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Chapter Three

Nick took Stephanie out to an amusement park that day that was in the general area. He knew that they would be pressing time, but wanted to take her out for a day full of adventure and thrills. Plus he figured since A.J. and Kevin were out as well, he wouldn’t have to hurry as much as normal. He still couldn’t believe that he was out with such an amazing girl. He’d found that they had a lot in common. He was glad that he had jumped at the chance to get her number before Kevin had gotten off the phone with Anna. He just hoped that Kevin would have more of a personality so he didn’t scare the girl away. He seemed to have an interest in her and him and the other three guys felt he needed a female to keep his mind off of Kristin. Especially until the divorce was final and a little while afterwards. It was all that he thought about and it was affecting his looks, personality and stage performance.

“Nicky,” Stephanie yelled, interrupting his thoughts, “Lets go on that!” she exclaimed, pointing straight ahead of them.

Nick looked and saw a coaster that was higher than his eyes could see. He looked up and saw that it disappeared well into the clouds. His eyes widened and his mouth dropped. He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping that when he opened them, the height would have been nothing other than an illusion. He opened his eyes again and took a second glance. No such luck.

“Sure…wha…what ever you want,” he stuttered, trying not to sound like he was too afraid of the beast of a track that was ahead of him. He didn’t want her thinking that he was some sort of pussy. He loved roller coasters, just not ones that were quite so large and high off of the ground.

Stephanie started to run toward the line with Nick close behind her. She quickly dodged a bunch of people, slipping in between the ropes and in position behind the last person before her. Nick tried her motives, but didn’t quite make it because of his height and clumsiness. He gave up, walking around the gate and through the lines, cutting in front of a few people to get back to Stephanie.

“Hey,” someone yelled, “In the back, ass hole.”

“Yeah,” someone else joined in, “We were here first.”

Nick started to protest, but Stephanie was too quick to let him get a word in for himself.

“It’s okay. He’s with me,” she called, shooting the man a dirty glare. He stepped aside, as did everyone else that was ahead of Nick, letting him reunite with who he’d come with.

“This is why you should keep up,” Stephanie said with a smirk, “We wouldn’t have to deal with these kinds of things if you did.”

“Very funny,” Nick said, shaking his head, quickly catching on to the fact that Stephanie was definitely a very sarcastic person. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out.

The line inched forward slowly through the winding long maze of rope leading up to the coaster. Nick could tell that Stephanie was anticipating getting on the ride but he wasn’t. He didn’t know how long they’d been in line, but before he knew it, they were being strapped into the ride.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” a voice came on over the intercom, “Please make sure your safety belts are fastened tightly. Please keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Leave all valuables in the control room to be picked up afterwards. We are not responsible for lost items. Now sit back and experience the most terrifying thrill of your lives.”

Nick gulped as the voice faded away. Did she just say the most terrifying thrill? It was just a figure of speech right? Or was she serious. He hoped not, but the knot in his stomach told him that he knew that it was for real. He squeezed his eyes shut, wishing that this would just be over with. He felt a rather violent jolt as the ride started to move forward, and less than a second later, it was off, going at over one hundred miles per hour, up the enormous first hill and lurching over it. He felt as if it could fly right off of the steel track. The coaster winded through many loops and twists, making Nick lose track of how many he’d tried counting to calm himself. Now his stomach was in turmoil, and he hoped that he didn’t throw up right then and there. The car continued to accelerate forward on the winding track and Nick wondered if it would ever end. He felt as if he’d been on it for hours instead of a few short minutes. When the ride halted to a stop, Nick was almost afraid to open his eyes, for fear that it might take off again. But he knew that it was over when he felt the seatbelt loosening and the harness lifting up. He opened his eyes and quickly scrambled off of the ride, taking the steps two at a time to the bottom, breathing a sigh of relief when his feet touched the safety of the pavement. Stephanie followed closely behind him, a huge grin plastered to her pretty face.

“That was so much fun,” she exclaimed, “Let’s go again.”

Nick drew back, searching for an excuse to not go on the ride again. After that experience, he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to stand the merry go round in Kiddie Land without freaking out. But he would never admit that to Stephanie. Not if he wanted a shot at dating her long term…or even short term. Admitting that he was more afraid than she, a girl, was would not only bruise his fragile male ego, but also damage her respect toward him, if she even had any to begin with.

“Um, do you really want to wait in that two hour long line again?” he asked, “We could do so much more if we didn’t.”

Stephanie looked thoughtful for a moment, considering his point. She glanced down at her watch. They would have to leave in three hours to get Nick back to the hotel to meet with the other two Boys so that they could get to their show on time. If they spent the majority of the time in a line, they would have no time for anything else.

“You’re right,” she said, “Lets go find something else to do until we have to get you to the show.”

Nick breathed a sigh of relief, repositioning his red haired wig, hat and sunglasses that he’d worn to disguise himself. Stephanie started to walk away, a knowing smile on her lips.

“What’s so funny?” Nick asked, curious to what was making her begin to laugh, shaking her head in amusement.

“I know you were afraid,” she told him.

Nick started to protest, “No, I wasn’t. I…we don’t have much time left together. Let’s make the most of it.”

“Then why are you whiter than my normal shade of pasty white, oh smart one?” she asked in her sarcastic voice, reaching out, putting her arm next to his comparing their skin tones.

Nick looked down and saw that she was right. He was almost a shade lighter than she was. A blush arose on his cheeks, making them a rosy pink.

“Yep, you were afraid,” she said matter-o-factly.

Nick didn’t even try to argue this time. There was no use even trying to deny what she’d already figured out. Nothing got past the girl, but for some reason, it made him all the more attracted to her.
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“Kevin,” Anna repeated for the fourth time, waving her hand in front of his face, “KEVIN.”

Still getting no response from him, she slumped back in her seat and crossed her arms, yawning. It wasn’t that she was bored, it was just that she’d hoped to have a fun filled day with him, and he’d been spacing out the entire time. She was lucky to get five minutes conversation in with him without some interruption. Nathan, the waiter at the fancy, expensive restaurant he’d taken her to came up to their table, distracting her from her thoughts.

“Would you like some more water?” he asked her, smiling flirtatiously.

“Um, yes, please,” Anna replied, forcing herself to smile back.

“How about your friend?” he asked, nodding toward Kevin who was staring blankly at the wall, “Or would he even notice?”

Anna laughed, realizing that he was right. Kevin wouldn’t notice. He hadn’t noticed anything that had gone on all day, including the couple on the sidewalk completely naked. She’d pointed them out to him, laughing out loud, but he continued to stare straight ahead, a dumb expression on his face.

“He’ll notice,” Anna lied, defending the man, although she had no clue why she was doing so.

Nathan shrugged and poured some water into Kevin’s glass. Anna sighed, wishing that her date would snap out of it already. If this was what he was like around the group, then it was no wonder they all wanted to kill him by now. Anna looked up again and saw that the waiter was still standing above her.

“I know this is bold, considering you are on a date, but you don’t seem to be having a good time” he said, “So I’m going to give you my number.”

The waiter pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and scrawled his name and number out on it, and handed it to her with a smile.

“If you ever want to go out, give me a call.”

“I will,” she told him softly, squeezing the paper tightly in her palm.

Nathan placed their bill on the table and walked away. Anna tried to awake Kevin from his trance but still had no luck. She sighed and opened her purse, leaving a fifty and a twenty on the table, figuring the waiter could keep the remainder. All she wanted to do was get out of the restaurant and fast. It was humiliating having her date sitting there with glazed eyes looking like he was mentally handicapped, even more so with his disguise. All of a sudden, Kevin shook his head and looked around at his surroundings confused. He then looked to Anna with question in his eyes.

“I did it again, didn’t I?” he asked.

Anna nodded, not wanting to look at him. She would have had more fun in the hotel room with her childish shows.

“I’m sorry,” Kevin said softy. Anna looked up and saw that his eyes were full of apology, letting her know that he was sincere.

“Let’s just get out of here,” Anna said, standing up.

Kevin stood up behind her and together they walked out of the restaurant. Once outside, Anna remembered the waiter’s number that was still nestled into her hand. Guilt overcame her for even thinking of dating another guy when she was on a date with someone else. She opened her hand, letting it fall onto the sidewalk as she continued to walk away toward Kevin’s limo. It was then that he once again got the dazed look in his eyes, and froze, standing still. Anna rolled her eyes and sighed. Looking behind her, she saw the paper beginning to blow away from the wind. She quickly ran back and retrieved it, putting it safely into her pocket before running back to Kevin. The limo pulled up right next to them and the driver got out and opened the door for them. Anna got behind Kevin and tried to push him into the open door with all her strength. He wouldn’t budge and Anna realized that she wasn’t strong enough to push the man that was just about twice her size.

“Could you maybe give me a hand?” she asked Kevin’s driver.

“Sure,” he replied with a smile, as if he were all too used to this kind of thing happening lately.

With the help of the driver, whom Anna had gotten a glance at his nametag and saw that he was called Lance, the two of them pushed Kevin into the spacious back area. Anna got in behind him and let the driver shut the door behind them. She stared out the window, understanding why Kevin was acting the way that he was, but wondering why she wasn’t good enough to give him a good time and let him forget about his soon to be ex wife for just one day. Anna figured that after that day, she would never see Kevin again. She would definitely call the waiter. He only lived three hours away. They could definitely make something work or try to at least. All it would take was a phone call and a little plan making. Suddenly, Anna was excited about this. Maybe her date with Kevin hadn’t gone over well, but there were always other fish in the sea and she had a feeling that she had already caught one. Now all she had to do was reel him in.
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Jaime smiled as she took a sip of her cappuccino as A.J. finished telling her a story about how one of their shows went completely wrong. Brian had forgotten his entire solo in a song, and Howie had made up words for it. The fans had looked at them in total confusion. Nick had tripped and fallen into the drums, knocking them over and Kevin had swallowed wrong, chocking on his water right when he was supposed to sing, making somebody else sing his part for him.

“So I guess even you guys have bad days,” Jaime said with a laugh. She had always been under the impression that the Boys were absolutely perfect and never made mistakes…ever.

A.J. nodded and pulled out a menu off of the table next to them, looking it over for what they could get for dessert. They had decided to go to a little coffee shop there in town. They thought that it would be fun and relaxing giving them a chance to talk and get to know each other. A.J. had an idea, but he would have to talk it over with Kevin when they all met again in a few hours. The way he was acting, A.J. was almost sure that he wouldn’t have a problem with it.

“Yeah, we have our days,” A.J. said aloud, “We’ve all thrown up at least once on stage because we’ve insisted on performing while we were sick and really had no business being out on stage. That’s always embarrassing but we hate disappointing the fans, so we suck it up and hope we can keep everything inside.”

Jaime giggled, not even beginning to picture the sexy man barfing all over the stage in front of hundreds of thousands of people. A waitress came up to the table and A.J. ordered a slice of Mocha Chocolate Cheesecake.

“I’m really glad that we got to see each other today,” Jaime said, “It was awesome meeting you guys last night, but I was hoping that I would get to know you better somehow.”

“I had had my eye on you the whole night last night,” A.J. admitted, “Kevin getting the balls to give Anna his number inspired me to ask you out if Anna actually called. I’m glad that she did.”

Jaime smiled. Even if she never saw or spoke to her idol again after that day, she would still have a lifetime of memories of the special time that they’d had. Nothing could take it away from her. But she was going to be sure to ask if they could keep in touch. It was one thing she wasn’t going to be shy about.

“I still kind of feel bad for leaving Anna at the hotel alone,” Jaime said, “I hope she found something fun to do.”

I didn’t want to say anything there,” A.J. said, “But Kevin mentioned maybe going to see her. I didn’t want to get Anna’s hopes up though in case he didn’t show. Chances are, he did. They’re probably out having a good time, or at least on the phone together. I know he really likes Anna, but he’s also not nearly over Kristin yet. Not even close, to be honest. He’s just confused right now.”

“So, what’s the whole deal with Kevin anyway?” Jaime asked, “I always thought that he would be mature and strict. From what I saw last night, he was, um…not at all what I’d thought he would be like.”

A.J. chuckled to himself trying to find the most delicate words to explain what Kevin was going through.

“Well, as you found out last night,” A.J. began, “He found out that his wife had been cheating on him. He really loved that woman, although I personally can’t see why. She sure didn’t have much. Anyways, it’s been messing him up emotionally ever since and it will until he feels he can move on. The mere reminder of her sends him into some sort of…freakish trance.”

“Oh, wow,” Jaime whispered, astounded at the more in depth information she’d been told, “I never thought that a guy like Kevin would get screwed up over a girl. I mean, you all seem nice and all, you always had, but Kevin just seemed like he wouldn’t let anything affect him no matter how bad it was or is.”

Jaime knew that she was rambling, but she didn’t want A.J. get the impression that she thought that they were the typical, rich snobby celebrities. She had always thought from interviews and magazine articles that they seemed to be really nice and down to earth. Now she was finding out that she was right.

“Oh yeah,” A.J. replied seriously, “Kevin may seem a little gruff sometimes, but he means well. Deep down, he’s like a big soft teddy bear. Hell, Nick and I have been pretty fucked up over chicks too.”

Jaime knew this from information that Stephanie had fed them throughout the years. She had always wondered though if they just acted upset to look good publicly or if they really had been upset over being dumped. She had never really thought that guys would be upset over such a thing.

“Just because we’re guys doesn’t mean we don’t have emotions too,” A.J. explained, reading her mind.

Jaime blushed, trying to cover for herself, “No, that’s…it’s not what I meant.” She stuttered, almost sure that A.J. would get upset with her stereotyping and leave without another word.

A.J. reached over and put a hand on top of hers and smiled at her, “No need to apologize,” he said, “Don’t worry bout it. It’s a common misconception, especially when people think that you can get another somebody without a problem. That’s not always true. Sometimes we just don’t want anybody.”

Jaime sighed, happy that she hadn’t pissed him off, “I’m really sorry,” she apologized, “Spend years with Steph and her conceptions of guys will rub off on you without you realizing it.”

A.J. laughed, “She’d better be good to Nick. He’s a big softy and really sensitive. After what that bitch Willa did to him, if she has that attitude, he’ll think that she just doesn’t like him.”

“Oh, believe me, “Jaime said, “She likes him…a lot.” If only Jaime could tell him just how true that was.
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