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>b>Chapter Thirty Seven - California

When I was fifteen, I had a pen pal that lived in San Francisco. For my sixteenth birthday, my parents flew me out to meet her as a birthday present. I loved every minute of it, from the streetcars to the Golden Gate Bridge. The moment the busses rolled into the city, I had my face against the window, the pictures from my memory coming out to provide comparison between what the city had looked like then to what it looked like now. It was almost exactly the same.

The busses ran low on gas only two miles from the concert venue. They pulled over to refuel.

“Want anything?” Nick asked. I shook my head.

“Naw I’m fine,” I said.

“Okay, I’ll be right back.”

He hopped down; I went back to the laptop. For the whole tour I had been taking the best videos and photographs from each stop and compiling them into one great big video. It would be my piece de resistance, a gift to the U.S. fans for coming out and supporting the boys. I had gone old school and set the whole thing to their song, Everyone. I worked in silence for several minutes.

If you’re going, to San Francisco. Be sure to wear, some flowers in your hair,” Nick sang as he climbed back on the bus. I laughed, my eyes still not leaving the screen; the video was coming together perfectly before my eyes.

Nick sat down beside me and repeated the verse.

“What’s up with you and that so—“ I started to say, looking over at him. My mouth dropped open. He grinned.

His arms were filled with two dozen yellow roses.

“Are you serious?” I said as he handed them to me. He laughed.

“You said they were your favorite,” he explained.

They looked and smelled amazing. I brought them to my face, inhaling deeply.

“Thank you,” I said.

“I got the ones that were de-thorned,” he added. He plucked one out from the bunch, snapping the long stem. He placed it in my hair. I had a flashback to him doing the same thing with a red rose on the Masquerade set. That seemed like so long ago.

“There. Now we can go to San Francisco.”

The bus took off again. I leaned over and kissed him softly. It was the first time I had kissed him since…since the incident. I thought it might have changed things; but the magic still resided right there on his lips. As I broke away, his eyes seemed to shine with relief.

“What was that for?” he asked innocently.

“The roses,” I answered with a laugh.

“Well technically I bought you two dozen. That’s twenty four roses. So, that means I probably should get about, oh, twenty three more kisses.”

“Start me a tab,” I said as I stood up to find a vase.

“Don’t think I won’t!”

After another ten minutes, the busses pulled up behind the Villa Florence, the hotel where we would be staying.

“What’s the venue like?” I asked as I grabbed my equipment bag. Nick broke into a grin.

“The Warfield,” he said with enthusiasm. “We’re playing two nights. It seats about 2,000 people. It’s a really intimate venue.”

We had just enough time to check into the room and get ready for sound check. As I walked out of the bathroom, pulling my still wet hair into a ponytail, I heard Nick talking on the phone.

“No, it’s a surprise; a big surprise. How soon? Perfect. I’ll call again in the next day or so.”

He looked up, saw me, and hung up the phone.

“My turn?” he asked, hopping off the bed. I grabbed his arm on the way to the bathroom.

“What’s a surprise?” I asked suspiciously. He looked at me with a horrible feign of confusion.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Gently he pried my hand off his arm and walked to the bathroom.

With a sigh I fell back on the bed, my legs dangling off the edge so that my feet were still on the floor. I was still in the same position when Nick came back in the room, showered and smelling amazing. He straddled my legs, looking down at me.

“What’s a surprise?” I asked again.

“Well, the dictionary defines a surprise as something unexpected or wonderful,” Nick said sweetly. I laughed and jerked my leg playfully; he jumped back.

“If you hit me in the goods you’re going to ruin my chances of having beautiful babies with you,” he teased. He held a hand out to help me up off the bed. I took his hand and sat up slowly.

“Nick,” I said, my mouth feeling suddenly dry. “I think I need to tell you something.”

He raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“I…I can’t have children,” I said.

“Why not?” Nick said. He looked at me as if looking for some type of external sign.

“The doctors don’t know,” I said, my hands beginning to do the talking for me. I waved them a mile a minute. “Hunter and I tried for three years. I went through every test known to mankind. I just don’t do what a normal woman needs to do to have a baby. I’m like a chicken that can’t lay eggs on a regular basis.”

It was the stupidest analogy I could think of. I watched Nick’s face; he looked thoughtful. After a minute he smiled.

“Well, when we get to that road we’ll cross it,” he said lightly. I noticed he used the word when instead of if. I stood up beside him. He kissed me softly.

“I’ll take another off your tab,” he said. I smiled, feeling my body relax.


When we arrived at the Warfield, I knew why Nick was so enthusiastic. It was an amazing venue. It reminded me of The Midland in Missouri, where Nick and I had almost made love. I let out a little sigh.

Tony and Anderson were waiting for us as we walked in. After a round of handshakes with the guys and their families, they turned to me.

“And then we have Olivia,” Anderson said.

“How’s she doing boys?” Tony said.

“She’s fabulous,” Nick piped up right away.

“Highly professional,” Howie added. I thought he was stretching it a little bit.

“She fits right in,” AJ said.

“A good fit to the family,” Brian added.

Anderson grinned. “Well, you’ve made quite an impression.”

I smiled and shrugged.

“Can we meet with you in one of the backrooms Olivia? We’d like to review your work and have a little meeting.”

I followed them to a secluded little room. I spent a couple moments setting up my equipment.

“I’ve tried to post to their Facebook and Twitter at least once for every tour stop,” I explained. “I’ve utilized the TwitPic feature quite often. I’ve also posted some great videos to bsbofficial on YouTube and of course the concert photographs for the FanClub.”

Anderson nodded. “The feedback has been very positive.”

“In fact,” Tony said with a smile. “We’d like to extend this internship opportunity past the Canadian leg in August.”

My eyes widened. “Really?”

Anderson nodded. “The Boys are setting sail in December on a cruise with the fans. We’d like for you to be the special correspondent for the trip.”

I felt a thrill of excitement fly through my body. I remembered getting the announcement and thinking how cool it would be to be able to go; then the tour had sold out in about two seconds. Not that I could have afforded it; I had been unemployed at the moment and living with my lying, cheating husband.

“Seriously?” I said. Tony laughed.

“Seriously. And we think you deserve a little raise. Your work has exceeded our expectations.”

Anderson slid a piece of paper over my way. I saw another ten thousand dollars written on it.

“That’s for eight days,” Tony explained. “A day of presale footage, the six day cruise, and a day of aftermath.”

“So what do you say?”

All I could think of was Nick. On a boat. In the middle of the ocean. With me.

“I think,” I said quietly. “That I wouldn’t miss this opportunity for the world.”