Julie has a nightmare and the group holds another press conference.
“I’ve wondered if you two might want to come with us to the press conference,” Brian said, starting the conversation. “You wouldn’t go up with us to answer questions, but you could stand just out of sight so you could hear everything first hand.”
“You know they’re going to ask about Julie and me,” Michelle told him. “What are you going to say?”
“Brian and I talked about this on the bus ride this morning,” Kevin answered. “We plan on telling them that you two are our girlfriends. We won’t give out your names or any personal information.”
“We do need to give them something though, in order to write their story; otherwise, they’ll just make stuff up,” Brian said.
“What will you say?” Julie asked.
“We were hoping you could help us out with that,” Kevin told her.
The next hour flashed by in a combination of throwing out ideas and deciding which were acceptable for the press. Soon they started dropping off to sleep. Michelle’s head rested on Brian’s shoulder, and his cheek pressed against her forehead. Kevin smiled. His head rolled back, his arms still outstretched on the back of the couch, and soft snores could be heard from his direction. Julie slowly uncurled in her sleep, he legs gently sliding out towards Kevin on the couch, rather than falling to the floor.
In the middle of the night, Kevin was pulled from his sleep. As he stretched his arms to get the blood moving, he wondered what had woken him. He looked over at Julie to see if she had woken up. She shivered on the couch, her arms wrapped around her. At first he thought she was cold, because of her shivering, but then he noticed tears running down her face; she was sobbing so hard her whole body shook. Her eyes flew open and she sat upright, reaching out to something unseen. Then she buried her face in her arms.
“Julie?” Kevin scooted closer to her on the couch, rubbing her back. “What’s wrong? Did you have a bad dream?” Julie nodded.
“I saw myself . . . in my parents’ car . . . when they died,” she said between sobs. “I tried to reach them . . . but they were already gone.” On the word gone, sobs erupted from her chest, and tears streamed down her cheeks anew.
“Oh baby,” Kevin said. He pulled her into his lap and cradled her to his chest. “Ssh.”
Kevin could only try to imagine what her dream must have been like. He whispered to her, trying to calm her and ease her fears. She always seems so at ease; he was surprised to see her crying so profusely. He hated seeing her in pain, but could only do so much. Feeling helpless, not knowing how to act or what to say, he tried to comfort her. He wished he could erase all the pain and hurt in her past, and make her feel safe in his arms; he promised he would make sure she knew that he would never let anything hurt her ever again.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, so quietly he barely heard her.
“You have nothing to be sorry for.” He began stroking her hair.
“I just . . . I don’t want to lose you like I lost my parents.”
“You won’t lose me. I promise, I’m not going anywhere.”
Eventually her sobbing ceased; her breathing slowed and evened out, signaling to Kevin she had fallen asleep. Kevin made himself a bit more comfortable, leaning into the corner of the couch, still cradling Julie in his arms.
Michelle woke up early the next morning, against her mind’s wishes of sleeping in. She noticed she wasn’t sleeping in a bed, but leaning against something. Then she heard breathing, and realized she was leaning against someone. She vaguely remembered falling asleep next to Brian, which told her who she was leaning against and whose arm was around her shoulders. Turning her head to get a better look at Brian, she discovered his head resting on hers. The movement jostled Brian out of his own sleep.
“What’s going on,” he mumbled sleepily.
“Sorry,” Michelle whispered, afraid of waking anyone else up. “I didn’t mean to wake you up.”
“’S okay. What time is it?” Brian answered his own question by looking at his watch. “Ugh. It’s six a.m. Why are you up so early?” Michelle shrugged, but the weight of Brian’s arm told her to respond verbally.
“I’m always up early; I can’t help it. That’s why I don’t like staying up late. Why don’t you go back to sleep?”
Brian nodded, already falling into the mind-numbing oblivion of sleep. Michelle carefully got off the couch and made herself a cup of coffee. Luckily the smell wasn’t strong and didn’t wake anyone up. With no magazines to flip through, she pulled out her sketch book and began designing a few outfits, stretched out comfortably on the floor. While she drew, she hummed songs softly. Without realizing it, she started humming Backstreet Boy songs. After another hour, she was singing the lyrics out loud, still quietly so as not to wake anyone up. When she started singing ‘All I Have to Give’ she heard Brian join in, singing the harmony. She looked up at him, blushing.
“How long were you listening?”
“Long enough.” Michelle blushed a deeper red.
“I thought you were sleeping.”
“I was, but then I woke up to your lovely voice serenading me. Did you notice Kevin and Julie?” Michelle looked over at the couple, Kevin still cradling Julie in his sleep.
“Yes. They make a cute couple, don’t you think?” Brian nodded in agreement. “I just hope he doesn’t do anything to hurt her. She’s been through enough in her life; she deserves a guy who’ll treat her right.”
“Kevin’s a real gentleman,” Brian told her. “He’ll make sure he never hurts her.” Michelle nodded, knowing Kevin well enough to know he treasured his relationship with Julie and would avoid ruining what they had.
They talked for awhile, waiting for Kevin and Julie to wake up. When the pair did finally drift out of their peaceful slumber, they remained in the same positions and joined Brian and Michelle’s conversation. The buses arrived in Washington D.C. later that day. Everyone immediately exited the buses to breathe in fresh air and stretch the legs. What little was left of the day was given over to preparing for the press conference that night. As agreed upon, Michelle and Julie stood backstage at the conference, watching everything on the TV in the room.
“Are you willing to answer questions about the photos and articles concerning the two as yet unidentified females in your company?” one reporter asked.
“The two women in the photos are Kevin’s and my girlfriends,” Brian said, “and we’ve been dating for a few weeks now. Their identities will remain anonymous.”
“How did you meet?”
“Are they touring with you?”
“Where do you see the relationships going?”
“How do the other members of the group feel about this?”
“AJ, Nick, and I all support Kevin and Brian in their new relationships,” Howie said in response to the one question he could answer. “We’re happy for them and enjoy the women’s company as well.”
“We met the women on tour,” Kevin told the room of reporters. “We plan on continuing to spend time together and getting to know one another.”
More questions erupted, and the guys kept their cool while answering the questions they could, based on the conversation with the women over what information could be given out. Once they finished the conference, the Boys headed back stage. Brian and Kevin immediately went to the two waiting girlfriends to see how they felt about how things went.
“You did well,” Julie told Kevin. “You stuck with what we agreed on and didn’t give them anything more, despite all the questions they threw at you.”
“It was hard trying to concentrate on what we wanted to say with all the other questions surrounding us.”
“We’ll have to see what stories appear tomorrow morning. But for now, I think it’s time we headed to the hotel for some much needed rest.”
As predicted, stories about the confirmed relationships covered the front pages of magazines everywhere. While they enjoyed reading the stories, to see how accurate they were, the couples also remembered there were concerts to perform. After a few days, the group gathered in Michelle and Julie’s room, after Nick fell asleep, to discuss what to do for Nick’s birthday. They wanted to do something big, since he was turning eighteen. They knew he expected to wake up to balloons and streamers, just as AJ had, so they specifically chose to do something different.