Ten Things by Carter-Orange
Chapter 40 by Carter-Orange
Author's Notes:
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Chapter 40

“How does this one look?” I asked as I performed a little twirl in front of the dressing room mirror

“Really gorgeous” replied my shopping buddy Lisa “but I also liked the purple one too”

“Yeah, the purple one was nice…oh, I don’t know” I sighed. I was going out. Not just any old night out, but a night out with the Backstreet Boys, the other wives and girlfriends and the crew to celebrate finishing the CD. It had taken a while, but they’d got there in the end and I hoped it would do well, especially here in America where their popularity had decreased over the years.

We were going to a really nice restaurant followed by a club, and I had no idea what to wear. It was OK for AJ, he was used to this kind of thing, but me, I was a little clueless. I also knew that the paparazzi were bound to be there. The Backstreet Boys may not be the hot property they were ten years previously, but they still attracted a lot of attention wherever they went, especially when they were all together.

“Ah fuck it, I’ll get the purple one” I said as I went back into the cubicle and got dressed.

“I’ve seen the perfect shoes to match, you just have to get them” Lisa called to me from outside the cubicle “shall I go get them for you to try on?”

“Go on then” I relented “but I just hope they aren’t too high, I know what you’re like and I sometimes wonder how you manage to walk in some of the shoes you come into work wearing” I laughed

“Years of practice” she replied and then dashed off to get them. Actually, they weren’t too high and I felt sure I’d be fine wearing them. After trying them on, I bought them together with the dress. I already had a bag and jewellery at home which I thought would match.

We left the store and decided we’d shopped enough for one day; it was time to recharge our batteries with a bite to eat. I craved a McDonalds but we ended up at one of those healthy eating snack places, the type of place where you could get a muffin but it was one of those low calorie ones which just wasn’t right! I settled for a grilled chicken salad and a smoothie. If I was going to have a muffin, it would have to be a full fat one or nothing.

~*~

“Fuck, Steph you look hot as hell in that dress…do we have to go out?” AJ said as he looked me up and down appreciatively when he came to pick me up for the big night out.

“Thank you” I replied “and yes we do have to go out. By the way, you look pretty damn fuckable yourself”

He was wearing black jeans, a t-shirt, black jacket with a scarf and a pair of black boots. Couldn’t forget to mention the trademark dark glasses, although why he always wanted to hide those gorgeous brown eyes was beyond me!

We were driven to the restaurant in a very nice car, possibly a Mercedes (I’m no car expert) with dark tinted windows.

“You know, we could do anything in this car and I doubt anyone could see in” he grinned at me, his shades in his jacket pocket so I could benefit from the full force of his eyes.

“Erm, we have company remember!” I whispered and indicated to the driver, Paul, whom I’d met previously. Paul just smiled; I could see his face in the mirror.

“Not anymore we don’t” AJ said and pressed a button which raised a blackout screen which gave us complete privacy. He slid across the seat and brought his mouth down to mine, cupping my face in his hands “I really do love you y’know”

“I love you too” I replied.

We didn’t do anything other than kiss in the back of that car, but that may change on the way home, who knew! With AJ, anything seemed possible.

“See you guys later” Paul grinned when we’d reached our destination “have fun”

“Later dude” AJ said and took my hand firmly in his as we got out of the car.

“Thanks Paul” I said and smiled

“Come on then Mrs McLean, let’s go celebrate Backstreet style, I hope you like sushi” AJ said

“AJ, I’m not eating sushi, that stuff looks disgusting!” I protested “I wish you’d told me earlier, we could’ve stopped off at a McDonalds on the way or something”

“Chill babe, I’m kidding. It’s not a sushi restaurant, although if Nick had his way it would’ve been” he reassured me

“Well thank god he didn’t!” I exclaimed and then looked up and actually noticed the restaurant and it’s location for the first time “wow, this place looks fantastic”

The restaurant front was all glass to give a panoramic view of the ocean (and also Santa Monica pier in the distance), the inside was hard to describe really, but the best way to describe it would be a mixture of opulence and simplicity which seemed to go together perfectly.

“This place looks amazing” I whispered to AJ

“I hear the food is pretty good too” he said quietly as we walked through the door

We were shown to out table where everyone else was already seated.

“Always last to arrive” Nick said as he shook his head

“Hey, looking this good takes time” AJ stated

We said our ‘hellos’ to everyone and then sat down. A smartly dressed waiter appeared to take our drink orders and then left us to peruse the menu.

“Hmm” I murmured, finding it hard to decide what to have

“Are you wishing we’d stopped at McDonalds?” AJ whispered

“No, I just don’t know what to have, it all sounds so good” I answered

“A good old steak house would’ve done for me” AJ grinned “but this is a celebration so I guess going upmarket was called for”

And the restaurant was very upmarket. I was so glad I’d listened to Lisa about what to wear! This wasn’t a ripped jeans and t-shirt kind of restaurant, I’d class it as smart/casual. Over in the far corner I was sure I’d spotted someone famous, he looked like Ashton Kutcher, but I couldn’t be sure. Fucking hell, I’m sitting here with the Backstreet Boys and I’m getting excited over the possibility that Ashton Kutcher is here…I must be crazy!

After a few minutes, the waiter was back to take our orders. I decided to go for the mushroom ravioli after overhearing another diner rave about it, AJ ordered a fillet steak.

Glasses were raised and a toast was made to the completion of the album, and then we all relaxed and just enjoyed the company we were in.

“So Steph, are you still working in the coffee shop?” Brian’s wife Anna-Marie asked

“Yeah” I replied “I like it there, I’ve made some good friends”

“She also makes a good coffee” AJ chipped in and smiled at me

“How are the kids?” I asked Anna-Marie

“Oh they’re great. Breanne lost her first tooth a few days ago and Thomas got his first karate belt last week” she beamed proudly. It had to be said that the Littrell kids were adorable with their blonde hair, blue eyes and perfect features. I wondered for a moment what AJ’s babies would look like.

She pulled out her phone and showed me some pictures of the kids and I ‘oo’ed’ and ‘ah’ed’ at them.

The food was absolutely delicious, I don’t know what the mushrooms had been marinated in, but they were exquisite.

We ordered more wine and the conversation around the table became more animated as the effects of the alcohol began to show.

“I’ll be right back” I said as I pushed my chair back and stood up to go to the toilets. As I walked past that table I’d noticed earlier, I glanced sideways and realised it was Ashton Kutcher and boy did he look even better in reality (I’d taken a bit of a liking to him after seeing him in ‘A Lot Like Love’). I quickly turned away and carried on walking, but couldn’t wait to tell my friends back home who I’d just seen. AJ, you’re still the only man for me though!

When I got back to the table, AJ and a couple of the others were missing.

“Gone outside for a smoke” Brian said, noticing that I was looking around the room.

“I think I’ll just pop out for some fresh air” I said and excused myself. The night was warm and although it was dark outside, there were lots of lights dotted around to illuminate the beach. The moon was casting a glow over the ocean and it looked really beautiful.

I spotted AJ and Nick sitting on a couple of rattan chairs, seemingly deep in conversation and oblivious to me approaching. At first I couldn’t hear their hushed voices, but then I heard enough…

“…dude, you’re gonna have to tell her” Nick said “you can’t keep on like this if that’s the way you feel”

“I know, you’re right, but how?” AJ sighed

That was it. As far as I was concerned, I’d heard enough.

AJ didn’t want me around; he was planning on dumping me. Well, fuck him. I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for it to happen.

I somehow managed to appear calm and normal as I walked back into the restaurant to get my bag. I excused myself, saying I’d noticed a friend and was going to say hello, and then once I was out of sight, I ran and ran. When I’d got far enough away, I sat down on a bench and just cried. How could he? I thought he loved me the way I love him. How could I be so stupid as to think a guy like him could love a girl like me, a nobody…

 


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