Secrets Kept, Lies Told
Secrets Kept, Lies Told
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,
"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
"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
"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
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
"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.
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?"
"Shopping with Kevin
and Howie, why?"
Denise shook her head
and walked back towards the door. "No reason, and oh, 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.
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.
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,"
"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
"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