I was becoming a seasoned pro as I stepped off the plane. The same short man greeted me and after another limo ride we pulled up to the hotel I stayed at before. Once again, Tony and Anderson greeted me in the lobby.
“Olivia, so good to see you again!” Tony said with a smile. Anderson greeted me with a hug. I could smell the tanning oil emanating from his skin.
“This is the last time you’ll be seeing us for awhile, but we wanted to let you know that we are so happy to have you on board.” Anderson handed me another folder. “This is the itinerary for the entire summer. The Boys are starting off with two concerts in Florida. The first is in Orlando here next week. Then you’ll hit the road. You’ll be responsible for the Boys Twitter page, Facebook, MySpace, and the Fan Club portion of the website. While everything is important, the Fan Club is especially important because fans pay good money for insider material.”
“Will do.” I said with a smile. I had been a fan club member years ago and knew how important those updates could be.
“If you have any questions please call,” Tony added. “My cell phone number is in there. Go get settled and enjoy Orlando for the next few days. Your first job will be sound check and from there...well you’ll know what to do.
With a feeling that I was being tossed into shark infested waters without a safety net, I headed up to my hotel room. A large gift basket adorned the bed and to my astonishment held a new video cam, digital camera, and laptop. I spent the rest of the day playing with the equipment aside from a couple quick phone calls to my mom and Hunter to assure them that I was alive and well.
I’d like to say that I spent my free time lounging on the beach with an ice cold strawberry margarita, but I’d be lying. Truth is, I spent one amazing day enjoying ocean life at the aquarium and the rest of the time I spent fiddling with my new toys. Before I knew it the day of the first sound check had arrived. I spent thirty minutes trying to make my rats nest of hair do what I want (like that ever happens), and another thirty minutes deciding on what to wear. Finally giving myself a mental check, I chose a boring jeans/t-shirt combination in case I had to army crawl along the floor for a good photo or two.
A car was scheduled to pick me up at 11:00. I had my bags packed; roadie life would begin that evening. I had always wondered how life would be like on a tour bus; now I was going to experience it firsthand.
I was a little disappointed not to see the little dude and a limo. Instead a fairly impressive imitation of The Rock stepped out of a black car and motioned for me to hop in the passenger side. He took my bags as if they were stuffed full of feathers, tossed them in the trunk, and we were on our way.
“So,” I said with a smile. “Are you a professional driver?”
He grunted and I almost missed his answer in the mix. “Security.”
“Why do I need security?”
“Are you security for the tour?”
He shook his head no.
I could tell by this point that conversation wasn’t his strong point. Luckily, the ride didn’t take long. My driver pulled up to the Hard Rock Live, took my bags, and walked off.
“Where are my bags going?” I called out after him.
“Bus.” came the grunt.
I followed him. I’m sure I was like a pesky fly to him, but I wanted to make sure I knew where my luggage was and where the busses were. We went through a security gate and rounded the corner. Five long black buses were grouped together; farther away sat equipment semis. “Rock” headed over to the closest bus, opened the door, and slung my bags inside. Nodding at me, he lumbered off.
“Thank you?” I called out. He had already disappeared.
I climbed on the bus and bent down to retrieve my bags.
“Hi. I’m Andrea. And you are?”
Slightly startled to hear another voice, I almost dropped my bags again. Grabbing a hold of the strap, I smiled shyly and straightened up to put a face with the voice. A gorgeous dark haired woman in a sexy outfit was leaning against the wall of the bus, smiling at me.
“Uh, oh, I’m Olivia,” I said, extending my hand. She shook it, then brushed past me.
“Are you the techie? You’re going to be sleeping here with us, the dancers. If you want, get your pass on and you can follow me. I’m always late.”
Digging through the folder I found a Crew Pass. Tossing my luggage on a long couch, I slung the strap of my equipment bag over my shoulder and headed off after Andrea.
“Heard you’re the intern,” Andrea said. “I think that’s the wrong word for it.”
“Well,” she said, stopping to reapply her lip gloss. With a smack she turned to me.
“You really have no on the road supervisor. You’re like the one. Y’know?”
I had no idea what the one was supposed to mean.
“Well, I guess that’s weird, but in a way it’s an internship because it’s not a job that’s going to last forever.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” she said with a sigh. “Oh well, c’mon.”
I followed her through a side door that led us right backstage.
“Have you meet the guys?” Andrea asked.
“I did. They all seem nice.” I said. She smiled.
“Yeah. Too bad most of them are taken. I’d take AJ in a second.”
“Well, Nick’s single.” I said reciprocating her smile.
“Hun,” she said with a laugh, putting her arm around my shoulder. “I don’t do blondes.” With that she bounced off towards a dressing room. I headed in the direction of the stage.
I walked across the stage floor, hopping over crew members fiddling with last minute touches to the sound system. I headed in the direction of the audience seats, watching as one of the guys taped the set list to the stage. He smiled and waved. I returned the gesture.
“Haven’t seen you around,” he said.
“I’m Olivia. I’m the techie,” I said, using Andrea’s word. The guy laughed.
“I’m Paul. I think I heard Nick say something about you. Watch your back. They always prank the newbie.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” I said with a laugh. Paul winked and headed offstage.
I was changing the settings on the video cam when a shadow fell across me from above. Lifting my head I met a smiling pair of blue eyes. Nick.
“Hey Livvy, welcome back,” he said. He hopped over the seats and landed in the seat next to mine.
“Well, I think I have you guys to thank for that,” I said, attaching a lens to the camera.
“You had us at vegetable oil,” Nick said with a laugh. “With all the crazy stuff we do we need someone that can capture it and laugh along. You seem to fit that mold.”
“Being unemployed hasn’t given me a lot of opportunity to laugh and relax, but I’m more than ready to keep up with you guys.” I said, reaching into my bag.
“We also heard that you’re a huge fan,” Nick added, leaning down to catch my eye again. I blushed.
“You could say that,” I said. Nick bounced up and hoisted himself onstage.
“What do you mean prove it?” I cried. Nick tapped on two microphones; they responded with a live crackling.
“The other guys aren’t ready yet. We have twenty minutes before soundcheck. Karoke time.”
“Go right ahead. I’m going to set up this…”
“Nope. Up here now.”
Reluctantly I set the camera down and climbing the steps.
“You really don’t want to do this. I can’t sing. I break glasses. I kill cats.” I said.
He responded by placing a microphone in my hand.
“Then this will be even more fun,” he said with a laugh. I pouted; he grinned. Nick hopped off stage and headed towards the sound mix booth.
“What am I singing?” I called out into the dark auditorium.
“If you’re a fan, you’ll know!” he answered from the booth.
My palms sweaty, I waited for the music. I didn’t even attempt to ready my voice. What you heard is what you got.
The music started and I groaned right into the microphone.
PDA started blaring through the entire auditorium. Glaring menacingly into the darkness,
I began to sing…every single part, word for word. After a few seconds of God, what am I doing? I began to enjoy myself, not caring how I sounded, just determined to prove that I knew the song by heart. As the song ended, I stuck my tongue out.
“Nope, you needed to turn around and shake the booty. I’m testing on dance moves too. I think we need one more song.”
I rolled my eyes. “Nick I—“
The music started again. I knew immediately it wasn’t a Backstreet song…this one was 100% Nick. Beautiful Lie, his duet with Jennifer Paige started playing loudly. As I sung through the first verse, I saw Nick sneak up the steps. He grabbed the second mic and joined me. When we got to the chorus I turned to him. He looked impressed, I smirked. Together we headed into the chorus.
If this isn’t love what did I feel inside?
If this ain’t love how could you look in my eyes?
‘Cause my heart is breaking I’m falling this time
This can’t be love, now I know
You’re a beautiful lie.
After the song ended, I promptly handed the mic back to Nick. “Did I pass?”
“You know, the crew warned me that you guys are going to prank me,” I said innocently.
“Us? We’re angels,” Nick said with a laugh.
“Hey, what did we miss?” Brian said headed onstage.
Howie and AJ trailed after.
“Damn,” AJ said, grabbing a mic. “I wanted to hear Nick sing Paparazzi.”
“Oh, don’t get him started on that. Let’s get down to business guys,” Howie said.
I slide off the stage, heading back to my seat. Sitting down to get my camera, I heard a horrible noise erupt from my backside. At the same time I could hear the telltale laugh from the stage. Looking up I saw Nick grinning; Brian was trying to cover up his laughter unsuccessfully.
“A whoopee cushion? Really?” I said, reaching behind me and holding up the offender. “The best you could do?” I asked sweetly.
“An oldie but a goodie,” Nick responded.
“You know what they say about paybacks,” I said.
“They’re a bitch.”