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Chapter Fifteen

We arrived for Ellen just in time for the boys to head to hair and makeup. With all the makeup they had to put on in any given day, it made me feel like I was putting womankind to shame. I sat in an empty chair and watched a hairdresser fiddle with Nick’s hair.

“Let’s do an interview,” I said, pulling out the camera. “Since I didn’t get one earlier.” I added, hoping he would catch the implication. He did.

Nick grinned. “Hey, what you did was more important.”

I rolled my eyes and flipped the camera on. “Here we are at the Ellen show. The guys are getting their hair done,” I explained panning from Nick to Howie to Brian. AJ sat on a couch, sorting through M&M’s.

“AJ doesn’t need his hair did,” Nick explained. “He’s only got peach fuzz.”

“What are you doing AJ?” I said, zooming in on him.

“I’m sorting out the yellow M&M’s,” AJ explained. He held one up to his blonde hair. “My favorite color.”

“And do yellow M&M’s taste better than the other colors?” I teased. Howie laughed in the background.

“Absolutely,” he said, tossing one up into the air and catching it. I panned the camera to Howie.

“So, Howie, tell the fans what else is going on while we’re in New York,” I said.

“Let’s see, tomorrow we’re performing at the Hammerstein Ballroom and then the day after tomorrow we’ve got something really exciting planned. We’re shooting a video for Masquerade.”

“You heard it here first, folks,” I said. I turned to Brian. He grinned cheekily and made a “come here” motion towards the camera. I zoomed in; he leaned closer to the camera.

“I’ll give you a hint about the video,” he said in a whisper. Then, tossing his head back, he let out an ear-shattering howl.

Thank you Brian,” I said rubbing my ear. “I think you broke my camera lens.”

“Well if that didn’t, that will,” Nick said. He gestured back towards AJ. I turned the camera back in AJ’s direction only to see half of his ass hanging out of his pants as he crawled underneath the couch.

“Crack kills!” Nick yelled. AJ wiggled out from under the couch holding a yellow M&M. It took him a second to register what happened, but it clicked when he saw my face and the camera pointed at him. Smiling innocently, he stood up and mooned me.

“Oh, sweet Jesus,” I yelped.

Brian, done with hair, jumped in front of him, arms held wide.


“And, I think that’s a wrap,” I said, shaking my head. I flipped off the camera.

“Did you get what you needed?” AJ asked laughing.

“I can’t use that!” I said.

“Why not?” AJ said. “Didn’t you ever see the video where we were hitting each other with the tree branch? Nick karate chopped Brian with it and half his ass fell out of his pants.”

Nick laughed. “That was fun. Brian had that welt for like three days.” Brian rubbed his arm and winced in remembrance.

A stagehand (who I could have sworn was a clone of the one from Regis and Kelly) walked in. “You guys are on in ten minutes.” he said, hugging a clipboard to his chest. The place erupted in pandemonium.

Nick still wasn’t done with his hair, it took another four minutes. Then, five minutes before the Boys needed to head down on the elevator, Brian decided to give James a few good-hearted tosses in the air. James returned the favor by tossing the entire contents of his lunch down Brian’s shirt.

“You guys go on ahead,” I said to Nick, Howie, and AJ. “I’ll stay and help Leigh and Leighanne, then I’ll head down with Bri.”

I really wanted to meet Ellen.

The guys nodded and headed down on the elevator. Leigh hurried off with James. Working as quickly as possible, Leighanne dabbed any remnant of baby puke off of Brian’s arms. I grabbed a clean shirt, handing it over to him. Quickly he tugged it on. Then, Leighanne took out a bottle of cologne, spritzing liberally.

“Ugh, that’s enough,” Brian said, waving his hand over his nose. I had to agree. He smelled like a prostitute. I glanced at my watch. We had two minutes.

“Ready?” I asked, tapping my watch face.


After giving Leighanne and Baylee a quick kiss, Brian followed me to the elevator. We stepped on and I punched the down button. The elevator seemed to descend at a crawl.

“This reminds me of the Wonka-vator,” Brian remarked. “It’s not glass, but it’s so small.”

“I know,” I said, even thought I didn’t want to think about it. I’m not claustrophobic, but I wouldn’t be sad when the ride was over. “I don’t think anyone’s going to be piling their entourage in here anytime soon.” I added, watching the floors descend. It seemed like the elevator was slowing down until, with a sickening lurch, the elevator stopped altogether. The doors didn’t open.

“Uh-oh,” I said. I looked up at the floor numbers. We were stuck between floors.

“What? Oh you’ve got to be kidding me.” Brian said. He punched at the buttons, but nothing happened. Glancing at his watch, he reached over and picked up the emergency telephone.

“Yes, this is Brian Littrell. I’m supposed to be on the Ellen set in, oh, a minute and I’m stuck in the elevator.” he paused. “No seriously, it’s stuck.”

“Right. Okay.” He hung up.


“They said they’re sending someone immediately,” Brian said. He sat down on the floor of the elevator. I did the same. We looked at each other.

We sat in silence as the minutes crept by by. All I could hear was the ticking of our watches. Brian leaned his head against the wall. I sat yoga style, willing the elevator doors to open. But they didn’t.

And we waited.


After an hour, I was rethinking my claustrophobic statement. Even though it was just Brian and me, the walls seemed to be closing in. I dabbed at my neck; it was damp with sweat.

“You okay?” Brian said. He had given up worrying about making the interview; now we just kept hoping to hear the elevator come back to life.

“I’m fine,” I said. “It’s just warm in here.” Brian’s cheeks were flushed.

“Yes, it is.” He looked at me apologetically. “I’m sorry you’re stuck with me.”

I smiled. “Hey, I don’t mind being stuck with you.”

“I can think of someone else that probably would have been more than glad to take my place,” he suggested. I felt the heat rise even more.

“You must think I’m a horrible person,” I said. Brian raised his eyebrows.


“I’m married,” I reminded him. “Not that I’ve done anything wrong, but Nick’s kind of hard to…” I trailed off.

“Resist?” Brian said helpfully. I nodded.

“Are you happy?”

“What do you mean?”

“Does your husband make you happy?”

"I…I…well…it’s complicated,” I said.

“Life’s complicated,” Brian said. “Let me tell you a story. Thirteen years ago I fell in love,” his voice grew tender. “At first sight. She was engaged, but something happened between us; it just felt right and we didn’t question it. We leapt blindly and we were rewarded with happiness.” Brian grinned. “And even now I wake up every morning and it’s love at first sight all over again.”

I felt tears spring to my eyes. My heart melted.

“Everyone deserves that,” Brian continued. “And sometimes love finds you when you’re not looking for it. I’m not going to say that marriage isn’t sacred, but marriage is also a partnership. If one person constantly puts their needs first, the only connection is a shared name and rings.”

“So you’re saying…” I trailed off.

“I’m not saying anything,” Brian grinned. “I’m just channeling my inner Dr. Phil. But I will say that I’ve never seen Nick like this. Ever.”

As I sat pondering that, the elevator roared to life. The sound greeted our ears like sweet music. Cheering, we jumped up and hugged each other tightly. Pulling away slowly, I smiled at him.

“Thank you Bri,” I said. “This was almost worth it.”

“Almost worth it?”

“Yeah. You still kinda smell like a room spray.” I said, wrinkling my nose and fanning the air.

The first thing anyone saw when the elevator doors slid open was Brian smelling his armpits. I ran as fast as I could, right into Nick’s open arms. He hugged me tightly, wrinkling his nose.

“You smell like a prostitute,” he complained.

I didn’t care. We were free. The guys had winged the interview and performance and, most importantly, I still got to meet Ellen.