Amanda was loving life on the road with Nick and JC. She was learning a lot from the cities they stopped in, Nick would try to come and explore with her when he was free, but she had noticed they increased his work load. Interviews, television appearances and rehearsals clogged up all of Nick’s free time. He was becoming tired and she cold tell he was not happy. Nick acted like everything was fine but one night Amanda heard him crying in the bathroom as he talked to AJ on the phone.
“I want to come home.” was all he could say though tears. In front of Amanda and JC he simply carried on like nothing was wrong, but the dark circles under his eyes and his worn expression said it all.
“Nick?” Amanda asked one morning about three weeks into the tour. He was usually up before her but this time he lay in bed with the covers over his head.
“Uhhhhnnnn” he moaned, not moving from his spot at the back of the tour bus. Amanda got up and walked to the bed, he was very pale.
“Nicky? Are you okay?” she asked. He gently pulled the covers off his face. His eyelids were half open and his face was flushed, sweat on his forehead. Nick coughed and moaned again. Amanda moved towards him and gently touched his forehead, he definitely had a fever.
“I’m cold.” he said softly, coughing. Nick looked at his watch and then started to get up from the bed, but he felt dizzy.
“You shouldn’t get up.” Amanda scolded him in a motherly sort of way.
“I have reh-reh-ACHOO!” Nick sneezed. He sat up and held his stomach. He felt so nauseous it was like his stomach had gone inside out.
“Nicky, please don’t get out of bed. You are obviously sick. How are you going to sing?”
“I….I can…oh god.” Nick protested. His hand flew to his mouth and he stumbled to the bathroom where Amanda heard him vomiting.
“You’re not going!” she called to him, walking to the bathroom. Nick lay crumpled on the floor, leaning on the toilet…his tousled hair laying in damp strings around his sweaty face. He sobbed as he held onto the toilet.
“Amanda….I have to go to rehearsal….don’t let Adam see me like this…” he begged. Amanda helped Nick back to the bed and covered him up.
“You’re staying in bed and I mean it.” she instructed.
“Carter! You’re ten minutes late….what are you doing? Get a move on!” Adam’s voice shouted from the front of Nick’s bus. He was an older man with bright green eyes…Amanda thought he looked familiar but shook it off.
“He’s not going, can’t you see he is ill?” Amanda pointed out.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass what he feels like. The show must go on.” Adam snapped, pushing her out of his way as he walked to Nick’s bed.
“No excuses, get dressed.” Adam told him. Nick’s eyes widened a bit and he threw the covers off himself, shivering.
“How can you do this to him? He’s been tired for the last few weeks and you’re running him into the ground! He’s only 19!” Amanda said exasperatedly.
“When he signed that record contract he agreed to comply with our rules and regulations. Most performers sing even when ill. Carter is no different from them. He will be on that stage and that’s final.” Adam shouted. Amanda shook her head at him and stormed off the bus to find JC, who was inside the arena doing a soundcheck.
“Where’s Nick? Is everything okay?” JC asked when he saw her.
“How can you let them do this to him? I thought you were his friend?” Amanda shouted, an inch from his face. He backed away, a little intimidated by her.
“I am not in control of Nick, talk to Adam. He is his manager.” JC explained.
“Bullshit. Nick has the flu and Adam is making him perform. Haven’t you noticed Nick is being overworked? You promised me he would be taken care of!”
“Amanda…you’re overreacting a bit, aren’t you?”
“Not in the slightest, JC. Aren’t you the headliner for this tour? You’re as much at fault as that asshole of a tour manager he has!” she screamed.
“Look…I have performed when I was sick too. It comes with the job. Surely Nick knew what he was getting into when he signed those papers in New York.” JC said calmly.
“I don’t care what you did. Nick is very ill. He has his fucking head in the toilet and you expect him to sing? I thought you cared about him, but obviously you don’t. Now go and talk to Adam or you will not only have one less fan, I will tell the tabloids what kind of people you have working with you.” Amanda demanded, crossing her arms. JC finally followed her to the bus where they saw Adam yelling at Nick.
“Carter, if you don’t get to that stage you will be dropped from the label. You will never sing another song, I can make sure of it…” he shouted.
“But….you don’t…” Nick protested weakly.
“ADAM!” JC screamed. They heard Nick sobbing in the bathroom as he emptied his stomach once more.
“What do you want, Chasez? This doesn’t concern you or her. She has no business being here anyway, this is no joy ride.” Adam sneered, looking at Amanda. She pushed past him to console Nick, who was saying how sorry he was and don’t fight over him.
“Shhh, its ok…nobody is mad at you.” she said kindly as she rubbed his back. Adam and JC argued in the hallway.
“Nick is tired. You don’t see that?” the singer admonished.
“I want to go home.” Nick whispered, clinging to Amanda like he was ten again. He looked awful, like death warmed over. Amanda scooped him up, his arm around her back for support….leading him back to the bed again.
“Carter is overreacting.” Adam said, completely ignoring Nick’s coughing fit.
“He is sick. He is not singing today….this is MY tour. So unless you want me to go to Dante about all of this..I suggest you back the fuck off of him.” JC said, his finger in Adam’s face as he pushed him into the wall.
“Get out.” JC finished before the manager could say anything. Amanda decided to take care of Nick that night instead of studying. She felt horrible for him to go through all of this for a record deal, but was proud of Nick for being strong and enduring all of it.
“Thank you JC. I really appreciate what you did and I’m sorry.”
“Its okay, Amanda. That guy has had it in for Nick all this time….I will talk to Dante, Nick’s manager. Adam is just the tour manager, he can be replaced, I will see to it. Just have Nick concentrate on getting better, he looks awful.” JC replied before leaving. Amanda heard Nick vomit again.
“Glamorous life of a rock star…” she sighed as she headed to the bathroom with a towel, not wanting to trade this trip for anything.