“Did you get enough sleep?”
“Jesus!” she yelled and spun around; she’d been so distracted that she didn’t see Nick lounging on the sofa.
“Is now a good time to talk?”
Emma nodded and put down her mug. She sat down hesitantly next to him and turned so she could see his face.
“I know you were pretending to be asleep last night.”
She didn’t try to deny it.
“This is really important and we need to talk about what happened yesterday.”
“I know I just couldn’t deal with anything else last night.”
“Well, when were you planning on doing it?”
Nick sighed. “If we’re gonna make this thing work, you have to get used to a few things. First is that we need to talk about things right away, even if we don’t want to.”
Emma started to say something but Nick cut her off.
“I’ve seen the guys have really uncomfortable moments with their wives but I’m telling you, the longer something festers, the worse it gets. This is especially true when we’re on the road. The more time spent not talking is not going to help either one of us. Look at what happened between me and Lauren.”
That comment made Emma flinch and Nick noticed her bristle.
“I didn’t mean it like that Em. I’m not sad that it happened because I have you now. I just want you to see the repercussions of not talking things through with each other. Can you understand that?”
She nodded and Nick continued.
“Second, being with me is going to be a pain in the ass sometimes.”
Emma snorted which caused Nick to chuckle.
“I’m serious. If you’re gonna question whether you belong with me because of some stupid comments Leighanne made, it’s gonna be worse when the fans get ahold of you.”
“Honestly, I don’t think you do. Some of the fans loved Lauren and they’re gonna be pissed when they find out I’m dating you. There are some fans that are gonna be pissed no matter who I’m dating. There will always be comments on social media about who I’m dating. Some will be kind and others will be extremely hurtful. Most of our fans are good about respecting the women we’re with but some still take things too far. I know it hurt Lauren a lot when she would see some of the horrible things they posted about her. Trust me, Leighanne is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to slinging insults.”
Emma sat in silence for a few moments. “I guess I didn’t think about all of that.”
Nick pulled her over and wrapped his arms around her. She laid her head on his chest and hugged him tightly.
“I know.” he replied quietly. “You’re extremely important to me and I don’t want you caught off-guard. The media's gonna go crazy and everyone’s going to have questions about you.”
“I know and I’m sorry if that creates problems for you.”
“There are no problems for me. I have you and that’s all I need. You and I belong together and if you don’t mind, I want to be able to tell people that.”
Emma looked up at him and smiled. “I object, strongly.”
“Brat.” He leaned down and kissed her gently. “Are we good?”
“We were always good.” Emma answered and kissed him again. “We’ll always be good.”
“Glad to hear that.”
The guys’ management called a few hours later and Nick didn’t look thrilled when he got off the phone. Emma noticed him slump down on the sofa and cover his eyes.
“What’s up?” she asked sitting down next to him. “Remember what you said about always talking things through.”
“Apparently, someone already talked to the press and they know all about you.”
“I think I can guess from your attitude that we know who that someone is and that the media might not have the whole story.”
“They never have the whole story and they don’t care. All they want is to sell something and even half-truths will get people’s attention.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“What do you want me to do?” Nick asked surprising her. “I’ll do whatever you feel comfortable with.”
Emma thought about her options. She knew that Nick had told her earlier that she belonged with him and that he would be willing to tell everyone that. The problem was she knew that would create an avalanche of crap for him.
“I think you shouldn’t say anything.”
Nick just looked at her.
“I know we’re together and you know we’re together right?”
“Then that’s all that really matters. What anyone else “knows” or thinks they know is not an issue for us. I think it’ll be worse if we feed into what got started. What’s done is done and we don’t need to explain it to anyone.”
Nick smiled and kissed her deeply. “Have I told you lately how amazing you are?”
“Not today.” Emma giggled. “But I think you can make up for it.”
Nick didn’t need any more prompting. He pulled her up and threw her over her shoulder. She started laughing and banging on his back.
“Put me down!”
“I will when we get to our final destination!”