Casey gets into a little accident when the fans get too excited and then goes sightseeing with Nick for a day in Washington, D.C.
Near the end of the concert, Casey’s bodyguard, Carl, assigned by Kevin to watch her, told her it was time to head back to the bus. She wasn’t supposed to be seen with the group, so the plan was for her to be on the bus when the guys came out. As she exited the building through the back door, she was shocked by how many people were waiting outside for a glimpse of the boys. A path had been set up using small fences as barricades, but the fans were crowding so close she had to walk behind her bodyguard to make sure she got through.
An unexpected cheer arose, and Casey realized the group had just exited the building, sooner than she or Carl had anticipated. The energy in the crowd rose to a frenzy, and Casey was caught in the middle. Hands and arms started reaching towards the guys, hoping to grab on to something to delay the exciting moment longer.
In the confusion, Casey fell farther behind her bodyguard, and suddenly found herself alone and surrounded by crazy fans. Some people grabbed hold of Casey with the hope of delaying the Boys more. Casey tried to pry the hands off of her but more kept coming. She felt her shirt sleeve rip and felt pain where people were grabbing her so hard. Tears began forming in her eyes. She was scared. She looked for Carl, hoping he’d come back for her, but she couldn’t see very far.
Suddenly she felt two strong hands grab her from behind and push her forward, out of the chaos she’d been trapped in. The person steered her quickly onto the bus, and soon the din from outside lessened as the door closed.
“Are you okay?” Nick asked her from behind. He sat her down facing him so he could see her face. She saw her father standing directly behind him, looking angrier than she’d ever seen him.
“Nick, stay with her. I’m going to talk to Carl and find out what happened.” Nick nodded, and Kevin walked to the back of the bus with his cell phone out.
“Casey, are you okay?” Nick asked again.
“Yes, I think so.” As she took stock of her injuries, her emotions from the event overwhelmed her, and tears fell down her cheeks.
Nick felt sorry for her, understanding how scary the fans could be the first time. Without waiting to think about his actions, he pulled Casey into his arms and held her there, letting her cry into his chest. After a few minutes, she calmed down. Neither knew what to do, so they stayed in the hug a minute longer. When Kevin walked back towards them, Nick pulled himself away from her.
“What did Carl say?” he asked. Kevin scowled, though not at Nick.
“He lost track of the songs and thought we still had one more, which is why he and Casey left so late. Then he didn’t realize he’d left Casey behind until he reached the buses without her. By then it was too late to go back through the crowd to find her.” He knelt down next to Nick and spoke to Casey. “Are you hurt?”
“Not too much,” Casey said honestly. “I think I’ll have a few bruises, but that’s it.” Kevin breathed a sigh of relief and hugged Casey tightly.
“You’re never going to do that again.” Casey pulled back slightly.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean from now on you’re going to stay in the bus, not watch the concert from back stage. Is that understood?”
“But it was just a mistake. Carl didn’t mean for us to leave so late. Couldn’t I –”
“No. It was a mistake to let you watch tonight. You could have been seriously injured, with more than just a few bruises. No, you’ll stay on the bus from now on, and that’s my final decision.”
Nick said nothing. He knew Casey didn’t agree with Kevin, and wanted to speak to him on her behalf, but the look on Kevin’s face told him this wasn’t the time to try to talk any sense into Kevin. He hoped she realized that too. He stood up and moved away from Casey, not wanting to anger Kevin anymore by being near his daughter. Instead, he claimed a bunk and went to sleep.
Casey went to bed shortly after, but didn’t fall asleep for a long time. She thought about the fans that attacked her, though they weren’t intentionally trying to hurt her. Her father refused to listen to her pleas to watch any more shows, and she knew it was a hopeless case. As much as she respected him and understood his desire to protect her, she hated being cooped up in the buses. Rarely did she get to spend extended amounts of time outside; the time she did spend outside was carefully selected to avoid unnecessary public exposure, to make sure the media never found out about her.
She only got a few hours of sleep when the buses reached the next hotel. She stumbled along after the others and slept a little more in her hotel room. When she finally got up, she looked at herself in the mirror and gasped. Her upper arms were covered in bruises where she’d been grabbed by the crowd. They felt sore all over. She groaned at the thought of having her father see them, so she wore a shirt with three-quarter length sleeves to hide them. Only then did she head down to breakfast. Being the last to get up, only Nick was still eating when she arrived. Everyone else had already finished and headed off to various activities.
“How are you feeling?” Nick asked as she poured herself a cup of coffee.
“Tired, but fine. Where’s my dad?”
“He went with Brian, who’s doing some kind of appearance to promote his solo album.”
“So what are you going to do on your day off?” She started eating a bagel while he answered.
“Not sure yet. I’d thought about shooting some hoops, or maybe heading into town to do some sightseeing. I’ve never had the chance to see anything in D.C. before.”
“Would you mind if I joined you? I’ve never been in Washington D.C. before and I’d love to explore the city.”
“Sure. We can leave when you finish eating.”
Casey finished eating quickly, spurred on by the prospect of exploring her nation’s capitol. Nick called a cab to take them to the capitol building, and from there they walked to other famous buildings. They started by heading to the Washington Monument, and from there Casey led them to the Lincoln Memorial and the war memorials. She shared her knowledge of the sights with Nick, telling him the highlights of what she remembered from school. He shared what little he remembered from his online courses. They ended their tour with the White House.
“You must love history to remember all that stuff about the sights around here,” Nick told her as they stood gazing at the White House. “Like, I had no idea that the Washington Monument was once the tallest building in the world. Too bad the French had to build the Eiffel Tower.”
“Yep. And did you know that in 1814 the White House was actually set on fire, and almost completely burned to the ground? But reconstruction began immediately of course, and the next President moved in when it was almost done, in 1817, just three years later.”
“No, I did not know that,” Nick said with a smile. “Most of what you’ve told today I didn’t know. And, I am ashamed to say, I probably won’t remember most of it after today either.”
“That’s okay,” Casey said, patting his arm. “That’s why I’m here. You can just ask me and I can either tell you the answer, or tell you where to find it.”
Casey removed her hand from Nick’s arm, realizing it was still there. She avoided looking at Nick, hoping he didn’t think she was being forward or flirting with him. As much as she wanted to flirt, he hadn’t showed any signs of being interested in her that way. Perhaps that was for the best, otherwise Kevin would probably send her home straight away.
As Casey dealt with her thoughts, Nick was busy with his own. He had hoped Casey wouldn’t realize her hand was still on his arm, and leave it there. It felt right being with her. Kevin would have a heart attack if he knew how he really felt about Casey, but he couldn’t help it. He enjoyed being around her, and she seemed to understand him better than most. Unfortunately, Casey seemed to just enjoy being friends. Except for small, innocent, incidents like forgetting to take her hand off his arm, she’d never made any moves towards him.
“We should probably get back,” Nick said. He felt like he aught to be the responsible one, to make sure Kevin didn’t get the wrong idea.
“You’re right. My dad’s probably wondering where I am right about now.”
Nick once again hailed a cab to take them back to the hotel. It had been a good day, though tough on his emotions. Spending the whole day alone with Casey and not acting on his emotions had been harder than he thought. He’d have to be more careful or he’d end up doing something he’d regret later.
Once back at the hotel, Casey told Kevin everything she and Nick had done today. Kevin in turn told her to be careful not to spend too much time with Nick. He loved her and didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. She assured him she’d be careful, and went to sleep early that night. In the morning she planned to ask Kevin if she could watch their show again, and she wanted to get a good night’s sleep to be prepared.