Brian double checked himself in the mirror making sure to brush all his hair forward. He cringed at his thinning hair and wondered how long he would be able to keep the ever receding hairline hidden from the fans. He sighed when he realized they probably knew before he did that his hair was thinning, it was one of the ‘perks’ of living in the spotlight.
He turned and watched as his band mates, his brothers, finished getting themselves ready for the upcoming sound check and meet and greet. AJ was still primping in the mirror, licking his finger and running it over his eyebrow. Brian couldn’t help but let a small chuckle escape his lips when he watched his friend open a bottle of black nail polish and touch up his nails.
Brian’s eyes fell on his cousin next. The tall man was reading a newspaper as they waited to go onstage. Brian wistfully wished for a minute that they could share more of the same genes, hair and height. Brian wished he had a little more of both and Kevin seemed to have both to spare. Every so often Brian would notice Kevin glancing at the watch on his arm, keeping his eye on the time to try to get them to start their pre-show events on time. Brian knew they wouldn’t be on time no matter how hard Kevin pushed but he imagined they would be worse if Kevin wasn’t there.
Next to him, Howie was on the phone with some woman that he’d been seeing for the past few weeks. He was speaking in hushed tones and when he looked up and caught Brian looking his direction he smiled and winked but moved to another part of the room further away so that he could continue his conversation. None of the guys knew anything about this new woman he’d been seeing, just that he spent a lot of time with her and seemed to be really connecting with her. Brian wished him luck; he knew what it was like to have a good woman behind you, he was really lucky to have Leighanne.
Finally Brian’s eyes rested on Nick, the youngest of their group, sleeping on the couch. Brian shook his head at the sight. He’d probably been out late partying the night before and was trying to sleep off his hangover before their appearance.
“They’ve opened the doors and let them in. Can you hear that noise?” Brian smiled still amazed that he got to perform for a living. The guys started to gather for the pre-performance rituals. As Howie hung up and headed back to the group, he kicked Nick to make him wake up.
“Is it time already?” Nick asked yawning and stretching.
Brian rolled his eyes and headed out on the stage welcomed by hundreds of screams. He walked up to the microphone and welcomed the crowd.
Izzy couldn’t stop glaring at Megan as they stood in the crowd screaming around them as the guys came out onto the stage. “You didn’t tell me there was a mini concert.” She yelled at her friend over the screams.
Megan shrugged and smiled apologetically at her friend before turning her attention back to the stage. Izzy looked up to see the five guys standing with their microphones, each one speaking to welcome them. It seemed as they started talking, Izzy’s stomach started to feel queasy and uncomfortable. As they sang, she sat down and dropped her head in her hands breathing slowly.
Brian stood on the stage looking around the audience, it was like they never took a break, the fans were just as enthusiastic now as they were during Millennium and Black and Blue. They prepared to answer some questions and he knew that the crew would be preparing the girls to get in line so they could each meet the guys and get a picture with them.
He watched as the line started to form and one girl went streaming out of the room quickly. He hoped she was feeling okay but he had little time to think about her, the line had started to move and the first girls were coming through. He shook hands, said hello and smiled for the pictures. And just as quickly as the first girls came through, Brian noticed they were at the middle of the group by now. His face was already aching from smiling but he continued to shake hands and smile so that each girl would feel special.
Izzy stood outside the doors taking deep breaths. She had no idea what was wrong with her. She’d never felt so light headed as she did while she was in that room. Maybe it was the densely packed girls screaming their heads off for the chance of any attention from the five guys standing on the stage. She took one last breath and made her way back into the small room, showing her pass to the guard at the door. She saw Megan standing at the back of a line her eyes scanning around and when they fell on her she waved to her friend to hurry up.
“Where have you been?” Megan asked Izzy when she returned to the room and they took their place at the end of the line? “Nick is going to be anxious to be done with this and since we are last we are going to be rushed.” The girl mentioned to her friend.
“I’m sorry, I’m not feeling well.” Izzy told her friend but her words fell on empty ears. Megan’s attention was on the five guys in front of them getting closer with every step they took. Right before they reached the guys Megan turned back to Izzy.
“You weren’t physically ill were you?” Megan crunched up her nose at the thought.
“No,” Izzy shook her head. “No, I just needed some air I felt like I was going to pass out but I did not throw up.”
“Okay, good I wouldn’t want you to get any of them sick.” Megan turned back and started through the line shaking the hand of the tall man with dark hair first, Kevin, if Izzy’s memory served. Izzy rolled her eyes at her friend’s lack of concern for her, it had to be from being in such close proximity to the man she was going to marry.
“Hello,” the man in front of her spoke.
“Hi,” she responded and stuck out her hand to shake it. She might as well, she’d not met anyone famous before, what would it hurt to smile and be polite.
“How are you doing today?” Kevin asked her.
“I’m doing alright.” She smiled. No point in telling her that it seemed like every time they had opened their mouths to sing she felt like she was going to pass out.
“Thanks for coming.” He pulled her in for a hug and released her, she moved to the next man, the Hispanic looking one. Immediately this man pulled her into a hug and welcomed her.
“Thanks so much for coming,” He said as he winked at her. He held onto his hands with his. “Como estas?” he asked her.
Izzy knew enough Spanish to know that he just asked her “How are you” but that was about where her limit was. “I’m doing alright.” She answered back.
He smiled and winked again talking to her at a crazy pace. She couldn’t understand what he was saying, partly because he was talking so fast and making up strange phrases, and partly because he was using quite a few Spanish words mixed in with the English ones.
“Yo, D, what is the hold up?” AJ called out to Howie who was still talking to the girl standing in front of him.
“Sorry guys, I was distracted by her beauty.” Again, he winked at Izzy and she was beginning to wonder if it really was a twitch and not a wink.
“Howie, we should move this along.” Kevin reluctantly added to the mix. “We do have a show to do.”
“Sure thing.” He smiled and Izzy moved to the next one in line, the blond whose name she could never remember.
“Hello,” He said with a soft southern accent breaking through.
“Hi,” she said suddenly feeling warmth fill her cheeks. Why the hell was she blushing?
Brian took hold of her hand to shake it and instantly felt a jolt. He released her hand and put his hand to his now throbbing head. Before he collapsed he looked at the young woman, she was laying on the ground, thrashing as if in pain herself.