New Years' brings about a surprising discovery and a prank goes horribly awry.
“I refuse to watch any musicals,” Nick told her, responding to her suggestion of West Side Story.
“Well then what do you want to watch?” Michelle asked. “You’ve turned down every suggestion I’ve made yet offered none of your own.”
“How about Jurassic Park?” Brian said. Nick and Michelle agreed.
The next morning found everyone at the arena doing another dress rehearsal for the concert that night. Everything went smoothly. Michelle realized they were used to doing this and did these rehearsals to make sure nothing had changed, and partly to get Michelle and Julie used to the way things worked. At lunch, Michelle decided it was time to get back at Brian for telling the plane incident at the last concert. While he answered Nick’s question about one of their songs, Michelle unscrewed the cap of the pepper shaker, knowing Brian always added pepper to his burgers, though she couldn’t figure out why. When he finished with Nick and started putting pepper on his burger, the cap fell off and his burger was covered in pepper. Everyone at the table laughed. Brian was a good sport and laughed along, but he leaned over to Michelle and whispered: “This means war.”
The concert went smoothly that night, and this time Nick told the story of Brian’s misfortune with the pepper shaker during lunch that day. After the concert they went back to their hotels to try to get as much sleep as possible in preparation for another day of traveling the following morning. Food had already been put in each bus when everyone filed in. With only a three hour drive ahead of them, Brian, Nick, and Michelle decided to watch Independence Day for the majority of the time. This time Julie joined them.
Michelle got up to get a glass of water before the movie started. When she sat back down, she noticed a spider next to her head on the back of the couch. She screamed and jumped out of her seat. Then she noticed the spider was fake and Brian laughing hysterically in his own seat. Soon Nick and Julie started laughing too. Brian pulled the spider off of Michelle’s chair, but noticed throughout the rest of the movie she kept scratching herself like she felt spiders crawling all over her and staring at her chair like she expected to find another spider there. He grinned with satisfaction at her discomfort, ignoring the glares she sent him.
After arriving in the next city, they immediately started rehearsing for the concert that night, which they performed with no problems. The next day, New Year’s Eve, they decided to do a little sight-seeing before their concert. The concert ended long enough before midnight for the group to get back to their hotel rooms and celebrate together. They had bought the cheesy hats and poppers during the day, plus one bottle of champagne and a bottle of sparkling cider for AJ and Nick, who were still underage.
“Three . . . two . . . one . . . HAPPY NEW YEAR!” they all shouted in unison. Kevin popped the bottle of champagne and filled everyone’s glasses. Nick and AJ split the bottle of sparkling cider.
“Here’s a toast to our new fashion designer and her assistant,” Kevin said.
“Hopefully we don’t scare them off,” Brian added after everyone took a sip.
“Alright, let’s hear everyone’s new year’s resolutions,” Julie said.
Everyone went in order around the circle. Brian wanted to stop chewing on his fingernails. Nick said he wanted to go on a date, and everyone laughed because they sometimes forgot how young he actually was. Howie wanted to spend time with his family, when the schedule allowed. Kevin said he’d like to get more sleep while on tour, since he never seems to get enough. AJ admitted he wanted to stop spending his money and start saving it. Julie resolved to be more adventurous with vegetables, especially those she didn’t like the first time around, since vegetables were a considerable part of her diet. Michelle went last, saying she wanted to learn to understand foreign cultures better when they were over in Europe on tour. Shortly after the resolutions had been announced, Michelle excused herself, giving her glass of champagne to Julie.
“Leaving so soon?” Brian asked before she reached the door.
“I enjoy getting my sleep, and I don’t enjoy staying up very late.” Brian opened the door for her and allowed her to leave the room. When he returned to the others, he started a conversation with Nick about the upcoming break in two weeks. Julie found herself in a conversation with AJ.
“What do you spend your money on?” Julie asked, her curiosity piqued after hearing his resolution.
“Oh, sunglasses, hats, and other things I really don’t need. I’m a really impulsive buyer.” Julie laughed, aware of her own temptations when it came to shopping.
A few minutes later Julie noticed Kevin saunter over to Nick, who was busy talking to Brian about their vacation. Kevin put his arm around Nick’s shoulders, and began speaking to everyone, acting like he was drunk, though Julie could tell he was only acting.
“I have heard it’s tradition for a couple to kiss on New Years’. I would like all of you to witness this event.” He then made a big show by taking Nick’s face in his hands and giving him a big kiss on the cheek. Nick immediately pulled away and started wiping his face. Everyone else started laughing. Kevin walked over to Julie while the others started making fun of Nick.
“Did you enjoy the show?” he asked her. She nodded, still unable to speak from the laughter. “I figured I’d give the guys something to laugh about, and Nick’s usually a good sport, being so young.”
“Do you ever fight, being so much older than him?”
“Every so often we have a disagreement, but I can usually stay calm with him until we’ve resolved the issue.” Julie nodded, and a pleasant silence settled over them. Julie noticed out of the corner of her eye that Kevin seemed to be fidgeting more than usual.
“Is something wrong?” she asked him.
She continued looking at him, fully aware of his looking back at her. After a moment, he leaned in towards her, and she instinctively leaned towards him. He kissed her, but only for a moment. Then he broke away. He excused himself and joined the other guys’ conversation.
Julie went back to the room dazed. She was still surprised that Kevin kissed her. She had feelings for him, it was true, but she’d never been able to figure out if he returned them. Now she was certain he cared about her, but what to do about those feelings? Michelle was already asleep when she got into the room, so Julie planned on sharing her experience with her in the morning.
When Julie got up, Michelle had already packed and gotten coffee. Julie immediately shared last night’s events, and waited for Michelle’s response.
“So what are you going to do now?” Michelle asked her, smiling at her friend whose large smile conveyed her happiness.
“I don’t know. We have concerts almost every day, and rehearsals, so there’s very little time to talk with him before the week long break. I was thinking I could try to talk with him then.” Michelle agreed, and they headed off to work.
The next week passed by in a blur of concerts, interviews, rehearsals, and traveling on the buses. Somewhere in between all of that they managed to get enough sleep to continue through it. The last concert, before the week long break that everyone looked forward to, went on without a glitch. After that they were to spend a few more days in Quebec and the rest of the break in North Carolina, where they would perform their next concert.
Brian decided it was time for his next prank. He knew Michelle liked to get up early and head downstairs for a cup of coffee before starting anything, so he planned to surprise her. He set his alarm for six and shut it off before it woke up Nick. Then he headed down. He wanted to make sure he was in position and out of sight before she came down. Ten minutes later, she walked into the hotel café. Crouched in the space between a tall plant and the wall, she didn’t see him. He tightened his grip on the carpet that covered the entry way. She ordered her coffee and headed back out. Once both feet were on the carpet and she took another step, Brian pulled the rug.
Michelle’s feet flew out from under her. Her arms went out horizontal in a futile effort to maintain balance. The cup of coffee spilled down the front of her blue t-shirt, burning her skin with its extremely hot temperature. She managed to get her right foot behind her to keep her from hitting her head on the tile floor. When she landed, her weight forced her foot into a different position, twisting her ankle. She cried out in pain.
Brian realized something had gone wrong. He’d only meant to cause her coffee to spill on her, but he saw her foot beneath her and feared the worst.
“Are you okay?” He asked the first question that came to mind, despite knowing how dumb it sounded when she was clearly in pain.
“You did that?” she asked accusingly. He nodded his head, ashamed.
“I didn’t mean for you to get hurt, only to spill your coffee. Can you get up?” He held out his hands, offering to help her up. She shook her head, and he could tell she wanted to prove she didn’t need his help. She got half way up, at which point she put pressure on her right ankle, causing her to cry out again and fall forward in to Brian, whose arms were still out. “I’m really sorry about this. I didn’t mean to injure you, so at least let me help you. We have a doctor with us, so why don’t I take you to him and let him fix your ankle.” Michelle thought about arguing, not wanting to let Brian help her after he caused her injury, but decided to let him help, knowing she needed it.
“Okay. Where is he?”
“He’s on the same floor as us, so if we injure ourselves while in the hotel he’s close by.” That said, he gently picked Michelle up and used the elevator to get to the doctor’s room. The doctor examined her ankle and told them it was only a bad sprain. He wrapped it and told her to stay off of it for the rest of the week. He also told her to go back to her room and put ice on it for thirty minutes to prevent swelling. Brian carried her to her room. With no key available for him to use, Michelle knocked on the door. Julie answered after a minute.
“Where were . . .” She stopped asking her question and let Brian place Michelle gently on the sofa in the room. While he did he told her to get some ice. She handed him the ice box she’d filled earlier that morning. He grabbed a towel from their bathroom and wrapped the ice in it, sitting next to Michelle to hold the ice on her ankle.
“What happened?” Julie asked when they were all seated. Michelle looked at Brian, letting him explain.
“I was trying to pull a prank by pulling the carpet out from under Michelle after she’d gotten her coffee, hoping she’d spill it on herself. Besides doing that, though, she landed on her ankle. I’ve already taken her to the doctor down the hall and he said it’s only a bad sprain. She has to stay off of it for the rest of the week, just to be safe. Luckily she’ll only have to use crutches for a few days after that.” Julie could see how bad Brian felt about what he’d done. She hoped Michelle could see as well and wouldn’t be too hard on him.
“I guess that means Julie will have to take my place in the basketball game today,” Michelle said.
“Oh no,” Julie said immediately. “I don’t play sports and you know that.”
“Come on,” Brian said, “we’ll teach you how to play. It isn’t that hard. We can go easy on you if you want.”
“No,” Julie said firmly. “I won’t play. You’ll just have to play with uneven teams.”
“She’ll play, don’t worry,” Michelle told Brian. A few minutes of silence passed, broken when Nick came through the door.
“Hey Julie, have you seen Brian?” he asked. Julie, seated on the bed, pointed across from her to the couch. “Oh. Where’d you go this morning? And what happened to Michelle?” Brian explained again what happened. “Way to go genius. How’s your ankle feeling Michelle?”
“It still hurts, but the ice is finally starting to numb it. Julie’s going to take my place in the basketball game today since I can’t play anymore.” She gave a meaningful glance to Brian.
“Great. The guys are starting to get up. I saw AJ going across the hall to wake up Kevin and Howie. Are we still going to go out for breakfast after the game?” Brian shrugged.
“I’ll go tell the guys what happened; we’ll leave in ten minutes.” Brian left the room, followed by Nick.
“Michelle, I’m not playing basketball for you,” Julie said once again.
“You have to. Besides, it’ll give you a chance to get close to Kevin without the other guys catching on.” She winked at Julie. “Now, could you get me another shirt out of my bag? I need to change shirts before Brian comes back.” When Brian returned, Michelle wore a different shirt and Julie a pair of work out shorts and a tank top.
“Are you sure you want to come Michelle?” Brian asked her.
“Yes. I have to see how Julie does playing basketball.” Brian picked her up and carried her out of the hotel to the cars the Boys rented. He put her in the backseat so she could elevate her ankle during the ride, while he drove with Julie in the seat next to him. Following the car with the rest of the guys in it, they drove to a park with basketball courts a few miles away. Brian carried Michelle to one of the benches along side the court. Once she was settled, the rest split into two teams and started the game.
Julie played with Brian and Kevin against the other guys. The first thing they did before starting the game was teach Julie the rules. They showed her how to dribble, which caused her to yell at them because she already knew how to dribble. From there they showed her where the different scoring areas were when shooting a basket. They explained a few more rules before starting the game.
Brian made the first basket. From there, AJ stole the ball, passed it to Nick, who shot and missed. Howie caught the rebound and made a basket. Kevin was able to get the ball next, and passed it to Julie. She caught it, but was called on double dribbling. They agreed to let her get away with it once without penalizing her team. Michelle watched the game, calling out advice to Julie’s team whenever she thought they needed it. After fifteen minutes, they took a short break to rest and drink some water.
“I see you’re still standing,” Michelle said to Julie. She received a glare.
“Yes, while you sit here lounging on a bench, calling out things that make no sense to me. Give me some water.” Michelle tossed her a water bottle.
“Enjoying the game?” Kevin asked Julie.
“I suppose. I’m not used to playing sports.”
“It seems like you’re getting the hang of it. You want to try making a basket this half?” Julie shook her head, shaking some hair out of her ponytail and into her face. Kevin pushed the hair behind her ear, his hand lingering longer than necessary. Brian, who’d been watching, looked at Michelle for an explanation, but she only smiled at him.
“You guys ready to play some more?” Nick asked everyone, oblivious to the events around him.
They all headed back onto the court, and Michelle watched as the tables turned. Brian focused more on Kevin and Julie, unable to take his mind off of what he’d seen during the break, and made mistakes Michelle knew he would regret later. She watched Kevin smile at Julie throughout the rest of the game, and Julie smile back at him. Then Kevin threw her the ball which she threw and made her first basket, ending the game. Nick, Howie, and AJ won the game, but Brian didn’t seem to care. Michelle congratulated the winning team and Julie for making her first basket, but watched as Brian pulled Kevin off to the side and they shared a few words. When they returned, everyone piled back into the cars and headed to the nearest Denny’s for breakfast.