Here we go with Part 24. Sorry to be so slow getting this part out. It's been busy but a lot of it is just not sitting down and writing. Plus there's this new red convertible sitting in the garage just begging to be driven. And then my sister came to visit and go to Disneyland. And then there's Daylight Savings Time and I've just been too damn lazy to sit my butt down in front of yet another computer. Thanks to everyone who has written, I really enjoy hearing from you. Now I finally have this posted I'll focus on replying to you.
One of the things that seems to be a tradition on here is for authors to mention some of their favorite stories... I have been an avid reader of quite a few: Forever (Back after a hiatus), Twist of Fate (I'm waiting for another installment, Jeff), Yellow, Just Together (Celebrity section but has N'Sync in it), Brian and Me (what a sad ending, but I guess DLS left room for a sequel -- hope, hope, hope), Jamie's Romance, My Surprise Romance, Lance in Shining Armour, Studio in the Country, Lucky Me, Not Meant to Be, Mile High Meeting (I'm still ahead of you Cam, but not by much), Model Romance, Beneath It All and the list goes on. My email address is email@example.com, if you feel inclined to write and let me know what you think or just want to chat.
Now on to the standard disclaimers. I doubt that anything I write will make any difference since if you found this little gathering place on the World Wide Web you're probably going to go ahead and read what's here no matter what anyone says. But here it goes anyway...
If you have a problem reading about guys who like other guys as something more than just friends, you need to go find some other place to poke around. If you are under the legal age to read erotic fiction where you live, you probably wouldn't get in trouble for reading this story, but you really don't belong here. And most importantly, many of the names mentioned in this story have been changed to protect the guilty (or is that supposed to be the innocent?). Under no circumstances will I disclose whether or not I actually know any of The Backstreet Boys or any other celebrity who may make an appearance. Nor do I believe in outing people, so I will not disclose any information about the true sexual orientation of anyone mentioned in this story.
Previously in the story of Nick and the Altos
"I'm going to find out who did this and there is going to be Hell to pay," Jason said angrily.
"Jason, no!!! That's not what mom and dad would want. Dad spent his entire life getting away from that mentality. Don't even think about doing anything. Just let the police handle it. Besides, they already know Mark de la Torre was involved. He was killed in the driveway and I identified his picture for this detective."
"That son of a bitch..."
"Jason, please. Mikey's right," Jennifer said.
"I know, but I don't like it."
"Just be cool, ok?" I said to him.
"So Mikey, do you want to stay at my house? Jen is going to stay with me."
"Thanks, Jason, but Nick and the guys are at the Montecito Inn. I really want to spend the night with Nick."
"Ok, but he's welcome at my place too."
"Thanks, J, maybe later."
Jason and Jennifer got in his car and the four of got back in the Town Car Kevin had hired.
"I guess we need to go get some clothes and stuff, huh?" I asked them.
"Yeah, we hadn't planned on coming out here so we don't have anything other than the clothes on our backs," Brian said.
"That seems to be getting to be a habit when you come out here," I said.
We made a quick stop at Nordstrom on our way back to Montecito. When we got back to the hotel, I was really exhausted and wanted to take a nap. We made plans to go out to dinner around 8:00 and then I guided Nick into his bedroom and shut the door."
Once we were by ourselves, I leaned back against the door and let the tears start flowing. Nick walked over to me and put his arms around me. He didn't say a word, he just stood there and held me for a few minutes. Then he started guiding me toward the bed and we sat down, still not saying anything.
After sitting there for I don't know how long, I turned my head towards him and softly said, "God, Nick. I don't know what I would do without you. I sure as Hell don't deserve anyone as wonderful as you."
"Wrong, Mikey," he said in reply, "I'm the one who's lucky."
"I don't know what I'm going to do if she dies, Nick."
"Mikey, whatever happens we'll get through it. Together, Mikey, you aren't alone."
I looked into his beautiful blue eyes and leaned over and kissed him briefly. Then I lay back and pulled him down next to me. Without either one of us saying anything, he instinctively knew that I just needed him to hold me close, nothing more. After a few minutes I relaxed and fell asleep.
The next thing I knew, someone was shaking my shoulder gently and saying my name. As I opened my eyes I realized it was Nick.
"Mikey, we need to meet the guys in a few minutes for dinner."
"Ok, guess I am pretty hungry. Oh, and thanks, Nicky..."
"For knowing what I needed more than anything."
"Hey, isn't that what boyfriends are supposed to be for?"
"Yeah, but it seems like it's been pretty one sided ever since we met."
"You don't hear me complaining do you?"
"No, but still..."
"You're going to get your turn, Mikey. Probably sooner than later, too."
"Well, depending on what happens because of my little outburst at MTV this morning, I could be the one who is falling apart pretty damned soon."
"You think they are going to play that on the MTV news segments?"
"I'm sure they will if Carson has any say in the matter. He's really out to get me. What really sucks is that I don't have any clue as to why. I never did anything to offend him as far as I know."
"Maybe he wants your cute butt," I said laughing.
"YUCK!!! How disgusting would that be, seeing Carson Daly naked!"
Just then there was a knock on the door and AJ yelled "Hey, you two sexaholics. Get dressed and get out here. I'm hungry."
We got up off the bed and straightened our clothes and hair and went out of the bedroom. Everyone really was there waiting on us. "Sorry about that," I said.
"No problem, Mikey. We're not in a big rush," Kevin said.
We went out and got into the waiting limo and went to this really good Chinese restaurant. Jeff arrived shortly after we did. After we ordered Jeff filled us in on what he had learned from the police. They had no ideas yet who had been behind the attack.
I just sat at the table lost in my thoughts while Jeff and everyone else talked. I know this probably sounds terrible, but the death of Sara was hitting me harder than the death of my father. I'm not saying I didn't love my father, but Sara had always been there for me when I was growing up. My parents were around and it wasn't that they ignored me, but they were busy doing stuff. Sara was the person who really looked after us.
I felt Nick take hold of my hand under the table and as I focused back on the present, I realized that the entire table was silent and everyone was looking at me. Nick said quietly, "Mikey, are you ok? Jeff asked you a question and you didn't even notice."
"Oh, sorry. I was just thinking about stuff. What's up, Jeff?"
"I was wondering if you were going to be up to going over to the house tomorrow?"
"I don't know. It sort of depends on what is happening with mom. And to be honest, I don't know if I want to even set foot inside the place, at least until it is cleaned up. I think seeing all the blood that must be there would be pretty tough."
I felt Nick squeeze my hand again and turned to him and smiled. The feelings I had towards him at that moment can't be described. I just hoped that I could be as totally supporting and caring for him when the time came as he was for me in the latest crisis in my life and when Angela died. There is no way I could ever put into words the love I felt for and from him.
I was able to stay in the present during the remainder of dinner. I'm not going to say I was this stunning conversationalist or anything, but I tend to be on the quiet side even on a good day. On the ride back to the hotel I called the hospital and was informed that my mother's condition had not changed.
It was around 10:00 when we got back to the hotel. We went up stairs and Nick and I said goodnight to everyone and went into our bedroom. I walked over to the window and looked out into the night. I didn't realize it but Nick was standing just inside the door looking at me sadly. After a couple of minutes he quietly walked up behind me and put his arms around me and said, "Mikey, I love you so much. It's tearing me up inside seeing you so sad. Come to bed and let me hold you."
I turned around and looked at his beautiful face and saw the tears in his eyes. I tilted my head up and kissed him gently and said, "Nick, I have missed sleeping with you so much. And if there are any doubts in your mind, I love you more than I have ever loved anyone. Don't get me wrong, I love my family and I am so sad and so angry about what has happened, Nick, but you are the most important person in my life. If my mother dies I'm going to cry and I'm going to be pissed, but the love we have is more special than anything. I just want you to know that."
I think Nick was pretty blown away by what I said because he just stood there looking at me, holding me. Then he took his right hand and lifted it up and started running his fingers through my hair. I noticed his tears were flowing more freely as he leaned over and kissed me. When he finally broke the kiss, he didn't say anything, he just led me over to the bed and started undressing me. Once I was down to my boxers, he pulled back the covers and I slide into bed. Then he walked around to the other side, undressed and slid in beside me and put his arms around me.
I don't know how long I stayed awake, but I felt so comfortable and safe. I know I fell asleep first because I remember him stroking my arm with his fingers... it never stopped while I was awake.
I awoke the next morning with Nick spooned up behind me and his arms around me. I could tell he was still sound asleep because of his slow breathing rate. Fortunately my bladder wasn't about to burst so I just lay there savoring the intimacy. After 10 or 15 minutes the peace was shattered by the sound of Nick's phone ringing.
I extricated myself from his arms and dug the phone out of his pant's pocket and answered it. It was Jason calling to tell me that he had just received a call from the hospital and that we needed to get over there as quickly as possible. I asked him to pick us up on the way.
I awakened Nick and told him we needed to get to the hospital. He got up faster than any time I could recall and we took turns showering and shaving and then got dressed. Jason was just pulling up to the entrance when we rushed out of the lobby.
I guess one of the few common traits that Jason and I share is the tendency to drive like a bat out of Hell, particularly when the need arises. I probably tend to do that more often, but Jason wasted absolutely no time getting to St Francis hospital in his Suburban.
We raced to the hospital's intensive care unit where a nurse stopped us. Jason explained that we were here because we had been called about our mother. The nurse looked at Jason, Jennifer and I and then looked at Nick and asked, "Ok, but who is he?"
"He's a ..." I started to reply.
"I'm his boyfriend," Nick said as he grabbed hold of my hand.
I turned and looked at him with my mouth wide open and he grinned at me. I turned back to the nurse and said, "Yes, and he's part of the family. And he's coming with us."
The nurse gave us a pretty evil look but realized this wasn't a battle she had a chance of winning. She led us into the room where our mother was located. When we entered the room we found a doctor and two nurses attending our mother. After a couple of minutes, the doctor rose and came over to where we were standing and introduced himself, "Hello, I'm Dr. Josephs."
Jason introduced Jennifer and I to Dr. Josephs. When he didn't say anything about Nick, I took over and said, "This is my boyfriend, Nick. He is part of the family and our mother would want him here."
The doctor looked down and saw Nick and I hold hands, smiled and said, "You don't need to worry Nick, I'm not about to spoil the dreams of my two daughters and thousands of other teenage girls by saying anything to anyone."
"It doesn't matter, sir. It's about to become pretty common knowledge after the past couple of days."
"I hope that's ok with you and not something being forced on you," the doctor said.
"I'm ok with it and I'm sick of hiding who I am and the most wonderful boyfriend anyone could hope for."
Dr. Josephs turned his attention back to Jason, Jennifer and I, "Your mother had as good of a night as could be expected, considering the extent of her injuries. I know you were told yesterday that it would be best to wait before removing the fourth bullet, but after reviewing the x-rays and consulting with spinal specialists, we're recommending that we schedule surgery as soon as possible to remove it."
"Isn't another operation extremely dangerous for someone in her current condition?" Jennifer asked.
"Yes, but it's our opinion that there is too high of a risk of spinal cord injury if we don't remove it immediately."
"When would you want to operate?" Jennifer asked.
"We have an operating room available at 8:30 and I have reserved it pending your decision."
"I think I would like to talk to our parent's physician before we decide."
"That's Dr. Andrews, if I remember correctly."
"Yes," Jason said.
"Why don't you come to my office and I'll get him on the phone for you," Dr. Josephs said.
We followed Dr. Josephs to his office and he had his secretary place a call to Dr. Andrews. When Dr. Andrews came on the line, Dr. Josephs explained the situation with our mother and why he and his colleagues believed it was important to operate as soon as possible. Basically it was a bunch of medical terminology that none of us understood. Once the two doctors were through conversing, Dr. Andrews addressed the three of us and told us that he agreed with the proposed surgery.
After the phone call was complete, we talked amongst ourselves and decided to authorize the surgery. My brother signed the consent forms and Dr. Josephs said that the surgery should be completed by noon. We decided to go get some breakfast and then come back to the hospital and wait for the surgery to be completed.
We drove over to State Street and found a place to eat. We were pretty quiet during breakfast. Nick held my hand under the table. The food was good but I just pretty much forced it down because my mind was on other things. After we were finished, Jason drove back to the hospital and we were taken to a private lounge to wait for the surgery to be completed.
Nick and I grabbed a couch and Jason and Jennifer sat in a couple of comfortable chairs. We were all lost in our own thoughts. Nick just sat there silently with me laying down with my head in his lap, his arm resting across my chest. He occasionally ran the fingers of his other hand through my hair.
I'm not a real clockwatcher, but time dragged by so slowly. I glanced at the clock on the wall and saw 10:00 pass, then 11:00 and then 12:00. Jason really started to get antsy when it got to 12:30 and no one had come to talk to us. He got up and said he was going to go find out what was happening, but Jennifer stopped him and said she would go see if there was any news. She came back a few minutes later and told us that mom was still in surgery.
Finally around 2:00 Dr. Josephs came into the room with a tired look on his face. We all got up and walked towards him. As we approached he said, "As you've probably noticed, the surgery took longer than we expected. There were some complications, but the surgery went well and your mother is in recovery."
"When will she wake up?" Jason asked.
"It's too soon to tell. I really don't expect her to wake today. Maybe tomorrow but it may be a couple of days still."
I could tell Jason was really frustrated over the lack of concrete information. In order to try to prevent an outburst from him, I spoke up, "Maybe it would be best if we go home for now. Can we come back this evening and at least look in on her?"
"I think it would be fine if you came back later. I'll let the ICU nurse's station know that I have approved a visit," Dr. Josephs replied.
"Wait a minute, I want to know what her prognosis is," Jason said bluntly.
"It's too soon to tell, Jason," Dr. Josephs replied. "She was in a very fragile state to begin with and five and a half hours of surgery won't help her condition any, but it had to be done. It is still going to be several days before we know what to expect. Even after she wakes up, we aren't out of the woods."
"Come on Jason, let's go home and relax," Jennifer said as she took him by the arm. "Thanks for everything you are doing, Dr. Josephs."
"You're welcome. Someone will contact you immediately if there is any change in your mother's condition."
Jennifer dragged a reluctant Jason out of the lounge, followed by Nick and me. I wasn't really in the mood to head back to the hotel or to hang out with Jason, so Nick and I decided to head off on our own for a while. I needed to buy a new cell phone to replace the one sitting at the bottom of the harbor and I then I just wanted to wander around with Nick.
Nick called for a cab and we had the driver take us part way down State Street. When we got to Carillo Street, I asked the driver to let us out and paid the fare. We started walking towards the ocean and eventually found an AT&T wireless store where I replaced my phone. While I was dealing with that, Nick called Brian and let him know where we were and that we would call them later to make plans for dinner. I was feeling pretty badly about ignoring them after they had come out from New York with Nick.
We wandered around for a while and then caught another cab that took us all the way down State Street to Cabrillo Boulevard. We got out and walked across the lawn and bike path along the street and then across the sand to the water. There was no one out on the beach, probably because of the signs warning people to stay out of the water due to high bacterial counts. Nick took my hand as we walked towards Sterns Wharf. When we reached the wharf we started running into groups of people so I let go of his hand as we headed up to the entrance of the wharf and then walked along the bike path to the breakwater.
When we got to the very end of the breakwater we were again by ourselves and Nick leaned up against the wall and pulled me back so I was leaning up against him, wrapping his arms around my waist.
"It feels so wonderful to be together with you like this again," I said.
He gave me a squeeze and said, "My sentiment exactly. Just wish it wasn't because of what happened though. When are you guys going to start making plans for the funerals?"
"I don't even want to think about that, particularly my father's. Assuming my mother recovers, it seems like we should wait until she can go. I feel the same way about Sara and a couple of others. Some of the staff have family of their own to handle the planning but I know my Mom would want to attend Sara's funeral."
"What about your grandfather?"
"I couldn't care less what happens with him. I'm sure not going if there even is one," I replied bitterly.
"Sorry for bringing that up, Mikey."
"It's ok. God I hate him for all the pain and trouble he has caused."
"So what do you want to do this evening?"
"I don't know. Seems like we need to spend time with the rest of the guys, since they're here. What do you think they would want to do?"
"I don't know. They are probably enjoying just relaxing. What about going over to your brother's place and having dinner delivered and just hanging out? That will be a pleasant change for us."
"Let me call Jason and see if he and Jen are up for the company," I said as I pulled out my phone. I spoke with Jen for a few minutes and arranged for us to show up around 6:00. Then Nick called Brian and told him about the plans.
Nick and I hung out at the end of the breakwater for about an hour. Every once in a while some people would come towards us and we would separate discretely until after they had left. Finally we started walking back towards Cabrillo Boulevard. We caught a taxi and had it take us back to the hospital. We went to the Intensive Care Unit and one of the nurses took us to my mother's room. Apparently someone had made a notation about Nick being allowed to visit because there were no objections to him accompanying me.
There was a nurse sitting in the room when we entered. We spoke briefly and learned that her condition hadn't changed. I went over beside the bed and picked up her hand and told her that Nick and I were there. I told her how much I missed her and that she had to get better. Nick put his hand on top of her hand and spoke to her too, telling her that he was anxious to see her and spend more time with her.
We weren't allowed to stay very long and both leaned over and gave her a kiss before leaving. We caught another cab to take us back to the hotel. When we arrived we stopped in our room for a quick cuddling session and then tracked down the rest of the group.
"I'm sorry we ducked out on you for the entire day, guys. I feel sort of lame about you coming all the way out here and then dumping you."
"It's ok, Mikey," AJ said, "It's not like we didn't find something to keep us busy. We went down to the beach and did a little shopping."
"A little shopping?" Nick asked. "When in history have you only done a little shopping. How many stores did you terrorize?"
"Just one or two," AJ said laughing.
"More like a dozen," Kevin said.
"That's more like the AJ I know," Nick said.
"So you guys ready to go over to my brother's place for dinner?" I asked.
"As long as there's going to be plenty of food. I'm starving," Brian said.
"Believe me, that will not be a problem we will have tonight," I replied.
We all wandered downstairs and got into a waiting limo for the trip. My brother only lives a few minutes away from the Montecito Inn. Unfortunately, the limo driver took the most direct route which meant we drove past my parent's house. When we passed the entrance I could see the yellow tape that had been put up to keep people out. I guess my reaction didn't come as a big surprise to Nick, who realized where we were and pulled me into a hug, explaining to the rest of the guys what had just happened.
A few minutes later we pulled up to my brother's house and went inside. The dinner wasn't due to be delivered for a while, so we went out on the patio and everyone except for Nick and me got something to drink and took a seat near the pool. Nick led me out across the lawn to a secluded part of the yard and sat down on the lawn, leaning up against the wall of the planter. I sat down between his legs, leaned back and he wrapped his arms around me.
"I'm sorry we didn't have the driver take another route, sweetie."
"It's ok, Nick. I need to get over reacting like this. Plus you guys don't know your way around this area so how would you have known we were going by the house."
"So do you think your mother will move back in when she's better?"
"I don't know. I don't see how she could bear to live there with all the sadness that's associated with it now."
"Yeah, but she has to have a lot of great memories of happier times," Nick said.
I sat there without saying anything for a little while. Finally I responded, "Yeah, there were a lot of good times. It's such a big place though. I don't know whether she would even be interested in living there alone."
We continued to sit there quietly, enjoying the closeness. After a few minutes I decided to ask Nick something that I had been thinking about a lot before the events of the past couple of days, "So Nick, have you thought about when you are going to talk to your family about us?"
"I've pretty much been avoiding that subject even though I know I need to do it."
"With what happened at MTV, you probably need to take care of it pretty soon so they don't hear it on television instead of from you."
"I know. It's probably just going to make a tense situation even worse."
"Maybe you should go for a visit instead of doing it over the phone," I suggested.
"Yeah, then they can't just hang up on me and I get to see the looks on their faces..."
"You really think it's going to be that bad?"
"Yeah, my mom doesn't exactly think the world of me these days since I broke away."
"You know that no matter what happens, I still love you."
Nick tightened his hold around me and kissed me on the neck sending shivers down my spine. Then he said, "Yes, I know you love me, but not as much as I love you..."
"Oh, and how do you know that?" I said indignantly.
"No way you could possibly love me more than I love you," he said as he kissed my neck again.
We were so engrossed in each other that neither of us noticed that Jennifer had walked over to where we were sitting until she spoke, "Uh guys, there are rooms upstairs, you know. I'm sure Jason wouldn't have a problem with you using one for a bit of privacy."
"Go away, Jen. We're doing just fine by ourselves," I said without looking at her.
"Just wanted you loverboys to know that dinner is ready if you can keep your hands to yourselves."
"Ok, we'll be there in a minute," Nick said.
"Um, Nick, if you keep this up I'm not going to be able to walk over there where everyone is sitting without a major case of embarrassment."
"I don't mind if you are the one who's embarrassed. It can't be any worse than everyone seeing that picture of me in your spa."
"There's a big difference..."
"Well, true, I am a lot bigger than you are so I can see why you would be embarrassed."
"In your dreams you are a lot bigger than me. Ok, I'm getting up now, sex fiend," as I started to stand up. Fortunately my excitement wasn't very obvious and I figured by the time we got over to the pool, it wouldn't be visible at all. I turned around and reached my hand out to Nick and pulled him to his feet. He stood behind me as he rearranged things to be less obvious.
"This is one of those times when I wish I were your size," he muttered.
"Nick, you have to realize three inches isn't exactly big. You shouldn't go wishing for it to be smaller," I said as I turned and headed towards the smell of food.
"It's a lot bigger than three inches and you know it," he said as he slapped me on the back of my head.
"I don't know if I would say a lot bigger. We can always asked the rest of the guys and see what they think."
"Don't even think about doing something like that," Nick said as he started jogging after me.
When we got over to where the dinner had been arranged, I said, "Hey guys, do you think Nick has a really sm..."
"Mikey, you had better shut your mouth right now or you are going in the pool, clothes and all," Nick shouted as he grabbed me around my chest.
"What was it you wanted to know Mikey," AJ asked.
"Do you think..."
"Mikey, I'm warning you!"
"Come on, Mikey. Ask away. We'll protect you from Nick," Kevin said laughing.
"You guys have known Nick since he was what, 13 years old. Right?"
"Yeah," Brian said.
"Well, do you think his ...."
Just then we were interrupted by the sound of a phone ringing. Jason got up and went over to the table and picked up the handset and said, "Hello."
"Yes, this is Jason Alto."
"Ok, we'll be there as quickly as possible, goodbye."
Well, that's it for Part 24 of Nick and the Altos. Part 25 won't take anywhere near as long as this one did -- I promise. Any comments, suggestions or whatever, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading... Mikey