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A/N: Thanks to nycki02, Mare, Jujube, libragurl, KimberlyCan and PaulaKTBA for the reviews! Feeling very loved! Hope you all enjoy this next chapter!

Chapter Fifteen: Who knew there were beaches in Germany?

Yep, it was official: I had lost it. Like, completely lost it. Like Woody Allen marrying his step-daughter lost it. Okay, maybe not that bad, but that’s what it probably looked like to the guys.

When I reached my bedroom, I collapsed on the bed face first, a range of emotions flowing through me: anger, shame, guilt and, most of all, embarrassment. I always let my anger get the best of me! Why couldn’t I just turn the phone off like a normal person instead of smashing it like some kind of maniac? I could just hear Kevin in my mind: ‘you let your anger get the best of you’ or ‘why don’t you grow up and face these things like an adult’. But he hadn’t said any of those things, had he? He wanted to talk it out – they all had. They had offered to help me out even though they didn’t know how bad everything had become. Why hadn’t I taken them up on their offer? Because I was angry, that’s why. I wanted them to see what it feels like to be ignored and pushed aside.

I sat up and grabbed my notepad. I looked over the words I had written last night: Fuck Kevin, Fuck AJ, Fuck Howie. I added Fuck Brian in there for good measure. I was so excited to see him downstairs. So excited and so relieved because I knew with him there maybe I could go back to normal and all this shit would go away. But then I remembered he was just as bad as the others – he hadn’t called or asked how I was doing. No, he was too busy with his family.

After that, I had calmed down considerably, so I turned a new page in my notebook and started playing around with lyrics I had in mind for a while. It was a love song, but not romantic love – more like friendly love or whatever. But when my thoughts shifted to last night, my mood changed again. What a shit night!

When I arrived at the liquor store, all I wanted was to go inside, buy a big bottle of Jack and sit on the beach drinking. I did end up sitting on the beach drinking but it was Coke I ended up drinking, not Jack. Coca-Cola just to be clear. I always loved the beach – it made me calm and clear headed, or at least as clear headed as I would ever be. It was around about midnight when I decided I should probably head back to AJ’s. They obviously noticed by then that I was missing (I was getting calls from them non-stop) and if I just casually walk in as if nothing was wrong, that would piss them off which is what I was going for. Eventually, if I ignore them long enough, they’ll be begging me to talk to them. I just wanted them to feel how I felt – teach them a lesson.

So I had rubbed the sand off my pants and was heading back to AJ’s when my phone went off. I looked at the caller ID expecting to see AJ’s number, but instead it showed a number that I thought I wouldn’t see in a while, especially not after the last time it showed up on my caller ID.

I had toyed with the idea of rejecting the call but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, so, like a chum, I had answered it. Big mistake.

“Hi mum,” I said into the phone, suddenly feeling nervous.

“Nickolas,” I would always remember her voice as sounding desperate in that moment. “Baby, how are you? I saw in the papers what happened.”

I groaned inwardly. “It’s fine mum,” I said. “Really.”

“No it’s not,” I was surprised by that: a comment that would suggest a caring, affectionate mother coming in to console her son. Maybe she would apologise for hanging up on me the last time we spoke too. “But that’s okay honey, because I made it better.”

I had become suspicious at that point. “How?” I stopped walking at that moment and stood on the sidewalk, my heart thumping as suddenly the motherly image of Jane disappeared. What had she done and why?

“I told them about our divorce.”

“You told who?”

“An online tabloid.”

There it is. That’s the what and why right there in three words.

“Why?” I spluttered.

“Because I wanted to set the record straight,” what record? “You were having problems adjusting to our divorce.”

“No I’m not!” a lie. “You had no right, mum!”

“I was helping you,” she sounded affronted as if somehow I was the one that had caused her all this grief. “Now,” her voice had switched from offended to a ‘now you owe me a favour’ tone. “Maybe you can help me out...”

I wanted to scream. I couldn’t believe where this was heading already.

“I can’t do that anymore,” I said.

“Yes you can.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose, feeling a headache coming on.

“No, I can’t.”

There was silence for a minute and it began to scare me.


She muttered something and I couldn’t quite get it.


“Ungrateful!” she had screamed it into the phone. “Ungrateful! That’s what you are! Ungrateful!”

My stomach dropped. “No, mum, I really can’t,” I said, feeling desperate. “I...I’m not doing good...financially,” I didn’t want to have to admit it.

“Bullshit!” she screamed. “Nothing but a no good cash co-“

I had hung up on her then. I NEVER wanted to hear those words again. I had turned the phone off, shoved it into my pocket and started walking again but this time away from AJ’s house. I needed somewhere safe to go. I ended up going back to my place. The problem, as I had soon found out, was that the bank had changed the locks to the doors and none of my keys worked. So I had spent the rest of the night sleeping on my front porch, my face pressed against the concrete. When I awoke, I had a massive headache. I decided to head back to AJ’s, for whatever reason. I had turned my phone back on, again for whatever reason, and had arrived at AJ’s just in time to see some fancy pants douche leave in a fancy pants douche’s car.

And now I’m here, back in AJ’s house of horrors. When I think back the conversation with my mum, I knew she was sick – she had to be. There was always that sense that I was just a business opportunity for her, but lately she had gone too far. She had never called me a cash cow before.

God, who was I kidding? Where else would BJ have learned that word?


August 9, 1996

It was our last night in Germany. I hated that. We were staying at a hotel that was right on the beach. Who knew Germany had beaches? I sure didn’t! It was perfect! Lou had booked this hotel specially for me, he said. Kevin snorted but I bet that’s only because he’s jealous. If Lou had booked a place just for Kevin, we’d be out in the stick somewhere. In the hillbilly part of Germany. Thank God I was Lou’s favourite.

Anyways, we got back to our hotel pretty early because we had a flight the next morning. We also started this tradition in Sweden where on the last night in every country all the guys would have dinner and a movie together. I always enjoyed that! Even more so because the guys, except AJ, usually let me pick the movies. That really pissed AJ off!

So after dinner, Brian had rented Die Hard and we were gonna watch it in Howie and AJ’s room because they had the bigger TV. But I needed to make a quick stop in the room I shared with Brian first.

“We’ll start it without you,” Howie warned.

“So long as I don’t miss ‘yippee ki-yay motherfucker’,” I ducked as Kevin took a swing at my head.

I ran into my room and bounced on my bed over to the other side where the phone was. Lou said we could make all the calls we wanted. He’s been really cool that Lou. The buses he gets us are so big and sometimes we even ride around in limos!

Anyway, I was making a call. To mum. I hadn’t seen her since May and I was feeling a little homesick. She explained to me that she couldn’t be on the road with me all the time because of Angel and Aaron, but they could have done without her for a bit. But I figured Europe is fair enough, but in America she could bring them along too. So when we arrive in LA and I was hoping that they’d meet me at the airport. Because we were shooting our new music video there and I thought it’s be cool if they were there to see it.

I dialled my home number and got a strange beeping noise. Crap on a stick. I always forget to put in the international code. Okay, this time we’re in business.


“Hi BJ!” I was excited to hear my little sister’s voice. She and I used to be so close when I was back at home.

“Oh, hi Nick,” I was a bit put off by her tone but didn’t think too much of it.

“How are you?”

“I’m good.”

I didn’t know what to say after that. How did it become so hard to talk to BJ?

“Where’s mum?” I asked.

“She’s working with Aaron,” BJ replied.


“No, singing.”


“I’ll get her.”

“Thanks Beej.”

I pulled the phone away from my ear as she slammed the receiver down on something, making a loud noise. I heard her walk away and then:


Cash cow? What the hell was that? Did she mean me? Well duh Nick. You’re on the phone remember?


“Hi mum,” my mood lightened.

“Hello handsome,” I loved when she called me that – don’t tell the guys though. “Last night in Germany huh?”

“Yeah,” I also loved when she remembered my schedule. “You helping Aaron with his vocals?”

“He’ll be as good as you soon,” mum said.

“Maybe he can start touring with us too,” I laughed.

“Is there something you wanted honey?” Was she already trying to get me off the phone?

“I was wondering,” I started, a little nervous. “Could you meet me at the airport when I get home? At LA?”

There was an uncomfortable silence and I already knew her answer before she replied.

“I can’t sweetie. Dad’s working in the retirement village and I need to keep an eye on Angel and Aaron.”

“Can’t you bring them with you?” I asked hopefully.

“I’m sorry sweetie, but Aaron is being difficult and if I bring the twins along, I’ll need to bring Leslie and BJ too and that’s too much trouble.”

There was a sour taste in my mouth. “I was hoping you’d come watch us film our music video,” I pushed, feeling a little crappy. “Kevin’s parents will be there, and Brian’s and Howie’s too. Even AJ’s mum will be there.”

“Another time, I promise,” she sounded sincere, so why didn’t I believe her? Because she’s been saying the same thing for the last three months.

“Okay,” I knew there was no point in arguing. Eventually she would get sick of the moping and tell me that I was a ‘big boy’ and that I could handle myself just fine.

“Look honey, I’ve got to go,” already? “I can’t wait to give you a big hug and kiss when you get home. I love you so much, my darling.”

“I love you too mum.”

I hung up. I sat on the bed for a few minutes, swallowing as if I had a tonne of saliva in my mouth all of a sudden. I tried to compose myself but I felt so lonely and down that all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and forget that I had even bothered to call. But the guys were waiting for me and I didn’t want them to think anything was wrong – AJ would call me a big baby if he knew how much I wanted my mum here and how much I missed home. So I got off the bed and left the room. When I reached AJ and Howie’s room I knocked and waited until Brian opened the door.

“Just in time Nick,” he said, back flipping his way back inside the room.

“Dear God Brian, can you NOT?”

“You’re gonna break your back doing that!”

“Can you guys shut up? This is actually a good movie – finally Nick shows some taste.”

“Shut up AJ,” I said as I walked in and pounced on one of the beds next to Howie. “What did I miss?”

“Nothing,” Kevin replied. “Just the boring part.”

Brian was sitting on the floor in front of the TV, bobbing his head up and down to the music that Argyle was listening to on the screen. AJ was sitting next to him, playing an invisible guitar. They both booed when the scene changed. Kevin was sitting on the other bed, hogging the bowl of popcorn.

Halfway through the movie, I had forgotten about the call with my mum until ‘yippee ki-yay motherfucker’ happened. I don’t know why that made me think back to the call, but it did and that sour taste in my mouth returned. But there was something that I just didn’t understand. Nothing my mum did was out of the ordinary – didn’t mean I couldn’t be bummed out though – but it was something BJ had said. What did it mean?

“Hey guys?” I asked, speaking over the shooting of guns on the TV.

When no one answered, I tried again.


“What is it Nicky?”

“What does ‘cash cow’ mean?” It was an innocent enough question. So why did Kevin look at me like that?

“It’s got to do with business,” Howie began, always so knowledgeable. “When that business has a customer that they can make a lot of money off of, they call that customer a ‘cash cow’.”

I swallowed, feeling slightly unwell. “Oh,” was all I said.

Did someone turn up the heating in here? Why was it so hot?

“Nick,” I looked at Kevin and blinked rapidly. I think there was something in my eyes. “How’s your mum?”

I turned away from him. I hadn’t told him I had gone to call my mum. Ever since Kevin had become my so called ‘guardian’ he thinks he knows everything!

By the end of the movie, I still felt like shit. Even Brian and AJ flinging popcorn everywhere couldn’t get me out of my crappy mood.

“We’re family,” I don’t know where that came from. I wish I could take it back. Guys weren’t meant to get soppy with one another. Not only that, but I had gone from feeling sorry for myself to claiming that the four guys I had only known for four years were my family. That was a massive switch in thoughts with no logical links between the two. What the hell was wrong with my brain?

There was silence and then Howie had me in a headlock and was mussing my hair. I felt Brian pounce on my back. Somewhere above us I heard AJ growl, “Seriously?” And off on the other bed, Kevin said what I needed to hear:

“Yeah little man, we’re family.”


A/N: So as always, let me know what you think! Please note that I do not edit lol I’m hoping to get another chapter in by the weekend if not earlier but I should also donate some of my time to my thesis as well. Thanks so much for reading! Btw, that flashback is kinda related to the flashback in chapter two but it really isn’t pivotal to know that and doesn’t really effect the story if you don’t know that. Oooh, also kinda connected this chapter to my other BSB story which I thought was pretty nifty lol