Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 38

    Alexa glanced around the small private room and made sure she had everything.  She glanced at the clock, six am.  'No one would be at the hospital unless they slept here,' she thought.  She signed the release form on the side table and handed them to the nurse at the nurses' station outside of her room.  She walked with Lonnie to the elevator and pressed down.
    "Are you sure no one is coming for you this morning, Alexa?"  Lonnie asked for the umpteenth time.
    "Positive, Lonnie, let's go," Alexa said in a dull voice.  She got in the elevator and waited as it took her down, then stepped out to the curb outside.  She hailed a cab and climbed in, Lonnie climbing in beside her.  She instructed the cabby to the hotel she knew everyone was staying at and paid as they arrived.  She walked to the bus in the back parking lot and opened it with the key she was given a few days ago.
    "I'm going to drop my stuff in here, Lonnie, you can go upstairs and to sleep, I'm just going to hang out here for a while," Alexa said quietly.  She saw Lonnie nod out of the corner of her eye and pulled herself up on the first step of the bus.  She closed the door behind her and walked to the back, putting her suitcase below her bunk.  She laid on the bunk she often shared with Nick and closed her eyes, hugging the sweatshirt he'd given her.  She cried herself to sleep, praying no one would come outside and find her
before it was too soon.

    AJ walked cheerfully down the hall and to his sister's room.  He knocked quietly on the door and pushed it open, only to be met with an empty room.
    'That's funny, where's Alexa?'  He asked himself.  He hurried out to the nurses' station out in the hall and got a woman who spoke English.  She told him that Alexa had checked herself out that morning and left with her bodyguard.  AJ thanked the woman and hurried outside, hailing a cab in the early morning rush.  He got back to the hotel and went up to Lonnie's room, pounding on the door.
    "What?"  Lonnie answered, yawning.
    "Where's Alexa?"  AJ asked nervously.
    "Relax, AJ, she's on the bus, she wanted to sleep for a while," Lonnie said.  He closed the door when AJ didn't say anything else and AJ ran down the hall to the elevator.  He hurried out to the bus and pulled open the door, then searched the bus.
    "There you are," he whispered as he pulled back the curtain on her bunk. She was sleeping soundly, hugging her sweatshirt around her.  AJ laid a blanket over her and backed away quietly.  He sat in the front of the bus and grabbed a magazine, waiting for Alexa to wake up.

    Denise walked to the bus and saw her son sitting in the front of the bus, eading a magazine.
    "AJ, what are you doing here?  Aren't you suppose to be picking up Alexa?"  She asked urgently, suddenly starting to worry.
    "Relax, Mom, she's here, she checked herself out this morning," AJ whispered, putting down his magazine.  "If you want to, you can go see for yourself, she's asleep in her bunk," he said jokingly, smiling his goofy smile that Denise hadn't seen in two weeks since before Alexa was first admitted to the hospital.
    Denise smiled back at her son and played with his wild hair, picking at the recently dyed blue strands.  "Maybe I will, you Smurf," she said.  She laughed with him and walked into the back, sitting on the edge of Alexa's bunk.
    "Hey, baby," she said quietly as her daughter woke up.
    "Hi, Momma," Alexa whispered.
    "How are you feeling?"
    "Tired.  Very tired."
    Denise smiled and kissed her forehead.  "Then get some rest, honey, I'll tell the guys to stay quiet today."  She stood up and started to walk away when Alexa grabbed her hand.
    "Mom?  Can you make sure Nick stays away, please?"  Alexa begged.
    Denise nodded, not knowing what was going on, but could see the urgency in her daughter's eyes.  "Yes, Lexy, I will," she promised.  "Now go to sleep," she commanded, wiping away Alexa's tears.  She walked quietly away from the bunk and towards the front as Brian and Kevin came on the bus.
    "Quiet," Denise demanded, shutting them up immediately.  She meant business and she hoped they understood that.
    Apparently, they did.  "Ok," Kevin said.  He whispered something to Brian and the two walked into the back of the bus, Kevin going to his bunk and Brian going straight to the nintendo.
    Denise sat down in a seat as Howie walked onto the bus and she put her finger to her lips.  Howie nodded and went into the back, carrying his CD player and headphones.
    "One left," Denise said to herself under her breath.  She watched as Nick came out of the hotel, looking worse than he had the day before.  For the last week, he'd been a walking zombie, almost comatose everywhere they went.  She hoped it wouldn't last for much longer, that he would be ok by tomorrow
night for the concert.
    "Nick, I need to talk to you," Denise said as Nick climbed on the bus.  She looked at AJ, who got the message and walked into the back with his magazine.  Denise sat Nick down next to her as the bus driver, Conrad, started the bus.
    "What is it, Denise, I just want to go back to sleep," Nick said, rubbing his eyes.
    "You can, after you tell me what is going on with you," she said.
    "I'll tell you the same thing I've told everyone else, I don't want to talk about it, I just want to forget about it," he said, not looking at her.  Denise could see the redness in his eyes, like he hadn't slept for days and
that he'd been crying.
    "Nick, please, you know you can tell me anything, I'm always here to listen," Denise tried again.  She got no response from him and sighed.  "Ok, do you mind telling me why Alexa begged me to keep you away from her?"  She asked.
    Nick's head snapped up at the sound of Alexa's name, but then his happy expression immediately dissipated.  "I hurt her, I lied to her," he said quietly.
    "What happened?"  Denise asked, not sure whether or not she wanted to know.
    "When we were in New York City, Alexa and I were watching movies in her room.  She fell asleep after the first one and I channel surfed for a while.  When I couldn't find anything on TV, I got bored and left.  I went for a walk and ended up at the park, where I sat by myself for a while, thinking.  I was about to leave when someone came up to me and started talking to me.  We had a pretty interesting conversation and I offered to walk with her back to her apartment.  We'd known each other for so long, it didn't seem like something bad would happen.  When we got to her apartment, we were talking and right before I left, she kissed me.  I got back to the hotel around six am, no one ever knew I went out except for Alexa.  She woke up after I left and couldn't find me, she didn't sleep after that.  I lied to her, Denise, I told her nothing had happened that night, I didn't tell her that I saw Tiffany," Nick said, starting to cry.
    Denise's eyes widened and she gave Nick a hug.  She knew how serious this was, she knew that Alexa would jump to the worst possible conclusion and she apparently did.  But the one thing that Denise knew about Nick was that he would never cheat on Alexa, she knew that.
    'I only wish Alexa would realize that, maybe then she'll get better, she needs Nick with her more than she needs anyone,' Denise thought.  She let Nick go to his bunk, the one above Alexa's, and she followed him there.  She checked on Alexa, making sure she was asleep, then checked on the other guys, reminding them all to be quiet.  She walked to the front of the bus and placed a call on her cell phone, hoping that the call she was about to make would help her in some way.

    Brian looked up from his nintendo game and looked around the back room, looking for the ringing phone.  He found it between the cushions and looked it over.
    "AJ!"  He called.  He got no answer and decided to answer the phone. "Hello, Bone's answering service," he said, smiling to himself.
    "Could I speak to Alex, please?"
    Brian froze, he'd only heard that voice once before, but he knew exactly who it was.  "Lemme see if I can find him," Brian said slowly.  He stood up and carried the phone at his side as he walked to the front of the bus.  He finally found AJ sitting in the front with his mother.
    "AJ, it's for you," he said, holding out the phone.
    AJ nearly groaned and took the phone from Brian.  "Hi," he said, feigning happiness.  Brian sat across from AJ and saw a disgusted look come across Denise's face.
    "We're in Europe.  No, I don't know exactly where, we're on the tour bus," AJ said, trying to keep his temper.  "Dad, I have to go, I'm really busy here," he said.  "What the hell are you talking about?  You don't have a daughter!"  AJ was starting to raise his voice, and his face was becoming very red.  Brian knew that look, and he knew to stay away from AJ whenever he had that look on his face.  "No I will not calm down!  You don't have a daughter, you never even bothered to think what the consequences would be eighteen years ago when you decided to take her!"  He hollered.  "I don't want to talk to you, leave me alone and stop asking about my sister!"  AJ yelled into the phone.  He hung it up and threw it on the table in front of
    "AJ, why are you yelling?"  Alexa asked sleepily.
    "I'm sorry, Aly," AJ said, standing up.  He walked over to Alexa and gave her a hug.  "It was nothing, just something that was bothering me.  How are you feeling, better?"  He asked, helping her to sit down.
    "Well, I feel good enough that you don't have to treat me like a porcelain doll," Alexa said sarcastically as she plopped on the couch.  "And to tell you the truth, I'm incredibly hungry," she said, wrapping her arms around her small waist.
    "Well don't you worry about that, baby, we're stopping to eat in about five minutes," Denise said, her face also red.  Brian watched as Denise took a few deep breaths and squeezed her hands together, hard.  Brian stood up and walked over to Alexa, kneeling on front of her.
    "By five minutes, she means five minutes and thirty-five seconds," he said, smiling.
    He heard Denise let out a strangled laughed and saw Alexa smile. "Thanks, B-Rok, I needed that," Alexa whispered.
    Brian nodded and sat next to Alexa, putting his arm around her shoulders. "What do you think, guys, should Alexa be my date tonight or what?"  He asked.
    "Date for what?"  Alexa asked, looking up at him.
    "When we stop tonight, we're going to be in a nice little city called Oslo, Norway, and we're gonna be partying all night," AJ explained, smiling brightly.
    Brian could see the excitement in Alexa's eyes, something that had been missing for so long.  He smiled down at her and hugged her closer to him.  "So, is it a date?"  He asked her.
    Alexa looked up at Brian and he could see what only could be described as pure happiness.  "Sure," she said.
    Brian grinned widely, but felt his mood dissipate as he caught a glimpse of someone in the mirror facing the back of the bus.  He saw Nick look at him forlornly, then turn around and go back to his bunk, wiping his red eyes as he walked.

    Alexa smiled at her reflection in the mirror and noticed that it was a real smile, the first in a long time.  She turned off the light in the bathroom and walked out, heading towards the front of the bus where AJ was waiting.
    "Alex?"  She asked insecurely.  She watched as he turned around and his eyes widened.  "I knew it, I look horrible, don't I?"  Alexa asked, wrapping her arms around her slim body.  "I'm too skinny still, I look like a rail," she said sadly.
    AJ shook his head and hurried over to Alexa.  "No, no, no, I was just surprised that this is my little sister.  If you weren't my sister, I would be all over you.  Alexa, you look gorgeous," he said, gently pulling her arms away from her body and helping her stand up straight.
    "Really?"  She asked, looking up at him.  She highly valued his opinion, he was about all she had left besides her mother.
    "Really, you look great.  Come on, the rest of the guys are waiting," AJ said, gesturing to the door.
    "Is Nick coming?"  Alexa asked, suddenly insecure again.
    AJ turned around and looked curiously at her.  "No, why have you two been avoiding each other?  He acts depressed all the time and you stay outside of a million-mile radius of him.  What happened, Aly?"  He asked, very concerned.
   But Alexa didn't want to talk about it.  "Not now, AJ, I'll tell you later.  Right now, let's go out and party, I haven't done that in a while," she said, forcing a smile on her face.  She walked hand in hand out with him
and smiled genuinely at Brian as he walked over to her.  They all got in the waiting cabs and rode to the club.  Alexa got in with Brian and danced her way to the dance floor, dragging Brian with her.  She wasn't planning on letting him go that easily.

    'Brian promised to look after Alexa, he knows what happened wasn't my fault.  I just wish I could explain that to Alexa, she thinks she knows what happened, but she doesn't.  I wish I wasn't so chicken shit to explain it to her,' Nick thought as he sat on the couch in the hotel.  He had refused to go with the guys to the club that night, he didn't want to make Alexa uncomfortable and he really didn't feel like celebrating or partying for anything.  'The only thing I'll ever celebrate is if Alexa ever forgives me and let's me near her again,' he said to himself.  He stretched out on his bed and closed his eyes, turning off the light.  He hoped that sleeping would take away the stress and pain he felt, maybe it would help him think of a way to make it up to Alexa.

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