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Nick stood by the baggage carousel at LAX, his cap pulled down as far as possible and his shoulders hunched. It was after 2am and the terminal was packed. All around him, tired travellers jostled for position near the conveyor belt and it took every ounce of Nick's self-control not to respond when an elbow caught him in the spine. The last thing he wanted to do was cause a scene. Shifting forward slightly, he glanced at his watch and sighed. He had hoped to avoid the crowds by taking a late night flight from JFK but it seemed half the country had had the same idea.
The elbow was in his ribs now and Nick spun on his heel.
"Would you watch where you're..." he began, his voice trailing off.
"Would I watch where I'm what?" Alex asked, looking past him. "Isn't that your bag?"
Nick turned and lunged for his suitcase, dragging it onto the floor at his feet. Sighing, he wiped his hands on his trousers and looked at Alex.
"Whatever happened to 'hello'?" he asked. "Did you have to assault me?"
"I tried 'hello'. You were miles away," his friend shot back. "Come on, let's get out of here."
Nick didn't move and Alex looked at him questioningly.
"I'm not going to lecture you, Nick. I just drew the short straw to play taxi," he said. "Can we please get out of here before we're spotted?"
"I can't... I'm... Waiting for someone."
"You arranged a ride and you didn't bother to let me know?" Alex asked. "It's after 2, Nick. For fucks sake, you could've picked up the phone."
Nick was about to reply when Hannah pushed through the crowds, Jack in her arms.
"Can you believe how busy it is?" she asked, not noticing Alex. "Oh, there's my bag."
Alex watched in silence as Nick took his son and Hannah reached for a blue duffel bag passing on the carousel. Turning back to Nick, her smile faded as her eyes met Alex's.
"Alex, Hannah. Hannah, Alex," Nick sighed. "And this is Jack."
Smiling at Hannah as he took Nick by the arm, Alex pulled his friend away and spoke quietly.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, Nick, but it seems to me you're out of your fucking mind. What are you thinking, bringing her here?"
"Okay, first of all, could you not swear in front of the kid?" Nick asked. "And second, she's with me now. You guys are going to have to get used to it. I wasn't leaving her behind for anybody."
Alex lifted his cap off and ran his hand through his hair.
"Where are you going to stay?" he asked. "You can't move them into your house."
"I was kind of hoping we could stay with you for a few days..."
Alex raised his eyebrows and Nick continued.
"Just until we find somewhere else. Come on, man. You won't even know we're there."
Sighing, Alex bent the front of his cap and put it back on his head. He was too tired for decision making and people - girls - were beginning to shoot them sidelong glances. Nick, with the baby in his arms, was going to be big news on the internet.
"Okay, fine," he conceded, pulling his cap down firmly. "But only for a few days. Now, can we please get the hell out of here? That girl with the braids is freaking me out."
Nick turned in time to see the girl with the braids pull a digital camera from her backpack and remove the lens cap.
"Yeah, let's go," he replied, a protective hand on Jack's back. "I hope you parked close."

Sprawled in the king size bed in Alex's guestroom, Hannah watched as Nick stripped down to his boxers and pulled back the covers. Reaching for him as he climbed in beside her, she buried her face in his neck and breathed him in. Nick pulled her close and planted a kiss on the top of her head, his arms tight around her.
"You okay?" he asked quietly.
Hannah nodded in the dark.
"Just feeling a bit... Intrusive," she replied.
"I know. But you shouldn't. You belong here."
"It doesn't feel that way," Hannah murmured. "Alex isn't very subtle."
Nick sighed and rolled onto his back, running a hand through his hair. Hannah shifted on the mattress, laying her head on his chest.
"I'll talk to him in the morning," Nick said after a brief silence. "A lot of people are pretty pissed at me, Hannah. It might take a while for everyone to get used to the idea of you and Jack."
"I don't expect to be welcomed with open arms," she replied. "But I think we should find somewhere else to stay as soon as we can - give people some time to get used to the idea before we're right in their faces. I don't want to be in anybody's way."
"Trust me, we're not in his way," Nick replied. "Alex could use the company."
"I know. We'll find somewhere soon. I promise."
Hannah was silent, running her hand in lazy strokes over Nick's skin, a trail of goose bumps marking her path. With one hand behind his head and the other around Hannah's shoulders, Nick closed his eyes and listened to the hum of the air-conditioning. He was almost asleep when she spoke again.
"Do you feel bad? About how things have gone with Cassie?"
Nick's eyes opened.
"Of course I feel bad," he replied. "Who wouldn't? I wish Cassie hadn't been hurt - I feel bad about that. I should never have married her but I was young and I thought I knew what love was."
Hannah was silent again and Nick pulled his arm free, rolling towards her.
"Do you feel bad?" he asked.
"I feel selfish. I mean, I'm the other woman," she replied, the words dripping with sadness. "The last thing I ever wanted to do was break up a marriage and now, here I am, lying with somebody else's husband."
Nick pulled away slightly and looked at her, her features soft in the half-light.
"I know I hurt you, too, Hannah, and I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I made you feel like the other woman..."
"I don't just feel like the other woman. I am the other woman."
"But I never thought of you that way," Nick continued. "Not once. Everything felt so right when I was with you - like I could finally just be. With Cassie... I don't know... It always felt like I was playing a part, you know? Like we had to make our relationship more than it was because she was an actress and I was a singer. It was exhausting and I wasn't being honest with myself or with Cassie."
"Are you going to see her tomorrow?"
Nick nodded in the dark and pushed the light button on his watch. 3:47am. Tomorrow was already here.
"I thought I'd go to the hospital after her biopsy," he replied. "I don't think she's going to want me to stay very long. Maybe we can take Jack to the beach before dinner."
"Maybe," Hannah said, turning over.
Nick propped himself up on his elbow and looked at her.
"Babe, don't roll away," he said quietly. "Come back here."
His hand was on her waist, pulling her back towards him.
"I need to go to sleep, Nick. It's late."
"I know it is and you can," he replied as she rolled back to face him. "Just don't do it so far away."
Hannah tucked her arm under her head and Nick let his hand rest in the curve above her hip.
"I love you," he whispered into the dark.
"I know," came the reply. "I love you, too."