Secrets Kept, Lies Told
Secrets Kept, Lies Told
"It's so beautiful
here!" Alexa exclaimed, looking out the hotel window. She looked
up and down the street in front of the hotel at the rush hour traffic and
then off in the distance, she saw the Eiffel Tower. "Wow, there's
the Eiffel Tower!" She exclaimed, putting her nose up against the
"Yes, it's within walking distance of here. And yes, it is beautiful
here, and it looks even better at night," he said, coming up behind her
and wrapping his arms around her waist. "The lights, the moon shining
above, the romantic candle-lit dinner for two," he whispered in her ear,
kissing her neck between each comment.
Alexa smiled and closed
her eyes, leaning her head against Nick's chest. "Sounds wonderful."
"I know, that's what
I have planned."
Alexa stopped Nick
from kissing her and turned to face him. "You did what?"
"I planned a night
out for you and me tomorrow, just us, the candles, and the occasional interruption
by the rude French waiters," he said, smiling.
Alexa laughed and gave him
a hug. "Oh, Nicky, you know you spoil me rotten," she said.
"I know, its fun, I
like seeing you happy," Nick said, hugging her back.
Alexa backed away from
him and looked in his eyes. "It doesn't take much to make me happy.
I just need you."
AJ collapsed tiredly
on his bed and heard Howie close the hotel door. "I can't believe that
we got stuck in all that traffic," Howie said.
"I know, D, it was
amazing that we got here before four," AJ said, not opening his eyes.
He thought of something. "Do you know if Nick and Alexa are going
out tonight?" He asked.
"I don't know, why
do you ask?"
"I want to show Alexa
around the city, she'd love it. And I know she'll like it the most
at night. She's a night person, a lot like me."
"AJ, you and Alexa
are so much alike, its like she's the female version of you."
AJ laughed and sat
up, pulling his suitcase over to his bed to unpack. "Scary, isn't it?
I've been wondering why she hasn't done anything outrageous like dye her
hair pink or anything."
"I don't think she'll
go that far, but I heard her saying to Nick the other day that she wanted
to get a rose on her back."
AJ raised his eyebrows
and stopped putting away clothes. "She wants a tattoo?"
"Yeah, she said that
the rose would symbolize her freedom and it would have two small roses
next to it, symbolizing you and Denise."
AJ smiled and started
hanging up the rest of his shirts. "That's a pretty cool idea," he
'Its really cool.
When I show her around tonight, I'll ask her about it,' AJ decided as he
put his suitcase in the closet. 'Definitely.'
Denise unpacked the
rest of her clothes and glanced at the clock as she sat down. 'Six
o'clock already, I hate traffic,' she thought.
"Come in," she called
as a knock sounded on her door.
"Hey, Ma," AJ said
as he walked in, pulling Alexa after him.
"Hey you two, where
are you going?" She asked.
"I'm gonna show Alexa
around the city, ok?" AJ suggested.
"Yeah, he's gonna show
me everything, and then we're gonna get dinner somewhere, all right, Mom?"
Alexa asked, standing next to him.
Denise nodded and smiled.
"Sure, just don't come in too late tonight, ok? We have stuff to
do tomorrow and you won't want to get up if you go to sleep late," she
"Ok, thanks Mom!"
Alexa said, dragging AJ to the door.
"Night, Ma, don't wait
up for us!" AJ called as he closed the door.
Denise shook her head
and laughed. They never did what she told them to.
'And who would blame
them? They want to have fun, let them. They know the limits
and they know how to protect themselves,' she said to herself. 'I
just hope they remember to take Lonnie along.' Denise shrugged and
pulled a book out of her bag, opening it to the page she left off on.
"You know, I always
wondered something," Alexa started.
AJ asked, looking up from the menu in front of him. They'd been trying
to decipher the French menu for the last ten minutes and were drudging
up some long-forgotten phrases.
"I always wondered,
does it hurt to get your tattoos?" She asked, fingering the drama
masks on his left arm.
It depends on where you get it and how long its gonna take and how well
you can handle pain," he said, looking at his arms.
Alexa chuckled and
glanced down at her menu. "Which one did you get most recently?"
AJ pointed behind him.
"A dragon on my back, I got it about a year ago. I want something else,
but I don't know what, I'm running out of ideas," he said ponderously.
Alexa nodded and went
back to trying to read the menu and AJ smiled at her thoughtful expression.
He looked down at his own menu and sighed.
"I just wish someone
around here spoke both French and English so we can find out what the hell
this thing says," he said.
"I can help, I speak
both," someone said.
AJ looked up at the
little girl standing next to him. "Do you really? Can you translate
what this says?" He asked, gesturing to the menu.
The little girl nodded.
"Yup, I've been speaking French for years and English was my first language."
She took the menu from AJ and laid it flat. "These are the appetizers,
mozzarella sticks, fries, cheese fries, etc. Below are the salads and soups,
then sandwiches, and then main courses, or entrees," she said, pointing
to each heading.
Alexa looked up from
her menu. "All I want is something like a cheeseburger, I didn't
know French was this difficult to read."
"Its not, once you
get the hang of it. They have a cheeseburger platter right here,"
the girl said, pointing to an item in the entree section.
"Great, thanks, what's
your name?" Alexa asked, putting down her menu.
"I'm Chrissy, and you're
AJ, I know, but I don't believe I've seen you before," she said holding
out her hand to Alexa.
"My name's Alexa, nice
to meet you, Chrissy. Are you here with anyone?" Alexa asked, shaking
her hand and glancing around.
"No, I come here all
the time, its pretty funny to hear the American tourists complain about
their meals because they don't bother to ask what something is," Chrissy
Alexa smiled and patted
the seat next to her. "Please, sit down, join us," she said after
glancing at AJ.
AJ nodded and watched
as Chrissy sat down. She was only about twelve years old, but she
was incredibly grown-up for her age. "What brings you to Paris, Chrissy?"
AJ asked, folding his menu.
"I live here part time,
for the first six months of the year I'm with my dad in the states and
for the next six months, I live here with my mom and step-dad," Chrissy
"Oh, I'm sorry," Alexa
said, giving Chrissy a sympathetic look.
"Its all right, I kinda
like it this way, at least my parents don't fight anymore, and being in
two different countries gives some variety to life," Chrissy explained,
looking straight at Alexa.
AJ smiled. 'She
reminds me so much of Alexa, always looking on the bright side of things.'
"If you don't mind
me asking, AJ, you two look an awful lot alike," Chrissy said, looking
back and forth between the brother and sister.
'Damn, knew it was
too good to last,' AJ thought. "There's a reason for that," AJ started.
"Wait, I thought I
recognized your face before, you're AJ's sister," Chrissy said suddenly,
gesturing to Alexa.
"Shh, please don't
tell anyone my name," Alexa begged.
"I won't," Chrissy
said, shaking her head hard and making her short bob of curls shake back
and forth. "I'm good at keeping secrets. Besides, it's not
everyday that you get to meet the sister of one of the most popular groups
in the world. I won't tell, when people want me to keep something
quiet, I do it."
Alexa sighed, as did
AJ. "Good, thank you," AJ finally said.
"You're quite welcome."
AJ and Alexa smiled
at each other, agreeing on one thing. 'Maybe some people out there
aren't as bad as we make them out to be,' AJ thought. He glanced
up at the waiter as he came over to the table and waited for their order.
"You know what?"
"I want a tattoo,"
Alexa announced as they walked down the street. She hugged her arms
and glanced next to her at her brother. "Really, I do," she said
to his skeptical look.
"Sure you do, Aly,"
"Is that a hint of
doubt I hear in your voice, Alexander?" Alexa asked, stopping him.
"No, it's just that"
"You doubt that I'd
go through with it," Alexa finished for him. She smiled and pointed
down the street. "There's a tattoo parlor down there, I can see it
from here, are you willing to come with me and see me do it?" She
"Now, Alexa, I didn't
"You didn't have to
say it, I could see that you meant it. Come on, AJ," she said, dragging
him down the street.
"Alexa, are you sure
about this?" AJ asked as they walked into the parlor.
"Positive, it'll be
fun. Come on, AJ, you can't possibly tell me that you think it's
a bad idea? AJ, you have, what, twelve tattoos and you're unsure
about me getting one? Puh-lease, a reality check is in order here."
She said as she looked at the pictures on the walls. She smiled as
she came across a small red rose next to a smaller white one. 'Perfect,'
she thought. She walked to the counter and waited while a man came
out from the back.
"You're serious about
this, aren't you? Aly, don't do this, Mom'll kill me for letting
you," AJ begged.
Alexa smiled, getting
an idea, and looked at AJ. "Hey, AJ, how would you like to get something
a little different?" She asked.
"What are you thinking,
Alexa smiled and looked
up at the guy standing in front of her. She told him what she wanted
and then gestured to AJ, explaining what she had planned for him.
"Aly, I'm gonna kill
you," AJ said as he sat in a chair in the back.
"You'll thank me later!"
Alexa called as she walked farther into the back. She sat on the
table and waited for the man to come back and give her her tattoo.