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Nick was waiting at the airport the next day, and he was not in the best of moods. He hated flying, and Elisa wasn’t here. True, he hadn’t asked her to see him off, but he still hurt nonetheless.

The rest of the guys were saying goodbye to their families, and Nick had no one. As usual.
This time, it was probably his fault. He shouldn’t have kissed Elisa like that. He knew it was a bad idea, and now he’d probably ran her off for good.

He decided to text her.

Sorry about last night, don’t know why I did that. Well I do, but I shouldn’t have. Be safe while I’m away, and know that wherever I’m at, you’re on my mind.

He heard a phone go off behind him and a voice say “Hey.”

He turned and saw Elisa. She had a small smile on her face as she sat next to him. She checked her phone and smiled slightly as she read the text message he just sent.

“Don’t be sorry. I’m not mad,” she said.

AJ noticed her and nudged Brian. Brian glanced over and grinned.

“I swear, they’re going to be together by the time we get back,” AJ said. Brian nodded.

“Yep. Something went down last night. We’ll know soon enough.”

Howie heard them.

“Nah, I don’t think so,” he said.

“Want to bet?”

“A hundred bucks.”


Brian shook his head at the two goons as he directed his attention back to his family.

“I can’t give you an answer today, Nick. I’m still hurting by what my ex did. I know you’re not him, but still. I really like you. And I promise, I will think about it. But I didn’t want you to go without me saying goodbye,” she explained.

“I don’t want to make you do something you don’t want to do. All I want is to make you happy. If just being friends is what makes you happy, then fine. I’m happy you came to see me off,” he said, hugging her tightly.

Elisa looked up at him, with tears in her eyes.

“I’ll miss you.”

“Me too. More than you can imagine,” he replied, wiping the tears from her face.

She stood on tip toes and kissed his cheek.

“Stay safe, Kaos,” she said, smiling.

“You too, Leese.”

Elisa watched him leave with the guys, and she smiled as he turned to her and blew a gentle kiss to her.

Then he was gone.

A small tan girl with a baby and a kid came to her.

“Are you Nick’s new girl?” she asked.

Elisa just realized she was surrounded by the Backstreet Wives.


A blonde smiled at her.

“Don’t be afraid of us, we’re not going to get upset. I’m Kristin, Kevin’s wife.” She introduced everyone.

“Rochelle, that’s my sister’s name,” she said when she met AJ’s wife.

Rochelle laughed.
“It’s a cool name.”

“Look, if you ever need help or anything, let us know. I see the way Nick looks at you, he is crazy about you,” Leighanne said. Leigh, the tan girl, nodded.


Kristin looked back as they walked away, and saw Elisa wipe away her tears.



Kristin smiled sadly.

“It doesn’t get easier.”


Nick was in his hotel in Japan later that night, when, right on cue, AJ and Brian came in.

“Well, well, WELL!” AJ exclaimed. “Mr. “I don’t do my fans” happens to be doing a fan!”

“Shut up, Jay. I’m not doing her. We’re friends.”

“They way you were acting toward to her was not friendly. That was lovey dovey girly shit.”

Nick rolled his eyes, but said nothing.

Brian grinned.

“You like her. You have from that first day.”

“Yeah, I do. But she needs time to think things over. I know she likes me but some real bad shit went down with her ex.”

“Like what?” AJ asked.

“You are worse than a girl, man! It’s not my place to say what happened,” Nick said, throwing a pillow at him. “She said give her time.”

“Then give her that time, man. Respect that of her,” Brian said.

Nick sighed and shrugged.

“Alright man. I’ll do that.”

“And while you ‘do that’, you better keep your head in the game, man. We don’t need you chicking up on us,” AJ kidded.

Nick threw another pillow at him.

“Don’t you have to go be a dick somewhere else?”

“Not until four.”

The trio enjoyed a laugh, and then they got ready for their first assignment.

That night, he and the guys visited a radio station to promote their tour and CD. They laughed and cut up like little kids. They then performed “Madeleine” on the air.
Their first show was the next night, and Nick gave it his all, as he did every night. Dancing and singing, this was his talent, and he loved it.

After the show, he sent Elisa an email. He’d heard about the government shutting down in the United States. He was worried about her.

Hey, girl. Hope everything is going well stateside, heard about the shutdown, that doesn’t affect you, does it?
Japan is great, sucks without you here, though. Heard you met the Backstreet wives, they’re not so bad, don’t let them get you down.
Missing you like crazy, can’t wait to see you again.

“Are you...uh….emailing Elisa?” AJ asked, sitting in the car, looking nervous.

“Yeah, why?”

“Fuck. Um…no reason. None at all.”

Nick rolled his eyes and hit send.


Meanwhile, Elisa was actually in a meeting about the shutdowns. It didn’t affect her job as far as if she lost it, but she was getting kids in droves, worrying about their parents losing theirs. She had 10 students a day asking for early release so they could get jobs to help their families.

Her phone buzzed, and she looked. It was a text from AJ? Nick had actually given her number to AJ just in case something bad happened, so she could know firsthand and not on the news. AJ, however, loved to text Elisa all the time with jokes, and most of them were not rated PG. While sometimes it got on her nerves, she was happy that AJ liked her enough to include her in on the jokes thing.
So, worrying that something went wrong, she opened it. What she saw almost made her gasp, and she shut her phone quickly. Opening it back up she sent a frantic text to AJ.

“I am going to fucking kill you when you guys get back!”

was his reply.

“Now, I know that it’s hard but we need to tell these kids that their first priority is school, and I’m sure most of their parents would agree,” the principal, Allen Drake, was saying when she began listening again.

“Actually sir, I had a couple parents asking me to encourage their children to drop out all together,” Elisa said.

Mr. Drake shook his head as the rest of the staff gasped in horror.

“That’s the last thing anyone should be telling these kids. So do what you feel is in THEIR best interests, and we’ll handle the rest. Meeting adjourned.”

Yolanda sighed and looked at Elisa.

“That sucks about the kids.”

“Yeah. I had to refrain from telling those parents off. I said I’d do what I thought was in their kids best interests and hung up.”

“So, any word from Nick?”

“I’m about to check. These time zones suck,” Elisa said.

She went to her office and checked her email. Sure enough, there was an email. She read it and smiled.

She wrote one back.

No, I didn’t lose my job, but these parents are making me want to quit. Can you believe that some are wanting their kids to quit school so they can work? I’m disgusted.
Other than that, I’m fine. I’m really bored at night with no one to talk to, and I don’t want to disturb the fellas’ girls.
I’m ready for ya’ll to get back, I still need to corrupt you with Gone with the Wind, which I am now rereading. Tell Brian that I still think that, while Scarlett tried to be a strong woman, she went about it the wrong way so I can’t see her a role model.
When are you guys coming back? I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss you, because I really do.
Please stay safe, and oh yeah, kick AJ in the nuts for me. He’ll know why.

Her inbox had a message five minutes later.

Oh man, what did he do? He was acting funny earlier, so consider it done.

Sorry about the parents, that really does suck.

I don’t know when, exactly, but I’ll be sure to postpone it, I don’t want to be corrupted! Lol and what? I’ll just have Brian read that line, I have no clue what the hell you’re talking about.

I miss you too, and if you get lonely, shoot me an email or a text, and I’ll answer it as soon as I can, I promise =)

I’ll be safe as long as you don’t worry too much.

Now get back to work


Elisa laughed and closed out her inbox. She called in the next student, happier and more willingly to help them.

Meanwhile, Nick was chasing AJ around the hotel conference room while the others watched.

“Tell me what you did, and I’ll try not to hurt em too bad.”

“Okay okay! I sent Elisa a text that was meant for Rochelle.”

Nick stopped, and his jaw dropped. Brian did a perfect facepalm, and Howie and Kevin’s faces were a combination of horror and amusement.

“Jay, no…”

“Yeah, sadly, your chick now knows what AJ Jr looks like.”

“You fucking dick…”

“Yeah, my dick is now on Elisa’s phone. I’m sorry man!”

Howie and Brian began to crack up as Kevin shook his head and tried not to smile. He eased up behind AJ and punched him in between his legs.

“There you go, Nick.”

“Thanks, Train.”

“No, don’t thank him! He just ruined the chances of Ava being a big sister, the dick!” AJ moaned from the floor.

“We have enough mini Backstreeters running aound, don’t you think?” Kevin asked. “Now get off the floor and let’s get to work.”

They got back to work on their show that night. Nick shot AJ a disgusted look as they did.


Kristin and Elisa stopped at Starbucks a few days later. Kristin wanted to get to know Elisa better.

“So Kevin told me about you dancing and singing. Where’d you learn to do all of that?”

“I didn’t. It’s just a hobby. My passion is in helping kids, that’s why I became a guidance counselor.”

“That is so great! You guys don’t get paid enough.”
Elisa grinned as she sipped her frappacino.

“I’m not all about the money. If I can help a kid, that’s reward on its own.”

“I wish more people thought like you. I hope Mason and the baby have a teacher like you,” Kristin said. She put down her cup. “So, Nick.”

Elisa blushed.

“I still don’t know what to do.”

“Yes you do. You two have known what you wanted since you met. I think you’re scared that you’ll hurt him or he’ll hurt you,” Kristin replied.

“I’m scared I’ll hurt him. His ex fiancee seemed to hurt him deeply when she left him. And with his sobriety, I don’t want to be the reason he ends it,” Elisa explained.

Kristin smiled.

“Sweetie, I think you have nothing to worry about. He’s smart, and if he was going to fall off the wagon, he’d have done it by now.”

“I’m not like the other girls he’s dated,” Elisa said.

“Of course you’re not, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s a really good thing. He needs a grounded girl like you,” Kristin said. “You know, Kevin and I broke up once, but I couldn’t stay away. He was my best friend, and I couldn’t be away from him.”

“It doesn’t help he wrote you a beautiful song,” Elisa said, grinning.

“Yeah that too. Nick and you, you’re cute together, you’re best friends, and he really cares about you. I’m not telling you what to choose. I’m just saying that he’s a good man.”

Elisa smiled.

“Thanks. I think I know what I’m choosing.”