CHAPTER 31 -
The smile still played on his lips, his eyes asking questions desperately while locked on Brian's.
He didn't seem to understand. Brian was smiling widely at him.
"So, Nick! Did you like the surprise?" - AJ slapped his shoulder friendly.
Nick turned around to him and grinned. He was feeling weak. For one minute he thought he was going to faint.
"Yes! My best friend's wedding! Thats so great!" - Nick exclaimed cheerfully.
That was the first day. Seconds were enough to change him. Seconds and Nick learned how to be a different person. Not because he wanted, but because he needed. To survive.
"Hey, lets get going? Leighanne is about to arrive and I'm supposed to be in the church waiting." - Brian grinned.
Nick looked at him and smiled while the others laughed.
"Sure, Brian! You can be going ahead, we will be right behind you." - Kristin said.
"Thanks." - Brian said walking away.
"Yo, Nick! Did you like the surprise, huh? We knew Brian was getting married today for weeks, man! But we couldn't tell anything to you, it was supposed to be a surprise. Brian wants you to be his best man!" - Howie said happily.
'Fucking son of a bitch.' - Nick thought while opening a huge smile.
"Come on people. Brian want us to be there on the first seats." - Kevin said rushing them.
They all did as he said, entering the gorgeous church and sitting on their seats as Brian was standing there, waiting for the bride.
It was all blurry, foggy... fuzzy. He didn't seem to be there. Nick was feeling strange. He could actually stand up and laugh out loud. Only because he was not believing it. He felt AJ's arm around him, friendly. His friend couldn't know how important that touch felt. It was keeping him sane.
Nick locked eyes with Brian and he smiled.
'I hate you.' - Nick thought as he smiled back. 'I hate you terribly. To hell with you!' - Nick thought now giggling.
It was good that he was sitting, he didn't believe he had enough strength to stand up. His heart was breaking slowly, bleeding, and there was nothing he could do. Nothing but smile and enjoy the party.
"Damn, help me get out of this car!" - Leighanne said trying her best to help her and the dress get out of that black Rolls Royce.
"Just a moment, madam. I'll help you." - immediately a gentleman helped her out and Leighanne was standing on her feet, at the church's front door.
She smiled warmly as her father came to take her and walk her in. Her heart was racing. No, she would never believe this was really happening. She was marrying a Backstreet Boy! How many women, girls, people must hate her now! Envy her... Yes, because she had everything she wanted. And after today no one could ever take it from here. The life of her dreams... So, Brian must have been really right, marrying a rich and loving man it probably meant that Guy was really up above. Somewhere she couldn't really care about.
The music began to play and she took the first steps on the red carpet.
They all turned around to see the bride. Leighanne was gorgeous in a white long and amazing dress. Her hair curled up falling on her shoulders, her smile shinning everything around.
Nick looked at her mesmerized. How could someone hurt him so much? Maybe, just maybe... if Brian was marrying someone else... Ok, maybe even Samantha, his first girlfriend! Nick would take it better... Like... ok, they couldn't be together, but Brian needed to be with someone that really loved him! And he could feel that woman didn't love him! She hated him! And she didn't love Brian. Hatred. He was now having a throbbing headache.
As Leighanne met Brian and they stood in front of the pastor it began. During the whole time Nick gave several smiles to Brian's relatives and other people he knew. He talked with AJ, he kept his mind busy.
He didn't pay attention to anything during the whole thing. He couldn't. He had to distract himself. How could he not have seen it? Why did Brian do this? Why did he lie? No.... no. This wasn't time to think. 'Happy, Nickolas. You are happy.' - he told himself and smiled. Fuck this world. He wanted to go home.
AJ poked him slightly and he still had time to hear Brian's words.
"Yes, I do." - he said, looking lovingly at his wife.
"You may kiss your bride." - the pastor said.
Mesmerized again. Nick couldn't take his eyes away from that sight. Leighanne and Brian kissed. Leighanne and Brian forever.
He was taken out of his dream, safe world and tucked into the limo again.
"Where are we going?" - Nick had no idea how did he get there.
"To the party, moron!" - Kevin laughed. - "Didn't you say you were hungry?"
If he ate something right now he throw up everything he has eaten since he was a child.
Brian tried to find room between Leigh's enormous dress inside that car. Pictures, flashes from everywhere as he was in the back seat with his bride. With his wife.
Leighanne pushed him a little to look out of the window and smile at the reporters.
A few minutes later the car began to move towards the party.
Drinking, loud music, Leighanne was everywhere he looked at. Talking to her relatives, dancing, kissing Brian. Cheering with champagne.
"Hey, Nick, ain't you gonna eat anything?" - AJ asked.
"Oh, man... I really wanted but my head is killing me. I don't know what happened. You know when you stay too much time without eating and begin to feel sick? I'm like this now. I'll try to get better to enjoy this party. It rocks, man." - Nick said looking around.
Kevin was always around his cousin, hugging him, hugging Leighanne.
"Whatever, bro. Did you hug Brian yet? - AJ asked.
"No..." - Nick answered silly.
"Come here, me neither. He is right there with Leigh's parents."
Nick followed him. He didn't know why but AJ felt like his safe rock in that place. He couldn't stay away from him.
"Yo, Brian!" - AJ exclaimed. - "Congrats, man! Come here!" - AJ pulled him in a hug.
"Thanks for coming, J! It really meant a lot to me." - Brian said slapping his back slightly.
They broke the embrace and Brian looked at Nick with open arms.
'Oh, thats the way he wants it to be? Well, thats the way it is going to be.'- Nick thought to himself.
"Brian!" - he exclaimed happily hugging his best friend. - "Congratulations, man! I can hardly believe this day finally arrived." - 'I also can't believe you told me you loved me this afternoon.', he finished to himself.
"Thank you Nick! I'm really glad you came."
They broke away and Leighanne approached them.
"Nickers!" - she said warmly.
"Oh, here is the beautiful bride! Congratulations, Leigh!" - Nick hugged her too. 'Hey, what if I kill her? Right her and right now, I'll be fast! No one will notice it!' he thought before breaking the embrace and staring at her.
Leighanne had this amazing smile on her face. She won. And he wasn't just imagining, she knew something about him. The way she was looking at Nick as if saying: you lost...
"Hey, guys! Lets take some pictures!" - Howie exclaimed holding a camera.
"Right, where is Kevin?" - Brian called.
They all got together. The Backstreet Boys and Leighanne. Pics... lots of them. Brian kissing Leighanne, they hugging Brian. No, Nick didn't look at her. In none of the pics. He couldn't get himself to look at her face. To look at Brian. Nick was with AJ. His safe rock. The one that would have to take him out of there. By this time Nick was really amazed with himself. He didn't know he could be this strong. This cynical. But hey, cynical was a word he would have to think about later whenever he looked back on Brian.
They took the pics and Brian climbed on stage, Leighanne sat with nieces and nephews around her.
"I wanna sing our song to you, baby." - Brian said on the microphone.
"Aw, Brian!" - Leighanne exclaimed and smiled shyly as all the people there came closer to watch.
The first notes of the melody began to sound and Brian sang with the sweet, soft voice he had.
"My shattered dreams and broken heart, are mending on the shelf. I saw you holding hands, standing close to someone else. Now I sit all alone, wishing all my feeling was gone... I gave my best to you... Nothing for me to do... But have one last cry... One last cry, before I leave it all behind. I gotta put you out of my mind this time. Stop living a lie... I guess I'm down to my last cry... Cry...."
As Brian kept singing Nick felt a knot forming in his throat. He looked at AJ across the table and instinctively grabbed his hand to call his attention out of the music.
"What?" - AJ asked.
"Ain't this cute? Doesn't Brian and Leigh make the cutest couple ever?" - he smiled at him.
AJ gave him back the smile.
"Yes... she makes Brian really happy. But can I tell you something? Promise you won't tell anyone?"
AJ lowered his voice and Nick nodded curious.
"I don't like her very much. I don't like Leighanne's personality. For sure she is nice and pretty, but to marry Brian? I don't know... God forgive me to think this way, I really hope they can live happy forever."
Nick stared at him for a long time. So long that Brian stopped singing and it was now playing As Long As You Love Me.
Nick stood up. No, not this song. He hated it. He couldn't hear it.
"AJ..." - his voice was almost a whispered near to the crowd. - "I will go outdoors to the yard a little. This closed place is making me ill. I need some fresh air."
AJ nodded and Nick stood up. Smoothly he walked away from the saloon. He could bet no one saw him. At least no one he knew.
He was now at the yard. There wasn't many people there. Nick walked around looking at the stars and the moon. Smiling. Surviving. No one saw him when he left. Sure, who would be paying attention to him? It was only Leighanne. Leighanne and Brian. The happy couple. All that mattered. All they cared about. Who could have wasted time seeing where Nick was going and...
"Hey! Whats up?" - he asked shyly. His voice unsure as if apologizing.
Nick turned around slowly and saw Brian.
He didn't know why it didn't happen what he expected to. He didn't shiver, he didn't shudder. He didn't feel a thing. He was empty. Maybe that was what happened when you take love + hate = emptiness.
"Not much. Just needed to walk around a little. It was very hot inside." - Nick said. He was so proud of himself! His voice was firm. His eyes were true. He was calm.
Brian was the one apparently nervous. Brian was the one shaking slightly.
"Nick, I..." - Brian began and looked at him.
It almost got through Nick. Brian looked at him the very same way he did when they woke up together in a certain couch in France. But now, he was strong. He was stronger.
"I wanted to say to you..."
"Shhhh..." - Nick interrupted him and smiled. - "Don't say a word. I understand it."
"You do?" - Brian asked.
"Yes. I know this was how it had to be. I'm not mad. I'm happy for you."
"Oh, its not this." - Brian said. - "Not what I was talking about."
Nick frowned and didn't dare to ask.
"Nick... I really, really love Leighanne. I'm sorry for all this time I fooled you. I think... I think I was a little confused with our friendship. I'm so sorry... we sure need to talk with time when I get back from my honeymoon. But I love her... I married Leighanne because I love her."
"Ok, ok, Brian!" - Nick shrugged and smiled. - "Whatever, man! I'm your best friend, I'm happy for you! This party was really great, it was awesome! I'm giving my best wishes for both of you!" - Nick smiled with honesty and opened his arms.
Brian smiled and they hugged.
"Thank you, Nick." - Brian said against his shoulder.
"Don't worry, man. Your wedding was wonderful, and I'm sure your marriage will be just as great. You love and are really loved back. You two belong together, Brian. I'm happy with all my heart." - Nick whispered to him.
"Oh, thats so cute! Thank you so much, Nicky!" - Leighanne approached them with Kevin and AJ.
Nick pulled away from him and smiled at her. He could FEEL it. The way Leighanne was looking at him. She knew how he was feeling. She knew it!
"I just said the truth. My happiness is seeing my best friend happy, and you make him happy, Leigh."
She smiled warmly at him and pulled Brian into a passionate kiss.
'Bitch.' - Nick thought and giggled at the scene.
"Please ladies and gentlemen..." - Brian began once again with the mic, on the stage. Only this time he had Leighanne by his side.
Everybody stopped talking and looked at him. Including AJ and Nick. They were leaning against the wall, behind everyone else.
"I wanted everybody in here to listen to this song. I wrote it for the most beautiful creature in this world. I wrote it for you, Leigh..." - Brian said
"Awwwww!" - the crowd said in chorus.
Leighanne softly touched her hand to her chest and smiled flattered as Brian went on.
"Its called You Are and I would like to sing it now."
Everybody made silence. Brian got on his knees and took Leigh's hand.
No melody, it was only his voice and that powerful words.
"Beautiful... you are. Compassionate... is she. You have made me what... I am. She is all I hope... to be. The world it lies in you... for filling on... my dreams. She is my dream... come true... And in just two words:... my destiny... Coz you are everything... everything... My heart... could ever imagine... Everything... you are..."
Nick turned to face AJ. He was trembling.
"AJ... please..." - he called in a whisper. - "I need to get out of here."
"Its Brian's wedding!"
"I can't stand it anymore."
"We can't leave."
"I can't stay."
AJ looked into his eyes. He couldn't explain what he saw there, but it made him agree in taking Nick out of that place.
"Thanks, J." - he said in the car. - "I wanna go home."
"Nick, are you ok, man?" - AJ asked touching Nick's hand and staring into his blue eyes.
Nick looked at him with the lost eyes of a child.
"Yes... wanna go home. Please." - he babbled.
It scared AJ the way he was and he finally did what Nick wanted to since he got there. Be home.