Kev coming to watch?”
   “I think so,” he answered. “But don’t let that be the reason you push too hard or you’ll have me to answer to.”
   “Point taken,” I said to humor him. “Well, I guess we have a little drive ahead of us. I’d better get my stuff ready to get on the bus.”
   “Wait til you have toys and scoobie snacks to keep track of,” Brian teased. We said goodbye and got off the phone. I got my stuff together and saw that Cole’s med bag was haphazardly packed. She must have thrown everything in it in a hurry last night. I tried to straighten it as best I could and zipped it shut for her, setting it next to my duffel bag so it wouldn’t get left behind.
   She emerged from the bathroom ten minutes later, dressed in a pair of cute cut offs and a black tank top. She saw her med bag with my pile by the door and stopped to give me a kiss.
   “Thanks,” she said.
   “I guess it’s kind of my fault you’ve been lugging it around,” I added.
   
   As glad as I was to have some of my energy back, sitting on a bus for the better part of the day on our way to Los Angeles gave me no outlet for it. Cole and I passed some time playing Guitar Hero III on my Wii and that helped a little. According to her, it was the perfect way to force me to take it easy today so I wouldn’t burn myself out again before the show tonight. She knows me too well. It’s that simple. Apparently, 2 years of marriage can do that.
   We arrived in L.A. in the early afternoon. Home sweet home. Cole and I had moved here just before the guys and I had started to record ‘Unbreakable’. It just made more sense to be in L.A. when everyone else was out here. Florida was not always conducive to the lifestyle like it had been in the earlier days when we ran our business out of Orlando. We’d found a house that we absolutely loved and couldn’t resist buying. I had to admit, buying a house with Cole was a great experience. It was like one more big thing that we were able to do together, since she’d moved right into my place in Florida without us having to house hunt. We’d had lots of fun decorating the place, too, which was also fairly new to me. Cole had a great sense for things like that and she had managed to help me make it feel like home right away.
Cole and I cleaned up and organized the tour bus since this was our last day on it. We’d be sleeping in our own big bed at home tonight. It was a comforting thought. I was beginning to get home sick, which was something I had never really experienced before marrying Cole. The thought of being back home with her, if only for a short time, and carrying on like any other couple was something I welcomed.
   We stopped to meet everyone for a late lunch before continuing on to the arena. Sound check went a lot better than it had the day before in Vegas. I forced myself to take it easy, which wasn’t as hard as I had anticipated, considering that I still hadn’t completely shaken off the cough. My voice was back enough to sing my parts again, though, and for that I was thankful.
   The guys and I signed things and took a pictures for the fan club website as we talked to the fans. I thanked them all for their well wishes, and assured the ones who had attended last night’s show that I was indeed feeling much better.
   “We heard that you fainted,” one of them said to me.
   “Uh … nope,” I said to her as I signed her CD. “Don’t know how that rumor started.” Then I cast Brian a questioning glance, hoping that I really hadn’t. I still couldn’t remember everything that had happened last night after I’d left the stage, but I was pretty sure Cole would have mentioned it if I really had passed out.
   Cole was sitting off to the side of the stage, playing ‘Go Fish’ with Baylee as we wrapped things up. I approached when we were done and asked her where the Dragon Balm was.
   “I think it’s in the lounge in my purse,” she answered. “I’ll help you find it.”
   Leighanne took Baylee to find Brian and Cole and I wandered through the maze in the Palladium until we were back at the lounge. When I opened the door and stepped inside, I was surprised to see Kevin and Kristen sitting on the couch. Kristen was holding their 18 month old son, Mason. Kevin jumped up to his feet, smiling when we walked in.
   “Kev!” I said, my voice betraying my shock. I’d hoped he’d show up tonight, but this was really a surprise. Before I could completely wrap my head around the fact that he was here backstage he threw his arms around me and hugged me. I heard Cole greeting Kristen and fussing over Mason and then Kevin released me. He stepped back and took a good look at me. I was used to his appraising eye, but it had been so long since I’d seen him in this setting. It was a little surreal.
   “You look good,” he said to me. “You look really good.”
   “What did you do, find pictures of last night’s show where I looked like death warmed over?” I said with a grin.
   He shook his head. “Nah. Brian told me you had a rough night last night. But seriously. You’ve lost weight since I saw you last. And it hasn’t been that long.”
   That was true. Cole and I had been on a major work-out kick since before this tour, and we’d been eating really good. It was easy to do when you had someone to do it with you every day.
   “Thanks,” I said. “You don’t look bad, yourself, Dad.”
   He shrugged and smiled proudly as I glanced over at Kristen. “Hey, Kris,” I said to her. “I’d come closer but I’m still just getting over this and I’d feel horrible if I passed it on to the little guy.”
   “It’s okay,” Kristen said. “It’s great to see you, Nick.”
   “You too,” I told her. “I’m glad you guys came out tonight. We’ve missed you.”
   “You’ve been just fine without us,” Kevin said with a smile. Cole was holding Mason now, and he was grinning at her and talking nonsense.
   She smiled up at me and said, “Isn’t he the cutest thing?”
   “Looks like his Mom, thank goodness,” I teased, earning a laugh and a slug on the shoulder from Kevin. “Man, he’s gotten so big.”
   Brian, Leighanne and Baylee wandered into the lounge next, and the round of greetings continued for them. AJ and Howie weren’t far behind. Before long, we were all sitting around and joking and bagging on each other like old times. It felt really good to be together again, even if it was only backstage.



Well, that's the end of the deleted scenes. Look for the actual story 'Unexpected Things' coming in the next week.

I'd love any comments below as well! Thanks!

Guitargurl
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