Of the four people that Lexie first saw when she came in, only one was a woman. It was Denise McLean, her grandmother. She sat on the couch, not even looking at Lexie.
After nineteen years, would they ever get over the disgrace?
Howie had taught her to move on with her life and let the other pieces fall where they may. Her father didn't love her and although for the longest time it mattered, it didn't any more. Howie was her father in every sense of the word and the Doroughs her family. She would not waste her life chasing the rest of them. She was here because they needed her, not because she needed them.
As the doctor had drawn the blood, she watched the famous Backstreet Boys discuss her. Part of it made her angry, she knew her dad was arguing her with them. She wished he hadn't, but she knew he would. Hopeless romantic.
Lexie looked around the hotel suite AJ and his family called home while they were in Orlando. It seemed impersonal, cold and pristine. She didn't care for it. There was a picture of AJ, a baby and a young woman. She assumed it was his wife and son. She picked it up from the mantle and stared at it. The baby was rosy cheeked and smiling, so were AJ and his wife. His wife. She wasn't there and Lexie figured she was with the baby. She smiled herself. He was a beautiful baby and she could tell they loved him. She hoped a little that she would get a chance to love him too.
"That's Alex." AJ said as the boys came in from the deck. Lexie looked back over her shoulder at him without startling at his voice.
"He's beautiful." She smiled. "Is he here now?"
"No, he's in the hospital." AJ said quietly.
"Are you ready to go?" Howie asked.
"Sure, Dad." She said, setting the picture back. "When will we know the final results?"
"Tomorrow, hopefully." Brian smiled shyly.
"Good." She nodded.
Howie reached for Lexie's hand, she gladly slipped it into his, and they left without another word.
"Are you okay?" Howie asked her in the elevator. Crystalline tears formed in her eyes and began to pour down her cheeks as she nodded 'yes'. "Don't cry, honey." He soothed, handing her a tissue she had used earlier. She laughed as she tried to unmat it.
"Don't you have a clean one?" she joked and he laughed too.
They all stood staring at the door after it closed. Nothing seemed to break them from their awe until Kevin spoke.
"Are you alright?" Kevin asked AJ.
"I think so. I doubt I'll sleep until tomorrow." He sighed. He looked past Nick, to the picture Lexie had replaced on the mantel. Those three people no longer existed.
"I still can't believe she came." Denise said.
"She's Howie's daughter, would you expect any thing less from a Dorough?" AJ said with a little bitterness.
Lord knows he had thought of her often over the years, but Howie seem to effectively build a safe haven around her with his family. He kept her shielded from the media and from them. AJ remembered over hearing countless phone calls home; Howie talking to Lexie.
He had reveled in her success in her classes; schools plays and even her first prom. Howie left the reunion tour for three days to be there for that. When Howie married Leah, it made the picture complete. They had two kids of their own and he imagined Lexie having the perfect family with the Doroughs. She had just completed her first year at USC for art history. Only Howie's influence could've taken a scared, orphaned illegitimate child of a Backstreet Boy and made her a USC student.
AJ felt sick to his stomach. In his heart, he believed that Alex's illness was punishment from betraying Lexie. AJ pulled away from the others and headed for the bathroom for one of his usual vomiting fits.