Running Up That Hill – Day 14

“Just because I’m hurting
Doesn’t mean I’m hurt
Doesn’t mean I didn’t get what I deserved
No better and no worse”

-Coldplay ‘Lost’

“Do you think there’s any specific way we should say this to Jive?” I asked and we looked at a few papers that were spread out on the table in front of us. Howie had invited me to go to brunch that morning to discuss the plans for our upcoming meeting. Though we had the general idea of what we were going to say, we still had some details that needed to be ironed out.

Howie sighed and looked down at one of his documents. “I don’t know,” he finally said.

“We could just bring it up when they start talking about it. Say that we don’t want to do it and go from there,” I suggested.

Howie nodded a little, but it didn’t seem too much like he agreed. “Yeah, we could go that way,” he said, but still looked like he was in thought.

“Or we could bring it up before they even mention it,” I said, because I knew that Howie wasn’t going to argue with me even if he wanted to.

“Yeah, I think that we should say it right from the start,” he said, taking a sip of his coffee. “Hit them before they get the ball rolling, that way the meeting is in our control right from the start.”

“As much control as they’ll let us have, anyway,” I said, raising my eyebrows. The record company executives never let us have full control of the meetings.

Howie just laughed. “Yeah, exactly.”

“But you’re right,” I continued. “We should hit them hard, show them that we’re serious about this and that we’re not going to stop putting out albums anytime soon just because we’ve been moving a bit slower this time around.”

He sighed. “Do we have anything to prove that to them? I know that I haven’t really come up with much.”

He had me there. As hard as I’d tried, I hadn’t been able to write anything the resembled even the beginnings of a song. “Me neither.”

“Do you know if anyone else does?” He asked me, sounding sort of uncertain. I think we both knew what the answer was there. Of course AJ probably hadn’t worked on anything. I was willing to bet Nick hadn’t either, I didn’t even know what he was doing with all his time. Brian… well, Brian was probably too busy thinking about baby stuff to be worrying about the group.

“I don’t know, I haven’t really talked to any of them,” I finally answered, and Howie nodded in agreement.

“Yeah, me neither. I’ve talked to Brian a little bit, and he’s coming down for the meeting, but I haven’t had a chance to talk to Nick yet.”

I didn’t say anything, but I knew what that meant. No one had anything prepared, and unless we started working our asses off in the next week, we were screwed.

~~~

I had just been staring off into space that morning as I enjoyed my coffee. I didn’t really think about anything in particular, until my eyes fell on the wall calendar.

Our meeting with Jive was on Friday, that was only five days away. Leighanne and I would be leaving Atlanta on the Thursday afternoon… and I still had nothing ready to show the other guys. I hadn’t been working on any new music. In fact, I hadn’t been working on much of anything that didn’t have to do with my marriage and starting a family.

I feel bad for saying this, but it wasn’t because I had forgotten about it or because I was too wrapped up in my own life to care. It was because every time I thought about recording a new album, I felt a little sick to my stomach.

I didn’t want to go through the endless promotion, TRL appearances, video and photo shoots and everything else that came with it. I just wanted to stay at home.

I didn’t know if that was a legitimate feeling I had, or just what I was thinking since I was at home at the moment and not out on the road. It was even more strange because I’m usually able to look at the positive side to most things, but all I could remember were the bad parts about being a Backstreet Boy.

Still, I knew the other guys were probably counting on me, and I didn’t want to show up on Thursday and tell them that I had nothing done. So I got out my lyric book and tried to get to work.

I read over some of the random musings that were in there. Usually I keep that book with me at all times in case something comes to my mind and I need to write it down right away. There’s not a lot to work with in there, just a few random phrases. I didn’t know how I’d turn them into a whole song.

Usually this wasn’t something I did on my own. There are a few songs that I’ve written, but never when I’ve felt like I had to write them. I just wrote them because I wanted to and I guess they were good enough that they made a couple albums.

I thought back to the trip to the Bahamas the five of us took to write songs for Black and Blue. That had been an adventure. We’d spent two weeks there, just us five, no girlfriends or anyone else with us. It had been a great bonding experience, and we’d created some great material.

It was strange to think that it had only been about a year and a half since that had happened. Everything was so different now. Maybe that was what we needed, another trip to get to know each other again and just do work while having fun with it.

The problem was, while I knew that was what we needed, I really didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to leave Leighanne for two weeks, and who knows if AJ would want to do something like that once he got out of rehab.

I just felt like I had lost all the passion and drive associated with my career, and I had no idea how to get it back.

Closing my lyric book, I made my way upstairs to wake up my wife. I would deal with trying to get some work done tomorrow.

~~~

Kevin was right about one thing, we had nothing to show the record company. There was no reason for them to believe us that we wanted to go into the studio and record another album instead of doing a greatest hits. And they were already pretty set on the greatest hits, so unless we had a good case for them, it was happening. There was no way around it.

Problem was, I didn’t write music well on my own. I knew that Brian and Kevin did all right with it, but we did our best work as a group. We always have. It’s hard to do that when we’re scatted around the country.

I had a sinking feeling we were going to end up doing the greatest hits album and not recording another album of new material. As much as we all said we were in it, none of us were putting forth the effort to actually get it done.

As far as I knew, anyway.

I already knew that Brian was coming in on the Thursday before the meeting, but I hadn’t gotten a hold of Nick yet. Once again, he was being a complete phone flake. He didn’t return any of my calls, and he never picked up his home or cell phone. I didn’t even know if we was still at home in Florida, to be honest. He could have been anywhere. Knowing Nick he may have flown to Japan for some video game release.

I knew that probably wasn’t the case. Nick just sucked at returning calls. So I sighed, dialed his number and tried again.

Instead of ringing six times and then going to voicemail, it only rang twice, cut off and then went to voicemail. So at least I knew he was still alive, he just didn’t want to be bothered.

I rolled my eyes. He was probably with a girl.

“Hey Nicky,” I said lightly. “I know that you’re probably busy, but I’ve been trying to get in contact with you. We have our record company meeting this Friday and Brian is coming in on Thursday. We’re also all going to visit AJ in rehab on the following Sunday. I hope we’ll see you then.”

I hung up my phone and looked at it for a second, trying to will it to ring. I always did that when I left a message I knew was unlikely to be returned. I was worried about Nick. I didn’t know if we’d done something to upset him when he was here because he was acting really distant and weird. At least, I thought he was. It’s hard to know when you can’t get ahold of the guy!

I just hoped if he wasn’t going to call me back, that he’d at least show up on Friday.

~~~

“Hey baby,” I said coyly as I leaned against the railing dividing the dance floor and the seating area. I was hitting on some blonde chick who was there with her friend. I’d let Chris go after her friend, since it had been the blonde one who was eyeing me all night. I could tell she knew who I was and was too shy to come over and say anything. Plus, she had a nicer rack.

“Hey,” she replied, blushing. At least, I think she was blushing. It was sort of too dark in there to tell.

I had told Chris that I was sick of his lame hipster pubs. Okay, okay, I’ll admit, I do like singing karaoke and yeah I’d gone there on my own in the first place. That was how I’d found him, after all. But after a while those places just get to be dull, and those chicks are never hot and never know who I am. Or if they do, they don’t care. And that doesn’t work out so well for me.

So I decided I wanted to go to a cool dance club and get my groove on! That’d be slick. I knew the chicks there would dig me.

And guess what? I was right.

“What’s your name, beautiful?” I asked, looking down into her eyes.

She giggled and looked down at her feet. “Tina.”

“That’s a pretty name.” It’s not that pretty of a name.

She giggled again, obviously nervous. “Thanks Nick.”

Aha, bingo! I knew she knew who I was! I mean, okay, most girls do, but still. “You’re welcome,” I said sweetly, giving her that smirk that all the girls love for some reason. “Do you come here a lot?”

“No, I just came here with my friend and my b… just with my friend.”

I chose to ignore the fact that she was obviously covering up that her boyfriend was there too. If she didn’t want me to know about him, that meant only good things for me! “I don’t come here a lot either. But it kinda sucks… the music is lame.”

The music was actually really lame. They played that stupid Nsync song that Howie likes.

“Yeah, it’s really lame,” she quickly agreed.

“Do you wanna get out of here?”

She didn’t say anything, she just nodded. Good enough for me! I draped my arm around her and we left the club, Chris and her friend (and boyfriend, apparently) behind.

I’m awesome.

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