Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 39

    Brian yawned and looked around the hotel room.  He spotted Alexa on the couch across the room, AJ next to her, leaning on each other's shoulders.  Kevin was on the floor in front of the television and Howie was in the recliner.  Brian finally rested his eyes on Nick in the other bed.  He'd come in late last night, after Alexa had fallen asleep to the movie they were all watching.  Brian was surprised to see that Nick went straight to bed without talking, but then again, he hadn't done any talking for a while.  About two weeks, now, and he noticed that Alexa wasn't nearly as cheerful as she normally was.  At first, he thought it was just the trauma, but now he didn't think so.
    'I wonder why he hasn't tried to explain to Alexa, Lord knows she needs an explanation.  She probably still doesn't know what happened, she only thinks she does.  Maybe I'll tell her, then refer her to Nick if she doesn't believe me,' Brian thought as he stood up.  He nodded as he checked on Alexa, then walked towards the bathroom.
    'I'll talk to her, she needs to know what really happened.  They make each other happy, they deserve each other more than anyone in the world.'

    "Alexa, AJ, come on, let's go you two," Denise said, walking into Brian and Nick's room.  Everyone else was downstairs waiting in the bus and only her children weren't awake.
    "Alexa, baby, let's go," Denise said, quieter, shaking her daughter's shoulder.
    "Hmm, no, five more minutes, Momma," she murmured, shifting her position on the couch.
    "AJ, come on, we have to go on the bus," Denise said, trying her son.
    "Couple more minutes, Ma, then we'll be downstairs," AJ said, relaxing against Alexa's shoulder.
    Denise shook her head and hurried into the next room, getting their things.  She made Kevin take them downstairs and told him to wait downstairs. She went back into the hotel room and over to AJ and Alexa.
    "Alexander James, Alexandra Denise, if you two don't get up right this minute, you can forget about any partying for the next week," Denise said sternly, a smile playing on her lips.  She practically laughed as her two children stood up and raced out of the room.
    "Well, that was easy," Denise said to herself.  She followed them outside to the bus and announced that everyone was on board and that they could go.  They had a two day bus trip ahead of them, the sooner they started going, the better.
    "Denise, what did you threaten AJ and Alexa with?"  Brian asked as he walked into the front of the bus.
    "That they couldn't party for the next week," Denise answered, picking up a newspaper.
    Brian laughed.  "So that's why they came in here like the world was going to end," he said.  He grabbed something out of the mini-fridge and walked into the back, still laughing.
    Denise smiled and turned her attention to the newspaper in front of her. She'd gotten an American newspaper sent to her and, although it was a few days off, it still had the information she wanted to know.  She skimmed through it and was in the middle of an article when she heard the music blasting from the back stereo.
    "AJ!"  She called.  She didn't hear any response except that the music was turned up higher.  She sighed and got up, walking to the back.  She could hear yelling from the corridor and walked a little faster, then opened the divider.  What she saw made her laugh.
    Alexa and AJ were standing next to each other and moving in exact rhythm. They seemed to have each other's moves down pat.  They suddenly stopped and looked at Brian, who was shaking his head.
    "No way, I can't dance like that!"  He said over the music.
    "Yes you can, come on," Alexa said, grabbing his hand.
    Denise laughed, she knew Brian was never very confident when it came to dancing freestyle.  She turned and left them alone, dancing back to her seat.

    "Come on, Brian, I know you can, you're just afraid," Alexa said, taking Brian's hand and wrapping it around her waist.  She wrapped her arm around his neck and moved closer to him.  "Just listen to the music and let it take you over.  It sounds weird, but the music just controls your body, you don't have to think about it," she said in his ear.  She pressed her body against his and felt the beat of the music pound through the speakers.  She moved with the beat, making Brian move with her.  She smiled, seeing that he could do it, he just felt foolish.  She grinded with him, and laughed at his expression.  It was apparent that he'd never done any kind of freestyle dancing like she was used to.  She hugged him closer to her by wrapping her other arm around his neck and felt his other hand wrap around her waist.  She looked into his eyes, the eyes she looked to for advice, the eyes that she liked when she first saw him.  The eyes that, at the moment, practically held her captive.  She leaned forward towards him to kiss him.
    "Uh, Alexa," Brian said, backing away from her.  He shook his head and she felt everyone looking at her.
    "Excuse me," she said quietly.  She hurried to the corridor and threw herself on AJ's bunk, closing the curtain behind her.  She hugged the Dopey doll that was off to the side and shut her eyes tight, trying to block out the tears as they flooded her eyes.

    "What just happened here?"  AJ said, looking around at Brian, Kevin, and Howie.  They all avoided his glance, they couldn't look at him.  "Brian, why did my sister just try to kiss you?"  AJ asked.
    Brian looked down at the floor and Kevin turned off the stereo.  "Umm, well, I don't know," Brian said.
    "Ok, here's a better question, what happened between Nick and Alexa?  Why don't they talk?  They can't even be in the same room anymore!"  AJ exclaimed, looking around for an explanation.  No one looked at him, rather they only looked at each other.
    "Uh, I have to go, uh, I think I hear my phone ringing," Kevin said.  He rushed out of the back room, quickly followed by Brian who mumbled something about having to go to the bathroom.
    "Hold it, Howie," AJ said, grabbing his arm.  "D, man, you're my best friend, what the hell is going on?"  He asked.
    Howie looked up at AJ.  "Uh, maybe you should sit down," he said, leading him to the couch lining the back area.  Howie turned to AJ.  "Just remember AJ, never hurt the messager for the severity of the message, ok?"  He said.
    AJ nodded.  "Fine, spit it out, D!"
    Howie took a deep breath.  "Alexa thinks that Nick cheated on her," he blurted.
    AJ's eyes widened, but then narrowed.  He felt anger well up in his body, going straight to his head and making him feel warmer.
    "Now, AJ, before you go kill Nick, maybe you ought to hear what really happened," Howie said, holding AJ down in his seat.  "One night, about a week before we left New York City, Nick and Alexa were watching movies in Alexa's room.  She fell asleep and Nick channel surfed for a while, then got bored and left.  He went for a walk and ended up at the park, where someone started a conversation with him.  That someone was Tiffany.  They went back to her apartment after Nick offered to walk her home and they talked.  He told her about Alexa and how much he loved her and then got ready to leave.  Right before he left, though, Tiff kissed him and that's what he doesn't want to tell Alexa.  He knows she'll jump to the worst possible conclusion when nothing happened in the first place.  Nick didn't kiss Tiffany back, he pushed her away, and left.  He got back here around six and went to bed.  The thing he didn't know was that Alexa had woken up after he left and looked around for him for the longest time, trying to find out where he'd gone, and obviously, she didn't find him.  She was worried and when she tried to ask him what had happened and where he'd gone, he couldn't tell her and he lied to her about seeing anyone.  That's why they've been avoiding each other, because Nick feels bad about lying and Alexa thinks he cheated on her," Howie
finalized, letting go of AJ's arm.
    AJ calmed down slowly but surely.  He could see the logic of it all, he could see the reason why they were apart, and why Nick was so depressed for the last few weeks.  AJ stood up and started for the bunks.
    "AJ, don't hurt him again," Howie said, standing up.
    "Relax, D, I'm going to go see Alexa," AJ said, holding up his hand.  He walked to Alexa's bunk and looked in it, but saw that it was empty.  He went into the front and didn't see her there either.  He walked back and checked Nick's bunk to find him staring blankly at the ceiling.
    "You ok, bro?"  He asked quietly.
    "No," Nick answered flatly.  He didn't tear his eyes away from the ceiling, but AJ could still see the tears in his eyes.  "Alexa still won't talk to me," he said sadly.
    "She will, bro, I promise, I'll talk to her for you," AJ said.
    "She won't listen, she's too stubborn," Nick said quietly.
    AJ couldn't say anything, he just shook his head.  He left Nick alone and checked each bunk until he got to his own and found Alexa.
    "Hey, sissy," he whispered, sitting on the edge.
    "Go away, AJ," she said quietly, facing away from him.
    AJ frowned and laid next to Alexa, looking up at the top of the bunk.  "You know something?  I've always believed in giving people a second chance, and that everyone deserves a second chance for everything, no matter what the deed was.  I even gave Amanda a second chance when I found out that she'd cheated on me."
    "Its not something you need to get involved in, AJ, just leave me alone," Alexa said, sniffling.
    AJ turned his head to her and started playing with her curls.  "The point is, maybe you should listen to the whole story, give Nick a second chance.  You'd be surprised at what really happened, I know I was," he said.
    Alexa turned over and faced him, holding his Dopey doll.  "But he hurt me so bad, he lied to me, it hurt so much inside when he lied, it was like he was sticking a knife in my heart and turning it," she said, tears rolling off her nose.
    AJ wiped away her tears and tweaked her nose.  "I know how that feels, but remember that you didn't hear the whole story, there may be more to what happened than what you think."
    Alexa nodded and bowed her head to her chest, sobbing and clutching the doll.  AJ gave her an awkward hug and sat up, squatting outside of the bunk and facing her.
    "You ready to listen to his side of the story?"  He asked.  "I'll sit with you if you want, I won't leave your side."
    Alexa shook her head.  "No, I have to do this myself, I have to learn to do this without relying on people so much," she said, sniffling again.
    AJ smiled and wiped away a few more tears as they fell.  "I'll tell Nick to go into the back and make sure no one bothers the two of you, ok?"  He offered.
    Alexa nodded and AJ stood up, moving the curtain back over the bunk for her.  He crossed to Nick's bunk and opened the curtain.
    "Come on, buddy, up and out, get in the back," AJ commanded.
    "She won't listen to me, AJ, I don't have a reason to even live anymore," Nick said forlornly.
    "Look, Nick, I'm sick of your moping, get your sorry pale white ass up and get into the back!"  AJ exclaimed, pulling Nick out of the bunk.  He pushed his friend to the back and made him sit down.  He walked back to the bunks and saw Alexa stand up.
    "Just listen to him, sis, let him talk," AJ said.
    Alexa managed a weak smile.  "Thank you, AJ," she whispered.
    AJ smiled as he watched Alexa walk into the back and close the divider behind her.  After a few minutes, he heard her start to cry again.
    "No, Alexa, thank you," he thought aloud.

    Nick looked up nervously as Alexa walked in the room and sat down across from him.
    "I'd like to explain," he said quietly after a few seconds.
    "I'm listening," Alexa replied.
    Nick took a deep breath and explained everything, from when they were watching the movie, to when he noticed she was asleep, to when he'd gotten back to the hotel at six.  "Nothing happened, I promise you that, I pushed her away when she kissed me, I told her I couldn't do anything like that to you, I love you too much," he finished, looking up at Alexa.
    She was crying, and crying hard.  Nick stood up and walked over to her and sat next to her.  She climbed in his lap and he held her, gingerly at first like he could break her, then tightened his hold.  He rocked her back and forth, whispering and singing softly to her.  He kissed her head lightly and just held her, thankful that she'd listened.
    "I love you, 'Lexa," he whispered.
    "I love you, Nick.
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