Chapter 6 – Keeping It Inside Is Killing Me

Let me start off by saying that when I came up with this plan, I never really intended to hurt anyone. I mean, I knew it was going to piss off Kels. But she deserved that, she was irritating Nick to no end, plus she suspected that the two of us were together anyway. I knew it was also going to piss off AJ, but it served him right. I’d already told him I wasn’t interested, and he still wasn’t getting the hint.

So desperate times called for desperate measures. That was what I kept telling myself, even though I knew deep down that this wasn’t the best idea ever. That there was definitely potential for it to blow up in my face. That I might actually really end up hurting someone.

Wow, melodramatic much, Dani? Okay, let’s back up here.

I had just left Nick to go rejoin Bev and the others so he could enjoy his Soundcheck in peace. Well, not exactly in peace. Okay, so he could deal with the drama that would unfold. I was walking towards the hotel, and at that moment Brian came jogging up behind me. I found that to be kind of strange, since quite obviously he was supposed to be at the Soundcheck with the Nick and the others.

“Hey Brian, what’s up?” I asked him, somewhat confused. “Aren’t you supposed to be at the Soundcheck?”

“Yeah.” He said, looking at me with an expression I couldn’t read. “I got a free pass on it for today.”

“What? Why?” That didn’t make much sense, they usually weren’t supposed to skip Soundcheck unless it was something important. In fact, over the course of the tour so far I’d only ever seen Nick skip it once, and boy did he ever get in shit for it.

He took a deep breath. “There’s too much going on in my head right now. Do you mind if we go somewhere to talk, just the two of us?”

That should have been another warning sign for me. Brian was usually upbeat, but that day he just seemed depressed and overly serious. “Yeah, sure.” I replied. “We can go back to my hotel room if you want.”

And that was what we did. It wasn’t a long walk to the hotel from the stadium, in fact it was relatively close and thankfully Brian didn’t get recognized on the way there. I might add, it was also a very silent walk back to the hotel. I tried to make some small talk but it wasn’t much use.

It wasn’t until we got back into the room that he started talking. And boy, did he talk. If I’d had any idea what he was going to say, I probably could have prepared myself. I sat down cross legged on the bed, and looked at him, waiting for what he could possibly have to say.

“You’re going to hate me, Dani.” He said slowly, not making eye contact with me.

I stared at him strangely. “I could never hate you. You’re one of my best friends.” I told him. And that was the truth, I’d always considered us to be really close. He still wouldn’t make eye contact with me, and that was when I noticed his hands were shaking. What was going on?

“When did you and Nick get together?” He asked me, and I drew in a breath. That was what this was about?

“Why?” I asked, wondering what that had to do with anything.

“Because.” He started, finally looking up from his hands. “Here I am, pining over you, and he just swoops in and takes you.”

Whoa. What? Did he just say that? Did Brian actually tell me that he’d been pining for me? That didn’t make any sense.

Yet the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. He was always quick to hang out with us, he was always cheerful whenever I was around, he’d always treated me nicely. But I’d just thought those were aspects of his personality. Of course, our friendship had only become stronger since he’d broken up with his girlfriend near the beginning of the tour, but that made sense. Of course he’d have more time to spend with us – with me – when he was single, right?

Oh God, how could I have been so blind to that?

“Pining over me?” I repeated, not sure of what else I could say.

He sighed, and looked down at his hands again. “Yes, pining over you.”

“For how long?” I asked cautiously.

“Since the beginning of the tour. I mean, I always thought you were cute, but it only got worse as I got to know you and we became friends.”

Since the beginning of the tour? What the hell? How had I not figured that out!? For that matter, why had anyone else not figured it out? Or had they and they’d just neglected to say anything?

“But you were going out with Sam.” I pointed out.

He nodded. “Yeah, I know. But you know that was going downhill anyway, and the fact that I was falling for you didn’t exactly help things.”

Suffice to say, I was in complete and total shock. It took me getting together with Nick – his best friend – for all of this to come out? Why hadn’t he told me sooner? That would have definitely solved all of our problems! Well… maybe. I’d never once thought about Brian and I getting together, and as hard as I tried while he was confessing all of this to me, I just couldn’t. It wasn’t possible for me to see him like that. I know, I’m crazy right? Brian Littrell gives me a love confession and the first thing I think of is how to let him down easy. The teenyboppers would never understand.

“Brian… I don’t know what to say.” That much was true, I really didn’t. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

He just shrugged. “I didn’t know what to say, or how to say it. I didn’t even think it was a good idea. I didn’t want to jeopardize our friendship, or your friendship with Nick.”

I winced. Nick… right. That was what had caused this. Should I have told Brian Nick and I were just for show? No, no I couldn’t do that. There was no way I could destroy my perfect plan, especially when it was working so well! Plus I had to admit… I enjoyed having Nick as my fake boyfriend.

“I’m sorry, Brian.” I didn’t know what else I could say. I felt like a jerk for not telling him right then that Nick and I weren’t even together for real.

“It’s not your fault.” He said, giving me a slight smile. If only that smile could make me melt, that would have made this so much easier. “There’s just a few things I need to know.”

“Anything.” I replied, but I really wasn’t looking forward to answering his questions and having to lie to him.

“How did you and Nick hook up?”

I bit my lip. “He kissed me yesterday… and I didn’t stop him. One thing led to another and…” I trailed off, letting him mentally fill in the rest. God, I felt like a horrible person.

He held up his hand. “That’s all I need to hear about that. I figured that’s what happened, I’ve thought that Nick liked you for a long time.”

If I hadn’t been so emotionally lost, I probably would have cracked up upon hearing that. Dude, Nick did not like me in that way. And I was sure he found the concept of any sort of sexual activity with me totally revolting.

“Right.” I said, not really knowing what else I could add.

He continued with his questions, I swear it was like a freaking interrogation session. “Why Nick?”

That was a good question. How was I supposed to think up some reasons I wanted to be with Nick when I didn’t even want to be with him in the first place? I racked my brain pretty quickly for something, anything that would convince Brian I was totally hopelessly in love with Nick.

“I… he makes me laugh.” I started, still trying to think of something. “We have a lot in common, and we play off each other really well. He also knows me better than most people do, I can really be myself around him.” Oh God, that was such a boring and generic answer.

But Brian seemed to accept it. “Why not me?”

I could have died right there.

“I…can’t.” I stammered. How do you tell someone that you don’t want to be with them, especially when you don’t even know why yourself? “I just… don’t.”

“Danica, you need to tell me. It’s the only way I’ll get over it.”

But there was no reason not to. Except for the fact that I was fake dating his best friend. This was getting too complicated for my mind to handle. “I can’t do this anymore.” I said, standing up and beginning to pace around the room. I had to tell him.

His face just softened. “I’m sorry, Dani. I shouldn’t have told you.”

“Yes, yes you should have! It’s good that I know… you can’t keep all of that inside.” I reassured him, even though I was having doubts about that myself. “But I need to tell you the truth.”

“The truth?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. “About what?”

“Nick and I aren’t really together.” I blurted out, and then quickly covered my face with my hands. “You’re going to hate me.”

“Wait… what?” He looked even more confused than I had felt at the beginning of the conversation.

“We’re not really going out.” I repeated. “It’s totally fake. I’m sorry… you must think I’m nuts.”

He only shook his head. “No, it actually makes me feel better, as weird as that is.”

I guess that made sense. To find out that the girl you like isn’t actually dating your best friend would put you in a pretty good mood. I think. “Please don’t tell anyone.” I pleaded, sitting back down on the bed. “Our plan is working so well, it’s keeping Kels and AJ away from us.”

“I won’t tell anyone…” He said, but I could tell he wasn’t really approving of our plan. Why would he be? Nick and I were lying to everyone and we’d just caused him a ton of emotional stress. “But promise me something.”

“Anything.” I said, a little too quickly. I really was desperate to be able to continue on with my plan.

“Don’t rule out the idea of us just because you’re pretending to be dating Nick.” He said, looking a little hopeful.

I really had no idea what to do about that, and I had no idea how I felt. Gulping, I nodded. “I won’t… but I just need some time to think. I really wasn’t expecting all of this.”

“I know.” He replied.

After that, a really uncomfortable silence filled the room. I didn’t know what to say to him, what could I say? I had no answers, and I couldn’t just jump into anything with him without thinking about how I really felt. Especially since I hadn’t yet talked to Nick about it. Because of course entering a real relationship with Brian meant ending my fake relationship with Nick. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that.

“I’m going to head back to the arena.” Brian said, giving me one final look before leaving my room. “See you at the show tonight, Dani.”

“Bye.” I replied dumbly, not knowing what else to say. Dancing with him that night sure was going to be awkward. I could only hope that this wouldn’t complicate things too much. This plan of mine was turning out to be a little more stress than I had bargained for, and I wondered if maybe it would have just been easier to continue enduring AJs passes at me. That certainly had been a lot less stress than this was shaping up to be.

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