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Nick walked into his bedroom and found Roxie lounging on his bed flipping through channels.  

 “Ariel’s asleep.  She kept telling me that she wasn’t tired.  She put her head on her pillow and that was it.  She completely passed out.”  Nick said as he sat next to Roxie on his bed. 

 Roxie laughed.  “Well, she was excited.  Today was a good day.” 

 “Yeah, it was a good day wasn’t it?” 

 “Yeah.  Ariel got new decorations, and you got your family back.” 

 Nick leaned over and kissed her softly, reaching up to hold her by her chin.  Roxie pulled back, taken by surprise.  "What was that for...?"  She whispered, their faces still close. 

 “I don’t know.  I just felt like it.”  He said and kissed her again, in a matter-of-fact way.  This time, the kiss was much more passionate.  Nick moved his hand to Roxie's cheek and held her there close to him.  Both Nick and Roxie felt the connection between them.  “Mmm…”  Nick whispered against Roxie’s lips.  Roxie smiled slightly to herself and opened her mouth to take a breath.  She was definitely overwhelmed by the unexpected kiss.  When Roxie opened her mouth, Nick's tongue moved in and grazed Roxie's tongue teasingly.  Roxie moaned quietly against Nick's lips and Nick took it that she was enjoying the kiss.  

 One of his hands moved down her body and grabbed hold of her hip.  He pulled her over toward him and Roxie climbed onto his lap and straddled his lap.  She started to grind her body against his as they continued to kiss.  Nick grunted loudly, feeling himself begin to awaken in a place that hadn’t been touched for so long.  When she realized what she was doing to him, Roxie pulled away and looked into his eyes.  Nick grinned, giving her the okay to continue.  Roxie was smirking out of the side of her mouth before she leaned in to kiss him again.

As they kissed passionately, yet aggressively, Roxie’s fingers made their way down to the bottom of his t-shirt.  Nick chuckled deep in his throat in response.  He was getting more excited with each passing moment.  Roxie’s hands tickled their way up and underneath Nick’s shirts, her nails gently grazing his skin.  Nick breathed in sharply when he felt her touch on his abdomen.  It had been so long since he had had any physical contact with a woman and he felt the nervousness building up in his stomach as Roxie pulled his shirt off of him and over his head. 

 As soon as his shirt was off, Roxie leaned in to kiss his lips again, but Nick stopped her and quickly pulled her shirt off, too.  He briefly glanced down at her topless, taking her all in for the first time.

 “You’re beautiful…”  Nick whispered and leaned in to kiss her gently.  His hands moved to her sides, then went around to the small of her back.  “Your skin is so soft.”  He muttered.  His hands moved up her back and in the process, pulled her close to him.  He so much wanted to feel their bodies pressed together; flesh against flesh.  Roxie smiled and leaned up and kissed Nick's lips again.  One of Nick's hands went to the back of Roxie's head and guided her as they made out.  

 After a few minutes, Roxie’s hands moved down to Nick’s pants and began to

 

unbutton and unzip his fly.  Her hand pressed against his obvious bulge and Nick uttered a low groan in response.  Roxie let out a quiet giggle.  “Like that?”  She asked quietly.

            “Like you have to ask…”  Nick said just as quietly.

“Good.”  Roxie said and slid her fingers into his boxers’ elastic for a moment.  Nick breathed in sharply and Roxie pulled her hand away from him teasingly.

 Just as Nick began to lean back against the headboard, Roxie moved down slightly, getting ready to pull his pants down.  Nick’s and Roxie’s eyes connected and then suddenly, the bedroom door swung open and Ariel ran in crying hysterically.

They jumped.  Nick closed his jeans while Roxie quickly grabbed the shirt closest to her and put it on, not caring that it was Nick’s shirt.

As Ariel approached the bed, Nick went to grab her to pull her on the bed.  Ariel whimpered.  She climbed on the bed and began sobbing into Roxie’s chest.  Concerned, Nick placed a hand on her back. Although he quickly removed it when Ariel screamed.

“I’m sorry Daddy, I don’t mean to be a bad girl.  Please don’t hurt me.”

Nick looked at Ariel in confusion. “Ariel, you know I’d never hurt you.”  He tried to hug her but she became hysterical again and he backed off.

Roxie slid off the bed.  “Come on Ariel.  Let’s go into the bathroom.  I’ll give you some water, and you can tell me why you’re so afraid.”  Ariel nodded and Roxie lifted her up and carried her into the bathroom.  She placed her on the counter and gave her some water.  “Now Ariel, what happened?”

“I had a bad dream.”

“Why don’t you tell me what it was about?”

“Daddy was beating me up.” 

Nick was standing outside the bathroom door.  He heard what Ariel said and immediately went downstairs.

It was about 20 minutes before Roxie went downstairs to find Nick.  She found him sitting on the couch starring down at his hands.  He heard her walk into the room, and tried to hide his tears.  She sat down next to him and placed a comforting hand on his leg.  “She’s ok Nick.  She’s asleep.”  He stayed quiet and wouldn’t look at her.  She reached over and grabbed his chin to force him to look at her.  She saw the tears in his eyes.  She pulled him into a hug.  In her arms he started crying.  “Hey, sh, it’s ok.  She’s ok.”

“I don’t want her to be afraid of me.”

“Nick, that was nothing.  Sometimes a child just needs a mother figure, and not a father.”

“You don’t understand.”

“Why don’t you explain it to me?”

“I’m not sure I can.”

“Oh c’mon Nick.  You know you can tell me anything.”  He looked reluctant to talk.  She leaned up and kissed him gently.

“I don’t want you to think any differently of me.”

“I’m sure I won’t think differently.”

“I don’t know.”

“Ok.  How about we go to sleep, and you tell me in the morning.”

“I won’t be able to sleep.”

“So take a sleeping pill.”

Nick shook his head.  “Too big of a risk of addiction.”

“Not if used wisely.”

“For me, it’s too big of a risk.”

“One sleeping pill isn’t going to hurt you.”

“I don’t have the strength to fight another addiction.  So, I can’t risk it.”

“What do you mean another addiction?”

He took a deep breath and looked back down at his hands.  “I’m a former drug addict.”  Roxie stayed quiet.  She was starring at him in shock.  He continued.  “Tracy and I started dating our senior year in high school.  We started drinking and smoking at parties.  But at that point it was only social.  By the time I graduated high school, I was a chain smoker, but only drinking at parties, which were a regular occurrence. 

“That summer was basically the same as our senior year in high school.  Except, that there was a lot more sex.  Most of it was drunken sex in the backseat of my car.  We were usually too drunk to even remember that there was such a thing as condoms, let alone to remember to use one.  Of course she ended up pregnant.  Not with Ariel.  She got into a car accident and lost the baby.  I later found out that she purposely drove her car into a tree.

“We had decided to go to the same college.  We were young and thought we couldn’t live without each other.  Our first college party was when things changed.  It started with marijuana.  Toward the beginning of October, I began experimenting.  I tried so many different drugs, that I honestly couldn’t tell you what I tried.  I got hooked on heroin.  I used to snort it.

“That’s when I started failing classes.  When I wasn’t in class, all I cared about was sex.  And in class, all I cared about was my next fix of heroin.  I actually used to take it to class with me, and snort a line or two in the bathroom.  I ended up on academic probation that semester.

“Over winter break of that year was the last time my sister Leslie talked to me.”

Nick was at home in his parents’ house during winter break from college.  He was hanging out with Tracy in a drunken haze.  None of his family was home, of course, because it was during the day.  His siblings were in school and his parents were at work.  Tracy and Nick were spending their alone time like any time they were alone.  They were passing a joint back and forth and making out.  

 After a few minutes, Tracy’s hand moved down to Nick’s crotch and started massaging the bulge in his pants.  Nick groaned out and Tracy snickered deeply in her throat.  She undid his pants with ease and then began stroking his exposed shaft right away.  Nick rarely bothered to wear underwear considering how much sex he and Tracy had.  Tracy felt him grow just as Nick reached up and put his hand on the top of her head.  He pushed her down his body, letting her know what he wanted.  Tracy pulled his jeans down for more access.  She wrapped her lips around his tip and then pulled away, rubbing her saliva down his dick.  She pulled away for a moment and pumped her hand over him, getting him hard.  Nick brought the joint up to his mouth and inhaled deeply.  Tracy glanced up and smirked and then moved back down and deep-throated him right away.

 “Oh fuck…”  Nick leaned back against the couch.  He brought the joint up to his mouth and inhaled again, closing his eyes and savoring the moment.

 Neither of them were paying much attention to anything going on around them and they definitely didn’t hear the front door opening or the footsteps coming into the living room.  

 “Oh my God!”  A voice screeched.

 Nick opened his eyes slowly and saw his sister Leslie.  “Heyyy, Les.”  He said.  “What’s up?”  He asked.  Tracy continued and her head kept moving up and down in Nick’s lap.

He paused as he took a deep breath.  He kept starring down at his hands.  He didn’t want to look Roxie in the eyes, afraid of what he’d find.  “At the end of January, we went back to school.  We started off going to class.  We were high most of the time when we did go, but we still went.  Then it came to a point where, half the time we didn’t go to class.  We started going through drugs faster than we had in the past and we ended up running out of money.  I was home one weekend and I stole some money from my dad.  Stealing my dad’s money became almost like another addiction.  Between February and April, I stole about $1,000 from my dad.

“By April, it was obvious that I was failing and that I’d get kicked out, but I didn’t care. 

Nick was looking through his dad’s dresser for cash.  His father had begun hiding his money in other places in the house due to theft.  “Trace, I can’t find anything!”  He said.  “Tracy?”  He called out, making his way down the long upstairs hallway.

 “In here!”  Tracy called.

 Nick walked into his sister’s room.  “What are you doing in here?”  Nick chuckled.

 “You think this is my size?”  Tracy asked, holding up a sweater of BJ’s.

 “I don’t know…  Let’s try it on you…”  He smirked.  “First we gotta take this shirt off.”  He said and walked up to her.  He reached down and pulled her shirt up over her head.  “Let’s just keep you like this.”  He grinned.  He kissed her aggressively.  

 Tracy backed up against BJ’s bed and Nick climbed on top of her.  The two shed their clothes quickly and then all of a sudden, Nick was thrusting into Tracy roughly.  Of course they weren’t using protection.

 “Oh fuck…  Fuck me, Carter…  Fuck that pussy!”  Tracy screamed out as he kept doing her.  Nick pounded her roughly.  He moved down and bit her neck roughly, leaving teeth marks in her skin to cover her fading hickeys.   

 Nick leaned up and opened Tracy’s legs further to push into her deeper.  “Fuck, baby, I’m close…”  Nick warned her.  

 BJ walked into her room.  “What the fuck!”  She screamed.  “Nick!  Get out!”

 Nick glanced back at his sister, then turned around and looked back down at his girlfriend.  He thrust into her deeply and deposited a large wad of his seed into her body as he came.  BJ was still in the background shrieking, but neither he nor Tracy seemed to notice or care.  He pulled out of her spent womanhood, pulling some of his cum out and letting it drip on BJ’s bedspread.

 “You’re sick, Nick.  Fucking sick!”  BJ said as Nick collapsed onto his girlfriend on his sister’s bed, not caring about what was going on around him.

“BJ went running to my dad.  He had enough of me.  First Leslie, then the money, which he had just realized I stole from him and BJ, was the last straw.  He told me that if I was going to live like that to get out of the house and out of their lives.

“A couple months later, we found out that Tracy was pregnant and that the conception date was the day that BJ caught us in her room.

“We moved into the apartment that Tracy currently lives in.  I stayed sober long enough to go to work, went home.  When I got home, I smoked a joint, snorted a line, or fucked Tracy and not necessarily in that order. 

“We didn’t stop our use of drugs while she was pregnant.  And it was for that reason that Ariel was born weighing 4lbs. 

“Sometimes I wonder how Ariel survived.  We were such horrible parents.  We were selfish.  If she started crying while we were having sex, we didn’t stop.  As she got older things kinda got worse.  We were used to having sex whenever we wanted it, and that didn’t stop, not even when she was in the room. 

“In the first two years of her life, I was abusive.  If she interrupted us, I hit her.  And I had hit her hard.  She was terrified of me when she was younger.

“One of my friends and his girlfriend somehow found out about how she was treated and they threatened me.  They said if I didn’t get my act together they were going to call social services.

“I don’t know how, but somehow that got through to me.  I guess even fucked up, I knew that I didn’t want to lose Ariel.  So I packed a few things and I went to their apartment.  Unfortunately I had to leave Ariel with Tracy.”

I waited nervously at the door to the apartment, waiting for it to open.  “Nick, what are you doing here?  Are you on something?”

“Please don’t call social services.”

“I told you.  If you don’t clean up your act, I’m calling.”

“Will you help me?”

“What are you asking?” Nick reached into his bag and handed James his stash.  “Why are you giving me this?”

“I want to quit.  So I need you to dispose of that.”

“You should go to rehab.”

“I can’t afford it.  The only way to quit will be to do it cold turkey.  I know that’s hard.  I’m going to need you to help me.”

“James, who’s at the door?”  Becca came to the door and saw Nick.  “What’s going on?”

“Nick wants to quit cold turkey.”

“Please help me.”

“How can we help you Nick?”

“If I stay in my apartment, I’ll have access to the drugs so I won’t be able to stop.  And I looked up what will happen to me, just to get some kind of idea, and I’m going to get pretty sick.”

“So, you want us to take care of you?”

“Please.”

 

~*~

 

Becca opened the door to their spare bedroom.  “How are you doing Nick?”

Nick’s responded only by moaning in pain.  He was sweating and he had just spent the past 48 hours vomiting frequently.  He was feeling cramp like pains in his arms and legs.  His muscles and bones ached.  His stomach was cramping and he was definitely running a fever.  And to make him feel even worse, he wasn’t sleeping.

He could barely move out of bed.  He had a bucket at the edge of the bed for when he had to vomit.  As Becca was coming into the room to check on him, he leaned over the bed and vomited violently.  Becca wrinkled her nose.  When she was sure he was done she sat on the bed next to him.  Holding a towel, she tried to wipe some of his sweat away.  “Do you feel any better?”

“I feel like I’m dying.”  He said with a painful moan

“You’ll get better in time.”

“I’m not so sure about that.” Nick felt his stomach churn, and leaned over the bed.  He wasn’t fast enough and he missed the bucket.

“Eww.”

“I’m sorry, I can help you clean it.”

“You can barely stand up Nick.  Don’t worry about it.”

James walked into the room carrying another bucket.  “Whoa, he got sick again didn’t he?”  He was only referring to the smell.

“Yeah, he missed the bucket a little too.”

“Oh great.”  James groaned.

“I went through, maybe a month of withdrawal, maybe even longer, before I started to feel normal again.  When I started to feel better, they helped me buy the space that my store is in.

“Once the store was successful, I hired a lawyer and that’s when the custody battle started.  The rest is history.”

Nick finally had the nerve to look up at Roxie.  She smacked him hard across the face.  “Guys like you are nothing but trouble.  I’m glad I didn’t sleep with you.” She said and stormed out of the room.  He reached up and held his stinging cheek.  He was regretting telling Roxie, because just as he feared, she now hated him.

He stood up and slowly walked up to his room.  He was hoping that maybe Roxie would be there and they could talk about it.  He entered his bedroom and saw that Roxie wasn’t in there.  He shut the door and leaned against it, sliding down the door until he reached the floor.  Hugging his knees, he started crying.

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