SEARCH THE SITE
- - - - -
Title: "Just Another Thursday" (1/WIP)
It was just another Thursday morning for Nick Carter. He was trying to hide his head and sleep in spite of the constant noise of others rising and going about their morning routine in the cramped confines of the tour bus.
Nick liked the rhythmic bumping--and occasional jolting--of the bus. He found it comforting, somehow. Nick could sleep--or even have a quick cat nap--whenever he sat in a moving vehicle. Kevin Richardson had laughingly told him once that it was just like babies. "My friend told me they always take the baby out for a ride in the car to get it to go to sleep."
Nick hadn't been sure he'd like being compared to a baby, but it didn't change the fact that the drone of the engine and the constant vibrations seemed almost like being rocked to sleep. And Nick had decided he liked that rocking even more than sleeping at home in his own bed.
Mornings on the bus could be difficult, though. Too many voices--many of them cranky--in too small a space. Everyone needing to se the bathroom at the same time, or elbows accidentally bumping into those still sleeping in their bunks as men tried to shift around one another.
Furthermore, Nick didn't care that he should get up and start getting ready for the day. He just wanted to sleep. Sleep had become a precious commodity--an activity he never seemed to get enough of. "Just a growing boy," Brian Littrell had said recently, ruffling Nick's hair and his dignity. "I am not a boy. I'm 20," he'd announced. "Weeell," Brian had drawled back, "You keep on growin' 'til you're 25 or so."
"I guess that makes you a boy, too," Nick had snapped triumphantly. But Brian had just laughed, and patted the top of his head. Why did it always seem that one of the guys was treating him like a kid? It just wasn't fair...
A.J. McLean gave Nick's shoulder a small shake. "Hey, dude. Time to rise and shine. We'll be at the hotel any time now."
Nick didn't budge and didn't respond. He wasn't ready to even groan at this point. He just wanted to be left alone. If he buried his head 'just so,' he could drown out most of the noise and still drift in an almost sleeping state. That would suit him almost as well as actually sleeping.
"Let him rest a bit," Nick heard Brian say. "He's been pretty tired lately." Brian's voice was husky from the cold he'd been fighting for several days.
"He's probably getting your germs," Kevin said to Brian. "You should try not to touch him so much. It would be nice if he didn't come down sick, too." Nick felt defensive for Brian's sake, and almost popped his head up to tell Kevin off--but that would have meant leaving his cocoon, and he wasn't quite ready to do that--and to face Kevin. Kevin was a tough one even when you weren't groggy from just awakening.
Brian didn't answer Kevin, which was probably just as well. Kevin had been dosing his cousin with vitamin C, Echinacea and zinc--and forcing him not to talk whenever the group wasn't rehearsing or performing. Brian had been pretty complacent about the treatment--which probably meant he felt a lot more lousy than he was letting on. Sweating through the nightly performances couldn't be making him feel any better, either, Nick reflected.
But Nick didn't feel sick. He didn't have a sore throat, or a headache or any of the other symptoms Brian had mentioned to him. He was just tired. He felt so bone-weary he wished he could just spend the entire day sleeping. The very idea of changing for the radio interview that was coming up--and then heading to rehearsal and getting prepped for the concert--made him want to groan loud and long. And--God!--it was just the beginning of the tour, too.
Nick shifted just slightly, letting his ear press tightly into the pillow, while using his blanket-wrapped fist to cover his other ear. The noises retreated, and he let himself go limp and drift. Soon he was asleep again, oblivious to the activities around him.
It was a rude awakening when Kevin yanked away his blankets. Nick sat up and rubbed his eyes, yawning widely. Kevin was standing staring at him. "Get up," Kevin said, his voice not unkind. It was an order, but Kevin wasn't pushing him the way he often did. "You need to get dressed, Nick," Kevin added, moving away toward the front of the bus.
Nick nodded mutely to no one, rubbing a hand longingly over the bunk as he moved out of it. 'Another day, another dollar,' he thought, wishing he had an ice cold Coke to slug down. And maybe some cold pizza for breakfast.
Brian's throat had been so sore the night before the only thing he'd been willing to eat was ice cream. Nick had patted his arm comfortingly and said maybe they should both have ice cream for breakfast. That sounded even better than pizza.
Nick walked stiff-limbed to the bathroom and urinated a heavy stream. He'd had a lot of water after the previous night's concert, but hadn't gotten up even once during the night. Nick had really needed to pee--and it felt so good to go.
Then he ran water, briefly brushing his teeth and rinsing his mouth. Finally he splashed water over the unruly cowlicks of his hair--reaching for a brush and starting his morning battle with the snarled locks. He glanced briefly in the mirror, trying to decide just how good he wanted to look to do a radio bit.
"Let's go, Nick," Howie Dorough called.
Nick glanced one last time in the mirror--his hair would just have to do. He ran out the bathroom reaching anxiously for his clothes. Nick dressed quickly, accustomed to slipping in and out of his clothes in a variety of tight spaces. Grabbing up his tennis shoes and shoving his feet inside--Nick glanced around him, not bothering with the laces.
The bus was empty except for the driver, who was staring at Nick and tapping his watch. Nick knew the man was only dropping them off before taking the bus over to the current venue. He offered their driver a grin as he snatched up his jacket and dashed for the door.
It was time to go and earn his living. Just another Thursday.
Nick met up with Brian and they both grabbed up their bags and headed for the elevator. Check-in usually went quite smoothly, but they never used bellmen for their stuff. It tended to take too long. Better to wrestle their own things up to their suites so they wouldn't be nervously waiting for them.
A.J. jumped in just as the doors were closing, holding out three card keys. Their security guy grinned at him and shook his head, but didn't bother to say anything. A.J. loved to 'live dangerously.'
They reached their floor and the four of them got out and headed for the suite. Their habit was to take several suites as close together as possible. Sometimes they even took an entire floor--or several additional bedrooms. But it depended on how many people were with them at any given time, and how many beds they might need. Nick was never involved in these decisions, so it didn't bother him one way or another.
Unless they had wives and/or girlfriends along, they didn't usually bother with separate rooms for each of the guys. It was easier to book rooms with two queens in each. That way they could play 'musical beds' and accommodate whomever they needed to. It was generally accepted policy that they would have one bed per suite 'assigned' to a member of their security team--and the suites which roomed the group usually had at least two security people assigned at all times.
Nick drug his own bag into one of the bedrooms and tossed it next to a bed. He watched Brian follow him and drop his own suitcase by the second bed in the room. That suited Nick just fine, as he enjoyed sharing a room with his best friend.
Nick reached into his bag and pulled out both a comb and brush. Then he headed for the bathroom, hopeful he could manage to tame his hair just a bit more before they had to head out to the radio station.
First he tried the comb, but quickly found he couldn't tug it through his tangled locks. Next Nick flipped on the tap and began splashing on additional water, hoping that the water and the brush would manage better than he'd done aboard the bus. He mussed with his hair until he was satisfied, then headed back into the main room.
Brian was sprawled across the sofa, eyes closed, obviously trying to nap. Nick couldn't blame him for that. A.J. was standing by a large table, where he had opened the complimentary fruit basket and was snacking on a very juicy looking pear. His own suitcase was lying on the floor beside him, so A.J. was obviously planning to 'bunk' in another suite. 'Probably doesn't want to put up with us,' Nick thought, grinning. He and Brian could cut up just like kids when the mood suited them.
The door to the suite was held open by the muscled body of the security guy, who was peering down the hall--probably waiting for the arrival of Kevin and Howie, Nick decided.
Nick wondered if he dared to go lie on top of his bed and take a cat nap. But though Brian was resting, it didn't seem like a good idea. Brian was--after all--actually sick. In fact, he was softly snoring, his sinuses obviously congested.
Besides, Nick had already been the last up and about today. It would probably just piss people off if they found him lying down--and he could really stand not to make anyone mad at him--'For a change,' he thought.
The security guy was leaning into the hall and reaching for something, so it was obvious that the other guys had arrived.
Howie pounced through the doorway, grinning and obviously very upbeat. He dumped his bag on the sofa and went over to the fruit basket and began digging through it.
Kevin came in carrying several sheets of paper that he kept glancing down at. Seeing Kevin looking so very serious made Nick decide that it was a good time to head to his own room.
He caught sight of himself in the full-length mirror as he passed it and wondered if he might have time to change. His clothes were pretty rumpled--and together with his still-pretty-unruly hair--he made a less than acceptable vision.
Nick thought about the sleeping Brian--marveling at just how good his friend looked, even while sick with a cold and running a fever. If he'd been the one who was sick, he knew his eyes and nose would have been red and his face would have been swollen and totally unattractive.
Strangely enough, the older he got the more uncomfortable he was in his own skin. Nick knew it didn't make sense to feel as awkward and 'ugly' as he had the past several months, but though he usually managed to conceal this from the other guys he was unable to convince himself differently.
He knew he was at his best when he performed--his dancing made him feel more graceful than mere walking could. And when he sang he could lose himself almost entirely in the music. The 'mirrors' on stage were the enraptured faces of fans--and these mirrors never seemed to find his skin too pale, his body too large or his hair unkempt. Nick wished he could always see himself through the eyes of his fans--wrapped in unconditional love and admiration.
Though Nick wasn't usually willing to admit it to himself, he wasn't always sure he had the unconditional love of his family. There were a great many expectations at home, and he didn't always fulfill these as well as he might wish. Now with his younger brother's successes looming so large, he knew he was no longer 'the favorite' of this mother. And there were times when he would have rather left business somewhere else and just be Nick the son--instead of Nick the Backstreet Boy.
Nick had no problem attracting women. Especially young women. There were girls and young women around him everywhere he went. And he'd had relationships--though these rarely seemed entirely comfortable for him. He wanted to play video games or run to the beach and fool around in the water. Lovely and well-turned-out women didn't want to do these things. They wanted to go 'out' and be 'seen.' Nick didn't like dating, per se, and hated being 'seen' in public--especially when his picture was being taken. Away from performances and 'official' appearances (which were just another kind of performance), Nick just wanted to be left alone...
Lots of women didn't seem to understand Nick's aversion to the spotlight. They didn't feel it made sense because of his outgoing and exuberant behavior during Backstreet Boys appearances. He'd tried to explain it, but in some ways it was as mysterious to Nick as it was to them.
He'd heard the other guys calling him 'shy'--but it was more than that. He'd also read somewhere that because he was shy, Nick didn't like fans throwing their panties on the stage at him. Hell--who would want to be smacked by a pair of girls panties? He'd even been hit right in the face by silky, lacy undergarments.
But that wasn't about being shy. That was about being embarrassed. About how much teasing he might take later on from members of the group or guys from their band or crew. And though Nick didn't mind teasing in general, he minded that kind of teasing more than he was willing to admit...
Nick actually felt he was pretty outgoing. He was sometimes quiet when he met fans--but it was hard to know what to say to people who were equally tongue-tied and obviously more excited than he felt made any sense. He was just a 'guy'--if a guy who performed with a group--and it seemed strange to have people always 'making' over him.
Nick guessed he should be used to the 'attention' after so many years of it--but it seemed like it was getting harder to take in some ways as he got older, rather than easier. Nick cared about his fans--knew that they loved him--but he was dealing with his own issues (and would have liked to do so out of the public eye some of the time).
Girls and women might be 'shy' themselves--but they seemed incredibly aggressive to Nick when he encountered them. He figured the most withdrawn young woman might suddenly chase him and tear at his clothes when driven by whatever excitement seeing him elicited. It was no fun to be clawed or have his hair yanked on.
And older women seemed to be aggressive in a different way. They made advances that seemed blatantly sexual regardless of their surroundings. Nick knew that even if he were with his kid sister Angel and one of these women approached him, the presence of the young girl wouldn't stop improper behavior. He figured some of these female 'predators' would probably suggest blowing him in the sanctuary of a church if they thought he'd be willing...
What did all these girls and women want from him, anyway? Would they be satisfied with sitting and playing video games? He doubted it. Would they like splashing around in the water--or going fishing? Probably not. They all seemed to think that he spent his entire life sitting around singing BSB songs to himself and others (right!), and going out to clubs to dance and party.
Performing was tiring. And he got enough dancing being on stage and frequently had no interest in the club scene. Partying could be fun--but it was something that you did now and then. Not something you wanted every day--or even every week.
Nick loved to sing, but he'd often sing along with the music of other artists when not performing or rehearsing. It wasn't that he didn't like the BSB music, but he got a little tired of it while they were touring...
Nick had 'found' a number of the BSB websites while online one day. He'd been stunned to find that girls were writing stories about him having sex with any number of female lovers. The descriptions of the sexual encounters was frequently blatant and mostly ridiculous. He couldn't imagine himself shouting to some girl that he was going to 'cum hard inside you, baby!'--it had made him feel both embarrassed and uncomfortable.
Nick understood right away that these stories were actually sexual fantasies that had been written both to excite the writer and to share with others. He knew the women 'characters' in the stories were probably replacements for the authors. And he guessed they were either totally fabricating the experiences--or that they were using their own past experiences to describe acts between himself and the story 'heroine.'
But for some reason the stories didn't elicit a sexual response from him. He sometimes wondered if something was wrong with him that he didn't want to read those stories and masturbate. Shouldn't a guy want to have zillions of stories floating around cyber space that made him out to be some sort of sexual stud? He figured most guys would be pleased. He'd once heard A.J. say that he wished he could 'fuck' as many women as the internet chicks thought he had. But he wasn't A.J.--and mostly the stories had made him feel vaguely sick.
Nick did get interested in exactly how many sites there might be where the BSB were the subject of fiction, though. He wondered what compelled people (for some of the authors were men, too) to write about them. It was a bit 'addictive'--and he had mostly thought about returning to read more (as his schedule didn't allow him much free time to go online).
It was a change from going to gaming sites to play his favorites online. He'd done that many, many times. He hadn't seemed to grow out of the pleasures of his video games--though even Brian didn't want to play with him much anymore. Nick supposed he'd have to give up this pastime--or start keeping it more to himself--but he knew he'd miss it. It was such a great way to lose himself for an hour or even more.
Well, there was always the issue of increasing his sexual conquests to pass the time of day. It wasn't that Nick hadn't lost his virginity at a fairly early age--in spite of a protective mother and the other guys watching over him. But the first several experiences hadn't exactly been anything to write home about. He'd felt ready and excited and eager--maybe too excited and too eager. And women were something of a mystery 'down there.' Weird folds of skin and hair and an uncertain opening that was sometimes wet and sometimes not.
And where the hell was the damned clit, anyway? Why didn't it show up better? If it was such a 'big deal' to be sure to touch it, why was it so hard to find? And why didn't women get ready and wet at the same time that he did? What was the point of being hard if you couldn't put it inside?
Nick had pondered all these things over and over again--and he'd had several 'success stories' as he grew less nervous and more sure of himself. Still, though he did have desires and liked sexual release, his favorite way to find it was using his own hand. He knew the other guys did this almost as frequently as he did, so he had no compunctions about continuing to masturbate when the opportunity and desire arose (in a manner of speaking!).
Anyway, growing up was basically a bitch. It was changes in his body that Nick felt strange about--and changes in the way people treated him that weren't always great, either.
Being 'legal' had little appeal. Nick had been able to go to adult clubs whenever he wanted for some time--regardless of his age. Mainly, he just didn't want to go.
Drinking was not particularly appealing, either. He didn't really like the taste of most alcohol--and he very much didn't like the way it made him feel. He'd never thought of himself as a 'control freak' or anything--but he did prefer to be in control of what he said and did. Alcohol seemed to turn off his good judgement and his coordination--which seemed like very good reasons to leave the stuff alone. And the headaches after the fact were murder. Why did people want to deliberately make themselves feel as bad as when they were sick with the flu? It just seemed stupid to Nick.
Kevin rapped on the door to the room and entered at almost the same time. Nick was used to the lack of privacy, so he continued to slip on the change of clothes he'd selected while he'd let his thoughts roam.
"Gotta go," Kevin said, grabbing the bottom of Nick's shirt and giving it a smart yank to make it lie down properly.
Nick nodded and grabbed his jacket.
After all, it was just another Thursday.
-the end part one--back to top of page-