Chapter   Fifteen

"Are we all ready to go?" asked VJ.

"I'm ready," said BJ.

"Me, too," said Alisha.

All three girls had spent the last two hours getting ready for dinner with the Boys. Sort of like a welcome home dinner for the Boys, Alisha, and Nicky. Nicky was sitting on VJ's bed, playing with the new toy VJ had bought him earlier that day. Alisha walked over and picked him up.

"Is my baby boy all ready to go out to dinner?" Alisha asked him. Nicky nodded and smiled. "Okay, good. Everyone's ready. Shall we go?"

"Yeah," said BJ.

VJ and BJ grabbed their jackets and purses while Alisha put a jacket on Nicky and grabbed his little bag, putting his toy in there. VJ drove them to the resturaunt, parked the car and they walked inside. They found the Boys had already gotten there and headed to their table. Brian pulled out a seat between him and Kevin for VJ, AJ pulled how a seat next to him for BJ, and Nick put Nicky in the high chair next to him, then pulled out the chair on the other side of it for Alisha. After everyone had ordered their food, the questions VJ and BJ had been holding in all afternoon came out.

"So why did you leave, Ali?" VJ asked. "That was always a mystery to me."

"I felt like I needed to leave," Alisha said. "I felt like everything around me was falling down on me. And I didn't want it to get out that Nick had a pregnant girlfriend. I knew it would create some problems with everyone involved. I couldn't let that happen. So I told you that I lost the baby and the next day, I grabbed whatever I could carry, and hopped a bus to New York City."

"Who did you stay with?" asked BJ. "I didn't know you knew anyone out there."

"I stayed with my friend Alexis. I'd met her when she moved to New Mexico for a while. When she left to move to New York City, she gave me her address and phone number. I called her from the hospital and asked if I could stay with her for a while, until I could get a job and get a place of my own. I stayed with her for quite a while. I finally got enough money to rent an apartment that had just been vacated on her floor and moved in there. I was about seven months pregnant by that time."

"Man, I'm gonna have to buy that women a house for all she's done for you and Nicky," Nick commented.

Alisha laughed. "I'm sure she'll think of something interesting." Like a date with Kevin, she thought.

"Anyway, Alexis and her boyfriend-of-the-time took me to the hospital when I went into labor." Alisha sighed heavily. "Let me tell you, it is work to give birth. I was in labor for eight hours before Nicky finally decided to be born."

"Alexis' old boyfriend was the one holding the video camera, right?" Nick asked her.

"You mean, you had the birth taped?" Brian asked looking somewhat grossed out.

"Of course. I did it so Nick could see how everything went."

"It was gross, but amazing at the same time," Nick told them. "I definitely have a new respect for women. It hurt me just watching it."

"This I gotta see," said AJ. "So, Ali, have BJ and VJ let you in on all the plans?"

"Yes," Alisha said, excitedly. "And I wanted to ask if I can bring a couple friends of mine with me to Vegas."

"I guess that's okay as long as they don't tell anybody what happened while in Vegas," said Kevin.

"They won't. They already know about you guys and my association with you all."

"Who are they?" asked Howie.

"You'll see when they come out for the trip," Alisha said, mysteriously.

They continued the conversation and Alisha told them all what she'd been up to. Nicky started getting a little hyper and Nick kept him as calm as he could. Alisha was used to seeing him act like a father, but the others, especially VJ and BJ, were still amazed whenever Nick's fatherly side came out. They watched him act so adult, you wouldn't think he was only eighteen years old. And Alisha was the same way. She spoke firmly when she told Nicky to stop doing this or stop doing that and Nicky knew she meant it. This nineteen-year-old girl was keeping a firm hand on her child unlike some older mothers.

When everyone was finished left the resturaunt and went over to VJ's and BJ's apartment. There they all got to talking about sleeping arrangements.

"Where am I going to stay?" asked Alisha. "I mean, I can't stay with VJ and BJ. They don't have enough room here for all four of us."

"I was going to go home to Ruskin. Why don't you come with me?" Nick looked at Alisha.

Alisha looked at him skeptically. "I don't know about that, Nick. How do you think your family will react to Nicky?"

"It'll take some time to for them to get used to him, but that goes without saying." Nick took Alisha's hands in his and looked her in the eye. "Listen to me, if they don't take well to the situation, we'll leave. It's as simple as that."

"I don't want to get between you and your family. I just don't think it's a good idea. I don't want my son around any negative feelings."

"He's my son, too, and he won't be. Don't worry about my parents. If something goes wrong, we'll work it out. I think it's as good a time as any to introduce them to their grandson. He's almost a year old."

Alisha looked at their hands meshed together, then at Nick. The look in his eyes pleaded with her to say yes. So, she gave in.

"Okay, let's go. Just let me grab me and Nicky's stuff."

"You get your things. I'll get Nicky's." He turned to Brian. "We'll leave as soon as we're ready."

"Okay," he said, getting off the couch. "I'll go warm up the car."

After Brian left, Kevin and Howie left to go to a new club they heard about, AJ and BJ said they were going to AJ's apartment to watch some movies, and VJ told Nick and Alisha she was going with them. When everyone was ready, they loaded all the bags and drove to Nick's house. No one really talked, but just listened to the radio. It was when they arrived at Nick's house, Alisha got more nervous.

"This isn't the house I remember," Alisha said as Nick got out and pushed the number code to the security gate.

Nick heard her statement and answered her when he got back in. "I just bought this house for my family," he told her. "Sort of as a thank you for supporting me throughout my career."

"It's really huge," Alisha said as they drove around the circular driveway.

"Just leave all the stuff inside the trunk until we know for sure we're staying here," Nick said, said as they got out.

He grabbed Alisha's shaking hand and led her to the door. Brian and VJ stood behind them, ready to be the moral supporters. They decided it was best to prepare Jane and Robert Carter before actually bringing in Nicky, so Brian and VJ were going to keep him busy while they talked. Nick opened the door and the five of them went inside. Nick and Alisha both took deep breaths before walking into the living room and facing his parents.

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