Taking a sip of his drink, Kevin asked, “I take it things are still strained between AJ and Ali?”
“Looks like it,” answered Howie as he watched his wife dancing with his best friend. “Sarah called her but Ali wouldn’t give an answer. It’s his own fault though with his drinking and he knows it.”
“Is AJ drinking again?” asked Brian looking at the other three men.
Nick was still hurting from Brian’s non-support and he said sarcastically, “If you’d accepted Becca’s invitation to my birthday party, you wouldn’t have to ask.”
Howie nudged Nick discreetly shaking his head to tell him to drop it. He didn’t want to ruin the evening with an argument.
Kevin turned away from AJ and Sarah to say, “Until he gets it under control, there won’t be any Backstreet Boys.”
At the table at the same time, the girls were watching Sarah and AJ too and having their own conversation about Sarah.
“Sarah may not want to tell Kevin she’s in labor but she’s not going to be able to keep it from him,” said Lynne.
“Sarah’s fairly good at keeping Kevin at bay,” said Sonja.
“If she doesn’t want someone to know something, they won’t find out until she’s ready,” said Becca.
“That may be true but what about dinner?”
“What about it?” asked Sonja.
“She shouldn’t be eating if she’s in labor and Kevin’s going to notice that.”
Watching her best friend, Becca answered, “I’m sure she’ll figure something out.”
On the dance floor, neither one had said a word to each other but as they danced, a contraction hit and Sarah squeezed his hand. In an attempt to ignore it, she asked, “Have you talked to Ali?”
“Why do you think I took a drink before I got here?”
Sarah grew silent as the contraction ended. She knew if anyone could say anything to him, it was her. “Alex.”
“I need you to stay sober tonight.”
AJ made her look at him, “What’s wrong?”
Sarah smiled, “Nothing’s wrong, Alex, and I don’t need you getting hysterical. I don’t want Kevin to know that I’m in labor.”
“Should you be dancing?”
“I’m fine, Alex. The contractions are about ten minutes apart.”
“Does Howie know?”
“Yeah, he does and when it’s time, we’ll tell the guys.”
“Who knows besides me and Howie?”
“Becca, Lynne, and Sonja know. I just told them before you got here.” The song ended and Sarah turned to face AJ. Putting her hand on his check, she caressed it. “Alex, I wish I could fix things with Ali but you’re the only one who can do that. You know that drinking is not the answer.”
“Yeah, I do but…”
“Don’t make excuses, Alex,” frowned Sarah. “You have to follow the steps and do the program. Now….forget what’s happened with Ali for tonight and enjoy the friendships here.”
AJ looked toward the guys standing at the bar and shook his head. “Tigger, I think you’re hoping for too much. Brian and Nick aren’t talking and Kevin’s pissed that I’m drinking again.”
“They’ll play nice tonight or I’ll kick their butts,” threatened Sarah.
AJ laughed, “I don’t doubt that. Come on….let’s go join ‘D’. He’s looking lost without his angel on his arm.”
AJ and Sarah joined everyone at the table where Howie greeted her in his usual manner….as if she’d been gone for months rather than just a matter of minutes. There was no way anyone would know something was amiss because Howie was always so attentive to Sarah.
Shannon came up the back steps as everyone was getting settled. “Howie, dinner will be ready in about half an hour.”
“Also, your act for tonight would like to speak to you about what songs to do.”
“Okay, let them know I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
As Shannon left, Kevin asked, “Are you premiering a new act tonight?”
“Nope,” smirked Howie. “It’s a surprise for my wife. Angel, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Can’t I go with you?” smiled Sarah as she gave him ‘that’ look.
Everyone laughed knowing exactly what Sarah was doing including Howie. Touching his finger to her nose, he gave her a wink and said, “NO!”
Giving him the full pout, Sarah crossed her arms and refused to look at him.
Putting his finger under her chin, he tilted her face to him and gave her a kiss. “Not gonna work, Angel. Keep her company, AJ.”
“No problem,” laughed AJ as he put his arm around Sarah.
“Hmmph! Might as well be here with Alex anyway. My own husband won’t even dance with me,” mumbled Sarah playfully.
Howie shook his head, kissed her again, and called over his shoulder as he headed down the steps, “I’ll dance with you when I get back.”
“Looks like he did the horizontal mambo with you one time too many,” teased Nick.
“Ahahahahaha,” snarked Sarah throwing a napkin at him.
“Hey, Alex…you danced with her. What’s it like to hold a baby elephant?” teased Kevin earning him an elbow in the ribs from Lynne.
“Not too bad once you get your arms around her,” replied AJ.
Sarah knew they were teasing as she said, “You three better be glad I love you or I’d have to hurt you. I WILL get even!”
“No doubt but hopefully, you’ll be just like Bec and start forgetting things after you’ve had those twins.”
“What exactly have I forgotten, Nickolas?” demanded Becca.
Sarah giggled, “Keep on, Blondie, and I won’t HAVE to do anything. Becca will take care of you FOR me.”
“Wanna explain?” Becca was drumming her fingers on the table.
“Lynne, this is our cue to go dance,” said Kevin as he took her hand.
Brian and Sonja followed Kevin and Lynne leaving Nick in the hot seat with Sarah and AJ as witnesses.
As sweetly as possible, Nick said, “I didn’t mean anything bad, baby…really! It’s just that…well, you have so much on your mind….you kinda forget stuff…like where you put your keys and…..”
Becca couldn’t stay mad and she burst out giggling. “You’re so cute when you’re trying to dig yourself out of trouble. Come on, Blondie….let’s go dance.”
Chapter 44 Index