Chapter   Twenty-Two

"Look at that, Kev," Brian said in a low voice.

"Who'd have thought they'd feel comfortable doing that with their significant others nearby," Kevin commented.

"Let's wake 'em up before someone else see them like this." Brian grabbed a nearby pillow.

"Too late. We already saw," a voice said from behind them. Brian and Kevin turned around and saw Rose and Aaron behind them, holding banana-nut muffins.

"Where'd you get those?" Brian asked, going over to Rose and giving her a kiss on the cheek.

"From the kitchen. Aaron and I woke up hungry." Rose smiled at Aaron and he smile back.

"So you want one, Brian? I can show you where they are," Aaron said.

"Alright, little buddy. She me the way." Brian followed Aaron downstairs.

"Don't mind him, Rose," Kevin said. "When Brian's stomach calls, there's no stopping him." They both laughed.

"So, how do we wake them up?" Rose said after she was done laughing.

"See that pillow over there?" Kevin pointed to the pillow Brian dropped on the floor.

"Good idea." Rose picked it up and walked over to the beds, Kevin right behind her.

"On three," Kevin said. "1.... 2.... 3!!"

Rose and Kevin whacked Nick and Rae with their pillows.

"Time to wake up, children," Kevin said in a fatherly tone.

"Man, Kev," Nick grumbled. "Wait until we're alone...."

"Nick, you were the one who wanted me and Brian to pick you up for rehearsal," Kevin said. "And that starts in an hour."

"Damn! I have to get ready." Nick threw off his blankets, gave Rae a quick kiss on the cheek, then ran into the bathroom.

"I see you woke up from the loving arms of Nick," Brian said, walking with two muffins. Aaron ran to Rae and gave her a big kiss on the cheek.

"Do you want a muffin, Rae? We brought you one." Aaron pointed to the other muffin in Brian was holding.

"Thanks, Aaron. Alright, Brian. Hand it over." Rae held out her hand.

"But I want it," he whined, jumping up and down like a little kid.

"Brian, you already have one." Rose nodded towards the other one.

"I know, but I want this one, too." Brian was insistant on keeping that muffin.

"Honey, give Rae the muffin, then we'll go down to the kitchen and get you another one," Rose said, taking the muffin.

"Okay. Catch, Rae." Brian grabbed the muffin back and tossed it to Rae.

"Thanks, Brian," Rae said as she caught it. Nick walked back in and grabbed Brian's arm.

"Come on, guys. I'm ready. Let's go," Nick said, pulling Brian towards the door.

"But what about my muffin?" Brian said. "Rose said I could have another one."

"Later, B-Rok," Kevin said. "We have to go rehearse."

"Besides, you already have one," Nick commented.

"So, what's your point?" Brian asked.

"Nevermind. Bye, Rae. Bye, Rose," Nick yelled over his shoulder. Kevin and Brian waved and followed him downstairs.

"So, Aaron," Rose said, turning to the little boy. "What do you want to do today?"

"Let's go outside and play," Aaron said, excitedly.

"All right. You go downstairs and see if my brothers and my boyfriend are up while Rose and I get ready, okay?" Rae gave him a smile.

"Okay!" Aaron ran out of the room.

"That is one energetic little kid," Rose commented.

"He's a mini version of Nick," Rae said.

"Who, by the way, had his arms around you while you were sleeping," Rose said, a wicked grin on her face.

"So? Me and him were up late last night, talking. We just fell asleep like that."

"Aaron said he talks about you a lot. He said Nick thinks you're an angel."

"Why would Aaron say that? Nick's going out with Bryn. Aaron has to be getting his facts mixed up."

"I don't know. Nick gave you a kiss before he left to get ready. Maybe he still likes you." Rose watched Rae.

"Still? Girl, you don't know what you're talking about. I'm going out with Todd. We're getting married," Rae reminded her cousin.

"I know you really believe that...." Rose said.

"Yes, I do. Nick entering into my life hasn't changed that." Rae looked at Rose. "End of discussion."

"For now," Rose replied.

Rae and Rose got ready and went downstairs to play with Aaron.


"So, Nick. Making your moves on Rae while she's sleeping?" Brian asked, half-joking.

"I was not. It's her first time meeting my family and my GIRLFRIEND, and I didn't want her to feel uncomfortable," Nick said, logically.

"And she felt plenty comfortable in your arms, right?" Kevin said, a teasing smile on his face. "Not to mention the kiss, that Bryn will never hear about from me."

"Or me," Brian added.

"That was nothing. It was just a reflex. And I'm sure Rae knows that."

"I've never seen you do that with Bryn," Kevin said.

"But, anyway," Brian said, loudly. "Rose and I were talking and she told me some very interesting new. Did you know Todd and Rae plan on getting married?"

"Are you serious?" Kevin said, astonished.

"Yeah, she told me. A couple of months ago, when we visited Rae for her birthday." Nick was when he said it, but he was on fire inside. He didn't understand why.

"You're not going to try and talk her out of it?" Kevin pulled into a parking lot and parked the car.

"I don't see why I should. If it's what she wants to do, it's my duty as her best friend to support her." Nick thought that would be the end of it. He thought wrong.

"Because you ARE her best friend and you love her," Kevin said, seriously. "She too young...."

"Their not getting married until after Todd graduates college. Then when Rae turns eighteen, they'll get married."

Brian looked at Nick as they walked into the rehearsal hall. "Damn, Rae's got this thing all planned out."

"Rae's got what all planned out?" asked Howie. Brian, Nick, and Kevin all looked at each other, not sure if they should say anything.

"Come on, fellas. You can't keep a secret to save your life," Kevin said, laughing. The others started laughing, too, except AJ.

"Ha ha. Very funny," he said, his voice flat.

"But really, guys. What's up?" Howie said, when he stopped laughing.

"I don't know if we should say anything," Brian said.

"Why don't I just call Rae, invite her and the masses to the soundcheck later on this week, and she can decide if she wants to say anything," Nick said.

"Wait a minute. Do her parents know?" Kevin asked.

"It's her parents dream or something. She told me that herself. And it's something she believes she wants to do." Nick looked at the floor.

"Okay, call her and see what she says," Kevin said.

Chapter Twenty-Three:
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