Secrets Kept, Lies Told
Secrets Kept, Lies Told
"Yo, I hate to break
up a family reunion, but we have to be somewhere two hours ago," Kevin
said, poking his head in the room and glancing at the clock next to the
Denise pulled away
from her children and looked at the clock. "Oh my goodness, you guys
have a press conference to be at! Come on, let's go, go get ready,
AJ. Alexa, you come with me," she said, wiping away her tears.
She stood up and pulled Alexa with her to the next room, closing the door
behind her, and AJ walked over to Kevin.
"AJ, man, you crying?"
Kevin asked as AJ walked in the room.
AJ wiped his face furiously.
"No," he said, trying to cover it up. He went quickly to his suitcase
and started pulling out clothes.
"Yes you were! Don't deny it AJ, you were just bawling like a baby."
"So? How would
you feel if you just found out you had a little sister, Nick?" AJ
I already have three," Nick replied, sitting down and starting to tie his
Kevin hit the back
of Nick's head lightly. "Give it a rest, smart mouth, and hurry up,"
he said, taking over control. He always felt like the older brother,
or the father of the group. He acted like it too, it made him feel
"Yes, Dad," Howie,
Brian, Nick, and AJ all chorused. They all laughed, including Kevin.
"Ok, smart-asses, let's
go before Denise comes to bug us," Kevin said, walking to the door.
It opened in front
of him. "Let's go, guys, you have less than a half an hour," Denise
said. She closed the door behind her and Kevin turned to the rest
of the guys.
"What'd I say?"
He asked hypothetically.
Nick shook his head
and walked over to Kevin. "Yeah, yeah, we know, Kevin. You're
always right when it comes to that sort of thing," he said in a monotone
"Get out there," Kevin
said, a smile on his face, half-serious, half-kidding. He pushed
Nick out and led everyone else out to the main room, where Alexa was standing
with her back to them, facing Denise.
"Just relax, you won't
have to say anything, just sit with me, that's all," Denise was saying.
"Yeah, we're the ones
who do all the talking," Howie said, walking over to them. "In case
you didn't know, I'm Howie," he said, holding out his hand.
Alexa shook his hand and Kevin thought of something. 'Come to think
of it, I haven't really seen Alexa's face,' he said to himself. He
to them and was awestruck, Alexa was beautiful.
"I'm Kevin," he said, holding out his hand.
Alexa smiled and shook
his hand. "Nice to meet you, Kevin, I'm Alexa."
Kevin nodded and dropped
his hand, still looking in Alexa's dark brown eyes. He shook his
head, trying to clear his thoughts. "Ok, let's go, guys," he said,
breaking his sight from Alexa and looking around the room.
He saw Nick and Brian
exchange a look. "All right, let's go," Brian said, leading everyone
to the door. He and Nick walked ahead of everyone to the elevator,
whispering back and forth.
Denise and Alexa were
the last two out of the room and Denise closed the door. Kevin waited
in the elevator and pressed lobby as the two women walked in. They
all walked to the van together and Alexa stuck with Denise, almost like
she was afraid of everyone else. As Kevin got in the van, he patted
seat next to him for Alexa to sit.
"Thanks," Alexa said
quietly. Kevin loved her voice, it was like a choir singing.
"Yo, Kev," AJ said
from behind him. He leaned forward and whispered in his ear.
"You lay one finger on my sister, so help me."
Kevin raised his eyebrows,
shocked. AJ never spoke like that. But then again, he never
had a little sister. "Relax, AJ, I won't," Kevin whispered back.
"All right, man, I'm
just warning you," AJ said, sitting back.
Kevin nodded and faced
forward, thinking about what AJ had just said. Was it possible that AJ
had become so protective of Alexa already? 'Yeah, it is. He
must've had a glance of what her life was once like and doesn't want her
to go through it anymoreâ?¦he's going to be one protective
Kevin said to himself. He sat back
and got comfortable for the ride.
AJ glanced back at
Alexa and their mother, hoping Alexa was ok. She was a bit nervous
on the ride there, like she wasn't sure how to act. 'Mom and I told
her that she didn't have to do anything, say anything. But for some
reason, she's acting like she's going to have to explain things to people,'
he thought. AJ faced forward in his chair, smiling for the reporter's
cameras, trying to forget that Alexa was in the back. But he couldn't,
she was too important to him, she was the little sister he always wanted.
Alexa fidgeted, playing
with the ring on her finger, and watched the guys from the side.
"Alexa, its ok, calm
down," her mother said, laying her hand gently on Alexa's. Alexa
appreciated the gesture, but couldn't calm down for some reason.
She was happy she'd finally found out who her mother was, and to find out
she had a brotherâ?¦simply amazing. She'd never been
so happy, but being at the press conference made her nervous. She
was afraid something could happen and everything could be ruined.
She didn't know what, but she felt it something was going to ruin it allâ?¦maybe
not right then and there, but soon.
"Alexa, you ok?"
AJ asked as he walked over to her. The press conference was over,
they'd been out there for a good hour and a half. AJ knelt in front
of Alexa and took her hands in his. "Its ok, we can leave
now, if that's what you want," he said
Alexa nodded and felt
tears gather in her eyes. She was so relieved that AJ was being nice
to her, and sensitive to her feelings. She stood up with him and
walked next to him, holding hands with him, until they got out to the van.
He got in and helped her in next to him, holding her around the shoulders,
protecting her. She felt so safe with him, she didn't want him to
leave her. Not for a long time, not until after the feeling in her
"You'd think they were
"Yeah, they act like
"And they look enough
"But they aren't, just
brother and sister. You still have a chance, Nick."
Nick sighed and pulled
his T-shirt off. "That's just the thing, I don't. Brian, didn't
you hear what AJ said to Kevin in the van on the way to the press conference?
He practically threatened Kevin, telling him to keep his hands off of Alexa.
If he's not afraid of Kevin, imagine what he could do to me he'd kill me."
Brian shook his head
and tossed his towel on his bed. "Nah, I seriously doubt he would.
He might yell at you, threaten to kill you, but he won't. I mean,
you would do the same thing, wouldn't you? Say one of the guys started
to hit on BJ, wouldn't you be overly protective of her?"
"Hell yeah, I'd kill
anyone to protect her, but I know my limits, Brian. I let her have a choice,
I don't protect her like that. She knows if she has a problem to
come and tell me about it, but otherwise, I stay out of her personal life.
But AJ, he's a different story. Frick, if you'd heard just how he
said that to Kevin"
"Frack, I understand.
Believe it or not, I do. I would do the same thing, maybe even to
the same extent as AJ. But he's probably only so over-protective
of her because he just found her and he probably had a
glimpse of how her life was, she must've
had it bad, and he doesn't want her to ever have the kind of life again.
You probably still have a chance, she likes you, I can tell," Brian said,
smiling as he sat on the edge of his bed. Nick sat across
from him, on his own bed, in the room they were sharing. "Are you
sure? I mean, she seems to like you a lot more than the rest of us,
she won't even speak civilly to me."
Brian nodded and pushed
his clothes off his bed and onto his floor. "Positive. Did
you notice that before she wouldn't talk to anyone nicely, but now even
AJ gets treated like a king, before she couldn't stand him. I'm willing
to bet that, if you tried talking to her, you could get a good conversation
out of her, and you'll get to know her better. Just go for it, bro,
you won't lose anything by trying."
Nick nodded and got
in bed, thinking it over. He really liked Alexa, she was so pretty,
and smart, and so sophisticated to top it all. 'She's different from
everyone else I've ever met, she has a certain aura around
her, its almost like she's an angel,'
Nick thought. He was interrupted from his thoughts as someone knocked
on the adjoining door.
"Come in," Brian called,
looking up from his laptop.
AJ walked in.
"Hey, guys, can I talk to you?" He asked, closing the door over behind
Nick nodded and sat
up, and Brian closed his laptop. "What's up, Bone?" Nick asked.
AJ sat on the edge
of Brian's bed. "Guys, Alexa is going to be with us for a while,
a long while. I just wanted to tell you that she's been through a
lot and she doesn't need anyone to get on her case about anything.
I'm telling you now, before anyone does anything, that she is off limits.
No one touches her, no one takes her out, no one does anything with her
unless we're all together, understand?" AJ wasn't joking, Nick could
see it in his eyes. He was dead serious.
Nick nodded involuntarily
and glanced at Brian. "Sure, AJ, whatever you say," Brian said, returning
the glance. Nick gulped as AJ left the room through the door he had
come, he was scared. Very scared.
"Nick, don't worry
about it. Conversation isn't going to hurt, and besides, you heard
him, she'll be with us for a while. Its ok, just get to know her,
then take it from there," Brian said comfortingly, putting his
laptop on the floor.
Nick nodded numbly
and got comfortable in the bed. He shut his eyes as Brian turned
off the light, but couldn't help but think that when he did start to talk
to Alexa, something would happen that would be out of his control, out
of his hands. 'And to tell you the truth,' he thought. 'I'm
scared of what will happen.'