*Thanks Silver and Sherry ;) *
Oh and one other thing if you happened to by chance read this and get totally confused, it's because I accidentally posted chapter 9 instead of 8 lol sorry. It's all fixed now though :)
I was grateful to Kevin for getting me out of our interview. I have to admit I was more than a little surprised when he came back and said that Lou said it was fine for me to bail. It was very out of the man's character. Hey I wasn't going to knock it though. I felt liberated; free to do whatever I pleased, even if it was only for a half an hour or so, even though I knew they would be there much longer than that.
After I got all my frustrations out and had a good cry over how stupid my Mother was, I felt a lot better. I probably could and should have gone with the guys, but ah well. I was still not feeling totally great. My headache had hit me full force and I should have just used the time to go to sleep, but you know me, why do that when I could reek havoc or something much more exciting then sleeping.
I sat on the bed and flipped through the channels, grateful that no one was there to yell at me for doing it. After about fifteen minutes of that, I decided I was a bit hungry so I went over to the desk and pulled out the room service menu. I hated staying in hoity toity hotels because the room service menu was always ridiculous. Can't a boy just get a burger and fries and a big fat chocolate shake. The way my stomach grumbled when I thought about the food made me realize it was a must.
My eyes went down the menu seeing everything from Filet mignon to some weird fish I never heard of before, of course there was the caviar for a huge some of money that I'm sure Lou would kill me if I ordered, especially since I am supposed to be ill. Nope... no burgers anywhere. I threw the menu on the floor and laid back down on the bed, legs dangling off the side, totally dejected and undecided on what to do.
The brilliant idea of me sneaking down to the lobby came halfway through a rerun of Frasier and three chips into a bag of stale Doritos. Don't ask me why I didn't just want to send one of our people down there for me, I felt the need to be mischievous, of course that was a need I knew I would pay for if by chance I were to get caught.
I sat up and blew my hair out of my eyes shaking my head in disgust about my very stupid idea. "That's it I'm doing it" I grabbed my sneakers after finally putting on some pants and a gray tee and placing one of AJ's black hats on my head, I opened my door and peered down the hallway. Security had left, they were somewhere skulking around but they weren't right outside the room, which I was grateful for. "Kevin is going to kill me, no I take that back...everyone is going to kill me" I whispered to myself as I compulsively pressed the elevator button that would lead me downstairs to the lobby.
"This is a complete waste of time"
"Would you relax Mike, come on, you never know"
"I feel like we have been waiting here FOREVER"
"How long has it been since you've seen him again?" Melinda looked over to Mike who was growing more and more impatient by the second, but even more than impatient, he felt like he was losing his nerve. If the kid did by some chance happen upon them down there, what on earth would he say anyway?
"It's been a long time. A really long time."
"Then what's a few minutes more?" He nodded, and smiled at the woman he admired more and more every day.
Melinda tossed a Corn Nut into her mouth as she passed the bag over to Mike. "How can you eat that stuff?" He asked kindly declining her offer, she shrugged, "It's probably the most expensive bag of Corn Nuts I have ever eaten in my life"
"I told you not to buy them here," she stuck her tongue out at him revealing half of an uneaten nut. He grimaced but also laughed, "You are disgusting you know that?"
"SO, I know why I'm here...but why are you here?" He said after a few minutes. She stopped midchew.
"Why are you here with me? I mean don't get me wrong I really appreciate it and all, but, I was just curious."
"You think I have ulterior motives?" Her tone grew more serious clueing Mike into the fact that he had made a mistake.
"No, I didn't say that I was jus.."
"NO, you think I am after you or something don't you? God don't flatter yourself Mike."
"Relax, I was just asking."
"You want me to leave?"
"No of course not."
"I just came because I figured you needed a friend...and well...that's what friends do." He smiled at her, genuinely happy with the outcome of that conversation. He thought it was going to end badly for a while there.
"So much time has gone by."
"It's almost stupid to do this."
"You wanna go home?" She looked over to him and grabbed his hand. Did he want to go home? "Yeah, maybe that is a good idea."
"Are you sure? Because I have my bag of nuts here, I'm good for at least another hour or so.." He laughed, stood up and held out his hand to her, "Let's go, I'm probably wrong anyway."
"Okay suit yourself."
She got up and together they made their way out of the lobby, just as the elevator doors opened.
I stepped out of the elevator and briskly made my way into the gift shop, not really sure why. My real target was a pizza place I had seen down the street. Go in there, grab a quick slice or 2 and bring it back up to the room, no one would be the wiser, but I felt the need to regroup in the gift shop first.
I walked in and kept to the middle of the store, afraid I might break something. I had done that before, it wasn't pretty. I walked over to the candy and grabbed a Chunky bar. It had been such a long time since I had one of those things; and made my way to the counter to pay. I didn't notice I was being watched by about five people in the store. I guess I was too caught up in my chocolate.
"That'll be $2.25."
"For a candy bar?"
"Okay." I fished in my pockets for money, feeling like an idiot that I didn't have any on me at all. That was gonna ruin my pizza plans. "Can I put it on my credit card?"
"Sure thing" She smiled. I couldn't tell if it was a mocking me kind of smile or a genuine I'm happy to serve you smile.
"Do you think pizza places take credit cards?" She looked at me even more amused this time.
"I would guess so, I mean this IS New York City." I nodded at her. Her tag said Julie, so I thought I'd personalize, "Um, thanks Julie, you have a great day."
"I will. You do the same." She winked and laughed, yup she pretty much thought I was a moron.
"Excuse me are you Nick Carter?" uh oh. I looked over to the family and nodded. Immediately I had two ten year old girls hugging me from either side, their dad giving me directions to move closer to them as he took the picture while Mom just looked on in amusement. "Okay say cheese!"
"Cheese!" we all said together. They kissed me and hugged me as I politely thanked them, heading for the door.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be that other person, the one waiting in the lobby for someone famous to come down. I wonder how exciting it would be, Mom proudly looking on as dad snapped a picture of me with Steve Perry. I smiled at the thought.
Walking through the lobby unnoticed was easier than I thought it would be. The people sitting their were busy occupying themselves with other things and remarkably, the fans were nowhere in sight. I pulled my cap down and began my stride over to the pizza place, there was a cold chill in the air which found me regretting the fact that I didn't bring a light jacket with me, but there was no way I was going back.
I picked up my pace as I got to the corner ready to cross the street.
Mike and Melinda sat quietly staring at each other, she was playing with the paper from her straw, crumbling it up and soaking it on the wet table top. Mike just kept shaking parmesan on his piece of uneaten pepperoni pizza just because it was something to do.
"You know, if you weren't hungry, we didn't have to come."
Mike looked up from his cheese sprinkling and shrugged, "Yeah I know but I didn't really feel like going home either."
"If you aren't going to eat that" She pulled the plate away from him and grabbed the extra cheesy pizza off the plate and took a huge bite.
He would have smiled if his mood had suited him, but instead he turned his gaze from Melinda to the Sprite in front of him. The condensation from the ice slowly beading up around the outside of the glass. He wiped it away with a napkin, wishing it was that simple in real life. Wiping everything away. Truth was, finding his brother had stirred up a lot of memories he had kept hidden way at the bottom of his heart. Memories he was better off forgetting.
Memories of long walks in a park with Mom and the baby. The way she held his hand in hers as she hummed.
"We can always go back you know, it is right down the street."
"I know" He looked over at her and winked, not quite ready to smile.
"Would you do me a favor Mike?"
"Sure, what is it?"
"Would you order me a side of garlic knots?" Now he managed to smile, "Boy when you're hungry you're hungry. I thought you said those Corn Nuts would keep you satisfied."
"Eh, I lied."
"I hope you don't plan on kissing anyone with that garlicky breath." She rolled her eyes, "There you go dreaming again Cassanova..just get me my knots please I would but I'm too busy eating your pizza for you."
"No problem." He stood up and made his way to the counter, just as he got there someone walked right into him, almost knocking him down.
"Jesus Christ watch where the hell you're going!" He shouted at the guy who was now busy bending down to pick up the baseball cap that had fallen off his head.
"Sorry...I wasn't looking," He said as he stood up to match eyes with Mike. Nick Carter staring into the eyes of his brother. Not even realizing it, shifted his feet uncomfortably from one to the other biting his bottom lip nervously.
"NO...it's okay" Mike said softening his voice while he tried to take in the presence of his baby brother. Once he really got a good look at him, there was no doubt in his mind. This was Nick; his Nick.
"I don't know if you remember me but..." He tried to find the words as Nick continued to shift his gaze from the man in front of him to the floor. "but...I am the guy who you gave that Journey CD too" That made Nick look up and smile, the worry gone from his face.
"Oh...yeah I remember you, have you listened to it yet?" Mike nodded how was he going to do this without sounding like an idiot?
"It was great, really helped my mood."
"Yeah Journey does that." Did he remember listening to Journey while I held him and danced around? Mike thought as he watched the boy smile, his mind traveling somewhere other than the pizza place where they stood.
Mike couldn't take his eyes off of his brother. He wanted to pull him in a hug, he wanted to tell him how much he loved him and missed him, but all he was doing was making Nick uncomfortable. He could tell by the way he slouched his shoulders and once again bit at his bottom lip. The same things Mike himself would do when uneasy.
"Well, it was nice seeing you again...."
"Mike." He extended his hand to Mike which he gladly took, was he going to just walk away? Not let him know?
"Same here Nick. It has been a pleasure and thank you so much."
Mike walked back over to Melinda that watched the whole episode with her mouth agape. He sat down still staring at his brother over at the counter placing his order, "So? what happened?"
"I thanked him for the CD."
"And that was it."
"What do you mean that was it? Aren't you going to tell him you're his brother?" She had raised her voice a bit that had Nick look over their way.
"Keep your voice down...no I don't think I am Melinda."
"You are an idiot Michael, he is here right in front of you!"
"I know that."
"And you are just going to let him leave?"
"I..." He saw Nick paying for his order, he knew he was running out of time, "No, I'm not," He said and got up and walked back over to Nick just as he was leaving the restaurant.
Mission accomplished, I got my pizza, paid with credit card and was only noticed about three times. Not a bad deal. I opened the door and hurried back out into the cold air. The guys would be back soon and I wanted to be in the comfort of my own room when they got there. True there was a good chance they would see the pizza but I could always say someone went and got it for me. Yes, home free.
"Excuse me?" Almost home free. I stopped at the sound of the man's voice, "Nick Carter!" I was just about to cross the street but decided to stop. I turned to see the man running towards me. "Okay Nick calm down he is not a crazy person.." I quietly tried to reassure myself as he caught up with me, a girl in a plaid skirt running after him.
"Sorry..I...I just have something I need to tell you." He said trying to catch his breath. I placed my hand on his shoulder, "Sure thing, catch your breath first, I don't want you to die on me."
The man laughed, which made me smile. I put my hand in my pocket searching for a pen, expecting him to say he forgot to ask me for an autograph, I never expected to hear the words that he was about to say.
"Nick, there's no easy way to put this so I am going to be blunt, My name is Mike Alexander and I'm your brother."