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After Kirsten left that evening, Ames took me into her room and asked if we could talk. I had to laugh at her because she knew that we could always talk when she needed to.

"J, I just wanted to tell you that you need to be careful." She said solemnly.

"Why’s that?" I asked her, confused.

"Just some advice, I don’t think that you and Nick should take your relationship public for a while. I mean, seriously, a LOT of people will be fighting and putting pressure on whatever the two of you have, and I don’t want you to get hurt again. I mean, I know that what you and Nick have will be real and all, but the whole world doesn’t. Give your relationship time to grow and develop before putting it out in the public eye." She advised.

"Thanks for the advice Ames. You know, I was thinking about that earlier and I wanted to talk to Nick about it, but I didn’t know how to approach the subject." I said and squeezed her hand reassuringly.

"I mean, I’m not telling you to keep it a secret, but wait awhile before making a BIG public appearance, like at an awards show or something. And maybe when you are asked if you’re dating someone, you should say yes, but not give any more details, you know? I’m just so worried about you getting hurt. I mean, the media and everyone tend to forget that we’re real people too, you know? We have emotions and hearts that can be broken too." She vented.

"Amy, is this about something else? This is kind of coming out of the blue. Are you sure that everything is ok?" I asked, worried for my friend.

"I don’t know Jade. I guess I don’t want to be left out. You’re my best friend and you have been for as long as I can remember. Landon really hurt you and I don’t want that to happen with Nick. Besides, I don’t want to lose you to a guy." She said and started to tar up.

"You would NEVER lose me to a guy. Friends come first, always. Anyways, we’re gonna be together everyday for the next 13 or 14 months, so you’re gonna be happy when Nick comes to take me off your hands." I said, laughing. Ames laughed too and hugged me tight.

"Come on, let’s go meet Nick’s bandmates. They all flew in from out of town and I haven’t met them yet." I said and took Amethyst by the hand. "Should we bring Bianca and Savannah?"

"They left with Kirsten. You know, she’s really nice. Why did you say all those horrible things about her?" Ames asked as we locked the doors to the apartment.

"I said them because at the time they were true. She was so rude to me when we first met, and from what Nick told me, she was horrible during the last few months of their relationship. Considering that they were only together for 5 months doesn’t say much. I guess really being in love changes people though." I said and we got on the elevator.

"Oh my gosh, I’m so nervous!" Amethyst squealed.

"Why?" I asked.

"I don’t know. Meeting famous people is so, new to me!" She laughed and the elevator dinged open.

"No, you’ll do fine. Plus, think of this as the practice round. When we meet famous people that we actually know, now that’s going to be interesting." I said and knocked on Nick’s door.

A very attractive Latin male answered the door and smiled at us. His hair was pulled into a low ponytail and he was dressed very nicely for the casual slacks and button-down he was wearing.

"Howie, who is it?" I head Nick call from inside.

The man at the door turned a quarter of the way into the room and said, "Two very, very fine ladies. Should I let them in?" Ames and I laughed and walked in as he motioned for us to enter.

"Well, hello ladies. My name is Howard Dwaine Dorough. More commonly called Howie D. from the Backstreet Boys." He said and extended his hand.

"Hi Howie, my name is Jade Trinity Carroll, more commonly called Jade from the Modeling Group "The Esteem Team" and this is my co-model and best friend, Amethyst Renee Riggins, more commonly called Amethyst, from the same sub-title. It’s very nice to meet you." I said and extended my hand to him. Ames did the same and he kissed the top her hand. She blushed slightly and I smiled to myself.

I looked up and saw Nick step into the room. He walked over to me and gave me a big hug and planted a kiss on my forehead. "Howie, I see that you’ve met Jade and Amethyst. Jade is my girlfriend."

"Yes Nick. I can hear." Howie said to Nick. He turned to me and said, "All I’ve heard since Brian, Kevin, and I stepped off the airplane was how excited Nick was for us to meet you. You’ve got this young man very excited." I stood with my mouth in shock and looked at Nick wide-eyed. "Wow, I’m sorry, that came out wrong. Let’s just say that he’s mentioned you before."

The four of us laughed and Nick led Amethyst, Howie and I into the living area. There were two other unfamiliar faces sitting at the large table and AJ. AJ waved and got up from the table. He gave both Ames and I a hug and introduced the other guys as Brian and Kevin.

"Hi Jade, it’s very nice to meet you. We’ve all heard a lot about you. Nick’s very impressed by you." Kevin said, eyeing me slightly.

"Well Kevin, I’ve heard that you’re probably not going to like me, but I hope that’s not the case. I really like Nick, and not for his fame. I like him for him and because he can make me laugh and he makes me smile." I said and informed Kevin.

"Wow, you know Kev, I think that’s the first time a girl has ever said that to you upon meeting you. The girls are usually scared of you." AJ said. "One point for Jade."

The seven of us laughed and from that moment on, Amethyst and I felt nothing but comfortable around the guys. We laughed together, played video games together, and ate together. By the time Nick looked at the clock, it was 1:45 a.m. We had been at the guys for about five hours.

"Ames, we have a radio interview at 8:00 in the morning!" I said and gathered Amethyst. "Bye guys! It was great meeting you and I can’t wait to see you again! How long are you in town for?"

"We’re here for two or three weeks. You’ll see us around!" Brian said and waved good-bye.

Nick and AJ walked us to the door. AJ hugged each of us and asked if we could tell Bianca to call him. We agree and Nick walked us to the elevator.

"Hey J, I’ll meet you downstairs. Night Nick!" Amethyst said and got on the awaiting elevator.

"Babe, your friends are so much fun!" I said and Nick pulled me into a tight hug.

"I’m so glad that you like them. I’m sure they’re going to talk all about you and give me their opinions when I go back inside." He said and kept hugging me.

"Nick, is everything ok?" I asked.


Nick's POV

"Yeah, everything’s ok. Why do you ask?" I asked her.

"Well, you’re hugging me very tightly and you barely said a word while we were in there with the guys. I was just wondering what you were thinking about." She said.

"I just can’t believe how real you are. I mean, the guys have NEVER gotten along with any of my girlfriends before you. They never laughed with Kirsten or Willa or Paris. I mean, I think you’re a breath of fresh air for them, the way you are for me." I said and kissed the top of her head.

"Nick, please remember, that I am dating you for you. I don’t care about the fame, I don’t care about who your friends are, and I really don’t care what they think about me. I mean, it’s great that they like me and we get along, but I’m dating you, not your friends." She said and looked up at me with her brown eyes.

I leaned down and kissed her lips softly. I felt her body melt against me and she deepened the kiss. She tempted me with her tongue and I allowed her access to my mouth. She was relaxed and confident in her kiss. She broke it and leaned against me. "Wow." Was all she said.

"Yeah. I think I have to agree with that." I said. "You’d better get going if you’re going to be on the radio in a few hours!"

"Good night Nick. Oh wait, there’s something I want to talk to you about real quick." She said. "I don’t want the whole world to know that we’re dating just yet. You know what I mean?"

"Um, kind of." I said, tentative.

"I don’t want to keep our relationship a secret, but I don’t want to make any big premiers as a couple for a few months or so. I want to give our relationship time to grow and cultivate without being plunged into the spotlight." She said.

"I understand. But we can still date, right? Like go out and do stuff together?" I asked her.

"Oh yeah! Of course! But I mean, like no awards shows together or anything like that for a while. I mean, I know that there aren’t any for a while, but you know what I mean. And during interviews, we can say that we’re taken, but not too much detail. Ok?" She said.

"I understand completely. Night Jade! I’ll be listening!" I said and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek as the elevator doors opened. I watched her step in and waved good-bye as the doors closed.

I turned around and walked back into my apartment. I was met with three sets of very interested eyes and AJ’s goofy smile.

"What?" I asked and blushed. I sat down at the table and sat through the next two hours of grilling about Jade. The added their positives and inputs. As I endured the night, I thought constantly about Jade and her radio interview.

I woke up the next morning at 7:30 and turned on the clock radio right beside me and heard the voices of Rayne and Mischa in the Morning.

"Well, coming up in the next hour we have some very special guests in the studio. They’re the girls of the Esteem Team and they’re here to tell us what they’ll be doing and to get to know them a little better." Rayne’s smooth voice announced over the air-waves.

"Yeah, so stayed tuned! That’s coming up. For now, songs by Jesse McCartney, Kelly Clarkson, and Avril. We’ll be back with the girls!" Mischa’s peppy voice said.

The radio cut to Jesse McCartney’s "Beautiful Soul" and I got up and went to the bathroom. I walked into the kitchen and turned the radio on in there too. By the time I had finished making some cereal and read the Comics in the Newspaper, Brian was awake and I was listening intently to the radio because the girls were being introduced.

"Hey ladies! Thank you so much for stopping by. For those of you out there who don’t know who these beautiful ladies are, they are Jade Carroll, Amethyst Riggins, Savannah Malone, and Bianca Sanchez." Rayne said.

"Hey everyone!" All four girls said over the speakers. I heard Jade’s voice through everyone’s and smiled.

Mischa and Rayne questioned the girls and interviewed them for about 35 minutes when they opened up their interview to at home callers. I dialed the number and got through quickly.

"Hey, you’re on with Mischa, Rayne and the girls of the Esteem Team, give us your name and ask your question." Mischa said.

"Hi, um, I’m Nick and I have a question for all of the girls." I said.

Jade's POV

"Oh my gosh!" I mouthed to Ames. "I can’t believe this!"

"Go ahead, Nick," Bianca said, putting extra effort on his name.

"Well, I was wondering, do any of you have boyfriends?" He said and chuckled.

"Jade, why don’t you start us off with that question." Savannah prompted and giggled.

"Fine. I guess I can start. Caller, what’s your name again?" I said, and played along.

"It’s Nick." He said.

"Oh, ok, Nick. Well, I hate to break it to you, but yes, I do have a boyfriend." I said and began smiling from ear to ear. "What about you girls?"

There was a chorus of "no"s and then Mischa turned to me and asked, "Care to tell us about your boyfriend?"

"Actually, we just started dating, and I’m sure that he’s sitting in his kitchen listening to the radio right now, so I’ll say a quick ‘Hey Sweetie’. But other than that, I don’t really want to comment yet." I said.

"Is he famous?" Rayne asked.

"As I said before, No Comments on my love life. Sorry, I just want to be able to have some privacy for at least 3 days." All of us laughed and more callers called in asking questions about our favorite colors, they asked about the tour and where would we go if we had the option. The questions were really good, and before we all knew it, it was 10:30 and we had to go.

"Thanks again ladies for joining us and we’re looking forward to hearing all about the tour and the trips. Will you keep us posted?" Mischa asked.

"Yeah, we’ll call in and keep everyone updated!" Ames said excitedly over the microphone and then we were taken off the air.

As soon as the "On Air" light went out, Kirsten burst into the room. "Wow! You guys did amazing! I’m so proud of you!" She said and ushered us out to the awaiting limo.

"Hi ladies. You did well." Frank said as he opened the door for us and helped us inside.

"You listened, Frank? Yay! We had at least 5 people listening!" Bianca exclaimed and was the last one in the limo.

"Jade, was that Nick who called in asking about the boyfriends?" Kirsten asked me and laughed. "I think you handled him well."

"Thanks. I about died when I heard his voice come over the speakers. I was like, What the hell?!" I said and all of us laughed.

"Ok, well you were supposed to have a photo shoot today, but that got cancelled because the photographer is sick, so it’s rescheduled for tomorrow. So, you have the rest of the day to hang and do whatever you want. Take the day off! Go shopping, go sight-seeing. Have some fun!" Kirsten informed us as we got out of the limo. "I’ll see all of you bright and early at 5:45 a.m. Be ready to go! See you tomorrow!" Frank drove off and the four of us were standing on the curb looking at each other.

"5:45? What the hell? That time even exists?" Bianca complained. "Well, I’d better go to sleep now!" She said and we all laughed and walked upstairs.