Running Up That Hill – Day 27

Don’t pretend you’re sorry
I know you’re not

-Backstreet Boys ‘Drowning’

I woke up early the next morning intending to cook breakfast for myself and my wife. I’d never been an expert chef or anything, but I could cook a mean omlette.

I walked around the kitchen, and our dogs followed at my feet, just as they always did first thing in the morning. I didn’t think they were so used to having me around for this long. They probably had no idea what was going on. I felt guilty for leaving them alone all the time, but it wasn’t like I really had a choice.

As I stood over the frying pan mixing the eggs, my mind began to wander. I hadn’t heard back from Howie at all, so I could only assume that he and Nick had made up. Either that or Howie hadn’t liked my passive attitude when it came to Nick, so he hadn’t bothered to call me again.

Either situation was possible.

I took some lunch meat out of the fridge to add to my eggs and ripped off a couple pieces to give to the dogs. It stopped them from hovering around me for about five seconds, but I just laughed. It would have been nice to be a dog. The only things they really seemed to ever worry about when they were going to get fed and when the vacuum cleaner was going to come out.

I supposed I personally didn’t have much to worry about. All that was going on in my life was going back on tour, and the possibility of starting a family. At one point, I had been worried about AJ, but I’d seen for myself that he was doing better and getting help.

I felt guilty for not being worried about Nick. It wasn’t that I wasn’t completely worried about him, I just didn’t devote the time and energy to thinking about it or trying to help him.

Then I felt guilty for not really feeling that guilty. So I pulled my phone out of my pocket, scrolled to his name on my contacts list and hovered over it for a minute.

I didn’t even know what I would say if I talked to him. It felt like ages since I’d spoken to him, and all I’d heard in the last few weeks was that he was going downhill, acting even more like a brat than he usually did, and generally being an entitled popstar.

Sometimes, I think that Nick thinks that the Backstreet Boys would be nothing without him. I feel bad for saying that, but I honestly really do think that’s how he feels. There was one time he came out and said that too, and I’d never seen Kevin get so angry with him as he had after that comment. It had been when Nick was younger, and a lot stupider, but it still pissed him off. And rightfully so, all of us worked hard, Nick wasn’t any better than we were just because he was blonde and young and had the most fans.

Before I had the chance to decide if I was actually going to call Nick or not, my wife appeared in the kitchen and wrapped her arms around my waist.

“You’re up early,” she commented.

“I thought I’d make us something nice to eat.”

“How sweet of you,” she purred, kissing my neck.

I turned around and leaned against the counter as she moved in closer to me. God, I was the luckiest man in the world to have such a hot wife. She giggled and just as she was about to start kissing my lips, the sound of our smoke alarm went off.

We both looked over at the stove. The frying pan was now filled with burnt eggs.

“Oops,” I laughed, picking up the frying pan and moving to scrape the remains of my attempted breakfast into the garbage can.

“That’s okay,” Leighanne grinned, taking the pan from me and placing it in the sink. “We can go out for breakfast. But first…”

And just like that, she was kissing me again. Not that I was complaining.


“Good morning,” Kris said, putting her hands on my shoulders as she came up from behind where I was sitting on the couch.

“Morning.” I put down the book I was reading and faced her. “Did you have a good sleep?”

“I did,” she smiled. “Except for the guy beside me who was tossing and turning the whole night.”

I rolled my eyes. “And who was that?”

“Kevin,” she said seriously, putting her hand on my thigh. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” I was perfectly fine. What I do during my sleep isn’t exactly my fault.

She gave me a look. “And you’re sure this has nothing to do with Nick coming over here yesterday?”

I shrugged. Nick’s unplanned visit had gone better than I’d expected it to, actually. He’d been upset, but he’d cooled off quickly. I hardly even had to raise my voice… which was weird, considering how mad he had been when he’d arrived.

“Not really,” I said honestly. For the first time in the last few weeks, I actually wasn’t overly worried about Nick.

“Is it possible that maybe you were looking forward to going back on tour?”

I thought about that for a second. Through everything that had happened and everything I’d had to deal with regarding the group, I’d never really stopped to think about if I personally wanted to go back on tour or not.

I actually didn’t know the answer to her question. I really was enjoying my time off, but I also was sort of itching to get back out on the road and perform again. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it until I’d actually thought about it.

“I guess I was,” I admitted.

She nodded sympathetically. “Yeah, I know. This has been such a strange month.”

“Yeah, sorry that we’ve had to live like a normal married couple,” I said sarcastically. I knew she hadn’t meant it like that, but I wasn’t able to resist joking around a little.

“It still hasn’t been that normal. What kind of normal couple in their late twenties has a twenty-one year old son to deal with?” she laughed.

She wasn’t wrong. There would never be anything normal about us, no matter how hard we tried. I’d always be a part of that group, even during down time. I laughed a little and leaned my head on her shoulder. “I guess you’re right.”


Sometimes, I got myself into really stupid situations, I’ll admit it.

I sat up and looked around, rubbing my head. I wasn’t in Howie’s house… I was in some hotel room. It wasn’t even a cheap hotel room! Even when I was drunk, I had good taste. Thank God, because I’ve woken up in some shitholes before, and bedbugs are the worst fucking things.

I looked around. It didn’t seem like there was anyone else in the room. There probably had been at some point during the night, but whoever she was, she was gone.

Worked for me, then I wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of kicking her ass out!

I got out of bed and went into the bathroom. I wondered if I should take a shower while I was here. I sort of hated hotel showers… and I hardly ever used them. Everyone thought that was gross but I didn’t really buy into the myth that you needed to shower every day. Either way, it would just be better to shower at Howie’s house anyway.

Oh right, Howie.

I wasn’t sure if I was actually still mad at him. I felt a bit better after talking to Kevin (which I would never, ever admit to him!) but I was still pissed at Howie for lying to me and making me look stupid. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t have just told me about the tour being postponed.

I knew I was probably going to have to talk to him again, and I felt better than I had the day before (going out had probably helped with that too) but I was still mad. I hated how they all treated me like I was this little fucked up kid. I was twenty-one, I had my own house, my own money, my own life. What more did they want? I swear sometimes they still saw me as that awkward fourteen year old who didn’t have a clue about anything.

I grabbed my stuff and went down to the front desk to check out of the room and pay for it. Not that I had a lot of stuff with me, but still.

I supposed I’d have to go back to Howie’s place eventually and make up with him, since he did have a lot of my stuff. The more I thought about it, the more I was sure that he had lied to get me to LA, because he thought I was a giant fuck-up at home.

Actually, the more I thought about it, the more I was sure that Kevin put him up to lying to me. I thought a little bit about going back to Kevin’s place and asking him that, but I decided not to. There was no point, he’d probably just give me a huge lecture.

So instead, I started on my way back to Howie’s place. At least I knew that when he told me the truth he’d be nicer about it.


So much for lying to Nick to keep him out of trouble in Florida. Instead, he just managed to get himself into trouble in LA. I had no idea where he’d gone, he hadn’t come back the night before, and he hadn’t answered his phone.

I probably wouldn’t have been so worried, but he was so angry when he’d left that I had no idea what he was going to go out and do.

Well, okay, I had some idea, but still.

It was just after lunch time when I heard Nick walk into my house. I breathed a small sigh of relief that he was still alive and went to go greet him.

“Hey Nicky,” I said, sort of giving him a guilty smile as he took his shoes of and sat down on my couch.

“I’m still mad at you,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest. He was such a child sometimes.

“I know, I’m sorry.” I really was sorry.

“Why didn’t you just tell me?” he asked, running a hand through his hair. It was sticking up all over the place and he really looked like a bum off the street. I felt bad for him… but he also sort of smelled.

I sighed, and decided to just be honest with him. “Look, Kevin and I decided not to tell you right away because we were afraid you wouldn’t come back to LA.”

He gave me a look. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Uh, it meant what you think it meant, Nick. “We didn’t want you to stay in Florida all by yourself. We thought that if we told you before, you wouldn’t see any reason to come back to LA and you’d just stay at home until we went back on the road.”

He looked down at the ground and thought about that for a minute. I couldn’t tell if he was angry, or sad, or grateful or what.

“So you guys wanted to babysit me here in LA?” he asked. Guess he was mad.

He wasn’t exactly wrong, either. “It just didn’t seem like you were doing so well at home, Nick,” I said honestly. Because he really wasn’t, and he had to know that.

“I guess,” he muttered. “I probably would have still come with you. You should have still told me.”

“I know Nicky,” I nodded, sitting down beside him. “I’m really sorry.”

“It’s fine,” he sighed, getting up and walking out of the room. “I’m going back to sleep.”

I watched him go and leaned back on the couch. I was thankful that he wasn’t fuming with anger anymore, but I still felt guilty. Though he was with me in LA, he still looked just as lost and alone as he had in Florida.


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