Hope you all are continuing to enjoy the story. Many thanks to those of you have emailed me. I guess one of the things that is sort of a tradition on here is for authors to mention some of their favorite stories... I have been an avid reader of quite a few: Brian and Me, Lance in Shining Armour, Studio in the Country, Lucky Me, Not Meant to Be, Twist of Fate, Mile High Romance 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
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...
Nick awoke the next morning without an alarm going off. He looked at the clock on the nightstand and saw it was only 6:30. He didn't feel like going back to sleep so, after laying in bed for a few minutes, he got up and went into the bathroom. He shaved and brushed his teeth and then took a shower. By the time he was dressed it was just a little after 7.
He figured none of the other guys would be up for a while, so Nick decided to head downstairs and see if there was any activity in the kitchen yet. When he got to the kitchen, Sarah was already busy supervising preparations for breakfast.
"Good morning, Nick," she said, "Would you like a cup of coffee?"
"Sure, Sarah, that would be great. Say, you wouldn't know where I could get a couple of sheets of plain paper and a pencil, do you?"
"I can get some from Mr. Alto's study for you," she replied as she handed him the coffee mug.
Sarah returned a few minutes later with paper and pencils and handed them to Nick.
"Is it ok if I sit down at this table or would I be in the way?" Nick asked.
"Oh no, Nick, you won't be in the way. We are going to serve breakfast on the buffet in the family room."
Nick took his coffee and went over to the kitchen table and started drawing. He started sketching a picture of Angela from her party, but after a couple of minutes he abandoned it. Then he started a new drawing of Angela riding Smoke. As the drawing progressed he added Mikey to it and then himself. When he was finished he got up and took the drawing down to Angela's room and left it on the table next to her bed where she was still sleeping soundly, exhausted from the previous day's excitement.
I took my time brushing my teeth and shaving and, as usual, spent much longer than necessary in the shower. By the time I had my clothes on, it was almost 8:30. I rushed downstairs and found everyone else was already well along eating breakfast. I usually don't have much of an appetite when I first wake up, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and a banana and found a seat near Kevin.
"Good morning, Kevin," I said, "Hope you got a better night of sleep than the night before."
"No question there, Mikey. What about you?"
"Oh, I fell asleep instantly and didn't wakeup once until the damned alarm went off. I'm not used to being awakened by alarm and I can say without a doubt that I hate it!"
"Sounds like you don't have to worry about a schedule usually," he said.
"It's not that, I have a four legged alarm clock named Gracie that usually wakes me up in the morning."
"God, what I wouldn't give to be able to live like that for a while."
"I have absolutely no desire to live your kind of life," I said to him. "I really enjoy my relative anonymity and sane lifestyle. I'm not saying that things don't get intense once in a while like when we are getting close to launching a site or a project deadline is approaching, but overall life is pretty peaceful."
"So, Mikey, you and Nick seem to have hit it off," he said.
"Yeah, I don't think I have ever had a friendship develop so quickly before. He has really helped me deal with some major shit in the few hours we have known each other."
"He's a good kid..."
"You know, Kevin, I sorta suspect that one of the reasons that is true is that he has had you as a role model. I may still be a bit upset about what was behind my meeting you guys, but I suspect my life has been changed for the better as a result."
"Thanks, Mikey. While I'm not really excited about Nick staying behind with you, it's not because of you. I just worry about him too much. It's hard for me, but I need to let go."
"Don't worry, Kevin. I know he loves all of you very much. Let me give you the number to my cell phone. Don't hesitate to call me if you need to talk to him before we get to Beaver Creek."
Kevin and I continued to talk about a variety of things for a few minutes while we ate breakfast. As it approached the time to leave for the airport, I had to go find a set of keys for the Suburban.
"So, do you think Angela will be awake before we need to leave for the airport?"
"Prolly not, but she would never forgive us if we didn't wake her up so she could say goodbye. Shall we go check on her?" I asked.
After I located the car keys, Kevin and I walked to Angela's room and went inside. As I had expected, she was still sound asleep. We went over to the bed and I saw Kevin pick up a piece of paper from the table on the other side of the bed from me. He stood there looking at it.
"What is it?" I asked.
"One of Nick's drawings," he replied.
I walked around to the other side of the bed and looked at it and I was really impressed by how beautifully drawn it was.
"I didn't know he drew pictures."
"Yeah, he loves to draw. It is really rare that he doesn't carry a sketching pad. It's unusual that he included himself in the drawing though."
"He probably did it for Angela," I said.
"Yeah," Kevin said quietly. "So shall we wake her up?"
"Yes," I replied as I bent over her and kissed her on the forehead and said her name. It took a few attempts but she finally responded.
"Hi Mikey, Kevin. I'm sure tired... What time is it?"
"It's a bit before 9, Angela. Kevin and the guys need to leave in a few minutes so I woke you up so they could say goodbye."
"Thanks, Mikey. What are you looking at Kevin?"
"Just a drawing Nick did. You wanna see it?" Kevin replied.
"Sure," she said, her voice perking up.
Kevin handed her the drawing and she looked at it and smiled.
"Look, Mikey, it's you and me and Nick and Smoke. Isn't it cool?"
"Yeah, it is. You look really cute," I replied.
"So do you and Nick," she said.
When she said it I noticed a sort of weird reaction from Kevin. Sort of like he was a bit startled or something.
"Ang, I'm going to go see if I can round up the rest of the guys," I said as I turned and headed out of the room. I noticed that Kevin moved over closer to the bed, sat down beside her and started to talk quietly to her.
I walked back to the family room and let everyone know that it was almost time to leave for the airport.
"Angela doesn't know that Nick isn't going with you guys, so let's keep it a secret... Ok?" I said.
Everyone agreed and then we walked over to her room. All of the guys spoke briefly with her and then it was time to leave. Nick told her that he would see her later but she didn't realize he really meant it.
We went out and climbed into my mom's Suburban. I was driving and made sure to get the passenger seat. Once everyone was belted in, I took off down the driveway.
"So, Mikey, do you always drive this fast?" AJ asked.
"No, I usually drive even faster. I'm just not used to driving a tank like this. I have been know to break 100 on the way up to the house from the entrance," I replied.
"Mikey," Howie asked, "What color car do you drive?"
"Well, one of them is dark blue and the other one is yellow. Why?"
"Which one did you drive up here in yesterday?"
"The yellow one."
"Hey, Nick, you remember that yellow streak we saw yesterday afternoon? I'll bet that was Mikey," Howie said.
"Jeez, you're almost as bad as my mother..." I said.
"So, Mikey," Brian asked, "What do you have planned for the weekend?"
"Well, I need to pick up my dog this afternoon and then tonight I take this group of kids bowling. It's a regular thing I do every other Saturday. Then tomorrow afternoon I was planning to fly to Denver and spend the night. Monday it's up to Beaver Creek and a week of relaxation."
"Sounds like fun," Brian said. "So Nick are you going bowling?"
"Probably, but we haven't even talked about anything yet," Nick replied.
"So, Kevin," I said, "Have you decided when you are going to do the press conference?"
"We were thinking about stopping in Denver on the way and doing it at the airport. That way the whole mess would be over with and if people were to see us somewhere there wouldn't be a big uproar about why we haven't let the public know what happened."
"If you are doing it there, we should probably have the pilot fly into Centennial Airport rather than DIA. You won't have as many people around. You might even want to go away from the airport to have the press conference so the fans that get wind of it and won't know where you came from and head off to afterwards."
"Good idea. We obviously aren't giving a lot of notice. I'm going to finalize the details after we take off," Kevin said.
"What are you going to say about me not being there?" Nick asked.
"Tell the truth," Kevin replied, "That you are visiting a friend whose sister is very sick and not expected to live. That ok with you guys?"
Nick glanced over at me when I didn't reply right away. He could tell that I was pretty emotional about what Kevin had said.
"Kev, maybe you should just say that she is very sick and leave it at that."
"Yeah, sorry Mikey, I didn't mean anything by it."
"I know, Kevin. I just am having a rough time with it getting near. You would think that I would be prepared for the inevitable by now, wouldn't you."
"I don't know, Mikey. I haven't been in your shoes, but I don't see how it could ever be easy."
We continued talking about what they were going to do while they were visiting Beaver Creek. It sounded like, weather permitting anyways, there would be a lot of time spent on the golf course. We finally reached the airport and parked at the jet center. The guys unloaded their stuff from the Suburban and we went inside.
My father's Gulfstream had been towed up to the terminal from it's hanger and was waiting for our arrival. I saw the pilot at the far side of the lounge and motioned for Kevin to follow me over to talk to him.
"Hi, Eric," I said, "This is Kevin."
"Hey, Mikey, how are you doing? Hi, Kevin."
"Hi, Eric, nice to meet you," Kevin replied.
"Eric, Kevin would like to detour into Centennial so they can have a press conference. You aren't on a tight schedule or anything are you?"
"No, not at all. Mary and I were thinking about staying in Beaver Creek for at least a couple of days since your parents aren't planning to be going anywhere. If something comes up, we can always be here in under three hours anyway. I'll go amend the flight plan," he said.
"Thanks," Kevin said.
"You're welcome," Eric said, "We should be ready to depart in about 15 minutes. Mikey, you want to take them out and get them settled?"
Kevin and I went back over to where the others were standing and told them we were ready to board. I led them outside and as it became obvious where we were heading Brian, who happened to be walking beside me, stopped. I stopped a couple of steps later and turned to look at him and the others.
"Brian, what's wrong?" I asked.
"Well, I knew you said your parents had a jet, but I was expecting a Lear or something like that. This thing is huge!"
"It's not that big," I replied, "It only seats 15 people. I guess I assumed you were used to large private jets."
"Not really, we usually fly commercial. We're always in first class, but I have never been on anything like this before."
"Don't worry, it's at least as nice as first class," I said, "Come on, let me show you."
We went up to the steps and went aboard. Eric's wife, Mary, was arranging things on board. She came over and gave me a hug and then I introduced her to the guys.
"So, Mikey, I guess you aren't joining us for this trip so there will just be the five going?" she asked.
"Actually, I'm staying with Mikey," Nick said, "So there will only be the four old guys."
Kevin, Brian, Howie and AJ started to converge on Nick, who promptly moved behind me and grabbed me by the shoulders to use me as his personal shield.
"Hey, you're bigger than I am, Nick," I said as I tried to get away from his grip and let him fend for himself. I finally escaped and the guys cornered him and shoved him down on the couch where they started tickling him. They worked him over for about a minute and then they let him go. He continued to lay on the couch for a bit and then got up and came over to me.
"Fine friend you are, feeding me to the wolves."
"Nicky, you're big enough and old enough to fight your own battles. It's not like you didn't know what kind of a risk you were taking."
"Yeah, but you could have at least helped."
"Right, I'm the smallest one here!"
I turned to the others and said "Let me show you around."
I showed them the galley, the head and the entertainment center. Since I knew that Kevin needed to make some calls, I showed him where the phones were located. We all sat down and chatted for a few minutes while we waited for Eric to board.
When he entered the cabin, he announced that the plane would be departing in five minutes and that it was time for Nick and I to deplane. We all hugged one another and then I went over to say good bye to Eric and Mary.
"See you guys in a couple of days," I said.
"Sounds good, Mikey. Hope you and your boyfriend have fun out here," Mary said.
"Mary, what do you mean? Nick isn't my boyfriend!" I said with a shocked expression.
"Not yet, maybe, but I'll bet you're interested," she said with a smile.
"We're just friends, Mary. Really!" I replied.
"Whatever you say, Mikey," Mary said.
"Ok, you two, we need to get this plane in the air..." Eric said.
"Guess I'll see you Monday or Tuesday, then," I said. "You ready, Nick?"
"Yeah," Nick replied as he turned and walked down the aisle to the door.
We both waved and then went down the steps and walked back towards the terminal. The door was closed and then the stairs were pulled back. Nick and I turned and watched while the engines were started and the plane started to taxi away towards the runway. Then we went back inside the terminal and out the front doors and over to where I had parked.
"Do you want to wait until they take off or leave now?" I asked.
"Let's go ahead. I've seen enough planes take off that it's no big deal to me any more."
"So you want to take the quickest way home or should we take the scenic route?"
"Let's go for the long way..."
I took the freeway for a few miles and then headed up behind the foothills and turned towards Montecito. We drove along in silence, Nick looking out the window as we wound our way around. I was sort of amazed how comfortable it was to be in the car with him and not feel a need to talk. There was just this comfort level with being together silently.
As we got close to my parent's house, I noticed that Nick was staring at me.
"I'm glad we came the way we did," he said, "It was really beautiful."
"This is really one of the most beautiful places in the world," I replied. "I guess I was sort of spoiled growing up here, because there are so many places I have traveled that people always say are so incredible, but when I see them, they aren't this nice."
"So you don't like traveling?"
"Oh, that's not what I meant. I love going to new places, it's just that I'm sort of jaded I guess. I mean I appreciate the places I visit but usually I'm not overwhelmed like other people. Sometimes I think it is better that way because I tend to notice details other people miss, since I'm not this wide-eyed tourist."
"I never thought about it that way. We have traveled so much, but we usually don't get to really look around. It's normally just a rush in, work our asses off and then rush to the next place. Even when we get to spend a few days in a city, it's not like we can just go wander around because there are things planned and we have to worry about getting mobbed."
"While I never have had to worry about that, I can sort of relate. That's one of the things I like about where I live. I get to pretty much live my life in anonymity. Growing up here with my last name made that pretty difficult. Even you guys, when you found out who my family was, had pretty typical preconceived notions about what I was going to be like."
"I didn't really," Nick said with a hurt tone to his voice.
"I didn't mean you individually, Nicky. Sorry if it sounded that way, I meant you guys as the group. You were really nice right from the start. It was like you were the only one who believed me. It really meant a lot."
A few minutes later we pulled up to the gate and the guard opened it so we could drive through. Being my normal self, I floored the accelerator as soon as we were through the gate. I noticed Nick sort of tense up a bit and backed off on the gas.
"Don't worry, Nick. I'm not going to kill us or any thing. I just have this need for speed and don't have to worry about getting a ticket when I'm on our property."
I slowed down as we approached the house and parked the Suburban. We climbed out and went inside.
"So are you going to want lunch before we leave or would you rather get something on the way?" I asked Nick.
"I'm not hungry yet after that big breakfast, so I would just as soon wait."
"Ok, why don't we plan on leaving in about a half hour. I'm going to do some stuff up in my room for a while. You're welcome to hang out up there if you want."
"Thanks, but I think I will go check on Angela after I pack my stuff."
"Ok, I'll see you in her room in a while, then," I said as we started up the stairs.
I went to my room and packed the few things that I had brought with me and then went into my sitting room and sat down in the chair next to the window that looked out towards the pasture. I could see Smoke and the other horses playing at the far side. I wished I could stay longer and get to do some riding. It had been several months since I had taken the time, since I was always trying to spend as much time as possible with Angela when I was home.
After a few minutes there was a knock at the door, so I got up and opened it. My parents were standing in the hall.
"Mom, Dad, what's up?"
"Mikey, we need to talk before you leave," my father said.
"Ok, in here or downstairs?"
"Your room is fine."
I let them in and then closed the door. They went over and sat on the couch and I took one of the chairs across from them. To be honest, I was sort of apprehensive because it was really rare for them both to want to talk like this. I figured it was either bad news about Angela or something to do with Nick or the others.
"Mikey, we wanted to talk to you about the situation with your grandfather," my father said.
"Dad, I'm sorry, but there isn't anything you can say that will get me to change my mind about him."
"Mikey," my mother said, "That's not what we want to talk about. It's that as word gets out that he is back in the country and why he is here, we are worried that you, Jennifer and Jason might be at risk."
"So, we want you to have a bodyguard, around the clock," my father said.
"No way," I replied.
"Michael, this is a very serious situation," my mother said sternly.
"Mom, I'm not saying it isn't, but I refuse to live that kind of life. I have a good security system at home in case someone tries to break in. I just don't want someone following me around day and night."
"Michael, we insist," my father said.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not interested!"
"Michael, we are really worried," my mother said.
"Then get him to go back to where he belongs and leave us alone."
"Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen any time soon," my father said.
"Mom, Dad, I know you are worried about me, but I'll be careful and I'll be ok. I'll even go back to keeping you up to date where I am going to be while this is going on, but I don't want bodyguards."
"I wish you would change your mind!" my father said.
"I know, but you are just going to have to continue to live with the fact that I am stubborn and rebellious."
"It's not like you have to tell us that one, Michael, we are constantly reminded of it."
"And you wouldn't have it any other way, would you?"
"I don't know if I would go quite that far, Michael." my father said.
Rising and essentially informing them this discussion was over, I said, "It's about time that Nick and I hit the road. I want to go spend a few more minutes with Angela. I think Nick is in with her now."
"Yes, she was talking with him when we came up to see you," my mother said.
I picked up my stuff and then we went downstairs. I left my bag by the front door next to Nick's stuff and then we went into Angela's room.
"Mikey, why didn't you tell me Nick was staying?" Angela said when we walked into her room.
"I figured it would be a nice post-birthday present."
"Mommy, did you see the picture Nick drew for me?" Angela said, handing the drawing to our mother.
"Nick, this is really nice. I didn't realize you were artistic too."
"Thanks, Mrs. Alto. It's really nothing. I just like drawing... always have."
"Sweetie, let me get a frame for it today so that it's protected."
I went over and sat on the other side of the bed from Nick.
"Ang, Nick and I need to get going. It was really nice seeing you. I'll be back next weekend, ok?"
"I had a good time too, Mikey. Are you coming back next weekend too, Nick?"
"I don't know if I can, Angela. We have to get back on the tour soon. But if it works out that I'm free next weekend, I'll come see you too," Nick replied.
"I sure hope you can come. I really liked having you here."
"Thanks, Angela, I enjoyed being here."
"Well, Nick, we need to get going so we don't get stuck in too bad of a traffic jam."
"Ok, bye Angela," he said as he leaned over and kissed her on the check.
"See ya, squirt," I said as I did the same.
Nick and I got up and went out to say good bye to my parents.
"Michael, are you sure you won't change your mind about the bodyguards?" my father asked.
"No, dad," I replied.
"Ok, but if you see anything strange starting to happen, at least promise you will let us know and reconsider."
"I guess I can live with that."
"Bye, dad," I said as I hugged him. "Bye, mom,"
"It was nice meeting you Mr. and Mrs. Alto."
"It was nice meeting you too, Nick. Sorry about the way it happened, though," my father said.
"That's ok, I'm over it and I think everyone else is too."
"Your car is back out front, Mikey," my father said. "Don't you think it is a bit extravagant for someone your age?"
Nick gave me this strange look, sort of a 'what's he talking about' expression.
"Hey, I liked it and I can afford it, so why not?" I replied.
We walked outside and that's when Nick saw my car for the first time.
"Holy shit! That's yours?"
"Yep," I replied.
"I don't know if I want to even think about riding with you in that?"
"Why's that?" my mother asked.
"I thought he drove fast in the Suburban. He'll kill us for sure in a Ferrari."
"Now I'm not going to say that I don't agree with you about the speed thing, Nick," my mother said, "but Mikey really is a very good driver. We made sure of that."
"What do you mean?"
"We sent all three kids to driving school in Europe where they learned from professionals. All three of them are very highly skilled. Unfortunately, Mikey tends to like to demonstrate those skills all too often," my father replied.
"I sure hope you are right," Nick said as he opened the door and put his bag behind the seat.
I went around and did the same and removed the sunroof panel and stowed it. Then I got in and started the car. Then we both waved to my parents and I started down the driveway. I actually kept my speed down since the car wasn't warmed up yet. After we pulled out on the road, I noticed the temperature was up to normal operating levels and you can probably guess what I did next...
Within a few minutes we were accelerating down the on-ramp for the 101 Southbound. Nick reached over and turned on the stereo and cranked the volume a bit. Then he started surfing through the discs in the changer.
"Whacha lookin' for?" I asked.
"Just wanted to see what Michael Alto, Jr. keeps in his changer."
I reached into the door pocket and pulled out the remote control and handed it to him.
"Here, this will make your investigation a little easier."
"Ok, a little Savage Garden," he said and then switched to the next disc. "Umm, ok, I recognize this one... Erasure," he said.
When he got to the third disc he listened for a couple of minutes but didn't recognize the group.
"Who's this, Mikey?"
"Ultravox," I replied.
"They sound pretty cool."
"Yeah, they are."
Nick left it on that disc for a couple of songs and then switched again."
"Now, I'll bet lunch that you don't have a clue as to who this is..." I said.
Nick listened intently for two or three minutes and, needless to say, I won the bet.
"Ok, I give, who is it?"
"Raymond Wave, symphonic electronica."
"It's really different from what I am used to listening to."
"Maybe, but it really is beautiful isn't it?"
Nick left that disc playing and turned up the volume even more. We drove along the coast enjoying the view and the music, both of us lost in our own thoughts. While I still concentrated on my driving, I did some pretty serious thinking about what was going on between me and Nick. I guess I just have a rough time reading people. While I was becoming pretty seriously interested in him, I was totally baffled by him. I was completely clueless as to his sexual orientation. He was not the least bit uncomfortable with me being gay. That was obvious. But I couldn't get a consistent read on him.
"Mikey," Nick said.
I felt someone nudging my shoulder and looked to my right.
"Mikey, are you in there?"
"Hey Nick, what's up?"
"You starting to get hungry?" he asked.
"Definitely, I didn't eat much this morning. I don't really get interested in food until I have been up for a while," I replied.
"Well, I'm ready to stop whenever you are. One prob, though... I owe you lunch, but I'm broke until I get hooked back up with my wallet."
"I guess I can spot you for a day or two. Camarillo is up ahead a couple of miles, so we can find a place there. I don't know anything about what's around, but we probably need to just do the takeout or drive thru thing anyways, unless you want to wait in the car while I sit down and eat."
"I don't think so, cutey!" Nick said.
There it was again, something he said that made me wonder what was going on in that peroxided head of his.
We took the next exit and started looking for a convenient place to eat. Then I spotted a Carl's Jr with a Green Burrito sign.
"Perfect, I could really go for Green Burrito!" I said.
"It's a Carl's Jr that also has Mexican food. For fast food it's not that bad."
"Ok, I guess I can live with it..."
"Live with it? Prepare to be impressed, young superstar," I said laughing.
I pulled in to the parking area and found a place in an empty part of the lot.
"I think it would be better if I went in and brought the food out. What do you want?" I asked.
"Surprise me, mobster boy," Nick replied.
I gave him a dirty look as I opened the door to get out. I walked over, went inside and got in the line. When it was my time to order, I got us both chicken burritos with a Mexican salad and rice. I really like the salad dressing they use. It is sort of a tangy French style dressing.
While I was waiting for the order, I went over and filled the drinks cups. I didn't know what Nick would like so I filled one with Pepsi and the other with Mountain Dew. Once the burritos were ready, I carried everything out to the car and motioned for Nick to get out and follow me over to the lawn at the back of the parking lot.
"We should be safe from excitement over here since we are far enough away from the building," I said.
"What, are you afraid I'll make a mess in your fancy car?"
"Exactly!" I replied.
Nick sat down, unwrapped his burrito and dug in.
"Wow, this is pretty good."
"Hey, you think I would like about something as important as food? So which do you prefer to drink, Pepsi or Mountain Dew?"
"Pepsi works for me."
I handed him the Pepsi and we ate our lunch, chatting away about a variety of things. Once were finished, I took the trash over to the bin near the building and then we got back in the car to finish the drive to my place.
We made pretty quick time through Los Angeles and down the San Diego Freeway. When we got to Costa Mesa I merged on to the 73 Toll road and then took the Newport Coast Drive exit. A few minutes later we pulled up to the gate for my development and waited for it to open. Then we headed up the hill and as we got close enough to my house, I tapped the remote button to open the garage door.
We pulled into the garage and got out of the car. I disarmed the security system and we took our stuff and went inside the house. I put my bags down and opened the door into the courtyard and we walked out.
"Nick, this is the guest room," I said, pointing to the door the other side of the front door. Just to explain the layout, my front door is actually door in the wall. It opens into the courtyard, not the house itself. The guest suite is detached from the house.
We went inside and I showed him around. The bedroom has a queen size bed and a sitting area with a love seat and a chair. There are both a shower and a tub in the bathroom. It is pretty spacious overall.
"Wow, this is nice, Mikey."
"Thanks, Nick, I fell in love with this place the first time I saw it and bought it on the spot."
"I can't wait to see the rest of it."
"Come on, I'll show you around."
We went back into the courtyard. If you were to look down from above, the whole place is sort of a rectangle. The main part of the house is "L" shaped on two sides of enclosed courtyard, with the corner of the "L" opposite the guest suite. There are stairs behind the guest room that go up to the second level. There is an outdoor fireplace under the stairs with a fountain along the courtyard wall.
There are French doors along the house side of the courtyard. If you were to walk from the garage through the main part of the house you would find a laundry, the interior stairs to the second level, my library, the kitchen and the dining room, which is in the corner of the "L". Then if you turn left you go into the living room. The kitchen, dining room and living room are all open. As I mentioned there are the French doors into the courtyard all along the interior walls and then French doors off the dining room and part of the living room into the backyard. There is a spa in the backyard. It isn't one of the fiberglass kind, it was one I had built and tiled.
Upstairs over the dining room, kitchen, library and laundry is the master bedroom and bath -- yeah, it's pretty spacious. There are French door along the length of the upper level on to a covered veranda that overlooks the courtyard and wraps around over the front door entry leading into the room that is above the guest room. It is my theater and office area. The whole place is about 3,300 square feet. I guess that is pretty good sized for one person, but it isn't overwhelming, nothing like the 25,000 square foot monstrosity I grew up in. Oh and I forgot, there is another stairwell from the master bedroom that goes up to this small room above the bedroom that has a door out on to a balcony that wraps around two sides. It has an incredible view of the ocean, Catalina Island and Newport Beach.
I showed Nick around the main floor and out into the backyard.
"Mikey, this place is incredible!"
"Glad you like it, Nick. Make yourself completely at home. There are drinks in the refrigerator, snacks in the pantry. Help yourself to anything."
"Thanks. So what's on the schedule for the rest of the day?"
"I need to go get Gracie in a little while. Then I have this bowling thing I do a couple of times a month. Tonight I was just sort of wanting to relax and calm down after all the excitement from the past couple of days.
"Could we go turn on the television and see if there is any news about the press conference?"
"Sure," I said, "Is this one okay?" as I pointed to the one in the living room.
"Yeah, why... Exactly how many TVs do you have, Mikey?"
"Well, prolly five, maybe six. I never really counted."
"Jeez, you can only watch one at a time, you know."
I picked up the remote and turned on the television while Nick went in to the kitchen and grabbed a Pepsi from the refrigerator.
"Can you bring me a bottle of water from the pantry?"
We sat down on one of the couches and I switched to MTV, figuring they would have the latest news about The Backstreet Boys. It took about 20 minutes before they replayed segments of the press conference. As, I guess, was to be expected, Kevin did most of the talking. He explained that they were very sorry for what happened and talked about the new Backstreet Foundation that they had established and how it had been endowed with $100 million to start.
There were lots of questions from the reporters. They wanted to know where the guys had been, where the money came from, what they were going to do with the money. Then the inevitable question was asked...
"Kevin, why isn't Nick with you?"
"The sister of a good friend of his is very sick. So Nick decided to spend a few days visiting with them. He'll be joining us in a couple of days. Nick is perfectly fine, I can assure you."
The reporters' questions continued with things like what they were going to do for their vacation, when were they leaving for the next concert and stuff like that. Pretty quickly the MTV coverage ended and they returned to regular programming.
"That went ok, I guess," I said to Nick.
"Yeah, I think I should give Kevin a call and see what he thought."
"There's a phone in the kitchen you can use or the one in your room."
"I think I'll head to my room and put my stuff away at the same time. See you in a bit."
"Sounds good. I'll give Karen a call and see when it's convenient to pick up Gracie."
"What are you going to do with her when we go to Colorado?"
"Oh, she'll go with us."
"Cool," Nick said as he got up and went out through one of the doors into the courtyard.
I turned off the TV and walked into the library. I picked up the phone and called Karen to let her know I was home and that I would be over in a while to get Gracie. We talked for a couple of minutes more and then, after hanging up, I grabbed my bag from the hallway and went upstairs.
I hung up the clothes I hadn't worn and pitched the rest in the hamper. Then I walked down to my bathroom and put my razor and stuff away. Then I went back into the bedroom and lay down on the bed. I started wondering what I should do about Nick. I didn't think I knew him well enough to just come out and ask him about his sexual orientation. I guess I just needed to start learning more about him and see what he has to say.
I continued to lay there and then I heard Nick come back inside.
"Mikey, where are you?"
"Upstairs, Nick. Come on up."
I heard him run up the stairs. When he got to the top he paused.
"Ok, I'm up here, now which way?"
"To your right."
"Hey, nice view," he said as he came into my bedroom.
"You like this view, come on..."
I got up off the bed and led him up the stairs. Once up there we went out on to the balcony and he just stared in amazement. It was a clear day so Catalina Island was really beautiful.
After a few minutes of looking at the surrounding areas, I turned to him and said, "You want to go with me to get Gracie?"
"Sure," he replied.
We went back inside and down to the main floor. I grabbed my keys, armed the security system and we walked out through the courtyard and through the front door.
We walked down the street. Karen and her boyfriend live in the same development, so it only takes a few minutes to get there. We walked up to the front door and knocked. I stood behind Nick so I was sort of hidden. The door opened and there was this really loud gasp.
"Wh, wh, where's Mikey?"
"Right here," I shouted as I stepped out from behind him.
"Shit, Mikey, don't scare me like that!" Karen said, "What's Nick doing here?"
"Well, I didn't really go want to hang out with all the attached old men, so I decided to stay with Mikey."
"Oh, well come on in, guys."
"Where's Gracie?" I asked.
"She's out in the backyard. You guys want anything to drink?"
"Nah, we're fine," I replied.
I walked through the house to the sliding glass door off the kitchen and went outside. Nick closed the door and waited inside for some reason. Gracie came running over acting like her usual total spastic self (her name comes from her totally ungraceful way of navigating through life) jumping and making these really bizarre sounds. She is really the coolest dog and I love her dearly. She's also a constant source of amusement.
After playing with her for a couple of minutes, I heard the door open. I looked over my shoulder and saw that Nick had come outside.
"Why did you wait inside?" I asked.
"I wanted to give you a chance to play with her by yourself since you hadn't seen her in a couple of days."
This boy never ceases to amaze me. He's so considerate. I can honestly say I have never met anyone like him before.
"You didn't need to do that."
"I know, but I wanted to."
"You know, Nick, if you were gay, you would make the boyfriend I've waited my whole life for."
He didn't say anything and I was totally remorseful for saying what I had said. I didn't intend to say it, it just slipped out after what I had been thinking about.
"Oh, Nick, I'm so sorry for saying that. I wasn't coming on to you, it's just that... I don't know, you've been so wonderful and so considerate that my brain just got out of control. Please forgive me, Nicky."
Nick continued to just kneel next to Gracie and pet her. Finally after what seemed like minutes but was probably a lot shorter he looked over at me.
"Mikey, it's ok, I'm not pissed at you or anything. It just sort of took me by surprise. You haven't really shared anything like that before and you really don't know that much about me."
"You know, when I was up in my room before we came over here, I was sort of thinking the same thing. You picked up quite a bit about me over the last day or so, but I haven't really learned much about you yet. And, Nick, I really want to."
"Well, we're probably going to have some time to ourselves over the next couple of days, so hopefully we can change that."
We took Gracie back inside and sat down and talked with Karen for a while. When it got to 4:00 P.M., I decided it was time to get going so I could get ready to go bowling. We said good bye to Karen and headed back home with Gracie.
When we got home, Gracie ran all over the place checking to make sure we hadn't been invaded. She picked up the toys she had stashed all over the house and brought them into the living room where Nick and I were sitting.
"Is she always this crazy?"
"Pretty much so. She'll calm down in a few minutes but she definitely tends to be on the hyper side. She will seem to be pretty relaxed and then if you just look at her the 'wrong' way and the goes totally hyper."
"So what's this bowling thing you are going to do?" Nick asked.
"It's this group of gay and lesbian kids from the area that I take bowling. They are really cool kids and it gives them a chance to hang out together some place that isn't threatening and have fun."
"Cool, how long have you been doing it?"
"I've been sponsoring it for about six months now."
"Would it be ok if I came along?"
"Do you think that would be a good idea, Nick?" I asked. "After all, it's a pretty public place, they are all going to know who you are and there might be some pretty big assumptions made by some of them and other people at the bowling alley," I replied.
"Mikey, I'm not worried about it. We can just tell them the truth. You and I are really good friends and I'm visiting you for a few days while I am on vacation. I'm not afraid for people to know we are friends, Mikey."
"Well, then, Nicky, you're invited. Just don't beat me or you will find out what a terrible loser I can be," I said, grinning at him.
"What time do we need to leave?"
"In a half hour," I replied. It only takes a few minutes to get there.
"I'm going to go change, then. See ya in a few."
Nick went out to his room and I decided to follow his example. When I got up to my room, I called my parents and let them know we had arrived home and picked up Gracie. Then I walked down the hall to my bathroom, washed my face, brushed my teeth and splashed on some fresh cologne. Then I picked out a clean tee shirt and put it on as I was walking back downstairs.
Nick showed back up a few minutes before we needed to leave. I let Gracie outside for a few minutes and then brought her back inside. I locked up, armed the security system and then we left for the bowling alley.
We drove down Newport Coast Drive to Pacific Coast Highway and then headed North towards Newport Beach. When we got to the bowling alley, several of the kids were waiting out front. I parked the car in an empty section of the parking lot and turned to Nick.
"So, Nicky, are you ready for this?"
"Guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be."
With that we got out of the car and walked over to where the kids were waiting. I was pretty apprehensive of how they would react. I mean it's not every day that some celebrity goes bowling with them.
I'm not going to say they weren't pretty blown away and didn't get excited, but it could have been a lot worse. They got over their surprise in a few minutes and we went inside and started bowling. Everyone had a great time. Nick and bought drinks and popcorn for everyone (with my money, I might add). Oh, and I did beat him two out of the three games. I don't think the was trying to lose, either.
One of the girls actually had the nerve to come up and ask us if we were dating. Nick actually handled it better than I did and told her that we were just really good friends. I, on the other hand, just about choked on the Pepsi I was trying to swallow at the time. It's a miracle that I didn't spray it all over her and Nick.
Two hours later, we were all through bowling and went out front to say good bye to the kids. I don't know who had more fun, Nick or the kids. I think he really enjoyed just being a normal person, whatever that is, instead of a big celebrity.
We walked over to my car and got in. We headed back towards PCH and home.
"So Nick, did you want to go out to eat tonight or just stay home and order some pizza or something?"
"Pizza sounds really good to me, Mikey."
"Pizza it is, then."
We got home pretty quickly. I let Gracie back outside and went upstairs to take my shoes off. Nick went to his room to get comfortable. I picked up the menu for my favorite pizza delivery place. When Nick rejoined me in the living room I gave it to him and asked him to pick something."
"Is there anything you don't like?"
"Anything on there is ok except for mushrooms and anchovies."
"You don't like mushrooms?" he asked sounding surprised.
"It's fungus. Yuk. You wouldn't eat athlete's foot would you?"
"Of course not!"
"Well, they are just different forms of fungus, so I don't eat mushrooms."
"Have you ever tried them?"
"Not on purpose but I've gotten them by accident and I definitely don't like them."
"How about the one with the chicken, avocado, garlic and all the other stuff?"
"It's one of my favorites."
I got up and went into the kitchen to phone in the order. Then I went out in the yard to play with Gracie. She doesn't have the world's greatest attention span, so it is a couple of minutes with a frisbee, then a couple of minutes with another toy. The best thing, when I can arrange it, is to have her play with a friend's dog that is a fetchaholic. Then she will chase the other dog until she is worn out.
After a while I heard the doorbell ring.
"I'll get it," Nick called out to me.
"My wallet is on the kitchen counter," I replied.
He went out through the courtyard to the front door and opened it.
"Hi, Mikey," the pizza boy said as he turned around. "Wait a minute, you're not Mikey, you're..."
"Nick Carter. Nice to meet you, Aaron. I have a little brother with the same name as you."
"Oh, wow, I can't believe this. Where's Mikey?" Aaron asked.
"He's out back playing with his dog. So you must deliver here a lot, huh?"
"Yeah, at least once a week. So what are you doing here?"
"Mikey's a friend of mine and I'm just hanging out for a couple of days."
"What, now you escaped from the kidnappers?" Aaron asked.
"We weren't kidnapped, Aaron. It was just a way to get away for a couple of days to take care of some business stuff."
"Oh, so how long are you staying?"
"A couple of days. So how much do I owe you?" Nick asked.
"Oh, it's $24.87," Aaron replied.
"Here you go," Nick said, handing him $30.00.
"No prob, Aaron, please don't tell anyone about my being here, ok?"
"Sure, wouldn't want Mikey's house getting mobbed by all the girls in the area."
"Exactly," Nick said as he took the pizza from Aaron and shut the door.
"What took you so long?" I asked when Nick finally came back into the kitchen.
"The delivery kid was really talkative. It sounds like he comes here quite often."
"What can I say, I love pizza," I replied. "What do you want to drink?"
"Pepsi, I guess. Thanks."
I got the drinks and Nick took the pizza into the living room and set it on the coffee table. We made pretty quick work of it, watching television while we ate. After we were finished with the pizza, we went out into the courtyard and I started a fire in the fireplace. It was already dark and cooling off rapidly. We sat and Nick started to tell me about his family and what his life was like. He told me how difficult it had been growing up on tour instead of with his family and friends.
He was pretty well adjusted to his life, I guess, considering how difficult it must have been. He was never really allowed to be a kid, always having to play a role. While my growing up had never lacked for anything money could buy, I could relate to not being able to have good, stable friends, thanks to my family's reputation. When the parents of kids I met at school found out who my parents were, that pretty much killed the friendships. So, in other words, I could sort of relate to some of what Nick had gone through.
As the even progressed, Nick and I became closer and closer as friends. We never talked about relationships or our sexual orientation, we just explored each others lives and dreams, I guess. Around 9:30 or 10:00, I let the fire go out. It started to get chilly and I decided I wanted to hit the spa to warm up and see if it wouldn't help take away some of the pain and stiffness I was still having from the pounding on my body the previous day.
"Nick, I think I'm going to go soak in the spa for a while before I head off to bed."
"That sounds like a great idea. I'm getting a little cold out here."
"I'll see you out there in a bit. There should be plenty of towels in your bathroom. If not, yell up to me and I'll bring you some."
"Ok," he said as he got up and went to his room.
I headed upstairs and got undressed and pulled on a swim suit. I grabbed a couple of towels from the linen closet and headed back downstairs, stopping in the kitchen to get a couple of bottles of water.
Nick had already gotten in the spa by the time I got out there. I went over and set the water on the ledge next to the spa where we could get to it easily when we got thirsty. I put my towels on one of the chairs and started to get into the spa.
"Mikey, why do you have a swim suit on?" Nick asked.
"Well, I'm not saying I've never skinny dipped in here, but I really wasn't thinking there was a reason to not wear one."
"Oh... Well, I just assumed you wouldn't be wearing one."
"Oh, so does that mean you aren't wearing one?"
"Nick, I guess I sort of have a confession to make... You see, I'm pretty modest, you know, about taking my clothes off. So I'd just as soon keep my swim suit on, ok?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty modest too and I'm really embarrassed now."
"Nick don't worry about it. It's not like I'm to check you out or whatever."
I went ahead and got into the spa and sat across from Nick. We continued our conversation that we had been having and I continued to feel a stronger and stronger bond developing between us.
"So, Mikey," Nick said after a while, "have you ever had a serious boyfriend?"
'Oh, shit' I thought to myself. 'What's going on here?'
"Yeah, Nick, I have had one. His name was Tim. We went together when we were in college."
"So how long were you guys together?"
"Oh, about two years, I guess..." I replied, wishing that Nick wouldn't pursue this line of questions.
"So what happened? You don't need to tell me if you don't want to, I was just wondering."
I didn't reply right away. Instead I reached over and grabbed a bottle of water and opened it and took a drink.
"You thirsty, Nick?"
I handed him the other bottle and then sat there and looked at him. I finally decided that I was going to answer his question.
"Nick, you already have a pretty good I idea about how I feel about things, so you realize that honesty and trust are very important things to me. Monogamy is another thing I feel very strongly about. And after two years with Tim, I discovered that in spite of everything he had been saying, he wasn't being monogamous. And that's something that I can't accept and, as mean as it probably sounds, I can't forgive."
"Mikey, I'm so sorry that happened to you."
"It's ok, Nicky, it's water under the bridge now. While I really have missed cuddling up to someone and waking up in someone's arms in the morning, I'm going to be very, very careful next time and really make sure I know the guy before I let myself fall in love."
"You deserve the very best, Mikey, you are so special."
"Thanks, Nick. So Nick, turnabout's fair play. What about your love life?"
"Well, not much to tell. I've dated some but it is so hard to find someone that is interested in Nick the real person as opposed to Nick the celebrity."
"I can imagine. So no one special in your life right now?"
"Well, nothing serious at this point."
"Man, I'm getting way too hot in here. It's hard to believe I was cold 15 minutes ago," I said getting out of the spa and sitting on the edge.
"You can say that again..."
"Man, I'm getting way too..."
"Mikey, I didn't really mean it!" Nick interrupted.
"Well, Nick, if you're too warm, you could always get out, you know."
"Umm, not right now, Mikey."
"Why, if you're too hot."
"Oh," I said laughing. "You know it's nothing to be embarrassed about Nick. It happens to all of us."
"Yeah, easy for you to say when you're sitting there in a swim suit."
"You made you're choice, so now you have to live with the consequences."
"I can't believe I didn't at least wear my boxers in here."
"Nick, I don't think they would have hidden very much, so you might as well bite the bullet."
I was really enjoying myself at Nick's expense. I was so totally glad he was the one with the problem and not me. My swim suit is sort of baggy, but it wouldn't have hidden very much.
"Come on Nick, just get it over with..."
"All right," he said as he stood up very slowly and walked over to the side where I was sitting. He stepped up on to the seat and sat down on the ledge and there he was in all his glory about five feet away from me.
I looked up at his face and smiled at him.
"So now I know why they call you little Nicky!" I said, laughing so hard I almost fell off the ledge.
"Hey, I'm not that small. Jeez, what an asshole..."
I continued laughing at him.
"I'm just kidding, Nick. It looks pretty nice to me. So are you ready for bed?" I asked.
Well, that's it for Part 7 of Nick and the Altos. Stay tuned for Part 8. It should be ready towards the end of the week, work permitting. Any comments, suggestions or whatever, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading... Mikey