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A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 39

After picking up some Chinese food on their way home, Nick and Angelina sat down to a nice, quiet dinner. Quiet was an understatement. Nick hadn't said two words the whole way home. He was somewhat pissed that Angel wouldn't talk about whatever was bothering her on the set earlier. He spent most of the afternoon worrying about what was on Angel's mind.

Realizing both were playing with their food, they put the rest of the food away to save for later. Eventually, they would be hungry.

Nick grabbed two beers from the fridge and made his way to the sofa to sit next to Angelina. "You want to talk now or wait some more?" Nick asked somewhat sarcastically. He was feeling defensive, and he had no idea why.

Angelina was about to burst. She needed to say this and get it off her chest before she had a nervous breakdown. "Nick, I need to ask you a very personal question."

Raising his eyebrows, he replied, "Then ask."

There was a long pause. Angel was giving herself a pep talk in her head. "I saw a story on the news the other night and it made me start to think about us." Angel began; then paused again.

Since Angel was obviously having a problem talking about this, Nick lightened up his demeanor and tried to coax her along. "What was the story about?" Nick crossed his legs as he turned towards Angel.

Giving him a nervous look, "I'm sorry. This isn't easy for me."

"I can see that. Just so you know, you aren't the only one sitting here suffering from nerves."

Angelina looked down at her hands that were twisting the bottom of her shirt. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay, don't worry about being sorry. Just tell me, okay?" Nick tried to make eye contact.

"The news report was talking about how the porno industry was shutting down production because a few of the actors and actresses came up HIV positive recently."

Nick now wore a 'what the fuck' look on his face as he had no idea where Angel was going with this story and how it was connected to their relationship. "I heard something about that. But what does that have to do with us Angel?"

Angel's eyes were fixated on her beer bottle as she continued, "Well, I didn't think anything of it either until I had a nightmare Saturday night when I remembered the few times neither of us used any protection."

Silence.

Nick blinked. He wasn't sure what to say to Angel's announcement. After a minute or two of silence, "You've been on the pill since I've known you and you said you always used a condom in the past. You always carried them with you just in case."

Shaking her head up and down, which still hung low watching her fingers peel the label off the beer bottle, "That's right Nick. I always have."

Releasing a breath he didn't know he was holding, Nick sighed in relief. He wasn't sure where Angel was going with this conversation and began to get nervous, but now felt a sense of relief hearing Angel confirm her safe sex habits.

"That's good," Nick responded while taking a long sip of his beer.

Realizing Nick thought the conversation was over, Angel knew she needed to ask the one question she'd been dreading.

"What about you?" Angel didn't dare look up. Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes.

Nick stopped mid-sip as her words hit his ears. Finally, Nick understood what was bothering Angel. They never discussed his sexual history.

Nick began coughing as he chocked on the beer that was sitting in the back of his throat. "Oh," Nick choked out then began clearing his throat. Nick became quiet as he thought of a response to Angel's question.

Nick knew Angel would know of his reputation being the fan that she was and he could see why this was upsetting to Angel. Even though what was rumored wasn't always the case. Trying not to be insulted at the innuendo Angel was proposing, Nick decided honesty was the best policy. Afterall, she was his girlfriend and deserved the truth.

Now Nick was playing with the label on his now empty beer bottle. "If you are asking me if I've had sex without a condom before, not including you, yes I have."

There was a deafening pause that made Angel more fearful than reassured.

"But, our contract with Jive stipulates that we get routinely tested for any and all sexual transmitted diseases every six months; it is a requirement of our insurance policy. I was just tested right before we began working on this project. All my tests have come up clean since I was 15 years old."

Angel bit her lip as she shook her head up and down. A whispered, "Thanks," was all she said. Wiping the few tears that trailed down her cheek, she felt relieved to hear his confession, but still felt bad for needing to ask.

Nick got up off the couch to get another round of beers. He wasn't sure what to do or say next. This conversation was definitely not something he anticipated having. He could tell Angel was embarrassed; hell, he was embarrassed.

Angel jumped up off the couch and headed straight to the bathroom to freshen up and pull herself together. She could sense Nick wasn't too pleased, but she needed to stay strong and not be ashamed she had to ask. This was a serious matter and her life was worth knowing his past. Besides, it's not as if she asked for a list of his sexual partners, or even an estimated guess of how many sexual partners he had.

Hearing music coming from the TV in the living room, Angel knew Nick probably wouldn't want to discuss the matter any further. She got her answer, now it was time to move on and get their relationship back on track.

As if a weight was removed from her shoulders, Angel bounced into Nick's bedroom to get ready for bed. Nick heard Angel behind him but didn't want to see what she was doing. Part of him was afraid she was packing her stuff up and getting ready to leave. This relationship was probably one of the most serious he had ever been involved in and he wasn't quite sure how to handle certain situations, like this one.

Fighting off the butterflies in her belly, Angel walked over to the couch, sat Indian style and picked up the now full beer bottle in front of her. "Thanks for the beer. Which movie is this?"

She didn't look at him but Nick could sense the old Angelina, his Angel, was back. Adjusting himself on the couch to get closer to Angel, Nick put his arm around her shoulder and began massaging it. "It hasn't started yet. Finding Nemo is coming on in a few minutes."

Feeling the need to be closer to Nick, Angel scooted closer and rested her head in the crook of his shoulder. She didn't realize just how tired she was until she felt Nick kiss her forehead as she started falling asleep. Between feeling emotionally drained, as well as mentally and physically exhausted, the last four days had taken a toll on her.

Nick leaned down to see Angel's eyes closed and her breathing becoming steady and light. He was about to pick her up and carry her into his bed, but she opened up her eyes.

"Hey sleepyhead, I was just about to put you to bed."

"No, I want to watch this movie with you. I just needed a quick power nap. Besides, I'm kind of hungry now but I am too tired to get it myself." Angel gave a pout, sending Nick into a fit of giggles.

"Oh man, you are something else Angel," Nick laughed as he went into the kitchen to get her some food. As he was getting it ready, he realized he was pretty hungry himself. He didn't have much to eat at lunch or dinner.

"Perfect timing," Angel said as Nick came into the living room with two hot plates filled with Chinese food just as the movie was beginning.

Nick still needed to ask Angel about the weekend in the Bahamas. Although, part of him was pretty sure now that they had their 'talk,' it wouldn't be a problem. He also felt like he needed to say something to Angel about what they talked about, but decided that for now, it was not necessary.

"Omigod, Dory's character is just like Sheridan," Angel snorted, "A ditz with her short term memory loss."

Wiping the tears from his eyes, Nick replied, "What about Kevin? He could so be Marlin, the overprotective father."

Angel blew her nose, "And you could be Crush." She was cracking herself up.

Nick had a quizzical look on his face, "Who?"

"The surfer - turtle dude."

A light bulb went off in Nick's head as he shook his head, "Yeah, I guess you're right. Speaking of which, we need to go again. We haven't been since my first and only lesson I gave you a couple months back."

A genuine smile graced Angel's face, "I'd like that," followed by a long yawn.

"Okay missy, time to for you to go to bed," Nick slapped her ass as she began walking into the bathroom. "Hey, watch the merchandise, will ya?"

"You're definitely your old self Angel, that's for sure." Nick grinned as he cleared away their dinner plates and beer bottles from the living room.

As they lay in bed in each other's arms, Nick thought now would be a good time to ask Angel about this weekend. "Hey Angel, I have a question for you."

A mumbled, "What?" vibrated on his chest.

"If you don't have any plans this weekend, I would like for you to come back east with me."

"Huh?" Angel sat up and looked at Nick in the dark. Well, where she thought he would be.

"I need to go to Miami and meet up with my sister and then I was thinking we could go to the Bahamas for the weekend."

"I don't know Nick. The filming just began on this project and…"

Nick interrupted, "You and Sheridan don't like to read the schedules you are given do ya? Howie, Brian and A.J. are all going to be away for a long weekend. They are all leaving after A.J.'s birthday celebration on Thursday night."

"They are? I thought his birthday was Friday."

Bringing Angel closer to his body, "Yes, they are and yes, it is. But A.J. wants to be in Vegas for his birthday. There's some Adult Entertainment Convention taking place he wants to go to."

Kissing her neck lightly, Angel felt a tingly sensation run throughout her body. Nick put his arm up towards her shoulder for support and deepened the intensity of his lips against her collarbone.

Angel's knees felt weak and she was getting lost in Nick's touch. Sending a trail of kisses up Angel's neck towards her ear, he whispered, "So, you up for a weekend away?"

Angel had no clue what Nick just said, but was totally enjoying the experience, "Uh huh," she uttered in a sexy, seductive voice, making Nick yearn to feel Angel's lips on him.

With his left hand, he grabbed her face and brought his lips to hers. The kiss was urgent, but gentle. Falling on top of him and feeling his arousal, Angel began massaging him causing Nick to groan.

"It's been awhile, hasn't it?" Angel questioned in a shaky voice.

"Too long," Nick replied in a husky voice before removing her pajamas.

As the two lovers got reacquainted, the BSB message boards were buzzing with new pictures of Nick and his female friend.

Sheridan slugged through her day on the set and her evening at Kevin's. Kevin wasn't home during the evening; he had told her he was going out with friends so it left the house very quiet. She flicked the stereo on to keep her company as she typed the pile of notes that he had left on her desk. After cleaning off the top of her desk, she organized her work and returned it to Kevin's desk. The apartment needed to be cleaned too but at the rate she was working both jobs, she was too tired to care most days.

On Wednesday, filming resumed without so much as an interruption. It was relatively a slow day but John did get to finish his tour with the cast and crew.

Sheridan grabbed Nick to find out how everything went with his talk with Angel. Not wanting to go into details, Nick just said everything was back to normal but wouldn't go into specifics. As much as Sheridan tried to find a quiet moment to talk to Angel and ask her, it was never the right time or there were too many people around who could eavesdrop.

Later in the day, Angel headed to Nick's to hang out while Sheridan took the opportunity to finish up a project she had started at Kevin's the night before.

Waking up to the sunshine pouring in through the blinds in Nick's bedroom, Angel groaned as she tried to move. As she began to arouse from her deep slumber, Angel felt a weight on her body, making it impossible for her to roll over. Struggling harder, Angel started rocking her body back and forth to break free.

"If you don't stop that, we are going to be late for filming today," Nick mumbled from beneath his pillow.

"If you don't move your body, I'm going to have an accident in your bed," Angel countered.

Nick's eyes popped open, "Well, when you put it that way," he said as he rolled over to the empty portion of the bed on his back.

Giving him a smug smile, "Thank you. Nice view," she wiggled her eyebrows as she closed the bathroom door.

Nick looked down his body and realized what Angel was referring to. "Yeah, well you woke me up in the middle of an incredible dream. What do you expect?"

Angelina called Sheridan, who was on her way to work, to see how she was doing.

"My car started up this morning, so that's a good sign," Sheridan was headed towards the coffee shop. "So, everything okay with you and Nick?"

Angel smiled recalling the last two nights, "Everything's perfect. And before I pull a Dory, I wanted to let you know that I'm going away with Nick this weekend."

Sheridan turned off her car and a backfire could be heard, "Who's Dory?"

"Oh, just a character from Finding Nemo. Never mind, it's not important. What are you planning on doing?"

"Besides sleeping? I'm going to go out to eat with Patrick Saturday night."

"Who knows, you may be able to combine the two." Angel started laughing when Sheridan squeaked out an "Ewwww…that's a disgusting thought Angel. I'm going to go now before I lose my appetite for breakfast. Patrick is going to take me car shopping too. I don't want to spend to much money so I'm looking for a new-to-me Saturn. See you in a bit."

The couple arrived on the set looking refreshed and a lot happier than they had in days. Johnny stopped by to drop off the VIP passes. By the looks on their faces, he knew they would be going away this weekend. "Have fun kids. Show off those beautiful smiles to the paparazzi but don't get into too much trouble," Johnny winked as he strut across the set.

Kevin saw Johnny leave something with Nick and Angel and wanted to know what it was. "What's up?"

Nick was flipping through some of the materials Johnny left for him. "Oh, Angel and I are going to the Bahamas this weekend. Johnny just dropped off some promotional material and passes to Michael Jordan's celebrity golf tournament."

A.J. was walking by and overheard what Nick said, "Are you shittin' me? You lucky dawg. Damn, I'd love to go to that but I am already committed to be in Vegas."

Kevin was still stunned to learn Nick was leaving for the weekend. Moreover, Angel was going with him. "I hope you two have fun. I know you guys will probably cause some media attention, but please don't let it end up on the National News, okay?" Kevin was joking and both Nick and Angel knew it.

"No problem Kevin. And if anything happens, you'll be the first one we call." Angel said with a wink.

"Yeah, I bet you will," Kevin replied while rolling his eyes, "So what are Sheridan's plans this weekend Angel with you away?"

Angel shrugged, "Heck if I know. Oh wait, she is having her dinner date with Patrick Saturday night."

Kevin's face looked tormented; it screwed up and soured at the thought of Sheridan going on a date. Knowing it was better to get out while she still could without saying anything obnoxious, Angel walked away, her laughter carrying throughout the set. Nick and A.J. tried their best to hide their growing smiles in the brochures they were looking at.

"It's not funny," Kevin muttered then stomped away like a child who wasn't allowed to play.

A.J. whispered to Nick, "Oh yes it is. It's hysterical. Sheridan still doesn't have a clue, does she?"

Nick shook his head, "Nope. Completely clueless."

After a long day of shooting, the gang went out to eat to celebrate A.J.'s birthday. Marybeth made reservations at Café Atlantic restaurant, a stylish, traditional Cuban café. After the meal, a cake with candles was brought out to the table and everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to him.

Later that evening Angel and Nick went back to Nick's place to pack. Angel had enough clothes and toiletries at his place and Nick had extra luggage she could use. A cab was called and they were on their way to LAX to catch a red-eye back East.

Sheridan slept in Friday morning since she wasn't needed on the set. By mid-afternoon, she was at Kevin's ready to get some serious work done. She had hoped to get out of his place by 5. Her apartment needed cleaning and she desperately wanted to work on a new storyline that had popped into her head. Kevin returned from a business meeting around 2. By the look on his face, the meeting didn't go well. Glancing at the calendar, the meeting was with his lawyer.

Kevin went over the paperwork from the night before that Sheridan had completed for him as well as work that she had ready for him today. Most of the paperwork was for his JWR Foundation, an environmental charity he began back in 2000 in honor of his late-father. A note in Sheridan's handwriting was buried amongst the piles of paperwork. He felt like telling her to save a damn tree at the rate the paper was hitting his desk. Flipping the note over, he saw the scribble, "Meet Patrick at Dolce."

Sheridan had jotted a few lines down of her new story when she heard, "So what are you doing this weekend?" She started to panic and save the file before she was caught writing about her boss, as he stood in front of her. Secretly she sent the document to herself and quickly closed her e-mail program.

Kevin watched as she intently worked on something, "Sheridan?"

"Hmm," she looked at him. "Oh I'm sorry, I was concentrating." 'Yes, concentrating on not getting busted,' she thought to herself. She smiled weakly at the man that lounged against the doorjamb. "I um," she shook her head. Every time she looked at him, she would lose her train of thought, the man was the man of her dreams, and now she was working for him. At first she was worried that she wouldn't be able to cast him in any of her staring roles but it seemed that the closer she was to him, the easier it was.

"What are you doing this weekend?"

"I'm going out on Saturday."

"Got a date, huh?" Kevin tried very hard not to frown at the words.

"Not officially," Sheridan laughed. Kevin's expression was creeping her out. She watched him come behind her desk. Now she was really uncomfortable.

Placing one hand on her chair and one her desk he smiled, "What's an unofficial date?"

Straightening up in the chair, she cleared her throat. Kevin was so close; she did all she could not to just reach out and accidentally touch his hand. Her eyes focused on the long fingers that were splayed out in front of her. Her mind started to swirl as she thought about what those fingers could do to her body. The places they could go and what they could do. She inhaled and smelled the distinct scent of Kevin's cologne. "It means it doesn't count. Patrick fixed my car and so I said I would go out with him." Sheridan titled her head and looked into Kevin's eyes, 'his lashes are so long,' she grumbled in her head. She wasn't going to tell him that they were going dutch, it wasn't really any of his business anyway. He was her employer; he was off limits to her. She had made that mistake with Tom and look where it had gotten her.

"I assume you're paying since it was your car he fixed," Kevin stood up and walked from behind her desk to the front of it. He watched the reaction he had gotten from her and once again was satisfied that he could slow down the hunt for his quarry. Too bad the quarry was about to jump out of the chair.

"I'm not buying his dinner; I'm a traditionalist. We're going dutch," Sheridan snapped as she shut down the computer.

Kevin beguiled her with a smile, in his head the trumpets went off, 'yes, she is as old fashioned as I thought she was.'

"What are you doing this weekend?" Sheridan began to clean up her desk while she spoke to him. Kevin sat on the corner of her desk watching her. His rear-end parked on half of the paperwork that she needed to put away.

"I have a date with Jamie Pressley," Kevin spoke much softer. First, he hadn't believed that he had called the woman; second, that she had accepted; and third, he wasn't so sure he wanted a date with his co-star. He would rather be going out on a date with the woman on the other side of the desk. Raising his head, he saw Sheridan's face. His heart leaped; she seemed upset but trying very hard to not let him see it.

"That's nice, you should get to know her. You'll be working together quite a bit and very closely." Sheridan's heart thumped, now she was disappointed. Except for the girls from London, she had not seen Kevin with a woman since she met him.

"So where are you two going?" Kevin wanted to know, he needed to know, because he knew damn well his reservations would be wherever theirs were. All Kevin wanted to hear was that it was for Dolce to confirm the note he had found.

Sheridan had talked to Patrick yesterday and they had decided where they wanted to go. What harm could it do to tell Kevin? It wasn't his type of restaurant. "A place called Dolce, down on Melrose."

Kevin's eyebrows arched, he wasn't even sure if he could get into Dolce. "Hmm, hot place. How did Patrick get reservations?"

"He knows Danny Masterson I guess," Sheridan was delighted but nervous when Patrick had suggested it. This was a Hollywood hot spot but then relief washed over her when she realized that from what she had heard, it wasn't a very romantic place. It was noisy and upscale, not a dreamy, make a move on a woman, type eatery. "Where are you going out to?"

Kevin shrugged as he stood up, "I left it up to Jamie to decide and make the reservations." 'Lie, lie, lie Richardson,' rambled around Kevin's head. Now he needed Sheridan to go home so he could wrestle a reservation into Dolce. "Hmm, well you had better get going before it gets any later."

Sheridan's eyes bulged at the sudden change in his demeanor. "I was on my way." Grabbing the last few sheets of paper, she placed them in a folder on her desk.

Kevin watched her gather her things. As the door closed, he ran to the phone to make his calls. He called a few people who might know where the owners were. In the end, he called Johnny because he couldn't get in touch with Ashton Kutcher, who he did know. "Please you have to help me out here."

Johnny was laughing at him, "Why the hell go there, if this is your first date with Jamie? I know you like first dates like a candlelight dinner or something."

"I don't care jack shit about Jamie. There won't be any candles. I need to be at that restaurant tomorrow night," Kevin was rubbing his head trying to make the tension headache go away that was forming.

"Okay so why are you taking a woman out on date that you don't give a shit about?"

"Because I have to sleep with her," Kevin groaned, there were days when he wanted to beg Sheridan to change that entire scene. He had even considered talking to her about it, but after seeing her reaction of the color of the walls on the set, he dropped the idea.

"On camera and it's pretend sex," Johnny laughed.

Kevin heard the words but he was sweating it out to see if Johnny would help him. Johnny would give him a hard time and Kevin knew it. "I don't want her to tell people later that I had bad breath or something,'" Kevin defended but knew it was useless. Johnny wasn't going to let it go until he had a full explanation.

"I'm listening," was chuckled into Kevin's ear via the telephone.

Sighing loudly, he began, "Because Sheridan has a date with the dude that fixed her car. He lives below the girls and I want to be there."

Johnny canned his laughter since he knew Kevin was really wound up about Sheridan. After meeting her the other day and having lunch, he knew why. Kevin seemed to think the woman had hung the moon and the feeling seemed to be returned but she seemed more afraid of Kevin than anything else. He watched Sheridan cater to Kevin's every need as he had instructed her to do that day at lunch. But, something he saw that day made him think. He also saw Kevin return the same to Sheridan. Kevin jumped up to retrieve anything she needed, he held the door for her, he let her go first, anything she asked for she got it, directly from her boss. "I want the full story on her come Monday."

"If you get me the reservation," Kevin frowned, he hated long confessions to Johnny but he was older now and they were a little different. This wasn't the 'out late, drank too much, got stoned, picked up a girl, got caught' confession.

"What time?" Johnny heard the breathing intensify on the other end of the phone.

"Shit, I don't know," Kevin whined as he called himself every name in the book for not getting that vital piece of information. "Wait, let me call you back. I can find out." Kevin hung up and called both Nick's and Angel's cell, it was useless, most likely they were on his boat or something. The light bulb went on in his head. "Hey Marybeth," he smiled into the phone.

"Yes Kevin?" Marybeth smiled, Kevin must need something, she thought to herself. The person sitting next to her smiled as he came closer to her telephone after hearing Kevin's name.

"Umm…" Kevin tapped a pencil on his leg. "Ummm…"

Marybeth relinquished the phone to the man sitting next to her. "What the hell do you want? You are interrupting our dinner."

Kevin recognized the voice, "Aje?"

"No, it's Nick," A.J. laughed.

"What are you doing at Marybeth's? I thought you left already to be in Vegas tonight?"

"I'll be leaving shortly you ass. Why are you calling Marybeth's?"

"I asked you first?" Kevin shot back, not another one involved with an employee.

"Is there a point to this phone call before I hang up on you because you're going to go Daddy Richardson on me?" A.J. knew, hell he anticipated it. He just didn't know that it would be so soon.

"Oh well, what's the point," Kevin folded, he knew when he was beat. "Sheridan has a date tomorrow. Ask Marybeth what time it's set for."

A.J. shook his head and smiled, "No need to. Sheridan and Patrick have reservations at 8 for Dolce, from there they might go to the Viper room."

"How the hell would you know?" Kevin paced, now he was pissed. How could A.J. know all this and he not?

"Simple. Marybeth and I had coffee with Sheridan this afternoon. Patrick is taking her car shopping too. Sheridan asked Marybeth to go with them."

"Car shopping too! Marybeth's going right?" Kevin just about screamed the question.

A.J. held the telephone away from his head, knowing that Kevin would freak. Once Kevin settled down, he moved the phone back to his ear. "No, she figured they needed some time alone," A.J. snickered.

"DAMN YOU!" Kevin yelled and then looked at the telephone in his hand.

"Chill dude, it was joke." A.J. was doubled over with laughter.

"I ain't laughin''" Kevin was now steaming since he could hear Marybeth laughing too.

"She's going with her, so relax."

"Sheridan should have asked me. I know about cars," Kevin stated how he felt. "I bet Marybeth doesn't even know how to change her damn oil!"

"Patrick is a mechanic, he is more than qualified. As for Marybeth, Sheridan likes her style. I gave Sheridan some of my own recommendations as well."

"Now I'm scared. No pimp-mobiles A.J." Kevin hung up on him and called Johnny back with the time. Johnny called an hour later and said Kevin was all set.

What Johnny didn't tell Kevin was that he made some changes to Sheridan and Patrick's reservations and now the two couples would be sitting across from each other on a romantically lit patio. Flicking the light switch off, Johnny was delighted. He liked Sheridan, he loved Kevin, but somebody had to get the ball rolling here. When Kevin was falling for a woman, he was useless until he conquered the object that he was thirsting for.

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