Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 28

    Alexa looked at the clock and then around at her room.  It was clean, finally, and she was nearly ready.  She glanced back at the note, at the scrawled cursive.  She couldn't put her finger on it, but there was something off about that note.  She shrugged it off and looked at the clock again.  'Seven-thirty, I might want to leave now,' she said.  She grabbed her coat and pulled it on, glancing around one more time.  She grabbed Nick's present at the last second and hurried out the hotel door and to the elevator.

    Nick glanced around the room once more and smiled, satisfied that it was finally clean.  He knew it wouldn't be much longer, but he wasn't hopeful.  He glanced over at Brian and then at the mirror in front of him.  "What do you think, B-Rok?"  He asked, straightening the jacket in the mirror.
    Brian looked up from his magazine and nodded.  "Pretty spiffy, Kaos," he said, standing up and walking over to him.
    "Oh, God, please don't let anything happen tonight that will remind me of that nickname," Nick said to himself.
    "Relax, Nick, it won't.  That was a long time ago, you're over that accident-prone stage," Brian said, chuckling and helping him fix his tie.
   "I know, but still," Nick said, tugging at the tie.  He felt like it was choking him.  "I'm afraid, Brian, I mean, what if something bad happens and she dumps me?  I wouldn't be able to handle that," he said.
    "Nick, calm down.  That won't happen, get that idea out of your head.  You'll meet her there and you'll both have a good time."  Brian stepped back from Nick and nodded, satisfied.  "You're ready, bro," he said.
    Nick gulped and looked in the mirror.  He couldn't really focus on the person staring back at him, it didn't look like him.
    "Nick, you might want to go, you have ten minutes," Brian said, holding out Nick's overcoat.
    Nick nodded and took the coat silently, pulling it on and shoving Alexa's present into the pocket as an afterthought.  He walked nervously to the door and turned to see his best friend smiling at him.  He smiled back nervously.  "I think I'm ready," he said.
    Brian chuckled and practically shoved Nick out of the room.  "Go, Frack, or you'll be late," he said.  Brian closed the door and Nick gulped again.  He walked down the hall to the elevator and pressed down.  'Its now or never, Nick,' he said to himself as the doors opened.  He rode down and hailed a cab outside.  During the short ride to the restaurant, he thought about what Howie and Brian had told him.  'She doesn't know about Tavern on the Green she's never heard of it not her handwriting a very good forgery,' it
was all swimming through his head.  He shook his head and paid the driver as he pulled up to the restaurant.  He got out and walked inside, being met by the host.
    "Can I help you sir?"  He asked.
    "Yes, I have reservations tonight," Nick said, pulling off his gloves and brushing off his coat.  A light snow was falling, just like it did a month ago when they were there.
    "Ah, Carter, party of two?  Right this way, sir, the lady just arrived," he said, leading Nick to the back of the restaurant.
    Nick raised his eyebrows and followed the host, pulling off his coat as he walked.  He froze as the host walked to the sectioned off table and said something to the person already sitting there.  Nick gulped again as Alexa stood up and turned to him.  He gasped, she was breathtaking.
    "Hi, Nick," she said quietly.  She smoothed down her dress and smiled lightly.  Her dress was green velvet, with a low neck held up by spaghetti straps, no back, and a tight floor length skirt with a slit on the side.  It hugged her every curve, making Nick's mind reel.
    Nick snapped back into reality and walked over to Alexa, taking her hand and kissing it lightly.  Alexa blushed and he led her back to the table.  He helped her sit and sat across from her.
    "Your waiter will be by momentarily, sir," the host said, bowing.  He walked away from the table and Nick smiled at Alexa.
    "Well, this certainly is a surprise," he said.
    "Isn't it though?"  Alexa asked, taking a sip of water from her glass. "You didn't plan this, did you?"  She asked.
    Nick shook his head.  "Nope, I thought you did, but Brian and Howie proved me wrong," he said truthfully.
    "You're right, neither of you did, I did," AJ said, walking over to their table.
    "AJ," Alexa started.  Nick grabbed her hand and squeezed it, telling her to give him a chance.
    "I tried every way I could think of to apologize to the two of you, and finally, I got this idea.  What better way to show that I like the fact that you two are together than have you two spend the night together?"  AJ asked hypothetically.  "Order whatever you want, it's covered.  Merry Christmas, you two, hopefully this will help you change your minds about my stubborn and childish ass," he said, turning away.
    "AJ," Alexa said.
    He turned around and Alexa stood up.  She walked over to him and gave him a hug.  "Thank you," she whispered.
    Nick could see the tears form in AJ's eyes as he hugged his sister back.  "My little sister grew up when I wasn't there and I wanted her to be the little girl I didn't see.  I guess I tried a little too hard, huh?"  AJ asked.
    Alexa backed away from him, wiping away tears.  "You might say that, big brother," she said.  "You are forgiven, Alex, but don't pull anything like it again, then I won't be so forgiving," she said sternly, wagging her finger at him.
    AJ laughed and grabbed her finger.  "Stop acting like Mom, Aly, it's not good for you," he said.  He kissed her forehead and looked back at Nick, who was waiting patiently.  "Go on, he's waiting for you and I know the only thing that's really on his mind is the free food," he said.
    Alexa laughed and let her brother go.  Nick stood back up and helped her sit again.  "You know, I think that this is going to be a good night," she said, wiping her face clean of tears.
    Nick chuckled and handed her a napkin.  "Yeah, I think so too."

    Alexa couldn't believe that she was living this night.  Everything was so perfect, she and her brother had made up, she wasn't mad at him anymore, and he'd done the perfect thing to make it up to her.  The next thing that was perfect was that Nick was actually dressed up and he looked so very nice.  The black suit he was wearing with a tie made him look years older and it gave him a more sophisticated air about him.  The last thing that was perfect was that they were together, without having to have snuck around anyone's
back or kept any secrets.  It was like they finally could do what they wanted and when they wanted to, without getting in trouble for it.
    Alexa looked down at her near-empty plate of fetticcini alfredo, then back up at Nick, who'd just taken the last bite of his steak and angel hair pasta.  "Well, I'd say that was pretty good," she said.
    "Pretty good?  Alexa, we just had food from a five star restaurant that takes forever to get reservations for, especially on Christmas Eve, and it was only pretty good?"  Nick asked her.
    Alexa laughed.  "Relax, Nick, I was just kidding.  I thought the food was excellent, how was yours?"
    "Eh, pretty good."
    They both laughed and Nick reached across the table for her hand.  "You know what?"  Alexa asked.
    "You are the most handsome man I've ever seen in my life," she said.
    Nick smiled and kissed her hand.  "And you are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life," he said quietly.
    Alexa could only smile.  She felt so wonderful to be there with Nick, it was near indescribable.
    "Oh, before I forget," Nick said, letting go of her hand.  "I wanted to give you this," he said, pulling a wide flat box out of his pocket.
    "Nicky, you didn't have to get me anything," Alexa said.
    "But what would I have done for Christmas, then?  I wasn't just gonna say I love you, give you a kiss, and expect you to accept that!"
    "I would've!"
    "Well, its too late for that.  I want you to have this," Nick said, facing the box towards her and slowly opening the top.
    Alexa gasped and covered her open mouth with her hand.  She felt tears gather in her eyes and looked at Nick.  "Nick, that is so beautiful," she whispered.
    Nick smiled and got up, walking around the table to her.  "Not nearly as beautiful as you.  Nothing could ever come near your beauty, but still people try to make something that could compare," he said, taking the necklace out of the box.
    Alexa gasped as Nick put the necklace on her.  It was a diamond heart on a gold chain, absolutely breathtaking.  "Nick, I can't believe you got this for me!  I can't accept this, its too expensive," she said, trying to keep breathing.
    "Yes, you can, and you are.  Don't worry about the price, that is no object.  I would spend every cent I had and it still wouldn't be enough for you," he said, kneeling next to her chair.  He smiled as the violin music from the main room floated in.  "Would you care to dance?"  He asked, holding out his hand.
    Alexa nearly cried, but just nodded, not trusting her voice.  Nick pulled her chair out from the table and held out his hand for hers.  He led her to the empty space next to the table and took her in his arms, swaying her back and forth.
    "Do you always have to try to make me cry?"  Alexa asked hoarsely.
    "No, I just try to make you happy," Nick said.
    Alexa felt tears roll down her cheeks and leaned her head on Nick's shoulder, listening to his heartbeat as it beat with her own.
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