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Nick waited for her to call back and, as the days passed, the call never came. He tried again to reach her but it went straight to voicemail. After pleading his case and saying everything he could think of, he just felt empty; there was nothing more he could do.

AJ decided that he couldn’t watch Nick just wallow in the situation any longer so he convinced the other guys to plan a mini vacation for them to get away. They hadn’t done that in such a long time and he felt like everyone might get some peace out of it. Brian suggested Florida and a golfing trip which Kevin and Howie seconded; Nick said yes only to get AJ off his back. He knew what his friend was trying to do and, as much as he appreciated it, he just wanted to be left alone.

Two days into the trip, Nick returned to find a message on his cell phone. When he checked the log, he saw that it was Emma who had called. He raced into the suite living room where the guys were waiting for him to go to dinner.

“She called! She called!”

AJ smiled and motioned for him to check the message. He watched as Nick excitedly put in his password and waited to hear what she had to say. Over the course of listening to the message, Nick’s face went from elation to devastation. He looked as though he was in pain and the guys could tell that the conversation was not going the way he wanted it too. Finally, the message ended and Nick slammed the phone down.

“She doesn’t want to get back together.”

“Did she say that?”

“She didn’t have to.”

Nick handed AJ the phone and left the room. The guys put in on speakerphone and lowered the volume so Nick wouldn’t hear it again. They were surprised to hear the strains of a song they didn’t know come on instead of Emma’s voice.

The sound of your voice the touch of your skin
If we go there it will start all over again
So don't even call there no need for checking in
If it's really over let it just be over

No, we won't be sharing coffee or having lunch from time to time
I won't ask about your family please don't ask me about mine
This is never what I wanted and it's killing me to say
It just has to be this way

We gave all we could we fought the good fight
But no matter how we loved we just couldn't get it right
It hurts to let go but it's harder hanging on
I don't want it to be over but we know that it's over

No, we won't be sharing coffee or having lunch from time to time
I won't ask about your family please don't ask me about mine
This is never what I wanted and it's killing me to say
It just has to be this way

And even if I change my mind
Don't let me hurt me one more time
Stay away from me be as cold as you can be

No, we won't be sharing coffee or having lunch from time to time
I won't ask about your family please don't ask about mine
This is never what I wanted and it's killing me to say
It just has to be this way oh, it just has to be this way***

“Damn.” Brian said quietly. “I guess they’re not getting back together.”

“That sucks.” Kevin replied. “I know how much he wanted that.”

“Addie’s gonna be pissed.” Howie added.

“Seriously?” AJ said to the group. “Are you guys and Nick that thickheaded?”

“No.” Kevin responded. “That song says goodbye quite clearly.”

“No it’s doesn’t. That song screams I still love you but I don’t want to get keep getting hurt.”

***Reba McEntire – “It Just Has To Be This Way” http://www.last.fm/music/Reba+McEntire/_/It+Just+Has+To+Be+This+Way
Emma hung up the phone after making the call to Nick. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt him but this relationship couldn’t be played out like a yo-yo. She loved him more than she had ever loved anyone else and she had wanted it to work. This break had to happen because they couldn’t continue the way they were headed.

She sat down on the couch and picked up the envelope lying on the coffee table. The last few hours were spent reading all the information they had provided and making a list of the pros and cons. When she’d sent in her letter, she didn’t think there was any chance she’d get picked but there is was, offering her a way out. Any way seemed like the best avenue at the moment.


AJ spent half an hour roaming around the resort looking for his younger brother. He finally found him sitting on the sand, looking out over the water; he took a seat next to him and joined him in the silent meditation.

“Why isn’t this working?” Nick finally asked. “Why can’t she see how much I love her?”

“I think she does,” AJ replied, “and that’s what that whole song is about.”

“It’s about her leaving me.”

“No, it’s not.”

“I listened to the song AJ.”

“Well you didn’t listen well enough. The whole song is about two people being in love, trying the best they can and just having it not work out. She isn’t telling you she doesn’t love you, she’s saying she doesn’t want you both to keep hurting.”

“I’m only hurting when she’s not with me. I can deal with anything else, any fights, arguments, misunderstandings. The one thing I can’t deal with is knowing that we’re never going to have what we used to have.”

“Maybe you can.”

“How? It’s obvious that she doesn’t even want to talk to me.”

“So you’re gonna just give up?”

“What other choice do I have AJ?”

“Apparently none if this is how you’re gonna act.”

“Well since you understand this whole thing better than me, what’s your advice?” Nick asked with an attitude.

“Prove it.”

“Prove what?”

“How much you love her. When that whole thing happened with Lauren, Emma told you how much she loved you and instead of telling her you felt the same, you let her walk away. And, as evidenced by your attitude, you’ve resigned to doing it again.”

“I didn’t…”

“Yes you did. Instead of fighting for your relationship, you gave in. I guess you haven’t learned your lesson.”

Nick thought about what AJ was saying. As much as the advice pissed him off, he had to admit that AJ was right; he did give up last time.

“What do I do?”

“You make her talk to you. Not on the phone, or texting or through Howie and Addie. You force her to tell you to your face that she doesn’t want this anymore.”

“What if she says that exact thing?”

“Honestly? I don’t see her saying that. She sent you a message through a song on your phone. I have a hard time believing that she’ll be able to say that to you in person.”


Addie called Emma as soon as she got off the phone with Howie. She couldn’t believe what an idiot she was being and why on Earth she couldn’t get out of her own way.

“What were you thinking?” Addie shouted as soon as Emma answered.

“I’m doing what I have to.”

“You’re hurting Nick, destroying your relationship and for what? Because you’re scared?”

“I’m not scared.”

“Yes you are. And frankly, you are being ridiculous!”

“Thanks for the support.”

“I love you, you’re my best friend but I am not going to sit by and let you ruin something so important.”

“You don’t have a choice.”

“Does Nick?”

“No.” Emma answered quietly.

“What are you going to say when you see him around?”

“I won’t have to say anything.”

“Why not?”

“I’m leaving.”