“Are you okay, babe?”
“Yeah, I’m just looking at flights to Nashville.”
She smiled at him and kissed him on the cheek, draping her arms around his neck from behind him.
“You’re thinking about surprising Nick, aren’t you?”
Kevin kissed her back and continued his computer search. She had a way of knowing what he was thinking even without him telling her.
“I read that he’s filming his music video and I was thinking of popping in to say hello since he’s been too busy to answer my texts.”
Kevin had been secretly watching Nick’s twitter page, noticing that Nick had made an announcement that he was looking for fans to be a part of the music video. He figured this was as good of a time as any to talk to him, he’d rather be face to face and these days Nick was never in LA unless the group was doing something together. He eventually booked the flight and the next thing he knew he was packing a carry on to fly to Nashville, Tennessee. Nick had been living in Tennessee for a few years, since he’d decided getting out of LA was better for his sobriety and personal health. Kevin was very impressed at how serious Nick was about his health now but a big part was owed to his girlfriend Lauren Kitt. Lauren and Nick had been seeing each other for a couple of years and Nick seemed happy. Lauren turned a lot of things around for Nick and being healthy was one of them as she was into fitness.
“Hi, Lauren.” Kevin said when she picked him up at the airport. He was happy that Lauren had offered to pick him up when he told her he was coming. He had decided not to tell Nick ahead of time he was visiting and kept it a surprise. Lauren was happy to play along.
“It’s so good to see you.” Lauren said, hugging him. Kevin looked around for Nick, not that he expected him to be there.
“Nick didn’t come.”
“He’s on set at the shoot but I can bring you by there if you want. I was going to go there anyway. He’s filming for Burning Up. He’ll be so happy to see you. Does he know you’re coming?” Lauren asked. Kevin coughed, watching the trees outside of the window. He’d never told Nick he was coming because he wanted it to be a surprise but he had texted Lauren because he figured he could surprise him at home before the video shoot. However, this would be great too. On a video set Nick was less likely to be moody because he was working.
“No, he doesn’t know I am coming, but I want to talk to him because I had something important to talk about and I didn’t want to do it on the phone.” Kevin replied. They pulled into the parking lot of where the video shoot was and sat in the car for a few minutes, Kevin looking nervous. He wasn’t even sure why. All he was going to do was
discuss coming back to the group. How hard could it be?
“Nick, please don’t be mad. I’m doing what is best for me right now. I thought you would understand.”
“I HATE YOU!!! GET AWAY FROM ME, KEVIN. DON’T EVER TALK TO ME AGAIN!”
“Kevin?” Lauren said suddenly, as Nick’s voice echoed in his head. He shook it away and smiled at her. She was looking at him in concern and he smiled to reassure her.
“Sorry. I was just thinking.”
“You’re nervous, aren’t you?” Lauren asked in surprise.
As much as he didnt want to admit it, he was nervous. He hadn’t seen Nick in a while or talked to him since they’d spoken briefly on the phone once about his solo music and he hoped this would go well, because it would make or break him coming back to the group. He didn’t know what he was going to do if Nick reacted poorly to his visit, because he was not expecting to be welcomed with open arms.
“You won’t know unless you go in. I’ll go first if it would make you feel better, and you can follow me.” Lauren offered. Kevin was happy she was so thoughtful.
After sitting in the car for a few moments, Kevin finally got the nerve to get out of the car and head into the building where he saw people setting up for filming. It looked like a club scene, with many extras. Nobody seemed to notice him because it was dark inside and Kevin was thankful for that.
Kevin heard Nick greet Lauren a couple doors away. He sounded like he was in a good mood as he kissed his girlfriend and they talked for a moment. Kevin let him talk to her for a bit before he decided to stand in the doorway.
Nick looked good, Kevin knew about his continued weight loss since he had been keeping up with things. He'd visited then once on the Unbreakable tour and had told him how proud of him he was. Nick's hair was spiked up and he wore a white shirt with black pants. A striped tie was draped around his neck, not tied properly but just dangling. It took him several moments before he noticed Kevin in the doorway watching Lauren help him tie his tie. When he finally did, his eyes opened wide.
Nick’s angry voice echoed in his head and he kept thinking about that fight. He suddenly envisioned Nick getting angry and throwing him out, Lauren holding him back as he swung at him. This image was destroyed by Nick hugging him and shaking his hand.
“Hey, this is a surprise! It’s so good to see you, buddy.” Nick said with a big smile. Kevin felt a wave of relief wash over him but he was still very cautious.
“It’s good to see you too. I hope you don’t mind me dropping in but this was kind of a spontaneous decision.” Kevin smiled back. Nick continued talking while Lauren helped him tie his tie.
“Really? How did you even know I was here? Sorry about not answering your texts the other day, dude. I was in a meeting and forgot to reply.”
"It's okay. I happened to read that you were going to be shooting a video here so I decided to drop by." Kevin laughed, he was definitely relieved that Nick seemed happy to see him. Nick waved his hand to a chair as he got ready for the shoot and they started talking about all kinds of things. They talked about Lauren, and Kevin’s wife and kids. Nick started to ask about Masons birthday party.
“Kris missed you at the barbecue, I know you were busy but we would have loved to have you there.” Kevin pointed out. Kristen had told Kevin to send him her love as well. Nick and his wife had always gotten along and Kevin was happy that things had not turned out like they had with Brian and his wife with Nick. It was not a secret that Nick didn’t care for her, he was never subtle about it.
“Tell her I said sorry about that. Was doing promo for the album. You know how it gets. Things have been going really good. I’m sorry I missed the birthday party. How is the little guy doing?” Nick replied. He sat across from Kevin and drank out of a bottle of water that was sitting next to him.
“Mason is doing great, thanks. Everything’s great.”
The conversation continued but Kevin couldn’t bring up the question just yet. He didn't know how to even begin.
“Okay, so are we going to keep making small talk, or did you come here for a reason? Because you’ve never come to visit me unless it was something serious going on.”
Kevin almost laughed because Nick was more intuitive than he took him for and he was constantly forgetting that. He had forgotten all of the boys were that way, because everyone seemed to know what he wanted to discuss before he started to discuss it.
“Okay, little man...you caught me.” Kevin said, a small smile playing at his lips.
“I haven’t heard that name in a while, Kev. I miss you.” Nick said.
“You’ll always be my little man.” Kevin replied wistfully. A flash of the 11 year old boy he knew when he first joined Backstreet flashed before his eyes and he smiled.
“Hi, I’m Nick.” the teenager said with a big, toothy grin. Kevin hadn't expected to see such a young kid there.
“Kevin.” he said, holding out his hand.
They smiled at each other and Kevin cleared his throat.
“Nick, the reason I came here was because….”
Suddenly a woman came into the room, wearing a simple shirt and jeans. Kevin sighed. It was his manager, Lori.
“They’re ready for you on set, Nick.”
“Sure thing, I’m coming now.” Nick said. He shrugged apologetically.
Nick finished getting ready and Kevin knew they weren’t going to finish their conversation. This was not the way he hoped things would go and if Nick was so busy, would he ever have time to talk?”
“You can hang out if you like, and watch the shoot.” Nick offered as somewhat of an apology,
“I’ll just go back to the hotel and take a nap. Maybe we can try tomorrow?” Kevin said, shaking his head. Nick looked slightly disappointed.
With that, he walked out of the dressing room and left Kevin to his thoughts.