Bed of Roses
Chapter Three
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven
Chapter Thirty-Eight
Chapter Thirty-Nine
Chapter Forty
Chapter Forty-One
Chapter Forty-Two
Chapter Forty-Three
Chapter Forty-Four
Chapter Forty-Five
Chapter Forty-Six
Chapter Forty-Seven

I know, but I still
Believe in ignorance as my best defense
So go on, wreck me
Funny how I carry on, and not be taken over
Will not roll over on anyone
'Cause anyone would stand up on my side

Brian turned to Leighanne with a sigh. "You know we've got a show tonight."

She laughed. "Yeah, I do. Why so sad, Bri? You're always excited."

He shrugged. "Leigh, Nick said something last night..."

Leighanne's smile was immediately replaced with a frown of concern. "Uh-oh, I know that tone. What'd he say, Bri?"

"About Alli, Leigh. He said something about Alli."

Her eyes widened slightly and she gave him a curious look. "What about Alli, Brian?"

Before Brian could answer, the doors to the bus burst open and a figure with brownish hair ran past them. Nick came in after her, hot on her heels and obviously furious.

"Alli, for God's sake, stay the fuck out of my love life!"

Alli rolled her eyes and whirled around to face him. "Hello? Is sex the only thing you think about? Did your brain migrate to your dick while you were gone, Carter? Because I don't remember you ever being this bad. We couldn't even watch a movie without you trying to hit on chicks! And those poor girls were going to fall right into your trap! That's the worst part."

Nick rolled his eyes in exasperation and threw his arms up. "No, Alli, that's the best part. It means that I get laid."

Alli stared at him in disbelief, and then shook her head as if to clear it. "You know what? Just don't talk to me. Not right now, Carter. Because I'd be liable to slap you, and I swore to myself I'd try to be tolerant." She turned to Brian and Leighanne with a small smile. "I'm really sorry you had to see that. Can you guys do me a favor and call me when Howie and Jessi get here? I've really missed seeing that girl." With that, she walked calmly into the rec room and closed the door. Nick rolled his eyes and began to rummage through the mini-fridge.

"Gosh, she can be such a bitch..."

Brian turned to Leighanne with a definite look and sighed, preparing himself for another of Nick's rants. "What did Alli do this time?"

Nick pulled a beer out of the fridge and sat at the table. "We were in the movie and she kept acting like a little kid. And so I try to use it to my advantage, you know, pick up a few chicks, and she totally ruins it for me! She made one of her trademark smartass comments and they fell for it and brushed me off. Now I'll have to go to a club and work on getting somebody..."

Leighanne rolled her eyes at his whining, already sympathetic towards Alli for having to spend the afternoon alone with him and a bodyguard only. "Oh, poor Nick..."

He nodded fervently. "Yeah! Leigh, what am I going to do? It'll be hard at the club because Alli's going to be there, and she'll just screw it up again."

Brian shrugged nonchalantly. "Maybe you could spend some time with Alli instead of picking up chicks?"

Nick looked at Brian incredulously. "Man, after today? You have got to be kidding. She can keep herself company for all I care."

Alli rolled her eyes and entered the kitchen. "Yeah, well, maybe she will." After grabbing a banana from the fridge, she shot a lopsided grin in Leighanne's direction and headed to her bunk. "See y'all later."

Brian was still staring open-mouthed at Nick, so Leighanne took the moment as her cue to follow her friend. She quickly entered the rec room area and pulled Alli's headphones off her. She paused a moment to listen, then smiled. "So you're listening to Rage, huh? Didn't know Nick had that kind of effect on you..."

Alli glared at Leighanne. "Look, if you're going to be like that, then I'm going to go right back to 'Guerilla Radio'..."

Leighanne laughed. "Al, I was kidding. I wanted to know if you're coming to the show tonight."

Alli looked at her blankly. "There's a show tonight?"

Leighanne nodded her affirmation. "Yup, that would be correct."

Alli paused a moment and stared into space. Then she decisively nodded her head and moved to rejoin Rage in their battle against her walkman. "Fine, I'll go, but don't tell Carter. I don't want to talk to him right now."

Leighanne sighed. As long as she had known Alli, she had always anticipated her union with Nick. But, much to her surprise and dismay, it had never happened. Nick had changed on them, and it was clear to Leighanne that Alli was lost as to how to get him back. She knew from her long nights with Brian that Alli wasn't the only one.

"Alli, don't be too angry with him."

Alli looked up in surprise and dropped her headphones on her lap. "Oh? And why not? Leigh, he was using me to pick up chicks. I'm not his tool whenever he deems me necessary. I'm my own person. He used to know that..." She shook her head as she trailed off. "I can see what you're trying to say, Leigh, but I honestly don't want to talk about it right now, okay? I don't want to think about it."

Leighanne looked at Alli expectantly. "Al, it's not going to go away..."

Alli sighed. "I know it won't. But I'm not ready to deal with it right now." She stared at the carpet a moment longer before looking up into her friend's blue eyes. "When's Jessi getting here?"

Leighanne laughed, knowing that she wouldn't be able to get anything more out of Alli for the time being. "Soon, Al. Howie called earlier to say that they're on their way. They're going to meet us at the venue."
Alli's gray eyes sparkled. "Good. It's been too long since I've seen her last. I'd come to the show just to see Jess."

"But you know you want to see Nick," Leighanne countered with conviction. Alli rolled her eyes and glared at her friend.

"Leigh, I really don't want to talk about Carter right now."

Leighanne frowned. "Why don't you call him Nick?"

Alli shrugged. "Never have, never will, I guess. I told you guys earlier. I'm different from other girls when it comes to Carter. He can get any woman he wants, and he knows it. That's his problem. What I'd like to see is the one time Carter wants a woman and can't have her because of all the women he took previously."

Leighanne's eyes narrowed in Alli's direction. "Oh, you'd like it, would you? And what if that woman turns out to be you?"

Alli burst out laughing. "Me? Um, Leigh, are you on crack? He couldn't ever love me. I'm not like that. I can't give him what he wants, and I won't do it. Besides, I don't think I could ever trust Carter with any part of me. Not like that. I know too much about him."

Leighanne shrugged nonchalantly. "You don't know that it's not a possibility..."

Alli leveled her with a stern gaze. "Leigh, it won't EVER happen. That I'm sure of."

lyrics and music by Matchbox 20