It was hard for Alyssa to believe that her week out in LA with Nick was officially coming to close. She was scheduled to fly back into New York tomorrow afternoon and she had to admit that she really wasn’t looking forward to it. Even though, she’d be back out in LA permanently in only about a months time, she had gotten so used to having him around that she knew being away from him was going to be tough on her. But it needed to be done. She still had to tie up her loose ends in New York and Nick had a full schedule of tour dates throughout Asia and Australia.
For her last night out in LA, Nick had arranged a little goodbye dinner for her, the rest of the guys and their significant others, and a few of his friends at one of his favorite restaurants out in LA, Koi. Alyssa hadn’t really been pleased with the ‘friends’ part since she’d already made it clear that she found his friends less than desirable. Nick had insisted though that they’d be on good behavior, so the two of them had reached a compromise. She’d let him invite his friend Chris as long as he didn’t invite Rob, another one of Nick’s friends that Alyssa felt was a bad influence on him. Reluctantly, Nick had agreed.
At that moment, Alyssa was upstairs in Nick’s bedroom straightening her hair for dinner that night. Nick had mentioned something about grabbing a shower while she got ready, since the hair straightening could take awhile. She was just working on her last section of hair when the sound of Nick’s house phone ringing made her jump, nearly burning her fingers. “Fuck…” she murmured, sucking at the spot on her finger that had made contact with the hot iron. The phone continued to ring and Alyssa realized that maybe Nick was still in the shower and hadn’t heard it ring. Should I answer it? she wondered, staring at the extension on Nick’s night stand.
After another ring her mind was made up and she made a grab for the phone. “Hel-“
“How come you weren’t picking up your Sidekick homo? I must’ve tried reaching you about ten times and you never answered,” a familiar male voice interrupted her on the other end.
Alyssa was just opening her mouth to explain that she wasn’t Nick when she heard Nick’s voice reply on the other end of the phone. “Sorry Bean… I was in the shower. What’d you want?”
It was then that Alyssa finally realized that she must have grabbed the phone at the same time that Nick had from another room in the house. Ugh, the last thing I want to do is eavesdrop on a conversation between him and Rob, she thought with a shudder.
She was just about to hang up the phone when she overheard Rob’s next question. “I was just wondering if maybe you wanted to go out and do something tonight? Hit up a club; pick us up some fine ladies… What do you say?”
Alyssa decided to stay on the line curious to hear Nick’s response. Obviously he couldn’t since he already had plans for tonight with her. She just wondered what his excuse would be. Would he make some lie just to appease Bean or would he actually tell him the truth about the two of them? And if so, she had to admit that she was very interested to hear his reaction.
“As fun as that sounds, I kind of already have plans for tonight,” Nick explained. “Do you remember my ex girlfriend, Alyssa?”
“You mean the little Italian girl with the nice ass?” Eww… Did he really think that she had a nice ass? God, I feel dirty now, she shuddered again.
If Nick was offended by his friends comment he just ignored it. “Well, she came to visit me from New York for the week and tonight is her last night here, so I’m taking her out to dinner at Koi. Sorry dawg…”
“Wait! Back up! You mean to tell me that you’ve been hitting that shit for a week and you never told me? What the fuck, man? How long has this been going on? I want explicit details, here.”
Listening to his demands, made Alyssa almost want to vomit. Please, don’t blab all the personal information here, she silently begged. She hoped that she meant more to Nick than just some random groupie that he’d later toss aside and brag about the whole experience to his friends. It really made her sick that Nick was actually friends with this imbecile.
“If I wanted to share any details with you, you’d know by now,” Nick coolly responded on the other end of the phone.
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean? You tell me everything. Why is this any different?”
“Because it just is. Maybe I don’t want you to know every detail of my sex life.” Alyssa could hear that Nick was getting frustrated with Bean by just the tone of his voice.
“Oh…! I get it! You really like this girl, don’t you?”
“That’s none of your fucking business,” Nick responded through gritted teeth.
“Holy shit… You’re completely pussy whipped! I don’t think I’d ever see the day, but the Nick Carter is officially a pansy! You have to be hanging out with those other fags way too much lately or something. How could you-?”
"Hold up a second there!” he angrily interrupted. “You're supposed to be my friend and this is how you talk to me? What the fuck is your problem? You'd be nothing without me. In fact, I'm probably the only reason you get laid in the first place! So, don't go making judgments on my decisions.” Without giving Rob another moment to respond he continued. “Furthermore I really don’t like the way you’re referring to Alyssa. It’s rude and disrespectful and I think that you’re just jealous.”
“Jealous? Of what? Being tied down to one girl? She must give great head or something because that’s just crazy.”
Alyssa gasped in anger not even caring if they heard her on the other end of the phone or not. He’s assuming that Nick is only with me because I ‘give great head?’ What a prick! She actually had to bite her tongue not to butt in on the conversation and give him a piece of her mind. Luckily Nick’s voice interrupted her thoughts.
“You son of a-“Then he stopped not even bothering to finish his sentence. “You know what? You’re not worth it. You’re a truly pathetic person. I feel bad for you because you’re going to find yourself living a very long and lonely life.” With that she heard a click on the line signaling that he’d hung up.
Alyssa quickly dropped the phone as she heard footsteps coming up the stairs. A few moments later, Nick was in the doorway with his hands crossed over his chest. “Okay… How much of that did you actually hear?”
“How did you know I was listening?” she tentatively asked, hoping that he wasn’t mad that she had eavesdropped on him.
“I heard you gasp after Bean’s comment about giving great head.” He smirked. “I thought for sure you were going to tell him off.”
“I was tempted to! What a dick! Why are you even friends with him?”
It was obvious that Nick was wondering the same thing. “I don’t know… So, did you think I did the right thing?”
It was the first time that Alyssa actually had time to reflect on his response and she finally realized exactly what he’d done. He’d stood up for her! And he’d told his best friend off, but in a way that showed that he was the bigger person. For Nick, this was a huge achievement. “You handled it perfectly,” she told him. “I’m really proud of you that you didn’t stoop to his level and you stood your ground. That really showed a lot of maturity on your part and I appreciate it.”
“Thanks. I’m glad you approved. I’m really sorry that you had to hear that,” he apologized.
“I’m the one who should be sorry. I shouldn’t have been listening into your conversation at all,” Alyssa admitted. “I picked up the phone the same time as you because I thought that you were still in the shower and I was about to hang up, but then I overheard Bean asking you if you wanted to go out tonight and I guess I was just curious to hear what you’d say. I’d say I learned my lesson huh?”
“You could say that.” Nick wrapped an arm around her. “Now you better start getting dressed because we have to meet everyone else in about forty- five minutes.”
“All right,” Alyssa agreed, reluctantly pulling away to dig something out of her suitcase to wear.
“So then he goes, ‘she must give great head or something for you to feel this strongly about her’ like he’s only with me for that reason.” Alyssa was just finishing up running over the fight Nick and Rob had over the phone earlier that evening with Tricia and Teri. The three women were crowded into the bathroom of Koi critically checking their appearances in the mirror.
Teri just laughed as she applied a fresh coat of lip gloss to her lips. “Well, look on the bright side. There’s nothing wrong with giving great head.”
Tricia nodded in agreement. “You should take it as a compliment. I totally would.”
“Coming from Bean, I don’t want to take it as a compliment. And besides…” she trailed off self consciously fiddling with the thin straps of her royal blue baby doll dress.
“Besides what?” Tricia pressed.
Alyssa blushed already feeling herself turning bright red. “I don’t think I’m exactly that great at it,” she mumbled.
“Not exactly that great at it?” Teri echoed with a laugh. “What makes you say that?”
Alyssa just shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I just don’t feel very comfortable doing it.”
Tricia looked sympathetic. “Well, has Nick ever had any complaints?”
“Well, no…” she admitted. “But it has been awhile.”
Teri’s eyes narrowed. “How long is awhile?”
“Like three years,” she squeaked. “Before we broke up.”
“You mean you haven’t since you two have gotten back together?” Teri sounded surprised.
Alyssa shook her head. “It’s been really weird because like we hooked up in September when he came to visit me, and then we had sex a second time when he was in New York for Jingle Ball in December, and then again Christmas night at my parents house-“
“Ooh… getting it on in the parent’s house! Naughty, naughty!” she teased.
Alyssa just rolled her eyes and made a face as she continued. “But then of course since I arrived out here it’s more regular.”
“Just curious, how regular is regular?” Tricia asked.
“Yea, as in how many times a day?” Teri chimed in.
Again Alyssa blushed. She really wasn’t used to having friends that she could comfortably discuss her sex life with. When she was younger she’d been able to talk to Izzy to a certain extent, but then it kind of got weird with Izzy being such close friends with Nick too. “I guess like two? Give or take.”
Tricia looked satisfied and nodded her head. “Okay, about average for a new couple.”
The look on her face made Alyssa laugh. “What are you two? My sex therapists or something?”
Teri smirked. “I guess you could say that.” Her face turned serious. “Now we’re going to get the bottom of this for you. So, in that time you haven’t engaged in any below the belt activities?’
Alyssa found it difficult to keep a straight face with Teri sounding so serious. “If you’re asking if I gave him head I already told you no.”
“Yea, but what about the other way around?” Tricia interrupted.
Wow, red really seems to be your color tonight, she told herself as she noticed herself getting flushed again.
“We’ll take that as a yes,” Teri noted. “So, what’s the problem? Besides feeling uncomfortable? And it being a long time since? Because if you’re worried about being bad at it, truthfully there’s not much you can do to fuck it up.” She frowned for a second. “Well, besides biting down on him and I don’t know why you’d do that.”
“Personally I think your problem is that you lack confidence in yourself,” Tricia stated. “I mean you’ve done it before and gotten no complaints, so there’s no reason to doubt yourself. Guys really get off on confidence and when you’re more confident in yourself, you’re less inhibited. So, I just think that you need to concentrate on that and you’ll be fine.”
Alyssa nodded. What she said did make sense and she’d always struggled from issues with self confidence, so why shouldn’t it carry over into the bedroom?
“I agree,” Teri put her two cents in. “In fact, I have a little experiment for you to try.”
“Experiment? Uh oh… Why do I feel scared?”
She just laughed. “Don’t be. It’s really simple. For the rest of the night go out there and pretend that you are someone else who is confident as all hell. Don’t break out of character for one moment and I guarantee you that you’ll see a difference in the way other people act around you.”
Teri’s suggestion sounded pretty crazy, but Alyssa figured it couldn’t hurt to try. “What the hell, I’ll give it a try. But I better see some results Teresa.”
“Oh, you will,” she promised. “Now we better get back to the table before the guys think we fell in or something.”
When the three women arrived back to their table in one of Koi’s private rooms, their waiter was already standing there taking drink orders. “Sorry ladies,” he apologized, moving out of their way, so that they could sit down. “My name is Mark and I’m going to be your server tonight. I was just taking care of drinks. What can I get you?”
“I’ll have a Cosmopolitan,” Tricia ordered, taking her seat.
“Midori sour for me,” Teri piped up.
Mark turned to Alyssa. “And I understand that you’re the guest of honor tonight, right? The rest of your party already filled me in on the details. So, what would you like? It’s on me.”
Alyssa leaned back in her chair looking slightly impressed. The waiter was going to pick up the tab on her drink? Not a bad deal at all. “Hmm… Maybe I’ll get a margarita?”
No sooner did she say that out loud when both Tricia and Teri exploded into giggles. “Are you sure about that Alyssa? Last time you had margaritas we had to practically carry you into the bathroom because you could barely walk,” Tricia reminded her.
Mark raised his eyebrows and laughed. “Ok, so maybe margaritas might not be the best choice for you.”
Alyssa just laughed a little bit. “Yea, tequila and I aren’t a very good match,” she admitted. She was silent for a moment as she decided what she should order instead. “You know I haven’t had Sex on the Beach in a really long time…”
Again this made Tricia and Teri giggle and Alyssa already felt her cheeks reddening as she realized what she had just said. Mark smirked down at her. “Aww… That’s a shame, a pretty girl like you!” He turned towards Nick who was sitting next to her. “What’s a matter with you? You slacking off or something?”
This sent the entire table into hysterics while Nick’s face turned beet red. Everyone enjoyed the laughter at his expense, except for himself. He found the comment anything but funny even though he was well aware that it was only a joke. There was something about this guy that already he didn’t like. What gave him the right to kid around with him like that?
When everyone calmed down Mark turned serious again. “Okay, one Sex on the Beach on me. I’ll have those drinks out for you right away.” Nick must have had a hue scowl on his face because before walking away Mark apologized. “Sorry about the joke man. Thanks for being a good sport.”
“Good sport, my ass,” Nick muttered under his breath as he walked away.
“Nick!” Alyssa chided as she elbowed him. “What’s your problem? He was only being friendly.”
“Uh huh… Friendly… Right. I didn’t know being friendly meant inferring that I don’t know how to satisfy my woman.”
“Is that what this is all about?” Alyssa rolled her eyes. “Some macho ego thing here? Seriously, he was only kidding! Get off it Nick! Besides…” she lowered her voice. “We know that’s not the truth.”
Nick just sighed, but dropped the pouting. He definitely didn’t like the guy no matter what Alyssa said, especially since it was glaringly obvious that he was trying to flirt with her right in front of his face. Didn’t he realize that they were together?
The rest of the meal went on without much more embarrassment on Nick’s part, but Nick couldn’t help, but to notice the extra attention Alyssa seemed to be getting from their waiter. The way that he’d warned her to be careful because her plate was hot when he set it down in front of her and how he’d stick his head over practically every five minutes to see how she was doing. And Alyssa was sitting there smiling and being more than polite to him the whole time. Why is she encouraging him? he wondered his blood boiling.
Finally it reached the point where everyone was just finishing up their meals and Nick was relieved to find it time to ask for the check. As Mark walked over for what seemed like the hundredth time during their meal, he opened up his mouth, but before he could get his request out Mark’s attention was once again focused back on Alyssa.
“So, where are you from?” he casually asked her.
“New York,” she answered. “I grew up on Long Island, but right now I live in Manhattan.”
“Get out!” he exclaimed. “I’m from New York too! I grew up in Brooklyn.”
Oh, so that explains the greasy hair and the whole ‘long lost Gotti brother’ look he has going on there, Nick thought to himself with a smirk.
“That’s so funny! My Dad grew up in Brooklyn!”
Oh no… Don’t encouraging him.
“Small world, huh? Yea, I moved out to LA a few months ago. Trying to break into the acting business,” he explained.
“And how’s that going for you?” Alyssa asked, sounding genuinely interested.
“Ehh…”Mark made a face. “You know how it is. You have to have a tough skin out here. But it’ll happen for me. I have faith. It’s just a matter of time.”
Alyssa nodded, obviously not wanting to hurt his feelings. “So, what about you? Are you in the acting field too?” he continued.
She laughed. “Me? An actress? I don’t think so. Actually I’m a teacher.”
“A teacher? I don’t think I ever had a teacher that looked like you!”
This was getting way too far now. Not caring if he sounded like an asshole or not Nick rudely interrupted their conversation. “Hey Vinnie… Can we have the check already?”
Mark’s head jerked up a little and how it was his turn to give Nick a nasty look. “Hey, it was just a joke man. What happened to being a good sport?” Nick threw his words from earlier right back at his face.
Mark seemed to remember that in his position he could do nothing, but casually play off the vindictive comment. “My name’s Mark, but you’re right I do kind of look like a Vinnie, huh? Must be the whole Italian thing. Let me get that check for you.” Without another word he turned on his heel and headed off away from them.
“Nick!” Alyssa’s eyes flashed with anger. “What is your problem? Do you have to be such a dick? He was only trying to be nice!”
“Nice? He was flirting with you Lyss!”
“And?” she innocently asked. “Is that such a crime? Lot’s of girls flirt with you.”
“That’s different,” he quickly answered. “I’m famous. That guy is just another dime a dozen wannabe actor.”
Alyssa rolled her eyes and looked away from him, disgusted. “I can’t believe you just went there. Since when are you the arrogant type?”
Since I realized how much I’m in love with you, he silently answered. But of course he couldn’t tell her that. “Forget it. Let’s just drop it.”
Alyssa just sighed and two of them were quiet until Mark came by with the check. This time he only plopped it down on the table and walked away without saying a word. She just smiled sadly in his direction. She could only imagine how embarrassed he probably was. Nick had definitely been way out of line.
Her eyes glanced back over to Nick who was filling in the tip on the receipt to be charged onto his credit card. Looking closer at the numbers he was filling in on the line, she frowned. Math might not be her specialty, but even she knew that they were way too low to be considered a fair tip. “That’s all you’re tipping?” she hissed. “Nick, do you realize how low that is?”
Nick just shrugged. “I wasn’t happy with the service.”
“The only thing wrong with the service is your attitude.” She grabbed the pen out of his hands and then wrote in a more accurate number. “There, that’s more like it.”
He pouted for a moment leaving Alyssa to once again roll her eyes. “Nick, stop. You’re acting like a baby now. Purposely tipping bad just because the waiter was flirting with me is not very mature. Now it’s my last night here and I don’t want to fight.”
Nick wiped the expression of his face, but was still quiet. Giving up, Alyssa sat back in her seat with her arms crossed over her chest. They stayed in that position until Mark came back for the check and then returned a minute or two later with Nick’s credit card. “Thanks for coming out tonight,” he told them with much less enthusiasm than he’d welcomed them with. His hand grazed Alyssa’s shoulder. “You have a safe trip back to New York, now.”
“I will,” she promised as everyone else began to gather up their belongings. Seeing Mark walking away, she stood up from her chair. “I’ll be right back.”
Not waiting to hear anyone else’s response she struggled to catch up with Mark. Finally reaching him she softly put her hand on his arm to alert him of her presence. “I just want to apologize for Nick back there. He’s not usually like this, I swear. I don’t know what the problem is. Anyway he was a jerk and I just wanted to tell you not to let him bother you.”
Her apology on Nick’s behalf seemed to fill Mark’s face up with a small smile. “Thanks. You didn’t have to apologize for him though. That’s very sweet of you.”
“It’s not a problem. He was being an ass and I’ll own up it.”
“He’s a very lucky guy to have a girl like you.” Mark hesitated for a moment before grabbing a napkin and a pen from his pocket. “Look, I don’t mean to come across like an asshole or anything, but here’s my number. If things don’t work out between the two and you’re ever back here in LA, give me a call.”
Alyssa was completely stunned as he handed her the napkin with his name and number scrawled across it. It had been a long time since she’d scored a guys number and she couldn’t help, but feel the irony of the situation. All the years she’d been single she had trouble meeting guys, yet the minute she was about to enter a new relationship here she was getting numbers from random guys? She didn’t want to hurt Mark’s feelings, so she thanked him and quickly stuffed the number in her purse.
No sooner had she disposed of the number when she felt a pair of arms around her waist. “We’re leaving,” Nick told her, pulling her away. “We’re all going to continue this party at this club a few doors down.”
Alyssa nodded and turned around to wave a quick goodbye to Mark as she followed Nick in the direction of the exit.
“So, what was that about?” he asked as soon as they were out of ear shot.
“I was apologizing for your behavior,” she coldly told him, hoping that he hadn’t seen Mark slip her his number. Not that she intentionally wanted to deceive him. She just felt that he was better off not knowing. She didn’t even want to think about what his reaction would be.
“You didn’t have to do that.” The two of them stepped outside where everyone else was waiting.
“Yes, I did. You were acting like a prick and you know it,” she briskly replied.
Nick sighed, not wanting to get into it again. “Lyss, come on… Did you look at him? How can you take the guy seriously? He looks like he could be an extra on the Sopranos.”
Alyssa stopped dead in her tracks. “Would you stop with the Italian references here? In case you’re forgetting I’m Italian and I find it offensive!”
Nick was taken aback by her outburst. “Sorry… I didn’t mean to piss you off or anything.”
“Well, you did,” she muttered, purposely speeding up her steps so that she was ahead of him.
Luckily Nick was easily able to close the gap between them with his longer legs. “Lyss, I really am sorry,” he apologized, grabbing her arm.
Alyssa sighed, looking back at him. “I am too. I’m just really annoyed at you right now and wish you’d just not talk for like five minutes, okay?”
Nick smirked. “Well, if you don’t want me to talk for a few minutes I guess you’re just going to have to shut me up.”
“Don’t be cute Carter. It’s not working on me this time.”
“You sure about that?” He pulled her closer to him and dragged her closer to the side of a building behind them where they had more privacy. “You’re right. I was an asshole and I’m sorry, ok?”
Still Alyssa ignored his pleading. He tried to go in for a kiss, but she turned her head away from him. “Come on… Cut me some slack here,” he begged. “I thought you didn’t want to fight tonight?”
“I don’t,” she insisted before finally giving in. “Fine, I forgive you. Just please try to be nice?”
“I’m always nice,” he countered finally pressing his lips against hers for a quick makeup kiss. Then the two of them continued down the street together hand in hand.