The moment that Alyssa stepped backstage she felt a strange sense of deja vu wash over her as she was met with the general after show chaos. Even though this was a different tour in a completely different year, the scene that lay before her could very well have taken place during the year she toured with the guys on the Black and Blue tour. Crew members swarmed the area, hurriedly trying to pack everything up, yet there was still that congratulatory feeling in the air. It had been a good show that had went smoothly, so everyone involved with it had reason to feel accomplished and be excited.
"We just missed the guys," Izzy explained as she hung up her cell phone. "I just called Kevin and they're all in the dressing room getting changed. He said he'll be out in as soon as he's done and then he'll see if the other guys want to come over to the apartment for a while."
"Sounds like a plan," Alyssa replied in a far off voice. Naturally her mind was on other things. Mainly Nick. The anticipation of seeing him again was killing her and being backstage after a show like this... Well, it just felt way too familiar. Just being there amongst all the
chaos, filled her head with memories of much happier times, such as after her first show with the guys. With all the noise and bustle around her, it was so easy for her to just imagine that it was a few years earlier and she and Nick had just gotten off stage. Now that the memory was there, Alyssa found it impossible to extinguish it from her mind.
"You did it baby!" Nick exclaimed as he rushed towards her the minute he spotted her. Throwing his arms around her petite body in a tight bear hug, he lifted her off the ground and twirled her around in the air, as he kissed her. "You did an amazing job! I knew you'd kick ass!" It was quite apparent from the excited glint in his eyes, that he was still on an adrenaline high from the performance.
"Thanks," Alyssa answered as he set her back down on her feet, a huge grin of accomplishment on her face. She had done it! Despite her initial nervousness, she'd given the first show everything that she had and knowing that fact she had honestly felt like she was on top of the world. "I was really nervous before. I thought I was going to throw up, but once I got onstage I didn't have time to be nervous anymore," she admitted.
"The first show is always the hardest. The rest of them will be a breeze now," Nick assured her. "You really were awesome up there. In fact, I couldn't keep my eyes off of you the whole show," he confessed with a smirk.
"Really?" she asked him with a grin. She had thought that she had felt his eyes on her throughout the performance, but had been afraid to double check because she was sure if she did that she would definitely have screwed up. "And?"
"And what?" he innocently asked.
"What did you think?"
"Hmm..." Nick pursed his lips as if he was deep in thought. "Well, first I thought that you were the sexiest girl on that stage and how lucky I was that you're all mine."
"Keep talking," Alyssa urged as she leaned her back up against the wall behind her.
"And then I realized how proud I was of you. I know that originally you didn't want to audition to be a dancer and I kind of pushed you. I also realize that you were getting a lot of shit from the other girls, but I knew that you'd show them that you have every right to be on that stage as they do, and you did. I knew you could do it. I had faith in you."
Alyssa could feel herself begin to blush with his compliments. This was doing wonders for her self-esteem. "Thank you for believing in me. And thanks for the flowers too."
"Flowers? What flowers?" Nick asked, pretending not to know what she was talking about.
"The dozen red roses that appeared in the dancers dressing room addressed to me from my 'biggest fan,'" she reminded him.
"I didn't send you any roses," he told her as he tried to keep a straight face.
"Bullshit. That's why you can't even tell me that with a straight face."
"Okay. So I was the one who sent you the flowers," he admitted. "I was trying to be romantic."
"Well, it was a very thoughtful gesture," Alyssa thanked him as she reached up to kiss him. "You're covered in sweat. You need a shower," she told him with a giggle as she pulled away from his lips.
"You could use one too. You worked up quite a sweat tonight yourself," Nick pointed out. "If you want, you can join me."
"Now that sounds like a very tempting offer," she answered as she leaned back against the wall and drew him nearer for another kiss. Within moments, the kiss grew deeper, and soon Alyssa completely forgot that she was backstage and that there were various people surrounding them running in a million different directions. The only two people that seemed to exist just then were her and Nick.
It wasn't until they heard a familiar cough behind them that they sprang apart. "I understand that the two of you can't keep your hands off of each other, but can't it wait until we get back to the hotel?" AJ asked, looking slightly disgusted.
"I better go get changed," Nick told her as he pulled away.
"Yea, me too," Alyssa agreed, slightly embarrassed at AJ's interruption. "I'll see you back at the hotel?"
"Yea," Nick agreed with a smirk. "Keep the shower running for me."
That had been a good night. A very good night, Alyssa thought to herself with a grin. In all seriousness, it had been at a point in their relationship where the two of them had actually been happy and almost like any other couple. They had been through a lot together before then, but they had been able to overcome any obstacle in their way in the end, What happened? she wondered.
She was forced back into reality as soon as she saw Kevin approach them from down the hallway. "How did you guys enjoy the show?"
"You were awesome!" Izzy exclaimed as she threw her arms around her cousin. "I loved it!"
"Yea, you guys were really impressive," Alyssa told him as it slowly sunk in that this was not the Black and Blue tour and her and Nick were no longer a couple.
"Thanks. The rest of the guys should be out in a few minutes. They all want to see how you liked the show. Then I'll see what everyone is doing and we'll make arrangements to go to your apartment Izzy," Kevin explained.
"Great! I really hope everyone comes. I want to show off my humble new abode," she said wishfully.
Oh my God... In a few minutes Nick will be here, right in front of me and we'll have to make polite awkward conversation in front of a whole crowd of people and it'll be totally humiliating, Alyssa realized as her pulse quickened. Suddenly the backstage area seemed even more crowded and she began to feel as if the walls were closing in on her. A wave of dizziness washed over her and she knew that she needed to get out of there now.
"Are you okay Alyssa?" Izzy asked, noticing how pale her friend had seemed to turn.
"I think I just need some air. I'll be right back," she promised as she excused herself and stumbled out the stage door into the crisp night air.
You're such a chicken bitch, Alyssa, she told herself as she laid her head against the cool brick wall of the building. Tears of frustration stung her eyes. This was her one opportunity to see Nick again and here she was panicking and running away. Maybe we weren't meant to meet again, she told herself. Maybe it's for the best that we don't see each other.
She looked up at the New York City sky and wiped the tears from her eyes. The night had cooled down considerably from that afternoon, yet it was still pretty warm out. Despite the temperature Alyssa felt cold and found herself hugging her body for warmth. Thankfully enough only a few fans lingered around the stage door and when they saw no sign of any Backstreet Boys they quickly gave up assuming that they had already left. Alyssa was glad that none of them tried to approach her. After her one fan encounter earlier, she was unsure if she could handle another one.
Alyssa was so deep in her self depreciating thoughts that she didn't even notice the stage door open and another figure join her outside. She almost jumped a mile when she heard a voice call out, "Hey you!"
Great, just what I need. I just want to be left along, she thought angrily to herself. Go away.
"Do you have a lighter?"
Alyssa's heart caught in her throat. She had been so wrapped up in her thoughts that she hadn't recognized the voice at first, but now it was clear as day to her. That voice was so familiar for her yet painful to hear. Swallowing hard to make sure there were no more tears in her eyes, she slowly turned herself towards it.
Standing right in front of her, only feet away was Nick with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his lip. The moment she turned around his face immediately paled and it was evident that he immediately recognized her. "Alyssa?" he asked, removing the cigarette from his mouth after a few moments of stunned silence.
"Nick," she answered, realizing how dumb it must've sounded as soon as the word left her mouth.
"Wow, I'm sorry I didn't recognize you. I only saw the back of your head and your hair is darker now," he stumbled about his words.
"It's okay," she said with a tight smile. "No, I don't have a lighter. I don't smoke and neither did you last time I checked."
Nick just shrugged. "I started after we... yea," he trailed off as he fought for something to say. "I heard that you were here tonight. AJ told me right before we went on stage."
"Yea. Izzy convinced me to come to see you guys and I wanted to see all of you, so I decided what the hell. We dropped by earlier, but you weren't around," she explained.
"Yea. I went out to get something to eat with some friends," he informed her. "By the time I got back you were probably seated already. So, did you like the show?"
"I did. It was really impressive. You guys have matured as a group so much." The whole conversation was so politely awkward Alyssa wanted to die. If someone were to observe the scene between them just then, they would ever be able to tell that the two of them were the same two people that Alyssa had remembered then being only a few minutes earlier. How can two people go from that to barely being able to talk to each other? she wondered.
"Thanks. I uhmm thought I spotted you while I was onstage for a second there, but I'm not sure," he admitted.
Maybe we really had eye contact earlier on, Alyssa thought to herself. "I didn't know you could play the guitar, so well," she told him, fighting to continue the conversation.
"Thanks. I started playing while I was working on my solo album and now I try to play at least a few songs during the show. Just so that people can't say I don't know how to play any real instruments because I'm in a boy band."
The conversation hit a lull there and the two stood there awkwardly for a moment not sure what to say next. This is pathetic, Alyssa told herself, as she decided to take the initiative. "Are you doing anything tonight?" she asked, wincing as she realized how much it sounded as if she was asking him out on a date. "Because Izzy is having all the guys over at her apartment and she wasn't sure if you had plans or anything, but she'd like you to drop by," she added, so that it didn't sound as if she wanted or cared if he came or not.
"Nothing solid. I was probably just going out to a club, with some friends, but I can get out of it," Nick told her. "I haven't seen Izzy in a while actually."
"Really?" Izzy hadn't mentioned that before, but then she had remembered Izzy's insulted tone earlier that day. "That is if he even decides to come. He may have other plans." Maybe there was more to that story than Alyssa realized.
"Yea. Tell Izzy I'll be there." He looked up then and realized that a small group of fans had spotted him and had assembled patiently to wait for an autograph. "I guess I better go over there and do the fan thing. Maybe one of them has a lighter. I'll see you later at Izzy's?"
Alyssa just nodded. "We can talk more later," he promised as he stepped towards her and gave her an awkward hug. Sadly, she realized that the warmth that had always been in his embrace had seemingly disappeared.