The dance was Nick’s favorite part of the story as well. He remembered what it felt like to hold Shauna in his arms back then, how he didn’t want to let her go, not for one second. She felt like a natural extension of his arm. A missing piece of his puzzle and any other sickly sweet cliché you could think of. He wished he felt the same way as they danced in their daughter’s room. He closed his eyes and tried capturing that love he felt on the first night he met his wife.
Shauna let go and moved to the bed where Skylar was still bouncing.
“Okay time for bed!”
“Tell the story one more time!!” Sky begged as she took one final jump and landed on her butt, laughing the whole way.
“Tomorrow!” Nick promised as he once again covered his baby girl and kissed her forehead. “Love you more than…”
“The moon, the sun?” She then grabbed her stuffed cow, “This cow?”
He shook his head, “How did you get so silly?”
She shrugged and pulled him close to her, giving him the sloppiest kiss on the cheek.
“Ewww! You slobbered on me!” He said, jokingly wiping it off to even more giggles.
“Okay, enough you two. She’ll never get to sleep if you don’t stop riling her up!”
“Leave it to Mommy; she has a way of sucking all the fun out of a room.”
“Yeah, yeah…good night princess!” Shauna said as she bent down and kissed her daughter on the cheek.
“I love you both!” Sky said through a yawn.
“We love you too!” They answered in unison.
Nick grabbed Shauna’s hand and started dancing her out of the room, which was the other part of the story that Skylar loved so much.
Once the door was closed, the two of them let go of each other, much the same way they had done slowly over the years.
“You know, I sometimes wish that were all true.” Shauna admitted as they walked down the stairs to the living room. “The way you tell it, it just seems like it should have happened that way.”
“Parts of it did.”
Just like all the best fairy tales and romances ever written, the ones that people like the best are the ones that have the sad and scary parts omitted.
While their first date did take place in the coffee shop, after about fifteen minutes, they headed into the bathroom and had wild, unprotected sex against a bathroom stall.
The conversation about Shauna’s life came about in the abortion clinic while she nervously sat waiting to terminate the pregnancy that was created out of that one night stand. Nick sat there shaking his knee and biting his bottom lip a mix of emotions when it came to what was just about to happen. Just as she started rambling about her college degree and graduating at the top of her class, she realized she wanted to keep the baby. Nick was kind of relieved but mostly scared to death.
They left the clinic together not sure what the next step should be. He was on the road with the boys while Shauna remained in Jersey. He had claimed he would do whatever she needed him to do but she said that wasn’t good enough. That was where the real conversation about her mom happened. She did not want her child to live a fatherless life like she did. Nick agreed because of his own upbringing so they had a very small wedding a few weeks later, concocting a story that they had been together for a lot longer than they actually were. News of Shauna’s pregnancy hit the tabloids a month later.
She begrudgingly left her job and joined her husband on the road which caused a further rift in their already rocky relationship. When the two of them were together, they sat in silence, not really knowing what to do or say. The guys felt helpless watching their youngest band mate cope with everything that was happening but there was nothing they could do.
When Skylar was born, they both decided no matter what, they would make their daughter feel like a little princess. Even though, there was an absence of love between the two, they had so much to give their daughter that it appeared like they were completely in love with one another. No one ever asked any questions. When they were in public, they always held hands and kissed. It seemed real, authentic, the stuff that dreams were made of.
No matter how mad they were at one another, they never fought in front of their child. She would never know how it really was. She was never going to end up in therapy talking about her absent father, depressed mother and loveless home. So they pretended all the time. So much that Nick started to buy into his own fairy tale. On sleepless nights when he would hear his wife shift in her bed as he slept on the couch, he’d be back in that coffee shop, listening to her talk about her life and falling in love with her all over again.
“We did dance, remember?” He asked Shauna as she put the light on in the living room.
“I do remember, just not in the café.”
He nodded at her. She was beautiful, just as gorgeous as when he first met her. Tonight, her hair was up in a ponytail and the short skirt and see through blouse were replaced with a pair of sweats and an overly large Eagles tee-shirt.
“You really are beautiful.”
She smiled, “Nick…”
“What?” he moved closer to her now and wrapped his arms around her waist.
“What are you doing?”
The night they had that silent dance was shortly after Skylar was born. Neither of them felt anything more than like for each other. Both hoped for more but even after the birth of their child, neither really felt it. They knew at that point, if they stayed together it would only be for the benefit of Sky.
“We could learn to love each other, right?” The words echoed in Nick’s ears as he let them sink in. “Or do you think this is the closest we’ll ever get?”
He looked over at Shauna and not really knowing how to answer, he pulled her close and began to sway. “If nothing else, it’ll make for an interesting dance, don’t you think?”
She sighed and smiled, “I guess so.”
They swayed in each other’s arms for a few minutes before the new born started to cry.
“I’m glad we did this.” Nick confessed, “I mean sometimes it’s hard but to see the look on her face…”
“I agree.” Shauna said “Now shhh…I’m trying to hear my song…there it is…” She closed her eyes and started swaying.
The two of them danced with their eyes closed, unaware of the smaller pair looking on from the stairway.
“Maybe if I make them tell me the story one more time, they’ll fall in love for real.” Skylar whispered as she watched the two from her perch. “And we can all live happily ever after.”