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Author's Chapter Notes:
More bad news prompts Nick to make Alyssa an offer she can't refuse.

Chapter 20

         The next morning when Nick opened his eyes, it took him a moment or two to get his bearings. He hated waking up in unfamiliar places, but sadly he was used to waking up and not knowing where the hell he was. He glanced down next to him and for the first time since he had opened his eyes, noticed Alyssa sleeping beside him and then it all came flooding back to him from the night before. Their dinner together... Her car being stolen... Him agreeing to stay the night with her... It had been a pretty crazy night when he thought it all over. And this was how it had ended up. With her falling asleep on him, strangely reminiscent of earlier days.

         He glanced down at Alyssa's body laying next to his. Despite the rough night last night, she appeared to be sleeping peacefully. She was laying on her side, her head nestled in the crook of his arm, with her dark hair spread out against the pillow. He noticed that at some point during the night the thin strap of her tank top had slipped off of her shoulder, exposing a generous view of  the top of her breast. It was difficult for him to tear his eyes away from the sight. She still did have an incredible body. Even though her frame was petite she practically had an hourglass figure. Her chest wasn't particularly large by most standards, but on her body, it seemed proportionate. Anything larger than her C cups would probably be a little too much on her. Her stomach was nice and flat from her years of dance, but not too defined. She wasn't exactly rocking a six pack, but that was fine to Nick. He'd always found that to be a bit of a turn off in women. Her hips curved out sexily to reveal a pair of surprisingly long, well toned legs. For a short girl, she really did have nice legs. And they were now entangled with his.

        Just feeling her body against his, made his mind subconsciously drift back to when they had used to date and how it felt to wake up beside her, especially after an intense night of lovemaking. His thoughts drifted to the small butterfly tattoo she'd had on her pelvis. He remembered how turned on he had been when he had first laid eyes on it. He suddenly longed to see it again and trace his fingers over the pattern. Whoa, there, buddy
.He tensed up as he felt himself grow hard, shifting away from her. This is  exactly why I thought this was a BAD idea. All he needed was for Alyssa to wake up and notice he had morning wood and he'd never hear the end of it.

         He was so deep in thoughts that he never heard Alyssa's cat scamper into the room until it leapt onto the bed and dove between the two of them , nudging them with his paws. He'd almost forgotten about that damn cat. He hadn't seen it last night, so he had assumed that Alyssa had gotten rid of it, but unfortunately no such luck. That cat still knows just how to ruin a moment, he thought cynically.

         Alyssa stirred beside him  as she awoke. "How'd you get in here?" she asked, slowly opening her eyes.

         "You asked me to lay down with you while you fell asleep and well... you
kinda fell asleep on top of me," Nick replied.

         "I wasn't talking to you," she said with a yawn. "I was talking to the cat."

       He rolled his eyes and started to tease her.  "Oh. Well, I'm sure she'll give you an answer any minute now."

         "Fuck you," she grumbled as she sat up, adjusted her tank top, and took the cat in her arms. "Nick doesn't like you very much, but he just doesn't know how absolutely adorable you really are." She bent down to bury her head in Precious's fur and drop a kiss on the top of her head.

         "Aren't you just a ray of sunshine in the morning?" He paused, changing the subject. "Did you sleep good last night?"

         "Surprisingly, yes," she answered. Having him in bed with her was so comforting that she had slept more soundly than she had in a long time. She'd almost forgotten how nice it was to wake up beside someone else in the morning. "What about you?"

         "Oh, yea. I slept great." What a load of shit... He'd barely been able to sleep a wink with her so close to him and so many mixed emotions in the way. Every time he'd start to drift off, she'd shift a little in her sleep causing him to be wide awake again. "So, what have you got planned for us today?"

         Alyssa's face fell a little bit. "Well, originally I thought that we could do some sightseeing and stuff, but I don't want to leave the apartment because what if I get a phone call from the police about my car?"

         "Call the police department and leave them your cell phone number," he suggested.

         She sighed. "But who knows if they'll get it. Sometimes those places can be so disorganized. I'd rather just stay here and be safe."

         "Well, then we can just stay here all day. We can rent some movies or something...Order some take out..."

         "That's not fair to you Nick," she argued. "You came all the way to New York for only a few days. Why waste it staying here with me, watching movies? There's so many other things you could be doing."

         "I came to see you Alyssa," he told her, taking hold of her arm. "Not to do touristy things. I've done all that. I don't care if we just sit here all day. As long as I'm with you."

         Alyssa sighed. She was flattered that he wanted to spend time with her, but she needed to be alone for awhile. Having him so close was nerve wracking on her. "I appreciate it Nick. I really do. I just would rather be by myself for a bit. Besides I have some things I need to do here around the apartment and you'd be bored. Why don't you give Izzy and Tristan a call and try to meet up with them? I promise we can do something together tonight, if you want."

         "Fine," Nick agreed. "But at least let me take you out for some breakfast first."

         "But... The police," she protested.

         "How long will breakfast take? Half an hour? 45 minutes at the most? We'll go someplace close and I'm sure if they do call they'll just leave you a message telling you to call them right back."

         She frowned before finally giving in. "All right. You win, but lets not make it too long."

         "I promise it won't take long at all. We can just throw some clothes on and be ready in 10-15 minutes." He quickly sprang out of bed before Alyssa could have a second to change her mind. It would do her some good to at least get out of the apartment for a little while and her mind off of her car.

         "Aren't you going to get up?" he expectantly asked her after a moment or two when she made no motion to move from the bed.  She was sitting up with her legs crossed, looking towards him with an amused expression. "What? Why are you looking at me like I have two heads or something?"

         This made Alyssa explode into a fit of giggles. What the fuck was so funny to her? Has she finally gone off the deep end? Nick wondered.

         Finally calming down enough to speak she answered his question still smirking devilishly. "Actually you do, and one seems very happy to see me this morning."

        At first Nick wasn't sure if he understood her, but one glance downwards at the very apparent bulge in his boxers and he immediately felt himself turning a little red. So, that's what she had met. Ha ha... That was just SO clever.

         "I'm sorry Nick," she apologized. "I just couldn't resist! I'm getting up right now and then we can go for breakfast."

         Later that afternoon, Nick was laying sprawled out on the bed in his hotel room trying to get some rest. He really hadn't slept well at all last night at Alyssa's, and even now he had drifted in and out of consciousness ever since he returned back to the hotel after breakfast. Every time he closed his eyes he could almost feel her body against his and smell her perfume.Why is it that I can't seem to get her out of my head?

         He groaned in frustration. This was is ex! He wasn't supposed to have feelings for her anymore! Actually, he wasn't even sure if he would go as far as to call how he felt "feelings ." There was no denying the fact that he was still physically attracted to her, but that made sense, right? He wouldn't just automatically think that she was ugly the minute they broke up. Of course he'd still think she was gorgeous. But that didn't necessarily mean he meant that in anything more than an appreciative sense... did it?

         I think lots of women are beautiful,
he reasoned with himself. Hell, I love women period. So, why should Alyssa be any different?

         She was different. Deep down Nick knew that unlike most attractive women he saw, he couldn't just charm Alyssa into bed and then kick her out the next morning. With her it would be messy... and complicated... and not a good idea.

         But do I want to charm her into bed?
He had to stop and consider that one a minute. After some contemplation he realized he had to be honest with himself. If the chance arose and he could get away with it without any strings attached, he'd do it in a heartbeat. Yea, like Alyssa would let you get away with something like that.

         Who knew though? People could change in three years. Maybe she'd be cool with it. Who am I kidding? he found him asking himself. This was Alyssa he was thinking about.

         With Alyssa everything had to be neatly defined and labeled. To her there were no gray areas in a relationship. It was either all or nothing. The only way she'd want something more to do with him would be if he had agreed to give things a try again in an actual relationship. Ugh, relationship... Nick shuddered at the thought. The word relationship was definitely one that didn't exist in his vocabulary.

         Not that Nick never wanted something deep and long term. Just not at this point in his life. The idea of an actual "relationship" scared the shit out of him. He'd been in a number of serious ones up until this point in his life, and none of them had ever worked out. If anything they caused him more grief in the end. Besides, since his parents divorce he had been wary of getting involved with someone seriously. It scared him that even after spending half your life with one person, it could still fall to pieces. What was the point? That was why Nick was completely happy living the single life. Whenever he wanted a little fling he could have it and not have to deal with any of the consequences of being in a committed relationship. It was a perfect situation in his eyes.

         Nick wasn't used to having many friendships with women. Izzy was the exception only because they had known each other so long, and even they were beginning to fall apart. Truth was, he didn't make his agenda to pursue friendships with women. The few times he had tried it seemed that they'd always wind up sleeping together and then it was good-bye friendship. Alyssa was different. She was exactly the one person he should not have any kind of friendship with, yet he felt so compelled to try to make one work with her. She already knew so much about him and he knew that he could trust her which was a biggie. There wasn't very many women Nick could trust in life.

         His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of his cell phone ringing. Grabbing it off the nightstand next to the bed, he glanced over at the number amused to see that it was Alyssa calling. Speak of the devil... he chuckled to himself as he flipped it open. "Hello?"

         "Hey Nick. It's me," she answered. Nick could swear he could hear sniffling in the background

         Concern arched his brow. "Are you okay Alyssa? You sound like shit. Did you hear from the police?"

         "Yea... They found my car."

         "They did? That's great! Where was it? Did they find the people who stole it? Is it okay?"

         She sighed on the other end of the line. That wasn't a good sign. "They found in an abandoned lot. Evidently whoever took it crashed it and then stole whatever parts they could from it. It's totaled. And whoever did it is still roaming free."

         Nick just shook his head. Unbelievable. How could people be so careless? Alyssa shouldn't have to go through this. There was no way she could afford another car. And to think  the car thieves had gotten away too. Was there any justice anymore? "That's horrible Alyssa. I'm really sorry to hear that." He wished there was something he could do for her.

         Then an idea popped into his head. Okay, it wasn't exactly going to bring her car back unharmed, but it might make her feel a little bit better. "I have an idea. I know its not going to make everything better, but how about I take you out tonight. We'll get dinner and then you show me your absolute most favorite nightspot in all of New York City. What do you say?"

         "I dunno, Nick... I'm not in much of a partying mood," she confessed.

         "But you need to get out of your apartment," he insisted. "What else are you going to do tonight? Mope around? Besides alcohol always makes me feel better when I'm upset about something."

         She laughed. "If I didn't already know you so well I'd start to suspect you have a little drinking problem there. Anyway, I'm sure you wouldn't be interested in any of the places I like to go out to drink at. You're probably used to going to all those star studded celebrity clubs that you have to literally sell an organ to get into if you're just any old person trying to get in, like Marquee or something."

         "Okay, I do like to go to Marquee," he admitted. "But this is your night. I want to see where you hang out. Even if it is just some hole in the wall college bar. I want you to have fun tonight and get your mind off of all this shit with your car. I'll even buy your drinks all night."

         "Damn Carter... You really know how to get a girl to come around. Free drinks all night? I'm in!"

         "Really?" he asked, surprised that she gave in so easily.

         "Yea. It's been a while since I've been out to a bar or anything and you're right. I really do need it."

         "Ok, so do you want me somewhere or do you want me to come pick you up?"

         "Why don't you pick me up at my apartment at like 8:00? We can do a late dinner and get to the bar about tenish?" she suggested.

         "That sounds good to me. Have you decided where you want to go, yet?"

         "I have a few places in mind. So I'll see you at 8?"

         "8:00," he repeated. "See you then.


         Nick hung up his phone and glanced at his watch. 4:30pm. He had enough time to try to squeeze in a little more sleep before showering and getting ready to go out. He wondered what kind of place Alyssa was going to take him to. All he knew was that it was bound to be an interesting night.