I know part of this is absolutely wrong. I donít love Jessica in the way I should love my wife. God, that scares the absolute shit out of me. But I want the child. Everyone in the known universe knows I want a child. Just watch me when one gets near me. I can pick out the little ones in the audience as fast as AJ picks out the hot women. Iíll make this work for the child. No one ever guaranteed that I would have all my dreams fulfilled. Maybe this is the trade off I have to do for the success of the Backstreet Boys. I get the fame and the child, but not the marriage Iíve always wanted. Sad thing is, I see that as pretty good.

Tracie did just what I needed from her. I needed her to make this ok in front of the guys and be honest with me behind closed doors. I can always count on her for that. I feel bad about not telling the guys about the baby, but I donít want to deal with them telling me how this is a bad idea. Part of me knows that. I need that part of me to shut the hell up, while the other side of me does what it needs to do. Iím torn, but Iíve made my decisions. I need to do it and learn to live with what Iíve made for myself.

The guys showed up Sunday afternoon. No big surprise there. Tracie had long gone home and Jessica wasnít due back until this evening. We were going to go ahead and move her stuff over here. She was leaving all the furniture with her roommate. That made it easy. AJ fixed himself a drink and stood by the bar, "You ready to explain this one?"

"I love her." This was not a lie, please god, donít let them ask if Iím in love with her. "I asked her to marry me. What needs explaining?"

"Where was she last night? Why were you drunk and telling us?"

"She went to her parents. We are leaving for Ky. Tomorrow, back Tuesday. Guys, itís ok. I know itís sudden and fast and everything, but we see no reason to wait."

Nick looked over, "What do you mean wait? When are you getting married?"

"Next weekend." I knew they werenít stupid. I knew theyíd no something was up. I was trusting in their friendship to trust me.



Iím not buying this load of dog shit. "Kevin, this is bullshit and you know it. Something is going on and I have a bunch of ideas about what it is. There is no way in hell I believe that this is happy marriage thing."

Kevin just looked at me, "Iím sorry. I canít make you believe me. Iím going to marry her."

So I do the only thing I know how, "Ok. Congratulations. I love you. Itís bullshit. But Iíll stand behind you if you say this is the way itís gonna be. Iíll believe that you have your reasons. I wish youíd tell us, but it looks like you canít. Iíve had my secrets, you get yours. Tell me what you need me to do." I walked over and hugged him, "I hope to hell you know what youíre doing."

What the hell else could I do. Refuse to be there, refuse to acknowledge what was going on. That would only drive a wedge. And if this was as shitty as I thought it was he didnít need that. He was gonna have enough to deal with without his little brothers ganging up on him. Kevin has always been like this. He talks and thinks things to death, comes up with his idea of the best thing to do and then sticks to it. This could be as simple as him pushing 30 and her being good enough. Or maybe she agreed if they got married that he could still be single on tour. Maybe sheís blackmailing him. Maybe sheís pregnant. Maybe she has something on Tracie. That would be our next stop.


Kevin called and told me what had happened. He was shaken. He hated not telling them all of it. It would be pretty obvious soon enough, but he just needed to buy himself some time to get through the wedding. After that it would be a done deal and they couldnít talk him out of going through with it.

All four boys showed up on my doorstep about two minutes after I hung up with Kevin, "Drove straight here?"

AJ strode through the door, "Yep, left there drove here."

Nick sat in the floor, "We figure you know what this is all about, but canít tell us. So we want to hear from you that youíre ok with this."

I wasnít big on lying either, "I think itís wrong."

AJ was pacing and yelling, "Now that is not what I fucking want to hear. If you think itís wrong then make him not do it. Youíre his fucking best friend, talk him out of it."

"Donít you think I tried? I donít agree with his decision, but I do know that in his mind with everything he believes this is the right decision, the only one he can live with. I canít argue with him to do something heíll hate himself over."

Brianís turn, "And when this ends in a divorce, will he be able to live with that?"

"We didnít go there. Hopefully it wonít. He does love her. Heís committed to making this work. You know how he is when he sets his mind to something. And to answer you, yes, heíll be able to live with the divorce."

AJ was now smoking in my apartment. He knew better. I left it alone. "How long before this makes sense?"

"You may never understand." That was true, but theyíd know the reason soon.

More AJ yelling. Thing is, I wanted to yell to. Itís hard to watch a friend fuck up his life. I knew AJ was yelling because he cared. I canít fault him for that. "I think thereís something we donít know. Sheís got something on him, or on you and heís protecting you . . . something. Any of them make this make sense. Nothing else does."

"Believe what you need to. Just please know that this isnít easy for him, and it isnít some cut and dried right and wrong issue. Part of him is happy and part of him hurts badly. He needs all of us to stand by him. That will make this easier and more likely to work out for the best of everyone." I did believe that. I looked at AJ and knew that he knew. I was relieved. I didnít have to say it, but he knew Kevin as well as I did. Only one thing would make him marry someone he didnít love, and still be happy. The other three didnít pick up on that huge hint I had just dropped.

We talked some about what to do now. They would throw a bachelor party next Friday for him. They agreed to support and not question. They would trust him, and trust me. We all hugged as they left. AJ went last and held on until Nick was far enough away to not hear him, "Heíll be a great dad."

"I know." I sat down and cried.

It would be months before I understood why.


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