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Brian looked at his watch and sighed as he sank back in his first class seat. Beside him, Howie was asleep, an open book on his chest and his dinner tray still folded down. Apart from the drone of the airplane's engines and the distant clatter of a drinks trolley moving through coach, the cabin was silent. Brian reached into his bag and pulled out a spiral bound notebook and a pen, determined to make the most of the unwanted trip to New York. Opening the book, he chewed thoughtfully on the end of his pen as he read over the words of his latest song. Within seconds his mind was elsewhere.
In less than an hour the plane would touch down at JFK where security would meet them at the gate. Hopefully, with the trip being unscheduled and the plane arriving late at night, they would make it out of the terminal without being recognized. Despite his placid nature and friendly reputation, Brian wasn't in the mood for small-talk with fans. He doubted Sleeping Beauty would want to stop and chat either. Kevin had wanted to make the trip to New York but Brian had politely refused, opting for Howie, the peacemaker, instead. Kevin had been fuming ever since Cassie broke the news of Nick's latest move and Brian knew from experience that fuming Kevin was a ticking time-bomb.
Howie coughed, wriggling down in his seat. The book slid down his chest and onto the dinner tray, knocking his empty Dr. Pepper can to the floor and jerking Brian from his daydream.
"What the..?" Howie began, pulling himself up in his seat. "Oh... Just a can..."
"Just a can, D," Brian replied, turning back to his notebook.
Howie pushed the call button on his armrest and leaned down to pick up the can.
"What are you working on?" he asked.
Brian put his pen down and flopped back in his seat, running his hands over his face.
"I'm trying to finish a song for Baylee's birthday. It shouldn't be so hard."
"Too much to say?" Howie asked, handing his can to the hostess. "Thank you."
"Far too much to say," his friend confirmed.
Howie turned in his seat.
"You think Nick has any idea what he's getting himself into? With the baby and all?"
"If he hasn't figured it out already, he's in for a short sharp shock," Brian replied. "It's not going to get any easier when he hears about Cassie, either."
"You think if he knew about Cassie he still would've..."
"I hope not, Howie. I really hope not. Because if her being sick wouldn't have stopped him, I don't even know who he is anymore."

Tiptoeing through the living room, Hannah moved between Jack's crib and the sofa where Nick lay snoring gently. Moonlight shone through the kitchen window, lighting her way as she padded across the floorboards and took a glass from the shelf above the sink. Turning on the faucet, she filled the glass and leaned against the counter as she began to drink. Glancing down as something moved over her hand, Hannah let out a cry and dropped her glass. Nick sat bolt upright on the sofa and Jack whimpered in his sleep as the glass shattered.
"Hannah? What happened?" Nick asked, throwing back his blanket and joining her in the kitchen.
"There was a spider," Hannah replied as she backed away from the counter. "It was on my hand."
Nick ran his eyes along the counter before turning back to face her.
"Well, I think you scared him away," he said gently.
Hannah lifted a shaking hand to brush her blonde hair away from her eyes and Nick noticed a crimson trickle running down her wrist.
"You're bleeding," he said, moving towards her. "Here, let me see."
Taking her hand, Nick pulled her towards the window, squinting in the moonlight.
"I think you might have some glass in there but I need to turn the light on."
"The light will wake Jack," Hannah replied, peering at her hand in the semi-darkness.
"If your screeching didn't wake him, nothing will," Nick said, flicking the light switch. "Let me see."
Hannah looked at him as he took her hand again, turning it over to inspect the cut. He had gone to bed while his hair was still wet from the shower and it had dried in messy clumps, sticking out all over the place. With sleep still crowding his blue eyes, he looked like Jack when woken from a mid-afternoon nap.
"Doesn't look like there's any glass in here after all," he said, reaching for the faucet. "Here, run the water on it. I'll get the first aid kit from the car."
Hannah did as she was told and Nick returned a few moments later with a small red bag. Sitting down on the sofa, he patted the cushion beside him. Hannah pulled a paper towel from the roll on the counter and dried her hand carefully as she crossed the room to sit beside him.
"Antiseptic," Nick announced, unscrewing the cap and squeezing a thin line of the white cream onto her hand. "Don't want you getting all germy on us..."
Hannah watched as he rummaged through the first aid kit, looking for a bandage.
"Nick... About earlier... On the porch..."
Nick sighed.
"Hannah, let’s not do this now."
Hannah chewed her bottom lip and Nick pulled a bandage from the bag, tearing the plastic wrapping with his teeth.
"You're married, Nick..."
Nick sighed again, beginning to wind the bandage around her hand.
"...And you're making this so much tougher than it needs to be..."
"It doesn't need to be tough, Hannah," Nick interrupted, continuing to wind.
"You're married."
Nick fastened the bandage with a small metal clip but didn't let go of her hand. Instead, he leaned towards her.
"Hannah... Listen... I was twenty-two when I met Cassie and twenty-three when I married her. I was still a kid - I didn't know what I wanted. How could I when I didn't even know who I was? I wish I'd met you first because when I found you... It was like I'd found the rest of myself..."
Hannah pulled away and Nick tightened his grip on her hand.
"No, Hannah, listen. I wish I'd met you first, okay? I wish I'd met you first so badly... Cassie and I are getting a divorce. I sent the papers to her lawyer three days ago. She’ll have them by now."
"You what?"
"I can't stay married to her, Hannah," Nick continued. "Not when I know I’m supposed to be with you."
Pulling her hand free, Hannah stood up to move away.
"I can't do this right now..."
Nick got to his feet and stood in front of her.
"You wanted to have this conversation now so let's have it."
Hannah tried to sidestep him and Nick caught her by the waist.
"No, let's finish this," he said evenly. "I'm divorcing Cassie whether you like it or not. Whether you love me or not. Because I wish I'd met you first and I can't stop thinking about you, I can't stop loving you and I cannot stop wanting you, Hannah."
Hannah looked at the floor and Nick swallowed.
"Tell me you don't love me and I'll leave you alone," he continued quietly. "But I'll wait for you to come around. If I have to spend the rest of my life waiting for you to come around, I will. This is it for me, Hannah. You and Jack, here tonight... This is as good as it is ever going to get for me. We’re a family – you can’t pretend we’re not."
When Hannah lifted her head, her eyes were brimming with tears.
“I can’t do this, Nick,” she whispered. “I can’t. Not now.”
Nick’s hand dropped from her waist as she moved away from him and towards the bedroom. As the door closed behind her, he sank onto the sofa and looked at his son. Jack had slept through it all.