"How ya doin’ New Yoooooooooooooork?!?!" Justin shouted to the crowd after their first couple songs. "Wooo are you hyped to be here or what? This is the best crowd in the whole WORLD!"

"Mommy that’s Justin!" Tony shouted in Alyssa’s ear.

"I know baby, isn’t that cool?"

"Where’s my Joey?" He asked.

"He’s over there by… you see JC over by the edge? Joey is right behind JC."

"I see him!" Tony laughed and waved his hands over his head. "This is so loud mommy!" Tony laughed. Alyssa triple checked his earplugs to make sure they were firmly in place. Once satisfied that they hadn’t budged, she relaxed and watched the show.

"Hey tonight here in New York we’ve got a special friend in the audience." Chris said as he shaded his eyes and looked out over the audience as they screamed. "Where’s Tony T-man?"

"I’m here! I’m right here!" Tony shouted, his tiny voice drowned out by all of the fans.

"There he is!" Justin pointed right at Tony and waved Alyssa over to the edge of the stage. The security guard looked at Alyssa and nodded toward the stage. "Can he come up and say hi?" Justin asked into the mic.

Alyssa couldn’t deny Tony the thrill, she nodded and boosted him up into Justin's hands. "Hey hey Tony! What up dog?"

"What up Justin?" Tony laughed into the mic Justin held out for him.

Justin and the others laughed and crowded around Tony, "Is this your first concert Tone?" JC asked.

"Yeah." Tony nodded and scratched behind his ear. "And it’s loud."

"It sure is loud in here." Lance nodded and tousled Tony's hair, "Do you have ear plugs?"

"Yeah." Tony pulled at his ear and frowned. "Do you have some too?"

"Yeah." Lance turned his head to show Tony the in-ear monitors they all wore.

"Rad." Tony laughed and looked out at the crowd. "There’s a lot of people in here."

"How many do you think?" JC asked, causing the fans to go wild.

"I think maybe a hundred." Anthony said after a thoughtful moment. "There’s a lot."

"You having fun little guy?" Joey asked as he picked Tony up and placed him on Justin's shoulders.

"Yeah." Tony nodded and grabbed onto Justin’s curls for dear life.

"What’s your favorite part?" Joey asked.

"When you dance and go- " He flung his arms around and shook his head, then laughed.

"Like this?" Chris asked, then did a perfect imitation of Tony.

"Yeah." Tony laughed and leaned forward to look Justin in the face, "Can I go down now? It hurts my butt."

The crowd rippled with laughter as Alyssa blushed, "He’s his fathers son…" She whispered to herself.

"What song do you want us to sing?" JC asked.

"You already singed it." Tony said as he adjusted his red nylon warm up pants.

"Which one?" Chris asked.

"The bye bye one." Anthony wandered near the edge of the stage to look over. Joey quickly reached out and grabbed him before he took the final step, and pulled him back to the middle where the others were.

"Is there another one you like?"

"No." Tony shook his head as the guys laughed.

"You don’t like any other songs?"

"I like the song from TV for Pokemon." Tony smiled.

Joey laughed and shook his head, "How about if we sing ‘somewhere someday’ for you? That one was in a Pokemon movie."

"Well…" Tony thought about it for a minute, "Okay." He smiled and looked up at Joey, "Can I go back with my mommy now?"

"Sure." Joey nodded and took Tony's hand.

"You don’t want to stay up here with us?" Justin asked.

"No." Tony shook his head. "It’s too hot."

"That’s because of the lights." Justin shaded his eyes and looked up.

"Yeah." Tony nodded knowingly.

"Here ya go." Joey picked Tony up by his hands and lowered him down to Alyssa’s waiting arms. The girls around him smiled and stared at Tony as he smiled at his mom and pointed up at the stage.

"Mommy I was up there with my Joey and my Justin!" Anthony laughed.

"I saw you." Alyssa laughed as the song started, with JC dedicating the song to Tony and "his mommy". The others laughed lightly, then concentrated on the song.

When the show was over Alyssa and Tony were escorted back stage where they were met with a very hyper bunch of Nsyncers. "Hey hey baby!" Joey wrapped his arms around Tony and Alyssa as he came out of the dressing room in clean and dry clothes. "Did you have fun?" He asked quickly.

"Yeah, it was a great show." Alyssa smiled. "You guys must burn ten thousand calories up there, I swear, I could use a work out like that."

"Yeah no kidding." Joey ran his hand through his damp hair and put his hand on Tony's back, "Did you like the show?"

"Yeah." Tony said as he played with his badge around his neck. He'd insisted on wearing it after seeing everyone else backstage with theirs on.

"Right on. Let's go get something to drink, are you hungry?" Joey turned and led them down one of the hallways to a makeshift cafeteria.

"No, I'm fine." Alyssa shook her head.

"Hey! Joe! Where are your keys?" Justin shouted from across the room.

"I left them in the thing." Joey shouted back.

"In the thing?"

"The… you know… the…" Joey made the hand movements like he was turning a key.

"In the lock?" Justin asked.

"No… to turn it on. In the ignition." Joey laughed. "You knew what I meant."

"Keys?" Alyssa asked.

"For our scooters." Joey shrugged and grabbed a couple bottles of water. "Justin want's to show Mandy our new toys."

"You have more new toys?" Tony perked up.

"Yeah, we have little motor scooters. You wanna check em out?" Joey asked.

"I don't think so." Alyssa gave Joey a look and shook her head.

"We have helmets." Joey laughed as Tony wiggled his way out of his moms arms.

"Mommy I can wear a helmet like when I ride on my bike outside." Tony smiled up at Joey, then frowned and scratched his ear.

"He's too little to ride a scooter Joey."

"He can ride it with me." Joey reached down to high-five Tony.

"I can ride with my Joey."

"His Joey?" Joe smiled at Alyssa then looked back at his son.

"Better than the alternative." Alyssa said softly with a smile.

"True." Joey took Tony's hand, "Yeah you can ride with me, or Justin. Or some other big kid."

"Big kid is right." She shook her head and followed them back out to the hall where Justin flew by in a blur of blonde and blue. "Whoa."

"Mommy that goes fast!" Tony squealed with delight.

"Yeah they do." Alyssa cast a worried glance at Joey who just smiled and shook his head.

Another scooter zoomed by with a girl at the controls, her long blonde hair flowing out behind her, and a melodic laugh lingering as she rounded the corner. "Mandy?" Alyssa asked Joey.

"Umm… Britney. But yeah, same thing." He laughed and waved Chris over from the opposite end of the hall. "Tony here wants to ride around on a scooter, do we have an extra one hanging around?"

"Dude, he can't fit on a scooter." Chris said to Joey, then looked down at Tony, "You can't fit." He shook his head.

"I know." Tony rolled his eyes and gave Chris the "you're so dumb" look and laughed. "I'm going to ride with Joey on the scooter and wear my helmet."

"Only for a little while." Alyssa yawned and looked at Joey's watch, "Because it's already ten thirty and you're up way way way past your bedtime."

"Mine?" Joey asked with a flirty smile.

Alyssa laughed and said, "Yeah… yours too."

"Daddy doesn’t have a be-" Tony clasped his hands over his mouth and looked at Alyssa quickly. "I said my secret." He whispered loudly.

"It's okay sweetie." Lyss looked over her shoulder at the others standing nearby. She knelt down in front of Tony and brushed his bangs off his forehead. "The guys here, they already know." Alyssa whispered with a smiled. "It's just everyone else we've gotta worry about."

"Okay. I'm sorry."

"It's okay."

Alyssa kissed his cheek quickly as Joey took his hand and said, "Okay kiddo, scooter time." Joey met Alyssas eye and smiled, "You wanna ride?"

"I think I'll pass." She laughed and shook her head. "Have fun."

"We will." Tony and Joey said in unison.

"Did they ditch you for their toys?" A female voice asked beside Alyssa.

"I think I've been replaced." Alyssa smiled and looked to identify the voice.

"Boys will be boys." Britney laughed and crossed her arms over her chest.

Alyssa's jaw fell open a fraction as she realized who was standing beside her making fun of the "kids", "Hi, I'm um… I'm Alyssa." She awkwardly extended her hand.

"Hi, I'm Britney." She laughed and tossed her hair over her shoulder, then tucked in the corner of her shirt. "Ugh, can you believe that show? God, when I'm done all I want to do is go to bed but these guys, they're just all over."

"I know… I need a nap and I only watched them." Alyssa laughed nervously and became very aware of her make-up free face and bitten nails.

"I know." Britney laughed and rolled her eyes, "You wanna go get something to much on?"

"Um, sure." Alyssa looked back over her shoulder, but the guys had already disappeared with Tony.

"Is that your little boy?" Britney asked. "The one they brought on stage?"

"Hmm? Oh, yeah. That's Tony." Alyssa followed Britney back to the cafeteria and they stared at the snack table.

"This all looks gross." Britney made a face and walked over to the vending machine, "Snickers? Or Milkyway?"

"Snickers." Alyssa nodded.

"Tony? Oh wait! I know Tony."

"You do…?" Alyssa was sure she'd remember if her son knew the female pop sensation of the year.

"Well no, but yeah. Justin talks about him all the time." Britney laughed and handed Alyssa her candy bar as they collapsed onto the big couch in the corner. "He's Joey's, right?" She asked softly.

"I… well uh…" Alyssa stampered over her words.

"Oh man… Justin wasn't supposed to say anything was he?"

"Well no, but-"

"It's okay, I mean I'm not going to say anything. You can trust me on that." She unwrapped her Milkyway and took a small bite before continuing. "I mean, the one thing I know enough about in this business is when to keep my mouth shut, especially when it's not my business. So you don't have to worry about that."

"I uh… I won't." Alyssa said, her cheeks still burning pink.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have even said anything. He's the cutest little boy though. My goodness he's gonna be a heart breaker when he gets older."

"Yeah he is." Alyssa smiled and played with her bottle of water.

They made small talk for a little longer before Britney stood up and stretched her arms over her head baring her midriff. "Well Alyssa, I don't know about you but I'm about ready to call it a night."

"Yeah, I think I am too." Alyssa yawned and stood up beside her. "Do you know where those guys took off to?"

"I can hear the scooters zooming around out there, so I bet if we wait around in the hallway long enough they'll come by." Britney laughed and held the door open to the hallway. She was right, within a few seconds Lance came cruising around the corner with Tony hanging on for dear life to the handlebars.

"Lance! You'd better hang onto him!" Britney called after him. Lance took one hand off the scooter and wrapped it around Tony's waist as they turned the far corner.

"I'm glad I wasn't out here to see all of this." Alyssa smiled and covered her mouth as she yawned. I'm going to go find the bathroom, if they come back around can you please tell them it's time for us to go?"

"Sure thing. I'll see you tomorrow night, right?"

"Yeah, I'll be there." Alyssa waved over her shoulder and headed down the opposite hall.


"This little dude is passed out." JC said as he walked out of the dressing room with Tony propped up on his shoulder sound asleep fifteen minutes later.

"He's had a busy night." Alyssa laughed and stood up from the little folding chair in the hall.

"You can say that again. Did you see him cruising around on our scooters?" JC smiled and nodded at Alyssa to follow him to the side door.

"I saw that, you guys are perfect for him." She laughed. "Are you guys ready to go back to the hotel now? Or do you have more stuff to do?"

"Um, I'm heading back here in a few minutes, but the guys are mingling with the other rock stars." JC rolled his eyes and pulled the door open as a guard appeared at his side.

"Where ya headed C?" He asked.

"I'm going to get Tone situated in the car, then I'm gonna go on back to the room and crash." JC adjusted the sleeping boy on his shoulder.

"Do you want me to take him?" Alyssa asked.

"Nah, I've got him." JC waved her off and smiled at the guard, "So do I have to say the magic word or something?"

"Yeah yeah, come on Mr. Smarty Pants." The guard laughed and held the door open, then followed Alyssa and JC out to one of the awaiting limos. "You going back too?" He asked Alyssa.

"Hmm? Oh, yeah. I'm going back, I'm not feeling too hot." Alyssa nodded and watched JC lay Tony down across the back seat. "JC, can you let Joey know I'll just meet him back at the hotel?"

"Sure thing." JC yawned and scratched at his stomach. "They won't be too much longer in there I don't think."

"Okay. Did you want me to wait for you? I mean, since you're going back?"

"Oh uh, no, that's cool. You can go on ahead. I'm gonna be a couple more minutes and I gotta get my stuff packed up." JC shrugged and turn back toward the building. "See ya tomorrow."

"Thanks JC." Alyssa waved then climbed into the car beside Tony.


Joey and the rest of the guys didn't make it back to the hotel until well after one in the morning and Alyssa was already asleep. Joey crawled into the bed beside her after pulling Tony's covers up in the bed beside them, and wrapped his arms around Alyssa, "Hey babe."

"Hi." She mumbled still half asleep.

"Sorry I'm late."

"S'okay." Alyssa grumbled and adjusted her pillow beneath her head.

"Did you want to get up and go to breakfast with us in the morning?" He whispered.

"You might not have noticed Joe… because I was being so quiet and everything, but I'm asleep."

"Oh. I know. But did you want to-"

"Yeah, breakfast. Tomorrow. Got it." She pulled the blankets up to her shoulders and sunk deeper into the pillow as Joey kissed her neck quickly, and sighed into her hair.

"Love you."

"Love you too." She sighed, and fell back to sleep.


When Alyssa woke up the next morning, Tony and Joey were already awake and shaving in the bathroom. Well, Joey was shaving, Tony was smearing shaving cream on his face and scraping it off with his finger as he sat on the edge of the tub.

Alyssa sat up slowly and swung her feet over the edge of the bed as the room spun around her, "Ugh…"

"Hey, you're up."

"Oooh I feel like sh- like crap." She said softly as she pushed herself to a standing position.

"Are you gonna be sick?" Joey asked as he stepped into the room with his razor in one hand.

"No… God I hope not." She put her hand up to her mouth and swallowed a couple times. "No… I think I'll be okay."

"You're sure?"

"Yeah." Alyssa squinted up at him and forced a smile. "I just need a drink." She got herself a cup of tap water and drank it quickly. "I think it's just because I didn't eat anything yesterday except a candy bar." She explained as she set the glass down on the counter.

"No, you had crackers on the airplane." Tony said as he wiped his shaving cream covered hand on the towel.

"Okay, a candy bar and some crackers. I think once I get some food in me I'll feel better." She looked Tony's outfit over and cringed. "You've got that gunk all over your shirt mister."

"I know." Tony looked down at the shirt and smiled.

"Ugh, Joey can you get him a clean shirt out of the bag? I need to get cleaned up." She sighed and ran her hand over her face as her stomach flip-flopped again.

"You bet." Joey reached into the bag at his feet and pulled out a pint sized No Strings Attached t-shirt, "For you buddy." He yanked Tony's shirt over his head and pulled the new one into place. "Good as new. Now don't get that crap on it." Joey motioned toward the shaving cream.

"I won't." Tony said softly as he pulled at his ear and frowned.

"Cool." Joey went back to shaving as Alyssa got dressed in the other room. They were presentable a half-hour later when they headed down to the ballroom for a catered continental buffet breakfast.

Alyssa grabbed one plate for her and Tony to share, since she knew he wouldn't eat that much, then stood behind Joey in the line. Tony kept sticking his finger in his ear and making faces as they placed Danishes and croissants on their plates.

"What’s wrong with his ear?" Joey asked as he spooned scrambled eggs onto his plate.

"Why don’t you ask him?" Alyssa asked with a frown as she placed her hand on her still unsettled stomach. She put her hand on Tony’s head to inch him forward in the line.

"Hey uh, Tony, what’s wrong with your ear?" Joey asked.

"It hurts." Tony whined softly.

"Because of the show last night? Did you wear your ear plugs the whole time?" Joey asked as he placed  bacon on Alyssa’s plate.

"I did." Tony tugged at his ear again and frowned. "But it hurts in my head."

"Hang on." Alyssa set her plate down and knelt in front of Tony, "Joey wait a second." She lay her hand flat on Tony’s forehead and frowned, "I think he has a fever."

"I do." Tony nodded, as if he knew.

"A fever? What does that mean?" Joey asked.

Alyssa gave him a look and said, "A fever Joey, you know what a fever is."

"I know what a fever is." Joey said defensively, "I just meant what does that mean for him? Is he sick?"

"Shit, he prob-"

"Mommy you said sh-" Tony interrupted her.

"I know I did, sorry baby." She rumpled his hair and picked up her plate to follow Joey to their table. "He probably has an ear infection."

"That’s bad?" Joey asked.

"Ouch, who has an ear infection?" Chris asked as he sat across from them.

"I think Tony does." Alyssa frowned as Tony curled up next to her in the booth and rested his head on her arm.

"Does he need to see a doctor?" Joey asked.

"Yeah… I’ll need to see about finding a doctor as soon as we’re done here."

"I don’t want to." Tony whined.

"I know sweetie, but if your ears are hurting the doctor can make it feel better." Alyssa wrapped her arm around the tiny boy and ate her breakfast one handed.

"Did you have fun at the show last night, Tone?" Chris asked.

"Yeah." Tony said softly.

"Right on."

"We can have Marco look at his ears if you want." Joey suggested.


"He’s our tour doctor guy. I mean, he takes care of our sprains and strains and stuff." Joey shrugged.

"He needs to see a pediatrician."

"He sees us, we’re worse than any kid out there." Chris laughed.

"No I know… I just…"

"We’ll have Marco take a look and then if you want we can take him to the hospital." Joey said as he ate his breakfast.

"Okay." Alyssa nodded and tried to get Tony to eat something, but he wasn’t hungry.

When they finished breakfast, Joey carried Tony back upstairs to the crew floor and to Marco’s room with Alyssa following close behind. "Hey Marco." Joey smiled as he walked through the mans door.

"Hey Joe, what’s up?"

"Um, this is uh, my son… Tony, he’s four and we think he has an ear infection. Do you think you can take a look?" Joey asked. Marco caught Joey’s eye at the word "son", but didn’t say anything.

"He’s had them before." Alyssa added, "And he feels like he’s got a fever."

Marco lay his warm hands on Tony's forehead and frowned, "Yeah, I’d be willing to bet he does." He rubbed Tony's back as the little boy lay his head on Joey's chest. "I’m gonna take a look in your ears, okay? It’s not going to hurt at all."

"With a needle?" Tony asked as he started to cry.

"Nope, no needles." Marco shook his head and opened up his little medical bag. "I used to be a general practitioner, kids are nothing compared to these guys." Marco smiled at Alyssa who was very obviously worried. Marco took his lighted device and looked in Tony’s left ear, "Oh yeah, that’s infected."

"Oww, mommy it hurts." Tony cried.

"It’s okay baby." She placed her hand on his back and stood closer to Joey as Marco checked Tony’s other ear.

"The right one looks a little red, but nothing much. That left one though, that’s infected." He shook his head and placed his hands on his hips. "We’ll want to start him on antibiotics, is he allergic to anything?"

"No." Alyssa shook her head. "He’s been on amoxocillan before."

"Okay, good." Marco nodded and picked up his prescription pad. "I’ll get this filled here at the hotel, you should be able to pick it up in an hour or so." Alyssa nodded and glanced up at Joey. "Give him one teaspoon… it’ll come with a little measuring cup, give him one of those every four hours for the next 7 days. Even if he looks like he’s getting better keep giving it to him for the whole time."

"Okay." Joey nodded.

"If he’s still feeling puny in a couple days let me know." Marco nodded.

"Okay." Alyssa nodded. "We’re leaving tomorrow though, can he fly?"

"Eh…" Marco shrugged. "If his ear still hurts, flying might not be the best thing as far as comfort goes, but medically, yeah he can."

"You can always stay another day if you need to." Joey adjusted Tony in his arms.


"And when you get back home you might want to have your pediatrician take a look to make sure it’s clearing up." Marco smiled.

"Thanks, I will." Alyssa nodded and smoothed Tony’s hair down.

"I’ll phone in the prescription now, and I’ll have them bring it to your room when it’s ready."

"Thanks again." Joey smiled.

"No problem." Marco smiled and scribbled on his pad.

"I want mommy to carry me." Tony whined as he reached for Alyssa.

"Here…" Joey handed him to Lyss and stretched his arms.

"Hey Joe, hang out for a second." Marco said as they headed for the door.

"I’ll meet you back in the room, okay?" Joey smiled at Alyssa.

"Okay." She nodded and shut the door behind her as she left.

"I didn’t know you had a son." Marco said as he sat at the little table.

"Yeah, uh, that’s Tony. I kinda just found out myself. We’re keeping it quiet you know…" Joey shrugged. "So the media doesn’t get wind."

"Yeah, I know what you mean." Marco nodded. "But just so you know I can’t really see patients other than you guys. I’ve signed a contract and for legal reasons, medically speaking, I can’t."

"Okay." Joey nodded. "I just thought you know… since you were here…"

"No, I know." He shrugged. "I’m going to put the prescription in your name then, and just so you know next time he’ll have to go to the local hospital."

"Okay, thanks."

"Sure thing." Marco nodded and smiled as Joey left.

Joey went back up to the room and changed his clothes to head out to the MTV studios where they were taping a segment for the New Years Celebration being aired later that night while they would be at their party. "You gonna be okay here?" Joey asked before he left.

"Yeah, we’ll be fine." Alyssa smiled and kissed Joey quickly.

"Oh hey, I talked to Ben and he said he’d watch Tony for us tonight."

"Okay." Alyssa said hesitantly. She was having second thoughts about going to this party. Even though it was only downstairs, she didn’t want to ditch Tony while he was sick.


"How much would you hate me if I didn’t go tonight?" Alyssa asked later that day as she looked over at Tony playing quietly on the bed. She was already dressed and ready to go in her New Years outfit, but she didn’t want to leave Tony.

"I wouldn’t hate you… but you can’t not go." Joey tucked his dress shirt into his slacks and turned from the mirror. "You look great by the way." He looked over her shimery top and leather pants.

"Thanks." Alyssa said distractedly. "I just feel bad leaving him here with a stranger."

"You know Ben, he digs kids." Joey reached into his suitcase for his shoes.

"That’s not what I meant." She said softly. She slid her shoes off and sighed as she tucked her legs up under her on the bed and scooted closer to Tony.

"Don’t get too comfortable." Joey said as Ben knocked on the door. Joey walked across the room with one shoe on and the other in his hand, and pulled the door open. "Hey Ben, thanks a lot for coming up here. I owe you one."

"Hey it’s no problem." Ben smiled and brushed past Joey into the room. "Hey Tone, how’s it hangin bud?" He asked Tony.

"Hi Benny." Tony mumbled and scratched behind his red ears. "I’m sick."

"I know, I’m gonna hang out with you tonight, how’s that sound?"

"Good." Tony yawned and ran his matchbox car back and forth across the bedspread.

"Joey… I think I’m just going to-"

"Nah, come on. We’re only going to be down stairs." Joey picked her shoes up off the floor and slid them onto her stocking covered feet.

"He’ll be fine." Ben smiled and sat at a chair at the table. "Right Tone?"

"Yeah." Tony coughed and brushed his bangs off his forehead.

"He’s had his medicine for tonight, so he should go right to sleep." Alyssa sighed and allowed Joey to pull her to a standing position. "If he gets up or starts crying or anything, send someone down to get me. Or page Joey… you have your pager, right?" She asked.

"Yep, as always." Joey patted his hip and smiled.

"He can have water or that Gatorade in the kitchen thing, but nothing ice cold." Alyssa explained to Ben. "The thermometer is by the bed, it’s digital so you won’t have any problems reading it… if you need to I mean." She rambled, "Um, he’s not allergic to anything. Like I said he’ll probably go right to sleep, but if he’s still up like in an hour or so come and get me."

"We’ll be cool." Ben smiled. "I’ve got a dozen neices and nephews."

"I… okay." Alyssa looked back at Tony, then leaned across the bed and kissed his forehead, "I love you baby, I’ll be right downstairs if you need me okay? You just have Ben call and I’ll come right back, okay?"

"Okay mommy." Tony wrapped his tiny arms around her neck and kissed her cheek softly.

"I love you honey."

"Love you too." Anthony mumbled and covered his mouth as he yawned.

"Get some sleep okay big guy?" Joey kissed the top of Tony’s head then messed his hair. "We’ll be here when you wake up in the morning, okay?"

"Yeah." Tony nodded and went back to his cars.

"Go on guys, have fun." Ben smiled and waved as Joey half pulled Alyssa out the door.


As soon as they walked into the blue and silver ballroom Alyssa’s face lit up and Joey knew they’d have a great time that night. "Wow… look at this place!" She said in awe as she looked around the room. "Joey this is amazing." She excitedly looked over her shoulder at him, Tony momentarily forgotten.

"It looks good huh?"

"It's unbelievable!" She couldn't keep her jaw off the floor as they circled the room together and said hello to the crowd of partygoers.

"Now THIS is New Years." Joey laughed and took Alyssa's hand to spin her around.

"Oooo careful." She said as she stopped herself from spinning. Her stomach was still feeling a bit queasy and she knew if she kept going this way she'd be barfing before midnight. "I really think the plane food must have done a number on me…" She frowned.

"You okay?"

"Yeah… yeah I'll be fine." She reached for a glass of champagne as a waiter walked by. She took a quick sip to rid her mouth of the sour flavor, then handed the glass to Joey, "Enjoy."

Joey downed it and smiled, "This is gonna be fun."

"Yeah it is." She smiled back at him and laced her fingers through hers as he led the way across the dance floor to where the other guys were gathered. They said their hellos as the music started and their voices became drowned out. Alyssa and Joey headed off to a quiet corner to relax for a little before he finally pulled her to the dance floor for a couple slow songs. "How can you not like to dance?" He asked her softly as he held her close.

"Because I have like… no rhythm… at all." She laughed softly, then frowned as she thought about Tony hanging out upstairs. She'd go check on him as soon as the song was finished, she promised herself.

Three songs later, Alyssa finally managed to pull her hand free from Joey's so she could head toward the door.

"Where are you going?" Joey asked playfully as he used his free hand to pull Alyssa to him. He took a sip of his champagne and smiled.

"I’m going to go back up to the room." Alyssa said with a worried look, "I just want to check on him."

"Lyss…" Joey sighed, "Come on, he’s in good hands. If anything was wrong someone would page or come and get you."

"I know, I just… I just want to check on him." She released his hand from her side and started across the room. The multicolored lights dancing around the room caught the silver of her shirt as she crossed the dance floor.

Alyssa opened the door to their hotel room, the music from the ballroom still echoing through her ears, "How’s he doing?" She whispered as she sat her purse on the counter of the little kitchen in the room.

"He’s been asleep since you left." Ben said softly as he closed the magazine on his lap. Tony was sound asleep beneath the covers on the large king sized bed.

"I’m going to call it a night." Alyssa sighed and took her earrings off then set them on the counter beside her purse. "Thanks for hanging out up here."

"It was no problem." Ben smiled and left them alone in the room.

Alyssa kicked off her shoes and walked across the carpeted room in her stocking feet. She sat on the edge of the bed beside Tony and lightly stroked his forehead, still warm and damp with fever. "Oh buddy, being sick sucks." She whispered as she watched him sleep. Alyssa thought for a minute, then reached over and pulled the sleeping boy onto her lap. She cradled his head against her shoulder, but he didn’t stir at all.

She held him that way for a couple minutes, before the door opened softly and Joey stepped into the room. "Hey." He whispered as he dropped his jacket across the back of the chair.

"Hi." She whispered back, rocking Tony gently in her arms.

"How’s he doing?" Joey looked concerned as he walked over and sat on the bed beside her.

"He’ll be alright. Go on back to the party." Alyssa sighed, but tried to smile.

"Nah, I wanna make sure my big guy’s okay." Joey reached out and brushed Tony’s hair off his sweaty forehead. "Whoa… he’s warm."

"He still has a little fever." Alyssa explained softly.

"Is that what that pink medicine is for?"

"Yeah, that’s amoxicillian." She smiled and nodded.

"I don’t remember ever having an ear infection." Joey shook his head and rubbed Tony’s back gently.

"It’s no fun." Alyssa stopped rocking and looked up at Joey.

"It doesn’t look like it." Joey scooted closer to Alyssa on the bed and wrapped his arm around her waist, while using the other to rub the sleeping boys back. Alyssa rested her head on Joey's shoulder and sighed. "Are you going to stick around another day to let his ears heal?"

"Yeah… if that's okay." Alyssa said softly as she began to rock slightly from side to side.

"Yeah… yeah that's fine." Joey kissed her shoulder through her shirt and sighed.

"I'm sorry I ruined your New Years." Alyssa said a minute later.

"You didn't ruin anything Lyss." Joey shook his head and continued to rub Tony's back as he slept. "No… I wanted to spend New Years with you, and I'm doing that. So it's all good." He smiled and kissed her lips quickly. "Nothing's ruined."

"Thanks Joey." She looked down at Anthony as tears sprang up in her eyes. She'd been really emotional the last couple days, and that coupled with not feeling great only intensified her reactions to everything.

Only a few minutes later the street erupted with fireworks and shouts from below. Joey smiled and whispered, "Happy New Year, Lyss."

"Happy New Year." She smiled and kissed him firmly, what a great way to start the new year…


On to the next part…


copyright � 2000 Amy Lynn