Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 22

    "Alexa," AJ started as he got on the bus.
    "Don't, AJ, I'm not going to listen, not for a while.  Stay away from me, understand?"  Alexa said hoarsely, holding back tears.  She was gathering hermagazines from the table.  She finished and walked away from her brother, towards Nick's bunk where he was already lying down.  She sat on the edge and
poked her head in.
    "Hey," Nick said.
    "Hey," Alexa replied, smiling.  "How are you feeling?"  She asked, fingering his nose and the side of his face.  It was very bruised and she could hear the wheezing as he breathed.
    "I could be better, but as long as you're here, I'm fine," Nick answered, smiling.
    Alexa chuckled and nearly started to cry again.  She kissed his forehead, holding back the tears she so desperately wanted to cry.  "You get some rest, ok?  I won't leave your side," she whispered.
    Nick nodded and brushed away the few tears that had fallen from her eyes.  "Yes, as long as you get some as well, all right?  You go to your own bunk and get some sleep, I know you need it."
    Alexa shook her head.  "No, I'm not leaving you."
    "But you need some sleep, Alexa," Nick protested.
    Alexa shushed him again.  "I'll stay right here, and if I fall asleep, I fall asleep."
    Nick smiled and moved over, making a space for her to lie down.  She laid in front of him and he draped his left arm over her waist.  She closed her eyes, trying to relax, and eventually fell asleep.

    "You're going to allow that?"  AJ asked his mother fiercely.
    "What, them sleeping in the same bunk?  Why not, they have before," Denise said coldly, trying hard to control her temper.
    "They what?!"  AJ demanded.
    Denise really couldn't take it anymore, AJ had been second guessing her all morning.  "Listen to me AJ, at this moment, I have zero respect for you, and I am not going to stand for this second guessing any longer.  You just leave them alone, they know the limits, and I know I can trust them.  I do not want to hear another word out of your mouth until we get to Maine, understand?  I'm sick of hearing you complain and I'm not standing for it anymore," she said, trying to keep her voice low.  She pointed to the seat
across the bus from her.  "Now, either sit over there or go in the back and keep your mouth shut, take your choice, but if I hear any sort of fighting, I will personally make sure you stay away from every single person on this bus.  Do not fight with me, Alexander, I'm not in the mood for it," Denise said, her voice so low, it was almost a hiss.
    AJ nodded, stunned.  Denise had never talked to him like that and she hoped she would never have to again.  She sat back at the table and went back to her paper work as AJ walked quietly into the back.


    "Hey, guys," AJ said as he walked in the back.
    Brian looked up from his video game, then back at the screen.  He knew he really shouldn't be giving one of his best friends the cold shoulder, but he still couldn't believe what he'd done to Nick the night before.  It was unreal.  'Well, at least he did it after a concert, Nick ought to be healed enough to perform next week, despite missing a few appearances,' Brian thought, putting his ball in the game.  He was practicing golf, and then he was going to move onto Mario Kart, in hopes of beating Nick, who had, so far,
the highest score.
    "Hi Brian," AJ said, sitting next to him on the floor.
    "Hi AJ," Brian answered quietly, trying to ignore him.  He hated doing it, but he had to ignore AJ, no matter what he did.
    "What'cha playing?"  AJ asked.  He was trying hard to be friendly, staying quiet.
    "Can I play?"
    'Wow, Brian, that was cold,' he told himself.  'But I have to do this, the guy practically threatened my life, then beat up my best friend, he doesn't deserve to be forgiven for a long time.'
    "Ok, sorry I intruded," AJ said, sounding hurt.  He wasn't getting defensive about it, oddly, he just gave in.  Brian knew that that wasn't like AJ.
    "AJ," Brian started as AJ walked to the divider.  He turned back around  and Brian hit reset.  "Come on, let's see how you do against the high scorer," Brian said, holding up an extra controller.  He caught a glimpse of Kevin glaring at him, but ignored it.  He handed AJ the controller and selected the two-player game, hoping that the game wouldn't require him to talk too much.

    Alexa opened her eyes and squinted against the bright light, suddenly noticing that the bus wasn't moving anymore.  "Hi, Kevin," she said, trying to stay quiet so as to not wake Nick.
    "We're stopping for a little while, do you want anything from the diner?"  He asked.
    Alexa nodded.  "Yeah, could you get me a cheeseburger, medium-well, a side of fries, and get Nick the same thing, ok?  Except make mine with an extra pickle."
    Kevin smiled and nodded.  "Sure, I'll be back in a few minutes."
    Alexa smiled as Kevin closed the curtain behind him and yawned.  She glanced at her watch and, not being able to see it, opened the curtain again.  'Four o'clock?  Wow, we've been sleeping for nearly six hours,' she said to herself.  She tried to move, but realized Nick's arm was still around her  waist, and he automatically tightened his grasp when she tried to move.  She smiled and put her hand on top of his, rubbing up and down his lower arm gently.
    "Nicky, baby," she whispered.  Nick groaned and kept his eyes closed. "Nicky, honey, its time to get up," she said.
    Nick shook his head and pulled her closer to him.  "No way, I'm way too comfortable here," he said in her ear, kissing it lightly.
    Alexa giggled quietly and turned over to face him.  "But baby, I got you some food," she said, moving her hand to his face and gently caressed his cheek.
    Nick's eyes flew open.  "Food?"  He asked.
    Alexa laughed and nodded.  "Yes, food," she answered.  "Does that mean you'll let go of me now?"  She asked.
    Nick shook his head and pulled her even closer, pressing her body against his.  "No, I want to hold you forever," he whispered.
    Alexa nearly melted, she loved the way his voice sounded when he  whispered.  She felt shivers go up and down her spine as Nick kissed her gently.  She gasped for breath as he worked his way to her neck and her collarbone, kissing very lightly.  She rolled onto her back, pulling Nick on top of her.  She gave him a very deep kiss, not hearing Kevin come on the bus and walk towards their bunk.
    "Hey, Alexa," Kevin started, opening the curtain.
    Alexa broke away from Nick abruptly and looked at Kevin.
    "Oops, sorry, um, your dinner is, um, on the table in the, uh, front," he stammered, walking away quickly.
    Alexa looked into Nick's eyes and could see the laughter he was trying to hold back.  She burst out laughing and put her hand on her forehead.  "Umm, come on, our food's here," she said, still laughing.
    Nick nodded and climbed out of the bunk carefully, trying not to kick  Alexa.  She swung her legs over the side and stood up, careful to not hit her head.  She followed him to the table in the front, trying to untangle her hair slightly.
    "Hey, 'Lexa, hey Nick," Howie said as they sat down.
    "Hey, Howie," Nick and Alexa answered in unison.  "Which one is mine?" Alexa asked.
    "This one," Kevin said, sliding a Styrofoam container in her direction. "And this one is yours, Nick," he said, sliding another container in his direction.
    "Thanks, Kev," Alexa said, opening the tray.  She dug into her cheeseburger and chewed thoughtfully, wondering what she'd do after she was done, considering that she was rather awake and felt like doing something.
    "What do you feel like doing tonight?"  Nick asked her, turning to face her.
    Alexa smiled and took a bite of her pickle.  "I don't know, I was just thinking about it."
    "Oh, so that's what the steam means, I'll remember that," Nick said, smiling.
    Alexa giggled and poked at his stomach.  "What about you, piggy, now that you've finished that burger already, what do you feel like doing?"  She asked.
    Nick looked at her thoughtfully and then down at his plate.  "Eating my fries," he said, picking up two and stuffing them in his mouth.
    Alexa, Kevin, Howie, and Brian all laughed, and Alexa's mother walked out from the back.  "What are you all laughing about?"  She asked, smiling at her daughter.
    "Nick," Kevin, Brian, and Howie chorused.
    "Enough said," she said, holding up her hands.
    "Hey, don't pick on me!"  Nick exclaimed indignantly.
    "And why not?  You're the easiest to pick on, you start complaining right away and then your voice starts to squeak," Alexa said, taking another bit of her burger.
    "It does not!"  Nick said, his voice squeaking.
    Alexa laughed and looked at Kevin.  "What do you think, Kev, does it squeak?"  She asked jokingly.
    Kevin nodded, holding back his laughter.  "Yeah, you might say that," he said.
    Alexa smiled triumphantly at Nick, who looked down at his plate, frowning.  "Aww, now you've hurt his feelings, Alexa," Brian said.
    Alexa leaned over and put her lips next to Nick's ear.  "Farfegnugen," she whispered.
    Nick started laughing and couldn't stop.  Alexa got glances from the guys and they all looked at Nick strangely.
    "Lexy, what did you tell him?"  Her mother asked, sitting on the other side of her.
    Alexa looked at her mother innocently and shrugged.  "I don't know, you'd think he'd just heard the most hilarious thing ever in his life," she said. Nick finally stopped laughing and returned to his fries, mumbling to himself every-once-in-a-while.  "Nicky, what are you mumbling?"  Alexa asked. Nick looked up at her and opened his mouth to answer, then stopped.
    "What?"  He asked Kevin, Brian, and Howie.
    "She just called you Nicky," Kevin pointed out.
    "Yeah, and?"
    "Nick, you hate it when people call you Nicky.  You won't even let your mom call you that," Brian said.
    "You won't even let your own mother call you Nicky?"  Alexa asked incredulously.
    Nick shook his head.  "No, but she does anyway, and it annoys me.  But you can call me that, I like the way you say it," he said, smiling at her.
    Alexa blushed and looked down, hearing laughs from the other guys.  "Hey, stop it!"  She exclaimed, tossing a fry at Brian's head.
    "Hey!"  He exclaimed, throwing a fry back.
    Everyone glanced at each other, then started the biggest food fight that Alexa had ever witnessed.
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