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The boys woke up early again the next day to shoot another music video for the song Everybody. Everyone was still tired from the shoot last night for All I Have To Give, but were ready to put in another long day.

“You ready to go down to the set?” Kevin asked them as they finished their first cups of coffee for the day. Nick seemed distant and he was right to be. All he could think about was Brian and that girl...Brian wouldn’t stop talking about her after they were done filming and he’d exchanged numbers with her. What was so great about her? She didn’t play basketball. She didn’t seem like she liked pizza or video games. Who would want to date someone like that? Just because she had boobs Brian thought she was the best thing since sliced bread.

“Man, you lucked out with her, she’s got a nice rack.” AJ told Brian before Brian went to get Howie.

“There are more to women than boobs.” Brian laughed as he walked away.

Nick rolled his eyes and continued sulking.

“I could have boobs if I wanted to.” Nick muttered to himself angrily, mocking Brian when his back was turned.

“What did you say?” Howie asked with a confused look as he and AJ walked over.

Nick scoffed to himself, ignoring them while staring at his half empty coffee cup and scowling as he tore up a paper napkin.

“Anything eating away at your soul?” AJ asked, patting him on the back. Nick made a face and pretended everything was fine.

“I’m cool.”

“You can tell me, you know. Is it Mandy?”

“Something like that.” Nick lied. The truth was, Nick was afraid that Brian was going to leave him behind like everyone else did. That he would lose the one he truly cared about. But who was he kidding? Brian wasn’t gay. He didn’t love him back. At least not that he knew.

Deep down, something told him he was very wrong.

For Nick, all of these emotions he was having were confusing him because he knew it was wrong. After all, his friends all liked girls and Brian even told him to pretend everything was normal. Why couldn’t he? He’d tried to date Amanda- well, Mandy as she preferred to be called but it wasn’t working out because he had no sexual attraction to her whatsoever. Their break up was quite messy and it had involved a huge argument that he could still hear in the back of his head. Part of him wondered if he was maybe bisexual but it was too confusing to even think of that right now. No, there was something else stirring and he didn’t know how to deal with it.

The something was most definitely what he’d been suspecting for a while, that he was just not attracted to her in the way that she wanted him to be. He hated that he hurt her but he didn’t want to lie to her. So they broke up over the phone one night and she was calling him but he did not answer any of them. Eventually she stopped trying to contact him altogether. The guys would tease him about Mandy every so often and he laughed but it bothered him how much he hurt her.

He just figured that he would make sense of things eventually and everything would be okay again.

Brian had noticed Nick’s attitude towards everyone and tried to make him laugh, tried to play and joke like they always did because there was a camera filming them for a behind the scenes video they were shooting that week. The camera had been following them through all of the video shoots they’d been doing for a all access movie they’d release for the fans. The boys were excited to share a bit of themselves with the fans that they did not get to see otherwise, but Nick seemed the most distant.

“What’s eating you today?”

“Huh? Nothing. I’m just tired from last night, remember how I fell asleep and they didn’t get me for the solo shot for All I Have To Give? Kevin was mad at me.” Nick lied when they were in the bathroom washing their hands. There was no camera here so Brian took the opportunity to ask what was going on. Nick was definitely avoiding him and he wondered why.

“You are acting weird. Is it because of Leighanne?” Brian asked.

“You just met her, and I told you I didn’t care about that. Did you ask her out yet?” Nick replied, drying his hands with a paper towel and throwing it in the garbage. They were wanted in hair and makeup soon to transform into their monster costumes for the video. Nick was mostly just excited to do the monster outfits because he’d come up with the idea and the guys liked it.

“I think I’m gonna call her later and see if she wants to have dinner on Saturday.” Brian said thoughtfully. He hadn’t felt attraction to someone like this since he and Samantha broke up and it felt great, he couldn’t wait to see Leighanne again.

Nick was silent and Brian could definitely feel the tension.

“Are you sure you are okay with me and her seeing each other, cause your opinion matters to me and I really like Leigh. She’s a nice girl.”

Brian kind of stared him down and then continued with his speech but Nick wasn’t listening.

“You just met her yesterday, what is the big deal exactly with her?” Nick blurted out.

“I guess you wouldn’t understand because you...well...you know.” Brian whispered as he looked around to see if anyone was eavesdropping.

“No, I don’t know.”

“Because you’re gay.” Brian said, whispering the last word as if it were taboo. Nick did not like how he kept acting like being gay was something to tiptoe around.

“I am still figuring things out, and I wish you wouldn’t talk about it that way. I’m not sure exactly what I want yet.”

“Sure, whatever you say Frack.” Brian said, rolling his eyes. Nick had to restrain himself from punching him because it was very clear again that Brian did not accept or support him. They were supposed to be best friends so Nick decided that to be spiteful he would lie about Leighanne like Brian lied about supporting him.

“I’m happy for you. Really. Don’t worry about me...I’m fine.” Nick smiled, putting a hand on Brian’s shoulder as they walked out of the bathroom. The camera was nowhere to be found and the two of them were kind of glad for it. Brian went to the dressing room to get his makeup and hair done and Nick walked away, thinking about a lot of things.

One of them being how all of this started.

At first it was little things like the way Brian smelled after he took a shower, or the way the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled real big. The way he felt when he would wrap his arms around him to hug him. Sleeping in the same bed on tour whine they were younger because he liked to hear the sound of Brian’s heartbeat next to his even though he let him think it was because he was afraid to be alone. He felt safe with Brian, something he had not felt with anyone else and he was only 17. Wasn’t he too young to fall in love?

Nick did not know the answer to this question but he felt something and he was falling hard. He was definitely jealous of Brian talking to those girls the day before. He wanted Brian to be happy so he would put on a smile and let it run its course. They were going back to Germany for shows in about a couple weeks anyway...Nick was sure that this infatuation would not last.

That night Brian asked Leighanne out and to Nick’s disappointment, she didn’t say no. They had a date for Saturday night and it bothered him because Brian seemed more interested in this girl than hanging out with him. They talked on the phone for hours, until Nick got sick of it and left the room, wandering the hotel. He thought some more, thought about Mandy, about being gay, about his feelings and about Brian. He felt sick because he did not know what to do about any of it.

He doesn’t accept or love you, you need to move past this or it will get awkward. You know it’s gotta be done.

Deep down, the little voice that constantly he constantly argued with won this round.