A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 35

Angelina decided she needed to bring some new clothes over to Nick's place so she packed an overnight bag. She had finished getting ready for their New Year's Eve night out and was killing time. Marybeth was in the shower and Sheridan was getting dressed and putting the finishing touches on her makeup.

Angelina sat down on her bed with a sigh. Her eyes scanned the room as she looked over at the "Big Brown Bag" that lay by her closet door. The girls had gone to Bloomingdale's yesterday and Angel's credit card got a bit of a workout. She got up and took a look in the mirror at her dress, elegant but sexy. The topaz charmeuse dress flowed down Angelina's body, clinging to her curves in all the right places. It accentuated her firm arms and the sweetheart neckline enhanced her cleavage. The rhinestone straps glowed with her new 'Hollywood tanned' skin. Her long legs flowed gracefully beneath her as she walked in the high-tied sandal strap shoes that adorned her feet. Wearing her usual amount of makeup and her hair flowing down, she felt very secure in her appearance. She left her bedroom and went to check on Marybeth and Sheridan.

As Angel walked out of her bedroom, the phone rang. A smile crossed her face as she read her sister's cell phone number. Sometimes Angel forgets she's three hours behind her family's time zone.

"Hey May May, what are you doing this New Year's Eve?" Angel could tell her sister was out in a bar or at a party just by the background noise.

"I just got off a 12 hour shift and plan to ring in the New Year, then go to bed before working another 12 hour shift tomorrow."

"Oh, hold on sis." Sheridan poked her head out of her bedroom door, "How much time do we have left?"

"Nick said they'd be picking up us last. They'll be here around 7:30. You've got about another half hour."

"Oh good," Sheridan walked into the bathroom as Marybeth went into Angel's room to finish getting ready.

"Sorry bout that. "Oh, those hours suck May May, especially over a holiday!"

"Tell me about it. But I'm making up for taking time off during Christmas, so it's all good. But I wanted to tell you about a visit I had with someone."

Angelina sat down on the sofa as she listened, "Really? With who?"

"You'll never guess."

Angelina looked at the clock and realized the limo would be picking up the girls in twenty minutes. A.J. told them they had a dinner reservation at 8 PM at Mr. Chow's Restaurant in Beverly Hills. "I don't have much time May May, just tell me."

"Well, I ran into your old boyfriend, Joey yesterday."

"What?..... Why?..... What was he doing there?" Angelina stuttered; she knew he would go to see her during the holidays. She was very grateful they all flew back to Los Angeles when they did.

"He gave me some lame excuse of meeting up with some clients in the area, but I know he was just coming to see you."

Angelina's voice was almost a whisper, "What did he say?"

"He figured he'd stop by to see you since he was in the area anyway. I took great joy in telling him that you and your boyfriend had already returned home to Los Angeles after spending Christmas with the family."

Angelina could sense the wide grin on MaryAnn's face. "And what was his reaction to that news?" The suspense was killing her.

"Honestly, he didn't look too happy. Did you know he has this vein in the side of his neck that…."

Angelina cut her sister off, "Yes, I'm well aware of it."

"Yeah, well anyways, I gave him a piece of my mind, told him you were no longer interested in him. You've fallen in love with another man who treats you like gold and would never hurt you."

Angelina's face lit up, "What did he say to you after that?"

"He told me to tell you goodbye and if you ever need him, you know where to find him. He's not chasing after you anymore."

"Thank God," Angelina sighed.

"So there's my New Year's present for ya! Okay, you gals have fun tonight; I gotta get back to the party."

"Thanks May May…..for everything."

"What are big sisters for, huh? I love ya Angel. Give your boyfriend a big ol' hug from me and tell Sheridan I'll call her tomorrow night when I'm done working."

"Okay, I will. Take it easy tonight. I love you too MaryAnn. Bye."

Angelina hung up the phone and had the biggest smile on her face. It was finally over with Joey. "No more drama," Angelina started to sing along to the radio with Mary J. Blige.

Angelina bounced down the hallway to check on Sheridan and Marybeth. "C'mon ladies, how long does it take you to get ready? You shower and dress everyday."

Both woman opened up their respective closed doors and gave Angelina a look. "You already have your man! You don't need to dress to impress him," Sheridan snarled.

Angelina raised her eyebrow as she smirked at her roommate, "Oh really? And just who are YOU trying to impress?" Angelina heard a mumbled, "fuck you" through the now closed door.

Marybeth just watched the exchange and began to laugh. "You two are like sisters, aren't you?"

In a devilish voice, Angelina replied, "Uh huh. Are you almost ready?"

"Yup, just need to get my lipstick from the bathroom."

Just then, the doorbell rang. Angelina almost tripped in her shoes to answer the door. As she opened up the door, she saw Nick standing there looking hotter than hell.

"Whoa!" Nick said as his jaw dropped open. "You look absolutely beautiful." Nick completely forgot what the plans were as he started to kiss Angel intensely. Marybeth had walked out of the bathroom and was standing in the living room packing her bag. She couldn't help but watch Angel and Nick then realized they weren't stopping anytime soon. Sheridan walked out of her bedroom and saw the happy couple; she also noticed Marybeth standing awkwardly in the living room.

Angel sensed an audience and stopped. Knowing she was probably quite flushed, she tried to take a minute to compose herself. Nick looked up and saw the girls, "Hey Marybeth and Sheridan," letting out a low whistle, "Look at you gorgeous gals."

Sheridan sauntered over to Nick in her pink, pleated chiffon flapper dress. "Why thank you Nick. You are looking pretty good yourself Carter."

Looking over at Marybeth, Nick gestured, "C'mere, I want to see the earrings." Marybeth's drape neck, matte jersey black dress flowed fluidly with its uneven hemline as she approached Nick. "Those are really beautiful. Aje did a good job picking those out. He showed me the cuff links you bought him. He's wearing them tonight to show them off."

Marybeth shyly replied her thanks. "And the bracelet you got for Angel is absolutely stunning." Everyone looked at Angel's wrist.

Sheridan was feeling a bit jealous again but before she could say anything, a beep from below broke up the conversation; then Kevin's voice boomed through the air, "Are they ready to go?"

Nick turned back and yelled, "Yes. We're on our way."

Nick grabbed Angel's overnight bag and commented, "Why don't you just pack a suitcase with half your clothes and leave them at my place? It would certainly make life easier, don't you think?" Nick's suggestion warmed Angel's heart, "I'll think about it," she said with a wink. Nick's grin could have lit up the sky.

"Wow," the girls said in unison when they saw the white stretch Hummer limousine that was waiting to transport them for the evening. The driver, standing by the door, held the girls' hands as he helped them in. A few of Angelina and Sheridan's neighbors were slowly coming out of their apartments to see whom the limo was for and who was in it.

Patrick yelled from his doorway, "Happy New Year Angel and Sheridan."

Both women turned around, gave him a wave, and wished him the same back. Marybeth questioned, "Who's that?"

Sheridan whispered, "One of our creepy, yet nice, neighbors. He's always looking out for us, but it feels weird sometimes."

A.J. whistled as the women entered the car, "Look at you beautiful women. We are going to be the envy of every man we see tonight."

Angel sat next to Nick, who was next to Howie and Leigh. Across from them sat Kevin and Sheridan and diagonal from them were A.J. and Marybeth. A.J. passed around some flutes filled with champagne and then grabbed a flute of ginger ale for himself, "Here's to an incredible year filled with success, love, and happiness."

A round of cheers was expressed along with clinking of glass.

"Cristol? I'm impressed," Sheridan purred as she took a sip. "Hmmm…this is yummy," she continued as she downed the remainder of her glass.

Marybeth's nerves were shot as soon as she sat next to A.J. She was trying to stay calm, but she couldn't. As if on cue with Sheridan, Marybeth gulped her champagne and tried to relax.

Angel sat with an amused look on her face as she watched her roommate and friend let the alcohol loosen them. Nick leaned over into Angel's ear and whispered, "To us," as he gently clinked his glass with hers. She turned towards his face and he understood the feeling was mutual as she reached over to clink her glass and give him a soft kiss. As she pulled away, she murmured, "To us."

The ride to Mr. Chow's restaurant would be about 25 minutes from the girls' apartment, depending on traffic. Their reservation was for 8 PM. A.J. figured they would be done by 10 PM and had a reservation for 11 PM at the Concorde nightclub in Hollywood. They would have a nice leisurely drive in their transportation for almost an hour to drink champagne and chat.

As A.J. passed the champagne bottle, they had arrived at the restaurant. Nick took Angelina's hand as he helped her out of the Hummer. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw flashes and immediately thought about the paparazzi waiting along the entrance way. Needing to get her inside as quickly as possible, Nick wrapped his arm around her waist, and then dragged her into the restaurant, not waiting for the others to go in together.

"Nick, what's the matter with you? Why are we rushing to get inside?" Angelina asked as she felt an uneasy feeling wash over her.

Nick looked down at her and gave her his poker face, "No reason."

The rest of the gang joined them inside. No one thought Nick's behavior was strange, except Kevin, as they all carried on the conversation from the vehicle. Kevin gave Nick a head nod to go and talk, but Nick just shook his head no. Kevin figured Nick had seen an ex or something and didn't want to cause a scene.

As they walked to the table, Kevin debated as to whether or not he should grab Sheridan's hand. Noticing some of the patrons turning their heads towards the group he decided not to. Instead he placed himself behind her giving her no choice but to move forward with the rest of the party.

The hostess sat the party down in a semi-private area. Marybeth, Sheridan, and Angelina had never eaten here before so they were taking their time reading the menu with interest. Leigh and A.J. made some suggestions that they thought were pretty good. Kevin recommended a couple of their drinks that were delicious but low on alcohol content.

The waitress came by to take the beverage order while they all contemplated what they were going to eat. Nick and Angel decided to split their dishes since Angel couldn't decide what she wanted to eat and after noticing the prices, she didn't want to waste food. Sheridan and Marybeth thought the same thing as they were pursuing the menu. A.J. had put in an order for some appetizers. Sheridan gave Angel the signal to go to the bathroom.

"I'll be right back," Angel said as she got up to go to the ladies' room. Sheridan followed her lead.

Howie couldn't help but chuckle, "Here we go again. Marybeth, Leigh, aren't you ladies going to join them in the bathroom? We're very used to it with them."

Marybeth smiled nervously as she thought about sitting at the table with the Backstreet Boys in public, "Yes, that sounds like a good idea Howie." Before they knew what hit them, all the girls had vacated the table, except Leigh. She stayed behind, not needing to use the restroom.

Kevin watched and turned towards the guys, "If we did that, we'd be labeled gay."

"No Kev, your choice in outfits usually labels you gay," A.J. grinned knowing damn well that he could almost get away with murder tonight. All Kevin had talked about was Sheridan on the way over. He had discussed his plan to pursue her with the guys. Leigh having been around since the Black and Blue tour was now considered one of the guys. She listened to Kevin talk and thought maybe he was being a little too aggressive with his ideas considering the person she had just met seemed awkwardly shy.

Sheridan waited for some other patrons to leave the bathroom before she began talking to Angel, "Did you see those prices?"

Angelina nodded her head as she heard the door opening again. Noticing it was just Marybeth, she continued, "Don't worry about it. I have some cash with me. If Nick pays for us, which he always does, I'll pass you some cash under the table if you need it."

Marybeth never thought about what the girls' were worrying about, causing her to panic as well. "Oh my goodness, I need to find an ATM before we go to the nightclub. I didn't bring that much cash with me tonight. I had no idea how much all this would cost. Did you guys give A.J. money for the Hummer?"

A look of fear and embarrassment crossed over their faces. "Shit," Sheridan grumbled. "There is no way we can afford a night out like this. My charge card is still stinging from buying this dress. Oh God, what the hell are we going to do? We are so out of our league." Sheridan sat down in a huff on the loveseat that was in the lobby part of the restroom. "I don't think I can order a meal. Hell, I'll be lucky if I can afford to pay for my portion of the appetizers A.J. ordered and the drinks."

Angelina hadn't thought too much about it. She never overindulged in her dates with Nick, but he did always pay when they went out. "I'm sure the guys know we don't have the same resources as they do and won't expect us to pay for everything."

Marybeth thought about what Angelina said. "I think Angel's right. A.J. mentioned to me not to worry about the money for everything; they got it covered."

Sheridan looked up at both Angel and Marybeth, "Yeah well, you two are on dates. I'm not."

Marybeth's eyes grew huge, "I'm not on a date!" she almost yelled.

Angel hid her smirk, "Oh will you two relax. I think both of you are on a pseudo-date. If not, A.J. and Kevin would both have a date with them tonight. It's New Year's Eve after all. Ringing in the New Year, the first kiss with the one you care for at the stroke of midnight. Dancing under the moonlight."

Sheridan's eyes rolled as she interrupted Angel's fairytale. "Is there a pumpkin in this little tale Cinderella?"

Angel stopped, blew a wisp of hair out of her face, "No my evil stepsister, there isn't."

Suddenly, the door opened and Leigh walked in to see the three girls chatting in the lobby. "Oh hello. I was sent in here to check on you since you are taking longer than you usually do."

The girls each gave Leigh a 'what the fuck' look. Leigh felt like she needed to explain, "Howie is a strange man, what can I say?"

They all laughed and silently decided they wouldn't worry about the night's events. As the girls took their seats, Kevin mumbled, "It's about damn time. We weren't allowed to eat this food 'til y'all came back."

Angel had just finished taking a sip of her drink, "Well, isn't that mighty gentlemanly of you Kevin. Sorry we kept you waiting, pumpkin." Angel winked at Sheridan and Sheridan groaned inwardly.

Nick had food piled on his and Angel's plate already, "Are we hungry?" Angel asked noting the quantity and choices.

Nick grinned, "Oh hell yeah, I haven't eaten since this morning."

Angel was grateful A.J. ordered the appetizers as the meal took forty-five minutes to arrive at the table since they had put in their orders. Sheridan was now on her second drink when the food came, 'thank goodness,' she thought to herself. Between the champagne and these cocktails, Sheridan was well on her way to having her own private Happy New Years.

Once the group finished eating their dinner and drinking their poisons of choice, they assembled back in the Hummer. A.J. checked the time and was pretty proud of himself. Everything was running on schedule.

The mini bar was restocked and the group continued their conversation from the restaurant.

Howie hadn't had a chance to find out how Christmas in Pennsylvania went, "So Nick, did you have a Merry Christmas?"

Wrapping his arm around Angel, pulling her close, he smiled and casually replied, "I had a wonderful time and Angel's family loves me," showing off his Carter grin.

Sheridan made a noise from the corner of the Hummer. All eyes turned to her as she played with the button on the console. "Everybody loved him, as usual. Well, maybe not the Texas cowboy." At this point, both Angel and Nick's eyes bugged out of their heads. Angel knew Sheridan had drunk her quota of alcohol for the evening and they weren't even in the club yet. Marybeth noticed Sheridan's behavior as well and thought it was a little weird and out of character.

Kevin was suspicious after hearing Sheridan's comment. Turning to Nick to find out who the Texas cowboy was. Nick, being the blonde sometimes, began telling the group of the Brad Pitt wanna-be that was Sheridan's boy toy for the night.

At this point, Angel froze hearing Nick's voice ring through her ears not believing that he was actually beginning to reveal all of the sordid details from that night. She decided a diversion was in order and began to play with all the buttons in the Hummer.

Angel's antics distracted Kevin's attention from the conversation. She was now bordering on annoying and he needed to find out what happened over the Christmas break. Nick had been talking about the bar and dancing with all different men and the cowboy had just come into the conversation. "What are ya doin'?"

"I want to stand up through the sunroof and look at the city as we drive along."

"Can't you look through the window like a normal person?" was Kevin's curt reply.

Marybeth caught on to Angel's game and joined her. The two of them were standing in the middle of the Hummer with their heads out the window. Sheridan wanted to join them, but her legs were feeling like gelatin and she didn't want to stand up for fear of falling into Kevin's lap. She giggled as she thought where that could have went if they were by themselves in the limo and not with six other people.

Sheridan remembered what she heard Nick say. "Nick, he did look like Brad Pitt from Thelma and Louise. All of him," she finished with a wink.

Kevin's eyes turned dark and his lips pursed together in a straight line as he turned to face Nick. Feeling the pressure, Nick stood up and joined Marybeth and Angel. Meanwhile, the girls were talking as their heads were outside. Neither of them seemed too concerned about their hair since the limo was now making it's way slowly down the boulevard. Marybeth told Angel she would spend the night in their apartment and watch Sheridan so Angel could keep her plans to stay at Nick's. Angel quickly told Nick the plan and started to laugh as he dropped back inside the Hummer.

Sheridan stood up between Marybeth and Angel, mindless of the fact that her rear-end was now almost planted in Kevin's face. Kevin ducked around the hips that swayed in front of him and took a deep swallow, this was getting hard, and it wasn't the only thing getting hard.

Nick was grinning his ass off.

"What's so funny?" A.J. questioned.

"Oh nothing. Marybeth is going to stay with Sheridan tonight at the apartment." Nick's eyes immediately looked at Kevin's face for some reaction. He got just the reaction he knew he'd get. Kevin fully pissed off but contained for the moment as his hands were now gently resting on the hips that were encased in pink satin ruffles and fringe.

Howie and Leigh, who were very quiet watching the people around them interact, couldn't help but laugh at the turn of events that unfolded from the dinner table to now. Poor Kevin was going home alone tonight as well as A.J.

Kevin was getting pissed. "Alright you three, sit back down inside!"

The three women sat with a whoosh in the limo. They were laughing and giggling. Kevin felt a headache coming on again. Sheridan was spinning the dials on the radio and settled on something. The volume jumped up by ten.

"Sheridan, lower the music and change the station," Kevin grumbled as he tried to hide the pain he was feeling in the front of his pants.

A pout appeared on her face, "You don't like my taste in music?"

Scrubbing his hands over his face, "It's fine Sheridan. I can't get enough of listening to Nsync but I'd rather we didn't."

A.J. was enjoying watching Kevin lose control. He hated it and so did the guys; the girls always managed to find a way to gain control over whatever situation they were in. Kevin's possible plan of maybe getting to take Sheridan home was blown-up by Marybeth. Now the girls were calling the shots and playing around in the limo.

Angel sat back down next to Nick and began to fix her hair that was now windblown. She forgot to ask A.J. how his holiday was. She had only heard Marybeth's reader's digest version.

"A.J., did you have a good Christmas with your Mom and stepdad?"

Marybeth's body froze. She started saying silent prayers that her name would be kept out of the conversation especially with Sheridan's state of mind at the moment.

"Christmas was great. But I had to fly back home to Orlando anyways." A.J.'s face looked sad all of a sudden. Angel looked to Howie who had his head down too. Not sure what was going on, she questioned, "Everything alright A.J.?"

Lifting his head up, he whispered, "Yeah, it will be….over time. My grandfather passed away."

Angel gasped and brought her hand up to her mouth, "Oh A.J., I'm so sorry. I didn't know." Angel turned to look at Nick who put his head down. He leaned over to her ear, "I just found out the other day and forgot to tell you."

Marybeth and Sheridan were speechless; they had no idea either. Both expressed their condolences, not knowing how to react to such news at this time. Marybeth took A.J.'s hand and squeezed it gently, causing A.J. to smile.

A.J. could tell the mood for the evening grew very solemn and he didn't want that to happen. Noticing that they were approaching the club, he announced, "It's time to party people. No gloomy faces for the rest of the night."

A.J. handed out one glass of champagne for one final toast before they were in public, "To a successful comeback in 2004."

"Here here," all the parties said in unison. A.J. noticed Marybeth putting her glass down. She turned and noticed he was staring at her, "I've reached my quota for the night," sending a smile to warm his heart.

Smiling, he responded, "Yeah, and you may have your hands full tonight with that one," he said as he looked over to where Sheridan was sitting, fighting with Kevin over the glass as he tried to remove it from her grip before she could swallow the remaining liquid.

"You have to go to work, remember," he tugged the glass from her hand.

"You should have practiced this on New Year's of 1999, I've seen the video." Sheridan quipped as she exited the limo in a huff. Reaching back, she grabbed her purse off the seat. As she did, she came in contact with Kevin's eyes, which were full of hell bent fury.

"Wow," Leigh muttered as they exited the limo last.

"Wow is right, they both are going to explode if they don't get in the sack with each other. She wrote all of his parts." Howie chuckled, watching Sheridan and Kevin go back and forth was the best entertainment he had had in ages.

"Interesting," Leigh giggled. "Who wrote you?"

"I don't know. I'm hoping you'll find that out for me," Howie planted a kiss on her cheek as they walked into the restaurant hand in hand behind A.J. and Marybeth.

The photographers had made it to the door just in time to catch Nick and Angel embracing at the entrance and Nick planting a kiss on Angel's forehead.

Once inside the club, the music vibrated through Sheridan's ears and she felt the dance floor calling her name. Grabbing Angelina's hand, she shouted, "Let's go. I want to shake my bon-bon."

"Hold on," Angel said as she told Nick where she was going and to find out where they would be sitting. Handing him her purse, he gave her a look. "What?"

"Can you take this for me? I don't want to go out on the dance floor with it."

He gave her a silly look before telling her he was going to put it back inside the limo where it would be safest. Giving her a kiss, he whispered that A.J. planned to have them dropped off last so they could have the Hummer all to themselves.
"Oh really?" Angel asked with excitement in her eyes. "Are you prepared love?"

Nick raised his eyebrows, "I'm always prepared."

Sheridan stuck her head between them, "Are you done yet? I want to go dance!" she whined.

Marybeth came back to the group and pointed out where they would all be sitting. Sheridan grabbed on to her wrist as well, "C'mon, let's go dance."

Nick gave a kiss to Angel and whispered, "Don't use up all your energy out on the dance floor. Save some for me later."

"Always," as she turned toward the dance floor and began burning off her dinner with the girls.

Howie whispered over to Leigh, "Did you want to go dance too?"

Leigh smiled, "Marybeth asked me if I wanted to join them, but I said no. I'm dying to be a fly on the wall as Kevin sits here watching."

Kevin sat down in a huff and kept his eyes glued to the dance floor. A few women approached him, but he politely declined any of their offers. As he drank his fourth whiskey shot, he seriously began contemplating their offers.

Nick had returned with A.J. sometime before and just sat and watched Kevin fight with himself, an inner turmoil brewing between his groin and his head.

After three songs, Angel returned for some refreshments, which Nick had ordered. Wrapping his arm around her shoulder, he pulled her in close. Just then he began telling the fellas that A.J. and him ran into a couple of fans outside the club. A.J. had gone back to the limo with Nick to ask the driver to remove the remaining alcohol with one exception for Nick and Angel later. They also switched the order in which they would be returning home.

Turning into fan mode, Angel spoke before her brain filter was in use, "Oh, the fans will be happy to know that you two spent New Year's together."

Howie and Leigh began to laugh. Howie chimed in, "Oh yeah, the gay rumors will be back in full effect then."

Angel grinned, "Only if Kevin was there."

Kevin tore his gaze from the dance floor below to give Angel a questioning look, "Oh really?"

"Yeah. There was the drunken video you were in with David LaChapelle that was quite amusing to the fans for awhile."

A.J. almost spit out his ginger ale, "What video was this?"

"Remind me sometime A.J. and I'll show you. I have it on tape."

Kevin mumbled, "I bet you do. According to Sheridan, you guys have more videos than our families probably do."

Angel purred, "Well, I don't know about that Kev. But I'd love to see the videos from your camcorder that you carried around with you while on tour."

Kevin was highly amused, "Oh, I don't think so. What happens on tour, stays on tour. Last thing we need is shit like that to get out for the fans to see."

Putting her hand on Kevin's knee, she leaned over, whispering, "I wouldn't show it to anyone, promise."

Nick was highly amused at his girlfriend's antics; "Fans would just be able to read about them over the internet because of your roommate." Nick pointed to Sheridan on the dance floor. It seemed that she had acquired a partner in the scant few minutes that she was on the dance floor by herself.

Kevin shifted in his seat, unsure if he should join her and boot the man out of his territory or not. Folding his arms across his chest, he just watched. He made eye contact with the man and shot him a glare.

Angel pulled Nick to the dance floor for a few dances. She was surprised that he was eager to join in. Soon they were joined by A.J. and Marybeth who seemed to move together flawlessly to the beat of the music.

Dancing a little closer to them to say hi, Angel heard Marybeth tell A.J. to call her anytime he needed to talk about what was going on in his life. She had a good ear and would listen to anything he had to say, even if he felt like it was nothing.

"Very cool," Nick whispered in Angel's ear as he danced her away from them. But the huge hug that Marybeth received couldn't be missed by anyone, neither was the quick kiss on the cheek.

Feeling uneasy with the attention, Marybeth watched Sheridan make her way back to the table. The song had ended and Marybeth was going to make a break for the table since some fans had spotted A.J. and she didn't want to be involved in that side of his life, even though she herself was a fan.

Sheridan and Marybeth returned to the table to refresh themselves before midnight struck. A.J. hastily followed after talking to the fans and beat both of them back to the table. Dropping down in a seat, A.J. pulled Marybeth onto his lap, causing her to scream. Luckily, the music was loud enough that no one could hear it. Sheridan sat down between Angel and Nick. Kevin was pissed Angel had scooted over towards him to make room for her. He was secretly hoping to have Sheridan beside him at the stroke of mid-night.

Angel leaned in towards Kevin, "Give her some time Kevin. She's not ready to deal with any relationship issues that are complicated in nature. And you would definitely be complicated to the Nth degree."

"Why do you say that?" Kevin said hopefully.

"Other than the obvious, you are also her boss in two capacities. Give her some space and when you least expect it, I guarantee you it will be worth the wait and a nice welcomed surprise." Leaning back into her seat, Angel glanced around the table noticing the private conversations taking place.

As she turned her head, Angel spotted a few celebrities. She loved to people watch. Leigh and Howie were very quiet and certainly didn't display any signs of PDA. Of course, Angel didn't think Nick was that type either, but he's proved her wrong on many occasions, not that she minded at all.

Leigh decided to strike up a conversation with Sheridan. She figured with her loose tongue, she could find out who wrote Howie's parts.

Sheridan leaned into the table and lost her balance. Nick helped hold her still as he looked over to Angel and Kevin talking. Catching his eye, Kevin watched closely as Nick helped Sheridan.

Leigh didn't pull any punches, "Sheridan, can you tell me who wrote Howie's parts for this movie?"

"Well, we weren't going to tell but it was both of us. We also consulted with some of our friends who are huge Howie fans. Unfortunately, Angel and I aren't really up on Howie's affairs and whatnot, so we took a chance. He had a reputation of being a playa in the early days of the group, such as having a different girl waiting in each city as he passed through. So we figured we'd continue with that path for him."

Leigh smiled, "He better not be a player anymore." As she sat down, she gave him an elbow and whispered into his ear. At first, Howie's skin color drained from his face but slowly came back.

Howie was going to address Sheridan over what she had said when suddenly, the DJ interrupted their conversation to announce the countdown had begun for the West coast. On the giant TV screen, they saw the ball being lowered as a girl ran across the stage flashing the audience. A.J. began cackling, "Damn, those were fake." Marybeth was quite stunned at the display that had just occurred and felt a bit weird sitting on A.J.'s lap while a girl flashed her boobs at the audience.

The table began chanting, "10…9….8…7….6." Sheridan was looking for her glass of champagne and screwed up the numbers. Kevin's shoulders began shaking as he tried to ignore her antics, Sheridan was beyond wasted. "5….4….3…2…1. HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

Balloons started falling from the ceiling and champagne splashed out of glasses from the patrons sitting around them.

As Nick leaned over Sheridan to get to Angel, Sheridan took his champagne glass out of his hand to have another drink. Leaning back, Angel and Nick shared their first kiss of 2004.

Needing to get better access, and make it look casual, Kevin stood up and went around to all the girls, giving them all a New Year's kiss.

After he kissed Sheridan, she slid to the floor and passed out.





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