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Author's Chapter Notes:
Sorry for the delay! Real Greek life took over my writing time. But please enjoy this new gift; it's longer as a result. And don't forget, next chapter is the special surprise. :D

*FYI, I also decided to change the female lead's name from Victoria Laurens to Veronica Laurens, sorry. :( Just so you know.

Chapter Three: The Party, or Hi Nick, Thanks for Finally Coming to College, We Were Afraid You Got Lost

Plans had changed and I’d ended up closer to the campus than I had originally thought I would be. I shivered as I stood on the corner of some streets in front of a restaurant, “Damn you, cold.” I stared down at my sweatshirt. I’d definitely dressed for the weather at least this once, so why was it being sucky? I’m usually not this cold and I’ll be wearing shorts in Alaska or something… assuming we actually toured in Alaska…

“This is why you get sick.”

Get out of my head already, Kevin. I let out a sneeze.

I could hear him laughing at me.

Seriously, get out of my head. If Kevin weren’t really like that, people would think I was crazy by now.

I sneezed again.

Just for that, I’m totally sneezing on you when I get home, Kevin.


I ducked behind the corner of the building slightly. I know it sounds stupid, but I’ve had enough time with crazy fans shouting my name and mobbing me that, really, I can never be too careful. I say that… But here I am standing on a street corner in some strange city. I’m definitely a mugger’s dream right now… Or something like that. I can see the tabloids now, ‘Nick Carter mugged on strange street corner. The Pop Star is unable to comment because he is currently unconscious.’

My phone rang, rather loudly actually, and I dropped it out of shock. I backed against the building for a minute before bending down to pick it up. Because the six inches I moved would really save me from getting stabbed or kidnapped! Especially because of the street lamp right in front of me! I almost felt like I was taking a bath in the light when I went to grab my phone. Seriously, why the hell was it so bright out? It’s never dark enough when I’m trying to sleep, it’s never dark enough when I’m trying to hide, and it’s never dark enough when I’m trying to run away! I need to start dressing in black from head to toe like AJ! Then I could hide in the dark too… Being a beanpole like he is probably doesn’t hurt either…
And then someone else’s hand on the phone stopped my rambling thoughts. Maybe I don’t want it if a ravenous fan touched it… And it’s really sad that that’s what worries me the most. I could just walk right up to a serial killer or kidnapper and ask which foot he wanted in the body bag first. I could feel my face turning pale. What if it really was a serial killer or a kidnapper? I pulled my hands back quickly and put one up to my face as I backed into the wall again. Please be gentle.

There was a playful giggle, “I thought I saw you. Are you hiding from the Greek police?” She held out my phone.

Ahhh!!!, The…. Who? I uncovered my eyes. Sure enough, there was Veronica. “Greek Police? Like they eat lots of food and drink strong liquor while they’re on duty?”

She laughed, “Greek Police, as in members of the Greek system that monitor parties the fraternities and sororities hold.” She motioned my phone toward me again.

I took it from her and put it in my sweatshirt pocket. It was at that precise moment that my stomach grumbled. I lowered my head out of embarrassment.

She just laughed. “Aren’t you glad we’re going to eat?”

She pulled me around the corner, pulled open the door, and shoved me inside the restaurant I’d been standing outside of for what felt like years…. In the dark… hiding from serial killers and kidnappers. Oh, and rabid fans… They were almost the same level of terrifying, except not.

My eyes grew wide as I took in the atmosphere. The bar directly in front of me was huge, complete with a chalkboard sign proclaiming “Flip Night!” Whatever the hell that was. “This is a restaurant?”

“Welcome to The Sink,” she smiled, “The only non sake bar left on The Hill.”

“Last time I checked, a bar is not a restaurant and you’re not twenty-one.”

A man in a waist apron walked by us, “Two for food?”

“Yup,” Veronica smiled.

He grabbed a few menus from a slot and motioned for us to follow him past the bar.

“It’s a restaurant and a bar,” she smiled at me as we walked.

She continued smiling as she stared at my face. I must have looked shocked or amazed. There were murals all over the wall, and writing! What kind of restaurant is this?

“It’s a college restaurant,” she offered with a giggle.

She read my thoughts again! Damnit, she’s like a rambling, non-anal Kevin. She’s like what you would get if Kevin and I were the same person… A rambling mind reader! And that could be terrifying.

The waiter set the menus on the table, “He’s from out of town, isn’t he?”

“Sadly, not everyone gets to permanently enjoy the awesomeness that is Boulder.”

The waiter laughed, “Isn’t that the truth?”

The two of them high fived and laughed together. I guess it was some sort of secret Boulder handshake? I kept watching as they pounded fists. It was totally some secret handshake. I bet there’s a club out here somewhere.

The waiter then dropped a sharpie on the table with a smile, “Let him sign it as a memento.” Where the hell did that sharpie come from? I was watching his hands the entire time!

Veronica smiled as she picked up her menu, “Want to share a pizza?”

I shook off my amazement and smiled, “I love pizza!”

She gave me a large grin, “Good. The Sink doesn’t have the best pizza on The Hill, but I felt like it was something you needed to see in Boulder…. Well, that and I’m not hungry enough to eat one of their famous burgers.”

“Well, you’re the expert on Boulder and…” I stared up at the ceiling, “This place is pretty amazing!”

She smiled and passed the sharpie to me, “Want to give it your John Hancock?”

“Hell yeah!” I took the sharpie from her and uncapped it as I proceeded to kneel on my stool. The ceilings were that low! I kind of felt like a four year old writing on the wall with a crayon… I think I even stuck out my tongue a little.


We were walking out of the restaurant about an hour later. I’ve never heard of a girl eating two dinners, but I ended up with leftovers anyway. So I guess neither of them were really big dinners? Or she just threw her pizza on the floor when I wasn’t looking. There was one point during dinner where she kept staring at a particular patch of ceiling and smiling… I’d gone to the bathroom, so I couldn’t blame her, but it was weird that she kept looking in the same place…

She linked her arm in my free one. It startled me a little.

I laughed to cover up my surprise; “So, we ate pizza at a restaurant that let me sign its ceiling, where are we going next?”

“What, do you want the grand tour?”

“Who wouldn’t? Especially if I can sign more ceilings!” I laughed and then stopped for a minute, “Okay, this is really bugging me, what the hell is Flip Night?”

“Flip a coin, call the side, and if you win, your drink is a quarter.”

“That’s a really good deal!”

“I know, right? When I’m twenty-one, I’m totally taking full advantage of it!”

I laughed, “It’s nice to know that you’re planning ahead.”

She tightened her link on my arm and smiled, “It’s all part of my five year plan!”

“Wow, right down to what you’re drinking on Monday nights? That’s pretty exact!” Okay, I lied about her not being anal… If Kevin and I were gay, and were born like thirty years ago and had a love child, this would be that love child.

“I’m kind of obsessed.” She laughed.

I smiled as she pointed out restaurants along the strip. Which ones were good, which ones were bad… And telling funny stories about times she was drunk and screaming about sandwiches. I don’t know either, sorry. We were walking next to a tattoo and piercing parlor when she pointed across the street excitedly.

“Do you like creepies?”

“Do I like what?”

She pulled me across the street and stopped in front of a small storefront, “Creepies.”

“You mean crepes?”

“No, but yes.”

I laughed again. This girl was practically impossible to understand.

I laughed even harder as she pulled me into the stand and ordered some unknown combination of ingredients.

“Do you like nutella?” she burst with a smile.


“You don’t know what it is, do you?”


“It’s okay, you’re eating a banana split.” She handed me the first crepe that was finished.

“Hot!” I pulled my hand away before I grabbed it.

She shook her head and wrapped six napkins around it before handing it back to me.

I’m not going to lie, watching her do that made me feel just a little embarrassed. Like I was a six-year-old being taken care of… What was with me feeling like a child today? I shook it off and took a bite of the crepe. “This is good!”

“Duh.” She grinned at me as she grabbed hers and linked arms with me again, this time with the arm holding the pizza box. She pulled me out of the crepe store and ran across the street, just narrowly missing us being splattered by a bus! Another good headline, ‘Nick Carter is hit by a bus!’

Bus!” I screamed. Of course, by that time, we were already across the street. And the bus had already gone by.

“Relax,” she smiled, “Pedestrians have the right of way in Boulder twenty four seven.” She bopped my head a little and I’m pretty sure I got cream puff on my nose. It felt just a little gooey.

She stopped at the top of a flight of stairs and lit her face up with her cell phone, “Welcome to the Underpass… Muahahaha.”

I was torn between laughing and making fun of her… I guess they’re both the same thing. I started cracking up.

“It’s not as scary as it sounds.” She motioned down the stairs toward the small tunnel underneath the street. It was probably only about one hundred feet long or something…

“You’re so….” What was the word I was looking for? “Awkward? I thought sorority girls were supposed to be the most poised and popular people? Like beauty queens and super models?”

“It’s more like Rose Queens and Super Deltas,” She laughed and then shook her head, “Also, I happen to fit in really well in my house, thanks. Besides, I’m not the one with cream puff on my nose.”

Shit, I knew it. I ran my sleeve against my nose. I could just feel the stickiness of it.

“Yuck, Nick. You have at least six napkins… Now your shirt is sticky…”

I stared down at my crepe. I did have a lot of napkins, didn’t I? “I’m wearing a costume later?”

She unlinked her arm from mine and started skipping under the underpass.

Maybe Brian was right… Was it possible for there to be a person with more energy and rambling stories than I had? I like to think I’m pretty unique in my randomness, but she was showing me up time and time again. I shook my head and ran after her with a grin.

When I finally caught up to her, she was hopping down a flight of stairs.

“So is this what you do in Boulder all the time?”

“Sometimes… I mean, I also have a life.” She laughed.

“Like going to parties and hanging out with frats?”

“And going to class and doing my homework and working and being a good Tri Delta… I promise being Greek is about more than a social calendar.” She laughed again. “I just tried really hard to clear my schedule for yesterday and today. I mean, I couldn’t not go to Denver or to Pi Kapp’s party, you know?”

“I guess…”

School, work, and the Greek system…. That sounded a lot more fun than going to meetings or working around the world… Not being near my brother or sisters… Fighting with the guys… Running away from mobs… Or anything like that…

It’s kind of funny, actually, that I was the one living the surreal life with cameras and paparazzi and thousands of screaming fans across the entire world and yet, this place… Normal, ordinary college was what seemed surreal to me. It almost made me feel stupid, like I didn’t really belong.

It’s a little sad, actually.

“Sit down.” Her voice smiled.

I finally noticed that we were standing in an outdoor amphitheater. It was like I was about to sing a private concert for one. I haven’t done that in a long time…

She smiled up at me.

I don’t know why, but there was something so comforting about her being there in front of me. Even if I felt out of place, she was really welcoming. Kind of like… a smile.

“Sing me a song,” she smiled.

“What kind of song?”

“How about… Heaven in Your Eyes?”

My heart stopped. No. “N-No.”

She didn’t move. She just kept sitting on the edge of the stage, watching me curiously.

“You tricked me.” She knew me and didn’t say anything? Why? Why?

“I invited you to a party and you came. How is that tricking you?”

“You knew who I was and you didn’t say anything!” I started backing up. Don’t fans usually say something?

“Oh, please, Nick.” She rolled her eyes.

I stopped, “You… rolled your eyes.”

“Duh, you deserved it.” She shook her head, “Welcome to 1999, Nick. In case you haven’t noticed, the Backstreet Boys are probably one of the biggest bands on the planet!”

“So?” I know that! What does that have to do with anything?

She rolled her eyes again, “What I mean is, everyone knows who the Backstreet Boys are. You’d have to be living under a rock since like 1997 or be... you know… Amish. How many weeks has Millennium spent at Number one?”

“Ten…” I answered under my breath.

“Ten, huh?” She shook her head and stood; “Now how do you expect people to not know who you are?”

I was dumbfounded. She was cute, and she hadn’t screamed in my face when I first met her… And she’d been nice to me this whole time. What was I supposed to do? “You don’t want anything from me?”

“I invited you up because you looked so lonely at The Church… Plus I did spill my drink on you, so it’s only fair…”

“And you’re not going to be whoring me out to any of your friends?”

“Well… I did say you were interested in pledging a fraternity, so I guess I’m whoring you out to boys?”

My face screwed into a strange expression. “That’s not quite what I imagined…”

She laughed, “I didn’t think it was.”

I gave her a small smile and she patted the empty space next to her.

I walked over to her and sat down. “So, where are we?”

“This is my favorite place on campus. They hold the Shakespeare festival here every year… And it just reminds me of this outdoor lecture area we had at my high school. I used to sit out there for hours and just think. It’s comforting to me that way.”

“You sit and think all by yourself in this giant amphitheatre?”

“Sometimes you just need to put yourself back into the big picture. Sometimes we think we’re… bigger than we are, I guess…”

I leaned back on my hands, “No, I know… Sometimes I used to sit in the empty arena before shows and think that it all seemed like too much…” I gave her a small smile, “Sitting here with you in this amphitheatre is really, pretty comforting.”

“Thanks, you too.”

I closed my eyes a little as I put my hand on top of hers. I opened my mouth slowly, “I need you tonight…. I need you right now…. I know deep within my heart, it doesn’t matter if it’s wrong or right…. Cuz I see Heaven… In your eyes….”

I opened my eyes to see her smiling.

“I totally stand by my position now. They should have never changed the words of your solo.”

I started laughing. Any normal fan would have asked for that song to brag to their friends about the emotional song Nick Carter sang just for them. She just wanted to hear the words. Veronica, you’re something else.

“You know what, Nick? I have a small, small idea.”

I laughed, “Should I be afraid to ask.”

“I say we have a party! Let’s have a party!” She started cracking up.

“No,” I laughed with her, “No more cheesy song titles in conversations.”

She put her hand to my shoulder, “Don’t worry, Nick, I’ll never break your heart.” She couldn’t keep a straight face.

“Enough!” I kept laughing.

“You’re so larger than life, even the perfect fan couldn’t tell you to quit playing games with my heart even though I want it that way…” She blurted it out with a small melodious tone to her voice. Seriously, she was almost singing, but not quite there yet.

I’m pretty sure I laughed for five minutes straight. By the time I was done I was gasping for breath. “Enough… That’s enough…”

She laughed with me.

“No more singing,” I took another deep breath.

“That’s okay.” Her small smile became a large grin, “I was serious about the party.”

“Oh, is it time to go already?” I stood up.

She looked at her phone, “Well, it’s ten fifteen now, so… after getting ready... that would put us there around eleven, so yeah… Now is good.”

“When does it start?”


I pulled her up quickly and awkwardly, “Doesn’t that mean we’re already late?!?!”

She shook her head, “It’s a fraternity party. Only serious girlfriends show up when it starts… Besides, we’re on the list, so we’ll get in for sure.” She smiled again and grabbed my hand, “So let’s go!”

I was about to enter my first fraternity party… I wonder if it’s really like Animal House with the loud music and kegs flying through windows… And how many of these guys were just going to be drunken douche bags? Or are the stereotypes of frat guys like the stereotypes of boy bands? You know, where they’re not really real? I don’t know…


Veronica and I walked up to the white house. On either side, there were giant classic looking Greek houses… Like in the movies! This one looked more like an apartment, but it was still a giant. And that was just the outside! I started walking toward the door.

“No…” Veronica grabbed my hat, and then pulled me away.

“Isn’t this the house? There’s a ‘pi’ on the side?” Take that! I recognize that Greek letter from my calculator in school. I’m sure I had a smug look on my face, because I felt pretty proud of myself just then.

“Yes, this is Pi Kapp, but no one goes through the front door.”

We walked behind the house, only to find a large line of people, mostly girls. I stared at it in shock. We came late and had to wait in this line? That didn’t make sense… “Why is there a line?”

“Relax,” she put up her hand before she skipped over to the bouncer holding the list. “Kolbe!”

I followed her path and noticed another guy standing beside the bouncer with the list. He looked younger and was actually dressed in a costume. Was that one of the frat guys?

He and Veronica hugged and for a moment, I felt a twinge of jealousy. That was until she pointed over at me. I know I’m used to people pointing at me and screaming my name, but being singled out right here made me feel embarrassed. At a place like this, I’m not the type of person everyone would pay attention to… Here, I’m just Nick Carter… Not Nick Carter the Backstreet Boy.

The frat guy”Kolbe, I guess”leaned over to the bouncer and they had a quick conversation before Veronica waved me over.

I speed walked over to her.

She grabbed my hand excitedly, “They have room for two more, let’s go, Nick!” She put my naval cap back on my head before grabbing the frat guy’s hand and following him inside.

“We have room for two more because you’re on our list,” he laughed.

“Yeah, but it sounds cooler when you just happened to let us in,” she giggled.

“Well, you are on the list, so I guess that means you’re pretty cool.”

“Well, duh.”

He shook his head and laughed. “Is he twenty-one?”

She shook her head.

“Sorry, Laurens,” he smiled a little as he took out a sharpie and drew two black x’s on her hands. He turned to me, “I have to get you too then. Just because you’re not a brother.”

I put out my hands for him and they also got x’s on them. Question though… If I was a brother, would I have gotten in without the marks? That would be pretty cool. And Kevin wouldn’t be here to keep me away from alcohol and I could just have a party. Just like a real nineteen-year-old would do.

She put her hand on his shoulder, “Sorry for being so rude, Kolbe.” She motioned toward me, “This is Nick Carter, he just transferred from a small liberal arts school, and he wanted to join a fraternity.” She turned to me, “Nick, this is Adam Kolbe. He’s the Risk Chair and he’s dating one of my sisters, Bree Bernard. They’re adorable!”

“Is that my standard introduction?” he laughed.

She stuck out her tongue, “Duh, because you are.”

He shook his head and turned to me. He stuck out his hand, “Nice to meet you, Nick. Laurens was pretty excited about me getting you on our list.”

“Thank you for that,” I smiled, before pausing, “Laurens?”

He motioned over to Veronica, “Vie. Calling people by their last names is a fraternity thing. If we’re willing to call a girl by her last name, it means she’s in pretty tight with the brothers.”

She shook her head, “I am not.”

He let out a chuckle, “I guess there are some brothers who still call you ‘Vie’… And even ‘Veronica’… Hey, speaking of that, how is Weyslan?”

She smiled, “He’s good. Working hard.”

He smiled, “Good. I wish here were here sometimes. Being Risk isn’t fun without him trying to get me to take a pull of the hard stuff.”

They both started laughing again. What is it with people in Boulder and their inside jokes? I guess I understand this better though… Just because these two seemed like they were actually friends. Who was this Weyslan guy though?

She put her hand on his shoulder, “That joke was probably the funniest prank I’ve ever heard.” She smiled wistfully, “I miss his witty sense of humor.”

“‘If it’s raining, why aren’t you wet?’”

They started laughing again.

“Okay, okay, so I was being an idiot,” she confessed.

I stared blankly at their inside joke fest.

Kolbe looked up at me, and I think he noticed how lost I looked. He put his arm around me, “So, are you serious about rush?”

He changed the subject so quickly; I was a little caught off guard. “Ummmm… I think so?”

Veronica gave him a pat on the back, “Rush him hard, Kolbe. I trust you.”

He winked, “If I’m not too busy with my Risk duties.”

“Don’t worry, I think you can rush him hard while keeping everyone in line. Aaron’s not here to tempt you with pulls.” She winked, before scanning the room slightly. “Where’s Cole?”

He pointed over toward the bar, “Try the bar. LeSparks is over there too.”

“Great!” She smiled.

“I’ll rush him hard.” He gave her a pat on the back, “Go have fun with Cole and LeSparks… just not at Weyslan’s expense.”

“Don’t worry, I’m okay.” She waved as she walked away, “But that’s what I like to hear, Kolbe! We have to leave at one, so I’ll come find you!”

And then she was gone. Crap, she left without me. She really wasn’t kidding when she said she would whore me out to her male friends.

“So you’re a sophomore?”

I was startled for a second at the sudden subject change, but then decided to just play along with Veronica’s game, “Um, yeah.”

“Me too,” he smiled, “How about we get you a drink?”

We walked over to the bar where Veronica was posing for two guys.

One fluffed up the tail on her bunny costume. “Is Weyslan okay with you wandering around in that?”

That wistful smile crossed her face again, “You know he hates Halloween, Graham.”

The second guy smirked, “To see you in that outfit? I bet he would love Halloween.”

It’s true; there isn’t any guy that wouldn’t look at her boobs almost spilling over the top of her corset. And even though I was distracted by the fact that they were talking about that Weyslan guy again, I couldn’t stop staring either.

She giggled, “We’ll take a picture and send it to him then!” She held out a camera and posed with the two guys. She then stashed the camera back into the top of her corset when the song changed. “Graham, Cole, I love this song!”

I listened for a moment over the cheers. It was ‘I Want It That Way.’

“Here’s your drink,” Kolbe smiled at me as he handed me a beer.

I took it with a smile and then turned around to see Veronica walking away with the two guys. But, I still didn’t know who this Weyslan guy was… He obviously was someone that all of them knew… And really well, too… But why did that bother me so much? Veronica… Why does that bother me?


At three that morning, I lay in my bunk on the bus. I rapped the wall next to me lightly. “Kevin?”

There was a slight stir.

I rapped it again, “Kevin.”


“How did your appointment go?

“I just dislocated it…”

“That’s better than it being broken…”


“Nick, go to bed already!” AJ shouted.

“Kevin…” I lowered my voice to a whisper.


“Can I talk to you?”

I watched as Kevin’s legs slid out from his cubby. I followed him quickly.

Kevin sat down on the couch just outside our cubby holes, “What is it, little man?”

I sat next to him, “Do you ever think you made the wrong decision?”

“About going to the doctor about my shoulder?”

“No… Not going to college.” I could feel my eyes shaking as I stared up at him, “Don’t you ever wonder if you belonged somewhere else?”

“Nick, maybe sometimes it seems like college would have been better, but we’re here now. I wouldn’t trade this time with you guys for anything.” He put his arm around me, “Besides, if we all went to college instead, we would have never met.”

“We could have all been in the same fraternity. Brothers for life!”

Kevin let out a chuckle, “We’re already brothers, Nick.” He tousled my hair, “Besides, we wouldn’t have gone to college at the same time, so AJ would be the only one you could have met anyway.”

I lowered my head, “But it just seems… so much more normal.”

“No, it seems amazing to you because this is normal… But it’s amazing to a lot of other people.”

He could read me like a book.

He patted my head, “I know it’s hard sometimes for you not to have friends your own age… But all of us are here for you. Brothers for life.”

I felt the couch jolt a little as he stood up.

“Don’t think about it for too long.”

I lay down and curled up in the fetal position on the couch. Did I take a wrong turn somewhere? Sometimes it felt like I’d gotten lost going somewhere… Was there some other life for me that I was missing out on? I buried my head in my arms. Sometimes I wondered…