Thanks for listening to me earlier. I know none of what I said makes up for the way I treated you, but you have to believe at the time I didn't feel like I had many options. Hell I was so young myself then, I didn't have all the answers either. I just panicked and did the only logical thing I could think of at the time. I will forever regret that I let the whole thing get so out of hand and I allowed myself to hurt you so many times. All I wanted to do was love you, but knowing that was impossible, pushing you far away from me felt like the only option available. I hate that our relationship got to this point, but if I'm being honest with myself, and finally for the first time with you, I'm not sorry we're in this situation. It's long overdue for us to come together instead of constantly pulling apart. I look forward to talking with you this evening and I hope we can finally move on and start an actual friendship.
He had to admit, after just one conversation he was feeling much better about having to be stuck in this faux marriage with the other man. He tried to ignore the pang he felt reading the bit about rebuilding a friendship. Foolishly he had let his heart leap and his mind go when he'd heard Kevin express himself and say the reason they stopped getting alone had to do with the other man developing feelings for him. The rational part of his brain told him it was ridiculous to think that just because this whole thing started with the other man having feelings for him didn't mean that Kevin still harbored those same feelings. It had been years. They were both different people. But still, he'd allowed his heart to hope. So reading the word friendship felt like his hope balloon had been busted and he had to blink back tears as he tried to get his feelings under control. After years of nothing, he would gladly take whatever Kevin wanted to offer him.
He folded the paper and put it in his wallet, wanting to make sure he kept it safe. Picking up his phone he scrolled through message after message, finally finding the conversation with Brian. Since last night Brian had sent him 19 different messages and with a gasp, Nick realized the kiss from that morning had indeed been photographed and released. Brian had sent a copy with a million exclamation and question marks. Nick knew he was in for the grilling of a lifetime. Instead of even trying to text the other man back he hit the call button and settled into the armchair. Brian picked up on the first ring.
"I was starting to worry he'd murdered you and I would find your mutilated corpse in pieces in the bathroom." Brian blurted out without even a hello.
"Jesus Brian you've got to stop watching those true crime shows before bed. They are fucking with your mind man." Nick said with a laugh.
"I'm sorry for being worried! I haven't heard from either of you since last night even though I've sent like a million messages to you both. What is going on. And that kiss? What the hell possessed him to do that? I watched the video, man the shocked look on your face was priceless." Brian said chuckling.
"There's a video?" Nick felt his voice squeak and rolled his eyes at how ridiculous he sounded. Of course there was a video. The lobby had been filled with close to 50 photographers. One or more of them undoubtedly was recording the whole thing.
Nick cleared his throat and started again. "I'm fine. We're both fine. We had breakfast and then we both took a nap and now he's gone. I'm assuming we'll meet up at the arena."
Nick didn't realize his slip until it was too late. He wasn't ready to explain to anyone they were talking yet. Especially not until the two of them came to some kind of resolution or understanding between them.
"You both took a nap? As in together!?" Brian asked, unable to hid the shock in his voice.
Thinking quickly Nick responded. "No not together. I left the restaurant ahead of him and came back to the room and fell asleep. When I woke up he was asleep. I have no idea how long he'd been out for so yes we both napped but no not together."
This seemed to appease Brian's curiosity. "When are you leaning for the venue? Do you have any more Oscar performances with your husband today?" he said with a laugh.
Nick rolled his eyes. Yep, this was going to get old very quickly. "I planned on leaving in the next ten minutes. Want to ride with me? And to answer your other more invasive question, no not that I am aware of asshole." Nick had to move the phone away from his ear as the older man cackled. They made plans to meet in the lobby in fifteen minutes. Nick quickly checked around the room to make sure he had everything he needed. He was anxious for the concert to be over. He hadn't had much time to think about what he was going to say to the other man, but he was more than eager to get the conversation started.
By the time Brian and Nick got to the venue there was very little time to talk. They had to go through warm up exercises, sound check and wardrobe. The first time Nick had gotten a glimpse of the other man had been when they all met on stage for their vocal warm up. Nick felt his heart quicken as soon as he laid eyes on the other man. Kevin shot him a small smile which didn't go unnoticed by Nick. He checked quickly around to make sure no one was focused on him before he smiled back. Kevin saw and his smile few before he quickly looked away. This was the beginning of something. Nick could feel it in his bones. It may only end up being friendship, but if Nick had his way about it, it would end up being so much more.
The pre-show activity flew by in what felt like seconds and before Nick knew what was happening they were onstage. Towards the middle of the show, right before I'll Never Break Your Heart Kevin grabbed his hand backstage and pulled him towards the stage. Nick looked at him quizzically. "What's going on?
"They want us to address the crowd. Make an announcement. Since there was so much buzz this morning they want us to capitalize on it during the show. Are you alright with this."
Nick wasn't expecting this, but it was something they needed to do. He nodded and laced their fingers together, trying to only think about the task at hand and not how it felt to have Kevin's hand in his. They walked out on stage together, the noise level intensifying to a level Nick had never heard before. Suddenly he was nervous. He stumbled a bit, but Kevin was right there to lead him. Once they reached the center of the stage they turned to face the fans. Keeping their fingers laced together, Kevin lifted his mic with his other hand and addressed the crowd. Nick stood beside him trying hard to smile and make it seem like this was the best announcement in the world. In theory, if it had been real Nick knew he would have been a lot more nervous, but as it was, it was still pretend. Nick listened as Kevin reiterated the story the PR team had come up with about how they fell in love and finally decided to marry. Nick was lost in thought wondering how it would have actually felt to live out this story instead of it all being fake. He was brought out of his thoughts by Kevin pulling lightly on their hands. The crowd was louder now and they were yelling, chanting kiss, kiss, kiss over and over. Nick glanced up into Kevin's glowing green eyes and barely had a second to register what was happening before he felt the other man grab him by the back of his head and smash their lips together. He felt his knees buckle and Kevin reacted quickly by slipping his arms around him to keep him upright. He felt Kevin's tongue tracing along his lips and opened his mouth slightly. Kevin took the small opportunity to push his tongue inside, licking and sucking every inch of Nick's mouth. The fans went absolutely insane. Nick could barely hear them from the ringing in his ears. Finally, when he felt like his lungs would explode, he pulled away from the other man. He could feel how flushed his face was and his cock had already started to respond to the kiss and the other man being so close. Kevin gave him a smirk and then pulled away. He thanked the crowd for their love and support before dragging Nick off the side of the stage. The guys met them as soon as they exited with high fives and hugs. Nick avoided Brian's gaze as he quickly changed his clothes for the next set. There would be plenty of time to be interrogated later.
The rest of the show seemed to melt away. All Nick could think about was that kiss and how it would feel when they got back to their room to talk. He tried to sneak looks at Kevin the rest of the show but the other man avoided his gaze. Nick felt sick. He was sure the other man felt how aroused he had been earlier and was probably freaked out by it. Here they were on the cusp of being able to have an actual conversation and Nick couldn't keep it in his pants. Well it had stayed in his pants, but had decided it was necessary to make its attention known. He was embarrassed to say the least. He showered backstage before leaving to go back to the hotel. He didn't want to go back to the room without getting cleaned up, having no idea what he would be walking back into. He avoided the rest of the guys, showering quickly and getting his own cab instead of waiting for the bus to take them all back. There was no way he was going to let them all gang up on him asking questions until he and Kevin had a second to even begin to figure out any of the answers.
This time NIck was the first one back to the room. He had already showered and he was keyed up from the show and their kiss. He paced the room feeling like an animal trapped in a cage. If Kevin didn’t get there soon he would lose his mind. After pacing for several minutes he decided sitting out on the balcony would help calm his nerves. Deciding the cold night air was exactly what he needed, Nick grabbed a sweatshirt from his duffle bag and stepped outside. It was chilly, probably in the low 40s, but Nick was so worked up the cool air was refreshing instead of freezing. He leaned against the balcony rail and watched the view of the strip. Neon lights and sounds danced across the night sky. He usually didn’t like staying up this high, but there was something magical about staying up so high in a hotel on the strip. It made the rest of the world feel insignificant. He closed his eyes and let the air brush over his flushed skin. He heard a noise behind him and figured Kevin had returned to the room. Nick made no move to turn around, just closed his eyes as he heard the sliding glass door.
“Jeez, it’s chilly out here.” the older man mumbled. NIck heard the sliding glass door again and felt the presence of the other man leave. A second later the door opened again and he felt Kevin come up behind him. Nick glanced to his left and saw Kevin pulling a sweatshirt over his head. He joined Nick standing against the railing. They both stood in silence, both afraid to make the first move or speak too soon.
“I don’t even know what to say.” Kevin admitted quietly, his eyes still focused on the traffic down below.
“I’m not sure either. I should apologize for the role I’ve played in this. I’ve reacted out of anger too many times and said and done a lot of hurtful things to you. I never learned how to deal with hurt feelings and anger in a healthy way so instead I lashed out and got even angrier and I know I’ve hurt you in the past. I am truly sorry for everything I did to make this worse, on both of us.” Nick finally said, turning to face the older man.
At first Kevin didn’t move a muscle. Nick wondered for a moment if the other man had even been listening. Then the light caught his face and Nick could see the silent tears falling slowly down his cheeks. “Kev,” Nick said, gently placing a hand on Kevin’s shoulder. The simple touch was all it took and the raven haired man dissolved into tears. Pushing back off the rail Kevin laid his elbows against the wrought iron and placed his head on the length of his arms as the tears continued to fall. Nick hesitated for only a moment before wrapping his arms around Kevin’s waist and pulling the man into his arms. Kevin fell against him, wrapping Nick tightly against him as he cried. He just kept repeating ‘I’m Sorry’ over and over again. Nick held on tighter, trying his best not to get emotional himself and to keep them both upright.
“Let’s go back inside. I don’t want you catching a cold out here.” Nick said gently, trying to push Kevin towards the hotel room. Kevin nodded and let go of Nick to follow him back inside. Once in the warmth of the room, Nick pulled him down beside him on the couch. “What’s got you so upset?” Nick asked gently once they were settled, facing each other.
Kevin stared at his hands, twirling the simple silver band he wore on his ring finger around. “I just, I’ve loved you for so long, loved you so much, but I couldn’t. There was no way I could ever let you know. So i did a lot of stupid things to protect myself, to protect my heart from it ever getting out and in doing so I tried to convince myself I was protecting you, but that’s not true. In truth I’ve hurt you, over and over again and Nick I knew. Fuck there were times I would go back to my hotel room and cry myself to sleep because i knew i had hurt you with something i said, but I was so determined to make sure you never found out how I felt about you that nothing else mattered but protecting my secret. I’m just so damn sorry. After so much time had passed, after you were legal and at least i couldn’t be arrested for the way I felt about you, fuck by then it was too late. I had spent 5 years pushing you as far away as i could and I figured there was never any way of coming back from it. It was all so much simpler to keep moving on just as we always had instead of doing this, having this conversation and fessing up to all the horrible things I’ve done. I never wanted you to know how I felt. I never wanted you to know how weak I was. It’s been so long. I’ve been battling these feelings for you for so many years, they are just a part of me now. I regret so much that I hurt you and I can only pray that there’s a path forward for us.”
Kevin still continued to look down at his hands. This was fine with Nick, he preferred Kevin not see the tears now streaming down his own features. “I forgive you.” Nick said softly.
Kevin’s head shot up and he stared hard at the blonde. “You do?”
Nick nodded. ‘Yes, Kevin. All I have ever wanted was you in my life. If I have that chance, then the rest of the bullshit doesn’t matter to me. It’s in the past. I want to move forward.”
“I don’t know what to say.” Kevin admitted again.
Nick smiled though his tears. “Seems to be a reoccurring issue for you tonight Kev.” he teased, making the other man smile shyly. “How do you feel now Kevin?” NIck asked suddenly serious.
Kevin furrowed his eyebrows. “What do you mean?”
“I mean how do you feel about me now? You’ve said in the past you loved me and that’s how we ended up here, but what about now Kev? What are you feeling now?” Nick wanted to look into his eyes, wanted to be able to gauge his reaction when he answered, but he was embarrassed for asking the question and he couldn’t change a bad reaction so he kept his eyes securely trained on the floor.
Kevin didn’t answer at first. “I don’t want to mess this all up.” he said softly.
“You won’t. Please just tell me.” Nick glanced up and almost gasped at the look on the other man’s face.
“I love you Nicky. Rest assured I tried, I’ve tried for so many years to get over whatever it was that I feel for you, but it’s only grown stronger, deeper. I love you Nick.”
Nick knew this was one of those pinnacle moments in a person's life. He knew he had to respond very delicately. He didn’t want to scare the older man off, but he also didn’t want to lose the one chance he never thought he’d have with the other man. “I love you too.” he whispered.