Tony woke Alyssa up early the next morning asking for juice, so when Joey woke up after eight, his bed was empty. "Good morning sleepy head." Alyssa smiled from the other bed.

"Hey." Joey rubbed his eyes and adjusted the pillow under his head as he rolled onto his side to watch them play cards. "Who’s winning?"

"Me." Tony said softly as he picked up a handful of cards from the disorganized pile in the center. "Two more for me." He lay two of the cards down in front of Alyssa and smiled.

"Right on." Joey yawned. "How’s the ear buddy?"

"It just itches." Tony frowned and itched behind his ear.

"What are you guys playing?" Joey asked.

"It’s called ‘you have to match it’. It’s a game." Tony explained as he sorted through the pile again.

"Sounds like fun." Joey yawned and sat up in the bed as he swung his feet over the side. "How bout you Lyss?"

"Hmm?"

"You feeling better?"

"Uh huh, a little." She said, though her stomach still felt queasy. "Is there a breakfast thing this morning? I think if I get some real food in me I’ll be better."

"Nah, it’s fend for yourself today. We can order up if you want." Joey stood up and hiked up his shorts. He walked over to the other bed and kissed Alyssa quickly as he squeezed her knee. "So you’re gonna stick around today?"

"Yeah, I need to call the airlines and change our flight to tomorrow. What do you have planned for today?"

"Nothing. Sleep." He yawned.

"Dream on." Alyssa rolled her eyes and glanced at Tony.

"Yeah." Joey laughed and went into the bathroom. "If you order anything can you just get me some Dr. Pepper? Lots of it?"

"You don’t want real food?"

"Nah, it’s too early for real food." He smiled and shut the door.

"Do you want some pancakes?" Alyssa asked Tony as he tossed all of his cards on the huge pile and spread them around with his hands.

"No." He shook his head.

"Eggs?" He shook his head again, "Cereal? French toast?" He continued to shake his head as he played with the cards. "Peanut butter toast?"

Tony stopped playing with the cards and thought about that for a second, then said "No, I don’t want real food, it’s too early."

"Nice try, punk." Alyssa laughed. "Joey’s going to eat something whether he likes it or not, and so are you. So what’ll it be?"

"I’m not hungry mommy. My tummy hurts." He whined and tilted his head to the side as he tugged on his ear.

"Then how come you’re grabbing your ear?" His hands dropped to his stomach. "You’ve gotta eat Tone."

"Yeah whatever." He mumbled.

"Excuse me?" Alyssa tilted his chin up to meet her eyes. "I don’t think so."

"I said I’ll eat whatever." He pouted and jerked his chin away.

"Someone here needs an attitude check." Alyssa raised an eyebrow at him as she reached for the phone. She ordered cereal for herself, peanut butter toast and pancakes for the boys and plenty of Dr Pepper for Joey.

She sighed and called the airlines to change her flight to the next day so that Tony’s ears could settle down a little more, then turned back to Tony and picked up the cards to shuffle them. "Don’t mommy." Tony scowled.

"What’s with the attitude this morning?"

"I want to go home."

"We’re going home tomorrow. Today we’re going to stay and visit with your daddy and Justin and everyone." Alyssa explained, "You want to play with the guys don’t you?"

"I want them to come to my house. I don’t like this stupid room." Tony frowned at the cards in his hand and sighed deeply. They played ‘you have to match it’ for another couple minutes in silence.

"So what’s the deal today? Do you want to go see the Statue of Liberty?" Joey asked as he came back into the bedroom, still damp from the shower, but at least he was awake.

"I don’t know if having him out in the cold would be good for his ears." Alyssa shook her head as their food arrived from room service.

"Oooh Dr Pepper." Joey smiled as he wheeled the cart in and parked it between the beds. "Right on, what else did you get?"

"Cereal for me, pancakes and peanut butter toast for you guys." Alyssa poured the glass of milk over her honey nut cheerios and reached for a spoon.

"Nah, I’m not hungry." Joey wrinkled his nose and popped open a can of soda.

"Me neither." Tony imitated him.

"Too bad. For both of you." Alyssa frowned and took a bite of her cereal. The bad mood was apparently contagious.

"Okay, okay, I’ll have a pancake." Joey said as he put one on his plate and covered it with syrup.

"You too." Alyssa nodded at Tony.

"But my ear hurts." He whined.

"Come on big guy." Joey put one on a plate for Tony and drenched it with syrup.

"Just a couple bites." Alyssa gave him a look and ate her breakfast in silence. Tony sighed and resigned to eating at least a few bites of his breakfast. Joey managed to eat half of his pancake and a few bites of Alyssa’s cereal.

Joey put the food cart out in the hall and nodded toward the bathroom, "Do you want to go take a shower? By then maybe the other guys will be awake."

Alyssa looked at the clock and laughed, "It’s only nine o’clock. They won’t be up till noon, you shou-" She was cut off by the sound of someone knocking on the door.

"Breakfast looks good guys, open up!" Chris said through the door.

"Those fools thrive on two hours of sleep." Joey laughed and pulled the door open again.

"Hey guys. Are you gonna take the ferry out today?" Chris bounded into the room and sat on the counter of the little kitchen, "Hey Tone, what’s up?"

"What up Chris?" Tony perked up and bounced off the bed.

"It’s too cold for Tony to be outside, he has an ear infection." Alyssa explained as she stood up and headed for the bathroom for her much needed shower.

"Yeah, whatever." Chris mumbled and rolled his eyes.

"That was you?!" Alyssa turned around quickly.

"Huh?" Chris looked startled as she turned on him.

"You know what Tony said this morning? Mr. Bad-Influence-On-My-Child?" Alyssa smiled and placed her hands on her hips, "That precious four year old told me, ‘yeah whatever’ this morning… I was wondering where he picked that up."

"I say that all the time." Chris shrugged.

"I’m scared to find out what else you’ve taught him." Alyssa shook her head and shut the bathroom door.

"Your moms wiggin out kid." Chris laughed and ruffled Tony’s hair.

"Yeah." Tony sighed and pulled up the sleeves of his Pokemon pajamas.

"You’ve got syrup on your clothes." Joey pointed out as he took a napkin and wiped Tony’s mouth off like he’d seen Alyssa do a hundred times before. "Hey, don’t you have some medicine to take?"

"I have the pink stuff." Tony shrugged.

"Are you supposed to take it in the morning?" Joey asked.

"I don’t know." Tony sat on the floor by Chris’s feet and pulled his socks off. "I just take a drink of it."

"Hey Lyss?" Joey said as he knocked on the bathroom door. "Does Tony need his medicine?"

"Yeah." Alyssa turned on the shower and draped her towel over the shower door.

"Do you want me to do it?"

"If you want. Just give him one of those little cups full."

"Just one?"

"Chris can do it if he wants." Alyssa shrugged and stood under the water.

"Only one cap full?" Joey laughed and asked again.

"Yeah, only one." Alyssa shouted back. "Now let me shower in peace."

"Okay Tone, let’s take your medicine." Joey walked to the kitchen and took it out of the refrigerator. "Does your mom heat it up or anything?"

"I don’t know." Tony shrugged and crawled up into the big recliner chair.

"Well is it cold when you drink it?" Joey read the side of the bottle for instructions.

"Yeah."

"Then she doesn’t heat it." Joey smiled and shook the medicine before opening it. He brought the bottle to his nose and took a whiff, "Jesus, you have to drink this?" He made a face.

"Yeah." Tony nodded.

"Do you like it?" Joey asked, sounding shocked.

"You try it."

"I don’t think so." Joey shook his head and held the bottle away from his nose.

"Yeah, come on. Show him it’s not that bad." Chris laughed.

"I’m not taking it." Joey made a face and poured the correct dosage into the little cup.

"I’m not taking it." Tony shook his head and clamped his hands over his mouth.

"Good going." Chris laughed at Joey.

"You have to take it. It’s to make your ears better." Joey explained as he knelt in front of Tony’s chair and held up the little cup of pink liquid. Tony kept his hands over his mouth and shook his head. "Shit." Joey said under his breath, he looked up quickly and said, "Shoot, I mean shoot."

"Looks like you’re going to have to take some." Chris smiled and leaned back on the counter.

"Nasty." Joey wrinkled his nose.

"If you think it’s nasty how can you expect Tony to take it?"

"Because he has to." Joey argued.

"I think Joey should take some, right Tone?" Chris asked. Without removing his hands, Tony nodded.

"You too." Tony said quickly, then squeezed his hands over his mouth again.

Joey laughed and waved Chris over, "You too pal."

"I have to take it?" Chris whined. "Nasty." He walked over and leaned on the side of Tony’s chair.

"We can only have a little bit though, okay? Because if we take it all there won’t be any left for you, and you need it for your ears." Joey explained.

"Dude, hang on. Is it okay if we take it?" Chris looked worried. "I mean, will it do anything to us if we don’t have an ear infection?"

"Don’t be stupid." Joey rolled his eyes. "It’s kid medicine, there isn’t enough of anything in there to make us sick." Joey silently hoped he was right.

"Crap." Chris said under his breath. "I should have waited another hour."

Joey held the little cup out to Chris, "Wanna go first?"

"Yeah right." Chris laughed and pushed Joey’s hand back. "You do it."

"I’m only gonna do half, Chris will do the other half, okay?" Joey asked Tony, who nodded and smiled behind his hand.

"Chug it." Chris smiled.

"Nasty." Joey made a face and lifted the small cup to his lips with one hand, and pinched his nose with the other. He took a tiny sip and made an awful face, "Your turn, go." He handed the cup to Chris and ran to the kitchen with his mouth wide open. He took several long drinks from Tony’s gatorade and shuddered. "That’s foul."

"And now you want me to drink it?"

"I did it, you have to."

"Fine." Chris took a deep breath and looked into the cup, "Hey there’s more than half in there, you didn’t drink your share."

"Just take it man." Joey shook his head as Tony tried not to laugh. Chris cringed and took a tiny sip.

"Oh man that’s worse than cough medicine." Chris put the still half full cup on the table and stood up. "Pass me the gatorade." Joey tossed the plastic bottle across the room so Chris could rinse his mouth.

"Okay Tony, your turn." Joey took the little cup and rinsed it off in the sink, then filled it again with the medicine.

"He’s not gonna take it now you dolt. You just barely gagged it down and now you want him to take it?" Chris shook his head.

"You’ve gotta take it big guy." Joey held the tiny cup out to Tony who was still smiling behind his hands. Anthony reached out and took the tiny cup, then swallowed it all in two big gulps. When he was done he stuck his finger in the cup and wiped the excess off the sides, and licked it off his finger.

Joey and Chris stood there staring at Tony with their jaws on the floor, "What the hell?"

"It’s good." Tony shrugged.

"It’s… it’s good?" Joey asked. "Then why did you make me drink it?"

"Because it’s good." Tony smiled and carried the empty cup over to the counter and placed it by the bottle of medicine.

"It tastes like butt." Chris said as he wiped his mouth again.

"It tastes like bubble gum." Tony licked his lips and pulled his shirt up to bare his stomach. "Take this off please."

"No way, man I’m not even gonna help you, you made me drink that stuff." Joey shook his head.

"But I’m stuck." Tony had the shirt halfway off his head, but his arms were stuck in the armholes.

"Too bad." Joey laughed and crossed his arms.

"Chris can you take it off?" Tony blindly turned to where Chris was standing.

"Hey I drank that nasty stuff too." Chris crossed his arms as he and Joey watched Tony struggle with his shirt.

"Hey guys, do you think the little store down in the lobby is open?" Alyssa asked as she walked out of the bathroom in a clean pair of jeans and a sweater. "What’s going on?" She asked as Tony stumbled into the recliner chair and laughed with his shirt stuck on his head. "You know, you could help him Joe…" Alyssa sighed and reached over to help Tony untangle himself from his shirt. "Geez guys, you couldn’t tell he was stuck?"

"No, he told us he was stuck." Chris smirked.

"You’re mean, both of you." Alyssa tossed the pajama shirt onto the bed and placed her hand on Tony’s forehead, but he didn’t seem warm at all.

"Ask him why we’re being mean to him." Joey said as he took another drink of the gatorade.

"Why are they being mean to you baby?"

"Because they’re mean." Tony pretended to pout.

"Oh! Lies! This kid lies." Chris said defensively. "He made us drink his medicine."

"No I didn’t make you." Tony laughed and crawled into Alyssa’s lap as she sat on the bed.

"He said he wasn’t going to take it so me and Chris took some to show him it was okay, but dammit Lyss that stuff tastes like sh – crap." Joey shook his head.

"Tony loves it." Alyssa frowned.

"Yeah. We know. He told us that after we took it and almost gagged."

"I was only pretending I didn’t like it." Tony laughed and licked his lips. "They didn’t like it at all mommy, they went ‘bleeeecgh’ and had to drink juice."

Alyssa laughed and gave Tony a quick hug, "You guys are wimps."

"Have you tried it?" Joey asked.

"Yeah, of course I have. It’s not… it’s not that bad." She laughed, knowing it was in fact, that bad.

"It’s disgusting." Chris shook his head.

"You guys are just babies." Alyssa smiled and looked Tony over, "You need a bath." She gently pushed him into the bathroom and filled the tub with water, then put him in with some bubbles to play and clean himself up. She stood in the doorway to keep her eye on him and talk to the other guys at the same time. "So do you think that store thing is open in the lobby? I need an Advil something fierce." Alyssa frowned.

"I don’t know, they’re probably open." Joey glanced at his watch.

"I’ll bet Lance has some. He’s like a boyscout, always prepared." Chris laughed. "He’s up if you want to go ask him."

"Yeah, I think I will." Alyssa looked back at Tony in the tub then said, "Joey, can you come here and keep an eye on him?"

"He’s in the tub." Joey said from the other side of the room.

"I know, I need you to watch him while I run down the hall."

"He’s not going anywhere." Joey shrugged.

"You always have to watch kids in the tub." Chris said as he stood up and walked to the bathroom doorway. "A child can drown in as little as two inches of water ya know." Chris smiled and leaned against the doorjam where Alyssa had been standing.

"Thanks Chris." Alyssa smiled and left the room to go get her Advil. When she returned just a few minutes later, Tony was out of the tub and in the process of getting dressed between the two beds, Joey was having problems trying to snap the waist of Tony’s jeans.

"Is there some kind of a trick to this snap?" Joey looked up at Alyssa as she walked in.

"Yeah, you have to line it up with the other side and push." She laughed and sat on the bed beside Joey, "Here." She reached over and snapped his pants with one hand.

"I guess I don’t have the mommy touch huh?" Joey laughed and reached for Tony’s clean shirt to pull it over his head.

"Nope, you’ll learn." She smiled and helped him tuck in his shirt. "Lookin good." She smiled and patted his butt. "Go get your shoes on, where’s your jacket?"

"It’s in the bag still." Tony explained as he crawled halfway under the bed to get his shoes.

"Where’s Chris?" Alyssa asked Joey as she ran a brush through her hair.

"He’s leaving to go back to Florida today." Joey explained.

"Ahhh, to see Dani? I as wondering where she was."

"She’s been working I guess, and she was sick for a while." Joey shrugged and yawned. "So what’s the deal for today?"

"I’m not sure, we’ve never been here, but then I don’t know if I want Tony out in the cold air if his hears are bothering him." Alyssa sighed, "On the other hand he’s going nuts up here in the room, so it’d almost be worth it to bundle him up and go outside for a little bit."

"We could go ice skating or something."

"Can you go?" Alyssa asked as Tony plopped down on the bed beside her and handed her his shoes. She pulled them on and began to tie them, then suggested, "You know, we could just go to the movies or something. Ooooh, we could see ‘102 Dalmatians’!"

"Yeah!" Tony said excitedly.

"True." Joey nodded. "You wanna just do that? Maybe grab some lunch?"

"Sure, sounds good to me." Alyssa smiled and finished tying Tony’s shoes.

"Sounds good to me too." Tony said as he stood up and jumped up and down over to Joey. "Sound good to you?"

"Sounds good to me." Joey laughed. "I’ll call Ben and have him go with us, you know… just in case."

"Can Justin go too??" Tony asked.

"Nah, I think he’s gonna hang out with Britney today."

"But maybe she can go too?"

"I don’t think so buddy." Joey laughed and stood up. "Let’s get outta here."

They grabbed Ben and took a limo across town to the theaters to see the new dalmations movie, then walked across the street to grab a bite to eat at a little hole in the wall deli that Joey had heard about. They walked around downtown for a while checking out all the Christmas decorations that were still up, then headed back to the hotel as it started to get colder.

Joey saw them off the next morning from the hotel as Alyssa and Tony left for their early flight back to Florida. Joey and the others didn’t have to leave for Seattle until later that night, so they caught up on some much needed rest before their flight.

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

Alyssa sat on the bathroom floor and wiped her hair off her cheek as she reached for the towel on the rack behind her. She wiped her mouth and flushed the toilet then leaned against the wall, "This is getting ridiculous." She sighed. "If I didn’t know any better I’d think I – " Alyssa stopped midthought. "No way." She shook her head and used the sink to push herself up, then went out to the living room.

Alyssa grabbed her purse and sat on the couch as Tony played with Katie, the little girl from three doors up. She pulled her pocket calendar out and flipped back to December then sighed and closed her eyes, there were no little check marks at all in December. She flipped back another page to look at November and was relieved to see tiny check marks in the last week. She counted forward to today’s date and blushed. Her period was officially ten days late.

"Pack it up Tone, we’ve gotta go." She said suddenly.

"But mommy Katie’s gonna show me how to play with X-men." Tony whined.

"I’m sorry babe, maybe she can come back tomorrow and show you?"

"No mommy she’s already here." He pouted.

"I’m sorry kiddo, I’ve gotta run some errands and I need grandma and grandpa to watch you for a little bit."

"Maybe Tony can go to my house?" Katie asked as she began to collect her X-men figurines.

"Yeah! Mommy can I go to her house?" Tony jumped up and down with excitement.

Alyssa sighed and tucked her calendar back in her purse then reached for the cordless, "Let me call and see." She dialed Katie’s parent’s house and tapped her foot while she waited. Her stomach hadn’t settled down and now she had nervousness added to everything. "Hi Anna, this is Alyssa, how are you?" She asked when Katie’s mom answered.

"I’m good, is she being a terror?" Anna laughed.

"No, she’s a doll." Alyssa and watched as the little girl lined up the evil looking dolls in her pink Barbie bag. "I was wondering though, if you could keep an eye on Tony for like an hour or so? I have to run to the store and uhhh, maybe to the doctors and he doesn’t want to go to my parents."

"Oh sure, do you want me to come get them?"

"Nah, I’ll bring them down."

"Okay."

"Thanks a lot Anna." Alyssa smiled and sighed with relief.

"Anytime, Lyss." Anna laughed and said, "See you in a minute."

They hung up and Alyssa rounded the kids up, "Okay Tone, you’re going to go play at Katie’s for a little while so I can go to the store and stuff, okay?"

"Okay." Tony shrugged and grabbed his Pokemon cards off the couch as they headed out.

Alyssa walked the children down to the neighbors house and ruffled Tony’s hair, "Be good." She smiled. "I won’t be very long."

"Don’t worry about it, he’s a good kid." Anna smiled. "You aren’t by any chance going by Vons are you?"

"Um, yeah."

"Would you do me a huge favor and pick up my pictures? I only have one roll but they’ve been there for a couple weeks." Anna asked as she went back inside the house.

"Sure." Alyssa nodded and followed her in as the kids took off for Katie’s playroom.

"So you’re going to the doctors too? You still have that flu?"

"No, I uh…" Alyssa paused and stuck her hands in her pockets as Anna looked for the claim ticket for her film. "I think I might be pregnant." She whispered with a smile.

"Oh my goodness! You’re kidding!" Anna laughed and covered her mouth. "How exciting."

"Yeah, so I’m gonna go, you know… do the test and if I am then I’m going to go have the nurses do a blood test."

"You’re going to do both? Why not just go get a blood test?" Anna asked.

Alyssa laughed and shook her head, "Because my sister works at the nurses clinic and if I go in there first… and I’m not pregnant… well she’s got a big mouth."

"Ahhh, I see." Anna smiled. "Well good luck hun, and let me know."

"I will. So anyway, if you see my car in the driveway it’s only because I’m doing the test."

"Got it. I’ll go ahead and keep Tony till you come and get him."

"Thanks a lot, Anna."

"You’re welcome." She smiled and handed Alyssa the claim ticket. "See you in a few."

Alyssa waved and blew Tony a kiss before she left and headed into town to the supermarket. She picked up Anna’s film first so she wouldn’t forget, then she walked across the street to the drug store to buy the pregnancy test. She bought a handful of magazines, a candy bar and some Advil to help mask the fact that she was buying an EPT test.

She laughed at herself as she carried everything to the front, she felt like a teenager that could get caught buying such an item, but she couldn’t help it.

When Alyssa got home she dropped the bag of magazines by the front door and carried the test to the bathroom. She opened the box and took out the instructions as she sat on the counter. As if she needed the directions, she’d done this before. But still, she read every printed word on there, anything to delay actually taking the test. When she couldn’t stall any longer, she took a deep breath then did what needed to be done. She set the test stick on the counter and willed herself not to stare at it for the four minutes she had to wait.

Alyssa folded and unfolded the towels on the rack in front of her, then stood up to tidy up her medicine cabinet. She dusted the shelves and threw out the expired medications then checked her watch. One more minute to go.

She sat on the toilet and closed her eyes as she counted to sixty in Spanish, just to have something to concentrate on. When she finished she opened her eyes and reached for the test stick.

As if she ever had any real doubt, there was a bright purple plus sign in the results window. All at once Alyssa felt incredible dread mingled with a twinge of excitement. She was going to have to tell Joey… and this time she couldn’t put it off for four years. "Shit." She said under her breath. This was the very last thing he needed right now. He was in the middle of a North American tour with plans of starting a new record within the next couple months. Nsync was at the height of their popularity and having one of their members become strapped with two kids would just about ruin that.

"But wait, that guy from 98 degrees does it. Joey can do it." She thought to herself. But that was different, way different.

She fought off tears as she went to the kitchen to call the nurses clinic at the hospital. "Waltman nurses clinic, this is Melody, may I help you?" Alyssa’s sister answered.

"Mel?" Alyssa laughed, great, just what she needed. "Hey this is Lyss."

"Hey honey, what’s up? How’s Tony?" She asked.

"Um, Tony’s good. I’m calling for me actually." Alyssa took a shaky breath and said, "I’m uh, pregnant. I need a blood test."

"Are you shitting me?" Melody asked softly a minute later.

"Nope." Alyssa shook her head, "I almost wish I was."

"Almost?"

"Well I have to tell Joey, and that’s…. that’s not going to be what he wants to hear."

"But…?"

"But at the same time, I guess I’m kind of excited." Alyssa allowed herself a small smile.

"He’ll be okay with it honey. You know him well enough to know he’ll be decent."

"I know he’ll be decent because he thinks he has to be."

"He does." Melody laughed. "Listen, men will shock you some times, look at Thomas. He didn’t want kids till he was thirty, and now here he is at thirty five and we’ve got pre-teens."

"I know." Alyssa nodded. "So can I come in?"

"You bet honey, just come in when you can and I’ll do it myself." She smiled. "Are you bringing the little guy in?"

"No, he’s down at Anna’s. I’ll be there in a couple minutes, okay?"

"Okay, see you then. Drive careful."

"I will." Alyssa smiled and hung up. The moment of truth. Someone knew.

She grabbed her purse and her car keys and headed out for the nurses clinic. When she arrived fifteen minutes later her sister met her at the door with a hug and a needle, "Let’s see how accurate those home kits are." She kidded.

The blood test confirmed what Alyssa had known for hours. She was in fact, very much pregnant. "Well…? It’s signed and approved now. You’re 100% no foolin, take it to the bank, pregnant." Melody handed Alyssa her medical form with the positive test results documented in black and white. "Let’s figure out your due date now though." She laughed.

"Doesn’t the doctor have to do a sonogram for that?"

"Nah, we can use a good old fashioned calendar and figure it out ourselves. Do you know the date of your last period?"

"Yeah." Alyssa nodded. She followed Melody to the front desk and they looked at the calendar on the desk. "November 29th."

"Okay…" Mel counted ahead on the calendar and looked up at Alyssa with a great big smile, "Well kid, I hope you don’t have plans for September 19th."

"September 19th." Alyssa whispered. "Wow. This is real."

"It sure is." She smiled and hugged Alyssa again. "When are you going to tell mom?"

"I don’t know." Alyssa said, the shock finally sinking in. "You can’t say anything Mel, I swear. You better not say a word."

"I won’t, I won’t."

"I mean it. Not one word. I get to tell mom and dad."

"Okay! Sheesh, I’m not going to say anything." Melody laughed and held up her hands in submission.

"Good."

"When are you going to tell Joe?"

"Umm… never?" Alyssa laughed nervously. "No, I don’t know. He’s not going to be in town for another week or so, and I don’t want to tell him over the phone."

"Can you go see him?"

"I don’t want to tell him at a show either." Alyssa laughed lightly. "I wanna be on my own turf."

"I know the feeling." Melody nodded. "Just let me know when you tell mom and dad."

"I will." Alyssa sighed and checked her watch. "I’ve gotta go get Tony. I’ll call you later, okay?"

"Okay kiddo, take care."

"I will." She waved over her shoulder as she left the clinic, feeling more confused than ever.

On the way home she did the math in her head. In September the guys would probably just be releasing their album and planning the new leg of the tour, which would probably start around November again. That would give Joey two months to be at home with her and the baby... kind of. He'd be home when he wasn’t at the studio, or in New York on whatever new TV show was hot that week.

Alyssa sighed, this wasn’t going to be as easy as she thought.

She got her things situated at home, then walked down to Anna’s to pick up Tony. Alyssa stood on the porch and knocked softly on the door. She heard the kids run down the hall toward the entryway to see who could get to the door first, then Anna running behind them telling them not to open the door.

"Hi!" Anna said when she finally got the door open. "How’d it go?"

"Good." Alyssa nodded and stooped to pick Tony up off the floor. "Hey big guy, you want some Mc Donalds?"

"Yeah!" Tony cheered.

"Was he good?" Alyssa asked.

"He was a perfect angel." Anna smiled and patted Tony’s head. "So…?

"Yep." Alyssa nodded and tried to hide her big smile.

"Congratulations." She smiled and hugged Alyssa with one arm.

"Thanks." Alyssa blushed and looked at Tony, "Let’s go get some grub."

"Yeah." Tony nodded.

"Thanks again Anna, I owe you one."

"Anytime! See you guys later, say bye Katie."

"Bye!!" Katie waved as Alyssa and Tony headed home.

They went to Mc Donalds and brought their lunch home to eat at Tony’s little picnic table in the corner of his room. Alyssa sat on the thick plastic stool and tried to get as comfortable as she could with her knees bent to her chest. "Hey Tony…"

"Hmm?" He asked with his mouth full.

"How… um how would you feel about having a uh… a little brother or sister?"

"Like Jason?" Tony gave her a questioning look as he picked at his fries.

"Yeah, kind of like Jason is my little brother."

"I’d like to have a Jason." Tony nodded.

"But it wouldn’t be Jason, Tony. It’d be your own little brother. Or little sister." Alyssa pointed out.

"That’d be okay too mommy." Tony nodded. "I could have someone here all the time to play X-men with then."

"Well… yeah, but not until they got older. See, at first it would be a small little baby."

"Awww, mommy that would be cute." Tony smiled. "A baby just for us?"

"Yep." Alyssa smiled.

Tony frowned and took a sip of his soda, "But… but what about daddy?"

"What do you mean?" Alyssa blushed slightly as she concentrated on her chicken nuggets.

"Daddy maybe wants a baby too. Does he get to have one with us?" Tony asked.

Tears rose in Alyssa’s eyes and she nodded, "Yeah, I’m going to see if your daddy wants one too."

"What if he doesn’t?" Tony asked. "Then can we get one anyways?"

"Yeah." Alyssa laughed lightly at his innocence. "Yeah, we’ll get one anyways."

"But you know what mommy?"

"What?"

"I think he’s gonna want one because then we can big a big family and he said big families are cool." Tony smiled. "And Joey’s pretty cool mom."

"Yep." Alyssa smiled. "He’s pretty cool." She took another bite of her fries and hoped that Joey would take the news as well.

One down… one to go.

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

"Hi babe." Joey said as Alyssa pulled the door open a week later. He pulled her in for a tight hug and dropped his backpack on the floor by the door. "How’re you feeling?"

"I’m uh… I’m okay." Alyssa nodded as her cheeks turned a light pink.

"Joey! Hey daddy guess what?! We get to- " Tony came peeling around the corner.

"Whoa! Hang on there pal." Alyssa stopped him and clamped her hand over his mouth. "Remember the present?" She said softly.

"Oh yeah." Tony said when she removed her hand. He smiled and dashed off down the hall to Alyssa’s room.

"Present?" Joey followed Alyssa into the living room and sat on the couch.

"Yeah, we got you a little something." Alyssa cleared her throat and sat beside Joey.

"You don’t have to get me stuff." Joey pulled her towards him and kissed her quickly, "You know that."

"I know." Alyssa nodded as Tony ran back into the room with a small box wrapped in bright colored birthday paper with balloons all over it.

"Here daddy, it’s a-"

"Hey! Hey don’t tell him." Alyssa laughed.

"Open it now!" Tony bounced up and down and crawled onto Joey’s lap.

"Now?" Joey asked.

"Yeah." Tony nodded. Alyssa had wanted to tell Joey while they were alone, so that if he had a negative reaction Tony wouldn’t have to see it. But Tony had insisted on giving Joey the "present", so like it or not, they were all going to be there.

"Okay." Joey laughed and adjusted Tony on his lap. He tore the tape off of one end and slid the box out of the paper. "Ooooh! A box of checks! Just what I wanted." Joey laughed as Tony shook his head.

"It’s not checks it’s a picture and something else." Tony said quickly.

"Shhh!" Alyssa poked Tony in the ribs and smiled.

"Oooh, okay." Joey played along. He popped the tape on the side of the box and slowly lifted the lid. He stared into the box with a confused look for a second, then looked at Alyssa, then back at the box. He looked closely at the picture of Alyssa standing on the beach in a dark blue bathing suit with a bright pink towel draped over her arm. She was striking a pose, and very pregnant. There was a little note attached to the picture that said, "I hope you weren’t kidding..." He lifted the picture out of the box and looked at what was underneath as the blood rushed from his face. "What’s this?" He asked softly.

"It’s a pee stick." Tony laughed.

"Alyssa…?" Joey asked as he met her eye.

 

On to the next part…

 

Copyright � 2001 Amy Lynn