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Barefoot in his kitchen, Nick stood with his back against the refrigerator, clutching an empty can of Coors Light. Across the room, a nondescript envelope lay unopened on the table. He had thought he would tear it open as soon as it arrived but now the envelope and its possible contents seemed too heavy a weight to lift.
Crushing the can with a sigh, Nick lobbed it into the trashcan and crossed the room to sit at the table. Reaching for the envelope, he turned it over in his hands before tearing the top off and taking out the folded sheet of paper.
With a deep, measured breath, Nick unfolded the paper and began to read.
“…The alleged father, Nickolas Gene Carter, cannot be excluded as being the father of the child, Jack Aaron Parker. Based on testing results obtained from analyses of 5 different DNA probes, the probability of paternity is 99.9999%... This DNA Parentage Test excluded greater than 99.99% of the male population from the possibility of being the biological father of the tested child…”
Nick slumped in his seat and refolded the letter, laying it carefully on the table in front of him. He needed to call Cassie.

Nick lay on his unmade bed and stared up at the ceiling. The cordless telephone lay on the sheet beside him but he was in no hurry to pick it up again. The call to Cassie had lasted all of twenty seconds, ending abruptly when she had slammed the receiver down. Hannah hadn’t been in a much better mood but at least she had let him say his piece.
Glancing at his watch, Nick rolled onto his side with a sigh. He would have to make the call to the airline soon if he wanted to get his booking in before the prices jumped at the end of the day. He and Hannah had agreed it would be best if he went to New York for a few days to spend some time with Jack and work out the best way of handling their new situation. What he really wanted to do was talk to Cassie about the best way of handling their new situation.
Sighing again, Nick flopped onto his back again and ran his hands through his hair before clasping them behind his head. A crack in the ceiling paint caught his eye and he frowned up at it. He didn’t remember it being there. Then again, with concert tours and promotions and Hannah, he had probably spent less than a month at home since buying the house. Hannah’s ceiling paint had a crack running wall to wall above the bed and her wardrobe door needed a kick in the bottom right hand corner to make it shut properly. Her kitchen faucet needed a new washer and her sofa cushions needed recovering. Her pajama pants were torn above the knee and she needed a coffee within five minutes of waking up or there was hell to pay. She liked chicken fettuccine, reruns of Friends, pink marshmallows and the Knicks. And Jack. She loved her baby boy – their baby boy. Their baby boy with his blue eyes and blond hair, just like his mom and dad’s.
Nick closed his eyes and tried to imagine the two of them together – Hannah in the kitchen in her torn pajama pants and a t-shirt and Alex… In his mind, Nick saw his son in the green shorts and green and white striped t-shirt he had worn in Florida. It didn’t fit with the image of Hannah dressed for bed.
Hauling himself up to sit on the bed, Nick picked up the telephone and reached for the directory beside the bed. Flicking through the pages, he found the number for American Airlines and dialed quickly.
“American Airlines Customer Service Department. You’re speaking with Julie, how can I help?”
“I need a ticket to New York,” Nick replied, closing the directory and dropping it onto his lap. “And I need to go tonight.”