chapter two: the guys

At about 7AM the next morning, Amanda and Emma woke up. Nick was supposed to be at the stuidio by 8AM. At about 7:30, they went up to Nick's room and he was still in bed. "I can't believe it, HE'S the one that's supposed to be in the studio, and we're the ones awake. That works REALLY well. Kevin will be pleased," said Amanda. "Squeaker, get up." She shook him gently. He was still fast asleep. Amanda, getting irritated, finally yelled, "SQUEAKER!!! Kevin's here!!"

Nick jumped awake looking more confused than ever. "I'm awake! I'm awake!! I'm… hey," he said.

Emma giggled and Amanda said, "Good morning, Squeaker."

"Kevin's not here…" said Nick, still confused.

"Very good, now come on. You're supposed to be in the studio in… 25 minutes," said Amanda.

"Yes, MOM," said Nick, getting out of bed. Emma turned a little red and started giggling while Amanda rolled her eyes. "What?"

"Nice drawls, Nick, at least they aren't your bikini greens," said Amanda.

Nick looked down and turned bright red. He was only wearing a t-shirt and boxers. "Everyone OUT of my room!!" said Nick.

"Fine, Fine," said Amanda, "Hurry up. If you're late, we're bound to get yelled at too," said Amanda, leaving the room, followed by Emma. As soon as they left his room, Nick covered his face with his pillow in embarassment. "At least it wasn't his Pooh Bear boxers," said Amanda, laughing.

"He has Pooh Bear boxers?" asked Emma, still giggling.

"Yeah, but don't say nothin', because no one's supposed to know," said Amanda, cracking up. About twenty minutes later, Nick finally got dressed with his hair not brushed and hanging. "Very attractive, Squeaker," said Amanda.

"Shut up…" said Nick, pouting. The three drove down to the studio and got there about 8:05. The other four were already there.

"OMG…" said Emma, as she followed Nick and Amanda into the studio.

Brian walked up to them and said, "Hey Nick, you're late and yes, Kevin knows. Hey, who's that?"

"This is uh…uh…" stuttered Nick.

"This is my room mate, Emma. She's down here visiting for the summer. She actually likes you guys for some odd reason so I thought I'd bring her down," Amanda explained for Nick.

"We love you too Amanda, as always," said Brian. He went up to Emma and smiled warmly and introduced himself. "Hey, my name's Brian. It's a pleasure to meet you, Emma. It's always nice when pretty girls like you come down to the studio. Well, Amanda comes down once and a while but she's an exception."

"Shut up, Brian," said Amanda, sticking her tongue out, "You know I can kick your butt any day."

"You probably could but I'd never hit a girl," said Brian, sticking his tongue out.

"Nice to meet you," said Emma, still trying to believe all of this is real.

AJ soon joined them. "Hey brat. Who's the pretty lady?" he asked.

"Hey dork. This is my room mate, Emma. Don't even get any ideas," said Amanda.

AJ, trying to look innocent as possible, replied, "Me? Get any ideas? NEVER." He smiled and kissed Emma's hand and said, "Nice to meet you, Emma."

Emma blushed and said, "Nice to meet you…"

Brian rolled his eyes while Nick got a little jealous again and pouted. "'Me? Get any ideas? NEVER'" mimicked Brian.

"Shut up, Rok," said AJ.

"Are we gonna get any recording done today?!" said Kevin, slightly annoyed and poking his head out from the booth.

"…Sorry Kevin," said Brian and AJ, rushing back into the booth.

"Nick! Get in here," said Kevin.

Nick jumped slightly hearing his name, and also rushed into the booth. "We'll meet Kevin and Howie a little later. Right now, Kevin's stressing out so he's not in the best mood. He is a really nice guy though. And Howie, he's seriously as sweet as he seems on TV. He is SUCH a sweet heart. Brian's a sweetie, a dork but he's sweet. AJ is annoying, but he can be a cool guy…sometimes," said Amanda, taking a seat.

Emma sat down next to her. They watched Nick getting scolded by Kevin in the sound proof booth. "This is so unbelievable. I still can't believe all of this," said Emma.

"It's seriously not that big of a deal," said Amanda.

"About half of the girls in America would disagree with you there, Amanda," said Emma.

"Yeah…well, ya'll are just weird," said Amanda.

"What are they recording anyways?" asked Emma.

"They've been working on a few songs that they want to get a single out of. So far, from what I heard, they're all pretty good," said Amanda.

"…They seem really nice," said Emma.

"They are, when they aren't being stupid, which is rare. Nah, just kidding. They're really nice guys," said Amanda.

"You are so mean," said Emma, giggling.

"Yeah, well that's just how I am," said Amanda.

They listened to the boys sing a few songs and Kevin constantly scolding the other four. About an hour later, he finally let them out of the booth. Nick was pouting again. Amanda stood up and brought Emma up to Kevin and Howie. "Hey, Amanda. Who's your pretty friend?" asked Kevin.

"This is my room mate, Emma. She's a pretty big fan of you guys, so I thought I'd bring her down," said Amanda.

Kevin smiled warmly and took her hand and said, "Nice to meet you Emma, I'm Kevin."

"Oh I know…" said Emma, in a half daze, "I… I mean, it's nice to meet you, Kevin."

Nick was still pouting and sat down with his arms crossed. "What's his problem?" asked Amanda.

"He just got yelled at by Kevin, again," said Howie, turning to Emma and taking her hand and kissing it gently. "Nice to meet you, Emma. I'm Howie," he said with a wink. The other guys rolled their eyes.

Emma blushed and said, "I'm… Emma."

"Okay guys, give her a chance to breath please," said Amanda, "Squeaker, quit your whining."

"I'm not whining," said Nick, still pouting.

"The hell you aren't, grow up Nick," said Amanda.

"Shut up, just leave me alone!" said Nick, actually taking it to heart and storming out of the recording studio.

"…Oops," said Amanda.

"Way to go, Amanda. Maybe you could have yelled at him more," said AJ.

"Shut up, AJ," said Amanda.

"You're almost as bad as Kevin," said Brian.

"Ugh, just shut up. I'll go talk to him," said Amanda, "Come on, Emma." She dragged Emma outside and found Nick sitting outside on the porch. "…Squeaker."

"What?" asked Nick, not looking up.

"I'm sorry, alright? I'm only joking, you should know that by now," said Amanda.

"Well sorry if I didn't find it funny," said Nick, still not looking up.

"Squeaker…" said Amanda.

Emma sat down next to him and put her arm around him gently. Nick jumped slightly and hoped that she didn't notice that and the fact that he was blushing slightly. "She can be pretty bad sometimes, huh?" she said.

Nick nodded and said, "REALLY bad."

"Well, she's weird and that's the way she shows us that she loves us," said Emma.

"That's not why…" mumbled Amanda, but was interrupted by Emma hitting her on the leg.

"She's so mean," whined Nick.

"I know, but she can be really nice too. Can you forgive her? Please? For me?" asked Emma.

Nick was turning even redder but managed to smile and said, "Fine. I'll forgive her, but just for you."

"Come on, let's go back inside," said Emma, helping Nick to his feet.

Amanda looked down and mumbled, "Sorry." Nick in reply stuck out his tongue and went back into the studio. "I take that you forgive me." Amanda and Emma followed him in.

"Feeling better, Nick?" asked Brian. Nick nodded.

The boys took their break and sat down and talked to Emma and Amanda for a while. Emma's nervousness started to disappear slowly as the boys made her feel welcome. After a while, Amanda said, "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you guys, Emma is coming along with us on the tour."

"She is? Cool. Then we'll be able to get to know each other pretty well," said AJ, putting an arm around her. Nick glared at him.

Amanda rolled her eyes and said, "AJ, I told you STOP getting ideas you pervert."

"Hey, I'm not a pervert," said AJ, "right guys?" Silence.

"And you're an idiot if you thought they'd back you up there," said Amanda.

"…You guys suck," said AJ, now pouting.

"AJ, be quiet. But back to Emma coming with us on tour, what do you mean?" asked Kevin.

"Exactly what it sounds like, Kevin. Denise was looking for an assistant, so I gave her a call, and she hired Emma. Simple as that, that should be alright with you then, Kevin," said Amanda.

"Still, what if she gets hurt? What if she…" Kevin said, trying to get into all of the legal business.

Brian interupted and said, "Kev… I'm sure she'll be fine. If any accidents happen, it'll be one of us. That's all, no big deal."

"Except for Nick, because he usually is the accident," said AJ.

"Shut up," said Nick, pushing AJ slightly.

"But…" said Kevin, still worried.

"If it's a big deal…I won't go," said Emma, trying her best not to sound disappointed.

"It's not a big deal, Emma. Kevin, look, nothing will happen. If something does happen, I'll take all the responsibility for it. Alright? You can quote me on that," said Amanda.

"Amanda…" Kevin tried to start again.

"Aw come on, Kev, please?" asked Nick.

"Kevin, I'm sure it's alright. I mean, if Denise is the one that hired her, everything will be fine," said Howie.

Kevin sighed. "Alright, Emma can come. You four better behave though," he said.

"We will," said the other four, smiling their perfect angel smiles.

Amanda and Kevin rolled their eyes while Emma giggled. "Alright, we better get back to recording, come on guys," said Kevin, going back to the booth.

"See you in a bit, Emma," said Brian, as the others followed him into the booth. Once they got into the booth, Brian elbowed Nick slightly.

"Ow, what was that for?" said Nick.

Brian smirked and whispered, "You like her don't you?"

Nick turned bright red, "I…I do not," said Nick.

"Oh really…then maybe I'll ask her out," said Brian.

"No wait!!" said Nick, covering his mouth, after realizing how loud he was.

Brian smiled. "Just ask her out, man," he said.

"I…I would if I could speak one sentence without stuttering to her," said Nick.

"Just loosen up a little. I think she likes you too," said Brian.

"You think so?" asked Nick, his face brightening up quickly.

"I do want to get SOME work done today," said Kevin, getting annoyed again.

"…Sorry," said Nick, looking at Brian. Brian nodded, replying to his question.

"Oh crap, I gotta get going," said Amanda, standing up.

Emma raised her eyebrow. "What do you mean, you have to get going?" she asked.

"Oh, didn't I tell you? I have dance rehearsals today," said Amanda.

"No, you didn't tell me. Are you sure this isn't one of your coincidences?" asked Emma.

"No, of course not," said Amanda, smirking, "Don't worry. They won't bite. Well, AJ and Brian might, but I'm sure Kevin will protect you, have fun. See you later." Amanda skipped out of the studio.(she skipped...)

"She did not just do that to me…" said Emma, getting nervous again. About 30 minutes later, the guys came back out.

"Hey, where did the brat go?" asked AJ.

"She said she had dance rehearsal and left. She said she'd be back later," answered Emma.

"So… that would mean there'd be no interruptions, hehe," said AJ, sitting next to her and putting his arm around her.

Nick glared at him and Kevin rolled his eyes and said, "AJ, leave the poor girl alone."

"Fine, take all the fun out of it," said AJ, taking his arm off of her.

"So, how'd you meet Amanda?" asked Brian.

"Basically in college," said Emma, "Well, actually, we met the summer vacation right before school started. We were both at a writing workshop and we found out that we were going to be in the same college. After that, we became good friends and decided that we should try to dorm together or get an apartment together nearby the college. She made the workshop really interesting. She'd always have something to say and drive the instructor crazy…and now all I'm doing is babbling so I'll shut up." Emma started to blush again.

"You aren't babbling. The only idiot I know that babbles is AJ," said Brian.

"Shut up, Rok," said AJ.

Slowly, Emma became really comfortable with the guys. They spent the next two hours talking with Emma, recording individually, editing, and mixing. Nick kept trying to talk to Emma but he kept getting interrupted by the other guys or he ended up losing his courage to talk to her. Finally, Amanda came back. "Hey, did everything go okay while I was gone? Do I need to kill any of these idiots?" asked Amanda.

Emma smacked Amanda on the arm. "You so did that on purpose," she said.

Amanda smiled, "Hey, ow. Yeah, well, so I did. At least you got to know them a little better," she said.

"Fine, you have a point. But I still can't believe you did that," said Emma.

The boys finally finished and came out of the soundproof booth. "I'm gonna take Howie and Brian home. It was nice to meet you, Emma. See you soon," said Kevin, giving her a hug.

"It was really nice to meet you guys," said Emma, blushing again.

"Hey, now I get a hug," said Brian, hugging her.

"Fine," said Howie. After Brian let Emma go, Howie kissed her on the cheek and winked.

"Later, guys," said Amanda, waving.

"…They hugged me," said Emma

"Very good, and one even kissed you on the cheek," said Amanda.

"Well…hey if that much got you excited," said AJ with a smirk.

Amanda and Nick both hit AJ. "AJ, SHUT UP. Damn, you're being more annoying than usual," said Amanda.

"Aww, are you jealous, brat?" asked AJ.

Amanda rolled her eyes. "WHY would I be jealous?! You've tried to pick me up enough times already. Maybe Nick isn't the one that needs to grow up," said Amanda.

"Jeez, Amanda. I'm just messing around. Fine, I'm sorry, alright? How about I take you all out for dinner. My treat," said AJ.

Amanda sighed and said, "I know what your idea for dinner is but fine, I guess we can go."

"Good, come on, let's go," said AJ, heading out as the others followed.

"…Hey Nick, why don't you drive with Emma, and I'll ride with AJ?" asked Amanda.

"What?" asked AJ. Emma turned red.

"…Unless you mind," said Amanda.

"No… sure I guess…" said AJ, unlocking his car.

"But…but…"said Nick.

"OMG…what is she doing…" Emma whispered to herself.

"Got it, Nick? Good, we'll see you there. You know where to go," said Amanda, getting into AJ's car.

"Why would you want to ride with me?" asked AJ, "I thought you hate me."

"I don't hate you, AJ, although you can be REALLY annoying at times. Anyways, I'm guessing, out of the 2 hours that you guys were with Emma, Nick probably didn't get to talk to her at all. So I wanted to give him a chance."

"…So you don't hate me?" asked AJ, pulling out.

"No, I don't hate you. I don't hate any of you guys. Although you are all idiots," she said, sticking out her tongue.

AJ smiled. "Yeah, well and you're a brat," he said.

"I guess that makes us even?" asked Amanda. AJ laughed and nodded.

Nick finally managed to unlock his car and the both of them got in. Then Nick suddenly forgot how to start the car. Finally, Emma said, "…You don't talk much do you?"

"What?" asked Nick, a bit surprised at that comment, considering it was the first time he had ever heard it spoken to him.

"I thought you'd talk more, but you're so quiet…and shy," said Emma.

"I…I'm only quiet when I'm nervous," said Nick, finally starting the car and following AJ's car.

"Am I making you nervous?" asked Emma.

Nick blushed and shook his head. "I don't know, I just…ugh I don't know. I'm sorry, Emma. Sometimes I just get really stupid," said Nick.

"You aren't stupid at all. You're really cute, and, I like guys that can be shy," Emma said with a warm smile.

Nick turned even redder. "E…Emma, I was wondering," said Nick, pulling up to the place AJ just pulled up to.

"Yes?" asked Emma.

"W…would you…" started Nick, but he was interrupted by AJ banging on the window and scaring him to death.

"Hey! Hurry up and get out! I'm hungry," said AJ, walking away.

"Thank you SO much, AJ…" said Nick under his breath.

Emma smiled and looked up to where they pulled up to and couldn't help but laugh. "McDonalds?" She stepped out of the car.

"Yeah… it's not a joke. AJ seriously LOVES McDonalds," said Nick, stepping out.

Amanda walked up to Nick and Emma. "So, did you guys talk much?" asked Amanda.

"…A little," said Emma.

"We probably could have talked more if SOMEONE didn't interrupt us," said Nick, still a little bitter and pouting.

"So come on, Amanda, get us some food," said AJ.

Amanda rolled her eyes and sighed, "Fine, you want the usual, right?" AJ nodded and smiled. "What about you, Nick?"

"…I'm not that hungry," said Nick.

"You sure? Fine, I'll pick out something for you. Come on, AJ. You said you'd pay, hand it over," said Amanda.

"Jeez, here," said AJ, handing Amanda a twenty dollar bill.

"Thank you, be out in a bit. You guys should probably get back in your cars before you get spotted. Come on, Emma," said Amanda, heading in. Emma followed her while the guys hid in their cars. Once they were inside, Amanda asked, "So, what did you two talk about?"

"…Not much, I think he was going to ask me something but he got interrupted by AJ," said Emma.

"Damn it, AJ," said Amanda.

"What?" asked Emma.

"It's nothing… come on, we better get their food, or they're both gonna start whining," said Amanda, moving up in line. Emma smiled and followed.

Chapter 3