Chapter   Twenty-Nine

A month later....

"When are you coming home?" VJ asked Brian.

"At the end of the month, then I'll be home for almost all of July," he told her.

"Okay, good," said VJ, happily. "I miss you."

"I miss you, too," said Brian.

VJ and Brian had been talking on the phone for the past hour. The Backstreet Boys were back to touring Europe and the UK, making public appearances and doing interviews for radio, magazines, and TV. VJ, Alisha, and BJ were enjoying their school-free mornings for the summer and continued to work in the afternoons and evenings. Alisha was glad to finally graduate high school, VJ and BJ put on a great performance in the end-of-the-year showcase, and the Backstreet Boys' new single was doing very well on the charts overseas.

"Angel, I have to go," Brian said. "It's pretty late out here. Nick's already crashed out."

"Okay," said VJ. "I'll talk to you later."

"That you can be sure of," Brian assured her. "Bye, my Angel."

"Bye," VJ said and they hung up.

Then Alisha walked into the room, looking like hell. "Do we have anything for the flu?"

"We should have some pills in the cabinet by the microwave," VJ told her. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah. I've just been feeling sort of queasy the past couple of days. There's been a virus going around at the office, and me being the weakling that I am when it comes to illnesses, I caught it."

"Well, I'll call my dad and tell him you won't be coming in for a few days."

"Thanks." Alisha walked into the kitchen and got the pills. She filled a cup with water and took two.

"Do you want me to call the doctor and make you an appointment?" VJ yelled from the living room.

"No!" Alisha yelled back. "I just need to rest for a couple days, then I'll be fine."


Then Alisha went back to her room and fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.


It seemed like she had been asleep for only a few minutes when VJ came and woke Alisha up.

"How long have I been out?" she asked.

"About five hours," VJ told her. "I just wanted to tell you that I'm meeting BJ in fifteen minutes at the mall and I should be back in a few hours."

"Okay," Alisha mumbled. "Have fun."

"Thanks. Did you want me to get you anything?"

"No, I'm fine. Just tired."

"Alright. I'll be back later."

"Bye." Alisha heard VJ close the door. Then she heard the front door slam shut.


"Where's Ali?" BJ asked when VJ walked up to her table in the food court.

"She sick," said VJ. "You should've seen her. She looks awful. But she says she'll be okay in a few days."

"Oh, poor Ali." BJ shook her head. "I know she hates being sick."

"I know. And she seems to be the one who always gets sick, too. That must suck."

"No kidding. Anyway, have you heard from Brian?"

"Yeah, I talk to him a few minutes before you called. We talked for a couple hours, then he had to go 'cause it was late over wherever he's at."

"I think it's England. They're about eight hours ahead of us. So that would make it about midnight over there."

"Wow. That's pretty late. Have you talked to AJ?"

"Yesterday. We kept telling him that we couldn't wait to see each other when they come back home. And I forgot to ask him when that is."

"Brian said at the end of the month."

"That's a week away. Good. I missed AJ so much."

"I missed Brian, too. And Alisha only stared at Nick's picture, listened to all the tapes Nick sent her every day, and talked to him every other day."

"AJ said that whenever Brian's home, it's just Kevin and Howie at the apartment." BJ looked at her. "Does Brian ever stay at his apartment?"

"No, not really. Only on the days I work late at the office, which isn't too often. But they'll be staying almost all of next month, so Brian will probably spend more time at his apartment since I still have to work. I don't think my dad will give me all of July off."

"I don't see you father doing that either. But what are we doing sitting around here for? We could be shopping for new outfits to welcome the fellas home."

VJ and BJ got up and started the shop-'til-we-drop routine. VJ was feeling pretty happy and tired when she got home. She checked on Alisha, saw she was either still asleep or went back to sleep. Then VJ went into her own room, changed in to a nightshirt, and got into bed. Before turning off her light, she picked up the picture of her and Brian she kept on the bedside table and studied it. It was taken the day before the Boys left, at Alisha's graduation party. VJ smiled and placed it back on the table. She turned out the light and went into a deep sleep.

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