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Chapter Twenty Four

The Aftermath of the Reveal - As Witnessed by Nick

March 25

It wasn't that long ago that I used to consider four a.m. a good time to go to bed after a night of hard partying. Now that I'm a dad, four in the morning is about an hour and a half before I have to wake up and start the day. The minute Parker was born he stole my schedule as his own.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

The thing is that I do cherish my sleep. I mean, I don't take it as seriously as Howie, but I function better when I have at least four hours. As it was, it had taken me until almost one to fall asleep. My mind was on Macie. Hell, it had been on Macie since I had met her at the zoo. At first I blamed it on almost a whole year without sex, but now I fully accept the fact that it's because she's everything Lauren ceased to be the minute Parker was born.

Anyhow, when my cell started going off at four a.m. I didn't jump for it. It was only after the caller tried for the third time that I picked the thing up and slid it along my pillow to my ear.

"Lo?" I mumbled.

"Heeee-eeeyyyy. Whatcha doinnnnnnnngg?"

My mind searched my mental drunk chick Rolodex. It had been dormant for years but I had never thrown it away. Yet, I couldn't place the drunk voice.

"Who this?" I said, my four a.m. groggy speech being more caveman than human.

"Mudge...Madge...what do you call me?"

That did it. I sat up in bed and groped around for the light. "Macie?"

"No...that's not my name. That's not my name," she sang.


"Ah-ha! Thassssss it."

"Are you drunk?"

It was probably the dumbest question I had ever asked. It sounded like she drew in a bunch of air through her teeth. "Shhhhh."

I glanced at the clock. It was four fifteen. I made a quick decision.

"We're coming over."

"Dada duck. Dada duck. Duck duck duck."

Parker had a finger latched firmly around his bottom tooth, jabbering loudly as I broke speed limits to get from my house to Macie's house in record time. My teeth felt gritty and I ran my tongue over them. That was sufficient brushing, right?

"Duck duck duck!"

"It is dark," I agreed. I wasn't sure when the sun rose, but judging by the hue of darkness it was going to be awhile.

Macie had practically cheered when I said I was heading over. I assumed her prick of a husband wouldn't be there and I was dying to know what happened. I was relieved when I pulled into her driveway, coming to a stop right behind her car.

The porch light flipped on as I pulled Parker out. The door opened and a tumble of blonde hair poked outside.

"Heeeeeeeyyyyyy boyssssss."


Parker began to wave. I tried to keep a straight face as I headed towards her. She was lopsided and I was shocked she was even standing considering her bum knee and lack of sobriety. She grinned at me.

"Hey good lookin'!"

She reached for me, but missed. I steadied her with my right, holding tight to Parker with my left. She dug her nails into my arm and for a second grew serious. I almost thought she was sobering until the next words tumbled outta her mouth.

"I...I gotta check your pants before I kiss you though."

"I don't like coffee."

"You'll love this coffee. It's special coffee," I assured her. I dodged her hand again as it reached for my pants. Parker was eating in Rie's high chair, not minding a pre-dawn breakfast. "And tell me what this pants thing is all about."

Normally, I'd have loved her wanting in my pants, but the whole thing struck me as weird. I was beginning to fear I was turning into Brian, or even Kevin. Way too much logical thinking was happening with me lately.

"I," Macie took a sip of coffee. "Wanna make sure you're not a woman," she said, nodding like she was agreeing with herself. I laughed, sure I heard her wrong.


She didn't answer right away. Instead she took another sip of coffee. Then her bottom lip began to quiver. Her pretty eyes feared with tears. I knelt down in front of her.

"Midge, what's wrong?"

The lip continued to quiver. Even her hands shook. She looked at me and sniffled.

"The panties...." she whimpered. "They were...they were..." she choked on air.


"You mean another woman's that he kept?" I concluded.

She shook her head so hard that it whipped her face roughly. She was wearing her green hoodie again and I could smell the warm scent of laundry sheet radiating off of it even through the heavy fog of bourbon. "No," she whispered. She leaned close. "his." She threw herself backwards.

"My husband wears women's panties! And bras! Oh---my---God!!"

Macie broke into batshit crazy tears but I didn't jump to action. I was pretty sure my jaw was on the ground. It takes a lot to make Nick Carter speechless, but hell, this took the cake. Her husband was a cross dresser? Or gay? Or both? Or something?

"Mamaaaaa! Maamaaaa!"

Rielynn's scream tore through the house. Macie was a hot mess. A stream of wet tears snot was leaving a streak. The bowl Parker had been eating from crashed to the floor.

I had a drunk, hysterical woman and two wide awake toddlers on my hands...

And it wasn't even six o'clock.