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Chapter Two

Anna didn’t sleep for more than two hours that night. All she could think about was Kevin. She hoped that she’d get a chance to talk to him without the two younger Boys interrupting, or even get a chance to see him. After the show, he’d seemed so distant and kept spacing out. She’d noticed during the show too that his movements were mechanical and he wasn’t very into performing. Not like he used to be like in the shows she’d seen before. He seemed un-enthusiastic about life. But none-the-less, he’d given her his number. That had to count for something. Maybe he wanted to move on, maybe he just wanted a friend, but either way, she had a good feeling that she was about to become close with him in one way or another.

Stephanie woke up early to extend their stay in the hotel until the next morning. She knew that if they were with the Boys, then they wouldn’t be getting in until very late. She hoped that they’d get to see the show, but knew that if they didn’t, it wasn’t meant to happen.

At exactly eleven in the morning, a knock came to the door. Jaime rushed over to it, quickly running her fingers through her dark brown shoulder length hair, and opened it. A.J. stood there holding a bouquet of pink roses, a huge grin on his face.

“Told ya I was prompt.” He said.

Jaime laughed, “Most guys are late. I figured you’d be no different.”

A.J acted wounded from the comment, but quickly recovered. Jaime let him inside the room. Stephanie waved casually to him and Anna just smiled.

“Wait here. I’ll just be another five minutes or so.” Jaime told him.

“And you said that I would be late,” he joked, taking a seat in a chair placed in the corner of the room.

Stephanie snickered a little, “I know that you take longer than most women when it comes to getting ready. Hell, Anna only takes twenty-five

“Is Kevin going to be around?” Anna asked, ignoring the comment about her short time spent getting ready in the morning.

“I don’t know. You might want to call him. He’s still acting like a retard over Kristin. I don’t know how much company he would be.”

Anna nodded. She hoped that Stephanie didn’t end up going out with Nick. If she did, that would mean that she’d be left alone in the hotel watching old reruns of childish shows.

Just then, Stephanie’s cell phone rang. She dashed over to her purse and dug around in it, bringing up her neon green cell phone. She quickly and breathlessly brought it to her ear.

“Hello,” she said, and a bright smile formed on her face immediately after finding out who it was.

“Hey beautiful,” said the voice on the other end, “Remember me? Tall blonde guy from last night.”

“Of course I do,” she gushed, “And you’ve got blonde right.” She teased him good-naturedly.

“I’m naturally brunette,” he said, totally missing what Stephanie was really talking about.

“That went way over your head,” she said, her voice full of sarcasm, “Anyways, what’s up with you this morning?”

“Oh, not much. How bout you look out your window and find out for yourself.” Nick said, his voice full of secrecy.

“What are you up to?” Stephanie asked, making her way over to the window and peeking outside of the curtains, looking out the window and down five stories below her. She saw Nick standing there in disguise, holding a fist full of daisies. She smiled to herself, “So, I suppose you want me to come down there?”

“That would be the plan,” Nick laughed, “I want to get to know you. Kevin has nothing planned for the day, so me and Aje are taking advantage of it.”

“Can you hold on for ten minutes?” she asked, “I gotta jump in the shower really quick. You can wait in the lobby for me.”

“Do I have to?” Nick whined, “As soon as I am recognized, which could be any second here, I’ll be mobbed.”

“Then I suggest that you make sure nobody recognizes you,” Stephanie told him, “Or just be a big boy and deal with it if somebody does. I’ll be down in twenty minutes, okay Nicky.”

“I thought it was ten,” he protested.

“I lied. See ya soon,” she laughed, hanging up.

She smiled, placing her phone back into her purse, and looked up, seeing Anna looking at her, question all over her face.

“I’m going out with Nick,” she said, dashing into the bathroom before anybody else could claim it as theirs before her.

Anna sighed, “Guess it’s just me and a date with the Disney Channel today,” she said, flipping on the TV.

“Kevin might show up or call,” A.J. offered, hoping to encourage her, “He tends to sometime do things on the spur of the moment. It’s not often, but sometimes, he doesn’t have to be organized.”

Anna shrugged, “Maybe. If not, I’ll have fun here by myself.”

A.J. didn’t look convinced, giving her a look that said he didn’t believe her, “I’m nineteen. I can entertain myself for a day.” she kidded with a grin, “Ya’ll go have fun today.”

Jaime emerged from the bathroom hallway minutes later, looking behind her in confusion, shaking her head.

“Did I miss something, or is Steph just in a really big hurry to get ready for the day early for once? She pushed me out of there.”

“Nick is downstairs waiting for her,” Anna told her, “She’s going out with him I guess.”

“Ohhhh, well that explains a lot,” Jaime laughed, grabbing a jacket off the top of her backpack, “C’mon, lets get out of here.” She said to A.J, “If you need anything, Anna, call my cell.”

“I’ll be fine,” she told her friend, practically pushing them out the door, “Go have fun or else…”

Jaime’s eyes widened to Anna’s threat. She grabbed her purse and did a quick check to make sure she had everything that she might need. A.J. got up off of the chair and went toward the door, opening it for Jaime.

“Such a gentleman,” Jamie joked, then turned around, “Well, see ya later.” She said to Anna, “Tell Steph that I left. Bye!”

Her and A.J. slipped out the door, letting it close behind them. Anna sighed, flipping through the channels, knowing that nothing good would even be on that early into the afternoon. She wished that Kevin would call her, but knew that the chances were slim with every moment that passed. She obviously wasn’t worth his time. Anna wondered why he even gave her his number if he didn’t want to talk to her. Minutes later, Stephanie came out of the bathroom, pushing a new stud through her belly button. She looked around for a moment, confusion written all over her face. Anna could tell that she’d put on a little makeup and done something different with her hair. Definitely not like the Stephanie she’d known for so many years.

“Where’s Jamie?” she asked

“Her and A.J. left already,” she informed her, not even looking up from the cheesy talk show she’d settled on. She sprawled out on her stomach, laying her chin on a pillow, not fully paying attention to the TV, but pretending that she was.

Stephanie walked over to the window and glanced outside, seeing that Nick was gone. She knew that he had followed her orders and went into the lobby to wait. Quickly grabbing a few dollars out of her wallet, she stuffed it into the pocket of her skin tight, super low-rise jeans and headed toward the door.

“I’m gonna get outta here, kay,” she said, not really asking for permission, but rather telling her friend, “Can’t keep Nick waiting too long. He’s got the attention span of a gnat.”

Anna laughed a little, “Yeah. Can’t keep the boy waiting. God forbid.” She teased, mocking her friend who usually said the same exact thing to her and Jamie, because she normally wasn’t this eager to go out with a boy. But this wasn’t just any boy, so she decided that it would be her friends one and only exception for dating.

Stephanie looked at her friend funny before speaking, “If you decide to go anywhere, leave a note or something,” she called, and then she was gone, just as quickly as Jaime had left with A.J.

“Left out again,” Anna muttered, taking in the silence. She considered going down to the pool, but remembered that none of this had been in their agenda, and that she had no bathing suit with her. Plus she’d already showered and was clean for the day. She didn’t feel like getting another shower to wash away the feeling of chlorine and little kids pee that would reek all over her skin for the rest of the day if she didn’t. Getting up, Anna grabbed her room key off of the nightstand and walked out the door, deciding to go downstairs and have breakfast. It would at least keep her busy for fifteen or twenty minutes.

Making her way down the stairs to get exercise instead of using the elevator, she looked around until she could see the breakfast buffet. She finally found it in a small room outside the lobby. Going inside, she stopped. All that was left were a couple of bagels, one box of shredded wheat and coffee. She made a face and grabbed a bagel, slabbing it with a little bit of strawberry jelly and sitting down at one of the tables.

“This is what happens when you’re late,” she muttered, taking a small bit of the dried out bagel, forcing it to go down.

Anna could hear that somebody else had come in behind her. She thought about warning them of the quality of the food, but decided to just let them find out for themselves like she’d had to do keeping her back turned.

“You know, you really don’t have to eat that excuse for food,” a male voice said, coming up closely.

“Yes, I really do,” she remarked with a sigh, looking down at it. She’d long since lost her appetite due to it, “My friends took the car for the day, and I have no way to get to any place decent. It’s either this, or starve and get up earlier tomorrow morning, if we stay later than today.”

“No, you really don’t,” the voice argued again, and she could tell that he was smiling by his friendly tone, “I’ll take you somewhere good.”

“I don’t even know you,” Anna said, standing up, and turning around to find herself face to face with the one and only Kevin Richardson, “Oh, hi.” She shyly said, blushing a little, “I didn’t recognize your voice. How did you find me? I mean…why are you
hear.” She stuttered.

“Easy,” he remarked, “I’m here to see you, of course. I called A.J. and asked him what hotel you were staying at. He told me, and gave me directions, and I came as fast as I could. I went up to your room at first, because he told me that too, but I guess I just missed you”

“I guess,” she laughed, “I took the stairs.”

“I took the elevator,” he said, “Less chance of being mobbed by fans hiding in the stairwells.” He said, half-way joking.

Anna grinned at him, “I got bored. Lame place to be for entertainment, huh?” she asked, picking up the remainder of the three fourths bagel and tossing it into a garbage can close by, “That’s enough of that. I don’t want to get food poisoning from it. Chances are, I would.”

“Come with me. My limo is waiting outside. I’ll take you somewhere that someone as special as you deserves.”

Anna blushed a little, “I um…I’m fine.” She told him, “I can just stop by the grocery store across the street and pick something up for dinner later on.”

“Then will you at least come with me for the day?” he asked, his eyes almost pleading, “You’ll have a good time. I’ll make sure of it.”

Anna thought for a moment. She really did want to go out with him. Hadn’t it been what she’d been thinking about for the past day? But now that the opportunity had come up, she was nervous. She knew though that she had to answer fast, so he could go about his day no matter what.

“I’d love to,” she told him, “Let me go and get my purse and leave Steph a note telling her that I left.”

Kevin looked at her strangely, raising an eyebrow and Anna couldn’t help but laugh at the expression on his handsome face. God he’s
gorgeous she thought to herself, knowing such thoughts were sinful when he was going through such a hard time. But he was acting normal today.

“Stephanie is kind of the protective mother of me and Jaime. She’d worry if I was gone when she got back and there was no trace of me.”

They had since left the small excuse of a cafeteria and were slowly making their way to the elevator.

“Ohhh,” Kevin said, “That explains a lot. I guess I’m kind of the father of the Boys when we’re on the road. But lately, Brian has taken over the role. I haven’t been much help to anyone lately.”

“I’m really sorry about your wi…well, you know,” she said, putting her hand on his shoulder, not wanting to say the words out loud and upset him.

Kevin winced a little remembering that he would be a divorced man in less than two weeks, but quickly recovered, “Some days I’m okay, others, like last night, I’m a mess.” He explained to her, “I never know what kind of day its going to be, but one little thing can change a good day. Like today, so far, I’m good. I’m with a beautiful, sweet girl who I’m going out with. But lets say that I pass a florist and see her favorite flower, all the memories come back and it makes me like I was last night. I don’t even realize what I do. The guys’ have video taped me during one of my spells. It’s not pretty.”

He chuckled, and Anna was happy that he seemed to be in higher spirits. She hoped that nothing would bring him down on their day out.

“I was worried yesterday when I met you and saw you like that. When the guys told me what was wrong, I was taken aback. For the record though, you didn’t deserve what she did to you.” Anna offered, hoping to make him feel better.

Kevin shrugged, “Well, I obviously wasn’t doing something right, or else she wouldn’t have done it.”

Anna thought for a moment. He made a clear point. People didn’t cheat without reason for doing so. Unless that person was just twisted and wanted all that they could get no matter what.

“Maybe it was because you’re never home because of touring and all,” Anna said aloud.

Kevin gave her another strange look, only this time, he looked pained and as if he were suffering.

“Not that that should make any difference,” she quickly covered, “I mean…okay, I’m just going to shut up now. Here’s my room.” She said, pulling her key out of her back jeans pocket and slipping it into the door’s key reader. The lights flashed and she opened the door, grabbing her purse off of the chair by the door and letting it close again.

“Okay, let’s go,” she said, smiling up at him with fake brightness, knowing that she’d already screwed up and offended him.

She started to walk ahead of him, leading the way down the hall and back to the elevator. She always hated elevators but wasn’t going to admit it to Kevin. It seemed childish and stupid.

“You don’t have to shut up,” he said, “I deserved it. But she knew about my touring when we started our relationship. If it got to be too much for her to handle, she should’ve come to be about it.”

Anna was uncomfortable, not knowing what to say to him, terrified of making things worse than they already were.

“You know what,” she said, “Lets forget this and talk about something happy. We are, after all, going to have fun today.”

The two approached the limo and the driver was already there, holding the door open for them. Anna thanked him and crawled into the back, her eyes widening at the sight of it. The place was about as big as her hotel room. Kevin stepped in ducking so he wouldn’t hit his head and sat down beside her. Anna continued to look around, seeing that there was a Champaign bottle in the center inside a crystal bucket of ice. She saw that there were pink carnations all over the back in classy décor and for the first time, she noticed the soft, sweet harmony of music.

“You think of everything, don’t you, Mr. Romantic.” She said softly.

“I tried. I wanted it to be special just for you,” he said, then looked worried, his normally confidence personality slipping, “You like it, don’t you? Is it too much? If it is, I can quickly change it.”

Anna laughed, “It’s all perfect, Kevin.” She said, “I love it. Thank you.”

She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek, something she normally wouldn’t do on a first date, especially someone she’d just met. Kevin could feel his cheeks starting to flush a little, his body tingling.

“Okay,” he said, “I’m happy you like it. Now lets get going. I’ve got a day full of surprises and events planned out for you.”

He tapped on the window separating the driver from them and it opened. He leaned up and whispered something to the driver and they were off. Anna smiled to herself, curiosity getting the best of her of just what Kevin had in store for the day.