“Are you okay?” Nick asked from the doorway. He'd been napping in the next room on the couch. They were filming a few music videos that week and they were very excited and tired at the same time. Long hours were put into the shoots and sometimes they had to take a break. Nick was still young.
“I'm fine, I'm just…tired.” Brian huffed. His chest immediately yelled at him as if it were telling him I told you so. Some days the pain was bad, then others it wasn’t. He didn’t know what was causing it but felt there was no need to worry about it yet, no need to worry anyone else with his problems.
“You look like you're going to blow chunks.” Nick remarked.
“You always have a way with words, don't you?” Brian laughed. He stopped and stared at Nick and looked him over, he wasn't even sure why but something had caught his eye. He looked different somehow. Nick was wearing all black, his hair parted in the middle...it set off his eyes. He looked really good. Brian didn't know why he even thought that Nick looked good but shook it off. Ignoring his own thoughts about Nick, they went into the main room of the hangar where the video was being shot. The two of them tossed around a basketball to kill time.
“Have you seen these models they got? Pretty hot…” AJ said suddenly, bounding over. Brian looked up, he knew there would be girls in this shoot too but didn't see who was chosen. They didn't really have a say.
“Who cares?” Nick muttered as he bounced the basketball softly. AJ looked at him curiously but Brian acted like nothing was happening. Nick was not interested in the girls at all, he only wanted to play basketball with Brian.
“Nick, my friend….you need to get out more. Come on, Brian. Let's check out the girls.” AJ laughed. Brian nodded and they went out to the trailers. The girls were hanging around wardrobe, getting fitted for their costumes. Howie had just finished with his and was chatting to them.
“Where were you guys?” he asked. His hair was up in an Afro style and everyone laughed.
“Nice hair, Howie…”
Howie rolled his eyes and smiled at AJ, pushing him playfully. “Shut it, Jay.”
“Nick was moping so we left him and decided to come out here.” Brian explained. AJ thought this was very funny and laughed loudly. Brian laughed but someone caught his eye. One of the women with long blond hair down her back and a big smile. The girls came over to introduce themselves.
“Hi, ladies. You can call me AJ.”
The girls seemed to like AJ, but there was one in particular that caught Brian's attention…the blonde. He was attracted to her almost right away. Something about her caught his eye.
“Wow….” he whispered breathlessly.
Nick finally decided to come outside and found Brian talking to the girls…he felt a little jealous. They were very pretty but he didn't feel anything for them and it killed him a little bit inside knowing he didn't have that connection to the opposite sex. It only reminded him that he wasn't like the others.
Brian seemed particularly interested in the one girl and Nick didn't like it.
“So do you live in LA?”
“I am out here while I'm trying to find work as an actress, I know it's kind of a hard field to get into but I was really happy to get chosen for this shoot.”
Nick looked her over, she was a bit taller than Brian, long blonde hair and a nice smile. She seemed friendly but Nick couldn’t help but feel jealous.
Brian turned to see Nick standing next to him. He could already feel a weird vibe but pretended not to notice. Nick clearly didn't like this girl at all.
“This is my band mate, Nick. Nick, this is…. What was your name again?”
“She's one of the girls that's going to be in our video.”
“Cool.” Nick said stiffly.
Brian already felt tension and wasn't sure why.
Leighanne held out a hand and looked Nick up and down. She smiled but he didn't smile back, he just shook her hand and was quiet.
“Nice to meet you. I met some of the other guys already but I've just been talking with Brian, and-”
“That's cool. Brian and I were going to check out the breakfast table, right Brian?” Nick interrupted. Brian turned away and continued talking to Leighanne, ignoring him. Nick walked off looking hurt.
“Is he okay?” Leighanne asked, watching Nick walk away.
“He'll be fine, he's just- tired.” he lied as he once again ignored the gentle throbbing in his chest. He didn't understand what was going on, but was sure Nick was just stressing him out. It was almost as if Nick were jealous. What confused him even more was that he was concerned he hurt him somehow by talking to Leighanne. Brian didn't like this at all, he wasn't interested in Nick like that. They were just friends, after all.
Just friends and nothing else. Right?
After the video shoots were done the boys were busier than ever. Brian still found time to talk to his new lady friend. Well, he couldn't very well call her his girlfriend but he liked her a lot. They'd exchanged phone numbers and emails. Long nights spent talking on the phone and messaging. It was nice to have someone to talk to that wasn't one of the guys. Someone who made him feel like Brian and not Brian the Backstreet Boy. He felt comfortable with her in a way he never did with his last girlfriend, Samantha. He'd broken up with Samantha because he was too busy for a relationship at the time. The Backstreet Boys were just starting out and he knew she wouldn't be able to handle him being away so much.
The difference between Leighanne and Samantha was that Nick liked Samantha. It was clear he didn't like Leighanne. Brian had even gone and asked Nick what the issue was.
“I was just cranky, Rok. Don't read much into it. I am happy for you. I promise.” Nick said somewhat stiffly.
“If you're not cool with her, I just want to know what the deal is. Cause I really like her and your opinion matters to me. You liked Sam.”
“Sam wasn't an actress. I just am looking out for you. Be careful. You know how me and Mandy worked out. She was a singer.”
Brian made sure he dropped his voice to a whisper and that nobody was around before he spoke again.
“Nick, you broke up with Mandy because you are gay.”
“That's besides the point.” Nick hissed.
“But you're still gay, aren't you?”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Well, you chose it, not me. How would I know?”
Nick looked at Brian as if he were offended but changed his facial expression altogether to hide it. He was definitely hurt and Brian felt bad. He knew he was making Nick feel uncomfortable.
“I didn't choose to be who I am, Brian. It's what I am. You're the only one who knows about it and it's staying that way. I know how much this group means to everyone. So if you want to date old what's her face….go ahead because I don't care.” Nick snapped.
Brian wanted to just bury himself after that because Nick refused to speak to him the rest of the day.
He went to sleep that night with the dull aching in his chest as a reminder that he'd screwed up and he had to make things right somehow. Brian just didn't know how.