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Chapter Nineteen

"Hurry, hurry... HURRY..." I was urging Howie as he drove the rented car through the traffic. He was driving worse than fricking Brian had. "Howie, dude, I swear to fucking God -- a bus load of nuns just left us in the dust."

"I'm doing the speedlimit, AJ," he said pointedly, "It's called the law..."

"Dude don't get pissed at me now," I snapped, "If you get pissed we set ourselves back. Especially if the bank closes before we get this shit done."

"I still can't believe you're making me do this."

"FATE is making us do this," I retorted. Howie put on his blinker and glanced in the rear view mirror, inching carefully into the next lane. I smacked my forehead to my face. "I knew we should've had fricking Nick drive."

"NICK? Nick drive?" Howie snorted, "You call what he does driving? Really?"

I tapped my nail against the window, "You can go. DO IT. Do it."

"There's a car coming, seriously J--"

I wanted to wring his Mexican neck. Well, right now it was a tattooed neck - mine, to be exact. I pressed my forehead against the window as several seconds later the car he'd yielded to unneccesarily had passed by. "Dude," I muttered, glancing at my watch, "Dude, we've got like five minutes, okay? You need to put the pedal to the metal."

"AJ, I swear to God if you don't stop bitching..."

"What? What'll you do? Huh? Not accept the big ass check you're about to deposit into your bank account?" I prodded, "Please."

"Shut up."

I stared out the window. I could faintly see the blue and red logo, glowing from down the street. Bank of America. The land of switch-me-back. I looked at Howie. I looked at the clock. The blinker ticked.


"What?" Howie looked up, startled.

I slammed the door opened, ran around the nose of the vehicle, wrenched open his door and yelled, "GET OUT!"

"NO! You are not breaking the law to --"

"TO MAKE US NORMAL?" I yelled, "Shut the fuck up and move!"

Howie grumbled, but he got out and went around to the passenger seat while I threw myself in behind the wheel. With the fastest glance ever, I didn't wait. I slammed my foot on the gas pedal and the car careened into the center lane. A symphony of horns blared behind me as I quickly cut off the right hand lane, too. Howie had grabbed the handle over his head on the passanger door and was squeezing his eyes shut. "Ayyyyyyyyyeeee ee," he was wailing, and muttering what sounded like a prayer under his breath.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was pretty sure I had wet AJ's pants by the time we careened to a stop. AJ yanked open the driver's side door and did a very 'James Bond'-sian type of move. I got out and made sure that my (well J's) bones were where they should be.

"C'mon! C'mon!" AJ chanted. He reminded me of a basset hound. He was giving me my OWN puppy dog eyes and practically howling.

He got to the front doors before I did. I followed him. One little old lady was up at the front with a teller. Another teller smiled our way.

"Can I help you?"

J gave me the 'eye' and I swallowed hard. I walked up and pulled out J's checkbook, his ID, and a couple other pieces of identification. "I need to make a withdrawal."

"How much?"

I felt like I had a mouth full of poprocks. J leaned against the counter and winked at the old lady. She giggled.

He was flirting with a granny. Aye carumba, I needed to hurry.

"I need to withdraw five hundred thousand."

The teller looked surprised. "Five hundred thousand?"

"Yes ma'am."

Ten minutes later the bank was empty except for myself, J, the teller, and the bank manager. After staring at all of the paperwork, the manager seemed satisfied.

"Do it."

I think AJ was a little disappointed that I didn't ask for one of those jumbo checks. Instead, I asked for cash. The money was counted out in stacks that made my head spin. When the teller finally said 'Five hundred thousand,' J opened my wallet. He smiled.

"Can I make a deposit?"

"You're just lucky we bank at the same place," I said as we walked out a half hour later. J glanced at his (well, my) watch. "We have thirty minutes to get back to the venue for the show." He held up the keys. "I'm driving."


"Do you want us to be late? Besides, if we're lucky we'll switch back halfway there."

"And if we don't?"

AJ made a face. "Then we have to go onstage and not fuck this up."

"No offense, but my stage presence is much different than years."

"Yeah, that's because I sexify the stage," J said. He opened his door. I opened mine. I didn't respond until we had both buckled in.

"What's that mean? I sexify the stage! I'm Latino. I ooze sexy."

"No, you add flavor. Kinda like when you go to Taco Bell and ask for a whole bunch of those sauce packets. You're the sauce."

"What are you?"

J's smile widened. "I'm the man that eats the taco."

I wrinkled my nose. "Is that a metaphor?"

"What do you think?"

"I think you spend too much time with Nick."

We looked at each other; AJ cranked the engine and there was only one thing we could do.

We started to laugh.

Unknown McLean Fact #19: AJ is the only Backstreet Boy that can't roll his 'r's.' My theory is that his tongue ring prevents it. AJ's excuse is that he reserves his tongue for other, more important things. I've always been tempted to ask him why he can't multitask, but then I'd probably get more unknown information that I DON'T want to know.