Liverpool, England - 5:45 PM GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) (10:45 AM PST)
AJ stepped out of the shower and dried himself off with a big, fluffy, white towel and wrapped it around his waist. Everybody was going to get together for dinner in the hotel restaurant at 7 and he wanted to relax before going down there. He changed into some clean jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt before shaving and putting some new contacts in.
He went back to the main room of his suite and sat down at the desk provided. Since he started keeping a journal again, he realized that writing things down helped him relax when he couldn't say them out loud. He opened it up and flipped past the last recent entries and started a new one.
On a professional note, the shows are still going well. Our vocals and dance routines are on point, as they should be. We had to cancel another show two days ago and no, it's not my fault for once. Haha. Although, I was sick for a couple days with some throat issues (THAT is Nick's fault), but I'm all good now with some rest. Thank God for small miracles. Maybe He can spare me a couple months, I'm healthy as a horse, I swear!
On a personal note, things have gotten a little bit better. Finally told Kim pretty much everything (I think that's the only good thing about the situation at the moment) and she was very upset with me about the pills. I don't blame her. She was mad at me for a couple of days, but she reluctantly forgave me and we promised each other that we would work it out when I got home. We decided that there was no point in staying mad while I was still out here, that wouldn't solve anything. It's just gonna take time. I can handle that. I think I can...I think I can.
I had Kim make an appointment with John for when I get back. I gotta spend some more time on his couch again...I know it will be worth it though. I guess I'll never "get past" all of the things that have happened, but I can try. That's all I can do. I have to do this...we both want more kids and I can't let my fear and insecurities get in the way of that again. Well, they already have I guess. Damn. But I can't get stuck, I've gotta keep moving forward.
I really miss my girl and my little man. And my dog. And the rest of my family for that matter. That reminds me...I need to call Mom. It's been 10 days since they went back to LA, but it feels like an eternity. I can't wait to see them, hug them. To see her smile, hear his laugh. Home...I guess my heart is already there, 17 days early. May 23rd can't come soon enough. 17 days...
AJ smiled at thought of being with his family again and closed the book. He put it away in his bag and sat down on the bed. He took his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed a number. After a few rings, someone picked up.
"Alex, how are you? Your dad says hi," Denise said.
"I'm fine. Yourself?"
"Even better now that you've called."
"Did something good happen that I don't know about?" AJ wondered why she sounded so happy.
"No, it's just good to hear your voice. How are things?"
"Good, the tour's going great. We had an issue in Luxembourg, though."
"What happened?" she asked.
"There was a fire at the arena before we got there and we had to cancel the show."
"Wow, is it going to get rescheduled?"
"I don't think so, but, who knows?"
"Nothing, just thinking is all."
"Okay..." AJ said warily. "So, what are your plans for today? It's after 6 here."
"We're gonna go out to lunch with Dan and Laura for sushi. You've met them before."
"Yeah, I remember them. But Dad hates sushi."
Denise chuckled. "He's being a good sport about it. We haven't seen them for quite some time, especially with Tony traveling for work and we're practically jumping at the chance to meet up with the two of them."
"That sounds good. I'm sure you'll all have a nice time," AJ said.
"What about you? Do you guys have a show tonight?"
"No, we have had three days off because of the Luxembourg show being canceled. We have one tomorrow night here in Liverpool," he explained.
"Oh, good. Kim was telling me the other day that you weren't feeling well again. Are you okay now?"
"Yeah, it was just a bug I picked up from Nick or from God knows who or where. You know how it is."
"That I do. Maybe you should be more like Brian, I think he's the healthiest out of the four of you," she said with a laugh.
"Mom, that's because he doesn't go out or have fun out on the road. You gotta live it up while you can, right?"
"Yes, but without running yourself into the ground either. You know your responsibilities, I just don't want you to get burnt out so early on. Make sure you take care of yourself. Please? For me?"
AJ smiled. "Anything for you, Mommy. We're all meeting for dinner in a little bit here in the hotel."
"That's nice. Have you talked to Kim and Jordan today?"
"Yep, about an hour ago. Jordan's really missing me, I feel bad that they're not with me. I wish they were."
"Awww. Poor little guy. You'll be home soon enough."
AJ sighed. "Yeah, I know. I miss them, too."
"I'm sure you do. I miss you, too. I can't wait to see you."
He smiled and looked at the digital clock next to him. "Same here. Well, I better get down there. I don't wanna be late."
"Alright, I love you. Be good," she warned jokingly.
"I always am. I love you, Mom. Bye."
AJ hung up and stood. Just as he picked up his room key and wallet, his room phone rang.
"Mr. McLean, this is the front desk. There is a package for you and someone will bring it to up your room momentarily. We hope you are enjoying your stay."
"I am, thank you. Goodbye."
He waited a few minutes before his doorbell sounded. He opened the door as a bellhop stood there with a medium-sized cardboard box.
"Your package, sir."
"Thank you." AJ took the box from him and gave him a tip.
"No, sir, thank you," he said emphatically as he received the money.
He shut the door and put the box on his bed. He noticed that the return address was from his home back in LA. 'Ha, it's probably a care package from Kim. It can wait.' he thought.
He grabbed his necessary items and took the elevator down to the lobby. He saw that there were a few fans, so he waved and headed into the restaurant.
"Hey, guys," he said and sat down next to Jen.
"You shaved," Jen noticed.
"Yep, it's all gone. Wanna feel?" he asked while stroking his face suggestively.
"No!" she said with a laugh.
"Have it your way, then," he said with a laugh of his own. He turned to Howie. "Dude, Kim sent me a package. I hope she remembered the Coffee Bean this time!"
He shook his head with smirk. "You're a weird one."
"Uh-uh, I just know what I like."
"Whatever, dude. You never send me packages, babe," he said to Leigh.
"Well, I'm not Kim, now, am I? And I'm not a whole other continent away from you, either. Stop being such a baby."
Everybody laughed. "Love ya, Howard!" AJ yelled.
"Yeah, yeah," he replied, feigning annoyance.
"Is everybody here? Can we order drinks now?" Leigh asked.
"Nick's not here yet. He's probably upstairs in his room playing with something," Howie said.
"Probably himself," AJ added, which earned him a smack upside the head from Jen.
"You're so gross, Alex!" she exclaimed.
He laughed. "I'm never sitting next to you at dinner ever again. That hurt!"
"Look who's being the baby, now! Kim would do the same thing and you know it, I went easy on you compared to her."
He chuckled. "True."
Nick came up to the table and sat down.
"Well, look who decided to show up! Hey Nick, I guess you finished playing up there, huh?" Howie asked.
"What are you talking about?" he asked, completely oblivious to the conversation that had just taken place.
Everybody busted out laughing as their servers came and the meal started.
8:56 PM GMT
"Do you want another?" the bartender asked AJ as he placed his empty beer bottle down on the coaster.
He stayed behind and had a beer after dinner with his bodyguard, Marcus, Nick and Howie. Brian didn't feel like having one and went back to his room along with everyone else.
"No, thanks." He paid for it and left a tip. "I'm gonna go back to my room. See you losers in the morning," he said with a laugh.
Howie chuckled and rolled his eyes. "Fine, lightweight. Goodnight."
"'Night," Nick said and took a sip of his beer.
AJ and Marcus turned and left the bar, then, went back through the lobby to get to the elevators. There were still a couple of fans there so he stopped to say hi, sign some autographs, take a few pictures. The usual fan interaction with Marcus by his side.
After that was done, they both went up to AJ's room and parted ways before he went inside. He put his things down and kicked off his shoes before turning the TV on. He skimmed through a few channels before turning it off with a sigh. He hadn't been in his room for five minutes and he was already bored. It was then that he noticed the package beside him, still unopened and untouched from earlier.
'Might as well open it. At least I'll have some proper coffee in the morning,' he thought happily.
AJ tore the packaging tape off and opened the flaps of the box to see the contents within it. There were a bunch of packing peanuts on top and once he got past those, his breath caught in his throat.
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