Secrets Kept, Lies Told
Secrets Kept, Lies Told
"Aly," AJ whispered,
shaking his sister's shoulder.
"What, AJ?" She
mumbled, turning her head to face him.
"Alexa, its time to
"What time is it?"
"Two-thirty," AJ said,
Alexa opened her eyes
and looked at him, then closed them again. "Too early," she mumbled.
"Too early? Aly,
when did you go to bed last night?" He asked, sitting next to her
"I dunno, I was up
with the Carters' and Nick all night, talking and laughing," she said,
rolling onto her stomach and facing away from her brother.
"Do you like them?"
He asked, leaning on her back.
"Yeah, they're cool,
and Aaron reminds me so much of Nick it's almost scary," she said, her
voice muffled by her pillows.
"Yeah, I know what
you mean. Come on, you have to get up, Nick has been asking for you
all morning and he wants to come in here and wake you up," AJ said.
"Tell him to leave
me alone, I'll come out in time for the ball drop," she said.
AJ laughed and tickled
her sides. "Come on, Alexandra Denise, get up!"
"Don't call me that!"
Alexa exclaimed, trying to squirm away from him. "Nick! Help me!"
She yelled through her laughter.
"Hey, get off of her!"
Nick exclaimed, coming in the door. He walked over to the bed and
AJ backed away. "I can only tickle her!" He said, starting
on Alexa's sides.
Alexa squeezed out. She was laughing so hard, she was crying.
"No fair, I'm still half asleep!" She said, getting up from the bed.
"So, what does that matter?"
AJ asked, coming up behind her and poking her sides.
You can't tickle me if I'm still half asleep," Alexa said, jumping away
from him. She whirled back around. "But I can tickle you!"
She exclaimed, tackling her brother.
"Hey, come on, no fair!"
AJ exclaimed, walking backwards to the couch.
"It totally fair, Alex,
there's nothing wrong with it," Alexa said, laughing at her own silliness.
"Nick, bro, help me
here!" AJ said through his laughter.
Alexa suddenly shrieked
as Nick picked her up and held her over his shoulder like a sack.
She hit his behind, hard. "Put me down, Nickolas Gene Carter!"
"Not if you're gonna
be mean about it!" Nick said.
"Come on, Nicky, please?"
AJ smiled and got up
from the couch, then left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
It wasn't his conversation, he had no right to be in there. He loved
his sister and was happy if she was happy. And he knew that for her
to be happy, she had to be with Nick.
"How much longer, Nick?"
"About a half hour,
Airboy," Nick replied, sitting the bowl of chips on the coffee table and
moving before Brian took off his hand as he reached for it.
"Wow, you're actually
gonna make it this year, Aaron," BJ teased from her spot on the couch next
"Shut-up, BJ, I always
do," Aaron protested, plopping on the floor at his sister's feet.
"Sure you do, AC," he said, ruffling his brother's recently cut hair.
He walked out of the room and into the hallway, down to Alexa's room.
He knocked on the door.
"Alexa? Are you
ready yet?" He called.
"Just a minute!"
Alexa called back.
Nick smiled and leaned
on the wall across from the door. He thought about what they had
talked about earlier, how she was looking forward to celebrating the New
Year with him and everyone else. She told him about her past celebrations,
always at the shelter, except for one year when she couldn't get there
because she was running from people all night. He felt upset about
that last part, but she talked him out of thinking that anything bad happened.
She said to him, if something bad had happened, how could she
be there with him at that moment?
Nick agreed and kissed her, on a whim, then Aaron decided to walk in at
that moment. Wonderful timing, everyone in his family seemed to have
it. Aaron held it over him, and it was probable he would for a while,
considering that he wasn't suppose to be with Alexa at all.
"Well, what do you
think?" Alexa asked as she opened the door wide.
Nick's eyes widened
and his mouth dropped open.
"I'll take that as
a 'wow, you look great, Alexa' look," she said, giggling.
Nick just nodded and
walked forward to her, wrapping his arms around her waist. "You do
look great, Alexa," he whispered in her ear.
"Thank you, kind sir,
you don't look half bad yourself!"
Nick smiled and backed
away from Alexa, looking her over again. She was wearing a short
party dress, not too dressy, but casual enough for the night. He
admired her 5'9" frame, drinking her in with his eyes. 'God, she's
beautiful,' he thought.
"Nick, do you mind
stop acting like I'm a painting at a museum and lead me to this totally
awesome rager I've been hearing about?" Alexa asked sarcastically,
snapping her fingers in Nick's face.
Nick gulped and nodded,
carefully holding her around her waist, leading her down the hall to Denise's
room, where everyone was gathered to watch the ball drop.
"Wow," Aaron said as
they walked in the room.
Everyone burst out
laughing. "AC, did you just exclaim about my sister?" AJ asked,
Aaron's face turned
bright red and looked to the floor. "No." He trailed off, completely
"Oh, AJ, leave him
alone," Alexa said, letting go of Nick's arm. She walked over to
where Aaron was sitting on the floor and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"Thank you, Aaron, that's more of a compliment than any of these guys have
ever given me," she said.
"Hey!" Nick exclaimed,
only joking. He noticed that his little brother didn't move to wipe
the kiss off his cheek. He just sat there, blushing a crimson red.
"I think someone likes you," he whispered in Alexa's ear as he wrapped
his arms around her waist.
"He's cute, he reminds me so much of you," she whispered back.
"You know, you're the
first girl he's ever done that with. He usually despises all girls,
except for his sisters, and he often wipes his face off if they kiss him,"
"Maybe he'd growing
up, unlike some people I know," she said, her voice still low.
Nick pulled Alexa on
his lap as he sat on the couch behind Aaron's head. "I'm gonna take that
as a compliment," he decided, playing with her curls.
"Because I like acting
like a kid, it's the fun part of life."
Alexa smiled and interlaced
her fingers with his. "Well, if you like being a child, why are you
such a devastatingly handsome man?" She asked.
Nick smiled and kissed
her lightly. "I do it just for you," he whispered, nuzzling her neck.
"Ohh! Nick and
Alexa, sitting in a tree, N-E-C-K-I-N-G!" Aaron and Angel both burst
Jane called from the hallway.
Nick and Alexa jumped
apart and she sat on the other end of the couch, blushing. Nick looked
down at the floor and was met with AJ's scrutinizing eyes.
"Nick, I'm warning
you," he started.
him alone!" Alexa exclaimed, sitting on her brother's lap.
Alexa, warn me next time you're gonna do that, ok?" AJ asked, moving
her to a more comfortable position on his lap.
asked, just as innocently as Nick had. He smiled at her and she winked.
"Because oh, nevermind,
its useless to explain anything to you," AJ said.
Alexa giggled and gave
her brother a hug. Nick admired the bond that they had, something
that reminded him of the way he and his sisters acted together.
"I love ya, Alex,"
"And I love you, Aly,"
AJ answered, giving her a hug and kissing her head.
Nick smiled and sat
back as the two started a tickling war between them.
"Ten... nine... eight...
Alexa looked excitedly
at Nick, who was standing next to her, holding her
around her waist.
"Six... five... four...
Alexa turned to face
Nick and reached up, touching his face. She wanted
to remember him, just the way he was.
New Year!" Everyone shouted.
Everyone, that is,
except for Alexa and Nick. Alexa leaned forward, going on her toes,
and kissed Nick. She was lost in him, she loved him so much.
She broke away from Nick and turned to come face to face with her mother.
She gave her a hug, trying to hold back the tears. She moved to her
brother, who held her for a few seconds longer, holding her tight.
Alexa moved on to hug all the other guys, then came around to Aaron.
She knelt down and gave him a hug and a little kiss on the cheek.
She smiled at him.
"Happy New Year," she said, though she
knew he couldn't hear her over everyone else's voices. She stood
up and circled the rest of the room, giving hugs and kisses to everyone.
"Ok, that's it, everyone
to bed!" Kevin hollered as they all settled down.
"What? I don't
think so, Kev, the party's just starting!" Alexa exclaimed, reaching
over and turning on AJ's portable CD player. One of her dance CDs
came blasting through the speakers and she reached for Nick's had, pulling
him closer to her.