Wow Part 10 -- I'm sort of surprised how quickly I've gotten this many parts written. This story will be going on for a while, although I doubt it will make it to triple digits.
I'd really like to thank those have emailed me. It's really great knowing that there are guys out there who enjoy reading what I have been writing. One of the things that seems to be a tradition on here is for authors to mention some of their favorite stories... I have been an avid reader of quite a few: Brian and Me, Lance in Shining Armour, Studio in the Country, Lucky Me, Not Meant to Be, Twist of Fate, Mile High Meeting and the list goes on. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel inclined to write and let me know what you think or just want to chat.
Now on to the standard disclaimers. I doubt that anything I write will make any difference since if you found this little gathering place on the World Wide Web you're probably going to go ahead and read what's here no matter what anyone says. But here it goes anyway...
If you have a problem reading about guys who like other guys as something more than just friends, you need to go find some other place to poke around. If you are under the legal age to read erotic fiction where you live, you probably wouldn't get in trouble for reading this story, but you really don't belong here. And most importantly, many of the names mentioned in this story have been changed to protect the guilty (or is that supposed to be the innocent?). Under no circumstances will I disclose whether or not I actually know any of The Backstreet Boys or any other celebrity who may make an appearance. Nor do I believe in outing people, so I will not disclose any information about the true sexual orientation of anyone mentioned in this story.
Previously in the story of Nick and the Altos
Maria came into the kitchen for something. When she saw us, she said "So here you are. Your friends got back a while ago, Nick. They were wondering where you went off to."
"We went hiking up on the ridge," I told her.
"I'll let them know you guys are back," she said.
I could have sworn Nick tensed up a little when she left the kitchen. I looked up at him and could see he was looking a bit troubled.
"Nicky, what's up?"
Nick didn't reply right away. "I don't know. I just have this feeling that I'm going to get the third degree from some of them. They weren't exactly thrilled when I stayed behind, you know."
"Yeah, but they've had a couple of days to relax and get over the tension of the situation. Hopefully, they will just be happy to see you." I said.
"I sure hope you're right," Nick said, "I guess I might as well get this over with..."
"No, Nick, it's we're going to get this over with. We're in this thing together, my friend."
He looked over at me and smiled. He took the sweater off and threw it over his shoulder and started walking towards the family room. I caught up with him and we entered the room together.
Everyone was sitting on couches at the far end of the room near one of the fireplaces. They appeared to be carrying on several conversations. Nick and I walked up and stood in front of the fireplace facing them.
"Hey guys," Nick said.
Kevin stood up and came over to us and gave Nick a hug, "Nick, it's good to see you. Did you guys have a good time?"
"Uh, yeah, Kev, we really did. Mikey has a really cool house in California and a beautiful place in the foothills West of Denver. I'm really glad I went with him."
Then Kevin pulled me into a hug, "Hope he wasn't too much trouble," laughing as he said it.
"Well, there were a couple of times..." I replied.
"Hey, what are you talking about?" Nick said as he slapped the back of my head.
"What, do you want me to tell everything you did?"
"Uh, NO! That's quite all right," Nick replied.
"Listen, Mikey, let me introduce you to everyone," Kevin said.
He turned around and led me over to where he had been sitting. "Mikey, this is my girlfriend, Kristin. Next to Brian is his girlfriend Leighanne. Amanda is with AJ and Howie's friend is Lisa."
"Hey, Kristin, nice to meet you," I said. "Hi Leighanne, Brian, Amanda, AJ, Howie. Hey, Lisa, how are you doing, I haven't seen you in months."
"Hey Mikey, I'm great. How's your family?" Lisa asked.
"Wait a minute, you guys know each other?" Howie asked.
"Yeah, I have spent a lot of time here, particularly when I was in college. We've know each other for about four years," I said.
"Yes, and if anyone wants any dirt on Mikey, I'm your girl," Lisa announced to the room.
"Yeah, right. Dirt on sweet, innocent little me? Never happen."
"I just might take you up on that offer, Lisa," Nick said, "I'm Nick."
"Whatever..." I said, "I'm going to run upstairs and call my sister and see how she's doing. See you guys in a while for dinner."
"See you, Mikey," several of them said.
As I started up the stairs, Kevin and Nick had sat down and everyone was back to talking. I walked on to my room, turned on the stereo and went into the bathroom and washed up after the hike. Then I picked up the phone and called my parent's house.
"Alto residence," a voice said on the other end.
"Hi, it's Mikey, is my mom around?"
"Hi, Mikey, let me get her for you."
After waiting on hold for a minute, my mother picked up the phone.
"Hi, Mikey, so you made it to the lodge ok?"
"Yeah, mom. Just wanted to call and see how Angela is doing."
"She was pretty tired yesterday and pretty much stayed in bed the whole time. Today she was feeling better. I took her for a walk this afternoon and she seemed to handle it fine."
"That's good, can I talk to her for a couple of minutes?"
"Sure, Mikey, let me get a cordless phone so I can take it in to her."
She put me on hold again and then picked up the cordless.
"So did you and Nick have fun together?" she asked.
"Yeah, we didn't have much of a problem in Newport Beach, but we got mobbed in Denver. No damage to either of us but it was pretty crazy."
"Well, you'd better get used to it, Mikey," she said, "Ok, here's Angela."
While I waited for Angela to talk I wondered why my mother had said that.
"Mikey, how's my favorite brother doing?" she asked.
"Uh oh, sounds like someone wants something..." I replied.
"Well, duh, Mikey. I want my trip to Catalina and to the dolphin place."
"How about the weekend after next?" I asked.
"That long?" she whined.
"I'm not going to be home in time to do it this coming weekend."
"Oh, all right. I guess I can wait. So how's Nick?"
"So how are you two getting along?"
"We're becoming really good friends, Angela. I like him a lot."
"You're still only friends?"
"Yeah, what's wrong with that?"
"Mikey, if you don't wake up and get a clue, you'll never have another boyfriend!"
"Angela, I hate to burst your bubble, but Nick is straight."
"Yeah, and President Clinton only smokes his cigars."
"Angela, you're not supposed to know about stuff like that!" I yelled.
"Mikey, get over it and wake up before he gives up on you."
"Can we change the subject now?" I asked.
"Yeah, I guess. So what boring thing did you want to talk about?"
"Well, how about our trip to Catalina. Do you think mom will let us go by ourselves or is she going to make us take a nurse with us?"
"I'm working on that, brother dear. I want it just to be us."
"Me, too. Hope you pull it off. If I were the one to bring it up, you know what the answer would be."
"A resounding NO?" Angela asked.
"You've got that right. It's an automatic response."
"Well, Mikey, maybe if you weren't so irresponsible..."
"Jeez, you're starting to sound just like her."
"I know, I've been practicing for just the right moment. Pretty good, wasn't I?"
"Yeah, wonder if we could use that to our advantage some day?"
"Oh, I already have," Angela said, giggling.
"Ok, spill it."
"Not now, I'll tell you on our trip."
"Ok, I guess I can wait. Well, squirt, I need to go down stairs and eat dinner with everyone. I'll talk to you tomorrow, ok?"
"Sure, Mikey. I love you and can't wait to take our trip."
"Love you too, Angela," I said before hanging up the phone.
I sat in my room for a few minutes before I headed back to join the others. True to form Nick was very attentive when I returned, until he was sure that I was doing ok. I ended up sitting in a chair next to Brian and Leighanne.
"Hey, Mikey, so you survived a couple of days with Nick?" Brian asked.
"Yep, we actually had a really good time. I think I have him pretty worried about how I am going to run him into the ground up here though."
"What do you mean?" Leighanne asked.
"Oh, I was telling him that I was going to take him on some pretty hard bike rides and now, after boasting about how good he is, I think he is worried about keeping up."
"He's not really in all that good of shape, you know," Brian said, "And then there is the altitude."
"I think that is what has him worried, especially after our hike this afternoon."
"Where did you go?" Leighanne asked.
"Just part way up the ridge behind the house. It gets pretty steep but it isn't all that long of a walk. He was breathing pretty hard."
"Well it's not like you live at this altitude so won't it be just as hard on you as it will be on him," she said.
"Not really. My body is happier at altitude plus I'm a pretty trained cyclist."
"Does he know that?" Brian asked.
"Yeah, I finally confessed on the drive today."
"That's too bad. I would have loved to see the look on his face if you had totally blown by him when he wasn't expecting it," Brian said.
"Wanting to get a little revenge?"
"Nah, but he is a couple of practical jokes ahead of me."
"He does like to pull stuff on people, doesn't he?" I asked.
"You sound like you know that from experience." Brian said.
"What did he do?" Leighanne asked.
"I hope that no one ever finds out."
"Ah... Sounds like a challenge to me. I'm going to have to have some time alone with little Nicky," Brian said.
"If he tells you I will totally kill him!"
"I definitely have to get the story on this one! Hey, Nick, what did you do to Mikey that he's too embarrassed to admit?" Brian said loudly so everyone could hear.
I could feel my face turn completely red with Brian's announcement.
"Nothing," Nick replied.
'Thank God' I thought to myself.
"Come on, Nick, we're all friends," Brian pleaded.
"That may be, but that doesn't mean I have to tell you everything," Nick said.
'Thank God,' I thought to myself.
"Wow, this must really be good," AJ said, "I know how we can get him to talk."
"You thinkin' the same thing I am?" Brian said.
"It's tickle time!" AJ and Brian shouted in unison.
"No, that's not fair," Nick yelled as he got up and ran for the stairs.
Almost instantly Brian, AJ and Howie were after him. Nick got to the top of the stairs and headed towards Jason's room. Before long we could hear Nick screaming for them to stop and them telling him that they would once he promised to tell them what he had done to me.
"He's lasting longer than usual," Kevin said.
"Probably not much of a chance they'll quit until they win is there?" I asked.
"Not a chance, Mikey," Kristin said, "After all the years I've know them, Nick doesn't stand a chance."
"Great," I said.
The commotion had stopped up stairs. Brian was the first to appear. When he came down the stairs he had a huge grin on his face. AJ and Howie came down a short time later, laughing as they talked.
"So Mikey, had a little problem with the bathroom sink this morning, huh?" Brian said laughing.
I turned bright red.
"At least you made it to the bathroom without peeing in your bed. Nick's done that a few times. Nothing like a cup of warm water when he's asleep," AJ said.
They continued to make fun of me for a few minutes. Nick still hadn't reappeared.
"Guess I should go check on Nick," I said.
"Ah, he'll be ok. He's just embarrassed," Howie said.
"Still, I think I should go check on him."
I went upstairs and, when I got to Jason's room, I knocked lightly on the door. There was no response so I opened the door and looked inside. Nick was curled up on the bed facing away from me. I went in, closed the door and lay down on the bed behind him.
"Nick, it's ok, they ganged up on you," I said quietly.
After a minute or so Nick rolled over and faced me. There were tears running down his face.
"Nick, I'm not mad at you."
"I'm sorry Mikey, I tried but they wouldn't stop."
"Nick, it's no big deal. I have an older brother and sister, I know what it's like. Forget it, you're still my friend."
He slid over and resting his head on my shoulder and draped his arm over me.
"Thanks for understanding, Mikey. I'm really sorry they got it out of me."
"It's really ok, Nick. When you're ready, we'll get up and go downstairs for dinner."
We lay on the bed for five minutes or so and there was a knock at the door.
"Yeah," Nick said.
"Nicky, is everything ok?" Brian asked.
"Yeah," Nick replied.
I figured Brian would go away, but I was wrong. The next thing I knew, the door opened and Brian and Leighanne walked into the bedroom.
"Are you sure..." Brian started to say. When he saw how we were laying on the bed, he stopped talking for a few seconds. "Oh, wow, sorry to walk in on you guys."
"Why, we're just laying her talking," Nick said, making no attempt to move away from me.
"You look sort of cuddly to me," Brian said, grinning.
"Why does everyone think something is going on between us? We're just really good friends," Nick said.
"Nick, seeing you guys on the bed like that is enough to make anyone think you are more than just friends," Leighanne said.
"We're just comfortable with each other. With all the emotional turmoil I've been going through, Nick has become a really special friend who isn't afraid to hold me or even hold hands. When he's the one who needs some extra support I don't have any inhibition about treating him the same way. It doesn't mean anything is going on between us," I said.
"Mikey, would you mind if I spend a few minutes talking alone with Nick?" Brian asked.
"Not at all," I replied as I got up from the bed. I left the room and a few second later Leighanne joined me in the hall.
"I hope I didn't make you feel uncomfortable," she said.
"No, I guess it was a little weird for you and Brian walking in and finding us sort of cuddled up on the bed."
"I have to admit I was sort of shocked to find out Nick is gay," she said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well Brian had told me you were gay but I never realized Nick was."
"What makes you think Nick is gay?" I asked.
"Well, the way he was cuddled up to you and didn't make any attempt to move away when we walked in, he must be."
"Leighanne, I was serious when I said we are just friends who are completely comfortable being physically close. That doesn't make Nick gay," I said.
"Guess I sort of jumped to a conclusion but you have to admit it wasn't exactly a big stretch to make that assumption," she said.
"No, I realize that. You can't believe how supportive he has been for me the past few days. I guess it makes me a little defensive."
"That's ok, Mikey. Being the girlfriend of a Backstreet Boy isn't exactly the easiest thing either. Every teenage girl in the world hates your guts for stealing their future husband."
I laughed at that one, "Thank God you aren't right about Nick. If they hate you, can you imagine what they would want to do to me if I really was his boyfriend?"
"You don't even want to think about that one, Mikey," she said.
"So you want to head downstairs. It must be just about time for dinner. At least I hope so because I'm starving!" I said.
We walked back downstairs and joined the rest of the group in the family room.
"Ok, Nicky, spill the beans," Brian said as he lay down on the bed facing Nick.
"There's nothing to tell, Brian. Mikey and I are just really good friends."
"You're falling for him aren't you?"
"You wouldn't believe how true that is, Bri. I want to tell him so badly but I'm afraid to."
"Why, Nick? It seems like thinks the world of you.
"But the timing sucks so badly. Angela is dying. I don't want him to think I'm just feeling sorry for him or something. I've never felt this way about anyone before, Brian, and it hurts so much to be holding it inside. It's as bad as not telling Kevin, AJ and Howie that I'm gay."
"So your sure?"
"No question in my mind at all any more. It's so hard to be close to him like we were a few minutes ago and not kiss him."
"So do you think Mikey knows how you feel?"
"He at least has to suspect. I have dropped a few clues hoping he would take the initiative, but he either is totally unaware, isn't interested or is afraid to try and start something," Nick replied.
"So you're both afraid. That isn't exactly the greatest situation in the world."
"Well, actually, I think I'm more afraid than he is," Nick said.
"Why do you say that?"
"You see, he did sort of probe a little and I just sorta evaded the question," Nick admitted.
"So you want me to talk to him for you?" Brian asked.
"NO WAY!!!" Nick replied in a panic.
"Good, I wouldn't have the balls to bring it up anyway."
"So why did you ask?"
"To give you a little shock," Brian said, grinning.
"You sure as Hell got my heart rate up with that one."
"So you getting hungry, Nick?"
"Does a bear..."
"You don't even need to finish that one," Brian said, "Let's go downstairs and eat."
They both got up off the bed and started towards the door. "Nick," Brian said, "Don't wait too long or you might never get the chance."
"So is anyone else besides me hungry?" Nick asked as he and Brian descended the stairs into the family room.
"Does a bear..." AJ starts to say.
"NO, I CAN'T TAKE THAT ANY MORE!!!" Brian yells, "Let's just go eat."
We all went into the dining room where a fire was blazing away in the fireplace. Maria had prepared an awesome Mexican buffet of some of my favorites: chicken enchilada tortas, chili rellenos and spanish rice. There was also a huge salad and grilled veggies. I was really stoked.
"I sure hope everyone likes Mexican food," I said.
"No problemo with this group," Kevin replied, "Especially with Maria cooking. She's great."
"Tell me about it, I go through major withdrawal for a week after I go home from here. I have even flown out just for dinner a few times."
"You're joking, I assume," Kristin said.
"Totally serious, although I usually bring some people with me."
"You don't even spend the night?" Leighanne asked.
"Not when I have to be at work the next morning. I would have to get up at 4 or 4:30 in the morning to get back to California in time for work. I'd rather fly home at night and then sleep later in the morning. I usually sleep on the plane anyway."
"I can vouch for that. He can fall asleep anywhere," Nick said, laughing.
"Hey, it's not like I have fallen asleep when we were talking or something. Just while watching a movie."
"No yet anyway."
"Well, Nick, you aren't exactly know as a stimulating conversationalist, unlike myself," AJ said, ducking trying unsuccessfully to avoid a slap on the back of the head from Amanda.
"Nick's just shy, quit giving him a hard time," Amanda said to him.
"Awww, poor little Nicky," Howie said.
"Guys, could we hurry up and get some food here? I'm starving," Nick said, "You can bash on me at the dinner table if that's what floats your boats tonight."
"Touchy, touchy, Nick. Everybody here loves you," AJ said, turning back to the buffet to load up his plate with more food.
"Oh, hey Nick, remind me after dinner and I'll get your wallet and phone for you. They're up in our room," Brian said.
"Thanks, Bri, I must owe Mikey a couple of thou by now."
"You're going to have to wait to pay him back, there isn't any money in your wallet," Brian said.
"What do you mean, I had plenty of cash in there before the last concert."
"Had is the right word, I ran low so I spent it for you. After all, when was the last time money stayed in your wallet for more than a day?"
"Jeez, I hope you didn't use my ATM card and clean out my checking account while you were at it!"
"No," Brian replied, "What kind of person do you think I am?"
"Brian didn't, but I did," AJ admitted.
"You guys are such assholes!" Nick said rather loudly.
"We maxed out your MasterCard and Visa, too," Howie said.
"You guys had better be joking, I need to buy some clothes," Nick said.
"Um, Mr. Carter, I hate to tell you this but your card has been declined and I need to confiscate it," AJ said, lamely impersonating a sales clerk.
"You guys are really mean to him," Leighanne said, "No wonder he didn't want to come out here with you."
"We're just teasing him cause we missed him," Howie said.
"Yeah, without him to pick on we just had it all building up inside and it finally escaped," AJ said.
"Let's eat!!! Haven't you guys heard me, I'm hungry!!!" Nick exclaimed.
"Ok," AJ and Howie said in unison.
We finally got our food and sat down around the table. The dinner conversation was pretty animated with everyone talking about what they had been doing over the past few days. There had been lots of golf and lots of shopping in Vail and Beaver Creek. Nick told everyone about going bowling and building me up to the group for sponsoring it. I noticed that Kevin had sort of a strained look on his face while Nick was talking about it. Then he told about taking Gracie for a walk on the beach.
As I sat there observing him and his friends I was flooded with emotions. I was so overwhelmed by my feelings towards him. I had never had a friend who instinctively knew what to do or say like Nick seemed to be able to do. I honestly didn't know how I was going to cope when he left to go back on tour. It was mainly that in the past few days I had learned how wonderful it was to have someone in your life who truly cared about you and I didn't want to lose that.
"Mikey, hey Mikey, did you fall asleep on us?" Nick said, "See, I told you he can fall asleep anywhere. He fell asleep eating dinner."
"I wasn't sleeping, I was thinking," I said, blushing.
"You don't need to be embarrassed. Nick doesn't even know what that thinking thing means," AJ joked.
"I do too know how to think, and to draw, and to sing, and to..." Nick said angrily.
"Nick, I was just teasing, you don't need to get upset," AJ interjected.
"So what was it you wanted to ask me," I said.
"Have you got anything planned for tomorrow?" Brian asked.
"Well, I really want to get out on my bike for a while. I was going to try to convince Nick to go with me and show him he isn't as tough as he thinks he is. After that I guess do some shopping. What about you guys?"
"Golf," Kevin, Brian and AJ said in unison.
"Shopping," Kristin, Amanda and Leighanne said.
"No comment," Howie said.
"We're just going to wander around and spend time together," Lisa said.
We continued talking as we ate dinner. Maria had fixed a cherry cobbler for dessert. Even though we were all completely stuffed, none of the us could turn it down.
Finally, so full we could barely move, we slowly made our way back into the family room. We sat down near the fireplace and resumed our conversations. There was a fair amount of Nick teasing, but he took it well. I actually think he sort of liked it.
I guess in a way I was sort of envious of the relationship they shared. It's not that I don't love my older brother, Jason, but we never have had this kind of friendly, easy going relationship. He was always the older brother but never the friend.
As I sat there observing the interaction and occasionally participating in the conversation, I noticed Tony was out in the kitchen. "See you guys in a little while, I'm going to go visit with Tony."
Tony was sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner when I walked in. "Hey, Tony, feel like some company?"
"Sure, you feel like the odd man out around them?"
"No, I just has been so long since we have had a chance to talk I thought I'd come see you."
"Cool, so is life a beach these days?" he asked.
"Well, most mornings are," I said laughing, "You know how that crazy dog of mine loves the water."
Gracie, who was curled up with Katie in front of the fireplace, lifted her head and looked at me, wagging her tail. It was amazing the way she knew when I was talking about her.
"So how's Angela doing?"
"Ok, I guess. They don't seem to think she will last much longer," I replied quietly.
"So how are you doing, Mikey?"
"Tony, you can't imagine how it's tearing me up inside. I'm going to be so devastated when it finally happens. You'd think I could have prepared myself for this but it just doesn't seem to be working."
"You know, Mikey, I think you are probably better prepared than you think you are. At least you are getting the opportunity to make the most of your life with her. My roommate would trade places with you in a minute," Tony said.
"Why's that?" I asked.
"His little brother was killed in a car accident a couple of months ago. He didn't even get the chance to say goodbye to him. Fucking drunk drivers!!!"
"Man, that would suck so badly. I feel so sorry for him."
"Yeah, and the worst thing is the fucking drunk was hardly even hurt. Everyone in the other car was killed."
"That is so unfair. I sure hope they put the asshole away for life."
"Me too. So anyway, Mikey, just consider yourself lucky that you can spend the time you have with her and make every moment count."
"I am, but it still sucks. Guess I'm too emotional, huh?"
"I don't know, man. I wish sometimes that I was as good at sharing my feelings as you are."
"So how are you liking school?" I asked.
"It's a blast, Mikey. I'm having to study my ass off to keep my grades up, but I love it."
"So no time for girls?"
"I didn't say that..."
"Met anyone special yet?"
"Well, there is this really cool girl in a couple of my classes that I've gone out with quite a bit."
"So where is she from?"
"Why unfortunately? It's not that far away."
"No, but she usually goes home for holidays and I sort of want to come home too."
"You'll get over that before too long and she'll either come with you or you could always go with her."
"Yeah, that's probably true. So what about your love life. Anyone special I should know about?"
"Nope, still the most eligible gay bachelor in Orange County," I joked.
"Looks to me like someone has an eye on you though, and he sure looks like a keeper."
"Guess again, Tony, he's not gay."
"I'm serious, nothing's going on between us."
"That doesn't mean he's not interested. You ever consider that you might not be the most approachable guy in the world?"
"What do you mean by that?"
"Well, with all you're going through with Angela right now and the way you always, I don't know, have trouble trusting people. Maybe he's just afraid to try to break down the walls you build up or maybe he's trying and you're not picking up on it."
"I'm not really that bad, am I?"
"I would think it is a pretty daunting task for someone who hasn't known you very long."
"Guess I need to lighten up a bit, huh?"
"Yeah..." Tony replied.
"Dude, you are so generous and caring towards others, but you don't let other people inside your shell very easily. Even people you have known for a long time."
"So how long are you home for?" I asked.
"I'm flying back on Friday so I have a couple of days to get caught up on the studying I'm not doing while I'm home."
"I remember those days," I said laughing, "I never did any studying while I was on break."
"Yeah, but you went to a party school. Imagine what it's like to go to a serious college."
"Hey, I wasn't a party boy in school!"
"Maybe not, but keeping a good GPA at Brown is definitely tougher than at CU."
"In your dreams, Mikey."
We were so engrossed in our conversation we hadn't noticed that Nick had come into the kitchen and was leaning up against the wall.
"So you guys up for a movie?" he asked.
"Oh, hey Nick," Tony said, "What do you think, Mikey?"
"Well, I definitely am, but you need to study, you Brown primadonna."
"Nah, I'm so smart I don't ever need to study."
"Ok, see if I care what your parents do to you when you flunk out."
"Instant death, so at least it would be painless," Tony joked.
"So what are we going to watch?" I asked.
"The girls want to watch a chick flick and the guys want a macho man flick, so I don't know who's going to win that one," Nick said.
"How about something totally different? Have you ever seen October Sky?"
"Never heard of it, what's it about?"
"You'll find out. Prepare yourself for an incredible movie," I replied.
The three of us went back into the family room. I went over the media center and started looking through the DVDs and finally found the one I wanted. I turned on the system, closed all the curtains, lowered the lights and started the movie.
I went over and lay down on the floor close to the chair where Nick was sitting. The movie started and everyone quieted down and started watching. An hour and a half later when the movie was over, the group was speechless for a minute or two.
"Wow, that was such an incredible story," Kristin said.
"And it was a true story," Brian said, "I'm going to have to buy that DVD, it was wonderful."
"It's one of my all time favorite movies," I said.
"Hey, you guys might not realize this, but we have experienced a minor miracle tonight," Nick said.
"What?" Leighanne asked.
"Mikey stayed awake for the entire movie," Nick replied.
"Very funny, blondie," I said.
"Look who's talking about being blond," he said, grinning.
"At least mine's not out of a bottle!"
"At least I'm not a ditz like a real blond!"
"Nick, I don't think it would be a good idea to ask for a vote on that one," Brian said, laughing.
The whole group started laughing at that and Nick, ever the adult, stuck his tongue out at everyone.
"And here we have yet another display of Mr. Mature at his best," Howie said.
"At least I bring some amusement to your otherwise boring lives," Nick said.
"Never a dull moment with Nicky around, that's for sure," Kevin said.
"Well, guys, I think I'm going to head up to bed. See you all in the morning," I said.
"I think we're all pretty much ready to crash," Brian said.
I got up and went into the kitchen to let Gracie out before going upstairs.
"That was a really good movie, Mikey, thanks for picking it," Nick said as he walked up behind me and put his arm around my neck.
"You're welcome, I'm glad everyone liked it," I said.
We stood there looking out into the dark night waiting for Gracie to come back. She finally returned after about five minutes. After letting her back inside, Nick and I headed upstairs. When we got to the door to Jason's room, we gave each other an extended hug and then Nick went inside. I turned and went down the hall to my room, not noticing Kevin standing at the far end of the hall.
Kevin turned and went to the door to Brian and Leighanne's bedroom and knocked.
Brian opened the door and saw Kevin standing there. "What's up, Kev?"
"We need to talk about Nick!"
"Can't it wait until morning?"
"No, can I come in?"
"Yeah, if you don't mind talking in front of Leighanne."
Kevin walked into the room and closed the door.
"So what's the big deal?" Brian asked.
"I'm worried about how much time Nick is spending with Mikey."
"Why, they're just friends," Brian said.
"I'm not so sure about that. Have you noticed how clingy they are?"
"So, that doesn't mean anything. I think they have just gotten really close. Nick told me they were just really good friends."
"You didn't just see them hugging outside Nick's bedroom. That was more than a friendly hug!" Kevin said.
"Wait a minute, Kev. Why is this such a big deal for you. Is it that Nick has made a friend outside the group? We all have other friends. Jeez, if anything Nick is the one with the fewest outside friends. You should be happy for him."
"That's not what bothers me, Brian."
"What then? Oh... wait a minute, it's because Mikey's gay isn't it?" Brian said.
"No, it's that he is the son of a mobster and if word gets out that Nick is hanging with him the press is going to have a field day."
"I saw the look on your face when you heard Nick tell us about going bowling with those gay kids, Kevin, you were really freaked. You're worried that someone's going to find out Nick has a friend who is gay."
"Well, it wouldn't exactly make a lot of teenage girls happy to know Nick is hanging around with the gay son of a mobster, would it?" Kevin asked.
"You mean it would be a problem if people knew Nick has a friend who is kind, generous and charitable who happens to be gay, don't you?"
"You know what I mean!"
"No, I think you are blowing this way out of proportion, Kevin. It never bothered you that Nick and I were close. Hell, we even slept together all cuddled up, but that never bothered you."
"No it didn't, but you aren't gay!"
"Kevin, Nick's a big boy now. He's not going to get converted into something he isn't. Plus, from what I know about Mikey, he's not the kind of guy who would even think about doing something like that."
"What do you mean?" Kevin asked.
"I don't think Mikey is the kind of guy who goes after a straight guy and tries to get him into bed, Kev. I think relationships are way too special to him to even think about something like that. You know you need to be talking to Nick about this, not me."
"I can't, it would just end up being a big fight," Kevin replied.
"Only if you cause it to happen."
"What do you mean by that?"
"It will become a fight if you go into it with your tight ass attitude and tell him what you think instead of asking him how he feels."
"Yeah, like he is going to talk to me about feelings..."
"Maybe you need to try a little harder and keep yourself under control. Don't get mad if he starts to get upset. Show him you love him instead of trying to run his life for him."
"I don't try to run his life."
"Yes you do, Kevin, you don't want him to screw up so you try to control him. You need to give him some breathing room."
"Ok, I'll try to talk to him," Kevin said as he got up to leave, "See you in the morning."
Kevin started walking towards his and Kristin's room but then he stopped and leaned against the wall, deep in thought. 'What did Brian mean when he said Nick isn't going to be converted into something he isn't?' Kevin thought to himself. He decided he needed to talk to Nick.
Nick was laying in bed thinking about the conversation he had earlier with Brian. He realized that he couldn't wait forever to be honest with Mikey. He really didn't know what was going to be more difficult, telling Mikey how he really felt or going back on tour and not seeing him for a long time.
He continued to lay there, deep in thought, until he was startled by a knock at the door. He got out of bed and went over to the door and opened it, finding Kevin standing there.
"Hi, Nick," Kevin said.
"Hey, Kev, what's up?"
"Can I talk to you for a few minutes?"
"Uh, sure, come on in."
Nick lay down on the bed and Kevin sat in one of the chairs. Neither one of them said anything right away.
"You know that I really care about you, don't you Nick?" Kevin said.
"Yeah, of course I do."
"I know I can tend to be a little on the authoritative side, but it's because I don't want you to get hurt."
"I'd probably say you can tend to be more than a little authoritative, Kev. Dictatorial is more like it," Nick said, laughing lightly.
"So why the heart to heart at this hour, Kev?"
"Nick, I'm worried about what's going on between you and Mikey."
"What do you mean by that?" Nick asked angrily.
"Nick, don't get mad, I'm talking to you because I care about you and don't want you to get hurt."
"So you think Mikey is going to hurt me? And just why do you think that, Kev? He's my friend and we care very much about each other."
"Nick, calm down."
"Calm down! You come in here and tell me the nicest friend I've had in years, outside of the group, is going to hurt me and you expect me to just sit here and not react!"
"Nick, I didn't mean he was going to do it intentionally..."
"Listen, Kev, Mikey is going through a really rough period right now and I think the world of him. He's the first person I've met in a long time that I didn't think wanted to be friends because of who I am. I'm not giving up a friend like that Kev, I don't care what you say."
"I'm not saying you can't be friends, Nick, but you need to be more careful when you are out in public. That wasn't exactly the smartest thing you did by going bowling with all those gay kids, Nick."
"Oh, I see, it's ok for the group to flaunt its image to the gay community, but when it comes to actually being seen in public with a group of gay kids, that's bad."
"Nick, come on, I'm just trying to protect you..."
"From what, Kev? You afraid Mikey is trying to get me into bed or something? You afraid little Nicky might like him a bit too much?" Nick yelled.
"Nick, I didn't mean it that way, you just need to be more discreet in public."
"Oh, so it's fine for you and Brian to have major displays of affection for your girlfriends, but if I just walk down the same street next to Mikey or we go shopping together, it's not ok. Is that what you think, Kevin?"
"No Nick, that's not what I think, I just want to protect you from some damned reporter making up stories and keep the fans from wondering what is going on."
"Fuck you, Kevin," Nick yelled, "Sometimes I fucking hate you for being so damned controlling. I'm not 14 still, Kevin, I'm 20 years old and I'll hang out with my friends when I feel like it. Why don't you get out, I want to go to sleep."
"Nick, I didn't want this to happen. Please Nick, try to understand my concerns. I'm trying to think about you, not me."
Nick rolled over and shoved his face into the pillow. Kevin realized that nothing could be said to undo the damage of the past few minutes so he got up and walked over and put his hand on Nick's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Nick, I really am. You know I love you and I'm just trying to help."
Nick jerked away and Kevin walked over to the door and left the room. As soon as Kevin had shut the door, tears started pouring from his eyes.
"Go away, Kevin," Nick said, "You've made your point."
"Nicky, it's me, Mikey. Are you ok."
"Can I come in?"
"Yeah, I guess."
I opened the door and slipped inside. I could hear sobs coming from the bed. "You know I'm going to have to start charging you a royalty for using my line."
"What makes you think you can collect?" he replied.
I lay down on the bed facing his back. "Nicky, what's wrong?"
"Kevin can be such an ass!"
"Nicky, look at me," I said.
He rolled over until he was facing me. I could see tears still streaming down his face. I reached over and tried wiping them away.
"So what was all the yelling about?"
"I don't really want to talk about it, Mikey."
"Nick, you sounded really upset and you are about to flood the house, please let me help you," I said.
"I'll be ok."
"I don't want you to be just ok, Nick, cause you'll still be sad. You won't let me be that way so I'm not letting you get away with it either."
"It was just another stupid argument with Kevin. He still treats me like I am this little kid and tries to direct my life. I know he is just doing what he thinks is right, but it really gets to me."
"So what was he getting on you about?"
"Mikey, please don't push me about this. I don't want to talk about it any more and I definitely don't want to get mad at you like I do Kevin."
I decided it was best not to keep after him. "You know I'm here for you if you need to talk about it or anything else, don't you?"
"Yeah, I do. Thanks, Mikey," he said, smiling.
As I lay there the cold room started to have an effect on me and I shivered. Nick reached over and put his hand on my arm.
"Mikey, you're freezing. Come on and get under the covers," he said, lifting the sheet and blankets.
Well, that's it for Part 10 of Nick and the Altos. Part 11 should be ready towards the end of the week, work permitting. Any comments, suggestions or whatever, email me at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading... Mikey