"Get Ready...Tonight...Gonna make this a night [love] to remember" by Shalamar

My Kinda Guy
A Love to Remember
Chapter 23
by JT Poole and Nikki Brown

March 7, 2005 -- Orlando, FL -- Orange County Court House

Willa Ford's POV

I can't believe that bastard had me thrown in jail for beating his ass. He's very lucky that I didn't beat him to death and toss his ass over the damn balcony to his death. That's what I get for fooling around with fuckin' Colin Farrell. I thought a guy with his reputation liked the rough stuff but I guess I was wrong. I'll know next time not to trust a guy that looks and acts like him. Pussy ass fucking bitch he is. I'm sitting here in court waiting for my court case to be called and the social services worker from the other night just arrived with Bella. I know what's going to happen and it's not good. When I talked to Rebecca the other night she told me I needed to make a decision and I guess now is the time for me to do that. Since I already know I'm going to do some time in the joint for this arrest, I might as well do what's right and get Bella and her daddy together. I just wish she was able to meet her with me, but it's too late for that now.

"Hello again Miss Willaford," Rebecca says as she sat down next to me.

"Hi," I say, looking over to see Bella sitting next to the court services officer.

"Well after talking to your lawyer and looking at the case and evidence against you, you're going to do some hard time for this one. What possessed you to do those things to that man? You could've killed him," Rebecca says, looking down now.

"I didn't kill him," I say, looking at her as she shook her head at me.

"I read the doctors report of his injuries," she tells me as she opened her bag and pulled the report out. "The gentleman sustained multiple bruises to his chest caused by being hit with a blunt object. Lacerations to the neck, back and arms that looks to be caused by a rope of some kind and hand and fist prints to different regions of his face. That's assault with intent to kill Miss Willaford."

"I had no intention of killing him. We were having sex," I tell her as her eyes widened and my lawyer walked over to us and cleared his throat.

"They are ready to call your case now," he says, looking at Rebecca now.

"Well that's great," I say, turning to get up.

"While you're incarcerated, where would you like your daughter to be housed? We already have a foster family lined up for her if she has no family to go to," Rebecca says, pulling out a set of papers.

"She isn't going to a foster home, send her to her father," I say as she looked at me funny.

"Her father?" She asks, looking at me now as she stood up. "I wasn't aware that her father was in the picture since there isn't one listed on the birth certificate for her."

"She has a father! His name is Nickolas Gene Carter," I say as Rebecca looked at me and the lawyer did too as the bailiff called my case.

March 10, 2005 -- Orlando, FL -- CarterRich (Kevin and JT's Wing)


It's been a long day and I need to get up and get the boys ready to go. I was supposed to be going to the hospital to see Nikki but since Kevin had to run to Jive, I changed my mind about going right now. It's been almost a week now and Nikki is still in the hospital in a coma. >From what the doctors told us, she should've been out of the coma, but it's all a matter of her waking up. All of her vitals are back to normal and the baby is doing just fine. I just hope she wakes up and returns to normal soon. Since she's been in the hospital, Kevin has been doing everything he could to help calm down Howie and Joey. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Howie and Joey have a thing going on. Talk about a fun house, I would love to be a fly trapped on a wall of their house.

It's now a little bit after nine and Tyler just got back in from his small vacation to Virginia to handle things with his ex Randy Orton. I don't know if I should call that a vacation or not but it was a trip regardless and he had to go put an end to what was going on with that fucked up man. I was a little bit skeptical about him flying out to Virginia to meet up with the jerk but he assured me that he would be okay. After he showed me the small arsenal he had, I said `fine' and wished him good luck and that he should call me if he needed some help. I hope he didn't kill the man but in another way I hope he made things final so I never have to see the creep here again.

I don't really want to get up but I have no choice but to since the boys are running around the house like wild animals and I know they probably want their breakfast. Since Tyler isn't officially here, he's not responsible for getting them breakfast and making sure they're ready to start the day. Lawd please give me strength to handle these lil boys today. Stretching, I snap to attention when I hear a door slam and the screech of fear coming from Jaken. Before I could get to the door good I heard Addie shouting and new one of the boys had did something to get on her nerves. I thought she would've been gone back to Willacoochee but she's still here causing problems. I can't wait for her to get the picture that I'm okay and leave. Since she's been here this household doesn't function normally.

"Jaytee!" I hear Jaken shouts, knocking on the door now. "Jaytee!"

"Lawd what is it chile?" I ask, opening the door as Jaken ran into the room behind me and wrapped himself around my leg as Addie Mae came down the hall and stood in front of me. "Is there something wrong Addie?"

"That lil hooligan made me waste my drank," she says, pointing at Jaken with her belt in her hands.

"How did he do a thing like that Addie?" I ask her as she looked at me funny.

"Boy get out my way so I can get his lil ass," she says, tapping her foot now.

"Addie I'm not about to let you hit him," I say as she drew her arm back, acting like she was ready to hit me now.

"Boy don't stand there and act like you can't get hit because I'll hit'cha," she says, cocking her head to the side, glaring at me now.

"Addie just go back to your room," I say, looking down at Jaken as he was trembling now. "Whatever it is he did I'm sure he's sorry."

"You to soft on these lil hoodlums around hur," she says, stepping closer as Jaken squeezed my leg tighter as if he was trying to cut off my circulation or something.

"Addie I said I'll handle this," I tell her as she turned around and walked back down to her room.

"You know this ain't ova lil Chez-It. JT can't be around all the time to block that ass whipping," she says, opening her door and then slamming the door closed behind her.

"I didn't mean to do it Jaytee, I didn't mean it," Jaken says as I tried to walk to the bed to sit down.

"Jake let me sit down please," I say as he let my leg go and I sat down. "Kiddo what happened?"

"Toby and me run down hall and bump her. I not see her there," he says, looking down now.

"Jake it's alright buddy," I say as he looked up at me with tears in his eyes.

This has to stop. Me and Kevin are doing our best to show these boys that we love them and that we would never do anything to hurt them and here it is that we're hurting them because Addie is here trying to kill them at every turn. She's ruining what we're doing here and I'm afraid what we're trying to do isn't going to work with her around. Hell since she's been around it's like Toby's gotten worse instead of better. None of this can keep going on, I have to do something and I guess I need to put my foot down now before their lives are worse off than they were before they came to us.

"Jaytee me don't wanna nother spanking," he says, looking up at me now.

"You're not going to get a spanking buddy," I tell him, pulling him to me and hugging him now.

"But Miss Addie said..." he says as I pulled back from him and shook my head at him.

"Don't you worry about her," I tell him as he looked at me funny. "Come on buddy boy let's go get you dressed so we can get some breakfast and then get ready to go see Auntie Nikki."

"We play with CJ and Joshy today?" He asks, smiling wide now.

"I don't know buddy, maybe you will," I tell him as he got down on the floor, grabbing my hand and pulling me up.

"Yay! We go play now!" He shouts at the top of his lungs now.

"We have to get you ready first, come on let's go," I say as he opened the door and almost pulled me down the hall to his and Toby's room.

Across Town at Jive Entertainment -- Johnny's Wright's Office

Kevin's POV

We've been here in Johnny's office for over two hours now and I'm really getting bored with the turn of events here today. We were supposed to have been discussing things about the upcoming concert tour but Johnny's been talking way too much about what's going on in my life, Howie's life and in Nick's. If he asks one more question about what's going on in either of our personal lives, I'm getting up and going home. I don't have time to be wasting here with him on this mundane stuff. I should actually be home with JT and the boys spending quality time with them.

Speaking of JT and the boys, I wonder if they've gotten up and left to go to the hospital yet. I know he was planning on dropping by the hospital to check on Nikki to see how she was doing. After his visit with her he was going to stop by the police precinct to check on some stuff with Brian's upcoming court cases and some things dealing with John Patrick. With another one of his cases coming up, JT was told that the state would be calling him as a witness to testify to some of the things he's seen in connection with Brian's actions. In regards to all of this shit going on with Brian I wish it was all over. The sooner we get through with his drama, the sooner we can get on with our lives. It seems the more we go on, there's always something going on that causes drama for all of us.

"...and you guys need to do some personal appearances and do some interviews. I think you guys need to get started with that as soon as possible. With the way things have been going with you guys lately, you're all way behind schedule. I think you all should get on the ball with this tour and get started on things at least by tomorrow at the latest," Johnny says as I looked up at him now.

"What! What do you mean we need to get on that at least by tomorrow? I'm not about to leave here now! My wife is in the hospital hanging on by a damn thread! I'm not leaving her damnit!" Howie shouts, getting up now. "I would be by her side right now but I was told that this damn meeting was mandatory!"

"Howard calm down," Johnny says, holding his hands up now. "I'm just telling you guys what needs to be done here. You guys have obligations and responsibilities that you haven't been meeting."

"Fuck obligations Johnny! I should be at the hospital right now with her and not sitting in this damn office with you!" Howie shouts again, turning and heading for the door now. "If something happens with the band I won't fucking be there!"

"Now you wait just a damn minute Howard!" Johnny shouts as D gave him the finger and walks through the door.

"I agree with him Johnny," I say, turning around now and heading for the door too. "His wife is his first priority right now just like your family is yours. When Nikki is alright then we can deal with band stuff."

"You guys will deal with band stuff as I see fit for you! You guys are too far behind schedule as it is now!" Johnny shouts as Nick cowers back a bit.

"Johnny, please be reasonable here! Nikki's in the hospital in a coma," I say as Johnny shook his head at me.

"That's right Kevin. She's in a coma and there's nothing he or any of you can do about it to bring her out of it," he says, glaring at me now.

"You are truly a heartless asshole you know that Johnny," I say as me, Nick and Alex exited the room too.

"You guys get your asses back in here!" Johnny shouts as I gave him the finger this time and kept on walking down the hall as we got to the elevator and called for it. "I'm giving you guys one minute to get back into this office or I'm fining each of you one thousand dollars! Don't you guys dare leave this damn building!"

"You do whatever the fuck you want to do you pretentious asshole!" I shout at him as the elevator doors opened and it seems that all eyes in the office were on us now.

"You guys will regret this!" Johnny shouts as I waved at him dismissively as we stepped into the elevator as the doors closed.

We're on our way out of Jive right now and all I can think about doing right now is being at home with JT and the boys. Considering the circumstances with D and Nikki, things between the two of us have been surprisingly good. I'm shocked that the issues going on with our friends haven't poured over into our lives too much. With some small disturbances from Addie, everything else has been alright. I just hope that Addie gets it through her head that none of us in the house want her around and decides to go back to Willacoochee and leave us the hell alone. All of our lives would be pretty much stress-free if she wasn't around us.

Around Noon Time -- Outskirts of Town -- Super 8 Motel

Cynthia's POV

It's been a long morning and I'm glad I'm off that damn plane. I ain't too happy about taking planes these days but I didn't want to waste any time getting here. I was already tired since I wasn't able to fall asleep last night. I guess I was riled up about Uncle Lester trying to dissuade me from coming here to see my babies. If I'd known I was going to have to deal with his craziness, I would've never said anything about me finding them.

Oh well, I just arrived here in town and this is where Mister Jacobs said that John and Lydia lived. I was rather surprised to see him when he popped up the other day before I was released. He said that he had gotten some last minute information and felt that I should have it. The information was the new address to where John and Lydia were living and it seems it was this big place out on the outskirts of town. From what Mister Jacobs told me and the pictures he showed me of the house, the two of them live together with their families and two other people in that place. If I had to look for this place without a picture, that place could be mistaken for a hotel or a small shopping center.

Since getting here into my room I've been contemplating whether or not I should just pop up there at the house and see what happens or should I devise a way to ease into their lives. I have a whole lot of time to think of something but I would like to see them before they are old and gray.

Late Afternoon -- Back at CarterRich (Kevin and JT's Wing)


After getting back here with the boys from our little outing, I received a phone call from a new client named Robin Thicke. It seems Robin is having some problems with some crazed fans and he needs someone to handle some security details for him while he's in Orlando on vacation. Assuring him that I could handle the job for him, he agreed to stop by here and sign the necessary documentation and tell me about what's going on and what he needs taken care of. From what I've seen on TV and heard about him in the media he's a very hot guy and I would see why he would have problems with crazed fans. If I wasn't already married to and in love with Kevin I would give Robin Thicke a run for his money.

"Hey baby what you up to?" Kevin asks, walking into the room and then leaning down to kiss me on the mouth.

"Nothing much handsome, just sitting here going through some activity reports for the last couple of days," I say, closing the folder for Mariah Carey that I had been reading through. "What's on your mind?"

"Have you and the boys made any plans for dinner yet?" He asks, sitting in front of my desk now.

"Not yet but I'm sure they are getting hungry now with the way they've been running around here playing," I tells him as he shook his head. "Has Tyler gotten back yet?"

"Yeah he's in the back," he says, leaning his elbows on the desk as he looked at me. "Baby what's on your mind?"

"A whole lot of stuff baby. Don't worry about it," I tell him, getting up and walking around the desk and pushing him back in the chair as I moved around and sat in his lap.

"It's hard not to worry about you baby," he says, kissing my neck now.

"Well you shouldn't baby, I'm alright," I tell him, moaning now as his hands moved under my shirt and he starts caressing the skin of my stomach. "Someone's getting naughty."

"I'm always naughty when I'm around you," he says, nipping at my ear as someone knocked on the door. "Well damn."

"Behave baby," I say, getting out of his lap and straightening up my clothes and walking over to the door to see who it was. "Yeah?"

"JT, Justin's here and he wants to talk to you guys," Tyler says, looking at me with a strange expression on his face.

"He wants to talk, I don't know what for!" I shout out, turning around now. "I think we all said what we needed to say that night Nikki beat his ass!"

"Baby, maybe he's ready to tell us what's going on," Kevin says, getting up now and walking over to me.

"I can care less if he's ready to talk or not! He should have told us that damn night!" I shout out as Kevin wrapped his arms around me and kissed my neck trying to calm me down.

"Just hear him out baby," Kevin says as I turned to look up at him.

"Why should I hear him out Kevin? He shouldn't be here after the fact trying to explain to us why he did what he did!" I shout, turning away from him now. "In my eyes Justin deserves death for what he did to Nick that night!"

"Baby just calm down," Kevin says as Tyler looked at me sadly now. "Justin isn't a bad person; you know he's been plagued with some stuff for a long time."

"Justin is lower than a bad person!" I shout out, throwing my hands up as Kevin looked at me, pleading with his eyes.

"Just hear him out baby, please..." He says as I shook my head now.

"Fine damnit," I say as Tyler frowned and walked out of the room I guess to go get Justin.

"Hi guys," Justin says, walking into the room now and looking at the both of us.

"What is it that you came here to talk about Justin?" I ask him as he looked at me and then down to the floor. "Well? Tyler said you wanted to talk to us so talk why don't you!"

"Baby screaming at him isn't making things easy," Kevin says, rubbing my shoulders now.

"Things aren't supposed to be easy for him! I want to know why he wants to talk now when he should've been talking that night he did what he did! He could've talked then instead of becoming a damn monster!" I shout out as Justin moved back away from us but then stopped. "We're fucking waiting Justin!"

"I-I'm sorry. Maybe...maybe I shouldn't have come back here," he says, covering his eyes now as he turned around, ready to leave the room.

"We're not the ones you should be apologizing too!" I shout out at him. "Look at me damn you!"

"JT please...please don't get angry," Justin says, walking over towards us as I stepped back from him and moved behind my desk, getting closer to where my gun was.

"Why shouldn't I get angry Justin?" I ask him, getting defensive now. "You raped your husband and nearly killed him!"

"JT please calm down...the boys might..." Kevin says as I turned and glared at him.

"I know I did JT but I...I wasn't in my right mind," he says, looking down again.

"You weren't in your damn right mind!" I scream, scaring Kevin and him. "That's not a fucking excuse Justin and you damn well know it! How could you hurt the man you claim to love like you did?"

"I didn't mean to hurt him JT. It was all...all a big accident, a mistake," he says, crying softly now. "I never meant to hurt him but in the state of mind that I was in, I didn't see him, I saw...saw..."

"What the hell ever Justin! You could've walked away from him! You didn't have to raise your hand to him the way you did!" I shout out as Kevin walked around to me and tried calming me down. "There's no excuse for what you did to Nick that night!"

"You're right JT there isn't an excuse for what I did to him but as I'm trying to tell you now, I wasn't in my right frame of mind and it wasn't Nick I saw that night," Justin says, sighing now.

"Are you fucking kidding me here?" I ask getting up from my chair now as Kevin grabbed my hand, pulling me back towards him.

"Where have you been all this time Justin?" Kevin asks him.

"I...I went and got some help...help for my problems," Justin replies, looking over to Kevin now.

"You went and got some help for your problems?" I ask, looking at him funny now as I opened the top drawer of my desk as Kevin saw what I was doing and pushed me away from the desk. "What kind of problems did you go get help for?"

"I...I got some help working with my anger issues and some of my other problems I'm having," Justin replies, looking down at his hands now.

"You should've gotten help a long time ago Justin!" I shout out as Kevin held my hand tightly, keeping me from jumping on Justin and beating his ass now. "Why couldn't you just talk to somebody before you did what you did? Why couldn't you just tell the truth about what was going on?"

"Baby..." Kevin says as I pushed him back now and moved over to Justin, grabbing him by his shirt now and pushing him back towards the door and against it.

"Why didn't you just come and talk to me if you needed to," I whisper to Justin. "I saw it in your eyes of what's hurting you Justin. You knew you could've come and talked to me about it. We've shared a lot of things Justin. You could have talked to me damnit! You didn't have to do what you did!"

"If you want to hit me JT just go ahead and hit me, I know I don't deserve to live," he whispers, not even making a move to fight with me.

"I'm not the one you hurt that night, I'm not the one that should kill you Justin," I tell him as he looked down away from me as more tears fell from his eyes.

"I know that JT, Nicky deserves that honor," he says, looking up at me now. "If you knew what was going on, with me, why didn't you help me?"

"It's not my place to help you with something you won't tell anyone about," I whisper to him as he looked at me with a saddened look on his face.

"I wish you would have done something JT. If you had, none of this would be happening now," he says, crying softly again now. "I hurt my precious Nicky because my uncle hurt me and is now hurting both of my brothers."

"Huh?" I say, stepping back from him now as he slid down the door. "Come again?"

"My uncle hurt me and now he's hurting my brothers," he says as I saw that same look in his eyes that I saw that day we saw him when he tried to visit Nick. "That night I hurt Nicky, I didn't see Nicky, I saw Uncle Ken."

"So you saw your uncle and why did you hurt Nick?" Kevin asks, walking over to where we were now.

"I was so...so drunk that in my mind it was Uncle Ken that I was fighting with. It was him that I was hurting, not my Nicky," Justin says as I looked at him strangely now.

"Why did you rape Nick?" I ask him this time as he looked away from me.

"I didn't know it was Nicky. I thought it was Ken and I was doing to him what he had done to me so many times in the past. He had hurt me and my brothers that way and I said I would hurt him the same way he was hurting us," he says, rubbing his eyes now. "When I told him that I wouldn't allow him to hurt me, he beat me up and moved on to Jon and Steve."

"Wait a damn minute!" I shout now and turning back around to look at Justin. "That afternoon the guys were off rehearsing and you stayed behind at the hotel with Tyler...was that the day your uncle beat you up?"

"Y-yeah it is, why?" Justin asks, looking up at me now as Kevin looked at me funny.

"Why didn't you tell me or Tyler that when we asked what happened to your face and your arms?" I ask him as he shook his head.

"Uncle Ken said that he would be back to kill me if I told anyone what had happened," he says, looking down now.

"Tyler knows what happened that day Justin. He told me everything he saw and heard in you and Nick's room," I tell him as his head flew up and he got up off the floor.

"Oh God!" Justin shouts out now. "He can't know...he just can't...that's not his business!"

"Hush Justin," I say as he looked at me then Kevin.

"What's going on you two?" Kevin asks, looking at me now.

"That's how you knew," Justin says, frowning now.

"I waited for you to come and tell me yourself Justin," I say as he looked down.

"I couldn't tell you," he says, looking down at the floor again as I stepped closer to him.

"You could've told me! Ken wouldn't have been able to do anything to you or anyone else," I tell him, grabbing him and pulling him away from Kevin now. "Don't you know that I would never let anything happen to any of you? Not Kevin, not you, not Nick."

"You can't stop him JT," he says, wiping at his eyes now. "He's been hurting me since I was four years old. Mom, Dad and Randy didn't believe me at all when I told them. He made them think that I was making the whole thing up and that I was only trying to get him put out of the house and make the family hate him because he's gay. Now he's doing the same things to Jon and Steve. From what Jon told me, Randy doesn't believe anything he tells him because he's gay. He thinks Jon's making it up."

"What about Lisa? What did Lisa say about the whole matter?" I ask him as he shook his head.

"She's following behind Randy like a damn fool," he says, frowning now. "Since I found out what's been going on, I've been trying to stay in touch with Jon and Steve but Randy is trying to keep them from me. He told Lisa that because I'm gay, I'm influencing his other boys to be like me."

"What!" I shout out, scaring Justin, even causing Kevin to jump and he wasn't even near us. "That bastard needs a nice long talking to."

"I've tried talking to him and I even showed him some of the bruises that Uncle Ken left on me and he didn't even care. Jon and Steve both told Lisa about what was going on but Randy didn't do or say anything about it," he tells me as he looked down again.

"So that's where you've been then," I say as he shook his head at me.

"No, I checked myself into Glenbeigh Hospital and I've been there since me and Nicky's anniversary night. They've been helping me deal with my anger, my drinking and what Uncle Ken did to me," he tells me as he looked up at me and I saw the old Justin again.

"Oh God Justin I'm so sorry," I tell him as I pulled him into my arms and held him. "I'm glad you got some professional help to help you with all of this."

"You shouldn't be sorry," he says, crying on my shoulder now as I held him. "You should hate me forever."

"I don't hate you Justin, I was just mad and hurt that you did those things but I forgive you now," I tell him as Kevin walked over to us and wrapped his arms around both of us.

The Same Day -- Fair Haven (The Dorough's Home)

Nick's POV

"Hey you guys!" I called after the twins and Bri as they took off through the house en route to the sand pit Howie had built in the back yard for them. They are so full of energy it's insane, and they seem to be ok without Nikki here, but every now and then CJ runs upstairs looking for his mommy... then he gets so upset about not finding her that it takes D and me almost an hour to calm him down.

I miss her too, I thought morosely as I helped the boys to build a pretty cool sand castle. Luckily for me, the doorbell rang so I didn't have time to dwell on the sad state of affairs at Fair Haven, which is what Nikki has christened the house when I moved in, telling all of us that it was only fair since her home was such a haven to so many.

"You guys stay here while I get that," I called over to them as I ran to get the door before whoever was there left. I opened the door and smiled in confusion at the woman who stood there holding a little girl by the hand.

"Are you Nickolas Carter, formerly of the Backstreet Boys?" she asked, reading something from the stack of papers she held.

"Yes I'm Nick--do I know you?" I asked, trying but failing to keep my eyes off the little girl by her side. Something about her was so familiar, but I just couldn't place where I knew her from. "Is there something I can do for you?"

"Sir, were you involved in a long-term romantic relationship with one Amanda Wilaford?" this woman asked, ignoring for the time being my question about what she wanted.

"Well yeah I had a thing with Willa, but what does that have to do with..."

"Mr. Carter, my name is Rebecca Jacobs. I work with the Department of Children and Family Services and I was assigned the case of one Arabella Willaford," the woman now identified as Rebecca James explained patiently, smiling down at the little girl. "Her mother Amanda has been arrested for assault and rather than put the child into state run system, she has named you as Arabella's father. As such, it is our duty to bring the child to you."

"Wait! Hold the phone--how the he...heck can I be her father? Manda and I haven't been together in over six years!" I shouted, wincing a little when Arabella shrank back against the social worker's side. "I--I'm sorry, but there has to be some mistake here."

"Well sir, be that as it may, until this can be straightened out, we have to take Miss Willaford's word that you are the child's father," she explained patiently, smiling down at my daughter... my daughter in an effort to coax her into coming out again. "It's okay Arabella... your Daddy won't hurt you."

"I'm scared," Arabella said softly, staring up at me with eyes just like my own.

Oh God... I'm a Dad! I thought in amazement as I knelt down in front of this little person who could be a part of me.

"Hi Arabella... do you know who I am?" I asked, afraid of what she might say. She simply stared back at me with eyes filled with wonder and smiled--and then it was like I felt something reach in and grab my heart.

She's already got me wrapped around her little finger--just like her Mom did, I thought in wonder as she touched my face.

"You're my Daddy," she said softly, reaching out to hug me. I held her tight, never wanting to let her go as Ms. James excused herself, informing me that I would have to come into her office to fill out paperwork. She sat Bella's suitcase down and disappeared, but not before she smiled one more time--almost as is she knew we would be alright. Suddenly I was left alone with this little girl I've never known existed, but I knew that everything would be okay because I had help in the form of Nikki and D.

Wait `til I tell them about this! I thought with a mischievous grin as I led my little girl through the house to introduce her to the boys and Briahna. Nikki might just wake up from the shock!

Florida Memorial Hospital -- An Hour Earlier

Howie's POV

"Hey you," I said softly, sitting in the chair beside the bed where my wife continued to sleep. I picked up her hand, stroking it as I watched her breathe. "You know, I miss having you home with me... and the boys... the boys miss you so much. Joe and I do what we can to be there for them--and Josh is great when he's there too. But baby, they need their Mom. CJ cries for you all the time now and even Joshy is starting to feel all of our sadness."

I rubbed her hand again, saddened by how still she was in spite of my almost constant presence here with her. Damn Johnny for making me come to that stupid meeting this morning. I don't understand why he keeps insisting that I go back on the fucking road now. If it were his wife, he'd be glued to her bedside and would probably kill anybody who tried to make him leave. I guess because I've always been the sweet one who never made waves that he thought I wouldn't rock the boat about this, but damn it, this is my life now and I won't leave Nikki just to be out shaking my ass on a stage. My heart just wouldn't be in it and that wouldn't be fair to our fans.

"I'm sorry I wasn't here earlier, but Johnny called a mandatory meeting of the group to discuss our heading back out on the road," I said with undisguised malice for Johnny and his stupid ideas. "But I told him to go to hell, `cause there's no way I'm leaving while you and my little girl are sick like this. My Mom says I'm gonna make myself sick with worrying, but she doesn't know how much you mean to me. Hell, I don't think you even know how much you mean to me."

She lay there still and unmoving, but I had to believe that somehow, on some level I was getting through to her.

"You know, this is probably the quietest I've ever seen you," I said in amazement as I smiled down at her. "I'm so used to the Nikki that's always so busy doing for us that she never has time to sit still and let us do for her. Joey says you've always been like that--working and taking care of everyone around you without asking for anything in return. You always love so totally, with everything you have inside you that a lot of the time, you don't even notice how tired you are... I think that's why I wanted to marry you. I knew you needed someone to take care of you, and God, I wanted that someone to be me."

I laid my head on her tummy, closing my eyes and listening to our baby moving inside of Nikki. It had amazed me when we found out about the baby, and my life had changed so much since my wife and sons had come into it. Some of the changes were better than others, but I wouldn't want to trade my life now with all its ups and downs for anything in the world.

"Heavy... move...your... head," I heard Nikki say so softly I thought it was my imagination, jumping when her hand began batting feebly at me. I shouted and almost fell off the chair I looked and saw those eyes watching me in a mixture of amusement and love. I held her with tears in my eyes, kissing all over her face.

"Oh baby... I missed you so much," I told her, kissing her hard as I reached the call button next to her head. "Everybody's gonna be so happy. They boys are probably gonna demand Joe bring them here to see you..."

"How... long?" she asked, her voice faint but gaining strength.

"Almost a week," I relied, taking her hand again.

"Oh... ok," she said, but whatever she was about to say was put on hold as a swarm of doctors and nurses descended on us. They sent me out into the hall, but I was reluctant to leave her even for a minute. Finally one of the nurses told me that I could wait right outside the room.

I went with none too good grace, deciding to use my time to call all of our family and friends to let them know Nikki was awake. I pulled out my phone, dialing my Mom's number from memory to let her know that both of my babies had finally come back to me--hopefully this time Phyllis will pay for what she did and we'll never have to deal with her craziness again.

Somehow I don't think this is the end of her shit though, I thought as I waited for someone to answer the phone at my parents' house. I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.



I don't know any of the members of N SYNC, Backstreet Boys or any other celebrities mentioned. I don't know anything about their sexual orientation or the orientation of any other celebrities in this story (even though I wish some of them were gay). This story is fiction and you shouldn't take it for anything else but that. This is for entertainment value only folks.