“Where are you? You’re 20 minutes late!” She muttered aloud. Emily turned around to leave but instead, walked into a firm body, almost knocking her down. “Oww!”
A hand reached out to steady her and she heard someone say “Chaos?”
“Dragon?” She asked quickly and looked up. “Oh my God.!”
Standing in front of her was Nick Carter, Backstret Boy extraordinaire. While she was still flustered, Nick asked, “What’s your name?”
Emily responded with a sofisticated, “Hun?”
“Your name.” He said with a devastating smile. “You obviously already know mine, so I was wondering what yours was.”
“Oh.” Emily blushed. “Emily. Um... I don’t understand this. Did someone pay you to do this? Where’s the hidden camera?”
Nick laughed. “There is no hiddedn camera and no one’s paying me anything.”
“You mean I’ve been talking to *you* for the last year?”
“Un hun. So don’t go to pieces on me. Unless you don’t want to spend the time you’re here with me.” He smiled again and Emily began to relax.
“Why would I go to pieces? You put your pants on one leg at a time like anyone else... don’t you?” They both laughed and slipped into familiar banter.
“So,” Nick began. “You wanna go to lunch?”
“Yum.” Emily said as she bit into her double cheeseburger. “Do you come here a lot?”
“Yeah, why?” Nick asked as he poped a fry into his mouth.
“Oh, nothing. It’s just that they didn’t even wait for youto order. They just brought you your food.” Emily glanced at him “Like you get the same thing every time.”
“McDonalds is life food.” Nick shrugged. “Well, I have been eating all my meals herre for a week now.”
“A week?” Emily choked on her soda. “You’ve been here a week?”
“Yeah, why?” Nick was puzzled.
“I thought Backstreet was in Orlando recording a new album.” She explained.
“Oh.” Nick laughed. “We are. *They* are.” He amended when she shot him a puzzled glance. “I’m not leaveing,” he clarified. “I just needed a break. Two weeks off, and I’m in my second.”
“I can understand that. But it can’t be much of a vacation. I mean, all the fans!” She exclaimed.
“Oh yeah!” Nick said. “They can be... crazy if they recognize me. But as long as I have my hat and shades not many of them do.”
“And what do you do when they *do* know who you are” Emily asked.
“Nick took a bite of his Big Mac and swallowed it. “Sign some autographs, take a picture. The usual.”
Emily made a face as she finished her double. “Can’t you beg off?”
Nick shook his head as he moisily slurped down the last of his milkshake. “No.” He said. “Everytime I try, they see past it.”
“Ah, the loyal fans.” She replied.
The conversation lasped into a comfortable silence as they finished their meals. After, they threw the garbage out, Emily and Nick made their way outside.
Emily shivered visibly as the cold wind needled into her skin.
“Cold?” Nick asked. Emily nodded and Nick, ever the gentlemen, handed her his jacket. “Put it on.”
“But aren’t you cold?”
“Nah.” Nick replied with a roguish grin. “Being with you is keeping me warm enough.”
Emily blushed prettily and looked away. She pulled the jacket on and breathed deeply. It smelled of warm leathermixed with Nick’s cologne and a deeper trace of his own masculinity. She wrapped her arms around herself and smiled softly to herself. “Do you say to all the pretty girls?”
“No,” Nick said as he tapped her nose. “Just the one I know. Just you.”
“Un hum.” They linked arms and strolled down the sidewalk looking like any other happy couple. “And you know me?”
Nick nudged her. “You know I do. Unless you were lying to me every time we talked.” He joked.
“No, I didn’t lie to you. So that means I know you, doesn’t it?” She mused. Nick looked at her warmly, taking in her deep blue eyes as she thought about it. “So what do you know about me?”
“Well, I know you love animals. And you’re a talented writer. You’re smart, sensible... sometimes, and I think you’re sweet. And you like Backstreet’s music.” Nick pulled Emily closer and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “And I know you think I’m handsome and not cute. Do you know what else I know?”
“Nick stopped walking and looked at her. “I know that I like you.”
“Oh.” Emily was a little stunned. Okay, she was shocked. “Me? What about Christine Ricci?”
“Who’s that?” He asked playfully. Then he bacame serious. “She’s pretty and all, but she’s not you. I know you and I like you, not her.”
“Oh.” She said again. Emily was more tha a little surprised. “Well,” she said with more confidence than she felt. “There’s something I should tell you then.”
“And what’s that?” He replied with a raised brow.
She stood on her titoe and whispered into his ear. “I like you too.” She then turned and ran to the big fountain in the center of the town plaza, her face on fire because of her confession.
“Emily, wait!” Nick had to sprint to catch her. When he did he spun her towards him, a smile lighting his face. “Have dinner with me!”
Emily was smiling back. “When?”
“Tonight, have dinner with me tonight... please.” He asked again.
Emily hesitated for several moments, unwilling to fall into an impossible relationship. Sut when she looked into his eyes, she became immediately lost in their azur depths and her heart melted. “Yes.”
Nick flashed her a smile that sent her heart racing and pressed a quick kiss to her forehead. “Great!”
Emily was standing kind of dazed while Nick rattled off little half sentances to himself about what he had to do abou planning the night.
“Nick, what time?” She asked, slowly gathering her wits again.
Nick looked up from his thoughts. “Time? Umm... how’s 8 sound?”
“Fine.” Emily responded.
Nick looked at his watch. “It’s 5 now, so why don’t we split up and get ready. I have a lot to do to make this special! Okay?”
“Okay.” Emily relpied. “See you at 8?”
Nick nodded. “I’ll be counting the minutes. Later.” And with a wink, he was off to prepare.
Emily herself, realizing that she brought nothing to wear on a date, decided to shop.
Emily held up the slink black dress she had bought. She smiled to herself as she imagined Nick’s reaction. Glancing at the clock, she saw that she had less than two hours to get ready. Emily tossed the dress over the back of a chair, and stepped into the shower that she had already prepared.
“Am I dreaming?” She wondered to herself. “Oww!” Emily exclaimed as a sharp pain radiated through her arm. “Guess that’s what I get for pinching myself.” She muttered wryly. “But there’s nothing like making sure.”
She quickly finished her shower and got out to stand in front of the mirror. She wiped a clear trail across the steam that had gathered on it. Staring into the mirror at her reflection she said, “How did I get so lucky?”
Shaking her head silently, she left the steamy bathroom and slipped her dress on. Looking at the time she was surprised to see that she was in the shower for well over an hour. Emily gasped and rushed to finish readying herself. She hurredly put on a touch of eyeshadow and some lip gloss and pulled her silky blond hair up on to the top of her head and secured it with a black velvet clip.
She was about the slip on her shoes when she heared a knock at the door, smiling, she opend it. “You’re early Nick.”
Nick stared at her for a few moments, stunned by her dress. Then, he grinned at her over the blood red roses that he had brought for her. “Well, I couldn’t wait to see you.” He whistled appreciatively as he ran his eyes over the high necked, short skirted black number she was wearing. “But I can see the little waiting that I did was more than worht it!”
Emily blushed and shooed him in. “You’re not looking to bad yourself.” She replied as she admired the way his well worn black jeans hugged his body. She smiled inwardly and lay a hand on his arm, almost shivering with pleasure at the feel of his dark green shirt. “You don’t have to bring me flowers, you know.”
“Yes, I did.” He said, planting a quick kiss on the tip of her nose. “But they don’t even come close in comparison.”
Fingering one of the velvety soft petals, Emily looked at him. “Comparison to what?”
Nick put a finger under her chin, he looked into her eyes. “To you.”
Emily blused again, ‘Seems all I do latley is blush,’ she thought with amusement. Quickly she swept the roses out of Nick’s arma and deposited them in the bathroom sink. “No vase, I’ll get one tomorrow.”
She sat down on the bed and slipped her shoes on, adjusting the straps around her ankles so that they wouldn’t fly off as she walked. She stood next to Nick, still not quite reaching his nose. “I like this.”
“Like what?” Nick asked as he wrapped an arm around her slender waist.
Emily grabbed the evening bag she had bought earlier that day, and picked her keycard up. “I’m still shorter than you, even in heals.” She said by way of explanation.
They left the room, making sure the door was locked, and got into the elevator which was, thankfully in Emily’s mind, not empty. But her thanks were soon forgotten when Nick pulled her close, regardless of the others. Emily sighed and rested her head in the crook of his neck.
“Perfet fit.” He murmured, his hand posessively caressing the small of her back.
“Um hmm.” Came her muffled reply. The two of them stood that way as the elevator worked it’s way down to the main floor. As it settled to their destination and the doors slid open, they both were hi with a strong wave of emotions. It was as they incredibly sorry that the ride had stopped, and as much as they wanted to say so, were sompletely unable to.
“Come on.” Nick said as he gently twisted Emily around to his side. “The limo’s waiting.”
“Limo?” Emily echoed. “I’ve never been in one of those before.”
Nick smiled as they crossed the lobby and exited to the waiting limo. “Then this should be a fun first.”
A chauffer was by the door, patiently waiting for the couple to enter. Nick beckoned for Emily to go in first and, after she had, gave quiet directions to the driver. Then he was in, sitting opposite from Emily.
“What’s your poison?” He asked with a devilishly sexy grin.
“I don’t drink. Underage, remember?” Said Emily.
Nick’s brow crinkled as he realized that Emily was only twenty to his twenty one. “Well,” he replied with a roguish air, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.”
Emily laughed as and shook her head as his infectiously flippant mood spread to her. “What the hell? I’ll have... ‘sex on the beach’”.
Nick raised an eyebrow at that request, bu silently mixed the drink with only a hint of a smile on his soft lips.
He handed it to her and poured himself a dry martini. “Well?” Asked Nick after she took a sip.
“Good,” came the silently surprised reply. “Only the third I’ve had and I’m liking it more and more.”
Nick leaned back in his seat, sipping from his drink and taking Emily’s shapely figure. “Just don’t get plastered on me, okay? I may be a gentleman, but I’m not that big of one.” He cautioned her.
“Oh really?” Emily shot back at him. She looked at him skeptically as he nodded solemnly. “Yeah right! Flowers, a limo, dinner... You wouldn’t go through att this trouble to hurt me...” An icy shiver slid down her spine as she finished. “Would you?”
Nick was dismayed to hear genuine fear in her voice. He wondered if he shouldn’t have made that comment that he had, but it was too late. “No. No Emily. I wouldn’t hurt you. I would never hurt you.”
Nick’s word soothed her a little. For a moment, Emily felt an old pain in the base of her throught and she raised a hand to her high neckline of the dress. But then her hand was enveloped in a warm pressure as she realized that the pain was just a memory.
“Em, are you okay?” His voice was filled with concern.
“Yeah,” Emily responded somewhat distantly. “I’m fine.” She reached past him to the wet bar and came up with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a large tumbler. She poured herself a generous glass and swallowed. “I’m just fine.”
But even the fire that was chasing it’s way into her belly couldn’t scare away all of the icy knot that had settled there.