Brian sat in Nick's hotel room pouring his heart out to his best friend about his new-found feelings for Jamie. Nick sat patiently and listened with care and interest. Nick was shocked (and somewhat relieved) that Brian finally admitted to being gay. "I'm just not sure how to tell the other guys." Brian stated his concerns to Nick. "Well if you simply explain it like you did to me they should understand. "We've been together for over 7 years now. And although you haven't been here quite as long as I have, you have been here to know just as well as I do that the five of us are like brothers and we'll be here for you, just like we were when you had your operation." Nick tried to ease his friend's worries. "I guess. Are you sure it doesn't bother you if he tours with us? I know he thinks you're cool, and I know he'd make a good Nintendo buddy for you." Brian looked at Nick. "To tell you the truth, I'm glad. I was worried we'd have to spend an agonizing tour with Leigh Anne tagging along!" Nick laughed. "Me too." Brian joked with him. "She's nice, but the whole thing was set up by the record label, I mean they could at least find someone who shared one interest with me." Brian laughed. "You take interest in your body don't you?" Nick asked seriously. Brian looked confused by the question. "Of course, why?" he asked back, giving Nick and odd stare. "Well I know Leigh Anne was VERY interested in it!" Nick laughed harder. "You're such an ass!" Brian laughed along.
Meanwhile Jamie Hunter sat outside the holding rooms at the Opera House thinking over and over again about what AJ had confessed to him. He heard AJ's voice in his head over and over again. `I'm going to ask Brian out, I've liked him for ages and well, I think it's time to make my move.' Jamie puffed on his cigarette. `What have I done? I can't go on tour now. I want to be with Brian, but AJ will hate me if I'm dating him.' Jamie sat and thought of all the possibilities, but couldn't decide what would be best. He looked at his watch. `Their rehearsal is in 35 minutes, but TLC are running late so I'll have time to talk to Brian before he's needed.' Jamie said to himself. His heart fought with his head as he pondered what AJ had told him and thought of what he and Brian had shared the previous day. Jamie felt himself get more depressed as he smoked the end of his cigarette and threw the but away.
Back at the hotel the guys had all gathered in a private room in the café to eat breakfast. "Have any of you made plans on who you want on tour with us? Denny said we could each take one person. I'm not taking anyone, I need time to work on my new songs. Howie looked up at the rest of the guys. "I'm taking Lisa, my new girl for the first few weeks." Nick, AJ and Brian all groaned. "What?" Howie asked as if he had been accused of something he didn't do. "What about you, AJ? Are you taking Jessica along?" Kevin asked him. AJ looked around sheepishly. "No. Jessica and I are over." AJ said plainly. "Oh yeah! I've heard that before!" Nick laughed. "Nope!" AJ disagreed. "This time it's for real. I have my eyes on someone else now and I'm making a fresh start." AJ left a little mystery in his statement. Everyone knew they'd never get AJ to tell them who it was. AJ was great with secrets, he always had to know everyone else's but never told anyone his. "So will they be on tour with us?" Kevin asked. "Um, yes. But you don't need to arrange accommodation and stuff for them." AJ added, confusing Kevin. "So no one is going with you then?" "That's right." AJ answered. "Nick?" Kevin looked across the table. "Um yeah, better get me some extra space, I'm not taking anyone but I'm sure I'll pick up some chicks on the way!" Nick said with and evil laugh. "Nick. Don't be such a slut!" Howie chastised the youngster. "Nick, I'm not going to do that. Your one-night-stands can sleep with you." Kevin said disapprovingly. "Brian?" Kevin asked his cousin, pulling out a piece of paper and taking notes on everyone's decisions. "Well actually I was wondering how you guys would feel if…" Brian paused, but continued when Nick nudged him in the ribs. "How would you feel if Jamie came on tour with us?" Brian asked shyly. He looked around at the faces of the other guys. "Why?" Howie asked in a cynical tone. Brian decided it was confession time. "Because…" he started. "Because he's cool. I think it's a good idea, that boy has good taste." AJ butted in. "So one for you too, Brian. "Um yeah." Brian replied looking at his plate. The mood was no longer right to tell the other guys his secret. "We had better get going." AJ advised looking at his watch. The guys finished up and headed for their limo.
Jamie saw the Backstreet Boys limo pull up and went over to meet the guys. They all greeted him with a `Hey.' Jamie looked at everyone. "You guys are going to have to wait a while, they're about 45 minutes behind. "Ah, no probs." Howie said with a wink. "Brian? Can I talk to you?" Jamie asked quietly. Brian walked with Jamie away from the rest of the guys so they wouldn't be heard. "I've missed you." Brian spoke after they were out of earshot. "Me too." Jamie confessed. "I spoke to the guys and they said it's cool for you to tour with us. Howie's taking his girlfriend with and AJ says he's got someone special who will be on tour, too. But he wouldn't tell us who." Brian smiled. Jamie began to feel uncomfortable. "Nick knows about us, but I haven't had a chance to tell the other guys yet." Brian said looking into Jamie's eyes. "Look, Brian. There's something I have to tell you.: Jamie confessed doubtfully. Brian looked saddened. "What is it?" he asked. "I don't know how to say this but… AJ…" Jamie stopped himself, the tears were coming to his eyes and his heart was hurting. "AJ what? Did he hurt you?" Brian coaxed. "No! He likes you." Jamie blurted out, fully crying. "He what?" Brian was in shock. "He wants you, Brian. He wants to ask you out. He told me." Brian was taken back. He didn't know what to do. Jamie was still crying slowly. Brian put his arm around Jamie to console him. "I think it's best I don't tour with you." Jamie said breaking out into another loud fit of tears. "Listen Jamie." Brian requested.
Jamie lifted his head and wiped his tears. He looked into Brian's deep blue eyes. "I don't want AJ. I want you." Brian stated, rubbing Jamie's back. "Really?" Jamie asked, cheering up a little. "Yeah, and even if you weren't a part of my life, I wouldn't date AJ. I consider him a brother and a friend. That's what he's good at and that's how I want it to stay." Brian cleared things up in Jamie's mind. "But if I tour with you, things will be really awkward between the two of you, and between AJ and I. I don't want that." Jamie sobbed, feeling like he was about to cry again. "What's wrong? Is he OK?" a voice asked. "Yeah, he's fine. Can we talk to you a sec?" Brian asked AJ who was now standing next to him. "Brian let go of Jamie and turned to AJ. "AJ. Jamie and I are together." Brian explained cautiously. Jamie watched AJ and could see the hurt in his eyes. "That's cool." AJ said in a faint voice. "AJ, after Nick you're just about my best friend in the entire world. I know you wanted to be with me but I've had you as my buddy for so long now I don't think I could handle that changing. Please support me and be happy for me." Brian requested. AJ looked at Brian's face, his eyes were pleading with AJ. "You know I liked you?" AJ asked and obvious question. "Yeah." Brian replied, leaving out any further detail. "I'm glad you're happy." AJ said smiling. He hugged Jamie and Brian together, cheering them both up.
AJ stepped back from the two. "Hey Jamie? Where's the bathroom? I gotta go." AJ spoke up. "Just down that corridor and to the left is your dressing room, there's one in there." Jamie answered, pointing to a doorway. "Thanks." AJ said as we walked off. "That wasn't so bad, was it?" Brian asked Jamie. "No, but I know he's hurting more than he's letting on." Jamie replied glumly. "He'll be fine." Brian assured Jamie, putting his arm around him and leading him slowly back to where Kevin, Nick and Howie were talking. "AJ bounces back like a basketball!" Brian said soothingly to Jamie. Jamie giggled and looked at the guys. "Hey, are you alright?" Howie asked in concern when he saw Jamie's face. "He's fine!" Brian told the guys. "Where's AJ?" Kevin spoke up. "He had to pee." Brian explained. Jamie thought his choice of words was cute. "Hey, Kevin?" Brian got his cousin's attention. "Howie? I have something I have to tell you. The other two know so I think you should, too." Nick looked at Brian as if he was mad. "Are you sure you want to do this here?" Nick asked his friend in concern. "Yes, it will make Jamie and I feel better." Brian replied. Nick nodded, understanding.
"So what is it Brian? What have you done?" Kevin asked pessimistically. Brian was slightly angered by Kevin's attitude but simply let his words out. "I'm gay." Brian told his friends freely. "You're what?" Kevin bellowed. "Yo! Kevin, he said he is gay, G-A-Y, gay, homosexual. You know?" a voice scalded Kevin. It was AJ he had returned and was wearing a dark pair of sunglasses, which hid his eyes. Brian and Jamie didn't know what to make of his remark, he sounded edgy, but he may have just been sticking up for his mates. They couldn't tell. "Well I think it's cool. I'm happy for you." Howie smiled. "Thanks D." Brian replied, giving him a hug. "So do you have a lover or are you a local slut down at the fag bar?" Kevin criticized powerfully. "Actually I'm dating Jamie." Brian lost no courage with Kevin's words. "Well, well! If it's not one thing it's another with you, isn't it, Brian?" Kevin accused. The other five young men around him were quickly growing angry with Kevin. "How the hell can you stand there and criticize him like that?" Howie yelled at Kevin. "He came to you with love and trust with a secret which has great effect on his life and you make out like he's doing something wrong." Kevin looked at Howie with rage in his eyes. "Just because someone's not exactly like you doesn't mean they're doing something wrong, Kevin. You don't own the Backstreet Boys and you don't own Brian, so let him be what he wasn't so be." Kevin looked at him. "Shut up, Nick! You're no better, you're a fag too." Nick looked hurt. "I'm bisexual." He corrected Kevin. Kevin just sneered. "No, you're just a whore, you'll fuck anything you can get your hands on!" Kevin shot back at Nick. "Shut up Kevin. Gee, perhaps if you indulged in a bit of nookie now and then you wouldn't come down so hard on everyone else." AJ finally contributed to the conversation.
Brian felt a guilt in his heart over the way he knew AJ was feeling. He didn't like to reject him, but he had to do what was right for himself. "Quiet!" Kevin screamed. Rage was growing in his eyes and he broke into a sweat. "This has gone far enough. We're going inside now and we're going to work. Jamie, you're welcome to join us but Brian, NO touching. NONE! No slacking off either, one foot wrong and you're not having anyone on tour, got it?" Kevin asked rhetorically. Anyone could see from the looks on the guys faces that none of them agreed with Kevin or liked what he was saying, but none of them said anything. Kevin led the way inside and the others finally followed, with Brian and Jamie being at the end of the line. Jamie felt uncomfortable around the guys but Brian told him not to worry about Kevin and that the others were all happy for them.
The guys each got dressed and waited in the holding rooms for their call. Fatima, and the `Backstreet Boys Dance Team' as they were nicknamed were there, too. Along with them the members of the Backstreet Band and the boys' road manager, Lisa. AJ ended up sitting by himself in a corner puffing on a cigarette while Kevin talked to Lisa about upcoming plans. Jamie, Brian, Howie and Nick all sat and chatted at a table nearby. "Wow! All these people tour with you?" Jamie asked, trying to make conversation. "Yep." Nick stated. The others could all tell what was bugging Jamie and tried to comfort him. "Look, Jamie.," Howie walked over to his new friend and put an arm around him. "Don't worry about Kevin. He reacted the same way when I lost my virginity. And the same way when AJ started smoking. And the same way when Brian and AJ got tattoos. He just deals with things by anger. We don't like it and you don't have to either, but unfortunately we all have to put up to it." Jamie looked at Howie, he had managed to cheer him up a bit and Jamie was glad.
"It'll be OK babe." Brian looked at Jamie with love. "I know." Jamie smiled back, placing his hand on Brian's. `Item 7 - Backstreet Boys – Larger Than Life please make your way to the stage.' The guys heard their call over the loud speaker. "Let's move!" Kevin yelled over everyone's talking. The guys slowly headed for the stairs. "So you're touring with us?" Nick spoke to Jamie as the headed for the stage. "Yeah, should be fun." Jamie replied. "Well it's not that great, but there are the good bits. I'll bet you're gona have fun though." Nick said as he nudged Jamie and shot him and evil grin. "OK, OK, hands off my man!" Brian laughed as he pushed his way between the two.
Before long the guys were standing on stage singing an a cappella version of `I Want It That Way' to warm up and check out their mics. "OK, Brian, Nick, Howie AJ and Kevin." Lisa got the boys' attention. "You're going over the dance routine at the end just once before we start because you're going to have to do it a little differently so you can end up on the platform at the back. "This is so boring! Nick complained about his wasted morning. "Tell me about it." AJ responded, feeling the same loss as Nick. The music started and the guys got into their positions. Jamie stood in front of them and faced them. The part in the music started and so did the boys. Each concentrated on his dancing of the cleverly choreographed routine. Brian was working up a sweat when he glanced around to see where Jamie was.
As Brian laid eyes on his new boyfriend he saw that he was doing the exact same dance as himself. Brian nudged Nick and pointed to Jamie. The guys watched Jamie for a second, they were amazed at his dancing. "Wooooooo! Go Jamie!" Nick yelled. Jamie just smiled back while all the guys turned to watch him. The Backstreet Boys stopped dancing and watched Jamie finish off the routine. "Woo-Hoo! Jamie!" AJ cheered when Jamie finished up. "How did you know the dance?" Brian asked the question everyone was wondering as he walked over to his lover. "Easy, I just watched the video a heap of times!" Brian laughed. "The video isn't out until Monday." AJ replied, still in awe of Jamie's dancing techniques. "Yes, but that's the perks of working for MTV!" Jamie exclaimed.
The guys practiced the routine twice through and then were allowed to leave. Brian gave Jamie a hug goodbye and the guys all rode in the limo back to their hotel. "I can't wait to hit the pool!" Nick exclaimed as they neared the hotel. "No so fast." Kevin warned him. "We're having lunch together at the café. We need to talk." Kevin explained sternly. Brian sighed. He felt in his heart he'd done the right thing by being honest, but he didn't like upsetting Kevin and AJ. The limo pulled up out the back of the hotel and the guys walked inside. Brian hung towards the back of the group and just stared at the ground. "People who have just fallen in love don't usually look this happy!" Nick tried to cheer Brian up with his sarcasm. "I haven't fallen in love." Brian reminded Nick. "And there's not really that much for me to be happy about. I mean with the whole Kevin thing… and now AJ." Brian blurted out, not thinking about his words. Nick gave Brian a crooked stare as they sat down to lunch.
Jamie had taken an hour off for lunch and decided to spend it with Luke, as they wouldn't be seeing much of each other in the months to come. The two young men sat at a café in the middle of the busy city of New York. "You're really leaving to tour with the Backdoor Boys?" Luke asked Jamie again in shock. "Yep! They're great! I've never been anywhere, now I'm going EVERYWHERE!" Jamie explained excitedly. "So exactly why did they ask you to tour with them?" Luke interrogated further into his friend's life, as he fed himself his burger and fries. "I dunno, I guess I just get on well with them." Jamie replied with happiness and simplicity. "All of them?" Luke asked yet another question. "Do you have a badge?" Jamie joked. He didn't mind the questions, actually he was glad Luke was taking an interest. "I get on best with Brian. Nick's cool. Howie's quiet, but he's a good friend of mine already. AJ's…" Jamie stopped. He felt the guilt of AJ hit him again. Jamie looked at his plate and pushed the thoughts out of his head. "AJ and Kevin are OK, too." Jamie finished up.
Back at the hotel the Backstreet Boys had placed their lunch orders and were waiting for Kevin to speak. Kevin looked over the table at the four other silent band members. They were all still angry with him and none was going to take any more trouble from him. "Guys, I'd just like to apologize about the way I acted at rehearsals." Kevin finally said. They guys were all a little shocked, but none of them spoke. "Brian, I'm sorry about what I said. I'm still here for you." Brian hadn't looked up since they sat at the table. The way Kevin had acted had really upset him and as soon as he left Jamie the pain was really sinking into his heart. Brian listened to Kevin, but he wasn't sure weather to believe him or not.
"Please Brian, look at me?" Kevin begged. Brian was still angry at the way Kevin had treated him but he did want to make a mends with Kevin. Brian sat up and looked at Kevin. "I'm sorry." Kevin said clearly, looking directly into Kevin's eyes. "OK." Brian smiled and nodded. A young waitress approached the table. "Are you gentlemen ready to order?" she asked, holding a pad and pen, ready to take orders. "Burgers and fries for me." Nick called as he stuck his hand into the air. "Something pasta?" Howie suggested to the waitress. "Sure." She smiled back as Howie winked at her. "I'll have a salad sandwich, I'm not really hungry." AJ stated. "Me either. I'm right nor now." Brian replied. Kevin looked at Brian, he could feel the guilt of what he'd done and he could see the depression in Brian's body. "And you sir?" The young waitress asked Kevin. "What? Oh lunch." Kevin said as his mind slowly joined with his body again. "Um, just a prawn cocktail." Kevin ordered. "Wow. Now there's a mixed bunch of food!" The waitress stated as she walked away.
The five men sat in silence as tension filled the table. Nick sat back in his chair staring around the empty room. The walls were filled with colorful art works and decorative lighting fixtures. Nick was thinking of what Brian had confessed to him earlier that day. The one fact which had caused the mess. Howie was staring out of the nearby window. The day was overcast and the weather looked miserable. His thoughts were on the performance, the awards and the competition.
Howie looked over to AJ whose eyes were fixed on Brian. AJ was still wearing dark glasses, but Howie knew things weren't right with AJ. AJ was hurting. He'd been rejected, and seen Brian treated badly be his own cousin. He was close to tears as he went over in his head all the times he thought about having Brian in his arm. All the times he'd wanted to just make a mad dash across the stage and pash Brian wildly in front of a crowd. All the fantasies of he and Brian sharing a candle lit dinner. `I need you Brian. Don't I deserve you?' AJ asked in his mind. Brian was staring down at the bare table in front of him. He was playing with his bracelet and next to tears. He'd hurt everyone. The only things he could think of were Jamie and how bad his choice of time was. Kevin's eyes moved between the guys. He was truly guilty for his actions and knew they were the cause of everyone's quiet mood. He didn't like to see Brian turn out the way he had, but looking back he realized how selfish and cruel he'd been to his closest friends.
The boys ate pretty much in silence before receiving their orders from Kevin. Kevin's instructions were short and to the point. He told the boys where and when to meet for the awards. The boys went their separate ways for the afternoon. Howie, worried about the show worked out with Fatima for a few hours, Nick soaked up some rays by the pool, Kevin finalized the tour details while AJ and Brian spent the afternoon in their rooms sulking. Brian ended up drifting to sleep while AJ listened to slow love songs and cried over Brian. AJ didn't understand why he was so upset. As far as he knew he was just a little interested in Brian. He though he'd ask him out and he'd say no and that would be the end of it. But now he was grieving over the fact Brian wasn't his to take. `When did I become so attached?' AJ asked himself over and over again. `Fuck it AJ, you screwed thighs up bad.' He chastised himself in his mind.
The weather outside was wet and miserable as Brian was awoken with a knock at his door. "Coming!" Brian called as he heard the loud bashing on the outside of the door. Brian glanced at the time and knew he'd have to get ready within the next hour. He got off the bed and stumbled across to the door. Brian opened the door to see Nick dressed and ready for the show. "I came to see if you were OK." Nick stated as Brian let him in and sat with him in the lounge area of the hotel. "I'm fine." Brian replied with a yawn. "I was just sleeping!" Nick looked at Brian and nodded. "You'll have to get dressed soon." Nick warned, glancing at this watch. "Yeah, I will." Brian answered. The two sat in silence for a moment. "Brian?" Nick asked, unsure of himself. "Yes?" Brian asked, looking directly at Nick. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but what did you mean before when you said `and now AJ'?" Nick ended shyly. Brian sighed, realizing his mistake. He looked down to his hands, which were balled together between his legs. He fidgeted uneasily and looked back over to Nick. "Well AJ told me he liked me, as in, more than a friend. And I had to tell him I didn't feel the same way." Brian felt the tears coming to his eyes as he relived how he broke his friend's heart. "That's tough." Nick sympathized as he moved closer to Brian and put his arm around the older guy.
Back at the opera house Jamie and the rest of the workers had finished the work and were relaxing with a few drinks and snacks provided at the cost of MTV. "Well, not long now, you watching the show?" Luke asked Jamie. "I don't actually know, I might be. I won't get to sit with Brian, though. I might just stay backstage so I get a chance to see him." Luke listened carefully and nodded. "What are you doing afterwards? Hitting the town? Me and the some of the other guys are going out if you want to join us." Luke offered. "Nah, I'll see what Brian's doing." Jamie replied, getting himself another rum and coke. "Better go easy on those, wait till you're getting your man pissed!" Luke joked. "You don't care that I'm gay?" Jamie asked Luke out of nowhere. "Just because you didn't say anything doesn't mean I didn't know earlier. It's never bothered me. What could I do about it anyway?" Luke asked rhetorically. His answer left Jamie a little confused, but he didn't think too much about it.
Justin and Luke sat and talked, watching the guests arrive as they ate
and drank together. "Hey, Jamie! Here's that car that always makes you
excited." Luke joked as the Backstreet Boys limo reached the drop-off area.
"Yeah, I heard it three blocks away!" Jamie joked back. All the guys got
out. Brian was wearing sunglasses, but still noticed Jamie. He gave his
boyfriend a wave as he and the guys walked up the red carper to the front
of the opera house.
Author's Notes: I'm having a lot of
fun with this story and I'm loving the responses! Please keep reading the
new parts and keep sending your comments and ideas my way! Write to me
even if you just want to say hi!