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Chapter 18 Perfect Just the Way You Are

            Tour was getting better and better with each city we visited and every show we performed. I enjoyed seeing the continental United States but I was starting to feel homesick as we traveled closer and closer to Florida. The bus rides got longer and longer but at least we stopped flying from place to place, now we drove long miles between states.  My parents called me a few times and my siblings did too. Of course they called me whenever they were having a Smith Family Night so that made me miss my family even more. The Thursday before we reached Florida, Diangela and Mark called me and put my students on speaker.

            “We miss you so much Kalie!” all my students said.

            “I miss all of you too! But I have good news for you!”

            “What is it Kayl?” Diangela asked.

            “We are one day away from arriving in Florida!”

            “How long are you staying in Florida for?” Mark asked.

            “12 days!” I almost jumped out of my seat at the table on the bus when I exclaimed my answer.

            “How are you pulling that off?” Diangela questioned.

            “Well we have three shows in Florida: one on Sunday, another on Thursday and the last one in Orlando on Saturday. We should be crossing state lines this Thursday around noon and then we’ll have our first show in the North then work our way down to Orlando. Then we’re going to have some down time before we leave for Georgia. The other dancers are from Florida too so they’re going to be visiting their families like me.”

            “So will you be visiting us?” I heard one of my student’s voices.

            “There is no doubt about that! I have to check on how Dia has been teaching you guys.”

            Everyone laughed and Diangela said, “Don’t you trust me Kayl?”

            “I do. I just want to see how they’re doing without me. And to be honest I’m not all that worried about the students, I’m more worried about Mark.”

            Again they laughed then Mark’s voice came on the line, “Well Kalie it was really nice talking to you and I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying your summer job but it’s time for everyone to go home now and I have to get home quickly for a dinner with the in laws.”

            “Yeah Kay I have dinner with the in laws tonight too,” Diangela said.

            “Ok guys I love you all and I miss you so much!”

            “Oh before you go Kalie I just wanted to tell you that Mark, Lacey and I will be at the Orlando show!” Diangela exclaimed.

            “Ahh! That’s awesome! You’re going to love the show! BSB really knows how to entertain.”

            “Kalie, we don’t care about BSB we’re just going to see you perform with pop stars!” Mark joked.

            I giggled, “You’re too funny. I’ll see you when I get home. It was great talking to you guys. See you soon!”

            “See ya Kalie!” they all answered.

            I hung up the phone and looked out the window, there was a sign pointing toward Florida and I smiled. I knew we were only staying for a short amount of time but I didn’t care, I was going to be home and I was going to see all my loved ones and friends who I was missing dearly.

            That Thursday we crossed the state lines into beautiful Florida around 11:30 am. We checked into the hotel and everyone decided to hang by the pool except for Nick.

            “Why don’t you want to go to the pool with us?” I asked grabbing my beach bag and sunglasses after I put on my A wig and contacts.

            “Bruce and I are going to go check out the town or a little while. I’ll probably join you guys later.”

            “Ok baby. Have fun.”

            “I have to ask you a question before you head down there though.”

            “What is it babe?”

            “Why are you disguising yourself today when we don’t have any shows tonight?”

            “There could be paparazzi down by the pool.”

            “I highly doubt that. BSB is not as popular as we used to be Kayl.”

            “You never know.”

            “And what’s going to happen if someone does take a picture of you without your disguise? Nobody knows your real name. So what’s the point of you disguising yourself?”

            “Well I like dressing up like Alana.”

            “That answers my question.”

            “See you later Nick.”

            “Later Alana.”

            With that I walked out the door and met up with the other BSB dancers.

            Nick never joined us at the pool that day. He and Bruce, his body guard, were gone until dinner that night.

            Those first few days in Florida Nick seemed to distance himself from the rest of us. I was starting to wonder why he never wanted to hang out with us. I asked him where he was going while the rest of us hung out but he never had a straight answer and it sounded like he was covering for something or someone.

            A few days before we headed toward Orlando I pulled Nick aside and asked, “Why are acting so shady all of a sudden? Do you have another girl living close by?”

            “Hell no. Why would you ask that? You know you’re my only one.” He started getting defensive.

            “Then where have you been going these past days? The only time I got to spend with you this week was during the concert.”

            “I have spent every night with you before and after the concert.”

            “But the only thing we do at night is sleep. The both of us are too tired to do anything else, even just talk.”

            “Then how about this, the next two days I’ll devote to you. We can go shopping or whatever you want to do. Is that ok and we can forget about me not spending time with you?”

            “Deal. The rest of us were talking about going bowling tomorrow. I’d like for the two of us to go with them if you’d like to. We want to play girls against guys and the guys need you to make the teams even.”

            “No that sounds like fun. Then afterward we can go to dinner just the two of us.”

            “I’d like that.”

            The next day BSB, their spouses, dancers, and some of their other crew members went bowling together and we all had a blast! I have to say that we were pretty evenly matched when it came to our bowling skills. It was a close game but in the end us girls won by 5. I had a lot of fun but I couldn’t help but notice that Nick kept staring at me. I guess he liked it a lot when I dressed as Alana. I know I liked the change so maybe Nick liked it too.

            Then at dinner I became very confused. Nick was giving me mixed signals and signs. He seemed to be happy and he kept staring at me but yet he looked like something was wrong and he wasn’t saying much which was pretty awkward.

            “Are you ok honey?” I asked.

            “Yeah I’m fine,” he answered snapping himself out of the little trance he put himself in. “I’m just really tired. I’m ready to go back to the hotel.”

            “I am too actually. Let’s forget about dessert and head back to the hotel and just relax.”

            “Sounds good to me.”

            We paid at the front counter then walked out the doors. I grabbed Nick’s hand as we walked toward the hotel. I looked up at my boyfriend and gave him a little smile. He looked down at me and grinned back but something was wrong. There was something missing from his smile and his eyes were dull and seemed empty and even though he was holding my hand, he wasn’t gripping it like he always did. I was starting to get upset and I didn’t know what I was doing wrong to make him act like that toward me. I wasn’t going to lose Nick again but what did I do this time?

***Nick’s Point of View***

            Once we got into the hotel room I sat on the edge of the bed and buried my tired face into my hands. My hands slowly exposed my face again and I looked at Alana who was sitting in front of the mirror taking her wig off. She ran her brush through the sexy chocolate brown hair that was hidden under the boring wig.

            She saw my reflection looking at her in the mirror and said, “I’m thinking about dying my hair black, what do you think about it?”

            “Don’t do that,” I protested. “Why would you want to do that?”

            “It would be easier to turn into Alana. All I’d have to do is put in the contacts. Besides I think I look better with black hair and blue eyes anyway. If only there was a way to permanently change the color of my eyes… I’m tired of my dull brown ones. Blue eyes are so much brighter and sexier in my opinion. Don’t you think so babe?”

            “Kalie,” I sounded somewhat exasperated.

            “What?” her voice was raising a little.

            “I don’t want you to change into Alana.”

            “Why not? I thought you really like Alana.”

            “But I’m not in love with Alana. I’m in love with you, Kalie Marie Smith.”

            “Babe,” she turned to me and looked into my eyes, “Alana and I are the same person.”

            “No you’re not.”

            “How? Alana is just me in disguise.”

            “She has become more than just a disguise. She has become a different person.”

            She looked at me with a question on her face so I continued, “You two are definitely not the same person babe. Alana Kash is this over confident girlfriend of a celebrity who is always looking at herself in a mirror.”

            “But I thought you liked confidence in girls.”

            “I do but,” I grinned slightly at her, “I like your touch of shyness mixed in with your confidence. I think it’s cute.” She gave me a little grin, “Kalie Smith is my best friend who loves me for who I am and not the name my singing career has given me. You’re fun loving, caring, an amazing dancer and just… just… you’re too good for words Kayl. I don’t want you to be taken over by Alana. Besides,” I walked over to her and grabbed her hand which she wore the Clauggdah ring, “I adore this long, soft, gorgeous brown hair of yours and your eyes… when you’re dancing on stage and you give me those enchanting looks you always give me they’re not the same when you’re disguised. There is nothing in the world I love to do more than stare into those captivatingly beautiful brown eyes. I want to stare into them now but they’re still hidden.”

            She turned back to the mirror and took out her contacts one at a time. Afterward she looked guiltily back up at me.

            “Now there’s my love,” I smiled at her, “I’ve been waiting to see her all day. It’s good to see you out of disguise.”

            “You really don’t like Alana do you?”

            “Not really, I just love my girl Kalie.”

            “Then you know what?” she smirked at me and I knew she had an idea. “I’m not going to let Alana take over. Thursday’s concert was Alana’s last performance with BSB and Kalie is taking her place from now on.”    

            I smiled widely, “I get the Kalie I love back.”

            “She never really left… just got masked a little but it won’t happen again. Besides Alana was a pain in the ass to get ready.”

            We both chuckled then smiled at each other. I wrapped my arms around her and we held each other in a warm embrace for some time. Kalie didn’t have to say a word because I could tell from the way she was holding me that she was going to keep her promise and that Kalie was here to stay.       

            I whispered in her ear, “Kalie I just want to remind you that you’re perfect just the way you are.”

            I could hear the smile in her voice when she answered, “And I’m reminding you that you’re a sweat talker.”