How It All Began - Twelve
“Hey… did I wake you?” Kevin asked in confusion.
“Hmmm,” Nick moaned sleepily while sitting up and stretching causing Kevin to desperately wish that he were there to nuzzle Nick at that moment when he was sleepy and in the mood to be cuddled.
“Yup… where you?” Nick asked.
Kevin looked at his watch before speaking again. “Nick? Weren’t you supposed to be meeting Brian?”
Nick rubbed his eye, “He’s not supposed to come over until later. What happened to you? I fell asleep while waiting for you,” Nick said with a pout.
Kevin sighed for what felt like the hundredth time that day. “I’m sorry, I tried but..”
Nick grinned, “Let me guess, Monique and Annaliese were happy to prolong the evening?”
Kevin smiled, “Got it in one. I was looking forward to being with you.”
Nick bit back a moan at the throaty deep voice Kevin had used.
“Kevin,” Nick sighed needily. He licked his lips, “What time did they leave?”
Kevin groaned, “Past midnight. It was quite an exasperating evening.”
“Poor baby,” Nick cooed. “Why didn’t you come over then? I would’ve put in my best effort into trying to improve your night.”
“You’re such a bloody tease,” Kevin said with a chuckle. “I took a shower after they left to calm my irritation down and now I’m talking to you. I didn’t think you’d answer, figured you’d be with Brian,” Kevin said honestly.
“I was just going to leave you a voicemail.”
Nick yawned and rested back against the pillows, “Hmm, excuse me. Gosh I’m still so tired. You’d think I’d feel more rested after having slept all day but no such luck! Brian isn’t coming over until 1. That way we have a good hour to talk before we go to the airport.”
“Um Nick? It’s almost 1:45am,” Kevin said gently.
Nick’s eyes snapped wide open before he pulled the phone away from his ear and squinted at the time it displayed. True to Kevin’s words the time displayed was 1:43am.
“What the hell?” Nick said. He was very surprised.
“Call him,” Kevin suggested, “and then call me back and let me know what’s going on,” Kevin said calmly.
“Ok,” Nick agreed instantly.
He disconnected the call, found Brian’s number and called it only to find it ringing before going to voicemail. Nick decided to leave a message, “Hey Brian, its Nick. Where are you? Call me.” Nick then sent Brian a text message.
‘Hey, where are you? Call me or text back.’
Switching the light on Nick got out of bed before calling Kevin as he got dressed.
“Where is he?” Kevin asked immediately.
Nick shook his head while pulling his jeans on, “No clue. He’s not answering his cell phone.”
“What about his landline?” Kevin asked.
“He’s staying with his parents this week while his apartment is being painted. I can’t exactly call their house at this hour. I just hope everything’s ok with him.”
“I can call. Want me to?” Kevin asked.
Nick bit his lip, his worry over people finding out about his relationship with Kevin losing out over his worry about Brian.
“Yes please,” Nick said softly.
“Hold on, I’m putting you on conference as soon as someone answers,” Kevin said quickly before putting Nick’s call on hold and dialling his aunt and uncle’s landline number. When their housekeeper answered the phone Kevin added Nick into the call.
“Hello, Littrell residence, Paul speaking.”
“Hello Paul, this is Kevin Richardson speaking. I was wondering if I could speak with Brian,” Kevin said politely.
“I’m sorry Sir but Mr. Littrell is a bit tied up in a discussion with the ex Mrs. Littrell,” Paul the Littrell’s housekeeper said apologetically.
Kevin frowned, “Is he ok?”
“Yes sir. No damage that a good hot cup of tea won’t fix,” Paul said, knowing that Kevin would read between the lines and figure out that Brian had been yelling.
“Paul once Brian is available please inform him that Nickolas Carter has continued on without him and will see him later.”
“Right, I will inform him,” Paul said.
Kevin disconnected the call after saying goodbye and made sure his call with Nick was still active.
“Well there’s definitely something going on there. Paul’s never this formal while speaking to me,” Kevin said.
Nick ran his fingers through his hair, “Well I hope he’s ok.” He checked the time again before sighing, “I guess this means that I’m driving.” He quickly covered his mouth as he yawned again.
“I really don’t feel right about you driving when you’re so tired Nick. Can I come with you?” Kevin asked gently.
Nick quickly thought it through and decided that they could afford to take a chance this time. He didn’t feel right about driving when he was this tired either and didn’t have the time to wait for a cab when Kevin was only a couple of blocks away.
“Yes please,” he said softly.
Kevin smiled, “I’ll be there in 10.”
Brian rang the doorbell and waited. He looked at the door to Corey’s apartment and contemplated ringing that doorbell too, but if Corey didn’t know that he’d ditched Nick, he definitely wanted it to stay that way.
After a minute went by with no answer, Brian sighed and rang the bell again before starting to check the messages that had come in on his phone. He saw the door opening out of the corner of his eye and quickly looked up only to blink in surprise.
Instead of the lean, pale body of Nickolas Carter, he was staring at skin the colour of honey, arms decorated with a few tattoos that he found very sexy, a toned chest and stomach, black boxers sitting low, very low… a throat being cleared snapped Brian out of the daze he’d fallen into.
AJ growled as the doorbell rang again and wondered who the hell thought it was a good idea to be at someone’s house this early on a Saturday. With a groan he sat up and forced himself to get out of bed. Peering into Nick’s room while walking past it, all he saw was a small lump under the white duvet. Shaking his head he walked to the door and opened it.
AJ looked at the man in front of him… about the same height as him, blonde hair that looked to be soft to touch with a slight curl to it, blue eyes, dressed well and staring at him in a way that made AJ very aware that he only had his boxers on.
He cleared his throat and watched in amusement as the man suddenly seemed to realize what he was doing. The colour rising in his cheeks was quite cute.
“Umm…” Brian seemed at a slight loss as to how to react to this stranger in Nick’s apartment. He hoped he hadn’t interrupted something.
AJ figured he may as well start and lead the conversation or they’d be standing there all day.
“Hi, can I help you?”
Brian regained control of himself and didn’t react to the fact that he loved the other man’s voice.
“Hi, I’m sorry if I disturbed you. I’m looking for Nickolas,” Brian said smoothly.
AJ smiled and shook his head, “Nick’s sleeping. Need’s his beauty rest. Can I take a message? I’m AJ, his friend.”
Brian shook his head, “I’m Brian, Brian Littrell. I’ll talk to Nick tonight at the show when I see him. Thanks.”
AJ shrugged, “Alright Brian. See you later.”
With a small smile AJ shut the door and reset the alarm before walking back to the guestroom and going back to sleep.
Brian stared at the door for a minute with a stunned smile on his face before shaking his head and getting into the elevator.
Nick squinted at the clock and pouted when he saw that it was almost 8.30am. ‘Way too early to be up on a Saturday,’ he thought while wondering what had woken him. He propped himself up on his elbows and listened but heard nothing.
The apartment was silent. With a shrug he dropped his head back onto his pillow and snuggled under the blanket again.
He quickly opened his eyes and grabbed his phone from the pillow next to his and typed a quick message to Kevin.
‘Why’d you leave so early? Don’t forget JC’s show tonight. Matt's fetching Alex from my place.’
After sending the message he closed his eyes and fell back asleep with the phone still clutched in his hand.
Annaliese sat at the breakfast table with Monique, a frown on her face.
“Mom! Don’t you even care that we all have to go to Joshua’s show tonight and watch stupid Nickolas and Corey waltz down the stage? As if they haven’t gotten enough publicity already!” she said angrily.
“Darling, calm yourself! Getting worked up is going to get us nowhere,” Monique advised while picking up her cup of coffee and sitting back. “Since the attention is going to be on Nickolas tonight as he is the show stopper for Joshua, we need to make sure that you are firmly by Kevin’s side throughout the show and for the party afterwards.” She put her cup down and turned to face Annaliese, “Do you think you can manage to hold Kevin’s attention all night darling?”
“Oh yes,” Angelique purred with a smile.
“Is Alex not coming with us?” Corey asked softly after peering into the room where their friend lay fast asleep.
Nick shook his head while grabbing his duffel bag and following Corey through the apartment. “He’s tired. I’d rather he get a few more hours of sleep so that he can enjoy himself tonight. I’ve already asked Matthew to fetch him for the show.”
Corey looked at Nick in surprise, “Matt? Not Robert?” The wheels clicked into place in his head while he was speaking. “Monique and Annaliese?”
Nick nodded, “I just know that Annaliese will tag along with dad and Monique. There’s no way I’ll subject Alex to that. Granted he can hold his own and they would behave for the most part with dad around but I’d rather not risk it. Besides Alex will sit up front with Matthew. After the stunt that Annaliese and Trisha pulled with the dresses you know Joshua won’t allow them to sit anywhere but at the back.”
Corey grinned at the thought of Annaliese and Trisha being escorted to the back row seats before doubts began to creep in. “But with them coming with Robert,” he trailed off.
Nick shook his head as they got into the elevator, “That won’t make any difference. Once Joshua has decided something it’s rare that he changes his mind. And you heard him as well as I did Core. He has decided against using Annaliese and Trisha to represent his work again.”
The two friends exchanged a look as they got into the car waiting for them. Both wished they could be present when the happy news was broken to the modelling agents and models. Joshua Chasez was looking for two models to replace Annaliese and Trisha.
Brian got into the limo and smiled at Matt. “Sorry to have kept you waiting.”
Matt frowned, “What’s wrong?”
Brian shrugged, “What? Nothing.”
Matt sighed, “Why do you even bother denying these things with me? We’ve known each other since before we could talk man.” When Brian still looked hesitant he rolled his eyes.
“You may as well tell me while we’re alone. We’ll be picking Alex up in no time.”
“Alex?” Brian asked curiously.
“Nickolas and Corey’s friend. He arrived from London last night.”
“You mean AJ?” At Matt’s nod Brian continued, “I was supposed to go to the airport with Nick to fetch him.”
“What happened?” Matt asked calmly.
“Jessica showed up.”
“Damn,” Matt said annoyed.
“It gets worse. To cut an irritating story short, she accused me of being the reason as to why she’s not invited to your wedding. Apparently it’s THE event to be seen at and she doesn’t appreciate my interference since she’s trying to slowly resurrect her social life,” Brian sat back and got comfortable just as they entered the premises of Sanctuary.
Matt hit a few buttons on his cell phone and waited for his call to connect. “Alex, we’re downstairs.” He hung up the phone and looked at Brian. “I hope you don’t believe her. I’ll invite her again if you want me to.”
Brian smiled slightly and shook his head, “Thanks Matt but no. It was her choice to turn down the invitation for the wedding.” He nodded at the surprised expression on Matt’s face. “Nick told me.”
“I just don’t want you to get any grief from your family.”
“Don’t worry about it. They have finally caught on to her flaws and don’t defend her actions blindly anymore.”
He stopped talking as the door opened and a man slid in.
“Alex,” Matt’s deep voice was filled with affection. “How are you?”
AJ accepted Matt’s one armed hug with a smile, “Doing good, how are you? All set to marry our Corey?”
Matt chuckled, “I’m doing good too and yes I am very ready, ecstatic, eager…”
They shared a laugh as he trailed off before Matt turned to introduce Brian to AJ only to find Brian staring at the younger man. He cleared his throat and bit back a laugh at the way Brian seemed to snap out of whatever he’d been thinking about and notice them again.
“Brian I’d like you to meet AJ McLean. AJ, this is Brian Littrell, my closest friend and best man,” Matt said with a smile. Both men could feel the affection that Matt had for them from the tone of his voice.
“We’ve met,” AJ said casually with a smile. “Nice to see you again.”
Brian smiled back, pleased that AJ remembered him, though he’d never admit such a thing in front of Matt.
“Likewise,” Brian said softly.
Matt glanced between the two of them, taking in the manner in which they were looking at each other.
“When did you two meet?” Matt asked curiously.
Brian quickly stopped staring at AJ and focused on Matt. “Um, this morning,” he said hesitantly. “I went over to Nick’s to apologize for ditching him.”
Matt stared at Brian, “Ditching him how?”
AJ could see how embarrassed Brian was feeling and smiled. “It’s really all right Brian. Kevin came with Nick but it’s not as if Nick doesn’t do things alone late at night in England.”
Matt bit back a smile at the casual way AJ had mentioned Kevin. He knew that Brian would start thinking about why Kevin was with Nick. He looked at AJ who winked discreetly at him.
Brian allowed AJ’s words to run through his mind and thought it over. But before he could comment he felt the limo start to slow down before stopping completely. They had reached. It was showtime.
Kevin sat opposite his father in the limo and bit back a sigh as he continued reading and replying to emails on his phone. The three of them had only been together for close to thirty minutes and Kevin hadn’t said a word for almost 26 of those. It certainly didn’t bode well as a sign of things to come.
“You went out last night Kevin?” Jerald asked.
Nothing in his father’s tone was meant to provoke but Kevin’s senses went on high alert just to be on the safe side.
Deciding not to be difficult about his personal life for once, Kevin volunteered information. “Nick’s friend AJ arrived last night. Brian was meant to accompany Nick to the airport but couldn’t so I went with him. I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of a friend out alone so late at night.”
Cara smiled, “I’m glad you did son. I don’t like the thought of Nick being out alone this way either.”
Jerald smiled at his wife, “He’s a big boy honey, not the little child who would climb into your lap and snuggle down.”
Cara nodded, “Yes, he is. But in some way he’ll always be that little boy to me. Even when I’m snuggling his children on my lap, to me he’ll be little Nicky.”
Kevin listened to their conversation with interest. He’d obviously met Nick when they’d been children, but the six year age difference between them meant that they didn’t spend much time together. The fact that Jerald adored Nick so much while Kevin and he near constantly clashed, ensured that Kevin didn’t spend much time around Nick when he was over or out with Jerald.
Kevin’s paternal grandfather and godfather had convinced Jerald and Cara to send Kevin off to an elite boarding school in Europe when he was 11. It ensured that Kevin spent most of his formative years without the stress of near constant arguments with is father.
Kevin had in some part of his mind where he retained the hurt feelings of a child, always held a spark of bitterness towards Nick. He’d been apprehensive about meeting him. But when they had met, he’d been surprised that he felt nothing towards him, except a need to get to know the young man who fascinated him so much right from the first time they’d literally bumped into each other.
“So tell me son, what do you think of out Nickolas Carter?” Jerald asked.
Kevin snapped out of his thoughts and glanced at his mother before looking straight at Jerald. “He’s a nice guy, hard worker, intelligent and a good friend.”
The serious look on his face and the firm tone of his voice challenged Jerald to continue with this topic. Thankfully calm senses prevailed and Cara put her hand on Jerald’s arm. Jerald obeyed his wife’s silent request while pondering his son’s words.
Kevin sighed in relief when he spotted Matt, Alex and Brian. After posing for a few pictures with his parents he quickly made his escape and went to his friends. He smiled at Robert who had been coming towards him.
Robert smiled back at him, “Surviving son?” he asked with a quick look at Jerald.
Kevin sighed and shrugged, “Giving it my best shot.”
They shared a laugh before going their own way.
Robert looked at Jerald and Cara. “What’d he do?” he asked Cara while tilting his head in Jerald’s direction.
Cara laughed while Jerald started to protest. “He started to annoy our son again,” she said with a roll of her eyes.
“Why?” Robert sighed, “Why don’t you ease up and get to know him Jer? He’s a wonderful young man.”
Jerald sighed, “I know, I know. I shall try harder. It’s just troubling that it’s so easy for me to get along with Nicky and Corey but so difficult to just hold a short conversation with my son.”
Robert patted Jerald’s back, “Do try harder,” he said gently. “You don’t want to drive him away.”
Jerald nodded, knowing that Cara and Robert were absolutely right.
Nick sat still as a stylist ran her hands through his hair and gelled it under Joshua’s watchful eye.
Just then one of Joshua’s assistants came up him in a state of panic. “JC! Mrs. Monique Carter is waiting to be seated with Annaliese and Trisha. Their seats are not together. What should I do?”
Joshua exchanged a look with Nick before turning to the young woman. “Alice please calm down. Seat their according to the list I gave you. Their seats not being together is not our problem. If they create a fuss or have a problem with it then kindly invite to leave.”
When she still looked unsure about it Joshua shook his head. “Hang on, take Ron with you. He’ll handle it if there’s any problem.”
Joshua called his personal assistant over and explained the situation to him before asking him to accompany Alice out there.
Nick bit the inside of his cheek to keep the smile off his face. He knew he was being childish but he wished he could get to see the look on their faces at being asked to sit at the back while most of their colleagues sat in front of them. He smiled freely at Corey as he stood up to allow him to take his place.
Kevin took his seat beside Matt with a grateful sigh.
Matt raised his eyebrows, “What’s up?”
Kevin shook his head, “Just spent some quality time with my father,” he said. H managed to keep the sarcasm out of his voice since there were media people all around.
Matt nodded in understanding. He had heard enough about Kevin and Jerald’s relationship from Brian to know how things were between them.
Kevin leaned past Matt to greet his cousin and AJ. “Are you feeling better now AJ?”
AJ smiled and nodded, “Oh yeah. I slept until I absolutely had to wake up to get ready. I wanted to be well rested so that I could enjoy watching Nick and Corey strut their stuff.”
The four men shared a laugh as the lights began to slowly dim down. They heard loud whispers from the back. When they turned around all they saw were some people being lead away by security and Joshua’s assistants. They exchanged a look before focusing on the stage as the lights were turned off completely and the stage lit up as music began playing. Models began making their way out onto the runway. The show had begun.
As expected, the finale models garnered the longest and loudest applause. Joshua accompanied all of his models out onto the runway before taking his walk down it with Lia, Corey, Alex and Nick.
As soon as they were backstage, Joshua was whisked away to have a word with reporters while the four showstoppers were escorted to a room where they could change.
Monique applauded along with everyone else while trying not to let on how truly furious she was at the thought of her daughter having to go through the indignity of having to sit among the riff raff at the back while her stepson was being showered with praise. If her self preservation instincts weren’t so high she would have told Jerald Richardson to shut up rather than hear one more word about how stunning his little Nicky looked.
She bit back a curse when Annaliese and Trisha joined them after the show. ‘Not now girls, please not now. Just behave yourselves for a little while longer, then get Nickolas alone and claw away at him while chipping at Corey’s self confidence. But behave in front of the Richardson’s,’ Monique thought.
Joshua watched as Annaliese and Trisha joined the powerful group made up of the Littrell’s, Carter’s and Richardson’s. It was a pity he couldn’t go and join them until Nick and Corey were ready. He signalled one of his people to be around the group as he turned away to finish getting Lia ready.
Nick sighed in relief as he scrubbed off the last of the bronzer that had been applied to his face so that the light caught his cheekbone ‘just so’. He knew the makeup artists had meant well when they’d tried to educate him about the products they were using on him, but he just really didn’t care. He was training to work in a business environment. His clients and colleagues wouldn’t care how nice he looked if he didn’t keep up with his work. And as long as he did well, they wouldn’t care how he looked as long as he was presentable.
Rolling his eyes he turned off the water and began drying his face with a soft towel.
Corey looked around for Nick before spotting him standing by a window.
Nick saw Corey’s reflection in the window and turned around. “Hey. Ready to go out there and face the crowd for awhile?”
Corey nodded before something caught his attention. “Just awhile?”
Nick nodded and winked at Corey, “Yup.”
Trisha and Annaliese were very aware of the look that Monique had given them and were on their best behaviour. They greeted everyone in a polite manner and were friendly with Brian, Matt and Kevin. They were polite when introduced to AJ, who was equally polite in return. All in all, the last ten minutes or so had made them feel that the evening had finally started to move in their favour. The arrival of Nickolas and Corey however, threatened to ruin that.
Jerald and Robert were standing together for a picture with Kevin when the photographers went wild and began shouting for Nick to join them.
Nick confidently walked past Monique, Annaliese and Trisha and took his place between Kevin and Jerald. After a few pictures were taken the photographers urged Kevin and Nick to allow them to take a few pictures of them alone together.
They had the perfect taglines – ‘the future of Carter-Richardson’, ‘the heirs of Carter-Richardson.’
Various things ran through the minds of the people watching Kevin and Nick standing together. Annaliese was seething as Kevin casually slid his arm around Nick’s waist.
Jerald and Robert were smiling in delight over how perfect their children looked together.
Cara sent up a quick prayer that they weren’t making a big mistake by deciding to try and coax their children together.
She loved her son and wanted to see him happy and settled but Nick was also her own and she wanted him to be happy too.
Corey squeezed Matt’s hand and caressed his fingers. Matt tightened his arm around Corey’s waist and kissed his soft hair, his eyes focused on Monique and Annaliese’s reaction to Nick and Kevin standing together along with the amount of public approval that they were garnering.
Brian missed other people’s reactions as his attention was quite firmly focussed on AJ.
AJ had been cataloguing a few people’s reactions all evening and had figured out how to handle them. He wouldn’t allow anyone to hurt his friend’s emotions if it was in his power to stop it from happening.
“What’re you doing?” Nick whispered as his lover’s arm tightened around, making him yearn to lean into him.
“Resisting the urge to yank you into my arms and ravish you. Your plump, pink lips have been driving me crazy all evening,” Kevin whispered back causing Nick to blush which a lot of photographers managed to capture.
Matt brushed his lips against Corey’s. “Congratulations love. You were brilliant.”
Corey laughed and pressed Matt’s hand against his heart, “My heart is still pounding away. I think it’ll stay this way until we’re married!”
“It’ll have to be a little longer Core or I’d be very disappointed in Matt,” AJ said casually.
“Why?” Corey asked before groaning, knowing he’d walked right into that one.
“Because he needs to make your heart rate pound on your wedding night kiddo,” AJ drawled with a smirk.
Brian smiled as Corey blushed while his level of interest in AJ rose higher as it had been doing all evening.
Matt laughed at the blush spreading across Corey’s cheeks. He was pleased that Corey hadn’t bothered to deny that.
“Aww sweet wittle Corey is all blushy!”
Corey rolled his eyes at the gleeful voice that drew their group’s attention.
Kevin threw caution to the wind and placed his hand on Nick’s back as they joined the group. Annaliese dug her nails into her palm when she saw how close Nick was standing to Kevin.
“Damn bitch!” she hissed to Trisha who was standing next to her.
Trisha wisely kept quiet and did not point out that Kevin had moved closer to Nick and not the other way around.
As Annaliese hissed out one obscenity after another at Nick, she failed to notice the two women standing behind them.
The older of the two shook her head and walked away. It was safe to say that Mrs. Cara Richardson was not very impressed with the young woman who was angling to be Mrs. Kevin Richardson.
“Are we not trying to behave anymore?” Nick asked Kevin softly.
Kevin smirked, “No. I’ve had enough of behaving myself. Tonight’s the night Nick.”
“But Kevin…,” Nick started to say in confusion.
“Shh… I will keep the promise I made to you Nick. No PDA’s. We’re just two friends spending time together in a group. But tomorrow’s the day and I hope you’re ready. One way or another everything will be out in the open to our families,” Kevin said firmly.
Green eyes met blue and words and emotions passed silently between them.
“Now sweetheart you’d better move a little away from me before I kiss you,” Kevin said sweetly.
Nick lowered his eyes shyly and tried to move away but Kevin’s strong arm around him made him stop.
“You need to let go of me so that I can move,” Nick whispered.
Kevin tightened his arm around Nick’s waist before letting go of him and watching as he went and stood by a smiling AJ.
Kevin, Matt, AJ, Corey and Nick exchanged a quick look. Their future had been put into motion. All they could do now was hope that the road ahead of them wasn’t paved with uneven stones.
As they proceeded to leave, photographers outside got excited and began requesting for Robert and Jerald to pose together with their heirs again. Jerald smiled and put his arm around Nick while Robert beckoned Kevin over to stand next to him.
When their cars arrived, Robert and Jerald took their leave while the reporters pleaded with Kevin and Nick to hang back for a moment.
They exchanged a look before closing the distance between them and smiling at the cameras. Minutes later Kevin escorted Nick into a limo and turned to AJ only to see Brian standing close behind him. His eyes shined with amusement at the interested look in his cousin’s eyes. Brian was going to be in for an interesting time.
“What’s the plan now?” AJ asked.
“My house,” Matt said while opening a bottle of water and passing it to Nick.
“Will your parents be there?” AJ asked.
Matt nodded, “Yeah probably,” he said, a little confused as to why AJ would ask.
Nick chuckled, “He wants to smoke but won’t if your parents are home.”
Matt laughed, “Well they won’t mind.”
AJ just shook his head.
“You could smoke here,” Brian suggested.
“No no, I make it a point to never expose non smokers to second hand smoke. It’s not right.” He sighed, “I’ll go a little longer without one I guess.”
Kevin discreetly nudged Nick and tilted his head in AJ and Brian’s direction. As soon as Nick looked in their direction he immediately noticed the way Brian was eyeing AJ. He smiled, this was something that he definitely hadn’t anticipated and would be interested in seeing how it progressed.