Anticipation jumps off the bridge to give way to excitement.
"Baby! I was hoping you'd still be up!"
A smile. "Always. Thanks for calling."
He smiles, because
he knows that she's smiling, and that makes the exhaustion worth it. "Always. Had to wait 'til after the show, though. It
was a hectic day."
"Aww, I'm sorry...what happened?"
"Just the usual. Crazy schedule, not enough food..."
make you miss lunch again?"
Even his laughter sounds tired. "Not exactly. I protested this time. I'd had enough of
the 'how does it feel to be back on the road' interviews."
She falls back against the pillows, ready and willing for
what seems to be a long conversation in its first, fleeting moments. "I can see how that would get old."
Not to say that I don't appreciate the attention, because I know it's good publicity and everything, but sometimes you just
need your space, you know?"
The staple phrase elicits a small smile. "Yeah, I know."
"It's good, though. Everyone's
been real supportive of everything."
"Yeah. Critics are on my back as always, but they're grudgingly
giving a bit more acknowledgement this time. Thankfully, Backstreet didn't leave the same aftertaste that New Kids cursed everyone
"Nice to know that you all made a semi-positive impact."
"I thought so too. It certainly makes my job
easier. As opposed to the 'what the hell are you doing back on stage' questions, I get the 'when are you going to do something
else with the Boys' questions."
Flirtation peeks its head out, naptime officially over. "And when will that be, Mr.
"At this rate? Never. I'm having too much fun doing this to think about the Boys right now. I'm just...immersed
in it all, I guess. I'd forgotten how much fun this is."
She smiles because she knows that he's smiling, and that makes
the waiting worth it. "You sound like you're having a good time, though. How was the show tonight?"
finally over that stupid cold, so I don't have to keep from playing around with those out-of-range notes. I'm actually getting
a chance to have fun with the music now."
She shakes her head at the constant vacations on which his immune system
seems to be leaving. "That's great, but when is the flu due for a run-around?"
He rolls his eyes. "Ha-fucking-ha. You're
not funny, you know."
"Sorry, but I had to do something. You were starting to sound like a bad interview..."
laughs. "Too much time with the reporters, I guess. I'm not complaining, though. They could be writing shit about my relationships
and biting my head off with 'why'd you break up the group' questions."
"But there wasn't a break-up..." Was there?
He would've said something if there'd been a break-up...
"No. There won't ever be. Not as long as Brian keeps
his head out of his ass."
A sigh. "Baby..."
"Sorry. I'm still pissed at him, though."
no one else does, and so I have to pretend like we're all on great terms. And it's not a complete lie, because for the most
part, we are. It's just fucking Brian..."
"Leighanne's gone to his head."
that, or parenthood has wedged a very large stick up his ass."
She smiles in amusement at the mental image the comment
incites. "Maybe Kevin can extract it."
"Probably. Things like that aren't illegal in Kentucky."
"That's an AJ comment."
"What can I say? I miss him."
"So give him a call!"
He grins at the thought that
communication between them isn't impossible. "I might. Had to talk to you first, though."
"Don't sound too thrilled
He laughs. "Naw, you took it wrong. I miss you. I wanted to talk to you first."
She nods. "Now
that's more like it."
He frowns. "Baby?"
Pathetic infatuation stirs, and the gods of bachelorism
are laughing at him from somewhere among the clouds. "I miss you."
"I miss you too."
"I love you."
grins benignly. "I love you too." A pause. "You can go call AJ now."
He chuckles because he loves that she knows him
so well already. "Not before you say goodnight."
A sleepy sigh precedes the farewell. "Goodnight, Nick."
baby. Sleep sweet."
And she does.