“It’s just one day.” Emma said as she lay with her head on Nick’s chest.
“I know but its New Year’s Eve.”
“I know but it’s an important show for you guys and you need to do it.”
“But it’s New Year’s.” Nick whined.
“Really? I wouldn’t have known without you telling me a million times since Christmas.” she teased. “What exactly are you worried about?”
“I wanted to spend our first New Year’s together, not completely across the country.”
Emma propped herself up on one arm and turned to look in Nick’s face.
“I’m gonna be here when you get back Nick. I’m not going anywhere and we can celebrate then.”
Emma put a finger on Nick’s lips to silence him. “Just because it’s not exactly on the day doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate it. Are you guys always home on the holidays?”
“No buts. I know you all make sacrifices for this career and I know how much music matters to you. I get that and I know that at some point, we’ll have to be apart for longer periods of time.”
“But it doesn’t have to be now.”
“Yes it does and honestly, I think I would get used to it better if it was in small increments of time to begin with. I know your tours will be longer and that’s going to be hard on me.”
Nick realized that he’d never really thought about his absence affected Emma. He was focusing on just what he wanted without giving a thought to how she’d feel.
“You promise to be here?” Nick asked.
“I will be the first person you see when you step off that plane.”
At that moment, Della chose to get up and nudge Nick with her snout.
“And she will be the second person.” Emma added with a laugh. “She’s going to miss you too.”
Nick chuckled and reached over to pat their dog. “I’m gonna miss her too. I love taking her out on runs and playing with her.”
As if she understood what that meant, she barked and raced to get her leash.
“You started it.” Emma said with a grin. “Now she’s gonna want to go outside with you.”
“Ok, ok.” Nick said as Della came back dragging the material behind her.
He crawled out of bed, threw on his clothes and turned around to kiss Emma.
“I’ll be back soon.”
“I’m holding you to it!”
“So how are you doing with the idea of Nick leaving?”
“About as good as you’re doing with Howie leaving.”
“I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s completely miserable.”
Emma smiled sadly. “Nope, I’m in the same boat. Remember what they say, misery loves company.”
“You’re gonna be keeping me company on New Year’s!”
“How’s Nick doing?” Addie asked.
“He’s bummed about us not being out there and is trying to spend most of his time with me. At least the time when he’s not in the studio.”
“What’s he doing out there?”
“I’m not sure. He says it’s a surprise and I can’t see it yet.”
“Have you tried sneaking in?” Addie asked with a laugh.
“I’ve thought about it!”
“When is he going to tell you?”
“He said after dinner tonight.”
“They’re leaving tomorrow!”
“I know, it’s stressing me out. I want to see whatever it is!”
“Well at least he’s giving you a head’s up. I want you to call me as soon as you can and tell me what it is.”
“Ok. I’ll talk to you in a bit.”
“K. Love ya.”
“Love ya too!”
Nick was amused as he watched his girlfriend fidget in her seat during dinner. The suspense must be killing her, he thought. As much as he wanted to show it to her, he had to wait for the right time. They barely made it through dessert before Emma threw down her napkin.
“I want it. I want it right now!”
“Wow!” Nick said. “I think it’s a little daring don’t you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You want it right now? Right here in the kitchen in front of all the windows?”
Emma balled up another napkin and threw it at him.
“You know that’s not what I’m talking about!”
Nick laughed and stood up. He pulled her into a tight embrace and kissed her gently. Smiling as she wrapped her arms around his neck, he worked his way down her neck and back up to her lips. She held on a little tighter and he increased his intensity. After a moment, he pulled back and stared into her eyes.
“Do you still want what’s in the studio?”
Emma bit her lip as she thought about it. It was taking all of her willpower not to drag Nick down to the bedroom but she wanted to see what he’d been hiding.
“Can I see the surprise and then we can head back in?”
“You’re just a little kid at heart.”
Emma smiled as he led her out to the backyard. Unlocking the door, Nick led her over to the couch and had her sit with her hands over her eyes. Once he made sure she wasn’t peeking, he strode over to the easel, turned it around and tugged the sheet off. He made his way back to the couch, sat down next to Emma and pulled her hands away from her eyes.
It took a few moments for Emma’s eyes to focus on the easel board but when she did, she gasped. Jumping out of her seat, she made it across the room in a few steps. She reached out her hand to touch the drawing but Nick stopped her.
“It’s not completely set so be careful if you touch it.”
She pulled back her hand and covered her heart with it.
“Do you like it?” Nick asked.
“I love it.”
Nick had managed to capture her and Della in the most beautiful moment. There had been a night a while ago where she and Nick took Della down to the beach. It was sunset and Emma had stopped to sit on the sand and enjoy the view. Della had managed to nuzzle her head under Emma’s elbow and settled down next to her. He had gotten her smile and Della’s eyes as they sat together. It was the best gift she’d ever received and the fact that Nick had spent so much time on it meant the world to her.
Nick waited as she looked over every inch and took in every detail. He wanted to give her this gift, something no one could buy her and that would show his feelings for her. As he was about to say something, she turned and threw her arms around his neck and pulled him as close to her as possible. Her kiss held so much passion that it caught him off guard and he stumbled backwards onto the couch. She straddled him and leaned in so close that he could feel her breath on his face.
“We’re not going to make it back to the house.”