"Alyssa…?" Joey asked as he met her eye. "What… what uh…you’re pregnant?" He asked with a complete lack of emotion.

"We get to have a brother or a sister." Tony laughed.

"Hey Tone, can you go in my room and find me my purple shoes?" Alyssa asked softly.

"You have purple shoes?" Tony asked.

"Yep, can you go get them please? Now." Alyssa pulled his hand to get him off Joey’s lap. Tony scampered down the hall to Alyssa’s room and she took a deep breath, "Yes Joe, I’m pregnant."

"I uh… wow Lyss. I just… wow. Whoa. How… I mean, h-how did that happen?" He didn’t take his eyes off the box.

Alyssa sighed and shook her head, "How do you think it happened Joe?" She stood up and stomped into the kitchen.

Joey sat on the couch for another couple minutes trying to put everything together in his mind. This was nothing that he needed, in fact this was exactly what he didn’t need. He knew that, for a fact. This could potentially ruin a lot of things for himself and the other guys. Sure, Kevin and Brian from the Backstreet Boys had taken that step but it was one thing to marry the girl you’ve been seeing for years, and who the fans know as your girlfriend from the start… and it is quite another to have a baby with a girl no one’s ever heard of. And of course the fact that there was Tony would come out also. That was what was going to be bad… the media. This could all be very bad.

Joey knew that, in his head he knew that this was the worst timing possible for all of this to be happening. But he couldn’t help but feel excited and sad and nervous and totally in love. If there were one person in the world he would he would want to go through this with, it was Alyssa. Alyssa.

"Mommy! I can’t find any purple shoes not even one!" Tony shouted from the other room.

"Maybe look in your room." Alyssa sent him on the wild goose chase after her non-existent purple shoes to give herself more time alone.

Joey jumped to his feet and dropped the box on the couch behind him. He walked quickly to the doorway of the kitchen and stopped as he caught site of Alyssa leaning against the counter with her eyes squeezed shut as she wiped the tears away. "Lyss… I…"

"It’s okay Joey." She said quickly as she turned away from him to grab a napkin from the dispenser.

"No, no Lyss it’s not okay, I – " Joey started.

"Joey stop. It’s okay." She wiped her eyes with the napkin and took a deep breath, "I know this is like the worst possible news you could hear right now, so I don’t expect you to drop everything and deal with this. I don’t Joe. It’s okay."

"Would you stop that?" Joey asked as he put his hands on either side of the doorjam. "Stop assuming that you know how I’m going to react and what my plans are. You did the same thing with Tony, you just automatically wrote me off and basically told me you didn’t expect me to be a father for him. Lyss, I am his father, and the fact that you expect any less of me makes me wonder what you think of me. You say I don’t have to take responsibility for this? Come on… you know me better than that."

"I don’t want you to feel like I’m trying to pressure you." She tried to explain.

"Well knock it off. Pressure me Alyssa, make me do what’s right."

"What’s right for who? For you? For me?"

"For all of us Lyss." Joey crossed the kitchen and reached for her hand. "Do you really think that I can’t do this?"

"No, God Joey that’s not it at all. You’ve been… you’ve been wonderful with Tony, it’s just that-"

"Let me decide what I need right now." Joey smiled and tilted her chin up to meet his eye, "No, this isn’t the best timing, and this isn’t exactly what I need right now. But I don’t care about that." He kissed her quickly and said, "You’ve got to give me a chance to respond here Lyss. This is a huge shock, give me a few minutes for this to sink in."

"I’m not asking you to mar-" Alyssa started.

Joey put his finger on her lips and raised his eyebrow, "Stop digging yourself into a hole. I’m not walking out that door, so stop worrying about that. And I’m not stepping down here. I just need to think about what I want to say." He held her gaze for more than a minute then said, "Are you ready to listen to me?"

"Mommy, there are no purple shoes anywhere in my room." Tony crossed his arms over his chest as he stood in the doorway with a frown.

"Did you check in the toy box?" Joey asked without turning around. Tony sighed loudly and turned to go back to his room. "I love you Lyss, and I love Tony. And I uh… I love this baby too." He placed his hand on her still flat stomach and smiled slowly.

"Well Joey I love you too, but you’re ge-"

Joey interrupted her, "Enough with the "buts" my God, Lyss. Can’t you just accept the fact that I’m not going anywhere?"

"Joey…"

"You argue too much." Joey shook his head and smiled. "We can do this, don’t worry about that. I’ll take care of the stuff on my end as far as the guys and the tour and everything, you take care of this little dude." He wiggled his fingers on her stomach.

"The press is going to eat this up." Alyssa said softly.

"Nah… this doesn’t have to get out. We’ve done good keeping everything else quiet, right?" She nodded. "Okay… so this may be a little harder." Joey shrugged. "If anyone takes heat over any of this, it’s gonna be me." He laughed lightly and said, "I’m ready for that."

"Are you?"

Joey thought for a second and smiled, "No, not really. But what can I do? This is what’s happening."

"But this changes everything."

"Sure it does." Joey agreed. "But not that much, I mean, I’ve wanted a big family and everything, I just wasn’t sure I wanted it now."

"See?"

"So what? I wasn’t sure and now I am." Joey shrugged. "So basically everything I’ve wanted is happening sooner instead of later."

"Yeah and now is the crappiest time for this to be happening."

"Nah, not the crappiest. But Lyss, we can’t change that now, right?"

"I guess."

"Okay then, we’ve got to deal with this now, no matter what, so we might as well be happy right?"

"Why are you convincing me to be happy about this, that’s my job." Alyssa laughed through her tears and wiped her eyes again.

"Because you worry too much about everything." Joey smiled and laced his fingers through hers. "Have you told anyone?" he whispered as he rested his forehead against her.

"Tony and Melody."

"Mel?"

"Well… she gave me the blood test, so yeah she knows." Alyssa smiled.

"So when… when do we get to meet this little person?"

"Um, September. I’m due on the 19th."

"September huh?" Joey’s mind zoomed through Nsyncs fall plans. They’d be right in the middle of tour rehearsals, but at least they’d be in Orlando. "Anyway we could do it like in December or something? That’d really work better for me." He smiled.

"Oh sure, I’ll see what I can do." Alyssa laughed lightly.

"Wow… September." Joey smiled and kissed her softly. "Wow… just…wow."

"You guys. There are no purple shoes anywhere at all in my room or my toy box or mommy's room. There’s not any!" Tony sighed as he stood in the doorway.

Alyssa laughed and wiped at her eyes again, "Oh man, I think I left them at grandmas, I’ll have to go get them later."

Tony heaved a giant annoyed sigh and crawled up into one of the dining room chairs. "So do you want to get a baby brother or sister with me and mommy?" he asked Joey.

Joey laughed and looked at Alyssa, "Do we get to go pick one out or something?"

"Not quite." Alyssa smiled and squeezed Joey’s hand.

"We have to keep the one that God gives us." Tony explained, "So are you going to keep it with us?"

"Yeah, I think that sounds like fun." Joey nodded.

"If it’s a baby brother, can I name him Justin Chris and Lance?" Tony asked with the most serious expression.

"What about JC?" Joey asked.

"No, JC is weird." Tony shook his head, "That’s not even a real name."

Alyssa and Joey laughed, the tension officially broken. "If it’s a boy we can talk about those names…" Alyssa said cautiously.

"I’m not naming a kid after any of those fools." Joey shook his head.

"We’ve got a long time to think about names." Alyssa reassured them. She took a deep breath and smiled, that wasn’t nearly as painful as it could have been. She squeezed Joey’s hand and loved the feel of him squeezing hers back.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"So what are they gonna do here?" Joey asked six weeks later as he and Alyssa walked into her doctor office. The tour had ended the night before in Orlando, Tony and Alyssa had both attended and it was in the dressing room after the show that Joey shared with the group their big news. The guys were stunned at first, then excited as they hugged everyone and set out to party the night away.

"Um, they’re going to weigh me, then the doctor will come in and listen for a heartbeat. They don’t really do much at these exams." She shrugged and adjusted her purse on her shoulder.

"Do they have to, you know…"

"No." Alyssa smiled. "Not this time."

"Okay." Joey nodded.

"But even when they do have to… you know… you don’t see anything." She explained, trying not to laugh.

"Okay." He nodded again and looked around nervously as Alyssa walked up to the front desk to sign in.

"Don’t worry, no one is going to recognize you here."

"I know." He said, though he still kept looking around. "Lyss, some of these ladies are huge." He whispered.

"Hi, I have a 1:15 appointment with Dr. Combs?" Alyssa said to the receptionist, then she turned to Joey. "You’d better watch it pal. I’m going to be that big a lot sooner than you think." She said softly.

"I know but… doesn’t that hurt?"

"No Joey, that doesn’t hurt." Alyssa laughed lightly and pulled him over to a seat by the door. They waited in silence for her name to be called and when it was Joey followed her back to the exam room.

Alyssa hopped up on the scale and cringed as the nurse moved the little weight closer and closer to the right, "Not bad Alyssa, three pounds since last month."

"That’s good?" Joey asked.

"That’s about average, yeah." The nurse nodded. "Go ahead and grab a seat, the doctor will be here in a minute."

"Okay, thanks." Alyssa smiled as the nurse shut the door. She hopped up on the table and sat with her legs dangling over the side.

"So you’ve gotta come here every month?"

"Yep. Well until it gets closer, then I’ll go more often." Alyssa nodded and smiled as Joey looked around the room at the posters and models of a woman's growing uterus and the developing baby.

"That’s crazy, look at that. I just can’t believe that comes out of that." he pointed at the diagram.

Alyssa laughed and said, "Those have been coming out of that for centuries."

"I know, it’s just… weird to think about how big – nevermind. That's just, it’s cool." Joey blushed.

"Cool isn’t a word I’d use to describe it." Alyssa smiled and shook her head as the doctor came in.

"Hi, how’s it going?" She asked.

"It’s going good." Alyssa smiled, "Dr. Combs this is Joe."

"Hi Joe, it’s nice to meet you." She shook Joey’s hand and smiled.

"Nice to meet you too." He mumbled.

"Have you ever been to an OB before?" She asked.

"Um, no." Joey blushed again.

"Okay, well then I’ll be sure to explain what I’m doing to Alyssa so you’ll kinda know what's going on." She smiled then looked at Alyssa, "Go ahead and lay down, let’s go find us a heartbeat."

Alyssa unbuttoned her pants and rolled the waist down a few inches, then pulled her shirt up to her bra so her tummy was exposed. Dr. Combs brought out a little device that looked like a walkman and placed it flat on her stomach, then moved it around to different spots, but all they heard was static.

"How can you hear a heartbeat through that noise?" Joey asked.

"Oh you’ll see." Dr. Combs smiled and moved the device to the left side of Alyssa’s abdomen. She searched for another minute before she stopped and smiled as the room was filled with the rapid "swooshing" of the tiny heartbeat.

"Whoa…" Joey whispered as he looked from the doctor to Alyssa. "That’s the heart?"

"It sure is. Sounds great doesn’t it?" The doctor asked.

"Well I guess you’d know." Joey said softly. "It’s so fast."

"The heart rate is normal. Remember, the baby is pretty small right now, only about one and half, to two ounces." The doctor explained.

"How big is that?" Joey asked.

"About the size of a shrimp." Dr. Combs laughed. "That’s a good strong heartbeat though, listen to that."

"Wow…" Joey whispered. "You hear that Lyss?" He smiled and looked up at Alyssa at the head of the table. His eyes were shiny with tears as he laughed and squeezed her hand, "Check it out. Man, the guys would freak."

"You’ve got another thing coming if you think they’re coming with us next time." Alyssa smiled and shook her head.

"You’re no fun." Joey smiled and looked back at the doctor. "So when will you be able to tell if it’s a boy or a girl?"

"Not for another couple weeks. You’re at about ten weeks right now, and the sex organs are visible at around 16 weeks. So not next month, but the month after we will be doing an ultrasound."

"No I don’t want to know." Joey said quickly. "I want to be surprised."

"Like you haven’t had enough surprises this year?" Alyssa laughed.

"True." Joey smiled and squeezed her hand again. It was very true, a year ago he’d been a carefree bachelor, and now he had a four year old and one on the way.

The doctor finished up the exam and they headed back to Alyssa’s house, "Hey Lyss…" Joey asked as they pulled onto the freeway.

"Hmm?"

"I’ve been thinking lately, about us I mean."

"What about?" Alyssa turned to face him, but he kept his eyes on the road.

"I uh… I think we should get married." He mumbled quickly.

"You do, do you?" Alyssa fought the urge to laugh, "Joey, no you don’t."

"Yeah I think we should."

"I don’t want to get married because we should."

"You don’t think it’d be better to get married before the baby is born?" Joey asked.

"We weren’t married when Anthony was born."

"That’s different."

"No it isn’t." Alyssa shook her head and laughed. "If you want to get married, then fine… I’m all for that. But don’t even think about it just because you think it’s what we should do."

"I do want to get married." Joey nodded.

"Then say that, don’t say we ‘should’ get married."

"I want to get married." Joey looked at her, "Is that better?"

"That’s real romantic Joe." She shook her head and sighed, "Don’t be so cranky, sheesh. I’m just saying that I want to get married for the right reasons."

"And having a family isn’t that right reason?"

"That’s not what I mean, Joey. I just meant that when we get married I want to do it because it feels right, not because we think we have to."

"You’re not making any sense." Joey sighed and pulled onto her street. "Why don’t you and Tony come live with me? I’ve got plenty of room and everything. The baby could have it’s own room when it’s born."

"I like my little house Joe." Alyssa sighed, they’d been over this countless times.

"But when the baby is born, where will it sleep?"

"In the room with us."

"Yeah right." Joey rolled his eyes, when she didn’t say anything he looked over at her, "You’re kidding right?"

"No Joey, the baby will sleep in our room for the first couple weeks or so."

"Why?"

Alyssa sighed and crossed her arms over her chest, "Because he’ll be up every two or three hours and I’d rather not trudge down the hall to feed him."

"Or her." Joey said quickly.

"You know what I meant." Alyssa scowled.

Not wanting to cause a bigger argument, Joey avoided commenting, "So after those couple weeks, then what? I love your little house too, Lyss. But realistically speaking, my house would really just be better. Once the fans find out they’ll be all over the place. I’d feel a lot better if you guys were someplace safe."

Alyssa sighed and rolled her eyes, "We can talk about that later. Sheesh, we’ve got plenty of time."

"I know… I’m just saying…" Joey mumbled as he pulled into the driveway and turned the car off. They sat in silence for a minute before Joey took a deep breath and said, "I’m sorry."

"It’s okay." Alyssa said softly. "I’ll think about it, okay?"

"Okay." Joey leaned over to kiss her quickly, "Lyss, this is going to be so exciting." He smiled and placed his hand on her stomach, which always caused her to smile.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

With the tour being over, Joey had a little more time to spend at home, which was starting to drive Alyssa nuts. She still had to go to work every day and Tony had his preschool, so Joey was left to entertain himself or play with the guys for a few weeks. The last week in March saw the guys back in the studio to begin work on their new album, and from that point on Alyssa never saw Joey.

Joey would leave for the studio early in the morning, and finish up well after dark. He stayed at his own house during the week, mainly because it was closer to the studio than Alyssa’s house and that was just easier for him. The only time they really saw each other was on the weekend, and by then Joey was pretty much beat and didn’t feel like doing much. "Would you guys like to cruise by the studio some time this week? You know, come check it out or something?"

"You mean like after work?" Alyssa asked as she stirred the orange juice concentrate into the pitcher of water in Joey's kitchen.

"Yeah, I mean, we're there late anyways." Joey shrugged.

"Sure, we could swing by." Alyssa nodded slowly.

"What? What's wrong?" Joey asked.

"Well… I mean. When you told the guys about… everything, when I asked you what they said you said 'they'll be okay.'. So now they're mad at me like it's my fault or something?"

"No! Lyss, they're not mad at you."

"Yeah they are. I could have just ruined everything that they've worked so hard on for so many years." She started to cry as she set the pitcher on the counter.

"No Lyss… they're not upset, come on." He put his cereal bowl down and walked around the counter to wrap his arms around her with his hands on her growing belly.

"Not one of them has come by or even talked to me this whole time." She cried and turned around to bury her face in his chest. He was getting used to these emotional outbursts, but he still wasn't sure just what to do with her when she got like this.

"Chris and Dani came over last weekend." Joey laughed lightly. "And Justin's called a couple times."

"Yeah but not JC, or Lance."

"Lance never calls, you know that, and he came by like two weeks ago."

"Yeah but only to drop off your song book thing."

"Well Lyss what do you expect? We see each other non-stop for months on end, when we finally get time off the last thing we want to do is hang out. Besides, we're back at the studio now and after a 12 hour day they do what I do… they go home and crash."

"Well I know JC's pissed." Alyssa wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.

Joey didn't say anything for a minute, she was right, JC was less than pleased. "JC is mad at me Lyss, not you." He said softly.

"See? But it's because of me."

"Come on now Lyss. He's not pissed off, he's just worried about us. About all of us, you, me, the group. I mean, we've known from the start babe, that this wasn't the best thing in the world for me as far as the guys go. But listen to me… it's gonna be fine. JC will come around when he sees that it's not going to blow us apart."

"No he won't."

"Yes he will." Joey laughed softly. "I've known him for a long time, he's just stressed about work and everything, but you know how he thrives on stress. He's not mad at you Lyss."

"They won't get mad if we come to the studio?" She asked a few minutes later as she wiped her eyes with a napkin.

"No, they won't get mad." Joey smiled and tucked her hair behind her ear. "Tony will have a great time checking out all the buttons and gizmos and stuff. You can get a sneak peek at our new stuff."

"Okay." Alyssa nodded, "We'll come by tomorrow after work, is that okay?"

"That's perfect." Joey nodded and kissed her quickly. "How are you feeling?"

"Fine, this little gymnast is bruising my liver though." She frowned and placed her hand across her stomach.

"Yeah?" Joey lay his hand beside hers and waited for a minute, "I can't feel anything." He shook his head.

"Well every time you put your hand there, it stops." She smiled and shook her head, her mood immediately lifted.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The next night after work, Alyssa picked Tony up at daycare and drove across town to the studio where Joey and the guys were working. The girl at the front desk was expecting them, so she led them back to studio 9 and shut the door behind them, "Okay kiddo, we have to be quiet in here." Alyssa held her finger to her lips.

"Okay." Tony whispered and squeezed her hand.

They walked quietly into the little sound booth and waved at Joey through the thick glass window, "Just in time, we're ready for a break." Joey smiled and put his headphone on his barstool. He came into the little room and gave Alyssa a quick kiss as the others dispersed to the snack machines in the hall to get some food and make phone calls.

"This is where you work?" Tony asked as he looked around.

"Yep." Joey placed his hands on his hips and looked around the small studio. "This is it."

"Cool." Tony nodded and put his hands on his hips, imitating Joey.

"Yeah, we've been working on this track for like, three hours. I'm about ready to toss Justin through the wall though, he keeps hitting the note perfect then going, 'ugh do it again'. I swear." Joey rolled his eyes.

"He just wants it to be perfect." Alyssa smiled and pressed her hands into the small of her back.

"I know… I know." Joey sighed. "If he'd take three seconds to listen though, he'd see that it is perfect."

"But you're talking about Justin here."

"Yep. JC junior." Joey laughed and shook his head, "So what do you think Tone? Pretty cool huh?"

"Yeah what does this do?" He asked as he looked at the brightly-lit soundboard in front of him.

"That mixes the sounds and stuff, it kind of put all of our voices together in the right order so it sounds good." Joey tried to explain.

"Cool." Tony nodded.

"You wanna play with one, kid?" Greg, the sound tech asked.

"Oh no, I don't want him to mess it up." Alyssa grabbed Tony's shoulder as he made a beeline for the soundboard.

"Ahh, he can't touch this one, but that one over there is turned off, he can't mess it up." Greg smiled.

"Are you sure?"

"Heck yeah, that's the one we let these fools mess with." Greg laughed and nodded toward the other guys as they filed back into the studio.

"I guess that’s my sign, huh?" Joey frowned. "Back to work."

"Yep, get on in there. You guys sound good."

"Thanks." Joey kissed her and followed Lance back into the studio. They put on their headphones and got themselves situated as Greg rewound the tapes and played them back.

Alyssa sat in the soundproof booth and watched as they bopped their heads to the beat and tapped their feet on the footrests of their barstools. She watched in awe for several minutes as Tony moved the levers up and down on the dark soundboard. He kept edging his way closer to the end of the board, and soon he was dangerously close to the live board.

"Dude, you've got to stay in here with me." Alyssa said softly as she pulled him onto her small lap. He sighed and leaned on the dark soundboard in front of her, "We have to watch from in here because they're recording."

"I know." Tony pouted and rested his chin in his hand. Alyssa tried to pull him closer, but her lap was getting too small to accommodate his tiny butt. "Mommy you need bigger legs."

Alyssa laughed softly and shook her head, "I know kiddo, but the baby needs some room to grow in there."

"The baby needs to come on out then and grow out here so I can sit on your lap." Tony mumbled.

Alyssa smiled and rested her chin on his shoulder, "Looks like fun, huh?" The baby inside did a somersault and Alyssa shifted her weight on the chair.

"Don't mommy." Tony whined and tried to lean away from her.

"What?"

"Don't poke me. Please."

"I didn't poke you." Alyssa frowned. "You're feeling things Tone."

"No you just poked me on my back." Tony turned around and looked at her. "And you went like this." He moved his hand in a circle.

"No I- wait, you felt that?"

"Yeah mommy, you poked me." Tony explained.

"Whoa…" Alyssa smiled and placed her hand on her stomach. She'd been feeling the baby move for a while now, but Joey had never been able to feel it, it was always too slight. "Can uh, can you ask Joey to come in here?" Alyssa asked the sound tech.

"Now?" He asked.

"Yeah… I mean, can you? It's not an emergency or anything." She said quickly, noticing him staring at her stomach.

"Sure thing, they could use another break." He nodded and spoke into the mic, "Okay guys, take five. Joe, can you come in here?"

Alyssa watched the guys in the sound proof room remove their headphones and stretch as they headed for the door. Joey peeked his head in the room and said, "Yeah?"

"You were being summoned." Greg nodded at Alyssa.

"Lyss, we can't just stop in there you know." Joey said as he came over to where she and Tony were sitting. He leaned on the board and crossed his arms over his chest, "Anyways, are you guys having fun?"

"Yeah." Tony smiled and played with the buttons in front of him.

"Hey, check this out." Alyssa smiled as Tony slid off her lap to explore the levers and slides further up on the dark board. She took Joeys hand and lay it flat on her stomach, "Tony felt it just a second ago." She whispered.

"He did?" Joeys eyes flew open and he knelt beside her chair. He put both hands out flat on her stomach and waited.

"Here, you have to press harder." She pushed down on his hands as he pulled them away, "What?"

"I don't want to press too hard." He said.

"Joey, you can't press too hard. There's like, three feet of padding in there." She laughed and brought his hands back to her tummy and pressed. "Here." She guided his hand to her side and pressed down. "That's a knee I think." She smiled.

"Whoa… h-how can you tell?"

"Because the head has been bashing my right kidney all day." She laughed softly as the baby flipped again under Joeys hand.

Joey looked up at her with wide eyes and smiled, "Wow! I felt that! Oh wow, that's crazy." He laughed and left his hands where they were. "That's gotta feel so crazy in there, I mean for you."

"It does, trust me." Alyssa laughed as the other guys walked into the room.

"Hey guys check this out. You can feel the baby move." Joey called them over to where Alyssa was sitting.

"Joe, come on, they don't want to -" She started to argue, but stopped when three foreign hands were placed on her stomach. Justin, Chris and Lance crowded around trying to get "the best spot" on her stomach.

"It's moving?" Justin asked.

"Where? Was that it?" Lance asked.

"Hey I think that's the head." Chris laughed and tickled Alyssa's tummy.

"Hey watch it there with the fingers." Alyssa slapped his hand.

"My sister said if you tickle your stomach it makes them move." He explained as he leaned between Lance and Joey. As if on que the baby turned around again, shocking the owners of all the hands on her stomach.

"Whoa!" Lance looked up at her quickly and laughed, "You have to feel that all day?"

"Pretty much." Alyssa laughed.

"That's awesome, it's like, there's really something in there ya know? Justin laughed and took his hand away.

"Well, yeah." Joey laughed, "What'd you think? She's smuggling volleyballs?"

"Well no, I just mean, that kinda makes it real." Justin blushed. "Hey Jace, wanna come feel the baby move?" Justin asked over his shoulder as JC stood in the doorway.

"Nah, it's cool." He shrugged and looked out to the studio, "That's five though guys, let's get back to work." He tapped the doorframe and walked back into the studio.

"Ugh, back to work." Lance sighed and stood up. "Thanks for letting us uh, feel that." He said shyly.

"You're welcome. How many girls can say that Nsync can't keep their hands off her?" Alyssa laughed and stood up. "We're going to get going." She said to Joey as she reached for Tony's hand.

"No, you don't have to go, we're just going to finish this up and head home for the night." Joey checked his watch and cringed, it was after eight and he knew Tony had to go to bed.

"It's getting late." She shook her head. "Are you coming over tonight?"

"Um… well I have to be back here at like 6:30 tomorrow." Joey covered his mouth as he yawned.

"Okay, well um, maybe tomorrow night then."

"I'll be there tonight." Joey said softly as he leaned over and kissed her softly. "I'll just have to sneak out in the morning."

"That's okay by me." Alyssa smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I'll see you later."

"Drive careful." Joey smiled as he picked Tony up and gave him a big hug, "And you big guy, you have good dreams tonight, okay?"

"I will." Tony laughed as Joey raspberried his cheek.

"Love you."

"Love you too." Tony kissed Joey's cheek and wiggled down. "See ya." He waved as Alyssa and Tony headed out the door.

"Joe. Today." JC said over the intercom. Joey sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, then turned and went back into the studio to finish up his days work.

When they were done recording for the day, Joey packed up his stuff and headed across town to Alyssa's house. It was only a little after ten when he got there, but the inside lights were off already. He let himself in the front door and dropped his bags by the couch before going into the kitchen. He helped himself to a glass of ice water, then carried the glass down the hall to Tony's room where he peeked in on the sleeping boy. He stood at the doorway and watched quietly as his small chest rose in shallow, even breaths. "I'm gonna have two kids." Joey whispered to himself. He shook his head in disbelief, then shuffled down the hall to Alyssa's room.

Joey set the cup on the nightstand and gently slid into bed beside Alyssa. He scooted up behind her and wrapped his arms around her growing middle, "You know… if you moved in with me, we could do this every night." He said softly, kissing her neck between every word.

"Are you trying to pick a fight with me? Because I'll win tonight." She smiled with her eyes still closed.

"I'm not trying to pick a fight, I'm just saying…"

"You're just trying to pick a fight." She laughed softly and laced her fingers through his.

"No I'm not." He smiled. "I would just like to live in the same house as my fianc� and my son and my soon to be other baby."

"I'm not your fianc�." Alyssa giggled, "Not until you ask right."

"I know."

"Will you quit bugging me to move in if I do?" Alyssa asked a minute later.

"If you do what?"

"If I move in with you. If we do."

"If you guys move in, will I quit bugging you to move in?" Joey laughed.

"Yeah."

"Yeah, I'll quit bugging you to move in, if you do."

"Okay." Alyssa nodded.

"So does that mean you will? Move in I mean?"

"On one condition."

"What?" Joey asked cautiously.

"Tony's room has to be finished before we move in. And I get to do the baby's room."

"That's two."

"Are you arguing with me now?"

"No." Joey laughed. "That's fine. What does Tony want his room to be decorated in?"

"Chicago Bulls." Alyssa smiled.

"Ahh, you've talked to him about this huh?"

"Yeah, a little."

"A little huh? You've already got his room decorated in your mind, haven't you?"

"Shut up." Alyssa laughed and shook her head. "He mentioned it a couple weeks ago."

"Moving?"

"Yeah."

"So he wants to?" Joey asked.

"Yeah, he likes your backyard, and of course you've got stairs in your house, and there's nothing cooler than that when you're four." Alyssa pulled the blanket up to her chin and snuggled closer to Joey.

"True." Joey nodded and kissed her bare shoulder.

"So, when do you think you'll be ready for us?"

"A couple weeks I guess. I'll have to get all that stuff out of the two spare rooms and stuff like that."

"Okay."

"So you're really going to move in with me?"

"Yeah." Alyssa sighed. "But only so you'll stop bugging me."

"Sounds fair to me." Joey sighed deeply and smiled.

They spent the next couple weeks cleaning out all of Joey's junk, and getting Tony's room ready, which was an ordeal in, and of itself. He kept changing his mind, one day it would be Bulls, the next it would be Scooby Doo. By the time they moved in completely, Alyssa was close to seven months pregnant, and in no mood to unpack. She lived out of boxes for a couple weeks before Joey got fed up and unpacked her clothes himself. After that, she got to work unpacking everything else from her old house, and soon his house felt like "their" house.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"You really are beautiful when you're pregnant." Joey said softly as he wrapped his arms around her perfectly round belly. He kissed her ear and nuzzled her neck then switched the bedside light off. They had been living at his house for more than two months now and it felt like home.

"Don’t get too used to it you know, there’s only a couple more days of this big buddah belly." Alyssa smiled and lay her hands over his as the baby did its nightly cartwheel.

"I know…" Joey whispered and kissed her neck again. "The baby’s room looks really nice by the way. I stopped in when I got back from rehearsals tonight."

"You like it?"

"Yeah. Winnie the pooh rocks."

"Tony helped pick it out." Alyssa nodded,

"He did good." He smiled and sighed, then they both fell fast asleep.

 

"Joey??" Alyssa whispered loudly only a few hours later.

"Hrm?"

"Joey wake up." Alyssa said in a normal voice.

"What?"

"It’s time Joe."

 

 On to the final chapter…

 

copyright � 2001 Amy Lynn