Chapter 8 – The Trending Topics

Nick woke up the next morning when he felt the ship come to a whirring stop. One look out the window told him that they’d arrived at their destination for the day – Half Moon Cay.

He rolled over to face away from the window in hopes of catching a couple more hours of sleep, but was met with a startling surprise.

Brittany.

In his bed.

His eyes shot open and he pulled away quickly. He gave himself the once over to make sure he was wearing clothes. He was… the same clothes he’d been wearing the night before. He sat up quickly and rubbed his head.

It all came back to him.

Brittany downed another shot of Patrón and giggled to herself. Nick draped his arm around her as they stumbled back to their room. Nick had since lost track of how many they’d had, but suffice to say, he was feeling pretty good.

Brittany leaned back against their door as Nick fumbled with his card to let them inside. “This is the best cruise ever,” she laughed. “I mean, it’s the only cruise ever, but it’s the best cruise ever. I’m coming on the Backstreet Boys cruise every year!” she exclaimed as Nick finally managed to open the door and they entered the room.

Nick flopped down backwards on his bed. “Oh yeah?” he asked, raising his eyebrow. “So are we your new favourite boyband now?”

Brittany shrugged, hopping down on the bed beside him and crossing her legs. “You’re pretty much the same, if I’m being honest.”

Nick shook his head violently. “Are you kidding me?”

Brittany just giggled. “Aren’t all boybands built on the same model anyway?”

“No,” Nick lied, thinking about how they’d originally been modelled after New Kids on the Block. “We’re all different. Like… there’s no AJ in One Direction,” Nick said seriously. As seriously as he could anyway, considering how drunk and giddy he was.

Brittany rolled her eyes. “I mean, there’s Zayn. He’s the bad boy with the tattoos,” she laughed, making finger quotes as she said the words ‘bad boy.’ “So he’s basically their AJ!”

“Uh huh,” Nick muttered. “It’s easy to get a bunch of tattoos. Not easy to get a bossy older brother dad like Kevin,” he challenged.

“They have a Kevin. They already call Liam ‘Daddy Direction’ and everything,” she snickered.

“Fine,” Nick said, a smirk playing on his lips. “But you can’t tell me that they have a Nick. The loveable prankster who gets all the chicks.”

Brittany put a finger to her lips and appeared to be deep in thought. “Harry gets all the chicks. Louis is the prankster. So…you’re so awesome you count for two!” she giggled.

“Damn right I’m awesome,” Nick nodded. “So who gets kicked out? Which Backstreet Boy isn’t good enough to be in One Direction?”

“Hmmmm…” Brittany said, stretching out on the bed and giving Nick a look. “Howie seems really sweet… and so is Louis, honestly, so Howie gets to be in.”

Nick didn’t dare mention the fact that she’d completely missed a member of the other group. He wasn’t sure if she’d done it on purpose, or if she’d overlooked him in her drunken state. “So there’s no church going homebody who thinks he’s better than everyone in your other group?” Nick laughed. “I guess Brian’s out.”

“Yeah… guess so,” Brittany said softly.

Nick searched her face. That same distant look she’d had earlier in the day was back again. “Brian really sucks…” he said suddenly. “He sucks so bad. So maybe he can be in the group,” he said, winking at her..

Brittany laughed a little bit, closing her eyes.“Yeah, maybe there’s a place for him after all.”

There was a bit of an awkward silence after that where Nick didn’t quite know what to say. He looked down at Brittany, and smiled a little to himself as he rested his head on the pillows.

“Shit,” Nick muttered to himself. They must have fallen asleep without realizing it. And though he was sure nothing had happened, it still didn’t look good. So, he tried to smoothly get out of the bed and go over to the other one, in hopes that Brittany would wake up and have no clue that they’d spent the night beside each other.

It didn’t work. His leg was tangled in the sheets and he went crashing to the ground, waking Brittany up in the process.

“Hmm…” she sighed, opening her eyes. “Nick?” she asked, glancing down at him, laying on the floor beside the bed. “What are you doing down there?”

“Uh…” Nick said stupidly. “I fell off the bed.”

Brittany’s eyes widened. “Oh God,” she said, covering her mouth with her hand. “I didn’t… we didn’t… oh my God…”

“No!” Nick said quickly, sitting up. “We didn’t. We just fell asleep.”

“Thank God,” Brittany sighed, feeling slightly better. She didn’t know what she would have done had she slept with Nick. That would have been awkward – especially since they were still stuck together on the boat for the next couple of days. She looked back down at him, where he was still sitting on the floor. “We drank a lot last night,” she commented, laughing a little. “I don’t even remember what we talked about.”

“Me neither,” Nick laughed as he lied through his teeth. No need to bring up Brittany and her boyband comparisons. Or the fact that even while drunk, she still looked sad and distraught whenever she remembered her break-up.

“Where are we again?” Brittany asked, getting up and looking out the window.

Nick stood up and joined her over by the balcony. “Half Moon Cay. The Bahamas.”

They stood silently for a moment, enjoying the view. Nick looked down at her a smiled to himself. They’d had fun the night before, and she seemed to be in better spirits than she had been the past couple of days already. And he was certainly enjoying her company – more than he thought he would have, in fact.

The cruise, it seemed, was beginning to do them both a world of good.

***

“This is a really nice beach,” Brittany commented as they stood outside the hotel where the beach party was to be held. She had a beach bag slung over her shoulders and was wearing a light sundress over top of her bathing suit. Not that she planned on going in the water at all – but it didn’t feel right to not wear one while out there.

Nick nodded, taking his phone out of his pocket. “Yeah, it is,” he said, connecting to the hotel’s WiFi.

Brittany glanced around. All of the fans were filing slowly into the area in front of the stage, but she and the rest of the group were in a roped off area that the fans couldn’t quite see or get to.

“What’re you doing?” she asked, glancing up at his phone. “I thought there was no reception.”

“Hotel WiFi,” Nick explained as he checked his e-mails. “You could also probably turn on roaming, if you wanted.”

Brittany nodded; that made sense. She neglected to pull out her phone, not really interested in checking twitter or her text messages.

But of course, everyone else was checking it.

“Um, guys,” Rochelle said, addressing the whole group. The area they were standing in wasn’t big, and they were all in relatively close proximity. “The cruise is trending on twitter…”

Brittany snapped her head up, but everyone else just looked confused. “What?” Kevin asked, raising his eyebrow.

“Yeah,” Rochelle explained, holding up her phone to show the others the trending topics.

Indeed BSB Cruise was near the top of the list. Along with Niall and Brittany and Niam.

“That’s weird,” Leighanne said, pulling out her phone. “It’s never trended before.”

Brittany pulled out her own phone and peeked at the trending topics. She was too curious not to – having to know what everyone was saying about her and Niall. Why were they trending? Did the world finally know? She began to feel sick to her stomach.

NiallsNandos: Uhm did Niall and Brittany break up? #HopefulTweet #SorryNotSorry

iLoveNialler: Niall and Brittany were supposed to be together the whole weekend but she’s gone on the BSB Cruise… suspicious.

1D1Thing: Niam was having lunch at Nando’s yesterday… and Niall looks really upset. idk you guys I think Niall and Brittany broke up.

niamisdefinitelyreal: look at this adorbs picture of Niam omggg you guys he’s totally comforting him! #niamisreal

She rolled her eyes, sighing to herself. No one had confirmed anything. Against her better judgement, she went to look at Niall’s twitter feed to see what he’d been saying. The latest tweet on his feed was one that he’d posted days prior.

NiallOfficial: @BrittCooperMusic can’t wait to see you, love xx

Her heart stung as she rolled her eyes. His lack of tweeting anything since she’d been there with him was almost a dead giveaway that something was up. Normally, her boyfriend was a tweeting machine.

Ex-boyfriend, she reminded herself bitterly.

As she continued to scroll through the trends, she sighed. There were all kinds of pictures and “proof” that she and Niall were over. Attached to the BSB Cruise trend was a photo of her and Nick from the night before with his arm draped around her, and it looked as though he was whispering something in her ear. Under the Niam trend, there was of course, the photo of Niall and Liam at a Nando’s with Niall looking quite upset and Liam saying something to him.

The Niall and Brittany trend held all sorts of speculation.

She opened up the update screen to post something. Her silence on twitter was also telling – just as Niall’s was. Though at least she had an excuse – she’d been on a boat with no service for the past day.

Still, she felt she needed to post something. Anything.

BrittCooperMusic: great time so far on the BSB Cruise. Thanks for bringing me, @nickcarter! Been looking forward to this for a long time!

Nick glanced over her shoulder. “What’cha doing?”

“Updating twitter,” she said shortly, still looking at her feed, and the tweet directly underneath the one she’d just posted.

BrittCooperMusic: @NiallOfficial I love you so much, see you soon! xoxo 

She swallowed, trying to force her feelings back down her throat. She really wanted to delete that tweet, take her phone and smash it under her foot – but she didn’t. Doing so would confirm all the rumours going around. She didn’t want that. Not yet.

“Been looking forward to it for a long time?” Nick asked, not noticing that Brittany was seething with rage. “How? You didn’t even know you were coming,” he laughed.

“Just shut up, Nick,” she muttered. “God.”

“What?” he laughed, still not getting the hint that she was upset. “You didn’t.”

“Yeah, I know,” she said, glaring at him. “But if I put that there it’ll look like it was planned from the start and people will stop fucking assuming that Niall and I are broken up.”

“You are broken up,” Nick reminded her, lowering his voice so the others couldn’t hear their conversation. “But I get it. You don’t want everyone to know yet. ‘Cause if you do that, it’s like admitting it’s really over.” he shrugged.

Brittany looked up at him. She felt tears stinging in her eyes. She wasn’t sure if they were because of everything she’d seen on twitter, or the fact that Nick truly seemed to understand exactly where she was coming form. Perhaps it was a little of both. “Yeah,” she whispered, moving closer to him. “Exactly.”

Nick wasn’t sure what the right thing to do in this situation was, but he did feel bad for her. Going through a public break-up was never an easy thing. “It’ll be okay,” he said awkwardly, slinging his arm around her and rubbing her shoulder slightly. “You want me to send Kevin to get you a drink?” he asked, loud enough so that Kevin would hear.

“I’m not your servant, Carter!” Kevin called over to them, with a laugh. “Get your own drinks.”

Nick wiggled his eyebrows as he looked down at Brittany. “I guess that’s ‘Daddy Backstreet’ for you,” he laughed, referencing their drunken conversation from the night before.

Brittany smiled and shook her head. Though she didn’t quite remember everything about the night before, she understood what Nick was getting at. “Not really,” she said.

“How so?”

She gave him a cheeky grin. “Liam would have actually gone to get the drinks.”

Nick laughed as they walked over to the bar. Brittany wasn’t sure she’d ever consumed so much alcohol in one weekend, but she was fine with that. After a couple of drinks, Nick and the other boys were summoned over to the stage to do their performance and whatever beach games they were going to be playing for the entertainment of the fans.

Brittany joined the rest of the girls in the area behind the stage, but kept to herself as the four of them chatted. She half listened to their conversation, but it was mostly about how loud and annoying the fans on the cruise were.

Brittany raised her eyebrow looking out at the crowd. She didn’t think they were so bad, but refrained from saying she’d dealt with much worse. Bringing up the fact that the fans she was used to were so much younger probably wouldn’t help hers or Nick’s case any.

So, she bit the bullet and turned roaming on her phone on, curious to see if she had any text messages.

Only one came through.

Danielle Peazer: ugh as soon as you can text me… it’s like I’m the third wheel over here! Your ex-boyfriend stole my current boyfriend hahaha

Brittany giggled to herself. She should have figured that was going to happen.

Brittany Cooper: don’t forget dani, in the world of niam, you and i are irrelevant.

Almost immediately, another message came through.

Danielle Peazer: don’t I know it… did u see that picture of them at Nando’s? I was actually there too! Not like the fans would have noticed, or niall and liam would have noticed.

Brittany Cooper: lol oh no of course not

Danielle Peazer: i seriously miss you over here… can you just like, date Zayn or something so you can come back?

Brittany laughed at Danielle’s ridiculous remark. She almost mourned the fact that she’d hardly ever get to see her friend any more than the fact that her relationship with Niall was over.

Brittany Cooper: i’ll pass lol. I don’t need to make my way through every member of the group!!

Danielle Peazer: well you could always get back together with harry. I’m sure it would make his life to be the one who won out in the end!!

The thought of getting back together with Harry made her gag – sometimes she couldn’t even believe she’d ever dated him (for however brief a period) in the first place.

Brittany Cooper: ewww no thanks!!

Danielle Peazer: Right…right… I forgot… you’ve got yourself a backstreet boyfriend now 😉

Brittany rolled her eyes, but still grinned a little. It was clear that Danielle was kidding – unlike everyone else who’d made the same assumption over the weekend thus far.

Brittany Cooper: i have no such thing!

Danielle Peazer: sorry, maybe boyfriend was the wrong word. Fling? Rebound? Come on brittany, he’s the perfect rebound – an older, more mature version of your ex! Haha!

Brittany glanced up at the stage where the boys were engaging the fans. She watched Nick as he made obscene gestures at the fans, thinking he was being cute and flirtatious. In reality, he was being gross, sexist and drunk.

Brittany Cooper: maybe not mature lol

Danielle Peazer: fine, but he’s definitely hotter! But really brittany… if you do bang him, tell me everything. Let me live vicariously through you.

Rolling her eyes a little, she looked back up at Nick. Of course Danielle thought Nick was hot. She wasn’t aware of any girl her friend’s age who didn’t, honestly. But, having worked with Nick for the past year, she didn’t really understand his power over women.

And looking at him acting like a drunk moron on stage wasn’t exactly helping to find him attractive either. Though she had to admit, he did look good without a shirt on.

Brittany Cooper: lol sure. Not like it’s going to happen… and besides, what would liam say if he knew you were lusting over nick carter?

Danielle Peazer: he’s probably lusting over mini-nick right now in the other room so i don’t care! lol

She burst out laughing at that, causing the other girls to look over at her. She glanced at them and just grinned sheepishly. She wouldn’t have been able to explain her conversation with Danielle to them if she tried. But before she was able to respond, another message from Danielle came through.

Danielle Peazer: ah… our favourite couple is back in my room. Guess it was just a quickie haha. Going downstairs for food now… ttyl britt britt. Call me when the cruise is over xx

Brittany Cooper: later dani… try not to be the third wheel lol 😉

Brittany turned her roaming off and slipped her phone back into her bag. She watched Nick and the others perform a song from their latest album and smiled to herself. It wasn’t the same as spending time in Europe with Danielle laughing about how their boyfriends were probably gay, but it was definitely entertaining.

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