"How can I not be?"
"Because I'm with you."
I exhale. As comforting as he means it to be, being with Nick while telling Brian, 'hey how's the scar running down your chest? By the way, ya knocked me up!' scares the shit out of me.
"Is he moving again?"
I shift in my seat. "A little."
Nick takes his eyes off the road for a second and I squirm again. A little movement is an understatement. I feel like a soccer match is going on between a hoard of butterflies. I don't know if it's all the baby. I don't remember Nick being this bad of a driver. I keep hitting an invisible passenger side brake.
"I can't wait til he kicks. We need to find you a new hoo-ha baby doctor. That guy we saw was an ass."
"I don't think he particularly thought I was awesome considering I couldn't give any paternal history or the father's name. He saw 'whore' stamped across my forehead.
"I could have given most of Brian's information. I know his height and weight and pants size. Oh and the fact his heart sucked but now doesn't."
"And how's pant size helpful?"
Nick narrowly avoids a cab. I think I pee myself a little.
"I dunno. I just know it."
I run my hand over my belly. I have seen a lot of pregnant women, but I don't remember seeing women four months along as gigantic as me. I am either going to birth a whale or I need to lay off the fast food.
"He sounded totally happy when I told him I was gonna visit. Kevin came last week and AJ and Denise came. Howie talked to him on the phone for like three hours. He's surrounded by old people. He'll be happy to see you too. Old ladies keep hitting on him."
I lick my lips. Nervous...nervous doesn't define it. "What about Leighanne?"
"She's at some modeling audition thing for a few days. That's why this is the best time to tell him. The first time Leighanne was around and what a pain in the ass that was. Southern girls aren't ladylike all the time. She about threw down."
I grimace. "Sorry I'm going to miss that one."
Nick laughs and I try to calm my nerves. Brian's tucked away at a swank rehabilitation center in upstate New York. When I think of New York, I think city. This is serene.
This is almost like being back in the Midwest.
Thirty minutes later, Nick rolls to a stop outside of a locked gate. The sight of the gate brings back a memory I can't quite grasp...
"Nick Carter. Here to see Brian Littrell."
The voice doesn't come back on the intercom, but the gates slowly swing open. My memory disappears just as fast as it came.
"This is pretty nice. I almost want to go get an organ ripped out to chill out here for awhile."
He parks under a big dripping tree that will definitely pile a whole bunch of crappy brown whirls gigs on top by the time we come back out. I get out and stretch my legs. I am instantly thankful for the lack of humidity.
But then I spot him.
How I see him through a fence and halfway through the garden, I don't know. I make out the dark blonde hair and the big tennis shoes and I just know. Before Nick can head to the front door, I tug him the opposite way.
"The gates locked from the inside," Nick says. He hops it easily. I start to lift a leg and he about has a heart attack.
"There's a latch! Chill!"
Brian's voice carries. Nick lifts the latch. I try to position myself so Nick is blocking me from sight.
That plan lasts less than a minute.
"Hey Rok," Nick says, turning around.
Brian looks thin. Too thin. Too pale. Too tired. Too everything. He wheels up faster than I expect and I swear my eyes lock on his, unwilling to move. The looks pass fast.
"How are you feeling?"
Brian doesn't answer. He is staring at the orb expanding the front of my shirt outward. Nick looks at me.
"Do you remember Courtney?" Nick asks in the same tone someone would use if asking a child if they remembered their mailman from three moves ago.
"Orlando Courtney," Brian says thickly.
A horrible thought occurs to me. I am going to give him a heart attack. I grab the back of Nick's shirt. I have to stop him. We can tell Brian I drank bad water and have worms attacking me from the inside out. Anything but--
"She has something to tell you," Nick continues.
"Orlando Courtney is pregnant," Brian says dumbly. There's no other way to describe the sentence. "Like pregnant pregnant."
"Like February in Orlando pregnant," Nick unhelpfully adds.
They both look at me. I see an old lady practicing walking across the yard. She holds her arms out, extended in both directions to keep her balance.
I feel like I need to do the same. Or talk.
"Hi Brian," my voice cracks. "This is...awkward. I wanted to see how you were doing and uhm
..uhm...just let you know that...uhm...it's just something you needed to know but..."
"You're having Nick's baby?"
Nick looks like he's about to say yes. He just see how erratic my pupils are moving. I realize instead of killing Brian, I'm just killing myself. Any second I will self combust and no Backstreet Boy will have to worry about me or a baby or anything...
"It's yours," I say in one big breath.
Brian's face fills with the most color I've seen since I spotted him. He looks at Nick, then me, then Nick. Slowly, he grins.
"This...this is awesome."