Secrets Kept, Lies Told
Secrets Kept, Lies Told
AJ yelled as he opened the door to Alexa's room. He and his mother
hurried over to where Alexa was asleep on the bed and he jumped on it.
screamed. She looked around and saw AJ and her mother. "Oh
my Lord, never do that again," she said, covering her face with her hands
and collapsing back on her pillows.
"Why not?" AJ
"Because you nearly
gave me a heart attack," Alexa answered through her hands.
"Oh, sorry," AJ said.
"Come on, Lexy, time
to get up before the other guys go ballistic because they can't do anything
until you're up," her mother said, trying to shake her awake.
"They'll have to deal,
I'm tired," Alexa said, burying her face in the pillows.
on, Aly, let's go!" AJ said, bouncing on the bed.
"AJ, go away, leave
me alone," Alexa said, her voice muffled.
AJ looked up at his
mother, who nodded and hurried to the door. She came back with Nick
in tow, who looked as equally as tired as Alexa sounded. He bent
down by Alexa's head and whispered something to her. Alexa nodded
and Nick climbed on the bed with her, laying back down and trying to go
"Guys! Come on,"
"No way, man, I'm exhausted,"
Nick said, his voice muffled by the pillows and Alexa's hair.
"Yeah, leave us alone
AJ," Alexa said, yawning.
AJ looked at his mother
who shrugged. "Tell you what, you two get up and make it into my
room, you can crash on the couch, ok?" She suggested.
Alexa turned her head
and faced Nick. "Carry me?" She asked tiredly.
Nick nodded and propped
himself up, then climbed over her to her side of the bed. He lifted
her up cradle-style and Alexa shrieked.
"Ahh, I'm gonna fall!"
She exclaimed, holding onto his neck.
"Hey, you said for
me to carry you!" He said, smiling. He followed AJ and his
mother down the hall, then walked to the couch and sat down, still holding
"About time you two
got here," Brian said, looking up from the floor.
"Shh, too loud," Alexa
said, pulling the blanket from the top of the couch on top of her and Nick.
She leaned back against his chest and yawned again, pulling the blanket
tightly around the two of them.
"Thanks, Merry Christmas
to you, too," Brian said, tickling the bottom of her feet.
"Hey, leave her alone.
Everytime she moves, I have to find another position to be comfortable
in," Nick complained, hugging Alexa tighter.
AJ smiled at the two
and helped his mother distribute the presents around the room. Once
everyone had a big pile of presents in front of them, he sat at his own
pile and looked around the room. "Ok, who's first?" He asked.
"I would say that Alexa
goes first because it's her first year with us, but I think she's too tired
to open anything," Kevin said, looking up at her.
Alexa shook her head
and reached for one of the gifts on the end of the couch. "Nope,
never too tired for that, just too tired to get up and get them," she said.
She torn a present open and looked at the label on the paper. "'To
Alexa, from Kevin'," she read. "A.k.a., Santa Claus," she teased.
"Hey, just because
I'm the oldest, doesn't mean that I deserve to be teased about it," Kevin
said, taking the wrapping paper and stuffing it in a garbage bag.
Alexa giggled and opened
the box. She pulled out the tissue paper and started unrolling a
piece. "Oh, Kevin, it's beautiful!" She exclaimed, holding
up a crystal figurine of the Eiffel Tower.
"Yes, you get to see
that in person next year, our tour continues in Europe and we'll be in
Paris in February," Kevin said.
"Well, thank you, Kevin,
I love it," Alexa said, leaning over and giving him a kiss on the cheek.
"Now I believe it's your turn, pick one," she said, gesturing to the big
pile in front of him.
Kevin nodded and looked
at the pile, finally selecting one on the bottom. "Hmm, to Kevin
from Brian. Uh-oh, should I be prepared to jump again?" He
Everyone laughed and
Brian shook his head. "No, not this year," he said.
"Wait, I'm confused,"
"Last year, Brian got
one of those cans that have the things that pop out of them when you open
them for Kevin and scared the crap out of him. It was great," Nick
explained, still laughing.
"And I thought you
were the joker of the group," Alexa said, hugging Nick's arms.
"Nah, not anymore,
he's reformed, I had to take his place," Brian said.
"Yo, cool, thanks Bri,"
Kevin said, holding up the T-shirt. He started reading it aloud.
"Big Brother, noun, one, older sibling of another, two, someone that watches
over and protects younger siblings, three, one who reserves the right of
kicking your ass!" Kevin laughed. "Thanks, Brian, this is great,"
"No problem, I was
going to get that one for AJ and get one that said father for you, but
I couldn't find one," Brian said.
"That's all right,
your turn," Kevin said.
They went around, opening
gag gifts and real gifts from everyone, even distributing some last minute
ones. AJ held out a present to Alexa after he opened one of his.
"Here, this one I got for you a few days ago," he said.
Alexa smiled and unwrapped
the present carefully. She opened the box and pulled out a microphone.
She started to laugh and leaned over to give him a hug. "Thank you,
big brother," she said, still laughing.
"Wait a second, did
we miss something here?" Brian asked, looking around at everyone
"Yeah, I think we did,"
Alexa smiled and held
up the microphone. "You see, when AJ and I went to the McDonalds
before we left Orlando and got chased back to the hotel, we never fully
explained how they recognized him. You see, we were bickering in
the place right before we left and he said that he could do one thing that
I couldn't and that was sing. I told him I could, and I did.
He said something and I said, 'My brother, AJ McLean, the poet,' and the
people outside the door only heard the last two things I said, so started
"Yup, and since then,
I've been dying to hear Alexa sing again," AJ said.
Alexa started shaking
her head. "Oh no, I learned my lesson last time, I'm not singing
ever again," she said.
"Come on, Alexa, sing
for us," Brian begged.
"Come on, baby, please?"
Nick pleaded, sticking out his lower lip to
"All right, all right, I'll sing," she said. She cleared her throat
and smiled. "I'd walk halfway around the world, for just one kiss
from you. Far beyond the call of love, the sun, the stars the moon.
As long as your love's there for me, I won't loose my way believe me, even
through the darkest night you know," she sang.
"Hey, no fair, she
sings my part better than I sing it!" Brian complained.
"Yeah, and my part
too. What do you need us for, you have Alexa!" Nick exclaimed,
hugging her tight.
Alexa smiled and blushed.
"I'm not that good, I just sing it the way I hear it in my head."
"Well, that doesn't
matter, 'Lexa, the point is you did that very well and you made both Nick
and Brian jealous," Howie said.
"Which should not be
allowed," Nick said, pouting.
"Oh, I'm sorry, sweetie,"
Alexa said, turning to face him. She kissed him softly and whispered
something in his ear. Nick started laughing, hard.
"What did you say to
him, Alexa?" Her mother asked.
"The same thing I said
to him that time he laughed like this on the bus," she answered, smiling.
"Wait, I think I have
an idea what you said to him," AJ said, gesturing her to lower her head.
"Did you just say farfegnugen to him?" He asked.
Alexa laughed and nodded.
"Yeah, how did you know?"
AJ shrugged and laughed.
"I don't know, I just knew."
Alexa giggled and looked
up at Nick. "Are you gonna stop laughing now and prevent me from
falling off your lap?" She asked.
Nick laughed and pulled
Alexa closer to him. "You are a trip," he said, trying to calm himself
"Thank you, thank you
very much," she said.
"Ok, Elvis and Costello,
can we continue here?" AJ asked, pulling a present out of his bag.
"I have one more here and its from all of us to you, Mom," he said, turning
and handing it to her.
"Oh, guys, you didn't
have to get me anything!" She exclaimed, placing the present on the
table in front of her.
"Yes, we did," Brian
said. "You put up with all our attitudes and bloated heads up to
fifty weeks a year, you deserve something."
She smiled and unwrapped
the present. "Oh, guys, this is beautiful!" She exclaimed,
pulling out a snow glob. She started to laugh. "Oh, instead
of a scene, its Florida!" She said.
"Imagine that, Florida
getting snow," Nick said, laughing along with her.
"Yeah, can you imagine
that?" Alexa asked.
"No," they all chorused.
"I was speaking hypothetically,"
Alexa said witheringly.
"We know, but next
to Nick, you're the easiest one to tease," Brian said, smiling at her.
"And why's that, Kentucky
boy?" She asked him.
"Because you always
react to it."
"So it makes it more
"But what does that
matter? I just fire right back at you, country bumpkin."
"Ouch, Alexa, that
one really hurt."
"Hey, I can't necessarily
come over there and hitch up your britches over your head, now can I?"
Alexa asked, imitating Brian's accent.
"Hey! How'd you
do that?!" Brian exclaimed.
"Not that hard, Brian,
I've been living with you for the last few months, just after a week of
hearing you talk, I was already starting to talk like you," Alexa admitted,
standing up and stretching her legs.
"Alexa, what's that
around your neck?" AJ asked, noticing something gleaming in the lights.
Alexa's hand flew to
her neck and she looked at Nick. "I forgot to take it off last night!"
"What is it?"
AJ asked again, standing up.
Alexa smiled at Nick
and played with a few strands of his hair. "Its Nick's present.
He gave it to me last night," she said softly.
"Can I see it?"
Alexa nodded and pulled
it out of her shirt. "Isn't it beautiful?" She asked.
"Oh my" AJ trailed
off. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. "Ma, I think you
better come see this," he said, his face turning white.
"What?" His mother
said, standing up and walking over to Alexa. "My Lord, Alexa" she
started. She couldn't finish her sentence.
Alexa smiled and reached
behind her neck, unclasping it. "Here, look at it, I'll be right
back," she said, handing the necklace to AJ. She hurried out of the
room and down the hall.
"Ma, do you see what
I see?" AJ whispered.
"Yeah, and I don't
think I've ever seen so many diamonds before in my life," she whispered
"Hey, you two please
stop drooling all over my necklace?" Alexa demanded as she walked
back in the room. She sat back on the couch next to Nick and handed
him a present. "I was going to give you this last night, but circumstances
prevented me from doing so," she said.
"Aw, thank you, baby,"
Nick said, unwrapping the present. He opened the box and lifted out
a watch. "Alexa, thank you so much!" He said, putting on the
watch. It was a gold Rolex.
"And there's something
else in there," Alexa said.
Nick tipped the box
upside down and a ring came out. "Oh, that ring that I said I liked.
Alexa, you didn't have to get me two things!" He said.
"Yes I did. You got
me two things, so why couldn't I?" She asked hypothetically.
She stood up and gently took her necklace out of AJ's hands and replaced
it with an envelope. "Here you go, big brother, this is your Christmas
present," she said.
AJ looked at her curiously
and sat back down on the floor. He torn open the envelope and gasped.
"Alexa, is this what I think it is?" He asked.
"Yes, every single
dollar," she replied.
"Alexa, what on earth,"
her mother started.
"You remember in the
beginning, I was the one who pick-pocketed AJ? Well, that's all his
money, I didn't spend one cent of it," Alexa said.
"You said that's how
you got your clothes!" AJ exclaimed.
"I lied, AJ, I was
a con-artist, I lied to everyone then to get what I wanted," Alexa said
gently. "But I don't now. I can't lie to any of you, especially
dough boy here," she said, poking Nick in his stomach. "He sees
right through it," she explained as he
jumped and laughed.
"Hey, how many times
do I have to say it? Don't call me that when we're around other people!"
He exclaimed, tickling her back.
"Hey, dough boy and
dough girl, how about some breakfast?" Kevin asked, picking up the
"Yeah, I want strawberries,"
"They're out of season,
dear," her mother reminded.
"Ok, corn flakes, then,"
"You could live on
those, couldn't you?" AJ asked.
"Yup, I really could,"
Alexa said, smiling, hugging Nick as he put back on her necklace.
AJ smiled and couldn't
help but think how great a couple his little sister and friend really made.