A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 51

A.J. helped Marybeth outside. A bench in the park across the street from the girls' apartment building would be a good place for them to sit. At least the neighborhood was decent; he wasn't worried about being mugged. "Marybeth, let's take a walk."

"This must have been how Sheridan felt on New Years Eve."

A.J. chuckled; relieved she hadn't brought up his own alcoholism. "Don't go melting to the ground on me lady." He dropped an arm around her waist and steadied her with his other arm. He watched the taillights of Brian's car go up the driveway.

"But Kevin was so sweet to carry her out to my car."

"That wasn't sweet babe. Kevin was getting his hands on something that seems to be wearing a chastity belt." A.J. would never forget that night. Sheridan almost slammed into the floor. Kevin grabbed her by the waist and hauled her against him. The patrons separated as soon as Kevin swooped down and picked her up. He carried her out of the bar. A few whoo-hoo's caused Kevin to frown at the patrons.

He easily dodged a playful slap from Marybeth as she snickered. "He was being gallant."

"The old man was coppin' a feel. Trust me, after all these years, I know Kevin. He's a dawg in disguise. She spent all that time wagging her ass in his face on the ride over and it nearly killed him. We ribbed him for freaking days about it. He didn't want any other guys getting any ideas, so he hauled her out." Marybeth's legs wobbled on her as they crossed the asphalt. "Easy babe. I don't want you to fall."

"The air feels good on my skin." Marybeth tossed her hair back out of her face. "I'm thirsty."

"I bet you are. But first, you need some coffee and then some water to re-hydrate you." A.J. guided her to the bench. "So gorgeous, let's talk about us. What are we doing together and where are we going?"

"We're at Angel's birthday party. Going? I think I need to be going home." Marybeth twisted on the park bench a little too close to the end.

A.J. dropped an arm around her shoulders to stop her from tilting over. "Woman, you are wasted. I meant the bigger picture."

"Oh the movie, you film one of your parts tomorrow." Marybeth snickered. "I can't wait."

A.J. closed his eyes. He finally understood what it was like to be the person taking care of the drunken one and not be the drunken one. "I care about you. You're different. You don't go out partying all the time. You're level headed, smart, and independent. Do you think we could sort of make it official, like dating? I mean, do you see us as a couple?"

"We're not going to couple A.J."

"Okay, that's enough. I'm not getting anywhere on this subject tonight." Marybeth tried to stand up. A.J. stood up in front of her and placed a hand on each side of her waist. "What's my name?"


A.J. stopped and pointed as his chest, quickly. "Good, Alexander is correct." He couldn't let go too long or Marybeth would tumble to the grass. "Alexander is going to be a gentleman and take the very tipsy Miss Marybeth home. I doubt you'll remember we even had this conversation."

"What conversation?" Marybeth mumbled as she closed her eyes.

"Oh yeah for me." A.J. fished through her purse to find the car keys. Snagging them from the very bottom, he pulled them out, and dangled them in the air. "Let's go princess, your coach is waiting."

Marybeth giggled. "You're too funny A.J., too funny."

"Yep, that's me, funny A.J." A.J. guided her back across the lot to her car. He leaned her against the car while holding her up and trying to open the car door with the other.

"Need a hand?"

A.J. jumped hearing a male voice in the parking lot. The speaker came into view under a street light. He stepped forward, closer to them.

"Hi Patrick," Marybeth nearly fell forward as she reached out to touch Patrick.

"I got it dude," A.J. shot him a look, which would be missed in the dark. "Nervy shit," A.J. mumbled. Finally, after a few minutes, A.J. managed to get Marybeth into the passenger's seat and buckle her in.

"He wants Sheridan and Angel together."

"Oh really, tell me about it on the way home." A.J. dashed to his side of the car. "I could use a little dirt on those two."

A.J. started the car and shifted into gear. "I really am interested… " A.J. looked to the woman he had placed in the car. She was sound asleep. "I'm interested… Really interested in you, and only you."

Sheridan rolled around in her bed most of the night. Angel's party drove a few points home to her. She wasn't a risk taker; she was edgy around men now, and her sex life sucked at this point, it was nonexistent.

The attraction she held for Kevin hadn't diminished as of late; it had been worse the entire time they were in Sundance. Now she had to analyze the situation. They were already working together in two capacities both of which he was essentially her boss. If she were to factor in a relationship, how would it impact her position with the film and her job with Kevin? Would Kevin be like Tom and fire her when things didn't work out?

She grasped each side of the pillow with her hands and folded it over her ears desperately trying to drown out her own inner voice that was telling her to go for it, it couldn't hurt. It was the chance of a lifetime. Then the argument began with her inner voice. "Wonder if it doesn't work out?" she spoke as she lay in bed. "You won't know if you don't try," she answered. "What is going to happen if he fires me?" A loud sigh from her, "You'll find another job with a domineering metrosexual pop star."

Sheridan flung the pillow across the room as the alarm went off. "You're not helping me here!" After kicking the sheets from the bed, she grumbled her way to the shower, hoping she wouldn't wake Angel or Nick. The last thing she needed was a reminder of Backstreet so early this morning. She paused at Angel's closed bedroom door. "I wonder what he gave her for her birthday." She stretched and headed to the bathroom to shower and debate the situation even more.


Angel heard Sheridan talking to herself in her bedroom. Angel knew Sheridan wasn't having a good morning. When Sheridan's alarm went off, Angel heard a thud. She knew that could only mean bad news. Sheridan wasn't in a good mood, at all!

Meanwhile, Angel continued to stare at her hand. She had been staring at it since she went to bed in the early hours of the morning. But now that the sun began to shine, she could see the birthday present Nick gave her more clearly. She hadn't slept a wink all night but she knew Nick did as he lightly snored laying next to her, keeping her in his arms. A smile graced her face as she closed her eyes to finally drift off to sleep.


Kevin wanted an answer and he was up early with the birds tackling the sensitive issue of how to convince Sheridan to say 'yes' after she told him 'no.' Last night he watched her quietly and objectively. Well about as objectively as he could, he had to be fair to himself. When he left, she was flitting around the living room like a frightened little bird, unable to answer his question. She wanted more time to think about it since they had Angel's party and she had gotten sidetracked. She had told him she would give him his answer today when she came into work. His gut told him she was going to say 'no' and he wasn't happy.

He wasn't sure what he should do at this point. He needed someone to level with him, a person who would tell him the truth. Picking up the phone, he dialed. He waited for the happy voice to answer, a sound he loved to hear. He smiled into the phone. "Morning to you to Mama."

His mother, Anne, wanted updates on every bit of Kevin's life and she meant everything. After two hours, he was almost begging to get off the phone. He wasn't going to ask her, he doubted she had the answer to his question after all. His eyes traversed the room. His luggage was strewn all over the living room and Sheridan was expected within the hour as long as she wasn't running on Backstreet time.

Kevin asked his mother, "I'm hoping my relationship with Sheridan will work out."

She responded with, "What relationship?"

"Ayeee," he frowned into the phone.

"I want grandchildren. I'm going to die before you give me any."

"Do you harass Jerald like this?" Kevin knew the speech well; he'd heard it for years.

"No I don't, because he's not ready. You are."

"How do you know I'm ready? I don't even know if I'm ready." Kevin sorted the mail as she spoke to him.

"So you hired a very young and cute girl as your assistant after having her fired because you just want to have sex with her?"

Kevin felt the skin on his back scrunch up. He hated when his mother pinned him like this. No response was better. Not responding would garner further abuse from her too.

"From what you told me, she's a nice girl with some roots. She still calls her parents on Sundays and goes to see them. She's not one of those Hollywood types. She's young; she can have lots of babies."

"Let's not launch into that part of your lecture. Besides, I have to go, the house is a mess. Sheridan is due in any minute. Then she has to leave for the film set."


"Because A.J. is filming a scene, one of the girls has to be on the set at all times. They have creative control on the movie."

"You should have creative control of your music."

"Mama." Kevin's tone was sharp, only because this was a serious sticking point with him and had been for a while. "I have to go to the studio and lay down some tracks with Nick."

"How is sweet Nick?"

Kevin smiled, "Sweet Nick is fine but probably running late. His girlfriend's birthday was last night. We had a little party for her." Kevin grabbed some demo tapes and tossed them to the chair with his backpack. "I'm really excited about this new album Momma, but I'm not so sure about the tour. We have some great tracks to sort through though. One song is called Poster Girl that's pretty cool, I like it. I'm going to let Nick hear the one I wrote today. I want his take on it."

"He'll love it baby, don't worry. I bet they will all like it when they hear it. I hope it's on the new CD."

"Me too, I put a ton a work in on this song." Kevin riffled the papers on the kitchen counter looking for his song. "I ended up co-writing it with two others. I got too hung up on it."

Anne sighed, "Nick's girl is your girl's roommate, right?"

Kevin rolled his eyes, as his mother guided the conversation right back to where he didn't want it to be. "She's not mine yet, but she will be."

"Well don't make her your roommate before you're married."

The lock on the front door was turning. "Goodbye Mama, I love you." Kevin hung up the phone and looked around the living room. "Oh well."

Sheridan walked in to find Kevin staring at a pile of luggage in the middle of his living room. Then she turned to look at him. His hair was going in every direction. He was wearing a pair of blue gym shorts and a white tee with 'Kentucky Football' plastered on the front of it.

He looked at her and smiled. "I was beat when we got back yesterday. Then I had to pick up the cake… I didn't leave your place until late."

"You don't owe me any explanations; it's your house." Sheridan walked by him and down the hall to her desk.

"Oh, not good." Kevin grumbled. He followed her to her desk. "I'm going to take a shower. Umm… Ah…"

"Take your shower. We'll talk when you're done. I have an answer to your question."

Kevin didn't care for the tone or the wording of her answer. He didn't want to hear 'an answer' he wanted to hear 'the answer.' He needed to take a shower, to clear his head. This wasn't working out according to his plan. He should have asked her last night in front of everyone and put her on the spot. Sheridan liked to please others and she wouldn't let her friends down.

Waking into this bedroom, he grabbed his clothes from various places. Kevin spoke to the mirror as he passed by it, "Okay, now you're being manipulative." He paused tilted his head and began to grin, "Who are you kidding you have been manipulating this entire situation from day one." A belly laughed escaped as he exited his room and stood in the hallway.

"What's so funny?" Sheridan stared at him from the top of the hallway.

"Nothin'" Kevin smiled and headed to the bathroom.

Sheridan booted up the computer. She had changed her mind nine million times on the way over there. "Yes, no, yes, no… " She kept practicing her little speech. How she was going to tell him she would be in control and she would make the decision and it would be final. He had better not try anything funny like firing her either. Reading e-mails, she began to answer the ones that needed immediate answers. She was on a tight schedule today.

"OH!" Sheridan jumped when fingertips grazed her shoulder. She stood up quickly and her chair rolled out from under her. Little butterflies swooped in her stomach. Kevin wet and clean-shaven was enough to make her tongue roll back in her throat. He even smelled good. Her bottom lip rolled in and she chewed on it.

"Sorry," Kevin's smile faded as he stared her. "I didn't mean to scare you."

"Let's get this over with. I had a difficult time with this. This is going to sound awful. I'm willing to go out on few dates and that's all. And you can't fire me, if it doesn't work out." Sheridan's words flew as fast as her 90 WPM typing speed.

Kevin shook his head at her. She had stunned him, it wasn't quite the answer he was looking for but it wasn't a definite 'no' either. What did he expect, bunny sex right off the bat? He had to think and think fast. "Okay, we'll go out this weekend. Does that sound good to you?" Kevin knew he had thrown her off track as a befuddled look crossed her face. He laid his prince charming smile on her. It would give him time to sort things out. "So'kay?"

"Yes, that would be fine." Sheridan went to sit.

"Stop!" Kevin yelled as he reached for her. He grabbed her by the arm and pulled her forward to stop her from landing on the floor. Her body slammed into his. For a moment, he forgot to breathe as she pressed up next to him. Kevin felt his body start to hum with anticipation. Too bad, it was a false signal. Looking down he watched her slowly pick her head up and stare back at him. His true smile began to show and spread widely over his face. "Your chair moved when you jumped. I didn't want you to get hurt." With one arm still holding her, he grasped for the chair with the other. Pulling the chair towards them, he slowly lowered her into it.

"Thanks," she barely whispered.

"Anytime," Kevin could barely contain his jubilant mood as he entered his office and closed the door. Had one of the guys been there, he would've high-fived him. "She's mine," he danced over to his desk. Booting up his own computer, he worked with the door closed for a good hour. It took him that long to regain control of his body. Kevin fought to focus on the e-mails and documents the cute little blonde in the next office was sending him. The one with the sexy thong shoes with chains at the ankles… Chains at the ankles… He lost his train of thought and struggled to regain it again.

His e-mail chimed. Instead of bothering him, Sheridan e-mailed him to tell him she was leaving. She was gathering her things when he yanked his office door open with his sheet music in one hand. He stared at her and she stared at him. "Damn, this is awkward now."

"See, I knew it would be. Let's just forget the entire thing." Sheridan walked towards the front door.

"No!" Kevin followed her and latched onto her arm. He spun her around like a top. "I just meant that I don't know how to act now."

"Neither do I," Sheridan's brow furrowed.

Kevin saw the frown begin. "We'll talk more later. We'll figure it out."

"I'm not coming back." Sheridan swung her purse over her free shoulder.

"What do you mean you're not coming back?"

Kevin's grip tightened on her arm. Sheridan held back the little yelp, which wanted to escape. His tone of voice made it hard for her to stop and look at him. It was forceful but seemed to have a cry attached it. "They're filming today. You know I don't know how long I'll be." She glanced at her watch, "You have a half hour to get to the studio."

"Christ, I forgot about that." Kevin brushed a lock from her face with his free hand. "Just don't think about it anymore until we talk. It'll work out. We need to figure it out, that's all. I guess what I meant was I don't know if I should say, 'See you later' or give you a kiss good-bye."

Kevin saw what he thought was a brief little twinkle in her eye. He leaned forward and placed his lips on her temple. He gave her a chaste kiss. "How about both? See you later."

He grinned as Sheridan fumbled with her laptop bag and keys trying to open the door. "Allow me," he opened the door and watched her lithe legs carry her out to the car. She gave him a little wave before she zoomed out of his driveway.

"I'm so screwed," he moaned. Finally, it had registered with him that Sheridan was one of the few women he had an interest in that could make him crawl. Only two other women in his life ever had that kind of control over him, his mother and Kris.

His thoughts turned to Kris and wondered what she had been up too. He owed her a phone call. When the final split came between the two, it devastated the entire family, Backstreet included. Nick was hit the hardest; he'd practically grown up with Kris beside Kevin. "I fucked that one up too," he rubbed his eyes. He would love to get some sleep but grabbed his coat and keys and headed to the studio.


Sheridan made it to the studio in record time. She was running late and didn't want to throw off the schedule. For the next week, Sheridan and Angel would split the schedule. One of them needed to be there every time a scene was filmed. Angel was filling in from time to time at Barefoot's because she enjoyed the job. Sheridan sat off to the side waiting for John to begin.

"Earth to Sheridan, are you with me?" A.J. waved a hand in front of her face.

"Sorry A.J.," Sheridan squeaked back at him. She could feel the rush of heat in her cheeks.

A.J. cozied up to her on the couch, "So you finally gave our fearless leader an answer and he must have liked it because he hasn't called to rag on me to get you to change your mind."

Sheridan felt like a balloon, which had just been popped by a very sharp pin. She groaned and covered her face. "A.J. it was awful."

A.J. shoved a little closer, "What was so awful? You don't strike me as the kind of chick to fall into someone's bed, so I think sex is safely out."

Sheridan grabbed for her water bottle and gulped like a fish. The subject alone was enough to send her in a tizzy. Swallowing her water, she closed her eyes, and let out a cleansing breath. "I told him we could go out on a few dates." Sheridan opened her eyes to A.J. covering his mouth with both hands. "Don't you dare laugh at me."

A.J. moved his head from side to side.

"I mean it. I can't help it if I'm nervous about this. What if it doesn't work out and he fires me from the film and as his assistant?"

A.J. turned and looked over his shoulder then back at her. "He's not Tom. He isn't going to fire you. Hell woman, he had you fired just so he could be around you all day. You openly ignored him in all the meetings when we first started. Then he pulled the investigator crap."

"I know, that's why I'm so unsure. I can't trust a man who'd do those things."

A.J. leaned closer to her. "Kevin doesn't trust easily either. You are now in his home, daily. By his side, daily. You go to meetings with him, you eat lunch with him, and sometimes dinner. You went out on New Years together on a date. You just came back from Sundance and I think you had a good time. You talk on the telephone constantly with him. You're already dating so what's the difference?"

Sheridan sat forward on the couch; she crossed her legs and placed her bent elbow on her knee. Placing her head in her upturned palm, she thought about what A.J. had said. "It does sort of seem like that. Just like you and Marybeth."

A.J. backed up and gave her a questioning look. "Not at all like Marybeth and I. I didn't go to Sundance! I don't eat lunch or dinner with her nearly as much as you guys! Why….why, that's not us at all!" A.J. began to stutter.

"You don't want to be with Marybeth?" Sheridan asked trying to equate both relationships.

"I never said that," A.J.'s head shook vehemently at her. "Our relationship is different. She's different."

"Speaking of she, where is she?" Sheridan wondered why Marybeth was late. The woman was never late.

"She is sleeping off her jubilant celebration from last night. I took her home and dumped in bed." A.J. shifted on the couch.

"Were you a gentleman?" Sheridan caught the gleam in A.J.'s eyes as she scrutinized him for any tell tale signs.

"Of course," he cleared his throat. "I tried to talk to her last night but she was so toasted, it was impossible. I don't even think she'll remember we talked."

"Hmm," Sheridan's hand rested in her palm. "Do you think I'm over analyzing my relationship with Kevin?"

"Yep," A.J. stood up and pushed his jeans down his thighs. "You need to just do what comes naturally when you're attracted to someone. Let the other crap go, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you both like each other. You're dragging baggage into this that doesn't belong."

Sheridan nodded her head. A.J. was right, very right and she had missed it entirely.

A.J. began to turn away. He tilted his head over his shoulder. "Besides your chastity belt gotta be getting' tight. It's probably pinching you by now. Kev needs to bust that lock wide open."

"A.J.!" Marybeth yelled at him.

Sheridan still sat with her mouth almost hanging to the floor and her face the color of a shiny new red fire engine.

"I can't freakin' win with you ladies," A.J. groaned and headed towards the door marked make-up.

They both watched him shuffle away. It took a few minutes for Sheridan to recover from the remark A.J. had made. Marybeth sat down across from her and waited for her to say something about what he said. She chose to ignore it only because A.J. was probably right about the baggage comment. "Good morning Marybeth. Running a tad late this morning?"

Marybeth's mouth twisted, "A little."

"I hear you had a night in shining armor rescue you last night." Sheridan smiled when her friend rolled her eyes and her cheeks tinged pink.

"Speaking of knights, where's the dark knight?" Marybeth wasn't ready to discuss what had taken place last night. She was drunk, however not drunk enough to forget everything A.J. had said. It shook her very foundation this morning as she recalled the night before.

Sheridan chuckled as John called them for a meeting. "In the studio with Nick. If Nick has the ability to walk this morning."


"So dawg, what didga get Angel for her birthday?" Kevin's head was resting on his open, palm-up hand while his elbow nestled nicely on the soundboard.

Nick blushed and gave Kevin a brush off smile. With his eyebrows wiggling, Nick scooted to the studio, "You'll see."

Nick placed the headphones over his ears and shuffled the music sheets in front of him, then adjusted the microphone.

Kevin was none too happy with the answer. Flicking on the switch, Kevin spoke "What's that supposed to mean?"

Nick looked up and gave another smile, this one showing his dimples. Kevin scowled to himself. Something wasn't quite right. Nick's not answering him, yet he's incredibly happy. 'Why isn't he sharing it with me?'

Kevin flicked the switch off and pulled out his cell phone. After flipping it open, he pressed one button and barked, "What did Angel get from Nick for her birthday?"

Sheridan was taken back at Kevin's tone, "I have no idea! I haven't seen or heard from her today." Barking back at him, "Why don't you call her?"

Kevin realized his behavior was inappropriate, but this was really bothering him. His baby brother always talked to him, always confided in him - and now, he can't, or rather won't, tell him something that's not even a secret. "OH NO!" Kevin said is his deep baritone voice as something clicked in his brain.

Sheridan had no clue what was happening at the studio, but she certainly thought it was more entertaining than what she was doing: sitting around doing nothing. Jumping out of her seat, she walked to an empty prop room on the set.

"Oh no what?" she whispered, not wanting to have anyone over hear her conversation.

Kevin sat in shock as he watched Nick singing his heart out on the studio. Nick's voice sounded amazing, especially since Kevin knew he didn't get much sleep and probably drank and smoked more than he should have.

"WHAT?" Sheridan half yelled, half whispered into Kevin's ear pulling him from his current state of shock.

"Do me a favor? Call Angel and ask her what Nick gave her for her birthday present?"

Sheridan was shaking her head no as she spoke. "I can't do that….that's…..that's tacky! She'll think I'm a gold digger, or I think she's a gold digger or she'll think I think she's a gold digger. So no, I can't do it."

Kevin felt a headache beginning to form behind his eyes. "I have no idea what the hell you just said. Why not? And put it in English this time, please?"

"I'll find out from her what Nick gave her the next time I see her." Sheridan said matter-of-factly.

Kevin scrunched up his nose, "Fine. Gotta go, my turn."

"Have fun," Sheridan replied giggling before disconnecting. The thought of the boys making a new album together gave her butterflies and made her tingly all over.

Now that Sheridan's body returned from tingleville, she wondered what Angel got from Nick.

Flipping back open her phone, she pressed a familiar number. The ringing then went to voicemail. "Damn," she muttered. She waited to hear the beep, "Good morning, or should I say good afternoon, birthday girl! Hope you had a wonderful night. I'm sorry if I seemed a bit out of sorts. I love you and I'm happy for you. Now call me ASAP!"

Sheridan recalled her jealous behavior at the party, but was too drunk to remember if she verbalized what she was thinking and if she needed to apologize or not. Sheridan certainly didn't want to ask anyone if her behavior was noticeable or not. "I have to stop drinking," she mumbled as she left the room to return to filming.


Angel spent most of her day in bed, relaxing and reading. She would dose for an hour or two. Her schedule has been crazy and she was sleep deprived. Around 7PM, she decided to take a shower and go to the gym. Before leaving her bedroom, she carefully placed her gift back in its box.

From the gym, she went to Nick's place but not before picking up some food at the grocery store. She saw flashes from the corner of her eye, but ignored it. "Maybe some other celebs are here." Angel walked with confidence, her head high and a smile bright as can be. As she loaded the groceries in her car, her cell rang. Looking at the ID, she knew who it was. "Hello."

"Where are ya?" Nick asked impatiently.

"I'm at Ralph's picking up dinner. Where are you?"

"At home, waiting for you. Hurry up!" Nick said as he shut his cell realizing he didn't even say goodbye. "Uh oh…"

Angel blinked, and then pinched herself, "Ouch! That was stupid." She mumbled. She climbed into the driver's seat and started the ignition. As she put her car in Drive, she said aloud to no one, "I'm going home."

Angel never did notice she had a message waiting for her.


The next day rolled by in much the same way. Sheridan and Angel would switch places on the set. This time Angel was present with Brian for filming in case any changes were needed. From the earful Sheridan was getting from Angel on the phone, it was a bad day all around for Brian.

Angel also knew she needed to talk to Sheridan about her voicemail message from the day before. "I'm sorry I didn't call you back yesterday. I didn't realize you left a message until this morning.

"That's okay. I figured you were busy." When in reality, Sheridan thought Angel was mad at her.

"Cut…CUT!" the girls heard the director yelling. "Brian, come here please." John called to him and then yelled into the megaphone, "ALRIGHT PEOPLE, TAKE 5."

"A break so soon?" Sheridan questioned. "That can't be good."

Shaking her head, Angel replied, "Nope. Not good. Listen, I better go. Can we finish talking tomorrow? How about we meet for breakfast at Phil & Lil's?"

Sheridan smiled. She knew things were okay, but it was now time for Angel to work. "Yeah, tomorrow."

As soon as Sheridan got off the phone, Kevin peaked his head in through the office door. "Busy?"

Sheridan was typing away on the computer, "No, not really." Turning to face him, "Need me to do something?"

Kevin's face began to get hot as impure thoughts entered his brain. " - I mean nothing. Nope, I'm good. Nothing at all."

Sheridan cocked her head and puzzling looked at Kevin. Realizing he wasn't making any sense, he changed the subject.

"Everything alright with Angel?"

Sighing, "Yeah, Angel's good. Brian though is another story. Do you know if anything's bothering him?"

"Other than Leighanne, which isn't new; nothing else that I know of. So did Angel show you her gift?"

"Man, you are nosey. No, she didn't. She went to Nick's place last night and then straight to the set from there."

While stroking his goatee with his fingers, Kevin hmmmm'd, "Interesting."

"Okay Sherlock," Sheridan continued, "Why don't you finish looking over your foundation's reports so we can continue to prepare for your meeting with the Wildlife Federation. You have four days to be prepared for it."


Angel hung up the phone with Nick and began walking towards Brian. She wanted to know if Nick knew anything that might be bothering Brian.

"Hey Bri, gotta a minute?" Angel said as she stretched her arm around his shoulders.

Brian kept his head down and sighed. "I'm screwing up."

"Yeah, yeah you are. But I think something's bothering you and that's keeping you distracted." Brian began to play with the ring on his finger, "Yeah. Leigh and I got into a big fight this morning and it's still bothering me."

"I don't mean to pry, but would you like to talk about it?" Angel questioned. As a fan, she really didn't want to know his business, but as a friend, she was concerned and knew that none of the other boys were around for him to talk too.

"She's jealous…" he began but stopped. Angel decided not to press too hard, this would take some time but she was dying to know what Leigh was jealous about.

"She's jealous of my life and things I get to do in it. She feels now that she's a mom, she's trapped and can't do the things she used to do."

"Has she tried to go back to work?" Brian looked up and gave Angel a quizzical look. "Angel, she didn't have a job before she was pregnant."

"Ah Brian, she was an actress. Grant it, she didn't have a lot of film roles but that's what she used to do. Maybe she can talk to her agent and see about reading some film scripts."

"She doesn't want to get her hopes up. She's quite fragile right now and doesn't want to be rejected."

"Well, she may have post-partum depression. Has she gone to her Dr. recently?"

"No, I honestly don't think she's depressed. She is being a bitch if you ask me." Brian was visibly getting upset and Angel was beginning to why she thought she could help him by talking to him. "Sorry Angel, you don't need to hear this but I appreciate the shoulder."

"Anytime Bri. Just remember, she's obviously hurt by something or someone and is trying to take it out on you. YOU have done nothing wrong. There is no cure for jealousy. I'm sorry she's not being supportive to you and your projects. Why don't you call one of the boys and talk to them? They've been in this situation before, I'm sure, with the jealous women in their lives. May be they can help."

Brian smiled and reached out to give Angel a hug, when she reciprocated, Brian held on tight and maybe a little longer than he should have. It had been a while since he was hugged and longed for that feeling of being loved. It didn't even faze Angel. She was feeling guilty that she was so happy and Brian was so miserable, she just wanted him to feel better.


On Friday, it was Howie's turn to film a scene. Angel and Sheridan were both present and even had the chance to catch up with each other. Angel had been crashing at Nick's since the birthday party. The girls were waiting for the shoot to wrap up, hopefully early, they needed bonding time and Marybeth was included now too. Of course, Angel had to tell the girls about her birthday present from Nick.





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