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Emma slept fitfully that night and woke up feeling like she hadn’t slept at all. She wanted to blame it on her ankle, but she knew damn well that it the fact that her ex had been sleeping two feet from her. It wasn’t that she didn’t want him there, she just didn’t want any mixed signals passing between them. They had taken a long time to get back to the place where they could speak, be in the same room together and have it be peaceful for everyone. As much as she appreciated Nick looking out for her, she didn’t want to feel what she was feeling for him; nothing good could come from opening that wound again.

Nick offered to drive her to urgent care, but she insisted Addie could bring her; she used the ruse of the two girls needing some time to catch up before Addie left later that day. He looked a little hurt when she declined his offer, but she kept reminding herself that there needed to be some appropriate space between them. Addie was suspicious of her motives and her excuse of girl time, but she wouldn’t call her best friend out in front of other people; instead, she waited till the doors in the car were shut before she grilled her.

“Ok,” Addie said as she backed out of the driveway, “what kind of bullshit was that?”

“There was no bullshit Addie, I just wanted to spend some time with you.”

“Really? Some quality girl time while I am waiting for a doctor to examine you? How stupid do you think I am?”

Emma didn’t say anything and, when she couldn’t look her friend in the eye, Addie began to think that maybe something had happened the night before.

“Did he do something? Was he bothering you? I…”

“Absolutely not!” Emma said, putting the brakes on Addie’s comments. “He didn’t do anything except help me out.”

“Then what the hell?”

Emma didn’t know exactly how to explain it; she didn’t want to rehash all the reasons she couldn’t be close to Nick and why them being in close quarters together wasn’t a good idea. She knew Addie would jump all over her about her insecurities and she might even try to make a push for her spending more time with Nick. He was an amazing man and she missed him more than she ever thought she would, but she knew what had happened previously when they tried to be together; someone would end up getting hurt and they would be right back where they started.

“I’m only going to say this once Ad, I don’t want to talk about it. You need to respect me by not pushing and just let me do what I need to.”

Addie’s jaw dropped; Emma had never spoken to her that forcefully and she wondered what the hell had happened the night before. Emma had seemed so excited to see Nick and smiled every time he looked her way; why was she now giving Addie a strict order not to discuss it?

Emma was relieved that Addie didn’t mention Nick’s name again while they were waiting to be checked out. The doctor was quick to let her know that it was just a sprain, then gave her crutches and Advil to take when she got home. Emma thanked him, and she and Addie drove home in silence. Both Howie and Nick noticed the chilliness between the two girls and wondered what could have happened in the short time they had been gone.

Addie wanted to talk to her friend a little more but as soon as she and Emma came in, her friend declared that she was tired and wanted to go lay down. Howie was surprised by the fact that they were leaving that afternoon and it didn’t seem like Emma would be seeing them off; he waited till he was sure Emma was in her room before bringing it up.

“What the heck?” he asked. “You guys were fine when you left. Did she get bad news or something?”

“No,” Addie replied as she shook her head, “she said she didn’t sleep well last night and that she is in a lot of pain.”

“Was it something I did?”

Nick’s comment caught Addie by surprise; she knew for a fact that it had something to do with him, but she couldn’t tell him what it was since Emma refused to tell her. She didn’t want to mention it to Nick because he looked heart broken that it might have something to do with him.

“No, I know she appreciated you looking out for her and taking care of her.” Addie told him. “It was very sweet of you and I’m sure it’s just the pain and lack of sleep.”

The three friends spent most of the afternoon hanging out with Michael at the pool. He had noticed the strained conversation Emma was having with Addie and he meant a mental note to talk to her about it later. He didn’t think that Nick had done anything to upset her, but he was concerned about her interactions with him.

As Howie and Addie were heading out, they mentioned to Nick that he should come up and visit them the last weekend before Halloween. They were planning to take the baby to go apple picking and Howie’s family was coming up the next day so that they could spend the night in Salem. Nick had never been, and it sounded like fun; the problem was that Emma would be there to. He started to decline but Howie told him that they wanted him there and there would be no getting out of it. Finally accepting their invitation, Nick took one glance up to Emma’s window and noticed the curtain was floating back into place. He hoped that it wouldn’t be a problem for them both to be with their friends the next month.