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Author's Chapter Notes:
As I promised I actually managed to stick to my goal and update tonight although it is past my bedtime and I have first graders tomorrow, so I need my sleep lol This is sort of a slow chapter kind of preparing for the last chapter which ties everything up. Then there's an Epilogue. Unbreakable is REALLY motivating me because its like the soundtrack of this point going on into the sequel. You'll see based upon my lyrical choices for this chapter.
Chapter 59

Alyssa struggled to juggle her mismatched pieces of luggage strewn on her arms and settled at her feet as she stared at the apartment door in front of her. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this, she thought to herself as she got ready to ring the doorbell. Normally she hated looking upon others for charity, especially those who seemed to have enough of their own problems, but she was stuck. It was either this or run back home to her parents on Long Island yet again. Just thinking about the alternative was enough for her to muster up the courage to press the electronic button on the door. She could hear the chiming from far off inside and a few moments later a very pregnant Izzy waddled over to the door and swung it open.

“Alyssa! I didn’t expect to see you back in New York so soon! I guess you’re here to pick up your cat huh?” Izzy and Tristan had generously agreed to watch Precious for her while she was in Australia.

“Yea, actually I got home last night, but I had other things I needed to take care of before I could stop by here,” she vaguely explained.

“It’s not a problem. She was no trouble.” For the first time since she’d opened the door, Izzy finally noticed all the bags that lay scattered at Alyssa’s feet. “What’s with all the bags? Are you moving in or something?”

Alyssa almost wanted to smirk at the irony of her friends comment. “Maybe I should come inside. I kind of need to tell you something.”

The pregnant woman stared at her a little confused, but stepped back from the door allowing Alyssa and all her bags inside her spacious apartment. Once Alyssa had plopped her bags down in a neat pile by the door, Izzy ushered her over to the nearest couch. “Okay, something is definitely wrong, so I think you should start talking like now. I love you and all, but why are you back in New York already? You only left like two days ago, if that.”

Alyssa sighed as she ran a hand through her messy hair. “To make a long story short, Nick and I are over… Again… I don’t want to go into details right now, but we both realized that we were getting ourselves into something that we weren’t as ready for as we thought we were. Anyway, so now I’m not moving out to LA anymore only there’s one problem. As soon as I got back to New York I headed back to my apartment building to speak to my landlord to see if there’s anyway that I can stay in my apartment after all because I was supposed to be moving out in like two days. As it turns out the bastard already rented out my apartment to somebody else!”

“Oh my God…” Izzy gasped. “Talk about a string of bad luck! Is there any other apartments open in the building that you could move into, so at least you can stay at the same location?”

Alyssa just shook her head trying to hold back the frustrated tears that she’d thought she’d rid herself of. “Tried that already. Apparently I had a pretty good deal at my old place. I was just looking in the paper for new apartments and everything is at least twice as much as what I was paying before. So, yea… basically as of Wednesday I’m officially homeless.”

“That’s horrible Alyssa! What are you going to do?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I really don’t want to have to go knocking on my parent’s door. I mean they’d be more than happy to welcome me back, but it’s just the principle of matter. I’ll never hear the end of how they were right about Nick. Plus, the job situation on Long Island is even worse than it is over here.” She paused and bit her lip, hating the fact that she was about to ask her pregnant best friend this, but Izzy was her only hope. “I know the last thing you and Tristan need is another body in this place, especially with the baby being so close to arriving, but you’re only person I can turn to. Do you think that maybe I could crash here for a while until something else opens up?”

Izzy looked a little torn by her request. Alyssa could tell just by the expression on her face that she wasn’t entirely pleased with the situation, but she could also tell that another part of her genuinely felt bad for her friend and wanted to help. “Well, there’s not much extra room here and you’ll have to sleep on the couch because the other bedroom is already set up for the baby…”

“That’s perfectly fine! Hell, I’d even take the floor. It’s better than some park bench,” she pointed out. “Thank you so much Izzy! I really appreciate you doing this for me. If there’s anything at all I can think to repay you-“

Her friend just laughed. “It’s okay hun. Anything for a friend. Just as long as it’s not permanent.”

“Oh definitely not! Trust me, I’m not going to be that uninvited house guest that never leaves,” she promised.

“I certainly hope not. So, what exactly did Nick do this time?”

Again Alyssa sighed, reluctant to have to relive the story yet again. She took in a deep breath and started to walk Izzy through the last few days of her life, beginning with her discovering Nick and Michelle stumbling into his hotel room on his birthday and ending with their heartfelt agreement to give their relationship a rest. When she was done she sat back against the couch, awaiting Izzy’s angry reaction. Surprisingly Izzy seemed rather calm and even a little saddened.

“Such a shame,” she lamented. “I don’t think Nick is ever going to be able to turn his life around. I really miss the old Nick. The one who used to be fun to be around and always pulling practical jokes on people. He used to be a really decent guy. Then he broke up with you and it’s like it all just went downhill. Between the partying and his relationship with Paris and all the trouble he’s gotten himself in it’s like he’s a completely different person. I thought that maybe since he hooked up with you, the real Nick would begin to show through again, but I guess I was wrong. Maybe that Nick is gone for good.”

“The only person who can bring the old Nick that we knew and loved back is Nick, himself. If he doesn’t begin to make some major changes in his lifestyle then he’s going to wind up losing a lot more than a few friendships,” Alyssa wisely predicted.

“Very true,” Izzy agreed. “But why waste our breath talking about that jerk anyway? Come on, you have to see the baby’s room.” She got up from the couch and grabbed Alyssa’s friends pulling her in the direction of her spare bedroom.

Even though the last thing Alyssa felt like doing at the moment was ooing and ahhing over a nursery, she put on an excited looking expression and allowed Izzy to pull her into the room. She could faintly make out the movement of Izzy’s lips, but her mind was too clouded with her own problems to even process what her friend was saying. She found herself smiling and nodding her head in response just glad that her best friend had pulled through for her and given her a place to crash until she figured out her next move.

What that next move was, Alyssa wasn’t exactly sure. She certainly didn’t feel much like doing anything. It seemed that she had lost so much that she wasn’t sure exactly where to begin to put the pieces back together again. Not only had she lost her boyfriend, but her home as well. Her self confidence was all but shattered and she currently was jobless. Her situation felt pretty much helpless. She wound up spending her first few days at Izzy’s barely moving from the couch except to get food and take bathroom breaks. During the day, she amused herself with trashy talk shows and sappy soap operas. At night, she lost herself in just about any movie that didn’t require much brain power to piece together. She hadn’t showered since she’d arrived and she assumed she probably smelled pretty rank at the moment, but she didn’t care. Who did she have to impress?

Finally after about the fourth day of her moping around Izzy had had enough. After arriving home from her Lamaze class and finding Alyssa still sprawled out on the couch she’d snapped. Grabbing the edge of the afghan that Alyssa had been hiding under, Izzy pulled it off of her in one swift movement. “Okay, I know you’re upset over Nick and everything, but this moping is getting ridiculous now. You’re never going to be able to move on if you don’t at least get off of the couch first.”

Alyssa groaned as she swiped at the blanket. “You don’t understand,” she whined. “I just want to be alone and not have to face anyone.”

“That’s not very realistic there,” Izzy pointed out. “Eventually you’re going to have to leave this apartment. The least you could do is shower! No offense meant, but well you kind of smell.”

“Thanks Iz. That’s very encouraging,” she dryly replied.

“It’s the truth! Look, if you want to lie around all the time and feel sorry for yourself, there’s the door! If you don’t plan on doing anything to turn your luck around, you may as well go on the streets. I know that probably sounds really cold and fucked up, but as your friend I can’t allow you to do this to yourself.”

Alyssa sighed once she realized that her friend was right. Sitting around and allowing herself to be depressed was not going to help matters much. Things weren’t going to magically turn around for her unless she took things into her own hands. “All right,” she agreed, pulling herself into a sitting position. “What do you suggest I do?”

“Well, first off a shower would do wonders,” Izzy suggested.

She just rolled her eyes and threw a pillow at her. “Okay, I get the point. What next?”

“You haven’t made any move to try and get back to working. Maybe you should get yourself back onto the sub list, so at least you’ll be making some money again.”

“I dunno…” Alyssa hesitated. “Maybe I should just forget teaching for now and get myself a full time job until I can afford a new place. Subbing isn’t exactly steady and I need money.”

“What about that leave replacement job you turned down to move to LA?” Izzy asked. “Maybe it’s still available. You should call the principal and ask about it. You told me that she seemed to really like you. Maybe if you explain your situation to her she could work something out.”

“Maybe…” The idea did sound like it was worth a shot to her, but before she made any sort of life altering decisions she needed a shower first. “I’m going to grab a shower and then maybe I’ll give her a call.”

When she stepped out of the bathroom a good twenty minutes later, Alyssa felt refreshed and almost like a whole new person. She’d almost forgotten how good it felt to be clean. She felt fresh and ready to begin to get her act together again. Now the next step in the process would be to give Mrs. Porter a call. For the first time in the last few days she felt optimistic as she picked up her cell phone and dialed the school’s number.

The secretary picked up, and before she knew it she was being transferred. Then she heard the older woman’s voice on the other end of the phone. “Cynthia Porter, speaking. How can I help you?”

Alyssa’s voice shook slightly as she began to speak. “Yes, Mrs. Porter… This is Alyssa Martinelli. I’ve been a regular sub in your building since the beginning of the year.”

“Oh, yes Alyssa. How are you?” the woman greeted. “What can I do for you? Did you need me to write up that recommendation for you?”

Alyssa nervously paused. “Actually that’s not what I called about. Remember that leave replacement position you offered me and I had to turn it down because I was moving out to LA? Well, I was wondering if it was still available. My plans kind of fell through and it looks like I’m going to be staying in New York after all.”

Just by the long pause on the other end of line, she could tell that the principal’s response was not going to be good news. “I’m very sorry Alyssa, but we just hired somebody last week to fill the position. You turned the position down, so we had to interview other candidates.”

“I understand,” she answered swallowing back a lump in her throat. “Do you anticipate any other vacancies in the near future?”

“As far as leave replacements go unless something unfortunate happens, I don’t see us needing any long term substitutes for the rest of the school year, but I’ll keep you mind should anything pop up. As for any permanent positions we’re not hiring right now, but you’re more than welcome to drop off your resume. Sometimes positions open up last minute for the next school year if we see that our enrollment has increased. “

“I’ll be sure to do that. Thank you for your time, Mrs. Porter.” She quickly hung up the phone already feeling tears stinging her eyes. Her brief period of hopefulness had just taken a nosedive. It wasn’t fair. If she only knew what would happen in Australia she’d have grabbed that position the moment she was offered it. But no… She’d turned it down for Nick. And look where that gotten her. Now she had neither Nick nor a job.

She was back to feeling hopeless and lost.

Things for Nick weren’t going well either. He’d somehow managed to get through the last three dates of the tour, painting on his stage face, and playing the part that his fans enjoyed so much. Once he arrived back home to LA though, it was a completely different story. The moment he walked inside his door, he was bombarded with memories of Alyssa. The last time he’d walked through those doors, she’d been at his side. With every object he laid eyes on in his home, there was something there to remind him of her.

How come you never know
What you got until it's gone
Too bad
Because I never felt so good with anyone
How fooled was I into thinking
I was gonna be alright

It didn’t take long for Nick to realize that he’d seriously messed things up with Alyssa. He wasn’t sure if he really appreciated her as much as he should’ve until the moment that she was no longer there with him. The more he thought back on all of his other previous relationships and compared them to his relationship with Alyssa he realized that what he and Alyssa had shared really had been something rare and special, and he’d taken that for granted.

So every day I try a little harder
To forget her
Lie here convince myself
Tomorrow will be better

Unfortunately, since there was no hope of changing the past, Nick had no choice, but to try to move on with his life. As the days flew by he struggled to erase those memories that were constantly haunting him. He quickly learned that if he kept himself busy enough, he wouldn’t have enough time to think about Alyssa. Immediately he threw himself into fooling around in his studio, trying to come up with some material for that follow up solo album that he kept pushing off to the side.

The trouble is I can’t get her out of my mind
When I close my eyes at night
Who’s gonna save me
Now she’s gone
The trouble is there’s a part of me
That can’t let go of her memory
And now I know what it is
Love is what the trouble is

During the day he could bury himself as deep as we wanted to into his work, but it were the nights that turned out to be the hardest for him. He had to sleep, but every time he’d close his eyes he’d see Alyssa’s face in his head. It got to the point where after a few sleepless night’s, he began sleeping in one of the spare bedrooms because he found that he couldn’t bear to sleep in the same bed that he and Alyssa had made love in while she was in LA. It was beginning to seem ridiculous to him almost. How long could he avoid sleeping in his own bed? He was really beginning to realize exactly how bad he had it for her. He knew that at some point during her visit he’d fallen back in love with her, but it was only now hitting him exactly how hard he’d fallen.

How come she said
You never wear your heart
Where I can see
Too bad
Cause now I’m the one
Who’s sorry
How stupid was I into thinking
I was gonna be alright

It was definitely ironic that he was only now feeling this way. Alyssa had always complained about the way that he was so guarded with his feelings. He’d been crazy about her for awhile, but only would admit it to himself as recently as about a month ago. And even at that he still couldn’t verbalize those feelings to her. Now he was kicking himself in the ass for it. If only he’d have been more open with his feelings towards her. He still could not get over how badly he had ruined things between them. He’d even go as far as to say that his casualness towards their relationship ranked up there in one of the biggest mistakes of his life.

So everyday I find a little something
To remind me
No matter how I try
I can’t put the past behind me

Finally after a straight week of lying awake all night, staring at the ceiling, it hit Nick that it was impossible for him to think that he could just forget Alyssa as if she’d never existed in his life before. He had very strong feelings for her, actually he still did. Feelings like that could not just be ignored or forgotten. His first step towards acceptance of their relationship’s demise, was acknowledging that Alyssa wasn’t a person he could just get over. He just needed time.

The trouble is I can’t get her out of my mind
When I close my eyes at night
Who’s gonna save me
Now she’s gone
The trouble is there’s a part of me
That can’t let go of her memory
And now I know what it is
Love is what the trouble is

Lyrics: Trouble Is- Backstreet Boys

After he had reached that phase of admission to himself, things did begin to get a little better. He began sleeping through at least half the night, and although he did often think of Alyssa he tried to keep his thoughts positive. It didn’t always work, but it was definitely an improvement.

As time passed by and the sting of the breakup began to lessen, Nick began to contemplate Alyssa’s last few words to him that morning in the diner. She’d stressed to him that he needed to work on turning his life around before he could ever be successful in life and love, and for the first time her words struck a chord of clarity in his mind. She was absolutely right. He did need to make some major changes in his life, but there were so many things that he needed to change that he wasn’t exactly sure where to start.

After much careful thinking he was struck with an idea. A wild, crazy, idea. An idea that only he could come up with, it was so absurd, but just absurd enough to maybe actually work. One of the first things he decided that he should fix was one of the first things that had gone wrong with his life. It was too late to save his parents marriage, but it wasn’t too late to rectify the broken relationships with his siblings. He could remember confessing to Alyssa about how worried he’d been about Aaron and how guilty he felt for not being as available to his younger brother as he could have been. Likewise, he’d remained pretty estranged from his sisters as well. Now was the time to change all that.

Impulsively he picked up his phone and dialed Aaron’s number. Aaron had picked up sounding surprised to have heard from him, since he hadn’t been great at keeping in touch lately, but Nick was too excited about his idea to even notice. All he could do was blurt out his brainstorm. “Hey bro… I just got the craziest idea! I’ve been thinking how since Mom and Dad got divorced that you, me, BJ, Leslie, and Angel haven’t really been that close and we should really change all that. I think that the five of us should get together and do a reality TV show about our struggles to reconnect as a family. What do you think?”

Aaron just laughed. “I think that you’ve finally lost your freakin mind!

The passing days got slightly easier for Alyssa as well. Losing out on the leave replacement job actually motivated her to push harder to try to piece her life back together. The way she looked at it was that she’d already hit rock bottom. Could things really get any worse? She’d been delivering her resume to several different school districts around the city and had actually landed an interview at a charter school in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, although the interview had gone well, they had only been able to offer her a position as a TA for the time being. There was possibility of her moving up into a teaching position, but because of her current living situation she’d had to turn it down. She needed a job that would actually pay enough money for her to afford rent on a new apartment.

She’d just walked into the apartment from her interview where she found Izzy curled up on the couch hysterically sobbing. Concerned about her best friend, Alyssa raced over to her side. “What’s wrong?” she asked, sounding panicked. “Is it the baby?”

Izzy just shook her head through her tears. “Not exactly. The baby’s fine.”

“So then why are you sitting here blubbering for? Did you and Tristan have a fight?”

Again Izzy shook her head. “No, we’re great. It’s just that Tristan’s record company are being a bunch of insensitive dickholes!”

Alyssa fought back a smirk at her friends name calling. “Well, I think that’s part of the job description for record execs. What are they doing?”

“They’re insisting that Tristan has to go back to LA to wrap up his album, but my doctor doesn’t want me traveling cross country being that I’m almost in my 9th month already. Tristan tried to explain to them that I’m pregnant and due any week now, but they don’t seem to care. They told him if he doesn’t get his ass on a plane to LA by the end of the week, they’re pulling his album!” she sobbed.

“That’s shitty!” Alyssa exclaimed. “And completely unfair! What’s he going to do?”

Izzy just shrugged. “He doesn’t want to leave me, but he’s worked so hard on this album. He can’t just let them throw it in the trash when it’s so close to being finished. They at least agreed that when the baby arrives he can hop on the first plane back to New York, but LA is at least a five hour flight away! What happens if he misses the birth?”

“He won’t miss the birth,” she assured her. “That baby will not arrive if Tristan isn’t there. These things always work out in the end. He’ll make it.”

“And then what about when I go into labor? I’ll probably be here by myself and what if something goes wrong? I could like bleed to death or something! I don’t feel safe living by myself when I’m this far along into the pregnancy.”

Got to love those pregnant woman hormones, Alyssa thought to herself as she realized how irrational Izzy was being. On the other hand though, she could see her point. It wasn’t a safe idea for Izzy to be unattended in the event that something did happen. Alyssa also knew that with her last few weeks of pregnancy it would be harder and harder for Izzy to do normal, everyday things. It wasn’t a good idea to leave her alone at all. “Well, I’m here,” she offered. “I know I told you I’d move out as soon as possible, but you’re going to need someone to be around and play nurse to you and it’s not like I don’t have plenty of time on my hands right now.”

Izzy stopped crying and looked up at her. “You’d quit your job and apartment hunt for the moment to stay here and take care of me?”

“Of course Iz! That’s what friends are for right? And you can’t go at this alone. You’re going to need someone to do all the things that Tristan would do for you, so it might as well be me.”

“That’s so sweet Alyssa!” Izzy threw her arms around her. “And so thoughtful. I mean you have so much going on in your own life right now, the last thing you probably need is having to take care of a fat, cranky, pregnant woman. Thank you.”

“It’s no problem,” Alyssa echoed as she patted her friends shoulder. She could use something to get her mind off of her situation with Nick and taking care of her pregnant best friend seemed like the perfect distraction.