39 - Reunited: Day Thirty-Four

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The seventeenth floor of the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles was buzzing with activity. There were camera crews moving around trying to capture behind the scenes footage of the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls in their down time. An entire wing of the hotel had been sectioned off for the two bands and their crews during their stay in LA.

Melanie had been released from hospital after three days of observation and rounds of medication to reduce the swelling in her brain. The doctors had concluded that the constant stress Melanie was putting herself under had prevented her from healing and had aggravated her condition. She seemed to be on the mend, so the doctors had sent her home with a prescription of medication to keep her relaxed for the week to prevent a relapse.

Although the medication mellowed her out, Melanie had reverted to not speaking and still wasn't completely comfortable around large groups of people. She also slept more than she had previously and had very little coordination when she was awake.

The Spice Girls had been pulled aside to do a short day-in-the-life documentary for a local music channel and had been taken to the basement to show the cameras around the hotel while the boys kept an eye on Melanie upstairs.

The boys were crowded in the sitting area of their suite, playing charades with a few radio DJs. Each DJ had been paired with two of the boys while AJ sat with Melanie on the couch. The whole thing was being filmed, but the producer of the show had been told that Melanie was not to appear in any of the footage.

"Die Hard!" Nick shouted as the radio DJ mimicked the movie title he'd selected. The DJ shook his head and attempted a different action to provide Nick and Kevin with a hint.

AJ sat back and watched the game, gently running his fingers through Melanie's hair. Melanie had her head on AJ's lap and was curled up on the couch with a blanket. She had been asleep before the game had started, but was slowly coming to as the game became more animated and competitive.

She attempted to push herself up, but didn't have to strength to do more than shift herself slightly. AJ quickly helped her sit up and leaned her against him to keep her from toppling over.

"'Morning, sleepyhead," he said with a smile. "How are you feeling?" Melanie shrugged, her head tipping back and snapping forward as she fought for control of her muscles. AJ wrapped his arm around her and squeezed her supportively. "We should get you to eat something," he suggested. "Maybe that will make you feel a bit better. Are you hungry?"

Melanie nodded and tried to focus on the game going on in front of them. She squeezed her eyes closed for a moment before opening them and staring intensely at Brian as he began acting out a song title.

"Still not going to talk to me?" AJ asked, raising his eyebrow and smiling at Melanie.

"Not allowed," Melanie mumbled, catching AJ off guard. The other three boys stopped what they were doing and looked over at Melanie with shock. The two radio DJs looked at each other, then over at the producer to see if he was going to turn the cameras on Melanie.

"Sure you are," AJ replied. "We've been telling you for weeks that you're allowed to talk. Who said you're not allowed?" He lifted her chin in an attempt to get her to look at him. She struggled to keep her eyes open and tried to pull her face away.

"I'm going to take her to get something to eat," said AJ, turning to look at the guys. "Maybe that will sober her up a little." They nodded and watched as AJ pulled Melanie to her feet and hugged her against his side as he tried to guide her around the couch and over to the room across the hall where craft services was set up. Melanie gripped AJ tightly and staggered next to him, her legs giving out every few steps.

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