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Chapter Twenty Seven - Missouri

The ride from Michigan to Missouri took 10 hours. We traveled nonstop; we had no day of rest between concerts. I rode on the dancer’s bus through the night, not daring to spend yet another night on Nick’s bus. The dancers were all very nice, but they loved gossip.

By the time the busses arrived at our destination, it was eleven o’clock. Sound check was at three. The venue promoter stood off to the side, a wide smile on his face as the guys descended from their busses.

“Welcome to the Midland,” he said. I looked at the venue and smiled. It was a beautiful old fashioned building. The lighted marquee stated in large letters “Backstreet Boys – Live Tonight.”

“Got to love our name in lights,” Nick said, leaning his arm across my shoulder. I smiled up at him.

“Back to the contacts?” Nick said. I nodded; he looked disappointed. “That’s too bad; I like the naughty schoolteacher look.”

“Shut up,” I laughed.

We headed inside. After a tour of the auditorium, we shuffled backstage; Nick looked around.

“So where shall we do it?”

My eyes widened. “What?”

“Where do you want to do it? Back here? The stage? The bathroom?”

My mind was in the gutter. I had a momentary image of Nick and me getting down on the stage. I smiled.


I looked at him and shook my head to clear my thoughts. “What are we doing?” I said.

“Your interview,” Nick said. “I worked all night on questions.” He took a folded sheet of paper out of his back pocket, waving it in the air.

I wrinkled my nose. I had almost forgotten.

“I got my questions too,” Brian said. He walked up, tapping his forehead. “They’re all up here.”

I sighed. Howie was playing “this little piggy” with James’ toes.

“Howie, did you write down some questions?”

Leigh laughed. “You’re talking to Mr. Organized. He has them neatly typed out and ready to go.”

Howie made an adorable sad puppy face. “I thought you liked my organization.”

Leigh cupped his face in her hands, planting a soft kiss on his lips.

“Si, senor.”

I glanced over at AJ. Rochelle had a bridal magazine and was pointing out things on several dog-eared pages. AJ looked overwhelmed.

“Hey AJ,” I called out. He looked up in gratitude. “Yeah?”

“Did you write out some questions to ask me?”

“Nope,” he admitted. “But I can wing it.”

“Well,” I said, biting my lip. I looked at Nick. He was folding his notes into a paper airplane. “I guess we can go out to the stage.”

“Perfect. It will kill time before we eat,” Brian said, rubbing his hands together. He led the way, the other guys followed. I trailed reluctantly behind.

We set up folding chairs on the stage. I was reminded of the Shape of My Heart video. Nick straddled the back of his chair, holding his notes out in front of him.

“Can I go first?” Nick said.

“No,” I said. “I’m saving you until last.”

“The best for last,” Nick amended.

“I’ll go first,” AJ said.

Brian took the camera from my hand. I raised an eyebrow.

“I was just going to set it on a tripod,” I told him. He shook his head.

“Naw that’s boring. This will make it more personal.”

I watched him fiddle with the settings.

“Are you zooming in on me?”

Brian grinned.

I tried to ignore the fact that the camera was trained right on me. Instead I turned to AJ.

“Ready when you are,” I said.

AJ tilted his head thoughtfully.

“What’s your worst habit?” he said.

I was in the process of cracking my knuckles. I stopped, blushing. “I guess it would be cracking my knuckles.”

“When’s your birthday?”

So far so good. Generic questions were easy. “July 2.”

“How long have you been a Backstreet Boys fan?”

I smiled. “Since 1998. Then I got a little crazy obsessive during Millennium.”

“What’s your favorite Backstreet Boys song?”

I had to think about that one. There were so many. I chewed my lip thoughtfully.

“I’m going to say my favorite song is I Still,” I said. “It’s one of my favorite music videos and I adore everything about the song.”

AJ looked over at Brian. “That’s all I got.”

“And CUT!” Brian yelled. His voice echoed through the empty hall. I saw him pause the camera.

“I’ll take Howie next,” I said, looking over at Brian. “Since we have such a good cameraman.”

Brian gave me a thumbs up.

“Okay,” Howie said. He took out a crisp white sheet of printer paper. I smiled.

“Is you could go anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?”

“Australia,” I said automatically.

“She wants to go down undah,” Nick said in a bad Australian accent. I rolled my eyes.

“What’s your favorite color?”

“Blue,” I said.

“What’s been your favorite moment on the tour so far?”

Images of Nick kissing me while I sat on the bathroom sink flashed through my head. I resisted the urge to fan myself.

“I’d have to say getting to know you guys,” I admitted. “You four are way more than just a band. You’re a family.”

Howie looked down at his paper, smiling softly.

“You’re gonna make Howie cry,” Nick said teasingly.

“Shut up,” Howie said.

“Like I said, a family. And Nick’s the annoying youngest brother.”

Nick wrinkled his nose at me; I stuck out my tongue.

“Alright, last question,” Howie said. “Who was your favorite Backstreet Boy when you were a teen?”

I avoided Nick’s gaze. He had asked me that question once before and I had ignored him. I shuffled uncomfortably in my seat.

“Brian,” I admitted quietly.

“Ha! I knew it!” Brian shouted. I watched him pause the camera. He pointed at Nick.

“In your face!”

I groaned. “Can we move on? Brian, it’s your turn.”

Brian handed the camera to Howie, still gloating. Howie, a much calmer cameraman, crouched down, training the camera back on me.

“Question one.” Brian said, trying to act serious (and failing miserably). “What is your favorite ice cream topping?”

I looked at him like he was crazy. “Seriously? You think the fans want to know what my favorite ice cream topping is?”

“You said we could ask you questions. That’s mine,” Brian said, smiling mischievously.

I knew I wasn’t going to win the battle. I chanced a quick glance at Nick; I could see he was still stewing over my crush revelation. In an effort to divert his attention, I leaned forward with a smile, playing along with Brian.

“My favorite topping is whipped cream,” I said sweetly. I saw Nick’s focus return.

“That’s kind of a topping for your topping,” Brian complained.

“Fine. Hot fudge,” I amended.

“Okay, that’s better. Question two. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

“A teacher,” I said immediately. I could picture my little schoolroom set up in the corner of my bedroom.

“Alright teach, question three. Do you have any tattoos?”

“Nope,” I said. “I’m afraid of needles.”

“So no snakes or skulls for you,” Brian teased. “Last but not least, what is your favorite movie of all time?”

“Happy Gilmore,” I laughed.

I looked over at Howie; he paused the camera. By the time I looked back, Nick had already pushed Brian out of the interview chair.

“Ready?” Nick said, tapping his fingers on his paper.

“As ready as I’m going to be,” I said.

“Question one,” Nick said. He didn’t even glance at his paper. “Why Brian?”

Somehow I knew that was going to be his first question.

“How is that important?” I said. “That was ages ago.”

“It’s important. He was pasted all over your wall. Why him?”

If it was embarrassing admitting Brian was my favorite in the first place, it was more awkward having to explain why, especially since Brian seemed extremely interested in the answer. I looked at a spot high above Nick’s head.

“Well, you know,” I said motioning with my hand.

“No, I don’t,” Nick said sweetly.

“Well, I mean, he was cute, sweet, funny, and a country boy.”

“I was cute?” Brian said.

“You’re interview is over,” I said pointing at him. He held out his hands innocently.

“You’re still cute,” I said. Nick scowled.

“Second question?” I asked hopefully.

“Question two,” Nick said reluctantly. I had a feeling the Brian conversation wasn’t over by a long shot.

“What’s your favorite color of rose?”


“What type of underwear are you wearing right now?”

“We’re keeping this PG,” I reminded him. Nick smirked.

“I will take that as no underwear,” he said.

“Whatever floats your boat,” I countered, crossing my arms.

“Question four. Would you ever go out with someone famous?”

I looked at him, smiling.

“Yes, I would,” I said softly. He returned my smile.

“And which Backstreet Boy do you find incredibly sexy now?”

“You,” I said, laughing.

“I’d like you to say that a little more seriously,” Nick said.

I looked straight into the camera, deadpanning. “Nick Carter is the sexiest guy on the face of the earth. People should wear sunscreen around him because he is just that hot.”

“That’s better,” Nick said.

I looked over at Howie, motioning for him to press stop. I let out a relieved sigh. Howie handed me the camera, and smiled.

“That was fun,” he said.

“I much prefer having you guys in the hot seat,” I said, standing up.

As we walked backstage for an early dinner, Brian pranced around Nick.

“I’m Livvy’s favorite, I’m Livvy’s favorite.”

I rolled my eyes. It was going to be a long day.