Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 24

    "Alexandra Denise!  Alexander James!  Get in here, now!"
    Alexa ran to her mother's hotel room, ignoring AJ as he followed behind her.  It had been two weeks since he'd attacked Nick, and she refused to talk to him, to forgive him.
    "What's wrong, Ma?"  Alexa asked as she faced her mother.
    Her mother held up a magazine as Tami, one of the girls from Sprinkled Shake, hurried out of the hotel room.
    "This is what's wrong," she said, showing her the page in the magazine.  It showed a picture of AJ and Alexa, his arm around her shoulder, walking down a street.  It was a face forward picture, showing both of their faces plainly, and the laughter in both their faces.  "Mind telling me when this was and where?"  She demanded.
    Alexa gulped.  "I think that's in New York, I went with him to McDonalds in the morning when we first got there.  There was no one around, it was four o'clock in the morning, we didn't think anything of it!"  She said, her face slowly turning whiter and whiter.
    "Thought nothing of it?  Alexa, how many times do I have to tell you?  It doesn't matter where you are or when it is, you have to be careful!  And you, AJ, you should've known better!"  Their mother said, starting to nark on him.
    "I know, Ma, but it was four o'clock in the morning.  Four o'clock!  How was I suppose to know that someone would recognize me when we weren't even suppose to be in the city until the next day, we did arrive early!  I mean, cut me some slack here, it was a mistake!"  AJ exclaimed.
    "Cut you some slack?  Oh no, don't even think about it, AJ," Alexa started.
    "What?  What is up with you, Alexa, you've been avoiding me like the plague!"  AJ said, walking over to her.
    "Gee, I wonder why, AJ, maybe because you beat up my boyfriend?  Yeah, that might be it, idiot!"  Alexa replied, her voice rising in pitch and volume.
    "Alexa, how many times do I have to say it?  I'm sorry, I'm sorry a thousand times over, I don't know any other way I can say it!"  He said, his voice rising to match hers.
    "Maybe you could stay out of my life!"  Alexa yelled.
    "Alexa, I don't want to stay out of your life!  You're my little sister, I finally found you about five months ago and you want me to stay out of your life?"  AJ yelled back.
    "Yeah, I do! As a matter of fact, I want you to forget I even exist.  I don't want you to remember that I am your sister, there is no point to it anymore," Alexa hollered.
    "Hey!"  Their mother yelled, interrupting their shouting match.  "AJ, Alexa, apologize to each other, that is no way to treat each other.  If we're going to solve this, we have to work together," she said, lowering her voice.
    Alexa looked down at the floor and mumbled a sorry, but she couldn't forgive him what he did to her and Nick.  That was still unforgivable.
    "Good, now both of you take a deep breath and listen, you're going to have to know what this blurb is saying," their mother said.  She started reading aloud from the magazine in front of her.  "Does Backstreet Boy AJ McLean have a new girlfriend?  Sources say he does, and this picture confirms it, taken by one of our writers while she was on a trip to New York.  Thanks for all your information and if anyone happens to catch her name, let us know!"   She lowered the magazine from her face and looked frankly at the two.
    "Dammit," AJ and Alexa said at the same time.
    "Yeah, you could say that," their mother replied dryly.
    "How are we going to straighten this out?"  Alexa asked, sitting in a chair, still looking at the floor.  She was shocked, she didn't realize that something like this could blow it all up.
    "Well, we could have a press conference, but that would be too big, and we don't have time for that," AJ started.  "Do you know if any other magazines have gotten the news?"  He asked.
    "Not that I know of, Tami brought this in to me as soon as she saw it."
    AJ sighed and walked slowly over towards Alexa, and she stood up, walking away from him.  She still wanted nothing to do with him.  "Umm, what about writing to the magazine?  We could have this cleared up in time for the next issue, can't we?"  She asked.
    "Yes, we could.  Good idea, Alexa," her mother said.
    "But what will we tell them?"  AJ asked.
    "The truth, that I'm your sister," Alexa said, almost as if it was hard for her to say.
    "But will they believe that?"  AJ asked.
    "When they see that it's in your handwriting they will," his mother said, handing him a pad of paper and a pen.  "Start writing, AJ, then you are confined to your room until further notice.  You too, Alexa," she said, turning to her daughter.
    "What?  I had no involvement in this, he was the one who said it would be ok if we went and got something to eat!"  Alexa exclaimed, gesturing to her brother.  Her blood was already at boiling point and it was rising even higher.
    "I don't care, Alexa, to your room, now, before I change my mind and make your time in there indefinite," her mother said, pointing to the door.
    Alexa stomped her foot exasperatedly and hurried out of the room.  She rushed to her room, slamming the door behind her, and went quickly to her phone.  She dialed Nick's room number, praying that he'd be able to come see her.

    "So what should I say?"  AJ asked, sitting at his mother's desk.
    "Well, start with hi, how are you, the basics, then start on the blurb and picture.  Explain, but not in depth, just what happened and tell them that she's your sister.  Don't tell them her name, just leave that part out.  Tell them that you want her name to remain unknown for privacy purposes.  Finally, tell them that they can publish the letter if they want to, and sign it.  Then go to the other guys' rooms and get them to sign another piece of paper, just as a bit of a bribe, make sure they write little messages saying how great the magazine is.  Then we'll send it off tomorrow, after I check it over," his mother said, her voice set and firm.  AJ knew that tone, it meant that he wasn't to mess with her, not to second guess her.
    AJ nodded and started the letter, writing whatever came into his mind.  He started off with telling them that the tour was going great and he and the guys were having fun.  He then started a new paragraph, bringing up the subject of the picture.  He explained that 'the girl in the picture' was his sister, not his new girlfriend.  He added that all the guys were single, just seeing people, no one specific.  He then explained that his sister's name wasn't going to be announced, she wanted to keep her privacy for a while longer, since she'd stayed out of the spotlight for so long, she didn't want anyone to know who she was.  He also asked that they not publish any more pictures of her, she was a regular person, she didn't deserve to be known around the world just because she was his sister.  He finally ended the letter, saying that he hoped to be able to stop in their offices soon, then signed the bottom of the page.  It took him a front page and half of another front to finish the letter, but he did, making the letter a page and a half.
   "Ok, I'm done," AJ said, holding up the letter for his mother to see.
    "Good, now take another piece of paper and tell the guys to sign it," she said, taking the letter and starting to read it.
    "Umm, Ma?  Could you do that?  I'm not exactly on speaking terms with the rest of the guys," AJ said, ashamed.
    His mother looked at him with what could've been called sympathy, but it disappeared instantly.  "Sure, now get to your room, I don't want to hear anything out of either you or your sister until we leave, understand?  And even when we're on the bus, you are confined to the back, you are not allowed to go up front, got it?"
    AJ nodded as he headed for the door.  "Yes, ma'am," he said quietly. He walked forlornly to his room and closed the door quietly behind him.  He sat on his bed, thinking, and glanced at the picture frame that was next to his bed.  It was of him and Alexa, taken about a month ago.   They looked so happy together, the perfect brother and sister relationship.  'But no, I had to go screw it up, now didn't I?'  AJ thought.  'I'm sorry, Aly, I'm trying to make it up to you, but you don't seem to want to let me,' he said to himself, picking up the picture.  'I promise, Aly, I'll find some way to make it up to you.'  Suddenly, AJ got the best idea he'd had in a long time.  "And I think I know exactly how to do it," he thought aloud.  He put down the picture and picked up his cell phone and started dialing.

    "Alexa, honey, calm down, start from the beginning," Nick said, coming into her room and sitting next to her on the bed.
    "Mom called me and AJ into her room and showed us a picture in a magazine.  A picture of us, together, laughing, having a grand 'ol time, and his arm was around me.  The magazine editors thought it meant that I was his new girlfriend.  His new girlfriend!  Nick, I've been confined here until further notice and that means we can't go out tonight, or any other night until she says I can!"  Alexa exclaimed, visibly upset about it.
    Nick chuckled and pulled her into his arms.  "Is that what you're so upset about?  Don't worry, honey, its ok.  It'll all be cleared up soon, the rumors will stop, and you will eventually be allowed out of your room.  Its not that big a deal that we can't go out, I'd rather we stay here anyway," he said, rubbing her back.
    "But, Nick, it took you forever to get those reservations" Alexa started.
    "So?  Besides, the last time we went there, the waiters were really mean and snotty to us, just because it was a bunch of guys wanting to have something to eat and chose a fancy place.  Trust me, I wasn't really looking forward to going back," Nick admitted.
    "Then why did you make such a big deal about it?"  Alexa asked, looking up at him.
    "Because you're worth it.  I was willing to go back there with you and only you because you're worth it.  I would do anything for you, go anywhere for you, as long as you asked," Nick said quietly, moving a few curls out of her face.
    Alexa smiled and sat up next to him.  "Does that mean you'd actually stay with me, here, until I'm off this stupid charge of room confinement?"  She asked.
    Nick smiled back and tickled her stomach.  "Of course I will!  Just let me run back to my room and get something, I'll be right back, ok?"  He said.
   Alexa nodded and he stood up, walking to the door.  He hurried down the hall and across and opened his hotel room door.
    "What's up, Frack?"  Brian asked as he walked in.
    "Nothing, Frick, I'm just going to hang out with Alexa for a little while.  She's been confined to her room until further notice, I'll fill you in on the details later, but for now, I'm gonna take advantage of this and
spend some time with her," Nick replied, going to his suitcase and pulling out a large bag of junk food.
    "Yo, when did you get that?"  Brian demanded, sitting up from where he was lying on his bed.
    "I got this, lemme think, about five days ago, right before we left Maine and came here to New Hampshire.  They had this big-ass candy store right down the block from us and I took the liberty of stocking up on what I could," Nick said, grinning and closing up his suitcase.  "Don't tell Denise, she'll have a hissy fit because I wasn't suppose to leave the hotel that day, we were all suppose to stay inside."
    "Oh, I know, I went out for a slushy and nearly got caught," Brian said, going back to watching the movie on the television.
    Nick smiled and walked out of the room, carrying the bag of candy at his side.  He hurried over to Alexa's room and knocked quietly.
    "Nicky, you know you don't have to knock, you have the key," Alexa said as she opened the door.
    "I know, but my hands are a bit full," he said, showing her the bag.
    She gasped.  "Ohmigod, gimme those Butterfingers!"  She said, letting him inside the hotel room.
    Nick hugged the bag to his chest.  "No way, those are mine!"  He exclaimed, walking to her bed.
    "But Nick, I love Butterfingers, you know that," Alexa whined as she sat down next to him.
    "I know, but so do I," Nick said.
    "We'll share them," they both said at the same time.
    Alexa giggled and held out her hand.  "Deal?"
    "Deal," Nick said as he shook her hand.  He opened the bag and spilled a large portion in front of them.  "Ok, here, this is our stash for the remainder of the month," he said, holding up the bag.
    "What, are you insane?  That is not nearly enough to last us that long," Alexa said.
    "I know, that's why we have to make it last," he replied, selecting a Reese's peanut butter cup.
    Alexa smiled as he unwrapped the piece of chocolate.  "Did I ever tell you what my biggest weakness was?"  She asked.
    "Umm, I believe you said it was me," Nick said, confused.
    "Besides that," Alexa said, moving closer next to him.
    "Umm, I don't know, what?"  Nick asked as he popped the Reese's in his mouth.
    "Chocolate," Alexa answered.  She leaned over and kissed Nick, then pulled away.
    "Hey!"  Nick exclaimed.
    Alexa giggled as she chewed.  "You can't say I didn't warn you!"
    Nick shook his head and pretended to grumble as he unwrapped another candy.  "You know, if I didn't give in so quickly to you, we'd have some major problems here," he said, wagging his finger at her.
    Alexa giggled and reached for a Butterfinger.  "And if you didn't have Butterfingers, imagine what would happen then?"  She asked.
    They both laughed and started on a binge.

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