“GO AWAY. I HATE YOU!!!”
“Nick, please listen…”
He got to the hotel, thinking things over and decided he would stay there instead...just in case the conversation with Nick took a turn for the worst. He also texted Nick to let him know he was staying in the area and invited him out for dinner. Once he settled into his room, Kevin took a nap until he got a text from Nick.
Would you like to come to dinner at the house? Lauren insists on having you over...hope I’m not bothering you. She says she’d rather cook for us then have us eat out. Hope that is okay.
Kevin decided this would be a perfect time to talk, Nick surely would have more time and be more comfortable at his house. He agreed and got ready to go, then took another cab to Nick’s home.
Nick’s house was in a suburban type neighborhood, vastly different from where Kevin lived in LA. It was very quiet. The house was two stories with a wrap around porch, a swing out front. It was different from the houses Nick had in the past, houses by the beach and near the party spots.
“Kevin, I’m so glad you could make it for dinner. Come on in. Nick’s in the shower.” Lauren smiled when she came to the door, a well fed pug at her feet. Kevin recognized Nick’s dog right away and the dog seemed to remember him because he was friendly.
“Hey, Nacho.” Kevin said, bending down to pet the dog. Nacho sniffed his hand and barked, wagging his tail as Lauren beamed at them.
“Nick couldn’t stop talking about you yesterday, he was so happy to see you on set. You should have stayed to watch.” Lauren said when she closed the door behind them and led Kevin towards the living room. The house was decorated, but it was very cozy and you could tell someone lived there. Pictures lined the walls along with some of the Backstreet Boys various awards that Nick had displayed. A trophy case lined one wall of the living room. Kevin looked around and took everything in. The house definitely represented that Nick had grown up.
“I didn’t want to intrude. There’s a reason I came down here, Lauren. I want to talk to him about something kind of important and I want his opinion….I felt it was better to talk in person.”
“It’s not anything serious, is it?” Lauren asked with concern.
“Oh, no. Nothing like that. Just group stuff.” Kevin laughed. They sat down in the living room on the large brown leather couch. A MTV moon man sat on the coffee table, and Kevin smiled at it. Lauren brought him a drink while he waited for Nick to finish in the bathroom.
“You and Nick have been together for a while now, haven’t you?” Kevin said after Lauren sat down on the couch across from him. She was very pretty, tall with long dark hair and blue eyes. She definitely seemed like Nick’s type. Kevin had met Lauren before, when he had gone out to dinner with the boys in Japan on the This Is Us tour. He didn't tell any of them that he kept up with what the group was doing after the night he sang with them on the Unbreakable tour. After that night he had realized how much he missed all of them, and now was as good of a time as any to come back. The guys were between albums right now and figuring out what they wanted to do.
“Yes, we have.” Lauren beamed.
“Do you think you’ll be getting married anytime soon?” Kevin asked with a hopeful smile. Lauren started blushing. Kevin liked to see that they were in love and it was so obvious that this girl was good for Nick. Judging by how things were going, they were going pretty serious between them.
“I’d love to someday, but I don’t want to rush things. You know how Nick is...he’s got a mind of his own. He’s a free spirit. I want him to be ready before we go further.” Lauren explained, looking up at the noise they heard coming towards the room.
Staring off towards the living room doorway as they heard footsteps in the hall, Kevin smiled. She had hit the nail on the head, Nick was definitely a free spirit.
“I know exactly what you mean.”
“Hey, Kev. Sorry I kept you waiting.” Nick said suddenly, walking into the room. Kevin stood up and they hugged, Nick smiling the whole time. He was wearing a grey Tampa Bay Buccaneers shirt and red sweatpants. Lauren excused herself to go check on dinner, and Nick took the empty place on the couch. He sipped at a cup of coffee.
“This is a nice house, very quiet neighborhood.” Kevin told him, suddenly feeling nervous again as he rubbed his hand across the couch cushion. He still did not even know why, but Nick seemed so happy and he didn’t want to upset him.
“We like it. It’s a good place for me, away from all the parties and toxic people. It's very peaceful here.”
"How did the video shoot go?"
"It was great. The fans had a blast, I had a blast. I can't wait for everyone to see it. It's got such a fun sexy club vibe which is what the director was going for." Nick said.
Kevin nodded and let Nick talk, going over in his head what he was going to say to Nick about returning to the group. All he had to do was start talking but he just couldn't get it out. Thankfully, Nick brought the conversation back to him.
“So what was it that you wanted to talk to me about yesterday?” Nick asked. Kevin opened his mouth to speak but Lauren appeared in the doorway.
“Dinner is ready.”
The three of them moved into the dining area, a simple room just off the kitchen with brown wood chairs and a large table. A chandelier hung over them, providing a warm glow.
“I hope you don’t mind eating here instead of going to a restaurant. Lauren has been into cooking at home these days. She’s been trying to teach me, but you know how I am at cooking. I suck.” Nick chuckled, digging into his plate and chewing softly.
“He almost burned the kitchen down.” Lauren laughed.
“I’m sure it’s delicious.” Kevin chuckled. He remembered the time Nick had tried to microwave Pop Tarts and had almost set fire to his apartment. Nick was not known for being domestic so it was a nice change to see him learning.
They ate and made small talk, mostly about how things were going with Kevin’s Broadway stint and his kids, Nick’s solo material, and their pets. They finished dinner and were about to move onto dessert, a chocolate cake Lauren had made. They were sitting around having coffee when Nick spoke again. Kevin was thankful that he didn’t have to start another round of conversation.
“So what did you want to talk to me about?” Nick asked suddenly, when Lauren excused herself to get dessert from the kitchen.
Kevin coughed, almost dropping his cup of coffee.
“Well...this is kind of hard.” he said. Nick’s eyes narrowed in concern, a million thoughts going through his mind. Kevin could tell it was going a mile a minute and almost laughed at the look of pure confusion on his face.
"Is everything okay? Nick asked.
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad. I just wanted to ask you about-“
Nick’s phone started to ring and he made a face, raising a finger to excuse himself. Kevin sighed, thinking he would never get to talk to Nick at this rate if he kept getting interrupted.
“Hi, Lori...hang on a sec, I was in the middle of dinner. Yeah...I went over those yesterday.” Nick said, mouthing that he was sorry before he got up from the table.
Kevin sighed and went back to drinking his coffee, watching Nick walk out of the room as Lauren came in carrying the cake.
“Sorry, about that...it’s his manager- Lori. Must be important.” she said as she cut Kevin and herself a slice. They could hear Nick talking from the next room, it did sound like something important. Kevin started eating just to occupy himself because he was starting to get frustrated.
“What did you want to talk to Nick about, anyway?” Lauren asked casually.
“I want to come back to the group but I wanted to talk to him first and make sure he was okay with it.” Kevin whispered as he kept an eye on the doorway. Lauren seemed happy when he mentioned this and it made him feel a bit less nervous.
“I’m sure he would be really happy, he always tells me how much he misses you and how he misses how the group used to be. When I told him to invite you to dinner he was so excited. Practically beaming. I’m sure he would love you to come back.”
“I just hope you’re right about that.” Kevin muttered as he looked at the doorway where Nick was still talking...hoping he would get to talk to him soon without any more interruptions.