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“Oh my God Nick!” Emma dropped the phone and ran over to where he was. “I’m so sorry! Are you ok?”

Nick laughed and bent down to pick up his bag. “Yes, thankfully you have really crappy aim.”

“Did I hit you?” Emma asked horrified. “I am so sorry.”

“No, but you dented my bag pretty well. Good thing I moved my breakable stuff to the other one.”

“I’m really, REALLY sorry Nick. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Nick closed and locked the door. He left his stuff in the hallway and steered Emma down to their bedrooms. Following her into her room, he flopped down on the bed and patted the spot next to him. Emma sat down quietly and waited for him to speak.

“Why didn’t you tell me what happened the other day?” he asked quietly.

Emma hung her head. “You were busy and I didn’t want to bother you. I know you have a lot going on right now.”

“We live here together Emma, and I need to know what goes on too. Don’t ever feel like I’m too busy.”

Nick looked over at her and finally got a look at what Addie had been seeing. Emma had dark circles under her eyes and she looked like she hadn’t slept in weeks. He brushed her hair out of her face and smiled.

“I think you could use some sleep.”

Emma nodded but didn’t move. Nick kicked off his shoes and lay back onto the bed next to where Emma usually slept. She waited for a few minutes and crawled back under the covers.

“I’ll stay with you till you fall asleep ok.” Nick told her. “I won’t go anywhere till you’re out like a light.”

“Thank you.” she answered quietly and closed her eyes. Just having Nick near her was enough to help her relax and within moments, she was asleep and snoring peacefully.

Nick smiled and watched her as she slept. He had planned on going back to his room to unpack but his lack of sleep made him drowsy and he soon fell asleep beside her.

Emma awoke to an empty bed. She was startled when she heard someone talking but then she remembered that Nick had come home the night before. Pulling on a sweatshirt and jeans, she padded down the hallway and into the kitchen.


Nick helped up his finger and kept talking. “Yes today. No this can’t wait; it has to be done today. And I want the whole package, anything that you offer.”

Emma waited till Nick was off the phone before saying anything.

“Sorry,” Nick said, “that was the security company. They’re coming by today to install a new alarm system.”

“Nick that’s not…..”

“Yes it is necessary.” he said sternly. “You need to feel safe and I can’t be out doing whatever I need to unless I’m absolutely positive you’re alright.”

Emma was touched by his concern but she didn’t want to interfere with what he was trying to do.

“I appreciate that but I know you have better things to do than babysit me.”

“I’m not babysitting you, I’m keeping you safe.” And before Nick could stop himself, he added, “I don’t want anything to happen to you. You’re important to me.”

Emma blushed and nodded. “Thank you for always looking out for me.”

“You don’t have to thank me.”

Nick came around the island and put his arm over her shoulder. She looked up at him and all he wanted to do at that moment was kiss her. He leaned in without thinking and his lips almost touched hers. Unfortunately, the moment was ruined by the sound of the doorbell ringing. Nick pulled away with regret and went to open the door.

Emma waited till he was gone and finally let out a breath. He had caught her off-guard and she wasn’t sure what she would have done. In one respect, she was grateful Nick had a distraction. On the other hand, she wanted to know what it was like to be kissed by Nick; not because he was a Backstreet Boy but because she had developed feelings for him. She would never say it but his actions made her think that maybe it wasn’t one-sided.

The security company spent the day setting up the new system for Nick and Emma. Every window and door was alarmed and they had sensors everywhere. There was also flood lights installed in the back yard and they had the ability to view the house whenever they weren’t home to make sure everything was ok. Emma was amazed at everything they had put in and she said that to Nick once everyone was gone.

“This is nuts Nick. I was waiting for them to pull out an electrified fence!”

“No, that’s a separate company. They’re coming tomorrow.”

Emma’s eyes went wide and her jaw dropped. Nick couldn’t help but laugh.

“I’m kidding Em. I would never do that. You’d probably electrocute yourself!”

Nick ducked as she threw a pillow at his head. “Haven’t you hit me enough?” he said with a laugh.

“That’s not funny Nick. I didn’t mean to.”

“I know.”

Nick walked over and wrapped his arms around Emma. He looked down at her and stared into her eyes. It was in that moment that he realized whatever he felt for Emma wasn’t just friendship anymore. Pulling her in tightly, he leaned down to kiss her.