A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 7

Sheridan was flustered and tossing her hands around while Angelina was organizing her laptop and getting her work situated.  The two girls looked frazzled as they both began talking.  “We’re so sorry.”

“I was stuck in traffic on my way back to the apartment and then my car died.”  Angelina bemoaned.

Sheridan absently dug through her briefcase for a pen.  “I was running late to begin with….”

Angelina grinned.  “You are always running late,” 

“Oh shut up, like they care.”

“So, I had to run across town to pick her up,” Sheridan was ecstatic at finding her pen, now she wanted a tablet to go with it.

“And then there was more traffic,” Angelina summed up the problem. 

“And we didn’t have time to eat,” Sheridan rambled as she plopped down their takeout salads and diet cokes. 

“Do you think we should meet later next time so we aren’t late, maybe?”  Angel asked, as she knew it was her schedule that was making them start later than they would like.

The boys were looking from one to the other as they babbled on.  They found it quite interesting.  Sheridan was talking with her hands and she was getting louder as she went on talking.  Angelina was trying to get comfortable, pulling her hair up in a ponytail on top of her head, sitting Indian style in the oversized chair while booting up her laptop.

Suddenly Sheridan slammed down the manuscript next to Angel as she kept on babbling, “Well if you would leave work earlier, it would make life easier for the rest of us”

“Hey, its not my fault you feel the need to wake up at 5AM every morning….”

“I like time to myself, some peace and quiet.” 

“FOUR hours before you need to be at work?”

“Not my fault you don’t go to bed before 2AM every night… unless you have company.”  Sheridan froze, her hand covering her mouth.

Angel looked up in shock with her eyes bugged out.

Slowly both women turned to face their audience.  Both blinked, smiled and then laughed nervously, simultaneously saying, “Sorry.” 

Silence filled the room for a minute then Kevin cleared his throat, and with a smile “Thanks for the explanation, I think.  Don’t worry about the time with us, we are used to being up at all hours.”

“And waiting for people who are running late.  It’s Backstreet Time,” A.J. grinned.

Angel kept her head low, still mortified with Sheridan’s comment.  She hoped none of the boys understood what was said. 

Being the professional and needing to change the subject; Sheridan started “So, do any of you have questions about the characters you were given in the story?”

“I do, as a matter of fact,” Nick continued, “How come Kevin is always in charge of or responsible for me?”

Sheridan began to eat her dinner, but stopped and folded her hands neatly in front of her, “Well, we tried writing Kevin as the beach bum dude who enjoyed surfing, but we just couldn’t make it work….”

“Besides, we then thought back to the snowboarding into the tree incident and felt he isn’t coordinated enough to handle a surf board.  We didn’t want him to hurt himself again.”  Angel added with a laugh, her eyes smiling as she took a bite of her dinner.

All the guys, except Kevin, found the girl’s explanation hysterical and believable.  Nick busted out laughing, “Yeah, I can see your point.”

“Before we get ahead of ourselves,” Sheridan continued, “The general plot of this movie is all five characters are somehow involved in the Musicology Department at UCLA.”

“I have a question,” Howie interrupted. 

“Yes Howie,” Sheridan sat back in her chair and began to relax while drinking her soda.  ‘This is going to be a long night, I can tell.’

“How can this be a fanfic about us when it has nothing to do us as a group, as the Backstreet Boys?”

“It’s an AU fanfic.” 

“Huh?  What does that stand for?”  Howie questioned looking even more lost.

Sheridan explained, “It means Alternative Universe.”

“We’re not on Earth anymore?” questioned A.J.

Shaking her head no, while swallowing her food, Sheridan continued, “No A.J., it means that the story has nothing to do with you as a group.  The story is written with the characters using your personalities and circumstances that have happened in your lives.”

“Wow, that’s freaky,” thought Brian out loud. 

Angelina replied, “It’s not as easy as you would think, especially when Sheridan is into facts, and nothing but the facts.  The research part can take the longest.”

Kevin interrupted, “How in the world did you ladies learn about the strippers from Scores?”

Wiping her mouth with a napkin, Sheridan replied, “Easy, we read, we research, people talk.”

“What did they say?” questioned Howie.

“I can’t recall the exact words, Angel do you remember?  She’s got a great memory for retaining useless information.”  Kevin grumbled at Sheridan’s words, still pissed.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?  Seriously, we thought it was Nick at the time but Nick was in Florida.

“How did you know I was in Florida?”  Nick’s head shook back and forth.

Angel looked over to see Nick’s shocked face, "You received a traffic violation in your home county on the day in
question. You can't be at two places at the same time."

"What else do you know?" Nick questioned.

"That you failed your driver's test three times," Angel answered with a

“Hey, how the hell do you know all that?”  Nick was not too happy.  The rest of the guys were trying to hide their laughter, and not doing a good job either.

“You talked about your driver’s license in an interview Nick, and the County records are public records which are available online.”  Angelina replied, trying her best not to smile.  She instead stuffed a fork full of dinner in her mouth.  She felt bad that he was so clueless about this stuff.  ‘I wonder if he knows about all the websites that are out there’ she asked her head.

Kevin interrupted, wanting to get back to how this conversation had started, “So you were in contact with a stripper and they just gave you my name, and you believed this person?”  Kevin questioned raising an eyebrow.

”Well Kevin, why would the woman give such details if it wasn't true?"  Sheridan countered taking another bite.

“Well, for your information, nothing happened between Celeste and I.”  Kevin said proudly.

Angel couldn’t keep her mouth closed, “And with that bit of news, you just confirmed the story Kevin, thank you!”

Angelina was typing away on her keyboard while Kevin frowned.  ‘They tricked me!’ he thought. 

Howie and Brian were cackling while A.J. and Nick yelled, “Busted,” simultaneously.  Sheridan was basking in the discomfort that was called Kevin Richardson.  ‘Oh this is good,’ she thought.  Kevin looked over to Sheridan and saw the look of amusement that was on her face, and he was not happy.

Sheridan found the look unnerving, so she started babbling again.  “As I was describing the story before, all of you are somehow involved in the UCLA’s Musicology Department.  Kevin is one of the Professors in the department.  Brian is married and is a PhD student in the program with Kevin as his dissertation advisor.  Nick is an undergraduate with ADHD in the program with Kevin as his advisor.  Howie is a part-time lecturer who has his own music company.  Howie was assigned A.J. as his advisee.  A.J. has just transferred into this program, he is a serious student.  This is his second major, he is also enrolled in the School of Theater, Film and Television.” 

Nick sat in his chair with a pout, his legs bouncing a mile a minute.  Angelina leaned over and put her hand on his knee to make it stop.  “You are shaking the whole room,” she said sincerely and with a warm smile.

As a silence hung in the room, Brian asked where Gene was.  Just then, the conference room phone rang.  Kevin reached over, “Hello… great… okay man, see ya in a few.”

“Speaking of the devil, he’ll be here in a few minutes.  We’ve been here for an hour already. Why don’t we take a ten-minute break?  Angel and Sheridan, be back here at 8:30PM, okay?”

Both women sent him a look that said ‘Fuck you’ but neither one opened her mouth.

Sheridan looked over to Nick and then remembered something, “Oh Angel, I forgot to tell you Nick called for you on Sunday night.”  Angel’s head snapped up, and looked to Sheridan then Nick. 

Kevin was glaring at Nick; Nick didn’t dare look in his direction, he could feel his eyes boring into the side of his head. 

“You know, the night you went out for Italian.”  Sheridan smiled, fake as it was.

Oh Sheridan was going to get it when they got home.

A.J. and Howie began laughing.  A.J. then asked Angel, “Hey Angel, where are your glasses?” 

Angel looked at the man and simply replied, “At home.  Why?”

A.J. cackled as he went on, “Guess you didn't need them Sunday night either huh?”

Angel suddenly felt uneasy and asked, “What’s so funny?” 

Howie could tell Angel was getting upset and not understanding what was going on, so he filled her in, “A.J. and I went out Sunday night to the Circle Bar.”

Angelina grinned, throwing her head back and laughed.  She was so busted.  Whenever she was nervous, she laughed.  “Well, why didn’t you come over say hi?”

“I suggested that to Howie, but he said you didn’t look like you wanted to be interrupted.”  A.J.’s grin reached up to his ears.

“Well, if you ever see me out clubbing again, come say hi.”  Angel replied wondering what the hell they saw.  Strike that, she didn’t want to know.

Howie now was grinning, “Alright, next time we will.”

Kevin’s eyebrows were almost becoming one from all the scowling he was doing listening to the casual conversations going around the table.  He made a mental note to talk to each one of the boys before he left.  He didn’t want any of them getting too friendly with the ladies while he was away.  Mostly, out of jealousy, dammit he wanted his part changed too.

Angel turned towards Nick, “Did you call for anything in particular?” 

Nick thought for a moment as he stared into her eyes, “Nah, can’t remember now.”

Sheridan’s mind raced, ‘I bet it’s hard to concentrate when Lord Kevin is staring at you.’ 

Saying a quick, “Alrighty then,” Angelina got up from the table and began to walk towards the conference room door.

“Where are you going?” Kevin questioned.

Angel glared back, replying, “To the bathroom.  If that’s alright with you?” 

Feeling sheepish, Kevin mumbled, “Hurry up.” 

Rolling her eyes towards the back of his head, she walked out.

Sheridan began clearing off their dinner and wiping down the table.  Suddenly the ding of the elevator broke the silence and in walked Gene.

“Sorry I’m late everyone.  How’s it going?”

“Everything is fine Gene, the ladies are just finishing their dinner, they had some unforeseen car trouble which caused them to be late.”  Kevin was flipping the pages of the script again, he didn’t dare look at Sheridan, but when his hand was swiped with a wet papertowel, he picked his head up and looked at her.

What he saw both intrigued and bemused him, her eyes were a brighter shade of green than his and they were full of something he was unsure of.  Her skin was warm and damp against his.  She frowned at him and whispered, “Ass kisser.”

Nick dropped his head down and laughed at the table.  The woman that seemed so quiet, soft, and sweet, and the complete opposite of Angelina, had an inner side, the dragon-lady.

“What have you managed to accomplish?”  Gene tossed his belonging in a chair, and his copy of the script on the table.

“We watched Sheridan and Angel eat dinner,” Kevin chewed his lower lip.  He wanted a reaction from the ice queen.  There was this little thought in the back of his head that was struggling to get to the front of his brain.  Neither of the women had told them who had written which part.  Maybe, just maybe he was on to something.

“It was very good too,” Sheridan sat back down in her chair after disposing with the plastic salad container in the trash.

Kevin frowned when she made mention that if it wasn’t for plastic take home containers, frozen TV dinners, they would starve to death.  It wouldn’t have been a problem had she not mentioned the word plastic, repeatedly.  Clearing his throat, he smiled, “Nothing like clogging up the environment with garbage.”

“I’m sorry Kevin, someday I might be able to afford Wolfgang Puck’s cooking school.  When I can, I won’t have anything to worry about.” 

Howie, A.J., and Brian were very use to this scenario; Kevin was on the prowl, not in full gear yet but just poking around for the moment, testing the waters.  Brian nodded to A.J., A.J. to Howie, Howie back to Brian.

The conference door opened and in waltzed Angelina. Kevin checked his watch.  “You must be right, she does make you late.  You’re here on time.”

“Let’s begin shall we,” Gene jumped right in.  He didn’t know what had caused the tension between Kevin and Sheridan but there wasn’t enough time to figure it out.   “We are going to go over the general plot tonight.  Take notes if you must but let’s keep the chat to a minimum.  We have meetings scheduled the next two nights and we will review your notes then and make changes as needed.”

“This is an A.U. story, correct?”  A.J. looked at Gene.

“Very good A.J., I’m impressed.”  Gene nodded at him.  “You’re paying attention, I like that.”

“Amazing what he can pick up and use,” Brian laughed as the continued.  His laughter ceased when both Kevin and Gene glared at him. 

Gene began to give his summation of the film’s script.  “Okay, we have five men all attached to the UCLA Music Department, in one form or another.  I’m going to go down the line and see if you have read the script yet.  Brian you first.”

Brian smiled, “I’m actually involved in this story and haven’t been written off.  Thank you ladies.”

Two ‘your welcomes,’ chimed in the room.

“I’m a married man, married to my adoring wife.  Kevin is my advisor.  I have almost completed my dissertation but I found out that my wife is pregnant and I’m not sure if I can continue with school and support my family at the same time.  I go to Kevin for some advice.”  Brian smirked at the women.  “He’s so good at that.”

Kevin didn’t say much, he took what was being said in stride.  The film centered around all of them and they were all tied together, too damn close in his mind. 

“That’s good enough for now, you’ve read the script.  You are full of inner-turmoil and confusion.  A.J. you’re next.”  Gene pointed a finger at A.J.

“Cool, I am the star,” A.J. smiled a smile a mile wide.

“We all are A.J.,” Nick quipped.

Howie was only half paying attention since Sheridan was scribbling on a tablet and Angel’s fingers were flying over the keyboard.  “What are you doing?” he looked at Sheridan. 

“Research and fleshing out some of your characters by the way you are interacting with each other now.”  Sheridan quipped as she continued to write.

“Yep,” Angelina agreed as she typed away.

Gene didn’t say a word but the men suddenly seem to pay attention to him and what was going on in the room. 

“As I was saying before D interrupted me, I am the new diva.  I’m new to the department and Howie talked me into enrolling when he heard me sing during an open mic session at a local bar.  I’m not sure if I want to do music or film but it was Howie who told me that I could do both if I tried hard enough.”

“Excellent synopsis Alex.  Howie, you are next.”  Gene pointed to Howie.

“Pretty straightforward.  I own a music company and studio.  I guest lecture at the school and I also manage to cultivate new talent from the school.  I date many different women, or at least sleep with them.  I try to help the students out with recordings and contracts.”

“For a percentage, of course,” Kevin laughed.  “Why do I think you are part Lou and part Sweet D?”

“Whatever floats your boat Kev,” Howie grinned. 

“It was about as damn close as we were going to get.  The hate mail sucks,” Sheridan didn’t see the six men’s head back up and turn towards Angelina.

“She gets a little sensitive when they pick on her characters.  PMS and all.”  Angel smiled trying to get things back on track.  She never gave it a second thought about what she had said.

Gene’s eyes landed on Nick, “Okay Nick, you’re next.” 

“Let’s see, Kevin is my advisor, he follows me everywhere, tells me what to do and how to do it.  It doesn’t help that we live very close to each other.”

Kevin became visibly uncomfortable in his chair. 

Little snickers from the rest of the group made Nick blush.  He turned to Kevin as he spoke.  “Not far from the truth, is it Kev?”

“Knock it off Kaos, and get back to what you are supposed to be doing.”  Kevin’s face scrunched up and he frowned.

The chorus of laughter in the room seemed to knock the tension down completely.

“Anyway,” Nick’s shoulders moved from side to side as if he was dancing in his chair.  “I love to surf and I’m not sure if music is what I want.  Kevin, the all knowing one, insists that I stay and refuses to let me quit.  I like the way you wrote in about the ADHD, it makes my character a little more unpredictable.  I have a love interest in a little co-ed that lives next door to me.  She’s cute and perky.”

“Kevin…”  Gene motioned to the man as he said his name.

“Ah let’s see, I run the music department.  I’m dedicated solely to my work and the music, and of course, setting my youngest detainee on the right path.”  Kevin laughed knowing damn well Nick had no idea what he just inferred.

Gene, Sheridan, and Howie were grinning.  Angel looked about as clueless as Nick.  Kevin thought it was funny as hell.

“Continue,” Gene shook his head at the eldest member’s little stab.

“I don’t have a steady woman in my life but I do hold a secret love for my research assistant.  She feels the same way about me, we just don’t know how to approach each other.  We dance around it.”  Kevin had studied the script for hours trying to figure out what his love interest was about, they had left the character open for interpretation and he thought that was odd.  “What does she look like?”  Kevin looked towards Angelina.

Angelina was sunk, originally the character looked exactly like Sheridan.  A stolen side-glance to Sheridan, told Angelina that she was paying attention but trying to appear unattached to the subject.  “Um, well sort of like Sheridan.”

“I’m cool with that, I like sexy assistants.”

Sheridan’s head came up slowly, “I’m glad I meet your approval.”

“I hope she is just as warm as you are too,” Kevin replied sarcastically but he had ferreted out the information that he wanted.

Gene could tell that the tension was growing thick again, he decided to call the meeting to a close.  “I want all of you to re-read your parts for tomorrow’s meeting.  If you have any questions, we’ll discuss it tomorrow.   So if...”

Sheridan’s cellphone rang during the meeting.  Everyone turned to look at her as she casually looked at the phone; it was still ringing.

“Would you like to answer that, maybe it’s Tom,” Nick smiled.

Sheridan smiled back, “Thank you Nick.”

Nick sat in his chair, amused as hell with himself, until he looked at Kevin.

Sitting back in his chair, Kevin watched Sheridan flick the switch off on her phone.  The embarrassment on her face was evident, “We need to talk ladies, so we’ll see you tomorrow night.”

Angel got Kevin’s point; they were being dismissed.  “Sounds good to me.”

“That sounds good for tonight.”  Sheridan stood up and nodded as she snapped her brief case shut.  “Good night gentlemen.”

The women walked out into the hall.  Kevin stood up and walked to shut the door.  When he did, he heard Sheridan.  Venturing a look down the hallway, she was on her cellphone.  The words he heard, hit him wrong.  “I love you too baby, I’m on my way home now.”

Kevin shut the door and then leaned on it.  He glared at Nick, “We’re going to talk about employee relations, the do's and the don’ts.  All of us.”

Nick ducked his head; he was in deep shit now.





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