A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 21

Kevin had never seen Sheridan lose her temper; he was now or at least, he thought he was. The petite blonde's temper matched her size. Anyone else would have blown up, her reaction was more like a 'poof' and then it was gone. Kevin stood in the kitchen and watched Sheridan search for words to say to Nick as she eyeballed him. The words weren't coming. Finally, with an exasperated sigh, she looked at him. "You are a guest in my home, regardless if we are working together or not. Your outburst was unwelcome and unnecessary. Please don't do it again."

A head with a mop of blonde hair bobbed around. Kevin often referred to it as 'Nick's Muppet Routine.' Nick flashed her a killer smile. "I'm sorry Sheridan. I won't ever do it again."

Sheridan's lips pursed showing her disbelief along with her dissatisfaction. She had spent the last five minutes explaining to Tom that Nick was still somewhat childish at times and that he had been just joking around.

Kevin turned to grab drinking glasses from the cupboard. It was obvious that Sheridan didn't know Nick as well as she thought she did or she would have seen through the little charade he had just pulled. Nick's fingers crossed behind his back were amusing as hell. Grabbing a glass from the cupboard, he mixed a drink of spiced rum and Vanilla Coke. Handing it to Sheridan, he smiled. "I think you'll like this."

Sheridan took a drink from the tall glass that Kevin had handed her. She gulped and closed her eyes as it burned down the back of her throat

"Ya might want to slow down, that has rum in it."

Covering her mouth, she coughed. "Thanks for telling me, afterwards."

Angel hovered in the background taking everything in. "This is going very nicely. She's smiling, she hasn't done that since she came back," she whispered as Nick dropped his ear next to her mouth. Nick and Angel had formed a connection almost immediately, knowing what each other was thinking was natural to them.

"You better knock that off, the rest of the guys will be here soon." Kevin admonished Nick and Angel as Nick leaned down and kissed Angel sweetly.

Kevin cast a wary glance at Sheridan; her face was puckered up in a sour fashion. Kevin clinked his glass on Sheridan's, "To new love."

"To new love" Sheridan blushed and emptied her glass. She handed her glass to Kevin for a refill and then turned toward the two that were still kissing. "Will you stop that? You are making us uncomfortable."

Nick shrugged, "If you were kissing Kevin, you wouldn't be uncomfortable."

Kevin groaned, Angel groaned, Sheridan laughed. "Probably not. Sort of a double date, teenage make-out session."

Angel turned her head to look at Sheridan; Kevin's eyebrows arched at Sheridan's remark. Nick started laughing. Angel began laughing very hard too causing her to snort.

Now Kevin was laughing, "You're such a lady Angelina. I'm glad that kissing me wouldn't be a displeasure Sheridan."

Sheridan's entire face winced, "Ohh sorry. Fan moment." Her outstretched hand reached for her second drink of the night.

"I'm getting used to the little relapses that you two seem to have now and then. Let's get things set up for this meeting. I don't want it to be a long one. The rest of the guys and Marybeth should be here soon, with dinner I hope. I'm afraid Sheridan is already tipsy," Kevin smirked at her.

"I'm a very bad drinker. I can't handle it. My partying days are long over with." Sheridan was waiting on her third drink.

Kevin took the glass from her and re-filled it again with very little rum. There was work to be done and she had to be sober to do it. A blush crept over Sheridan's cheeks, when Kevin held onto the glass a little longer then necessary. Being the gentleman that he was, he withdrew his hand but not without first touching the palm of her hand with his fingers. A little sizzle ran up his fingers as he did so.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door breaking the tension in the room. Howie and A.J., along with Brian and Marybeth, marched into the apartment with dinner balanced precariously on top of the boxes they were carrying in.

Details were fleshed-out in the meeting and the shooting schedule was revised one more time. The calendar would need to be reviewed by John and Gene first.

"Ya know, when Gene said we weren't going to get much help, he wasn't kidding." Nick spoke as the pile of paperwork grew taller and taller in front of him. "I thought actors worked around what the director wanted, not the other way around."

"No shit," Kevin mumbled. "I am so disorganized, I can't stand it."

"Kevin, if everything is not in the exact place that you left it, you have a coronary," Brian shuffled his semi-neat pile of papers.

"I do not," Kevin mumbled back as he searched the stack of papers for insurance forms. "I can not stand this mess."

The papers in front of him were scooped up and moved to the kitchen table. All of them watched as Sheridan sorted and restacked for five minutes. The papers were returned to Kevin in a crisscross fashion. "Insurance papers, second from the bottom."

"Thank you Sheridan," Kevin grinned. "I love people who are organized. I see the rum has worn off."

"Sheridan's not organized. You should see her room. She has sex scenes scribbled on napkins and bank envelopes. Chapters are lying around, story ideas…" Angel, who was sitting next to Nick, squirmed as his fingers pinched her arm. "Ouch," Angel cried.

Frowning at Nick, Angel looked over to where he was pointing. Feeling guilty, Angel muttered an apology towards Sheridan.

"Do I have a target painted on me today?" Sheridan looked at Angel and Nick. Both of them looked other places. Sheridan thought for sure that Nick would start whistling any minute now.

"No, you don't. It's that new love stuff we were talking about earlier." Kevin spoke up letting Nick and Angel's relationship out in the open. The rest of the guys all smiled. Kevin was cool with Nick and Angel. It wasn't as if they didn't know about it, but now it was nice to see it out there.

Pulling himself from the chair, Kevin walked to the kitchen. He seemed to be playing bartender for the evening, mixing a drink for himself and Sheridan.

Nick's cell phone rang as the meeting was breaking up. He noticed it was Aaron and asked Angel if he could use her room. She nodded 'yes' as he walked into her room for some privacy.

Marybeth and A.J. seemed too wrapped up in a conversation and oblivious to everyone around them as the meeting broke up. A.J. helped Marybeth carry boxes to her car. Brian and Howie had left before A.J. and Marybeth. The headlights of their cars were streaking the parking lot as they pulled out.

Kevin stood at the window, watching. He nodded toward the couple in the parking lot, as he spoke, "It would be great if they hooked-up. She's a normal person, not looking for anything from him."

Sheridan joined Kevin at the window. They both watched the couple down in the parking lot have an awkward moment and then shake hands at they parted. "That was cute."

Suddenly, they heard Nick yell, "What?" then a loud bang from inside Angel's room. Kevin turned to see Angel walking into her bedroom. She told him she would find out what's wrong and disappeared into her room, closing the door.

Angel surveyed the room and saw Nick sitting on her bed with his head in his hands trying to take deep breathes to calm down. She also noticed that his cell phone was lying on the floor on the other side of the room and thought to herself, 'that must have been what we heard.' Kneeling in front of him, she put her hands on his knees. "Baby, what's wrong?"

Nick looked up as tears threatened to fall from his eyes, and just shook his head back and forth. His lips pressed together tightly in a straight line. He then took a deep breath and said hoarsely, "Later."

"You're staying here tonight then," Angel said as she stood up taking Nick's hand. He pulled himself up and gave her a hug.

"Okay," he whispered as he tried to pull himself together before returning back to the living room.

Angel looked up at him with worried eyes; he just smiled back and said, "I'm good. Let's go." The couple quietly made their way back into the living room.

Kevin was a little too close to Sheridan as she stood next to him. 'She smells good; she looks good, soft and pliant, very ladylike, sophisticated, sweet,' a ton of words ran through his head.

"Yo Kev!" Nick giggled. He didn't miss the look on his big brother's face as he and Angel stood back and watched. Kevin was taking in as much of Sheridan as he could without getting busted for it.

Sheridan turned on her heel and crossed her arms. "Sometimes you forget your manners. You don't need to yell."

"Now you sound like Big Daddy." Nick covered his mouth as Kevin scowled at him. Moving his hand away from his mouth, he winked. "You need to relax Sheridan, unwind a little. I guess we are getting on your nerves. It's a good thing we have meetings all week with Johnny and we won't be bugging you too much."

Angel nearly crawled up Nick's back in excitement. "Johnny? Johnny Wright, your old manager? Are you guys finally going into the studio to record?" Angel was shouting, not asking.

Sheridan titled her head up towards Kevin. "Are you?"

"Yeah we are," Kevin grinned. "We're pretty excited. There is a lot happenin' that we want to tell you, but we can't. Right Nick?"

"Nope, can't say a thing," Nick said while he shook his head.

Angel's eyes were beaming when Sheridan's locked on with hers. Sheridan began to squint slightly at Angel. Angel only made that face when she had a secret. Raising her hand, she shook her finger at Angel. "We need to talk. They need to go home."

"Nick's staying," Angel sniggered; she was off the hook. Sheridan couldn't get to her now.

"Okay, then that just leaves Kevin," Sheridan smiled, as she hooked her arm through his, her fingers now tickled his.

"I think you just want information from me Miss Sheridan." Kevin was delighted with the feeling of her hand in his. Her skin was warm and supple; the feeling caused another tingle as their fingers entwined in one another's. Giving her as much rum as he did, in the four rum and cokes she drank, seemed to have an effect on her, Sheridan was loopy and relaxed at the same time.

"You bet I do," she smiled at him.

Pulling her hand from his and her arm out from around his, he flashed her a rogue smile. "I'm a little harder to get to than that."

"How hard are you?" Sheridan frowned.

Once again, Angel and Nick erupted with laughter. Nick was far worse than Angel this time, holding his sides as he doubled over.

Kevin's shoulders began to shake as he tried to hold in his laughter. "You'll have to wait and see for yourself," Kevin winked and walked to the door. "Good night ladies. Nick, we'll talk tomorrow," Kevin gave Nick a fatherly look.

Nick knew Kevin had heard him in Angel's room when Aaron had called and was worried. "I'll give you a call," Nick nodded knowing that they would speak tomorrow.

As Kevin closed the door, it finally dawned on Sheridan how her words had been taken for a different meaning. "Oh my God!" squealed a drunken Sheridan, "I didn't mean it like that."

"He knows, but he was lovin' it," Nick laughed as he watched Sheridan become mortified at the mere thought of where their conversation had gone.

"I'm going to bed," Sheridan moaned.

"Sweet dreams," Nick snickered as he watched her walk to the bedroom with her hand still over her mouth and shaking her head.

Angel locked the door behind Kevin. Crooking her finger, Nick loped behind her like a pet puppy, laughing the entire way repeating Sheridan's words, "How hard are you?"

"Nick, enough," Angel closed her bedroom door once he laughed his way inside. As the door shut, Angel turned serious, "What happened when you were on the phone with Aaron?"

Nick's smile faded away. Torturing Sheridan made it easier for him to not think about his phone call. They sat down on Angel's bed. Taking his hand in hers, she waited for Nick to talk.

Biting his lip, Nick told Angel what Aaron had told him about what his mother had done. "Apparently, my mother took some money from Aaron's bank account. I'm not entirely sure of the details or the amount. He also has some bills left unpaid that he thought she had paid for him." Taking a deep breath, Nick continued, "Aaron has fired my mother as his manager. He plans on filing for emancipation from her. He's now moved back in with my dad," Nick choked out the last part of his sentence.

To say Angel was shocked would be an understatement. Her jaw was hanging open and she looked at Nick wide-eyed. "Are you serious?" she whispered.

Shaking his head slowing up and down, he asked, "Can I see our schedule?"

Angel kept Nick's schedule in with her own. She pulled out her calendar and gave it to him. "Thanks," He mumbled as he leaned down to give her a kiss on her forehead.

Angel was sitting on her bed Indian style trying to process everything that had happened over the past few weeks. She was lost in her thoughts thinking about Nick's phone conversation with his father from Thanksgiving, when she heard Nick's voice pull her back to the present. "Huh?" she questioned.

Nick chuckled with tears in his eyes, "I told you I had a fucked up family Angel."

"Nick, lots of people have fucked up families," Angel said as she leaned up against him and gave him a hug.

"You aren't afraid of meeting mine?" Nick questioned.

Backing up surprised, she raised her eyebrows and replied, "No. Why, should I be?"

Nick half smiled and pulled her closer to his body, "I'm glad to hear that. Would you come back to Florida with me Friday night for the weekend?"

Angel gazed into Nick's piercing blue eyes, "Please?" he whispered.

Angel looked at her calendar then back up to Nick. "Do you think the rest of your family would want me there at a time like this Nick? I'm sure your Dad and Aaron will have a lot to talk about with you and may not appreciate me being there. They don't know me."

Pushing her hair back behind her ears, Nick caressed her face, "I don't care what they think Angel. It's my house, well not technically anymore. Regardless, I want my girlfriend there with me. I need you there Angel." He said just before his lips crashed on hers.

After a few seconds passed, Angel pulled away. She smiled and raised her eyebrow, "Girlfriend?"

Nick grinned, "Guess I should have asked you before jumping to any conclusions huh?"

A few tears fell from her eyes as Angel shook her head, "Nah, it's okay Nick. Everybody else thinks that's what we are anyways. Now that you've said it out loud, the realization of those words just hit me… I liked hearing those words more than I thought I would," Angel's honesty made Nick feel more at ease, "And yes, I will go to Florida with you." Angel said as she wrapped her arms around him, giving him a hug and holding him for what seemed like an eternity.

Angel readied for bed while Nick called his travel agent to book the tickets. A short time later, they snuggled up to each in her bed. Nick was playing with Angel's hair as her head rested on his bare chest.

"Angel, I trust you. I know you'll never repeat what is said this weekend. My family will too. But I am warning you, they will tease us both to ease the tension. I can guarantee you that your presence will be used to take the focus off of my Mother."

Angel looked up at Nick and smirked, "I think I can handle that."

"You're a good person Angelina, thank you," Nick kissed her again while rolling her onto her back. Slipping her hands behind his neck, she held him close.

Both broke away breathless, Angel whispered, "Let's get some sleep. We've got a long week ahead of us."

Angel turned sideways while Nick spooned up against her and whispered in her ear, "and an even longer weekend," Nick sighed.

The men spent the rest of the week in meetings with their record label, their new manager, as well as John and Gene. The bulk of the shooting for the film would take place after Christmas. The time they spent in their meetings with John and Gene consisted of them pouring over the budgets and other business related items.

Sheridan had made another attempt at patching things up with Tom. It was not easy. Work was full of tension and when she was home, Tom was on the telephone trying to patch things up, which seemed to be making the situation worse, instead of better.

Angel thanked God for her cell phone. At least she could talk to Nick when he needed her. Angel didn't want to let on to Sheridan that there was something going on, not yet anyways. She knew it wouldn't be long until Nick told everyone, probably after they returned from Florida. Knowing Jane, it wouldn't take too long 'til it hit the gossip mill in the press either.

Since Monday, Angel had intercepted a few of Tom's phone calls. She could see how hard things were on Sheridan. On Wednesday evening, the girls sat together and paid their bills. Angel filled in Sheridan briefly about her weekend plans.

"Well, that's nice of Carter. Geez, I would love to get away for the weekend," Sheridan sighed.

Of course, Angel left out the details surrounding the reason why Nick needed to go to Florida. 'Oh, it's not what you think.'Angel thought.

The phone rang a few minutes later. The caller ID read, 'Tom Miller.' Sheridan shook her head back and forth. The girls let the telephone ring until the answering machine kicked in. Tom's voice was controlled, but the anger was instantly recognizable. "I'm really sick and tired of the Backstreet Boys! When are you going to spend time with me instead of the man in your head!" It wasn't heard as a question, but as a statement

Angel's jaw slid from side to side as she watched Sheridan shrink in stature. Tom was berating Sheridan again, getting his own way, and pushing himself on her. Angel's mind began to come up with ways to get even with the man. It wasn't the right thing to do, but Sheridan just couldn't seem to see what a shitty relationship she was in.

Angel thought back to Monday night when Nick yelled out as he and Kevin came into their apartment. "Sheridan, what did Tom say Monday night when Nick yelled out while you were on the phone with him?"

"Nothing. It doesn't matter," Sheridan stuffed a check into an envelope.

"Yes it does. I want to know what Tom said," Angel had a good idea what he had said.

"He has just been acting strange since that night. Work has been really tense. If I didn't need the money or if I had the time, I would look for a new job." Sheridan moved to the next check she had to write.

"Did he say anything else?" Angel gave her a flippant smile.

"Yes," Sheridan rubbed her eyes with her fingertips. "Nick is nothing more than an overgrown teenager, he's sure that A.J. is using again, the rest are strange, and Kevin is gay." Sheridan laughed at the last remark Tom had made. "I told Tom, 'You have no idea how not gay he is Tom,'" Sheridan remarked. "Then Tom hung up on me."

Sighing, Sheridan announced, "I'm going to bed. I can't do this anymore tonight." Sheridan left everything on the table. She left Angel sitting at the table frowning.

The telephone calls persisted the next night. Sheridan would only speak to him at work. She had told Tom that she needed time to re-evaluate their relationship. The straw that broke the camel's back was the last call that Angel took for Sheridan on Friday afternoon. "You made work difficult for her today. We have a meeting tonight with the guys so she is lying down."

"Get her up. I want to talk to her."

"No!" Angel growled to Tom.

"Angelina, stay out of it." Tom was beginning to detest Angel as much as he did the men that his girlfriend worked for.

"Fat chance. You're using her; I can feel it. Besides, I told you we have a meeting tonight, it's at seven."

"Bullshit! Nobody, nobody, has a meeting on Friday night!" Tom yelled back.

"Well why don't you just show up and I'll prove it to you!" Angel yelled back then hung up the telephone still fuming at Tom. Angel was pacing around her room as she finished packing her belongings to go away for the weekend.

Angel was so upset. She called Nick to let him know what had happened. She wanted to tell him that, most likely, they would have a visitor at the meeting tonight. Angel didn't want to dump more on Nick than was necessary; he was dealing with enough already.

"I don't think he'll show up. It takes a lot of balls to do that." Nick spoke into the telephone as he pulled clothes from the dryer to finish his packing. "It's a good thing Gene isn't going to be there. This meeting could get pretty bad if he does show up."

"I doubt he will too. Not only is he gay, he's a chicken-shit too." Angel seethed on the inside. She wanted Tom to show up and she wanted her best friend to know the truth, but how in the world could she do that? She had been trying for months to get Sheridan to see that she was being used as a cover, a 'beard' as they say.

"I'll be there as soon as I can." Nick hung up the telephone and headed to the shower. He debated whether or not he should let the others in on what was going on. He chose not to, "It's better if they figure it out themselves. This way Sheridan can't say that it was a set-up later if he does show up."

An hour into the meeting a knock interrupted them. Angel went to get the door but Nick jumped over the couch to beat her to the door. Sheridan never gave it a second thought since she, Kevin, and Howie were involved in a conversation over the budget.

"Can I help you?" Nick smiled. He had never met the man standing on the other side of the door, but he knew who he was. Making a quick assessment of the clothes, all his doubts were erased. The man was dressed in high quality designer duds. Angel was wrong, he did show up, but she was right about his lifestyle.

"Sheridan?" Nick stepped aside, allowing Tom into the room. There was no way he wasn't getting into that apartment. He wanted to see Sheridan with her employers and a heard of elephants couldn't keep him out.

Nick went directly to the kitchen for a drink; he wanted out of the fray that would undoubtedly take place.

"Hi Tom," Sheridan stood up hastily and took his hand. "Everyone I would like you to meet Tom Miller…"

Tom looked at the men standing in front of him, "I'm her boyfriend."

Sheridan slapped him mentally for that one. She had left that part off intentionally since she didn't really see how that would matter at this point. A small sinuous laugh escaped from her as she ignored his comment, "Tom, this is Brian, Howie, A.J., and Kevin. You met Nick, he answered our door and you know Angel."

"You are in a meeting," Tom stood looking at the five good-looking males. Angel made a snorting sound and got up to go into the kitchen for a bottle of wine.

Tom knew who each and every one of the men were. Long ago, he had discovered Sheridan's secret little fetish and had made it a point to learn what he could about the men. His girlfriend's mental tryst stood up and offered a hand to shake. Kevin was wearing a casual pair of black slacks and black turtleneck. Tom inhaled; he recognized the scent as Armani, one of his own personal favorites.

As Kevin shook Tom's hand he looked at Angel who was walking back into the room, her wine goblet filled to the rim, and smiled, "Beep."

Angel did an about face and rejoined Nick in the kitchen trying not to laugh because Kevin now sounded like the microwave with his series of beeps. Sheridan eyed her roommate suspiciously.

Moving around the room, Tom introduced himself to each one of the guys. He spent approximately three minutes with each man. Then he made his way back to Kevin.

Tom looked at the beeping man in front of him. "So you played football in high school?"

Brian's eyes bulged, 'Oh Lord, here we go again.' They had seen this so many times and it was always Nick or Kevin that they went for. Swallowing hard, Brian focused on Sheridan and the pinked cheeks she was sporting. Either the woman was blind or very in love with this man.

"Yeah, I played football," Kevin closed his eyes for a second, more out of necessity than anything else. Tom was practically stroking his arm and Kevin was almost sure he certainly wanted to stroke something else that wasn't his arm.

Nick and Angel rejoined the group in the living room. Angel was sitting on Nick's lap as they watched in awe.

"My Dad is the coach of a Division one Team. I love sports, especially football."

"I enjoy watching the Wildcats when I can," Kevin didn't want to be rude, but couldn't figure out how to stop the small talk with this man. "Sheridan, do you like any sports?"

Tom answered for her, "Nope. I've tried to have her come out with me to a sporting event or to watch a game at a bar. She won't go with me." Tom almost appeared to be pouting a little.

Howie and A.J. exchanged surprised looks as they listened to Tom lather Kevin up for the inevitable date. "Maybe you would like to go out with me sometime to watch a game?"

"Nah, I don't go out in public much, the fans and stuff." Kevin never had a problem with homosexuals. Kevin had been approached many times in the past. However, being approached by the boyfriend of someone he was interested in, put a whole new spin on things.

Inside, Kevin was boiling mad because of all the information that had been told to him by Nick and Angel. Kevin's eyes momentarily slid to Sheridan, whose cheeks were flaming red.

"There's always my place." Tom couldn't take in enough of the tall, suave, dark-haired man. Angel almost choked on her wine. Nick stood up, pulling her up while patting her back as she tried to catch her breath. Once she was able to focus, she noticed Sheridan swaying.

Sheridan's eyes rolled around inside her head as Angel steered her to a chair so she didn't fall down. "Did you hear that? He just asked him out. He asked him to his house." Sheridan mumbled as Angel guided her into the chair. Being flabbergasted, she could only think of one thing. It had taken Tom months to ask her to his place and here he was just inviting Kevin over, like a date.

Kevin smiled, he was embarrassed and made up some excuse to decline Tom's invitation.

Tom continued like a possessed man on a mission. He rattled on about playing high school football and acting in the drama club. "I was in the chorus too."

"That's interestin'," Kevin swallowed hard. He knew what was coming next, it always played out this way.

"Maybe we could get together at the Here Lounge some time. I don't know if you are familiar with the place, but I know you won't be bothered by your usual throng of female fans."

The entire room fell quiet for a few short seconds. A.J. and Howie burst out in laughter. Brian managed to move next to Sheridan and sat patting her hand. The woman looked like she was going to pass-out when Tom uttered the words.

Angel was fuming; Tom had just made a pass at Kevin. She stared at Tom who now abashed, understanding that everyone in the room knew that the Here club was a gathering place for alternative lifestyles.

Angel was unable to speak to Tom directly for fear she might just double up her fist and punch him. Slowly and very delicately, she turned to Sheridan. Opening her mouth in front of everyone, she hissed, "Honey, your man is gay; bi at the very least."

Tom's jaw dropped as he went to stand in front of Sheridan. What happened next he didn't see coming or he wouldn't have gotten so close. Sheridan flew out of the chair with the energy of a defensive lineman on the field and punched him in the mouth. "You bastard! You used me!" Sheridan yelled.

Kevin stepped in between Sheridan and Tom. Nick stood beside Angel who had grabbed onto Sheridan's upper arm. Angel let Nick hold her as she walked toward the front door.

"You son-of-a bitch! You are gay! Is that why you kept pushing me away? You didn't want to sleep with me because you don't like women. Why the hell would you do that to someone?"

Kevin was now seeing a flash of Sheridan's real temper.

Tom stood holding his jaw and wincing in pain. What could he say to make this any better? His glare settled on Angelina who was pointing at the door. She raised her arm showing him the way out.

Tom walked slowly, holding his jaw. He wasn't even sure if his crown was still in place. Sheridan had never been prone to violence before, but then again this type of thing didn't happen everyday. He could fix this, he could fix this Monday at work. She only needed some time to think things over and everything would be okay. Monday would have to do, he wasn't up to explaining everything to her in front of a group of people.

Once again, he turned to the source of all his problems with Sheridan, "Thanks a hell of a lot Angel, I could've had the best of both worlds. You fucked it up for me."

The door shut slowly and without noise. Every eye in the room was now honed in on Sheridan, she was so humiliated and embarrassed. She looked to the one person she could for help, Angel. Help for what happened, help for an explanation, help with anything. Inhaling deeply she squeezed her eyes shut waiting for someone, anyone to say something.

Angle knew Sheridan needed a friend right now; Tom would prey on her again. Angel was pretty sure of that fact, so maybe Sheridan needed to hear something that maybe she didn't want too.

Kneeling in front of Sheridan, Angel began "Honey, he did it to protect his image with his father. Didn't you say there were all those boys at his parents? You said that all of your time was being spent with others and you had no alone time scheduled together. If you were alone, he wouldn't have had anymore excuses. Tom only took you to his parents' home for a cover. I'm sorry Sheridan. I didn't want you to find out this way."

Sheridan didn't care who was in her home as she ran down the hall, bawling, and slammed her bedroom door shut. She was now heartbroken. Sheridan not only felt deceived, but violated by Tom. At this moment, she wanted to hide and never come out of her room again. She didn't want to face the people that had witnessed her embarrassment.

"Mean right hook," A.J. mumbled as he began to pick up the meeting notes and pack them away for the evening. The meeting was over and everyone left promptly.

Angel stood at Sheridan's door, her hand in mid-air to knock. When she heard the loud sob come from behind the door, she shook her head. "Sheridan, I'm so sorry. Would you like to talk about it?"

"Go and enjoy your weekend Angel. I'll be fine."

Angel felt a twinge of guilt over what had happened, but not much. It was something that would have happened eventually. Part of her wished she wasn't leaving for the weekend. Angel knew Sheridan needed her. But she also knew Nick needed her as well. For once in her life, Angel felt torn.





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