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Author's Chapter Notes:
Nick confides in the one person he feels like he can trust.

Chapter 25

        Alyssa was doing the one thing that she had promised herself that she wasn't going to do. She was thinking about Nick. Ugh, why can't I get him out of my head? she thought with a groan. It was nearly impossible. Since the moment he left New York she doubted an hour had went by when his face hadn't flashed across her mind.

       She hadn't gotten called in to work today, so she was trying to make the most of her day off by running errands and trying to tidy up her apartment. Unfortunately, she really hadn't gotten much done. She found that when she was busy her mind was able to push thoughts of Nick aside, but when she wasn't he was all she could think about. Maybe I shouldn't have agreed for us to not talk.

       Something had happened that last night that he was in New York, something that she couldn't quite describe. Of course, duh they'd had sex. That much was obvious. But it was something deeper than that. They'd definitely crossed the border beyond just being friends. Alyssa was convinced that it couldn't have been meaningless. He had to have felt it too, right?

       And the sex of course had been amazing. The only experience she had even worth comparing to it to was... well was with him before they had broken up. Okay, so its not like her sex life was all that full of excitement, but the point was that for the first time in what felt like nearly forever, he made her feel sexy and desirable. It's amazing what one night of great sex can do for a woman's self esteem, she thought.

       Since then she'd done a lot of looking back on her entire relationship with him. It seemed like every spare minute of her time was spent reliving their past. It was downright obsessive, yet she couldn't seem to stop. Realizing that she wasn't going to get anymore work done at the moment, she let herself collapse onto the couch and gave in to the memories that were eating away at her mind.

       She found herself actually having to ask why was it in the first place that she had requested he give her some space. It had only been a week and she already missed his friendship. Of course he probably didn't even care anymore. He'd seemed upset when she first told him not to call her while he was in Europe, but you never could tell with Nick. He was notorious for being fickle when it came to her. One minute he couldn't live without her, and the next he seemed like he could care less...


       "Alyssa, we need to talk," Nick told her, in a solemn voice.

       "About what?" She had never known Nick to be so serious, but within the past few days something had definitely came over him. He seemed cold and distant, almost as if he was hiding something from her. After him admitting that he had cheated on her with Katie, Alyssa wasn't sure though what else he could possibly be hiding.

       "About us. Listen, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately..."

       Alyssa swallowed hard not liking the beginning of his speech. Whenever someone started by saying they had been doing a lot of thinking it was never a good thing. "And?" she shakily, answered.

       "Maybe it wasn't a good idea for us to get back together," he blurted out.

       She stood there stunned for a moment. "What do you mean by that?"

       "It's too soon. Things are too weird between us. It's not like it used to be..." Why did it sound like he was just making excuses to her? And not even good excuses!

       "Things aren't just magically going to get better, Nick. You have to work at them . It's going to take time for me to fully trust you again. You must know that."

       "Alyssa, I'm sorry, but I can't do this. I thought I could, but I think we need some more time apart." She could tell that he was lying and doing a horrible job of it at that. There was definitely something else going on.

       "I don't buy it," she argued. "There's something else going on. What is it?"

       "There's nothing," he insisted.

       "Bullshit! You're the one who came crawling back to me for forgiveness. Why would you beg for a second chance only to dump me not even two weeks later? It doesn't make sense Nick. You've been acting strange the last few days. Are you sure there's nothing going on that I should know about?"

       Nick finally appeared to lose whatever composure he had. "There's nothing going on! I just don't think this is working out anymore! I'm sorry that I asked you for a second chance. I should've just let you walk out of my life that night you found out about Katie."

       Alyssa felt as if she had been slapped. Her eyes filled with tears and she almost couldn't breath. "You don't mean that..."

       "I do. It's over Alyssa," he coldly responded.

       "You bastard!" was all she could choke out before gathering her things and turning away before he could see her break down. She couldn't believe how emotionless he had been. Why had he decided to end it like that without any rhyme or reason? There was something else there and she intended to do everything in her power to find out the real reason he had broken it off with her.


       Why the hell should such a bad memory of him, cross her mind all over a sudden? Alyssa shuddered a little as she wondered if maybe it was some kind of sign letting her know what she had made the right decision. Nick was nothing, but trouble to her.

       But why is that one minute I feel like I love him and the next I hate him?

       This wasn't helping at all. Laying around was just making her think about him more and more. I should do something productive. Like shower. She'd bummed around all day and she had to admit that she could use one. Plus it would probably make her feel better. Nothing like a nice hot shower to purify her thoughts.

       She headed into her bathroom and undressed. Once she was under the spray she could instantly feel the tension melt from her body. This had been a good idea. As she scrubbed her body, she definitely felt as of she was scrubbing her thoughts of Nick away.

       She had just stepped out of the shower when she heard her cell phone ringing from the other room. I'll let my voicemail get it, she decided as she grabbed her towel, but then she impulsively changed her mind. Maybe it was important. Sighing, she wrapped the towel around her body and padded down the hall to retrieve her cell phone, leaving a trail of water behind her.

       "Hello?" she answered breathlessly, realizing that she hadn't even bothered to check who it was who was calling first.

       "Hey," an all too familiar voice said on the other end. "It's me."

       Nick. So much for getting him out of my thoughts
. What was he doing calling her anyway? "I thought you weren't supposed to be calling me," she reminded him.

       "I know I'm not supposed to, but I really need someone to talk to right now," he answered. Something in his voice seemed almost desperate to her. "Is it a bad time?"

       "I just got out of the shower, but it's fine." Why did I just feel the need to mention that I just got out of the shower? Now he's probably picturing me naked or something.

Oh really? Did you really just get out of the shower?"

       Alyssa sighed. Maybe he didn't really need to talk so bad after all. "Sorry to ruin your fantasy, but I have a towel on and if you called me for one of those phone calls why don't you try a 1-900 number instead. For a guy who needed to 'talk' so badly it doesn't seem like you are interested in talking, so I'm going to hang up now," she continued. "Good-"

       "Wait Alyssa! Please don't hang up!"

       Alyssa froze. She hadn't quite expected him to sound so panicked at the prospect of her hanging up on him. Something was definitely up. Maybe she should just talk to him.

       "Remember when you said if I ever needed to talk about feelings and shit I could call you?"

       She nodded her head. "Yea..."

       "Well, now is one of those times. I got some news today and it kind of brought back some bad memories for me," he explained.

       "Where are you tonight?" she asked as she made herself comfortable on the couch, ignoring the fact that she was leaving a big wet spot from her towel.

       "Stockholm. We had our first show earlier."

       "Oh." Sweden. Just the mention of Katie's home country made Alyssa's stomach turn. "How did it go?"

       "Great. Everything was perfect. Until after the show that is. Apparently Melanie is pregnant and she and Kevin decided to pick tonight to tell everybody about it."

       "That's great news!" she squealed, happy for her friend. She knew that Melanie had been wanting to have kids for a while now and had even been a little depressed when she heard that Izzy was expecting. Then she realized that Nick didn't feel as happy as she did and her mind instantly made the connection. Sweden... Baby... Katie... It wasn't Alyssa's favorite subject in the world, but she understood what Melanie and Kevin's announcement must have meant to Nick and she felt bad for him. She had to admit that even she had secretly grown attached to the unborn baby that Katie had carried, imagining her and Nick taking care of it.

       "I'm sorry Nick. I just got really happy for Melanie for a second there, but I can totally understand how that could effect you. I mean naturally you're going to think about Serena especially being in Sweden and all. Did any of the guys see that you were upset?"

       "Brian dropped by and tried to get me to open up to him. He gave me the whole line about how its not my fault and how he can only imagine what I went through, but it just felt so fake you know? It's hard for me to talk to anyone about Katie and Serena because I just feel so guilty. I know I didn't cause the accident, but I feel like I'm responsible somehow," he confessed.

       "I feel guilty too Nick. But it's not our fault. Like you said we didn't cause anything to happen. It was just meant to be. I just feel guilty that while everything was happening we were..." She trailed off not being able to even finish the sentence. She'd never tell Nick this, but she often had nightmares about that night. Not like it would've made a difference if she'd went to see him or not that night, but the fact that she was with him at the time of the accident...

       "Yea Brian said the same thing to me, but I just feel like I murdered them. I totally destroyed Katie's life. She would've been better off if she never met me."

       Alyssa sighed, feeling  horrible for Nick. She didn't know what to say. She had genuinely disliked Katie for obvious reasons and sometimes she had even wished that she'd disappear off the face of the earth, but never in a million years would she say that she was happy about what happened to her. It was just a very unfortunate tragedy. "Things happen for a reason. That's all I can say Nick. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be."

       "Sometimes I wonder what would've happened if things had been different. Where would I be with a four year old daughter? Sometimes I can practically picture her and I find myself thinking how she'd have been a great playmate for Baylee, or all the places I could've taken her. There are times I wish things hadn't turned out the way they had. If they didn't, I probably wouldn't have done so much of the crazy shit that I've done the past few years. I would've been more mature and responsible and probably a hell of a lot of a better person." His voice broke off for a moment before finally divulging the most powerful thought lingering in the back of his head. "Most of all I wonder where we would be."

       "We? As in us?" Alyssa asked, sounding surprised. "Well, I suppose we'd still be together, maybe married, with a beautiful baby daughter that I'd love just as if she was my own. Of course then I guess I'd have never left Florida and never graduated college." The scenario actually didn't sound so bad when she thought about it. Just thinking about starting a family with Nick bought a smile to her face and it wasn't like a college diploma was doing much for her at this point since she still didn't have a real job. Still, who said it would have been a happy ever after ending for them? It could've went the other way as well, right? "Or maybe the strain of having to care for a child would be too much for us and I wouldn't be able to handle the fact that Serena wasn't mine. Maybe our relationship would've crumbled to pieces. You never know, but its no use to wonder what if. Weren't you the one who told me that I should stop trying to overanalyze everything and just let things flow?"

       "Not in so many words, but you're right," Nick admitted. "Guess its a taste of my own medicine. When Katie first told me that I was going to be a father, I have to admit I wasn't all that pleased. In fact, I was scared shitless. But, over the course of her pregnancy I came to accept it and I was actually kind of looking forward to being a father. So you can imagine how disappointed I was in the end. Of course I never admitted that to anyone else before. It was probably for the best. I can't even take care of myself, never mind a child. I would've probably made an awful father."

       "Nick, some day you're going to make a wonderful father. Maybe not right now, but I can tell that you're not going to fuck it up. You're great with kids and you're just so fun loving and adventurous. And you can be patient when you want to be.  The timing just wasn't right. You needed to do some growing up. You needed to make stupid mistakes, so that you could learn from them and become a better person."

       Nick seemed to get very quiet for a moment as if he was thinking long and hard about what she had just told him. With all this talk of fatherhood, Alyssa all of a sudden felt tempted to share with him the secret of her pregnancy scare. Not like it was a big deal or anything, but it was a perfect example of things happening for a reason. "Can I tell you something that I've never told you before?" she hesitatingly asked.

       "Sure I guess," he answered.

       "Okay. Do you remember on the Black and Blue tour when I came down with the flu?"

       "How could I forget? You scared the shit out of me that night you collapsed onstage right in the middle of More Than That. I could've killed you for not telling anyone that you weren't feeling good. But what does that have to do with anything?"

       Alyssa took a deep breath. "Well, I actually at first thought that maybe I might have been pregnant and I didn't want to tell you until I was sure because it wasn't very long after the accident and I knew it would be upsetting for you. I was about to take a pregnancy test after the show that night, but I never quite made it. Then I found it was just the flu, so I didn't think it was worth mentioning to you. It's just another sign that it just wasn't your time yet to become a father, I guess. Are you mad at me?"

       Nick was silent again as he digested Alyssa's confession. It did come to a bit of a shock to him that she'd been hiding something like this from him, but he couldn't be mad at her. He tried to hide much worse from her. He just felt good to know that she finally felt comfortable enough to tell him even if was a few years later. "I'm not mad. I'm glad you told me. I guess you're right. Maybe it wasn't meant to be. Maybe things do happen the way they do for a reason."

       "Like with us?" The words were out of Alyssa's mouth before she could catch them.

  Nick found himself questioning. He was a little surprised that Alyssa had decided to bring the topic up, since she had done all she could to avoid the day that he left New York. But Alyssa could be like that. Sometimes she needed time to process things before she was ready to talk about them. Plus she probably felt comforted by the fact that they were speaking to each other over the phone with an entire ocean between them. Was it fate that brought them together again? He had to admit he had no clue and he was going to be perfectly honest with her for once.

       "Honestly, I'm not sure. I don't know why what happened between us happened, but I liked it," he found himself admitting.

       "Same here," she agreed. "I know it was more than just the alcohol, but I'm not sure what it meant."

       "Well, I think its hard for us to find out how we feel when we're not even on the same continent."

       "Good point. Not like anything can happen right now." Why was it that they finally were able to come somewhat clean with their feelings for each other when it was nearly impossible for them to act on them?

       "Shit! I just realized what time it is over here. It's kind of late and I have to be up early tomorrow for some radio promotion. Kevin's gonna have to drag my ass out of bed."

       Alyssa laughed. "And that's something new for you?"

       "Shut up," he told her, but then turned serious. "Thanks for listening to me tonight. I know it's not an easy topic for you to talk about either."

       "It's okay. That's what friends are for right? To listen when you're upset."

       "Absolutely. Good night Alyssa."

       She was just about to say her goodbyes to him when she remembered something. "Hey Nick, before you go, do you remember when I said that I didn't want you to call me anymore?"

       "How could I forget?"

       "I'd like it if you did call every once in a while just to talk. I only said that because I was so mixed up and confused that I couldn't deal with talking to you, but I realized I kind of missed you," she confessed.

       "Only kind of?" he teased.

       "Ok, I missed you a lot. Just please say you'll call."

       "I will," he promised. "But I really need to get going."

       "All right. Try to get your mind off things."

       That's easier said than done,
he thought to himself, but he wanted to try to sound positive to Alyssa. "I'll try. Night babe."

       "Good night," she repeated before hanging up the phone. Now wasn't that just about the oddest conversation that we've ever had?

       Meanwhile, over in Europe Nick got settled in bed and closed his eyes, trying to will sleep to come. He knew deep down there was only way that he'd be able to sleep soundly tonight.

       And that would be to try to pretend that Alyssa was laying right there beside him.