"We need to talk."
Those were exactly her words. To say that I was scared shitless was a understatement. I wasn't expecting it, so that's why it had surprised me when Emma had called me asking me to come over. There was something in the tone of her voice when she said that we needed to talk that had me real worried.
10 minutes later, I was standing outside of Emma's apartment.
And, there she was. Sitting on her porch.
"Hi." She whispered.
It looked like she was crying...again.
I sighed and sat down next to her. "You okay?" I was scared to even ask her this question but, I had to know.
"Yeah," She shook her head. "This is just alot harder then I thought it would be." She whispered, more to herself.
"You wanna come inside?"
"Yeah. Sure." I smiled at her.
"I'd like that."
* * *
"So how are you really?"
"I'm fine, Nick."
"No you're not."
"Nick..." She sighed.
"I'm just wondering if you're okay. You seem a little stressed. Exhausted, even."
"So then... tell me what's wrong."
She finally looked up and made eye contact with him. His big beautiful blue eyes were staring back at her. It was then that she realized... she had to tell him. She couldn't hold it in anymore. As she was staring into his eyes, her own eyes filled up with tears.
Looking down at her hands again, she whispered, "I'm so sorry Nick."
Nick laughed a bit. "Sorry about what?"
"Everything. I know I messed up."
"Okay, Emma, you're scaring me right now. What's going on?"
"I--I can't do this." She said standing up.
"Can't do what?"
"Nothing." She said, shaking her head.
"Goddamnit Emma! I'm tired of you shutting me out! You called me over and said we needed to talk. I'm here and, you're not saying anything."
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't want any of this to happen."
"What are you sorry about? If you haven't noticed I'm not a mind reader. 99 percent of the time I really don't know what's going on in that head of yours when all you do is give me cryptic answers."
"I read your letter."
"Okay. We could start from there."
"It was nice."
Nice. She thought it was nice. I didn't write that letter for it to be "nice". I wrote it so that she can see that I'm sorry for what I did to her and so that she can open her eyes and realize that I am in love with her.
She picked 1 out of 3.
"I'm sorry. I know that's not what you wanted to hear."
"Actually, no. It's not. I didn't write it so it could be "nice". I wrote it--"
"I KNOW what you wrote it for, Nick. I read it over and over again and it made me realize something. You want to know what that was?"
"It made me realize that I was the wrong one."
"Wrong? Wrong for what? You didn't do anything, Emma. I DID. I was the jerk. I was the asshole that walked out on you. You didn't deserve that."
"No. I was wrong. You know why I was wrong?"
"Because I was scared."
"Scared of what, exactly?
"I let myself be scared when I shouldn't have. I was the shelfish one and it cost me alot of things. I thought that if I just continued to be that way that nothing would happen. That everything would be okay and that you wouldn't walk out on me but, you... you left anyways." She whispered and looked away again.
"I'm sorry Emma. I really am..."
"I know you are. But, I am too. We were both in the wrong."
"Again with the cryptic answers."
"You want to know why I was scared? Why I was the wrong one and the selfish one?"
"Yeah, honestly because for the past..." Nick looked at his watch, "hour or so I've been trying to figure it out."
"Okay." She said while walking towards her room. She walked back out with a picture in her hand. "This... is why." She handed the picture to Nick.
"What's... this?" Nick said with a confused look on his face.
Emma turned away from Nick and stared out the window. "Turn it over."
And, he did. That's when he saw it. The name they had once picked out together.
Haley Nicole Carter
"You wanted to know the truth, right? You wanted to know why I was scared. That right there," she said pointing to the picture, "is your answer."
"She was ours, Nick." She whispered. Her eyes filling up with tears once again.
Nick turned it over again and stared at the tiny little figure that was in black and white. "She?"
"It was a girl."
"She died." She whispered again.
He looked at the picture again and felt a lump in his throat. As Nick gathered his thoughts, he only had one question. "Why?"
"I had a--"
"NO. I don't want to know anything else. I want to know why?"
"I'm telling you why."
"WHY did you keep this from me?!" He yelled.
"I just didn't know--"
"You can't even tell me why you kept this from me. All of people, ME."
"Either way if I had told you, you would've left anyways."
"You don't know that Emma! God. Here I was kicking my own ass worrying about everything that I had done to you and feeling sorry for myself and you kept this from me."
"How long were you gonna wait to tell me this? Until she was 18 years old and knocking on my door asking me if I'm her father?"
"She would've been two years old today..."
"Today? You decided to tell me this TWO YEARS LATER and ON her birthday of all days?! Nice Emma, real nice."
"What was I suppose to do? I was scared."
"You were suppose to tell me even if you were scared! I was there for you Emma. I was always there for you. When no one else even bothered to give a shit about you, I DID."
She sighed. "Even if I would've told you, you would've left, Nick. You weren't ready for kids. You weren't ready to settle down."
"You think that little of me? We were together practically all of our lives. You didn't even think for one second that I had thoughts about asking you to marry me? That I wanted you to be the mother of my kids? Because I did. No matter where my career had ended up... no matter if everything else failed... I wanted YOU by my side."
"You kept this from me. All these years. All those months. That hurts me more then anything."
"You say this now because you are older but, I know if I had told you back then...you wouldn't have cared."
"Again with the whole, you wouldn't have cared. That's where you're wrong. Had you told me, I would've cared. I'm not going to be stupid and not say that it wouldn't changed our lives and our relationship but, if that was what it took to make everything alright, I would've taken that chance!" He said standing up from the couch, yelling.
"I'm so sorry Nick."
"Now I understand everything. Why you wouldn't let me in. Why you didn't want me around. Why you kept saying sorry. Now I know."
"I didn't mean for any of this to happen this way Nick. If I could change everything I would. I know that I messed up. I know that I should've told you. It wouldn't have changed anything. We were unfixable."
"Wrong again. It would have changed EVERYTHING. If I had to get down on knee and ask you to marry me at that moment, I would have. You know why?"
"No! You know why? Because, I loved you Emma. I fucking LOVED YOU." He said with tears filling up his eyes.
"And, I loved you."
"No, you didn't."
"Nick, please don't say that."
"Really? If you loved me enough you would've told me this instead of keeping it from me for TWO YEARS."
"Sorry? You're sorry? I have a daughter who I didn't even know about. Who I never even got a chance to see or to hold...nothing and, all you could say is that you're sorry."
"I lost her too Nick! It wasn't just you. You didn't have to carry her for 9 months, which I didn't even get to do because I lost her when I was just 3 months! So don't tell me about not being able to see or hold her because I went through the same exact thing too!"
"Two whole years Emma. TWO YEARS." He whispered.
"I'm hurting too, Nick." She said, opening her arms to hug him.
"Don't. DON'T even come near me. I can't even look at you right now." He said backing away from her.
"You don't mean that."
"You know what? Right now, I do. You lied to me..."
"And, you don't think you have lied to me?!"
"Now is not that time for that, Emma. This isn't about you. This isn't about me. This isn't about US. Yeah, I may have lied to you about small stuff but, that has nothing to do with the fact that you lied to me about having a daughter!" He yelled, grabbing his jacket.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm leaving. I can't even look at you right now and if I stay here longer I might say or do something that I'll regret."
"Nick, please don't do this. I'm so sorry." She said begging for him to stay.
"Leave it alone, Emma. What's done is done. Don't look for me. Don't call me. Don't even text me. I thought things could work out between us but, I guess I really thought wrong."
"It could work out, Nick. I'm so sorry. I just-- I don't know anymore. I don't know what I want. All I know is that I... I love you."
As Nick got to the door, he turned around. "You know, it's one thing to say you love someone and another thing to actually MEAN it. It's okay to say things to me because, words just bounce off of people but, when the person I have loved for years LIES to me, that's what hurts me the most."
"Nick!" She called out to him.
"I'm done, Emma. Just know that I have always cared about you. I have always loved you. It just sucks to know that you didn't feel the same way about me or at least slighty. Trust is a big thing to me and you know that or well... at least I thought you did. You broke that trust and... I don't even know if you could even get that back."
And with that, Nick was gone leaving Emma standing there with tears in her eyes.
As he got into his car he realized that he was still holding something.
Emma's first ultrasound picture.
He pulled out his cell phone and dialed a familiar number.
"Hey man, it's Nick." He said swallowing the lump that was forming in his throat.
"Yeah, yeah... I'm...alright." He said, while looking at the picture. "Listen, um..."
He took a deep breath and counted to ten in his head and whispered,
"I need to get out of LA."