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The weeks went by, tour seemed to drag and it was now October. The guys had been on the road all year, with the exception of rehearsals and stopping for appearances here and there. Brian knew that after the European tour was over, they had two weeks before the American leg started. They’d have ten days of rehearsal and a bit of a break, Brian was hoping to schedule a doctor’s appointment in between and maybe talk to Leighanne, who he’d only had conversations with on the phone. He hadn’t told her about the surgery yet but he did know he screwed up with her and she decided to give them another chance because he seemed less stressed. When the guys were in LA doing some TV shows, he made sure to come by and see her as soon as he was able to.

“Hey, you.” Leighanne said warmly, letting Brian into her apartment in LA. It was small but cozy. They’d been talking on the phone after that day she had left in Germany, Brian told her all about the heart problems he was having and they ended up patching things up. It was as if no time had passed between them when they got back together.

Brian kissed her and was disappointed that he felt nothing, did not feel the spark he did last time they kissed...but he didn’t show this on his face at all. She returned the kiss and led him further into the room, still kissing. Leighanne was very happy to see him and he was happy too, but something felt different this time. The kiss he shared with Nick felt more real and he pushed it away as he and Leighanne exchanged kisses.

“I missed you so much.” Brian breathed into the crook of her neck as his lips moved there.

“You don’t have any feelings for her.”

Brian ignored the little voice in his head as they moved to the couch.

“I missed you too.” Leighanne kissed back.

“So how are you doing?”

“Pretty good, I’ve been going for tests to find out what’s wrong with me, Nick kind of talked me into going when we were in Germany. He went to the appointment with me and everything, he’s been really supportive.” Brian explained. As he talked about Nick he started wondering again if Nick did it because they were friends or because he had ulterior motives. Brian hated thinking this way but he was wary of everyone these days, especially after finding out what a scumbag and a liar Lou Pearlman was. It was hard for him to trust anyone anymore.

“He did? I guess I’ll have to thank him next time I see him then.” Leighanne said smiling as she leaned in again, but Brian pulled away.

“What’s wrong?”

“Why would you have to thank Nick for taking me to the doctor?” Brian asked hesitantly. Leighanne seemed flustered all of a sudden as if she were trying to hide something.

“No reason. We were both worried about you. What matters is now you are getting help and can get better. Nick and I just want what’s best for you.”

Brian decided to calm down and he agreed with her, but he made a mental note to talk to Nick as soon as he saw him.

The opportunity presented itself only a day later when Nick took him to the Lakers game that night, and Brian agreed to go even though he was still annoyed with him. The two of them didn’t have the floor seats Lou had given them when Brian blew Nick off for Leighanne but they were still pretty good anyway. The two of them sat down with their snacks and sodas, waiting for the game to start when Brian decided now was the time to ask him about what Leighanne had said.

“I told Leigh about the surgery.” Brian said as he took a sip from his soda.

“That’s great. I bet she was happy you are getting the help you need to get better.” Nick smiled, but as soon as he saw Brian’s expression the smile slid right off his face.

“You’re mad at me?”

“Nick, you told me that you didn’t like my girlfriend and now you guys are talking about me behind my back? What else have you told her? What have you guys talked about when I’m not there?” Brian said quietly so nobody near them could hear.

“That’s not fair at all, dude. You told her I was annoying and clingy! Don’t be a hypocrite.” Nick hissed back. Brian could feel his temper flaring up already even though Nick was absolutely right. He did talk about Nick behind his back. He did make fun of him for being clingy in front of Leighanne to cover the fact that he liked Nick in a way that was beyond friendship. He hated himself for it. He didn’t want to feel different. He wanted to feel normal again, how he felt before all of this started.

“I’m a hypocrite?” Brian scoffed. The game started but they were not paying attention to it, they kept arguing.

“You’re a hypocrite, Bri. You wanna tell me I’m going behind your back….at least it was because I fucking care about your health and not because I’m lying to myself and my girlfriend about my feelings.” Nick said. Brian’s face turned beet red and he couldn’t even think of a comeback to that comment. The fact he wasn’t being fully honest with Leighanne and Nick called him on it pissed him off even further.

“I’m not fucking lying to myself about anything, Nick. I don’t care if you wanted something to happen from that kiss or not. It’s not going to fucking happen. Never.”

“The fact that you keep pushing me away tells me otherwise.” Nick retorted. At that point people around them seemed to be getting annoyed by them arguing and a guy behind Brian tapped him on the shoulder.

“Dude, can you argue with your boyfriend after the game?”

“HE’S NOT MY BOYFRIEND!!” Brian practically shouted as Nick snickered into his popcorn. It was almost funny how agitated he got at the mention that he might be gay.

“Brian, come on.” Nick said gently as he tugged on Brian’s shirt to sit down.

“Can you believe that guy...assuming that we...that you and I are…”

“That we’re what?”

“Nothing. Look, I’m sorry for getting angry with you. You’re the one who’s been with me this whole time with my heart stuff. I really appreciate that. When I do finally schedule the surgery...you'll come visit me in the hospital, won’t you?” Brian asked. He had been talking with some doctors about having the surgery at the Mayo Clinic and had not set any dates yet because he still needed to settle it with management. This, the lawsuit among everything else was stressing him out and Brian just wanted to fix everything and be happy again.

“Of course I will. Why wouldn’t I?” Nick asked with a smile.

“I dunno. I just feel safer with you there.” Brian replied. Nick looked at him and tried to forget their arguement because while it was stupid and Brian was being an ass, Nick coudn’t help the way he felt.

“I’ll always be here for you.” Nick promised.

The two of them ignored the cheering of the people at the basketball game around them and looked each other in the eyes, smiling and for a split second...there was nobody else in the room. Brian’s face turned red again and he looked away, Nick shaking his head after.

Nick hoped that one day Brian would come to his senses and realize what was in front of him before it was too late.