I don't know who is more surprised about Part 6 getting done so quickly, me or my readers, but here it is. If all goes well I will be able to get at least one part out a week. Many thanks to those of you have emailed me. It is nice to get acquainted with some new people on here. 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
After my shower, I dried off and put on a clean tee shirt and another pair of shorts. I'm sure that my mother will expect me to change before dinner, but that's still a couple of hours off. I turned off the stereo and went downstairs looking for Sarah. I found her in the kitchen, supervising preparations for dinner. I told her that all five of the guys would be joining us for dinner and the birthday party. Then I asked her to call the Beaver Creek house and let them know that the five guys and probably four girlfriends would be showing up around noon on Saturday. While I hadn't finalized my own plans, I figured I would arrive on Monday at the latest.
Then I went into the family room and called my father's real office and asked his secretary to arrange for the plane to fly the guys to Colorado the next morning. Those arrangements all handled, I decided to go see how Angela was doing after her horseback ride and Nick Carter experiences.
When I got to Angela's room, she was sound asleep. Our mother was sitting on the couch reading a book. She looked up when I walked in.
"Hi, Mikey, how are you feeling?" she asked.
I was somewhat bewildered at her mood swing. The last time I had seen her she was pretty pissed at me and now she was acting as if everything were wonderful. I guessed it was just a stress thing. She must be pretty torn up inside over what was happening with Angela, yet she was trying to keep everyone on an even keel.
"I'm doing ok, Mom. I'm wondering how you are, though."
"Just trying to hang in there, hon. To be totally honest, Mikey, as much as I dread losing her, part of me is going to be so relieved when it's all over."
Her statement shocked the shit out of me. I just stood and stared at her. Maybe I even glared at her. I don't know, but then I just spun around and ran out of the room. The next thing I remember I was outside in the garden, sitting on the low wall that formed one of the raised flower beds. And, yeah, I was crying my eyes out... a real flood.
My mother got up and came after me. When she reached the patio she saw where I was sitting and noticed that Nick had gotten up from where he had been relaxing by the pool and was walking over to where I was sitting. He kneeled down next to me and pulled one of my hands away from my face and just held it. After a minute or two he got up and sat next to me and put his arm around me and just held me tight, asking me what was wrong. I just continued to cry and didn't say anything.
My mom waited for a few minutes and then she came over and sat on the other side of me.
"Mikey, you took what I said the wrong way. Believe me, I don't want Angela to die... that's the last thing I could ever want to happen. But Mikey, it is happening, it's happening soon and there's nothing anyone can do about it. And it hurts me to say this, but deep down inside, I'm going to be glad when it's all over. You aren't here every day with her. You don't see how difficult it is for her. You got here today and she was so happy to see you and have fun with you. But it takes so much out of her and tomorrow you will leave and I have to sit and watch her frail little body try to recover from what your visit took out of her. Mikey, I don't want you not to come and to not play with her because it means so much to her, but it is so hard for me."
Now my mother was crying too. I turned away from Nick and hugged my mom and we cried together for several minutes. I know it must have been pretty awkward for him, but Nick stayed there. Gradually the flow of tears slowed and I let go of my mom. Well, sort of... I held her hand and turned to Nick and put my other arm around him and gave him a hug.
"Damn, Nicky, I've only know you a couple of hours but you sure are turning into a really special friend."
"Hey, the feelings pretty much mutual, Mikey. I mean, it's so nice having someone treat you like a normal person instead of a celebrity."
"Well, I can't say that Angela did a very good job of that," I joked.
"She wasn't that bad. Although if she had been just one of a crowd of several hundred I might feel differently."
"Mikey, it's getting close to 4 p.m. and Jennifer's plane is due in at 5. Could you go pick her up?" my mom asked.
"Sure, mom. I'll go up and get my keys and cruise on out there."
"Hey, Mikey, would you like some company? I was sort of wanting to pick up a present for your sister," Nick said.
"Nick, that's really nice but it's not necessary. Just having you guys here is the best birthday present you could possibly give her. Besides, I don't think it is a good idea for you to be out in public since you are supposedly a kidnapping victim."
"I guess you're right, I'll stay here and if she wakes up from her nap I'll hang with her. But would you stop and get something for me, PLEASE!!!"
"All right, what do you want me to get? Oh, and it isn't that I couldn't like to have your company, but my car only seats two and I doubt Jen could get into draping herself over the engine cover."
"It's ok, I understand. You prolly need some time alone with her anyways. So could you stop and pick up a set of our CDs? Then we can autograph them for her."
"She'd love that, Nick, but I don't know... I'd be sort of embarrassed to go buy them myself. I'm sure I can get Jen to do it though."
"Oh, thanks a lot! I hear there are plenty of gay boys out there drooling over us. You think you're too good for us?" he joked.
I smiled and said "Why listen to a CD when I have the real thing in front of me..." as I got up and went inside to grab my wallet and keys. After getting the stuff I needed I went out front and got in my car, started it and, after letting it warm up for a minute, took off down the driveway at my normal speed -- fast!
"Nick, I need to talk to you about Michael," Mrs. Alto said.
"Ok, Mrs. Alto. What's up?"
"You really like him, don't you Nick?"
"Mikey, yeah. He seems like a really cool guy."
"Nick, that's not really what I'm talking about."
Nick sat there looking at the ground for several seconds, scared shitless. Then he felt Mrs. Alto's hand cup his chin, lift his head and turn it so he was looking at her.
"So I'm right, aren't I?"
"Mrs. Alto, I really don't know. I mean... Uh, you see... Well, I'm just sort of figuring out or maybe starting to accept the fact that I'm gay. I think I really do like him but I don't know if he feels the same way about me and I just don't know what to do," Nick replied.
"It's ok, Nick. It really is. You are a nice young man. The thing is you have to understand that Michael is in a really fragile state right now. Even though he knows Angela won't be with us much longer, he is going to be devastated when it finally happens. He is going to need someone to lean on to pull through, Nick. Will you be there for him?"
"I'll do my best. Jeez, I don't think he even has a clue that I'm gay and I don't know how to even begin to tell him."
"Thanks, Nick. And I think you're right... he's clueless, but that's not the first time that has happened. I figured out he was gay long before he had any idea."
"So how did you figure it out about me? I mean I've only been here for a few hours and I've hardly talked to you before now."
"Well, there was just something about the way you treated and looked at him, Nick. You were the first one to his side when Mark attacked him. Then there was the way you followed after him a while ago."
"I guess I was sort of obvious, wasn't I?"
"Yes," she said laughing, "You definitely looked like you were interested in more than just talking to him."
"I wasn't thinking stuff like that, Mrs. Alto," Nick said as he blushed. "Really, I wasn't!"
"It's ok, Nick, I was just joking about that. But seriously, Nick, you have to promise me you will stick with him through this mess. I love all of my children, but Michael is more special to me for some reason. He is so brilliant and successful, but he is also so vulnerable and the mother in me wants so much to protect him. His last boyfriend hurt him very badly and he never saw it coming."
"You don't need to worry about that with me, Mrs. Alto. I don't know whether anything will ever happen between us, but I promise I'll hang in there with him, no matter what."
"Thanks, Nick. Please don't tell him about our little talk. Ok?"
"Sure Mrs. Alto. Oh, and thanks..." Nick said.
"For what, Nick?"
"For accepting me and trusting me."
"You're welcome, Nick. So does anyone else know?"
"Who's that?" she asked.
"You're joking, right?"
"No. Should I know him?"
"Brian is one of the group. He's sitting over there by the pool. He's my best friend. I told him I sorta liked Mikey, too."
"That's wonderful. I'm glad you have a friend like that."
"Yeah, it is pretty wonderful. I'm really lucky in lots of ways. I've really enjoyed talking with you, Mrs. Alto. Mikey is lucky to have a mother like you."
"He told you I'm a real hard ass, didn't he?" she asked.
"No... Well, maybe a little," Nick said, laughing.
"I have to be with him, he can be a real handful. You'll find that out on your own, I'm sure. Well, I need to go check on Angela. See you later, Nick."
"Mrs. Alto, would it be ok if I visited with her later?" Nick asked.
"Sure, Nick. I'm sure she would love to talk with you some more. She'd probably be very jealous of her brother if she knew about you, but she'd get over it."
"Cool, thanks," Nick said as they stood. Nick started back towards the pool and Mrs. Alto went back inside the house.
Even though I had done my best to break every traffic law on the books, my sister's plane landed before I got to the airport. For a relatively small city, Santa Barbara traffic can be a real bitch and today proved it.
I saw Jennifer standing at the curb as I pulled up to the terminal. She looked very impatient. I parked just far enough in front of her so she couldn't see who was driving and rolled down the passenger window.
"Hey, sexy, you wanna go for a fast drive in my hot car?" I said, disguising my voice as much as possible.
Now, you don't know anything about my older sister. Let me tell you this, she won't stand for being treated like that. She will go for the old jugular if someone rubs her the wrong way. Since she was frustrated by being left waiting at the curb, she was primed for a major reaction. She turned towards the car, walked to the door and started to bend down.
"Listen you little prick..." she said as she looked inside the car where she was greeted by my handsome, smiling face. "Mikey, what are you doing driving a car like this? I thought you had a nice, normal size dick!"
"Oh, thanks a lot, Jen," I replied. "I didn't buy this to make up for the size of my penis. I'm perfectly happy with it the way it is, thank you."
"So where am I going to put my stuff, shithead?"
"Just toss it behind the seat. There's plenty of room. Here, I'll help you," I said, getting out of the car.
I picked up a both of her bags and put one behind the passenger seat and then stuffed the other behind my seat.
"Come on, get in. We've gotta go S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G!"
"Ok, enough of the Pet Shop Boys," she said. "Where are we headed?"
"Tower Records, I have to buy some CDs."
"You don't have enough already, Mr. Spendthrift?"
"Actually, these aren't for me, they're for Angela. A friend asked me to pick them up for her birthday."
"A friend, Mikey? Anything your big sister should know that you haven't told her?"
"Nope, he is really cute and a wonderful person."
"So when do I get to meet him?"
"When we get home..."
"Way to go, Mikey. Bringing a boy home to meet the family. This must be pretty serious. It's been a long time since that happened."
"Jen, it's really nothing like that. Trust me. You wouldn't believe me if I told you. And Jen, there is no way he is gay, no matter how much I wish he were."
"You could always try to convert him, Mikey. Cute guy like you... How could he resist?"
"You are a sicko, Jen. No way I would have anything to do with a straight guy or even someone who says they are bi. It's had enough for me to get up the courage to try to start something with someone to begin with. And then take the chance they'd dump me for a girl... No thanks!"
"That's almost as bad as having a boyfriend who tells you your little brother is sexy," Jen said.
"You are joking, aren't you?" I asked.
"Nope, that's why I quit going out with Damon. He was using me to try to get to you."
"You mean Damien, don't you?" I joked.
"That would be a much more appropriate name for the pervert!" she said, laughing.
"Hey, just because he had the hots for me doesn't make him a pervert!" I objected.
"It does when he is screwing me to get close to you so he can dump me for your scrawny ass."
"Ok, enough of this stuff. So how is your job going?" I asked.
"Great, we're really busy. I think we are finally going to start hiring some junior staff to do the grunt work. It's not that I don't like doing the feeding and stuff, but it takes time away from my projects in the lab. You need to come up and visit the aquarium one of these days."
"Hey, Jen, I was going to take Angela to Orlando in a couple of weeks for this program where they let sick children swim with dolphins. Is there any chance we could do it at the Monterey Aquarium instead? Then we could visit you at the same time."
"I'm sure I can arrange it. That would be fun for you guys to come see my new place."
We continued to chat until I pulled up to the Tower Records. We went inside and I tried to dump her to no avail. I knew she would give me major shit for buying Backstreet Boys CDs and I just didn't need to deal with it.
"Mikey, looking for a little fantasy music for your bedtime adventures?" she asked in front of the people in line at the check out counter.
I turned every impossible shade of red over that one, just as she intended.
"Jen, these are for Angela's birthday and you know it!"
"Right... I hear you aren't the only gay boy who fantasizes about them. Which one do you want to do it with, Mikey?"*
I was so embarrassed! And she was enjoying it immensely. It was difficult but I tried to just ignore her.
"So, Mikey, which one is your favorite? Come on, you can tell me!"
"Shut up, Jennifer!" I said angrily, a mistake I might add.
"Oh, a little touchy there, Mikey. Got caught with your fingers in the candy jar or somewhere else?"
Fortunately, it was finally my turn to be waited on. The guy at the counter smiled at me and there was definitely more than a casual amount of eye contact.
"Big sisters can be such bitches!" I said to him.
"Wouldn't know... I'm an only child," he said grinning. "That will be $63.27."
I handed him my AmEx card and he swiped the card through the scanner. When the receipt printed, he handed it to me along with a pen and my card.
"Please sign there, Michael. And I need you to print your phone number below your signature."
I looked up at him when he said it and got another cute smile. I did as he asked and handed the pen and receipt back to him.
"Oh, so you aren't from around here," he asked.
"Not any more. I live in Newport Beach now."
"Too bad," he said. "See ya later."
"Thanks," I replied, as I picked up the bag and turned to leave.
"Whoa, Mikey, you really must be emitting some strong pheromones today. He was pretty hot for you."
"Shit, it's not like there is anyone in the damned store that doesn't know I'm gay thanks to your big mouth."
"Aww, Mikey, what's the matter? Did I embarrass my baby brother?"
"Screw you, Jen," I replied as I started the car.
I took the quickest route to the 101 freeway and rapidly accelerated down the on-ramp.
"Temper, temper, Mikey. You know I love you." she said.
I just ignored her and concentrated on my driving, weaving between the slower cars on the freeway. We made very good time getting home and twenty minutes later I parked the car in front of the house.
Jen and I got out of the car and went inside.
"Mom, we're home," my sister yelled. "You're never going to guess what your gay son just did!. He bought every Backstreet Boys CD they had at Tower Records. I thought you raised him to have better taste in music."
"Umm, Jen, you are going to wish that you hadn't said that," I said.
"What, everyone here already knows you're gay."
Just then Nick walked in to the foyer.
"Hey, Mikey, it sounds like you were able to buy what I wanted. How much do I owe you?"
"They were like $60. So, dear sister, let me introduce you to Nick Carter. In case you don't know it, he is one of The Backstreet Boys."
The look on her face was incredible. I don't know how our mother knew to do it, but she walked around the corner with her camera and got a picture of my sister with her mouth hanging wide open. It was priceless.
"Nick, the woman with the big mouth is my older sister, Jennifer," I said.
"Hi, Jennifer. It's nice to meet you," he said.
"I am SO sorry about that, Nick. I was just harassing Mikey. I had no idea you were here. Oh, God, I can't believe I just made such a fool out of myself."
"Jeez, Jen, we're used to it. I don't know why you aren't," I said.
Still completely embarrassed, she turned and gave me a death glare. Not wanting to put my life on the line, I stopped while I was ahead.
Over the next hour, Jen met the rest of the guys and was totally enjoying herself entertaining Kevin, Brian, AJ and Howie out by the pool. Nick was in with Angela telling her about his little brother and sisters. She was in heaven having one of her favorite stars spending time alone with her.
Me, well, I had been just sitting in the family room reading a magazine. I say I was reading but I was just flipping through the pages. Truthfully, I was thinking about everything that had happened over the afternoon. I was pretty sure Nick was the one my mother had been talking about, but I was so confused. It was like he dropped a hint or two but then everything else that happened indicated that he was just a normal, friendly guy who wasn't bothered by my being gay.
Finally around 6:30 I decided it was time to go up and change into something that wouldn't bring on the wrath of my mother when dinner was ready at 7. When I got to my room I turned the stereo back on and queued up some Depeche Mode. I cranked up the volume pretty loud and went back into my bedroom and tried to figure out what to wear. I ended up selecting a long sleeve, burgundy Burma Bibas shirt and navy Dockers. I put some gel in my hair and threw on a light splash of Boss Hugo Boss cologne. Standing back and looking at myself in the mirror, I thought 'Damn you are cute, Mikey!'
I went back downstairs and over to Angela's room. As I got close to the doorway, I could hear her and Nick talking and her laughing. I paused there and smiled, thinking how lucky I was to have such a great guy as a friend. I have to admit it was sort of weird thinking of him as a friend after just a few hours, but there just seemed to be something special between us.
After a few seconds I started moving again and entered the bedroom.
"Hey you two, are you getting hungry?" I asked.
They stopped talking and looked in my direction.
"Whoa, Mikey, you look really handsome tonite," Nick said. "I feel a little underdressed."
"You're fine the way you are, Nick," I replied. "It was this or shorts for me and I knew better than to show up in shorts."
"He's really cute, isn't he Nick?" Angela said.
I gave her this really funny look. I noticed that Nick just sort of sat there for a few seconds, like he didn't know how to respond.
"Come on, Angela," Nick said. "Let's get going. Mikey, you want to get the wheelchair over here?"
"Nah, I'll let her ride piggy back tonite," I said, walking over to where they were sitting.
"Can I ride on Nick's back, Mikey? He's taller," she said.
"Oh, great, your trading me in on a new model," I joked.
"Yeah, get over it."
"Ok, come on kiddo," Nick said as he squatted down in front of her chair.
I helped her out of the chair and on to Nick's back. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he put his arms around her legs.
"Ok, Nick," she said, "I'm hungry. Let's get movin."
As Nick stood up I stayed close in case she lost her grip and started to fall. We walked into the dining room where the big table was set. I lifted Angela off Nick's back and set her in the chair to the left of our father's at the head of the table.
After sliding her chair up to the table, I looked up and saw my father, Jason and my grandfather walk into the room. I stood there watching in disbelief as my grandfather walked over and stood behind the chair to the left of Angela. 'How dare you sit there, you son of a bitch!' I thought. And then I turned and walked quickly out of the room, nearly knocking my mother over as she walked in.
I started up the stairs but when I got to the landing, I sat down and pulled my knees up close to my chest, wrapping my arms around by legs. I was extremely upset. I wanted so badly to stand up and slam my fist into the wall, but fortunately I controlled myself.
Nick followed me out of the room, but wasn't walking as quickly. So he didn't see which direction I went. He walked into the family room and ran into Jennifer and the guys coming inside for dinner.
"Did Mikey come this way?" he asked.
"No, why? Did something happen?" Jennifer asked.
"I think he got upset because your grandfather sat down next to Angela. He just took off."
"My grandfather is here?" she asked.
"Yes, and Mikey isn't real happy about it."
"That would be an understatement, Mikey hates him."
"So you didn't see Mikey?" Nick asked.
"No, maybe he went to his room."
"Where is that?"
"At the top of the stairs turn left. Then at the end of the hall, turn right. His room is the last one on the right."
"Thanks," Nick said as he turned towards the stairs.
As soon as he turned the corner and started up the stairs he saw me sitting there. He stopped and looked at me for a few seconds and then he walked up the stairs and sat down beside me, putting his arm around me.
"Mikey, you can't do this," he said softly.
"I can't go in there and sit at the same table with him. It should be me sitting next to her, NOT HIM!" he said bitterly.
"Mikey, I hope you don't hate me for what I'm about to say to you, but I think you need to grow up."
I slowly lifted my head and turned to look at him. I was struck by what I saw. His face displayed a mixture of gentle caring and, at the same time, worry. It tore me up inside because I knew I was the reason he was scared.
"Nicky, I'm so sorry..."
"Mikey, you don't have anything to apologize to me for."
"Yes, I do. Here you are, you have known me for like six hours and are becoming a wonderful friend. But you are having to put up with so much shit from me. I'm really sorry. It's just that he is such an evil man and I hate everything he stands for and I just can't forgive him for doing what he has done. I can't bear to sit there and see him with Angela."
"Mikey, I'm not saying you need to forgive him or even be nice to him. But Mikey, you really need to go back in there and sit down and have dinner. And you need to put a smile on your face, too. You need to do it for Angela. You will never forgive yourself once she is gone if you don't go back in there and be her loving brother."
"Nicky, I know but I don't know if I can stand to be in the same room with him."
"Sure you can, Mikey, cause I'm going to be there right beside you."
I looked into his beautiful eyes and realized I had never met anyone like him before. I still had no idea whether he was straight or gay, but I was really starting to fall for him.
Nick stood up and reached his right hand out to me. I took hold of it and he pulled me up.
"Come on, Mikey, let's do it," he said as he started down the stairs.
The weird thing was that he didn't let go of my left hand as he led me down the stairs. When we got to the bottom he turned away from the dining room and I followed him down the hall to Angela's room and he led me inside.
"Nick, you're still holding my hand," I said sort of puzzled.
"Yeah, so what? I just felt like you needed someone to hold on to. Now why don't you go in and wash your face and then we'll go join your family."
I went into the bathroom and washed up and ran my hands through me hair. When I came back out, Nick was still standing there waiting for me with a smile on his face.
"Feeling better?" he asked.
"Well, I'm not going to say I'm happy about the situation, but I'm feeling better thanks to you. I guess we need to get going so they don't leave us with nothing to eat."
Nick took my hand again and smile at me as we walked to the dining room. When we walked in holding hands, Brian, who was sitting facing the door, stopped talking to my sister and stared at us with his mouth hanging open. Nick let go of my hand and we walked around the table and I sat down next to my mother and Nick sat between Brian and me.
I'm not going to say that dinner was the highlight of my life, but I managed to survive it. Fortunately I was at the other end of the table and on the same side as my grandfather, so I didn't have to look at him. My mom was her usual social self at the table and chatted away with Jason, who was sitting next to her at the foot of the table, and Kevin and AJ who were seated across from Nick and I. And Nick, well, what can I say, he made the dinner bearable just being there and carrying on a light conversation with Brian and I. My older sister, who was next to my father seemed to be spending a lot of time talking to Howie, who was between her and AJ. I guess, all things considered, dinner went pretty well. This in spite of the tension in the air that was, in all honesty, probably primarily because of yours truly.
After dinner we took a little break so that Angela could get a little rest before she opened her presents. Mom, dad, Jason and grandfather went in the family room to visit. Jen suggested that she, the guys and I go out on the patio. It was really the first time that all of the guys and I had been together since AJ's attitude adjustment and it was a much more pleasant experience.
"Guys, I know you prolly aren't great fans of getting up early in the morning, but the plane is scheduled for departure at 10 so we will need to leave here around 9. We can have breakfast served between 8 and 8:30 if that works for you."
"That's fine with me," Kevin said. "Anyone have an objection?"
No one disagreed so I went inside and let Sarah know so she could make the necessary arrangements. Then I went back outside.
"So, Mikey," Brian asked, "Are you coming with us to Colorado?"
"Not right away," I replied. "I have some things I need to do at home this weekend, plus I need to get my dog back. Jeff's partner is keeping her tonight, but she and her boyfriend are leaving for Boston Sunday night."
"When do you think you will get to Beaver Creek?" Nick asked.
"Probably some time Monday afternoon. I need to stop in Denver to take care of some things on my way and then I'll just drive up once everything is finished."
"I'm really looking forward to seeing Kristin tomorrow," Kevin said.
"Are you meeting in Denver or up at Eagle?" I asked.
"She and Leighanne are flying into Eagle," he replied.
"So is Amanda," AJ said.
"So Howie," I asked, "Are you expecting company?"
"Are you kidding, I'm planning on playing the field while I'm up there," he replied. "I really don't expect to have any problems finding companionship."
"So it looks like I'm going to be all alone again," Nick said sadly. "Maybe I should wait and come up with you Mikey. Would that be okay with you?"
"Actually, that would be cool. It would be nice to have some company on the drive home and the flight to Denver."
"Hey, Nick, could I talk to you for a minute?" Kevin asked as he got up from his chair.
"I guess," Nick replied. He got up and followed Kevin towards the pool.
"So, Nick, do you want to tell me what is going on here?" Kevin asked.
"What do you mean?" Nick replied defensively.
"Well, you have been acting sort of aloof lately and then since we have been here you have been spending a lot of time with Mikey."
"So what's wrong with that? He has been really cool and it's nice having a friend outside the group for a change."
"Nick, it seems like you have become friends pretty quickly. You don't really know anything about him."
"What do you mean by that, Kev? I mean, do you have a problem with me having a friend outside of our group? He is going through a living Hell right now and he needs someone to be there for him. You don't have a problem with our friendship because he's gay do you?"
"Of course not, Nick. I didn't mean to insinuate anything like that. It's just that I worry about you. I know you are growing up and need to assert your independence but I want to make sure you don't get hurt. As good as Mikey sounds on paper, he is still part of a very questionable family."
"Kevin, you guys are too much. You say I am growing up! Well, Kevin, you're wrong! I HAVE grown up but you guys just never have acknowledged the fact. I'm sick of the way you guys still treat me like a kid. I'm 20 years old, Kevin. One of the things that makes my friendship with Mikey so special is that he treats me like an adult and really listens to what I say, unlike you guys."
Needless to say Nick was getting a little loud. Everyone, myself included, was looking at them to see what was going on. Nick started to walk away from Kevin, heading back towards where we were sitting.
"Nick, wait! Let me finish..." Kevin pleaded.
Nick walked right past us and in through the family room and went around the corner. I got up and followed him. I rounded the corner and turned to head up the stairs when I saw him sitting in the same spot I had occupied earlier in the evening. I walked up the stairs and sat down beside him.
"You know this sure is a popular spot tonight," I said.
"Yeah, I guess it is a good place to mope isn't it?" he said, lifting his head slightly.
"It always worked particularly well for me, especially when the person I was pissed off at was needing to go up and down the stairs. Although it does tend to get pretty uncomfortable after a few hours."
"You've sat here for hours?" he asked, "What's your record?"
"Ummm, I think around five and a half hours..."
"You are a stubborn little shit, aren't you?" he said, laughing.
"I guess," I replied. "You know I'm glad you're smiling again. You look a lot nicer this way. So what happened out there?"
"Oh, Kevin was just being Kevin. He tends to be a bit over protective, especially with me. He's worried about our friendship and I don't think he likes the idea of me sticking around when they leave tomorrow."
"Nick, it's ok if you go with them. I understand."
"No, Mikey, I'm staying whether they like it or not. I'm old enough to make decisions on my own."
"Nick, don't mess things up with them just to prove yourself. You have been really close to them for a long time. I would hate to see our friendship hurt your relationship with the guys."
"Oh, don't worry, they'll get over it."
"You prolly need to go finish your talk with Kevin. It wouldn't be a good idea to end the evening with you both pissed at each other."
"You're right. Guess real friendships are a two way street aren't they?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, here you are sort of doing for me tonight what I was doing for you earlier."
"So, Nicky, are you ready?"
"You do know that's my trademarked line don't you?"
"I guess. It really pisses my mom off. I love it."
"You're a real pain in the ass aren't you?"
"That's what I hear," I said as I stood up. "So Nicky, do you need me to hold your hand on the way out?"
"No, I think I can manage. But Mikey..."
"Thanks for understanding."
"No prob," I said smiling at him.
Nick got up and followed me down the stairs. Kevin was sitting back in the same chair and was talking to my sister. Nick pulled a chair up next to him and they talked quietly for a few minutes. Shortly after they finished my mom came out on the patio and asked us to join them in the family room so Angela could open her presents.
We all got up and went inside. I was surprised and relieved to see my grandfather wasn't in the family room. Everyone gathered around as Angela opened her presents. She looked a little disappointed when all she found from me was a card. But then she opened it and saw the picture from one of our previous excursions to Catalina and she got this incredible smile on her face. Then she found the second card inside the envelope with the picture of the kids swimming with the dolphins and she gave me this questioning look. When I pointed my finger at her and then me and gave her a thumbs up sign, she got up from her chair and walked over to where I was sitting.
"Mikey, I love you so much," she said as she hugged me. "You are the best brother a kid could have."
It was almost too much for me. The tears started once again. When she stood up to walk back to her chair, Nick noticed them and moved a little closer to me on the couch.
Angela opened her presents from Jason, Jennifer and mom and dad. Then there was this one box that just had card that said 'To Angela' on it. It didn't indicate who it was from. She tore the paper off the box and opened it. Inside was a set of Backstreet Boys CDs. She was really excited and thanked the guys profusely.
"Hey, Angela," Nick said, "Why don't you open the jewel cases?"
"Ok, Nick," she replied as she opened the first one. That's when she saw that all five of the guys had signed the discs 'To Angela with all our love'.
You'll never guess in a million years what she said...
"Oh, my God!!! They're autographed. Jen, isn't this too cool?"
We sat around in the family room for a few more minutes waiting for Angela to calm down. Finally it was obvious that it was time for her to go to bed. It had been a pretty exciting day for her. My mom's statement earlier in the day about how drained Angela was after my visits was playing over in my head. If she is wiped out by my visits, I wonder what she is going to be like after this experience?
"I'm going to go put Angela to bed," I announced as I stood up.
At first it seemed like Nick was going to get up and come with me, but he noticed that Jennifer was getting up, as was Jason. So Nick just moved around a bit on the couch but stayed seated. I looked over at him, smiled and mouthed a thank you to him.
Jason picked Angela up and carried her to her room, followed by Jen and me. Jen helped her get changed into her pajamas while Jason and I turned down the bed. I picked her up and placed her gently on the bed and then Jason pulled the covers up over her frail body and tucked her in. We all said good night to her and then, before we could even turn out the lights, she was asleep. We each kissed her and then left her to her dreams.
Jennifer and I were both crying as we left the room. I know Jason was really sad too, even though he wasn't crying. The three of us went into the kitchen and sat down at the breakfast table and talked quietly for a while about our little sister. Finally, Jason said we should probably go back into the family room and rescue the guys from our parents.
When we walked into the family room I was surprised to see them all talking. I never figured that would happen in a million years. Even AJ was talking to my father.
"Well, I hate to break up this friendly gathering," I said, "But I'm am really beat. I think I'm going to head up to bed."
"I don't know about the rest of you guys," Kevin said, "But I didn't get a whole bunch of sleep last night. So I think I'm going to turn in too."
The rest of the guys echoed his sentiment.
"I doubt I will be back over here tomorrow morning before you guys leave," Jason announced. "It was nice meeting you guys."
He went up to each of them and shook their hands.
"Come on, Jason," dad said, "Your mother and I will walk you out to your car."
"I'll be up for breakfast with you, so I won't say good bye until tomorrow," Jennifer said.
Jennifer, the guys and I walked upstairs together. We said goodnight to them again at the top of the stairs and then they headed towards their suite while she and I walked towards our rooms.
"You know, Mikey, I think he really likes you," Jen said as we got to her bedroom door.
"You really think so, Jen?"
"Yeah, Mikey, he definitely likes you."
"Now the big question is whether or not he is gay. I sure hope the answer is yes, cause I really like him too."
"Well, Mikey, let me know when you find out. Good night, little brother."
I walked on down to my bedroom door and went inside. I turned on the stereo once again and queued up Erasure and set the countdown timer for a half hour. Then I went into my bedroom and turned down the covers on my bed. I got undressed down to my boxers and went into the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. After I finished I went back into the bedroom, pulled on a clean tee shirt and crawled into bed.
I was pretty tired so it didn't take me long to fall asleep. You'll never guess what was on my mind as sleep came over me...
Well, that's it for Part 6 of Nick and the Altos. Stay tuned for Part 7. It should be ready by Friday. Any comments, suggestions or whatever, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading... Mikey