Under My Skin by Mellz Bellz
Past Featured StorySummary: It's been about three years since Alyssa Martinelli and Nick Carter ended their engagement. Now through mutual friends they'll meet again and discover that a lot has changed. Can they overcome the odds? Or will Alyssa learn that no matter how hard you try, you can't make a person change?

Categories: Fanfiction > Backstreet Boys Characters: None
Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance
Warnings: Graphic Sexual Content
Series: Not Like We Predicted
Chapters: 64 Completed: Yes Word count: 247524 Read: 175094 Published: 02/08/06 Updated: 02/23/08
Chapter Thirty by Mellz Bellz
Author's Notes:
Alyssa has mixed emotions about her and Nick's relationship.
Chapter 30

By the time Alyssa entered the hotel lobby her stomach was doing flip flops and she could feel a flush forming in her cheeks, which she was unsure if it was from the cold, or just from her anxiety about this whole situation. I wonder if I turn around and go back home, how long it'll take Nick to call me again? No, it was too late now. She was already in the lobby. If she just turned around and walked out now she'd look suspicious.

Even though it had to be close to three AM by now, Alyssa noted a small cluster of girls camped out on some couches by the elevator. Great, just what I need. Fans... She'd had enough experience with them throughout the years to know exactly what their game plan was. They were parked on the couches, critically eyeing every person who walked past, to see if they were somehow connected to the Backstreet Boys. If they were really lucky maybe one of the guys themselves would pop out of nowhere and pose for a few pictures. Just their presence made Alyssa's heart rate accelerate because she wasn't sure if they's recognize her or not. It had been a few years since she and Nick had dated and as far as she knew they hadn't been spotted together recently, but you never could tell with Backstreet fans. That one girl at the concert at Radio City had certainly wasted no time in recalling her identity. Would these girls be any different?

Of course if they did recognize her and saw her heading up the elevator, it would be obvious to them that she was heading up to see Nick and then oh, how the rumors would fly! She paused in mid step for a moment to consider her options. There was no way she could avoid walking past them. She needed the elevator and as far as she could see there were no other ways of getting up to his floor. Why didn't I wear a hat? Or better yet I should've brought some rope and just climbed up to his room. She'd have to walk past them. If she kept her head low and her hair in her face, she might be able to get away with it.

By some miracle she reached the elevator without any of them shrieking, "I remember you!" Well, at least God is somewhat on my side tonight, she thought as the doors opened and she pressed the button for Nick's floor. He was staying pretty high up, so the ride seemed to take an eternity to Alyssa.

Finally the doors opened and Alyssa stepped off looking a little lost at first. Now which direction is his room? As she headed down the hall she could hear the sounds of laughter and loud voices echoing from near the end. When she got closer, she could see what looked like an empty pizza box laying outside the room. Sure enough, as she glanced up to see the number on the door, it appeared to be the same number Nick had given her. Why am I not surprised?

She was just about to knock when she got this weird sensation like someone was watching her. Whipping her head around, she caught sight of two or three girls, obviously fans, sticking their heads out of nearby hotel room door. You know, if they just got a few Backstreet fans to join the CIA, we probably would never have to worry about terrorist attacks. She guessed her cover was blown, or maybe they didn't know who she was?

Taking a deep breath in, Alyssa finally mustered the courage up to knock. At first, she wasn't even sure that her knock was even heard. It actually seemed as if there was a party going on. She was just about to take out her cell phone and try calling Nick, when the door flew open.

"Alyssa! You made it!" Nick staggered over as he threw his arms around her in a bear hug.

"Yea, I made it," she repeated as she took a step inside. She was surprised to find that there was in fact a party going on. She recognized a few members of the guys band, some of Nick's friends who seemed to make a career out of following Nick around on tour, and most surprisingly a few scantily clad girls who she was unsure if they were fans or just girls from the club earlier that night. It was also unclear if they were invited by Nick or his friends.

Wow, I feel overdressed, she sarcastically thought. Her eyes shifted as she noticed another empty pizza box on the table, and a few beer bottles littered about. "Looks like you've been having a party without me, huh? "

Nick shrugged. "A little one, but its just breaking up now. Right guys?" Alyssa caught him shooting a glance towards his friends that seemed to beg them to go along with him. She almost wanted to laugh at how see through the whole plan was. The party sounded nowhere near ending before she arrived.

She found herself biting her lip, not to start giggling as soon as all his friends scrambled over each other to say, "Of course!" and started to collect their beer bottles, cigarette cartons, and other valuables. Amidst all the chaos, one of the band members announced that they'd be continuing the party in his room. In just about five minutes, the room was completely cleared out with the exception of Nick and Alyssa.

Interesting... I arrive and the party mysteriously 'breaks up.' Alyssa noted. After the last person left the room, she turned to Nick. "Have them whipped much?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

Nick just laughed. "What do you mean 'whipped?'"

"Well, as soon as you announced the party was ending it seemed like they couldn't get out of here any quicker," she pointed out. "Do they always jump at your every command?"

"Oh, that...." He shrugged again. "They just knew you were coming and well, frankly they hate your guts and think you're a stuck up prissy bitch."

"Lovely. Well, I think they are a bunch of immature, low class, assholes who only think about sex and alcohol, so I guess the feeling is mutual." It was no secret that Nick's friends and Alyssa never exactly hit it off. They could politely tolerate each other for short lengths of time, but tried to avoid each other for the most part. Alyssa couldn't stand them because she felt like they were a bad influence on Nick. They seemed to encourage the wild behavior that Nick swore he was trying so hard to cut down on. On the flip side, his friends disliked Alyssa for the opposite reason. They claimed that she was trying to "change" Nick and mold him into her definition of the perfect man.

Of course Nick usually tried to sugarcoat the truth by saying something like, "They don't hate you. They just need to get to know you a little better." Evidently, under the influence of alcohol, he seemed to see no reason in hiding the truth. Hmm... Wonder what else I can get him to divulge? Alyssa wondered.

"So, you must have left the club pretty early if you guys were partying back here. Was it that bad?" she curiously asked.

Nick nodded his head. "It sucked. I mean it was a cool place and all, just boring. A few of the guys picked up some chicks there, but we decided we'd have a better time back here."

Aha... Jackpot! "Oh, so your friends came with you to the club? That's funny because if I remember correctly, I couldn't come because there was no room for me on the guest list. Yet somehow your whole little posse could get in?" Alyssa crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him.

Nick clamped a hand over his mouth, realizing that he had just screwed himself over. He looked panicky for a moment as his mind frantically searched for something to cover himself. Shit, Carter... Think! Finally an excuse formed in his brain that he hoped Alyssa would accept. "Okay, you got me! I could've gotten you in, but the guys... they don't know much about what's going with us. And I know how well you all just love each other... They really wanted to check out this place and I know you aren't too big into the clubs, so I just figured you wouldn't mind if the two of us just hung out later by ourselves," he hurriedly explained.

Alyssa looked thoughtful for a moment as she thought about his explanation. "Well, I can understand that Nick, but then how come you didn't tell me that earlier tonight while we were fighting? Instead you lied to me. Why?"

Not having the energy or the brain power to think up any more excuses, Nick went for the next easiest way out of this mess. "You're right. I should've told you earlier. I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. Hey, do you want a beer or something?" he offered, trying to change the subject.

She wanted to roll her eyes at the way in which he tried to end the conversation. For a moment or two she tried to think of a comeback in her head, but then realized it was pointless to continue the argument. It's not like she had missed anything very exciting by not going out with Nick and his friends. In fact, she'd probably have been uncomfortable in the situation since she hated the way Nick seemed to act around them anyway. Under normal circumstances, she may have pushed the issue a little further, just for the principle of the matter, but what was the point now? He clearly wasn't in the arguing mood. "Ok fine. I'll take one, " she gave in with a sigh.

Nick headed towards the mini bar to retrieve two more bottles of beer. "Have a seat," he told her, gesturing towards the bed. "You're making me nervous standing around like that."

"I'm sure..." she muttered under her breath as she flopped down on the edge of the bed. "Better?"

"Much." He crossed the room to hand Alyssa her bottle before taking a seat beside her. "So?" he asked with a smirk after a few silent sips. "Do you still think that having sex with me was the worst mistake of your life?"

Alyssa almost choked on her last mouthful of beer.  Why does he have to say things like that when I'm totally not expecting him too? She struggled to come up with a response while she coughed.

"You okay?" he asked with a laugh. "Do you need CPR?"

"I'm fine," she croaked. "It just went down the wrong pipe and you have to be unconscious for CPR, dumbass."

Nick looked embarrassed. "Oh, well I didn't know that! And you never answered my question by the way."

"All right," she admitted, rolling her eyes. "Maybe I flew off the handle earlier today and said some things that I didn't exactly mean. I was angry and you know how I can get."

"Boy, do I know," he teased. "It's cool. You're cute when you're pissed off."

"Only cute? I thought earlier you used the phrase 'sexy as hell' when we were on the phone?" The words came out so easily, that Alyssa herself was surprised to hear them. Am I actually flirting with him?

"Oh yea... I did," Nick remembered. "Seems like it left quite an impression on you."

Alyssa shrugged. "Well, its not everyday I have a hot guy telling me I'm sexy... Even if its only because of my temper."

"Trust me... It's not just your temper."

What's that supposed to mean? she wondered as she looked up at Nick expectantly. This conversation was beginning to fall into dangerous territory and Alyssa wasn't exactly sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. As much as she had convinced herself earlier that nothing was going to happen, she couldn't help, but to push the envelope to see where it would go. There was no harm in a little playful flirting was there? "Is that your way of telling me that you think I'm sexy?" she replied.

Nick's lips lifted upwards into a sexy grin as he shrugged. "You can take it however you please."

A slight shiver ran over Alyssa. Yes, this was becoming very dangerous territory. If I don't try to change the subject soon, I'll probably be half naked within five more minutes. "So, how come you didn't pick yourself up a girl at the club like the rest of your friends?" she innocently asked. Okay, it wasn't a great change of subject, but it was the best she could think of at the moment.

He appeared to think a bit before he finally answered. "No one really caught my eye. To be honest I just kept thinking about you."

"Me?" she squeaked. "Why me?" So much for safer territory...

"I'm not exactly sure," he admitted. "I just kept comparing every girl I saw with you. Maybe its because I knew that you were the one girl I couldn't have."

She shot him a bewildered look, almost begging for a further explanation, but then she realized that Nick could just be babbling. It's the alcohol, that's all it is, she convinced herself. "So, is that why you called me?"

"Something like that. I can't stop thinking about you," he confessed, looking deep into her eyes. "I knew I needed to see you again before I flew home."

Again Alyssa was surprised that he was being so open with his feelings, but she wondered how sincere they really were. Was this really how he felt, or was this just all an act? Whatever it was, it was working. With every passing minute, she felt less and less angry with him. Here he was saying all the words that she had been craving to hear from a man for so long now.  It was almost too easy to let herself get swept away in it all. There was something about Nick that made her stop thinking rationally. Out of seemingly nowhere she found herself having the urge kiss him, to feel his soft lips pressing against her own. What are you thinking? her mind screamed. What happened to nothing happening tonight? She almost couldn't believe the conflicting emotions running through her head. Then she remembered her words to Izzy a few months earlier in the ice cream shop. I'm just going to see where it takes me. I'm not killing myself trying to define our relationship. It is what is. Taking a deep breath inwards, she realized that maybe she should be selfish for once and just go for it. Not like it hadn't happened before between them. Things couldn't exactly get any worse, could they?

"Nick... I don't know what to say," she finally managed to pull together.

He slid closer to her on the bed, so that their knees were touching, and reached up to brush a curly tendril of hair from her face. "You don't have to say anything."

Time seemed to stand still as Alyssa looked up at the expression on his face, drinking in every last detail. It was now or never. Here was her opportunity. Licking her lips nervously she finally broke the silence. "So, I believe that you promised to make tonight up to me?" she boldly reminded him.

It was the only invitation that Nick needed. Reaching forward he grabbed the beer bottle from her hand and placed it on the nightstand next to his. Focusing his attention back to Alyssa he grinned. "I did say that, didn't I?" he asked in a husky tone as he gently cupped her chin, his mouth drawing nearer and nearer to hers. Alyssa closed her eyes, welcoming the sensation of his lips slowly meeting hers.

The tension in her body seemed to melt away the moment their lips first connected. Alyssa realized that his kiss felt soft and inviting and absolutely perfect to her.  As the kiss deepened and grew more fervent she found herself lightly moaning against his lips. With each passing moment his last night in New York was coming back to her in vivid detail. Who was I fooling thinking I was going to come here and just talk to him? she asked herself. It was painfully obvious to her at this point that she had been just lying to herself all along. As much as she tried to deny it she had wanted this to happen all along.

After a few more moments, things began to heat up even more so as Nick pulled her onto his lap, his fingers entangling themselves in her dark curls.  She gently nibbled at his bottom lip while her hands automatically floated towards the hem of his shirt. She didn't even realize what she was doing until she felt the smoothness of his skin underneath her fingertips. For a moment she froze and pulled away, surprised by her own boldness. Even though she wasn't directly looking at Nick's face, she could tell that he was smirking , not at all disappointed by her actions. If anything he appeared to be loving the fact that she was taking the initiative. It was then that it hit her. This had been his plan all along,; to ask her to come over for him to apologize and then after a few smooth words, sit back and enjoy while Alyssa was all over him. It seemed to be the perfect plan of seduction.

Question is now that I see through his plan, do I want to call him out on it, or do I honestly just not give a damn?

She didn't need to think the answer over any longer. As much as he seemed to deserve her teaching him a lesson and not letting things get any further, it was even more tempting to continue. So, maybe he was just using her. If that was the case why shouldn't she use him as well? It wasn't as if these kind of opportunities came along very often for her. Before her rational side could protest with this theory, her lips hungrily engulfed his while she aggressively pulled his t-shirt over his head.

If Nick seemed surprised at her sudden change of heart, he hid it well, pulling her body closer against his, while his fingers tugged on the bottom of her sweater. "You're wearing way too many clothes," he murmured as he left a trail of kisses up her neck.

The corners of Alyssa's mouth lifted up into a playful grin. "So why don't you do something about that?" she flirted.

No sooner did the words leave her mouth when she felt the garment being lifted up her body. She lifted up her arms to make it easier for him, welcoming the sensation of his skin against hers through the thin material of her tank top. Pressing her lips against his again, she felt her body involuntarily shift with his until she was laying back against the pillows, her hands running up and down his back. Her head tilted back and a low moan escaped from her throat, as his mouth connected with the side of her neck and continued over her shoulders.  By now any doubts still lingering in her mind were being quickly erased with every passing moment.

She could feel his hands freely exploring her body, causing Alyssa to completely forget about the events earlier that night between them. All she knew was that she had never felt this kind of passion towards any other man before. His fingertips were playing with the skinny straps of her camisole now,easing them down over her shoulders. The lower the strap slipped on her shoulder, the more cleavage was being exposed over the lacy neckline of the top, and Alyssa didn't even have to look at Nick to notice the direction in which his eyes were traveling. She could feel the weight of his appreciative gaze on her and when she finally looked back up at him she was met with his trademark sexy smirk. She'd been in such a hurry to get over there that she had just pulled her sweater on over the camisole without a bra and the thin shelf lining inside did little to hide her aroused nipples. Their eye contact did not last long before Nick's lips came down upon hers once more. This time, his hands moved down lower to her breasts, teasing the hardened buds with his thumb. Alyssa's back arched slightly in response, a satisfied groan resonating from her throat. The light material separating the two of them was beginning to become frustratingly annoying to her. Without breaking contact from him, she pulled herself up to a sitting position and guided his hands down towards the bottom of her top. Understanding the meaning of her action, Nick wasted no time in lifting the bothersome garment up her body and over her head.

She felt herself being pressed down against the pillows once more while Nick took his time, trailing kisses along her chest and stomach. Alyssa's teeth dug into her bottom lip, her hands clutching at his arms. Normally, she enjoyed a little foreplay, but tonight she found herself surprisingly impatient all of a sudden. Perhaps it was the thrill of knowing that what she was doing wasn't exactly the most rational  or healthiest thing in the world, but the fact that it seemed so forbidden was what probably made her want it even more.

And it was that impulse that Alyssa acted upon as she found herself falling into the same familiar path that she had the last time Nick had visited her in New York. What could she say? She was lonely as hell and Nick provided the one thing that seemed to be missing the most in her life lately... Attention.

Alyssa struggled to catch her breath, her mind still hazy. She lay there for a moment, completely still and silent, her body pounding. Her first rational thought, a reminder of her  vow to not let anything happen between her and Nick tonight, momentarily flashed across her mind and she bit her lip in order to keep from laughing. So much for that idea, she thought to herself, grinning.

"What are you smiling about?" Nick playfully asked as he rolled over to face her.

Alyssa could already start to feel her cheeks turn pink. "About how I promised myself that I wouldn't let myself wind up in this position," she admitted.

Nick smirked. "I'd say its a little late for that one."

"Well, its really not my fault," she indignantly insisted. "You're the one that practically seduced me."

"Seduced you?" he laughed. "All I did was give you a little beer. If you consider that seduction then you live a very sheltered life."

Alyssa rolled her eyes. "You did more than just give me beer. Who was it calling me in the middle of night, waking me up from a sound sleep, to beg me to come over and see him? Swearing that he only wanted to "make things up" to me?"

It was Nick's turn to look sheepish. "Okay, you got me there. But you have to admit that I definitely made things up to you, right?" he pointed out, nuzzling up against her neck.

As much as Alyssa didn't want to give Nick the satisfaction that she was so easily manipulated when it came to him, she knew that she wouldn't be able to convincingly lie. Truth was that after two orgasms she was finding it difficult to remember exactly what it had been that they fought about in the first place. So much for being a strong, independent woman, she criticized herself. You can't even be around him without cracking. Holding back her pride, she knew that she'd have to admit that he was right. Damn, she hated that.

"Well, it is kind of hard to stay mad at you. Especially when you're tearing my clothes off," she confessed. "But don't think that you can get away with that every time we have a fight because-"

Before she could even finish her sentence, Nick's lips were pressing over hers, interrupting her little speech. Immediately, Alyssa gave in to the kiss, knowing damn well that it was the only his own little way of shutting her up when he didn't want to hear what she had to say. When they finally pulled apart, she was surprised to find her heart racing. "Damn, I just can't stay mad at you," she sighed, stroking his back.

"That's because I'm just so damn irresistible," Nick joked, shooting a toothy grin.

Alyssa just rolled her eyes and pretended to ignore his comment as she moved her fingertips up to play with his shaggy blonde hair. "You need a haircut," she remarked, changing the subject.

"I know I do, but who has the time for a haircut when I'm touring like this?" he pointed out.

"I guess you're right," she finally agreed. "So what do you have on your schedule for the next few weeks?"

Nick shrugged. "Well, I'm flying back to LA in a few hours and I have off until after the holidays, but then after the New Year we're going over to Asia and Australia until like the end of January."

"Sounds exciting," Alyssa told him, trying her best to sound enthused. In reality, she found his plans to be slightly disappointing to her. She'd sort of secretly hoped that maybe he'd be able to stay in New York a little while longer. She was also not happy that he would again be halfway across the world from her, even though it would only be for a month and after that it would all be over. "Do you have  anything special planned for the holidays?"

Again Nick shrugged. "Actually no. I'm not sure what I'm going to do for Christmas. My family and I aren't on the best of terms right now, so as of this moment I'll be spending Christmas alone."

Alyssa's eyebrows knitted together in a frown. How sad... she thought. No one deserves to be alone on Christmas. Even Nick."Aww... Nick, that's so depressing," she sympathized; leaning up onto her elbow.

"It's not that big of a deal Alyssa. I probably won't end up alone. AJ and his Mom would have no problem if I joined them for Christmas and neither would Brian and Leigh or any of the other guys and their families. Someone will take pity on me," he tried to assure her, but Alyssa could still detect a hint of sadness in his voice.

It's not fair that his family has to be so screwed up, she thought. Seeing how Nick's family treated him always made Alyssa count her lucky stars that she had thankfully been born into one of the most stable and loving families she knew. Although her parents could sometimes be strict, she knew they could be a lot worse. She was lucky. Suddenly a vision of Nick sitting alone on Christmas flashed across her mind and her heart broke for him. Before she even realized what she was saying, the offer was flying out of her mouth. "Well, you're always welcome to spend Christmas with me and my family on Long Island. My Mom always cooks enough for ten extra people and her philosophy is 'what's one more plate?'"

"I really appreciate the offer, Alyssa, but I don't know if that's the best idea," he politely declined, looking uncomfortable. "I know that I'm not a huge fan of your parents and all and I don't want to cause any trouble."

It wasn't exactly a secret that Alyssa's parents weren't particularly fond of Nick. They were never comfortable with the fact that their daughter had been dating a celebrity and were hurt to discover that Alyssa had purposely tried to hide the fact from them. Of course then when the whole Katie scandal had made its way onto the front pages of the tabloids they were mortified for Alyssa. When she and Nick did eventually get back together afterwards,they weren't the least bit supportive and from that point on they didn't even attempt to act nice towards him. Although he had gained a few points of respect in her Dad's eyes after he had actually spoke to him beforehand about his plans to propose to Alyssa, those points were quickly lost when he had impulsively decided to end the engagement. And you want to invite Nick to Christmas dinner in this mess. Are you crazy? she had to ask herself.

"It won't be that bad, " she promised. "My parents are just going to have to suck it up. Besides I think that they'll be able to call a truce in good old holiday spirit."

"I still dunno, Alyssa..."

"Just think about it Nick, ok? If nothing else comes up just know that my door is always open. I hate the idea of you spending Christmas alone, so if at the last minute you wanna fly out here just give me a call."

"Ok, fine. I'll think about it," he finally gave in. "Speaking of flights I have to be in the airport in only about another two hours."

"You should get some rest then," she suggested, shifting her weight so that she was laying her head on his chest.

"I can always sleep on the plane. It's a long flight."

Alyssa stifled a yawn. "Well, I'm exhausted. I haven't gotten much sleep tonight, so I don't know how much longer I can stay awake. Sorry."

"Close your eyes then. It's okay if you doze off," Nick assured her as he wrapped his arms around her body.

"You sure?" she asked uncertainly. Nick just nodded his head in response, so Alyssa did just what he had told her to do. Closing her eyes, she nestled closer to him, amazed at how safe she felt in his arms. Her last thoughts before drifting off to sleep were, How can he be so sweet at times like this, but such a dick at other times?

Alyssa awoke to the sensation of someone shaking her shoulders as if they were trying to gently wake her up from her slumber. She thought she heard someone calling her name in a far off voice, but she tried to ignore it. "Five more minutes..." she mumbled, burying her face in the pillow.

"And you say I'm hard to wake up in the morning," Nick's voice teased.

Alyssa's eyes fluttered open, a little confused to be laying in what appeared a hotel bed with just a sheet wrapped around her body before her memory finally caught up with her. Rubbing her eyes, she sat up in bed to see Nick standing over her, fully dressed, trying to cram last minute things into a suitcase. Glancing around the room she saw that all the empty beer bottles had been cleaned off the tables and all the cigarette butts littering the ash trays had vanished. No one would know that there had been a party going on in the room only a few short hours ago. Nick must've spent the whole time I was sleeping cleaning up this place, she realized.

"What time is it?" she groaned.

"Almost 6 am," Nick answered.

"6 am! What the fuck are you doing waking me up at such a godforsaken hour?" she pouted.

Nick looked as if he was trying to hold back a smirk. "Aren't we just a ray of sunshine in the morning? I have to leave for the airport in about 15 more minutes, so I'm afraid I need to kick you out now."

Kick me out? That sounds cold, Alyssa thought to herself, but decided to ignore it. It could've just been Nick's idea of a joke. "All right," she grumbled, reaching over the bed to gather up last nights clothes from the floor. "Would it be okay if I came with you, to see you off?"

He chewed at his lip, trying not to make eye contact with her. "Actually its probably a better idea if you just sneak out now. The hotel is loaded with fans and if they catch us together, well... you can imagine what the message boards will be like tonight."

"Okay, I understand," she willed herself to say, trying not to sound hurt. He'd love to have you come with him, but it would cause all sorts of rumors and you don't need anything else complicating things even further than they already are, she tried to reason as she pulled on her clothes. She didn't even ask if she could quickly jump in the shower since Nick had made it pretty clear that he wanted her to slip out as discreetly as possible.

Once she finished dressing, and did her best to finger comb her unruly hair, she turned to face Nick. "Well, I guess this is goodbye for now."

"Yea. I'll give you a call when I get back to LA," he promised her, stepping forward to give her a quick peck on her lips.

"Remember my offer about Christmas," she reminded him, after only a moments hesitation. "It's out on the table if you want to take me up on it."

"I'll definitely think about it." He put his arms around her in a farewell hug and Alyssa let herself linger in his arms for a few seconds until she managed to tear herself away.

"Goodbye," she told him, realizing at that moment that she had no clue when the next time they would see each other would be. Too proud to let him know how much he got to her, she turned around and stepped out into the empty hotel hallway before she lost her nerve to walk away.

Well, that was sufficiently awkward, she thought to herself, stopping to adjust her purse on her shoulder. Can it get any weirder?

Her question was almost immediately answered. Yes, it could get weirder... Much weirder... The creaking sound of another room's door opening jarred her out of her thoughts and before she could duck behind a corner, two girls stepped out into the hallway. The same two girls that she recognized from last night, that she had assumed to be fans spying on everyone going in and out of Nick's room. Their eyes locked for a split second and Alyssa instantly knew that they recognized her too... and they knew exactly where she was coming from and what had happened. Their malicious grins were almost too much for Alyssa. Never in her life had she felt so dirty and so transparent.

She quickly lowered her head and started walking down the hallway as fast as her feet would carry her. She didn't look up until she reached the elevator and felt relieved that the girls hadn't bothered to follow her. As the doors opened, she realized that the numbers on the elevator panel were blurry as her eyes filled with tears. Why am I crying? I didn't do anything wrong, right? It's not like I just sleep with random guys all the time. Besides its Nick.

Then it hit her. The way Nick had kicked her out in such a rush this morning, the judgmental stares from the girls in the hall... For the first time in her twenty-five years Alyssa felt as if she had the word 'whore' written across her chest.

She absolutely hated the feeling.
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