Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
©1999-2000
By Sarah
Chapter 30


    "Ok, Alexa, I need to borrow you for a minute," Denise said to her daughter, trying to pry her away from Nick.
    "Ok, I'll be right back, Nicky," Alexa said, giving Nick one more kiss. Denise dragged her daughter out of the hotel room and to the hall, closing the door behind her.  "Sheesh, it takes a while to get you away from him," she said.
    "Well, why did you have to?"  Alexa asked, almost whining.
    "First, I want to ask you something.  Did you just call Nick 'Nicky'?"
    "Yeah."
    "Ok, just checking.  Secondly, I need your help with something.  I planned a surprise for the guys.  You see, this is the first Christmas they've ever spent away from their families and I don't want them to experience it.  All of their families are on their way, they're all taking flights in and arriving today at JFK Airport.  The problem is, I can't leave the hotel," Denise explained.  "So you have to go and pick them up," she finished.
    "But Mom!  That means I'll be away from Nicky forever!  I don't want to go see people I don't even know!"  Alexa complained.
    "Shh, keep your voice down.  You'll know them by the end of the night, trust me.  I need you to go get dressed, now, and get ready to leave.  The Richardsons' and the Littrells' are coming in first from Kentucky, at I believe four-thirty.  They are on one flight, and the Carters' and the Doroughs' are on another from Florida, arriving at about four-fifty.  I have pictures of each family, which I will give to you, and they all have a picture of you, so they'll know you when they see you.  They know to introduce themselves so they don't scare you, but you have to be open-minded about these people.  Kevin's and Brian's relatives are coming in from Kentucky, so they might experience a little jet lag, because their bodies think its two hours earlier, so they might be a little tired or something.  Nick's and Howie's relatives are, let's put it this way, numerous.  There are, I think, ten of Howie's relative coming in and eight of Nick's, so don't be surprised if you're somewhat held up because a bag is missing or something," Denise explained as she led Alexa to her room and started picking out clothes for her to wear.  "Here, wear this shirt and these jeans, that's
what I told them you would be wearing, just to make life easier.  Oh, and also, be nice to everyone.  I know I don't really have to tell you this, but Aaron, Nick's little brother, is going to be asking you a lot of questions.  Nick told his family that you were his girlfriend and Aaron said he was going to give you the third degree.  I find that rather funny, though, because he has no idea what that means," Denise said, laughing.
    "I'm not laughing, here," Alexa said forlornly.
    Denise frowned and looked at her daughter's sad face.  "I know it'll be tough not seeing Nick for a little while.  But then you'll be back before you know it and spending just as much time with him as you have for the last few months.  Put a smile on your face," she begged, smiling herself.  Alexa smiled and Denise laughed.  "There's my baby.  Come on, get ready, you have to leave for the airport in about a half-hour," she said, pushing Alexa to her bathroom.  Denise hurried out of her daughter's room and to her own, just
as Nick was walking out of the room.
    "Where do you think you're going, Romeo?"  Denise asked, pushing him back
in the room.
    "To see my Juliet, where is she?"  Nick asked, trying to get past Denise.
    "Uh-uh, she's in the shower, then she's going to get dressed because I need her to run a quick errand for me.  You just sit down and relax, she'll be back soon," Denise said, gesturing for Nick to sit back down.  She hurried to her suitcase across the room and pulled out the family pictures for Alexa.  She put them in her pocket and turned back to look at the guys.  She saw that they were preoccupied and hurried out of the room and back to Alexa's.  She set the pictures down on Alexa's dresser, making sure they were noticeable, and left.  She closed the door behind her and went back to sit in her room, hoping Alexa would hurry and get to the airport and back.


    Alexa hurriedly pulled on the white sweater her mother had set out and the pair of jeans.  She tossed her still damp curls over her shoulder and collected the pictures set out on her dresser, making sure that all four were there.  Lastly, she fastened the necklace Nick had given her around her neck, then grabbed her coat and hurried down the hall.  She wanted so badly to see Nick, but she knew it would have to wait.  She hailed a taxi as she walked out of the hotel and instructed the driver to the airport.  She arrived about
a half-hour later, still trying to memorize people's faces, she got out and paid the driver.  She hurried to the first gate for the Kentucky flight.  She got there just as people started unboarding.  She looked down at the two pictures in her hands and then back up as a large group of people came off the ramp.  'That's Mrs. Littrell and Mrs. Richardson,' she thought.
    "Mrs. Littrell?"  She asked as she walked up to a short brown headed woman.
    "You must be Alexa, correct?"  The woman asked, her accent softening her tone.
    "Yes, I am," Alexa said, holding out her hand.
    "Good, I'm Ann Richardson," another woman said, shaking her hand.
    "And I'm Jackie Littrell," Mrs. Littrell said, shaking her hand.
    "Hi," Alexa said, smiling at Kevin's mother.  "Its good to finally meet you, Kevin and Brian tell me a lot about the both of you," she said.
    "Oh, I bet they do," Mrs. Littrell said, walking with Alexa to the baggage check.  "That's Brian's older brother Harold, his wife and daughter couldn't come on this trip, so he came alone.  Next, that's Brian's father, Mr. Littrell, and then you have the Richardson clan," she said, sighing.
    "Hey, that's my clan, thank you!"  Mrs. Richardson said, smiling.  Her accent matched Mrs. Littrell's, and it sounded just as nice.  "That's Tim and Jerald Junior, Kevin's older brothers, and his grandmother as well.  Just call her Grandma, everyone does."
    "Yes, while I'm glad to finally meet you all, we have to hurry because the Carters' and Doroughs' flight gets in ten minutes ago," Alexa said, trying to gesture to the gate across the hall.
    "Oh, honey, go ahead, we'll meet you in the front," Mrs. Littrell said, waiting to get her bag.
    Alexa smiled and hurried off to the other side of the airport.  'Now I remember why I never went in airports to pickpocket, too confusing,' she said to herself.  She arrived at the gate and found a little blond boy doing cartwheels in circles around two frazzled looking people who were talking to two other frazzled looking people.
    "This has to be the Carters' and the Doroughs'," Alexa said, stopping and catching her breath.
    "And this has to be Alexa," a tall blonde girl responded.  She held out her hand and smiled.  "I'm BJ, one of Nick's sisters," she said.
    Alexa smiled and shook her hand.  "Nice to meet you, BJ, I am Alexa.  If you don't mind me asking, who is this power house of energy?"  Alexa asked, gesturing to the blond cartwheeler.
    "That is our bundle of energy, Aaron.  He just woke up from the flight, so he's going to be very hyper until after his brother wears him out," BJ explained.
    "Oh no, I don't think I can handle two hyper guys, I can barely handle one," Alexa groaned.
    BJ laughed.  "You've obviously seen Nick after he's had sugar."
    "Are you kidding?  I was the one who made the mistake of giving him my stash of Butterfingers!"  Alexa exclaimed.
    "Butterfingers?"  Aaron asked, stopping in front of the two girls.  "Where?"  He asked, looking around.
    "Aaron, please honey, you're giving me a headache.  We're trying to find Alexa, not Butterfingers," a woman said, walking over to him and placing her hands on his shoulders.
    "But I already found Alexa, Mom," BJ said, gesturing to Alexa.
    "Oh, dear, you'll have to excuse me, Aaron is wearing me out," the woman said, pushing back her short black hair.  "I'm Jane Carter, the mother of this bundle of energy and his sisters," she said, patting Aaron's head.
    "I'm Alexa, Mrs. Carter, nice to finally meet you," Alexa said, holding
out her hand.
    "Well, Nick was right for once, she is a nice girl," a blonde man said, walking over.  "I'm Bob Carter, Nick's father," he said, holding out his hand.
    Alexa blushed and shook his hand.  "Nice to meet you both.  But we really have to get going, the Littrells' and Richardsons' are waiting in the front and if I don't get everyone back to the hotel, Nick is going to go insane on my mother.  I don't think she'll like that very much," she said, turning around to lead everyone to the front entrance.  "First of all, before we take another step, does everyone have everything they need?"  Alexa asked, stopping at the gate.
    "Yes," everyone chorused.
    "Good, because I hate airports and I don't like being here," Alexa said, smiling.  She hurried out to the front and spotted Brian's and Kevin's relatives and hailed everyone cabs, getting in the last one with BJ, her mother, and Aaron and Angel.
    "Where are we going, Mom?"  Angel asked.
    "We're going to see your brother, dear," Mrs. Carter answered.
    Alexa couldn't help but smile at how loving she was to her children.  Although Mrs. Carter had scolded each of her children all the way to the cab, Alexa could tell that she loved then all dearly.
    "We're here," Alexa announced as the cabby pulled up to the hotel.  She paid him, with a generous tip, and climbed out of the cab.
    "Ok, everyone grab your own bags," Mrs. Carter said.  "That includes you, Aaron, get back out here," she called as her son ran in the hotel.
    "But, Ma, I just want to see Nick!"  He complained, walking back outside.
    "After you put your bags in the room, you can.  Alexa can bring you, along with everyone else," his mother insisted, handing him his suitcase.Alexa chuckled and led everyone inside and to the elevators.  She led them to their rooms that her mother had left her a note about, and had them stay quiet, they were on the same floor as the guys, but down the hall a bit.  As soon as everyone had put their things in their rooms, Aaron started begging Alexa to take them to see his brother.  She could tell he missed his brother
a lot.  Alexa finally agreed and led them down the hall to her mother's room.  She had everyone stay in the hall and opened the door, closing it behind her quickly.
    "Alexa, baby, took you long enough!"  Nick said, jumping up and giving her a hug and kiss.
    Alexa smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck.  "Sorry, I had one helluva time running that errand.  Ma, I have what you wanted me to bring outside, should I bring it in now?"  She asked her mother.
    She nodded and Alexa gave Nick one last kiss.  "Go sit down, I'll be right back, I promise," she said.  Nick reluctantly walked back over to the couch and sat next to Brian, resuming their game.  Alexa smiled and turned back to the door.  She opened it slightly and held her finger to her lips, trying to have everyone stay quiet.  She held up one finger, then a second, then a third, and then opened the door wide.
    "Merry Christmas!"  Everyone in the hallway hollered.
    All the guys looked up from what they were doing, shocked.  Alexa stood back as everyone reunited with their families and walked over to her mother and brother, sitting with them, and watching as everyone started talking at once.
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