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Every Road Leads Back

By Dottie

Copyright 2012


Chapter 23


            AJ sent a limo to bring the girls to the church. They giggle like school girls all the way there.  When the limo stops in front of the church, they have to wait because not everyone has gone in yet. 

Giselle looks around the crowd. She sees Nick and can't stop the gasp that escapes her lips. Kendall says, "What? What is it?"

Meagan says, "I guess I should have warned you, Giselle."

Giselle shakes her head. "I knew he'd be here Meg. I just...he doesn't look well at all. AJ tried to warn me, but...wow."

Nick had gained fifty pounds easy. But he didn't look overweight so much as bloated.  Kendall says, "Holy shit, what's he doing to himself?"

Meagan says, "Drinking, partying, God knows what kind of drugs."

Giselle frowns. "He needs help as bad as AJ."

Meagan says, "AJ wouldn't talk to me on the road, Giselle. I tried. He kept me at arm's length. When we did talk, all he'd say was how sorry he was that he let us down. All three of us."

Giselle sighs deeply. "He said the same thing to me. He wants to get help now."

Meagan nods.  "I know. Brian told me. I hope it works cause the group is about to implode. Kevin's leaving hit them hard."

Giselle didn't know about Kevin, but before she could reply, the door opens and Kendall's dad sticks his head in and says, "Ready for this?"

Pushing aside all thoughts of Nick, AJ and the group, Giselle grabs Kendall's hand and says, "I'm so happy for you," before jumping from the car. Megan gives her a squeeze too before following. When Kendall gets out of the car, Giselle feels overwhelming happiness for her best friend. She watches Meagan and thinks about what a beautiful bride she too will be someday.


As maid of honor, Giselle gets to walk down the aisle alone.  She'd much rather have someone to hold on to. Three steps into the church and her eyes find Nick. He's watching her intently. An almost desolate look on his face. 

She skims the crowd, finding Brian staring at Meagan with love in his eyes. She finds Howie next, with Paula and Hoke beside him. They all smile and wave. She feels an overwhelming love for the family that helped her greatly in her time of need.  Behind them, she sees Kevin. Even though he smiles her way, she can see anger in his eyes. His anger seems to be directed at Nick and AJ. 

Speaking of AJ, when she sees him, he looks...stunned. He's staring at her like he's never seen her before.  She smiles timidly and he smiles back. She knows he's worried about rehab, but she also feels he really wants it to work.

When she makes it to the altar, she's startled to find Grant's brother, and best man, Chris, staring at her. He gives her the kind of smile that makes women blush to their toes. And blush she does.  She turns to watch Kendall walk down the aisle on her father's arm. Tears sting her eyes when he places Kendall's hand in Grant's, giving his daughter away to the man who will take care of her from now on.

Giselle has no doubt that Grant and Kendall are soul mates. Anyone can see it.  When the minister announces they are man and wife, Giselle is overwhelmed by a feeling of sadness.  Sadness that she can't find love like this. The one thing she's always wanted is someone to love her unconditionally. That hasn't happened yet. And at the rate it's going, it never will.


Giselle and Meagan ride in a limo with the rest of the wedding party to the banquet hall for the reception. Chris sits close to Giselle, making her feel like a giddy school girl. He plies her with compliments, touching her every chance he gets.  Even though the attention makes her feel good about herself, it also makes her uncomfortable. She keeps sliding away and his body keeps following her. By the time they make it to the banquet hall, he has her backed into a corner and she can't move. 

Everyone else gets out of the car and heads inside. Meagan latches onto Brian and walks in with him, assuming Giselle is right behind them.  She starts to move past Chris to get out and he pulls the door shut. "Hang on Giselle. Let's talk a minute."

She says, "Chris, we should go in. They will be waiting for us."

He laughs. "They aren't waiting for us. They are waiting for the bride and groom. Let's talk."

Forcing herself to show bravado she's not feeling, she says, "About what?"

He smirks, causing her skin to crawl. "Let's talk about how hot you look. And how nice it would be if we had some quality time. Alone."

She blushes, trying to find a way out of this. "Chris, that's flattering. But we really should get inside. You have to make the first toast."

He grabs her and says, "In a minute.  Let's talk."

She pulls away and says, "NO! Don't touch me!"

He snorts. "You frigid little prude. I thought weddings made women horny."

He pushes away and slides out of the car, not even waiting to help her. Sighing deeply, she slips out, dreading the night ahead of her. What she doesn't expect is Nick to be standing there waiting for her.

When her eyes meet his, her knees almost buckle under her.  He grabs her elbow and says, "You ok, G?"

She pulls away. "Fine Nick. Just lost my balance. How...are you?"

He seems...lost. "I'm ok, I guess. Work's been...bad lately. Kevin...quit."

She nods. "I heard. What happened?"

He looks around.  "Can we talk? Later? I need to...I don't know."

She looks up to find AJ watching her intently. Turning back to Nick she says, "I don't know if I can Nick."

He nods. "If we don't...G, I'm really sorry. About everything. I was...stupid."

Without blinking an eye she says, "Yes, you were. Get some help Nick. You're gonna kill yourself and I don't think I can live if you're dead."

She walks away, leaving Nick stunned. When she steps up beside AJ, he asks, "You ok, Elle?"

She nods. "Do I still get the first dance with you?"

He looks puzzled. "Thought you had the first one with the best man." When she grimaces, he asks, "What happened?"

Shaking her head, she says, "Nothing.  I'd just rather dance with my best friend."

He smiles and puts his arm around her waist. As they walk into the banquet hall, he says, "Then I'll have the prettiest girl here dancing with me." She blushes and lowers her head. He sees and says, "Come on, look at you...you're absolutely gorgeous, Elle. Guys are gonna notice and flirt."

She stops and turns to face him, her voice raspy with unshed tears. "I don't want guys to stop and flirt, AJ.  All Nick did was flirt and look what it got me. I don't...I don't want or need a man in my life. I'm tired of getting my heart broken."

Her outburst shocks him. He grabs her arms and pulls her closer. He hugs her and whispers against her hair. "Don't cry, Elle. We're not worth it. Guys aren't worth it.  NICK is not worth it. Baby, I'm so sorry you've been hurt. If there's one person in this world that deserves a happily ever after it's you."

She steps back, swiping her hand across her face. "I don't want a happily ever after AJ. I don't know what I want anymore."

He says, "Don't give up on love, Elle. Don't ever give up on love."


The rest of the reception is a blur. The only man Giselle danced with was AJ.  She spent a lot of time with Paula and Hoke, finding out from them that Howie is engaged.  She met his fiancée Ana, and really liked her a lot.

At the end of the reception, after the bride and groom leave for their honeymoon, Giselle and AJ climb back into the limo to go back to Kendall and Grant's place. When they get there, both are shocked to find Nick standing on the porch, waiting. AJ swears under his breath. Giselle squeezes his hand and says, "It's ok. Let's just hear him out."

As they climb out of the car, AJ mutters, "If he hurts you again, I'll kill him."




Chapter End Notes:

:)  enjoy!