Casey closes in on the end of her year of college, and Nick realizes she's grown up from the little girl he remembers.
Casey picked up her paycheck and deposited it on her way home. After getting a job, she paid for her college and part of the rent. Her father paid what was left over. She rode the bus to the nearest bus stop and then walked the two blocks left to her apartment. She paid her rent on her way in. When she entered her apartment, she quickly changed into comfortable clothes and started on the essay due in class tomorrow.
She kept telling herself she had only two more months left of school, and then she’d be going on tour with her father. She’d managed to get four B’s and an A last semester, and she was getting decent grades so far in her classes now. Her father told her that if she failed any classes he wouldn’t let her go on tour with him. He actually hoped the other guys would object to her coming with them on tour, giving him a valid excuse to tell her no, but they were all fine with it. So he gave in.
Casey fell asleep at the computer, still working on her essay. When she woke up the next morning, she quickly finished her essay and made it to school just in time for class. She smiled when she got back a previous paper and saw her grade was a high B. She hoped she could keep it up so she could go on tour.
After her last class ended, she took the bus to visit her father. He’d told her she could visit him and watch how the group worked on their new CD. It was mostly finished, but they were still working on the last song. When she walked in, the secretary recognized her and directed her to the recording studio room where her father was. She watched as the five men stood around the mics and sang the song, their voices blending together beautifully, like always. When they finished, Kevin walked over to Casey and gave her a hug.
“How were your classes?” he asked her. The other guys took a five minute break and went in search of refreshments.
“They went well. I got a B on my last paper, which means I’m still getting good grades.” She smiled, knowing it would remind him of his promise. He sighed, but smiled back at her.
“I’m glad you’re keeping your grades up. Are you involved with anything?”
“Why would I get involved with something if I’m only going to be there for one year before I go on tour with you?” She smiled again, teasing him now. “I’m not involved in anything, but I didn’t get involved much in high school either. I do have friends though. They’re awfully jealous of me, getting to go on such a long vacation around the world with my dad.” Kevin finally smiled at her, knowing she’d told them she was going on vacation rather than on tour. The media still didn’t know about her existence.
Despite his misgivings at allowing her to tour with the group, she would definitely bring a bright spot to his time away from Kristin. She had opted to stay home and continue her career as an actress. She too had expressed concern about taking Casey on tour, but Kevin assured her he’d watch her carefully. Brian had also offered to keep on eye on her.
The guys returned from their break and they finished recording the song, which completed the CD altogether. Everyone wanted to go out to celebrate, and Kevin told Casey she could join them. They went to a nice restaurant and talked the night away. Casey mostly listened, not having much to contribute to the conversation. She enjoyed hearing crazy stories from previous tours and began to see why her father might not want her to come. Nothing could change her mind though. Eventually the group conversation split up into several mini conversations. Casey, finding herself sitting next to Nick, decided to be adventurous and start a conversation with the man she once had a girlish crush on.
“So Nick, are you planning on making another solo album?”
“I’d like to, though my first album didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. But for now I’m going to stick to being a Backstreet Boy. I know we’ve already talked about making another CD after this tour, so maybe after that I might try going solo again.”
“Would you leave the Backstreet Boys to go solo, or just do solo albums on the side?”
“Probably on the side. I enjoy being part of this group; we have a lot of fun together. I don’t think any of us are going to quit anytime soon.”
“I hope not. There would be a lot of disappointed fans out there if you did decide to quit.”
“Are you a fan?” Nick asked with a playful smile.
“But of course!” She held her hand to her chest as if offended by the very idea of not being a fan. “How could I not be a fan of the music my father makes?”
“Well that’s good to know. Otherwise you’d be sitting in the buses probably covering your ears so as not to hear us sing.”
Both started laughing at the image of Casey curled up in the bus covering her ears. Conversation flowed easily between them for the rest of the evening, making it pleasant and pass by quicker than they would have liked. Finally the group dispersed and Kevin had to take Casey home. Just as they were leaving, Nick took a second look at Casey, marveling at how the young girl he remembered had become a woman in just over a few short years. He shook his head, reminding himself that that woman was Kevin’s daughter. This was definitely going to be an interesting tour.