I listened to the entire Unbreakable CD... after about 10 attempts. That's right, 10. Each one was even more difficult. In every single song, I found a specific meaning and it was always when Nick sang his parts or when Brian sang his. I never thought these lines on a peice of paper would mean so much to me and bring back so many memories.
She keeps her secrets in her eyes
She wraps the truth inside her lies
Just when I can't say what she's done to me
She comes to me
And leads me back to paradise
Helpless When She Smiles was the first song I listened to. It wasn't the very first track but for some reason, when I saw the title, I knew it had to be something about me and I was right. I couldn't stop listening to it. I couldn't stop going over the lyrics in my head. What was written was true. I did keep a secret in my eye and I did wrap the truth around a lie. I kept the secret of Nick having a child all to myself. I was shelfish and cruel.
I just wish he would forgive me.
Maybe I need to forgive him first.
She's so hard to hold
But I can't let go
I'm a house of cards in a hurricane
Reckless ride in the pouring rain
She cuts me and the pain is all I want
She dance away just like a child
Drives me crazy, drives me wild
But I'm helpless when she smiles
In every single one of these verses I could clearly hear Nick's voice and honestly... it did sound like he was in pain. Like if he was actually trying to make me feel what he feels at that very moment.
* * *
Emma's thoughts were interrupted by the slamming of the door.
"Oh hey, sorry. Hands are full." Maggie said placing the grocery bags on the counter.
"What's all this?"
"I can see that... but..."
"We're having a guest."
"Oh, funny story. Ran into Patrick. He said something about you bailing on his date. So I..."
"No, you did not."
"Invited him over for dinner? Sure I did."
"YOU bailed on the poor guy! I was just being nice."
Emma sighed. "I had a reason why I bailed."
"Mopping around thinking about Nick? Yeah, that says alot."
"It wasn't mopping around thinking about Nick." She lied.
"Really? You could've fooled me."
"You know what, since you're so deadset on me dating Patrick and you like him so much... why don't YOU date him?"
Maggie sighed and stopped putting the groceries away and walked over to Emma. "Em, don't take this the wrong way but, you NEED to get over Nick."
"I don't need to get need to get over anything or anyone. I'm not thinking about anyone."
"Again, could've fooled me. All you do is think about Nick. Nick this, Nick that. Patrick told me he came by the other day to ask you out on the date that you oh so bailed on and he heard you singing..."
"It has to stop, Em."
Emma was completely outraged. How DARE anyone especially Maggie tell her what she should and shouldn't do. "You're not serious right now, right? Tell me you're joking. Tell me that I'm being punked right now."
"No. Sadly, you're not."
"God, what is your problem?!"
"My problem? I'll tell you my problem. My problem is that you don't do anything around here. My problem is that you spend all your day sitting on that couch or in your room playing away on that pretty little guitar of yours. My problem is that you spend all day writing in that stupid notebook that you've had for years."
"You can't be serious Maggie."
"Yeah, I am."
"I'm sorry that I like doing something that MEANS alot of me. I'm sorry that my life doesn't fit into your perfect little fantasy world. I'm sorry that I don't go out every single damn night and get drunk off my ass. I'm sorry that I don't do any of the things that YOU do. You know why? Because, nothing that you do even interest me. I like being on my own. I like having the free time that I have when I can get it. Just like you, I bust my ass every damn day. I come to this place to pick up and clean stuff that YOU leave around so telling me that I don't do anything is a load of bullshit. Maybe if you could step out of your little "celebrity world" and open your eyes, you would see what I do and if memory serves me correct, THIS is my apartment. YOU just moved in."
"Look, let's just have a nice quiet dinner tonight..."
"You know what? Don't bother. Or better yet, maybe you and Patrick can have your nice quiet dinner. I'm leaving."
"Emma, don't do this..."
"I am. You don't get to insult me. You don't get to put me down. You don't get to tell me who I should and shouldn't see. You don't get to tell me anything. Last time I checked, you're not my mother."
"Emma, I'm sorry. I'm not trying to be your mother."
"Don't. Because honestly," She said, grabbing her jacket and heading towards the door.
"You are NOTHING like her... at all and you never will be."
* * *
"You got everything?" Brian asked a couple of minutes while they were in the car heading towards the airport.
"Yeah. Everything's here."
"Listen Bri, thanks for everything. You really didn't have to do any of this..."
"I did. You're my best friend. I knew you needed me the minute I heard your voice when you called."
"Aw. Brian's getting all mushy on me."
"Shut up." He laughed. "So what are you gonna do when you get back?"
"I was thinking about heading over to Emma's but, doubt that would be a good idea."
"I know, I know. I just want to know if she got the CD. If she even heard it. What she thinks of it. This is like the first time she isn't there to actually listen to it WITH me."
"Yeah man, I know but... just give it some time. Don't rush it. She'll come around."
"Yeah, I hope so." He whispered looking out the window.
* * *
"So... let me get this straight... your best friend is trying to hook you up with some doctor but, you're in love with someone else?"
"Does he know?"
"Does who know?"
"The guy you're in love with. Does he know that you're in love with him?"
"I've been in love with him all of my life. He knows but... he doesn't believe me."
"Ouch. I'm sorry. I know how that feels."
"So, how about another shot to mend that broken heart of yours?"
Emma laughed and then smiled. "Sure."
She had found herself sitting at some random bar downtown, just talking to a total stranger and drinking her sorrows away all the while thinking about Nick and wondering where he was and if he was ever coming back.
"So tell me about his mystery guy?"
Emma smiled again, thinking about Nick. "He's... everything. Tall, blonde, blue eyes, hot. Very very talented... amazing..."
"Sounds hot. He's got a name?"
"Nick." She smiled even more.
"Nick. Why does that sound familiar?"
"Yeah. Last name Carter?"
Emma was surprised. "Uh... ye--yeah yeah."
"Yep. I know him." The bartender smiled at her. "Good kid. Comes here alot, actually."
"Yeah. Usually sometimes by himself or with a group of friends."
So this is where Nick use to escape to. "Do you know if he came here recently?"
"No. Not that I could recall. It's probably been about a month or so since I've seen him." She noticed a few people coming in and got ready to take their orders. "Duty calls." She said tilting her head to the side.
"Yeah." Emma smiled. "Thank you. Definitely needed someone to talk to and thanks for the drinks."
"No problem hun. I'll be right back."
Emma sighed when she felt her phone vibrating. It was a text from Maggie.
Where R U?
Not coming home. Don't wait up. Have a fun date with your new boyfriend. - Em
She hit sent and then shut her phone off.
* * *
"Well hello there Popstar!"
Nick quickly turned around. "Amy!"
"Mr. Popstar, how the hell are ya?"
He laughed. "I'm okay. Been busy. Just got back from Atlanta."
"Atlanta? Well, goshdarnit. What were ya doin' out there?"
"Vacation. Seeing a friend."
"Now Carter, you know that's a crock of shit and I don't believe it."
"I had to get out of LA for awhile."
"Now we're talking... Girl problems?"
"Ha. Figures. Now before you get into telling me about your girl problems... what do you want?"
"Daniels... on the rocks."
"Well shit, you're hitting the bottle hard tonight aren't ya?"
"Just alot on my mind..."
"It wouldn't be about a pretty girl... about 5'5, blonde, green eyes... would it?" She said, arching an eyebrow at Nick with a hand on her hip.
"Since when did you become a mind reader?"
"Since she's been sitting over there," she said, pointing in the direction Emma was at. "For the past 3 hours... taking drink after drink and shot after shot."
"Are you serious?"
"Serious as a heart attack, Popstar."
Nick was quiet for a few minutes, thinking of something to say. He couldn't believe that him and Emma were in the same place again. After a few minutes, he looked up at Amy.
"Is the stage open tonight?"
"For you, it always is."
"Good because I'm gonna need it right now..."
"Why don't you just talk to the poor girl before you scare her with a serenade?"
"It's a long story. If I talk to her, she'll just chew me out."
"And you think she won't just get up and leave while you're singing your pretty little heart out up there?"
Nick looked at Amy with determined eyes. "Not with this song."
"Well then... stage is all yours."
* * *
Emma heard a whole bunch of commotion going on but, she really didn't pay much attention to anything.
Until she heard a familiar voice.
"Hey everyone... uh... it's been a while since I've been here... and uh... it's good to be back. But, uh... before I get into this song tonight I just want to see with a show of hands how many people have been in love and still are in love with that person that you think got away? I see alot of you have... well, I'm one of those people too. And... I don't know if she's out there tonight but... if she is... I just want her to know that I'm sorry for everything. I'm pretty sure everyone knows this song so if you do... feel free to sing it with me."
Highway run into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round
You're on my mind
Restless hearts sleep alone tonight
Sending all my love along the wire
They say that the road
ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line it's been you and me
And loving a music man
ain't always what it's supposed to be
Emma turned around and noticed that it was Nick who was on the stage. Singing one of their favorite songs that they use to always sing to eachother.
She closed her eyes and remembered one specific night when they were laying in bed together, wrapped in eachother arms. They had both promised to love eachother forever and faithfully. She felt her eyes filling up with tears and opened them again, noticing Nick looking right at her and closing his to sing the next part of the song.
Circus life under the big top world
We all need the clowns to make us laugh
Through space and time
Always another show
Wondering where I am lost without you
And being a part ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you
You stand by me
I'm forever yours... faithfully
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
I'm still yours
I'm forever yours
Nick opened his eyes and when he looked to where Emma was sitting, he found that she was no longer there. He smiled at the crowd and jumped off stage, rushing over to the bar.
"Where did she go?"
Nick turned around and rushed towards the door. As he stepped outside, he looked all around. Left, right but he couldn't see Emma.
As he walked down a few more blocks, he noticed something in the corner of his eye.
A person sitting down on a bench, crying. As he got closer, he noticed who it was.
It was Emma. "Em?"
Emma stopped crying and looked up. She noticed Nick was standing in front of her.
"Leave me alone Nick."
"Em, come on. I didn't... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry. God..."
"Why did you come back?"
"I had to."
"I couldn't leave without..." He trailed off, looking away.
"Why did you?"
"What?" She said, looking up again.
"You brought me back. I couldn't leave you here. I couldn't just walk away and not say anything. I did that once before and I just can't do it again."
"You still did."
"I had my reasons."
"Why did you sing it?"
"I had to. I know what it means to you. What it means to us. It was our song and... as much as you don't want to admit it, it still is."
"Hear me out Emma..." He said, kneeling in front of her. "I love you. I always have. Nothing will ever stop me from loving you. Nothing. You don't just have a peice of my heart... you have it ALL."
"I can't stand this anymore. I can't stand that we have to be like this."
"Nick, please." Emma felt her eyes filling up with tears.
"I need you..." He finally whispered to her.
"I need you... you need me..."
Emma smiled and laughed a little at Nick's cheesiness. "I'm so sorry... about everything. About not telling you about Haley. I was so scared, Nick."
"Shhhh, I know. I know you were babe and I'm sorry for the way I reacted. I shouldn't have done that."
"You had the right to."
"I was scared to..."
"I've been... I've been hiding this in for a really long time... and I just want you to know, I..."
"I love you... and I don't want to lose you."
"Hey hey hey, come here." He said, grabbing her and hugging her. "What makes you think you're gonna lose me?"
"Because I lose everyone I care about. Anytime I open up to someone, they walk out of my life or they... die."
"You walked out of my life once already." She said looking away.
"I came back, didn't I?"
Emma nodded and looked at Nick.
"Do you know why?" She shook her head. "Because I had to come back and look into those green eyes of yours and tell you that I love you. You didn't push me away. I came back for you. I just want to let it all go away. I don't want it to be like this anymore. How would you like to just be happy? For once?"
Emma smiled bigger and stared at Nick.
"Stay with me..."
"Just for tonight..."
"Nick, I don't..."
"Tonight, that's it." He said, taking hold of Emma's hand.
"I'll stay with you."