Here we go with Part 18 -- Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. My present to myself was a Yamaha PSR540 keyboard. Hadn't sat at a piano since my piano teacher fired me as a student when I was 7 or 8. Wow, am I ever having a blast with it!!! Don't remember much about reading music at this point but summers at The Music Academy of the West must have paid off -- in minutes I was improvising. One more addiction to deal with in my life...
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: Twist of Fate (Jeff has come back to life, AT LAST!!!), Just Together (Celebrity section), Brian and Me, Jamie's Romance, My Surprise Romance, Lance in Shining Armour, Studio in the Country, Lucky Me, Not Meant to Be, Mile High Meeting, Model Romance, Beneath It All and the list goes on. My email address is email@example.com, 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
Around 10 p.m. the phone rang and as soon as I heard the voice on the other end, my mental state improved dramatically. Nick and I talked quietly for over an hour. He told me how supportive everyone else was being. They had pretty much mapped out what they would say in the event the photos actually surfaced. We covered a lot of mindless things too, like what we had each eaten for dinner. It struck me as a little weird the way we had become so much a part of each other's lives in such a short time. It reminded me of the way my parents would talk in the evening after my father got home and they told each other about what they had done during the day.
I honestly had never expected I would be in a relationship where that happened, but it really helped get me relaxed and not worrying as much about what was going to happen. I sensed that Nick was feeling sort of the same way and then we talked about that.
Finally we were both getting pretty sleepy so, after saying goodnight and letting Gracie out for her final pit stop, I headed back to bed. I lay in bed thinking about Nick and wishing he was laying next to me. I had gotten so comfortable sleeping snuggled up next to each other. Tonight, as I tried to fall asleep, I had no idea when we would be together next.
I must eventually have fallen asleep because the next morning I was startled awake by Gracie's cold nose and warm dog breath. Believe it or not, it just wasn't the same as waking up in Nick's arms. I lay there for a couple of minutes until I couldn't ignore her any longer. I crawled out of bed and dug through my closet for some sweats and then pulled on some warm socks to ward off the morning cold.
As I started out towards the great room, Gracie ran ahead of me, excited about the prospect of her first excursion of the day. I started to stop and brew some coffee but as I was turning into the kitchen I noticed the look on her face and decided she needed attention more than I needed caffeine. After letting her out I returned to the coffee maker. Once it was doing its thing I went over and started a fire. About the time it was starting to really take hold, the coffee was done.
After pouring myself a cup I went over and turned on the computer. I logged in to our network, opened Outlook and was greeted by a few new emails. I read the work-related ones and replied with answers and suggestions. Finally there was one from an unknown sender, firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject 'Hey, Mikey'. I assumed it was some spam but, unless my inbox rules weren't working, it wasn't porno spam. I opened it with no clue and got a big surprise...
From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Hey Mikey
You can't believe how much it sucked not having you to cuddle up to in bed last night. I miss you so much, Mikey!!! Just wanted you to know I love you and can't wait until we get to see each other again.
Give Gracie a hug for me. I love you...
Needless to say, the short message left a smile on my face. I hit the Reply button and started typing away.
I miss you so much too. I much prefer the way you wake me up to Gracie's cold nose and dog breath :-)
I'm going to do more work on the web site today, so hopefully you'll get a chance to check it out. Connect up to our web site and go to the client directory. I created an account for use to use. Your userid is MikeysGuy and the password is Love#Ya. That will let you get in and preview what's ready to look at.
Go ahead and show it to the rest of the guys. I'll be updating it around 5 p.m. MDT today. Hope you guys like it. Remember I've got a lot of work still to do but you'll be able to get an idea of what I'm thinking about. Also, I need you guys to think about what streaming audio to play on the default page.
I had this idea of you guys doing a couple of new songs that are only available for download from the site. We could charge a nominal download fee that would go to the foundation. Don't know how much your label and management will like the idea, but if you are interested and can talk them into it, we can do it.
Well, guess I need to feed Gracie and me and get to work. Talk to you tonight. I love you more...
I got up and let Gracie back inside. After fixing her breakfast I grabbed myself another cup of coffee, a banana and a bagel and went back to the computer.
The morning flew by as I became totally engrossed in working on the graphic design for the site. I checked out the group's official site and picked up some of the style elements from it so that there would be a sense of consistency. Once the basics were done I let my imagination soar and got pretty carried away. Finally around noon I ate a light snack and then went back to work for another hour.
It was time for a break, actually one was way overdue. The day had warmed up nicely so I decided to go for a ride. I changed into bike shorts and a tee shirt and went and aired the tires on my VooDoo mountain bike. I really felt like hitting the Buffalo Creek trail but didn't want to drive to get there, so I just took off down the driveway and headed down the road to a local trail with Gracie running along with me.
We headed up the trail. It isn't that long of a loop but I knew it would refresh me. The trail conditions had deteriorated quite a bit over the Winter. A couple of the switchbacks were pretty trashed but I was able to negotiate everything I ran up against. Gracie was having a blast running around in the hills chasing after one scent and then another. Finally I made it to the top of the hill and stopped to look out over the city.
The view is pretty incredible. It is sort of weird the way Denver is so close to the mountains but is really pretty flat. I tried picking out some landmarks. I could see Washington Park and was pretty sure I saw Cheesman Park too. It is a gay hangout. Gracie loves playing in the fountains there during the summer.
After a few minutes I started on down the trail and negotiated some pretty wicked descents and only one crash I was back down to the road up to my house. It was only an hour ride, but it left me feeling really alert and ready to do some more work. I took a quick shower and sat back down at the computer while Gracie curled up on the couch to recuperate.
I worked for another couple of hours and then transferred all the content files to the server. After testing to make sure everything was working, I shut down the computer and decided to do a little reading. I started another fire and then stretched out on the other couch with my book.
I read for a couple of hours before Gracie started pestering me to feed her. I got up and fixed her dinner and stood in the kitchen watching her eat. As I stood there I realized how much my life had changed in a very short period of time. Just a few short weeks ago I would have been totally happy being home alone. Now I felt so alone and empty, like part of my life was missing. Then I realized that part of me was missing... Nick. We had become so intertwined and now that we were separated there was this major emptiness inside.
I went back into the great room and picked up the phone and called him.
"Hello, Frank's Strip Club, whacha need?" a voice answered.
"Uh, I must have the wrong number, sorry," I said.
"No, wait, who's this?"
"Hey, gimme my phone," I heard in the background. "Hello."
Now there was a voice I recognized, "Hey Nicky."
"Hey Mikey, I miss you so much," Nick said.
"You couldn't miss me as much as I miss you."
"Don't bet on that."
"So who answered your phone?"
"One of our assistants decided to be a wiseass. We're in makeup right now so it wasn't in my pocket."
"Lucky I didn't say something like 'Hey, sexy boy'."
"No shit. So what are you up to?" Nick asked.
"I was standing here in the kitchen and just felt so empty and then I realized how much a part of me you have become in the past couple of weeks. So I decided I had two choices... Go into my room and cry or call you and tell you how much I love you."
"You know how much I love you back, don't you?"
"Oh yeah, not a doubt in my mind."
"Hey, I need to get back to makeup for the show tonight. How about if I call you afterwards?"
"Ok, love ya, Nick."
"I love you too, Mikey."
After hanging up the phone I went back into the kitchen to fix myself some dinner. I didn't make anything fancy, just a salad and some pasta tossed with veggies in olive oil and garlic. Simple but delicious.
After dinner I took Gracie for a short walk and then we went into the great room. I picked out another DVD from my collection, Air Force One, and turned on the theater system. I stretched out on a couch with Gracie curled up on the floor next to me and watched the movie without falling asleep.
I had no idea what time Nick would be calling or if he would even have the opportunity. I let Gracie out for one last time and then headed to bed. I read for a little while and then turned out the light and cuddled up to my pillow. I could smell a faint scent of Nick's cologne on it and fell asleep smiling.
The next thing I remember was a noise waking me up. I fumbled around and tried to turn of the clock radio but it didn't stop. Finally I realized it was the phone. I found it and lifted the handset before it quit ringing.
"Hello," I said incoherently.
"Yeah," I mumbled.
"Guess I woke you, huh?" Nick said.
"Yeah, it's ok though. I'd much rather talk to you than sleep."
"So what have you been doing since we talked earlier?"
"I fixed dinner, walked Gracie and watched Air Force One. What about you?"
"Well, not a relaxing evening like you had. We had an autograph session and then I got up and performed in front of 40 plus thousand screaming fans, mostly girls. After the concert we showered and hid out until things quieted down and then we went and ate dinner before coming back to the hotel."
"I think I'll keep my life with one minor addition..."
"Oh, what's that?"
"You here next to me."
"Awww, I'd like that. Hey, wait a minute! I'm a minor addition?"
"Well, you aren't 21 yet, so yeah, you're a minor addition."
"Cute, you obviously are waking up."
"I know I'm cute and I have a really cute boyfriend, at least best I can remember. Haven't seen him in way too long."
"So did you fall asleep on the couch or are you in bed?"
"Made it all the way through the movie without a nap. I'm in bed now. I can smell you on your pillow. I fell asleep cuddling up to it."
"Not even fair. Next time I want something of yours to have with me."
"So where are you?"
"In my hotel room, all alone. So what are you wearing?"
"Same thing as usual, boxers and a tee shirt. Why?"
"Why don't you take them off?"
"Not even, you horny little shit! No way our first time is going to be phone sex."
"But I miss you and I'm all alone."
"If I were there we wouldn't be doing anything other than kissing, so why would we when were apart?"
"I was just joking around. There's no way I want to do something like that."
"Thank God, I was worried my boyfriend was a perv there for a minute."
"Horny, yes. Pervert, no."
"I love you."
"Love you too, Mikey."
"We prolly need to both get some sleep. Talk to you in the morning."
"Ok, good night."
The next morning was a repeat of the last... Awakened by the cold nose and dog breath alarm. I rolled out of bed after a couple of minutes and let Gracie go off exploring while I fixed some coffee.
While the coffee was brewing I decided to get a little more normal start to the day, so I went back to my bathroom and shaved, brushed and showered. I had just poured my first cup of coffee when Gracie started scratching impatiently at the door to be let back inside. She headed right for her bowl and waited for me to fix her breakfast.
After fixing myself fruit and a bagel, I sat down at my computer and went back to work. I had been working quite a while when the phone rang. It was Nick. We chatted about a bunch of different things and then started talking about the web site. Everyone in the group was happy with the initial designs. They were planning on showing the preliminary site to the management team on Friday.
I asked Nick what his schedule was looking like and he said they were heading to Cincinnati today for a concert Thursday night. Then they were going up to Cleveland on Friday for concerts that night and Saturday. Sunday was a day off. Monday they were heading to Philadelphia for a concert and then off to New York.
Before we said good bye I asked him to email me a list of the hotels where they were staying and what nights they would be in each one. After I got off the phone with Nick, I called my office and asked our admin person to book me into the Cleveland Ritz Carlton for Friday night through Monday morning. I asked him to arrange for my plane to pick me up on Friday at Jeff Co, taking me into Cleveland and then to pick me up there on Monday to come back to John Wayne.
Next I called my parents. I didn't really expect them to have any great news, but I figured I might as well check and also give them an update on my plans. It's not that they needed to know what was going on any more, now that Angela had died, but it had become a habit.
I talked with my mother for a few minutes and found that they didn't know anything new about the photographs. My grandfather still wasn't planning on leaving the country so Nick and I appeared to be at the mercy of whomever had the pictures. I told her that I was staying in Colorado until Friday and would be back in California on Monday.
After we got through talking I went back to work. I refined a lot of what I had worked on the day before and added some sample audio. I was really tempted to put some N'Sync audio on the site just to give the guys a bad time, but I controlled myself. Well, sort of anyways, I went out to cdnow.com and captured some samples of old Conway Twitty tracks. No, I don't like country music. The only reason I even knew about Conway Twitty was because my trainer had been a big country fan.
A little before lunch I got an email from our admin person with my hotel reservation information. I decided I was going to try to surprise Nick with my trip to Cleveland. I tried calling Kevin but just got his voice mail, so I left him a message to call me when he could talk without Nick overhearing the conversation.
The day had turned out pretty nice again so I fixed a sandwich and went out on the deck for lunch. I know I've mentioned this before, but it is so peaceful up here. It is secluded enough that you don't hear traffic on the road or neighbors. You can't even see another house close by to mine.
I sat there daydreaming away when I heard Gracie barking out in front of the house. I walked down the steps and around the side of the house and saw it was just the mailman delivering a package. I also noticed the damned stuff painted on my garage door. I had forgotten to call to have the door repainted. I went up to the front door and picked up the mail and went inside.
The package didn't have a return address on it. I ripped it open and found a three Backstreet Boys discs and a note from Nick telling me that since I couldn't have the real thing I could at least listen to him sing. That brought a major smile to my face, even though I had no intention of ever listening to them.
After calling a painting contractor to take care of my garage door, I sat back down at my computer and worked several more hours until Gracie started pestering me to take her for a walk. We didn't go a long ways but it was a pleasant walk. She did her best to run down a couple of squirrels but they were able to climb up into the trees and then chatter away at her, which frustrated her to no end.
Soon after I got back home the phone rang and it was Kevin returning my call. I told him how I was going to fly to Cleveland and wanted to surprise Nick. My idea was for them to plan on going out clubbing but tell Nick he couldn't go since he wasn't old enough to get into the club they were hitting. The four of them would take one limo and head off where ever they wanted and then have a second limo to take Nick back to his hotel.
My plan was to be waiting in the limo Nick would be using and surprise him when he got in. Kevin said he would arrange things at his end and then let me know where to meet the limo.
We talked about some other stuff, including how the web site was looking. He obviously hadn't checked it out since I had uploaded today's work since he didn't comment about the music clip I had included. Our chat was interrupted by my call waiting. Kevin and I said good bye and then I answered the other call.
It was Nick. As soon as I said hello he started going off on me for being a hack and a hick. He tried to keep calling me names but started laughing and couldn't continue. He obviously had checked out my revised web site. Of course, I couldn't take what he said without throwing something back at him so I made some comments about how Conway Twitty wrote his own songs and played instruments. I have no idea whether either comment was true but that didn't slow me down.
Nick promptly informed me that he played an instrument -- drums. I laughed so hard I almost fell off the couch over that one. Don't get me wrong, it takes a lot of talent to be a good drummer, but I figured Nick was more one of those bang on the drums and cymbals types of players. All of a sudden I noticed silence on the other end of the phone.
"Nick, are you there?"
"You know I'm just joking around, don't ya?"
"I'm not just a hack on the drums. I may not be a top drummer but I'm not bad."
"So are you pissed at me?"
"Yeah, you've never heard me play and you're making assumptions about my abilities."
"Hey, Nick, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. You going to let me make it up to you?"
"Depends on what you mean by that."
"Oh, I guess we'll have to negotiate that when we see each other next."
"That will probably be so long from now you'll forget how much you owe me."
"I sort of doubt you'll let me forget. Besides, I love you so much I would never cheat you out of something I owed you."
"You had better not. I'm bigger than you are and I can kick your skinny butt with absolutely no problem."
"Oh, so the big guy is going to pick on the littler guy, huh? So you're saying you're a bully."
"No, just that if you try to forget about owing me that you're going to pay the price."
"I can't believe you think I would try to duck out on paying my debts."
"Hey Mikey, we need to get checked in at the hotel and then go eat dinner. Can I call you later?"
"Sure. Oh, just in case you've forgotten, I really, really, really love you..."
"You're sure about that I hope, cause I love you too, Mikey."
I had a pretty lazy evening, just laying on the couch and reading with music playing in the background. Nick called me a couple of hours later and we spent about an hour bringing each other up to date with what we had done during the day and what we had ahead of us tomorrow.
Nick's schedule for Thursday was a lot busier than I had planned for myself. He and the other guys were booked for an interview on a local radio station and then office to do some promotional activities in Cincinnati before heading to the venue to do a sound check. They were staying in Cincinnati after the concert and then taking the buses up to Cleveland during the day on Friday.
I needed to run into town and do some shopping for clothes to wear in Cleveland. I didn't want to meet Nick wearing what I normally wear, figuring that we would go out for a nice dinner somewhere after the performance. Of course I didn't tell Nick about any of this. I just told him what else I was going to be doing: working and probably taking a bike ride. He gave me a bunch of shit about how hard I worked for the amount of money I made. Like he had reason to question that, a fact that I pointed out to him emphatically.
When it was obvious that we were both getting pretty tired, we said goodnight and, after letting Gracie out one last time, I headed to bed. I snuggled up to Nick's pillow again and it wasn't long before I was in dream land.
Thursday morning dawned with sunny skies. There was rain in the forecast for the afternoon, so I decided I should get my errands run during the morning so I didn't have to deal with it. The rain can be really intense this time of year. Then if the temperature drops you can end up with a real mess. The only months I don't remember having seen it snow in Denver are June, July and August, and we're not talking up in the mountains. That's right down in the Mile High City.
After a light breakfast I took Gracie for a walk and then hit the bathroom and got dressed. Shortly afterwards I was on my way to go shopping. I decided to check out the shopping around Nordstrom on the South end. I hadn't been over there in quite a while and wondered what new stores had opened. I made pretty good time getting there and even found a parking place pretty quickly.
I wandered around for a while and ended up just getting some new khaki pants and a black, long sleeved knit shirt. I also picked up a few other shirts that caught my eye and then headed back home. Gracie was totally excited to see me and did an excellent job of making it difficult to get inside and put my stuff down. It seems like it doesn't matter whether I'm gone for five minutes or ten hours, she is just as excited when I come through the door.
After letting her outside I turned on my computer and checked my email. There was quite a bit from people at work and one from Kevin and another from Nick. Kevin's just said that he thought I had terrible taste in music (obviously he had checked out my updated site) but, in spite of that, everything was set for tomorrow night. Nick's email was just a short one telling me how much he missed me and how he couldn't wait until I could come visit when they were in Chicago or New York.
I ended up being sort of lazy the rest of the day. I didn't do much work. It started clouding up early in the afternoon and the rain started around 3:30. It was a gentle rain at first but then it really started pouring. Fortunately it was just rain, no thunder and lightning. Gracie is terrified of thunder. She completely panics and it is impossible to calm her down.
That night I just lay around reading and watching TV. Nick and I talked for a couple of hours before going to bed. We continued what was becoming our nightly ritual of telling each other what our day had been like and what we had planned for tomorrow. It sort of bothered me to tell him that I was heading back to California when I was really heading to Cleveland, but I did.
When I went to bed I noticed that the scent of his cologne was pretty much gone from the pillow as I cuddled up to it. Knowing that tomorrow night I would be falling asleep in Nick's arms didn't exactly help me get to sleep any faster. I turned on the light and read for a while and that didn't get me any closer to sleep. Finally, I turned out the light and slid my boxers off and tossed them on the floor...
Gracie woke me up earlier than I was hoping, but I had a busy day ahead. I know I could have done laundry yesterday, but isn't it normal to put that off as long as possible? I crawled out of bed and found my boxers among the rest of the clothes strewn on the floor of my bedroom. When Nick was here I did a better than normal job of throwing my dirty clothes in the hamper, but I had been back in my regular routine since Monday. Walking across the room was like negotiating a minefield.
I let Gracie out and started up the coffee maker before hitting the bathroom to shave, brush and shower. After getting dressed I gathered up all my dirty clothes, towels and the sheets off the bed and hauled them to the laundry room and started the first load in the washer. It was going to be fun times today...
I fed Gracie and fixed the usual for myself and sat down at the computer to do some work while the washer did its thing. Nothing all that critical was going on at work, so I did some 'fine tuning' of the demo site -- removing the disgusting sound samples I had embedded and replacing them with some off one of the CDs that Nick had sent me.
After making the final tweaks for the morning, I uploaded them to the server and then emailed Kevin to let him know that the site was ready to show to their management people for an initial once over.
As the morning progressed I continued to do laundry and tried to put the house in order since I didn't know when I would be back. Things like running the dishwasher and cleaning the great room and my bedroom. Fun stuff!!! If I lived here full time I would just hire a cleaning service since I hate doing the cleaning, but I didn't have much choice here.
True to form I was falling behind schedule because I waited until the last minute to do my chores. I called and arranged for a car to take me to the airport. I ran around trying to get everything together so I was ready to leave when the car arrived. I packed enough dog food to keep Gracie happy for a few days. Hopefully she wasn't going to be too much of a pain in the butt staying in the hotel.
I was almost ready when the doorbell rang and Gracie ran to the door barking. I called to her and she stopped barking. I grabbed my bags and took them to the door and gave them to the driver. I went back and grabbed my pack with the laptop, Nomad II and my book and Gracie's leash.
As we were on our way to Jeff Co, I tried calling Nick but got his voicemail. I left him a message that I was heading to the airport and would talk to him later.
When we got to the airport the plane was already there and was being refueled. I put Gracie's leash on her to keep us out of trouble and, after tipping the driver, walked over to the plane and said hello to Tommy who was preflighting the plane. I undid Gracie's leash and she went running up the steps.
"Hey, Mikey, Cindy is filing the flight plan. We should be ready to go in about ten minutes."
"Thanks, Tommy. How's life treating you?"
"SOS. Partying most nights and flying around during the day. So what's taking you to Cleveland?"
"Um, you remember my friend Nick?"
"Oh, yeah, you don't think I'd forget someone that cute do you."
I smiled at his comments and paused before responding. "Well, he's in Cleveland, or at least he will be tonight."
"So, anything your good friend Tommy should know about happening in your life?"
"Well, we are seeing each other..." I said, grinning.
"Wow, I'm really happy for you, Mikey."
"Sure wish Mr. Right would walk into my life..."
"Maybe you should look somewhere other than the Boom Boom Room, Tommy."
"Yeah, I know."
"Hey Mikey, you ready to go?" Cindy said as she walked up behind us."
"Yeah." I said.
"He's off to see his boyfriend so I'd say he's more than ready." Tommy said.
"And who might that be, Mikey?" Cindy asked.
"Nick Carter," Tommy answered.
"You guys looked cute together. I'm really happy for you, Mikey."
"Thanks, guys. Well let's get this thing in the air," I said as I climbed the steps. I stowed my pack and sat down in one of the seats and fastened my seatbelt.
Within ten minutes we were rushing down the runway and lifting off. I heard the gear retract and then relaxed while we climbed up to our cruising altitude. Once we leveled off I got up and grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator. I poked my head in the cockpit to see if either Cindy or Tommy wanted something to drink, but they were both fine.
I grabbed my book and Nomad II out of my pack and went back to the couch and lay down. A few minutes later Gracie jumped up and lay down between my legs and rested her head on my ankle. Before long I fell asleep listening to my playlist.
The next thing I remember was feeling someone gently shaking my shoulder. I opened my eyes and saw Tommy standing there. I reached up and removed my headphones.
"Looks like someone was dreaming about a certain special someone," he said.
I turned red, started to sit up and looked down at my crotch.
"Just kidding, Mikey."
"Couldn't resist a chance to make you blush," he said, laughing. "We're going to be landing in a couple of minutes so you probably ought to at least sit up and put your seatbelt on."
I got up and tossed my empty bottle in the trash and stowed my stuff in my pack. I went back to the couch and dug out a set of seatbelts and buckled myself in. Gracie jumped back up and curled up next to me.
We touched down and taxied up to the jet center. I grabbed my stuff and put the leash on Gracie. Cindy opened the cabin door and climbed down the steps. I tossed Gracie's leash to her and Gracie made the big leap down to the ground. I followed her but used the steps instead.
Tommy opened the baggage hatch and grabbed my bags and walked out with me to the waiting car. I thanked him and told him I would see them on Monday and then I was off to the hotel.
When we got to the Ritz I noticed a few strange looks from people as I walked inside with Gracie at my side. I checked in and went up to my suite. I had only been inside for a couple of minutes when the bell hop showed up with my bags.
"Cool dog," he said.
"Thanks. We sure got some strange looks downstairs. Don't know what was more interesting, the dog or my shorts and tee shirt."
"Knowing some of the guests here, it was a little bit of both. We usually have several guests who bring their dogs with them but a lot of people don't realize it's ok."
"It wouldn't be at a Holiday Inn," I quipped.
"You've got that right. So, do you need anything else?"
"No, I think I'm all set."
"Well, if you find you do, my name is Eric."
"Thanks, Eric, I'm Mikey. See you later."
After he left I turned on the TV in the living room and then went into the bedroom to hang up my clothes. In my rush to pack this morning I didn't do the best job so my pants and shirt were pretty wrinkled. Instead of hanging them up I took them out into the living room.
I pulled my laptop out of my pack and set it up on the desk and dialed up the office to check my email. Nothing much seemed to be going on. There was an email from Kevin saying he had shown the site to several of their management staff and they were pretty happy with the way it looked. He wanted to arrange a meeting with them and the group once the tour was over. I replied that I would make myself available whenever they were ready.
After sending the email to Kevin, I logged out and went over and sat in one of the chairs and called Nick from my cell phone. He answered and told me that they were just about ready to head out for a light dinner their way to the venue. They had to meet with a group of contest winners before the start of the show. I told him to have a great show and to call me afterwards. He said they were going out after the show but that he would call me from the limo.
'Did he ever have a surprise ahead of him,' I thought to myself after we said goodbye. I called down to the Bell Captain's station and left a message for Eric that I had some clothes I needed to have pressed.
About 15 minutes later there was a knock at the door. It was Eric coming to pick up my clothing. He asked me what time I needed them and I told him by 9:00 P.M. I told him that I was going to be going for a swim later so he should just hang them in the closet if I wasn't here when he brought them back.
I decided to take Gracie for a walk before going swimming. I grabbed a stash of plastic sandwich bags to deal with the inevitable and as soon as she saw what I was doing she went into hyperactive mode, jumping around and barking her weird "I'm so excited" bark. I put her leash on her, grabbed my Nomad II and room access card and headed out the door.
It turned out there was a small, but nice park just a few blocks away from the Ritz. The doorman's directions were perfect and I found it easily. We wandered around for a half hour until she had taken care of everything and I cleaned up after her.
When we got back to the room, I fed her dinner and then lay down on a couch and turned on the TV. I surfed around but didn't find anything all that interesting. It wasn't late enough for any decent movies on HBO and none of the network shows seemed all that interesting to me. I finally gave up and switched to music and my book.
Around 7:00 I decided to go for a swim. I changed into my bathing suit, grabbed a couple of towels and headed to the pool. There were only a couple of other people who had the same idea. A couple of kids who looked to be high school age were rough housing around at the shallow end. I waved to them just before diving into the water.
I swam laps until I was pretty worn out, about 45 minutes. Then I just floated around on my back kicking just enough to keep myself from sinking. When I got to the shallow end I stood up and stretched. The guys who were in the pool when I arrived were sitting on the edge not too far away from where I was.
"Wow, you did some serious swimming, dude," the dark haired one said.
"Yeah, I would have hated to have to try to keep up with you," the blond one said.
"Just needed to get rid of some excess energy. I don't swim all that often," I said.
"You're kidding, that was a pretty intense workout."
"Hope I didn't over do it, I have a big night ahead," I said.
"Hot date, huh?"
"Something like that."
"Where are you from?"
"Southern California's home but I've been in Colorado for a few days."
"Cool, I really like Colorado. Our family goes out there skiing every Christmas."
"So where are you guys from?"
"Ann Arbor, Michigan."
"It's pretty there."
"You've been there?"
"Yeah, a couple of times."
"So what brings you to Cleveland?"
"I came out on my way home to see a friend who's in town for the weekend. What about you guys?"
"We came over to catch a concert. The Backstreet Boys are playing tonight and tomorrow night. We have tickets for tomorrow."
"So your girlfriends dragged you along?" I asked.
"No," the blond said, just before the dark haired one jabbed him in the ribs. "Uh, their music is pretty cool."
"It's ok," I said, "A couple of them are pretty cute, too."
"So, um, are you... uh, gay?" the blond asked?
"So your friend is a guy?"
"I sure hope so," I said, laughing.
"Cool, by the way I'm Ryan and that's my brother, Jeff," the blond one said.
"Nice meeting you guys, I'm Mikey."
"So are you both gay or just you, Ryan?"
"I'm definitely gay," Ryan replied.
"I'm sort of bi, I think," Jeff said.
"That's cool. Listen, guys, it's been nice meeting you, but I need to go up and take a shower and do some stuff before going out."
"Hey, that's cool. It was nice meeting you too, Mikey. Hope you and your boyfriend have fun tonight. Maybe we'll run into you later."
"Thanks, hope you guys enjoy the concert tomorrow."
I headed back up to my room thinking I sure didn't want to run into them when I was with Nick. That would really complicate our lives. I stopped in the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water before heading into the bathroom. I shaved and brushed my teeth and then stepped into the shower. After standing under the hot spray for a couple of minutes, I took my bathing suit off and rinsed it out and then took my time washing my hair and my body.
As I was drying myself off in the shower, the doorbell rang and Gracie started barking like crazy. I wrapped the towel around my waist and walked into the living room and told her to sit and be quiet. I looked through the peep hole and saw it was Eric with my pressed clothing. I opened the door and apologized for taking so long to answer, explaining I had been in the shower.
He came into the foyer and asked what I wanted him to do with the pressed clothes and I told him he could hang them in the closet. I followed him into the bedroom and got my wallet out of my short's pocket and pulled a $10 bill out to give him. When I turned around I could have sworn he was checking me out. He definitely had a smile on his face. I handed him the tip and thanked him. I followed him out to the living room and, after he had left, locked the door.
I went back into the bathroom and fixed my hair and then pulled on some clean boxers and a tee shirt. I went into the dining room and got a banana and an apple from the fruit basket that was on the buffet and took them into the living room along with another bottle of water. I was feeling pretty dehydrated from my swim.
I ate my snack watching some unmemorable TV show and then lay down for a quick nap. I slept for a couple of hours. The limo was due to pick me up at 10:00 to make sure we got to the concert venue in plenty of time. Around 9:30 I got up and went into the bedroom and changed. I dampened my fingers and ran them through my hair and rearranged it. Then, after splashing on some cologne, I called down to the Bell Captain's station and asked if Eric was still on duty, but he wasn't. I asked for someone to take Gracie for a walk and they said someone would be right up.
A few minutes later there was a knock at the door. I put Gracie's leash on her and opened the door. It was an older man who said he would be happy to take her for a nice walk. I gave him a good tip and told him that he could just leave her loose in the suite when he brought her back. Then we headed off to the elevator.
Shock of the century, I was actually early. As luck would have it, Jeff and Ryan were out in front with their parents waiting for a cab when I walked out of the hotel. They said hello to me and introduced me to their parents. We were just starting to talk when my limo arrived.
"Uh, say Mikey, should we know who you are?" Ryan asked.
"Well, I thought only celebrities rode in limos as big as that."
"Actually, I wasn't the one who arranged for it."
"So your boyfriend is a celebrity?"
"Ryan, leave him alone," his mother said rather sternly."
"It's ok. No he's just a practical joker who figured he would try to embarrass me with this boat."
"See you guys later," I said as I got in the back seat.
The ride over to the venue went smoothly until we were a couple of blocks away and then the traffic got really intense. Judging from the crowds I figured that the concert was already over. It took about 20 minutes to get to the place where the other car was parked. I pulled out my phone and called Kevin and told him I was finally out front. He said they were all showered and just about ready to leave. He hadn't told Nick that he couldn't go with them yet.
I sat there for what seemed like forever but was probably more like ten minutes. Then I noticed the doors to the side of the building open and a group of people walk out. I could see Nick and Kevin in what appeared to be a heated discussion as they walked towards the two limos.
Brian, AJ and Howie got in the first limo and left the door open. I could see that Kevin and Nick were really yelling at each other and was starting to wish I hadn't arranged this little surprise. Then Kevin turned, looked towards my limo and then got in the front one and, as soon as the back door was closed, the car pulled away from the curb.
Nick looked shocked beyond belief. I saw him reach into his pocket and pull out his phone. A few seconds later my phone rang.
"Hello," I said.
"Mikey, you aren't going to believe what those assholes just did to me!"
"They made plans to go to a club that said they wouldn't admit me because I'm not 21. They just took off and left me here at the venue."
"You're kidding, you're stranded?"
"Yeah. Well, no, they got another limo to take me back to our hotel. The assholes aren't even letting me go to dinner with them before they go partying. I can't fucking believe it!"
"So what are you doing?"
"Just standing out here still. This is unfucking believable!"
"So isn't it cold out there?"
"So why don't you get in the limo?"
"Cause I'm pissed off at them!"
"So you're going to freeze your ass off and get sick, just because they pissed you off?"
"Get you're ass in the fucking limo!"
He started walking towards the limo and when he got to the door he stopped. Finally I rolled down the window where he was standing and said, "Would you get your ass in here and kiss me!"
Nick leaned over, looked in the open window and his mouth dropped open. He jerked the door open and stepped into the car. He didn't say a word as the driver shut the door, he just sat there looking at me.
Since he wasn't moving I decided I would. I scooted over next to him and kissed him.
"You were behind this?" he asked when I broke the kiss.
"You are such a total dick!"
"Why? Aren't you happy to see me?"
"Yeah, but why'd you put me through that?"
"You weren't supposed to get so upset."
"Oh, so how would you have felt?"
"Prolly pissed off."
"Exactly my point..."
"So are you glad I'm here?"
"What do you mean 'I guess'? I can always leave you here and take my limo back to my hotel."
"Nah, I'd rather kiss you."
"So what are you waiting for?"
I leaned in and kissed him again. This one lasted much longer and was much more passionate.
"God, Mikey, I've missed you so much."
"I noticed, I've sort of missed you too."
"What do you mean sort of?"
"Ok, drag the truth out of me... I have missed you SO much, Nick Carter."
This time he leaned in and kissed me. After we finally separated, I said, "So, you want to go get something to eat?"
"Can't we just go back to the hotel and order in?"
"Nope, I want to go out. We can order in for breakfast tomorrow."
"Ok, what'll it be, Mr. Alto?"
Since neither of us knew our way around, I asked the driver to take us to an Italian restaurant. He started driving and Nick and I went back to the important stuff...
The driver took us to a small Italian cafe somewhere in Cleveland. Dinner was excellent. When we finally finished, the driver took us back to the Ritz. We got out of the car and walked inside the hotel lobby heading toward the elevators. Just as we were getting into the elevator, I saw Ryan and Jeff walk into the lobby with their parents and wave to me. Fortunately they were far enough away that I didn't need to feel badly about not holding the elevator for them, I just waved back.
When we got inside my suite, Gracie went ape shit over Nick, totally ignoring me in the process. He sat down on the couch and petted her until she calmed down. I went into the kitchen and got us something to drink. I lay down on the couch and rested my head in his lap. He started running his fingers though my hair. We sat there and talked for a while and then he started to get up. I raised my head as he stood.
He reached out his hand and said, "Come on, Mikey. Let's go to bed..."
I took his hand and he pulled me up off the couch. We walked hand in hand towards the bedroom and closed the door after us, leaving Gracie in the living room.
Well, that's it for Part 18 of Nick and the Altos. No promises as to when Part 19 will be out. Hope everyone had a great New Year's Eve and has a wonderful 2001. Any comments, suggestions or whatever, email me at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading... Mikey