Secrets Kept, Lies Told
Secrets Kept, Lies Told
"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
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.
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
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.
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.
"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
"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?"
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
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
"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
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.
"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.