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“Emma?” Nick whispered as he knocked on the door. There was no answer so he knocked again. She still didn’t answer so Nick turned the knob and found it locked. He knocked again. “Please let me in Emma. I need to talk to you.”

There was no answer from inside and Nick banged his head against the door. He should probably back off and give her some space but he didn’t want to. This mess needed to be cleared up and he wasn’t going anywhere until he explained what happened.

“I’m not leaving Emma. You can stay locked in there but I’m not walking away. I’m gonna keep banging on this door and calling your name……”

His statement was cut off by the sound of the door unlocking. He gave it a minute before opening it and when he did, he found Emma lying down on the bed with her back turned to him. Della came over to sniff him and then she walked away; even the dog knew how bad he’d screwed up. He walked over to the bed, sat down behind her and put his hand on her shoulder. She shook it off and he hung his head.

“I’m really sorry Emma. You weren’t supposed to hear that.”

Emma flipped over and glared at him. “So you did mean it!”

“No, that’s not what I meant.”

Turning over again, she muttered something about wanting him to leave.

“I’m not going anywhere till you hear me out.”

“So talk.” Emma said. “And then leave.”

“I said what I said to Lauren because she was being a jerk and I just repeated what she said. I was being sarcastic and if you had hung around for the conversation, you might have known that.” Nick said more harshly than he meant too.

“Feel better now?” Emma asked and pulled her pillow over her head.

This was ridiculous, Nick thought to himself. He ripped the pillow off of her and threw it across the room. Emma jumped up startled and backed herself up against the headboard.

“I’m sorry.” Nick apologized when he saw her face. “You wouldn’t listen and I didn’t know how else to get your attention.”

“Maybe I wasn’t listening because I don’t believe you.”

“Why?” Nick pleaded. “I’m telling you the truth. I said it but I didn’t mean it. I would give anything to take it back but I can’t.”

“You’re right, you can’t.”

“Please Em. You have to believe me.”

“No Nick, I don’t. This whole thing is a mess just like I said it would be.”

“What does that mean?” Nick asked shocked.

“It means that if you’ll leave me alone, I’ll pack up some of my stuff and leave. I can come back for the other stuff later.”

Nick watched Emma like she was in slow motion. She pulled a suitcase out of her closet and started putting clothes into it. He couldn’t believe what was happening. Two hours ago, he’d been about to kiss her and now she was packing to leave.

Finally, he was able to get his feet and brain to move at the same time and he jumped off the bed. He slammed the drawer shut and he spun her around so she was looking at him.

“I’m sorry Emma. I really am.”

Emma just stared at him and he could see the tears starting to form inside her eyes. She wasn’t listening and he did the only thing he could think of. He put his hands on both sides of her face and pulled her close to him. Leaning down, he kissed her gently and when she didn’t pull away, he pressed his lips firmly against hers. He let his hands fall away from her face and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against him as tightly as he could.

Emma was completely surprised by Nick’s kiss and, even though she was furious with him, she put her hands on the back of his neck and kissed him with as much strength as she could. The kiss lasted for a few moments before Nick felt Emma start to pull away.

“Don’t.” he mumbled into her hair and tightened his grasp. “Don’t pull away from me.”

The tears fell from Emma’s eyes and onto Nick’s shirt. “We can’t do this Nick.”

“Why?” he whispered.

“Because I don’t want to be the rebound girl.” Emma answered still trying to push him away.

Nick raised his head to look in her eyes but didn’t release her. “You are not the rebound girl Em. You’re the woman I want to be with. Please believe me about this. If nothing else, please believe this.”

Emma shook her head and a few more tears escaped her eyes and landed on Nick’s arm. “Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why me?”

“Because I like who I am with you.”

Emma lowered her eyes and Nick rested his head on top of hers.

“I like who I am when you’re with me. I laugh more than I ever have and I feel comfortable with you. Being away from you the last couple of days was hard.”

Emma laughed in spite of the situation and finally stopped trying to pull away from him. Nick backed up so that he was resting against her desk and positioned her so that one of his legs was on either side of her. He never let up on his grasp on her waist and she moved when he pulled her closer. Leaning in, he kissed her again and this time, she didn’t try to pull away from him.

They stayed like that for a little while until Della whined about being let out. Emma pulled back and Nick was hesitant to let her go.

“I have to let her out Nick.”

“Will you come back?”

Emma nodded and walked down to the living room with Della at her heels. She opened the back door and stepped out onto the patio. She was replaying what just happened in her mind when she felt two arms encircle her waist. It startled her but she began to relax when she felt Nick kiss her neck lightly.

“Why did you come out here?” Emma asked.

“I didn’t believe that you’d come back.” Nick answered with a chuckle. “Now that I have you, I don’t want to let you go.”

Emma blushed and turned to face him. She wrapped her arms around his waist and looked up into his eyes. “You don’t have to.”

“Good.” Nick said and swept her off her feet. He whistled to Della who followed them into the house. After making sure the door was locked, he carried Emma down to her bedroom and slammed the door with his foot. Nobody else was going to interrupt them tonight.