The guys had been on a media tour for the last two weeks and they decided to spend the last day just hanging out. Howie had organized a golf trip and the group decided to go to the driving range for a little practice before they started their round.
“Uh-oh, you’ve been thinking again; we all know where that leads.”
“Shut up AJ.”
His brother laughed and held up his hands. “Just kidding.”
“What’s the idea?” Kevin asked.
“Emma’s birthday is coming up in a week and I think we should throw her a surprise party.”
AJ smiled as he looked at his friend’s face. It wasn’t a big shock that the majority of Nick’s ideas and thoughts were focused on a certain someone lately.
“I think that’s a great idea.” Howie replied. “Count Addie and I in.”
“Me and Ro too. What can we do to help?”
“I’ll take care of everything.”
“We’ll find some way to help. Where are you thinking about having it?”
Nick hesitated. “I was kind of thinking about having it at the beach house.”
His four brothers just stared at him for a few minutes before Brian broke the silence.
“Do you think that’s really a good idea?”
“I don’t know.” Nick answered. “I was hoping Addie might be able to help.”
“How?” Howie asked.
“Maybe she could do some digging without exactly telling Emma about the party.”
“What should she dig for?”
“Get an idea of how Emma feels about the house?”
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yes.” Nick answered without pause.
Howie sighed and pulled out his phone.
Addie waited patiently for Emma to arrive. Howie’s phone call prompted her to invite Emma to a spur of the moment lunch and she hoped she could figure out what he wanted to know. She had a few questions of her own concerning her friend and Nick and she wanted those answered too.
“Hey you.” she called as Emma approached the table. “How’re you doing?”
“Good. Glad to get out of the house and do something other than school work.”
“I hear you. I think I was going to go stir crazy if I didn’t do some shopping or some other activity.”
“Well I’m glad you called me.”
“Who else would I call?” Addie asked with a laugh.
“I don’t know.” Emma answered as she perused the menu. “What’s on the docket for after lunch?”
“I figured maybe some clothes shopping. Someone has a birthday coming up and…”
Emma groaned. “Don’t remind me.”
“Oh please, you’re turning thirty-three. It’s not like you’re spiraling into old age.”
“I feel like it.”
“Give me a break. What do you want for your birthday?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a store before but I can check.”
Addie laughed. “Would you be willing to spend it with us and maybe a certain other someone?”
Emma blushed. “Quite possibly.”
“How are you and that other someone by the way? I saw the way you two were acting at the party and how he walked you to your hotel room.”
“Are you following me?” Emma asked incredulously.
“No but I did notice you two sneaking off in that direction. Did he spend the night?”
“Because I wasn’t ready.”
“When are you going to be ready?” Addie asked bluntly.
“I don’t know; I’m afraid.”
“Of making a mistake.” Emma answered after a moment. “What if I make a mistake?”
“What if you don’t? Sometimes, we have to go out on a limb and take a jump. You’re never going to know if there’s something there if you refuse to act on it.”
“So you’re saying I should try it?”
“Yes. Sleeping with or dating Nick is not a contract; it doesn’t mean that you have to marry him.”
“What if he wants more than I can give?”
“Honey, I think at this point, Nick will take whatever you’re offering. He really cares about you and I don’t think he’ll push you past what you can handle.”
Emma mulled it over for a few minutes. “I guess I’ll see what happens when he comes home.”
Addie paused, trying to figure out a way to word her next question. “Speaking of home, how would you feel if Nick wanted you to go over to his place?”
“Well if I’m going out on that limb, why not go all the way out?” Emma finally said.
Addie nodded and was relieved when Emma excused herself to the bathroom. She yanked her phone out of her bag and hit speed dial.
“Tell Nick to start planning.”