Chapter   Two

"So how have you been, Ali?" VJ asked her. Alisha had decided to give VJ a call.

"I'm doing okay. Still working," she answered.

"That's good. How's the kid?"

"He's doing great," said Alisha, cheerfully. "Nicky is such a good baby. What have you been up to?"

"Not much. Just perparing myself to take over the family business here in Orlando. It's two months away."

"I'm really happy for you, VJ. I mean, you're father didn't allow your brothers to take over the businesses in California, New Mexico, and Illinois until they were twenty-one. Man, I can't believe you're going to be twenty in two months. Remember when we were little kids, we used to wish we were teenagers?"

VJ laughed. "I definitely remember that. Now I want to stay a teenager. If I had my way, I would. But then, I'd never get into any of the good clubs around this country. Anyway, guess what?"

"What?"

"The Backstreet Boys released their first album in the US today. Aren't you happy?"

Alisha was quiet for a minute. "Yeah. I heard around the office they had this big press conference in New York City and they put on a really good show at the Virgin Mega Store."

"That's what AJ said. He called BJ just a little while ago to tell her all about it."

"Those two have been together for over a year now," Alisha said, unbelieving. "How are they doing it?"

"I don't know," said VJ. "Me and Brian would've been together over a year if it wasn't for Brandon Wilkins."

"I never did like him, but what do you mean?"

"He saw Brian heading towards the food court when I was about to leave and that's why he kissed me. He told just a couple of weeks ago because he was 'feeling guilty' about what he had done."

"He is such a jerk. I don't know what girls saw in him."

"It doesn't matter now, anyway. I'm not talking to him anymore."

"Good. You don't need to."

VJ was about to say something else when BJ walked in.

"Who are you talking to?" she asked.

"Alisha. You want to say hi?"

"Yeah. Hand over the phone."

VJ spoke to Alisha. "Ali, BJ wants to talk to you."

"Okay, put her on."

"Hey, Alisha. What's up?"

"Hey, BJ. Not much and you?"

"Going to school, working, talking to AJ on the phone, that's about it."

"You must be glad the Backstreet Boys released their album in the US."

"Definitely. Now AJ will be home more often. I can't wait to see them when they come home in a few days."

"They're going back to Orlando?"

"Yeah, to promote their album. Putting on a small concert."

"That's cool." Then Alisha heard Nicky starting to cry. "BJ, I have to go. Nicky woke up from his nap. I'll talk to you later."

"Alright. Just make sure we hear from you more than every three months. Oh, and give the baby a kiss for me." BJ heard VJ telling her to give her the phone. "Here's VJ. She wants to say goodbye."

VJ took the phone. "Ali, I just wanted to tell you that Nick said hi and he hopes you're doing all right.... and hopefully, you'll get in contact with him?"

"Maybe. Tell him I'll think about it. If I haven't called him by the end of next week, then don't count on me calling."

"Okay. Bye, Ali. You take care of yourself and Nicky."

"I will. Bye."

VJ hung up the phone. "That baby has got a set of lungs and vocals on him."

"Just remember who the dad is," BJ said. "Nick has a powerful voice."

"Nickolas Daniel Walker." VJ smiled and shook her head. "I wonder what he looks like."

"Hasn't Alisha emailed you anymore pictures?" BJ looked at her.

"No. Just the picture when he was three months old."

"Then judging from that picture, he looks just like a baby Nick."

"With curly hair. That's a way I've never pictured Nick."

BJ laughed when she saw a picture in her mind of what Nick would look like with curly hair. VJ pictured it, too, and also started laughing.

"I don't think he'll be getting a perm any time soon," said VJ, trying to stop laughing.

"I hope not," said BJ. "It'll be hard for me not to laugh."

The two girls continued to laugh as they turned on the TV.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

"I'm coming, Nicky, hold on," Alisha said, walking into his room.

Nicky continued to cry his head off. Alisha smiled as she listened. He's gonna have a great voice, she thought as she picked him up.

"Did my 'lil Nicky have a nightmare?" Alisha rocked him in her arms and walked back into the living room.

She sat on the couch and turned on the TV. She flipped through the channels until she reached MTV. Alisha started watching the videos they were playing as she tried to calm Nicky down. When just rocking him didn't work, she got up and started pacing. Then all of a sudden Nicky stopped crying. Thank you. Alisha sat down on the couch once again.

Nicky turned his head toward the TV and smiled. Alisha smiled and looked at the screen. She was so busy trying to calm her son down, she didn't even notice the Backstreet Boys' video was on. It looked like it just started and Alisha sat back to watch. Nicky kept straining his neck to see, so Alisha put him in an upright position in her lap.

"You see that guy singing right now, Nicky?" Alisha pointed to Nick singing. "His name is Nick Carter. He's your daddy."

Nicky started laughing as if he understood what his mom just told him. He started reaching for the TV. Alisha got up and placed him in on the carpet, a few feet away from the TV set. Nicky got on his hands and knees, and started crawling to the TV. Alisha put her hands over mouth to keep from yelling out in excitement and scaring him.

Nicky sat back and pointed to the TV, smiling as he looked at Nick getting drenched with rain. Alisha picked up Nicky after the video was over and hugged him to her.

"I guess you dad is helpful to us without physical presence, huh?" Alisha said in his ear. Nicky leaned back and patted him mom on the face with his baby hands. "You thirsty? I'm thirsty."

With Nicky in her arms, Alisha walked into the little kitchen. She opened up the fridge and saw they were out of Coke and baby formula. "Looks like I have to go to the store," she said.

Alisha changed Nicky, put some shoes on her and him, put a light jacket on him, and walked over to the apartment down the hall. She waited for Alexis to answer the door.

"Hey, Anne," Alexis greeted. "What can I do for you?"

"Can you watch Nicky while I go to the store? He'll be going to bed in a few hours and I don't want to take him with me if there's a chance he might fall asleep."

"Of course," said Alexis. "I'm not doing anything now that David and I are over." She held out her arms and Alisha handed Nicky over to her.

"I've already changed him, but a brought a few diapers anyway. Always gotta be prepared."

"You got that right. You don't want to get into another messy situation like the last time." Alexis started laughing.

"I was a new mother. I didn't know what to do," Alisha said, laughing with her. "Anyway, I'll be back in a little bit. Bye, sweetie."

Alisha gave her son a kiss on the cheek, then turned around and walked to the elevator.


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