Every Road Leads Back
Nick puts his hands on his knees, his heart breaking. "G, you're not hopeless. You're...this is all my fault. I fell in love with you and was too stupid to hold on to it. I made so many mistakes. I was young and stupid and arrogant. I hurt you in the worst way possible and I don't know how you can ever forgive me...or even love me."
She sniffs, letting her head fall against the tree. "I never stopped loving you Nick."
With her eyes closed, she doesn't see him move closer. He gently takes her hand. When she opens her eyes, he says, "Giselle, we need to get you to a doctor. You're cut up pretty bad."
She looks past him to see AJ standing close by. He nods slightly then turns away. She looks at Nick and says, "How did you find me?"
He blushes. "I've had a security team watching you."
Confusion lights her face and laces her voices. "Security? Why?"
He clears his throat. "Sandy wasn't thrilled when I broke up with her. She...threatened you. I wanted...I had to make sure you were safe until she got over this and moved on. I know I should have told you, but AJ...he said I needed to give you space."
She looks back at AJ, sitting against a tree smoking and talking on his phone. She turns back to Nick. "He did?" Nick nods. "I don't know if...Nick, I just don't know how to..."
He smiles tenderly. "We'll take it slow. One day at a time. Can you give me one last chance, G? It's not too late, is it?"
She slowly shakes her head. "I don't...think so Nick. I've never been able to get over you. Just...please, don't say it if you don't mean it. I can't take it."
He leans closer to her. "I love you," he whispers quietly. "Let me prove it."
She lets him pull her close, cradling her body against his chest. When his arms close around her, she sighs deeply, feeling a peace she hasn't felt in a long, long time.
After a trip to a walk in clinic to have her cuts cleaned and bandaged, Nick takes her home. He wants to stay, but he knows it is her decision. She glances at him anxiously before saying, "Can you give me some time? I just need to sort some things out."
He nods, his heart plummeting. "Sure, whatever you need."
She turns to AJ. "Can you stay a while?"
He nods, turning to Nick. "I'll take care of her Nick."
Nick shakes his hand. "I know. Call me if...just call me."
He walks away dejected. All he wants is to take care of her, but right now, she doesn't want him there. He has to accept that.
Giselle watches him drive away. She wanted him to go, but now that he's gone, she feels empty. She turns to AJ. "What did I do AJ?"
He stares at her perplexed. "What do you mean, Elle?"
She stammers, "I made him leave. Why? Why did I do that?"
He says, "Elle, did you want him to stay?" When she nods frantically, he says, "I'll call him. But...before I do...tell me what happened."
She shrugs. "Nothing."
He opens the door for her. "Bullshit. Something happened. Now what was it?"
She sits on the sofa, picking at the tape on one of her bandages. He takes her hand to stop her and waits somewhat patiently for her to start talking. "I overheard something at work...and I realized...AJ, I lead men on then stop them cold. I'm...frigid."
He stares at her. Then laughs. She scowls at him and he gets his mirth under control. "Elle, you are the LEAST frigid person I know. You don't lead guys on. Hell, Baby, you don't have to. You're sexy, men notice. But just because you don't fall into bed with them...it doesn't make you frigid."
She snaps. "Well what does it make me?"
He smirks. "You're in love, you idiot."
She feels the air whoosh from her lungs as she stares at him. "What?" she whispers.
He strokes her cheek. "Elle, you love Nick. Nick loves you. You're not frigid. You're...committed. You're committed to him being the only one. Maybe it's a little warped, but that's what it is."
Her mouth drops open. "Warped? Why is it warped?"
He sighs. "Elle, think about it. How many women in 2012 can say they've only ever slept with one guy? Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking you. I just think you're in the wrong time period. Nick doesn't deserve you. But he loves you more than anything. He'd leave if he thought it would make you happiest. But it won't, will it?" She violently shakes her head no. Just the thought of Nick leaving makes her sick. "Want me to have him come back?"
She thinks about it long and hard. "No. I want to go to him. Will you take me? My car...where's my car?"
AJ smiles. "Nick had it towed. The boy's crazy for you Elle. You're making the right choice." He clears his throat. "But I'm telling you like I told him. I'll be watching. If he hurts you, I get to hurt him."
She almost laughs. Then she sees how serious he is. She hugs his neck and whispers, "Where would I be without you, AJ?"
He squeezes her. "Do I still get to be your maid of honor?"
She giggles. "You wearing a dress?"
He laughs. "For you? You bet!"
She squeals as he tickles her. "I'll settle for a tux." He lets her go. She whispers, "Thanks."
He tweaks her nose. "I love you Elle. Now, let's go see Nick."
She looks down at her dirty, blood stained clothes. "Can I change first?"
He laughs. "I'll let Ken know you're ok. You are ok, right?"
She nods, tears stinging her eyes as she thinks how lucky she is to have AJ and Kendall in her life. "I will be, AJ."
He kisses her cheek. "Good. Now, go put on your face for Nick."
She stares at herself in the mirror, wondering if she's made the right choice. She wants to impress Nick...but at the same time, she wants to just be herself. She did think to put on a racy red lace bra and panty set under her blue jeans and black t-shirt. This may not be about making love with Nick...but part of her can't deny the fact that all she wants to do is fall into bed with him and never leave. She wants every part of him.
When she walks downstairs, AJ just stares at her. She begins to feel self conscious. "What?"
He smiles. "Nothing...you just...Elle you haven't changed a bit. You still look like the same, fresh-faced girl who graduated with honors from our beat up, run down high school."
She blushes. "Stop, I'm a lot older."
He shakes his head. "I'm serious. Come here." She sits as he pulls out his wallet and takes out her senior picture. "Look. The only thing different is your hair is shorter. You look exactly the same. Beautiful."
She stares at the picture, scarcely believing it's so old. She stares at AJ and whispers, "Wow."
He smiles. "Come on, let's go. Nick needs to be put out of his misery and you two need to talk. REALLY talk. OK?"
She nods and hugs him tightly. "Thanks for everything AJ."
He kisses her cheek and with a husky voice whispers, "I love you, Elle. You're the little sister I never had. I'm going to take care of you."
Howie and Brian had managed to get AJ's car to Giselle's house while she changed clothes. When he drops her off at the house Nick is renting, she's a bit apprehensive, but she tells AJ to leave. This is something she has to do alone.
When she rings the doorbell, her stomach clenches. What if he's not alone? Before she can push the panic button, the door opens and they are standing face to face. He's wearing unbuttoned jeans, no shirt and no shoes. His hair is still damp from the shower and she loses her train of thought staring at him. Finally, he says, "Hey," pulling her out of her trance.
She smiles shyly. "Hi."
He looks behind her before saying, "You ok?"
She nods. "AJ dropped me off. If it's a bad time..."
He jumps. "No, it's fine. Come in, I just...I was just in the shower."
He steps back and she walks in slowly. Once the door is shut, she says, "I'm not bothering you, am I?"
He closes the door. "No, G, you aren't bothering me. I'm just...surprised. I thought you wanted space."
She turns to face him, watching as he moves with grace to the couch and motions for her to sit. She's a bundle of nerves so she stands fidgeting. "I thought I did too. Until you left."
He watches her intently. "What are you saying, Giselle."
She steps closer to him. "I...still love you Nick."
He smiles. The first real smile to light his face since the first day he met her almost 20 years ago. "I love you too, G. Now what?"
She smiles back. "We talk. Get to know each other. See where it goes."
He reaches out and gently takes her hand. "I'd like that. Want some dinner?"
She nods. "I'd like that."
He leads her into the kitchen and for the next few hours, they talk. Really talk. And for the first time, for them both, they feel everything is going right.