Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 27

    Alexa woke up on Christmas Eve pretty late, about one o'clock, and was surprised to see that no one had tried to bother her this morning.  'What are they planning?'  She wondered as she sat up.  She stretched and got out of bed, walking to the bathroom for a shower.
    Alexa walked out of the bathroom a half-hour later, a towel wrapped around her tightly.  She noticed a bouquet of flowers on the table beside her bed and ran over to them, smelling them.  They were white roses, her favorite.  She noticed an envelope sticking up out of the bouquet and picked it up, opening it.
    "Oh, wow," she said to herself.  "Dinner reservations tonight?  Just Nick and me?  Oh, he is so sweet!"  She exclaimed.  She smelled the roses again and danced around the room, excited about tonight.  "Ohmigod," she said suddenly, stopping in her tracks.  "What am I going to wear?!"  She said anxiously.  She hurried to her closet and suitcase, praying she'd find the right thing.

    Nick rubbed his eyes and looked at the clock.  It was nearly one o'clock and nobody had woken him up yet?  He sat up and looked around the messy hotel room, Brian was gone.  Nick shrugged, not bothering to question it, and stumbled sleepily to the bathroom.
    Nick got out of the shower a half-hour later, wrapped a towel around his  waist, and walked into the hotel room and saw two pieces of paper on the dresser.
    He picked up the first one.  "Nick, went out with Kevin and Howie for some last minute Christmas shopping, be back soon, Brian," he read aloud.  He put down that piece of paper and picked up another, looking at the swirling cursive.  "Reservations for Alexa and me?  She didn't have to do that," Nick
said to himself, reading silently.  "Wow, classy," he thought aloud, biting his lip.  He put down the paper and looked at his reflection in the mirror. "And I'm going to wear, what?"  He asked himself.  He hurried over to his suitcase and his end of the closet, jumping over the mess of clothes on the floor, praying that he'd have something suitable.

    "Alexa, what are you doing?"  Denise asked as she opened the door to her daughter's hotel room.
    "I'm looking for a nice dress to wear," Alexa answered as she tossed her clothes all over the place.  "But I can't seem to find one!"  She exclaimed, standing up straight.  Her hair was pulled into a messy bun and she was wearing a tank top and a pair of sweat pants.
    "Lexy, honey, calm down," Denise said, closing the door behind her.  She picked her way over to Alexa's bed and cleared off a space to sit.  "Why are you looking for a nice dress to wear?"  She asked.
    "Wait a sec, where did these come from?"  Denise interrupted, seeing the roses for the first time.
    "Aren't they beautiful?  Nick gave them to me, he's taking me out to dinner tonight.  That's why I'm looking for a nice dress, the place we're going happens to be very classy, I had to ask Howie about that, he knows his way around here better than I do," Alexa said, going through the pile of clothes on the floor again.
    Denise couldn't take her eyes off the bouquet.  She didn't think Nick would do something like that, he wasn't very into the romantic thing.  'This is more like something AJ would do,' she thought.  She started getting an idea, but she wanted to make sure.  "Alexa, when did these flowers come?" She asked.
    "While I was in the shower, about an hour ago," Alexa answered.
    "And who did you tell that you liked white roses better than red ones, besides me?"
    "Nick and AJ."
    "Are either of them awake?"
    "Not that I know of, I don't keep tabs on them, Mom."
    "Ok, Alexa, I was just asking," Denise said, standing back up.  "I'll be right back," she said.  She walked quickly out of the room and down the hall to AJ's room.  She spotted a note on the dresser.  "Went shopping with Brian, Kevin, and Howie, be back soon, peace AJ" she read aloud.  She thought for a
moment and left the note on the dresser, leaving the room.  She hurried to Kevin's room and spotted another note.  "Went shopping with Brian and Howie, Kevin," she read aloud.  She hurried to Nick and Brian's room and knocked on the door.
    "What?"  Nick answered the door, looking a little frustrated.
    "Nick, what on earth happened in here?"  Denise asked as she walked in the room.
    "Name's Tornado Nick, I was trying to find something to wear out tonight.  Alexa got us reservations at some fancy place and I haven't been able to find anything good for some place as fancy as the restaurant she mentioned," he said, running back around his room.  He was wearing a pair of sweat pants
and a white under shirt, his hair in disarray.
    "Where did Brian go?"  Denise asked.
    "Shopping with Kevin and Howie, why?"
    Denise shook her head and walked back towards the door.  "No reason, and oh, Nick?"
    "What?"  Nick asked, still shuffling through the mess on the floor.
    "Clean this up and wear the suit that's in your garment bag," Denise said as she closed the door.  She made one final stop in her room, then walked back to Alexa's room, carrying a box.
    "Mom, I can't find anything to wear!"  Alexa exclaimed as Denise walked back in the room.
    Denise chuckled and placed the box on the bed.  "Lexy, baby, come sit down," Denise said, pulling Alexa to the bed.  She sat her down and handed her the box.  "Although I wanted to wait until tomorrow to give you this, I think now is a better time," she said.
    Alexa looked at her shocked and then back down at the box.  She opened it carefully and pulled out the floor length dress Denise had bought a few weeks ago.
    "Oh, Mama, its beautiful," Alexa said, holding up the dress.  She placed the box on the bed and stood up, holding the dress in front of her.  "And its my favorite color," Alexa said, giggling, and fingering the soft green velvet.  "Thank you so much, Mom, it's a dress to die for."
    Denise smiled and gave Alexa a hug.  "No problem.  Now, you get ready, and stay away from Nick, he's getting ready too, ok?  It's almost two o'clock," she said as she walked to the door.
    "Two o'clock?!  I have less than six hours to get ready?  What was I thinking!"  Alexa exclaimed, putting the dress on the bed gently.  As Denise closed the door behind her, she saw Alexa running to the bathroom.
    'I'll have to talk to AJ when he gets back from wherever he went.  I have to find out why he did this,' Denise thought as she walked to her room.  She closed the door behind her and sat down, trying to think of AJ's motive for getting Alexa and Nick reservations at one of the classiest places in New York.

    AJ smiled as he walked back into the hotel.  He'd just spent the most pleasant afternoon by himself, shopping for everyone.  He'd gotten Kevin and Howie new CDs, Brian a movie, and Nick a new nintendo game.  He got his mother a big bag of gag gifts, along with a few real things, and Alexa... well, Alexa was hard to shop for.  He wasn't quite sure what to get her, he knew her tastes changed just as often as his did.  He was just leaving the mall when he spotted the perfect thing for her.  He bought it quickly and hurried
out of the mall, the cashier at the store had recognized him.  She promised not to say anything, but he couldn't trust anyone.  He took a cab back to the hotel and hurried upstairs, hoping he wouldn't meet anyone on the way.  No such luck.
    "AJ," he heard as he opened the door to his room.
    "Hi, Ma," he said, turning around to face her.
    "AJ, in there, now," she said, pointing to his room.
    AJ winced and opened the door the rest of the way, putting his bags by the door.  He grabbed the note he'd left and crumpled it up, tossing it in the garbage can, praying that his mother hadn't seen it.
    "I already saw it, AJ, start talking," his mother said, closing the door behind her.
    "About what?"  He asked, sitting in a chair.
    "About where you really were this afternoon, say between one and one-thirty?"  She suggested.
    "Umm, I was here, I hadn't left yet," AJ said.
    "Why did you get the reservations for Nick and Alexa?"
    AJ knew he was caught.  "Because Alexa still hasn't forgiven me and I'm hoping she will after this," he admitted.
    "I don't know, they both think the other planned this."
    "That was the point, I'd tell them later that it was me."
    "When?  A few weeks from now?  Or were you waiting until they figured it out on their own?"
    "Tonight, I was going to meet them at the restaurant, say Merry Christmas, and leave.  It would be my Christmas present to the two of them, telling them that I accept them, when I should've in the first place," AJ said quietly.
    "You're right that you should've a long time ago, but I guess this is as good an idea as any.  Surely better than any I would've thought of," his mother said.
    "So you don't think that it was a bad idea to do this?"  AJ asked.  He highly valued his mother's opinion, he wanted his little sister back.
    "No, I think its great, but be careful AJ, you don't want it to backfire on you," his mother said, getting up and walking to the door.
    AJ nodded.  "I know, thanks Ma.  Oh, and don't tell anyone that I was the one who did it, I want to tell them myself."
    She nodded and walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.  AJ sat back in his chair, thinking, praying that everything would go ok tonight.

    Brian opened his hotel room door and looked around with wide eyes.  "Ok, what happened?  Did a bomb explode or something?"  He asked Nick as he walked over the piles of clothes.
    "No, I was looking for something to wear," Nick said, folding a shirt and laying it in a dresser.
    "Ok, and since when did that cause an explosion?"  Brian asked, trying to find someplace to put his bags.
    "Since Alexa and I are going out to a really nice restaurant and I need to look nice," Nick answered, grabbing another shirt.
    "Oh, is that your present to her?"  Brian asked, finally finding a place to set his bags.  Next, he started to look for a place to sit.
    "No, its hers to me, she got the reservations at Tavern on the Green for seven forty-five tonight and I didn't find out about it until about an hour and a half ago," Nick explained, folding a pair of pants.
    "Wow, cool present, but Tavern on the Green?  Man, that's expensive," Brian said, clearing a space off on his bed.
    "You're telling me.  I had no idea she even knew about Tavern on the Green," Nick said, finishing with one drawer and moving to the next.
    "She doesn't," Howie said, walking in the room.  He tried to push the door closed, but was unsuccessful.  "She came to ask me right before we left where it was.  I was surprised that she didn't know, but was happy when I told her.  She practically bounced out of the room and back to hers after I told her exactly what Tavern on the Green was.  I don't think she got those reservations Nick, in fact, I think she thinks you got them," he said, giving up on the door and trying to find a clean place to sit.
    "I didn't, I found out not too long ago," Nick repeated, holding up a note that was covered with curly writing.
    Brian held out his hand and Nick handed him the paper.  Brian unfolded it and read it aloud.  "'How does this sound for a Christmas surprise, dinner tonight for just the two of us.  Meet me at Tavern on the Green at seven forty-five tonight for our reservations.  Don't be late, love, Alexa'.  This isn't Alexa's handwriting, Nick," Brian said, handing him the note.
    "Then whose is it?"  Nick asked, taking back the note and looking over it.  "It looks like hers to me," he said.
    "It does, but look at her name, look at the last three letters.  They aren't connected to the 'L', I know for a fact she connects all the letters in her name together.  Here, look at this," he said, getting up and walking
to his dresser.  He pulled out yesterday's jeans and pulled a note out of the pocket.  "Alexa wrote me this yesterday, telling me to get something for her at the mall, she knew I was going today.  Look at how she signed her name. In fact, look at the entire thing.  The handwriting is close, but this is hers, that note isn't her handwriting, but it's a very good forgery."
    Nick and Howie looked closely at the two notes, comparing them.  "You're right, but who'd want to set me and Alexa up for tonight?"  Nick asked.
    Brian shrugged and sat back down, taking back his note.  "I don't know, but they're going through quite a lot of trouble to," he said.
    Nick shrugged and went back to folding clothes and cleaning up.  Brian sat back on his bed, thinking.  'Who could've done this?  AJ?  Maybe, Alexa still hasn't forgiven him' Brian abandoned the thought and started helping Nick clean up.

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