Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 29

    "Merry Christmas!"  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.
    "Ahh!"  Alexa 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 asked.
    "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.
    "Alexa?  Come 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 back to
    "Guys!  Come on," AJ said.
    "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 Alexa.
    "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 asked.
    Everyone laughed and Brian shook his head.  "No, not this year," he said.
    "Wait, I'm confused," Alexa said.
    "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," he said.
    "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 else.
    "Yeah, I think we did," Nick said.
    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 chasing us."
    "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
    She laughed.  "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 down.
    "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."
    "And?  So?"
    "So it makes it more fun."
    "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!"  She exclaimed.
    "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?"  AJ asked.
    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 back.
    "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 phone.
    "Yeah, I want strawberries," Alexa said.
    "They're out of season, dear," her mother reminded.
    "Ok, corn flakes, then," Alexa said.
    "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.
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