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A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 25

Once Oprah aired, Sheridan was back to her normal self. For some reason, watching that show just made everything else in her life disappear - all was right in her world.
After the Billboard Awards show, the girls surfed the internet for pictures, encounter stories and whatever else they could find. They stayed up until the early hours of the morning.

"Whoa! You know Johnny did good hiring a stylist for them when Nick is the best dressed out of all of them," Sheridan was in awe.


"The others look good too," Angelina added, "But hot damn, Nick does look fuckable."
"You would know," Sheridan mumbled. "I'm sorry Angel, that was uncalled for. Dammit if you aren't right too," Sheridan smiled and Angel laughed.

"Hey, I know you and how your mind works. It's been awhile since you have seen Kevin, Backstreet Boy Kevin, not your boss Kevin. This much in one day, and it has your hormones in overdrive."

Sheridan glared at her roommate but couldn't say anything. Lord knows that what Angel spoke was the truth. Part of Sheridan was afraid to bring up the phone conversation Angel had earlier with Nick because she didn't want to know what exactly happened. She figured out enough on her own and was nervous enough about another meeting with the guys tomorrow night.

"What the hell did we do?" Sheridan said as she picked up her head off the couch pillow the next morning. Looking around the living room, she noticed Angelina sacked out on the beanbag. The girls had gone into BSB overload, had a few too many drinks, and a junk food binge.

Sheridan called in sick again which, for once, was the truth. She looked over at Angel who looked like a pretzel and would probably feel like crap too. 'Such a shame you have to work a half a day' Sheridan thought as she tried waking her up. "C'mon Angel. Time to get up."

"Just a few more minutes Joey. I was up late last night."

Sheridan froze. 'Uh oh' thought Sheridan, 'Better not say that name around Nick.' Ever since Joey called Angelina, her dreams would sometimes include him.

"Angel. Up. Now." Sheridan's yelling caused Angel to snap her head up.

"What the fuck? What is your problem?" Angel was waking up on the wrong side of the beanbag chair.

"I'm making us some coffee while you take a shower. You've got a half shift today, remember?"

Angelina moaned and grunted as she dragged herself into her bedroom.

Sheridan snickered, thankful she didn't have to go out.

Angel then mumbled incoherent words to no one in particular as she went to the bathroom and closed the door.

Powering up the computer, Sheridan settled into her chair as she scanned for more news about last night's award show. Sheridan was scanning more photos, which now were posted in larger versions. "Yeah, now that's what I like." Smiling as she clicked her way around and read the posts, she then spotted a title that made her nervous, "Uh oh." Sheridan clicked it open and her jaw dropped open.

Sheridan walked over to the bathroom door and opened it up a bit, "Hey Angel?"

"Yeah?"

"Does Nick know you're working this afternoon?"

There was a pause. "Uh yeah, I think so. Why?"

"He may need to call you to talk." Sheridan said as she realized this was probably not the time to tell Angel what she just read.

Peeking her head around the shower curtain, Angel tried to read her friend's face, "Why?"

"Because news of the Carter family troubles and Aaron has now hit the media outlets."

"Ahhhh shit!" was all Angel said as she quickly finished up her shower to go read what was posted on the message boards.

Angel could have cared less how she looked. She felt like shit and knew this day wasn't going to get any better.

Pouring two cups of coffee, Sheridan set one next to Angel, "Thanks Sheridan."

"No problem. So, you work 'til 3 today?"

Angel nodded her head, "Yeah, just filling in for James, the other bartender, who went to an audition this morning."

After finishing up her coffee, Angel went into her room to call Nick and give him a heads up.

A comatose Nick was struggling to wake up and find his cell phone that was making so much noise. "Hello?"

"Good morning beautiful, sorry to wake you."

Nick smiled and repositioned himself on his pillows, pulling his covers back up and closing his eyes, "S'okay. What time is it?"

"Early. Just after 9."

"Nah, I needed to get up in a little bit anyways. We should be back in LA around 4PM. What time do you get off tonight?"

"I'm done at 3. What are your plans for dinner?"

"I was thinking we could grab a bite to eat then head off to the meeting. It's at 6:00 right?"

"Yeah. Why don't we grab a bite to eat afterwards? The meeting should be short, about an hour or so, I think."

"Sounds like a plan."

Silence.

"Um.. Nick, I did call to let you know one other thing, just so you are prepared."

"Uh oh, why don't I like the sound of that?" Nick sat up and ran his hand through his hair.

"The news about your family and Aaron is out," Angel spoke softly.

"Out? Out where?" Nick said a little louder than he meant.

Angel knew she risked getting the brunt of Nick's anger over the situation, but she hoped she could calm him down.

"Sheridan found it on the internet from a Tampa paper. Apparently it is with the Associated Press, so only time will tell how long it will take to get picked up by other media outlets."

"Great," Nick mumbled. "What does it say?"

Angel's eyes grew large with amazement. She thought Nick would've known what it said. She would have thought Aaron would have told him, at least give Nick a heads up. 'Shit,' Angel closed her eyes as she told Nick. "He didn't call you?"

Nick sighed, "Nope."

"Aaron fired your mom as his manager and filed for emancipation. Why don't you call him and find out the scoop."

Nick felt a lump in his throat and his eyes begin to water. He coughed and cleared his throat, "Yeah, I will. Thanks Angelina for calling me and letting me know."

"No problem. I'll see you tonight okay?"

"Yeah. Would you mind staying over my place tonight?" Nick asked in a soft voice.

"I'm already packed. Go call Aaron. Bye."

Nick half-laughed, "You're the best. Bye."

Sheridan was pacing in the living room waiting for Angel to finish her phone call with Nick. Angel walked out of her bedroom looking more exhausted than before.

"Jesus, that shower didn't help you at all," Sheridan jokingly said.

"Ha. Ha. Ha. Want to hear something so incredibly stupid?"

'Uh oh' thought Sheridan. Angelina wasn't one who tolerated stupid people and usually her mouth went on auto drive telling people exactly what she thought. Her brain filter wasn't always properly working.

"Can you believe no one called Nick to warn him about the news being leaked to the media? Nobody, not one single person, not even Aaron. I had to tell Nick what the hell was going on in his own fucking messed up family which I read on a message board. How fucked up is that?"

Sheridan wasn't expecting that. "That is fucked up. Poor kid."

"Now I get to go put on a happy face at work. I should be home by 4. Can I grab a ride with you to the meeting tonight?

"Of course. I'll also give you a Reader's Digest version of what I find out on the message boards."

Nick walked out of his suite and went to knock on Brian's.

Brian was dressed and just finishing up packing. "Hey Frack." Brian took one look at his friend and knew something was wrong. "What's the matter?"

Nick told Brian what he knew about Aaron and his mom. Brian called Kevin who came over with his laptop - he was the only one who brought a computer for this short trip - and then called the rest of the fellas. Room service was called and they ordered breakfast. They read the boards while eating.

Barefoot's was unusually busy for a Thursday afternoon. Craig, the restaurant's manager, had to jump on in and give a hand. It was total chaos especially at the bar. Angelina held her own but didn't even have time to run to the bathroom. She had such a dry mouth too and kept drinking water as if it was going out of style. Finally, after running around for four hours, she took her potty break.

'Of all the days to have a hangover,' she thought.

Tony, the short order cook, was sympathetic to Angel. He could tell she had a rough night and brought her some toast. "Here you go Ms. Ditzy. I bet you haven't eaten yet." At that exact moment, Angel's stomach growled causing those that heard it to laugh. Coincidently, that was about half of the bar, customers included.

Mortified, Angel ducked her head, grabbed her toast, and went to the break room to eat her toast. When she came back out, it appeared that most of the bar patrons had left. "Thank God."

James came walking into the restaurant and looked around at the bar to see it completely trashed. "What happened here?"

Angel shook her head and replied, "Don't ask. Give me twenty minutes and I'll have it all cleaned up and stocked for the rest of your shift." James noticed Angel's tips and his eyes grew wide, "Damn, of all the days to have to miss work."

"It was hell. I have no idea why it was so busy, but it was hell."

Craig walked over to congratulate Angel on a job well done. "I have no idea why, but if this keeps up, I'm going to have to hire more staff." Craig chuckled as he ran some reports from the cash register and took the money tray.

Angel grabbed her tips and left for home. "Time for job number two," she said as she headed home.

Walking into the apartment, she noticed how good it smelled. "Hey Sheridan, I'm home." Looking around the room, Angelina noticed that she had some candles burning.

"What the hell happened to you?" Sheridan gawked at Angel's appearance. Her uniform had more stains on it than usual.

"It was a nightmare. I don't want to talk about it. I'm going to take a quick shower. I smell and feel nasty."

Sheridan held her fingers up to her nose, "Yes, you do," she teased.

Angel cleaned up and sat next to Sheridan as she was downloading video clips of the boys' appearance from the Hub. "I love that we are three hours behind the East coast. The fans there are great at getting Extra, Access Hollywood, and Entertainment Tonight clips up on the internet in record time. I still haven't figured out what the hell is written on Kevin's shirt."

"Oh, Access Hollywood has a clip of them on the Red Carpet." Sheridan and Angel were getting a second wind from anticipation. Waiting was always the worst.

"Hey, check your Streamload account," Sheridan said, "I bet it was sent through there."

Laughing, Angel replied, "You have no patience."

"NO, I don't," Sheridan said emphatically.

"It's done," Angel announced as she double clicked on the icon.

The two women watched and listened to it a few more times before either one made a comment. Sheridan didn't dare say a word, not one word.

Angel looked hurt at first; then became mad. Now she was downright angry. "Let's go." Angel announced as she closed down her laptop and got her notes. Once in the car, Angel finally spoke again, "Can we stop at a convenient store? I'm hungry."

The girls walked into the conference room and set up their belongings in their usual spots. Marybeth walked in, "Hey Angel, Hey Sheridan. Did you guys see the boys last night?"

Sheridan momentarily forgot about the Access Hollywood clip. The fan in her jumped out in full force, "Oh my God, yes! Who dressed the boys last night? They deserve a raise."

Marybeth laughed. "I know! Nick looked incredible." There was a snort from Angel who was sitting down eating her Ben and Jerry's ice cream Phish bar.

Marybeth looked at Sheridan with questioning eyes; Sheridan just shook her head. Marybeth then remembered about the Carter news, "Oh Angel. Have you talked to Nick today? Is he okay?"

"Oh, I bet he's just peachy."

Sheridan's eyes slowly closed as if she was saying a silent prayer. Marybeth was really confused by Angel's statement but didn't have time to question it as Gene and the boys walked into the conference room.

Johnny had called the boys for an emergency meeting, in light of Nick's family situation. He also wanted to congratulate them on a job well done in Las Vegas. Once they landed in LA, the boys and Johnny were shuttled directly to the building. Gene met with them as well, just to understand how Johnny wanted to handle the press with Nick. Johnny feared one of the Carters' might slip up and say Nick is in LA working on a movie and that's why he is not in Florida with the rest of his family. Truth be told, Nick had no intention of returning to Florida for a while. There was just too much drama and he didn't want to get sucked into any of it.

The elevator door dinged. "Hey ladies," Gene greeted them. "How are you doing?"

"Good," replied Sheridan.

"Just peachy," replied Angel as she tossed her ice cream stick in the trash and pulled out a pound of plain M&Ms from her bag.

Gene looked at the boys then Marybeth. She just shrugged her shoulders. A.J, Brian, Howie, and Kevin all looked at Nick. He just shrugged his shoulders. Nick wasn't in the best of moods as it was and he had no idea what crawled up his girlfriend's ass. Then everyone turned to Sheridan, she just shook her head, 'No,' and with pleading eyes told them not to ask.

Gene continued, "Well then, why don't we get started. John had to cancel tonight so this will be a quick meeting."

"Excellent," Angel snapped. Everyone looked at her with questioning eyes as she ate her M&Ms, noticing this, she realized she spoke aloud, "Sorry." Her facial features softened, "Anybody want some?" she asked as she held out the bag.

Brian and Howie echoed, "No thanks," simultaneously. Nick and Kevin shook their heads no while A.J. said, "Yes please."

Angel carefully closed the bag up and passed it on down to A.J. "Take the whole thing. I have another bag." Just then, Angel reached down into her bag and pulled out a yellow bag, M&M peanuts. All the boys had a confused look on their faces. They've never seen Angel eat junk food and this certainly was a lot of junk food.

Sheridan closed her eyes saying another silent prayer. Kevin noticed her reaction and decided to proceed with caution. Sheridan mouthed, 'PMS' to the boys. All heads quickly turned back to Gene.

In a way, Sheridan was grateful for Angel's foul mood. It took the boys' minds off of their last meeting and the incident with Tom; hopefully, the phone call yesterday would be forgotten all together. It wasn't until the boys walked into the room that Sheridan was reminded of it all. She had been so nervous thinking about tonight's meeting ever since that fateful night. Sheridan realized that for the past 24 hours, she had completely forgotten about it. And judging by the guys reaction to seeing her, none of them remembered it either. Well, except for one person.

On the other side of the conference table, Nick wanted nothing more than to take Angel into his arms and hug her. He felt like crap and needed her. He couldn't understand why Angel seemed so pissed off, especially at him. He felt her eyes glaring at him as he read through some materials Marybeth had passed out on an upcoming event. Nick tried to put his hand on Angel's knee. She shifted her position sending him a message loud and clear, 'Don't touch me.'

'What the hell?' Nick thought. He needed to talk to her and soon. For one thing, she was going to have one hell of a tummy ache and he didn't want any excuses for their time together tonight.

Gene caught Nick's eyes and understood a break was needed. "Okay gang. I need to run to my office to pick up the rest of the information for the Sundance Festival. Why don't we take a five minute break? I'll be right back."

Nick turned his attention back to the woman beside him, "What is wrong with you?" came out a bit harsher and louder than he intended it to. As if on cue, the rest of the guys and Sheridan started to get up and leave.

Angel glared at him, "Well, hello to you too. Nothing is wrong with me. Why would there be ANYTHING wrong with me? I'm perfectly FINE. Did you have a good time in Vegas?" Angel bashed her eyelashes at him.

All of a sudden the boys stopped. They realized she must have read something about their trip to Vegas. But what? Nick's brain tried to backtrack to what he had done in Vegas as well and was coming up blank.

"Are you jealous about something Angel?" Nick was not in a mood to deal with any jealousy. "Cause if you're jealous about something, I have no idea what it is. So you might as well tell me since I haven't mastered reading minds. I'm not in the mood to play mind games with you; I get enough of them with my own family." Nick was still upset about Aaron's troubles.

Sheridan's eyes darted toward the ceiling not making eye contact with anyone. Kevin knew she knew what was wrong with Angel. He couldn't get her to leave the room without making it obvious. "Why don't we let them have a few minutes of privacy?" Kevin said to the rest of the guys. A.J. and Howie didn't want to listen to Kevin, so they pretended they didn't hear him and stayed.

Angel didn't care one way or the other. "I'm sorry Nick. I'm not in the best of moods today and something you said on TV pissed me off. I'm not really jealous, just pissed off." Angel replied while studying one of her M&Ms in her hand.

Kevin turned to Sheridan in the hallway, "What the hell is going on with Angel? I've seen women with PMS, but this one is in full blown bitch mode. Something set her off."

Sheridan's head was spinning having Kevin so close to her, "Access Hollywood," was all she could say.

"Access Hollywood?" Kevin said.

Brian repeated it with the same inflection as Kevin, "Access Hollywood? That's not even on until now," Brian said as he looked at his watch.

Sheridan grunted, "Yeah, but it was on the East coast three hours ago."

Kevin and Brian looked at her with a confused look that said 'but how could you have seen it?'

Sheridan sighed, "It was taped on the East coast and loaded onto the internet before we left for the meeting. That's how Angel saw it."

Back in the conference room, Howie and A.J. exchanged looks, "Access Hollywood?"

Nick looked over to them for help, "What the hell did I say to them?"

A.J. and Howie shrugged their shoulders. Rolling her eyes, Angel said, "They asked all of you if you had seen the Paris Hilton sex video?" Deep in thought, the three boys thought for a moment.

"Oh."

"Uh huh."

"Uh oh…Angel, I can explain," Nick's head was spinning trying to remember his exact comment. His mind was drawing a blank, which at times was nothing new to him.

Holding up her hand, she replied, "No reason to."

Silence. Nick waited; he could tell there would be more.

"But answer me one question, did you go and get her?"

Nick hung his head.

Howie and A.J. decided it was time to leave the room. They ran into Brian, Kevin, Sheridan, Gene, and Marybeth in the hallway. "They may need a few more minutes," A.J. nodded his head back to the conference room.

Gene replied, "I see. Why don't we get some refreshments?"

Marybeth raised her eyebrows, "Ah yeah, we've got some stuff around here. Maybe some more coffee too?"

They all nodded their heads and walked away from the conference room.

Angel now stared at Nick's hair as his head hung down. Looking up at her, he shook his head, "Angel, I meant nothing by that remark. No, I didn't go try and find her. Besides, its not like anything would have happen if we did run into each other. I don't know her that well."

Angel's eyes bugged out.

"What I mean is," Nick continued, "I've got you and I would not want to jeopardize what I have with you. Besides, if the media thinks I'm interested in Paris, they'll leave you alone."

Angel cocked her head at him with a confused look, "The media doesn't know about me remember?"

Smiling the first time that day, Nick gave Angel a sexy grin, "Not yet."

"Huh?" Angel was clearly confused.

Reaching his hand over her shoulder, he pulled Angelina into his embrace, "C'mere. I've missed you." Nick dropped a kiss on her lips that sent shock waves through his body.

Pulling back, Nick licked his lips. "Damn, those taste good. Can I have some?" Nick reached for the M&Ms.

"They're all yours. I've eaten way too much. I need to go to the bathroom and get sick I think."

As Angel walked out into the hallway, seven heads stared at her. "What?" she questioned.

A series of 'nothings' were said as the group walked back into the conference room. Sheridan and Marybeth followed Angelina into the bathroom.

"You okay?" Sheridan questioned Angel.

"Yeah, I ate way too much sugar though."

"I've got some Rolaids and Pepto Bismol if you need something," replied Marybeth.

"Thanks Marybeth. The Pepto Bismol sounds good."

"I'll be right back."

"Hey Sheridan, how are you doing?" Angel put her head on the cold wall as she prayed she wouldn't get sick.

"I'm good. Why?"

"Oh, I don't know. All I heard for the past 6 days was that you didn't want to face the boys after the incident with Tom," Angel's sarcastic side was in full bloom.

"Oh that. Yeah, well, thanks to you, I completely forgot about it and none of them brought it up. So, I'm going to forget all about it." Sheridan liked her line of reasoning.

Marybeth walked back in with the medicine and waited for Angel to finish up to give it to her. "Thanks Marybeth."

"No problem. The boys finished off the rest of your M&Ms too, so it's all gone now."

"Thank God," Angel moaned as the three woman returned to the meeting.

Gene wanted to quickly close this meeting. "As I was saying before, Johnny and I are looking into getting you passes for next month's Sundance festival in Utah. Howie, I know you may be away but is anyone else not going to be around?"

Brian spoke up, "I'll probably stay in Atlanta until we start shooting." Gene nodded his head. He thought for sure Leighanne would jump at the chance to go.

Angelina and Sheridan were engrossed in reading through the Sundance materials. They would kill to attend an event like this; one that had so many great connections in the filming industry.

Gene looked at Nick and Kevin, then tossed his head in the girls' direction. Both men smiled and nodded their heads up and down. Nick gave Kevin a wink.

A.J. sat silently in his chair thinking it over. Gene looked at him, "Nah, I think I'll stay here in LA. I don't like the cold."

Sheridan and Angel both looked up at A.J. like he had three heads. Angel had to ask, "Are you serious? You are using the weather as an excuse not to go?"

"Yes, I am. I like to be warm. Besides, some of it is one big party and a paparazzi nightmare. I don't want to be around that and have rumors flying about that I'm partying again."

Both girls shook their heads. They understood where he was coming from.

A.J. wanted to rile up some feathers with Angelina, "Besides, I have a nice video downloaded onto my desktop to keep me company." Nick's head jerked up and he gave A.J. a death glare.

Angel snorted at A.J.'s comment. The men turned to watch her. "Ya know A.J., I've seen the tape and it's not as good as most B rated porn material. I'm surprised this turns you on."

Brian nearly fell out of his chair hearing Angel's confession of watching porn films. His head snapped up and turned toward Nick.

A.J.'s grin grew at Angel's confession, "So, you've seen it?"

Angel gave him an odd look, "Yeah, I've seen it. I have it."

Nick's head snapped from looking at Brian to staring at his girlfriend. "You own a copy?" he questioned, as his mouth got dry.

Sheridan hid her face. Partially because she was mortified that Angel said it in front of the guys. The other half was horrified that Angel actually has a copy of it on her laptop. "Oh my God!" Sheridan swallowed hard. She turned to leave and banged into Kevin who was snickering, not at Angel, but at her.

Angelina answered Nick, "Yes, right here." Angel turned her laptop around towards Nick.

Nick's eyes grew large as he saw the title of the file. "Okay, no need to click on anything else while we are in this meeting."

"I'm not watching this," Sheridan covered her eyes.

Angel rolled her eyes at her roommate's innocence. "Geesh," she shook her head as she slapped the laptop closed.

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This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

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