"Is that the last of it?" Joe asked Nick while he carried in the last box up to his brother's apartment.
"Yep, I am completely clearing my head of her and everything."
"Good, you don't need her, not after all that shit she put you through." Joe added.
"Who would have known that I'd have so many boxes, we only dated a little over a year. I think when I moved out I only had three full boxes and somehow that tripled."
"That's what happens when you get a girl in your life…you gain weight, therefore you buy more clothes that will fit you, all the little anniversary gifts for every month."
"I didn't gain any weight," Nick looks at himself in the mirror, concerned, "but I agree on the other stuff you mentioned, all those pointless little knick-knacks that get put in storage or the attic when you break up. It's such a waste of money."
"Or, in some cases they get burned or thrown out." Joe chuckles.
Nick turned around abruptly showing concern, "Oh, no… You don't think she threw out that diamond necklace I got her for our year anniversary, do you?"
Joe laughed, "Obviously not, Nick. She probably kept it or hocked it if she was desperate for money…oh wait, she has way too much money already- you're totally fine..."
Nick rolled his eyes, "I don't know why she used me, and I thought she loved me, but I guess I was wrong."
"I don't know if I should say this or not, but usually when a guy and a girl move in together it's going great. You didn't have to move in with her Nick, you could have stayed here with mom dad and Frankie. Just because Kevin and I moved out of the house didn't mean you had to. Don't grow up so fast you're not even old enough to legally drink or gamble, slow down little bro." Joe smiled, messing up Nick's hair. Nick hates being called younger than his brothers; he clearly acts way more mature.
"I just thought it was the right thing to do, I thought Delta and I were on the same page, I thought it was true love." Nick responded looking down at the floor, unable to make eye contact. He doesn't even want to speak that revolting name.
"Nick, how many times do Kevin and I tell you, you fall too hard way too fast, not every girl is the same, you'll find her one day." Joe tried to comfort his brother as best as he could, but let's face it, this is Kevin's department.
Nick rolled his eyes at his brother again, not only are Kevin and Joe telling him to slow down with love, but even his parents. They have always reinforced it to him whenever he goes through a breakup. He has had only a few relationships in his young life and it is almost guaranteed to have more in the future.
"I just thought it would have worked out better then Miley, Selena and a couple of other girls I don't want to mention, because Delta is a woman-not a girl. I needed someone more mature then my past relationships. She was engaged to some douche bag when I met her in London. She dumped him as soon as we met. I listened to my gut to go for it and it shot me down."
"Well at least she didn't just use you for sex." Joe winked.
He knows Nick is no longer a virgin, I mean come on, and he's nineteen years old, what did you expect? No, he didn't lose it to Delta but yes they had sex a good amount of times. Nick and Delta lived together for a few months-it was bound to happen.
"Um…yeah, hopefully not." Nick answered hesitantly, "But she used me for my fame, just to get an American record label and it worked."
"And then she dumped your ass…She's a triple threat, she's cunning, hot and talented…you're lucky that you're not dead by now."
Nick gave Joe a dirty look. Nick isn't going to lie and say she isn't hot, she is a supermodel. The one thing that bothered him was that she was already his height without heals, and unfortunately she liked to wear stilettos.
"I just want to forget about her and move on…" Nick said plainly.
"Good for you, there are many fish in the sea, don't forget that." Joe tried to cheer him up.
"I'm going to unpack and be alone for awhile." Joe got the hint and left the guestroom to let Nick to unpack.
Nick thought to himself, "I can't go back I know, but if I could, would I really want to change everything?"
A few months later Nick was back to his normal self; he was starring in a Broadway musical, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying", he took over Daniel's role. Unfortunately the show didn't do as well as the cast and production had hoped and it was closing about two and a half months earlier then expected.
On May 12, like many other Saturdays he had two performances, one at 2pm and the other at 8pm. Nick on this particular day he was running a little later than usual. He usually arrives at the Al Hershirefeld Theatre between noon and 1pm.
There was a lot of road work a block or two down, causing traffic. When he finally arrived it was close to 1:15pm. He planned on stopping to sign autographs and take photos with the fans that were standing in line for hours waiting for him, but his driver said he wouldn't have time for pictures, just autographs. As soon as he stepped out of the car he noticed a very sprightly blonde girl with an enormous smile on her face when she saw him. He found her quite attractive and wondered how old she was. Although she appeared young, she acted and dressed maturely. The girl was dressed in a navy-blue polka-dot dress and a short-sleeve white jacket to warm her from the slight wind. As Nick came closer to her direction she said "Hi, Nick!" at a decibel level lower than her speaking voice. She appeared fairly shy, or maybe she was just so nervous around him, therefore she could barely speak her mind. He finally got to her after signing a few other fans' playbills. She held out his and his brothers' very first album together, "It's About Time", he gladly signed her cover right on the picture of his thirteen year-old self. The first thought that came to his mind was "Why can't she say something, I would like to know her name at least." Most fans try and give him a life story and for her, he didn't even know her name. As Nick autographed the cd he noticed a heart necklace upon her neck, gently resting in her cleavage. He didn't want to seem like a pervert by starring at her boobs, but he tried to read the name on it. He noticed a little dolphin in the corner and finally her name dead center on an angle. Luckily he wore his Aviators today, so she couldn't see his eyes as he focused on the name on her necklace, "Erica" it read. Nick tailed his eyes up to her face, green eyes and a small amount of freckles trailing her nose and cheeks. She was gorgeous to him. A middle-aged woman behind her yelled that this was her eighteenth birthday present, he came to the conclusion that it was her mother. He always got a kick out of fan's parents; they would do absolutely anything for their children. He soon realized that he was taking a little too long signing her cd and went one to the next fan. Nick was seemingly disappointed that Erica didn't ask for a hug like most fans and unlike most fans he actually wanted to hug her.
He believes now, that he is over Delta and can look at other girls without thinking about her. It's been a few months- that's enough time, right?
Nick finished signing autographs and took one last glance back at the wavy- blonde- headed girl in the line who was smiling ear to ear. He hoped that she was coming to the show to see him perform. There are some fans who just some to meet him and then leave.
The curtain opened at 2pm and as soon as the overture was over and he raised ten feet above the stage strapped into the "seat", he immediately looked for Erica in the audience.
It was a few scenes later when he finally saw her, she was staring at him in awe and they made eye contact. Her green innocent eyes glistening from the reflection of the spot lights from the stage, causing him to stumble on a line, but he picked it up like nothing had happened. No matter what he did, he couldn't stop thinking or looking at her for that matter.
Erica clapped and cheered for him the loudest at bows and a smile formed on his face. He felt like he did a good job, clearly it showed. After the curtain closed he ran to his dressing room and immediately got changed back into his clothes he wore there. It would be a tragedy if something happened to his costume a week before the show closes.
Unfortunately, Nick isn't allowed to go out after the first show, only before the first show that day and the last show.
Erica thankfully met him before the show. But she didn't know that he wasn't coming outside and after the curtain closed she ran outside to the stage door and waited for Nick.
Henry, the security guard explained to all the girls waiting that Nick isn't coming outside.
Erica was persistent and she stood there anyway, hopeful that he would come outside. Meanwhile, the other cast members came out to sign playbills and she met them.
Nick was able to see his fans through the security camera hooked up to his dressing room and he could see her. If it was up to him we would go outside and meet his fans, but it's in his contract stating, once he is in the building he can only leave the building after all the performances that day. This Sunday in particular, he had two performances.
Henry told the fans to come back after the last show around eleven to take pictures. All she wanted was to get a picture to prove to her friends that she met him. Also she wanted to keep it her profile picture on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. Unfortunately, Erica couldn't wait that long because she would miss her train back to Jersey, they don't run all hours of the night. She decided to write Nick a letter and hopefully the security guard could relay it to him. The only piece of paper she had was the NJ Transit receipt. She got a sharpie from her bag and wrote on top of the print.
I just wanted to let you know that you are such an amazing person, a great inspiration and so talented. The show was amazing and I wish I could come see it again. My parents bought these tickets for my 18th birthday present. Thank you for signing my "It's About Time" cd. It has been my goal to meet you since that cd came out and today it was accomplished even if it was for less than 30 seconds. You are the reason I got through high school and past relationships. Hold On.
She handed off the note to Henry, she waited around until he came back to confirm that Nick received it.
Nick read the note a few minutes later and he wondered if it was the same blonde girl in the polka dot sundress he had met earlier. He called Henry into his dressing room and requested that he'd bring inside. Erica was just about to leave, when Henry was practically chasing after her to get her attention.
"Miss, I have been requested to bring you inside the theater." She smiled and followed him through the stage door.
Nick had his dressing room door open and Henry knocked on the door panel to get his attention.
"Nick, I brought someone to meet you." Henry sang.
Erica and Nick both had the type of personality where they won't be the first one to say something to a new person, they wait for the other person to speak first and then neither of them would shut up. Nick had gotten better at it, due to his fame he has to be more outgoing then he use to be.
Nick got up off the leather love seat and gestured for them to come in. When he saw it was her, he smiled and held out his hand.
"I'm Nick, nice to meet you."
She took his hand, "Hi…I'm Erica, it's nice to meet you…I'm a huge fan." She responded nervously.
Nick gave Henry a "look" to tell him to leave and he obliged.
"Did you get a tour of backstage yet?" Nick asked. He was trying to come up with a way for the two of them to bond a little.
"No, all I saw were the stairs and the hallway to get here." She joked, honestly. She was nervous; I mean who wouldn't be in front of their idol?
"I have a couple of hours left until I have to be ready for the evening performance, I can show you around if you'd like?" Nick suggested.
Erica nodded, "That would be awesome."
She will definitely miss the train now. But seriously if you were in her position would you care? She texted her mom to go home without her and that she will find a ride later. That is a rhetorical question: of course not! He was showing her backstage when he interrupted her fawning over the cool set, "So I read your note…err ticket." He trailed off.
"You did? Well that would explain why you had Henry chase me down before I left." She laughed.
"With or without the note I would have anyway…" Nick blushed looking at the ground.
She tilted her head slightly to the right (it's a blonde thing; it's a gesture you make when you're confused). "Well, I mean it's your 18th birthday and I would have wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday…" he tried to rescue himself from embarrassment.
She smiled, "thanks." She drifted over to the sound system. "There are so many buttons, I can't understand how anyone could figure this out."
"Surprisingly they can. I wouldn't even know what to press." Nick stated, "Yeah, it's just like the lights, but it has more buttons." He said walking over to the light board.
"I dare you to press something." She joked.
He smirked and pressed a button. The audio recording for the begging part of the show when Nick is a window washer and the voice of the book plays "Step 1: The guide to How to Succeed in Business…." Nick mimics the voice humorously, causing Erica to laugh.
"Now if only I knew how to turn it off." He added.
"It might be this switch." she flicked the black switch off, which ended up turning off all the lights in the audience, "Great now we can't see anything..."
"Here." Nick went to the flashlight app on his IPhone 4s and lingered the light over the light box. The light was a barely there, but just enough to let them see which switch it was to turn the lights back on. Nick wanted to use this moment he had to just touch her arm or brush up against her leg by accident and blame the darkness. She could feel his warm breath behind her on her shoulder. She felt a chill run up her spine and her arms had goose bumps. She was hoping he would make a move, because this would be his chance. Unfortunately, a few buttons and switches later they were able to see without the phone light. Nick was a little disappointed, but quickly came up with something to ask because she was just smiling at him with an accomplished grin being that she was able to find the switch and waiting for him to say something. "What else didn't you see?"
"Well I saw the stage, lights and sound board, the dressing rooms backstage, the hallway...um what else is left?"
"That's pretty much it...are you hungry? I didn't eat yet and I only have a couple of hours until I have to be onstage...and I need to get dressed, you know hair and makeup-" Erica cut him off, "Yeah, I could go for some food...What is there to eat?"
"Anything, I have to order in because I'm not allowed outside in-between performances due to contract issues." He explained, air quoting issues, "I have some takeout menus up in my dressing room...if you want to come up there with me..." He added mumbling.
She nodded and followed Nick up the stairs. "Why did we take the stairs?" Erica complained after the 6th flight.
"It's healthy." He flashed her, his pearly whites. She rolled her eyes at his answer and grunted while climbing another flight. After another couple of flights of stairs they got to the 9th floor where the dressing rooms are.
"Mine is the third one to the left." He stated jogging ahead.
"How are you still running after those stairs?" Erica asked trailing behind him.
"You get use to it after doing that every day for the past few months." He answered a matter of factly.
Nick opened his room with the swipe card kind of like the ones used in hotels. His room did look like a hotel room. It had a couch, mini fridge, bathroom, vanity mirror set, coffee table and the couch even pulled out to become a bed to nap on in-between shows. "Pardon its appearance; I was napping before Henry gave me your note." He explained.
"Don't worry, it is probably cleaner then my room will ever be." She laughed.
Nick opened the fridge, "Do you want a water?" he asked taking a bottle for himself and her assuming she wanted one. She nodded and he handed her a water bottle. He pushed the pillows and blankets around trying to neaten up the couch/bed for her to sit next to him. He reached over to the desk and pulled out a few takeout menus.
"Okay, I have a pizza, Chinese, Japanese, Chicken and a cafe down the street that doesn't really deliver, but they will for me and Michael..." He went through the menus and passing them over to Erica.
They settled on pizza because you can never go wrong with pizza it's a people pleaser.
"What do you want on your half of the pizza?" He asked Erica while he dialed the pizzeria.
"Olives and Mushrooms, unless you want something else or..." She trailed off until Nick cut her off.
"Seriously, you like Mushrooms with olives on your pizza too? You are the only person I ever met to like the same pizza topping as I do. Every time I try to split a pie with someone they think it's a weird combo and we usually have to settle for plain or pepperoni." Erica smiled, "I know how you feel, my friends think I'm weird whenever I order that."
Nick ordered their favorite pizza. "Okay thank you sir, have a nice day." The guy on the phone recited.
"They said like fifteen to twenty minutes it should be here, I'm going to text Henry to let the delivery person inside. I don't want him trying to get that person arrested for delivering me pizza." he chuckled while texting Henry.
"Do you actually use your real name when you order things?" She asked curiously.
"Sometimes, but I would only use my first name. Nick is a very common name, so they would never assume it's me. But if it is a place that knows me I try to trick them by using an alias name like Josh, George...whatever comes to my head at the time. One time I used George Bush, but they knew it was me anyway." I laughed.
"Yeah, it's not like your name is Rihanna or Beyonce, they would definitely need fake names to go anywhere." Nick agreed.
It got quiet for a couple of minutes or so. Nick was in deep thought and it was obvious because he was staring into space (the rug in the center of the room or something). Erica was trying to figure out what he was starring at, she tried to follow the direction his eyes were focused on.
"Nick..." she broke his trend of thought, "Are you okay?" she giggled.
Nick snapped out of thought, "Oh, yeah…I know this is a bit out of nowhere, but are you like seeing anyone right now, or like about to...?"
She was sort of caught off guard, but she was really happy that they were on the same page. "I was, but that didn't last. He didn't want me anymore." She looked down at the hem of her skirt and started twisting it between her fingers. Nick noticed her hostility, "Why would he do that?"
"I don't know, he broke up with me for someone else, but it turned out she was just flirting and didn't actually want him. He hinted that he wanted me back, but when he realized I didn't want him, he slept with my ex-best friend out of spite."
"He must have realized what he lost..." Nick said inching closer to her face. They were scanning each other's faces. "You don't know what you have until it's gone..." Erica recited Nick's lyrics and he cut her off with his lips. "You don't even know…" Nick whispered into the kiss.
Her mind wandered, and then breaking the kiss, "Are you with anyone?" She worried.
"I'm with you now…" he responded and crashed his lips into hers to continue before she interrupted. She took that as a no.