Here We Stand – Chapter Six

Fly Away – Group

I can’t believe we’re all on the same plane. Whose idea was this?

Oh wait, now I remember.

Ninety nine bottles of coke on the wall…ninety nine bottles of coke…

I swear Nick reverted back to being nineteen today. Well, actually, he does on all flights. I think it’s his fear of heights. Brian tries to sleep, Howie tries to sleep, AJ goes with the flow, and Nick goes on a mission to make everyone’s heads explode. It’s like clockwork really. I really wanted to kill Howard this time. Yeah, I said Howard. He suggested we all fly out here together. All while grinning at me. Why? Because usually we paired off when we took separate flights over the years.

In the past I always stuck him with Nick, while Brian and I took on AJ.

I don’t think that was so wrong, Nick always enjoyed being with Howie.

Revenge is hell.

Ninety five bottles of coke on the wall…ninety five bottles of coke…take one down, pass it around…

Especially when Nick is sitting on one side of me and AJ on the other. You know who got the tickets?

I glanced across the aisle where he was snug in his window seat, contentedly reading a book. To be honest I’m surprised he’s not sleeping. Then again how could he with all this singing? He simply smirked at me. Oh when we got to London I was going to make sure Nick’s room was right next to his. Then again, since Nick’s grown up a lot, that’s not the best revenge anymore. Hmm.

Not that I’ll admit this, but I missed this.

Yes, even Nick’s insanity.

It was good to be back.

*****

“Kevvvy-Kiiiins…”

I love seeing his forehead vein throb. Sometimes it’s fun to act like I used to. It still works! That and he started staring off into that space he always gets to when he’s thinking about something. Then this really creepy grin appeared on his face. I had to make sure he wasn’t plotting my death or something as AJ continued to sing.

Eighty five bottles of coke on the wall…eighty five bottles of coke…take one down, pass it around…

“What?”

“Nothing, you just started looking like Norman Bates dude.”

“Well since my mother’s still alive I’m pretty sure I’m not going to act like the guy in Psycho.

I beamed at him. Then I wondered how it was possible that Howie was awake and Brian was asleep. That’s just weird. I could see Howie trying not to laugh and hiding it in his book. Usually it’s the other way around; then again maybe Brian learned how to tune us out finally. Damn, time to start changing our methods!

“What you could do is start killing off Boyband members and hiding them in your closet.” I narrowed my eyes at him. “You don’t have Chris Kirkpatrick in your closet do you?”

AJ lowered his shades. “Chris K is trapped in the closet…” He sang, and I started busting up. I loved South Park. “I was just sitting here only to find out Kevin has Chris in the closet…”

Kevin rolled his eyes but I knew he wanted to laugh. He loved that show too.

“And I pull out my gun!”

Kevin screamed playfully. See! The guy did have a sense of humor. He just kept it hidden.

“Somebody better get Chris out of the closet before I cap this bitch…”

“I always knew Lance couldn’t be the only gay one in that group.”

“You’re both insane.”

I leaned over into his seat, grabbed his face and planted a huge kiss on his cheek.

“Insanity loves company!”

I know I’m older and wiser now, but sometimes it’s just fun to relive the good ole’ days… as Kevin would say. Just don’t tell him that. Otherwise the others will think I’m just like him or something.

Scary thought!

*****

I couldn’t help but laugh from where I was sitting. And Nick wondered why the media thought people in Boybands were gay? I’m pretty sure that all started because of him and Brian over the years. I love Nick, and I know better, but I never understood why people thought I was the gay one, when Nick’s probably the touchiest person I know. He’s always hugging or licking or something.

Wow that sounded wrong.

See what I mean?

I glanced down at Brian who was sleeping away. Usually that was me but for once I wasn’t tired and I think it put them all into shock. That and watching Kevin be stuck between AJ and Nick was too funny. How many years had I been on the receiving end of Nick during flights? Payback was great. Part of me really missed Leigh and James already though. We were going to be in London for three weeks. No wives and no family. It was really going to simply be the five of us. It felt like the old days. I think the last time we did this was for Black and Blue when we went to the Bahamas. After that, wives and girlfriends suddenly came along for the ride.

It might explain a few things to be honest.

That may be mean, but it’s the truth. One of the things I loved about Leigh was the way she’d always step back and let me do my thing when I had to. She knew going in I was a performer, hell she worked for us, it was how I met her. You could say the same for Kristen, Lauren, and Rochelle really. Even if the last two only became part of our world recently. Leighanne on the other hand was something different. I always was able to get along with her, so was AJ. Kevin and Nick? Never. Nick’s gotten better; his was this whole jealousy thing about her taking away Brian. Which, to be fair, she did. She didn’t like Nick and for awhile so she got Brian to be distant when Nick was going through a rough time and likely needed him the most.

And now, of course she was always sticking her nose into Backstreet business. It’d been an issue ever since Millennium, and one of the many reasons we fought so much during Black and Blue. Never Gone she backed off till Kevin decided to leave. Then she started blasting him every time she had a chance to with fans. She’s never liked Kevin either. Kevin always thought the group decisions should be ours and she always thought she deserved a say. Kevin being the control freak he was… well, you can see how that could go sour.

I watched Brian sleep peacefully. I’m still amazed Brian went for the “no women” rule.

“Hey Howie…” AJ whispered as he crept up behind Brian’s seat. “Watch this…”

*****

I was trying my damndest not to laugh as Nick handed me some food he just bought from the stewardess. This was the type of shit we usually did to Howie. For once he’s not asleep! It’s a miracle. But hey, Rok was out so hell yeah we were going to pick on him. Had it been so long since we all shared a flight that he forgot the number one rule of Backstreet?

Never fall asleep if Nick and I are still awake.

Fuck, it just gives us an opening. These damn things get boring, the movies suck, and the women aren’t with us. I’m sure the other passengers on first class were pretty W-T-F about us, but eh, when have I cared what people thought of me? People I didn’t know, I mean. I hate to say it but I care a lot about what people in my life think about me. I want them to love me and like me. It’s why I used to change my look all the damn time. Famous around the world and I couldn’t manage to figure out who I was for years.

At least Rochelle loved me.

As I started placing the food carefully on Brian’s face, I couldn’t help but think about how much I was missing her. Up until the NKOTBSB where we announced Kevin’s return I hadn’t told anyone outside my circle the news yet. About how she was pregnant. I was going to be a father. Me! It scared me, a lot. That’s why I’d kept quiet. All I knew was that I was going to be there. I’d never let my child wonder what he or she did wrong in his or her life to chase me away. I don’t know what it is yet, but my money is on it being a girl. Just cause I’d be the one to fuck up the “Backstreet Boy” baby trend.

A flash brought me out of my thoughts.

Trust Nick to take a picture of this.

I started laughing until I saw Brian’s eyes open.

Trust Nick to also not think of the fact that a flash would wake Brian up!

*****

I’d been having a good dream.

It was about Leighanne and Baylee. I really thought doing this just the five of us was a good thing. Still, I wasn’t used to being away from them during recording anymore. I hadn’t even been away for two days and I already missed them like crazy. In my dream, she was right here with me. Baylee was sleeping while we joined the mile high club for the tenth time…

Till a sudden bright light almost blinded me, even with my eyes shut. Slowly I opened them. My face felt weird. I saw Nick and AJ hovering above me looking very guilty. It reminded me of how Nick and I would look when we messed with Howie. Howie, who had his nose in a book and doing his best to hide the fact he was laughing like crazy. My face felt…sticky. I pulled out pieces of meat from my face, looked at my hands to find them covered with jelly. Kevin was watching and smirking. I’m surprised he wasn’t getting after them for it. Not that they’d listen, but that small fact never stopped him before.

I bet I looked hilarious. I needed to see the picture Nick had to have taken later.

Part of me wanted to get mad, but I found myself laughing. It felt good. Besides I should’ve known better than to sleep! It felt like we were thrown back into time, when we had one old tour bus, we shared hotel rooms, and we were just starting out. In some ways it was the same. We were starting anew as the five of us again. That’s what made us as close as we are now. We didn’t have it as easy as NSYNC did. But working so hard to climb our way up, those years on a budget where we shared everything, it made us brothers. We had our issues, we had our fights, but here we were. I only hoped we’d be able to survive whatever came next.

Either way, I was really looking forward to the next three weeks.

So tell me what you want, what you really really want…

I’m not even going to ask why AJ started singing “Spice Girls” though!

Next Chapter

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