Love's Harmony Ch. 09bysimply_cyn©
The concert was sold out and Jennifer was having a great time for once just watching and enjoying the show. She had watched the first half from the skirts of backstage, but now she had moved to the secured area right in front of the stage. They had just started their new release off their album, and the crowd was going crazy.
Not meaning to, but sub-consciously doing it anyway, she stopped in front of Brian. She stood, mesmerized by the passion she saw in his performance: the way he closed his eyes, the way he spoke with his hands, the way he seemed to be singing just to her. “I’d go anywhere for you, anywhere you ask me to. I’d do anything for you, anything you want me to.”
Suddenly, his eyes were on her, the words he sang coming directly to her and Jennifer was moved to tears. They were singing one of her favorite songs, ‘Anywhere For You’. As she listened to the words and watched Brian watching her, she knew he was pleading with her to let go of her misgivings about starting a relationship with him. They had talked about it, tried to reason it out, but in the end she had refused to get involved with him while they were on the road.
The tears continued to fall, streaming down her face as she was once again swept up by Brian’s singing. “I know you’re afraid to let your feelings show. And I understand, girl, but it’s time to let go. I deserve a try, honey just once, give me a chance and I’ll prove you’re wrong . . .” There was no doubt that Brian was singing this song to her. His eyes bore into hers and she knew that if she didn’t leave, she wouldn’t be able to resist him any longer!
As she stepped away and started back towards the side stage, Kevin was suddenly there. During the concerts, the guys usually came down from the stage into the secured area in front of the stage and shook hands with the fans. As she stepped to the side to let him pass her by, he grasped her hand and walked her back to where she had been standing in front of Brian, the whole while singing this song that meant so much to her. ‘Baby, I know you’re hurting. You feel like you could never love again …’ She looked from Kevin back up to where Brian stood, his eyes on her and she immediately knew they were doing this on purpose. Kevin continued walking, leaving her where she stood and she looked up at Brian once more before she started back for the side stage, determined to get away from his piercing gaze.
This time she ran into Nick and she almost burst into tears as he took her hand in his and led her once more to where Brian stood on stage, directly up and in front of where they stood. She could hear the crowd screaming over and over but all she could see was Brian and once more she was drawn into the words. ‘I’ll never let you go. I’d rather die than live without you . . .’ She closed her eyes, her resolve melting to keep their relationship platonic while they were on the road.
Nick moved on, shaking hands and picking up a gift here and there as he made his way back up onto stage. She glanced back up once more to find Brian’s eyes on her and she knew she had to get away. This time she tried going the opposite direction but this time it was A.J. that she ran into. She stopped suddenly, not sure what to do this time. It was obvious what they were trying to do and she couldn’t help but smile at their efforts. Suddenly A.J.’s hand was covering hers and instead of walking her back to the spot in front of Brian, he was pulling her towards him. She followed him and then balked as she saw where he was taking her. He was taking her up onto stage!! Her heart raced inside her chest as she stopped, pulling back. There was no way she was going onstage!! She wouldn’t be able to resist Brian onstage in front of thousands of screaming fans, not while he was singing this song!
“Alex, no!” she said to him as he continued to sing, all the while pulling her onto stage. “Alex …” Suddenly they were onstage and she knew the fans could see her because they were going crazy!! She stopped fighting him and walked slowly to where Brian stood, his hand reaching out for hers. The crowd was shouting their approval and Jennifer was suddenly swept into the frenzied atmosphere as she watched Brian walk towards her, all the while singing . . . begging her to give in to him and she knew in her heart that she would!
“Hey!” Jennifer looked up from the couch to see A.J. come into the room.
“Hey,” she answered, smiling up at him.
As he walked in front of her and sat on the nearby chair, he asked, “What are you watching?’
“Oh, I don’t know. I’m just flipping through the channels really.” The room was dark except for the light from the television and a small lamp on the table in the kitchen. “You want to watch something?”
“Nah,” he answered, looking over at her. He watched her for a few minutes and then said, “Jen, I want to apologize to you.”
She looked over at him, a questioning look on her face. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, I’ve been a real jerk to you since we started this tour and I owe you an apology.”
“No you don’t,” she answered, smiling at him.
“Yes I do,” he answered, shaking his head at her. “I doubted you and I was wrong. I admit when I’m wrong.”
She smiled at him, reaching over to take his hand. “I appreciate that Alex, I do. But I know you were just looking out for the band. You weren’t sure and that’s okay. I knew I had a job to do and you helped me do it well. If I hadn’t, you wouldn’t have accepted me, and now you have.”
He smiled at her, squeezing her hand. “Well, I just wanted to apologize. You’ve proved yourself over and over again on this tour and I appreciate all you’ve done for us.”
Jennifer just smiled and squeezed his hand before she released it. “You’re a sweet guy, Alex … no matter what anyone says.” They laughed for a moment as they watched the tube.
And then suddenly, he asked, “So, the concert went great today, don’t you think?”
She looked over at him, surprised at the sudden turn of conversation. “Yeah . . . right up to the part where you drug me on stage,” she replied, giving him the best evil expression she could muster.
“Yeah, well . . .” he laughed, looking over at her. “Did it work?”
“No,” she replied.
“When are you and B-Rok going to give it up?” he asked, shaking his head at her.
“What do you mean?” she asked, looking over at him.
“I mean, you’ve given it your best shot, but it’s time to get it out in the open, you know what I mean? It’s killing him.” He watched her as she turned away from him, intent on the television. But he could see the range of emotions crossing her face. “What’s up with that?” he prompted her.
Turning back to him, she said, “A.J., I have a job to do.”
“And you’re doing it, “ he argued. “What does Bri have to do with that?”
“Everything,” she barely got out. Just thinking about it brought tears to her eyes. A.J. saw them and reached out for her hand again. She swallowed hard, trying to get past the lump that suddenly formed in her throat. “I have to think about what’s best for the band,” she managed, and then stopped, fighting back the flood of tears that threatened to engulf her. She tried desperately to retain control over her flighty emotions. “Me getting involved with Brian, well … it just isn’t in the best interest … of the band … of you guys,” she said, looking over at him.
He could see the tears glistening in her eyes. “Shit Jennifer! That’s a piece of crap excuse and you know it.” he said. “The fans saw you guys and loved it. No repercussions came from that. That was your proof right there. What else do you need?”
She tried to smile, but it came out more like a grimace. He felt for her. It was obvious she was in love with Brian but was torn over her loyalties and his. “I’ve never … felt the way about … anyone, the way I do … for him,” she said, a tear silently sliding down her cheek. She quickly reached up, brushing it away, looking at the T.V. once more, as if that could take her away from the feelings she was having.
“He feels that way about you too,” he offered, lightly massaging her hand with his. “You can work it out. It’ll be okay.”
“I wish that was true,” she said, looking at him once again as the tears continued to slide slowly down her face. She brushed them away once again, determined to get a hold of herself. “Alex, it’s just not possible. I’m here to promote the band and what’s best for it. Getting involved with Brian would not work … as much as I wish it could.”
A.J. continued to show his silent support, as she sought to get control of herself. At that moment, both of them heard a door close at the back of the bus and Jennifer reached up the wipe her face clear as A.J. sat back. “What’s going on?” Nick asked, coming into the room and catching on to the sullen mood.
A.J. looked at Jennifer as she stared back at him silently, her eyes begging him not to say anything. He nodded and said, turning to Nick, “Nothing.”
Nick looked over at Jennifer and saw that something had happened but it was obvious she didn’t want to talk about it. “Okay,” he replied, coming over to sit beside A.J. on the couch. “What’s on that’s good?”
“Here,” Jennifer replied, handing over the remote control. “It’s late and I’m tired.” Both guys stood as she got up from her chair and started for the room she was sharing with Fatima. She looked over at A.J. and said, “Good night.” But he could see she was saying more than that and he smiled at her as he nodded his head in response.
The next morning, A.J. walked through the sitting area of the bus, searching for Jennifer. It was obvious that she had been here . . . breakfast sat on the table and Nick and Howie sat filling their plates. “Where’s Jennifer?” he asked, grabbing a slice of bacon.
“I don’t know,” Howie replied, taking his plate over to the couch, settling down to dig in.
“What do you mean ‘you don’t know’? She fixed breakfast, right?”
“Yeah, but then she left.”
“Well, was she dressed? Did she say where she was going? Help me out here.”
“What’s the big deal?” Nick asked, and then looking at him. “All the sudden you two have formed a friendship. What’s up with that?”
“I finally realized what a special lady she is,” he admitted, regret filling him once again as he was reminded of how he had treated her on this trip. If he hadn’t been such a jerk … And then focusing on the task at hand, “So, help me out. Where is she?”
“I think she’s getting dressed,” Howie replied, taking a bite of the omelet she had made him. “Damn, I’m gonna get fat if I keep eating like this. When you find her, tell her she’s outdone herself again,” he said, smiling up at A.J. as he took another big bite.
A.J. laughed, heading out the door and to the R.V. that she shared with Fatima. When he reached the door, it was cracked open and he pushed it open a little wider. “Jen?’
“Yeah?” came the call from the bathroom down the hall.
“Are you decent? Can I come in?”
Jennifer recognized A.J.’s voice and was surprised. They had made some headway last night in understanding each other, but she was still surprised that he was actually seeking her out. “Yeah,” she answered, wondering what he wanted. “Come on back.”
When he entered he saw she about halfway dressed. She had on blue jean shorts that were buttoned halfway up and a fushia colored lace bra. Her long blonde hair was pulled up into a ponytail and she was sitting at the dressing table, putting her make-up on. She looked up at him and he smiled sheepishly at her as she said, “Hi. What’s going on?”
“Are you sure this isn’t a bad time?” he asked, surprised that she let him in half dressed.
“I’m not embarrassing you, am I?” she teased. She turned back to the make-up table, lightly powdering her face.
“No,” he answered, taking a seat on the closed toilet.
“So, what’s going on?” she asked, knowing he wasn’t here just to shoot the breeze. She hoped he wasn’t going to talk about last night, but something inside told her that’s exactly what he was going to do. So she wasn’t surprised when he brought up Brian and their conversation the previous night.
“Look, I know what you said last night and I’m not trying to harp on the subject, but I think you’re doing yourself a real injustice by not doing what’s true to your heart. You and Brian belong together. It’s time y’all worked it out.”
Jennifer looked over at him, taking a deep breath. This was not the way she wanted to start out her day. “Alex, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, really … I do. But I thought I made it clear last night. Starting a relationship with Brian is not in the best interest of the band.”
“I don’t understand that,” he said, shaking his head at her. “So, you and Brian are together. How does that hurt the band? You still have a job to do and he does too. What does one have to do with the other?”
She stood up and crossed over to the sink to brush her teeth. As she ran the water and filled her brush with toothpaste, she tried explaining it to him. “For one thing, it’s not fair to you guys. Every single one of you have admitted to wanting to have a girlfriend, but how impossible it is when you’re moving from place to place constantly. You’re never in one place long enough to start a relationship. So, how are y’all going to feel if Brian has a built-in girlfriend … one that is always around? That’s just not right, or fair!” She stopped talking as she began brushing her teeth.
“Jen, you have to stop thinking about others and concentrate on what you want … what’s best for you.” He stopped, watching her as she rolled her eyes at him through the mirror. “Don’t do that!” he said. “You treat us like a bunch of children … you take care of us, you cook for us, you take care of all our problems and you’re a good sounding board. You act just like Kevin! It’s like you two are our parents.” He stopped, getting up from where he sat and crossed over to face her. “My god! You’re twenty-three years old. You’re beautiful and available! You may a have a job to do, but it’s okay to have a life.”
Jennifer finished brushing her teeth, wiped her mouth and turned to face him. She took a deep breath and sighed. “Don’t think I haven’t thought about each point that you’ve said, Alex. I have. The truth is, when I’m in a relationship I’m very selfish. I like to be the center of attention. To me, the relationship has to come first. Now,” she pointed out the obvious. “Brian cannot give me that … not now. You know he can’t. The band is his life … you guys. I can’t ask him to choose. I won’t.”
A.J. watched her for a moment, not believing she was telling the whole truth. “But you’re a part of us, he wouldn’t be choosing.”
She smiled at him, knowing how much it took for him to finally admit that she was a part of the group. “It’s still not fair to you guys.” She crossed back over to the dressing table, picking up her shirt and pulling it over her head. A.J. recognized it as being one of Brian’s T-shirts and he knew at that moment that she wasn’t being honest with herself. Even unconsciously, she was thinking of him. A part of him wondered why he was pursuing this issue with her. A part of him wanted things to cool off between the two of them. He hadn’t wanted to be, but in the time they had been together, he had found that he was attracted to her as well. But even as he watched her, he knew that she wasn’t interested in him. She wasn’t interested in Ben. It was all Brian.
“Try to understand what I’m saying,” he said, crossing back over to her and taking a hold of her arm. When she turned to look him in the eyes, he said, “If things work out for you guys then there’s hope for the rest of us.” He stopped, searching her eyes to see if she understood what he was trying to say. “If you guys get together then it’s possible for the rest of us to have a life outside of The Backstreet Boys. That’s what we all want, Jen.”
“I can’t,” she repeated, pulling away from him as she headed for the door.
He followed her for a moment, adding, “We are like family, Jen. When you hurt Brian, you hurt all of us. I’m begging you … he’s miserable. He’s making us miserable. All he wants is to be with you and we want it to happen. Brian is the life-force of the group and when he’s not pumped up, our enthusiasm is gone.”
“Nick doesn’t want it to happen,” she pointed out.
“Nick is confused. He’s nineteen,” A.J. said, smiling at her and shaking his head. “What you don’t know is that at one time every one of us felt the way Nick does. Here we are on tour with a beautiful, single, young woman. Any one of us would’ve liked to be in Brian’s position but it’s B-Rok that you love. We all know that … all of us Jen. Even Nick.” He stopped, taking her hand in his again. Admitting it out loud helped reinforce the same thing for him. “Trust me, we’re okay with this. You are the only one who has to work it out.”
She looked at him for a moment and he could see she was really pondering all that he had said. She looked across the room at a framed picture of her and Brian that sat on her dressing table and then back at A.J. She tried to smile at him but he could see her eyes turning a little misty as she said, “I wish it was that easy, Alex.”
“It is,” he said, hoping he could convince her for Brian’s sake … for her sake … for his sake. But all she did was squeeze his hand, let go and leave the bathroom. He watched her for a moment, cursing that he hadn’t done any good.