Here we go with Part 22. Thanks to everyone who has been writing, I really enjoy hearing from you.
One of the things that seems to be a tradition on here is for authors to mention some of their favorite stories... I have been an avid reader of quite a few: Forever (Back after a hiatus), Twist of Fate, Yellow, Just Together (Celebrity section but has N'Sync in it), Brian and Me , Jamie's Romance, My Surprise Romance, Lance in Shining Armour, Studio in the Country (Finally!!! another installment), Lucky Me, Not Meant to Be, Mile High Meeting, Model Romance, Beneath It All and the list goes on. My email address is email@example.com, if you feel inclined to write and let me know what you think or just want to chat.
Now on to the standard disclaimers. I doubt that anything I write will make any difference since if you found this little gathering place on the World Wide Web you're probably going to go ahead and read what's here no matter what anyone says. But here it goes anyway...
If you have a problem reading about guys who like other guys as something more than just friends, you need to go find some other place to poke around. If you are under the legal age to read erotic fiction where you live, you probably wouldn't get in trouble for reading this story, but you really don't belong here. And most importantly, many of the names mentioned in this story have been changed to protect the guilty (or is that supposed to be the innocent?). Under no circumstances will I disclose whether or not I actually know any of The Backstreet Boys or any other celebrity who may make an appearance. Nor do I believe in outing people, so I will not disclose any information about the true sexual orientation of anyone mentioned in this story.
Previously in the story of Nick and the Altos
"I can't believe this. No way Nick Carter is gay."
"Even if he is, one night with me and he's switch back."
"In your dreams, Megan. This pictures leave no doubt in my mind, Nick's got a thing for that guy."
I looked to see what they were talking about and they had a copy of The National Enquirer. I glanced at the front page of the ones in the rack and there was a picture of Nick with his arms around a person I knew was me. The headline read 'Nick Carter and his big secret. Sorry girls...'. I stood there with my mouth hanging open. I couldn't believe the issue had been printed without any warning.
I grabbed my phone and called Kevin. "Kev, one of the pictures is on the front page of The Enquirer. How come you didn't take care of them?"
Kevin's mouth dropped open and he paused a few seconds before replying, "What exactly did you expect me to do about them, Mikey? It's not like I had any advanced knowledge."
I felt like I had been slapped in the face and realized that what I had said was pretty shitty, "I'm sorry, Kevin. I'm pretty shook up. Here I am standing in a grocery line and I see my picture on the cover of a scandal sheet."
"It's okay, Mikey. First time, huh?"
"And hopefully the last! I'm just glad it doesn't show my face so the people standing here don't realize it's me. I don't know what other pictures are inside, though."
"Buy a copy, Mikey," Kevin said.
"No way!" I replied, "I don't buy crap like that."
"Mikey, we need to know what it says. So suck it up and buy a damned copy."
"All right... This is so fucking embarrassing," I said as I picked up a copy and set it down next to my groceries. "So who's going to tell you know who?"
"I guess I should since he is here," Kevin replied.
"I think I should be the one to do it. After all, I'm the person who saw it first. Could you be in the room with him when I call him? I'm pretty worried about how he's going to react."
"Sure, Mikey. When are you going to call him?"
"After I get home, so in about a half hour."
It was finally my turn at the check stand, so we hung up. The woman at the check stand picked up the copy of National Enquirer and looked at the cover and shook her head, "Looks like there are going to be a lot of heartbroken girls out there. He sure is a cutie. His boyfriend sure made a good catch."
"Huh?" I said.
"Oh, this story about Nick Carter. You know, the cute guy from The Backstreet Boys. If he really is gay, his boyfriend is really lucky," she said.
"Yeah," I replied, thinking 'If she only knew'.
After paying for my groceries, I went out and put everything in the car and headed home. I probably shouldn't have been driving because I was pretty much in a daze and not focusing on what I was doing. However, I made it home safely and let Gracie out in the yard and put everything that needed to be kept cold in the refrigerator.
After letting Gracie back inside, I picked up the Enquirer and went into the living room. I turned to the page where the story continued and saw several additional pictures. Fortunately the picture of Nick standing in the spa wasn't printed, but there were several others along with a caption that said 'Who is the mystery man?'. Anyone who knew me would have no problem recognizing me in at least two of the five pictures.
I sat there in shock for several minutes before getting up and getting myself something to drink. I was really wishing I had some hardcore alcohol in my house but had to settle for a Mountain Dew.
I went back into the living room and sat down. I wasn't ready for the pain I was about to bring to Nick, but I needed to get it over with and hope that we would survive it. I picked up the phone and called Nick's hotel room.
"Hello," Nick said as he picked up the phone.
"Hey, sexy boy."
In the background I could hear Kevin make some comment about not wanting to witness any phone sex, "Tell Kevin, he doesn't have anything to worry about."
"Why spoil all the fun?" Nick said.
"Good point. Um, Nicky, I don't know an easy way to say what I need to tell you other than to just get it over with..."
"Mikey," Nick said hesitantly, "You aren't calling me to tell me it's over are you?"
"What? No of course not Nick. I love you more than I have ever loved anyone."
"Then what could be so difficult?"
"Nicky, we're on the cover of National Enquirer," I said dejectedly. I was greeted by silence at the other end.
"Nick?" I said softly, "Are you still there?"
After several seconds Nick finally spoke, "Yeah."
"Don't scare me, Nicky,"
"Sorry, that hit me pretty hard."
"I know, it hit me pretty badly too, seeing it at the grocery checkout counter this evening."
"Shit, I'm so sorry Mikey," Nick said.
"I probably wouldn't have noticed it if it hadn't been for these girls looking at it. Then Kevin made me buy a copy and I had to listen to the grocery checker talking about how lucky the mystery guy was."
"Kevin knows and didn't say anything?" Nick said angrily.
"Yeah, I called him from the grocery. I was sort of a jerk towards him to start with, but I figured he would be more rational than either one of us."
"That's probably true, but at least he could have come tell me about it!"
"Nick, wait a minute. Don't be pissed at him. He was going to tell you but I asked him to let me do it. I asked him to be there with you in case you needed him."
"So why did you wait so long to tell me?" Nick said angrily.
"Nick, I'm sorry. I wanted to wait until I got home, not call you from the car. Shit, I was having enough trouble just concentrating on driving without talking to you too."
After a few seconds of hearing nothing from the other end I started getting worried, "Nicky? You okay?"
"Yeah," Nick said quietly, "I'm sorry for getting pissed Mikey. It's just I'm scared, Mikey."
"I know. You want me to come back there?"
"Yeah, when can you leave? I'll meet you at whatever airport you are coming in at."
"Wait a minute, guys!" I heard Kevin say in the background. "The last thing we need is for you and Mikey to be together, Nick."
"Why?" Nick asked.
"Think about it Nick. If you guys are spending time together, it will just fuel the fires. I can understand how you want to be together at a time like this, but we need to try to keep your relationship quiet, not more public than it already is," Kevin said.
"Mikey," Nick said, "I guess he's right. But I miss you so much and want to hold you so badly."
"I know, Nick. I feel the same way. I hate to admit it but it probably is best to lay low for a while. It fucking sucks, Nick, but I guess it has to happen. So what's going to happen now?"
"Well, I guess I have to go do a real interview at MTV, since we made a deal with them for not publishing their copies of the photos."
"God, Nick, I'm so sorry you are going to have to do that. I sure hope Carson Daly isn't part of it."
"That makes two of us. He is such an asshole and I feel like he is out to get us any way he can."
"So is it going to be live or will it be taped?"
"It has to be taped. There's no way I'm going to do something like that live."
"I am so glad I don't have to do something like that. I really feel for you Nick, having to go through this because of me."
"Mikey, how many times do I have to tell you. This isn't because of you, it's because we're famous. Jeez, look at N'Sync. All the rumors that Lance is gay. What would make news is if there was a rumor he was straight."
"I don't know, we've never talked about it. I expect he'll ask me the next time I see them, though."
"So what will you say to him?"
"That I have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world," Nick replied.
"You know I love you, don't you?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah... I know. It's the only thing that keeps me going when we're apart."
"Can I talk to Kevin for a minute?" I asked.
"Yeah," Nick replied before handing the receiver to Kevin.
I talked to Kevin for a couple of minutes and he convinced me that Nick was ok and promised to watch over him. After he handed the phone back to Nick, we talked for another 30 or 40 minutes.
After we got off the phone I went in the kitchen and started dinner. While I was cooking I called my mother and told her what had happened. We talked until my dinner was ready about how Nick and I were dealing with the situation.
After I finished dinner I took Gracie for a long walk along the beach, lost in my thoughts about what the future held. A couple of hours later I got back home and climbed into the spa in my backyard and tried to relax. After a half hour of soaking in it, I went upstairs, took a shower and went to bed. Sleep, when it finally came, was not very relaxing.
Saturday morning everyone met in Kevin's hotel room for late breakfast. Nick told the rest of them about the article in the National Enquirer and how he was going to have to go back to New York for an interview with MTV. Brian, Howie and AJ were pretty quiet after hearing what Nick had said.
Kevin announced that he and Nick would be heading to New York on Monday for the interview with MTV. That went over like the proverbial lead balloon. AJ, Howie and Brian were adamant that they were going along. It was going to be everyone or no one.
After breakfast Kevin called their management group, who were already preparing to file a lawsuit against the National Enquirer. He told them the entire group needed to fly to New York on Monday for an interview with MTV. They said they would arrange for a jet and ground transportation.
After everything was taken care of, the guys headed out for their day's scheduled activities. They were booked for an interview at a local radio station, a stop at Virgin MegaStores for an autograph session and then had to head over to the concert venue for a practice and sound check.
Saturday morning dawned clear and sunny, so I decided to go down to the boat and cruise off somewhere for the weekend. I packed groceries and a few clothes and loaded Gracie in the car.
An hour later I was heading out of Newport Harbor. I don't know why, but I headed North, bound for Santa Barbara. I wasn't planning on visiting my parents or even letting them know I was in town. There was just something comfortable about it that beckoned to me.
I was just off Malibu when Nick called. He told me that their management company and the label were filing lawsuits against the National Enquirer on Monday morning and that everyone was going with him to the MTV interview.
I asked Nick to have their attorneys contact Jeff so that he could stay abreast of the situation in the event he decided to sue on my behalf. Then we moved on to a more typical Mikey and Nick conversation. He told me what was planned for their day and I told him that I was on my boat heading up to Santa Barbara for the weekend. I didn't mean it to turn out this way, but he got really jealous over that. I knew he was just letting off steam and giving me a bad time, so I went along with it and eventually we were both back to laughing and telling each other how in love we were.
We had to hang up when their limo got to the Virgin MegaStore since he had to go back to work. He said he would try to call me before the concert and would definitely call afterwards.
Around noon I was getting kind of hungry, so after making sure there weren't any other boats in the vicinity, I engaged the autopilot and made a quick trip below to use the head and to grab something to eat. When I returned topside, everything was looking good so I relaxed and ate my sandwich and fruit. Gracie lay there on the deck giving me the evil eye because I wasn't dropping anything on the deck for her. Finally she gave up and turned around and looked the other direction.
By 2 P.M. I was off Montecito, having made very good time up the coast. A short while later I approached the Santa Barbara harbor. I hailed the harbormaster and was directed to an overnight slip. I docked the boat and secured the lines. Then I grabbed Gracie's leash and we headed out for a walk.
After taking care of her immediate needs, we started down the sidewalk along Cabrillo Blvd that led to East Beach. We walked for a good hour and a half or two hours. We were both ready for naps when we got back. After downing a bottle of water, I went into my cabin and lay down on the bed. It didn't take long before I was sound asleep.
I was awakened by the sound of my phone ringing later in the afternoon...
"Hello," I said as I answered it.
"Hey, Mikey. It's Rachel."
"Don't you know it's the weekend? Can't it wait until I get to work on Monday?" I whined.
"No, cause it isn't about work. It's personal, Mikey."
"Oh, what do you need?" I asked sleepily.
"I was wondering why you didn't tell me you are dating Nick Carter?"
"What are you talking about, Rach?"
"Well, my mom picked up the new Enquirer and she was telling me how Nick Carter is gay. So when I was home for lunch she showed me the article, knowing how I have this major crush on him and all. Was I ever surprised when I look inside and see your picture with the caption 'Who is the mystery man?'.
"It's all just a bunch of crap, Rachel. Nick and I are good friends and someone took some pictures of us hanging out together and is trying to make money off them. Nothing is going on, Rachel."
"Come on, Mikey. You don't really expect little old Rachel to believe that do you. I've seen how you have been acting since you came back to work. You are in love, Mikey. I can tell."
"Rachel, it's just your imagination."
"Mikey, tell me you aren't attracted to him."
"I didn't say I wasn't attracted to him, Rachel. He is a great guy and he is cute and talented and friendly. But that doesn't mean I'm going to chase after him, Rachel."
"Ok, Mikey, I'll let you believe that for now, but I think you're full of it. So what are you doing for the weekend?"
"I decided to take a cruise on my boat. I'm up in Santa Barbara over night. What about you?"
"Well, nothing as cool as that. I lead a pretty boring life compared to you, Mikey. Spent the afternoon at my parents. Tonight I'm going out to the movies with some friends. Tomorrow will just be relaxing and doing chores around my place."
"I have some of that to do myself when I get home. I'll be paying the price for taking this little trip tomorrow evening when you're sitting around relaxing."
"Mikey, I need to get ready to meet the girls, so I had better run. When you talk to your boyfriend tonight, tell him if he gets tired of you, I'd be willing to spend some time with him."
"Ha, ha, Rach. Very funny. If I happen to talk to Nick in the next few days, I'll tell him you would like to meet him next time he is out in California."
"See you on Monday, Rachel."
That evening I took Gracie for another walk and then, after locking her in the cabin, walked back to the restaurant at the base of the Breakwater. I had a peaceful dinner while I did a pretty good job of people watching from my window table. I was pretty sure that once the general public got wind of the controversy that I would lose a fair amount of my cherished anonymity. So I enjoyed it while I could.
After dinner I headed back to the boat and took Gracie up on the bridge, where I lay back and watched the lights of the city. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Some time after 9 P.M., my phone rang; it was Nick. We spent an hour or more talking about what we had done since our last conversation. The concert had gone pretty well that night. Nick said that he had been pretty subdued up until they went on stage, but once he got out there, he put his troubles behind himself and went into performance mode.
Sunday they were planning a relaxed morning and then they would take the bus to Atlanta where the next set of concerts were scheduled starting Monday night. Monday morning they would fly to New York for the MTV interview and then back to Atlanta in the early afternoon to get ready for the concert.
It had started getting pretty cool topside, so during the course of our conversation I had gone below and stretched out in the salon. After we said goodnight, I went back to my book and read for about an hour before I decided to head to bed. The gentle rocking of the boat lulled me to sleep.
Sunday morning Gracie woke me up to take her for a walk around 8:30. I don't know why she decided to sleep in so much later than normal, but I sure didn't complain. I took a quick shower while the coffee brewed and then we went ashore. We had a nice walk and stopped by Starbucks to pick up something sweet for my breakfast on the way back. It was warming up nicely, so after feeding Gracie I took the croissant and fruit up to the bridge, along with another cup of coffee and relaxed.
After a slow breakfast, I called Jeff, my attorney and got an update on what the guy's team of lawyers were planning. We talked for quite a while about that and other subjects. It was good talking to Jeff, since we hadn't spent any time together in several weeks. I have to admit, though, that I as he told me about the pending lawsuit against the Enquirer I could see life, at least as I had been living it anyway, slipping away. I was visualizing people in stores and on the street looking at me, recognizing me, probably hating me. Not exactly pleasant thoughts.
After I hung up the phone from my conversation with Jeff, I called Jennifer. Nothing like having a wonderful older sister to bare your soul to. Actually, the conversation helped a lot. I guess I'm pretty lucky to have a sister who is accepting and genuinely caring. It's not like she convinced me that I wasn't going to have to deal with a lot of shit, but she reminded me that I was a pretty lucky guy to have such a wonderful boyfriend.
Meanwhile, back on the East coast the guys had spent a leisurely morning before boarding the bus for the drive to Atlanta. Nick was very subdued and after a short period of time got up and went to his bunk and lay down. The others talked quietly amongst themselves for a while and then Brian got up and went to check on Nick.
Nick was laying on his back in his bunk when he noticed Brian part the curtain and poke his head inside.
"So you doing ok, all things considered?"
"Feel like some company?"
"I guess, but don't expect me to be the good kind."
"That's ok," Brian said as he crawled into the bunk and lay down next to Nick.
Nick and Brian lay there for a few minutes. Nick continued to just stare up at the bottom of the bunk above his while Brian lay on his side looking at him. Finally Brian spoke again, "Been a long time since we have done this. I've really missed you."
"Yeah, it has. Sorry I'm such lame company though. Life isn't exactly all that great right now."
"It's ok, Nicky. I understand. It wasn't like I was looking for an intellectually stimulating conversation. I know better than to expect that with you even on a good day."
Nick didn't say anything right away. Then he turned his head and looked at Brian with this hurt look on his face, "Thanks a lot. Next time I need an insult, I'll look you up."
"Nick, I was joking. I just wanted to see if you were listening to anything I was saying."
"So how's Mikey doing with all of this stuff going on?"
"He's pretty worried about what might happen. What with his family and trying to keep a low profile. I'm really concerned about him, Brian. He says he's doing ok, but I really miss him and want to see him so badly. I want to make sure he knows I love him more than ever."
"Well, if he has any question about that, tell him to give me a call. I'll set him straight, Nick."
"No thanks, Bri. I prefer him gay," Nick said, smiling for the first time in two days.
"Ewww, that was really bad, Nick. Don't give up your day job to try to become a comedian, ok."
"Hopefully it would pay better..."
"Yeah, right. Poor little Nicky. You know, Mikey's a pretty lucky guy, having you for his boyfriend."
"Thanks, but I'm really the lucky one."
"Listen, Nick, I know we haven't spent a lot of time together recently, but I want you to know that I'm always here for you. Any time you need to talk or need a shoulder to cry on..."
"Thanks, Bri. I know. Sorry I've been sort of distant lately."
Nick and Brian fell back into a quiet solitude. They continued to lay on the bunk for another hour or so until AJ started yelling to them that it was time to stop for some lunch.
My phone started ringing as I was getting ready to take Gracie for a walk along Cabrillo Boulevard to check out the Sunday art festival, "Hello."
"I think my boyfriend might get upset at you calling me cutie," I said.
"I though I was your boyfriend?" Nick said.
"Oh, that's right. You are. It's been so long since I've seen you that I was starting to forget."
"Thanks a lot! First Brian and now you!"
"What did Brian do?"
"He made some comment about how I wasn't the kind of person he would look to for an intellectually stimulating conversation."
"I'm sure he was joking, wasn't he?"
"Yeah, but it's not like I need insults while I'm in my current state of mind."
"So you doing ok, Nicky?"
"Yeah, as good as can be expected I guess. How about you?"
"Ok, but I'm pretty worried about what might come out of this. I'm so worried that next time I'm in line at the grocery store that someone will recognize me as the guy in the article."
"Yeah, I know. Welcome to the world of the famous."
"Infamous is more like it. But Nicky, I'll put up with anything to have you as my boyfriend. I want you to know that."
"I know, Mikey. So when are you heading back home?"
"I'm not sure. I was thinking maybe I should call my parents since I'm in town. So probably not until tomorrow morning."
"I'm glad you're going to call them. Say hello to them for me, ok?"
"Yeah. So have you talked to your family recently?" I asked. The question wasn't exactly what Nick was wanting to hear, judging from the silence on the other end.
Finally, Nick replied, "No."
"Didn't mean to upset you, Nick. I'm just worried the way you never talk about them or talk with them."
"I'm just not to the point where I'm ready to let my parents back into my life, Mikey. I really miss my brother and sisters. And I'm really worried about what my mother is doing to Aaron's life, pushing him just like she did me."
"Nicky, you ok? I wasn't trying to force you or anything."
"I know, Mikey. I probably need to let them know what's going on, but my mother has probably already read the damned article and hasn't made any attempt to call me."
"I'm so sorry, Nick. Having to put up with my family's background hasn't exactly been the easiest thing to do, but at least they are supportive. I'm actually feeling sort of bad because I didn't call them when I decided to come up, so that's why I'm going to stay another night."
"Gave yourself a guilt trip, huh?"
"Yeah. Plus I talked to Jen for a while this morning and she actually helped me feel better about everything that's going on. That and she reminded me that I have this really awesome boyfriend so I should be complaining about anything."
"That's right, you do! He's almost as cool as mine. You jealous about that?"
"Nope, totally satisfied with the one I have, thank you."
"Hey, sweetie, we just pulled up to our hotel. Can I give you a call later tonite?"
"You had better call me again! What's with asking, anyway?"
"Talk to you later, then. Love ya, Mikey."
"Love you too, Nick."
Gracie and I had wandered down East Beach during the course of the phone call. We were almost to where the rocks start before the point that divides East Beach and Butterfly Beach. The tide was out so I let Gracie off her leash and let her explore the area.
After about 20 minutes I called her and, after putting the leash back on her, we walked over to the path along the street and headed back for the harbor. It was a typical warm Sunday afternoon and there were artists set up all along the boulevard. It was pretty crowded, but fortunately Gracie didn't cause any problems by being too friendly to the people wandering around. By the time we got back to the harbor, we were both ready for naps.
I lay down on my bed and felt soundly asleep. I didn't wake up for a couple of hours. It was pretty dark at that point, so I got up and fixed Gracie her dinner and started working on something for myself. Shortly after finishing my dinner, Nick called and we talked for about an hour. Then I called my parents and talked to them for a while. They wanted me to come out to the house but I told them that I was getting pretty tired and would come and spend a weekend soon.
After we finished talking, I took Gracie for her last walk of the day. Since it was getting pretty cool, I pulled on some sweat pants and a long sleeve tee shirt. Because I didn't have any pockets in the sweat pants, I put my phone in my shirt pocket. That turned out to be a big mistake. On the way back I was jumping around playing with Gracie on the dock and my cell fell out of my pocket, bounced on the dock and into the water. Oh well, time for a new one.
We went back aboard the boat and I curled up on the bed with my book. It wasn't too long before I was ready to turn out the light and go to sleep.
Back in Atlanta there was a round of early wakeup calls. The last thing Nick wanted to do was get out of bed, fly to New York and be the focal point of an MTV interview. But, after a wakeup call from the hotel system and two phone calls from Kevin, he knew that he had better get himself moving. So he got out of the warm bed and went into the bathroom.
He stood in the shower way too long. He could hear the phone ring a couple of times. Then there was a knock at the door. Then he heard Kevin yelling "Nick, hurry up. We need to leave for the airport." as he stood under the hot spray. Finally he turned off the shower, dried himself off and went back into the bedroom.
Brian was sitting in one of the chairs, "So did you have fun in the shower?"
"No," Nick replied blushing slightly. "It was pretty relaxing though, something I could use a lot of right now."
"So did you sleep ok?"
"Not really all that great. I sure hope we don't see Carson today. I just don't think I can deal with him right now."
"Supposedly that is being managed so you don't need to worry. Nick, I'm really sorry you are having to go through this."
"Thanks, Bri, you're not the only one. I've been thinking that maybe I should just tell the truth, suffer the consequences in the press and stuff. At least Mikey and I wouldn't have to hide any more."
"I can understand how you would feel that way. Are you ready for the storm it would cause?"
"Probably not, and part of it scares the shit out of me. Having girls stalk you wanting you to be their boyfriend is bad enough. I really worry that some hateful person might seriously stalk us and try to hurt us. It's really scary, Bri."
"Hey, Nicky, don't start worrying about stuff like that. We have bodyguards to protect us. Mikey can get them too, if he needs them."
"Yeah, like that would really protect us if someone seriously wanted to punish us for being gay," Nick said dejectedly as he started getting dressed.
"I hadn't thought about that. It really could be dangerous, couldn't it?"
"Yeah. Well I guess it's time to make an appearance."
Brian and Nick went over to Kevin's suite and waited for Howie and AJ to arrive. Once everyone was ready they went downstairs to the waiting limo and rode to the airport where a jet was waiting to take them to New York.
Nick kept to himself during the flight, worrying about what lay ahead of him that morning. Kevin spent most of the flight talking with their management's representatives who were accompanying them to the interview. Upon landing two limos were waiting to take them to the MTV studios. Since the interview was being done privately, there wasn't a crowd of fans waiting to greet them.
The Backstreet Boys and their entourage were escorted to a medium sized studio with seven comfortable chairs. Five were arranged in a semi-circle on one side and two were on the other side. There were a number of large TV monitors set into a wall opposite the chairs behind the cameras. The monitors were displaying both the current MTV show and the shows of other networks.
A few minutes after the guys were led to the studio, they were joined by Kurt Loder, Brian McFayden and Carson Daly, along with a number of other MTV staff. Upon seeing Carson, Kevin immediately walked over to Kurt Loder and pulled him aside.
"I thought we had an understanding about who would be here, Kurt?" Kevin said angrily.
"We did, Kevin, but Carson just butted in."
"Ok, this is real easy. Either Carson leaves or we walk."
"Kevin, be reasonable, if you walk then you guys don't get your side of the story told by us. Who knows what he might say on TRL?"
"You know that if he says anything inflammatory that we will be suing MTV like we are the National Enquirer."
"Kevin, it's still better if you guys talk about what you say is going on so the public hears it from you, not other people."
"Kurt, if we agree to stay and be interviewed, you need to keep that asshole under control."
"I know. We'll be editing the interview anyway, so if he gets out of hand we can just cut those parts."
"Let me go talk to the others and see what they want to do."
Kevin turned and walked back to where the others were standing. He explained what he and Kurt had discussed. It was obvious that Nick wasn't very comfortable with having Carson present, but in the end everyone agreed to proceed. They took the chairs with AJ in the chair closest to the edge followed by Nick, Brian, Kevin and Howie. Kurt and Brian McFayden took the other two chairs.
After several minutes of settling in and checking the sound, the interview began with Brian McFayden starting with a summary of what led up to the interview. He explained about MTV having anonymously received an envelope with some pictures of Nick and how, after talking to the group, they had decided not to do anything about them. He then explained that the photographs had appeared in the latest issue of the National Enquirer so the group had agreed to be interviewed by MTV about the article.
At that point Kurt Loder began talking, "This morning we are joined by The Backstreet Boys. Guys, it's good to see you again."
"Thanks, Kurt. Normally we say we are glad to be here, but it's sort of hard to say that given the circumstances," Kevin said.
"I understand, guys. We just wanted to get you together and ask you about the article that was published on Friday."
"First," Kevin said, "I want to state that while the photographs that appeared with the article are real, they were taken without permission and the interpretations made by the National Enquirer are completely false and were made without any attempt at verification of the circumstances."
"So Nick," Brian said, "Tell us about Michael Alto, the other person in the photographs."
Nick hesitated for a few seconds, so Kevin began, "Actually, it is Michael Alto, Jr. He is our partner in The Backstreet Foundation and a good friend of ours."
Nick began talking at that point, "When we first met Mikey, his little sister Angela was terminally ill. She was the sweetest little girl and we all really liked her. For some reason I just hit it off with her and started spending a lot of time with them."
Kevin continued, "We all went to spend a short vacation in the Colorado Rockies and Nick convinced Mikey to join us and try to get his mind off his little sister's condition. Unfortunately, a couple of days later she took a turn for the worse."
"Mikey was really distraught," Nick said, "So I went back to his parents with him. We were starting to become really good friends and I was worried about him. Angela died a few minutes after we arrived at the hospital. It was like she had been holding on until Mikey got there."
"Even though he had known for a long time she was going to die, Mikey was a basket case. So I spent the next couple of days with him. It was during this time that the photographs were taken.
"Nick, is it true that Michael is gay?" Carson asked from behind the cameras.
"Yes, Carson, Mikey is gay," Kevin responded.
"So Nick, is there any truth to the allegations in the article that you and Michael Alto are a couple?" Carson asked.
Nick hesitated for a few seconds to gather his thoughts and try to calm himself down, "Carson, Mikey and I are very good friends. He isn't the only person I know who is gay. There are a number of people associated with the group who are gay. Having good friends is what is important to me, not their sexual orientation."
"Nick," Brian McFayden said, "Any idea why the photographs were taken and sent to us and the Enquirer?"
"Yes," Nick replied. "Both Mikey and his parents have completely legitimate businesses and are decent, honest people. Unfortunately, the same thing probably can't be said about his grandfather. His grandfather fled the country a long time ago to avoid prosecution. Recently he arranged a deal with the Justice Department so he could come home. The photographs were taken to try to blackmail Mikey's family to get the grandfather to leave the country without talking to the Justice Department. He refused to leave and the photos were released."
"So you and Mikey are just friends?" Kurt asked.
"Yes, Kurt," Nick replied.
"Kurt," Kevin said, "We are all friends with Mikey and we expect that friendship to last long after we stop performing."
Howie had been sitting next to Kevin listening to what was going on when he was distracted by what he saw on one of the monitors. "Oh my God!" he said quietly.
Kevin looked at what Howie had seen and immediately tensed up, "Brian, get Nick out of here. Now!"
Nick was startled by what was going on. Brian grabbed his shoulder and said, "Nick we need to go outside."
"Why?" Nick asked, looking around. The scene on the monitor caught his eye and he froze. "NO!" he cried in anguish as tears started flowing down his cheeks.
Carson Daly came out in front of the cameras and began talking, "Well, so much for the Alto family being a group of kind, decent human beings. CNN is showing live footage of what is being termed a mob massacre at the Alto compound in Montecito, California. Several people have been found dead and others badly wounded."
Nick stood there crying as he stared at the monitor. Brian put his arm around his shoulders and tried to get him to leave the room, but Nick wouldn't move.
"So Nick," Carson said, "It looks like you buddy really is involved with the mob, doesn't it?"
With tears streaming down his face, Nick turned and glared at Carson, "No he isn't, Carson. But when you really love someone, who they are doesn't matter."
Kevin grabbed Nick's arm and lead him out of the studio, where a mild state of pandemonium was erupting. AJ walked over and got in Carson Daly's face.
"You are a real motherfucker, Carson," AJ said. "You had best be very careful of what you say about Nick or I will come back here and kick your fat ass!"
Carson stood there in shock and watched as AJ, Brian and Howie quickly left the room. The management reps immediately approached Kurt Loder and began talking to him about what he was planning to do.
Kevin led Nick out to the waiting limo, followed by Brian, AJ and Howie. Once they were inside, the driver took off for the airport. Nick was a wreck. He sat in the corner crying. Brian reached into Nick's pocket and pulled out his cell phone and hit the speed dial for Mikey's phone. It rang several times and went to voice mail.
"Nick, where is Mikey?" Brian asked.
"He was in Santa Barbara for the weekend. He's going home this morning."
Brian dialed again but there was still no answer. He tried a third time with the same result, after which he put the phone down on the seat and stared out the window.
"What's wrong, Brian?" Nick asked, sobbing. "Brian?"
"There's no answer on Mikey's phone," Brian said quietly.
"He told me last night that he was going to talk to his parents after we finished talking. Oh, my God. Mikey... NO!!!" Nick sobbed as he curled up in the corner of the limo and cried.
Well, that's it for Part 22 of Nick and the Altos. Don't you love a cliffhanger... I'll get Part 23 done as quickly as possible. Any comments, suggestions or whatever, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading... Mikey