She didn’t think she’d be this nervous seeing Nick again. It’s not like she was going on a date with him, it was just dinner with friends. So why couldn’t she just decide on something? Her phone rang just as the thought left her mind.
“It’s me.” Addie replied. “I’m calling to tell you to stop trying on every item of clothing in your closet and get your butt over here.”
“How did you…”
“Honey, we’ve been friends for so long that I know you just like I know myself. And I know for a fact that I would be doing the same thing if I was having dinner with my ex.”
“It’s not like…”
“Yes it is. You’re nervous about seeing Nick again and you want to make sure you put your best outfit forward!”
Emma laughed as she sank onto the bed. “Ok, ok, I give.”
“So what’d you choose?”
“The black skirt with the aquamarine camisole and sweater.”
“The short one or the long one?”
“The long one…”
“Change into the short one.”
“But I’m not…”
“I know you’re not but it doesn’t mean that you can’t look hot.”
Emma just shook her head. “Alright.”
“Good. Go get dressed and get over here!”
Emma hung up and walked over to the closet. She pulled the shorter skirt out and held it against herself. Maybe Addie was right, what could looking cute hurt?
“So she knows I’m coming and she’s going to stay anyway?”
Howie laughed. “No, she found out you were coming and we locked her in our closet to keep her from running away.”
“Funny Dorough. I’m trying to be serious.”
Nick was on his way to Howie’s house and his friend had called to let him know that Emma would be joining them.
“Sorry Nicky. Yes, she knows you’re coming and she’s still going to join us.” Howie paused. “In fact, this was kind of her idea.”
“What?” Nick yelped into the phone as he swerved on the road. “She suggested it? Why?”
“Drive carefully buddy.” Howie reminded him. “I think she feels badly about the argument you guys had and she told Addie she wants to be on better terms with you.”
Nick was speechless. He figured that once she found out about the house that was the end for them. She sent him a text to apologize and he thought that one text was all he was going to get.
“Should I bring something?” Nick asked, the thought occurring to him as he got closer to Howie’s.
“Like what? A corsage?” Howie asked with a chuckle. “Dude, you’re having dinner not going to the prom. How about you start with just you and see how that goes?”
“You’re a jackass.”
“I know and that’s why you love me. Drive carefully and we’ll see you when you get here.”
Nick hung up and put both hands on the steering wheel. What the hell was he getting himself into?
Emma pulled in and saw that Nick had already arrived. Stepping out of the car, she smoothed her skirt down and straightened her shirt. She still couldn’t understand why she was so nervous about doing this; she’d already let Nick help her after she fell. After giving herself another glance over, she rang the bell and waited for someone to let her in.
“Hey.” Addie said as she opened the door. “You finally made it.”
“I hit some traffic…”
“Bullshit.” Addie mumbled. “I can see the makeup.”
Emma blushed and tried to deny it.
“Nice try chica.” Addie replied and pushed her through the doorway. “She’s here!”
“Do all the neighbors need to know?” Howie called out as they were entering the kitchen. “How are you Em?”
“Good.” she answered, giving Howie a hug. “Thanks for having me over.”
“It was your idea.” he responded with a chuckle.
Emma turned bright red. Why did Nick have to know that she planned this?
She finally turned around to find Nick standing against the counter. He was wearing a pair of jeans that fit just right and a white collared shirt with his sleeves pushed up, showing just a little of the muscle she knew was there. The sight of him was so distracting that she forgot what to say.
Nick seemed equally preoccupied. He’d never seen that outfit on her; it was one that he would never have forgotten. Her skirt was the perfect length and the shirt was cut just right. She was wearing makeup and had done a pretty five strand braid with her hair. He didn’t remember her ever being as beautiful as she was tonight.
“Hm, hm.” Howie said clearing his throat. “Are you guys even paying attention to me?”
Nick shook his head and snapped himself back into the present. “Yeah, what’d you say?”
Howie laughed. “Guess not. Can you help us set the table?”
“Sure.” Emma answered quickly wanting to get her mind off Nick. “What can I do?”
“Can you grab the plates out of the cabinet?” Addie asked as she was pulling out the casserole.
Emma nodded and opened the cabinet. She pulled out a stack of plates and as she turned, her heel caught the edge of Addie’s chef mat and she stumbled. Shoving the plates onto the counter, she fell hard onto the floor. It took a second for everyone to realize what happened and without thinking, Nick said the first thing that popped into his mind.
“Some things never change huh?”
Emma looked up at him and her eyes narrowed.