Chapter 25- You Can Run But You Can't Hide
The summer was just about gone before Nick even realized. He had been so wrapped up in his problems with Shayla and then of course the whole Alyssa drama that he had admittedly missed out on one of his favorite times of year. Not much had changed in the past two weeks. Unlike what he had promised Shayla, he hadn't called her back and he was a little surprised that she didn't try contacting him again. Maybe she was finally giving up on him for good this time. As for Alyssa there had also been no change. He knew that by now she'd have to have at least received his card and the baby blanket he had sent her. If she had, she had done nothing to indicate it and didn't even seem the least bit thankful. That was unlike Alyssa. She usually was the queen of the etiquette; the type of person who sent out thank you cards in the mail anytime she received any kind of gift from anyone else. Something was definitely up with her, but he was having a really hard time figuring what it was when she seemed to be going to great lengths to avoid him. He really was beginning to wonder what her issue was. Was she still upset about them hooking up back in June?
With Labor Day around the corner, Nick saw a perfect opportunity to finally be able to pull her aside and find out what was really going on with her. Izzy was having a Labor Day barbeque at her house and of course had invited both Nick and Alyssa. Izzy had no idea that the two of them had hooked up earlier that summer. Alyssa had distanced herself a lot from her old crowd as of lately. Nick was pretty sure that she kept their night a secret between the two of them. For a moment or two he actually wondered if he should confide in Izzy, but then quickly decided against it. She and Tristan were struggling enough and he was pretty sure she wouldn't take the fact that they'd both broken their wedding vows very lightly. Anyway he was hoping that the little get together would give him a chance to see her again.
Unfortunately, Izzy was disappointed to report back to him that Alyssa wouldn't be attending the barbeque after all. According to her, Alyssa had claimed that she had already been invited to another barbeque with two of her neighbors and their children. Izzy had explained that since Sean had left for Iraq she'd grown close to these other two women who were also military wives. Apparently they were a good source of comfort for her or something.
Izzy had seemed to buy the excuse, but Nick found the fact that she already seemed to have plans awfully coincidental. Maybe it was just him being paranoid, but something in his gut made him doubt her. He began to obsess over it until he knew that there was only one thing he could do to ease his fears. As psycho as it sounded, he planned on driving by her house before stopping by Izzy's that afternoon. If she really wasn't home he could rest assured that she really was telling the truth. If not, he planned on confronting her about it. She couldn't hide from him if he cornered her in her home, right?
As he drove over to her house he tried to tell himself how crazy he was being. This is such a chick thing to do, checking up on her like this. I hate to be this sneaky, but if it's the only way to get her to open up to me, so be it. He hated to think that she was lying, but the truth was that something had to have been bothering her lately and he had the sneaky suspicion that it somehow had to do with him.
He slowed his BMW down to a crawl as he turned onto her block. As expected her black Jetta sat parked in her driveway, giving more evidence to the fact that she was indeed home after all. Not necessarily, he argued with himself. If the barbeque was at a neighbor's house she could've very well walked. Why waste the gas? There was only one way to know for sure if she was at home or not and that would be for him to get out and actually knock on her door. Before he lost his nerve, he pulled over towards the curb and got out of his car. Hesitantly he walked up the driveway and approached the front door if the house. With a shaky hand, he raised his finger up to press the doorbell and he waited.
He could hear the electronic noise reverberate throughout the house and stood for a moment or two waiting with no response. He was just about to give up and go back to his vehicle when he heard the door knob being twisted open. He froze when the door opened up to reveal Alyssa standing there in a loose pair of capri pajama pants and a matching tank top. The expression on her face appeared to match the same shocked one that he knew must've been on his own.
She lied. She REALLY lied to us. But why? he wondered. He didn't have a chance to debate this question any further because Alyssa's voice interrupted his thoughts. "Nick? What are you doing here?" she asked, sounding slightly defensive.
It took a moment or two for him to find his voice. "I just wanted to stop by to see how you were doing. You've been avoiding me lately and I know that you turned down Izzy's invitation the barbeque-"
"So you were checking up on me?" Her nostrils flared in indignation. "Real nice. I bet you were just hoping to catch me red handed, huh?"
"Well, no offense, but you told Izzy that you were going to a neighbor's barbeque. It doesn't look like you're going anywhere today to me," he retorted, glancing over her frumpy appearance. "Why would you lie about something like that?"
"Why would you think you have to check out my story like a fucking detective?" she shot back. "And if you must know the barbeque was cancelled. One of Callie's kids is sick, so she called it off."
Nick didn't buy the excuse one bit. "Get off it Alyssa. That's a lie and you know it. Why don't you just admit that the real reason you didn't want to go to Izzy's barbeque because you didn't want to have to deal with seeing me, right?"
Alyssa's eyes flickered a little and Nick knew that he had struck a nerve. "We should take this inside," she told him as she opened up the door for him. "If we're going to fight I don't want my entire block to get a free show. They're all horrible gossips anyway."
Nick followed her inside, but once they were far enough into the house where he knew he couldn't be heard he turned on her again. "Why the fuck are you trying so hard to avoid me lately?"
"I don't know what you're talking about. I've done nothing of the sort," she denied, but Nick couldn't help but notice how she refused to make any eye contact with him.
"Are you trying to say that you haven't been avoiding me? That's strange because the last time I saw you was your anniversary and I had to practically invite myself over in order to see you. Since then anytime I call you rush me off the phone. You haven't even acknowledged the fact that I sent you a congratulations gift for the baby. Hell, you told everyone else that you were pregnant, but me! I had to find it out through the grapevine from Izzy like I didn't even matter to you or something. What gives! I thought that we were closer than that."
"I've been really busy Nick. Ask Izzy or Teri or Tricia if I've hung out with them once since Sean left for Iraq?" Alyssa tried to defend herself. "It's been really rough without him and then I found out I was pregnant and it's just been non stop. Between doctors appointments and baby planning... I just don't have a lot of free time right now."
"Since when the hell are you so reliant on Sean? If I remember correctly before he left you had nothing but complaints about him. About how he was so obsessed about getting you pregnant that he was treating you like a machine instead of a person? How he was forgetting all about your needs? How he did nothing at all to satisfy you? If I remember correctly, you came crying on my shoulder begging for comfort, which I more than readily gave you, and now you actually have the nerve to forget all of that because he's temporarily out of the picture? You'd rather pine away over that asshole than be with your friends who have been with you for way longer than he has?"
"My husband is over in Iraq fighting for our country! What the fuck are you doing right now Nick? Playing in a recording studio with a bunch of no name hopefuls?" As soon as the words left her mouth she regretted them. She knew that had been an unfair remark to make and she really hadn't meant a word of it, but it was too late to take it back now.
She watched as Nick's face turned red in anger. "Don't you fucking dare try to compare me to him! And don't try to make him out to be some great hero or something. Admit it, deep down you're glad that he's gone. Now you don't have to feel guilty every time you look at his face because you know what you've done to him."
"Why would I feel guilty?" Alyssa challenged, trying her best to act distant and oblivious. "It was a mistake and I'm over it. Completely."
"Bullshit! You think you're so put together and collected, but let me tell you something; you're completely transparent! You still haven't gotten over the fact that we slept together. You think that if you just act like it never happened it'll just magically be erased. But the truth is that you do think about it. A lot more often than you want to admit. And if you could you'd do it again too. You feel guilty because I kept you more satisfied than your husband! Why don't you just drop the act and just admit that it was the best sex that you'd had in a long time."
Alyssa's mouth hung in shock and she felt her blood pressure begin to spike. Okay, maybe everything he just said had been true, but she wasn't about to let him have the satisfaction of being right. "Do you listen to yourself? How much more of an overconfident prick could you sound like right now?"
Nick stepped closer to her. "Admit it," he demanded, grabbing her arms. "You still have feelings for me."
Alyssa shrank back a bit almost afraid that he might hit her. You're being ridiculous, she chastised. Nick would never hit a pregnant woman. Still her stubbornness continued to fight. "For you? Please. You just caught me at a weak moment."
"Then prove it." He tightened his grip on her wrists and pulled her closer to him, sweeping her lips up against his roughly. The movement was so unexpected and her body was still pounding with adrenaline that she was caught completely off guard and her body responded before her mind could. She returned the kiss just as roughly, twisting her arms out of his grasp and pressing her hands hard against his back. Her heart was racing a mile a minute and when common sense finally kicked in and she pulled away she found it hard to hide the fact that she was left trembling from the passionate moment.
Nick shot her an arrogant smirk. "Yea... That's what I thought."
He almost expected her to smack him. Or start screaming at him. Kick him out of her house. But instead she did the most unexpected thing. She backed away, took a deep breath and then began to cry. Not little tears either. Emotional gut wrenching sobs. Shit, what did I just do? he wondered. He knew pregnant women could be emotional train wrecks, but he wasn't quite sure if he'd seen anyone flip moods like that so quickly. He stood here helplessly for a moment as he watched Alyssa collapse back onto the couch, her head in her hands.
Don't just stand there. Apologize! he told himself as he slid down next to her putting an arm on her shoulder. "I'm sorry Alyssa. I shouldn't have done that. I was way out of line. You're right. It was a pretty prickish thing to do."
Alyssa just shook her head still crying. "It's just such a fucked up situation. How did we get ourselves into this mess?"
Nick wasn't sure how to answer that, but quickly found out that it was a rhetorical question because Alyssa continued to ramble on clearly in the midst of some sort of mini meltdown. "I'll admit it. I did enjoy our night together. Very much. But things are different now. We can't just casually continue to hook up anytime we're feeling restless. There are other people involved now. Lord knows I fucked up enough just by this time alone. I was so happy when I found out that I was pregnant. Then I found that Sean is sterile..."
Sean is sterile? Wait, hold up! If he's sterile he can't have kids which means... Oh, fuck. Nick's mind finally connected the dots, but he refused to fully believe it. "What do you mean Sean is sterile?"
"He can't have kids," Alyssa tearfully explained. "Apparently they found out when we went to the fertility clinic to get those tests done."
"Then that means..." Nick paused, practically gulping for air. "That means that the baby is mine?"
Alyssa could only nod before bursting into another set of tears. "I'm so sorry Nick. This was entirely not the way I wanted you to find out."
Nick sat back feeling completely stunned. That baby in there was his? He was really going to be a father? For real this time? The more he thought about the more sense it made. The avoided phone calls... The obvious distance she'd drawn between them... Of course Sean wasn't doing the job because he was shooting blanks the whole time. How ironic... It was Alyssa's frustration with not being able to get pregnant that had sent her into his arms in the first place. And they'd created a baby that night. It was way too much for him to process. Just as he had reacted when Shayla had told him she was pregnant his instinct to run took over and he shot up from the couch. "I need to think about this. I'm sorry, but I have to go."
Not even waiting to see the hurt and abandonment in her eyes he was out the door in a flash. Once he was in the safety of his car and far enough away from her house he finally allowed his emotions to get the better of him.