He looked at his daughter and wife with a sense of love he never thought capable. The guys had told him so many times that once he had a child of his own, he’d understand. Of course his only response was a semi-roll of his eyes and the slightest shake of his head. As he got older, his negative body gestures became subtle, almost absent but still not something he was totally willing to give up.
Skylar’s giggle brought his eyes down to where she lay, in her Hello Kitty laden bed surrounded by pretty much every single stuffed animal ever invented. His wife was tickling her daughter’s toes, pedaling her feet as if she were on an imaginary bicycle.
“Mommy, stop!” She said in between the laughter bursts. “Daddy make Mommy stop!”
Everyone said her and her daddy had the same laugh.
Nick sat on the opposite side of his wife now and lovingly placed his hand over her arm, “You heard our child, cut it out!”
He grabbed the quilted blanket Howie’s mother had made for Sky and lifted his daughter’s tiny legs underneath it before pulling it up to her chest. At the gesture, the four year old gave a disapproving eye roll. She hadn’t quite mastered the art of subtlety yet, but it would come someday. Most likely after years of loud disapproving sighs and door slams of disgust.
Shauna stood up and made her way to the small bookcase in the room, “Okay Sky, which one tonight?”
The beautiful baby girl with the bright blue eyes and long banana curled brown hair, sat up in bed and placed her hand under her chin in deep thought.
“Goodnight Moon?” Shauna’s fingers touched each book lightly as she recited the names, “I Love You Forever, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, If You Give a Moose a Muffin?”
“How about my favorite story?” she said looking at her dad and smiling, “Tell me about the day you met!”
“Again?” Nick asked and shook his head. “Don’t you ever get sick of that one?”
Skylar let out another one of her infectious giggles and threw a pillow at her father’s head. “No, I love it!”
He glanced over at his wife who was already looking his way, “Our daughter is a true romantic.”
“She must take after you then.” He winked as she sat on the bed, “So do I tell it or do you tell it?”
“You tell it, daddy. You tell it more betterer than mommy does.”
“Looks like she got your grammar skills, honey.”
“Very funny…okay well here it goes.”
He sat there for just a second, trying to collect his thoughts. He had recited this story so many times that it should have been second nature to him, but yet he always had to make sure he got it right. He closed his eyes to picture the scene and started to tell the tale.
“Once upon a time, daddy was on tour with his band…”
“Backstreet’s Back alright!” Skylar sang. Of course Uncle Brian wasted no time in teaching that to her.
“Yup, those guys...” Skylar chuckled as Nick continued, “And we were getting ready to go out on stage when I saw this beautiful woman standing right in front of me.”
“No, your Aunt Kristin…” He glanced over at Shauna and winked. He enjoyed playing around with his wife as he told the story. “But Mommy was right behind her… and she looked like a Princess. With her gorgeous brown hair, beautiful blue eyes and long legs, she cast a spell on me.”
He remembered asking Kevin who she was. For some reason, he thought Kristin had brought her. That wasn’t the case. No one in the room had ever seen the gorgeous lady before. It’s like she had stepped out of a dream or something.
Nick couldn’t take his eyes off of her which was strange since he typically didn’t go for brunettes in general. She was tall but it was hard to really tell just how tall because she was in high heels. Her long legs were very well defined by the short gray skirt she was wearing. His eyes slowly made their way up her torso, past her almost see through white long sleeved shirt, and up to her blue eyes which locked with his.
She smiled at him and made her way over. “Are we having some kind of staring contest I was unaware of because if that’s the case we’ll have to start over. You have an unfair advantage; I’m much more beautiful than you are.”
Nick was thrown by her reply and just stood there looking like an idiot, “I’m sorry, what?”
She laughed and held out her hand, “I’m Shauna; I work here at the arena. I’m in charge of hospitality.”
“Oh hey…yeah….erm…I’m Nick.”
“And you would be the one in charge of awkward stares?” She asked raising one eye brow.
“Yeah, that’s me.”
She laughed at him and smiled, “You are doing a great job then, keep up the good work!”
He wasn’t sure what came over him, but as she was walking away he yelled across the room at her, “Shauna!”
Everyone who had been talking stopped and stared but he didn’t care. It’s like he had tunnel vision, “Do you want to go out sometime?”
That itself seemed like a really dumb thing to ask. Sometimes he forgot he didn’t have roots, not really. His home was wherever this tour took him. Currently his home was New Jersey, tomorrow it would be somewhere else. Going out ‘sometime ‘when you didn’t stay in one place too long posed quite a few problems, but he still felt inclined to ask.
She walked back over towards him, as everyone else continued on with what they were doing. Nick has made a fool of himself at least once today. Tomorrow something else would come, perhaps a clumsy trip or unannounced fart.
“Aren’t you only in town for this one night?”
“Uh…yeah, I think so.” He nervously rubbed the back of his neck. He looked so much younger than he was at that moment, not that 25 was old to being with.
“How do you even know I’m single? I could be married with ten kids.”
That was a good question. Nick hadn’t even bothered to look for a ring. He glanced at her finger and was happy to see there was nothing there. “I guess I didn’t, but I thought I’d take a chance. I mean the worst thing you could say is no, right?”
“Why do I have a feeling you aren’t used to hearing that word too often?”
He let out his sexy laugh, the one reserved for flirting, “You’d be surprised.”
She looked down at her watch as if it was going to make the decision for her, “I suppose we could go grab some coffee after your show if you want.”
“That would be great! I would give you a time, but we’re done when we’re done.”
“It’s okay, I’ll be here. I guess I’m done when you’re done too.”
He locked eyes with her once again. There was a confidence in those eyes. Something he wasn’t used to seeing when speaking to women his age. Most girls never looked him straight in the eyes. They found him intimidating, as if he was everything the tabloids had painted him to be over the years. Granted, most of those people were also fans of his band or loathed his band. Very rarely was he ever judged for just being Nick Carter, the man. It took him forever to even figure out who that was. He wasn’t sure if this woman was a fan or not. He kind of liked that about her.
“Great…I’ll see you then.”
She smiled and nodded, “Later.”
After she left, the remaining people in the room decided to applaud him for a job semi well done.
“Shut up!” He said, rolling his eyes and going for a bottle of water before being led out on stage.
“You know shut up is not a nice thing to say, daddy!”
Nick glanced down at his daughter and nodded, “I know, I made sure to say I was sorry afterwards.”
“Liar!” She laughed as he tickled her chin.
“Tell me about the coffee shop! I love this part!”
“I do too.” Shauna said as she lay next to her daughter, making herself comfortable for the next part of Nick’s story.