Picture Perfect

It was no secret that Nick wasn’t a fan of weddings.

It was also no secret that Nick wasn’t a fan of Leighanne Wallace.

So, naturally, when September 2nd, 2000 rolled around, Nick could barely drag himself out of bed to attend the ceremony. If there was one thing he hated about weddings, it was the ceremony. In fact, he’d always tried to get out of them, ever since he was young. He’d pretend to be sick, or simply hide out until it was time to leave, hoping his parents would forget about him.

Of course, they never would, and by the time they’d find him they’d be late and spend the entire car ride fighting.

It never occurred to Nick that might have been one of the reasons for his aversion to weddings, but he’d never been one to be introspective.

Either way, there was no getting out of it now. He’d flown all the way to Atlanta with the rest of his bandmates the day before, and was now laying in his hotel room bed, cursing himself for…

Well, he wasn’t really quite sure what for. So instead he cursed Brian, for getting married and forcing him to go to a stupid ceremony he didn’t care about. At least at the reception there would be alcohol. That would help.

He laid there until he heard a loud banging at his door. Nick glared at it, having a very good idea of who was on the other side. “We’re not on tour, go away, Kevin!”

“It’s not Kevin, dipshit,” he heard AJ’s voice say.

Nick quickly threw the covers off himself and went to go greet AJ. At least AJ understood. Well… somewhat understood. AJ was always going on and on about how he wanted a relationship like Brian and Leighanne’s, but at least he was just as uninterested in going to the actual event as Nick was.

“Morning, sunshine,” AJ laughed, stepping into Nick’s room. “Get a good sleep?”

Nick shrugged. There wasn’t really much else to do in Atlanta but sleep. How Brian was happy living there, Nick would never understand. “Yeah, I guess.”

“Looking forward to the big day?” AJ laughed.

“No,” Nick said honestly. “It’s gonna be boring as fuck.”

AJ nodded in agreement. “Don’t I know it. Want to go down to the bar for a shot of Jack before we head over to the church?”

Nick looked at himself in the mirror. He didn’t really want to get all dressed up for the day, but he supposed he didn’t really have a choice. The sad part was, he wasn’t worried about pissing off Brian or looking like a dirtbag, he was more concerned about the fact that Kevin would kick his ass if he showed up in jeans and a t-shirt.

“Yeah,” Nick said quickly. “Just let me have a shower and throw on my tux. I’ll be downstairs in like fifteen minutes.”

AJ nodded. “’Kay man. But hurry it up, cause if we’re late Kevin’ll kill us.”

Nick was about to make some remark stating that Kevin would be far too busy to notice if any of them were late. But then he remembered that this was Kevin, after all. That guy noticed everything.

Especially when it came to Nick and AJ and their habit of going MIA.

“See you in fifteen, J,” Nick nodded as he shoved AJ out of the room and closed the door behind him.

Half an hour later, Nick came rushing into the hotel bar.

“Dude!” AJ exclaimed irritably. “Where the hell were you?”

“Sorry,” Nick said sheepishly. “I got caught up in the shower.”

“Gross.”

“I meant because of the water!” Nick back-peddled. “The fucking water pressure in this hotel, it’s amazing, dude,” he said, in all seriousness. If there was one positive thing to come out of the day, it was that.

“Whatever, let’s do this and then go. The ceremony is supposed to start in,” AJ glanced down at the watch on his wrist. “Shit. Half an hour. One quick shot and then we have to fuckin’ move.”

Nick grinned as AJ ordered the shots for the two of them. He thanked his lucky stars that Kevin was a part of Brian’s family, and that Howie had a compulsive need to be early, so he was likely already at the church.

AJ handed the shot glass to Nick. “Cheers,” he said with a laugh.

“To us never getting fucking married,” Nick said, raising his a little.

“No, no,” AJ shook his head. “To us never getting fucking married in a fucking fairytale theme.”

“To us never getting fucking married in a fucking fairytale theme to Leighanne Wallace,” Nick added with a laugh. That was his perfect version of Hell.

AJ shrugged. “She’s got nice tits. Brian’s a lucky guy.”

Nick rolled his eyes. He’d seen nicer. And no boobs in the world would make marriage worth it. “Doesn’t change the fact that she’s a raging bitch.”

“Ouch!” AJ laughed. “Zing. Isn’t there some kind of rule that you’re not supposed to bash the bride on her wedding day?”

Nick eyed him. “Isn’t there some kind of rule you’re not supposed to be doing shots before you go to the ceremony?”

AJ shrugged, and the two of them downed their drinks. “Let’s go,” he said, patting Nick on the back as the two of them exited the hotel.

***

The ceremony was long. So long in fact that Nick was sure he nodded off during part of it. That wouldn’t have been surprising, considering he was bored out of his mind the entire time. He wasn’t sure what the entire point of the ceremony was, to be honest. Though, he was sure it was helping to give Leighanne the attention she so desperately craved.

Either way, after what seemed like hours, the ceremony was over and people began to file out of the church. Nick ran a hand through his hair and looked over at Howie and AJ.

“That was beautiful,” Howie said, wiping his eyes a little.

AJ and Nick exchanged a look and tried not to burst into laughter. Nick failed, and snorted, covering his mouth with his hand.

“Oh shut up, Nick,” Howie said, rolling his eyes.

“It’s okay, D,” Nick laughed as the three of them joined the crowd leaving the church. “Not all of us are sensitive like you.”

“Hey, I’m sensitive!” AJ shot back, glaring at Nick.

“Nicky’s sensitive too,” Howie said, wiggling his eyebrows in the blonde’s direction.

“Don’t call me Nicky,” he muttered.

“See?” Howie laughed. “Case in point.”

The three of them eventually made their way over to the reception hall. Nick was silent most of the way, not caring to make any banter with AJ and Howie, who had started talking about the best places to shop in Atlanta.

Nick didn’t think there were any, but evidently, he was wrong. AJ and Howie seemed to have a lot to talk about.

As with any wedding, Brian and Leighanne arrived at the reception with the rest of their wedding party. Everyone gave them a standing ovation of course, and Nick had to do everything in his power to keep from rolling his eyes.

Thankfully, the couple straight over to their table. Nick was grateful for the fact that he wasn’t yet going to have to congratulate them and tell them he was happy.

Because truth be told, he wasn’t.

Brian marrying Leighanne really wasn’t going to do much to change their friendship. It had changed the moment she had stepped into their lives. When they’d gotten engaged, Nick had been annoyed, but again, it did little to actually change anything. Things had already been so stressed between them that the diamond Leighanne flaunted to everyone had next to no impact.

It was hard for him to be happy for them when this felt like the final nail in the coffin holding their friendship.

He sighed and turned back to the table, opening the bottle of wine and pouring himself a glass. “Fellas?” he asked, glancing around.

“You’re not supposed to open that yet, Nick,” Howie reminded him.

AJ shook his head and took the bottle from Nick. “Quit being so old fashioned, D,” he said, pouring himself a glass, and then promptly filling up Howie’s. “To the happy couple,” he said, raising his glass and eyeing Nick mischievously.

Nick grinned, knowing exactly what AJ was thinking. “To the happy couple,” Nick repeated, taking a generous sip.

“Uh okay,” Howie said, giving the two of them a questioning look.

Dinner was eventually served, and once the speeches began, AJ and Nick wasted no time in finishing their bottle of wine.

Nick glowered at the couple. The ceremony had bored him nearly to death, and it seemed like this was just more of the same. At least he had the alcohol running through his system to keep him mildly entertained with whatever random thoughts happened to pass through his mind.

Like how Leighanne’s hair resembled that of a poodle.

Or how Brian wouldn’t be able to take off her awful dress, resulting in him not getting laid on his wedding night.

Nick had to stifle a laugh at that.

After the seemingly endless amount of speeches were through, Brian knelt down in front of Leighanne. Nick glanced over at Howie and again had to hold back his laughter, because his friend looked as though he was going to start crying again.

Nick watched Brian as he began to sing. It was hard for him not to roll his eyes – what a cheesy gesture. It was like something out of a bad romance movie. Which Nick felt actually fit quite well with the theme of this awful wedding.

Even still, it was hard for Nick not to notice the look on Brian’s face as he sang to his new wife. It was a look Nick knew well – the same one his friend had worn the first time they’d performed at Sea World, and anytime they performed on a particularly important awards show. It was a look of happiness, accomplishment, and hope for the future.

And suddenly, Nick began to understand.

He’d always known Brian had loved Leighanne. It was obvious – he was marrying her, after all. But Nick had never quite got it before. Not until he saw that look on his friend’s face. Not until he equated it in his mind to the rush they got from performing, and the satisfaction he got from his career.

And though Nick still didn’t care for marriage, he started to realize that his friend was truly happy. That this was another part of his life he was satisfied with and had worked hard for.

He smiled a little as he watched them, and for the first time that evening, he felt genuinely happy for his friend.

***

“How many has he had?” Kevin whispered to Howie, once he’d made his way over to their table. He glanced over at Nick and AJ who seemed to be deep in a conversation about something or other. Nick seemed to be positively glowing.

“Not many,” Howie said, giving Kevin a strange look. “I mean, he and AJ split a bottle of wine at dinner, and they’ve had a couple… but I don’t know. It’s weird.”

Kevin nodded. “Yeah, it is.”

Nick glanced back at Kevin and Howie and grinned. “Hey Kevin!”

Kevin smiled. “Hey Nicky.”

“Don’t call me Nicky,” he laughed, jokingly wagging his finger at Kevin.

Kevin gave Howie a knowing look. Nick was obviously half in the bag. But, at least he was happy and not angry.

This worked out well when Brian and Leighanne came over to greet the group and thank them for coming. Normally, Nick hated this part. But on account of his blinding flash of the obvious earlier, coupled with the drinks he’d had, he was feeling pretty good.

“Hey fellas,” Brian said, walking over to them. “Thanks for coming,” he smiled.

“Anytime, dude,” Howie grinned.

“Well, this’ll be the only time,” Brian laughed, clutching Leighanne’s hand tightly.

“Congrats, Frick!” Nick grinned, waving at him.

Brian was a little taken aback by Nick’s use of their old shared nickname, but smiled all the same. “Thanks, Frack.”

“We should take a picture,” Leighanne suggested, motioning for the guys to stand with them. The photographer (who had been following them around all night) got ready to snap the photo, and Nick came bounding into the shot, shoving his way between Brian and AJ.

He smiled for the camera, and rested his arm behind his friend.

He still wasn’t entirely happy that Brian was officially no longer the Frick to his Frack, but at least now, he understood why.

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