Nick licked his lips, standing there awkwardly, feeling like he'd walked in on a private moment, knowing he wasn't meant to see Brian like this.
He took a silent, but deep breath, and hyped himself back up again, so that Brian could keep his privacy. "Hey!!" he shouted, pretending he'd just come in the room a split second before. "That was frickin' amazing, dawg! Why didn't you tell me you were working on that song? We could've put together music for you..."
Brian stood up and turned away from the bin, his face was flushed now from the throwing up and he forced a smile. "Figured it would give you something to do," he laughed.
"It was amazing," Nick said, "You were amazing."
Brian sank into one of the chairs he and Amanda had been sitting in before he went on stage. "I'm really glad I did it," he admitted, "I thought at first that saying good-bye to the fans would seem morbid or something, but... it just felt good. It felt right, you know?"
"You did it wonderfully," Nick answered, sitting down opposite of Brian.
"Unfortunately," Brian said, "The rest of my good-byes aren't going to be so easy." His eyes locked with Nick's.
The curtain fluttered and Amanda walked in, "Are you ready for the last couple of--" her voice died away as she saw Nick. She froze, a deer caught in the headlights.
Nick stood up quickly, his face unreadable.
Brian looked between them. "Oh yeah. Nick, Amanda's here."
"What is she doing here?" Nick demanded, not looking away from Amanda, but addressing Brian.
"Brian asked me to write an article for him," she answered, even though the question hadn't been to her.
Nick tore his eyes away from her to look at Brian, "You what?" he asked, dumbfounded.
"I asked Amanda to write the story," Brian answered calmly. He could feel every muscle in his body tensing up, praying.
Nick looked at Amanda, "Hasn't she written enough stories about us to last a lifetime?" he demanded.
Amanda could feel a lump rising in her throat. His voice still carried the angry tone - the one that she'd worked for weeks to lose from her memories of him. She felt cold all over.
"This story's different," Brian answered, "Because she's writing it from her heart.... with love."
"I'm sure," Nick said. He shook his head, "I'll see ya at your house later, Brian. Congratulations on the concert and stuff." He pushed around Amanda carelessly, and ducked out of the curtained off dressing area.
Amanda stood frozen to the spot. Brian sighed, "I'm sorry," he told her, "I didn't know you'd both come back here at the same time." Though I'd hoped it would've gone better than that if you did, he added in his mind.
"It's.. it's okay," she whispered. She forced a half of a smile, "At least he didn't call me a whore this time." Amanda diverted her eyes, keeping them carefully away from Brian's, knowing she'd sob if he caught her gaze. She dug into her purse and found her micro-recorder, "I just have a couple more questions, and then I'll be done and I can write the article tonight."
"Okay, shoot," Brian said, his heart torn in pieces for Nick.
Nick was out back of the field, smoking again. He'd snuck his pack into his pocket and was sitting on an old milk crate. He took a long drag and leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes.
"You quit, too?"
He opened his eyes and looked up. Amanda was standing there, wearing ripped jeans and a faded blue t-shirt. Instead of the heavy Doc Martins, she had on the sneakers he'd bought her in Boulder. She had a small camera strapped to her wrist.
He closed his eyes again, hoping she'd go away.
Amanda approached him and stuck out her hand, "My name is Amanda Golde," she said, "I'm an unemployed journalist, and I'm here to write an article on your best friend, Brian."
He peeked at her. "Oh?" he asked.
"Yes," she answered. She pulled up another milk crate. "I used to work for Pop Stuff Online, but then I met this guy who showed me that lying and exploiting people only ruins lives and friendships," she said, "And love."
"Smart guy," he said. He shook her hand half-heartedly.
"What's your name?"
"Bob," Nick answered dryly, "Bob Saget."
"Okay," Amanda pulled out her notebook from her bag. "Mr. Saget, can you please tell me how you felt watching Brian Littrell's concert tonight?"
Nick sighed, "Strange. I never realized how much I love his voice before," he said slowly, "How much I took his presence for granted, I guess."
"Are you going to tape the song?"
"No, I'm a crappy singer. I heard Nick Carter might tape it someday, though."
Amanda smiled a tiny bit. "Sorry, Mr. Saget, I forgot that you weren't Mr. Carter for a second there."
"How could you possibly get us mixed up?" he quipped.
Amanda hesitated, "I'm not sure, Bob," she said slowly, "Because.. well. Right now, Nick won't speak to me."
Nick looked at her carefully. Her hands were shaking as she held the notebook and pen, which she'd scribbled a couple notes onto. He looked into her eyes, searching them for a long moment. "Why won't Nick talk to you?" he asked.
"Well, Bob," she said, "I lied to him... and I broke his heart. I didn't mean to... at least not at first. But then the longer I waited, the harder it got to tell him. I tried to a couple times, like in Boulder, just before Brian got sick again. But something came up every time. Once, we got stuck in a 'tsunami of the sky'," she laughed quietly.
Nick smirked, "I heard you romped the hay after that."
"Damn news gets around fast," she muttered, "If even the dad on Full House heard that."
"Well, you leaked your own story, what can I say?" he asked.
Amanda shook her head, "I'm such a dumb bitch," she laughed. But the laughter stopped abruptly. "Anyway, Mr. Saget, when Nick found out... he was really, really angry, and I didn't get a chance to tell him after that... how much I love him."
Nick rubbed his chin slowly, then took a drag off his slowly burning cigarette. He blew the smoke into the air, then tossed the cigarette onto the ground and stomped it out. "And how much is that, exactly?" he asked.
"More than anything else in the entire universe," she whispered.
Nick leaned toward her, "Anything else?" he asked.
"Anything," she answered quietly.
"Even more than me, Bob Saget?" he asked.
"Much more than you. Sorry, Mr. Saget," she answered.
Nick's lips formed a smile, just a half an inch from her face, "I would definitely find a way to tell him that if I were you," he whispered.
She looked into his eyes, so close to hers. Their breaths mixed. "Nickolas Gene Carter," she whispered, "I love you more than Bob Saget."
Nick cracked up, and kissed her.