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Conflict of Interest

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“Home. Home home home!” Nick sang, bouncing up and down in his seat. Everyone groaned.

“Nick, bro, I love you, but I will SO not miss you,” AJ said, clapping Nick on the back. “Two months straight with you without a break is enough to kill any man.”

“Awww…love you, too, Aje,” Nick said, leaning across the aisle to hug his friend. He gave him a smacking kiss on the cheek. AJ wiped it off, growling in disgust.

“What are you gonna do first?” Howie asked, watching out the window as the plane began its descent to the airport.

“Sleep. Sleep, then sleep some more!” Kevin volunteered.

“I have no clue. I just know it involves me being anywhere I can with Leigh,” Brian said with a happy sigh. Groans filled the cabin of the small plane.

“You give me a cavity, dude,” AJ said. “Me? I’m gonna veg for a while, then party, then veg some more.”

“So basically you’ll act just like you did ON this press tour,” Kevin said. AJ glared at him but said nothing.

“I’m gonna hang at home, go out on the boat, spend time with Lara, and…”

“Play Playstation Two,” everyone finished for Nick. He laughed.


“I’m gonna be working with the club, I guess,” Howie said with a sigh. “That work is NEVER done.”

“You need anything, call,” AJ told him, and Howie smiled gratefully.

“We ARE gonna get together while we’re home, right?” Nick asked anxiously. The others nodded.

“Of course, Junior. Can’t go for long without seeing your sexy ass,” AJ said, waggling his eyebrows. Nick shivered.

“Back off, dude. You gross me out with that stuff.”

“Oh, Nicky, you’re SO sexy!” AJ said in a high falsetto. Brian and Howie laughed.

“Leave him alone, AJ,” Kevin growled, unbuckling his seatbelt and standing up as the plane rolled to a stop. He grabbed his bag from the overhead compartment and was ready to run off the plane when one of the reps from Jive stopped him.

“Hold on there. You guys have a quick debriefing with some of the bigwigs before you can go home.”

“On the PLANE?” Kevin snapped.

“No. In the VIP lounge. Go down the catwalk and hang a left,” the man said. “Sorry.”

“GodDAMMIT! Can’t even start a vacation without a meeting,” Kevin grumbled. He took off across the tarmac before the other guys were out of their seats.

Brian grabbed his things and hurried up behind his cousin. “Yo…Kev…you okay?”

“Yes. Just tired. And hungry. And did I mention tired?”

“You forgot bitchy,” Nick said, his long legs quickly catching him up to the other two. Kevin ignored him.

“I’ll be fine,” he told Brian, though he wasn’t quite sure of that himself. He WAS tired, WAS hungry, but something else was eating at him that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. He had been down since the divorce from Kristin, but this was something more. He was momentarily shaken out of his reverie by AJ jumping up on his back.

“Giddy-up, horsey!”

Kevin quickly dumped AJ to the ground. “I will SO not miss you guys,” he mumbled, making a beeline for the VIP lounge.


“Okay…I’m gonna have a party on Friday, I think. You guys there?” AJ asked as they waited for their various rides. The other four grinned. AJ’s parties were legendary, and when he was home he had one about every two or three weeks.

“I’ll be there,” Howie said. Kevin slowly nodded. A party might be just what he needed.


“We’ll be there,” Brian said. AJ smiled. He knew that when he was home, Brian was virtually inseparable from his wife.


“I don’t know…I’ll have to ask…HEY!” Nick swept up the brunette that practically fell into his arms as she stopped running.

“Hi, good looking!” Lara pulled back to look at Nick. She ruffled his hair, and kissed his cheek. “Missed ya, ya big doofus.”

“Missed you, too,” Nick said, his face wreathed in smiles.

“Hi, guys.” Lara bestowed hugs. AJ dipped her into a bow before giving her a smacking kiss on the lips.

“Hey, Lara, before we go, AJ’s having a party on Friday. We there?” Nick asked, swinging his backpack onto his shoulder.

“We are SO there. Sorry, boys, you’ve had him long enough. He’s mine now.” Lara linked her arm through Nick’s and led him to her car.

“Oh, there’s Leigh. I’ll see you guys on Friday.” Brian gave quick hugs and went out to the parking lot.

“Someone coming to get you?” Howie asked Kevin.

“No. I had someone bring my truck over…it’s in the back lot. Just wanted to say bye to you guys first.”

“You sure you’re okay?” Howie asked as the limo AJ had called for them pulled up in front of the airport.

“Nothing I can’t fix. See you Friday.” Kevin hugged Howie then slowly began to trudge out to his truck.