“Can I help you?” the receptionist asked, looking up as Brian approached.
“I want to adopt Sammy.”
She was taken back for a moment. “I don’t know if that would be very appropriate.”
“Why not? Because I’m a Backstreet Boy?”
“It’s not that simple. Sammy isn’t up for adoption. This is a foster home and - ”
“Can I foster him then?”
“There’s a lot of procedures - ”
“I know, but I want Sammy to come and live with me. I care about him and I can look after him.”
“You’ll need to speak to Hilary.”
Brian nodded. He hardly believed what he was doing. He hadn’t thought it through or anything. All he knew was that he wanted to keep Sammy so that he could see him every day. He knew it was a big step to take on a child, especially a five-year-old, but he felt that this was the right thing to do.
“All right, can I speak to Hilary, please?”
“So, what movie are we gonna go and see?” Howie asked the others. “If we don’t pick soon then the cinema will be closed by the time we decide!”
“Don’t know, don’t mind,” AJ replied, while munching his way through a bag of potato chips. “What do you think, Brian?”
They all looked over at Brian, but he was staring out of the window, not listening to a single word anybody was saying.
“Hey! Frack to Frick! Return to Earth!” Nick called.
“Huh? What?” Brian asked blankly, turning around to face the other boys.
“What movie do you want to go and see?” AJ asked.
Brian shrugged. “Anything.”
“You okay?” Nick asked.
“Only you seem kinda preoccupied.”
He shrugged again.
“Didn’t you get to Sammy yesterday?” Kevin asked. “How’s he doing?”
“He’s great,” Brian said, smiling for the first time that day. “We had a good time. I took him to the park.”
“Aww, you’re so sweet to him,” AJ said. “Is he still upset about his mother?”
“Yeah, but that’s bound to take quite a bit of time to get over.”
“I guess. Still, at least he’s got you to help him through it all, eh Brian?”
“Guys… I need to talk to you all about something,” Brian said, suddenly.
“You’re gay?” Nick asked, causing all of the others to laugh.
“I’m serious!” Brian replied.
“And being gay isn’t?”
“Look, I am not gay!”
“Okay, we believe you,” Kevin said. “Fire away.”
Brian took a deep breath. He had wanted to tell them since he arrived but he wasn’t sure how they would react. He was still in shock himself.
“I, um, offered to foster Sammy,” he said, eventually.
The others stared at him.
“Seriously?” Howie said.
“Yes I asked and, well, they’re thinking it over. I had to give them some details and fill in some paperwork, but I’m hoping that they let me keep him.”
“You really want this, don’t you?” Kevin said, after another moment of silence.
“Yes, I do,” Brian replied, looking his cousin straight in the eye.
“Well, we’ll back you all the way and you know it,” Kevin said.
“Thanks,” Brian said, smiling. “I hoped you would.”
“You know we would,” Nick pointed out, patting his friend on the shoulder.
“Can you cope with Sammy?” Kevin asked. “I mean, I know he’s a cutie but he’s still a kid- he’ll need a lot of attention.”
“I know and it’ll mean some changes in the way I run my life but I think I’ll be okay. Our touring plans will have to change,” Brian said.
“Don’t panic, we’ll work around it somehow,” AJ said. “What did the management say?”
“Quite a lot. They warned me that it would be hard work and tried to persuade me not to go through with it,” he said, remembering the argument he’d had on the phone earlier. “I had to do a lot of begging but they agreed to let me in the end.”
“Wow, that’s great then!” Howie said.
“I even got them to write me a reference saying that I can cope with a kid.”
“How’d you manage that?” Kevin asked, suspiciously.
“I have my ways,” Brian said, mysteriously.
“Did you threaten to leave the band?” Kevin asked.
“You did, didn’t you?”
“I wasn’t serious! They knew I wasn’t serious!” Brian protested. “Eventually I just told them that I was fostering him with or without their help! Then they gave in and agreed to it!”
“You can be so stubborn sometimes,” Kevin said. “Especially when you’ve got your heart set on something!”
“When do you find out if you can foster Sammy?” Nick asked. “It’s about time we had an ‘ickle Backstrret Boy around the place!”
“They said they’d call… I just hope they say yes.”
“If not, we’ll kidnap him for you! I bet Sammy wouldn’t complain!” AJ said.
“And if you leave the band,” Howie said. “We’ll kidnap you as well!”
Brian grinned, glad that they were all supporting him. He’d been half-afraid that they would call him an idiot to take on a child. He could barely believe it himself. He just prayed he had what it took to be a foster parent and a Backstreet Boy. He may have made a few threats but he could never leave the band and the rest of the guys.
“Aww!” Nick said. “Brian’s going to be a daddy!”