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Author's Chapter Notes:

Beta readers and helping hands and minds: Cole, Linda and Bryan.

If you'd like to host 'How It All Began' please ask first. At the moment it's only available on the yahoo groups we post to and the absolutechaos website.

Thank you for the support and fb on this story. Thank you also to those you read it but don't give feedback.
Honestly feedback makes us smile and try and work faster to put out new material but it's not the end all of our life. We write for us. The fact that other people like it and let us know so sweetly is like the cheese on pizza :)

I just wanted to point out that I am not the only writer of this story. CJ, a very dear friend and beautiful person writes it with me. In fact more of than not when I'm stuck she brings forth the inspiration to continue. People keep referring to this story or 'An Ideal Marriage?' as my story and I don't like it. This is a story by CJ and me, Jamie. If someone calls it my story please don't let it slide without correcting them. Thank you.

Chapter Four

Nick finished reading the document in his hand and signed off on it. He glanced at the clock on his desk and sighed when he saw that it was just past 9pm.

‘Another exciting day in the life of Nick Carter,’ he thought with a tired laugh while picking up his phone and dialling a number.

"I can't take your call at the moment. Leave your name and number and I'll call you back when I can."

Nick rested back in his chair and spoke after the beep, “Hey it’s me. Just wanted to say hi and see how you’re doing. Night.” He disconnected the call and dialled another number.


Nick chuckled, “Still haven’t mastered the art of saying hello huh? He rolled his eyes with a smile when he heard laughter on the other end.

“Nicky, Nicky, Nicky, if I start saying hello people might think that something’s wrong!”

Nick laughed at one of AJ’s standard responses, “What am I going to do with you Alex?” he asked lightly.

“Worship me, there’s nothing else you can do,” AJ McLean said knowing it would make his friend smile. “How’s it going?” he asked in a more normal voice.

Nick shrugged even though AJ couldn’t see it, “As well as can be expected I guess. Between work, catching up with friends, calming Corey down, avoiding Barbie senior and junior I’ve been mega busy. What’s up with you? The peace and quiet getting on your nerves yet?”

AJ laughed, “Actually I’m enjoying myself. This is the first time I’ve been alone as such in years. You on the other hand sound like you need a break from your break.”

Nick sighed, “Things should ease up once the wedding goes off. Have you decided whether you’re coming or not yet? You know Corey really wants you there for it.”

AJ sighed, “Yeah I’m coming. Saying no to him is not worth how shitty I feel for days and don’t you dare laugh Carter!”

Nick bit his lip hard to control the chuckle that wanted to escape. "Don't forget to let me know your dates."

“I will. How’s lover boy?” AJ asked since Nick hadn’t mentioned his lover himself.

“He’s ok I guess. Busy as I am. It’s not been easy to hook up.”

“You are going to ask him to be your date for the wedding right?” AJ asked.

"I don't know bro. I haven't decided if it's worth it yet," Nick said softly.

“What?! I thought…!"

"That hasn't changed J!" Nick quickly interrupted him.

"But it doesn't change the fact that I need to see if it's worth it. I mean there's going to be a lot of press coverage. If I show up with a date I'm going to have to be prepared to acknowledge him. But what am I supposed to say? I need time," Nick said while standing up and starting to clear his desk up a bit.

AJ sighed, “I understand Nicky. I’ve seen how it can get here I can only imagine how crazy it must be there.”

“Thanks J,” Nick said sincerely.

Nick looked up when he heard a knock on his office door and smiled when he saw his father. “I gotta go J, dad’s here,” Nick said.

AJ smiled, “Tell him I said hey. And Nick? You know where I am if you need to talk,” he said softly.

Nick nodded, “I do.”

“Night Nicky.”

“Bye J. See you soon.”

Nick looked at his father, “AJ says ‘hey’.”

“Is he coming?” Robert asked with a smile.

Nick nodded and slid the last of his things into his bag, “Yup.”

“Couldn’t say no to Corey?” Robert asked with a laugh.

Nick grinned, “Yeah, giving in was the smart thing to do.”

Robert smiled and put his arm around his son’s shoulder, “You look tired my dear. I hope you haven’t been pushing yourself too hard kiddo. This IS your summer break after all.”

Nick briefly let his head rest against his father’s shoulder, “I just have a little extra stuff going on in my life right now. I’ll relax soon.”

Robert pushed the elevator button for the basement parking lot. “Nick I’m going to ask you something and I want you to answer me as truthfully as you can.”

Nick shrugged, “Sure dad.”

“Are you seeing someone?” Robert asked as the elevator doors slid open to reveal Kevin Richardson.

Nick closed his eyes in relief, “Saved by the elevator.”

Kevin smiled in surprise and stepped back to let the Carters exit the elevator.

“Back at work Kevin?” Robert asked teasingly.

He knew the young man had eased up on the sixteen to eighteen hour work days and wondered what he was doing there.

Kevin smiled, “Relax Robert. It’s Tuesday so you should know that I’m not here to work. I seemed to have misplaced a file of mine. It’s not in my bag, since I was in the area I figured I’d check here before checking at home. You’re here quite late yourself aren’t you?” Kevin asked, smoothly turning the tables.

Robert chuckled. As much as he nagged Kevin about keeping long hours he couldn’t deny that he usually kept long hours too which Kevin gleefully nagged him about.

“I had been chatting with an old friend and lost track of the time. When I was getting ready to leave I noticed that Nick was still in so I decided to pay him a little visit. I was going to call you from the car.”

It was only then that both the men turned their attention to the teenager among them and saw him slipping his phone back into his pocket.

“Hello Nick,” Kevin said with a smile and a nod.

Nick returned his smile, “Hey.”

“How have things been going?” Kevin asked.

Nick nodded, “Pretty busy but good.”

“Are you coming over?” Kevin asked Robert.

Robert smiled at Nick, “We’ve been eating dinner together every Tuesday.” Turning back to Kevin he nodded, “I’m up for it. What has Howie whipped up?”

“Thai,” Kevin said with a smirk knowing how much Robert loved variety in his food.

Robert closed his eyes and sighed in pleasure.

Kevin chuckled and looked at Nick, “You’re welcome to join us if you’re free Nick.”

Nick blinked as his father and Kevin turned to look at him expectantly. “Umm no yeah, I’d love to.”

Kevin smiled, “Great. Just give me a minute to go check for that file. Why don’t you two carry on? Robert you know all the codes to get in.”


Father and son watched Kevin get into the elevator. Once the doors closed Robert turned to Nick, “Do you remember where the Richardson ’s house is kiddo?”

Nick chuckled, “Yes dad, I remember. You wanna ride with me?”

Robert shook his head, “I’ve got Alan with me. Why don’t you leave your car here and come with me? Alan can drop me home after dinner and then drop you?”

Nick shook his head, “I get very rushed in the morning if I’m not driving myself,” he said as they walked towards their cars. “And besides I like driving. Summer break is just about the only time I get to do it regularly. You don’t want to deprive me of one of my life’s greatest pleasures do you?” Nick asked with a dramatic sigh while leaning back against his car.

Robert rolled his eyes and reached out to ruffle Nick’s hair. Nick quickly ducked away, “Watch the hair dad!”

Laughing the two men got into their cars and pulled out of the parking lot of Carter-Richardson Enterprises.

Nick hummed along with Sting’s ‘Fields of gold’ as he drove. ‘This should be an interesting evening,’ he thought.

Robert glared at his son as he got out of his car, “Just how fast were you going young man?”

Nick laughed, “Well within the speed limit dad. You like to cruise comfortably; I like to feel the wind.”

Before anything more could be said headlights flashed on them and another car pulled up the driveway.

When Kevin emerged from his car Nick burst out laughing at the look on his father’s face.

“Kevin! How fast did you drive to get here so quickly?” Robert demanded.

The bewildered look on Kevin’s face set off Nick’s laughter again causing Robert to aim a mild glare towards him while Kevin looked at him in confusion.

“Well?” Robert demanded, crossing his arms over his chest.

Kevin smiled, "I was well within the speed limit Robert. We all don't cruise in our cars like you. We're impatient souls."

Rolling his eyes at both the young men Robert walked off towards the front door. Kevin and Nick shared a laugh before following Robert who’d already let himself into the house. Kevin slowed his pace to match Nick’s. Nick turned away from examining the new wing of the house that he’d not seen before and blushed slightly at being caught staring.

“Did you like the changes to the house?” Nick asked softly.

“Have you seen the house after the changes were made?” Kevin asked equally softly.

“That wasn’t an answer to my question,” Nick said with a smile and answered Kevin’s question. “No. I haven’t visited here in a year.”

Kevin smiled, "I love it. Thank you. I know you had a big part in the way it shaped up. You're most welcome to take a look at the new wing. It's been waiting for your approval."

Kevin caught his breath as he looked into sparkling blue eyes. Nick blushed.

Robert looked at the two men staring at each other and smiled.

Nick blinked when he felt his phone buzz in his hand. He gave Kevin a small smile before looking down at the phone. “Excuse me.”

Kevin nodded, "Sure."

They walked the rest of the way to the door in silence while Nick’s fingers flew rapidly over the keys on his phone. They reached the door just as Nick was done texting and looked up from his phone to find Kevin looking at him, his hand on the doorknob.

“Will you be offended if I hold the door open for you?” he asked carefully.

Nick looked at him with a serious expression on his face, “I’d be offended if you didn’t,” he said.

Kevin chuckled and opened the door before stepping aside to allow Nick to precede him into the house.

They went straight to the kitchen to find Robert standing at the stove and peeking under the lid of one of the dishes.

“Where’s Howie?” Robert asked without looking away from the dish.

“He had a date. You want to freshen up?” Kevin asked Nick knowing that Robert always freshened up before leaving the office.

Nick nodded, “Yes please.”

“Alright boss, heat em up,” Kevin teased Robert while leading Nick to one of the downstairs bathrooms.

Five minutes later Nick found his father and Kevin comfortably relaxing in the downstairs lounge with a drink. He stood at the threshold of the room watching them. Robert, whose back was to Nick didn’t notice him but Kevin did. He waited until there was a pause in their conversation before smiling at Nick.

Nick smiled back when he saw that he had been noticed. Robert turned around and smiled at his son before Kevin and he joined the younger man.

Robert led them back to the kitchen. Nick watched both of them moved around each other with a comfort born out of familiarity and spending time together. He wondered why his father hadn’t mentioned Kevin much in the last few weeks, especially since they apparently spent so much time together. He mentally shrugged it off and turned his attention to Kevin when he saw him looking at him.

“Nick would you like me to serve you or do you want to help yourself?” Kevin asked.

Nick tried hard not to look at his father when he heard him chuckle before trying to suppress his laughter.

“I think it would be safer for you to serve him Kevin,” Robert said as he hurried out of the kitchen before he burst into laughter in front of his beloved child.

Nick pouted at his father’s back before joining Kevin at the stove with a sheepish smile on his face. “I’m ah… not that that good with dealing with hot utensils. I um have been known to quite enthusiastically… fling them away from me.”

He tentatively met Kevin’s eyes and shared a laugh with him.

The next morning…

Nick yawned and rubbed his eyes while walking towards the door. He squinted at the man standing outside.


"Damn, sorry! Did I wake you?" Matt asked while taking in Nick's t-shirt and boxer clad body.

Nick smiled sleepily, "Sorta, but I'm glad you did. I'll be late for work if I don't start getting ready in a few minutes. So you have my sincerest thanks."

Matthew smiled, "In that case you're most welcome. I take it that you aren't coming with us to meet the parental units?"

Nick shook his head, grinning at the term Matt had picked up from Corey and him and started using for parents, "I have a meeting at work that I can't miss. I'm meeting Corey for lunch so he'll bring me up to speed."

Matt nodded, "Cool. Oh, dinner at my place tonight? Pizzas and a movie. I've already asked Brian. I'm going to ask Kevin too."

Nick nodded his acceptance, "Sounds good."

"Alright see you then. Have a good day Nicky."

Nick smiled, "Thanks you too."

Nick shut the door and leaned against it, thankful that the mean whose arms he’d left to answer the door hadn’t woken up and called out to him. Breathing a sigh of relief Nick went back to his bedroom.

Standing at the foot of the bed he admired the tanned, sleekly muscled body stretched out in his bed. Smiling he crawled up the bed to wake him up.

Hope this makes up for the delay in posting this month and the short chapter three. Take care!