Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 45

    Denise looked around the room, something definitely wasn't right.  She couldn't shrug off the feeling, it was so strong.  Much like the one she'd had nineteen years ago.
    'No, nothing could be as bad as that, could it?'  She thought.  She sat up in bed and looked at the clock before standing.  'Denise, you're getting to be nocturnal, you really ought to be sleeping at three-thirty in the morning,' she said to herself as she wrapped her robe around her body and grabbed the master room key.  She walked quietly out into the hall, walking down to the first room.
    'Its not going to hurt to do a bed check, now is it?'  She asked herself, putting the key card into the slot.  The light changed from red to green and she turned the handle, pushing open the door.  She was met with the sound of light snoring, AJ and Howie were both passed out on the floor in front of the TV, apparently after watching a movie.  Denise switched off the lamp on the couch-side table and then closed the doors in front of the TV, stepping over her son's sprawled out limbs.  She walked quietly out the door, closing it
behind her, then going to the next room across the hall.  She opened the door, peeked inside, then closed it.  Kevin was knocked out on his bed, sheet music spread around him.
    'He must've been composing or reviewing, he always did say he got the most inspiration at night,' Denise thought as she crossed to Nick and Brian's room.  She unlocked the door and walked inside, going straight to the TV and turning it off, moving aside the nintendo that Nick had left out.  She stepped over Nick's arm that was hanging off the couch and spotted Brian curled up on his bed, his legs hanging slightly off the end.  She smiled and closed the door quietly behind her, then crossed the hall to the last room.
    She opened Alexa's door and looked in, expecting to see Alexa in her bed.  She wasn't.  Denise quickly checked the room, peeking into the bathroom and seeing nothing.  She turned on the main light and spotted a note on the desk.
    "I'm sorry, but if you can't accept my decisions, then I don't belong with you.  I love you all, Alexa," she read aloud.  Denise felt alarm spread through her body and she ran out of the room, going straight to AJ's.
    "AJ, AJ, Alexander, wake up!"  Denise exclaimed, shaking her son's arm.
    "Whaâ?¦Ma, what's going on, why are you waking me up?"  AJ asked groggily, rubbing his eyes against the bright light Denise had turned on.
    "AJ, Alexa's gone," Denise explained breathlessly.
    AJ's eyes widened and he sprang up from the floor, running out of the room.  Denise ran after him and saw him look in Alexa's room, then cross to Nick's room, pounding on the door.
    "Dammit, Nick, wake up and answer the door!"  AJ yelled.  A moment later, Brian opened the door.
    "AJ, what the hell, its four o'clock in the morning," Brian said, yawning.
    AJ brushed past him and went straight to Nick, who was sitting up on the couch.  "Where the hell's my sister?"  He demanded, yelling in his face.
    Nick flinched, blinking a few times.  "In her room, I guess?  That's where I last saw her," he said.  He looked at Denise, who then felt like crying.  "Denise, what's going on?  What's wrong?"  Nick asked, panic in his voice.
    Denise felt weak as the realization of what was going on hit her like a ton of bricks.  "Alexa's gone," she whispered, walking slowly to a chair and sitting down.  She felt air leaving her body and not being replaced, she felt empty, her heart and soul taken away before she could do anything to prevent it.
    "She's what?!"  Nick exclaimed.  Denise saw him run out of the room, returning a moment later, Kevin and Howie behind him.  "Where's Alexa?"  Nick hollered.
    "She she's gone," Denise said again, looking down at her hand.  She felt tears fall, then saw the note being taken out of her hand.
    AJ looked down at the note, his face turning white, then looking up at everyone else.  "She left, she doesn't like that we couldn't accept it," he whispered.
    "Accept what?"  Denise asked, looking between her son and his friends.
    "I told you, you should've listened!  But no, you're all too set in your ways, you couldn't keep an open mind about anything," Nick said, shaking his finger at them, his face turning red.
    "Accept what?"  Denise asked again.
    "We were trying to Nick, but you have to understand that it was a lot to take in at the same time," Brian said, trying to stay calm.
    "A lot to take in my ass!  You just didn't want to see us happy!"  Nick retorted, yelling in his face.
    "Accept what?!"  Denise demanded.
    "Nick, we tried, we all tried to accept it, but it is so much to take in, so much to realize about you and her.  You have to look at it from our point of view, we were all just shocked," Kevin said, coming to his cousin's defense.
    "Accept what, dammit?  What are you all talking about?"  Denise finally yelled, leaning forward in her seat.
    The room grew quiet, everyone looked down at the ground, no one met her glance.
    "AJ, will you please tell me what is going on?"  Denise asked him, her voice calming to a more reasonable level.
    "Nick and Alexa.... well, they're engaged," AJ said, swallowing hard between phrases.
    "They're what?"  Denise asked, her face draining of all color.  She sat back in her chair, covering her mouth with one hand, feeling more shock run through her body.
    "Yeah, and when we told everyone yesterday, they all thought negatively of it, they all hated the idea," Nick said harshly.
    "Nick, we didn't hate the idea, its just a lot to take in at the same time, we had to have time to absorb it," Brian said.
    "Engaged?"  Denise said softly, looking up at Nick and his worried blue-green eyes.  She stood up and crossed to him, looking up at him.  "You and Alexa?  Engaged?"  She asked quietly.
    Nick nodded.  "I wanted her to tell you first, but she insisted that the guys know, to see what their reaction was.  When she received nothing but negative comments, she was crying all last night.  She finally fell asleep around ten and I carried her to her room and let her sleep.  I had no idea that she would do this, she was let down, but it didn't seem like she would let something like this take her down," he said, shaking his head slowly as tears flooded his eyes.  One fell down his face and he looked away from Denise, who watched as he walked to the couch and curled up on the end, bending his head down and looking into his lap as his shoulders shook with light sobs.
    "Mom, I had no idea something like this would happen.  When she told me yesterday, I was shocked, I couldn't say much but that I disagreed that they were ready for this sort of thing.  I mean, she did say that they wanted to wait a year or two, but even then I wouldn't budge.  Ma, if I'd known anything like would've happened-"
    "Stop," Denise said, cutting off AJ.  She crumpled on the floor, tears coursing down her face as the realization of what had really happened set in.
    Alexa had run away.
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