He approached the door cautiously, knocked lightly and then immediately took a step back. It took a few moments for AJ to open the door and as soon as he saw Nick, he tried to shut it; Nick stuck his foot and arm in to prevent AJ from just walking away.
“We need to talk J.”
“I don’t really know what you have to say but I’m not in the mood to deal with you.”
Nick followed AJ into the living area of the suite he was in. His brother was furious and refused to turn around to face him; this was going to be close to impossible. He took a seat on the couch and waited until AJ was ready to talk.
It took a little bit for AJ to even face him as he took a seat on the chair farthest away from Nick.
AJ stuck his hand up as soon as the words started out of his younger brother’s mouth.
“If this is going to be an apology laced with accusations and crap from you then I don’t want to hear it. You can leave right now if that’s your plan.”
Nick took a few deep breaths; he had rarely seen AJ that angry at one of his brothers and he knew that his behavior had caused a major rift. He honestly felt bad about what had happened no matter what AJ believed and he needed to make him understand that.
“No excuses J, I was totally out of line last night. My behavior was inexcusable and I acted like a complete asshole. Frankly, I’ve been acting like an asshole since I got here.”
“Finally,” AJ exclaimed, “you’ve seen the light.”
AJ got up, walked over to Nick and pulled him into a tight hug. The gesture caught Nick completely off-guard and it took a little bit for him to hug his brother back. Once they finished having their moment, they both took a seat on the couch.
“What was that for?” Nick asked with an eyebrow raised. “I kind of thought you might try to kill me.”
“I considered it last night,” AJ replied with a chuckle, “but I didn’t want to be responsible for the removal of Nick Carter.”
Nick laughed and, for the first time in a while, he felt calmer and his mind was clearer. These feelings helped him to understand exactly how bad it had gotten and he regretted putting everyone through his massive, and unnecessary, pity party.
“I need to apologize to you too.” AJ said quietly. “I think my behavior and my constant needling of you didn’t help much to smooth anything over. I know how hurt you were by me constantly telling you to ease up on Emma and, after some serious thinking, I can see how you thought I was choosing her over you.”
Shock passed over Nick; he had planned to come here, apologize, get a serious tongue lashing from his brother and then, hopefully, they would fix their issues. The last thing he ever expected was an apology from AJ.
“You don’t need to apologize…”
“I do. Rochelle and I had a long talk last night and I’ve been making some dumb moves and saying inconsiderate things in hopes of ironing everything out. Obviously, my part in this only made things worse and I feel badly about it.” AJ paused. “I need for you to understand some things that maybe I haven’t addressed with you.”
AJ cut Nick off with a look and mentally prepared himself for what he was about to say. He knew that he needed to tell his brother some things about what had been transpiring.
“I want you to know that I am NOT taking Emma’s side over yours. I understand that it looks that way but you haven’t seen the behind the scenes stuff. When she told you she was leaving, I called Emma and completely chewed her out for what she was doing.”
Nick’s eyes widened; he had assumed that, since he arrived with her, that AJ had been in contact with Emma over the last few years. That misconception was one of the reasons Nick had gotten so mad at his brother in the first place.
“I also want you to know that I did not, at any point, speak to Emma over the last three years. The first time I spoke with her after she left was when I picked her up from the airport and brought her to the hospital.”
“Why did you do that?” Nick asked, glad he would finally get answer to that burning question.
“I did it because I knew what she was walking into. We had supported you for the last few years and we all had cut ties with Emma. Howie was the only one who had interactions with her and that was because of Addie, not because he was being a traitor. I remember way back, at the wedding, when you were chasing Emma around trying to get her to talk to you. None of us really put a stop to that and I knew it was going to be the same this time around and I didn’t want her feeling like she was getting ganged up on. I never did it to hurt you.”
Nick sat back and thought back to Addie and Howie’s wedding; the guys were trying to get him to stop chasing Emma all over the place and they really did try to avoid her a bit for Nick’s sake. He also remembered how Emma was with him, she was angry with him and did lash out, but at no point did she behave the way he had been over the last few days. He had gone overboard with the way he spoke to and acted towards her. His anger at what she did really hadn’t changed but he was starting to understand that he needed to keep it in check for everyone’s sake.
He finished his conversation with AJ and explained that he was heading to Howie’ house when he left. AJ reminded him that if he thought his brothers were mad, their feelings would be no match for Addie’s. Nick had been awful to her friend and it was going to take a lot more than an apology to get her to see his side.
“I would suggest some serious apologizing and some assurances that this behavior is going to end now.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Nick told his brother. “Thank you listening to me and for not punching me.”
“I’ll give you some fair warning, if you do this again,” AJ warned, “the next time I just might!”