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“Sorry I took so long Howie. I hope I’m not making you guys late.”

“Not at all.” Howie said with a smile. “I’ll go take a quick one and we’ll head out.”

Addie left to finish getting ready and Emma walked over to the door.

“Thanks for helping me Nick. You didn’t have to and I appreciate it.”

“Anytime.” He paused. “Why are you waiting at the door?”

Emma blushed. “I thought you were leaving.”

“Geez! You tried kicking me out of your house once and now you’re kicking me out of Addie’s too? I’m gonna get a complex!”

Nick felt awful the second he finished his sentence. Emma’s eyes had filled with tears and she walked away into the living room. Sitting down on the couch, she pulled a pillow over to her and hung on to it for dear life.

“I’m sorry Em.” Nick said sitting down next to her. “I shouldn’t be teasing you right now.”

“It’s ok.” Emma wiped at her tears. “I shouldn’t be taking things so seriously.”

“You have every right to. What Jessie did to you was awful and you should be pissed.”

“I know but I can’t keep being so depressed. I don’t want to stay like this.”

“You won’t. It’ll pass but you need time to deal with everything.”

“I’ll get some quiet time tonight and maybe that’ll help.”

“Actually, I was kind of hoping you’d let me hang out with you.”

“You don’t need to babysit me Nick.”

“I’m not babysitting you. I’m all by myself with no plans. In fact, I may be the one that needs a babysitter! You have no idea how much trouble I can get into when left alone.”

Emma laughed softly and couldn’t help but smile a little.

“There it is!” Nick exclaimed. “I’ve been waiting all day to see it!”

“You’re a brat Carter.”

“That’s why you like me.” Nick smiled and draped his arm around her shoulder. “I was thinking that maybe we could order in Chinese and find a movie to watch.”

“That sounds good.” Emma said with a smile.

Without thinking, she settled her head onto Nick’s shoulder. When she finally realized what she had done, she jerked into a sitting position and scooted away from Nick.

“I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“I didn’t mean to do that.”

“Relax Emma. There is nothing wrong with putting your head on my shoulder.”

“I know but…”

“No buts.”

Nick gently pulled her over to him and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. She hesitated and then decided it was ok to put her head onto his shoulder.

“See? It’s ok. No harm done.”

Emma nodded but didn’t say anything.

“You better not be this quiet all night. Otherwise I’m going to have to find some way of torturing you just to amuse myself.”

Emma looked up at him. “You wouldn’t.”

“I would.” Nick said and started to tickle her side. “Are you gonna be quiet all night?”

Emma started to laugh and fight his hands. She was laughing so hard that tears were pouring down her face. Nick was easing up so she could catch her breath. Addie and Howie came into the room and saw the two of them there. Neither one would admit it, but it was nice to see both of their friends happy for a change. They needed, and deserved, it.

“Alright children!” Howie yelled causing them to jump apart. “Do we need to hire a babysitter or can you two behave yourselves.”

“We’ll behave Dad!” Nick teased. “You and Addie can leave now. I promise there will be nothing out of place when you come back.”

“I hope everything’s still in one piece, forget out of place.” Addie replied.

Emma stuck her tongue out at her friend and it caused Addie to smile. She wanted to see her friend happy and in that moment, she was. Nick seemed to bring out a happier side of her and Addie would always be grateful for that.

“You two behave!” Howie said and wagged his finger at them. “I mean it.”

Howie dodged the pillow Nick had threw at him and pulled Addie away. Nick leaned back onto the couch and picked up the phone.

“Know any good takeout places?”


“Want to watch another one?”

Emma groaned. “Really? We’ve already watched three.”

“Three schmee.” Nick said with a grin. “It’s only eleven. I’ll even let you pick this one.”

“Oh wow, thanks. Such a gentleman.”

“Hey, I’m always a gentleman!”

“I know.” Emma said walking over to the DVD rack. “We’re watching this one.”

Nick took the movie out of her hands and grumbled. “Seriously? Do I have to?”

“Yes.” Emma said sternly. “You told me I could pick this one.”

Nick groaned and stretched out on the sofa. “I’m gonna need popcorn for this one.”

“I’m on it.”

Emma left to go make the popcorn and Nick got up and switched the DVDs. He wasn’t thrilled about sitting through the last Harry Potter but if it made Emma happy, he’d suck it up. He turned the lights off and lay back down on the couch.

Emma came in a few minutes later and pushed his feet off the sofa.

“Hey, I was comfortable!” he protested.

“I need somewhere to sit.”

Nick waited for her to sit down and then laid his legs on her lap. “See, now we’re both comfortable.”

Emma just shook her head and pressed play. They made it about halfway through the movie before they were both sound asleep on the couch. Howie and Addie found them in those positions when they came home an hour later.
The couple hated to wake their friends but they looked a little uncomfortable.

“What time is it?” Nick asked as he was waking up.

“It’s about one.”

“In the morning?” Emma asked.

“Yes in the morning.” Addie chuckled. “You need to go to bed.”

Nick stretched and stood up. He reached out his hand and helped Emma to her feet. She stretched her arms and picked up the popcorn bowl.

“Guess I should head back to the hotel.” Nick said sleepily.

“I don’t think so.”

Everyone turned to look at Emma who was standing in the doorway.

“It’s way too late and you’re too tired. You shouldn’t be driving this late.”

Addie nodded. “I agree with Em. It’s too late. You can stay here tonight.”

“Um, where am I gonna sleep?”

“There’s a pull out sofa in the third bedroom. I use it as an office but I always like to have extra sleeping space.”

Nick shrugged his shoulders. “Sounds like a plan to me.”

The four of them made their way to their respective rooms and within the next few minutes, they were all sound asleep.