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Two days went by and business was back to usual. Back at rehearsals for yet another gig that Lou had planned without even letting them know. That had to be one of the hardest parts about being in the band. The fact that the only one who ever seemed to know what was going on with the Backstreet Boys was Denise and that’s only because she would constantly make sure to ask.

They were driven to a nine o’clock rehearsal at the dance studio where they did the same routine over and over again until they were ready to collapse. Kevin found himself looking over at all of the kids to make sure they wouldn’t fall right over. Brian was panting and sweaty. AJ looked tired as did Howie but Nick looked absolutely ready to drop.

He demanded they take a few minutes break in which time he made sure they all drank plenty of water and ate some fruit which of course Nick protested, wanting to instead visit the vending machines and have a Coke and a package of M&Ms.

Kevin said no and Nick didn’t pursue his quest for munchies. That showed just how tired he was. As they were told there ten minutes were up, he realized how much the other guys in the group had come to depend on him as their leader, what scared him a little was the fact that he was also getting used to the idea.

Standing up to Johnny almost became a daily ritual, whether it was about how many hours they practiced, or lack of sleep and alone time, he made sure to voice not only his concerns but the concerns of his band mates as well. The role seemed to fit and after a few small fights, even Johnny got used to the idea.

They had fallen into their routine, the same one they would use for years and years.

That night after their dance rehearsal, AJ invited himself over to the apartment for the night since he hardly had time to talk to any of them since before Christmas. Yes even though they spent all day together, they seldom had time to do anything more than dance and sing.

So as they walked into the apartment, they were all exhausted and a little smelly. Howie carried a pizza box courtesy of Lou. “You guys did well, so buy a pizza and some soda for dinner on me!” He said extending a $20 out to the Latino who took it and smiled.

Of course as they gathered into the van, which Kevin had to drive, they grumbled and cursed under their breath. Brian decided to maybe design a tee shirt that said I practice for 40 gazillion hours a day and all I got to show for it was this lousy ass pizza!

“I can’t believe you Nickolas!” Kevin growled as he turned on the light and threw his keys onto the table.

“Kev, it’s not a big deal!”

“Not a big deal? I could have gotten arrested Howie! I mean seriously Nick, I pulled over because I thought those kids were taunting you!”

“Well they were…technically.” Brian said trying to hide his smile, which wasn’t working, further enraging Kevin.

“No Brian! See technically Nick was the one who was taunting them! He just neglected to say anything!”

“They were pissing me off!”

“How? How on earth would people in another car manage to piss you off?”

“I don’t like them!”

“Do you even know them?”

“Yes, I have met them once and they shoved me when I was walking down the street one day.”

“They did?” He asked eyebrow raised in disbelief.

“Yes they did and they are bigger than me! They are practically as old as you are!”

“So do you think it was a GOOD idea to start shit with them today? I mean they could have killed you Nick!”

“Well they didn’t though.”

“Yeah because I stopped them! I thought oh nice to pick on a child! I thought they were provoking you. I didn’t see you sticking your middle finger up at them!”

“I’m not a child.”

At this point Howie leaned over and whispered into Brian’s ear, “Isn’t it nice to see things back to normal?” To which Brian nodded and laughed.

“Well when you pick a fight with a damn 20 year old, that’s something a child would do.”

“God I said I was sorry!”

“No actually you didn’t.”

“Okay then I’m sorry. You happy?”

“Yes, now go wash your hands for dinner!”

“I can’t believe you are telling me to wash my hands as if I was a …”


“You suck!”

“You suck more! Now go before I invite them over to kick your butt!”

Of course Nick entered the bathroom and slammed the door. “That kid….I swear to God!” He said before turning his attention to AJ and Brian, “And the two of you should have known better! You saw exactly what he was doing!”

“I knew we were going to get blamed!”

“Yup I was just wondering when that was going to happen. I guessed ten was I right AJ?”

“Actually it’s more like seven so I guess I win…”

“Oh yes you both are freaking hilarious! Next time I’ll step back and let YOU defend him then.”

“Oh come on Kevin…admit it. You enjoyed playing hero, and you kind of sounded like a psycho! You scared them away. That was really cool.”

“The light turned green Brian, that’s why they left.”

“Okay well you have your version of what happened and I have mine. Mine will be much more entertaining. Fists will be involved.”

“Fabulous.” Kevin said rolling his eyes and looking over at Howie who seemed to have a why am I here with all of these wackos look on his face.

Probably to change the subject he turned to AJ, “So Jay… how was your Christmas?”

AJ sat down and grabbed a piece of pizza out of the box, “It was awesome! I got hooked up with lot’s of stuff this year. Not sure why, but hey I’m not complaining.”

“Oh yeah? What did you get?” Brian asked opening his coke and pouring it into a cup.

“I got a TV, a few video games, about ten videos, some music, oh a CD player…”

“Oh yeah? Well you know what I got?”

“What did you get Bri?”

“I got a box! And not only did I get a box but I got an EMPTY box! So try topping that! HA!” He nodded and took a bite out of his slice.

“You’re never going to stop with the box thing are you smart ass?”

“You know Kevin I have to tell you that my butt is confused. Yes you are totally confusing my butt. One minute you call him smart, then dumb, sometimes lazy, sometimes wise. He doesn’t know what to do about it!”

“Is that right?”

“Yes he told me if you keep it up he’ll end up in therapy!”

“How often do you talk to your ass Brian?” AJ had to ask, playing along.

“We talk often…don’t worry he never says anything bad about you.”

“Well that’s good.”

“Brian this is the dumbest conversation I think I have ever heard.”

“Well obviously you have never listened in on one of Brian and Nick’s farting rules conversations.” Howie said shaking his head at even saying the word fart.

“Nope and I’m glad I have missed those!”

“I never talk to my wiener though so… no worries” AJ spit his soda out at that remark and of course it landed on Kevin. All of them burst into laughter, except for Kev, who calmly got up and grabbed a paper towel to dry himself off.

Nick finally came out of the bathroom and sat at the table, the laughter immediately dying down when he took a seat.

“My hands are all clean Kevin! You happy?”

“Positively giddy yes!”

“Would you like to smell them to make sure I’m not lying to you?”

“Nick I don’t want to smell your hands so NEVER ask me that again please.” Once again everyone cracked up.

“Why was everyone laughing before?”

“Brian was talking about his ass and what it tells him.”

“Oh.” He said as he grabbed a piece of pizza, folded it and stuck it in his mouth.

“He said oh like this is a conversation that you have had before.” Kevin said sounding oddly disturbed but yet not totally surprised.

“My ass is popular. He’s very friendly.”

“Enough Ass talk!” That even made Howie crack up.

The rest of their dinner was spent in silence. Once again Kevin took the time to look at them all. Even though most were smiling they all had one common look and that was exhausted.

“You guys holding up okay?”

“Yeah why do you ask?” Brian said curiously as he pushed his plate away and placed his feet on the table only to be kicked back down by his cousin.

“You all look tired.”

“We had a long day.”

“You think you can handle all the long days?”

“Kevin, this is what we chose to do so I guess so yes.”

There was no arguing with his cousin over that because he was right. But still…

“Maybe you guys should hit the hay early you know? We have another long day ahead of us tomorrow.”

He looked over at Nick who was actually falling asleep right at the table. He had his head tilted to the side and drool coming out of his mouth with the faintest sound of snores coming with each breath.

“Seems like little fart boy over here is already sleeping.”

“Cute nickname I like that AJ.”

“Thanks Rok.”

As they all stood up Kevin walked over to his cousin, “Hey did Nick ever tell you what his mom said to him?”

Brian became a little more serious as he yawned and stretched his arms over his head, “Not really, he just said that she sounded annoyed and bothered by the call.”

“That sucks.”

“He asked her when she was coming to get him and she said she wasn’t sure.”

“Nice.” Kevin shook his head in disgust. Knowing he was being taken advantage of by that woman. Not even bothering to call and ask him if it was okay if Nick stayed a little longer. When they had talked, she made it seem like she would be home a few days after Christmas. At least that’s what she had promised her son before abandoning him on their doorstep.

“Wake up Nicky.” Howie said gently tapping the young blonde awake which ended the conversation between the cousins.

“I’m not tired.”

“You were sleeping.”

“Was not.”

“God Nick do you have to argue about everything? Just go to bed.” Kevin said grabbing Nick’s arm and helping him up off the chair.

“My dad told me I should be a lawyer because I can argue my way out of anything.”

“Well I can too so better go to bed lil’ man because I’m not dealing with a moody you in the morning.”

“I’m not moody Kevin.” He said before pausing to yawn and rub at his sleepy eyes.

“Uh huh, now go to sleep.”

“Do I have to go wash my hands again?”

“Stop rolling your eyes at me and no but hey, brushing your teeth would be swell!”

“Who says swell?”

“I do now go!”

“Ugh! Stop bossing me around.”

“You know this is so much more entertaining then being at home and watching TV.”

Brian laughed at AJ and pat his head, “I know…I live with this. Cool huh?”

“No not really.”

“Well stop making me boss you around.”

“How by punching you’re big ugly face in?”

“Whoa didn’t see that one coming...” AJ whispered, “I’ll give you ten bucks if he whaps Kevin in the head.”

“Okay you’re on.” Brian and AJ shook hands and watched the argument.

“Punching my big ugly face? And what step ladder do you plan on using to get up here squirt?”

“Yeah you’re right. You aren’t worth me hurting my hand.”

“Yup guess it’s a good thing I got out of that one huh?”

“Yes you’re lucky Kevin.” Nick smiled and Kevin shook his head.

“Pay up bone!”

“No fair…” Brian held out his hand.

“Fine I’ll owe you!”

Once Nick walked away Kevin turned to the other two boys once again. “Betting now Brian? Wow you continue to amaze me.”

“Before you say anything else…should I prepare my butt for an insult?”

Kevin laughed, “You really are not right in the head!”

“I know I hear it runs in my family.”

“Go to bed boneheads.”

“Night Kev.”

Howie walked over to Kevin once the boys were all gone, “Kids.” He said before walking into the bedroom and closing the door.

Kevin just stood there shaking his head but all the while wearing a smile on his face. “Kids.” He said to himself before turning out the light and heading to bed.

Wow it's been almost 2 months since I updated this one. Sorry! I have a brand new story coming on Saturday! :)
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