A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 47

"S'up?" Nick answered as he flipped open his cell phone.

"'Bout time you decided to join the human race again and turn your phone on. Damn boy."

"It was a rough night A.J. Angel and I just woke up about an hour ago." Nick yawned as he wiped sleep from his eyes.

"You are certainly keeping yourself busy. I just found a dozen or so shots of you and Angel at Sundance parties. Our fans are very good at finding this shit."

"What are the fans saying?" Nick sat up a little straighter as if it would help him hear better.

"You name it - the fans are saying it." A.J. began talking in a high voice, 'That's his new girlfriend.' 'No it's not, it's his sister's friend.' 'Which sister? She looks too old to be Angel's friend.' 'I heard her name was Angel.' 'Ew, Nick's doing his sister?'

Nick groaned, "Oh God, that's sick! Fans are saying that shit? Jesus, they must not like me much."

A.J. interrupted Nick, "Hey, how was the food at Grappo's Restaurant?"

"How did you know I ate there?"

"Duh Nick. Some of the pictures are of you and Angel leaving the restaurant."

Nick mulled the information over in his brain. "Oh," was all he said, sounding very somber. He was miffed. The photographers could have taken a few pics of Kevin and Sheridan, and then the heat would be off Angel a little bit.

"What's the matter Nicky?" A.J. could tell his little brother was troubled.

Running his hand through his hair, Nick replied, "Nothing. Just thinking about stuff. The paparazzi pictures. Angelina. My mom. Aaron. Hopefully, my screwed up family and my way of life won't scare Angelina off enough to leave me."

A.J. tried to console him, "Awe c'mon Nick. You know Angel ain't like that. She's been a fan, so she knows about your screwed up family and what your life is like… on and off the camera."

"Yeah, but now she's front and center in the action. It's not like she's an outsider lookin' in anymore man. God, I hope she doesn't flip out."

"Take a deep breath Nick. You're getting yourself all worked up for nothin'."

"You really think so?" Nick prayed A.J. was right.

"You bet I do. Now, go have fun. I'll keep my eye out on the gossip and I'll call ya."

"Thanks man. Peace." Nick flipped closed his phone just as Angelina came storming into the hotel room white as a ghost.

"Oh my God. Have you seen these?" Angel said as she held up the latest issue of People and Star Magazine.

Angel had gone out to get some fresh air and check her voicemail messages. After listening to her sister's message, she went to the gift shop to see if she could find the magazines in question.

"Yeah, I've seen them before," referring only to the magazines

Angel dope slapped Nick upside his head, "I KNOW you know the magazine you idiot. Have you seen THESE copies?" Angel thrust both magazines, one in each hand, in his face.

Nick shook his head, "I don't pay any attention to those Angel."

Holding up Star, "This one claims we moved in with each other!" Angel fell onto their bed. "I should have known something was up when MaryAnn left such a cryptic message on my voicemail. My parents are going to flip."

The color drained from his face, "Oh." Fear was beginning to rear its ugly head and increase his insecurities about their relationship. "Don't worry about it Angelina. I'll call and talk to your folks to explain how things are made to look for publicity sake. Johnny recommended that maybe all of us, him included, could go visit your parents and talk to them. I don't want them to feed into the twisted truth these magazines print."

Angel turned her head, smiling at her worried boyfriend, "I don't think that'll be necessary Nick, but thanks." She shot him a cheesy grin, "My mother was happy you took me away. She says I looked great in the People magazine picture; tanned and well-rested. She wondered how long it took them to braid my hair."

Nick breathed out a sigh of relief he didn't realize he was holding. He watched Angel closely as she made a weird face.

Feeling the vibration in her sweat pants, Angel reached in her pocket to retrieve her cell phone as she nodded her head up and down to Nick, "Guess who?"

It was her sister again. "You are on ET's website. You're in a video on the internet!" a voice screamed at her loud enough for Nick to hear.

"What?" Angel ran towards her laptop. "Send me the link." She clicked off her phone as she booted up her laptop.

Nick stood up and stretched, "I guess you talked to your parents and they're cool about it?"

Angel mumbled, "No, not really." Looking at the clock in the lower right hand corner of the computer screen, Angel mentally calculated the time difference between Utah and Pennsylvania.
Two o'clock.

He rambled towards their room service cart, picked up a bagel, and smothered it with cream cheese. "Whatcha looking at?"

"Nothing at the moment. MaryAnn said there is a video of us on ET's website." Turning towards Nick, she questioned, "When did we get videotaped?"

"Damned if I remember Angel." Nick was now standing behind Angel waiting for the email from her sister. "There it is."

Angel grabbed Nick's hand and stole a bite of his bagel, "Hey!"

Turning her head up to look at him, she said a cheeky "Thanks." Nick started laughing as he saw cream cheese all along Angel's cheek. Bending down, he used his tongue to lick off the excess cream cheese. Hearing the familiar beat of ET, his attention went directly to the computer screen.

"Huh, I didn't see a camera when we talked to that guy, did you?" It was in a gift shop in the Bahamas that sold golfing attire.

Angel sat there dumfounded. "Nope. Didn't even cross my mind to look for one. Should we call Johnny and let him know?" Angel questioned.

Reaching for his phone, Nick muttered "Yeah, I better. Besides, I need to call him back to explain last night's fiasco." Nick wasn't looking forward to discussing last night's events with Johnny. Remembering his conversation with Marybeth at the bar, he knew Kevin was pissed; thinking about it just made him depressed.

Angel began biting her fingernails. She suddenly felt like a school girl who got busted by her parents for something she shouldn't have been doing in the first place.

"You really want me to have gray hair soon, don'tcha?" Johnny greeted Nick.

"Hi Johnny. I'm sorry about….."

"Listen, I understand there will come a time when the two of you will fight, but PLEASE, for the love of God, don't do it in a public area!" Johnny chastised Nick appropriately.

"Sorry Johnny." Nick shifted his weight from foot to foot feeling uncomfortable about what was to come next.

"A.J. called me and sent me some links. You two certainly have been targeted by the paparazzi lately. I wonder why?" It was a rhetorical question. "Put Angel on the phone."

Nick looked over to see Angel staring at him wide-eyed. "He wants to talk to you."

Angel pointed to herself, in a half whispered, high voice, breathed out, "Me?"

Smirking, Nick sat down next to her on the couch, "Yeah you."

Cautiously, Angel held the phone to her ear, "Hi Johnny. How are you?"

"We'll I'm a lot better now dear. How are you doing?"

"Oh, well, um…." Angel was a bit stunned she wasn't being lectured, although truthfully, she wasn't sure what to expect. She began rambling, "Tired. I'm definitely tired and looking forward to sleeping tonight. Amazed at all the celebrities we just happen to be bumping into too. Enjoying being treated like a princess." Turning towards Nick, Angel smiled.

Johnny chuckled to himself, "I'm glad all is well Angel. Take it easy - the both of you!"

"We will Johnny."

After disconnecting and snuggling on the couch talking, Nick decided he needed to take a shower. Angel was lying down, almost asleep, when she heard Nick singing in the shower. She couldn't quite place the song, or really hear the words, so she went to the door and put her ear up to it.

"With every thing I am, I promise it will be, much sweeter than you ever could dream. Let's do it tonight baby, let's do it for love."+

Angel's eyes lit up while her brain screamed, 'its one of the new songs for the album!' Angel decided she needed to get closer to hear it better. She opened up the door and slowly tiptoed her way in the bathroom. She could see the silhouette of Nick through the frosted shower door.

Letting the water cascade down his back, Nick finally relaxed. There was only one other person he had to deal with. Nick was playing the 'avoid Kevin game' since his ass was in the wringer from the night before and he had no intentions of rushing to see him. Nick and Angel had a few parties to attend that afternoon, and then they were calling it an early night. For tomorrow night, they would have to attend a couple of parties with Kevin, Sheridan and Marybeth. None of whom he really wanted to see any time soon.

Kevin had a quick breakfast meeting with Sheridan and Marybeth; then they would part ways for separate meetings afterwards for a few hours. Kevin grumbled as he looked down at the t-shirt he was wearing. Sheridan had spilled her coffee down the front of him at the meeting. Unintentionally, he had startled her in her suite when he walked in and the coffee went flying directly at him.

Marybeth had walked in the room just as Sheridan flew into the bathroom and the door slammed. Tilting her head to the side, she smirked at Kevin as coffee ran down the front of his light blue shirt. "You're not making much progress."

"No kidding," Kevin grabbed napkins from the room service cart and began to dab the brown stain from his shirt.

"I'm so sorry," Sheridan bolted back into the room armed with a wet washcloth. Slapping Kevin in the chest with the wet rag and her hand, she almost knocked him off his feet.

"Easy Sheridan," Kevin grappled for the hand that seemed to be almost pounding at his chest. "It's fine, stop."

"I'm sorry Kevin. I know you were heading out so that you could get something done. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," Sheridan kept muttering as her face slowly turned towards him. She froze as she looked into the dreamy green eyes she had dreamed of for so long. Her eyes dropped to the lips that weren't frowning but were hinting at a smile.

"Sheridan," Marybeth called her.

Quickly dropping her head, Sheridan murmured yet another apology to Kevin.

"I can change clothes. We're done here and I know that you two have a long day ahead with the press and film credentials luncheon." Kevin felt a jolt when her soft emerald eyes looked at him. His eyes dropped to the soft petal pink lips that formed a slight pout. His body wanted nothing more than to taste those lips. Leaning forward, Sheridan snapped away from him when Marybeth had called her name. Internally he groaned at being swayed once again from what his body and emotions wanted.

Sheridan charged off to the bathroom again with her washcloth in her hand. The door closed slowly this time.

Kevin turned to face Marybeth. "I would…

"Johnny needs to talk to you and so do Angel and Nick." Marybeth jumped in to save herself from Kevin's usual speech and antics when he was upset.

"Are you ready? We need to get going." Sheridan entered the room once again stopping the conversation between the two occupants. She had directed her question to Marybeth.

"Yes, after I change," Kevin's mood wasn't surly but his voice indicated that he wasn't pleased either. "Leave your cell on so I can find you if I need you." Walking to the door, his hand was ready to close the door behind him when he heard Marybeth's distinctive giggle. Debating whether or not to go back and give her a piece of his mind, he opted for closing the door with a thud.

"OH MY GOD!" Sheridan stared at the closed door. "I am such a klutz. I can't believe I did that."

Marybeth snickered, "Don't worry about him; he has a busy morning ahead of him. He has to handle some things for Johnny."

Pausing as she grabbed her purse from the table, "Why is that? Do I need to be around when he does?"

Marybeth outright laughed, "I wouldn't recommend it." She didn't feel a need to explain what was happening with the photographers targeting Nick and Angel. Sheridan would hide out at the hotel and support Angel in the mess that had been created. "How did that happen?" Marybeth pointed to the coffee soaked napkins on the cart.

"He scared me. He came in here, I was only half-dressed and I lost the grip on my coffee cup and it hit him." Sheridan looked at the carpet where Kevin had stood. There wasn't much of a stain was on the carpet, most of the liquid landed on Kevin.

"I guess he won't be surprising you again anytime soon," Marybeth closed the door behind her as the two women headed for the elevator. Making a mental note that Kevin was beginning to get a little devious in his plan to snag Sheridan, Marybeth would be letting Angelina know about this move.

Waiting for a car, they discussed all of the meetings and networking they were going to try and cover in one day. Marybeth was used to this type of schedule and knew her facts cold. She hadn't been with Gene for as long as she had without knowing her job inside and out. Now it was her turn to teach Sheridan a few things. "We are going to have a good day," Marybeth knocked into Sheridan. "We are a team."

"No, we're great," Sheridan winked at her as the two of them hit the first meeting with high spirits.

Kevin journeyed out early in the morning in essence to avoid the photographers that flooded the town. He wanted to do some shopping as well as getting a few meetings out of the way. During a lunch meeting, Johnny called and informed him that it wasn't necessary to harass Nick about the paparazzi pics since he had already done the same. Kevin was relieved; he really didn't want to have to have another talk with Nick. Nick may be his baby brother but he wasn't Nick's keeper either. A second call at the end of his meeting confirmed that everything was moving as smooth as glass for Sheridan and Marybeth. Sheridan seemed excited as she relayed her day so far to him. "That's great news Sheridan. We'll celebrate tonight. I think you and I, and the rest of our friends, will hit a few of the parties."

Sheridan fumbled with the telephone thrown off guard by switching from business to friends so quickly. "I don't know. I need to digest everything I've learned today. There are notes to be reviewed."

"As your employer, you will accompany me to the Charity Party at the Play Station 2 tent." Kevin wasn't taking no for an answer. He was hoping to get out and about a little bit with her to get her used to the publicity. The last thing he wanted was for her to end up with her picture plastered all over the papers as a surprise.

"But… I really think…"

"We're going to hit the Sean Jean party with Angel and Nick. Marybeth is coming too. See, all of us, together, as friends."

Sheridan clenched her teeth together. "Yes Sir," she practically spit through the telephone.

"No, it's yes, Kevin," Kevin snickered and snapped his cell closed. Just as he did, a photographer snapped a picture of him. Kevin blinked and tossed his scarf around his neck, striking a pose. A quick turn to the left to dodge the rest of the press sent him into a sports boutique. It was exactly what he was looking for. A blue tracksuit was on his list. Kevin shopped, found some of things that he needed and some that he didn't. Hitting a few more boutiques he blew time until his next meeting which coincided with dinner.

Marybeth chatted on her cell phone with A.J. again.

Sheridan complained while they entered another tent. A.J. seemed to be in continuous contact with Marybeth. "Does he call all the time?" Sheridan looked puzzled.

"Constantly, but I enjoy it. I enjoy talking to A.J." Marybeth drifted off for a second.

"How much are you enjoying A.J.?" Sheridan smirked.

"Not that much. Please like he would be interested in me." Marybeth gathered the speaker's notes and set out to start networking the room.

Sheridan followed along watching every move the woman made. "I happen to think you two are great together. It appears to me that he misses you very much."

"I miss him," Marybeth hated to admit it, but she did. "He did an interview with Joey Fatone on his radio show."

"N'stinker Fatone?" Sheridan gasped back.

"You need to grow up a little," Marybeth snickered at the traces of the old boy band rivalry. "He's trying to take the heat off of a certain couple."

Sheridan groaned, "What did Angel do now?" Sheridan hasn't talked with or seen Angel since dinner a couple nights ago.

"Well, we can worry about that later but A.J. did tell everyone that the boys were going back into the studio on the 26th. Did you know about that?"

"I found out last night. They've been practicing songs these past few weeks, just not recording them yet. I'm so excited that they are going to record again." Sheridan felt like she was walking on air as she spoke those words. She really was excited that they were going to record another album. "Did he say anything else about the album?"

Marybeth shrugged, "Just that they were going in to see what comes out of the recording session and that they didn't really have a direction." What she had told Sheridan had sounded better than what A.J. had repeated to the D.J. "We're going in to fart around and see what happens." She closed her eyes and smiled, A.J. will always be just A.J.

"Oh God, look over there." Sheridan elbowed Marybeth.

"Damn, he's cute," Marybeth leaned back against the wall. "He must be with one of the bands that they hired to perform up here at all the parties."

"I hope we see him tonight," Sheridan giggled as they headed in another direction. "I wonder what Nick and Angel have been doing all day?"

"Hiding, I would assume." Stopping at a table, they both were jolted by the sound of the paging system. "Welcome everyone."

"Let's get this over with so you and I can go to dinner. We're all going out tonight. It's our last night here and I want to enjoy it," Marybeth leaned over and whispered to Sheridan.

"I know. Who told you?" Sheridan queried

"A.J.," Marybeth sat back. "I guess he talked to Kevin sometime today."

The two of them sat and listened to the lecture and made their rounds of the guests. They finished their day off by having dinner at a pub around the corner from the hotel. They had enough time to get back to the hotel, change, and meet up with Kevin, Angel, and Nick.

"Nick, we have to face them sooner or later. Let's just go and get this over with." Angelina pleaded with Nick as he sat on the couch not wanting to go out with the rest of the Sundance gang. A slight rap on the door didn't dissuade Angel from her talk.

"Angel, the last thing I need is to hear Kevin bitch and complain at me. He treats me like I'm a little kid." Nick pouted on the couch.

Angel raised her eyebrow at Nick. Sarcastically, she replied, "Why would he do that?"

Nick eyed Angel with a smirk. "Careful woman. You're sleeping with me, not Kevin. Don't piss me off."

Angel whispered, "Look Nick, we managed to avoid him yesterday. If he was going to bitch and complain, he would have been banging on our hotel door first thing yesterday morning, but he didn't. Let it go. I believe he has."

Eyeing his girlfriend, he thought about what she said. It did make sense, but with Kevin, Nick could never be too careful. "Fine."

Kevin couldn't resist after he had heard Nick speaking. "Don't worry Angel. You can always sleep with me if he's stupid enough to let you go."

Marybeth watched Sheridan's demeanor. She went from shocked to jealous in a matter of seconds. "Okay, let's get this party started." Marybeth clapped her hands to help get Nick off the couch.

Kevin was acting particularly weird for Angel's tastes. 'I wonder what the hell he's up to,' she thought.

"Oh, by the way Nick and Angel, you guys suck at dancing," came out of Kevin's mouth as he exited the hotel room before erupting in laughter.

Nick rolled his eyes, "I guess the photographers were taking pictures of the dance floor at last nights Xbox party."

Angel grinned knowing they were pretending to not know how to dance. "We ain't got no rhythm; I kept telling you that." Angel winked at Nick who now had grabbed her hand as they headed out of the room.

The group was now gathered in the hallway waiting for the elevator. Kevin couldn't help but ask, "So, out of curiosity, when did you two get so friendly with the camera?"

Angel chuckled, "I wouldn't say we've been getting friendly with the camera. More like, I don't care after consuming one too many drinks. You'd be all smiles too."

"I bet I would."

"I'd love to see it in person." Sheridan let slip out before her eyes grew wide in embarrassment.

In his southern Kentucky drawl, Kevin asked, "Another fan moment?"

Staring at the elevator doors, wishing them to open, a soft "Uh huh," was heard.

Marybeth watched the dynamics of the group. Angel had become more of an extrovert, if that was even possible, and Sheridan had become more introverted as time passed.

Angel took this opportunity to help steer everyone's attention off Sheridan, so she could regain her composure, "Hey Kev, what's up with the scarf dude? You've been wearing that thing everywhere - indoors as well as out."

Kevin looked down while picking up the scarf hanging around his neck, "What's wrong with it?"

"Are you wearing it to keep your neck warm or is this a new fashion statement?"

"Well, I don't have any female arms to wrap around my neck to keep it warm for me." Kevin purred as he wrapped his arm around Angel's neck for a demonstration.

Sheridan didn't care for the flirty conversation Angel and Kevin were in to. "I happen to think it's very stylish." Sheridan still hadn't turned her head to look at him although she knew damn well how close he was to Angel just by looking out of the corner of her eye.

Angel's eyes grew wide and a smile beamed off her face hearing her roommate defend Kevin's attire. Angel winked at Kevin. A light bulb went off in Kevin's head, 'somebody's a bit jealous. I can't wait 'til tonight.'

"Hurry up!" Kevin shouted, causing Sheridan to jump. "No more caffeine for you young lady." The elevator dinged and the crew climbed aboard.

"Speaking of fashion sense," Kevin continued flirting with Angel, "Where did you find that white, tight ski outfit yesterday? You guys looked good together in matching suits."

Now it was Nick's turn to wonder what the hell was going on between these two. Kevin saw the look Nick was giving him, "What? I was just wondering where you got those ski outfits. And more importantly, did you ski?"

"No, we didn't ski and no we didn't go shopping. We were asked to pose in them at the Stuff party yesterday," Nick mumbled, wondering why Kevin was keeping tabs on them or rather, why he was surfing the internet looking for pictures from Sundance.

Marybeth couldn't help but laugh, "Boy, you two are certainly making the rounds this week."

Angel grinned at Marybeth, "Just doing our jobs. Mingling and making connections. You should see all the business cards I've acquired while talking to folks." Angel was having a great time, a little sleep deprived, but other than that, she was truly enjoying herself.

Nick kissed the top of Angel's head, "You should see her in action. She's very captivating when she has to be."

While starring at Sheridan, Kevin couldn't resist one last comment, "I can't wait to see her moves tonight."

Sheridan's face paled and her brows burrowed. Slowly, she turned her head only to see piercing green eyes starring back at her.

"Everything alright Sheridan?" Kevin questioned.

"Just peachy!" she said through clenched teeth. The doors couldn't have opened up fast enough as she began sprinting out of the elevator and into the hotel lobby.

"Ya think she's mad at me?" Kevin said as he took another swig from his flask.

Marybeth shook her head in amazement. "What the hell are you doing?"

"I'm gonna have me some fun tonight." Kevin's Kentucky accent was more prevalent than ever.

Angel and Nick shared a glance, almost as if reading each other's minds. A smile formed on both sets of lips.

+ "Let's do it for love" by Backstreet Boys (unreleased)





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This is a work of fiction.
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