Chapter   Twenty

"Man, that performance was awesome," said BJ. Her, BJ, Alisha, and Nicky were all in Alisha's room.

"I know," VJ said. "I can't wait 'til the fellas get back so I can jumped them and tell them how great they were today."

"I can't jump, but I'm definitely gonna hugged them 'til they can't breathe," said Alisha. Nicky started yelling.

"Hey, Nicky," Nick said, walking into the room. He picked up his son and tossed him up into the air. "Did you enjoy the performance, 'lil buddy?"

Nicky smiled and clapped his approval. Nick laughed and hugged him. Then he put Nicky back down, who then started walking over to Kevin. Then Nicky did something that surprised them all.

"Up," Nicky said, holding his arms up to him.

"Oh my gosh," Alisha said, astounded. "That's the first word he's said other than 'Mom' and 'Dad'."

"And I was actually here to witness it!" Nick yelled out.

Kevin now had Nicky in his arms. Nicky was smiling at everyone.

"Well, now we have another thing to celebrate," VJ said.

"What's that?" AJ asked.

"Well, we have AJ and BJ's wedding, which is coming up next month...." VJ smiled at the couple. "....Alisha's homecoming and reuniting with Nick, Nicky's first birthday, another great performance by the Backstreet Boys, and future romances."

The girls all giggled at that remark.

"What are you girls talking about?" Howie asked suspiciously.

"Nothing," BJ responded innocently. "Now, everybody head to their rooms 'cause we have reservations at that resturaunt down the street, in three hours."

"That's right," Alisha added. "I have to get a soon-to-be one-year-old to get ready. Then I have to get ready myself. Then I have to redress Nick."

Everyone started laughing at Nick's face when he heard that.

"What's wrong with the way I dress?" Nick asked.

"I'm just kidding, sweetie." Alisha laughed.

Everyone took their leave and went to their separate rooms to get ready for dinner.


Two and a half hours later....

"Hi," Alisha said to the maitre'd. "Reservations for 11 under 'Walker'."

The maiter'd checked his list and grabbed some menus. "Right this way, please."

He led them to a large round table and VJ arranged everyone's seats. BJ sat next to AJ; AJ sat next to Howie; Howie sat next to an empty seat; the empty seat was next to VJ; VJ sat next to Brian; Brian sat next to Kevin; Kevin sat next to another empty seat; the empty seat was next to Alisha; Alisha had a high chair next to her for Nicky; and, finally, next to Nicky was Nick, who sat next to BJ.

"Why are there two empty seats?" Kevin asked.

"We're expecting two other guests," Brian told him.

"Who?" Howie asked.

"You'll find out soon," BJ said.

A waiter came to their table and took their order for drinks. They ordered 10 sparkling ciders and a chocolate milk for Nicky. Alisha took out a glass sipping cup that was intricately decorated and put it on the table.

"Where'd you get that?" VJ asked her.

"Me and Nick were walking around this store, shopping for BJ's and AJ's wedding gift, when Nick spotted this fancy, glass, sipping cup and wouldn't leave without it," Alisha said.

"And it's coming in handy, too, isn't it?" Nick looked around the table for disagreements and got none. "I thought it was too cute to pass up."

"Awwwww," Brian teased. "Our 'lil Nicky is shopping for baby stuff instead of video games."

"Hey," Nick said, giving Brian a look. "Don't think I left there without a video game."

"Well, I want to know who else is gonna be here," Howie said.

"Just chill, D," AJ told him. "They'll be here any second."

"Okay," Kevin spoke up. "Who knows who these people are?"

Nick, Alisha, BJ, AJ, VJ, Brian, and Nicky raised their hands. Howie and Kevin looked at each other, thinking, Blind date. Just then, Nicky started pointing at the entrance. Everyone looked at the entrance and saw Alexis and Maria walking over to the table. Kevin, Howie, Brian, AJ, and Nick stood up.

"Sorry we're late," Alexis said. "We couldn't remember what time we were supposed to be here so we just decided to head on over."

"No problem," VJ said. "Have a seat."

Maria walked over to the empty chair next to Howie. "Hi, Howie," she said. "Is anyone sitting here?"

"Nope, no one," said Howie. He pulled out the chair for Maria and she sat down.

"Hey, Kevin," said Alexis. "Mind if I sit here?" "No, not at all," Kevin smiled, pulling out the chair for her. She thanked him and sat down.

"We hope you don't mind, but we already ordered the drinks," BJ told them.

"That's fine," said Maria. "What are we having?"

"We ordered a bottle of sparkling cider, since not all of us are legal, and we have a child with us," said AJ.

"Oh, come on, honey," BJ said. "It wouldn't matter if you were legal or not. You'd still be able to get something if you wanted."

"Sure I would," AJ said. "But I choose not to."

"Good choice." BJ leaned over and gave AJ a quick kiss.

"Carson said you two were engaged," Alexis said. "When are you getting married?"

"Next month," BJ and AJ said together.

"How about you and Nick, Anne?" Maria asked. "Are there wedding bells in the near future?"

Alisha looked at Nick, who was looking at her. "I don't know," she said. "Me and Nick just started over again, so I think it would a bit early to tell."

"But don't think I'm not thinking about it," Nick told them. "Just remember, in time, baby, in time."

At that moment, the waiter came back with their champagne glasses and a bottle of sparkling cider. He poured everyone a drink and poured Nicky's chocolate milk into the sipping cup for Alisha. She thanked him and handed it to Nicky. He immediately took a drink. Then the conversation resumed.

"VJ, I was wondering," AJ said. "Could you help me find a house? Since me and BJ are getting married soon, I thought it would be a good idea to start searching out a place to call home."

"Yeah, sure, AJ." VJ's eyes sparkled at the thought of looking for a new home for her friends. "I'll look around and see what we have."

"I was figuring it was about time that I buy a house, too," Kevin announced. "And I'd like to offer my business to you, VJ."

"Thanks, Kevy. Just let me know what your looking for and I'll find the closest thing to it I can. Daddy said we're constructing a couple houses in some out-of-the-way places for privacy."

"What is it you do, Victoria?" Maria asked.

"I run a real estate business," VJ answered.

"Not just any real estate business," Brian added. "She's president of the Florida-based company, Johnson's Real Estate."

"Okay, if none of you mind me asking," Alexis started. "How old is everyone? Just plain curiosity caused be that little piece of information."

"I'm nineteen," BJ started. "I turn twenty in September."

"I'm twenty," said AJ. "Just turned, last month."

"I'm twenty-four," Howie said. "I turn twenty-five in August."

"I'm twenty-four, also," said Maria. "Just turned, last week."

"Happy late birthday." Howie smiled her way.

"Thanks," Maria said, quietly. She blushed a little.

"I'm twenty," VJ said. "I turn twenty-one in October."

"I'm twenty-two," said Brian. "I turn twenty-three next week."

"I'm twenty-six," Kevin said. " I turn twenty-seven in October."

"I'm twenty-one," Alexis said. "I turn twenty-two next month."

"I'm nineteen," Alisha said. "Just turned, last month."

"And I'm eighteen," Nick finished the cycle. "Just turned, last month."

"Can't forget Nicky," Brian said. "That kid is going to be one year old next week."

"I can't believe I'll be out of town on my son's first birthday," Nick said. "That really sucks."

"It's okay, sweetie," Alisha said. "We're video taping everything anyway. You'll still get to see it."

"I know, but I really wanted to be there when he turned one."

"Nick, you can't be there for everything," Kevin told him. "Not with our careers."

"Doesn't mean I can't wish," Nick told him.

The waiter came back and took their orders, then left again. They didn't have to wait long to start eating. Everyone had a good time, eating, drinking, talking. Kevin and Howie especially enjoyed getting to know Alexis and Maria better. Before they knew it, everybody was done and they got up to leave. Then everyone took off to do their own thing. Brian and VJ went for a walk around the streets, BJ and AJ went to look in some of the shops still open, Nick and Alisha went back to the hotel to put Nicky to bed, Kevin and Alexis went for a walk at a nearby park, and Howie and Maria went to find a local dance club.

Alisha, BJ and AJ were glad everything worked out between Kevin and Alexis, and Howie and Maria. Now they felt like their work was done to make everyone happy and coupled-off.

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