Many thanks to those of you have emailed me. It's really great knowing that there are guys out there who enjoy reading what I have been writing. Can't tell you how much fun I am having writing this story. 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 Meeting 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
"So are you interested in jumping in the hot tub?" Nick asked.
"Yeah, it sure helped my aching body last night."
"Ok, my turn to wear a bathing suit and your turn for skinny dipping."
"I don't think you could handle seeing what a real man looks like under his clothes."
"Oh, yeah," he said, "Try me!"
We both went to our respective bedrooms to change. I got my clothes off in record time and, after pulling on some board shorts and grabbing a towel, walked quickly out on to the deck and climbed into the hot tub. I was relaxing comfortably when Nick finally wandered out.
"Glad to see you put something on this time," I said as he climbed in.
"I was worried you wouldn't be able to control yourself two nights in a row," he replied.
"Dream on, Mr. Teen Idol."
"I'll Teen Idol you, mobster boy," he said as he scooted over next to me. "So what do you have planned for the rest of the night?"
"I thought about watching a movie before going to bed," I replied.
"I have a few DVDs here in addition to the two I brought with me. Or we could just see what's on cable."
"You know, I wouldn't mind going for a walk later..."
"After getting all warm and relaxed?"
"Yeah," he replied, "Although I guess we'll have plenty of time to do that when we get to Beaver Creek tomorrow."
"I've got all kinds of activities planned for you up there!" I said, chuckling.
"Something tells be I should be worried."
"You have no idea just how worried you should be..." I said, grinning.
Nick and I continued to talk as we relaxed in the hot tub. The night was turning very cool plus there was a breeze. I loved the smell of the pine trees and listening to the sound of the wind as it blew through the branches. As much as I love my home in Newport Beach, I really missed this place.
After about 15 minutes, I was getting way too warm, so I got up and sat on the edge of the hot tub. I glanced over at Nick and noticed that he had been looking at me. He didn't seem the least bit self conscious about doing it, either.
"So Mikey, what are you thinking about?"
"Um... I guess about how much you confuse me," I replied.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"I don't know, it's like the way you are so uninhibited around me. Sometimes I get the feeling that... shit, I don't know... it's like you might have feelings for me or something. I hope I'm not freakin' you out, Nick."
"No, you're not, Mikey. Actually, I don't know what to tell you. I am totally comfortable being around you. I've never felt like you were hitting on me or anything like that. And I really do like you, a lot. It is so nice having a friend like you who couldn't care less who I am or what I do."
"It's so weird, though. I mean like you didn't mind me sleeping with my head in your lap this afternoon, and the way you sit right next to me like tonight. I'm not used to that."
"Mikey, I didn't mind that because it wasn't threatening. I didn't feel like you were doing it to... ummm, like, shit, I don't know, get close to me if you know what I mean."
"Yeah," I said, laughing quietly, "I guess you're as embarrassed talking about this as I am."
"Yeah, I've never talked about stuff like this with anyone before," Nick said.
"Believe me, it's not something I've talked to very many people about. I can definitely count them on one hand."
"So are you up for a change of subject?" I asked.
"Definitely!" he replied.
"Good," I said as I slipped back into the hot tub next to him.
"So what's the plan for tomorrow? Are we heading out early?"
"Unless you are in a big rush, I would just as soon relax in the morning. Get up whenever and have breakfast and leave for Beaver Creek in the early afternoon. Traffic should be really light so we should be able to make it in about 1 1/2 hours."
"I'm in no great rush to get up there and join up with all the old couples."
"We can just wake up whenever we wake up. So are you ready to pick out a movie?"
"Sure, I think I have had about all the hot water I can handle for a while," Nick replied.
We got out of the hot tub and dried ourselves off before hurrying back inside. I put a some more wood on the fire before going back to my room to change out of my bathing suit.
After taking a quick shower, I put on a clean tee shirt and boxers and went back out into the great room. Nick was looking through my DVD collection.
"Are you up for L.A. Confidential?" he asked.
"Totally, it's one of my favorite movies," I replied as I turned on the stereo system. I put the DVD in the player and started the movie. I went back into my bedroom and got a blanket out of the closet. When I got back to the great room, I lay down on one of the couches and covered up and started watching the movie. Nick lay on the other couch.
I didn't last very long. I guess it was a combination of the wine and the hot tub, but I fell asleep pretty quickly. Around 11 p.m. Gracie nudged me with her cold nose to wake me up so she could go outside one last time. Nick had apparently fallen asleep at some point too, because I could hear him snoring lightly.
While she was out I went over the couch where Nick was sleeping and sat down beside time. I put my hand on his shoulder, shook him gently and quietly said his name. Eventually I got through to him and he rolled on to his back and looked up at me.
"Guess I fell asleep too, huh?"
"Yeah, Gracie just woke me up to let her out. You ready to head to bed?"
"I think so..." he replied, "Your room or mine?"
"Yours, by yourself, unless Gracie decides to share tonight."
"You're no fun, it's going to be cold tonight."
"That's what lots of blankets are for," I replied.
Gracie had come back up on the deck and was scratching at the door, so I got up and let her in. Nick was still laying on the couch when I came back so I reached my hand out to him.
"Come on, sleepyhead, time for nighty night."
He took my hand and I pulled him up and we walked hand in hand to the bedrooms. Nick gave me an extended hug when we got to the door to his room.
"Love ya, Mikey," he said as we broke the hug.
"Love you too, Nicky," I replied, "See you in the morning."
With that we went into our bedrooms. I brushed my teeth and crawled into bed. I just love the cold nights here so I can really pile on the blankets. I have always had trouble sleeping well with just a sheet over me during the warmer months of the year. I had expectations of a world class night of sleep tonight.
As luck would have it I just lay there, snuggled up to my pillow. I couldn't get my mind off the incredible guy in the next room. I thought about how wonderful it had felt sitting next to him in the hot tub and how turned on I had gotten. I was burning up before my woody had subsided enough that I wasn't too embarrassed getting up and sitting on the ledge.
Now here I was lying in bed thinking about how much I was attracted to him and the next thing I knew I was totally hard and it didn't seem like it was going to go down or I was going to doze off any time soon. Finally, I decided the time had come to do something about it.
I pulled off my tee shirt and my boxers, dropping them on the floor by the bed and let my hand wander down under the covers. It had been several days since I had done anything and with my overactive imagination, it didn't take very long before it was all over. And whoa, did I ever make a mess!!! I got up and went into my bathroom and cleaned myself up and then crawled back into bed. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
I woke up once during the night to pee and noticed that Gracie wasn't in my room. While that wasn't all that unusual at home in Newport Beach, it was pretty strange here. Particularly during the first few nights. I wasn't worried or anything so I didn't go looking for her and just went back to bed.
Nick woke up the next morning and was having trouble rolling over in bed. At first he couldn't figure out why, but as he started to become more aware of his surroundings, he realized that something heavy was on top of the covers between his legs. He looked over his shoulder and discovered it was Gracie.
"Gracie, move," he said.
She lifted her head, looked at him and then put her head back down on his ankle.
"Gracie, get off of me, I need to get up!" he said, kicking his legs under the blankets.
Gracie finally got fed up with his bugging her and slowly got up. She started to get off the bed, stretching as she left. Nick was finally able to move. When he turned over on to his back, he saw that it was 8:30. He crawled out of bed and, after stopping in the bathroom, decided to see where Mikey was.
He walked out to the great room and didn't see him there or out on the deck. So then he decided to try the bedroom. Sure enough, Mikey was still sound asleep. He noticed the underwear on the floor and decided it was time to have a little fun. He went over and sat down on the bed.
"Mikey," he said, "Time to wake up. Mikey want some coffee?"
I was in the middle of the most incredible dream. I woke up with Nick spooning me and holding me in his arms. I heard him whispering my name. I turned over and kissed him good morning and said "Oh, Nicky, I could stay in bed with you all day long."
"Mikey," Nick repeated, "Are you ready for some coffee?"
"Huh, what's that?" I stammered.
"You must have been having some dream, Mikey."
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, you were really moaning away. I couldn't really understand what you were saying, but you must have been enjoying yourself."
"Well, I'm clueless about what it was because I hardly ever remember my dreams."
"So, as I was asking, are you ready for some coffee?" Nick asked.
"Yeah, coffee, Mikey needs coffee!" I replied.
"Well get your lazy butt out of bed and let's go get it started."
"Ok," I said. Then I remembered that I hadn't put my boxers back on after taking care of things last night. "Hey, Nick, why don't you go on out to the kitchen and I'll be there in a couple of minutes."
"That's ok, I'll wait for you."
"Nick, you don't need to wait in here. I'm not going back to sleep."
"Nah, I'll just wait for you."
"Nick, why don't you go let Gracie out for a run?"
"What's the matter Mikey, afraid to get out of bed with me here?"
"No, of course not, it's just that..."
"You are embarrassed to get out of bed without these on?" he continued, bending over and lifting my boxers off the floor and holding them beyond my reach.
"Give 'em here, Nick!" I said."
"Come on, Nick, hand them over," I pleaded.
"Nope, you had your fun with me the other night when I didn't have anything on, so now it's your turn to be embarrassed."
"There's a big difference!" I said.
"What, other than how much bigger I am than you are?" he replied.
"In your dreams. The difference is that you got in the spa with nothing on knowing I was going to be getting in too. I didn't know you were going to be in my room this morning when I took them off."
"I don't see why you are making such a big deal over this, Mikey."
"Cause I'm really modest, Nick. You already know that."
"Like I'm not?" he said.
"Well, you are the one who went into the spa naked."
"I'm still pretty modest. So Mikey, you need to pee?"
"Well, you might as well get up and deal with it, cause I'm not leaving until you get out of bed."
"I can wait."
"Oh, you can, can you?" Nick said as he walked into my bathroom. Then I heard the water start running in the sink.
"Nick Carter, you are such a dick!" I yelled, the sound of the running water making my need to pee greater than ever.
"So, you ready to go?" Nick asked, laughing.
"You know I hate you, don't ya?"
"Nope, you love me."
Finally, I couldn't take it any longer without peeing in my bed. Thank God I didn't have a woody. I threw back the covers and walked into the bathroom, grabbing my boxers from him on the way.
"You are such a dick, Nick! Hey, your new nickname, Nick the dick."
"Not bad, Mikey," he said, "But I'm bigger little boy."
"Maybe I'm a grower?" I replied. I couldn't believe he actually checked me out. I actually started getting a little excited over the prospect so I went into the little room with the toilet and closed the door. It seemed like I peed forever. Once I finished I put on my boxers and went back into the bedroom, picked up my tee shirt and pulled it on.
"You're not mad at me are you?" Nick asked, hesitantly.
I turned and looked at him and I got the impression he really was sort of worried.
"Not really, I guess turnabout is fair play. So are you ready to go fix that coffee, Nick the dick?"
"You don't even need to call me that, PeeWee!"
"Ok, I move we call a truce on the name calling," I said.
"I second the motion," Nick said.
He came over and put his arm around my neck and sort of started guiding me in the direction of the kitchen. He didn't let go until we were out there.
"Come on, Gracie," Nick said as he walked over and opened the door out on to the deck.
She ran over and made a mad dash across the deck and down the stairs. Nick came back into the kitchen where I was starting the coffee.
"So are you hungry now?" he asked.
"Maybe a little, but I normally don't eat until after I have completely woken up and showered."
"Ok, how about I fix breakfast around 9:30?"
"He cooks, too?"
"You act shocked," he said.
"Actually I am, sort of. I mean, you haven't exactly lived the kind of life where someone would learn that."
"I'm not saying that I could make anything really fancy, but if you can read and follow directions, you should be able to cook."
"True, I just assumed you aren't all that good about following directions..."
"Yeah, but that's more to piss other people off. When the need arises, I'm actually pretty good at it."
I poured us both a cup of coffee and then I started another fire in the fireplace. There was definitely a chill in the air. Gracie must have agreed, because a few minutes later she was at the door wanting back inside.
"Wow, that was the shortest excursion in history!" I said, as I went over and let her inside.
"So, you have a wussy dog, huh?"
"Hey, don't you make fun of her or I'll put you outside and see how you like it."
"No prob, I could just get in the hot tub. Wanna join me?"
"I don't think so, I'm going to go take a shower."
I went back to my bathroom and shaved, brushed my teeth and then took a long hot shower. Afterwards I pulled on sweatpants and a long sleeved tee shirt and went back out to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.
Nick was laying on a couch staring at the fire. I went over and sat down on the floor with my back against the couch.
"So, now I'm all nice and clean, are you inspired to make me that breakfast?"
"Already? Don't I get to take a shower before I have to slave away over a hot stove, just to make you happy?"
"Oh, I guess... I think I left some hot water."
Nick sat up and, as he stood up, he put his hand on my head and messed up my hair.
"Hey, mess with the hair and you are in big trouble!" I said.
"Oh, really?" he said as he did it again.
As I started to get up, he took off towards his bedroom. I called out to Gracie and told her to get him. She went running after him. He was too fast and made it to the bedroom and closed the door. I went back in my bathroom and ran my fingers through my hair to fix up the mess he had made of it.
While I waited for Nick to finish showering and then fix us breakfast, I turned on my computer and checked my email and studied the performance of my data center. As is usually the case, I got so totally engrossed in what I was doing that I didn't even notice him go into the kitchen. It wasn't until the smell of the food cooking got pretty strong that I realized anything was going on around me.
I finished off the last email to the operations group asking them to check on a couple of things to try to resolve some performance degradation from Boston, New Jersey and New York and then I shutdown the computer. I got up and went into the kitchen. I wish I could say that I was able to walk up behind Nick and look over his shoulder to see how things were coming, but at my height, it's pretty much impossible. So I just climbed up on to one of the bar stools and watched him.
"That sure smells delicious, Nicky."
"You know, I'm not just a pretty boy, I can actually do some things other than look incredibly handsome and make wonderful music," he said smiling at me.
I took a slow drink from my cup of coffee and went into daydream land. I was really mesmerized by the incredible guy who was standing there in my kitchen cooking breakfast. I'm not saying that I was wanting him in a sexual way, it was the emotional bond that seemed to have developed and how much I wanted to have him hold me in his arms.
It prolly sounds weird to hear this, but I really wanted that a whole lot more than sex. We already had achieved what I guess you would call a mental bond where we could talk about anything openly and honestly. Well, almost anything, that is. But what I was wanting more than anything was to have a physical closeness -- to cuddle up on the same couch to watch a movie, to sleep in the same bed and wake up in each others arms in the morning.
I guess I really went into never never land because the next thing I remember was feeling Nick's arm around me.
"Mikey, hey Mikey, are you ok?" Nick asked.
I came back to the present and turned my head to look at him. "Yeah, why?"
"I was trying to talk to you and you were just, I don't know, staring off into space. Then it looked like you were starting to cry a little. I got really worried, Mikey."
"I'm ok," I replied, "I was just sort of zoned out thinking about what's really missing in my life."
"What do you mean?" Nick asked.
"I don't feel much like talking about it, Nick. Let's just eat breakfast before it gets cold."
"You sure, Mikey? You know I'm here for you, no matter what."
"Yeah, Nick, I do. And I can't tell you how much that means to me."
Nick went back into the kitchen and served up the breakfast he had cooked. We ate at the counter where I was sitting. Nick tried probing at what was going on with me, but I resisted. Finally he changed the subject.
"So what kinds of things do you have planned for us in the mountains?"
"Oh, I was thinking we could do some bicycling. I don't know how much snow there will be. I'd like to get in some mountain biking but it could be pretty messy. So we may be just doing road bikes."
"Bicycling would be cool."
"So you think you can keep up with me?" I asked sort of taunting him.
"Yeah, no problem."
I grinned at him and didn't say what I was thinking which was 'Fat Chance!' since he didn't know my cycling background. "You seem pretty sure of yourself, Nick."
"Well, I'm in fair shape."
"Maybe, but we're going to be in the mountains."
"I've been in the mountains before."
"Ok, so you wanna make a friendly little wager on this? You know, put your money where your mouth is?"
"What do you have in mind?"
"How about $1,000.00 per ride?"
"You seem pretty sure of yourself..."
"Oh, like you aren't pretty cocky yourself?"
"It's called confidence, Mikey. Confidence. You're on with the stipulation that the proceeds go to the other guy's charity of choice."
"Deal," I said as we shook on it. I knew I was being evil, but I couldn't resist. It wasn't like Nick couldn't afford it, although I figured he would realize pretty quickly that I had set him up.
We talked about a variety of things while we continued eating. I had forgotten what it was like to spend quality one on one time with a friend and was really enjoying myself.
"This was a really good breakfast, Nick. I think I could get into this on a regular basis."
"Oh, so you are wanting me to be your personal chef?"
"Nope, I like you better as my personal boy toy."
"Dream on, sex fiend."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Well, do you want to explain why your underwear were on the floor next to your bed this morning?"
I turned every conceivable shade of red at that point, which caused Nick to start laughing. He laughed so hard I thought he was going to fall off the stool.
I got up and took our dirty dishes into the kitchen and started filling the sink. "So you think that's funny do you? Like you have never done it."
"Well, that means the answer is a resounding YES!" I said.
"Like there's a guy on the planet who hasn't?"
"Oh, I'm sure there are a few somewhere."
"Yeah, but if they knew what they were missing out on, they'd start," Nick said grinning at me. "So, you ever gotten caught doing it, Mikey?"
"No, of course not."
"Shows you have never had to live on a tour bus."
"You're kidding me, you've gotten caught?"
"Yeah, a few times."
"I would just die of embarrassment."
"I didn't say I wasn't totally embarrassed, especially the first time. Everyone made such a big deal about it."
"When did that happen?"
"I guess I was 16, so I hadn't been doing it very long at that point. AJ came to get me up one morning and pulled back the curtain on my bunk, and the rest was history. If it had been Kevin or Brian, they would have probably kept it to themselves, but not AJ."
"That must have sucked. I never got caught but Jason used to ask me if I had starting spankin' the monkey all the time and that was embarrassing enough."
I finished cleaning up the kitchen while we continued chatting. It was getting pretty close to noon, so we went and packed up our things and carried them out to the car. I took Gracie outside and threw her ball from the deck. She actually brought it back three times, so I quit while I was ahead.
Nick came out on the deck when his stuff was in the car. It had warmed up nicely to around 50. We sat outside for a while just enjoying the sunny day and the view. Finally around 1:00 I told him that we should probably close up and head to the mountains.
I put the cover back on the hot tub and turned down the temperature. We closed and locked all the doors and windows. Normally I close the damper on the fireplace, but the coals were still smoldering from the morning fire, so I just left it.
We went out and got in the car and began our trip to Beaver Creek. When we got on to I-70 we found the traffic was pretty light. Nick took charge of the tunes. For most of the drive we rode in silence, enjoying the beautiful scenery. We made really good time until we got to Georgetown, where the traffic got pretty heavy. It slowed down again as we approached the Eisenhower Tunnel. Once we cleared it though traffic spread out and we were over Vail Pass pretty quickly.
"I was thinking we would ride up here from the house one morning," I said to Nick.
He turned to look at me with this strange expression on his face. "Yeah, right."
"I'm serious, Nick."
"You're not serious, you're crazy," he said.
"I thought we'd take it easy for a couple of days. Usually I do a round trip to Frisco and back."
"It was back there next to Lake Dillon."
"You're not crazy, your fuckin' insane!"
"You're not telling me something, aren't you," he said.
"Who, me? Why would you think that?"
"Out with it, fag boy!"
"Hey, I thought there was a truce on the name calling."
"I have a sneaking suspicious that name calling is totally justified right now, fag boy," Nick said.
"Don't call me any of your family names, though," I replied.
Nick hesitated a minute and had sort of a weird expression on his face. "Come on, Mikey, out with it," he said finally.
"I can't believe you don't trust me," I said.
"I didn't say that, I said I thought there was some tiny little piece of information you are withholding."
"Oh, you mean the thing about my USCF Cat2 license?"
"My United States Cycling Federation license. If I were still competing I would probably have made it to Cat1 this year."
"You fucker," Nick said, shaking his head. "I can't believe you would trick me like this."
"All's fair in love and war, Nicky."
"You're still a major dick."
"This morning you were teasing me about having a little one."
"You do, but you're a major one. I might as well write out a check right now," he said sounding pretty dejected.
"Come on, Nicky. I'm just playin' around. I wasn't planning on pushing it that hard. You're too special to really mess with anyway."
"Just remember, Mikey, I always get even. It may take me a while, but I always come out on top and paybacks are a real bitch," he said with an evil grin.
"Ooooh, I'm really scared," I said in reply to his challenge.
Nick reached over and put his hand on mine and gave it a squeeze. I expected him to let go, but he didn't. We continued driving with his hand on top of mine. It felt really nice although I knew better than read anything into it. Well, maybe I really tried to not to anyway. A comfortable silence ensued until I slid my hand out from under his and put it back on the steering wheel.
"What's up?" Nick asked.
"Time to get off the freeway so I want both hands on the wheel."
"So we're almost there?"
"Yeah, about ten minutes away."
"Cool," he said.
"So you sort of missing them?" I asked.
"In a way. I mean it has only been a couple of days since I have talked to Brian, but yeah, I miss them all, but Brian in particular."
"He's a pretty good friend, isn't he."
"Yeah, I couldn't have made it without him. I was always so homesick when I was younger."
"I'd really like to get to know him better. So how are you dealing with him having a serious girlfriend?"
"It was really hard at first. It really cut into the time we spent doing things together. But I realize that he needs her in his life. I think I'm pretty much ready to have someone, too, which makes it easier to deal with them. But it really hurt when they first starting dating."
"You guys are still really close though, aren't you?"
"Oh, yeah, there are things I talk to Brian about that I don't talk to anyone else about. You know, Mikey, that I think you and I will be at that level or whatever you want to call it, some day and that really makes me feel good."
"I know what you mean. You have learned more about me faster than anyone else ever has," I said. "It actually scares me a little. I'm not saying that I'm not glad, but I've just never opened up this quickly to someone before."
We pulled up to the gate and I punched in my code. Once the gate opened we pulled through and drove up the hill to the house. While it is pretty big, it is small compared to the Montecito estate. This is more of a ski lodge -- pretty appropriate given the location -- with ten bedrooms on the second floor. There is a big living/family room on the first floor along with a large dining room, the kitchen and the staff quarters. While it is obscenely large I have always loved the place, especially in the Winter when there is always a fire blazing away in the fireplaces in the living room. There are fireplaces in the dining room, the kitchen and each of the bedrooms, too.
We pulled the car up to the front door and got out. Gracie immediately went off running to find her playmate -- Luis and Maria, our caretakers, have a Black Lab. Maria opened the front door and came out to greet us.
"Mikey, it's so wonderful having you home for a few days," she said as she gave my a big hug.
"Maria, this is Nick," I said.
She pulled Nick into a hug, too. "It's nice that Mikey brought a friend with him for a change," she said to him.
"Hi, Maria," Nick said.
"Maria, he isn't a friend of mine... Well, he really is a good friend, but he is one of the members of the singing group that is staying here."
"Oh, you're the one they have been talking about. I don't think they need to have been so worried. You look like you can take care of yourself just fine."
"I can only imaging what they have been saying. They still treat me like I am their baby brother," he told her.
"Well, no need to stand out here all day, come on inside and let me get you something to eat and drink," Maria said.
"We need to get our stuff out of the car," Nick said.
"Nonsense, I'll send Antonio out to get it once he finishes bringing in the firewood for tonight."
"We can get the bags, no problem," Nick told her.
"Nick, trust me, you don't want to cross her," I said, laughing, "She'll kick your butt. Believe me, I know."
"So Tony's home from school?" I asked.
"Yes, he came home for Spring Break. I guess he missed the home cooking too much."
"Cool, it'll be great seeing him. We email back and forth, but it's just not the same."
We followed Maria into the house and then to the kitchen.
"So, where are the rest of the guys?" Nick asked.
"I think they went into Vail to do some shopping. The golf course wasn't open today so their girl friends decided to take advantage of a golden opportunity to spend money," Maria replied.
"I'm sure none of them objected too much at the opportunity to shop. I know I sure wouldn't," Nick said.
Maria fixed us mugs of hot chocolate and then we sat down at the kitchen table and answered all her questions about what we had been doing. Tony came in to join us, but she sent him out to get the luggage and park the car first. Those chores done, he came in and sat down.
"Tony, it's so good to see you. This is Nick," I said.
"Hi, Tony," Nick said.
"Hi, Nick, it's really cool meeting you. Jeez, the girls in my classes would give anything to trade places with me right now."
"So where to you go to school?" Nick asked.
"I'm a freshman at Brown University majoring in International Relations," Tony replied.
"Whoa, that's awesome. Brown is in Rhode Island, isn't it?" Nick asked.
"Yes, Providence. It's a pretty amazing place."
"So you like it, huh?" Nick asked.
"Yeah, one year almost down, who knows how many to go," Tony replied. "Listen, I'd like to stay and talk some more, but I have some more chores to get done before it gets dark. I'll see you guys later on."
"Sounds good, Tony, maybe we can go do something after dinner," I said.
"See you, Tony," Nick said.
"Well, Nicky, you ready to check out the place?" I asked.
"Lead the way, Mikey."
I showed Nick around the main floor and then took him upstairs. Maria had put him in Jason's bedroom which is next to mine. Both rooms have doors out on to a shared deck which has stairs down to the main level where the patio and the hot tub are located.
"Wow, this is really great," Nick said. "If it weren't so cold, I would love to stay out here and enjoy the view."
"Let's see if one of Jason's sweaters will fit you. You and he are closer in size than we are."
"I don't want to intrude or anything," Nick said.
"Don't worry about it. He hardly ever comes up here any more so he wouldn't even notice if someone cleaned out the closet."
We went inside Jason's room and I went through the dresser drawers until I found some sweaters. They weren't perfectly sized, but they would do until we went shopping the next day. After putting on one of the sweaters, Nick and I went back outside and walked down the stairs to the patio.
"Let's go see if we can find Gracie and Katie," I said.
"Ok, so how far back does your property go?"
"It's not that big of a place. I think it totals around 20 acres."
"God, you sure have a warped sense of value, Mikey," Nick exclaimed.
"What do you mean?"
"Twenty acres in Beaver Creek is obscene! That must be the equivalent of owning your own fucking island somewhere."
"Well, now that you mention it, ..."
"Shit, you're not going to tell me your family owns an island are you?"
"No, but that does sound like a cool idea. I'll tell my father you suggested it. What I was going to say was that most of the land isn't property you could build on, so it is more just a buffer between us and the neighboring areas. Come on, I'll show you what I mean."
We started walking towards the trees behind the house. It quickly became pretty steep and rocky -- three guesses why they are called the Rocky Mountains. It didn't take too long before Nick was breathing pretty hard.
I don't know why but my body reacts to high altitudes different from most people. Everyone supposedly gets tired more easily and has trouble with heavy exertion when they first arrive and it seems to take them a couple of weeks to really adjust. My body seems to be happier at altitude and I get sleepy at lower altitudes.
Nick was definitely paying the price of exerting himself. About half way up the hill I stopped to let him catch his breath. We sat down on a rock and looked out over the valley. It was so incredibly beautiful. I could see Gracie and Katie running around in front of the house. Well, I guess it would be more correct to say Gracie was being chased by Katie. It's one of her favorite things to do. She is way faster than most dogs, so she just pretty much loafs along and lets the other dog catch up to her.
"So what do you think?" I asked him.
"I can sure see why you feel the way you do about Colorado. You know your house in Newport Beach is really beautiful and the ocean is wonderful, but I think that if I had to pick which one I would call home, I'd pick your house in Denver."
"Me too, I'll probably spend a lot more time here once ..." I said hesitantly.
Nick looked over and saw the expression on my face and knew what was going through my mind. He scooted closer, put his arm around my shoulder and pull me over next to him. I leaned my head on his shoulder and we just sat there. I don't know how long it had been when he finally said something to me.
"Mikey, you know I'm going to be there for you when the time comes. I don't care where I am, Mikey, you call me and I am on a plane. Screw concerts, screw interviews, screw everything else, I'm going to get to you as soon as physically possible."
I lifted my head and looked at his face and I knew beyond any doubt that he meant what he had just said.
"Nick, you've only known me for a few days. How can you make that kind of commitment to me?"
"Mikey, I don't know what it is, but our friendship is so special to me. That's why I can say it. I'm pretty sure that if one of my sisters was really sick that you would make the same promise to me, wouldn't you?"
"Of course I would, Nick. Next to Angela, you're the most special person in the world to me."
With that, he pulled me back close and I rested my head on his shoulder again as we sat and looked out from our perch. Some time later the sun was starting to descend behind the mountains and the light was fading. I was starting to shiver a bit.
"Hey, Mikey, I think we should get going before it gets dark. I saw an SUV pull up to the house a while ago. I assume it was the guys."
"Ok, thanks for everything, Nicky," I said.
We got up and started hiking back down the steep slope. When we got to a more gentle slope where there was room to walk abreast, Nick and I walked shoulder to shoulder. We weren't holding hands or anything, but we might as well have been.
When we got to the house, we went in through the mudroom to the kitchen. There was a nice fire burning in the fireplace so we huddled up next to it to get ourselves warm.
Maria came into the kitchen for something. When she saw us, she said "So here you are. Your friends got back a while ago, Nick. They were wondering where you went off to."
"We went hiking up on the ridge," I told her.
"I'll let them know you guys are back," she said.
I could have sworn Nick tensed up a little when she left the kitchen. I looked up at him and could see he was looking a bit troubled.
"Nicky, what's up?"
Well, that's it for Part 9 of Nick and the Altos. Stay tuned for the double digits -- Part 10. 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