“How are you Wonder Woman?”
Emma groaned. “You heard?”
“Yeah, Nick called last night to let us know. He thought you should be checked on. How’s the ankle?”
“Looks more like a tennis ball than a baseball.” she said with a laugh. “At least it’s gone down some.”
“Your landlord needs to fix that damn elevator. It’s amazing you were able to climb three flights of stairs with your ankle.”
“I didn’t exactly climb.”
“Well how the hell did you get up there? What’d he do, carry you?”
“Does a piggyback count as carrying?”
“Are you kidding me?” Addie yelled through her laughter. “Hey Howie! Nick gave Emma a piggyback ride!”
“Shut up Addie! You don’t need to tell everyone!”
“Sorry.” Addie said and tried to control her giggles. “How are the hands?”
“Sore but Nick did a pretty good job wrapping them.”
Emma must have been pretty bad if she allowed Nick to touch her at all, Addie thought to herself.
“Well, I’m glad you’re doing better.”
“I am and as much as I don’t want to admit it, I was lucky Nick was around.” Emma thought to herself for a minute. “Why is Nick around?”
“He and Howie are working on some new material. They’re going to put out solo albums at some point and wanted to collaborate on some of the songs.”
“It’s good they can do that but it’s gotta be rough with having two guys in the same house.”
“Oh no, he’s not staying with us. He’s staying at the…”
Addie stopped short; thank God she didn’t finish that sentence.
“He’s staying where?” Emma asked, wondering if the connection was bad.
“At some hotel in Boston.” Addie said quickly. “One of those nice ones that…”
Emma started to tune Addie out; whenever she spit things out quickly, she wasn’t telling the truth. Why would Addie lie about where Nick was staying? Who cares where he stays?
“We’re thinking of going into the city to look at it and see if it’s as nice as he says it is.”
“I’m sure it’s great.” Emma replied. “I can’t see Nick staying in a dump.”
“He’s definitely not in a dump.” Addie assured her. “I’m glad you’re feeling better. I have to go help Howie finish dinner. Call you tomorrow, love you!”
“Love you too!” Emma responded and heard the dial tone. Something was going on and she was gonna find out what it was no matter what.
“How’s Emma?” Howie asked when Addie entered the kitchen.
“She’s fine but I put my foot in my mouth.”
“How’d you do that?”
“Emma asked why Nick was here and I told her…”
“What’s wrong with that?” Howie interrupted.
“That’s not the problem. She asked if it was a problem for us that he was staying here.”
“I almost slipped up and told her where he was staying.”
“That wouldn’t have been good.”
“Yes Mrs. Snappy.” Howie teased. “You know she’s gonna find out eventually right?”
“Not from me! I don’t even want to be in the same room for that conversation.”
Emma headed over to Addie’s the next day after work. Her friend’s answer to her question about where Nick was staying really bothered her and she hadn’t been able to ask her about it at work. She just couldn’t understand why Addie would lie about something so trivial.
When she pulled in the drive, she recognized Nick’s truck and seriously thought about turning around. She finally decided against it; why should she keep avoiding her friends because he might be around? As she was walking up the walkway, another thought popped into her head; this would be the perfect opportunity to find out where Nick was really staying.
“Anyone home?” Emma shouted as she made her way down the hallway into the kitchen.
Her arrival startled the trio and they were surprised that the sight of Nick’s truck didn’t deter her from coming in.
“Hey you.” Addie said, giving her friend a hug. “It’s nice to see you out and about.”
“Hey.” Howie echoed. “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” she replied. “thanks to Nick.”
Nick’s jaw almost hit the floor and he lost his ability to speak. Did she really just say something positive about him?
“Really?” Howie asked. “I didn’t think he was very good at first aid.”
“Shut up D.” Nick said and turned to Emma. “I’m glad you’re feeling better.”
“Thanks and thank you again for helping me out.”
“Wanna stay for dinner?” Addie chimed in wanting to avoid the awkward silence she knew was coming. “We’re having lasagna.”
The three were shocked when Emma accepted the invitation. Everyone thought she’d turn them down since Nick was planning on staying.
Addie was right about the silence that seemed to fall over them as dinner began. Thankfully, it didn’t last very long and Howie broke the tension by telling stories of them being out on the road and staying in some awful places. By the time dinner was over, Howie had run out of stories and Emma thought it would be the perfect time to ask Nick the burning question.
“So I guess the hotel where you’re staying now must be a huge step up from those other places.”
Nick was caught off guard by the statement and really didn’t know what to say. Addie, on the other hand, choked a little on her water.
“Addie was telling me all about it yesterday. What’s the name of it again?”
Neither one of them knew what to say. No one had mentioned to Nick that they told Emma he was staying in a hotel and he knew that he couldn’t tell her where he was really staying.
“The Ritz?” he more asked than stated.
Addie’s face went white and he immediately knew it was the wrong answer.
“So, it’s not the Back Bay Hotel?” Emma asked. She was getting irritated and was tired of them lying to her. “Why is where you’re staying such a big deal? I mean you can stay wherever you want, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s not like your living in…”
Emma stopped midsentence and looked back and forth between the three of them.
“You’re not serious?” she asked her voice getting louder. “Why would you keep that?”
“Because it means something to me.” Nick finally answered. “I’m sorry it that upsets you.”
“Upsets me?” Emma started yelling. “I can’t believe you!”
They sat there not knowing what to say while she grabbed her stuff and stormed out. No one knew exactly how mad she was and Addie got so upset that she eventually headed down to the bedroom.
“That went well.” Howie muttered.
“Yeah right.” Nick replied. “I think I just flushed any progress I made down the toilet.”
“You’re definitely back to square one.”
“Square one? I think I made it back to square negative ten. She’s never gonna speak to me again.”
“She’s never gonna understand why I kept the beach house.”