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Author's Chapter Notes:
The day of the concert arrives. Alyssa's apprehension about seeing Nick again grows.

Chapter 5

     "Ugh!" Alyssa cried in frustration as she caught sight of herself in her bedroom mirror. This had to have been about the 25th outfit that she had tried on and she still couldn't seem to find anything that suited her purpose. Practically her entire wardrobe lay sprawled out on her bed. This shouldn't be so hard to find an outfit to wear to a concert.

     Of course it's not at any old concert that you're bound to bump into your old boyfriend,
she reasoned to herself. She wanted to look hot, but not so much to impress Nick as to make him feel stupid for dumping her in the first place.  She also didn't want to go completely skank because she figured that there would already be enough girls with their boobs pouring out of their shirts there anyway. On the other hand though, she didn't want to go looking like had just randomly picked the closest thing off the floor either. Bad enough, the day was well into the 90's, probably the hottest day New York City had seen all summer, making her decision even more difficult. Of course by nighttime it would cool down considerably and they would be mostly inside in air conditioning.

     Finally, after much consideration she selected a pair of strategically ripped jeans and a black ribbed tank top that had brown and gold splotches painted all over it with a white tank top layered underneath. She paired the outfit with a pair on black pointy toed pumps. Perfect, she thought to herself. Just the look I was going for. She spent the next hour or so running her flat iron through her hair to straighten it and applying her makeup with careful precision.
     She was just completing one final sweep with her mascara when her phone rang. "I'm coming!" she called as she ran towards her phone. "Hello?"

     "Are you almost ready?" Izzy's agitated voice asked on the other line. "Tristan and I have been waiting for you to call for over half an hour now."

     The plan had been that Alyssa was supposed to call Izzy before she left and they were going to meet at Izzy and Tristan's apartment before preceding to Radio City together. "I know. I'm sorry," she apologized. "I'm just about to leave now actually. I didn't know what to wear."

     She could practically hear Izzy rolling her eyes on the other end of the phone. "Okay, well hurry up. At this rate we might just make it for the last song," was her sarcastic reply.

     "Oh, stop being so melodramatic Iz! I'll see you in a few," Alyssa assured her before hanging up the phone. With one final glance at her reflection in the mirror a sort of nervous/excited energy began to fill her body. She was totally unsure of just how the night would play out, but either way it was bound to be interesting. One question though, am I really prepared to see him again? she asked herself for the one billionth time before tearing herself away from the mirror and leaving for Izzy's.


     By the time the cab that held Alyssa, Izzy, and Tristan pulled up alongside the side entrance to Radio City Music Hall, Alyssa's stomach was completely in knots. As she gazed towards the building in front of her the realization that Nick was most probably in that building at that exact moment finally hit her and she had to take a deep breath in order to calm her nerves.

     "Thanks," Izzy told the cab driver as she handed him a few bills for their cab fare. "Wow, look at all the fans around here!" she remarked as she got out and looked around.

     As Alyssa climbed out of the cab after Tristan, she realized that Izzy was right. The side entrance had been blocked off with barricades, but fans swamped the area anxious to see if they could catch a glimpse of their favorite Backstreet Boy.

     And they weren't disappointed. Just then the stage door opened and AJ McLean appeared wearing a jeans, a yellow t-shirt, and of course his signature sunglasses. Despite the heat and the fact that it was the middle of July, he was wearing a black beanie over his head. He lit up a cigarette and inhaled while fans eagerly snapped pictures. Alyssa's eyes almost filled up with tears at the sight of him again. If I'm this emotional seeing AJ, how am I going to be around Nick? she wondered.

     "Let's go over and say hi to AJ," Izzy suggested as she lead the way across the street and over to the barricades. She inched her way towards the corner and waved her hand to get AJ's attention. With all the fans around, Alyssa wondered if AJ would even notice them. Finally he looked over in their direction and his eyes lit up. He turned and said something to the man standing next to him, who Alyssa assumed was a bodyguard. Within moments the man headed over to their direction and opened up the barricades enough to let the three of them through.

     "Izzy! How are you sweetie?" AJ asked as they approached him and enveloped her in a hug. "I heard that you were coming tonight. How do you like New York?"

     "I love it!" she answered enthusiastically.

     It was at that moment that AJ spotted Alyssa who had kind of been shyly hanging back behind Izzy and Tristan. "Am I seeing things or is that Alyssa hiding back there?" he asked in disbelief as he lowered his sunglasses to take a second look.

     "Ding ding. You're correct. It's me," she replied with a smile. "How are you AJ?"

     "Shocked to see you," he honestly replied as he wrapped her in a bear hug. "You didn't tell me you were bringing her along," he scolded Izzy.

     "I wanted to surprise everyone," Izzy told him matter of factually.

     "You look great," AJ said, turning his focus back on Alyssa again. "What brings you to New York City?"

     "I live here now," she explained. "Izzy and I met up for lunch last week and I was saying how I missed all you guys and she asked me if I wanted to come to the concert tonight, so here I am."

     "Well, I'm happy to see you. Did your sister come too?" he asked looking over Alyssa's shoulder to see if maybe she was hiding as well.

     "No, uhmm she's living in New Jersey now. She's married," she said carefully, knowing that the information would probably hurt AJ.

     "Oh," he answered, looking quite caught off guard and not sure how to act. "Well, we're doing some shows in Jersey, maybe you could convince her and her husband to stop by. It'd be great to see her," he rambled, obviously trying to conceal his shock.

     "I'll try," she told him, not wanting to hurt his feelings any more than she already had. It would be best to just change the topic. "So Izzy tells me its almost been three years since you've been sober."

     "Yea," he proudly beamed. "I'm taking it one day at a time, but I think I've won. I have no desire to drink or anything anymore."

     "I'm so proud of you," she sincerely told him as she gave him another hug. "I told Izzy that I really wanted to see you face to face again, so that I could tell you that."

     "Thank you. That really means a lot to me to hear you say that Alyssa," he answered.

     "So what are the other guys up to right now?" Izzy interrupted.

     "Not much. We're all backstage chilling except Nick. He left a little while ago to get food or something. He'll probably be back like ten minutes before we're ready to go on and drive Kevin absolutely ape shit," AJ reported. "I think they're actually going to open doors in a few."

     Alyssa sighed, half relieved and half disappointed. If she and Nick were going to have an encounter, it would have to wait until after the show. She wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

     "I need to get back inside and start getting ready, but why don't you guys come backstage for a few and just say hello to everyone else before you go to your seats?" he continued as he finished up his cigarette.

     "That sounds like a good idea," Izzy agreed as they followed him back inside the stage door.


     Close to an hour or so later, Izzy, Tristan, and Alyssa finally made their way towards their seats. They wound up sitting in about the sixth or seventh row. Close enough for me to get a good view of Nick, but far enough for him not to notice me, Alyssa thought as she made herself comfortable. The three of them had spent some time backstage with the rest of the whole gang and everyone had seemed genuinely surprised yet happy to see Alyssa. It almost felt like old times, minus the fact that Nick was missing. How convenient was it that we managed to miss each other? she wondered to herself.

     Beside her Tristan and Izzy appeared to have forgotten all about her. The pair was huddled together, whispering something between the two of them. They're probably having one of those lovey dovey moments that make me want to vomit, she thought dryly. Just then Izzy popped her head back up and turned back towards Alyssa. "Tristan and I were just saying that after the concert we should invite everyone back to our apartment. We haven't had our first official company yet and I know that everyone wants to see the place. You'll come won't you?"

     Okay, so maybe I was wrong about the lovey dovey stuff. Alyssa really wasn't sure if she wanted to go back to Izzy's apartment. It was a huge step that she was just here never mind actually hanging out with her ex-boyfriend and his friends. "I don't know Iz. Don't you think it'll be awkward?"

     "Nonsense! They'll be enough people there to separate you and Nick if it comes down to that. That is if he even decides to come. He may have other plans," she said sounding slightly insulted. "I'm not taking no for an answer. You're going."

     Alyssa sighed in defeat knowing that there was no use in arguing. She was about to try to protest one more time when the group of fans sitting in front of then turned around and interrupted them? "You're Kevin's cousin Isabelle, right?" one of them asked Izzy.

     Izzy immediately plastered on what Alyssa like to call her "meeting the public" grin that she had obviously picked up from her experience in the public relations field. "Yes, that's me. How are you?"

     "We're just excited to see the guys perform. And how awesome is it that we get to sit right by you?" she replied.

     Alyssa tuned out for a while while the group of girls asked Izzy various questions about the guys. Then Izzy introduced them to Tristan and made a point of letting them know that he was working on an album and made them promise to check it out when it was released. Alyssa was just beginning to hope that she could sit there inconspicuously until she felt the gaze of one of the girls on her.

     "Isn't your name Alyssa?" the girl asked suspiciously.

     "Yes, it is," she answered a little shakily. She'd forgotten that in the world of Backstreet no one ever forgot a face.

     "You used to date Nick, didn't you?" the girl continued.

     "Used to," she admitted. Talk about awkward moments. Can it get any worse?

     "I thought you looked familiar! You used to dance with them on the Black and Blue tour. I was actually at the concert where Nick asked you to marry him. It was so sweet, I started crying myself. Why did you guys decide to end things anyway?"

     It just got worse. Alyssa was sure that the girl probably was just too excited to realize how personal she was getting and she didn't want to sound rude, but quite frankly she really did not feel like she should have to explain the complexities of her past relationship with Nick to a random fan who would probably have the whole story posted on the message boards by tomorrow morning. "Can you excuse me for a second? I need to go to the ladies room," she muttered as she slipped away without even waiting for a response.

     As she was walking away she could hear the girl apologizing to Izzy. "I'm so sorry. That was uncalled for. I didn't mean to upset her."

     I'll just let Izzy smooth over the conversation using her lovely PR skills. She'll explain everything in a way that I can't, Alyssa decided as she headed towards the ladies room.