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Author's Chapter Notes:

Torie convinces Alyssa that she is perfect for her friend Nick.

Chapter 2- Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a Match

 The next few weeks for Alyssa flew by in a blur as she got settled into a steady routine at her internship. She was having the time of her life so far and loving every minute of the experience. Luckily she hit it off well with her other roommates besides Torie although she felt a much stronger bond of friendship with her. The two other girls Darlene and Kerri were also very nice which Alyssa was relieved to find. Even though the four of them were rarely all home at the same time between their differing work schedules she was thankful not to have any unnecessary drama.

 Alyssa was especially loving her new job. She'd gone to the entertainment auditions not expecting much, especially after what Torie had told her about how fierce the competition was. Much to her surprise she'd been cast to play the character of Belle around the Magic Kingdom. She wouldn't be performing in any shows or anything like that, but got to be a part of some of Princess character meals at Cinderella's castle and do some meet and greets around the park. At first the job sounded extremely easy, but Alyssa quickly realized that it was anything but. Not only did she have to deal with pushy parents demanding she take pictures with their children, but being outside for a great deal of the day in full stage makeup and a wig in the unpredictable Florida weather could be pretty brutal. Still though it made her day sometimes to see a little girl's face break out into delight after meeting her as if she was a famous celebrity or something. She loved interacting with the children so much that she actually began to consider perhaps focusing her college studies on something involving them, such as teaching.

 Outside of the long 40 plus hour work weeks she was putting in she kept herself pretty busy socially. There were all sorts of parties and social gatherings for the College Program interns at her apartment complex and throughout the rest of the parks. She was making a lot of new friends, but so far the closest one had been Torie. Outside of work they were inseparable and quickly discovered that they had loads in common, mostly being their dorky sense of humors.

 It had been about a month now is Alyssa had first arrived in Florida and she had just returned back to her apartment from a particularly tiring twelve hour shift. After being on her feet all day long she just wanted to kick back and relax on her bed with her laptop. Maybe she'd chat with a few of her old friends back home.

 After saying a quick hello to Darlene who was in the kitchen talking to a few friends she had invited over, Alyssa entered the bedroom that she and Torie shared and kicked off her flip flops. She could hear the water running from the bathroom located of their bedroom and figured that Torie must be in there taking a shower. She walked over to the stereo that Torie had brought with her from home and rifled through her CD case looking for some good background music. She decided on the newest Backstreet Boys CD and put it into the CD player. Then she got out her laptop and began to boot it up as the first song Larger Than Life began to play.

 A few minutes later, the bedroom door creaked open and Torie stepped in wearing a bathrobe and rubbing her wet hair with a towel. "Hey," she greeted. "How was work?"

 "Brutal," Alyssa replied focusing her attention away from her computer. "It had to be close to 100 degrees out and the autograph lines were never ending. Then I felt so bad for this one little girl because her mother kept insisting she take a picture with me only the girl was so nervous she couldn't stop crying. The mother practically forced her into the picture and was yelling at her that she didn't pay over a thousand dollars for this trip to not get this picture that is evidently going to be their Christmas card next year. I hate parents like that."

 "I know right. Poor girl. She'll probably need years of therapy stemming from this incident," Torie joked. She paused for a moment recognizing the music coming out of the stereo speakers. "I never pegged you as a Backstreet Boy fan."

 Alyssa shrugged her cheeks reddening. "I'm not really, but their songs are pretty catchy. And the blonde one is not bad to look at either."

 Torie just giggled. "What?" Alyssa asked innocently. "What's so funny?"

 "Nothing..." Torie replied still holding back a smirk. She turned her face towards the wall, so Alyssa could no longer see her expression so she just let it go and got back to her computer. The two were silent for a few minutes until Torie finally broke the silence.

 "So, if I tell you something will you promise to not get mad at me and like not tell anybody else?" she mysteriously asked.

 Alyssa perked up and slid her laptop off of her thighs and onto the mattress curious by what her roommate had to tell her. "Sure I guess so," she replied.

 "You seriously can't tell anyone. Not Kerri or Darlene or anyone. Got it?"

 Alyssa nodded her head. "Come on Tor... What's the big dark secret? Are you really a man?" she joked.

 "No!" Torie laughed hurling her pillow off her bed towards Alyssa's head. "So you know how a few weeks ago you thought it was kind of weird that I don't have any pictures up of my family and friends and stuff?"

 "Uh huh," Alyssa nodded. She'd made the remark not long after they'd settled in. Alyssa's side of the room was filled with pictures of her and her family and mementos from home, where Torie's was bare. It had just struck her as a little odd. Even Keri and Darlene had plenty of pictures adorning their room as well.

 "Well, you see the truth is my cousin is like kind of famous," she admitted twisting her fingers.

 Alyssa raised her eyebrows not sure if this was serious or just another one of Torie's pranks. "Like how famous?"

 "Like Backstreet Boy famous."

 The room was silent a moment while Alyssa filled in the blanks. "Wait... So you mean that your cousin is..." Her eyes darted towards the stereo.

 "A member of Nsync?" Torie supplied with a laugh. "No I'm kidding, but you were just listening to him. That business trip he's on that I was telling you about when we first met? He's been on tour with them since this summer."

 'No way..." Alyssa breathed. Not that she was a rabid fan, but she just never knew anyone who even knew anyone who was famous before. After the initial shock faded away after a few minutes she frowned growing doubtful. "How do I know that you're not just making this up?" She hated to think like that, but as close as she and Torie had become over the last few weeks she still in many ways barely knew her.

 Torie didn't answer, but instead leaned over her bed and pulled out a thick photo album from underneath her bed spread. "Here. Take a look," she thrust the album out at Alyssa.

 Alyssa opened it up and inside there were pictures of Torie with her alleged cousin Kevin. As she flipped through the pages she recognized her with the other guys from the group that she recognized from the album cover and what she had seen of them on TV and in magazines and stuff. The doubtful part of her kept thinking that perhaps Torie was just some crazy groupie who followed them around snapping pictures. She had to admit though that many of the photos looked legit. Like they were casual and sometimes silly, not posed and forced like many fan photos would probably be. "Wow... So that Kevin is your cousin Kevin?" She realized that they did share the same last name.

 "The one and only. So, now you know my deep dark secret. I guess you can kind of understand why I don't want that getting out right? I mean like Kerri and Darlene seem like really cool girls, but I can never be too careful. I don't exactly have a ton of female friends for this very reason. It's hard to determine who are my friends because they like me or who are my friends because they like my cousin," she admitted.

 "So what made you tell me?" Alyssa asked, feeling sort of honored that Torie had trusted her enough to share her secret with her.

 Torie shrugged. "You seem really down to earth and not at all the kind of girl who would freak out about this kind of stuff. Plus, we've gotten to be such good friends that I figured that I probably couldn't hide it for too much longer without appearing shady."

 "Aww... Well, thanks..." Alyssa replied. She had to admit that it did make her feel pretty darn good to hear someone else compliment her like that. "So, I'm guessing that you're pretty close with the rest of the guys too huh?" she asked glancing back down at the pictures in Torie's album. Her face reddened as she realized the faux pas she had made earlier about admitting that she thought the blonde one was cute. Based on some of the pictures it seemed as if him and Torie were close.

 "They're all like my older brothers. Especially Nick. We're the same age, so we pretty much went through puberty together," she joked. A devilish glint filled her green eyes. "So, you really think he's hot?"

 Alyssa could feel her cheeks growing hot. "He's definitely attractive, but I mean I'm definitely not stepping on your territory or anything," she stumbled.

 "What? My territory?" Torie sounded confused for a second, but then she erupted in laughter. "Oh my God... You think that Nick and I are like together?" She was practically howling at the thought.

 "Well yea..." Alyssa admitted feeling kind of dumb. "I mean you look pretty chummy in some of these pictures." She referenced one of his arms wrapped around Torie and him dropping a sloppy kiss on her cheek. "And you yourself said that you practically grew up with each other. He is really cute. How could you not have went for it?"

 Torie wrinkled her nose. "Okay first ewww... I don't think of Nick like that. So maybe when I was about fourteen I developed a little teeny crush on him and he did give me my first kiss, but it was like really awkward and we decided never again. And that picture is just Nick being Nick. He kisses everybody. He thinks he's like The Godfather or something. Plus, I told you that I didn't have a boyfriend silly."

 "Yea, but if I were dating him I don't think I'd be advertising it to the world either. Especially to people I just met," Alyssa pointed out.

 "Would you like to?"

 "Would I like to what?"

 "You know... Date him."

 "Excuse me?" Alyssa practically did a double take.

 "Would you like to date him?" Torie repeated. "He broke up with his girlfriend a few months ago and has pretty much just been casually dating and hooking up ever since. He's away on tour right now, but that will be all done with in a few weeks. I could totally set you guys up."

 "Wow... Uhmm," Alyssa's throat went dry. She couldn't picture herself dating a guy who looked that good, much less a famous guy that looked that good. She was still a little wary of Torie as well and in her experience guys like that seemed to be only looking for one thing. "I dunno Tor... I just don't think he'd be interested in a girl like me."

 "I disagree," Torie argued. "As of right now he's into girls period. I'd rather see him with someone nice and sweet like you unlike a lot of the other bimbos he hangs out with. Come on... You two would be great together. I know he looks stuck up, but he is like the biggest geek at heart. I cannot believe I didn't think of this sooner!"

 "Tor..." Alyssa whined. "He's like all famous and I'm just a normal girl. This kind of stuff only works out in like bad movies and stuff."

 Torie shook her head obviously too excited to take no for an answer. "You really do have a lot in common actually. Let me do this for you, please!" She was practically begging. "I swear to you if you two do not hit it off I will like pay for your food for a week or something."

 Alyssa sighed. At heart she really was a people pleaser and she could see this meant a lot to Torie. Plus, there was her offer to buy all of her food for the week. Even though their apartment came with a fully equipped kitchen, they were barely home long enough to cook, so they mostly just ate at the parks and the restaurants within the resort. Even though they did get a slight discount it was still pricey. "If it means that much to you..."

 "This is going to be awesome. I promise you some day when the two of you get married and make lots of cute little babies together, you'll have me to thank." Torie was practically beaming with excitement.

 Alyssa just looked at her skeptically. "Aren't you just getting a little bit ahead of yourself here?"

 "Okay, maybe a little," she admitted. "Seriously though relax. I promise I'm not just going to throw you to him or anything. I'll think of something low key. Maybe we can all hang out sometime soon as a group that way you don't have to feel as nervous."

 Alyssa had to admit that she she was grateful at Torie's suggestion. "That sounds like it could work." She was already almost counting on Nick not being interested in her anyway, so a group setting sounded pretty good. If anything she'd at least have Torie there if things got awkward.

 "I'm really excited. I have a good feeling about the two of you."

 Alyssa didn't say anything. She just laid back against her pillow, her brow furrowed deep in thought. She wanted to share in Torie's enthusiasm, but experience made her not want to get her hopes up. She supposed that it was a bit unfair of her to judge Nick before she'd even met him, but she just had a very hard time believing that a guy who could have almost any girl he wanted would be interested in her. She didn't want to hurt Torie's feelings though so for now she figured that she would just humor her. Who knew if Nick would actually be willing to be set up with one of Torie's friends anyway. Maybe the whole thing would just never wind up happening at all.


 Nick Carter had found himself at a stalemate in his life. He'd come to the realization that he had not been happy in his last relationship, yet he'd been involved in it for so long that he almost didn't know how to be single. He had dated Mandy since he was 17 and at first he'd sworn that he was in love with her and couldn't be happier. Then they made the decision to buy a home and move into together not long after they had turned 18 and that's when things had started to turn to shit. At his young age, Nick hadn't anticipated just how big of a move that had been and had quickly learned that once you started living with someone else you really began to see a side of them that you may have not realized was there. He and Mandy began to fight constantly about everything. Nothing he seemed to do anymore seemed to be good enough to please her. On top of that he felt pressure from his Mom who had been upset at him for moving out so abruptly in the first place. Throughout this whole time period he felt like he was being pulled into two separate directions by his family and Mandy, but still he had clung to her, to stubborn to realize that he had made a mistake. Instead of things getting better they just got worse and worse until things had just exploded. They had finally called it quits earlier that year and Mandy had moved out. The break up had been a messy one and in some ways Nick had yet to fully recover even after a few months.

 The thing that had amazed him most about being single was just how many girls were willing to practically offer themselves up to him without even thinking twice about it. Especially now that he was on tour the opportunity to hook up was practically everywhere he turned. Maybe Nick had just never noticed it before since he had started dating Mandy towards the end of his awkward phase and in the last year and a half he'd really matured physically. Now that he was single he found that he really could have his pick of girls. At first, he'd taken advantage of that and had hooked up with quite a few. He'd always felt kind of guilty about it afterwards and AJ would usually tease him about it and tell him to 'man up and quit being a pussy.' After the first several times it did become easier, but in no way more fulfilling. He knew a lot of guys would kill to be in his position, but still Nick found himself in a state of confusion over the matter. In some ways he found that he actually missed the comforts of being in a relationship although he wasn't sure if he really was ready to jump back into another one so soon. He'd never admit this to anyone though. Somehow he'd began to earn the reputation of being a stud and he didn't want to ruin it just in case.
 The Into the Millennium tour was finally nearing its end and Nick was thankful for that. They had been touring pretty much non stop since June and he was both physically and emotionally drained. They had just began the second North American leg and by mid March he'd finally get a break. It wouldn't be for very long though because there were already plans to jump right into recording their next album. Their record company wanted to capitalize on the popularity of their last album before any of their fans had gotten much of a chance to grow tired of them. It was a pretty hectic lifestyle, but Nick supposed that it was better to keep himself busy. That way he didn't have the chance to think about the direction where his life was heading. He was just sort of going through the motions and trying to stay afloat.

 They were in Charlotte on this particular night and although AJ and Howie had both asked him if he wanted to hit some of the clubs with him in the Epicenter he had chosen to decline. He'd gotten pretty shitfaced after their last date in Albany. It had been a rough night for him with it being Valentine's Day and all and him still having mixed emotions about his break up with Mandy. AJ had encouraged him to get totally obliterated which was exactly what he did. In fact, he'd drank so much that he had almost completely blacked out. He woke up the next morning with a naked girl in his bed and one hell of a hangover. Thankfully, they'd had a few days off in between dates for him to recover which he desperately needed. Nick wasn't sure if he was quite ready for a repeat performance so soon.

 The downside of staying in though was that he had nothing to do but think and thinking just made him more confused and more depressed.

 Nick was just considering whether or not he should rent a movie off pay-per-view when he heard his cell phone ring. Desperate for any kind of distraction he practically dove for it. He smiled when he saw Torie's name flash across the caller ID. Torie's bubbly personality and dorky sense of humor always usually did make him feel better.

 "Yello," he answered. "What's up? How is the whole Disney thing going."

 "It's going," Torie replied with a laugh. "I'm having a blast meeting new friends and all. How about you? How's the tour going?"

 Nick sighed. "It's all right. Kind of tired of it though. Can't wait to be back home in Florida."

 "Aww..." she sympathized picking up on the weariness in his voice. "Well, just about another month left right?"

 "Yea, just 15 more dates, but who's counting?" he joked.

 "Well, I'm about to give you something to look forward to."

 Nick's ears perked up with interest. "Oh yeah? What?"

 "Okay so I've become super close with my roommate Alyssa and I've been thinking..."

 "No," Nick interrupted before she could finish. "I know where you are going with this and the last thing I want right now is to date some random girl that you just met. How well can you really trust her anyway?"

 "Nick!" Torie whined. "Just hear me out here. She's not like a lot of other girls. She's really sweet and genuine and didn't completely freak out when I told her that I was related to Kevin. You'd love her. She's the total opposite of Mandy in every possible way. She's really cute and has the same sense of humor as you. Loves anything from the 80's. You'd have a lot in common."

 Nick winced a little bit at the mention of his ex girlfriend's name. Even though it had been a few months it still sometimes stung when someone else brought her up. He had to admit though that anyone who was the opposite of Mandy sounded like it could be a good thing. "What does she do at Disney?" he asked.

 "She's in entertainment. She plays Belle in the parks and stuff," Torie explained.

 "Ahh... So she's trying to break into the business," Nick automatically assumed. "Nope sorry. No way no how. Been there and done that and I am done being someone elses meal ticket."

 Torie let out an exasperated sigh. "You haven't even met the girl yet and you are already assuming the worst of her. Actually she really doesn't sing and has no intentions of making that a career choice. She dances, but just for fun. She's considering a career in education. I can promise you that she is not interested in you becasuse of what you do as a career. In fact, she's pretty intimidated by it."

 "I just don't think that this is the right time for me to be trying to date," he insisted. "I don't want to lead her on and I'm going to be super busy with trying to work on the new album and all the promotion that comes from that."

 "Trust me. She's busy too. We work over 40 hours a week during peak times. She'll be busy too," Torie argued. "Look, I know how stubborn you are and I know it's a lot to think about, so here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to let you think it over, but in the meantime I'll give you her AIM screen name. Why don't you just drop her an IM when you can and just try talking to her for a few minutes? If you're not feeling her fine. No harm, no foul. I really have a good feeling about you two though."

 Nick sighed. He knew just how relentless Torie could be when she got an idea in her head. Sometimes it was just easier to humor her. "Fine," he grumbled as he searched his hotel room for a piece of paper and something to write with, finally finding both on the top of the dresser of his hotel room. "What is it?"

 'MissLyssa1980," Torie told him. "I promise you, that you're going to love her."

 "Uh huh," Nick doubtfully answered. "We'll see about that." He ripped off the piece of notepaper he had written it on, folded it up, and crumbled into the pocket of his jeans for the time being with every intention of most likely never giving it a second glance.