Rewind by Carter-Orange
Past Featured StorySummary: Photobucket

Everything has changed for Nick Carter, a once successful member of the Backstreet Boys. He reaches his fortieth birthday and wishes he could just rewind...


Categories: Fanfiction > Backstreet Boys Characters: Group, Nick
Genres: Drama
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 24 Completed: Yes Word count: 32381 Read: 35846 Published: 07/19/10 Updated: 06/08/11
Story Notes:

This is a story I started a while back and abandoned. I decided to take it down, edit it a bit and carry on with it. Please let me know what you think.

Rated R for language and possible sex scenes. Thanks for voting for Rewind in the Felix Awards, I really am surprised! Photobucket

1. Chapter 1 by Carter-Orange

2. Chapter 2 by Carter-Orange

3. Chapter 3 by Carter-Orange

4. Chapter 4 by Carter-Orange

5. Chapter 5 by Carter-Orange

6. Chapter 6 by Carter-Orange

7. Chapter 7 by Carter-Orange

8. Chapter 8 by Carter-Orange

9. Chapter 9 by Carter-Orange

10. Chapter 10 by Carter-Orange

11. Chapter 11 by Carter-Orange

12. Chapter 12 by Carter-Orange

13. Chapter 13 by Carter-Orange

14. Chapter 14 by Carter-Orange

15. Chapter 15 by Carter-Orange

16. Chapter 16 by Carter-Orange

17. Chapter 17 by Carter-Orange

18. Chapter 18 by Carter-Orange

19. Chapter 19 by Carter-Orange

20. Chapter 20 by Carter-Orange

21. Chapter 21 by Carter-Orange

22. Chapter 22 by Carter-Orange

23. Chapter 23 by Carter-Orange

24. Chapter 24 by Carter-Orange

Chapter 1 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Here goes, let me know what you think.

Rewind

Chapter 1 - Not Such a Happy Birthday

28th January 2020

“Happy Birthday to me” Nick muttered to himself as he raised his whiskey glass in the lonely bar. He looked around and saw the usual clientele, mainly bar bums; he supposed he could class himself as one of them too.

Gone were the expensive clothes, these days he didn’t care about his appearance much, not that he was all that vain back in the old days, but now he would just pull on whatever looked clean. Gone were the cars, the houses, the money, the fame and everything he valued in his life, including his family. Where had it all gone wrong? He thought back to that fateful night eighteen months ago when his wife and kids left.

“I can’t do this anymore Nick, I’m sick of your false promises and the lies, I’m leaving” she said

“Mandy, baby, you can’t go. I need you, I…I love you” Nick replied

“Need the bottle and my paycheck you mean! I’ve had it up to here” she held her hand to her head and then sighed, worn down by years of living like this.

“I can give it all up, I can change, honestly I can” he pleaded and hoped she’d take pity on him.

“No Nick, you’ve been saying that for years, you lay off the booze and pills for a couple of weeks and then binge for days…weeks even. It’s not just that though Nick, it’s everything else. You treat me like a skivvy, you never do anything with the kids, how many times have you even read them a bedtime story eh?” she said, her hands flying about in anger “and I’ve lost count of the times you’ve cheated on me. I’ve wasted so much of my life on you, I loved you once upon a time, but now…I don’t know how I feel about you, but one thing for sure, we’re finished. I can’t live like this a moment longer and I don’t want our children growing up like this”

“But I love you Mandy, I‘m sorry for everything” Nick said, tears beginning to roll down his face

“You don’t love me. How can you love me and put me through the hell you have done? No, it’s too late, my mind’s made up” she said and pulled out a suitcase and began throwing clothes into it.

“It’s two in the morning, come on, think about this, where you gonna go?” he asked

“My parents” she answered and carried on filling the case, then went into the children’s room and packed what little they had into cases. She loaded the battered old car then went back inside to wake the kids, carefully carrying the youngest, Bethany, in her arms and strapping her in to her car seat.

“Goodbye Nick, I’ll be in touch” she said, giving him a quick peck on the cheek and then she was gone.

So here he was, on his fortieth birthday, all alone, no friends, no family, and no nothing. He’d driven everyone away one by one over the years. He sat there in his tatty whiskey stained t-shirt and worn jeans, contemplating life, wondering what the point of it all was. Would anyone miss him if he just vanished off the face of the earth? He doubted it, he was insignificant. His life wasn’t meant to turn out this way, but fate had had other ideas.

“Another” he called to the bartender when he’d drained his glass.

“You got money for this Carter?” the bartender queried, having been caught out previously.

“Sure I have” Nick replied and emptied his pockets.

He downed a few more whiskies and then staggered home, the night was bitterly cold but he hadn’t bothered with a jacket.

“Hey, didn‘t you used to be Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys” called someone from across the street. Nick looked over to where a small group of teens were congregated opposite him.

“No, not me. I’m a nobody” he replied, his speech slightly slurred. He hated being recognised.

“It is you! My Mom used to love you, that is, before you turned into a drunken, drugged up asshole and left the band”. She laughed and then the group carried on walking, kicking an empty beer can along the road as they did so.

It was the story of Nick’s life, people still recognised him as the asshole who broke up the Backstreet Boys. He’d learned to deal with it over the years, but he wondered why people couldn’t just leave him alone, it was old news.

He arrived back to the now unkempt trailer which had been home for the last couple of years. No wonder she left, this place is a friggin shit tip and I’m a fucking mess. He swung the door open and stepped inside, the smell of stale cigarettes and alcohol wafting up his nostrils. He looked in the fridge for something to eat, spying a microwave burger; he opened it up and shoved it on full power for two minutes, leaving the empty wrapper on the kitchen work top along with the rest of the rubbish. I really should tidy this place. When the microwave pinged, he opened the door and got his burger out, then reached into the fridge for a beer and slumped on the sofa.

What an uneventful birthday this had turned out to be. He thought back to a happier birthday, a birthday he’d been sober for, before he’d driven them all away.

“Make a wish Daddy, you have to, it’s your birthday” said Jacob

“Hmm, and what shall I wish for this year? I know, a lottery win” said Nick, grinning at his children.

“You can’t tell or it won’t come true, silly Daddy” Adam corrected.

Nick closed his eyes and thought about his children, sometimes he missed them so much, and Mandy, he missed her too, but she was right, she was better off without him, he was a loser. It had been hard finding out that she was seeing someone else now, but it had been bound to happen sooner or later, she was still an attractive woman. She was also free to do whatever she pleased now, no longer married to the man who’d dragged her down for years.

He lit a match and closed his eyes then inhaled a deep breath - yeah right, as if this shit actually works - and blew the match out. Nick took a long drink from his beer and smoked a stray joint he’d found under the table as he surveyed his surroundings. How had it come to this? Where did it all go wrong? It hadn’t just happened over night, it had been a gradual process, probably starting with the departure of Kevin from the group back in 2006, not that his leaving was the cause of all of Nick’s problems, but it hadn’t helped.

“Why can’t I just rewind” he said and walked into his bedroom and collapsed onto the bed and into a deep alcohol induced sleep.

Chapter 2 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Here's the next bit!

Chapter 2 – Was It A Dream

“Nick! Nick, come on we’ve gotta get to sound check”. Nick groaned and began to stir. Was he hallucinating? Was he still dreaming? He thought he just heard Kevin’s voice. Fuck, that must’ve been some strong shit I smoked last night. He’d not seen Kevin in years. “I’m not gonna tell you again Carter, we’ll go without you if you don’t get your ass out of that room in two minutes”

What the fuck? I’m laying off that stuff.

Nick dragged himself out of bed, not even looking at his surroundings for a moment. Hey this doesn’t feel right, since when did I have carpet in here? Nick looked down and scratched his head, this wasn’t right, he looked up and blinked then looked again. Where the fuck am I? It looked like a hotel room, a nice hotel room at that. He hadn’t been in a room like this in years and wondered how on earth he’d got there, could it be that he’d met some rich bitch who’d fancied a bit of rough last night and she’d taken him back with her? He really had no clue.

Looking around the room, he saw no evidence of anyone else having shared his bed the previous night.

“One minute Carter!” called the guy who sounded just like Kevin.

“I’ve gotta be fucking dreaming” he said to himself and walked into the bathroom and switched on the light.

“Holy shit” he exclaimed as he caught sight of himself in the bathroom mirror. His hands flew to his face.

Staring back at him was a man he hardly recognized as himself. Gone were the dark circles which had long become a permanent fixture under his eyes, in their place was smooth, young looking skin. The broken veins on his cheeks had vanished, as had the pale puffy skin. His hair was short and highlighted instead of being long and dishevelled with flecks of grey.

“This can’t be fucking real” he leaned forward and examined himself more closely, then closed his eyes, counted to ten and opened them again “fuck”.

Running back into the bedroom, he stood in front of the full length mirror and examined himself more closely. There was no mistaking that it had to be himself he was looking at, but how was that possible? He cast his eyes slowly over his reflection in the mirror, the large belly and man boobs were gone too, he looked like he used to look back in his twenties, before he’d let himself go.

“Well fuck me!” he muttered to himself as he stared at his reflection, smiling “I’m a good looking motherfucker”

But it couldn’t be. How could this be real? The last thing he remembered was smoking a joint and drinking a beer in the trailer, he hadn’t even remembered going to bed. People didn’t just travel back in time, it wasn’t possible! As far as he was aware, time travel hadn’t even been invented. No, this had to be a dream. A fucking vivid one at that!

By the time he opened the door of his hotel room, there was no one there. Maybe this was all just an elaborate hoax. He felt kind of weird, his head a bit fuzzy, so he closed the door and went back to bed, maybe he’d wake up back in the real world after a nap. He closed his eyes and sleep took him, but it wasn’t a peaceful sleep as he was plagued by nightmares.

“About fucking time” AJ said, causing Nick to wake up with a fright.

“What…what’s happening?” Nick asked, wondering how he was seeing a young version of AJ. He rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn’t still dreaming and then looked at the man he hadn’t seen in a while, his former friend and band mate.

“Where the hell were you dude? You missed sound check and Kevin was going fucking nuts, you better come up with a good excuse” AJ said and sat down on the edge of the bed. Nick eyed him up, noticing that he actually still had his hair.

“AJ? What the hell are you doing here?” Nick asked “Sound check? What are you talking about? What sound check?”

“Oh my god, you must’ve been really out of it last night? Fuck me, you’re kidding me right?” asked AJ

“No, I’m not” Nick replied and flopped back into the pillow

“Bro, we’re in Manchester, England, the Never Gone tour, remember?” AJ replied and pretended to knock Nick on the head.

“Oh yeah, sure I remember” Nick replied, trying to come to his senses in front of AJ, not wanting to appear like a complete basket case. Inside he was thinking differently.

“Come on, you better get yourself showered and dressed and we’ll go get something to eat before the show, you look like shit and Kevin will freak if you pull this shit with him. What were you thinking last night, what were you on man? Wasn’t seeing me go through hell enough to put you off taking that stuff?” said AJ

Nick didn’t know what to say, so he said nothing. He cast his mind back and remembered AJ’s battle with drugs and alcohol, how he’d gone to rehab and managed to stay off the drugs ever since, but after a few years began so drink socially again. Life had turned out pretty good for AJ.

He walked into the bathroom and took a shower, maybe that’s what he needed to bring himself back to his senses because he sure as hell wasn’t thinking straight right now. He stood there under the jets of water and began to think, what if this were all real, what if he really was back in 2005? What was he going to do? Things like this didn’t happen in reality, you couldn’t just go back in time - could you?

He stepped out of the shower and wiped the condensation off the mirror and took a good long look at himself, yes, he wasn’t dreaming, he really was twenty five again and back in 2005, but why?

After throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, he and AJ went down to the restaurant for something to eat. Nick kept glancing sideways at AJ, still hardly able to believe he was here and real. There were a few girls waiting in the hotel foyer who seemed to get all excited at the sight of them, he remembered those days, but it all seemed like a distant memory. Even in the restaurant there were girls waiting, groups of them sharing plates of ridiculously expensive food between them, just so they could be there in case they caught a glimpse. Fans - it had been a long time since anyone had wanted to see him, but he wasn’t that forty year old loner now, he was a twenty five year old Backstreet Boy again, and he’d better get used to it because god knows how long this was going to last.

“There you are” said Kevin with an angry glare “there had better be a good reason for the no show earlier”

“Erm…I wasn’t feeling too good” Nick replied, shocked at the sight of Kevin. Nick recalled the last time he’d seen who he used to refer to as his older brother. It wasn’t in person – they’d gone past being on speaking terms – but rather on TV. Nick had to admit that Kevin had aged well and was still a good looking guy in 2020.

“More like too wasted to function” Kevin said, bringing Nick back to the here and now. “It’s gotta stop you know Nick, we can’t keep on carrying you y’know, it’s not fair or right”

“I know Kev, quit with the lecture OK” Nick said, he knew Kevin was right but he didn’t want to admit that to him. Kevin had always been right. Why had Nick never listened to him the first time around?

“We’ll talk about this later OK, now come on, let’s eat and then get to the arena, we’ve got a show in case you’d forgot” he said. Nick carried on eating his food, wondering how on earth he was going to get through a show when he wasn’t sure about anything anymore. His whole world had just turned upside down, he’d not sung anything in a long time, never mind sing any Backstreet Boys songs.

How do I get myself out of this?

Chapter 3 by Carter-Orange

Chapter 3 - The Show Must Go On

They arrived at the MEN Arena which was in Manchester city centre in no time at all, it was just a short ride away from The Malmaison Hotel where they were staying. As they climbed out of the shiny black Volkswagen people carrier, flanked by a couple of their security guys, they were met by fans who’d been sitting awaiting their arrival for god only knows how long.

“Hi Nick, can I get a photo with you please” asked a good looking blonde in a tightly fitted black t-shirt.

“No problem“ Nick replied and thought maybe there were some perks to this time switch nonsense after all, he sure could do with getting laid and he reckoned there would be plenty of girls up for it.

It had been a long time, hell he wasn’t even sure he could remember the last time, it was that long ago. The ladies were hardly throwing themselves at his forty year old fat assed self in 2020, but now, oh boy, now he was gonna get some while he could. He licked his lips at the thought of it and then posed for the photo. Maybe he’d see her later.

After posing for a few photos and signing a few autographs they told the fans they had to get inside and get ready for the show and that they hoped they would all enjoy what they saw. The blonde looked at Nick seductively and said she already liked what she saw.

“Well I guess I know what you’re doing after the show” chuckled AJ as they walked inside “or maybe that should be I know WHO you are doing after the show!”

Nick laughed along with AJ, maybe he was right, maybe he would be taking that blonde chick back to his room later, why not, he was young, free and single and intended to make the most of it. He would probably wake up back in the real world tomorrow and there’d be no women throwing themselves at him then! He decided to just go with the flow and see where this ride took him.

As Brian and Howie had already left before Nick had a chance to see them at the hotel, seeing them again after so long was a strange experience. He had to stop himself from gasping out loud, they looked so young, so fresh faced, it was certainly going to take some getting used to. In Nick’s mind, Brian was now a bald forty four year old with crow’s feet around his eyes, although still in pretty good shape overall. Howie still had the thick head of hair, but in the future it had a sprinkling of grey. It was weird for Nick to see his friends like this.

“So good to see you both” he hugged them in turn and then realised they’d think he was a bit odd. He couldn’t help it though, it had been so long.

“Let’s get to it then” Howie suggested and then spied the snack table which had been set up for them.

Brian and AJ began doing their warm up vocals in the dressing room, whilst Howie and Kevin took a look at the food and drink which had been set out for them. They always liked to have a selection of nibbles for before and after the show, nothing extravagant just things like chocolate bars, fresh orange juice, tea, coffee, selection of fruit, raw vegetables with dips, bottled water (for during the show) and local beer (for after the show). Nick stood there like a spare part for a few moments, watching and remembering it all, he remembered how he used to feel before a show, all psyched up and ready to rock, he’d have to try and muster some of that enthusiasm now if he was going to get through this.

“You warming up dude? Or can you still not remember where you are?” Howie teased and bit into a carrot stick, as Nick shook his head and laughed “yeah, AJ told me about what happened earlier, you must‘ve had some night”

“I’d just woke up, y’know how it is D” Nick said and shrugged his shoulders, hoping that would be explanation enough.

“No, I don’t. I don’t get myself into the mess you do, I know when to stop and when to say no. Just be careful OK” Howie warned, not wanting to get too into this right now, but to let him know he was there for him if he needed him.

Now how do those songs go again?

Nick thought about it for a few moments, willing the words to return to his brain, if only he had more time to get to know them all over again, he knew he’d pick it up in no time at all. He took a look at the set list and sighed…

The Call

My Beautiful Woman

More Than That

Climbing the walls

Shape of my heart

Don’t want you back

The one

I still

I want it that way

Show me the meaning

Larger than life

Siberia

We’ve got it going on

All I have to give

As long as you love me

I’ll never break your heart

Just want you to know

Crawling back to you

Drowning

Quit playing games

Never Gone

Weird World

Incomplete

Everybody (Backstreet’s back)

How in hell was he going do it? Obviously there were some songs he‘d never forget, he‘d performed them so many times he could probably sing them in his sleep, but there were others that he could only remember bits of. He was doomed for sure.

Oh fuck

He’d never pull this off, they’d all think he’d lost it.

Come on Carter, think, think, think. How hard can it be?

He began to wish he was back in 2020, in his stinking shit hole of a trailer, at least then he wouldn’t have to worry about anything, or disappoint anyone - there was no one to disappoint. He needed a drink, a proper one, like whiskey or vodka, not the couple of cans of beer he‘d sneaked. There was no way he’d get his hands on that stuff now, there was no time and the others would freak if they caught him. He’d have to think of something to get out of performing tonight, he needed to buy himself some time, familiarise himself with the old songs again. He’d have to tell them he was unwell, there was nothing else for it. He couldn‘t perform what he didn‘t know.

“Listen, guys, can I get your attention for just a moment?” Nick asked and looked at the four band mates around him. He had their attention, now what was he going to tell them?

Think Carter.

“We’re all ears” Brian said and sat down and popped a piece of apple into his mouth. Nick was still having a hard time adjusting to this young Brian…to any of them really, it was all a bit Twilight Zone.

“I’m not sure I feel up to performing tonight, I kinda feel like shit, bad throat…” his voice trailed off as Kevin looked at him horrified, his bushy brows almost joining together as one.

“Too much boozing, that’s what’s wrong with you. I’m telling you guys, we can‘t go on like this” Kevin was fuming as he turned away from Nick and faced the rest of the guys “I can’t stand it anymore”

“Kev, come on man, chill” Brian said hoping to clam his cousin down.

Kevin ran his hands through his hair in frustration, how could no one else take this seriously? This wasn’t a game, this was what they did for a living. He was going to have to sit Nick down and have a proper talk to him seeing as no one else seemed willing to tackle the matter. They’d gone through exactly the same thing with AJ a few years before. Kevin didn’t want to see another of his friends self destructing like that.

“Let’s talk about this later, we don’t want to be arguing before a show” Howie said calmly, trying to ease the tension between the youngest and oldest members of the band.

“I’m not over reacting, someone has to take control of the situation, things cannot go on as they are” Kevin said “but you‘re right Howie, now is neither the time nor the place“.

“I’m right here y‘know, I‘m not some fucking little kid, so stop treating me like one” Nick announced.

“Well stop acting like one Nick, look let’s drop it for now, I don’t want us to fight, especially when we‘re on stage in less than an hour” Kevin said and walked away.

After a couple of minutes of awkward silence, things settled down back to normal, the vocal warm-ups resumed and Nick found himself warming up too, “I tried to go on like I never knew you, I’m awake but my world is half asleep, I pray for this heart to be unbroken, But without you all I’m going to be is incomplete”. He supposed after so many years touring with these guys, it was bound to come back to him.

“See, you can do it, nothing wrong with your throat” AJ whispered to Nick, quiet enough so that only the pair of them could hear.

“I know, I guess I was just feeling rough” Nick said, hoping that the rest of the songs on the set list would come back to him as easily as this had.

“I’m telling you man, you gotta stop it with that shit, it’s fucking with your mind” AJ warned. Nick tried to think back, was he really that into drink and drugs in his twenties? Did it really have such an effect on the band? Or was this just down to his time lapse?

“AJ, do you really think I have that much of a problem?” he asked his friend for clarification. As far as Nick could recall, life in 2005 or thereabouts had been great. He’d been young, free and single and had everything a guy could possibly want in life.

“Yeah, as someone who used to have a drink and drug problem, I can see it as plain as day Nick, you need to get help before it gets out of hand. I’ll help y’know, if you want it that is” AJ said sincerely.

“Thanks bro” Nick said and hugged his friend. He had no intention of giving anything up just yet though. He might wake up back in 2020 tomorrow and regret this wasted opportunity.

“Come on, we better get ready, we’re on soon” AJ said.

Fuck, I forgot about dancing, did we even dance on the Never Gone tour?

Nick thought back and knew that it wasn’t as choreographed as previous tours had been, but he knew there was bound to be some dancing along the way. They couldn’t perform the oldies like Everybody and not do the dance routine! He’d just have to improvise and hope no one realised he had no idea what the hell he was doing.

They all huddled together and said a few words before leaving the dressing room and walking down the corridor which would take them backstage, they could hear the fans chanting their names and it made them proud to be Backstreet Boys, to know that even though they’d been gone a few years - more than a few for Nick, the fans still loved them.

“This is it, good luck everyone” Kevin said as they took their places ready for the opening number. They were stood on a part of the stage which had been lowered to below stage level, so that it would look as if they’d risen out of the ground.

The floor rose and the lights went up, the fans began to cheer and go wild, there was no hiding now. They walked down the steps and took their places at the microphones, as the opening song, The Call, began.

Oh shit, there’s dancing, don’t just stand there you fool, watch what they’re doing.

“Nick? Come on man” Brian whispered away from the mic, referring to Nick’s lack of movement.

“Sorry” Nick replied and tried to keep up and sing at the same time. It didn’t look all together, but he thought he did a pretty damn good job considering. He was really getting into this and by the end of the song began to lose some of the nerves that had been plaguing him all evening. In fact he’d go as far to say that he was enjoying himself, he felt good, he’d forgotten how much he used to love performing, the way he used to flirt with the crowd and be this oh so confident guy. Where had it all gone wrong and could he change it?

He managed to get through the show without any major fuck ups, just a few wrong words here and there and of course, plenty of wrong moves in the choreography. But he was happy with how well he’d coped, in his mind it had been fifteen years since the Never Gone tour. Fifteen years and it had all come back to him like it was only yesterday, well, mostly!

Chapter 4 by Carter-Orange

Chapter 4 - Perks of the job

“What the fuck was that?” asked Kevin when they got backstage after the encore, his green eyes furious, his arms flying about like someone possessed, all aimed at Nick.

“It was fucking awesome” Nick said, the adrenaline still pumping through his veins from putting on a fantastic show, in his opinion.

“You what! What friggin planet are you on? You forgot the lyrics on more than one occasion, Howie here had to bail you out. And what fucking choreography were you dancing to, cause it sure as hell wasn’t what the rest of us were doing?” he said angrily, his face getting closer and closer to Nick’s, invading his space “you’re out of shape, you were all over the place man”

Out of shape, I’m a fucking Adonis, you should’ve seen how I looked two days ago!

“So I was a little off sometimes, big fucking deal. Did the fans notice?” Nick retorted, not flinching away from Kevin one little bit, in fact, standing his ground “no they didn’t, they fucking loved it, now go take a chill pill and get out of my face”

“Go take a chill pill? Are you fucking serious? You expect me to relax when you’re acting like someone who doesn’t give a fuck. Come on guys, back me up here” Kevin turned for the support of the rest of the band, who all stood looking a little awkward. They knew Kevin was right, but thought it better to sit and talk about this in an adult manner rather than shouting and yelling at each other backstage.

“I think we all need to talk, not here though, we need to be in a calmer environment and when we’re more relaxed, like say after the tour?” Howie suggested.

Kevin ran his hands across his short cropped hair and took in a deep breath and sighed “yeah, you’re right, tour’s nearly over and then we‘re gonna have to sit down and talk about what we really want, because the way things are at the moment, I don‘t think I can keep going”

“Don’t say that Kev” said AJ

“It’s the truth though” Kevin replied sadly, he’d seen AJ go through the same thing and now Nick. He wasn’t sure he could handle it again.

Nick thought about what Kevin had said, the guy was over-reacting big time! So what, so he’d messed up a little, he thought he’d done pretty damn good considering the circumstances. Now what he needed was to get laid, he was still full of energy and buzzing after the show and needed to take it out on someone, preferably the blonde chick from earlier, but hey, he wasn’t fussy, anyone half decent would do.

And so they travelled back to the hotel after showering and changing into clean clothes at the arena’s facilities. There were girls waiting outside the hotel, and Nick cast his eyes over them, looking to see if she was there, blondie from earlier. His eyes lit up when he saw her, this night just got better and better.

Brian, Howie and Kevin all went straight inside the hotel after getting out of the people carrier, they were tired and just wanted to wind down with a drink or two in the bar, although they did say a quick hello to fans as they walked past. AJ and Nick had other things on their mind, both being the single guys in the band, they weren’t going to turn down the chance of bedding some of these fit babes that were begging for their attention.

“There’s blondie from earlier” AJ said, giving Nick a nudge in her direction.

“I know man, she is so gonna get it” Nick replied. He’d forgotten just how much fun he and AJ used to have, before AJ had become all sensible and settled down with a wife and kids. Nick on the other hand, well, even a wife and kids hadn’t tamed his wild streak. But now was not the time to think about her or the kids, they didn‘t exist in this world. Now it was time to have some fun, make the most of it, for who knows when this little bubble would burst and he’d be back to reality.

“Hey Nick” she smiled seductively at him.

Could her skirt get any shorter? And check out that top, wow it‘s practically painted on it‘s that tight.

Nick flashed her the old Carter smile, the one that he remembered the girls all used to go wild for. Oh yeah, he was going to make the most of this.

“Good luck bro” he said to AJ, not that AJ needed luck where the ladies were concerned, he never went without, they were always throwing themselves at him, even if he did wear eyeliner and nail polish!

“Hi there gorgeous” he said walking over towards her, eyeing her up and down appreciatively, although she was petite she still had curves in all the right places. They made small talk for a few minutes and then he led her into the hotel and up to his room, not even bothering to get her name, what did that matter? It’s not like he was going to see her again, and she was getting something out of it too, she was getting a night with him, Nick Carter. He admired himself in the mirrored lift as they went up the couple of floors to his room, he was a fine looking guy, what the hell was Kevin on about calling him out of shape? He was in his prime. Fuck Kevin!

Once in his room, he closed the door behind them and pulled her tight against his body, wrapping his arms around her and bringing his mouth down on hers, kissing her aggressively. Before long they began tearing each other’s clothes off, hungry for one another, she was a stunner alright and knew exactly what she was doing as she pushed him down on the bed and straddled his thighs “you won’t ever wanna let me go” she whispered in his ear as she grinded down on him. He groaned as she moved her body to the rhythm of the music playing in the background. Well, he wasn’t letting go of her for tonight that was for sure. She was wild and that’s how he liked it, they spent the whole night in a vodka and cocaine fuelled sexual marathon, finally falling asleep as the sun was rising. Bliss!!

Nick woke the next afternoon to find that he was still in 2005. Maybe this was heaven. Maybe he’d gone to bed on his fortieth birthday and not woke up. He’d not thought of it until that moment, but it explained how he was here. He’d obviously gone back to a time he was happy, before all the shit had started.

But if he was dead, how come it felt so real?

He closed his eyes and contemplated silently for a few minutes, then heard stirring in the bed next to him. Blondie was still sleeping beside him, it was a shame to kick her out, she’d been a fantastic fuck, but he had to pack, they were leaving for Germany today. Another city, another bunch of girls for him to take his pick of, and more partying!

Chapter 5 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Here's the next bit and it's more of a look back on his past.

Chapter 5 - Looking Back On The Things I’ve Done

After getting rid of the blonde who’d shared his bed the night before, Nick closed his hotel room door and sighed. You’ve still got it Carter! He took a shower, marvelling at the sight of his body in the full length bathroom mirror. It was still a bit of a novelty for him, seeing himself like this. He hadn’t got why girls went so crazy for him back in the old days, sure he knew he wasn’t ugly, but he hadn’t thought of himself as anything special. But now, compared to his 2020 self, he was a fine specimen of a man.

Once he’d dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, Nick quickly packed up his belongings and laid back down on the bed. He had about an hour before he had to be downstairs with the others and ready to leave, so he thought he may as well enjoy the silence while he could. He’d hardly had chance to think since finding himself back in 2005, what with the show and then the blonde chick last night, he smiled a satisfied little smile to himself at the thought of that. But then his mind began to wander to more serious matters as it really began to sink in that he really was here, back in 2005. It just didn‘t seem possible. What was he doing here? Why him? There must be some logical reason. People didn’t just go back in time, as far as he was aware time travel hadn‘t been invented, except in the movies! He ran his fingers through his blonde, still damp from the shower, hair and sighed out loud, then closed his eyes.

Why am I really here?

He didn’t think he was in heaven, but then again, maybe he was. He didn’t know anything anymore. Maybe, just maybe he was here for a reason, to put things right which had gone wrong in his life, because his life had gone straight down the toilet these last few years and he had no one to blame but himself. What did he have to look forward to in 2020? Fuck all, that’s what! His wife had divorced him and taken the kids with her, and who could blame her? He’d made her life a living hell with the way he’d treated her. He could see that now and realised that she was better off out of it, as were the kids, they deserved better. The kids. He wiped a tear from his left eye as it began to trickle down his face as he thought about his children, Jacob, Adam and Bethany. He’d let them down, he was a failure as a father. What had he ever done for them? Exactly nothing. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d played with them in the park or read them a bedtime story. He really was a pathetic excuse of a man.

As for the rest of his sorry excuse for a life, if you could call it a life, in 2020 he spent most days high on cheap drink and whatever pills he could get hold of, he wasn‘t fussy. And when he did have spare money in his pocket, he headed to the bar to blow it on whiskey. On those occasions, he’d often get up and sing, sometimes with whatever band were playing that night, other times on his own, picking up the guitar which was always kept behind the bar for him by Ryan, the guy who ran Hobbs Bar. Although he wasn’t always in tune and seemed to slur his words from time to time, the regulars never seemed to complain. Why would they complain, when they were just as drunk and out of it as he was.

In 2020 he hadn’t worked in a long time, he was unemployable. Who wanted to employ a drunken fucked up failure of an ex-Backstreet Boy? That was a bit of a lie though, he‘d had a few opportunities.

After the boys had gone their separate ways in 2006 (all down to him), he’d had the chance of a solo recording contract, but had fucked that one up big time. The label had given him a chance going on the success he‘d had with the Backstreet Boys and his previous solo album Now or Never, in fact they’d given him a couple of chances, but in the end they’d had no choice but to drop him, he just wasn’t worth the risk anymore. It wasn’t just that he was a bad role model to all those teenagers out there who still loved the once cute Nick Carter (although that didn‘t help), it was a culmination of other things, like not showing up for appearances, turning up for events drunk, appearing at the studio high as a kite and totally dysfunctional, numerous DUI charges and the list went on.

After a short while, the money he’d earned over the years began to dwindle. He was living the A list party lifestyle when his income was more Z list. It had to stop. And he did manage to clean up his act for a while. It was during that time that he met and fell for Mandy. She’d been just what he needed and although he’d always shunned marriage, he decided she was the one and married her after a whirlwind romance.

Of course, the happiness and sobriety didn’t last. Not even becoming a father was enough of an incentive to prevent Nick picking up his bad habits time after time.

When the money was virtually gone and they couldn’t manage on just Mandy’s meagre earnings alone, he’d gone cold turkey in an effort to get off the drugs and booze and try to resurrect his music career, but it was too late, the music scene had moved on and no one wanted anything to do with Nick Carter. His ship had sailed.

Nick realised he’d have to go out and get a real job. But without any experience or any real qualifications, the only work he seemed to be offered was security work. Not that he was complaining of course, beggars couldn‘t be choosers after all, but it wasn‘t what he‘d pictured himself ever doing. He drifted from job to job, never being able to hold it together for long once he‘d started drinking again. Before long he wasn’t good enough for anything, no one would employ him, they just had to take one look at him and realise what a mess he was. He’d really let himself go.

He did have weeks, sometimes months where he managed to clean up his act, he supposed that’s why Mandy stuck with him during that time, she thought he’d change. But it never lasted and the slightest little thing could trigger a binge.

They’d had to sell their house and move somewhere smaller, Nick had run up a lot of debt over the past couple of years and it finally caught up with them. He would never forget how upset Mandy had been when they’d had to pack up and go, she’d worked all the hours possible to try and stay there, but it was no good, she couldn’t do it all alone. Within a couple of years they were on the move again, to the trailer park, it was then that his wife had finally left him, she’d gone through so much and could take no more, he couldn’t blame her.

Why did I let it happen? What a fucking pathetic excuse of a man I am.

Looking back on the things he’d done, Nick decided then and there that it was time to make a change, to take control of his life and turn it around. He was here for a reason and he was now convinced it was a second chance at life. He didn’t want to end up fucking this one up.

End Notes:
Thanks for reading :)
Chapter 6 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Sorry for the delay, I've been too engrossed in everyone else's stories to even look at my own!

Chapter 6 - We Can Work It Out

After checking in at the airport, Nick went and took a seat next to Kevin, he was still getting his head around the fact that he was back with the boys, it still seemed so unreal. How do you go from being forty years old to twenty five overnight and expect to act normal - you just can’t.

“Kev” he began “I need to talk to you”

“What’s up Nick?” Kevin asked, giving Nick his full attention “you‘ve not been right these past couple of days, and I‘m not just talking about the partying“.

It was typical of the oldest member of the band to be so perceptive.

Now what do I say? I can hardly tell him I‘ve been magically transported back in time, he would really think I‘m nuts and cart my ass to an institution! This is so weird just being here again, but I have to do something, say something, I can’t make the same mistakes twice, I don‘t want to end up that way again. I’ve got the chance of a new life, I’ve gotta grab it with both hands.

“I don’t really know where to start” Nick shrugged, unsure what to say.

“You know you can tell me anything” Kevin lowered his voice “and it’ll stay between the two of us”

Nick knew that there was no fear of Kevin mouthing off to anyone else about his problems, if he asked him not to. AJ would be a completely different matter though; nothing remained a secret for long once he knew!

“I know” Nick sighed “you’re right; I think I do have a problem”

“Well, admitting it to yourself is the first step” Kevin said as he nodded his head in approval.

“I just don’t know what to do Kev, I don’t want to end up as some forty year old loser with nothing to show for his life” Nick said, looking down at his fumbling hands.

“That would never happen bro” Kevin placed a reassuring hand on Nick’s shoulder.

Wanna bet! That is exactly what happens! You leave the band Kevin; you go your own way, just as I go mine!

“As soon as we’re done with this tour, I think you should check in to a rehab centre back home. It worked for AJ, it can work for you too” Kevin said with an air of authority.

Nick wondered why he’d never gone down the rehab route first time around. Maybe it was because he’d been too stubborn to see that he had a problem. Or maybe he just didn’t care. Nick remembered that Kevin had left the band shortly after the Never Gone tour, so maybe that had been a contributing factor, but he highly doubted it. There’d been no one to blame but himself. He’d fucked up his life all on his own and now he was going to make amends.

“Thanks Kev” Nick said

“No problem, I’m glad you felt you were able to come to me about this, and don’t worry, we’ll see that you get all the help you need once we get home. You know we are all here for you” Kevin said and hugged Nick “everything’s gonna be fine”

Nick glanced around the airport lounge, looking at his friends, he really was glad to be with them again, to get this chance to be part of the team again. It gave him a warm feeling inside.

Over the years they’d kind of lost touch with each other, or to put it a better way, the rest of the guys had lost touch with him. He’d been the cause of the split after all and there had been a lot of bitterness. In 2020 the only person he ever heard from was AJ, who would call him every once in a while to check how he was doing, but there wasn‘t the closeness that they‘d had once upon a time. He’d driven the others away.

But if I do somehow manage to change the events of my life, what about Mandy and the kids? I know she’s left me but still, I love my kids. Nick closed his eyes, did he really want to change all that? He knew the answer. She’ll be better off never knowing me anyway, she’ll have a better life if she doesn’t meet me, I just brought her nothing but pain and hardship.

It was time to board their flight to Germany and Nick was so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t even heard Kev telling him their flight had been called.

“You OK Nick? You look a little spaced out there” Kevin smiled “well, more than usual anyway”

“Very funny!” Nick laughed and then became more serious “Kev, do you ever think of the future? Do you think we really can change our destiny?”

“Listen Nick, I think you can do whatever you set out to achieve, you can turn your life around, only you are in charge of your destiny” Kev said placing a supporting hand on Nick’s shoulder “now come on, we’ve got a plane to catch”

They boarded the plane for the short flight to Germany, they’d only been there a couple of weeks previously, but were doing a few more shows in different parts of the country. It didn’t make sense, but then Nick wasn’t the one who’d put together the tour dates and locations, that was down to their management team.

“Party tonight, you up for it bro?” asked AJ as he took a seat next to Nick.

“Sure I’m up for it” Nick answered. I don’t have to drink so much, I don’t have to do drugs, I can be strong, I can say no.

“Cool, we’ll hook ourselves up with a couple of German chicks, it’ll be awesome” AJ said with a devilish grin.

“Now you’re talking, bring it on” Nick laughed, there was nothing in the rules which said that giving up drink and drugs meant no women!

The flight was short, much to everyone’s relief, they’d done so much travelling on this tour, and sometimes it was hard to remember where they’d just left and where they were heading to. Before long they were at the hotel, being greeted by a crowd of screaming German girls, all trying to get their attention. Nick spotted a familiar looking face and he tried to remember where he’d seen her before, it took him a few moments and then he realised where he’d seen her, it was this very night, first time around. If he wasn’t mistaken he’d see her again later at the party, but he wasn’t going back there, oh no, been there, done that! No, tonight was the night to start changing his destiny, and that meant not fucking the same women he’d done last time.

“Hey, check out that brunette, think you could be lucky there” AJ whispered in his ear.

“Nah, you go for it if you want” Nick replied.

“Do you guys ever think about anything else other than your dicks and getting laid?” asked Howie who was shaking his head.

“No” Nick and AJ both laughed. Even in 2020 Nick still thought about it, it just never happened, who wanted his obese, whiskey stinking, sweaty body all over them - no one! He could’ve paid for it, but he wasn’t that desperate for sex that he’d give up the vodka for it.

They settled into their rooms and unpacked. Nick took a nice long hot shower and then laid down on his bed for a while. This could be the night that changes everything, a whole new future, am I ready for that? “Hell yeah” Nick said out loud, although it also scared him. Tonight everything would change, starting with not going back to that brunette’s hotel.

A few hours later and they were in the club, sitting in the VIP section with drinks being thrust into their hands; Nick was too weak to say no. How could he say no? He saw Kevin look at him, a look of warning in his eyes.

“I can handle it Kev, don’t worry, I know when to stop” he said and walked away, in another direction, away from the scrutinising eyes of Kevin. He knew he was disappointed, especially after that little talk earlier, but come on; it wasn’t going to happen overnight was it? But one thing Nick wasn’t going to do tonight was drugs. He knew he wasn’t at the point in time where he was addicted to them; he had no cravings for anything other than having a good time. Nick knew all too well how cravings felt and didn’t want to ever feel them again.

“Hi there Nick” came a heavily accented female voice.

Nick turned around to see the girl from earlier, the girl he vaguely remembered sleeping with all those years ago. Although she was extremely pretty, he wasn’t going there again.

“Hey” Nick said and they chatted for a few minutes before Nick politely excused himself.

“But I thought we could go back to mine, we could carry on the party back there” she pouted, pulling out a bag of white powder and waving it in front of him, as if to tempt him away.

“Well, you thought wrong then” he said and walked away. There, I did it, I changed one thing from my past and it wasn‘t so hard after all.

“Well done Nick” Kevin said appearing as if from nowhere.

“What…how?” Nick asked incredulously.

“I saw her trying to persuade you, and I saw you walk away from it, I’m proud of you” Kevin said, placing his hand on Nick’s arm and smiling at the younger man.

“But, I’ve been drinking…and after our little talk earlier…”

Kevin cut him off “Look Nick, I know this isn’t going to happen overnight, there’s a long way to go, but you said no to drugs and that‘s a step in the right direction, we’ll work on the rest. Now enjoy yourself…not too much though” he warned, and then he was gone, back into the crowd of party goers.

Throughout the night Nick was offered various drugs and although tempted, he stayed strong and refused every time. He even managed to get through the night without getting totally off his face on drink, which was something of an achievement. Maybe the talk with Kevin had helped, or maybe it was because he left the party early with a pretty red head and soon forgot all about the need to drink himself stupid.

End Notes:
Thanks for reading :)
Chapter 7 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
This chapter contains sex scenes, it's not really too graphic, but just warning you!

Chapter 7 - Sex On Fire

Nick woke the next morning without much of a hangover, which made a pleasant change. He turned over and there by his side was the red head from the previous night, still sleeping. Time to get her out of here. Nick gently nudged her until she began to stir.

“Mmm morning” she murmured sleepily.

“Look, sorry but you gotta go. I’ve got work to do” he said, not caring if he came across as being an insensitive prick, this had just been a one night stand, she had to have known that.

“Last night was great” she said seductively, licking her lips, a look of lust in her eyes.

“Yeah it was” he replied and got up, pulling his boxers on and going into the hotel bathroom. When he came back into the room she was getting dressed, obviously having taken the hint.

“So, I guess I’ll see you around?” she asked

“Guess so” Nick said, not even knowing her name, nor wanting to. She handed him a piece of paper with her name and number scribbled on it “call me” she said before opening the door and walking out. Nick looked down at the piece of paper in his hands, then screwed it up and binned it, he had no intention of calling her, or repeating what they’d just shared, although it had been pretty damn good.

He called for some room service before taking a shower. Yes, he could certainly get used to this kind of life! Women throwing themselves at him and every luxury he could want, who wouldn’t want this lifestyle?

“Yo dude, you up for a night out tonight? There’s this new club that’s just opened, Taboo, supposed to be fanfuckingtastic” AJ said later on that day.

“Sure” Nick replied, hoping that Kevin wasn’t going to be there keeping an eye on him. He knew he had to make changes in his life, and he would, but hell, they were on tour! Parties, girls and lots of booze was what it was all about on the road. They only had a few more days of the Never Gone tour left anyway, he may as well wait until they were home and then he would address his issues properly. Or then again, maybe he’d wake up one morning and find himself back at the trailer park.

AJ wasn’t wrong about the club, it was the place to be! It wasn’t a huge place, but the atmosphere was just right, the sound system was incredible as music blasted out all around them. The servers all looked like models, wearing very little and enticing the male clientele to want to spend money there. There were people dancing wherever they wanted, on the dance floor, on tables, it had a real good vibe about the place.

“Dude, this place is amazing” Nick said approvingly as he eyed up the women, a bottle of beer in his hand.

“What did I tell you” AJ laughed as he sipped his drink “and I reckon these girls are well up for it”

Nick took a long drink out of his bottle, draining it, then walked up to the bar to get another. Man, these chicks are fucking hot. He was walking back towards AJ, with a bottle of beer in his hand, when out of nowhere, this amazing looking girl appeared in front of him. She was wearing a short black halter neck dress, which clung to all the right places, and her legs seemed to go on forever. He couldn’t help himself, he was captivated by her.

“I’m Nick” he found himself saying

“I know” she replied coolly

“This is the part where you’re supposed to tell me your name” he smiled

“Do I?” she teased and ran her hand up his chest, curling her arm around his neck and reaching up to kiss him. Nick returned the kiss, placing his free hand on her lower back, pulling her closer to him. Who cared what her name was, he’d go with the flow and he liked where it was going so far.

“Wanna go somewhere more private?” she purred in his ear, nibbling on it and then trailing her mouth down his neck.

“Hell yeah” he replied, he would’ve gone anywhere she wanted at that moment in time.

“Come with me then” she said and led him to where the private booths were situated.

Once away from the crowds, in the sumptuous private booth, she produced a little compact from her bag and got busy dividing up lines of coke, then handed Nick a petite little straw, snorting up a line for herself first. Oh fuck, how can I say no to this shit, it’s staring me in the fucking face. Do I even want to say no? Nick took the little straw from her and bent down over the table hesitantly.

“Go on, it‘s so good“ she purred and that‘s all he needed to hear.

Once again, he bent down and with no hesitation this time, hoovered up the white powder with his nose. Oh man, this is some good shit. He stood up and turned to the hottie with no name, pulling her close to him and kissing her fiercely. She seemed to like it rough as she responded with eagerness. He undid the knot at the neck of her dress and it fell to the floor, revealing a tiny little thong. Nick liked what he saw. A lot. Then he cleared the table and set her down on there, kissing her lips, then moving his mouth down over her body, kissing and sucking on her breasts, then lower and lower still until he came to her thong. With one pull, he’d ripped it off of her body, exposing her nakedness. His tongue was probing between her legs, making her grasp the table and moan as the exquisite feelings of pleasure coursed through her body.

“You like that” he said, his voice full of lust and longing.

“Oh yes, yes” she cried out as he carried on pleasuring her. Much as he was enjoying what he was doing, he thought it was about time he got some attention, so he began removing his clothes, with the help of the girl, who was only too happy to do so. When they were both completely naked, Nick brought his mouth down on hers again, kissing her and caressing her body, whilst she explored his body with her hands.

“What do you want me to do?” she asked

“Suck it” he said and pushed her downwards, he watched her luscious lips as she took him in her mouth.

“Oh fuck yeah” he said and she expertly moved her tongue over him, making him harden even more than he already was. He wanted to feel himself inside her, so he lifted her up from where she was and turned her over, so that she was over the table, then he moved her legs apart and began thrusting into her, hard and fast. He didn’t want to come too quick, so he slowed his pace down a little, kissing down her back softly. She had such soft skin.

“Fuck me Nick” she moaned “fuck me hard”

And so he did, he picked up the pace again, banging into her hard and fast, just as she wanted and within minutes they were both at the point of no return, he came first and she followed only moments after.

“Fuck, that was good” he said breathlessly, and he meant it, he wasn’t just saying it out of duty.

“Yeah, it was” she said and began getting dressed “wanna come back to mine?”

“Too right” he said and fumbled around putting his clothes back on.

So much for staying away from temptation, he spent the whole night on a cocaine, vodka and sex binge with the brunette, who he later found out was called Christina. He didn’t return to the hotel until mid afternoon, and had the face the music, it didn’t go too well.

End Notes:
Thanks for reading :) Sorry if this chapter was crap.
Chapter 8 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Here's the next bit.

Chapter 8 - Tomorrow Never Knows

Every morning that Nick woke up in 2005 it made him wonder whether he’d imagined the last fifteen years. But of course he hadn’t. How could he have imagined such a huge chunk of his life? How could he have lived through those fifteen years and experienced the kind of things he‘d experienced and it not be real? He realised that of course he hadn’t imagined it. It wasn’t possible. It didn’t explain how he’d got here though, that was still a complete mystery.

He got through the next few days in Germany in a blur; he wasn’t as focussed on stage as he should’ve been, so as a consequence made mistakes. He wanted to turn things around so much, but just couldn’t. He wasn’t strong enough to say no to the endless partying that seemed to go hand in hand with touring. He always felt the guilt and regret the morning after, but it didn’t deter him. He knew that what he really needed, was to be away from these temptations if he were ever going to be free of his addictions. He’d come to realise that in fact, he did have a problem, one that was beginning to get out of hand and would have to be addressed when he got home. On tour was not the place to start the detox process.

He thought about the future, he didn’t want to end up like that again; he didn’t want to be that forty year old loser all over again. So why was he going down the exact same path? If he carried on as he was doing, he’d be in exactly the same position. He knew he didn’t want that. He knew he wanted a better life. He just wished that he wasn’t so weak. He wished he had the strength to say no when those all around him in the clubs were snorting cocaine and popping pills like they were m&m‘s. He’d said no before, so why couldn’t he do it all the time? Maybe it was because there was no one there to tell him no when he needed it.

~*~

The last night of the tour came around and as usual, they had a great time on stage, messing around and making it a real fun event for the fans, just like they always did on the last night. But it hid the real story. Off stage it was a different matter, Kevin and Nick were barely speaking, and when they had to talk to one another, it was strained. Kevin tried to control his anger towards Nick, but sometimes it was hard, often ending up with them almost coming to blows with one another and having to be broken up by the others. No one wanted to see Nick carrying on like that; destroying himself with drugs and excess alcohol, but nothing Kevin or the others said or did seemed to make any difference.

Kevin was certain though, he couldn’t handle being in the band anymore, not when it was all falling apart around him and he was powerless to stop it. AJ’s drug and alcohol addictions had been tough to get through. Kevin couldn’t bear to see his youngest brother go the same way.

The last night of the tour also meant party time, this tour being no different to the others. The club was packed, the music loud and the drinks flowing. Nick fought the temptation to track down some cocaine, even though he craved it.

“Look Kev, I know I’ve been a total prick. I promised to make an effort and I haven’t, but you have no idea how hard it is” Nick said as he sipped on a beer, trying to resist the urge to go to the bar and order himself a double Jack Daniels.

“You seem to forget we went through the same thing with AJ just a few years ago, of course I have an idea. I know it was hell for AJ, I know he battles every day to stay clean, and I know that if you really want to, then you can do it too” Kevin explained, placing his hand on Nick’s shoulder to show his support.

“If only it were that easy” Nick muttered

“Nothing is ever easy Nick, you should know that by now” Kevin told him

Nick just shrugged.

“Look let’s talk about this when we get home, if you still want help then, I’ll be there for you” Kevin said “let’s just enjoy the party as if everything is OK, I don’t want to fight with you all the time Nick. I know you think I‘ve got it all together, but the truth is, I haven‘t. I haven‘t got all the answers.”

“I know, and I’m sorry for all the shit I‘ve put you and everyone else through” Nick said “I do want help, I want it so much. I don’t want to wake up every morning feeling like crap and not knowing where the hell I am. As soon as we get home I’m going to do something about it”

“OK Nick” Kevin sighed, not knowing whether to believe his friend or not.

They partied the night away with the fans, not another word was said about Nick’s problems, and instead they enjoyed each other’s company. Nick stayed clear of drugs by some miracle, but not drinks, although he didn’t get completely intoxicated.

The following morning was time to pack up and leave, the tour was officially over and it was time to go home. The plan was to take some much needed time off, spend time with family and friends, and then get back into the studio when everyone was ready to begin work on the next album. Or that had been the original plan, now nothing seemed certain anymore, it all depended on Nick. What mattered most, the drugs and booze or the band?

“Well, I guess I’ll be seeing you guys in a few weeks then” Nick said as they prepared to go their separate ways at the airport.

“Remember what I said, if you need me, just call and I’ll be there” Kevin said and pulled Nick into a hug.

“I know and thanks bro” Nick said “I know what I have to do and I’m ready to do it, believe me”

End Notes:
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 9 by Carter-Orange

Chapter 9 - Help!

And so they went their separate ways.

Nick went to the home he owned in Los Angeles. Been a long time since I called this place home, he thought as the cab dropped him off outside. Looking up at the house with the ocean view, he let out a low whistle of appreciation. He recalled many happy memories from the time he‘d spent here, but also a few not so good memories. He grimaced as he thought of the Paris Hilton episode and after a quick calculation in his mind, realised he wouldn‘t have to go through that again, he was sure they broke up in 2004. Good fucking riddance!

Dragging his bags up the drive, he rummaged in his pocket for his house key when he reached the front door. Even though he knew he owned the beautiful house, it didn’t stop him feeling a bit weird when the key actually fit the lock and the door opened.

“Wow” was all he could say as he walked inside.

He left his bags in the hallway and wandered around the house in awe. Had he really owned all of this? He knew he had, but it just seemed so unreal. He stood there, slowly turning around, taking everything in and just grinned.

In the living room was a huge flat screen TV on the wall, squashy black leather sofa opposite a feature fireplace and plenty of other items he remembered from days gone by. He looked at some of the pictures hung on the walls, smiling as he remembered them.

He explored the rest of the house, again letting out an appreciative whistle when he reached the master bedroom.

“I’m gonna have sweet dreams in that bed” he said to himself as he admired the huge bed in the light filled room. He then walked over to the window and looked outside to admire the view of the ocean. He’d always loved the ocean, ever since he was a little kid. He shook his head as he thought about where he’d ended up before he was transported back in time. He vowed once again that he wasn’t going to travel down that path again.

Last but not least, he stepped outside into his back garden…his own little slice of tropical paradise. It was the kind of garden he could sit back and relax in, pretend he was somewhere in the Mediterranean rather than Los Angeles.

He sighed to himself; he knew that if he was ever going to quit the party scene, he’d better move away from here. There were too many temptations here, too many people giving him the things he was too weak to say no to. His so called friends, whom he now understood to be hangers on, didn’t really care a damn about him, they just wanted him for what he could give them.

Of course, he soon forgot all of that when his friends called him up the following day so see if he was up for a night out!

It was after waking up from a particularly wild night, involving not only cocaine but a dabble with heroin (a drug which Nick swore he would never touch and had no recollection of taking it), that Nick finally realised this had to stop. He couldn’t be doing that shit anymore, he needed to nip it in the bud before he got a heroin habit to go with the coke one, or possibly even killed himself. He knew all too well how his life would end up if he let the cocaine addiction get a hold of his life once again, and he vowed for the thousandth time that he wouldn’t choose that path again.

But what was he to do? Where was he to go? He decided to call Kevin, he couldn’t do it alone, he knew that without help, he wouldn’t seek out the remedy he needed. Kevin had told him he’d be there for him if he needed him, and Nick decided that now was the time to take him up on his offer.

“Kev” he said when he heard Kevin say hello on the other end of the phone “I need your help”

“Nick? Where are you buddy?” Kevin asked worriedly

“I’m at home and I don’t know where else to turn, things are pretty fucked up” Nick admitted to the older man.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can” Kevin told him and hung up.

True to his word, Kevin got there as soon as he could. He took one look at Nick, and suppressed the shocked gasp which was dying to come out of his mouth. It had only been a couple of weeks since he’d last seen him, but Nick looked like shit.

“I’m sorry Kev” Nick choked back the tears “I know I promised, but…”

“Shh” Kevin soothed “look, we’re going to get you some help, everything is going to be OK”

What Kevin really wanted was to get Nick away from those so called friends of his. He knew that Nick was easily influenced by them and that they only used him for his money. It made him sick to his stomach to think of the things he was doing to his body, and he knew he’d do all he could to help. He wasn’t going to stand by and let him ruin his life. If AJ could battle his addictions, then so could Nick.

~*~

After doing a bit of research on the internet, Nick was booked into a rehab clinic in Arizona. Both Kevin and Nick had liked the sound of the place.

‘In the high Sonoran Desert with mountain views and clear skies, The Meadows provides a path to personal completeness and integrity, for those seeking treatment for trauma and addictions, thus serving the individual with a lifelong recovery process.

The Meadows is a multi-disorder inpatient facility specializing in the treatment of a broad range of addictions. The facility's intensive treatment focuses on drug and alcohol addiction, compulsive behaviours, anxiety disorders and mood disorders.’

Now, all Nick had to do was go there and get himself clean. He’d decided to put his LA house up for sale, leaving it in the capable hands of the real estate office and his lawyer. He knew that he couldn’t live in LA anymore, even if he did get clean, he knew living there 24/7 would be a huge temptation. He didn’t know where he wanted to live yet, but for the next however long; home was going to be The Meadows. He’d have chance enough whilst there to figure out where he wanted to go.

~*~

“Wow, this is not what I expected” Nick said as Kevin pulled up outside The Meadows. What exactly he had expected, he didn’t know. The building was quite a modern two storey building, with various outbuildings and luscious greenery all around. It wasn’t what you’d expect in the desert at all, the grass was manicured to perfection, the shrubs all carefully sculptured, the trees providing that all important sun cover. It really was like an oasis in the middle of a desert.

“What were you expecting?” Kevin smirked “some kind of prison with high walls and barbed wire?”

“I don’t know man” Nick shrugged “but this isn’t it”

“Want me to come in with you?” Kevin asked

“No, it’s OK” Nick replied “thanks for driving me”

“Anytime bro” Kevin nodded and parked outside the building for Nick to retrieve his bags.

Nick waved goodbye as Kevin drove away, and then nervously picked up his bags and walked up the steps and into the building. It wasn’t the harsh clinical white place he’d expected. Instead, paintings adorned the walls, it had a homely atmosphere…well, maybe not quite homely, but you get the idea.

“Can I help you?” asked a pretty looking receptionist, eyeing him up and down in obvious recognition. Under different circumstances he would’ve turned on the Carter charm, women always fell for it, but now was not the place.

“Yeah, hi, I’m um…Nick Carter. I’m…um, booked in” he replied rather awkwardly, a feeling of shame and embarrassment at being here in the first place.

“Of course” she replied and began tapping away at her keyboard “if you’d just like to take a seat for a moment, someone will be down to see you soon”

“Thanks” he answered shyly. He walked over to the comfortable looking sofa which looked out across an expanse of green lawn, sat down and let out a sigh. Was this really the answer? What was going to happen here? Could being here really sort his life out, or was it just going to be a complete waste of time and money? So far it just looked kind of like a hotel, and he’d stayed in plenty of hotels over the years. He was lost in his thoughts when he felt that he was no longer alone, turning to his side he saw a tall woman, she had to be approximately forty years old and impeccably dressed.

“Mr Carter?” she asked and Nick stood up “hello, I’m Fran Price, one of the staff here. I’ll show you to your room and then when you’ve settled in, we can have a little chat later”

“OK, and call me Nick” he said and followed her.

His room was pretty basic, but comfortable looking, he noticed that the windows only opened so far, locks on them preventing them being opened any wider. He suspected that was to stop people sneaking off. But where they’d sneak off to here, he had no clue. He’d been asked to hand in any keys at reception, so he imagined everyone else had done the same too.

He unpacked his things and hung the clothes up in the built in wardrobe, then sat down on the bed and threw himself backwards so that he was lying on the bed. “What am I getting myself into here?” he muttered to himself. Completely cut off from the outside world and having to commit himself to a set schedule, it was going to be tough, tougher than anything he’d ever done before. But he thought about the future, he thought about ending up lonely and with nothing, he didn’t want to be that person in the future. He also thought about the band, Kevin had been serious about leaving if he didn’t clean up his act. Where would that leave the band? Would they still be able to carry on without Kev? He knew that in his previous life, Kevin had indeed left the band and shortly afterwards, the band had fallen apart. It was like without Kevin, there was nothing to hold the band together. They’d all joked about Kevin being the father figure of the group, but it was true, Kevin kept everything together and without him around, they were without direction. Nick had let everyone down.

End Notes:
Thanks for reading.
Chapter 10 by Carter-Orange

Chapter 10 - The Hardest Part

Later that day, he met up with Fran again. She explained that she was part of the administration at the clinic and they talked about what Nick wanted to achieve out of this, about his addictions, his lifestyle, his career, about everything really. Nick didn’t think he’d find himself opening up so easily, he wasn‘t usually so open with people, especially people he‘d only just met, but it was kind of easy to talk to her, she wasn’t judging him or making him feel like a failure. It made a welcome change.

During the discussion, Nick found out that he’d be taking part in a number of highly supervised activities. Also, there was a set schedule for the day, involving therapy meetings, meal times, and individual psychiatric and therapeutic meetings with a professional psychiatrist.

“Fuck me, this isn’t going to be easy” he thought to himself as he sat there listening. But he was committed to getting the help he needed, so was willing to give it a go.

Afterwards, he had a tour of the place with a couple of others who’d just arrived that day also. They all introduced themselves and he could tell right off that Georgia, the tiny but kind of pretty brunette, was here for an eating disorder. She could be beautiful, he thought to himself, if only she weren’t so skeletal looking. The other patient was a guy called Robbie, here for the same reason as himself, drink and drugs. He too was a singer and Nick wasn’t sure, but he thought they may have met at some point in their careers.

The place was impressive though, even housing a full fitness centre with pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Nick knew that he’d be making use of that gym, it would help burn off some of the frustrations that were bound to come with not being able to get his hands on drink.

“Evening meal is served at six o’clock in the dining room, you are free to do what you please until then” Fran told them and then excused herself, leaving them to their own devices.

Georgia sloped off, back to her room. But Robbie and Nick got chatting; they had a lot in common really. Both of them had been the youngest members of boy bands, he’d been in a band called Take That from an early age but had left a number of years ago to go solo. That’s when Nick realised he’d met him before. Take That and the Backstreet Boys had been to some of the same music shows and awards events, so their paths had crossed occasionally.

“They’re thinking of re-forming y’know, without me” he said of his former band “I could never go back; too much has gone on between us for it to ever work again”

“Would you though? If they asked?” Nick asked. He remembered that Take That had indeed got back together and become an even bigger success the second time around. He seemed to vaguely remember that Robbie re-joined briefly before the band called it a day, but he wasn‘t positive about that, but he couldn’t tell Robbie that. How would explain that he knew something which was going to happen in the future? He couldn’t, so he kept quiet about it.

“To be honest, I’d love to, but I fucked things up too much. Believe me mate; you are lucky to have the support of your band mates. I did at one time, but I ruined everything, said a lot of unforgivable things, and ruined one of them in the press. I was a complete twat” Robbie said, a look of sorrow on his face “I’d give anything to be able to turn back time”

Nick had to suppress the smirk that was forming on his face. He had that chance. Somehow, he had turned back time and had his life to live again. He understood exactly what Robbie was saying; in 2020 he was in a worse place than Robbie was right now. Perhaps being here wasn’t going to be so bad after all.

~*~

“What the fuck was I thinking?” Nick moaned as he banged his head against the wall in his room, his fists clenched in frustration. What had started off as positive thinking had slowly changed when the cravings had begun. It was now the middle of the night, his first night at The Meadows and it had been more than twenty four hours since his last drink or drug consumption. To say he was having trouble sleeping was an understatement. He was going crazy pacing the room, up and down, up and down, as the sweat poured off his skin.

“Just one little drink, that’s all” he said to himself “or a couple of benzos, or a joint even”. He just wanted something to knock him out until morning, anything would do, he wasn’t fussy, he just needed a little something to take the edge off the jitters he was feeling.

“Fuck” he shouted, pulling at his hair, and then sliding down the wall. He couldn’t even smoke a cigarette as smoking was only allowed in designated areas. As soon as he’d arrived that day, he’d had to hand over his lighter. Lighters and matches were strictly prohibited and only to be used in supervised areas.

He climbed back into bed and tried to get comfortable, falling asleep only after tossing and turning for a couple of hours. Just when he really thought he could’ve slept, it was time to get up.

“Great” he mumbled to himself as he dragged himself out of bed.

“Morning, sleep well?” asked Robbie at breakfast, his eyes giving away the signs that he had also had a bad night. He looked as bad as Nick felt.

“No” Nick replied “but at least I slept eventually. You?”

“Same here” said Robbie “suppose it’s gonna get worse before it gets better”

“I guess so” Nick replied, wishing he could’ve had a couple more hours in bed.

Eating a little bit of breakfast and distracting themselves with small talk seemed to help a little. After breakfast it was time for the first of the group therapy sessions, Nick wondered how that would work out. Would he have to stand there and introduce himself and admit his problems in front of a bunch of strangers? Hi, I‘m Nick Carter and I have a drug and alcohol problem. He knew he had a problem, but wasn’t comfortable saying it for everyone else to hear.

As it happened though, the group therapy wasn’t half as bad as he’d expected it to be. It certainly made him feel like he wasn’t alone, that his little problem was nothing to be ashamed of. Talking amongst the others, he realised that there were people in a worse way than he was. One guy, Kyle Jones from some British rock band, was almost beyond hope before he‘d been forced into rehab by his management. His habit was so bad, he was lucky to be alive. He‘d been found on the verge of death in a hotel room, track marks all up his arms and in a pool of his own vomit. Now, after a few weeks at The Meadows, he was finally recovering. If a guy like that could kick that shit, then Nick could quit the boozing and coke.

There were people from all walks of life here, from rock stars to politicians, spoilt rich brats to businessmen, and everything in between.

Those first few days were the hardest part; the cravings almost drove him mad at times. He now understood why the rooms they occupied were so sparsely furnished, it was to stop them causing too much destruction when things got too much, and things got a bit too much for Nick on several occasions.

End Notes:
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 11 by Carter-Orange
Chapter 11 - Feeling Good

Finally after almost a week, Nick was starting to feel like he was getting somewhere. The cravings he’d been experiencing when he first arrived had subsided and he actually felt good about himself for the first time in ages. This whole rehab thing had been a good idea after all. He was even getting a healthy appetite back and actually enjoying the food he was eating, instead of just eating junk food for the sake of eating. That’s not to say he’d be giving up KFC or McDonalds when he got out though, a Big Mac every once in a while was hardly going to kill him!

In his one to one therapy sessions, Nick learned to open up and talk about everything (with the exception of the time travelling, which would no doubt get him sent to the nut house if he brought it up). During these sessions, he talked about his childhood, his family, fame, and the fans, in fact there was nothing they left unturned. It was a huge weight off his mind to be able to talk to someone without them judging him. Some of his friends just wouldn’t have understood, having come from normal, scandal free families, but here, he could be himself and talk about his troubles without worry. Well, most of his troubles!

It still came as a shock when he woke up every morning to find he was still in 2005.

He’d not seen nor heard from anyone from the outside world during that first week he’d been there; most likely they were giving him some space to sort himself out. But after nearly two weeks, he had a surprise, Kevin had come to visit.

“Kev” Nick said, throwing his arms around the older man “good to see you”

“You too Nick. Hey, you’re looking great” Kevin said to his younger band mate.

“Well, I sure as hell am feeling better. Thanks Kev” Nick said.

“What for?” Kevin asked

“For not giving up on me. I was a fucking nightmare, I realise that now. Coming here is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m so glad I did. I don’t want to end up throwing my life away” Nick said. He’d nearly slipped up and said he didn’t want to throw his life away again, but managed to stop himself from saying the words that were in his mind.

“So, how’s it going?” Kev asked, taking a seat.

“Going good, well y’know, it was hard for the first week. My god, it was tough. I wanted to smash the windows and run, go anywhere, just get out, get my hands on something to drink. But that passed and now I’m feeling better, although there’s still a way to go” Nick explained.

“And I’m sure you’ll get there, I have every faith in you” Kev said.

They chatted for a while longer, Nick wanted to hear all about the world outside The Meadows as if he’d been cooped up for months rather than just a couple of weeks. Kevin assured Nick that everyone was doing fine and sent their best wishes.

“Has anyone found out about this yet?” Nick asked

“No, and they won’t, unless you want them to” Kevin assured him

“Good” Nick replied. He wasn’t ashamed or anything. He wasn’t the first and he wouldn’t be the last celebrity to go into rehab. But he just wanted to clean himself up without the fuss from the media like AJ had suffered.

“Well bro, I’d best be getting off” Kevin said as he looked at his watch, he knew Nick had therapy to get to shortly and he didn’t want to keep him from it. He told him he’d be back to visit again soon. They hugged goodbye and Nick watched as Kevin drove away. It would be weeks before he was able to drive away from here, but at least he’d be clean and sober when he did.

Over the next few weeks, Nick’s recovery progressed very well. The group and individual sessions were really beneficial in his recovery and helped him enormously. He’d also made a few good friends in the process, although to be honest, there wasn’t anyone in the place that he couldn’t talk to, it was just that kind of atmosphere, people got on with each other as they had no one else to turn to.

He also made a couple of mistakes whilst there too, after all, he was only human, with the needs of any man with a healthy sexual appetite. But sleeping with Ally had been a huge mistake. It was a mistake because although it had seemed right in the heat of the moment, Ally – a girl with depression issues - had wanted more than he was able to give, she was very emotionally unstable. Nick cursed himself for going there, why did he have to think with his dick sometimes? Why couldn’t he have used his head? He had to tread carefully for a little while around her, avoiding her when he could, it nearly set his recovery back, she was stressing him out big time, but much to his relief, she left and was going to be going someplace else, away from here and away from him.

He found Robbie to be a good - even though slightly fucked up in the head - friend. They had similar backgrounds, had both been thrown into the spotlight at an early age and been through all the same addictions, except that Robbie was constantly hounded by the British press for everything he did. It seemed he couldn’t open his front door without it being newsworthy, whereas Nick’s problem was more or less a little known one.

“That’s why I prefer it out here” Robbie had said one evening as they worked out in the gym “I’m not very well known here”

“I know just what you mean” Nick replied “sometimes I get pissed off with the whole fame thing and would love to be able to walk down the street anonymously. But then again, I love what I do, we have great fans that are always so supportive and I wouldn’t be able to do the things I love if it weren’t for this career. I suppose you have to take the good with the bad”

“Yeah, you’re right. Maybe you’re just better at coping than me” Robbie replied with a shrug of his shoulders.

“Who knows, but I do know that we’re going to get through this and come out better people” Nick replied confidently.

Whilst there, Nick also did a lot of reading, something he hadn‘t had much time for previously. He found it very relaxing to just go off and find a quiet place to sit and read in the sunshine. He also loved to just stroll around the grounds; it gave him a chance to do a lot of serious thinking, something he’d not been able to do when his mind was clouded by booze and drugs. The centre was situated in a very picturesque location, the views of the mountains were stunning and Nick often thought he’d love to just take off and climb them, see what the view from the top was like. Maybe that’s something he’d do another time and in another place. He was hoping that after his little stint here, he wouldn’t be returning!

After six weeks at The Meadows, Nick was finally leaving, although he’d still have weekly counselling sessions which would then reduce down to monthly. He thanked the staff for all their help and hugged his new found friends goodbye, telling them to keep in touch. Then he picked up his bags and walked out the door into the bright sunlight where Kevin was waiting, feeling the sun’s warmth on his skin and knowing that everything was going to be alright from now on. He’d already decided that he wasn’t going back to LA to live, his house was in the process of being sold and his furniture had been put into storage before he left. He still had no idea where he wanted to live, but he’d figure it out soon enough.

He planned a couple of days of nothingness before meeting up with the rest of the boys. He’d spent the last six weeks totally locked away from everything happening in the real world and thought it would be too much to just get straight back into the work environment. He didn’t even know what was going to happen regarding work. Would Kevin still want to leave the band? Did the rest of the guys want the same thing as Kev? He had no idea, but hoped that this wasn’t the end of the road for the Backstreet Boys. It just couldn’t be, they had so much more to offer the world. It couldn’t end here.

“Come on little man, let’s get you home” Kevin smiled and started the engine.
Chapter 12 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Here's the next bit, let me know what you think!

Chapter 12 – Moving On

Kevin tried to talk Nick into staying with him until he sorted himself out with somewhere else to live, and although it was a tempting idea, Nick declined. He didn’t want to be a burden on his friend and felt that Kevin had already done more than enough for him.

“If it’s because you think Jen will mind, you’re wrong” he shook his head “we’d both be happy to have you with us for as long as you want”

“Thank Kev, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea. I was thinking of staying in a hotel until I can sort myself out with a new place” Nick replied.

“You don’t have to do that you know, we have more than enough room for you” Kevin expressed.

“I know, and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but I have to get stand on my own two feet. You’ve already done so much for me and no doubt, I’ll turn to you if I find myself struggling. But I’m a grown man now and I can’t rely on everyone else all the time” Nick explained, hoping Kevin understood what he meant.

“Have you any idea where you’re likely to move to?” the older man asked, fixing his attention on Nick.

Nick really had no idea, but he knew it would have to be away from his party loving acquaintances and away from Los Angeles. He wasn’t strong enough to deal with the temptations the city had to offer.

“I don’t know Kev, maybe down south” Nick shrugged, not really having given it much thought.

“The south sounds good” Kevin said in an exaggerated southern drawl.

And so, after leaving the rehab centre, Nick decided to stay in a hotel. They found one which was out of town but close enough that if he needed Kevin or his therapist, it wasn’t too much of a trek.

“Are you sure?” Kevin asked once they’d come to a stop outside a well kept out of town hotel.

“Positive” Nick replied and held up his phone “I’m only a phone call away”

“Well, don’t forget to pick it up anytime you want to talk” he advised.

“Sure thing Dad” Nick grinned

“I’ll give you a call tomorrow OK” Kevin said as Nick began to open the car door.

“OK” Nick replied and got his bags out of the boot of the car “thanks again Kev and I’ll see you soon”

“See ya” Kevin replied and waited until Nick had walked into the building before driving off.

The hotel wasn’t quite in the middle of nowhere, but it was far enough away from temptation that he couldn’t access his weaknesses that easily. He called everyone to let them know where he was and that he was OK. His Mom had mentioned going to stay with her, but that would be no good, the whole reason he’d ended up in this fucked up state was down to what he believed were family troubles. No way was he going back to that, his brother and sisters were almost as fucked up as him, how was him going anywhere near them going to make things any better? It wasn’t.

As Nick sat alone in his suite, he began to wonder how he was going to live the rest of his life. The more he thought, the more anxious he got. The more anxious he got, the more he wanted a drink. He fought his overwhelming desire to go to the liquor store, or the nearest bar. Every time the urge took him, he had to try to take his mind off it; he had to physically force himself to stop walking through the door. He lost count of the number of times he banged his head against a wall in frustration with himself, frustrated at his weak state of mind.

He didn’t give in though, tempting as it was.

“Why don’t you just come and stay with us for a while Nick” Kevin asked over the phone the next morning.

“Are you sure I wouldn’t be in the way?” Nick asked, sounding like a lost child.

“No, in fact, I insist” Kev told him. Kevin really did mean it too, anything he could do for Nick and he would do it. He was proud of him for even having the courage to fight his addictions. He knew he wasn’t out of the woods yet, but was well on the way to recovery; he’d completed his time in rehab and was positive about his future.

“If you don’t mind, I’ll take you up on that offer then bro” Nick said, relieved actually that Kevin still cared, still wanted him around.

Nothing had leaked out to the press about Nick’s time in rehab and he was grateful for that, it meant that he didn’t have that to deal with on top of everything else. As far as the fans were aware, the group were just taking a well earned rest after the tour, same as always.

“Come on, let’s get your stuff inside and you can tell me all about it” Kev said, picking up one of Nick’s bags.

Being there with Kevin was just what Nick needed. His calming, big brother, sensible influence helped Nick out a lot. They talked for hours and put a lot of stuff behind them. Nick felt comfortable being there, he felt safe.

“So, Kev, there is something else that’s been kinda on my mind these last few months” Nick tried to sound casual about it, but inside his heart was beating fast, he had to know. He had to hear it from the man himself. Was Kev still going to be a Backstreet Boy? Or was he really going to go his own way?

“Oh yeah? What’s that?” Kevin asked, wondering what else could possibly be on Nick’s mind after what he’d been through.

“It’s about the band Kev. Where do we go from here? Are you still leaving?” Nick asked, not sure whether he wanted to hear the answer.

“Ah” Kevin sighed “now this is something we’re all going to have to sit down and talk about. I really don’t know what’s going to happen. And this isn’t just about you Nick, but recently I’ve been thinking. Is this really what I want anymore? I just don’t know. I’m thirty four years old Nick, how much longer can we carry on with this?”

“Kev, we can carry on as long as we want to and as long as the fans want us. We’ve always said that. What happened to Backstreet Boys forever?” Nick said, fighting back the lump which was beginning to build in his throat.

“I know...I know” Kevin said with a sigh

“Don’t even go there” Nick said, alarmed by his band mate’s negativity.

“Let’s change the subject eh?” Kevin said “how about we go watch the game on TV”

“Sure, but this is not the end of the matter Kevin” Nick said

“I know” Kevin replied.

Chapter 13 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Sorry it's been a while, I've been a reader more than a writer recently!

Chapter 13 - Unbreakable

Nick stayed at Kevin’s for a couple of weeks, during which time, they helped each other out. Nick helped Kevin decide that he actually didn’t want to leave the band, he could follow his solo pursuits and still be a Backstreet Boy too.

“OK little bro, you’ve talked me into it and don’t let me regret it” Kevin jokingly threatened.

“Trust me, you won’t” Nick replied smugly.

Kevin helped Nick more than Nick could ever say. He’d kept him sane, kept him from harming himself and made him feel wanted, instead of the useless waste of space he’d thought he was. Kevin was more of a brother than any of his real family. Where were they when he needed them? The truth was, he couldn’t count on any of them. They were leeches as far as he was concerned, only wanting him for what he could do for them, with no thought for anything other than themselves. Who needed that!

He also did a lot of thinking about the future, he didn’t like to think too much about it, but sometimes he just couldn’t help himself.

What did it hold for him now?

He was excited about the new possibilities it held, but also a little sad. He loved his kids, and he missed them, even though he hadn’t exactly been around for them when they‘d needed him. But it didn’t change the fact that he really had loved them, and Mandy. He’d loved her too…once upon a time. What would become of Mandy in this new alternate future? Would she find someone who’d treat her better than he had? Nick hoped so.

Would he find love now that he had the chance to live his life over again? Nick wasn’t sure, but marriage was not something which was on his radar, he’d been there and done that in his previous life. He’d been a failure as a husband and father, just like his own parents had been to him.

Would he have more children? He really didn’t think so, even if he did find ‘the one’. How could he ever put the memory of the family he left behind out of his mind? He couldn’t forget the past. The longer he was here though, the clear images he’d had of his children’s faces began to fade gradually from his mind. It upset him to think that he’d never see them again. He didn’t even have a photo to carry around with him. When he’d been transported back through time, nothing had travelled with him.

But what else could he do? He hadn’t asked to come back in time, he’d had no choice in the matter. He just had to plod along through life one day at a time.

“What’s on your mind?” Kevin asked, noticing the pained look on Nick’s face.

“Just thinking of the future, that’s all” Nick sighed.

“Well, I think you can do whatever you put your mind to. Remember that Nick” Kev said, placing his hand on Nick’s shoulder and giving it a squeeze.

“Thanks” Nick said. He couldn’t mope about thinking about things that had never happened in this lifetime. He had to try and get on with his new life the best he could. What is meant to be will be, he told himself.

With his new positive outlook on life, Nick moved out of Kevin’s house and found himself a little place to rent not too far away. It wasn’t quite as far away as he’d like to have moved (given the chance, Nick would‘ve liked to leave California), but it was a step in the right direction in terms of the band. He needed to be within commuting distance of Los Angeles for recording, and the less stress in his life, the better.

At least he was a good distance away from his old haunts and his so-called friends.

~*~

During this time, the Backstreet Boys held a series of meetings to decide what the next plan of action was going to be. Was there to be another CD? If so, what kind of sound were they going for? There was a lot to talk over, but everyone was keen to begin recording again, so that was one good thing. They’d all had a nice long break (although Nick had spent his in rehab), spent time with their families and friends, and were now ready to get down to one of the things they loved the most - making music.

Nick was doing well in his recovery and hadn’t slipped up once, although there had been times when he’d felt weak, he hadn’t given in. Instead, he’d channelled all his frustrations into exercise, the results of which amazed everyone. He was in the best physical shape of his life, he looked like a new man and this gave him more confidence too. Not that he’d been extremely overweight or anything before, but he hadn’t been this toned in his life. Against the other guys he used to feel a bit inadequate in the body department, they were all in pretty good shape and looked good without a shirt on, whereas Nick had got it into his head that his body should be covered up. Of course it wasn’t the case, millions of girls all over the world loved him no matter what, but he couldn’t see that. Now his new confidence and view of life was having a positive effect on everyone. It was no wonder Kevin had decided to stay, with such optimism within the band, how could he not want to be a part of it!

Nick knew that good things were coming their way. Backstreet was most definitely back!

Chapter 14 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Really sorry for the long wait for an update, I got caught up with writing Games and then found it hard getting back into this. But hopefully the chapters will come easier now that I'm writing it again!

Chapter 14 - I Quit

“Kev, where’s your head at dude?” AJ asked as Kevin seemed to be just gazing into space. The band had got together to talk about song choices and normally Kevin was the major driving force of the band, but not today. Today, Kevin’s thoughts were elsewhere.

“Sorry, I’m just not in the mood” Kevin replied with a shrug. The truth was simple; Kevin was seriously wondering why he’d agreed to do another album. He didn’t want to do this anymore. He felt as if he’d gone as far as he could with the band and that they were past their sell by date. That’s not to say he thought the music they made was crap, on the contrary, he’d always been proud of the music they made and proud to be a Backstreet Boy. But when radio and TV were refusing to play their music anymore, maybe it was time to call it quits and move on.

“Come on man, if we want to get this album made, we have to put the time in” Nick remarked. This was new territory to him, he’d not got this far with the band last time as they’d split up after the Never Gone tour. Maybe their destiny - although changed - was travelling a similar path. Maybe this really was it for the band.

“Well excuse me for not sharing your optimism” Kevin huffed “why are we even bothering?”

“Because we love making music…because the fans still love us…because we’re not done yet, no matter what MTV says” Nick replied angrily. How could Kevin be ready to throw in the towel after all they’d talked about after his stint in rehab? What about all those late night talks they’d shared? Was it all just bullshit? Had he been saying those things just to placate Nick? Nick ran his hands through his hair in exasperation. This was not what he’d been expecting today…or any other day for that matter. He wasn’t about to let the band fall apart without a fight.

“I’m not sure it’s a good enough reason for me anymore” Kevin replied, a little gentler, as if he’d only just realised how much bad feeling he’d caused his band mates.

“You don’t mean that Kevin?” Howie, always the optimist of the group asked.

“I’m sorry guys, but the way I’m feeling at the moment, I don’t think today is a good idea to go over song choices” Kevin told them “and I’m not sure I’ll feel any different tomorrow”

Kevin agonised over his decision all week. Should he make one more album just to keep everyone happy? Or should he follow his heart and go his own way? He weighed up the pros and cons and then called a meeting with the boys.

~*~

“I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but I have to be honest with you guys…you’re all like brothers to me and it wouldn’t be fair to string you along any more. I’ve decided that I’m not coming back to make the album. I’ve had enough of the music industry” he explained as calmly as he could, his eyes looking from one end of the table to the other, gauging their reactions.

Obviously the rest of the band was devastated, but they had to respect his decision. If he’d become that disillusioned with the music industry, if being in the band was making him unhappy, then they had to let him go.

“But…” Nick began, sounding like a lost little boy.

“No buts Nicky, I’ve thought long and hard about this and my mind is made up” Kevin asserted.

Sitting in his chair, fighting back the tears was AJ. Whenever he’d needed advice, he’d turned to Kevin for it. When he’d hit rock bottom a few years back, Kevin had been there for him. Kevin was like a father to him, his own father having deserted him and his mom when he was only tiny. How could Kevin just up and leave? “Why?” he asked in a choked up voice.

“Alex…this isn’t about any of you guys. You know I love you guys like brothers. But I can’t do this anymore” Kevin sighed. This was harder than he’d imagined it would be, but it had to be done. He didn’t want to string anyone along by prolonging the inevitable. He was done with being a Backstreet Boy.

They talked for a long time, reminiscing about the past; laughing over some of the crazy antics they’d got up to whilst on the road. It was hard for any of them to believe that this could be the end.

“I want you guys to carry on. Don’t feel like it has to be over just because I’m not going to be there anymore” Kevin told them.

“The door will always be open if you ever change your mind” Howie told him, placing his hand on Kevin’s shoulder in a reassuring way.

“Thanks” Kevin smiled.

“Yeah, if things don’t work out for you, you can always come back” AJ agreed.

“So much faith in me!” Kevin teased. He didn’t really have a plan, he was going to take some acting lessons and see where that took him. It was his dream to become an actor in a big budget Hollywood film, but if that didn’t happen, he would be more than happy to carry on performing on stage when the opportunity arose. But whatever happened, he knew he was doing the right thing.

“So what are we going to do about the album?” Nick asked. He’d been all geared up ready for this new album. He couldn’t wait to get in the studio and create an amazing album with these guys who were like family to him. Now the future of the band was in jeopardy.

“I think we’re gonna have to do some thinking about that” Brian replied. Brian knew his cousin had been contemplating his future, but was just as shocked as the rest of the guys when he’d announced he was leaving. He was sure he could persuade him to stay, but that wasn’t to be.

“Well you know what? Give me a fucking call when you’re ready!” Nick shot back at him and flew out of his chair and out of the room before the rest of them could see the tears which were threatening to spill.

“I should go after him” Kevin said, but made no move to get up. What good would it do to go after him? He didn’t have the answers which Nick wanted to hear. No, he would probably only get his hopes up and then smash them again.

~*~

“After all we’ve been through during the years, how could he just quit?” Nick said to himself as he angrily started up his car. He didn’t want to go home, he was too angry and upset to be alone, so he drove somewhere more welcoming…one of his old haunts. The bar to be precise.

For a split second, he contemplated whether having a drink was the right thing to do, but then tossed reason to one side and ordered a double Jack and coke. “Fuck reason” he said to himself as he downed it in one.

Chapter 15 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Thanks for reading, here's the next bit!

Chapter 15 - Cigarettes & Alcohol

One drink turned into two, then three and then…well Nick didn’t care to count just how many he’d had. What did it matter anyway?

He’d always thought that maybe his reason for going back fifteen years in time had been to put events right which had gone wrong the first time around. But if Kevin was quitting the band anyway, then it stood to reason that this was the end of the road for the Backstreet Boys. Look at other boy bands that lost a member, how long did they go on a four piece? They didn’t!

So why else was he still here and what the fuck kind of difference would it make whether he drank himself into a stupor or not?

“Another JD…make it a double” he told the barman and slapped a twenty down on the counter.

“You sure you haven’t had enough already buddy?” the barman asked.

“I’m not your buddy, and when I want your opinion on how much is too much, I’ll ask for it. Now get me my damn drink if you don’t mind” Nick slurred slightly. Why did people have to be so interfering? Why couldn’t they just do their job and fuck off out of his face?

The barman turned his back on Nick, muttering as he did so. He poured a double measure of Jack Daniels into a glass and placed it in front of Nick, then gave him his change. He just hoped the guy wasn’t going to be driving home because he was in no fit state to do so.

Nick drank until he no longer felt the pain. He no longer felt much of anything. Why had he even given up drink in the first place? Drink was the answer to all of his problems. He could slip off into another world when he was under the influence of alcohol and put all of his troubles behind him.

“Hey, I hope you don’t think you’re driving in that condition” someone called out to him as he walked towards his car. The bar had closed for the night and Nick had no choice but to vacate it.

He turned towards the direction of the voice, wobbling on his feet as he did so and squinted his eyes to see her. “What’s it to you?” he slurred, trying to get his keys out of his pocket.

“What’s it to me? I’ll tell you what asshole…it’s people like you that could cause people like me to get into a car crash!” she fumed at him.

“I’m perfectly capable of driving” Nick tried to sound sober.

“No you are not. What kind of a person would I be if I just stood by and let you get in that car?” she pulled out a phone and tapped some numbers in, a few seconds later she was ordering a taxi.

“You coming with me?” Nick slurred and tried to give her the trademark Carter smile.

“In your dreams! I’m just looking out for all those innocent people you might run into tonight, nothing more” she replied and waited until the taxi had arrived and he’d got into it.

Nick wasn’t used to getting the knock back from girls, even if he was acting like a dick. It very rarely happened.

“Where to?” the taxi driver asked, tapping his fingers impatiently on the steering wheel.

He wasn’t in the mood for going home just yet and wondered if he’d run into any of his old friends if he went to one of the clubs he used to go to. “Revolution” he replied and slumped back against the seat.

~*~

“Well, look who it is!” called a familiar voice when Nick walked through the crowd towards the bar in Revolution. He turned to see Matt, one of the guys he used to hang out with. “Thought you’d vanished off the face of the earth man!”

“No, I’m still around” Nick replied and before long he was knocking back shots and snorting lines of cocaine with the rest of the old gang, it was as if he’d never left the club scene.

The following morning he woke up with the mother of all hangovers. Not only did he feel like shit, but he wasn’t even in his own bed. Where the fuck am I?

“Hey there gorgeous” murmured a high pitched annoying voice, right on cue to answer his unspoken question.

Nick inwardly groaned. He didn’t remember anything about last night…well anything after the first few drinks in Revolution. He was pretty sure that if he had his wits about him, he wouldn’t have gone home with this girl who turned out to be ugly as fuck without his beer goggles. Well, maybe that was a bit harsh, but she was the type of girl he wouldn’t usually look twice at when sober.

“Hi” he replied, his voice sounding hoarse and his mouth feeling like sandpaper.

“I had a great time last night” she said and slid her lithe body over his, obviously hoping for a repeat of whatever they’d done the night before. Nick shuddered at the thought.

Not being in the mood, nor having the inclination to play along, he extricated himself from her clutches and made his excuses to get out of there.

“Ugh” he muttered to himself as he fled her apartment. That was just one of the many reasons he’d decided to quit the drink and drugs in the first place.

At that moment in time, he hated himself. He’d failed epically.

~*~

Later that day (after collecting his car from the bar and grabbing himself a nice greasy McDonalds to ease the hangover) he took a drive down to the beach. The ocean had always had a calming influence on him and it was just the place to go to clear his head and think things through.

He parked up and looked out at the beach. It was mostly deserted, which is just how he liked it when he wanted some thinking time. Hopefully no one would notice him.

Kicking at the sand with his flip-flopped feet, he contemplated his future once more. He knew he’d made a huge mistake last night and he knew he didn’t want to go back to those drug and drink fuelled ways. He knew that if he carried on like that, he was looking at a miserable future. Last night had just been a one off…a minor slip up. No one else had to know about it.

He didn’t know what the future held for the Backstreet Boys, but Nick knew that drinking again wasn’t going to solve anything.

Chapter 16 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Sorry it's been a couple of weeks, this is such a busy time of the year!

Chapter 16

Nick drove home feeling more positive than he had the previous day. He’d reacted badly to Kevin’s announcement when he had no right to do so. If Kevin wanted to go his own way, then so be it. Who was he to stop him? So what if the band fell apart? There were worse things in life weren’t there? It’s not like he was living his old life. Nick had his health and he had money, he also had fame - he could do whatever he wanted with his future.

He turned into his driveway and noticed Kevin’s car sitting in his usual parking spot.

“Wondered where you’d got to” Kevin said as he got out of the car.

“What’s it to you?” Nick replied sullenly.

“Come on Nicky, don’t be like that”

“Like what?” Nick asked, knowing that he sounded childish.

“Do we really have to carry on the conversation like this?” Kevin’s eyebrows came together in annoyance.

“I wasn’t aware that we were having a conversation, I thought you were done with me and the rest of the boys” Nick folded his arms across his chest and huffed.

“Nick you know that’s not true” Kevin said and Nick just glared at him in response “if you’re going to act like a five year old then…whatever…I don’t even know why I bothered coming over”. Kevin opened the car door and started climbing in, thinking that he should’ve just listened and left Nick alone.

“Wait!” Nick called out before Kevin could close the car door.

Kevin pushed the car door open again and climbed back out “are we going to talk like adults?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry” Nick replied.

“Me too” Kevin agreed and they went inside Nick’s house.

Even though Nick wasn’t happy with Kevin’s decision to leave, he understood why. After talking for a little while, it was clear to see that Kevin wasn’t abandoning the friendships he’d formed, and he’d always be there for the boys in a non-work related way, he just wanted something different.

“At least I won’t you have giving me a hard time about timekeeping, dance moves and shit like that anymore” Nick teased.

“No…but I’m sure one of the others will!” Kevin grinned.

“Yeah right!” Nick laughed, imagining Howie trying to fill Kevin’s shoes.

“Well, anyway, I better be going, but you know where I am if you need me. Don’t be a stranger OK?” Kevin ruffled Nick’s hair just like he used to when Nick was just a kid.

Nick pulled Kevin into a brotherly hug and then they said goodbye. He watched as Kevin drove away and then sat down on the sofa and ran his hand across his hair.

“If I’m not here to stop Kevin from leaving the band, then what am I here for?” he asked himself.

~*~

It took a while, and was definitely a whole new recording experience without Kevin, but in October 2007, the Backstreet Boys released ‘Unbreakable’. The album title said it all, that the band was indeed unbreakable. They had survived the loss of a member, the negativity of the music industry, lack of air time, but nothing could keep them down for long. They were back and functioning just fine, if not better, as a four piece.

Kevin kept in touch and even liked the new album, but wasn’t tempted to return, even though he was assured the door was always open. He’d moved on in his life and left the music industry well and truly behind.

Promotion work took them all over the world, and for the first time in a long time, it was fun. Now that everyone was happy and in a good place in their lives, it didn’t seem such a chore to put in the hard work. The fans were still there for them and even though they didn’t come out in force like they had back in the days of Millennium and Black & Blue, they still showed their support and there were always some hoping to catch a glimpse of them at TV and radio studios.

It was just before one of those promotional radio interviews that Nick came face to face with someone he never expected to see again.

“Dude, I’m just gonna run across to Starbucks” he told AJ as they climbed out of the car at the studio. The pair of them were in Greeneville, Tennessee, touring the southern states whilst Howie and Brian were up in Boston. There were no fans around that he could see, and he desperately needed a cappuccino.

“Grab me one too” AJ said as he lit up a cigarette and leaned against the outside of the studio “with an extra shot in it“. After being cooped up inside a non-smoking car for the last hour or so, he needed a nicotine hit before venturing into another non-smoking place.

Even though it was October, the weather was warm and Nick liked the feeling of the sun on his face as he walked across the road. He ordered coffee and grabbed a couple of donuts too, thinking that he’d just do an extra ten minutes in the gym to work it off.

It was as he was stood waiting to cross the road that he saw her.

“Mandy?” he said to himself and then called out her name across the street. She turned to see who had called her name and then carried on, obviously not recognising anyone.

“Mandy!” Nick called out again and then did something incredibly stupid. He stepped out into the road without a thought to oncoming traffic.

“Nick!” he heard AJ call out, as if miles away, but it was too late. The driver didn’t have time to react and hit Nick full force, sending him flying over the front of the car and then landing in a crumpled heap on the road.

End Notes:
Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas xx
Chapter 17 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
Sorry for the wait, I'll blame Christmas, lol! This chapter might come across a bit confusing, but I hope it'll all work out in the end.

Chapter 17 - Weird World

Nick woke up with a start, gasping for breath. Thank fucking god it was only a dream, I didn’t just get splattered all over the road by that car. “I’m alive!” he murmured.

“Well of course you are silly, it was only a concussion” a strangely familiar female voice said “although you did have us scared for a moment”

“Where am I?” Nick asked, propping himself up on the pillows and looking around groggily. His eyes settled on the person whom the voice had belonged to and he gasped in shock “Mandy?”

Holy fucking shit! What the hell is going on? It’s Mandy…but different somehow.

Nick groaned and fell back against the pillows. He knew all that time travelling nonsense had to have been a figment of his imagination. Probably something he took that gave him one hell of a trip.

It’s Mandy from 2020 and she’s looking good too…well she would wouldn’t she? She’s not got me dragging her down anymore. Hey wait, is that a ring on her finger? She never told me she got remarried! As if it’s any of my business though. She’s free to do as she pleases. Still…would’ve been nice to know. I just hope he treats her and the kids right. Fuck…the kids! I can see them again. Oh god, I hope she didn’t bring them here, I don’t want them to see me here like this…I don’t even know what the fuck happened. Gah!

“You’re at the hospital Nick. Are you feeling alright?” she asked worriedly, running her hand across his face lovingly, an action which completely escaped Nick.

“Great” he replied sarcastically and swung his legs out of the bed

It had all been a dream. A vivid, amazing, weird and wonderful dream. He knew it was too good to be true. Time travel wasn’t possible, wishful thinking didn’t really work. More than likely he’d had a drunken or drug induced accident and that’s how he’d ended up here. He looked around the hospital room, but nothing was familiar. He did notice that the room was more upmarket than he could afford, a hell of a lot more upmarket. If he was here in this nice private room in the hospital, then who the hell was going to pay the bill?

“Erm…Mandy? Who’s paying for this?” Nick held up his arms and looked around the room. Across from the bed was a huge flat screen TV mounted on the wall, built in furniture and even a dressing table gave the hospital room more of a hotel room feel. There had to be some kind of mistake. They didn’t let people like him into places like this.

“Nick, I think we can safely say that our insurance will cover it” she replied and smiled.

Our insurance? Look, thanks for the offer but I’m not some charity case. I’ll just get my shit together and be out of here” Nick looked around for his clothes, wanting to get out of there as fast as he possibly could. He wasn’t going to accept charity from his ex-wife’s new husband, especially when he’d never even met the guy.

“Nick, what are you talking about? I think you might’ve hit your head harder than the doctor thought. You’re not making any sense. Wait here, I’ll go and see if I can find him” Mandy said and was out of the room before Nick could protest.

Nick threw open the wardrobe door and put on the shirt and jeans which someone had hung up in there, then shoved his feet into the shoes which were also neatly placed inside the wardrobe. He ran into the bathroom, figuring it would be better to take care of business first, rather than trying to do a runner from the place when he needed to pee. It was after washing his hands and splashing cold water over his face that he finally looked into the mirror. He gasped yet again, for the sight before him was not what he was expecting to see.

“What…the…fuck” he mumbled to himself as he peeked a little closer.

He was older than the last time he’d looked in the mirror, but he didn’t look anything like the forty year old fat guy he’d expected to see. He actually didn’t look bad at all! His short hair was starting to grey at the sides, and Nick ran his fingers through it in disbelief. Hadn’t he had long, straggly, dirty looking hair before the hallucination? The broken veins on his cheeks were also gone, as well as the dark shadows circling his eyes. He looked like a slightly older version of the man he’d been in his dreams, or whatever the hell it was that had taken him back in time.

Then another thought occurred to him. What if he really had been killed by that car and he was dead? What if this was actually the waiting room to the afterlife…if the afterlife actually existed? None of it made sense and Nick’s head began to throb.

“Snap out of it Carter, you’re probably just dreaming” he said and slapped himself across the face, hard. Ow, that fucking hurt! Dreams aren’t supposed to hurt.

Before he had a chance to do anything else, Mandy returned with a doctor presumably, and Nick had lost his opportunity to flee.

“He’s acting strange; do you think it’s more than just concussion Dr Adams?” Mandy asked the doctor.

“Mrs Carter, he was checked over thoroughly when he was brought in…” Dr Adams began.

“Mrs Carter?” Nick looked confused. “But we’re divorced…have been for a few years. She left me because I’m an asshole!”

“I did not!” Mandy protested and then turned to the doctor “See, I told you he’s acting weird!”

The doctor then went on to explain that head injuries often produced temporary side effects and that’s why Nick was being kept in overnight for observation purposes.

“Are you sure that CT scan is right?” Mandy queried.

“Mrs Carter, I can assure you that our equipment is one hundred percent fully functioning. The CT scan didn’t show anything” Dr Adams explained. “I’m sure your husband will be fine by the morning”. With that, he walked out of the room and left Nick and Mandy alone.

“I don’t know what’s going on in your head Nickolas Carter, but if this is one of your pranks, then it’s not funny!” Mandy folded her arms across her chest and glared at Nick.

End Notes:
Just wanted to say thanks for voting for Rewind in the awards, I really appreciate it! Also, Happy New Year everyone x
Chapter 18 by Carter-Orange

Chapter 18 - Back to the Future?

After reassuring Mandy that he wasn’t pulling any pranks, Nick sat back down on the bed in defeat. He still wasn’t at all sure what was going on, whether he was alive or dead, but figured it was time to start asking questions. If this was his new reality, then he’d better get used to it…fast.

“Erm Mandy” he began “how did I end up here?”

“Don’t you remember? You were trying to teach Jacob how to skateboard, but you lost your balance, fell and banged your head on one of the terracotta plant pots on the patio” she replied “you were knocked out for a few minutes and had me so worried”.

“Plant pots? Patio? Skateboard?” he muttered to himself under his breath so that she wouldn‘t hear. There wasn’t anywhere to practice skateboarding where he lived, and he didn’t have a patio outside the trailer. Just a scrappy bit of lawn, full of weeds and littered with cigarette ends, empty bottles and other debris. But falling off a skateboard and banging his head did sound like the kind of thing he would do.

“Uh yeah, I kind of remember” Nick lied and rubbed his head “just a bit fuzzy”

Shit, this isn’t going to be like going back in time. At least going back in time I had some idea of what to expect. But now…going to an alternate future…I really don’t know shit. Do I still live in the trailer park? No, I don’t think I do judging by the plush hospital room I‘m in. What about the kids? I wonder if they are the same, or if my past actions have changed them. And if I still met and married Amanda Owen…my Mandy…then I must’ve done something right. I don’t look like I did before, so obviously life took a turn for the better somewhere along the line. I just wish I knew what was going on.

“I think you should lie back down, get some sleep and it’ll all be better in the morning” Mandy advised and bent down to kiss him gently on the forehead. Having her so near to him after all this time felt weird, but right all the same. He breathed in the smell of her perfume before she pulled away and smiled to himself. Maybe this was all a dream, but he was going to enjoy it while he could.

The following morning, Nick woke up and found himself still in the hospital room he’d woke up in yesterday. “So it wasn’t a dream” he said to himself as he rubbed at his eyes and yawned. He looked around the empty room, taking it all in yet again. How could he have ended up back in 2020? Why did he come back? Just when he’d finally felt comfortable and come to terms with going back in time, he’d been transported out of the life he was living there and into this one. It was more than enough to confuse him.

Nick decided that Mandy must’ve gone home some time last night after he’d gone back to sleep, and he was grateful to have a bit of alone time to try and make sense of things.

If he really had come back to the future, he wondered what this new future was like. He didn’t just wonder about his life, but the lives of everyone connected with him. What about the boys? What happened with the Unbreakable CD? Did we still manage to go on even though Kevin left? Or did we just drift apart and become strangers to one another like before? Oh, I wish I had all of the answers!

Being all alone in the room, Nick decided to see whether there were any clues to this new life. He patted the pockets of the jeans he’d fallen asleep in, but all he found in the pockets was a half empty pack of chewing gum, at least that was still his favourite brand. Next he leaned over and opened the top drawer of the bedside table…bingo! Sitting there was a nice shiny iPhone. Of course, he hadn’t owned one of those the last time around, he could never have afforded it with the tiny little bit of income he had, and the latest phone had been the last thing on his mind back then. Before he returned to the future he’d owned a Blackberry 8100 which had been the latest model in 2007, he‘d loved his Blackberry. He reached into the drawer and pulled the phone out, it was switched off, so he switched it on and eagerly waited while it powered up. I wonder who’s in my contact list?

In no time at all, he’d figured out how to use the phone, he’d always been good with technology. He tapped the contacts icon and nervously scrolled down, hardly able to believe his eyes when he saw who was in his contacts.

“Oh my god…AJ” he scrolled “Brian…Howie…and Kevin…I still know them!” Nick almost did a happy dance but settled for smiling from ear to ear instead. He contemplated calling one or all of them, but refrained from doing so. What would he say? He had no idea what kind of speaking terms they were on, whether they were still good buddies or just casual acquaintances. So instead, once he’d finished looking at who else’s number he had, he checked out the photos and music on the phone. Oh wow, look at the kids, they’re just the same as I remember, I can’t wait to see them for real, it’s been so long.

He didn’t hear the door open, he was so engrossed in going through the photos on his iPhone, but he jumped at her touch.

“That’s a great photo” she said and leaned in to kiss him. He didn’t know whether to return the kiss, but did anyway, even though it felt almost foreign to him, it had been such a long time since he’d kissed her. “How‘re you feeling this morning?”

“Oh y’know, sore head, but other than that I’m OK” he smiled that lopsided grin.

“Well, the doctor says you’re good to go, so let’s get you out of here” Mandy began gathering up Nick’s possessions.

“Where are the kids, I’m dying to see them” Nick asked as he walked into the bathroom to freshen up a bit.

“School, it‘s ten o‘clock” Mandy replied, shaking her head but smiling at her husband.

“Right, well I guess I’ll see them later” Nick shrugged. He was eager to get out of the hospital but nervous about what was waiting for him out there. Would he fit in with this new life? Or would he feel like a fish out of water? Well, I guess it’s time to find out!

End Notes:
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 19 by Carter-Orange

Chapter 19 - Home

They left the hospital after being officially discharged by the doctor, Nick still unaware of which city he was even in, or which state for that matter. But it soon became crystal clear that he was in Nashville, Tennessee when he saw the car licence plates in the hospital car park. So I did still end up living here…that is so weird!

“I know you usually like to drive, but not today mister, not after that nasty bump on the head” Mandy grinned and playfully poked him in the chest as she clicked at the car key. The lights flashed, along with the unmistakable sound of doors unlocking on a car just in front of them. It wasn’t the kind of car a man down on his luck would own and Nick smiled as he ran his hand over the shiny paintwork. Maybe we’re kinda doing OK for money! This had to be his car; it was the sort of car he could picture himself behind the wheel of. It was a man’s car.

“Whatever you say” he agreed with Mandy and slung his bag in the back and climbed in, impressed with the smart leather interior of the car. He could hardly make a big deal about her doing the driving when he had no idea where they lived, he was pretty certain they weren‘t going to the trailer park in Wildmill where he‘d previously resided. He had to try and appear as normal as possible to her, and driving around in circles unaware of where he was going was not going to help matters.

As Mandy drove, Nick looked out of the window, paying careful attention to where they were going. He’d always loved the more laid back way of life that Tennessee offered, compared to the non-stop party lifestyle he’d lived in Los Angeles. Los Angeles was the place he’d been so desperate to get away from in the past, the place where he’d come undone so many times due to poor choices he’d made and also with the company he’d kept.

He still remembered when he’d originally relocated to Nashville, back before any of the time travelling shenanigans. It was supposed to have been a new start, a chance to resurrect his music career away from the temptation of drink, drugs and women, but his old habits had followed him and proved impossible to shake off. He’d never gotten his second chance of a solo career off the ground and instead had lost everything, including his wife and family. He wondered just how differently life would be now. Did he have any sort of career anymore, or was he just a former boy band member, now living an anonymous life? I’ll find out soon enough!

“Earth to Nick” Mandy called out, snapping Nick’s attention back to the present “are you OK?”

“Sure” he replied and gave her a weak smile. How was he ever going to get through this? How could he fit into this life when he had no idea what his life was like anymore? He couldn’t bullshit his way through this like he had when he’d gone backwards in time. This time he had a wife and kids, with years and years of memories that Nick didn’t share. I’m fucked!

The car eventually pulled up outside a gated property, Mandy pressed a button on the car key ring and the gates swung open, revealing a long curved driveway, edged with trees, various other plants and flowers, and large sweeping manicured lawns. It was breathtaking and the kind of property which Nick would have thought was completely out of his league. Fuck me, is this where I live? I must’ve made some wise choices over the years if this really is ours, it‘s freaking huge!

“Well, here we are, home sweet home” Mandy switched off the engine and turned to face her husband, who looked awestruck. The house was a large Tuscan style villa, with flower and shrub borders around the front and a large balcony coming off what must be the master bedroom. He had to hold back the urge to say “wow” or “fuck me” out loud. Of course he’d had fame and riches in his younger days, and even owned multiple houses, but to see this place warmed him to the bone. Whatever decisions he’d made in the past had been the right ones this time.

“I’m just going to use the bathroom” Nick excused himself once they were inside. Mandy busied herself doing whatever it was she was doing, leaving Nick free to explore the house.

He climbed the impressive staircase, which overlooked the marble floored hallway, and managed to find the bedroom. “Wow” he muttered and let out an appreciative whistle. The room was huge; with the biggest en-suite bathroom he’d seen in any of his former houses, complete with sunken bath big enough to fit four people and an impressive shower with multiple jets. But that wasn’t the best part; it was the view from the balcony. The house was situated in an elevated position, so provided breathtaking views for miles.

He looked at the framed photos by the side of the bed, and peeked in the walk-in wardrobe, wanting to take in as much information about his new life as he could to learn who he was as a person in this version of 2020. Then he moved on to the other upstairs rooms and thanked god for name plaques on the bedroom doors of the children, at least he wouldn‘t get that wrong. I wonder how the kids turned out with both of us in their lives? I mean, they were pretty awesome before considering I was the world’s worst Dad, but are they the same kids they were before? What if I don’t know how to be around them? What if they sense that I have no clue? Shit…can I do this?

End Notes:
Hope it was easy to follow and that you enjoyed!
Chapter 20 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
I'm so sorry for the long wait and even sorrier that this chapter is so short. It's been a while since I've written anything, so it was hard to get back into it.

Chapter 20 -Who Are You Now

By the following day, it became obvious to Nick that he wasn’t going to be able to blend in as well as he’d hoped. At least the bump to the head he’d suffered was his excuse for the time being, but it wouldn’t buy him much more time, and then the game would be up - there was only so long he could appear confused. Mandy and the kids would wonder what the hell had happened and he wouldn’t have any plausible response to give them. I could always try telling them the truth…nah…that wouldn’t work. Who would believe that? I sure as hell wouldn’t have believed it if it hadn’t happened to me. As much as I love science fiction, that’s just it…it’s fiction!

Luckily for Nick, Mandy was going to be out for a few hours. After dropping the kids at school, she was going food shopping (after making sure that Nick would be alright left home alone). That meant he had some time alone to do a bit of snooping and find out more about not only his life, but all of their lives. He didn’t have a clue what any of them were like in this version of his life, and so he figured the best place to start would be by Googling himself. He’d always found Google to be a fountain of knowledge, and therefore hoped it would assist him now.

He wandered into the room he presumed to be his office/studio and immediately noticed the framed photographs on the wall, along with numerous discs. But he didn’t have time to look at them in too much detail; he didn’t know how long he’d have before Mandy got home and therefore wanted to get straight down to business. He sat down at the computer, the black leather swivel chair was well worn, yet extremely comfortable, and Nick guessed that he spent a lot of time there. Now, what could my password be? He stared at the login screen for a few moments, drumming his fingers on the solid oak desk whilst trying to think of what it could be. He then typed in the password he’d always used in the past. “Yeah!” he exclaimed and raised his fist in the air when the password was accepted and he’d gained access to the computer. Before Googling himself however, he browsed the files within the computer, hoping that he’d find a lot of clues there. Apart from a few games, he found lots of photos, music and what looked like poetry or song lyrics. So maybe I’m still writing and recording, if only for my own amusement! How fucking cool is that!

Curiosity getting the better of him, he went back to the picture folder and opened it up for a better look. Amongst the happy family photos were pictures which left him speechless, he had to lean closer to the screen to make sure his eyes weren’t deceiving him. “It can’t be” he mumbled, yet there in front of him were pictures of all five Backstreet Boys at some kind of event. Recent event by the looks of it. They looked older than he remembered (he was still thinking of them looking the way they did before he woke up back in 2020), but they looked at ease with each other, suggesting that they all still got along. His heart began to beat slightly faster at the possibility of seeing them again. Did they still see each other though? The last time he was in 2020, he was a washed up loser with no one to turn to. The only Backstreet Boy he ever spoke to was AJ, and that was rarely. He’d driven the others away on his path to self destruction. He could see that now, whereas before…well, he couldn’t see anything but the next drink or drug.

He studied the picture closer, wanting to take in as much as he could. Brian looked so different, yet at the same time still retained his boyish good looks. Nick had to admit that even though his friend was balding and was sporting closely cropped hair, it suited him. Howie had hardly changed at all, just a sprinkle of grey in his dark hair, making him look every inch the distinguished gentleman. Kevin, although nearing the age of fifty, still looked in good shape and Nick smiled as he thought of how body conscious Kev had always been. And last of all there was AJ, his former partner in crime. AJ was as unique as ever, just a lot less hair! Fuck me, he must only be forty two and look, he’s balder than Brian! Nick ran his hand over his full head of hair and thanked his father for passing on his genes.

He could’ve spent hours looking through the stuff on his computer, but it wasn’t going to tell him much about himself…he needed Google for that. So he quickly opened up his browser and within the search box typed ‘Nick Carter’ and hit enter. Within moments he was reading all about himself.

End Notes:
Hope it was OK, I won't be so crap at updating in future!
Chapter 21 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:

Sorry for the delay, reality keeps getting in the way!

Chapter 21 - Figure You Out

Nick could hardly believe the amount of fan sites still around. Back at the height of their fame, the Backstreet Boys were everywhere, but their fame had dwindled somewhat by the time Unbreakable was released - which in a way was good, because it meant more chance of a normal life, but not great in terms of their careers. Nick remembered a time when Live Daily was THE place for all things Backstreet; those girls knew more about what was going on than he himself did. But that place was no more and hadn‘t been around for a long time, and so he was having to find his information elsewhere.

The first link he clicked on was Wiki, which told him the basics, but wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. He wanted to really get to know who he was now, not just look at a few trivial facts. What Wiki did tell him though was that the boys were still together as a group, the five of them, and that all of them had achieved some solo success over the years. I wonder when Kevin came back. Awesome!

Nick leaned back in his chair and reminisced about his first solo CD ‘Now or Never’. He’d hoped for the same kind of solo success as the likes of Justin Timberlake, hoped that he’d be catapulted into super stardom, but had been a little disappointed when the CD sales hadn’t done as well as his rival Justin. Well, at least I beat him in the Sexiest Male Musician awards on a number of occasions, ha, take that Timberlake!

He sat back up and looked at the computer screen again. According to Wiki, he’d released a CD in 2011 called ‘I’m Taking Off’ and a third one in 2015 by the name of ‘In My Own Time’. Both albums had done incredibly well around the world and Nick couldn’t help the smile which formed on his lips. I’ll have to listen to them and see if anything sounds familiar, see if any of the song ideas I had in my head came to fruition.

The website mentioned his health problems and his stint in rehab, but didn’t go into depth. Nor did it give much information about his personal life, only that he’d married Amanda Owen in 2012 after dating for just a few months and that they had three children.

Well, I better do some more digging if I‘m going to find anything else out before Mandy gets home.

He went back to the search results and clicked on another link, which promised that it was the number one place for everything Nick Carter related. It wasn’t wrong! Nick sat there engrossed and was amazed at the quantity of information held there. He hardly knew where to begin, but noticed that there were archive folders containing news, pictures and interviews for each year the group had been around. Nick figured the best place to begin was by paying a visit to the 2007 folder, seeing as that was the year which sent him back to the future.

He found an article of particular interest in the news folder - the day he was hit by the car. But according to the news report, it happened a bit different to how he remembered.

Nick Carter, the youngest member of boy band the Backstreet Boy, currently in town to promote their new album, was involved in a minor car accident earlier today. Carter (aged 27) was taken to the hospital where he was treated for minor cuts and bruises following a collision with another car. The driver of the other vehicle (who has not been named) accepted full responsibility for the accident and apologised to Carter and his band mate, who did not sustain any injuries.

“That’s not how I remember it! I stepped out into the road when I saw Mandy across the street, I wasn’t in a car” he exclaimed, rubbing his chin, deep in thought, wondering why the events of that day were different. It was all getting a bit confusing for Nick. Why can’t everything just be simple? But then again, when has anything ever been simple in my life?

He scanned through a few more interviews and album reviews, and then watched a few You Tube videos of them performing songs from the Unbreakable CD on various TV shows. He had to admit that even without Kevin; they managed to do just fine. He then opened up the photo folder for 2007. There were photo shoot pictures, ones taken at events and of course the ones everyone hated - the unauthorised ones, where the photographer caught them off guard and sometimes doing things he’d rather were kept private, like picking his nose, or eating junk food when he’d proclaimed to be on a diet, or when he had a giant zit on his face and unwashed hair, and so on. He clicked through them, and then opened the 2008 folder.

“Nick, I‘m home” Mandy called from downstairs. Nick was so engrossed in his research that he hadn‘t heard her. “There you are!” she said, causing Nick to jump at the sound of her voice “what’re you doing?”

“Nothing” Nick replied and quickly closed the browser.

“I hope you aren’t digging for details about your fortieth” she warned and gave him a look.

My fortieth? I’m already forty…aren’t I? Nick looked at the time and date in the corner of the screen and saw that in fact, he was still thirty nine, for another week anyway! No fucking way!

“Would I do a thing like that?” he teased her and gave her a crooked smile.

“Yes, you would…and you know it!” she replied and shook her head “but you aren’t going to find out a thing”

“Spoilsport” he retorted, and he wasn’t just talking about the birthday. He couldn’t carry on with his research now that she was hovering about. He sighed and turned back to his computer, contemplating whether to turn it off or not.

“I’ll let you carry on with whatever it is you’re doing” Mandy said and turned away.

“No, it’s OK, I’m done for now” Nick replied and shut the computer down. There would be more opportunity later, but for now, he figured he’d better spend some time getting to know his wife all over again.

End Notes:

Thanks for reading.

Chapter 22 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:

Thanks to the royal wedding for giving me a day off and chance to write this :)

Chapter 22 - Dig A Little Deeper

As luck would have it, Nick had quite a lot of free time to himself over the next couple of days. Although Mandy was a stay at home mom, she wasn’t one to sit around watching trashy daytime TV shows. Not that Nick thought this version of Mandy would be like that. From what he recalled, Mandy had always been an independent woman. Back in their previous life, she’d been the one working all the hours she could just to keep the roof over their heads whilst Nick had spent it almost as fast as she’d earned it. He shook his head in disgust at those memories. How could he have behaved so appallingly when he had a wife and family to look after? He wondered how she’d put up with him for as long as she had? He hadn’t deserved her back then, in fact, he hadn’t deserved anyone. He’d been a complete waste of space.

So whilst Mandy was helping out at school, Nick carried on with his research.

His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he got to the 2010 folder and saw that the boys had joined forces with the New Kids on the Block towards the end of that year. No fucking way! What the fuck! Apparently it had been just what they needed to boost their dwindling careers - their This Is Us album didn‘t do as well as they‘d hoped and the New Kids weren‘t getting far either. There had been a joint album in 2011 and even a global sell out tour. From the pictures and news articles he read, it had been phenomenal. Who’d have thought…I used to hate them with a passion and look at me there, all best buds with Donnie…fuck me!

But by the time he got to 2012, he saw that the two bands had gone their separate ways. It had been a once in a lifetime opportunity he’d been quoted as saying in a magazine. Yeah, right! But there was no doubt about it, the Backstreet pride was still well and truly alive, whether that was helped along by the joint venture or not, Nick didn‘t know. By the time he got to the end of the 2012 folder, he’d found out that he’d met Mandy at a wedding of all places; they’d immediately clicked and within a few months had married. Pictures showed the two of them looking smitten with each other whether they were snapped as they walked hand in hand, frolicking on the beach or eating out in a restaurant. It painted a much better picture than the one he remembered from the first time around. Back then, although he knew they’d had a happy beginning, his drug and drink problem had soon reared its ugly head. By the time their first child had been born, Nick was back using. He closed his eyes and shook his head, ashamed of the way he’d been back then. How could a husband and father act so appallingly? But at least those events had never happened in this alternate future. He was grateful for that and grateful to Kevin for being here for him all those years ago, to help him onto the correct path.

Nick pulled himself together and carried on reading, eager to see what else had happened during those years that were a mystery to him.

It was during their twentieth year together as a band that Kevin had come back. According to interviews on the website, Kevin had felt the pull to be back with his brothers and was grateful they’d not only left the door open for him to return, but welcomed him back with open arms. It was no secret that Kevin had been like a father figure to Nick during the early days of the band, and had continued his support once he‘d left, and to see that he’d returned, to actually see pictures of the five of them all together again, it almost brought tears to Nick’s eyes.

All five of them had come to realise that they could pursue their solo interests if they wanted. Kevin had a gained moderate success as an actor, whilst the others had their solo singing careers. But they all supported one another.

From then on, it looked as if they’d gone from strength to strength as a band. The workload wasn’t what it had been in the crazy days, all of them realising that it wasn’t about churning out album after album, but more about the quality. They weren’t being dictated to anymore and recorded the kind of music that was right for them. Also with every member of the band being married and having families now, there was also that to be taken into consideration.

“Honey, I’m home! Did you get the oven on like I asked?” called Mandy from somewhere in the house.

“Shit” Nick exclaimed and quickly switched off the computer and hurried downstairs. He’d been so pre-occupied that he’d completely forgot he was supposed to be starting dinner.

“Got carried away playing computer games again?” Mandy asked, but she wasn’t mad with him. I’m so lucky to have her.

“You know me so well!” Nick replied with a lopsided grin.

“I should think so too after eight years of marriage” she smiled and reached up to plant a kiss on his lips.

Nick wandered into the kitchen and began preparing dinner, smiling to himself at the thought of how domesticated he was now, not wanting to remember the time where dinner was a microwave burger, twenty cigarettes and washed down with a bottle or two of vodka.

“What are you smiling at?” Mandy teased, wrapping her arms around his waist as he stood at the open refrigerator.

“Just thinking about how lucky I am to have such a wonderful life” Nick turned and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close for a kiss.

They were soon interrupted by the kids running into the kitchen, complaining that they were hungry and asking when food was going to be ready, but Nick wouldn’t change what he had now for anything.

“How about we go out for McDonalds?” Nick offered. A bit of junk food once in a while never did anyone every harm, it wasn’t as if they ate there very often (not like the way Nick did when he was younger).

“Yay” they all called out whilst Mandy rolled her eyes at Nick.

“Come on babe, I’ll even buy you an ice cream sundae” Nick grinned.

“Deal” Mandy replied and they headed for the door.

End Notes:

Not much left of this story, but hope you are enjoying :)

Chapter 23 by Carter-Orange

Chapter 23 - Progress

It was two days before Nick’s fortieth birthday and he still hadn’t spoken to AJ, Kevin, Brian or Howie. He didn’t want to make the first move and call them in case he said something out of character, but he knew it was only a matter of time before he came into contact with them. He wondered about other friends he might have. How would he react if someone approached him and he had no idea who they were?

But putting those worries aside, his delving into the past was paying off. He was pleasantly surprised at the amount of information (which may be considered useless to other people) he was able to find on the net. Of course it didn’t compare to actually living those experiences, but it was the best he could do under the circumstances.

One of the nice little surprises had been when he’d found out about the album the band put out containing previously unreleased songs - the songs which hadn’t made it to any of their other albums. From what he could ascertain, they’d put up a poll on the fan club asking fans to vote for their favourites. The list had been huge, as their back catalogue of songs probably matched, if not exceeded, the amount of material that had ended up on the albums they had released. Nick smiled as he read some of the fans comments about why certain songs should be picked. He himself had been annoyed that some of those songs hadn’t made it at the time, but that had been a management decision and not a band decision. Because of poor management decisions, songs like ‘Close My Eyes’, ‘Hologram’, ‘On Without You’ and ‘Forces of Nature’ (to name a few) had been overlooked. Thank goodness they had parted ways with them in 2010 and were able to take more control of their careers, instead of being dictated to all the time.

“Don’t forget you’re collecting the kids today, I have a hairdresser’s appointment” Mandy reminded Nick as she kissed him goodbye at the front door.

“See you later Daddy” the kids called and ran to the car, racing to see who won and therefore got to sit in the front with their Mom.

“Be good!” Nick called after them and waved as the car drove off. They really were exactly the same as they had been in his previous life. Of course they were better dressed and didn’t have to make do with charity shop finds in this incarnation, but they weren’t the stereotypical spoiled rich kids. They were just normal, happy children, which is exactly the way Nick liked it. He’d grown up in the dysfunctional family from hell, with parents who didn’t give a shit as long as he was bringing in the money and siblings who fought like cats and dogs. Nick had always been adamant that he wouldn’t end up repeating the mistakes of his own parents. And he was pleased to see that all this time travelling hadn’t changed his views on that.

So with the kids at school and Mandy volunteering for the morning and then going to the hairdressers in the afternoon, Nick was once again left to his own devices.

“So Kevin and Jen are still together” Nick murmured as he read up about the man who’d been more of a father than his own biological father “and they have a twelve year old boy called Morgan. He’s got Kev’s eyebrows, the poor kid!”

He also found out that Brian had married his old high school girlfriend. It was an interesting story and like something out of a romance novel. According to reports, Brian had been invited to his high school reunion and had shocked them all by actually turning up. They had all been sure he wouldn’t show, but he’d proved them all wrong. After getting over the fact that there was a celebrity at the party, Brian had been able to mingle like everyone else. But when Laura arrived at the party (she was late, having had to travel quite a distance to make it), Brian had eyes for no one else and it appeared Laura felt the same way. They were now married with two children, Leia and Ben and looked like the perfect all American family with their blonde hair and blue eyes. Nick wondered briefly what had happened to the girl Brian had been seeing before he ended up in the future? Had he finally realised what everyone else had been thinking…that she was a bitch! It was good to see his friend had found happiness at last.

Howie, the eternal bachelor, had eventually married at the age of forty. He and his wife Giselle met through her involvement with the band and had gradually fallen in love. They now had four children. Howie had always wanted a big family and Nick was happy to see that his friend finally had it.

And AJ…well he was the only one who’d kept in contact with Nick during the wasted years. Nick fully understood that back then, AJ wouldn’t have wanted to have brought his wife and kids to visit a drunken drug addict in a crappy trailer park, and therefore Nick hadn’t got to know Rhian and their girls Bella, Rosie and Alice (they’d been BIG Twilight fans and named them all after the characters in the books). But reading about them and looking at the photos, Nick could see that they were a really happy (if a little unconventional) looking family. The pair of them obviously allowed the girls to dress themselves and by the looks of it, the girls had their parent’s flair for the weird and wonderful.

Although Nick was happy to see that everything had turned out great for his friends, he just wished he’d never lost touch with them all those years ago…the first time around. How could he have become a stranger to the guys he’d always thought of as brothers? How could he have let friendships fall apart? He shuddered as he recalled those torturous years, those years when he had nothing and no one. Had he really lived them? Now that he was happy and healthy in this alternate 2020, he found it almost inconceivable that he would’ve chosen that appalling lifestyle. Who in their right mind would alienate everyone they loved and cherished? Who would be so stupid as to lose everything they’d worked for? Not this Nick Carter, that’s for sure.

“Shit, look at the time! I’ve been at this computer all day!” Nick exclaimed as he looked at the clock in the corner of the screen and saw that it was nearly three o’clock. It was time to collect his children from school and he couldn’t wait. He loved spending time with Jacob, Adam and Bethany. He felt as if he had a lot of making up to do, even though in actual fact, he didn’t have to at all. This Nick had never neglected his kids for drink and drugs. This Nick was the dad he’d always hoped he’d be.

End Notes:

Hope it made sense!  Thanks for reading.

Chapter 24 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:

Last chapter, hope you like it, sorry for the delay!

Chapter 24 - Birthday Surprises

“Happy fortieth birthday” Mandy murmured into her husband’s ear as she lay next to him in bed.

“Uh” Nick mumbled, half asleep.

But he wasn’t half asleep for long as Mandy wriggled up close to him.

“Mmm” he sighed, wide awake and making the most of the fact that the kids were still sound asleep.

Gone were the days of spending all day in bed, as anyone with kids can confirm, and an hour later they were both up and showered.

Mandy hadn’t let slip any special birthday plans, but Nick knew she was planning something. She had to be. The Mandy he knew would never let a special occasion pass by without some sort of celebration. Even in their past life when money was short, she always made the effort. Once again Nick wondered how he’d been lucky enough to end up with her. They way he’d behaved in the past made him shudder once again; thank goodness he’d been given this second chance.

“So…what are we doing today?” Nick asked hopefully as he pulled on his jeans.

“What makes you think we’re doing anything?” she replied playfully.

“Because I know you, you have to have got something organised” Nick gave her that lopsided smile which still had the ability to send the women crazy (or so he’d read on one of those fan sites he’d been browsing).

“Nick Carter, you are not going to charm anything out of me!” she retorted and walked out of the bedroom before he could wrangle the details out of her.

He headed towards the stairs after her, hoping he’d still get a chance to persuade her to divulge the details, but his plans were crushed when he heard a bedroom door opening and little feet running towards him.

“Happy Birthday Daddy” Bethany, his youngest child, ran up to him and handed him a birthday card she’d made herself (with a little help). It was covered in all shades of glitter, a huge rainbow and writing he could barely decipher, but Nick cherished it more than he would some shop bought card.

“Come here and give me a kiss” Nick scooped her up into his arms and peppered little kisses on her cheeks as he carried her down the stairs. He placed the card on the fireplace and then went into the kitchen where Mandy was preparing breakfast. They were soon joined by Jacob and Adam who sleepily wished their father a happy birthday before sitting at the table for breakfast.

“Shall we give Daddy his presents now? Or shall we make him wait?” Mandy asked the children.

“Now” they cheered.

“OK” she smiled and left the room, returning a few moments later with brightly wrapped gifts.

***

In the time he’d been back, Nick had yet to see the boys…or anyone else from his past life for that matter (not that he‘d miss some of those former acquaintances, it was good riddance as far as they were concerned). He’d had a few text messages wishing him a happy birthday, but that was it. He didn’t know how he’d react when he actually saw them again. From the research he’d done, they were very much still together and seemed as close as ever, but was that the real story? Were they still like the brothers they’d always professed to be, or had time caused them to drift apart? He desperately wanted the chance to find out. He’d been more or less cooped up in the house since he’d returned to the future and was getting restless. The only reason he hadn’t done anything sooner was that he didn’t want to look stupid by not knowing anything about the past few years. But now with everything he’d read up on, he felt confident that he could get by, so long as no one expected too much from him!

After a lazy morning watching cartoons with the kids, the Carter family went out to their local McDonald’s for lunch. Twice in one week, what a treat!

“Is this my birthday treat?” Nick teased as he threw a fry into his mouth.

“Will you quit it! I’ve told you, my lips are sealed about any possible birthday surprises” Mandy grinned and stole one of his fries.

“Ah, so there is a surprise. I knew it!” Nick smirked.

“You are so annoying, even after all these years” she laughed.

“But you love me” he teased “so what‘s the surprise?”

“All I’ll say is that we’re going out at eight” Mandy replied.

***

By eight o’clock they were ready to go out, Mandy was still keeping quiet about where they were going, but Nick had to admit that he kind of liked the element of surprise.

“Night kids, love you, be good for Stacey” Mandy warned good naturedly. Stacey had been babysitting for a couple of years and knew how to handle them. Although this Nick had never met her before, he thought he put on a good enough show of being familiar with who she was.

“Go and enjoy yourselves, they’ll be fine…won’t you?” Stacey turned to the kids who were once again engrossed in the latest Disney film.

“Night Mom, night Dad” they called distractedly.

A horn beeped outside and Nick and Mandy hurried out the door to the waiting car. Neither of them was going to be driving tonight.

Half an hour later they pulled up along a roadside.

“What are we doing stopping here?” Nick asked.

“Trust me OK” Mandy replied as she pulled a scarf out of her bag and tied it around Nick’s eyes, making sure he couldn’t peek out from underneath.

“Is this really necessary?” he asked, although he didn’t mind going along with whatever she had planned. He kind of liked the idea of being blindfolded in the back seat of a car with a beautiful woman taking charge. Gutter brain, like that’s gonna happen right here, right now!

“It’ll be worth it” she teased and ran her hand down his chest.

The car started up again and they drove for a few more minutes, before reaching the secret destination.

“Here we are” Mandy stated the obvious as she opened the car door and climbed out “I’ll come round and help you, don’t want you having another accident”

“Can I take this off yet?” Nick raised his hand to the scarf.

“I’ll take it off when I’m ready” Mandy slapped his hand away and guided him where she wanted him to go.

“I feel stupid” he moaned as his wife led the way.

“Anyone would think I was torturing you” she chastised.

He heard hushed voices as they walked up a couple of steps, and then everything went quiet.

“Nearly there” Mandy advised and guided him into the building. All Nick could make out was that they were walking on thick carpet. “Now stand here and I’ll take off the blindfold”

She reached up and slowly untied the scarf, making him wait to see wherever they were.

“Surprise!” called a room full (or what seemed like a room full) of people.

Nick blinked as his eyes adjusted to the light and grinned as he saw the faces of his four best friends and band mates, along with their wives and a bunch of other people he vaguely recognised from photos.

“Kev…AJ…Bri…Howie!” Nick exclaimed as he looked from one to the other, taking in their obvious happiness at being here to celebrate his birthday.

“Happy birthday” they all wished him before walking over to individually hug him. Nick didn’t want to let go, it felt so good to finally see them all again, to know that after all these years, they were still unbreakable, still shared that brotherly bond.

“So good to see you all” Nick stood looking them over, like he hadn’t seen them in years (which of course was the truth). He hadn’t seen Kevin since 2007, so seeing him in the flesh, at his fortieth birthday party, almost brought tears to his eyes.

Although nearing fifty, Kevin still had a physique that would make men half his age jealous. Howie had hardly changed either, and probably looked younger than the rest of them, despite being the second oldest. It was weird seeing Brian so bald! The last time Nick had seen him, he’d been trying everything to disguise his receding hair, but now it seemed that Brian had finally embraced the fact that he was balding. It seemed to suit him though. And AJ, always the most outrageous when it came to just about everything, was now sporting a shaved head and a purple goatee to go with the purple dress his wife was wearing!

“Alright then, are we just gonna stand here all night or are we gonna party!” AJ announced, causing everyone to laugh.

They began the evening with a delicious meal and lots of chattering around the room - which had been hired specially for the occasion and therefore closed to the public - before the music was turned up louder, the drinks started to flow and everyone began to mingle. Nick had opted for water with his meal, not sure whether it would be appropriate to have a drink given his previous circumstances, and deliberated over what to order from the bar now that the party was in full swing. His decision was made when AJ ordered two alcohol free beers and handed one to him.

“Remember the days when we partied all night on more than just this?” AJ asked, holding his bottle up “man, I’m so glad I’m not that asshole anymore”

“Me too” Nick agreed.

“I used to think I couldn’t enjoy a night out without it” AJ took a sip.

“Same here” Nick agreed.

“I’m proud of you both” Kevin appeared and smiled like a proud father as he spoke the words he’d said so often over the years.

Talking and laughing with his friends, Nick knew that everything was going to be alright, but he still wondered why this had happened? Why had he gone back in time? Why had he been given another chance? What caused him to return to the future? And now that he was here, was he here to stay? He just wished he had some answers.

“Your turn to get the drinks” AJ exclaimed, as he placed his empty bottle down on the table.

“Same again?” Nick asked.

“Make it a coke this time” AJ replied, but everyone else was having the same.

He strolled over to the bar and caught the attention of the bar tender who was fiddling around with the bottles in the fridge behind him.

I know him! But where from? Think Nick!

“What can I get you?” he asked.

“Two cokes, two beers and a JD and coke” Nick replied, his mind working overtime as he tried to remember where he knew this guy from. And then it came to him.

Ryan…the guy from Hobbs bar, that dump I used to go to. But what the hell is he doing here? Why would he work here and that dump? Not that it’s any of my business.

“Everything OK? You look a bit spooked” the bartender asked, concern in his voice.

“You just look like someone I used to know” Nick replied, figuring it couldn’t be the same guy. What were the chances of that!

“I’m glad to say you don’t look anything like the person I used to know” Ryan replied as he poured the beer.

“So you do know me?” Nick asked incredulously.

“I do” Ryan didn’t elaborate and carried on with the drinks.

What the fuck? This is just weird!

Nick stood there open mouthed for a moment, not sure what to say, if anything. He had questions he wanted answers to, but why would this guy know anything about it?

“What do you know?” Nick asked.

“I know that I made the right decision giving you another chance. You lost your way and needed someone to direct you towards the correct path. Everyone makes mistakes but you’d had more than your fair share of them. So I gave you the chance to fix things” Ryan shrugged as if it was nothing special.

“You…” Nick was lost for words “but…that’s not possible”

“You know it is, you’ve experienced it” he said, straight faced.

“But why me?” Nick murmured.

“Why not you? You had as much right to a second chance as anyone” Ryan replied.

“But…” Nick began.

“No questions, just enjoy it” Ryan said, putting an end to the matter.

“Well…thanks” Nick said. He knew it wasn’t enough, but what else could he say? He looked down, deep in thought for a moment, trying to think of something a bit more grateful sounding to sum up his feelings for what he‘d done, but when he looked up again, Ryan was gone. The drinks were sitting on the bar and Nick looked from side to side, looking for Ryan.

“Everything OK?” asked another bartender, a woman.

“Um…yeah sure. Where’s the guy who was just here…Ryan?” Nick asked.

“Who?” the bartender replied.

“Ryan, the barman with the dark hair and the funny accent. He was just here a moment ago” Nick explained.

“Sorry, no Ryan working here” she shrugged and walked away.

Well fuck me! What the hell was he? Where did he go?

Nick glanced over to where his wife was dancing with all the other Backstreet wives; he gave her a quick wave and a smile, happy to see she was having a good time. He really had struck it lucky, he had gone from a man down on his luck to a man who seemed to have everything. Who was he to question it? Miracles happened in all shapes and sizes, whether you were a religious person or not. He figured he should just consider himself one of the lucky ones. He’d wished he could rewind and that’s exactly what had happened, enabling him to put right the things which had once gone wrong.

THE END

End Notes:

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed as endings aren't really my strong point!

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