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Author's Chapter Notes:
Nick and Alyssa ring in the New Year with each other.

Just want to note that remember back in like Chapter 11 I informed everyone that I miscalculated and missed a year between Alyssa and Nick? Well, instead of changing everthing I just went with it, so this is one of those chapters where its going to be off. The flashback in this chapter is Nick's 22nd b-day yet it takes place on the B&B tour. Yes, I know the B&B tour was well over with before Nick was 22, but work with me here.

Chapter 49

After much contemplation, Nick had decided that the best thing to do under the circumstances would be to just play his feelings off casually. Admitting them to Alyssa would only make things far more complicated than they already are and it would just make her leaving the day after tomorrow even more difficult. Once the tour was wrapped up and she was all settled out in LA, then maybe he could finally divulge his true feelings, but what would be the sense of it now?

With that finally settled, Nick had to admit that he did feel more relaxed, but he was still a little hesitant about how he’d feel once he was actually face to face with Alyssa again. He hoped that it wouldn’t be awkward like it had been in the bathroom earlier. If that was the case, it would send all the progress that they’d made this past week straight out the window, and he definitely didn’t want that. If anything, they’d gotten closer than ever in the past few days. Actually, the more he thought about it the more surprised he became at himself for not realizing how hard he was falling for her earlier. After the way she’d listened so intently to him vent about how badly his relationship with Paris had screwed him up and the way that she’d immediately calmed him down after his blowout with Kevin, he couldn’t see any reason how he couldn’t start to develop deeper feelings for her again.

He didn’t have much time to mull over how to act around Alyssa, because he was interrupted by a knock at his bedroom door. Speak of the devil, he thought with a smirk as he ran some pomade through his hair to give it that messy, bed head look he knew that she loved.

“Nick? Are you ready yet?” Alyssa’s familiar voice tentatively asked on the other side of the door.

“Uh huh,” he replied. “Come on in.”

The door cracked open and Nick found his breath catching in his throat as she stepped into the bedroom. Her hair had been released from the large rollers it was pinned up into earlier and now fell in loose curls around her shoulders and even though she was wearing a lot of makeup it didn’t look clownish at all, but just right for the occasion. Most striking to him though was the clingy, red, cocktail dress that hugged every one of her curves perfectly. He licked his lips as his eyes swept over her. Red definitely was her color. With her olive complexion and dark hair and eyes it definitely made her very exotic and sexy looking.

“See something you like?” she teased with a bit of a nervous laugh. Obviously he hadn’t been as discrete as he thought he had been in checking her out.

All of a sudden a feeling of déjà vu came across him. He’d definitely seen her in this dress before or one very similar, but he couldn’t quite remember exactly where or when it had been. Alyssa must have noticed the change in his expression because she grinned and took a step closer to him. “Notice anything familiar?”

“The dress…” he slowly replied. “You’ve worn that before.”

She nodded biting her lip. “Uh huh… Your 22nd birthday. Remember?”

“How could I forget?” he breathed in deeply as all of a sudden that night came back to him in very vivid detail…


“I can’t believe you’re making me do this,” Nick grumbled from underneath the blindfold over his eyes. “I feel so gay right now.”

Alyssa just laughed as she led him down the corridor of the backstage area of the arena towards the stage. “Here I am trying so hard to surprise you on your birthday and all you keep doing is complaining! I can’t let you see where we’re going or else it won’t be a surprise.”

“Well, it better be a good one. Because I feel like the worlds biggest asshole right now.”

“Trust me… You’ll like it,” she promised as they approached the steps leading up to the stage. “Now we’re going up some steps so be careful.”

Nick nodded and hung onto her arm as she led him up the steps. Man, it would suck to be blind, he realized as he almost tripped over one of them.

“Whoa there!” Alyssa grabbed him trying not to laugh. “I need you in one piece here.”

“Which is exactly why you
shouldn’t have blindfolded me,” he pointed out as he finally reached the last step. “So, can I take this damn thing off yet?”

“Sure go ahead.” He could tell that she had moved farther away from him by the way her voice sounded fainter.

Ripping the blindfold from his face he was actually quite surprised to find himself standing on top of the very same stage that he had performed on earlier that night. Alyssa had made the area look as intimate as possible by spreading out some large blankets across the stage and placing a few candles nearby. Alyssa stood a few feet away from the blanket wearing a long wool coat that made it impossible for him to see what she was wearing underneath.
Maybe it’s nothing at all, he thought with a smirk.

His prediction was shot down as Alyssa finally slipped the coat off her shoulders and let it fall to the floor once she was sure she had this attention. His eyes widened as he caught sight of the red, spaghetti strapped cocktail dress that sparkled underneath the stage lights. His mouth opened and closed a few times at a complete loss for words.

Seeing his stunned reaction, Alyssa just laughed. “What’s a matter? Cat got your tongue?”

“You look… Just wow…” was all that he could manage to spit out, knowing that he wasn’t being at all subtle in the way that his eyes were traveling down the line of cleavage that the plunging neckline produced.

“Have a seat,” she told him, gesturing towards the blanket beside him, ignoring his obvious ogling.

Nick gladly plopped down on the blanket, making himself comfortable by laying back on it with his hands behind his head. Alyssa sat down across from him holding a medium sized box in her hands. “I bought you a cake,” she explained opening up the box and producing two paper plates, forks, a cake cutter, a small package of birthday candles, and a lighter from a bag next to her. She placed the candles on top of the cake and lit each one. “I won’t make you listen to me singing Happy Birthday since I’d probably do permanent damage to your eardrums, but go ahead and make a wish.”

A smirk could just barely be seen on Nick’s face as he sat up. “Okay… Can I wish to see you without that dress on?” he joked.

Alyssa just laughed and played along. “Sorry, you know what they say… If you say your wish out loud it won’t come true.”

“Damn you’re right. Well, then you didn’t hear that.”

“Hear what?” she innocently replied. She watched as Nick’s face turned serious for a moment and then he leaned down and blew out all of his candles in one deep breath.

He lifted his head up from the cake and reached across Alyssa to grab a paper plate and the cake cutter before slicing a thick piece of cake for himself. “What kind of piece do you want? A big one or a small one?”

Even though it was an innocent question, Alyssa couldn’t resist the urge to take it completely differently. “Oh baby, you know I like it big,” she said with a smirk. ”Oh, wait… You were talking about the cake, weren’t you?”

“Well, I was referring to the cake, but yes, I do know that you like it ‘big.’ That’s why you’re with me of course,” he joked, puffing out his chest while he cut her a large piece of cake.

Alyssa just rolled her eyes as she took the piece of cake from him. “Uh huh… That’s exactly the reason that I’m dating you. Just for your dick.”

“Glad you finally admitted it.” Nick paused to take a bite out of his cake. “Mmm… This is good! Where did you get it?”

“There’s this bakery right around the corner from the hotel,” she explained. “Figured I’d give it a try. I wasn’t sure if it would be good or not, so I’m glad that it meets your stamp of approval.”

The conversation continued to flow between the two of them until they had both finished up their slices of cake. Pushing his plate aside, Nick looked over at Alyssa unsure if she had anything else planned besides the cake. “Thanks for all this. It was a really sweet and creative idea.”

“You don’t have to thank me just yet,” she told him before exploding into a giggle.

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

Alyssa just shook her head as she continued to giggle. “You got a little frosting on the corner of your mouth. Right there.” Her fingertips flew up to her own mouth to show him where it was.

Nick started to rub at his mouth, but on the entirely wrong side of his face which made Alyssa laugh even harder. “Did I get it?”

“Here, let me do it.” She slid herself closer in front of him so that his knee was almost between her knees, but instead of reaching up with her fingertips to wipe it away, she surprised him by bringing her face closer to his until their lips were only inches apart. Nick took a deep breath as he inhaled the scent of her perfume. Before he could further react, her lips were on top of his. He was both shocked and pleasantly surprised when he felt her tongue dart out towards the corner of his mouth to lick away the leftover frosting that he had missed. He couldn’t resist, but to deepen the kiss still tasting the sugary sweet substance in her mouth.

After a few urgent kisses, Alyssa pulled away from his lips and began a trail of light kisses up along his jaw line to the bottom of his earlobe. Pulling away slightly, she whispered near his ear, “I bet you’re wondering how I came up with this idea, huh?”

Nick just nodded his head. He had to admit that blindfolding him and dragging him to the arena they had just performed at just to share a birthday cake was a little unconventional. Unless…
No, Alyssa isn’t the type, he argued with himself. Although she had gotten all dolled up in that dress…

“Remember that conversation we were all having near the beginning of the tour about our strangest fantasies?” she asked, playing with his shirt collar.

Again Nick nodded knowing exactly what she was getting at. Maybe he had been wrong about her, after all.

Her tone was low and seductive. “Do you remember what yours was?”

“To have sex on a stage,” he recalled in a weak voice.

“Uh huh… So, I made it happen for you. Happy birthday, baby.” Before Nick had a chance to respond, her mouth was on top of his in a firm kiss. He definitely hadn’t expected a surprise like this coming from Alyssa who was usually much more reserved, but he definitely wasn’t complaining. If anything it was more of a turn on for him. He kissed her back aggressively and pushed her down onto the blanket so that she was lying on her back. He wasted no time in pushing down the thin straps of her dress to leave a trail of kisses down her neck and shoulders.

Surprisingly to him, Alyssa wriggled out of his grasp and rolled him over so he was now on his back and she was the one on the top. “Uh, uh,” she scolded him, her hands already rubbing against his chest underneath his shirt. “Tonight is all about you…”


That was what he loved most about Alyssa. How unpredictable she could be. Just when you thought you had her all figured out she’d do something so out of character that it would knock you off your feet. Typically she was the more submissive of the two, but whenever she did take control of things, like that night; he always found it incredibly hot. With her, you never quite knew what to expect, and he had to admit that he found that way more exciting than other girls he had dated who were always the aggressive types.

“Yea… That was a pretty amazing night,” he confessed. “You were so hot then.”

“And I’m not now?” she pretended to pout, with her hands on her hips.

He smirked, stepping closer to her and placed his hands over hers. “Nahh, you’re even hotter now. And that dress looks ten times sexier on you now.” It was the truth. The few extra pounds she’d put on since then, made the dress fit even tighter over her curves.

Alyssa looked up at him as she realized how little space there was between their bodies. With his hands on her hips and how flirty he was being she couldn’t help, but to tilt her head slightly and close her eyes…

His mouth was only about an inch from hers when the shrill sound of the doorbell ringing made them spring apart. “We should probably get that. It’s probably one of the guys already.”

Alyssa just nodded feeling slightly disappointed even though she was sure they’d get another opportunity later on that evening. “All right… I’ll bet you ten bucks it’s Kevin.”

“You’re on!”

As it turned out, the first couple to arrive had been Brian and Leighanne, much to Nick’s delight. Usually, he would put all of his money on Kevin, but considering that the last time the two of them had spoken things had been tense to say the least, he figured that Kevin probably wouldn’t be his punctual self. Nick had to admit that he was relieved. As long as at least one of the other guys were present, Nick would be able to successfully ignore his older band mate, but if he and Melanie were the first to arrive it would mean forcing awkward conversation. Luckily, since Brian and Leigh had just flown in from Georgia specifically to attend this New Years Eve Party they had been the first ones to show up.

Ironically enough, Kevin and Melanie had been the last of them to show up at 6:55pm, five minutes before the limo was about to arrive. Even AJ and Tricia were there earlier and outside of him, AJ was the one member of the group voted ‘least likely to show up on time.’ What little interaction Nick had with Kevin was polite, but cold. If any of the other guys picked up on the strange behavior between the two men they chose not to say anything. All Nick knew was that the tension that hung inside the limousine on the way to the party had been so thick that it could have been cut with a knife.

The good thing about a party in LA was that they were often so crowded and so full of familiar faces that it made it even easier for him to avoid Kevin. In fact, as soon as they had arrived, they’d split up into groups. Brian and Leigh and Kevin and Melanie had both wandered off on their own, while Nick and Alyssa chose to stay behind with Howie, Teri, AJ, and Tricia. Alyssa seemed to really get along great with Teri and Tricia, so Nick figured it would be the best to stick with them. Then there was also the possibility that Paris could be lurking around somewhere and Nick wanted to avoid a run in with her at all costs. He never knew Alyssa to be a violent person, but he also wasn’t sure how serious the threats she had made the night before were.

So far though the night had been relatively drama free and Alyssa appeared to be having a great time. At that moment, she was out on the dance floor with Teri and Tricia, a wide smile on her face indicating that she was having a great time. He smiled to himself as he watched from his position near the bar. He’d been out there with them just moments earlier, but had just excused himself to get another beer. He was about to rejoin them, but then something stopped him. Alyssa looked like she was having so much fun with the girls, he decided not to interrupt. She’d be fine without him which he had to admit was a nice change from some other girls he had dated that remained glued at his side the whole night. He liked the fact that she could show up at a party with him, do her own thing, and still have fun. Taking advantage of the moment, he decided to slip outside to the balcony to get some air and possibly a cigarette. (Hey, he had until midnight before he officially quit, so he might as well smoke while he still could.)

He was only out there for a few minutes when he felt a presence behind him and then the sound of someone clearing their throat. Whirling his head around he was disappointed to see Kevin standing behind him. “Oh, it’s you,” he muttered. What could he want?

“Nick, I know you’re still upset about the other day, but I’m hoping that we can talk about it,” the older man started off.

“I’m not upset,” Nick replied, turning his back on him. “It’s over with. You made your decision.”

He wasn’t fooling Kevin. “If you’re not upset then how come you can’t even look me in the eye?”

Nick just shrugged and stared straight ahead stone faced. Okay, so maybe he was being a little childish, but Kevin should be used to his pouting by now.

“I can understand why you’d be mad Nick. I know it’s going to be a big change and I expected you to be upset, but not so upset that you completely shut me out over something like this. We’ve been friends for almost thirteen years now. Please don’t throw that away over something stupid.”

He could hear the painful pleading in his friend’s voice and he felt himself soften up a little bit, but still he wouldn’t completely cave. As dumb as it was, he was too stubborn to let Kevin think he’d give in so easily. So, he still remained silent.

Kevin sighed, obviously frustrated by the situation. “Look, we have less than an hour left of 2005. I don’t want to begin 2006 with you being pissed at me. Okay, I get that you think me leaving the group is selfish, but I’m not changing my mind and I really want your support in this. The other guys, they’re hurt too, but they respect my decision and wish me the best of luck. I’d just want your blessing, that’s all.”

Nick took in a deep breath and thought back to their fight the other night. He remembered how angry he had been and all the hurtful words that had spewed out of his mouth. He remembered coming back inside the house and being so angry that he tore apart his entire bedroom in a rage. He also remembered how afterwards Alyssa had come in to comfort him and said exactly the right words he had needed to hear just then. She’d said pretty much the same thing Kevin had just said right now. He didn’t want this to ruin their friendship and as Alyssa had pointed out him, leaving the group didn’t necessarily mean ending all contact with him and the rest of the guys. Their friendship could still continue, despite him not performing with them any more.

“Alyssa was right about this, you know,” he finally found himself speaking up. “She pretty much said I’d be a fool to let our friendship go because of something like this and she couldn’t be more correct.”

“She’s a smart girl,” Kevin agreed.

Nick looked down. Apologizing was always hard for him. “Listen, I was really out of line the other night. You know me… I tend to overreact and let my temper get the best of me. I probably said a lot of things that I didn’t really mean and I’m sorry. I hope that we can pretend it never happened.”

“Well, I don’t know about pretending it never happened. I don’t believe in ignoring the past.” Nick’s face fell at Kevin’s response. Was he really not going to accept his apology after all that? “But, I think that I can find it in my heart to forgive you.”

Nick sighed in relief. “You scared me there for a second you prick. I thought you weren’t going to forgive me or something.”

“Of course I forgave you Nick. Why wouldn’t I? Even though you did tell me to go fuck myself if I recall correctly,” Kevin pointed out.

Yea… about that…” Nick blushed. “That was one of those things I didn’t really think through very clearly before I said it.”

Kevin just laughed. “Well, I guess I can let you go this time, but try it again and I can’t guarantee that you’ll be so lucky.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he promised. “I’m glad that I listened to Alyssa. She was great, you know. After our fight she came to me and cuddled up next to me and just said all the right things. She really calmed me down in a way that not many people can.”

“I already told you that I think she’s good for you Nick. I’m still not exactly sure why you let her go in the first place.”

Nick sighed. “I was young and stupid and it was complicated. So, you really approve of her?”

Kevin nodded. “Absolutely. I wouldn’t say so if it wasn’t the truth and you know that I don’t approve of many of your female companions.”

That’s for sure… Kevin always was very good at giving his opinion, whether it was asked for or not. “She’s moving out here to LA. Once the tour is over. I even found her a condo and everything near my place.”

“So, I take it its getting serious huh?”

Nick hesitated a moment before answering. Kevin was the first of the guys that he really shared the details of him and Alyssa’s relationship with, which was kind of odd since he was much closer to AJ or even Brian. Somehow though it felt right to confide in Kevin about this matter. He always gave honest, wise, advice and he knew that he could trust him. Plus, Kevin’s relationship with Melanie had been more than successful so far, so Nick figured that he must be doing something right. “Yea… I think it is getting serious. Actually, I know it is… I love her Kevin.” It was the first time he’d actually said those words out loud.

Kevin looked at him carefully. “And have you told her this?”

“No,” he muttered. “I don’t think I realized it until earlier today. I’m still not sure what to do about it.”

“Well, the obvious thing to do would be to tell her first off. If you ask me I don’t think you have anything to be afraid of. I’m pretty sure that she probably feels the same about you.”

“Yea, but…” Nick trailed off.

Kevin frowned. “But what?”

Nick sighed. “Tomorrow is her last day out here and then we’re not going to see each other until after the tour wraps up. What’s the point in me confessing that I love her when we can’t even really act on it? Wouldn’t I be better off waiting until we get back and she’s out here permanently?”

“That’s your choice Nick, but if you want my opinion I think sooner is better.”

Still Nick had his doubts. “I don’t know Kevin…”

Knowing his little brother and knowing how stubborn he could be Kevin decided it was best not to push the matter. He’d lost count of how many times Nick had come to him for advice only to ignore it and then get burned in the end by his bad choice. Sometimes he had to do things the hard way and Kevin only hoped that Alyssa would be patient enough to wait it out. Before he dropped the subject though he couldn’t resist one last warning. “Do what you think is best, but don’t wait too long or else it might be too late.”

Nick looked puzzled. What the hell does that mean? He didn’t see how it could go wrong. She’d practically committed herself to moving out to LA. What could possibly go wrong in a month’s time anyway? He actually figured that it would make things easier on them if they didn’t get involved in that kind of commitment with them being apart for that long.

He felt Kevin’s hand on his shoulder. “I’m glad we had this talk little man. Now I’m going inside to find my wife. Think about what I said.”

Just like that he was gone and Nick had to admit that now he was more confused than ever.

It was 11:55pm and Alyssa was anxiously searching the crowed area for Nick. He’d disappeared close to an hour ago to get himself a beer and he’d never returned. Not that Alyssa had minded too much because she had Tricia and Teri to keep her company. The two of them were hilarious together and Alyssa was glad to already have at least two female friends out in LA waiting for her. At that moment though, she was pretty concerned with finding Nick. She wanted to ring in 2006 with him by her side. As it was, the entire room was crowded with all the guests excitedly staring at the large screen televisions around the room.

Spotting AJ, she made her way towards him. “Hey, have you seen Nick?” she shouted, barely able to hear herself over the sound of the noisemakers that people were already playing with.

“I think he’s out on the balcony having one last cigarette before it hits midnight,” he reported. “I still can’t believe you convinced him to quit.”

“Thanks!” she told him, ignoring his last comment and pushing her way through the crowd towards the balcony doors. As promised, there was Nick staring out at the sky taking a drag of a cigarette. Outside of him, the balcony was empty. Everyone else was inside by now waiting for the ball to drop.

Alyssa stepped outside and made her way over to him. “There you are! I was looking for you. We’ve got two minutes before midnight.”

Nick ground his cigarette into an ashtray and turned to face her. “It’s nice and quiet out here, huh?”

Alyssa nodded. “Yea to tell you the truth it’s pretty stuffy in there with all those people. By the way, I bought you New Years crown.” She giggled as she pulled the glittery cardboard Happy New Years tiara from behind her back and placed it on top of his head.

“How do I look?” he asked in a high pitched lisp. “Fabulous?”

“Sensational,” she told him not being able to stop laughing. “I wish I had my camera.”

Nick grinned slipping an arm around her waist. “You know how I want to ring in the New Year?”

“How?” she asked.

“Right out here. Just you and me. Away from all those people in there,” he whispered into her ear.

Alyssa just nodded. She had to admit that she had no problems with that request.

“2006 is going to be our year, baby,” he promised as he hugged her closer to him. And before Alyssa could respond she could hear the voices from inside starting the count down.

“Ten…nine… eight… seven… six…five… four… three… two… one…Happy New Year!”

The two of them looked at each other for a moment before embracing in a long passionate kiss as probably most of all the other couples were doing at that moment. As they finally broke apart Alyssa caught sight of fireworks being shot off in distance and couldn’t help but to smirk at how clichéd it seemed.

“Damn, I’m gifted,” Nick joked, gazing up at the fireworks.

Alyssa couldn’t help, but laugh at him. “I hate to burst your bubble, but its New Years Eve. Everyone is shooting fireworks off now.”

“Yea… Yea… You just have to shatter my confidence right?”

“Oh, please. I’d need a bulldozer to shatter your confidence.”

Nick just wrapped his arms tighter around her and buried his face into her neck. “How about we find a cab and get out of here? I know exactly how I want to spend the first night of 2006 and it’s not here.”

“I think that’s the best suggestion I’ve heard all year,” she coyly answered, linking her hand with his as they headed back inside to leave.