Quit Playing Games

Chapter 40

“Well?” AJ asked as he bounced up and down on his feet. A trickle of sweat ran down his forehead and he brushed it aside quickly as he took another deep gulp of water. “What did you think of your first Backstreet Boys concert?”

Jeanne cocked her head and looked at him. “Loud.”

“Loud? That’s it? That’s all you’re gonna give me? Loud?” he squeaked. Howie laughed at the pained look on AJ’s face.

“Alex, love, I have seen you guys practicing so most of the moves I was familiar with. And I have the songs down pat now too – so yes, I could tell when one of you was off. Anyway, most of what I was seeing was you all adding those little extras and the audience’s reaction. And they were loud. Especially when one of you worked one side or the other. I must say I do like that way you spend a lot of time trying to connect directly with the folks who came.” She leaned forward. “And you have a hell of a pelvic thrust, baby. Care to explore it later?” she asked with a wink.

“Hey, hey! None of that! He’s taken,” Micheline laughed.

“Rats,” Jeanne smirked mischievously. “You’re a lucky girl, mate.”

“Hey Jeanne, what did you think of your first concert?” Nick asked as he came into the room. He had gone straight to the showers after the show and while he had changed into new clothes he was still rubbing his damp hair.

“Sorry Goldilocks, you’re too late. AJ already covered that,” Howie replied.

“Oh.” Nick looked around bewildered. “And the answer?”

Micheline laughed. “You better get over here. She started to come on to my Alex.”

Jeanne laughed. “Puh-lease. He wanted to know what I thought, but we all know what he really wanted was what I thought about HIM.” She turned to Nick. “I was also going to say that you looked mighty tasty up there too. Didn’t know you could shake that gorgeous booty of yours like that.”

Nick chuckled. “I could show you more if you want.”

“Oh goodie! A private performance.” She got up and kissed his cheek. “I’ll be waiting.”

“Is it just me or is there innuendos flying around in here?” AJ smirked.

Nick chucked the damp towel at him. “Jealous much?”

AJ batted the towel away then grabbed Micheline and pressed a deep, passionate kiss on her. She moaned lightly, twining her hands in his hair, before the two finally came up for air. “Now that is what I call innuendo,” he cackled and then glanced across the room. “See? It’s catchy.”

Sure enough Howie and Miriam were engaged in a liplock of their own.

Hand in hand and whispering softly to one another, Brian and Leighanne came in the room. It was obvious to all that they had been engaged in some ‘innuendo’ of their own – though more privately. Brian glanced at the two sets of lovebirds snuggled up and at Nick and Jeanne who were talking quietly together, and cleared his throat. “I thought we were going out to celebrate?”

Nick looked at him, his jaw agape. “You’re actually coming? You never come. You two usually take off.”

Brian shrugged. “We figured we were up for it. We’re on the road tomorrow and have plenty of time to sleep on the bus so why not? You are gonna join us, aren’t you Jeanne?”

She glanced at Nick and then nodded. “Just for a bit. It’ll be the only time I get to see Leigh before you leave.” If she’d done her job none of the men in the room would think that she was really going for Leighanne… and the snort from AJ proved that she had performed well. Good. They were all convinced that she and Nick were a lot closer than they were. She glanced at him again, and he nodded.

They all actually had a great time. Jeanne did talk to Leighanne at length, and the three of them managed to talk quickly about the plans for the coming days. Even the usually taciturn Kevin had fun; shaking off the cloud that seemed to follow him everywhere since his breakup with Lana and hitting the dance floor – and even hitting on some women.

Jeanne leaned back – and let Kat loose in her head. She watched Kevin discreetly, happy that she’d had a chance to get to know him a lot better in recent weeks. She knew she was still stuck on him and spending time with him had confirmed her attraction to him. But it had changed: she had gotten used to him. She had gotten to know him. And knew all his good points and faults – yep there were many of those – as well. She was still in awe of his beauty, but had also become accustomed to seeing it too. It was only from time to time - when the light hit him just so or when the look of joy as he performed transformed his face from earthly beauty to god-like perfection – that it hit her.

“So what’s my cuz up to?” Brian asked as he sat down next to her.

“He’s flirting,” Jeanne replied, hoping that she hadn’t given the impression that she was more interested in Kevin. “You know, I don’t think I have ever seen him do that before.”

“He never flirted when I was trying to set you two up?”

“Nah. He made it clear also as soon as you left the room that he was taking me out as a favour to you.” She winked at Brian. “Did so much good for my ego,” she said wryly and he laughed. “I mean it was fine later after he thawed a little and he realized that I wasn’t out to get him, that I was as uninterested in getting involved with someone as he was. But even then he never flirted.”

“Not interested in getting ‘involved’, hunh?” Brian smirked. “Did you ever mention it to Nick?”

Jeanne laughed and slapped Brian lightly on the arm. “Come on, Rok. I know you are always trying to protect him, but Nick and I are just hanging out. We aren’t getting serious or anything.” Kat was glad that she wasn’t lying. At this point she was beginning to think that she’d have to carry around a notebook just to keep track of the lies she’d had to tell so far… it was only going to get worse.

“Come on,” he teased. “You two aren’t getting smoochy?”

“Smoochy?” She laughed. “I never kiss and tell.”

He let out a buzzer-like noise. “Oops, sorry… just by saying that you gave away that you kissed,” he chuckled.

Jeanne groaned. “Okay, look, so we’ve kissed. It ain’t going further, at least no time soon. So get off my back. You know that Leigh told me you didn’t approve.”

Brian looked chagrined. “I didn’t at first. But after she slapped me upside the head…” Jeanne chuckled. “You two do get along well and its not like you are out to use him or anything.” He raised his hands defensively when he saw the angry look on her face. “Come on! I’ve seen it before. He’s a great guy, but he’s also really rich and a celebrity. Our resident heart-throb – though AJ will argue with you about who is more popular…”

“Nick is,” Jeanne stated firmly.

“Yeah, I think so too. So people – women – want to be seen with him. Want to be with him. You two just seem to get along without all that. It’s a good thing.”

Jeanne nodded and then told him about a woman who had interrupted Nick and her when they had been out a few days before. She had shouldered Jeanne aside and basically offered herself then and there. In order to get rid of her Nick had finally accepted her phone number with a promise he’d call.

“So did he call?”

She laughed. “Damned if I know. You’ll have to ask him. If that is what he is after he isn’t going to get it from me. I’m better than that.”

Brian smiled widely and leaned over and kissed her cheek. “You sure are.” He glanced over at Leighanne and nodded. She returned the gesture. “Well, it looks like we are out of here.” He rose. “Whatever happens with you and Nick it was really great meeting you Jeanne. You better stay in touch.”

She hugged him tightly. “I will Rok, don’t worry. Good friends like you and Leigh are not to be forgotten.”

“Good.” Leighanne had reached his side and he wrapped his arms around her. “Just saying goodbye to Jeanne, love. I’ll go makes sure we have a ride back to the hotel, okay?”

She nodded then turned to Jeanne. “So. You’re on your own now.”

“Only for a few days. Nick is supposed to miss me so much he can’t live without me, remember?”

Leigh chuckled. “I’ll remind him if he forgets.” Her face turned serious. “I know I don’t say this often enough, but I really appreciate this. What you are doing for Brian and I…”

Jeanne hugged her. “It’s no big deal. You know how much I love the two of you.” She put a comical superhero look on her face. “Besides, thwarting the evil schemes of a megalomaniac is my civic duty.”

Leigh smiled quickly and then tapped the end of Jeanne’s nose. “No big deal, hunh?”

Jeanne rolled her eyes. “It’s okay. My alter-ego didn’t like it much anyway.”

“Okay, I saw that. No getting cuddly without me there to watch,” AJ grinned as he joined then.

“Freak,” Leighanne laughed affectionately.

“Don’t you know it!” he smirked. “I was sent to tell you that Brian is waiting downstairs by the limo.”

Leigh nodded then pulled Jeanne into another hug. “Thank you,” she whispered in her ear, making it so low that AJ couldn’t hear, and then pulled back. “Now you call. I am going to be bored silly on the tour so I want to hear everything that you are up. Promise?”

Jeanne inclined her head. “Everything? Even what I have for breakfast?” At Leigh’s chuckle she continued. “Don’t worry, mate, I’ll keep in touch. You go be with that cute man who loves you. And I DON’T want to know everything about that…”

“It’s probably dull anyway,” AJ cackled and then ducked at Leighanne tried to swat him. She gave Jeanne’s hand a quick squeeze before she headed down the stairs to join Brian.

“So. All alone in the big city with no one to chaperone you. What you gonna do for the next few days?” AJ asked.

“Pick up some guys. Have an orgy. The usual,” Jeanne replied.

“Damn, I thought as much. Get it on video for me, okay?”

She rolled her eyes. “Alex, I know you aren’t as kinky as you try and pretend to be so just stop it.”

His eyes widened in mock fear and he looked around. “Shush. Not so loud. No one is supposed to know.”

Jeanne chuckled. “I love you, AJ. You’re a hoot to have around.”

“I’m going to miss you too, sweetheart,” he said, giving her a hug. “What Leigh says goes – you stay in touch. I know I am crappy at returning calls, especially when I am on the road, but you leave me messages anyway, you got that.”

She saluted him. “Sir, yes sir. I promise lots of sexy love messages that you’ll have to explain to Micheline.”

“Hot damn,” he grinned. “And if you learn anything new in the next few days pass on the info so she and I can try it out.”

“You got it.”

He beamed at her. “Okay, well then I better say goodbye now. We have to be on the road at the crack of dawn.”

“Take care, Alex,” she said as they shared a hug. He flashed her another grin then swaggered off to find his girlfriend.

Jeanne glanced out at the dance floor, smiling as Kevin continued to boogie and flirt with the brunette in his arms. She took a deep draught of her ginger ale then ambled back to their table. Nick looked up from his conversation with one of his friends and patted the seat next to him.

“Well, I still think that the best diving is off this coast. I know the Bahamas has a good set up, but I like it a little more rugged.”

“Australia is the best,” Jeanne put in.

He groaned. “Probably, but I haven’t dove… diven… oh whatever, I haven’t done it there yet, so I can’t comment.”

“Maybe in your next break you can try it,” his friend suggested.

“Break? What’s that?” Nick chuckled. “I have the job that just won’t quit. 24-7 that’s me.”

Both Jeanne and his friend chuckled. “You did sign up for it,” his friend pointed out.

Nick snorted. “If someone had made it clear just how nuts it could be I might have thought again.”

“Would you have?” Jeanne asked quietly.

Nick glanced at her as he thought about it. “No. No, I love that I do – don’t like it some days, but I do love it. I wish I had more privacy and time to spend with my friends and my family. But the second I walk on that stage…” His eyes went out of focus as he remembered. “Amazing,” he breathed wistfully.

“Would you do it on your own? You know, go solo?”

Nick looked back at his friend. “You’ve been talking to my mom again haven’t you?”

“You caught me,” he chuckled.

“Well you can tell her from me that I say no way. Maybe some day but I am not there yet. I love these guys and we are great together. I am not going to change that for her no matter how much she whines. I am Backstreet Boy and that is how I want to stay.”

Jeanne grinned and gave him a quick hug. “Good.”

Chapter 41

(c) Kat Morgan