Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 42

    Alexa smiled at AJ, who just gave her a dirty look and went into the bathroom in the back of the store.
    "Why is he so quiet today?"  Her mother asked, looking after AJ.
    "I guess you could say that a cat got his tongue," Alexa said, laughing to herself.
    Her mother looked up at her and shook her head.  "You two get stranger everyday," she said as she walked away.
    Alexa smiled and walked over to AJ as he came out of the bathroom. "How does it look?"  She asked.  "Oh, wait, I forgot, you can't talk for the next few days, can you?"
    AJ shook his head and grabbed a piece of paper from his pocket and a pen, scribbling something quickly.
    "I can't believe you made me get my tongue pierced," Alexa read.  She giggled.  "Well, you said you wanted something different, that's pretty different, and it looks really cool too."
    AJ took back the paper and scribbled something else.
    "It may look cool, but I can't talk for the next two days because of it," Alexa read.  "So?  You shouldn't want to talk, you don't have very much to say, now do you?"  She asked hypothetically.  She nearly laughed again as AJ's face got red.  "Relax, I'm kidding.  Besides, not only is it different, but I guarantee you that you'll like it when you can swallow real food later this week."
    AJ shook his head and raised his hands to Alexa's neck and pretended to choke her, only stopping when his mother called them over.
    "Ok, appearance time.  AJ, are you sure you're ok?"  She asked, looking at him.
    AJ nodded and pointed to his throat.  "That's AJ talk for I'm fine I just have the worst sore throat," Alexa said.
    Her mother shrugged and sighed.  "Fine, don't aggravate it too much, try not to talk, and bring your water out there with you," she said to him.
    AJ nodded and patted his pockets where Alexa knew he was keeping the small bottles of Listerine and water.
    "Ok, well, all of you out there, see you in about two hours," his mother said, gesturing out to the table.  Alex watched as the guys all walked to the table in the front of the store and sat down, grabbing the pens that were set out for them.  She smiled and sat down, pulling a book out of her bag, satisfied with being able to have a little down time while they all signed autographs.

    Nick looked next to him at AJ and noticed that he was so quiet and wasn't even smiling.
    "What's wrong, AJ, I can tell you don't really have a sore throat," Nick whispered, passing on the poster for him to sign.
    AJ shook his head and reached into his pocket for a small pad of paper.  He scribbled something on it and handed it to Nick, signing his name on another poster.
    Nick's eyes widened as he read the note and started to laugh.  "She made you?"  He asked through his laughter.
    AJ nodded and looked at him, pained.
    "Oh, it hurts, don't it?"  Nick asked.  AJ nodded again and Nick shook his head.
    "You know, I thought I was the only one who couldn't say no to her, I guess I was wrong."
    AJ shook his head and took back the pad of paper and wrote something else on it.
    Nick read it silently.  'It wasn't my idea at all, she made me get in the chair and stood there and watched while I got it.  I didn't want it, but I have to admit that I'll probably like it now.'
    He nodded and signed a few more pictures before looking at AJ again.  "When can you talk again?"
    AJ wrote something down and handed it to Nick.
    "Two days?  That isn't that bad, at least you'll be able to for the concert," Nick said after reading the note.
    'But the problem is that I don't know if I'll be able to sing correctly, I was already told that I might have a bit of a lisp because of the ring,' Nick read as AJ wrote.
    Nick shrugged and signed the last poster.  "You never know, I've heard that sometimes it doesn't happen, sometimes it does.  Either way, it won't really matter, you can take it out if it bugs you," he said, reaching for his water bottle.
    AJ nodded and took a small water bottle out of his pocket, along with a small bottle of blue liquid.  Nick watched as he poured some of the liquid in the water bottle and drank it with the water.
    "What's that?"  Nick asked.
    'Listerine, it helps to disinfect, but it burns like hell,' he read from AJ's note.
    "Oh," Nick said.  AJ nodded and stood up, walking to the garbage can.  He spit out the liquid and returned to his seat as Denise walked over to them all.
    "Hey, guys, have a good day?"  She asked, standing in front of the table.
    "Sort of, some of these girls only spoke French, so they were talking a mile a minute and I couldn't understand a word," Kevin said.
    "Yeah, and this one girl was in tears when she came over and I could only say that it was ok over and over again, but she didn't understand me until I gave her a hug," Brian said.
    Denise smiled and ruffled Brian's curls.  "If I had a penny for everytime you made someone happy that way, I'd be able to sit home and not worry about this all," she said.  She looked over at AJ and Nick.  "Feeling better, AJ?"  She asked.
    AJ took the pad of paper away from Nick and wrote something on another sheet.  "Sort of, but I'm mad because I can't talk," Denise read aloud.  "Why can't you?"
    "It hurts him too much to talk," Nick interjected.  He smiled at AJ and chuckled.  "That and his voice sounds like sandpaper against wood."
    AJ hit Nick's arm lightly and Alexa came out of the back and sat on AJ's lap.  "Hey, bro, leave him alone," she said, hitting AJ lightly on the back of the head.  She leaned over and gave Nick a kiss.  "Hey, sugar," she said, smiling.
    AJ made a face and stood up, placing Alexa in his seat after he stood up, and walked into the back.
    "What was that all about?"  Denise asked Alexa.
    "He's angry because he hasn't gotten any from a girl in a long time," Alexa said witheringly, holding Nick's hand.  It was all Nick had to keep from laughing.
    "So what does that have to do with him practically dropping you on the floor?"  Brian asked, looking curiously at her.
    Alexa shrugged and moved onto Nick's lap.  "Probably because his little sister can have fun and he can't," she said, facing Nick.  She leaned forward and gave him a kiss, a kiss that he thoroughly enjoyed.
    "Ok, you two, let's get going, you can do that some other time," Denise said, interrupting them.
    Nick broke away from Alexa and chuckled, looking in her eyes.  She stood up and he stood up after her, then picked her up like a sack and tossed her over his shoulder.
    "Nick, put me down!"  She shrieked as he tickled the back of her legs.
    "No way, this is easier than having you walk smack dab in front of me while we walk, practically making me trip over my own two feet," he said, running his fingertips along the back of her knees and down to her ankles.
    "Ahh, Nick, that tickles!  Stop, you're gonna make me fall," she said, serious.
    Nick let her down and caught her as she lost her balance.  "Whoa, dizzy," she said, giggling.  Nick laughed and put his arm around her shoulders, but letting go of her when she winced.
    "What's wrong?"  He asked.
    Alexa shook her head.  "Nothing, my shoulder hurts, I'll explain when we get to the hotel," she said as she got in the waiting van.  Nick got in next to her and held her hand tight while everyone else climbed in.  AJ got in last and sat on Nick's other side, looking slightly mad.
    "You ok, AJ?"  Nick asked, barely making himself heard over the noise in and outside of the van.
    AJ shook his head and pulled out his pad of paper.  'My mouth hurts like a bitch, Alexa is teasing me about it, and I can't talk, what do you think?'  Nick read silently.
    "Sorry," Nick said somewhat dejectedly.
    AJ let out a strangled sigh and took the paper back from Nick.  'No, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said it that way, if you can even calling this talking.  I'm just mad, that's all, don't mean to take it out on you.'
    Nick nodded and gave the paper back to AJ, who stuffed it in the pocket of his coat.  "If it makes you feel any better, you can get slushies and milk shakes in the bar at the hotel," he said.
    AJ nodded and leaned back, closing his eyes, a smile sneaking on his face.  Nick grinned as the van rolled away from the store and to the hotel.

    "Ok, now what is it that you wanted to tell me?"  Nick asked as Alexa led him into her hotel room.
    Alexa smiled and tossed her jacket on her bed.  "This is what's hurting me," she said, turning around.  She pulled off her green sweater and revealed her white tank top underneath and something on her shoulder.
    "Whoa, when did you get that?"  Nick exclaimed, walking forward and moving the strap of her tank top to the side.  He stared at the tattoo, a red and white rose entwined together.
    "I got that yesterday when I went with AJ to the tattoo parlor," she said.
    "And he got his tongue pierced?"  Nick asked.
    "Yeah, how did you know that?"
    "AJ told me, sort of, he wrote it down.  He said he's pretty mad that you made him get it, but he said that he'll probably like it when he can talk again," Nick said.
    Alexa smiled and turned back to face Nick.  "That's what I told him, he'll like it, he's just got to get used to it."
    She looked up at Nick as he moved closer to her and kissed her softly.  She was enjoying the kiss until his hands touched the tattoo on her back.
    "Ahh," she said, backing away from him.
    "Oh, baby, I'm sorry," Nick said.  "Come here," he said, holding out his arms.
    Alexa walked back over to him and he walked behind her.  She closed her eyes as he started to kiss her shoulder blade lightly and then moved his kisses up to her neck.  She nearly moaned in delight as he kissed her on the inside of her neck, towards the back.  She felt his kisses move closer to her mouth and turned her face to him and met his lips.  They were kissing for a while and didn't hear the door open.
    "Alexa!  Nick!"
    The two broke apart and Alexa looked at her mother.  "Hi, Ma," she said sheepishly.
    Her mother shook her head and pointed out in the hall.  "Alexa, could I talk to you for a moment, please?"  She said sternly.
    Alexa nodded and looked up at Nick who bit his lip and sent her an 'I'm sorry' look.  Alexa shook her head and gave him a quick kiss before following her mother out of the room.
    "Alexa, do I have to set rules for when you and Nick can be together?"  Her mother asked as she closed the hotel room door.
    "What?  No, Mom, no," Alexa said, careful to keep her back faced away from her mother.
    "Then Alexa, I better not have to walk in on the two of you again, you know you shouldn't be alone in each other's rooms in the first place.  If I catch you two alone again, I will not be as lenient as I am being now.  Go back in your room and Nick has to go to his, you aren't allowed to see each other for the rest of the night," she said.
    "But Mom!  We're going out tonight!"  Alexa exclaimed.
    "You'll have to cancel your plans, neither of you are going anywhere tonight, you are confined to your rooms.  And I don't want to hear another word about it," she said, stopping Alexa from protesting again.  Alexa stamped her foot and went back into her room, slamming the door behind her.
    "Whoa, calm down, what happened?"  Nick asked, standing up from the chair he was just sitting in.
    "We can't go out tonight, we aren't allowed to, and we are both confined to our rooms, we can't see each other," Alexa explained, starting to cry.
    Nick pulled her into his arms, careful to not touch her shoulder blade.  "Shh, shh, it's ok.  We can go out tomorrow together, ok?"  He said, stroking her hair.
    "But you had reservations tonight!  You were gonna show me the city at night!"  Alexa said.
    Nick nodded and kissed Alexa's forehead as he pulled her away from him gently.  "Yes, but that's ok, we don't have to go tonight.  I'll go call the restaurant and cancel, its no big deal.  We'll go out tomorrow and have a good time by ourselves.  Do you remember what tomorrow is?"  He asked, smiling at her.
    "What?"  Alexa asked, wiping away her tears.  She looked up into Nick's bright ocean colored eyes and could see the laughter.
    "Nevermind, you'll find out tomorrow.  I'll see you in the morning, ok? I better go before Denise comes back in here and yells at us again," he said. He gave her another kiss, slow and sweet.  He pulled away from her and walked out of the room, closing the door softly behind him.
    Alexa sighed and wiped away her tears.  She walked to her dresser and pulled a pair of baggy sweat pants she took from AJ and a big sweatshirt that Nick had given her.  She tossed the sweatshirt on the bed and went into the bathroom to change into the pants, then came out and tossed her skirt and shoes by her dirty clothes pile.  She let down her hair and grabbed some currency and went downstairs to get something to eat and some ice cream to drown her sorrows in.
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