Here we go with Part 21. What are Nick and Mikey going to do? Thanks to everyone who has been writing, I really enjoy hearing from you.
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: Forever (Back after a hiatus), Twist of Fate, Yellow, Just Together (Celebrity section but has N'Sync in it), Brian and Me , Jamie's Romance, My Surprise Romance, Lance in Shining Armour, Studio in the Country (Finally!!! another installment), 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
"Oh, shit, well I guess we knew this was probably going to happen. What do you want us to do?" He listened to the person on the other end talk for a while. "Ok, I let everyone know and have Nick talk to Mikey."
"What is it?" Nick asked.
"There have been inquiries about the photographs from MTV and E," Kevin replied.
"Fuck!" Nick said.
"So what's the plan?" Nick asked with tears in his eyes.
"What are they planning to have us say?" Nick asked.
"I don't know yet, but basically it will be that you guys are friends and you were just comforting him after the death of his sister. Pretty much the truth."
Nick stood there for a few seconds, wiping the tears from his eyes and thinking. "Maybe we should just tell everything, that what the pictures show is just what you said, but that Mikey and Nick are in love."
"Are you out of your mind, Nick?" Kevin said. "We don't need more controversy right now."
"So I have to sneak around and constantly be on guard while you guys do what ever you want, whenever you want..."
"Is Mikey pushing you to come out?" Kevin asked.
"No, he hasn't even mentioned it. In fact, I think he is worried about losing his privacy if word gets out."
"The first thing is to let him know something is happening so he doesn't get blindsided by some reporter."
"Ok, I call his cell and leave him a message," Nick said.
As usual I fell asleep not too long after we took off and slept most of the way to Orange County. Tommy woke me up when we were over Lake Arrowhead and I looked out the window at the beautiful view. I thought maybe I should look around for some lake front property. The thing is, it takes as much time to drive there as it does to fly to Colorado, so I don't know if I'll ever get around to doing anything about it.
We touched down at John Wayne Airport and taxied over to the jet's hanger. A car was already waiting to take me to the office. It was going to feel weird to be there after such a long absence.
As soon as we started the trip to the office I turned on my phone and was alerted there were new messages. I dialed my messaging number and listened to them. The first was from Nick asking me to call him as soon as possible. His voice sounded pretty upset. There were also messages from my mother and the office.
After retrieving the messages, I called Nick. As soon as he answered I knew something was seriously wrong.
"Mikey, Kevin got a call not too long after you took off telling him that the photos had been received by both MTV and E. God, I wish you were here with me for this."
"Fuck!" I said, "Nick I'm so sorry this is happening. It's all because of me."
"No it's not, Mikey," he said. "Maybe your grandfather, but not you."
"Still, it's because of my damned family..."
"Yeah, and if it hadn't been for your damned family, we'd never have met and fallen in love. So quit blaming yourself. I love you Mikey, and no matter what happens because of this I'm still going to love you."
I didn't say anything for a few seconds. "I love you too, Nicky. More than I can even tell you."
"Mikey, I told Kevin I wanted to tell everything. I want to tell the whole damned world I love you and I don't care what they think."
"Nick, you shouldn't do that. At least not right now. We need to do some serious talking before you even think about coming out. It's going to turn both our lives upside down."
"You don't want people to know I love you?"
"No, it's not that at all Nick. It's just that we need to be prepared for all the attention we're going to get and neither one of us is ready for that yet.
"Nick?" I said sort of loudly, "I am totally and completely in love with you and don't want that to ever end. Do you hear what I'm saying?"
"Yeah, I'm sorry."
"You don't have anything to apologize for Nick. This situation really sucks and we have to do our best and we'll get through it."
"So what's the plan?"
"They want us to just say you and I are friends and I was comforting you after Angela died."
"That's the truth, or at least it was when the pictures were taken."
"I'm really worried about what questions they might ask though."
"Am I gay? Are you my boyfriend? Stuff like that. Mikey, it's going to be so hard to say 'No' when the truth is 'Yes'."
"I know Nick. But you and I know the truth and that's what really matters. Not what the press and the public knows."
"Yeah, but it still is going to hurt to say it."
"So do you want me to come back and be there with you?"
"Yeah, I do. But they don't want you here. Shit, the management people don't even know about us yet. They would rather that you and I never see each other again. They don't want you to say anything to reporters either."
"Well, that doesn't bother me one bit. I hope I never even am approached about it, but that probably isn't too realistic."
"Mikey, I need to go now. We're flying to New York for the interview."
"Ok. I love you Nicky. If you need me just call and I'm on the plane."
"I know. Love you too, Mikey."
The car dropped me at the entrance to the building. The driver followed me inside with my bags. Gracie went charging off to check out the premises and make sure everything was ok. I went to my office and closed the door, picked up the phone and called my mother. When she finally got on the phone, I told her what was happening, trying not to start crying. I actually did a pretty good job of it, although I was definitely emotional.
We talked quite a while and she tried to talk me into coming home for a few days, but I told her I wanted to spend some time at my place and maybe go out on the boat. After we hung up I started going through all the mail that had accumulated on my desk while I had been gone. Gracie came to the door and started scratching at it so I would let her inside. I got up and let her in and left the door open.
A few minutes later some of the staff stopped by on their way to lunch to see if I wanted to go with them. We are a pretty closely knit group and even though I really felt like being alone, I decided to go with them and catch up on what was going on.
One of the things that sucks about where our building is located is there are no places to eat within walking distance. So the four of us piled into Cary's X5 and cruised up to California Pizza Kitchen.
I ended up being really glad that I went with them because it got my mind off the problem of the photographs for a little while. In addition to Cary, who was the head of our operations group, there was Rachel, from our design group and Mark, one of our developers. They all wanted to know how I was doing after Angela's death and what I had been doing during my time away from the office.
I told them I had been working on the design of the website for the Backstreet Boys Foundation. Rachel, of course, wanted to know everything about them, particularly Nick. Obviously, I didn't tell her the real story, I just told them that they were a great group of guys and were turning out to be very good friends.
I also told them about going back to Cleveland and catching one of their concerts. Rachel was really jealous over that and asked me if I could set her up with Nick the next time he was in California. Fat chance of that ever happening!!!
After lunch I had meeting with each of the groups. I did a pretty good job of focusing on the subjects at hand. I guess it's true that if you keep busy, time flies by, because before I knew it the time was 5:30 and people were starting to head home. Rachel stopped by my office and asked if I needed a ride, since my cars were at home. I accepted and went looking for Gracie.
I found her sleeping on her bed in the kitchen. It was definitely a Kodak moment and there I was without a camera. She was laying on her back against the wall with her legs going in four different directions. I hated to wake her up, but it was time to leave. I called to her and she opened her eyes and her tail began wagging. She extricated herself from the weird position she had been in and followed me back to the front of the office.
I grabbed my bags and put them in Rachel's ML320 and snapped my fingers to get Gracie to jump in the back with the bags. Then we headed off towards my house.
"So Mikey, something seems to have you sort of distracted today. Anything you want to talk about?"
"No, I'm okay, just tired and been away from home too long."
"You don't really expect me to believe that bs do you? I've know you for over a year, and I know the difference between being tired and being preoccupied."
"It's really nothing. Just some stuff to do with my family. You know how that goes..."
"Do I ever. They're still nagging me to go back and finish my degree, even though I've got a great job and am really happy."
"Mikey, you know I'm a good listener, so if you want to talk, just let me know."
"Thanks, Rach, I will."
We continued to chat about a variety of things during the short drive to my house. After I grabbed my stuff, Gracie and I went through the front door and into the house. I set my stuff down and turned off the alarm system. Then I let Gracie out into the back yard where she made her rounds to make sure that we hadn't been invaded since the last time we were at home.
I checked the messages on my phone but didn't find anything important. Then I hauled my bags upstairs and unpacked. The laundry hamper was overflowing so it was time to think about taking care of that chore. It was either that or go shopping again. I'm sure you think that I just always buy new clothes when I need them, but believe it or not I opted for doing some laundry.
I piled up all my dirty clothes and lugged them downstairs and started the first of what would be many loads. Then I wandered into the kitchen and inspected the state of the refrigerator. It was pretty much on the empty side. What formerly fresh foods that were in there didn't look too edible any longer. I dumped the perishable, now very perished, stuff in a trash bag and took it out to the trash bin in the garage. Then I started making a grocery list.
I little while later I made a run to Gelson's and picked up what I needed for the week. The rest of the evening was pretty quiet. Nick and I talked for over an hour once he was back in his hotel room after a late dinner. He was pretty worried about the next morning's interview session. I reminded him that the rest of the guys were all on our side and they would stick up for him.
I wanted so desperately to get on my plane and be there with him, but I understood that it probably wasn't a good idea for us to be together right now. After we said good night, I just lay there and worried about what the future held for the two of us.
The next morning Gracie and I were back in our old routine. Up early for a walk down to the beach before I showered and got ready for work. When I left for the office, she went with me. The morning was pretty busy going over project status reports and putting together purchasing schedules for new hardware we were going to need for some new sites that we would be bringing up in the next couple of months.
That done, I turned my attention to working more on the guy's site. Gracie was curled up in the corner sleeping away and I was totally focused on my monitor when Gretchen, our relatively new receptionist, came into my office.
"Mikey, this huge helicopter landed in the parking lot and this woman got out and wants to see you."
"That would be my mother. I'll come out there as soon as I get this all saved," I told her. Just what I needed, a visit from mom. It's not that it wouldn't be nice to see her, it's just that I was so focused on work stuff that I wasn't worrying too much about Nick and she was going to interrupt that.
After getting everything saved, I went out front. "Hi mom, what brings you down here?"
"I just wanted to come see my baby and take him out to lunch," she replied.
"Jeez, mom, make me feel like I'm ten years old why don't you..."
"So do you want to go get some lunch, sweetie?"
"Hang on a minute. I need to let Gracie outside for a few minutes before I leave." I took Gracie out and let her run around on the lawn and pee. Then we went back inside and I shut her in my office.
Mom and I went out to my car and we drove over to Balboa Island and went to Ciao -- believe it or not, it's an Italian restaurant. One thing you need to realize about my mother is that she isn't one to mince words, she speaks her mind. If she were a guy she would definitely have bigger balls than I do.
"So Mikey, how are you and Nick doing?"
"Well, we could definitely do without what's going on right now, but other than that, really well. I've never loved anyone like I do him, mom."
"You guys are being safe aren't you?"
I turned totally red with that one. "Mom," I sort of whined, "We haven't done anything much yet, but when the time comes, we will be. Besides, Nick hasn't ever been with anyone and I've only been with what's his face and I tested negative long after that was over."
"You'd better be safe, young man. So how is Nick dealing with the situation?"
"He's really worried. I wanted to be there with him but they told him the two of us need to keep our distance for the time being. All the guys know that we are a couple, but they haven't said anything to their management."
"I'm sure that will go over like a lead balloon. What are they going to do?"
"Well, as of last night the plan was to have a private interview with MTV and try to dispel the obvious rumors and then do the same thing with E. Hopefully those are the only two companies that get copies."
"Well, hopefully they won't push too hard and will accept it when they are told you guys are just good friends."
"Me too, but I'm not holding my breath..."
We continued to chat about a variety of subjects as we ate our lunch. Once we were through eating, I drove us back to the office and walked her to the waiting helicopter.
"Thanks for lunch, mom. And thanks for being there for Nick and me."
"I hope everything works out at MTV. Give Nick my love when you talk to him this afternoon."
And with that my mom stepped aboard the helicopter and before I was inside the building, she was airborne and en route home to Montecito. I went back inside and got back to work.
Meanwhile, back in New York City, the Backstreet Boys were sitting around a table in a conference room at the MTV Studios. In addition to several MTV personalities including Brian McFayden and Kurt Loder and other staff, there were a number of people from the BSB management group.
Nick sat between Kevin and Brian and was doing his best to act comfortable, although he was far from it. Fortunately there were no cameras and no microphones, since the BSB management had arranged this as a preliminary meeting prior to conducting any taped interview.
Once everyone was settled Kurt Loder started the questioning, "You guys all know we received an anonymous package with a bunch of photographs of Nick and another guy. We don't want to publicize this without running them by you guys to see what you have to say. Hard Copy, we're not."
"Thanks, for giving us a chance to see what you have, Kurt," Kevin said. "We want to be up front with you. This isn't exactly a surprise to us."
"You knew about them?" Brian McFayden asked.
"Unfortunately yes," Kevin said. "Nick is pretty upset about the situation so I'd like to explain what we know. We're hoping you will realize the photos, which none of us have seen, are not what they are represented to be, and you will just destroy them."
"Ok, we'll listen to what you guys have to say. Nick, are you willing to answer some questions after we've heard what Kevin has to say?" Kurt asked.
Nick nodded his head but didn't say anything.
"You all know about The Backstreet Foundation, the charitable organization we have set up. Well, Michael Alto, Jr., who is contributing the design and hosting of the Foundation's web site and Nick have become really good friends. Mainly the friendship developed because Nick got pretty attached to his little sister who was dying of cancer. Nick became so close to the family that he was there when Angela died."
"I remember you all saying something about that at one of your press conferences after setting up the Foundation," Kurt said.
"Yes. Well, Mikey was really devastated by his sister's death and Nick ended up spending quite a bit of time with him and his family. The photos were apparently taken around that time. The people who took them were trying to force Mikey's grandfather to leave the country and threatened to release the photos if he didn't go. He refused and you and E have copies of the photos."
"What's the deal with the guy's grandfather?" Brian asked.
"Mikey's grandfather has ties to organized crime and had made a deal with the Justice Department."
"So Nick's friend is a mob guy?" Brian asked.
"Not at all. Mikey's parents are not involved with the grandfather at all. Mikey's business is completely clean. We had him and his business checked out thoroughly before we became involved with him on the Foundation. We and our management are completely comfortable with our business relationship with him."
At that point the conference room door opened and Carson Daly walked in carrying a tablet and a large envelope. He said hello to everyone and then took a seat at the table.
"Well, that's an interesting story," Kurt Loder said, "I think it's time you had a look at these photographs." He opened the envelope that was in front of him on the table and pulled a dozen or so photographs out and, after setting them on the table, pushed them over towards Kevin and Nick.
Kevin picked up the pictures and looked through them. He saw several pictures of Nick standing with his arm around Mikey and others showing Nick hugging Mikey. "I don't see what you are thinking this pictures show. It looks just like what I told you, Nick consoling Mikey after his sister died."
"Nick," Kurt said, "So there is nothing going on between you and this Mikey?"
Nick was startled by the brunt question. He had been dreading this for the past 24 hours. "No, Mikey is just a really good friend. Angela was the sweetest little girl and he was so torn up by her death, I did what any good friend would do."
"I guess he's lucky to have a friend like you," Brian said.
"Yes, he is." Kevin said. The rest of the guys echoed his statement. "Well," Kevin said, "if there's nothing more, I guess we can call it a day."
"Not so fast, guys," Carson said. "So Nick, you're sure there's nothing else you have to say?"
"What's the deal, Carson?" Kevin said tersely.
"Well, it's just that this picture makes me think there's a lot more to this story than what you've all let on," Carson replied as he took a photograph out of his envelope. He placed it on the table in front of Nick. It was a picture of Nick standing naked in the whirlpool across from Mikey.
Nick stared at the picture trying to maintain his composure.
"So what's the big deal, Carson?" Kevin said angrily. "I'm sure many of us have been in a whirlpool with nothing on."
"I didn't have a swim suit with me," Nick stammered.
"Yeah, Kevin, most of us probably have. But most of us haven't been the only other guy in a whirlpool with a guy who is openly gay."
Everyone in the room turned and looked at Carson. It was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
"What are you talking about, Carson?" Brian asked.
"Michael Alto, Jr. is gay. He donates a lot of money to gay causes. He sponsors event for gay teens. Nick Carter hangs out with him and hangs all over him and he jumps into a whirlpool naked with him. You ask me what's going on? I think it's pretty obvious."
Nick was a pale as a ghost, fighting hard to hold back his tears. He was also really pissed, so pissed he wanted to lash out at Carson Daly but he was afraid what might come out if he started talking.
"Carson, maybe you're so insecure about your sexuality that being around guys who are gay freaks you out," Kevin said angrily. "But none of us has a problem with it. We have several people on our staff who are gay and don't think anything about it. You're a real piece of work."
"Just a minute here," Jeff, one of the BSB Management Team, said loudly. "You are jumping to an awfully big conclusion, Carson. One that has no basis in fact. I really doubt that you have any intention of letting anyone outside this room see that photograph, so I'm going to take it and destroy it."
"You can't take that!" Carson yelled.
"You just watch me. And if I ever hear you repeat the statements you just made once we leave this room, you're going to be standing in an unemployment line."
Everyone in the room was in an agitated state and several groups of people on both sides of the table were talking amongst themselves. Kurt began attempting to bring the room back under control. "Everybody, listen everyone, let's step back for a minute."
Gradually the people around the table started to pay attention to him. "Carson, you are either going to back off or you are going to get out. Do you understand?"
"Oh, so you're going to take their side?" Carson yelled at him.
"I didn't say that, but you aren't helping the situation any. Plus your statements have absolutely no basis in fact."
"It's obvious that Nick is gay and I call it the way I see it," Carson said bitterly.
"I don't know what the Hell your problem is, Carson," AJ said, glaring at him, "But we are out of here." With that AJ stood up and started to walk out of the room followed by Howie, Brian and Kevin. Nick just sat at the table not knowing what to do.
AJ turned and when he saw Nick hadn't moved, he walked over to him and put his hand on Nick's shoulder. "Come on, kiddo, we're blowing this joint."
"Wait a minute, guys," Kurt said. He stood up and walked over to where Carson was sitting. "Carson, get out, now! I'll talk to you about your behavior later."
Carson continued to sit at the table with a smug look on his face.
"Carson, get the fuck out of that chair and get your ass out of here. If I have to call security, I will."
"You don't have the balls, Kurt."
"You don't even want to find that out, Carson."
Carson sat there for a few seconds longer and then slowly got up out of the chair. He started to reach for the photograph he had brought with him but Kurt beat him to it. He held the photo in front of Carson's face and tore it in half several times.
"You fucking asshole," Carson said.
"I told you to get out and I meant it. Go! Now!"
Carson turned and walked out the door, slamming it as he left.
"Guys, I'm really sorry about that. Can we all just sit back down and try to get back on track?"
It took a few minutes with Kevin, Brian, AJ and Howie talking quietly to Nick, before everyone returned to the table. Finally the room was peaceful.
"Nick, I'm sorry for what Carson said," Brian McFayden said. "He had no right to say what he did and we don't condone any of it. Personally, I'd like you to know that I'm really sorry for what your friend went through and I only hope that if I were in his shoes, that I'd have a friend who would stand by me like you did."
"Thanks, Brian," Nick said quietly.
"Do you know if anyone else besides us and E have gotten copies of the photographs?" Kurt asked.
"We haven't had anyone else get in touch with us at this point," Jeff replied. "However, I won't be surprised if Hard Copy and Access Hollywood don't get them. Then there's the possibility of the National Enquirer and all those types of publications. I doubt they would bother to call before printing something."
"Can I ask a question?" Nick said quietly.
"Sure," Kurt replied.
"Are you guys planning on saying anything about the photographs?"
"We haven't decided, Nick. We wanted to talk to you before making a decision."
"Mikey is my friend and I care for him a great deal. He was really torn up over Angela's death. Hell, I was pretty torn up over it. I would just as soon you didn't do anything to focus attention on him right now. The last thing he needs is to have a bunch of reporters bugging him about this."
Kurt and the rest of the MTV group sat there for a minute. "Nick, I can't promise anything, but right now I don't see any point in us showing them to the public. But, if they get out from some other source, will you agree to come back and talk to us first and do a taped interview?"
Nick looked at Kevin and then at Jeff. Then he thought for a few seconds. "If someone else releases the information, I'll come and talk to MTV before I talk to any reporters. Ok?"
"Yeah, Nick. We can live with that," Kurt said.
"Just don't expect us to have anything to do with TRL for a while," Kevin said.
"Understood. Carson will be a lot more friendly next time you see him, I promise," Kurt said.
With that over with, the Backstreet Boys and their entourage got up and left the MTV Studios and headed back to their hotel. Once inside their limo, Brian spoke up for the first time. "That was pretty brutal. Sorry you had to go through that, Nicky."
"Hey Nick," AJ said, "Next time keep your undies on, ok?"
"Yeah," Nick said, blushing.
Nick called me when he got back to the hotel and told me about the events that had taken place at MTV. I was so pissed that he had been treated the way he had. It really sucked that I wasn't there to support him, but I knew that if I had been in the room I would have had trouble controlling my emotions with the various things that had been said.
We talked for a couple of hours and by the time we hung up, we were both in pretty good spirits. Not as good as if we were side by side, but all things considered, we were hanging in there.
The next few days went by slowly. Nick and I talked several times a day. Every time my phone rang I got a smile on my face. Most of the times it was Nick, so that's understandable. Kevin even started calling me every couple of days and kept me up to date on things, including how Nick was really doing. Fortunately, their management group had been able to convince E that there was no story. No word had come from anyone else to stay that copies of the photographs had been received.
On Friday evening I stopped at the grocery store for a few things on my way home. I picked out what I needed and was standing line the checkout line when I happened to notice the two girls in line ahead of me talking about something...
"I can't believe this. No way Nick Carter is gay."
"Even if he is, one night with me and he's switch back."
"In your dreams, Megan. This pictures leave no doubt in my mind, Nick's got a thing for that guy."
I looked to see what they were talking about and they had a copy of The National Enquirer. I glanced at the front page of the ones in the rack and there was a picture of Nick with his arms around a person I knew was me. The headline read 'Nick Carter and his big secret. Sorry girls...'. I stood there with my mouth hanging open. I couldn't believe the issue had been printed without any warning.
I grabbed my phone and called Kevin. "Kev, one of the pictures is on the front page of The Enquirer. How come you didn't take care of them?"
Well, that's it for Part 21 of Nick and the Altos. I'll get Part 22 done as quickly as possible. Any comments, suggestions or whatever, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading... Mikey