Every Road Leads Back
It's been almost 8 months since Giselle walked into Nick's place and they started to really see each other. Giselle had taken a month long leave from work and spent that month seeing a therapist and finding ways to heal her heart.
It's the last Saturday in October. The spirit of Halloween is in the air. Nick and Giselle are going to a party at Brian and Meagan's to celebrate the birth of their third child and first daughter, Kendall Giselle, and to celebrate Halloween for their two oldest, Kevin Howard and Nickolas Alexander.
Giselle is putting the finishing touches on her princess makeup. Nick's idea of going as Mario and the princess from the Mario Brothers video game made Giselle laugh. He's just a big kid at heart. She smiles in the mirror thinking about what a great Daddy Nick will be.
A chill sweeps over her body. She glances at the clock on the bedside table and sees the date and her blood runs cold. It's the anniversary of her miscarriage. She blinks rapidly, her body reacting as it always does when she thinks about the baby she lost.
She stands and moves to the window, covering her stomach with her hands. She looks up at the sky, watching as the suns few final rays turn the approaching night sky a deep shade of reddish purple. She looks down to see Nick getting out of his car. The fake black hair and mustache looks weird on him.
When he looks up and sees her, he smiles...but the smile falters as he takes in the sad expression on her face. He has a key, so she knows he'll let himself in. She turns and checks herself in the mirror one last time as she hears the door open.
She's just stepping out of her room when Nick comes up the stairs. "Hey, Sweetheart, what's the matter?"
She shakes her head, allowing him to pull her into a loose embrace. She lays her head on his shoulder and whispers, "I just...I realized what the date is."
He rubs her back. "What? What is it?"
She sighs deeply, trembling. "I...lost our baby ten years ago."
She feels his body tense. He buries his head in her neck and whispers, "Jesus, Giselle, I'm so sorry!"
She hugs him tighter, drawing on his strength as she lets the memories and sadness flow out of her. When the tears subside, she pulls back, shocked to find tears falling down Nick's face. She gently wipes them away with her fingers. "Nick..." Her voice barely a whisper.
A shudder rolls through his body. "G, I love you. I'd give anything if I could go back and fix this."
She leans up and gently kisses his lips. "It wasn't meant to be, Nick. I've accepted that. It's just...hard sometimes."
He presses his forehead to hers. "I cried. The day I found out, I cried. It was the first time I ever cried and the guys thought I was weak. Hell, I was weak...but I was hurting so bad, G. I drank to forget. I did drugs to forget. But it never stopped hurting."
She pulls his lips to hers for a frantic kiss. Their bodies pressed tightly together, she pours every bit of love she has for him into that one, heart stopping moment. When their lips part, she whispers, "We can still have a baby Nick."
He searches her eyes. "You want to?"
She nods shyly. "I want it more than anything Nick."
His smile is full of love. "In that case, I think there's something you have to know." At her puzzled expression, he has her sit on the couch and goes down on one knee in front of her. With her hands in his, he whispers, "I love you Giselle. More than anything, I love you. I want to marry you. Will you marry me? Be my bride, be my wife, be the mother of my children?"
Her mouth drops open. She watches him pull a ring box from the pocket of his white overalls and slowly open it. Nestled inside is a princess cut diamond in a platinum setting. She's shaking as she drags her eyes up to his. "Nick?" she whispers, hoping it's not a dream.
He kisses the back of her hand before running his thumb over her fingers. "Will you marry me G?"
She nods slightly. "Yes."
His forehead falls against hers as he slides the ring on her finger. He kisses it before moving his lips up to hers. When they move apart, he sighs. "I love you Baby."
With her fingers in his hair, she whispers, "I love you too."
When they get to the party, Kendall and Meagan immediately spy the ring. While the girls ooh and aah over it, AJ pulls Nick to the side. "So, gonna take the plunge are you?"
Nick nods, watching the smile on Giselle's face light up the room. He still sees a glimpse of a shadow in her eyes, and he's sure there's one that mirrors it in his. Today will always be sad for them. "It's about time I grow up; don't you think so, AJ?"
AJ snorts. "Way PAST time you grew up Nick. But I meant what I said."
Nick nods, frustrated with AJ. "I know, AJ. I'd die before I intentionally hurt her. You ought to know that by now."
AJ watches him. Nick never takes his eyes off Giselle. The way he looks at her. AJ knows Nick loves her. He says, "I'm happy for you both, Nick. I mean that."
Nick spares him a look and says, "Thanks. That means a lot AJ. I promise. I'm going to take care of her."
AJ smiles. "I know you will. Congratulations."
After the engagement was announced, Giselle moved in with Nick. Even though she wants a quiet wedding, he is thinking big. They decide on a Christmas wedding. It only gives them a couple of months to plan, but Nick is determined to make it a day Giselle will never forget.
To do that, he decides to broach a subject with Giselle that honestly, he's been avoiding. Her mother. While he knows they will never have a loving mother-daughter relationship, he can tell Giselle still has issues with her past. When she asked Howie to give her away since his father had passed, she genuinely seemed lost. Of course Howie agreed, but deep down, everyone had figured out Giselle still hurts over her mother's indifference.
A week before Thanksgiving, Nick asked AJ, Brooke, Kendall and Grant to come for lunch while Giselle was at work. When he explained what he was thinking, Grant and Brooke seemed unsure. But Kendall and AJ agreed with him. Giselle's mother has made it impossible for Giselle to be truly happy.
Later that evening, Nick watches as she takes off her robe to slip into bed. He takes her hand and says, "G, you're off tomorrow right?" She nods. "Can we go somewhere after lunch?"
Her brow furrows. "Sure, what did you have in mind?"
He clears his throat. "Going to see your mother."
She pulls her hand away and turns to face him. "Seriously?"
He just nods warily. "G, you're so...closed off about your mother...I just think you need some kind of closure with her. Put her behind you and move on."
She bites her lip. "Did you talk to my therapist?" He shakes his head no, confused. She sighs. "She thinks I need closure too. I'm just not sure I can do it."
Nick takes her hand once again and whispers, "You can. I'll be there with you. You don't have to go alone."
She's shocked. "You'd go with me?"
He pouts. "Giselle, do you really think I'd let you handle this all alone?"
She throws her arms around him. "Oh Nick, can I do this?"
He kisses her shoulder. "Of course you can. We can do it together."
When Giselle parks outside her mother's house, she's tense. Nick feels it, but he truly believes she needs to do this. He waits until she's ready before opening his car door.
After helping her from the car, they slowly walk to the porch. Her mother comes out onto the porch. There's no hint of emotion on her face. "Hey."
Giselle clears her throat. "Mother, this is Nick."
After the introductions, an awkward silence ensues. Finally, her mother says, "Why are you here, Giselle?"
Giselle swallows hard. "I'm trying to figure out why you could never be a real mother to me."
She shrugs indifferently. "After your father left...well, let's just say he wanted a kid, I didn't. Then he couldn't hack it."
Giselle shudders. "Who was he? What was his name?"
She sits on the porch swing, not offering for Nick or Giselle to sit. "His name was Christopher. He was my boss. We had a good thing going till I got knocked up. Oh, he said it was wonderful and he'd leave his wife for us, but he ran. The cold blooded prick ran as fast as his legs could carry him, leaving me saddled with you." She looks at Nick's car, then back to Giselle. "But you're not doing so bad for yourself. You got a rich boyfriend. When you gonna pay me back for the life you stole from me?"
Giselle stammers. "Pay you back? Are you serious? You put me through hell. You let your boyfriends try to paw me and look at me. What do I owe you?"
Nick grabs Giselle around the waist. Holding her tightly, he says, "Because you are her mother, this will end here. Yes, I have money and with that money I can afford to do a lot of things. You even THINK of trying to hurt Giselle or weasel back into her life, you WILL answer to me. I know things. I know the things you want left buried. Understand?"
Giselle doesn't understand. She glances up at Nick, wondering what he's talking about. Before she can question him, her mother stutters, "How...d-d-dare you! Get off my property! GO! I don't want anything from you. Leave me be!"
Nick turns with Giselle, stepping off the porch. Turning back, he says, "Remember. I know things you don't want to get out. Leave Giselle alone."
Once in the car, Giselle turns on him. "What? What do you know?"
He looks at her before starting the car and backing out of the driveway. Once the house is out of sight, he pulls over. "Giselle, she has a past. An ugly one. I didn't want to tell you..."
She takes his hand. "Please, Nick. Tell me."
He sighs. "She was a hooker. She worked the streets in Daytona and was arrested a number of times. Every time the same man bailed her out. Christopher Brandon."
Christopher. Her father. "You mean...my...father?"
Nick shrugs. "I don't know. Maybe. I tried to contact him. He passed away a few years ago. Alcohol killed him. He was...he was dirty, G. Drugs, gambling, weapons, prostitution, he was into it. And...she played a big part of it."
Giselle starts to shake. Nick leans closer and whispers, "I'm here Baby. I'm always going to be here. I wasn't going to tell you, but you had to know being away from her was the best thing that could ever happen to you."
She looks at him through her tears. "No Nick. YOU are the best thing that ever happened to me. I love you."
He wipes her tears and kisses her nose. "I love you too, G. Ready to go home?"
She smiles timidly. "Yes. Take me home."