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Author's Chapter Notes:
Izzy warns Alyssa about Nick's change in personality.

Chapter 8

  "Do you think I should put out a tray of cheese and crackers? Or I have some of those ready made pigs in the blanket that I could just stick in the oven? Or maybe I should do both?" Izzy asked Alyssa uncertainly. It was about an hour later and the two were back at Izzy's apartment trying to set things up for Izzy's little housewarming party.

   Alyssa laughed in response. "Why don't you just make some deviled eggs and serve caviar while you're at it," she sarcastically replied. "Relax Iz. You're making way too big of deal of this. The guys aren't going to care about your choice of hors d'oeuvres."

   "I know, but it's the first time I'm having company and I'm just afraid that there won't be enough food," Izzy confessed.

   "It'll be fine! I promise. We're putting out some chips, pretzels, and dip, you can put out some cheese and crackers, I'll make the pigs in the blankets, and Tristan is out right now getting beer, soda, and some dessert," she reminded her friend. "I'm sure that's fine. It's just a little get together, not a formal dinner party."

   "You're right," Izzy agreed. "What would I do without you Alyssa?"

   "Have a nervous breakdown?" she supplied as she preceded to start placing the pigs in the blankets on a baking sheet. There was a bit of a silence between the two of them while Izzy began to slice pieces of cheese for the crackers.

   "It's such a shame that you missed seeing Nick after all that," Izzy remarked after a few moments. "I can't believe that he totally just walked right past me with a quick hello and that was it. Guess his cigarette break was a little more important."

   Alyssa bit her lip, wondering if she should tell Izzy about their awkward encounter outside Radio City earlier that night. She hadn't immediately told Izzy about it because Izzy had been upset that had seemingly ignored her backstage. What is going with those two? she wondered to herself.

   "He probably won't come tonight. I'm sure he has more important things to do like be seen at some hip club, sucking face with some random chick," she continued cattily. Alyssa could notice that just in the way Izzy was handling the knife in her hands that she was pissed.

   "I don't get it. Why are you and Nick all of a sudden avoiding each other like the plague?" Alyssa asked with a puzzled expression.

   "We're not avoiding each other. At least I'm not. Well... not anymore," she tried to answer.

   "Okay. Back up and start from the beginning," Alyssa demanded.

   "It's not a big deal. Just after you and him broke up we stopped being close. It wasn't overnight. I mean we were still pretty close up until around the time he started dating Paris. Tristan and I went out with them once and yea... never again. That girl was just so self involved it made me sick, and the way that Nick was at her every beck and call... It just wasn't fun. He wasn't the guy I remembered being friends with around her. So, I kind of started to blow him off a bit when he suggested we get together. Eventually he gave up. Then after they broke up I guess he figured I didn't want any part of him."

   "So why didn't you call him afterwards and make the first move? Did you ever explain to him how you felt?" Alyssa interrogated.

   "No. I guess I should've, but you know I was busy and so was he. I thought that after they broke up he'd go back to his old self, but he hasn't. Now he's so into partying and drinking and living the life of a bachelor, and Tristan and I are more thinking about settling down. I guess we just don't have very much in common anymore. Regardless, he should've been friendlier when he saw me," Izzy firmly stated.

   Alyssa looked confused for a moment. "Then why did you push, so much for me to come to the concert tonight and for me to see him?"

   Izzy sighed. "I guess it's dumb, but I really hoped that maybe you could get through to him. I thought that maybe if he saw you, old memories would resurface and maybe he'd go back to the old Nick. Not necessarily meaning that he'd get back together with you, but maybe he'd at least take the step in the right direction. He's only going to crash and burn if he keeps up the way he's living."

   "How come you didn't tell me any of this before?" she asked, sounding slightly hurt.

   "How was I supposed to say it Alyssa? Here I am talking about how great everyone else is and then I'm supposed to tell you that I don't think Nick is doing too well? Anyway it doesn't matter now, because if he walked right past me, I don't want to know how he'd treat you. Besides he's not even coming tonight, so why waste time talking about him."

   Alyssa took a deep breath. "Yes, he is. He told me he was earlier."

   "What?" Izzy asked in a shocked voice. "You talked to him?! When?"

   "Remember when I went outside to get some air?"

   "And he went out to have a cigarette..." Izzy slowly put two and two together. "So, you saw him outside? What did he say to you? Was he friendly?"

   "Well, he didn't recognize me at first. In fact, he asked if I had a lighter," she explained, smiling to herself at how ironic the situation had been.

   "No way! So then what?"

   "I turned around and he saw it was me and he got kind of embarrassed. He recognized me and we made really awkward small talk, mostly about the show and stuff. I told him that you were inviting everyone back to your apartment and asked if he was going to come and he said probably. He mentioned something about going out with some friends, but he could get out of it."

   Izzy rolled her eyes. "In Nick's language that means I'll stop by if there's not anything better going on."

   Alyssa shrugged. "He seemed sincere. It was just so awkward. If he shows up I don't even know how I should act or what I should say."

   "I wouldn't worry about that Alyssa. I seriously doubt that we'll be blessed with Nick Carter's presence tonight," she replied icily as she returned to slicing her cheese, leaving Alyssa to wonder if she was correct in her prediction.