Chapter   Six

"Anne, what's taking you so long?" Alexis asked, walking into her friend's bedroom. She became alarmed when she saw Alisha crying. "What's wrong? Is there something wrong with your cousin?"

"No," Alisha said, tearfully. "My cousin's fine. Our friend, BJ, is getting married to her boyfriend. That's why I called."

"That's great. But what's got you so upset? Wait, let's go into the kitchen and get a Coke or something."

Alisha got off her bed and followed Alexis into the kitchen. She ran into Alexis when she stopped short.

"When did you become a Backstreet Boys fan?" she questioned.

"Damn. I forgot I left that stuff there." Alisha stepped around Alexis and walked over to the table. She gathered all the magazines, posters, pinups, and articles of the Backstreet Boys that she had collected.

"Why would you be collecting all this stuff?" Alexis gave her a curious look.

Alisha was about to tell her everything when Nicky started crying. "Looks like Nicky woke up from his nap. Hold on, Alexis. I'm going to go get him and I promise I'll tell you everything."

Alisha walked out of the kitchen before Alexis could answer. She walked into Nicky's room and got him out of his crib. Nicky started calming down when he saw his mom. Then Alisha walked into her room and put Nicky on the bed with one of his toys. She went over to her closet and got out a small box of things that held anything having to do with her and Nick. Alisha picked Nicky up again, grabbed his toy, the box, and went back into the kitchen. She put the box on the table and sat in her chair with Nicky sitting in her lap.

"Okay, what's in the box?" Alexis asked.

"Let me start from the beginning." Alisha took a deep breath, then continued. "I didn't know if you remembered, but my real name is Alisha Walker...." Alexis was about to say something, but Alisha stopped her. "If I don't say this now, I never will. I moved here from Orlando, Florida, where I lived with my cousin, Victoria Johnson. Victoria had been going through a bad time when I moved in with her, but we coped with it. Explaining her situation would lead into my involvement and why all the Backstreet Boys stuff."

"A year and seven months ago, Victoria met this guy in the mall. They became friends and tried to start a relationship. Well, they weren't completely honest with each other and they found out that Victoria wasn't the average-income girl she seemed to be, and he wasn't the average-income guy he seemed to be. They didn't tell each other right away when they found out, but when he was about to go out of town on business, he told her the truth. Victoria told him she already knew who he was. He got mad, she got mad, and they parted on bad terms."

"Then I moved in with her a week later. VJ, as we call her, was so depressed, but she acted like there was nothing wrong. Finally, she decided to straighten out her situation with this guy. Me, VJ, and BJ all flew to Sweden to see this guy. Oh yeah, BJ was already going out with one of his friends....."

Alexis interrupted her. "What was this guy doing in Sweden?"

"Try to keep your mouth from dropping to the floor. His name is Brian Littrell and BJ's fiance is AJ McLean. They are members of the group the Backstreet Boys." Alexis' mouth dropped open. Alisha cracked a small smile. "Well, I hadn't met any of the guys in the group before. The first ones I met was AJ and that guy you had your eye on at that show they did, Kevin Richardson. He's Brian's cousin. Anyway, the whole visit was a secret from Brian. So they drove us to the hotel, where I met Howie Dorough and Nick Carter. Well, VJ and Brian finally worked everything out."

"We were staying for a while, so me and Nick started seeing each other. We were together for about three months when we made love for the first and only time. That was all it took. We used protection, but it didn't work. I found out two months later that I was pregnant. I told Nick I had suspected I was, so we went to the doctor's office together. I had a test done, the office called and said I was indeed pregnant. At first, Nick and I were scared about what was going to happen with his management, his record company, and the fans over in Europe, the UK, Canada, and all these other countries. Then Brian, VJ, AJ, BJ, Howie, and Kevin all said they'd help us, so we felt a lot of relief."

Alisha smiled. "Nick was happy about the baby and he did the best he could to make it to all the doctor appointments. He made them all for the first month. For a sixteen-year-old guy, he was being extremely mature about the whole thing. Me being seventeen, I couldn't have been happier about his attitude. Then Nick started canceling out on me and making every little excuse not to come home. I started to feel like I was losing him. Then, in my fourth month, I'd had enough. VJ told me that I needed to calm down, so we went for a walk. When we got back to the apartment, I started having these cramps in my stomach.

"VJ took me to the hospital. I told the doctors not to tell them anything, that I would. I laid in my hospital bed, thinking about what I had to do. When VJ and BJ came to visit me, I told them I had lost the baby, so BJ would tell AJ, who would then tell Nick. I told VJ the hospital was releasing me the next morning, which was true enough. But I left early in the morning, went to my apartment, grabbed most of my clothes, all the things that had to do with me and Nick, and left."

"That's when you came to New York City," Alexis finished for her. "How do I know you're telling the truth? You've kept this from me for so long, how do I know it's true."

"I thought you might doubt me since I didn't tell you right away," said Alisha. "That's why I brought this box. It has pictures of me, VJ, BJ, Kevin, Nick, Howie, Brian, and AJ together. Pictures of me and Nick together, before and after I was pregnant. Go ahead look inside."

Alexis looked through the box and saw all the pictures of Alisha and Nick together. There was a picture of them in a frame, with Nick on his knees, next to Alisha semi-round tummy, pulling her shirt up to show her stomach, and smiling at the camera. There was another one with Nick kissing her stomach, and another one with Alisha and Nick kissing. Alexis saw some tapes and Backstreet Boys singles that had been released in Europe. She saw pictures of BJ and AJ together, VJ and Brian together, the whole group of them together.

"That's why you named the baby 'Nick'," said Alexis, looking at a picture of Nick. "Gosh, he looks just like his father. The same blond hair and blue eyes. No wonder you're collecting all this stuff on them. And it looks like Nick's the popular one of the group. There is so much on him."

"Yeah, I guess. But the reason I was crying was I had talked to Nick on the phone. He asked me why I left and he told me he loved me." Tears came to Alisha's eyes once again. "I wanted to tell him about the beautiful son he has so bad, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't even tell him where I am. Now AJ and BJ are getting married, and VJ and Brian aren't seeing each other anymore. They broke up a year ago."

"That's too bad. But I think Nick had a hunch as to where you were."

"What do you mean?"

"The day of that concert, while you were at the store, this guy came over to my apartment. He said his name was Nick Carter and he was asking me about you. I told him what you had told me."

"Did he see Nicky?"

"No. He heard Nicky cry, but I didn't bring him into the living room or anything. He told me about this girlfriend that he loved and lost. He mentioned she had a miscarriage...."

"I love Nick so much. I told him that. But he doesn't need to be saddled with a family right now. The only reason I left was so his career wouldn't be ruined."

"That's all well and good," agreed Alexis, "but he has a right to know about his son."

"That's what VJ keeps telling me. But I don't know how to tell him."

"We'll figure out something. Do you think you'll be planning a trip down there anytime soon?"

"I wanted to go and see VJ appointed president of her father's business next month, but if I want this promotion at the office, I can't risk the time off."

"Well, I'm sure you'll get your chance. And I'll keep quiet for as long as you need me to."

"Thank you so much, Alexis. You're a great friend."

"Anything to help, Anne."

The two girls got up and hugged with Nicky included. Then they all went into the living room and started listening to the Backstreet Boys CD Alisha bought. Alisha watched as Nicky bounced happily in his bouncer seat, listening to his father sing. I have to tell Nick, but when? How? Alisha thought. I don't know how he's gonna react when he sees you, 'lil Nicky.

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