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“So what did you want to do for dinner tonight?” Nick asked as they walked into the recording studio that morning in New York City, thinking maybe he and Brian could steal some time away from the others instead of doing a group meal. Kevin’s girlfriend Kristen was in town so they were doing their own thing.

“I know what you are thinking. We can’t go out to eat. Someone will get suspicious.” Brian whispered, making sure that nobody could hear them. Nick made a face because he was tired of hiding their budding relationship. The two of them used to go out to eat before, why was it a problem now? This was all part of Brian’s paranoia and Nick rolled his eyes.

“Stop being afraid. I keep telling you there is no reason to hide anything. Have you told Leighanne yet?”

Brian took off his jacket, sitting down in front of the sound board as they waited for the other guys to show up.

“Nick we have been through this a hundred times.“

“Okay, and I’m going to ask a hundred more times. She deserves to know, Brian. She really likes you and you’re just stringing her along. It’s not fair to her.” Nick said with his arms crossed. The thought that he was being strung along as well never occurred to him, but it did to Brian. Brian was stringing Nick along just like he was stringing Leighanne along and he hated himself for it.

"Fair? This whole thing was your idea, and I’m not telling her that I’m- that I’m-“

“Gay? Bi? Multicolor? Purple? Jesus, it’s not like you’re going to explode if you tell someone you like men, Brian.”

“You haven’t told anyone.” Brian shot back, and Nick blushed.

“I told you.” Nick said softly.

Brian loved seeing Nick being shy because when they were in private he was anything but. Nick was so comfortable with himself yet he tended to put up a wall and Brian knew it was because of his family. Nick was having a lot of problems with his mother, who was currently trying to publish a book. Nick wasn’t very happy about it because he was worried what she would write in it about him. He hadn’t told his family his secret for this reason and just kept it between himself and Brian.

“Yes, you told me. But are you ever going to tell anybody else? Or are we just going to keep hiding this from everyone? You and I both know we can’t do it forever.” Brian reasoned. This caught Nick off guard because he was constantly telling Brian he shouldn’t hide who he is, yet he was doing the same thing. He felt like a hypocrite.

“You’re right. I just want you to be honest with your girlfriend. Leighanne is a good person and she deserves to know that you and her won’t go anywhere. You owe her that at least. Do you want to keep cheating on her, because I don’t like doing this to her either. I just want you to tell her. Either you break it off or you and I can’t be together anymore.” Nick said, his hands in his pockets as he leaned against the countertop. Brian looked at the floor, thinking. He knew Nick was right but he still cared for Leighanne, even though he wasn’t in love with her. Yet he was having so much fun with Nick, why stop now? He was starting to warm to the idea of who he really was and he felt there was no harm in experimenting. Leighanne was none the wiser.

The two of them were silent for a few moments,

“Please promise me you’ll tell her.” Nick whispered as they heard the guys start walking in. Brian shushed him as AJ and Howie came followed by Kevin.

“Are you guys okay?” Kevin asked, noticing a change in the air. He could sense some tension between them.

“Yeah, let’s get going though or we’ll be here all night like last night.” Brian said, recalling how they were recording until well after 2 in the morning the night before. NIck gave him a look as if he were trying to say he wasn’t done talking to him and they would finish later. Brian just focused on the recording session, trying not to think about everything but it was hard not to be distracted. So many things were on his mind. Leighanne, the lawsuit with Lou and his surgery. It was making him anxious and he wasn’t sleeping well because of it.

That night they ended up getting back to the hotel somewhat early so they ordered pizza and ate in silence before Nick started their discussion again.


“I don’t want to talk about that right now, Nick. I’m so stressed that I just need to take my mind off of it for a night. Can’t we do something else?” Brian begged, finishing the last slice of pizza and rubbing his stomach in content.

Nick smirked at him.

“I know what would relax you.”

The two of them got undressed and went into the bathroom, stepping into the shower.

“Kinda a tight fit.” Brian laughed when they were both inside. Nick ignored him and turned the water on, letting the shower fill with steam.

“I’m sorry I upset you earlier today. I just want you to be honest, that’s all. I know you have a lot going on.”

“It’s okay, Nick. I just have so much on my mind.”

Nick got the soap and started to wash Brian, letting his hands slide up and down Brian’s biceps. He massaged his shoulders gently, moving down his back in a circular motion. Brian’s back was so tense it was hard to get any reaction from him.

“You feel really tense. Loosen up some,” he coached him gently, letting himself kiss Brian’s neck as the hot water ran over them. Brian started kissing Nick back, washing him as he had done, and then allowed his hands to follow the lines of Nick’s love handles to his groin. Nick shuddered with pleasure as he felt Brian’s soft,wet hand on his growing penis. His hand moved swiftly yet slowly at the same time while they kissed...Nick’s erection growing the whole time. Brian had never made the first move since they kissed on New Year’s in the elevator in Canada. Nick hoped this was the start of Brian accepting himself for who he was.

“Oh ...Nick…” Brian groaned as he allowed Nick to turn him around and start grinding slowly. It was the first time they had sex. They’d fooled around but not like this. This was different. Different than any kind of sex that Brian had before. At first he shuddered uncomfortably when Nick’s girth entered his backside but he relaxed.

“I’m not hurting you, am I? I’ve never done this before, I only saw it in a movie.” Nick whispered in his ear. Brian shook his head and they continued until they felt pruned from being under the shower too long.

“I take it you’re feeling more relaxed now?” Nick smiled. The two of them got out of the shower and dressed for bed, opting to lay together in Brian’s bed tonight. Brian rested his head on Nick’s chest, feeling a lot less stressed than he had that morning.

“Everything is going to work out, Brian. Don’t get upset.” Nick assured him, stroking the small of his back. Brian sighed contentedly.

“I’m trying not to, Nick. It’s just I feel so alone, like that day in the meeting. Nobody backed me up. I just don’t want to face anything else alone. I’m scared to death of this surgery...then there is the lawsuit. It’s a lot of stress.”

“Look, I’m sorry for not speaking up during that meeting. You have every right to be upset with our management. We all need to band together and get rid of them as soon as this lawsuit is over. Maybe even get a new record label, Kevin said that people will be lining up to sign us if we left RCA.” Nick apologized. Brian nuzzled into his chest more and they talked until Nick fell asleep, but Brian lay awake worrying.

Brian nodded and felt a bit better but the surgery was still worrying him more than anything now that it was getting closer and closer to the date. He knew Nick was there for him the whole way until now...but something was keeping him from leaving Leighanne and he didn’t know what that was. Was he in love with her or was he just fooling himself? As he lay there with Nick, he wondered if he was doing the right thing or not. This felt right but deep down he knew it wasn’t natural and it bothered him. He was stringing both Nick and his girlfriend along and he had to make a choice, but for now he decided to just live in the moment and worry about things later.

Fooling around for a little while longer wouldn’t hurt.