- Text Size +
The next week flew by; the guys were putting the finishing touches on their album while Addie and Emma helped Rochelle go shopping for the newest Backstreet baby. She and AJ knew they were having a girl so it made selecting things much easier.

“Thank you guys for going with me.” Rochelle told them as they took a seat in a caf. “I really appreciate it.”

“We know AJ’s busy and we also know you hate sitting around.” Emma teased. “It’s good for us girls to get a little retail therapy.”

Emma knew that after the weekend, everyone would be leaving and heading back to their homes. Brian, Leighanne and Baylee were heading back to Georgia, Kevin and crew were going to Kentucky and AJ was taking the girls back to California. It was his trip back to California that bothered Emma the most; she had bonded with his wife and she would miss her greatly. She would also miss his support and friendship for her.

“You know you can call and visit whenever you feel like it.” Rochelle smiled at Emma as if she could hear her thoughts. “California’s beautiful and we have extra room.”

Besides Addie, who would always be her best friend, Rochelle was the one wife that she truly connected with. As her husband had done, she supported Emma and gave her advice when she asked. Emma never forgot the first time she had met Rochelle; Nick had been planning a Thanksgiving gathering and Rochelle wanted to meet her first, to break the ice. After that, they became close and had always gotten along well; she would miss her and AJ a lot when they left.

“I appreciate the invitation.” Emma assured her. “Maybe I’ll take you up on it sometime.”


“So you guys are heading back soon?”

Nick and AJ were hanging around by the hotel pool. After squashing their issues, they had been quick to get back to their normal ways with each other. Nick had missed his older brother and all the good times they shared; it was hard to shut out the guys when he first saw Emma at the hospital and he was relieved he didn’t have to do that anymore.

“Yeah,” AJ replied, “Rochelle has some doctor’s appointments coming up and my mom misses seeing Ava all the time.”

“You really lucked out with Ro, she’s an awesome girl. Not sure why she puts up with you though!” Nick threw a napkin in AJ’s direction. “She must be a masochist!”

“Funny Carter! Just wait till you get married and I get to make all the jokes at your expense!”

AJ regretted saying that the minute it came out of his mouth; his wife always said that there were some things he should just keep to himself. He watched as Nick’s eyes clouded over; seeing Emma again had stirred up all the emotions he had been shoving down.

“Sorry little brother. Sometimes I just need to keep my mouth shut.”

“It’s ok.” Nick told him. “You didn’t really say anything wrong.”

Nick’s feelings had been going up and down since the night at the bonfire. He had spent so much time angry at Emma and hating her for what she did to him. Even though he said that to convince himself as much as everyone else, he had to admit that if something had happened to her, he would have been devastated. He didn’t even remember how he got to her; he just knew he needed to stop her from being hurt.

“You did a really good thing the other night.” AJ said quietly as though he was reading Nick’s mind. “She was lucky that you got there in time.”

“I just couldn’t imagine something happening to her.”

AJ didn’t push Nick any further, he knew what his brother was feeling. No matter how much someone wants to move on, there are just some of those people that keep that someone from forgetting them. He knew that person was Emma for Nick and he was pretty sure Nick knew it himself. At some point, they would have to come to that realization on their own and he could only hope it was soon.


Howie and Addie had everyone over for one last meal before all the families left for their homes. They had all hoped that it would finally be a time where they could all sit down and not have anyone not talking to someone else. Had it been a few weeks before, Emma probably would have avoided the whole night while Nick made everyone miserable with his need for attention and sympathy. Something happened the night of the bonfire though and it finally brought them together for the first time in a while.

The women were in the kitchen talking about Rochelle’s upcoming delivery while the guys were watching some sports talk show in the living room. Everybody was relaxed and enjoying the last night that they would be sharing until they came out for the birth of AJ’s little girl.

When dinner was announced, the couples made their way to sit together leaving Emma and Nick two seats next to each other. No one had realized what had happened until they saw the two still standing, debating on what to do. After a moment, Emma pulled out her chair and took a seat; a few seconds later, Nick did the same thing. It seemed like they have finally reached a point where they could be in the same shared space without it becoming a major issue for everyone.

Dinner went by quickly and before they knew it, it was time to say goodbye. Kevin and his family were taking an early flight home and Brian was driving his family back to Georgia after breakfast. AJ and Rochelle were flying home the next evening. After all of the couples had left, it was just Addie, Howie, Nick and Emma. The remaining couple thought that they might get their friends to spend a little more time together but Emma begged off saying she had a headache and Nick told them he had to get up early for a morning meeting.

“Do you think they’ll ever talk again?’ Addie asked her husband after everyone left. “I was kind of hoping they would at least say goodbye.”

“Normally, I’d let you push,” Howie told her, “but this time it’s up to them. We’ve forced the issue twice now and it hasn’t worked out well. I think they need to take some time and figure out how they feel. Maybe we’ll all be surprised.”