Tension between Nick and Kevin grows, and Kevin tells Casey he plans on leaving the group.
Everyone could feel the tension growing between the two men. Casey, stuck in the middle, did her best to keep the two civil towards each other, but she couldn’t always stop an argument.
Before one of the last concerts, Casey gave Nick a kiss for good luck. She knew he loved it when she kissed him before concerts. He said it made him perform better. Just as she kissed him though, Kevin walked through the door and bumped into them. The atmosphere immediately changed from one of energy and excitement, with the rest of the guys ignoring the couple, to strained civility.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Kevin said in an icy tone as he passed by.
“Dad,” Casey said, using a tone to let him know she hated it when he reminded them of his disapproval.
“Kevin, it’s just a good luck kiss,” Nick said, hoping to ease the tension.
“Do you have to kiss in front of everyone though and make us all uncomfortable?”
“You’re the only one who’s uncomfortable. Why can’t you accept us being together?”
“You already know my reasons.”
“Guys,” Brian said, interrupting before the conversation could turn into an argument, “we have a concert to perform. Let’s try and remember the fans that are waiting out there to see a good show.”
Nick and Kevin nodded. Casey gave Nick’s hand a quick squeeze before letting him join the others. She sighed and returned to the waiting room to watch the concert on the TVs. It seemed that while Kevin had given up trying to talk them out of dating, he constantly wanted to remind them of his feelings.
Despite the occasional tension within the group, the tour continued on and the fans were oblivious to any problems. The media had a field day trying to take pictures of the new couple together, but they were careful to stay out of sight. They both agreed that it was better until Kevin cooled off.
“Kevin, you can’t avoid Nick forever,” Casey said during one of their sightseeing trips. They were currently in Germany with two days off. One was spent making an appearance on a TV show, while the other was a free day. Casey coerced Kevin into visiting a famous castle with her. Both were full of history and architecture that Casey couldn’t resist seeing.
“I know I can’t, and I don’t plan to.”
“What do you mean?” Kevin sighed and leaned against the railing outside the castle.
“I mean, I’ve been thinking of leaving the group.”
“What?” Casey was shocked.
“You’ve seen the tension between Nick and me. It’s too hard for me to be around him while he’s dating you. You know it bothers me, but I’m not trying to tell you to stop dating him. I think with some time and space I can learn to accept your relationship.”
“So you’re leaving just because I’m dating Nick?”
“No. There are other reasons, and I’ve been thinking about this for some time. I really want to start a family with Kristin, but I don’t want to be gone on tour all the time. I want to be able to spend time with my child, time I wasn’t able to spend with you. This isn’t official yet, so don’t tell anyone else, especially Nick. I still haven’t made up my mind, so please don’t tell anyone, okay?”
Casey promised not to say anything. She’d wait for him to tell everyone himself. It wasn’t long after the tour when he talked to the group about leaving. None wanted him to leave, but they were willing to wish him well if it was what he really wanted. Casey admired them all for that. Even if the group didn’t want him to go, they wanted him to be happy. It reminded her of what she’d told her father about her feelings on his marriage to Kristin, and hoped someday he could wish that happiness to Nick and her.
A few days later, Nick and Casey went to see a movie and ate dinner afterwards. During dinner, Nick brought up something that had been on his mind ever since Kevin made his announcement about possibly leaving the group.
“Are you going to go back to school now that the tour’s over? Or will you want to come on tour with us after we make our next CD?”
“I’m going to finish college. I promised my father I would graduate and I won’t break that promise. He’s trying to so hard to accept our relationship, and I don’t want to give him a reason to change his mind. Plus, I do want to get a good education. I want to be able to support myself while you’re away on tour. But do you still want to stay together, even though we’ll be apart while you’re on tour?”
“Of course, how can you even ask that?” Casey smiled, pleased with his answer. “There’s no one I’d rather be with than you.” Nick leaned across the table and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Good, cause I’d hate for my dad to kill you for breaking up with me.”
They laughed, happy together. Neither knew what the future would bring, but they wouldn’t let that spoil the happiness they shared now.