Affairs of the Heart
Chapter 16
Written by Jayson Colin Vascardi
Legal Disclaimer: This story is fictional and not meant to reflect upon or imply anything about any of the celebrities mentioned herein. If you are offended by material of a homosexual nature, or if such material is illegal to view in your area, you should be leaving now. Otherwise, please enjoy the story.
This story is copyright ©2001-2002 by Jayson Colin Vascardi. All rights reserved.
If you don't use the above email link, please remember to include "Affairs" in the email subject line. All emails will be answered. Please send email feedback to my Yahoo! account, and not my Hotmail account. I only use the Hotmail account for MSN Messenger.
If you'd like to chat with me, I hang out in the Nifty Boy Bands chat room quite often, using my first name, Jayson. I've also started going to the Nifty Writers Chat Room now, so stop by sometime and we can chat if you want.
ICQ: 53886549
AOL IM: JCVascardi
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My Website:


Katherine Winthrop-Smith, whose real name is Her Imperial Majesty Queen Alexandra deMontferrat of San Cristobel, talks on the telephone to a man named Trey Williams, whom it is later learned is Donald Preston Smith, who never really passed away. Alexandra is the half-sister of the real Katherine Winthrop-Smith, who is also not dead, but in a persistent vegetative state in a long-term care facility in England. It's also learned that Alexandra, not Katherine, is Diana's mother.

Prince Nikolas and Prince Stephen wonder when there mother will be coming back home to San Cristobel, seeing as how she's been gone for four months. Both of the young princes assume though that their mother will be back soon, seeing as how there's a state dinner in a week.

Unbeknownst to his children, Don Smith has been dating Nickolas Lachey of 98 Degrees for the last four months. They love each other and don't really care what other people think, but Don is somewhat worried about what Ashley and Zachary will think, considering that their father is dating a man who is only a year older than them. Not to mention the fact that when he tells Ashley and Zachary about him and Nick, he'll also have to tell them that he knew that Katherine was alive and that he's divorced her, otherwise Ashley and Zachary would probably accuse Don of cheating on their mother.

Chapter 16

Drew Lachey wakes up as the sun shines down through the curtained skylights of his large and spacious bedroom on the third floor of the Smith Mansion. He gets out of bed, showers, and gets dressed. He isn't sure if the rest of the house is awake yet, but he knows that his brother Nick will probably be awake, and wanting to talk to him about a few things, Drew decides to go down the hall to Nick's room. Upon arriving at Nick's room, he knocks a few times, but there's no answer. So, he tries the door handle, but it's locked.

"Hmm, that's strange," replies Drew softly, not hearing Kerr and Scott coming out of their room, which is also on the third floor.

"What's strange, Drew?" asks Scott.

Drew is startled, but quickly regains his composure, "Well, I was going to talk to my brother, because he's usually awake at this time of day, but there was no answer when I knocked and the door is locked. Frankly, I'm a little worried. I don't suppose either of you know where a spare key for this room is, do you?"

"A key won't work," replies Kerr, as he kneels down and looks through the keyhole, "Nick's key is in the lock on the other side of the door and the locks in this house are fashioned so that if the door is locked from the inside it can't be unlocked from the outside, even if you have the key."

"So, there's no way for us to check on Nick."

"Actually, Drew, that's not true," replies Kerr, as he stands up, "There's another way in to this room, follow me."

Kerr and Scott start walking back to their bedroom, with Drew following. Drew of course doesn't know about the secret passages, so he doesn't understand how Kerr plans on getting into Nick's room without going through the door. Upon entering Kerr and Scott's bedroom, Drew asks, "How are we going to get into my brother's room, if not through the door?"

"Well, this may sound strange," replies Kerr, "But we're going through the wardrobe."

"Through the wardrobe? What?"

"Drew, most of the rooms in this house are connected to each other," replies Scott, "Via secret passages. See?"

Upon saying this, Scott reaches behind the grandfather's clock and presses a small button behind it, which causes the wall behind the grandfather's clock to swing open, revealing the secret passage behind it.

"Whoa," replies Drew, "Cool. So you can get into Nick's room through there?"

"Yeah," replies Kerr, "That's what I meant when I said through the wardrobe. The wardrobe in the guest room that Nick is using is bolted to the wall, because the wall behind it is the secret panel and will swing open if the release button is pushed. Come on."

Kerr grabs a flashlight, which conveniently hangs on the back of all the mansion's secret panels, turns it on, and leads Scott and Drew into the secret passages.

This being the first time that Drew has ever been in a secret passage can't help but say, "This is so cool."

"It is isn't it?" asks Scott, "I was a amazed when Kerr showed me all of these passages when we first got here."

"Here on the third floor," replies Kerr, "All but one of the rooms, the third floor bathroom, are connected via the passages. The passages all run along the exterior walls of the house. You may have noticed the fact that the only windows in your bedroom are skylights."

"Yeah, I did notice that," replies Drew.

"Well, that's because the ceilings here in the passages are eight feet tall, and the ceilings in all the rooms on this floor are ten feet tall, so all the windows are positioned in the space above the secret passages. Because of course it wouldn't do to have windows in the secret passages, because they wouldn't be secret then. Of course on the exterior of the house, there are what I guess could be called fake windows. They're just decoration for outside the house so that people won't get suspicious by the fact that there's no regular windows on the third floor. The glass in those fake windows is so heavily frosted that it's impossible to see through them clearly."

"So where is the panel for Nick's room, Kerr?" asks Scott, "Since you know these passages like the back of your hand."

"Right here," replies Kerr, as he stops and presses a small button on the wall, which causes the panel into Nick's room to open.

Kerr, Scott, and Drew head into Nick's bedroom, and are shocked to say the least to find that Nick is nowhere to be found, not to mention the fact that his bed hasn't been slept in.


Ashley and Zachary sit down at the dining room table, as Mrs. Lansbury pours them both a cup of coffee.

"So, Zach, how does it feel to be a contracted model?"

"Well, pretty good," replies Zachary, "I'll wait until I've done a few shoots though first, before making up my mind completely. By the way, I'm sure they told you, but I guess you'll be sharing the camera lens with me. I guess there's a big craze over twin models, so Five Star management decided to market us together, since we can pretty easily pass for identical twins, even if we aren't."

"No they didn't tell me that," replies Ashley, with what almost seems like a hint of disappointment in his voice.

"What's wrong, Ash?" asks Zachary, "Don't you want to share the camera with me? I'd think you'd have no problem with it, considering that we already share a bed."

"Tricked ya."

"You jackass," replies Zachary, as he playfully punches his brother in the arm.

A few minutes later Nick Lachey walks into the room, and replies, "Good morning, Ashley, Zachary."

"You can call us Ash and Zach," replies Ashley, "Everyone does."

"Ok, Ash, Zach," replies Nick with a smile, "Oh, I ran into your dad on the way downstairs. He has an early meeting, so he's left for the office already."

"Ok," replies Zachary, "So, how did you sleep?"

"More importantly," replies Drew, as he walks into the dining room with Kerr and Scott, "Where did you sleep?"

"What on earth do you mean?" asks Nick, innocently, "I slept in the third floor guest room that was given to me."

"Oh really?" asks Scott, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Well, Nick, I know you're lying," replies Kerr, "We were just in your room and you weren't there and your bed hasn't been slept in."

"Ok, you caught me," replies Nick, "I accidentally locked myself out of the room last night, so I slept on the sofa in that room at the end of the second floor hallway."

"The collectibles room?"

"Yeah," replies Nick, "The collectibles room. Mrs. Lansbury let me into my room this morning with her spare key."

Deciding to join into this conversation, Ashley replies, "Nice try, Nick. But you're lying. You see my father had custom built locks made for every door in this house. If you lock the door from the inside, it can't be unlocked from the outside. Just as if you lock it from the outside, you can't unlock it from the inside. Now, the lock can only be locked if the door is closed, because when you turn the key in either side of the door, a two-inch bolt slides out. So, it's impossible to lock the door while it's open and then close it, because the bolt would hit the door frame and not close. Meaning that it's impossible for you to lock yourself out of the room."

"Ok, so Nick," replies Drew, "Where were you? And don't say your room, because we've already established that it'd be impossible for you to lock yourself out of the room and since your door was locked from the inside you should have been in the room when Kerr, Scott, and I were just up there. But you weren't, so there's no way you could possibly have gotten out of your room, unless..."

"Unless what?" asks Nick, fearful that he's about to be discovered.

"Unless you know about the secret passages," replies Drew.

"Actually," replies Zachary, "even if Nick did know about the secret passages, and I don't see how he could, he couldn't have gotten out of the room through them. Because while you can enter the guest bedrooms through the secret passages, you can't exit the guest bedrooms through them. Because you see the secret passages are for family only, so while all the guest bedrooms are connected to the secret passages, the secret panels in the guest rooms can only be opened from inside the secret passages. Which means someone who knows about the passages had to open the panel into Nick's room from inside the passages. So, since I assume Drew only found out about the passages this morning, from Kerr and Scott, the only other people in the house who knows about them, are Mrs. Lansbury, Aunt Alexandra, Diana, Ashley, my father, and me. I know that Ashley and I weren't in the secret passages at all, so we didn't let Nick out of his room."

"I've used the secret passages today," replies Mrs. Lansbury, who has been standing quietly in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room listening to the conversation, "But, I haven't been in the third floor passageways for several days now, so I certainly didn't open the panel into Master Lachey's bedroom."

"Ok," replies Ashley, "so we've established that Zach, Mrs. Lansbury, Kerr, Scott, and myself didn't let you out, so that leaves Diana, Aunt Alexandra, and my father."

Knowing that he's been cornered, Nick suddenly blurts out, "I have to go to the bathroom," and then runs out of the dining room as fast as he possibly can.


"I said no."

"Come on, please?"

"No, we are not going out with Justin again."

"You're being unreasonable and extremely unfair."

"Am I? Well, Bruce, I'm sorry if you think that, but I think that it's unfair of you to keep insisting that we go out with a guy that I don't even like."

"How can you not like Justin Timberlake, Seth? Give me one good reason."

"Well, how about the fact that he is so obviously attracted to guys, as the three of us have been out on a date every Friday and Saturday night for the last four months, yet he refuses to say whether or not he's gay or straight? He even refuses to say that he's bisexual."

"He explained that! He doesn't believe in those kinds of labels."

"I'm sorry Bruce, but I'm putting my foot down," replies Seth, "We're not dating Justin anymore. At least not until he grows up and decides whether he's gay, straight, or bisexual. He might not like those labels as he calls them, but one of them is a undeniable part of who he is. So as long as he's refusing to call himself by one of those labels, he's refusing to acknowledge his true self."

"That's some twisted logic and you know it."

"That might be so, Bruce, but we're not going out with him anymore!"

"Maybe you're not," replies Bruce, "But I am!"

"What are you talking about Bruce? When it comes to dating there is no I for you and me. There's only we. We either both date someone, or we don't date at all. Remember?"

"I remember," replies Bruce, "But maybe I'm just tired of us always having to agree on men. I can't even count the number of guys that I've wanted to go out with but didn't because you didn't like them."

"It's a two way street you know," replies Seth, "There's been quite a few guys that I'd like to go out with that you didn't like."

After several minutes of silence, Bruce replies, "What are we doing? I mean will you listen to us? We vowed long time ago that we would never let a guy come between us, and yet we're letting it happen now."

"Yeah, I suppose we are," replies Seth, "You really like Justin, don't you Bruce?"

"Yes, Seth, I do. In fact I really do think that I'm starting to fall in love with him."

"Well, ok, I'll give Justin another month, but if he hasn't finally decided what he is by then, we don't see him anymore. Deal?"

As he says this, Seth holds out his hand to Bruce, whom without hesitation grabs it and shakes it as he replies, "Deal."

Seth and Bruce then hug each other, and head upstairs to the bedroom of their apartment to start getting ready for their date with Justin Timberlake tonight.


Don Smith has been busy with meeting upon meeting upon meeting today. Since coming into the office this morning at eight, he's hardly had two minutes to himself. Now, finally, at a quarter to two in the afternoon, he finally has some free time. Actually, he's done for the day and could be heading home, but decides not to just yet in favor of relaxing in his office for a few minutes before heading home.

Just as he was about to leave, Nick races into his office, a look of panic written on his face. Seeing this, Don jumps up and rushes over to Nick, asking, "What's wrong?"

"They know."

"Who? What?"

"Drew, Ashley, Zachary, Kerr and Scott."

"What do they know? Maybe you should start at the beginning."

"Well, essentially, they know that I didn't sleep in my room last night. I tried to cover up and say that I locked myself out of my room and slept in the collectibles room, but then Ashley informed me that you had special locks made for every door in the house which would make locking oneself out of a room impossible. Then the subject of the secret passages were brought up by Drew. Kerr and Scott took him into my room via the passages when they couldn't go through my locked door. Then Zachary explained that the secret panels in the guest bedrooms can only be opened from within the secret passages, so they knew that in order for me to get out of the room, a member of the family who knew about the passages must have opened it for me. When I left, the only possible suspects left were Diana, Alexandra, and you. By know I'm sure Diana and Alexandra have said that they didn't let me into the passages last night, so they know it was you. So they're of course going to be wondering why."

"Ok, well, then I guess we have no choice," replies Don, "It's time to go home and tell everyone that we're together. So, that includes my family, and your brother and bandmates."

"I know," replies Nick as he takes a deep breath, "You know I've known for awhile that we'd have to do this eventually, but I don't know, now that the time has come to actually do it, it seems I don't know, harder to do."

"Yeah, I know what you mean," replies Don, "It's worse for me though. Your brother and your bandmates already know that you're gay. They just don't know that you're dating a man who is twelve years older than you. In my case, I have to go home and tell my kids that I'm dating a man. Now normally, that probably wouldn't be a problem, considering that Ashley and Zachary are gay, and Diana is accepting and supportive of that. But things are complicated big time by the fact that they now know that Katherine is alive. If I tell them that I'm going out with you, they'll think I'm cheating on Katherine, unless I admit to knowing for the last year that she's alive and that I've legally divorced her. That is something which will come as quite a shock to them."

"Ok, well, come on Donny," replies Nick, as he wraps his arms around Don's waist, "We need to be strong. I know it's going to be hard for you to tell your kids this, but I want you to know, that no matter what their reaction may be, I will remain at your side. I love you Donny, with all my heart and soul, and I will stand by you no matter what."

"Thanks Nicky," replies Don, "I love you too, with all my heart and soul. Come on, let's go home."


"You wanted to see us father?" asks Prince Nikolas, as Prince Stephen and him walk up to their father's throne.

"Yes, I wanted to tell you that your mother called from the states. She'll be heading home today, and she's bringing her sister's family and some American pop group with her."

"So, we're finally going to get to meet Aunt Katherine's kids," replies Prince Stephen, "It's kind of exciting to meet family that you've never met before."

"You'll also get to meet your Uncle Don."

"Uncle Don?" asks Prince Nikolas, "But, I thought he was dead."

"Nope, he isn't," replies King Christian, "He's very much alive. To make a long story short, your grandfather Thomas hired a hit man to kill him, so he decided to fake his death and let Thomas think he got what he's wanted since the day Katherine got pregnant with Ashley and Zachary."

"I never much liked grandfather Thomas."

"Trust me, Stephen, that's a good thing. Thomas Winthrop is a cold hearted and ruthless man who will do anything necessary to get what he wants. Which should be abundantly clear, considering his hiring a hit man to kill Don, after having a new will forged for him. Not to mention countless other things that I don't have time to go into at the moment. I have a meeting with the Archbishop of Crosslakes to go to, so I'll take to you boys later."


To be continued...

Well, here's Chapter 16. Hope ya enjoyed it. I had intended on putting the part in which Don and Nick tell everyone about them being together in this chapter, but I'm not exactly sure how I want to proceed with that scene yet, so I figured instead of making you wait longer to read this chapter, I'd post this now, and put the rest in Chapter 17. Stay tuned! And until next time, stay *NSYNC.

This story is copyright ©2001-2002 by Jayson Colin Vascardi. All rights reserved.
If you don't use the above email link, please remember to include "Affairs" in the email subject line. All emails will be answered. Please send email feedback to my Yahoo! account, and not my Hotmail account. I only use the Hotmail account for MSN Messenger.
If you'd like to chat with me, I hang out in the Nifty Boy Bands chat room quite often, using my first name, Jayson. I've also started going to the Nifty Writers Chat Room now, so stop by sometime and we can chat if you want.
ICQ: 53886549
AOL IM: JCVascardi
MSN Messenger:
My Website: