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Chapter 39

She stood at the counter, waiting for someone, anyone to come up. She hated when it was slow like this. Everything was finished. There were too many people on and not enough stuff to do. Grabbing a cloth, she started wiping the counters down for the third time. It didn’t matter how much you cleaned; it only took a few minutes for the counters, slicers and scales to get dirty again. It was like fighting a never-ending battle.

Veronica looked at the clock for what had to be the one-hundredth time that hour, she was anxious and couldn’t focus. She wanted to get home and check her email. Unfortunately she still had three and a half hours left of her shift, and the rate the day was going, time was going to go by real slow. Groaning, she tossed the cloth down and headed over to the edge of the counter, checking the to do list to see if there was anything else that had been added or that she could do.


“Veronica? What are you working on?” Shelly asked as she made her way into the department.

“Well I was cleaning the slicers and stuff down, but I finished that. There’s nothing left on the list for us to do, all that’s left is for the evening crew.”

“Are the temps all caught up?”

“Yup, not due again until one thirty.”

“Do you wanna leave early so you don’t have to take a lunch?”

Veronica was sure heavens bells rang just then.

“Yeah, sure!”

“Ok, you can either go now or wait till about twenty five after.”

“I’ll wait.”

“Ok, just let me know before you go.”

Veronica nodded, grinning brightly. Yes! She loved when she was able to go home early, it didn’t happen often, but when the chance arose, she took it. Now she had just twenty-five minutes left. Feeling newly recharged; she grabbed the cloth again and started wiping the slicers down again. She did have a little shopping she had to do before she made her way home though. Tossing the cloth down, she tore off a sheet of paper from the pad on the counter and jotted down a quick list so she wouldn’t forget anything. Maybe she’d pick up a movie to watch later. Normally she didn’t like to rent movies on days she had to go to work the next day, but she’d be bored this evening, it was a Friday night and she had nothing to do.

Twenty five minutes later, after letting her manager know, Veronica punched out and grabbed a basket and started gathering up the few things on her list. When she’d gathered everything on her list, she headed over to the book section. After going through various titles, she picked out two then made her way over to the magazine display. Looking the various magazines over, grabbing another with Nick on the cover, opening to the index, she found the page number with the article about him and started reading. She grinned, turning the page to find a small pull out poster of him, staring intently at it. She really had to stop this. Sighing softly, she looked up quickly then back down and stilled, slowly lifting her gaze again.


She clutched the magazine tightly in her hands, looking back down.

Please god; please don’t let him look over here!

Was there a smooth way she could toss the magazine down and leave without him seeing her? The problem was, she really wanted the magazine, that one and a few others she’d seen. Veronica looked down at the words on the magazine, but they all started to blur together, she couldn’t concentrate as he slowly moved closer to her in the aisle, the familiar scent of his cologne filling the air. She stared hard at a small picture of Nick, her heart pounding rapidly, her hands becoming cold and clammy.


Oh no…oh god.

She slowly looked up, her mouth having gone totally dry.

“It is you! Hey!”

Veronica smiled weakly, closing the now crumpled, damp magazine and quickly tossed it down, turning to face him.

“Hey James, how are you?”

“Pretty good, how bout you?” He asked, reaching out to grab another magazine.

Veronica took the moment to grab a random magazine, and open it to a page.

“I’m alright, getting ready to head home, Shelly let me go early.”


“Yeah, it’s pretty slow today, and everything is done, well everything the morning crew could do so…”

“Well that’s cool, that’ll help for tonight. Whatcha readin’?”

She really wished she’d looked at what she’d grabbed, and most of all, what page she’d turned to. Holding the magazine out so he could see, she watched as his eyes widened a bit, a smirk suddenly forming on his lips.

“Very interesting.”

Slowly she brought her gaze down to the page, her eyes widening at the bold words splashed across the page:

“10 Tips for Hot Sex In and Out of Bed!”

Veronica flipped the magazine closed, Cosmopolitan. She could feel her face burning as she slowly lifted her gaze to his.

“I guess you can never know too much where that’s concerned huh?” James chuckled.

“Nope, I guess not.”

Why was she still standing there?

“Well, enjoy your magazine,” James said suddenly, putting the magazine he had away. “I’ve got to go punch in.”

Veronica just now realized he was in uniform.

“Ok, so I’ll see you later then?”

James smiled, “Of course you will. Bye!”


Veronica watched as he sauntered off and tossed the magazine down, fighting back the urge to cry. Just her luck, now he probably thought she was some kind of sexpot or something. Sexpot? Who was she kidding, all anyone had to do was look at her to know that wasn’t the case. Rubbing at her eyes, she grabbed the other magazine with Nick on the cover and a few others and hurried out the aisle, leaving the Cosmo where she’d left it.


She stuffed the bags into the bag holder on the handle of the closet and grabbed the magazines, heading over to the couch. Smiling, she grabbed the Cosmo that had come in the mail along with the other magazines and tossed them down. Yeah, she really was a pervert.

Headed into her room, turning her computer on and booting it up. Making her way back into the other room, she grabbed the magazines again and decided to just read them in her room. Slumping down on her bed, she thought about the incident at work and sighed. How would she be able to look at James again? He probably went and told everyone there that she was some pervert. No, he wouldn’t do that…would he?

Veronica grabbed one of the magazines and started flipping through it, trying to act like she hadn’t bought it because of Nick. She skimmed the articles, pretending to read. She stopped when she came across the page with a small interview with him. Reading it quickly, she sighed, closing the magazine. If only she knew.

Standing, she made her way over to her computer sitting and then signing on and then heading to her email. After she logged in she clicked on her inbox, her heart pounding. She really shouldn’t get too excited; he was busy, not like he’d just answer her right away or anything. It had been a day or so, so she figured it was still too early yet. Taking a deep breath, she scrolled down, an email from an online friend and then…her heart dropped.

He responded.

Biting her lip, she deleted all the junk mail first, saving the email from Nick and friend, for last. She clicked on her friends email first, she’d met Erin a few years ago through a mutual friend, they were both big Backstreet fans and it’d just grown from there. Even though Erin lived in a different state, they were still as close as if they lived in the same town. She read through the email and responded, letting her know she’d be on to IM her later that evening after dinner. She had yet to tell her about Nick, she’d told Carla and Lynne, but that was it. Veronica didn’t know why she’d hesitated so long, if anyone would believe her, it’d be Erin, maybe that’s why she wanted to be almost positive before she told her.

Heading back to her inbox after sending the email, she clicked on Nick’s email and scrolled down to read after it loaded.

Date: Fri, Nov 7 2004 16:15:40 -0700 (EST)
From: chucktaylor11@aol.com
Subject: Re: Me again
To: freesialover@yahoo.com


Nah, I don’t mind at all that you wrote me twice, it makes me feel loved! ;o) Feel free to write me anytime, I don’t mind.

Not much going on with me. Had to do some things with the guys and all and actually, I just got home, was out with some friends last night, went to some clubs and shit. So it’s pretty early in the morning, I thought I’d write you before I went to bed. Don’t be surprised if from now I only respond late at night, it’s the only time I have a chance to be on really and it’s when I do most of my internet stuff unless I have a day off or whatever.

I hate working weekends too. I miss havin my days and nights free to do whatever I want too. Its not always about doin shit ya know? Just kinda hanging out and chillin’ even if that means bein at home or whatever.

He got it, he understood. It was nice to know she wasn’t the only one who felt that one didn’t always have to go out somewhere to have fun.

Heh, I bet customers aren’t always right. I’ve never had to deal with people in that sense, but I can imagine that it’s pretty frustratin. Ive been in lines and stuff before in stores and I tell ya, the way they talk to the workers sometimes, it just aint right. I feel bad for you guys cause ya gotta take it. I don’t think I could do that, I’d have to like, say something or whatever.

No one knew how hard it was to put up with irate customers who had no problem with putting you down and yelling at you, how degrading it was when you had to stand there and take it day after day.

Ya know, sometimes I do feel like Im bein taken advantage of, there was a time in my life when I was taken advantage of, I just didn’t know it. I guess I trust too easy. Its hard tho cause ya trust people, people that you think would never in a million years hurt ya and then…

Veronica had a feeling who he meant here.

I dunno if anyone ever realizes their true potentional. Like, I’ve met tons of people from all around the world, and they tell me all the things they wanna do, but how there’s people or situations holding them back and they just give up, and it pisses me off ya know? Ya gotta keep at it, I know it’s hard, believe me. But ya gotta keep trying. You know what you wanna do, then go for it, keep tryin don’t let anyone tell you different. You can do it. And no, I don’t think you’re a wimp. Its hard to start something new, something you’re not familiar with, it’s hard to go out there exposed, but ya just gotta try. I always get scared when I do something new, like when I did my solo album, I was fucked up. Nervous as hell that I’d fail and that fans wouldn’t like it n all, but I did it and I’m glad I did.

She could only imagine what it was like to go through telling everyone that he was gonna do a solo album and to hear their responses. Then to worry how it’d do and if fans would like it. She was glad she didn’t have to deal with it. Veronica smiled; he was awfully passionate about it. She had to admit, after she’d sent it, she regretted it. Not that she didn’t want to tell him, but that she feared she’d bored him, that he wouldn’t want to hear it, that he wouldn’t care. That most certainly didn’t seem to be the case.

When other people have opinions about the things you do or want to do, it can make it seem impossible, I feel that. But it’s their opinion ya know? If they don’t support you, screw them, it’s your life, not theirs.

Aight girl I’m gonna head out, sleepy. I hope to hear from you soon.



PS. Oh by the way, what is freesia?

Veronica grinned at the last part. He’d never heard of Freesia? Chuckling, she hit the reply button and responded. After sending the email, she went to the usual places to check things out. Stopping at one site, she saw that there were recent pictures of Nick, from last night at a club with a woman. Curious she clicked on the link, her eyes widening as the page loaded,

“Nick Carter & friend 11/6/03”

She narrowed her eyes as the pictures started loading. Hovering over one of the pictures, she read the caption,

Late Thursday evening Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys was seen coming out of a club with an unidentified woman. The two appeared to be very close as they slid into a white SUV and took off.

Smiling a bit, Veronica went to close out when suddenly it hit her. In the email Nick had sent this morning, he’d said that he’d been out all night with some friends at a club. She stared hard at the screen.

It really was him.