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Chapter 50 – A Night to Remember

"Has your head finally been removed from your ass?" Austin questioned immediately as Kevin came into the living room. She was still furious over his high-handed decision that Nick should leave without questioning her. As though he had any say in the matter at all. The man had her so riled she couldn't even knit, so she was forced to channel surf in hopes of finding something remotely interesting to watch. Though that thought was killed when he snatched the remote from her hand and tossed it to the table. "Are you crazy or something? I don't even like this show!"

“I don’t really give a fucking flying duck what you like or don’t like,” Kevin growled, deciding that if he had to be miserable then she had to be miserable, too. The heated walk he had taken around the girls’ property had done nothing to assuage his anger or guilt. He shouldn’t have let Nick get so close to Cheyanne, knowing the girl would be hurt worse than ever if this progressed. How would he possibly keep what Nick did with Cheyanne a secret? It just… Kevin growled with disgust, glaring toward Austin. “Where’s the fiancée stealer?”

"If you are referring to Nicky, he and Chey are in her bedroom downloading some songs for his iPod," Austin said coolly, dragging her knees to her chest. "I think they said something about--"

"Austi, can we come kill zombies now?" Cheyanne called sweetly from her bedroom. "Nicky's got tons of new music to listen to now. Or is Kevvy still being a control-freak pissfuck like you called him earlier?"

“You’re a bad influence on my daughter,” Kevin hissed toward Austin with a strong wag of his finger, leaning forward to catch her lips in an angry kiss.

"I was pissed," Austin murmured with a shrug, pulling him down into the recliner with her. "But you really had no right to--"

"Austi?" Cheyanne called, a bit louder this time.

"Yes, y'all can come kill zombies now!" Austin bellowed, biting back a grin when Kevin winced.

“Thank you!” Cheyanne chirped excitedly, obviously relaying the news to Nick, which probably caused him to scoop her up, because she shrieked with laughter.

“He shouldn’t be here,” Kevin still objected, shifting so Austin was in his lap and he was spread on the recliner. “Howie should be here. Nick needs to go home before he makes a bigger mess of things, Princess.”

Sighing, Austin cuddled closer to him, resting her head on his chest. "You're right. Howie should be here. But where is he? Off in Florida, doing God knows what--"

“Howie would never cheat on Angel,” Kevin quickly objected, listening to the two younger adults in the house tussling around to find the needed equipment for their game of the evening. He didn’t blame Cheyanne for what had happened between her and Nick, knowing Howie had significantly hurt her. But, he knew in the end, there would only be an overwhelming amount of pain within the relationship. “…Angel on the other hand…”

Stiffening, Austin sat up as Nick's whoop over finding something echoed through the house. "Just what is that supposed to mean?" she asked carefully, folding her arms over her chest.

“Princess… What do you think happened between those two at the bed and breakfast?” Kevin murmured, gently rubbing Austin’s shoulders as he felt her tense dramatically.

"Do you want the truth? I honestly don't care."

“Excuse me?”

"I've said this at least a dozen times today and you still don't understand? As long as Chey's happy, it doesn't matter. You saw how upset she was when she found out that Howie had lied to her. He lied, Kevin. And the only person who could cheer her up was Nick. Haven't you noticed how fucking happy she is around him?" Sighing, Austin slid from his grasp, crossing the room to turn on a lamp.

“Yes, I’ve noticed how fucking happy she is around him, but--”

"Kevin, I swear to God, I am not going over this again. If you say one more word out of line, you can carry your ass down the road immediately. In case you forgot, this is not your house. You can't expect just to walk in and--"

"Zombie killing time!" Cheyanne squealed with excitement.

"Not another word," Austin hissed warningly as she moved to flop down on the couch.

“Angel,” Kevin called when he watched Cheyanne walk from the back of the hallway, her hands clasped over her rounded abdomen. Her cheeks were flushed with a rosy excitement as she crawled into her favorite recliner, reaching for the blanket draped over the back. He wanted to tell her to make Nick leave, because he was going to cause her nothing but pain. Yet, when he noticed how happy she was. How her sapphire eyes sparkled… He couldn’t do it. “…Aren’t you tired of killing zombies, yet?”

“No!” Cheyanne exclaimed with horror, “Never tired of killing zombies! We’re almost at the end!”

Austin shot Kevin a pleased smile, reaching for the novel she'd started reading the day before. Tucking her feet under her, she flipped it open, soon oblivious to the grumbled curses from Nick as he hooked up the system. When she felt Kevin's hand on her leg she glanced up, turning away slightly before going back to her reading. He had no right, no right at all, to decree what would and would not happen in her house.

"Alright! Death to the zombies!" Nick declared with a fierce battle cry before claiming his place in front of Cheyanne. Glancing over at Austin and Kevin, he could feel the tension between them. All his fault, he was certain. Leaning his head back, he gave Cheyanne a worried look. "Are they like this a lot?" he whispered.

“All the time,” Cheyanne promised with a soft nod, glancing sideways to see Kevin and Austin. It would only take Kevin a few failed tries before Austin would naturally stretch out against him, throwing his novel at him. It was just their stubborn ways, so Cheyanne didn’t worry too much. They’d be lovey-dovey-miserable when it came to their goodbyes. So, shrugging, Cheyanne leaned slightly to steal the controller from Nick, draping one leg over his shoulder as she started their previous game.

"How can you stand it?" Nick mumbled as he reached for the other controller. One glance over at Kevin and Austin, and he saw she was pushing his hands away, burying her nose further in the book she held. "This is the same couple that spent ninety-nine percent of their time in the bedroom back in New York, right?"

“It’s a love-hate relationship,” Cheyanne explained, smiling as Nick rested the controller in his lap as if he would pretend that he were playing the game too. He usually liked to say that he softened the monsters for her when she ran around littering bullets into the nearest targets. Though she was highly animated when it came to killing the zombies, especially if they attacked her. “And they probably spent their whole time in every portion of this house doing what they do best. Don’t worry.”

Trailing his finger down her leg, Nick shrugged, turning his head to offer a soft kiss to her knee. "Whatever you say, Sweetheart." Leaning back, he got comfortable as she began the game. "When you get to the next save point, you're letting me take over, right?"

“Why would I do that?” Cheyanne stated seriously, trying not to shiver as she guided their character out of the save room, racing down the hallway in search of her victims. Affectionately, she flexed her foot against his chest, rotating her ankle in a slow circle. “I’m better than you at this game, Nicky… And maybe I just want you to play with me?”

Glancing surreptitiously over his shoulder at the older couple, Nick lightly rubbed her leg, rolling his eyes when he saw Austin throw her book to the floor and turn to fully face Kevin. A moment later they were lost in each other's arms, and he could only shake his head. "God, they're weird," he muttered, his finger lightly tracing her ankle. "So… Tell me how you want to play with you?"

“You’re doing a good job,” Cheyanne decided with a monotone voice, already caught within her game as she littered several rounds of bullets into a variety of creatures. Her eyes were slightly glazed with a fiery passion reserved for her favorite game, just the tip of her tongue pointed out to the corner of her mouth.

"So it's alright if I take your shorts off and kiss other places as well?" he suggested softly, knowing she was so lost in her game she wasn't paying attention. Lightly brushing his lips over her thigh, he nibbled gently. "And then maybe I can--"

“Holy Hell!” Cheyanne shrieked in shock, jerking upward not only when the controller rumbled from her sudden death by the fierce boss battle but the kiss and nibble Nick offered to her upper thigh. Her lips pulled into a small ‘o’ of shock as the controller landed in Nick’s lap and ‘You Died’ flashed on the screen, her other leg somehow managing to lie across Nick’s other shoulder. Only, glancing to the screen, she whined, “That monster was being such a whore, Nicky!”

"Want me to kill it for you?" he offered, laying his head back between her legs. Comforted by her closeness, he smiled when she crossed her ankles over his chest. Reaching for the controller, he whined when she snatched it from him. "I'll kill the whorish monster for you!"

“No, you’re busy,” Cheyanne disagreed, hurriedly clicking to continue, starting through the familiar series of chambers to reach the boss once more.

"If you want me to stay busy, you'll give me that big ass blanket you've got behind you," Nick hissed, trailing her legs from ankle to knee. Keeping his eyes on the screen, he nibbled softly at her inner thigh again.

“Nicky!” Cheyanne gasped in shock, dropping the controller to her lap as she died yet again, holding her breath at the powerful wave of heat lapping over her body from Nick’s tender bites to her thigh. They had just spent the past few hours asleep, both exhausted from the bed and breakfast. Though, Nick seemed quite anxious to pick up where they had left off on the road, despite the fact that Kevin and Austin were behind them. “…Why would you need a blanket?”

"Well… They've got a blanket," he pouted, pointing a thumb over his shoulder at Austin and Kevin, who were mere bumps moving beneath said blanket at that time. "I just feel that we need a blanket too… Maybe that way you won't get so distracted and keep dying?" Turning to face her, he kept her legs around him, lightly stroking her thighs with his hands. "Then I can do this," he whispered, flicking his tongue over her sensitive skin. "Only more of it."

“I won’t get so distracted if there’s a blanket over you?” Cheyanne repeated, glancing down at Nick as if he were insane. Though, her gaze fluttered at the unique sensation of his tongue against her thigh, causing a flutter of excitement in the pit of her stomach. Her body kindling a warm heat as she forgot all about the boss that had just killed her for the second time in a row. “Nicky, it isn’t about watching you do that… It’s feeling you do that!”

"So… You'd rather I didn't do this?"

“Are you nuts?”

"Maybe?"

“Nicky…”

"Hmm?"

Cheyanne opened her mouth to speak, but Austin’s strangled cry beneath the blankets kept her from doing so. Immediately, her cheeks flushed with a horrified embarrassment at the labored panting the older couple was providing. She tilted slightly in the recliner, unable to keep her gaze away. That is, till Kevin’s pants went flying into the air. She gasped in horror, turning to cover her face as she unwrapped her legs from Nick. “My God…”

"You were about to say?" Nick urged, his fingers splayed over her thighs. When Austin's bra hit him squarely in the face he jumped, reaching to pluck it away, only to have it dangle from his ear for a moment. "Jesus Christ… Why don't we take the game back to your room?"

“Nice earring,” Cheyanne giggled, leaning to uncurl the black lace from his ear.

"What can I say, I'm a fashionable guy… Where were we?" he asked with a grin.

“I was playing the game--”

"And I was doing this, right?" he murmured, lowering his head to kiss her thighs again.

“Nicky,” Cheyanne whimpered hard, tangling her hands into his blonde locks to stabilize herself, though it seemed utterly useless as she tried not to fidget. “You’re trying to make me die so you can play the game instead...”

"No… That's not my plan," he breathed against her skin, his fingers slipping beneath the boxer shorts she wore.

“Nicky…” Cheyanne trembled with disbelief, immediately glancing back in horror, convinced that Kevin and Austin were watching.

"What…" Nicks fingers inched higher, his teeth lightly grazing her skin. "They're not watching… They're a little busy," he added when yet another chorus of panting emitted from beneath the blanket on the sofa.

“I want to play the game,” she attempted to dissuade, her voice heightening with a husky whine, expressing her thorough pleasure with the situation, though she wished they were elsewhere.

"But this game's so much more fun," he whined.

“Kevvy will kill you if he even lifts his head for a minute--”

"Then let's go to your room," he whispered.

Cheyanne looked as if she might disagree, glancing to the TV with a forlorn glint to her sapphire eyes. But, Nick left little room for complaint, scooping her in his arms. He made sure that her legs stayed locked around him, lumbering back to the bedroom as Austin and Kevin actually managed to murmur some kind of goodbyes. Thankfully, Moth was already in the kitchen eating, so Nick had no trouble shutting and locking the door. “Nicky, what are we doing?”

"What do you want us to do?"

“What do you want to do?”

Laying her down on the bed, Nick wasted no time in pulling her shorts down, straddling her legs so he could lean over and kiss her gently. Sliding his hands under her shirt, he peeled it over her head, his lips trailing to her chest as he moved down on the bed. "A little of this, a little of that," he murmured, his tongue flicking over her nipple.

“Nicky,” Cheyanne moaned softly, leaning her head back amongst the pillows as her hands found their way into his locks again, holding tightly. Her nipple puckered against Nick’s moist tongue and she squirmed excitedly beneath him. “I’m so glad you stayed…”

"Me too," he whispered, easing her legs apart so he could lie between them. Her body arched against his, and he smiled against her breast before kissing his way a bit lower, pressing the softest of kisses to her stomach. "'Cause there's one thing I've been longing to show you…"

“Show me?” Cheyanne breathed softly, slightly confused over what he could be speaking about. Her eyes closed at the pleasure of his kisses, having to untangle her hands from his locks as he continued downward. “Show me what, Nicky?”

"You'll see," he murmured, gently kissing the underside of her stomach. "Rather, you'll feel…" Hands splayed on her thighs, he applied gentle pressure, his lips moving to caress her hip when she spread her legs for him. Desire burned within him, but he pushed it back, wanting only to please her, one hand sliding up. Parting her moist folds gently, he lightly stroked her, listening to her soft gasps for one long moment before offering the most intimate of kisses.

“Oh God,” Cheyanne breathed in disbelief, her hands immediately clutching the sheets in order to anchor herself to Earth, fearing she might fly away with ecstasy. She lay perfectly still, almost afraid to move, biting back a sharp whine of gratification. She hadn’t been prepared for Nick’s kiss to her most intimate of regions, never having experienced such a torturous delight. She had always teased Austin that oral sex would never be in her field of vocabulary when it came to her love life. Yet, there she was, panting softly as the room actually began to spin, her body on fire.

Moaning softly as Cheyanne arched slightly off the bed, Nick held her down gently, his teeth lightly grazing her sensitive nub. At the same moment, he slowly pressed one finger inside her, suckling her gently.

Nick,” Cheyanne shrieked, almost fighting against his hold as her body shuddered with sheer joy. The finger inside her gently stroked the inner warmth of her body, causing her to shiver as she bit down hard on her bottom lip. The tenderness of the nub sent a flame of desire ripping through her body, almost tearing her apart in sheer ecstasy. The suckles provided a continuous lapping warmth and she could hardly contain herself. She had to cup a tight hand over her mouth to muffle a pleasurable scream.

Feeling her body quake beneath him, Nick continued his gentle strokes, his tongue flicking over her erratically. When her muffled cries increased in volume, he slowly pulled away, gently lapping up her sweet fluid. Her body was flushed and trembling, and when he lifted his head to look at her, she brazenly grasped his shirt, tugging him over her. "You okay, Sweetheart?" he breathed, licking his lips.

“No,” Cheyanne whispered, her voice shaky from her intense orgasm and husky from the pleasure Nick had provided. Turning toward him, she meekly tugged at his shirt, but it proved fruitless. She was shaking too hard to do what she wanted. So, finally she just pulled it up so she could nestle her face to his warm skin. She labored several deep breaths to stabilize herself, closing her eyes as she clasped tightly to the shirt for anchoring, still tremulous from the passionate delight.

Leaning back slightly, Nick peeled off his shirt, heedless of her plaintive moan at having her handle taken away. She quickly slipped her hand to the waistband of his pants, grasping it tightly as she once again rested her head on his chest. Smoothing the perspiration-dampened hair from her face, he brushed his lips over her forehead, closing his eyes when she kissed his chest. "You taste sweet," he informed her softly.

“That… That was my first time,” she confessed, her lips brushing against his chest with the soft words. She tucked as close as possible to his body, hoping he would absolve her tremors.

Holding her close, Nick smoothed his hands down her back as she continued to tremble next to him. He had figured it was her first time… "Did you… Did you like it?" he questioned tentatively, shivering when he felt one puckered nipple pressed against him.

“It was different,” Cheyanne answered, nodding against his chest with obvious fatigue. She hadn’t even the strength to open her beautiful sapphire eyes, just continuing to bury herself against him for extra warmth. Though, her lips teased into a smile against his skin. “It’s a lot faster than the old fashioned way.”

"Yet I'm left hanging," Nick teased.

Cheyanne flushed at the thought of pleasuring him in the same manner, trying not to wrinkle her nose. “You didn’t have to…”

"I wanted to… And I'm not asking you to do the same to me… Though it would be nice," he said under his breath.

“I can be nice,” Cheyanne defended, her grip loosening on the waist of his pants. Opening her eyes for a moment as her trembles seemed to subside, she watched his widened in shock. Only, she slipped her hand inside his pants, walking her fingers down the pit of his stomach in order to grasp his already firm erection. “…Just not like that, Nicky.”

Nick drew in a shaky breath. "How, then?"

“Anything but that,” she promised with a soft laugh, pressing the nail of her thumb into the underside of his manhood, stroke him toward the very tip, allowing her nail to gently circle before returning back to its original place at the base.

"This'll work," he whispered, reaching down with one hand to push his pants down. "God, Chey," he whimpered, gazing down at her hand slowly working him. "Let me make love to you," he moaned, practically begging as he looked into her eyes. "Please, Chey…" He was fully aware it may well be the last time he could make love to her.

“You don’t have to ask,” she promised with a gentle nod, understanding the desperation in his sapphire eyes as she stopped her manipulations to his already pulsating erection. It was the perfect way to say goodbye. To make their parting perhaps somewhat easier. To thank him for everything he had done. Smiling, she leaned down to press several soft kisses to his chest, bringing her hand back up to rest over his heart. “Make love to me, Nicky…”

"God, yes," he murmured, pulling her over him for the most tender of kisses. "I love being with you, Chey," he admitted suddenly, cupping her face in his hands as he nibbled her bottom lip.

“I love being with you, too,” Cheyanne cooed softly, dipping her tongue into his mouth for the lightest caress. She could taste the citrus flavor of him, causing her to offer him her tongue once more. Running the tip along his lips before dipping in for another light caress. “And I want to go on tour with you… When Ollie’s born…”

"Just tell me when, and I'll get the bus set up," Nick murmured, holding her close. Breathing in her scent as he gently rolled her to her back. His erection pressed against her, easing into her body. "God… Chey," he breathed.

“Sorry,” Cheyanne mumbled, thinking her nails were digging too hard into the flesh of his back, but she couldn’t help it.

"Don't be… You… Feel so good," he whispered, pulling her legs around his waist. "I want this night to last forever, Sweetheart."

“That’s up to you and your arousal,” Cheyanne teased softly, endeared to Nick’s sweet sentiments as he made sure their bodies were melted into one, leaning down to seek her lips. She nipped affectionately at his upper lip before covering both with sweet kisses. “I’m going to miss you so much, Nicky.”

"I'm going to miss you, too, Sweetheart… I'll call you every day," he promised, his thrusts slow and gentle. He was vaguely aware of a faint scratching at the door, signaling that Moth was ready for bed, but ignored it, deepening his kiss with Cheyanne.

“Mmm,” Cheyanne murmured, gasping softly against his mouth when his thrusts deepened, practically evoking her entire center of pleasure. Her hands tightened around his back, pulling him close as she nibbled at his throat, attempting to stabilize her breathing. “…You don’t have to call every day… Nicky, don’t promise it if you’ll be too busy to do it…”

"I don't think I could go a day without hearing your voice," Nick whispered, his hands moving to frame her face so he could look into her eyes. He felt her tighten around him, sending a shockwave of pleasure through his entire body. The things she made him feel when they were together were things he'd never felt before.

“Nicky…” Cheyanne trailed softly, not knowing what to say as his hands cupped her flushed face. Her sapphire eyes were dark and glistening with deep yearning for him, though, behind the fiery flickers were glimmers of uncertainty. She feared him leaving and forgetting. As if she would just be another notch in his headboard, despite his promises. But men had failed her so many times…

He loved her. The realization hit as he looked into her eyes, causing him to cry out softly. He knew he could never have her completely. Despite his private assurances to himself that he could have any woman he wanted, he realized with startling clarity that Cheyanne was the only one, and it hurt to know she could never love him as he loved her. "Chey… I--"

“Are you okay?” Cheyanne questioned in shock, never expecting the silence to be erupted by what seemed like a painful cry. She reached up to brush her hands down his cheeks, hurriedly searching his eyes for any sign of distress as his movements stopped against her. “What, Nicky?”

Knowing he couldn't tell her, he caught her lips in a soft kiss, reaching to clasp her hands with his as he resumed his gentle thrusts. She trembled slightly beneath him, her tongue stroking his, the passion between them building. He could only hope she would just know by looking at him. He loved her. Completely.

*~*~*


“Kevvy!” Baylee shrieked excitedly when the door opened to the hotel suite of the expensive West Palm Beach hotel, the oldest man sauntering in with his carry on luggage and a brightly colored gift bag for the youngest on the tour. The rest of his luggage would be brought up momentarily, which was lucky because Baylee’s energy was explosive. He had been waiting all day for Kevin to arrive, quite upset when AJ and Howie had shown up first. Because, Brian had already told his son that Kevin had spent the vacation with his beloved Angel. He was ready for all the details as he launched his little body onto Kevin’s right leg, clutching tightly with hope. “You bring my Angel?!”

"Your Angel is getting her rest for the baby," Kevin reminded him with a grin, dropping his luggage onto the floor so he could scoop his young cousin into his arms. "But her and Princess sent you a little something. If you're a good boy and let me take my things into my room, I'll give it to you--"

“MORE ‘RUBS AN’ A TOY?!” Baylee shrieked with glee, already digging into the brightly colored bag before Kevin could put it out of reach. And, another shriek peeled through the hotel suite as he giggled with excitement, wrenching up Disney Toy Story scrubs and a shiny John Deere tractor. “UNCLE HOWIE! YOU PLAY DEAD! I BRING YOU BACK TO LIFE WID MY NEW ‘RUBS ‘DEN RUN YOU OVER ‘GAIN WITH MY TRUCK!”

"You weren't supposed to get it 'till later!" Kevin chided, shaking his head as Baylee rushed to find his father.

"DADDY! I GOT NEW 'RUBS! DRESS ME!" he shrieked.

“Good parenting, Kev,” AJ announced with a yawn as he sauntered by to raid the fully stocked kitchen. “But I like that idea of running Howie over with the truck…”

"Kiss my ass, J," Howie muttered bitterly from his place on the sofa. Glancing at the still open door, he looked towards Kevin. "Where's Nicky?"

“He was right behind me…” Kevin trailed, moving backward to check the hallway. Sure enough, Nick was near the elevators, murmuring into his phone. Rolling his eyes with frustration, Kevin closed the door, acting as if he hadn’t seen him in the first place. It had been a holy terror to actually wrench Nick from the house that morning. He had done everything but wrap his arms around Cheyanne’s legs, begging to stay. In fact, he had even called to say he had broken his leg and wouldn’t be able to perform. Austin had found it adorable, but Kevin was utterly disgusted. “He said something about stopping off to call Angel… She wanted to know we made it okay…”

Howie gritted his teeth in anger, glaring at Kevin. "And he can't call her from inside the suite?" he asked carefully.

AJ peered out the kitchen, listening to every word between the two older men. "You think he wants to die, D?"

“AJ, stay the fuck out of this,” Kevin warned with a fixed glare, pointing sharply to the kitchen. For once, AJ actually listened, leaving Kevin to freely push his online baggage toward the side before seating himself beside Howie. “Don’t you jump his ass, Howie. You had every chance to go to North Carolina to see Angel. But you were an asshole and decided not to go down. Nick went down and Angel is nothing but…sweet southern hospitality… She’s just being…nice…”

"Nice," Howie muttered with a derisive snort. "I can only imagine how nice she was to Nick. And all because I went to look for a house and plan the honeymoon--"

“Wait! What’s that supposed to mean?” AJ exclaimed from the kitchen, poking his head out again with an air of amusement. “She was nice to him? Do you think Nick tapped your private ass-ticket, D?”

"AJ, I swear to God, if you don't--"

"MY 'RUBS, KEVVY! LOOKIT MY 'RUBS!" Baylee screeched with excitement as he rushed back in, clutching his new tractor. Brian followed him, a tired smile on his face as he collapsed into an armchair. "Me call My Angel and My 'Rincess now?" he questioned hopefully, dropping to his knees to push the tractor around on the floor.

“You look quite handsome, Young Blood,” Kevin promised with a soft laugh, gesturing toward the door that was inching its way open. He knew Nick would be attempting to scurry back the hallway without any means of getting caught, but Kevin wouldn’t make it that easy. Not when he had fouled up so horrible. “If you tackle Nicky, you can talk to your Angel and my Princess.”

"NICKY!" Baylee erupted gleefully, launching himself at the blonde man as he slipped through the door. Catching him by surprise, he managed to send Nick falling to the floor. "Let me talk to My Angel!" he demanded.

Howie jumped to his feet. "I'll be in my room," he announced.

Brian watched his friend storm down the hall, wincing when a door slammed. "If I'd wanted to deal with this kind of shit, I would've stayed home," he muttered, rubbing his face tiredly. "Scooper… Get off Nick."

“But Daddy, him’s has My Angel!” Baylee protected, reaching with a small hand to pry the phone from Nick’s ear.

"Alright, hang on!" Nick cried. "Here, lemme just--There we go. Sweetheart, talk to Bay," he said after pressing a button on his phone.

"Darlin'?" Cheyanne cooed through the speaker.

“MY ANGEL!” Baylee shrieked with delight, continuing to reach for the phone, wanting to have full control of his favorite person. “I wear my ‘rubs! I wanted Uncle Howie to died for me, but he left’ed! You tell him play dead for me? P’ease? So I heal’em like you!”

"Darlin'… I'm sure Uncle Howie is busy right now… But why don't you get Nicky to play dead for you? Then you can heal him like me," Cheyanne suggested.

Nick smiled slightly at her words, wondering if she knew just how much she had healed him. Holding the phone out of Baylee's reach, he grunted painfully when the boy climbed up onto him, standing on his tiptoes to make a grab for the phone. "You're killing me!"

“D’ood! Play dead, Nicky! Then me take your phone and fix you later!” Baylee growled loudly, attempting to stretch his body so he could reach the phone, his tiny fingers wiggling helplessly as if that would beckon the phone to him.

"I'm dead! I'm dead!" Nick cried, letting Baylee get the phone. "But no hiding in the bathroom!"

“You’re never going to get that phone back,” Brian warned with a feeble laugh, rubbing his face as he reclined and Baylee scurried for a private location. “He’s been driving me bug-shit about Cheyanne since she left. He wants her here, immediately. He’s even talking about stealing my credit card to pay for her to come up. A two year old for Heaven’s sakes!”

Nick chuckled as he sat up, pulling his feet out of the way as Kevin headed down the hallway, mumbling something about a shower. Waiting until the coast was clear, he hopped up, reaching for his bag. "You look like shit, Bri… Trouble in paradise?"

“No, no trouble. Leigh’s just at another movie shoot, so I get to watch Scooper by myself while we’re touring. Your help would be appreciated a lot, y’know?” Brian suggested, watching Nick collapse on the couch with satisfaction. “But you look like you just gave your favorite boat a new paint job.”

"Yeah… It was an amazing vacation," Nick admitted with a lazy grin. "Me and Sweetheart went to this little bed and breakfast near the mountains. It was just… Amazing," he repeated softly.

“No wonder Howie thinks you fucked Chey seven ways from Sunday,” AJ whistled loudly from the kitchen.

"Just because you can't come within three feet of a woman without planning how you can bang her brains out doesn't mean every man does," Nick retorted, shaking his head.

“Yeah and everyone is starting to call you AJ Jr!” AJ cackled.

"Shut the fuck up!"

"Make me!"

"Goddamnit, AJ--"

"Would you two please knock it off?" Brian pleaded. Twisting his wedding band furiously, he shook his head at Nick. "Nick, please, tell me you didn't…"

“I didn’t what?” Nick snorted, throwing one of his shoes through the doorway to the kitchen, smiling when it connected with AJ’s backside.

"You know… Not with Howie's fiancée," Brian murmured as AJ's painful howl and threats of revenge echoed from the kitchen.

“No, I didn’t bang the brains out of Howie’s fiancée,” Nick answered seriously, without a slightest chance for hesitation. What he and Cheyanne had done would never be so meaningless. He had loved Howie’s fiancée like she was meant to be loved. Like Howie should have been loving her. Swallowing a growing lump, he removed his other shoe before removing both socks to stuff inside. Since spending the vacation with Cheyanne, he had rediscovered his love of having bare feet, mostly because she refused to let him wear socks, always removing them with her tiny feet. His lips naturally curved into an amused smile at the memory, seeming to fall in love all over again.

"Let me get this straight. You, a virile man in your twenties, who has proclaimed for the past thirteen years how much you like women, went to a little bed and breakfast with a gorgeous young woman, and there was no hanky panky? At all?" Brian questioned, his brows raised in shock.

“It was Cheyanne, Brian. Like she would ever try anything with me when she loves Howie so much…”

"I know she wouldn't… You, however--"

"DADDY!! MY ANGEL WANT TALK TO YOU!"

“You better not have done anything…” Brian warned, climbing out of the recliner to hurry back the hallway to find Baylee.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah…"

“So, level with me,” AJ announced as he sauntered back from the kitchen, chomping on a thick sandwich. His dark eyes glittered with delight as he waited for Nick’s true answer, knowing he had to have done something with Cheyanne. Though, he didn’t get a chance to find out as Howie came storming from the back. Not wanting to get caught in the middle, AJ dove back into the kitchen, knowing he’d be in earshot. “G’luck, Carter!”

"Y'know, Howie, I really don't feel like getting into it with you right now. I have to go hunt down my phone--"

“No, you’re going to sit there and listen to what I’ve got to say!” Howie exploded sharply, pushing Nick back to the couch before he had a chance to even gain proper footing. He didn’t care about the way Nick flinched when his hands connected with his chest. Howie had done his best to contain himself in his room, but he had only been pacing, thinking about what Nick could have done with Cheyanne. And he lost it. “I know you got my voice mails over the weekend, but you couldn’t even given me the fucking courtesy to call back? When you were with my fiancée? Making sure that she didn’t even have her cell phone! What kind of games are you playing, Carter?!”

"I could ask you the same fucking question," Nick retorted heatedly, one hand covering his chest protectively. "What was so fucking important here in Florida that you couldn't tell her the truth?! Do you know how goddamned upset she was?! Sitting in the bathroom floor sobbing hysterically because her fiancé didn't love her enough to come for a visit?" Though each intake of breath burned painfully, Nick climbed to his feet.

“I was getting the final touches done for after our wedding. I was getting the perfect romantic honeymoon booked! I was buying her the biggest fucking wedding present that I put all my heart and soul into! But I want them to be a surprise, so how the fuck was I supposed to tell her the truth about staying in Florida. And who the Hell are you to question what I do and don’t do?! It’s not your relationship. She’s not your fiancée!”

Howie's words hit Nick with painful reality, hurting him far worse than any fist ever could have. Blinking rapidly, he exhaled a deep sigh. "You're right. She's not. But at least I cared enough to show her some compassion," he stated calmly, brushing past Howie to go in search of his phone.
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