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Author's Chapter Notes:

Alyssa and Nick get into a fight over baby names.


Chapter 38 - What's In a Name?


            The remainder of Thanksgiving weekend flew by relatively painlessly for Alyssa. She'd spent the last few days catching up with her sisters, bonding with her new niece, and most importantly of all, shrugging any suspicion of what was really going on with her and Nick to the side. By early Sunday afternoon when she'd finally dropped her family off at the airport to return back home, she had to admit that a part of her was almost glad to see them go. Constantly walking on eggshells around them was becoming both physically and mentally exhausting. As soon as she'd arrived back to Sean's truck, she'd sat in the parking lot for a minute or so, staring at her phone that sat in the cup holder. She hadn't gotten a chance to speak to Nick all weekend long and all of a sudden she felt the urge to see him. She needed to relieve the tension of the past few days. Without a second thought, she dialed his cell phone number and waited for him to pick up.


            "Hey," he answered after two or three rings. "What's up?"


            "Nothing. I just dropped my family off at the airport," she coolly reported.


            "Awesome. What are you doing now?"


            Alyssa smirked into the phone as she used the rearview mirror to fix her hair and check her appearance. "I was thinking of taking a ride out to the condo and I was hoping that you'd meet me there."


            Nick hardly hesitated. "Yea, I'll be there. I'll meet you as soon as I can."


            "Perfect. Can't wait." With that she clicked her phone closed and started up the engine of Sean's truck. She drove out of the parking area with a small little grin on her face. After the weekend she'd had, she could use some alone time with Nick, preferably alone time that required very little talking.




            Nick arrived at the door of the condo a little while later, seeing that Alyssa's car was already parked in the driveway, signaling that she'd arrived before him. He'd anticipated this to be the case since he was farther away and he'd had to come up with an excuse to give Shayla for his absence. He'd told her that he was going to hit the gym for the afternoon to work off some of that extra food he'd consumed this weekend. Thankfully, Shayla had seemed to buy it. He'd been sort of glad that Alyssa had called him. Not only was he just as eager to get out of the house after spending the weekend with his siblings, but he'd also seen this as the perfect opportunity to finally sit Alyssa down and have a serious talk with her. He realized after his talk with Angel that he really needed to lay out his intentions for her and find out what hers were to him before this went any further. They needed to decide where exactly this thing between the two of them was heading.


            As he opened the door and stepped inside the dimly lit hallway of the condo, he realized that Alyssa seemed to have other plans in mind. He had barely closed the door behind him when she appeared almost demure like in a sea foam green sweater that highlighted the now fully noticeable roundness of her stomach and a pair of jeans. Her dark hair hung loose and wavy, just the way he liked it the most. She may have looked innocent from a far, but her greeting of him was anything, but. Her arms immediately hooked themselves around his neck and her lips pressed against his roughly as she pressed her pregnant body up as tightly as she possibly could against his. Nick was completely caught off guard by her welcome, but surrendered himself to the kiss, bringing his hand to the back of her head to play with her thick hair. Alyssa moved backwards, not breaking their embrace as she guided them further into the condo until they were at the entry point of the living room. Once they reached there, Nick reluctantly broke the kiss and smirked at her.


            "That certainly wasn't exactly the hello I was expecting to receive."


            Alyssa just shrugged, still not letting go of him. "What can I say? I'm full of surprises." Her hands were now wrapped around his waist, stroking his lower back. "I missed you," she breathlessly confessed as she reached up to kiss him once again, this time even more aggressively than she had at the door a few minutes earlier. Nick was very surprised at her boldness. He definitely wasn't used to her being this confident with him or being much of the one in control. He had to fight to remind himself that he had come to see with more of a purpose than just getting laid and once he felt her hands creep underneath the hem of his t-shirt, and the tip of her tongue against the roof of his mouth, he pulled back again, hoping to get the intended conversation out of the way before things got too much further.


            "Lyss, we need to talk," he managed to get out between heavy breaths.


            Alyssa shook her head, not caring to acknowledge his request. She placed a finger over his lips. "No. No talking..." She silenced him with another kiss before pushing him down onto the couch behind him. "I don't want to talk, right now."


            Nick watched her, looking a little shocked as she climbed on top of his lap and her lips fiercely captured his again. Only this time they didn't stay there for long. She reluctantly strayed from his lips to begin a trail of kisses along his jaw line, heading towards his neck. "How was... your... Thanksgiving?" he scrambled to ask.


            Alyssa ripped her lips away from him and stared at him as if he were crazy for even asking. "Well... Let's see... I just spent the last five days with my entire family at my house and it's been about a week since the last time I saw you." While she spoke her hands were already working on the button of his jeans. "I've gotten pretty used to having you around, so not seeing you for that length of time really has been killing me." She successfully undid his pants and rubbed the growing bulge that was forming underneath his boxers and smirked. "Seems like it was killing you too, huh? So no, my Thanksgiving actually wasn't all that great, yours?"


            Nick swallowed hard, almost not believing what was actually happening. He replied with the first word that came to mind which was exactly how he was feeling at the moment. "Super..."


            Alyssa bit her lip to keep from laughing at his reaction. "That's good." Her hands slid up his torso underneath his shirt and tore the material away from his body. She crossed her arms in front of her, pulling her own sweater up over her head just as quickly revealing a bra of the similar color. She wasted no time in leaning over him to place kisses up and down his chest while her hands got to work on tugging his jeans off his legs. "How about we seriously cut the conversation and just let me show you how much I missed you, okay?"


            There was nothing more that Nick could do, but nod. It was becoming glaringly obvious that they wouldn't be having the conversation he had hoped anytime soon from the looks of things, but he was beginning to care less and less. Even pregnant, he found the idea of Alyssa being so aggressive very hot to him and he was more than willing to submit himself to her. His hands tugged at the legs of her pants as well, signaling that he wanted them off. Alyssa stood up in front of him, letting them pool around her feet as she stepped out of them and kicked them aside. She leaned up over him, sucking across his collarbone as his hands reached around to stroke the small of her back. As her lips traveled downwards towards his chest and stomach, she adjusted her position, so that she was kneeling on the floor between his legs. Her hand wandered in through the front flap of his boxers and wrapped around him, moving her hand up and down his shaft as her tongue darted out to swirl against his chest. She grinned in satisfaction as she felt Nick shudder beneath her as he sank deeper against the back of the couch. She continued down his stomach, smirking when she felt his muscles clenching underneath her lips. She stopped at the waist band of his boxers, giving him a preview of what was to come by running her tongue against the row of skin right above the elastic which produced a frustrated groan from his lips.


            "Lyss... come on," he begged, thrusting his hips closer to her, hoping she'd get the hint.


            Alyssa giggled at his impatience. "Okay relax. I'm getting there. I promise."


Giving into him, she pulled his boxers down his legs and off of his body. Her fingertips traveled up his legs until her hands rested on his thighs and she was level with his midsection. Her head bobbed down and her lips slowly surrounded him until he was completely in her mouth. She felt Nick's hands immediately grab hold of her hair as she moved her lips up and down his length, guiding her where he wanted her. As she took him in further his fingers rubbed harder against her scalp causing her heart to pound faster and her breathing to become shallower. The vibrations of her erratic breathing made the experience more enjoyable for him and he dug his hands roughly into her shoulders as she sped up her movements. Alyssa shuddered when she felt his fingers scratch against the side of her neck. For once, she was actually beginning to feel as if she was getting off as much on this as he was.


She could tell by the frustrated growls emanating from the back of his throat that he wasn't going to last much longer. She pulled away from him breathing almost as heavily as he was. She was getting impatient and needed things to progress at a little bit of a faster pace. Ignoring Nick's confused glances; she pulled the afghan off the end of the couch and spread it out over the floor, figuring that would give them the most room. She pulled a few pillows off the couch too in case this didn't work out the way she had planned it to. "Get on the floor," she ordered him.


Nick did exactly what she asked him too, fascinated at this new, demanding side of Alyssa that he'd never seen before. He watched as she shed her panties and then pushed his chest back, so that he was lying on his back. His eyes widened as she straddled him. "I thought you said that you were too big to be on top?"


Alyssa just raised an eyebrow at him. "If this is a problem for you we can stop. I thought that maybe we could try it out, but we don't have to." She made a move to swing her leg back over, so that she was no longer on top of him, but his hands gripped her waist preventing her from moving.


"Uh uh," he argued. "There's no problem at all. Stay right where you are."


"That's what I thought you'd say," she told him with a smirk as she sunk down on him. Her head flew back and she let out a satisfied moan as he filled her up. His hands flew up against her hipbones as she began to move against him in a circular motion. It wasn't as easy for her to move against him in too extreme of a pattern, but Nick didn't care. It was enough of a turn on of her to even be so controlling in the first place. She'd been in such a hurry to get him inside of her that she was still wearing her bra. Nick reached up and unhooked the unnecessary piece of material, pulling it down her arms. His hands floated up to her full breasts, rubbing his thumbs against her stimulated nipples. Alyssa shuddered and increased the speed of her movements against him. Nick followed her lead, mimicking her pace with the way he touched her. Alyssa gave him a loud cry of approval and attempted to tilt her body forward for further satisfaction, but grew more frustrated when she realized her stomach prevented her from hitting the exact angle she wanted.


After a few moments of watching Alyssa squirm uncomfortably on top of him, Nick pulled himself into a sitting position and pulled Alyssa against him as closely as he could. One of his hands pushed against her lower back, allowing him to enter her more deeply. Alyssa's legs were now parallel with his waist as she rocked against him. He grabbed one of her legs and guided them around his waist which was a much more comfortable position for her. His lips zeroed in one her neck and Alyssa sighed as he nipped at the delicate area. She wasn't all that pleased that she'd lost control of the situation, but there wasn't much that she could do in her state.


Nick continued down the front of her throat and over her collarbone towards her breasts. Alyssa felt her heart pound as she thrust harder against him. His left hand traveled upwards to cup one of them and he lowered his head just enough to take the erected nipple into his mouth and suck gently on it. Alyssa's back instantly arched in pleasure which worked in his advantage, as he was able to take her more fully into his mouth. Her movements grew quicker and her cries grew louder as she neared her orgasm. He slipped his other hand in between the two of them, rubbing her clit along with the motions of their bodies while he continued to suck at her breasts. Alyssa tightly gripped onto his back as her release hit, sending Nick over the edge as well right behind her.


They both rode out their orgasms and Alyssa slid off of him breathing heavily. She reached over to the grab the corner of the afghan, wrapping it tightly around them like a cocoon. They were both silent for a moment as they struggled to calm themselves down. Nick looked down at Alyssa and was surprised to find that she actually looked almost disappointed. After that? he asked himself, wrinkling his nose up in confusion. Was he losing his touch or something? She didn't seem the least bit disappointed a few minutes earlier, he tried to console his ego. He finally decided to ask her outright. "What's wrong? You look disappointed."


Alyssa looked away, all of a sudden seeming to be consumed by shyness. "It's nothing. It's stupid really."


"Nothing is stupid," he insisted, pressing his forehead against hers. "Come on Lyss... This is me here."


Alyssa sighed as she looked down at her fingers which were playing with the frayed edge of the afghan. "It's just that I'm frustrated with myself I guess. Being pregnant is starting to suck a bit."


Nick looked surprised at her admission. He could swear that Alyssa loved being pregnant. What had brought this on? "What do you mean by that?"


"My body is a mess. I can't move the way I want. I'm getting bigger and bigger everyday. I can't even please you the way I really want... Soon I'll be so big we probably won't even be able to have sex," she darkly confessed.


"And that's such a bad thing?"


Alyssa looked up, surprised at his answer. "Well, yea... I mean let's face it. Sex has always been pretty important to you."


"Touché... You're right. I won't lie. It has always been important to me, but you can't be so hard on yourself. You're practically six months pregnant. I'm not expecting you to pull out any porn star moves or anything crazy like that." A small smile crept over Alyssa's lips, and Nick knew that she was trying not to laugh. "Honestly... for sex with a six month pregnant woman that was pretty hot," he admitted.


Alyssa just rolled her eyes, pretending not to believe him. "You're just saying that because you're trying to boost my confidence up."


"Well, is it working? Because you were pretty damn confident back a few minutes ago. It was incredibly sexy how you were being all forceful and everything. I've been fantasizing about you taking control like that for a long time."


"Really?" she asked, now sounding intrigued. "You really found it to be a turn on?"


Nick just stared at her. "I'd be crazy not too. So, I don't think you have anything to worry about. Yea, you're getting bigger, but that has its advantages too."


Alyssa looked at him. "You mean the hormones driving me crazy?"


"That and the boobs," he honestly replied.


She just laughed as she playfully swatted his arm. "It figures you'd say that, you horn dog."


Nick couldn't help, but join in her laughter and as they settled down he saw an opportunity to fulfill his original purpose for coming over there. He decided starting on Thanksgiving might be a good way to segue into the conversation. "So, was your Thanksgiving really that bad?"


Alyssa shrugged. "It was just okay. A little emotional and stressful, putting on an act for my family and all that. I took your advice and talked to Steph. We're good now."


"That's great," he responded. "So, you didn't tell anyone about us?"


"Of course, not! Well... Okay... I did tell Meg, but is that really news to you?"


Nick made a face. "Not really... How'd she take the news?"


Instead of confiding him like he had hoped, Alyssa shut down. "I really don't want to talk about this right now Nick. I'd rather just take a break from the family stuff and focus on you."


"This is kind of important though, Lyss," he gently prodded. "It's bothering you and we're going to have to deal with it eventually."


"Eventually... Just not today. Can't we just pop in a movie, relax?" Her face fixated into a pout and Nick knew that she wasn't going to give in today. Perhaps it would be better to have this conversation at another time. A time where they weren't as distracted by each other.


"Fine. You win," he finally caved.


The rest of the evening was spent still curled up in the blanket, not really paying attention to the movie that was playing on the screen in front of them because they were too distracted with each other. They had sex one more time before he told her that he had to go and he reluctantly got dressed and left. Without fulfilling his main purpose for meeting up with her that afternoon.


Little did he know that they were about to have the conversation he had been trying to angle her into very soon in one of the worst ways possible.




            It was now about a week later, and Alyssa and Nick were now sprawled across the floor of the old guest room of Alyssa's house which was now actually becoming to look more and more like a nursery. Over Thanksgiving weekend, her father and Scott had moved out all of the furniture out of the room before they had left. A few days earlier, her and Nick had started to shop for baby furniture and Nick had come over to paint the room for her. Alyssa had decided on a princess theme for the room, so the walls were painted a deep, royal, purple with a yellow border going around with the room and purple glittery crowns. The crib had yet to come in yet, but Alyssa had already bought a mobile that had crowns and wands coming down from it. So, far the only piece of furniture that they'd bought to take home was the changing table which was laying in pieces in front of them, screws all over the carpet and the assembly directions spread out in front of them. Alyssa was reading from the instruction booklet has Nick put everything together. After what felt like forever the object standing in front of them was actually beginning to resemble a changing table.


            "So, have you thought about any names yet? Because I think it's about time we give her and a name instead of referring to her as ‘she,' ‘her,' or ‘it,'" Nick asked, trying to make conversation as he worked. "Personally speaking, I like something a little unconventional. Like Zoey. Don't you think Zoey is a cute name?"


            Alyssa had to admit that she kind of liked the quirkiness of a name like Zoey, but she'd already settled on a name. "Actually Sean likes Katherine Elizabeth. After both of our maternal grandma's."


            Nick wrinkled his nose. "Katherine Elizabeth Robinson. Can that sound any WASPier?"


            Alyssa shrugged. "It's what he likes."


            Nick frowned. "And what do you like?"


            "Katherine is a little bland," she admitted. "But family names are a big tradition in Sean's family."


            Nick narrowed his eyes as he thought about Alyssa's response. Why the hell was she letting Sean get his way with a name that she wasn't really crazy about? Was it out of guilt? And why did he get any so in the matter? Hadn't Alyssa alluded to the fact that when Sean returned from Iraq they were splitsville? The more he thought about the issue the angrier he became. His mind thought back to his conversation with Angel that he'd had over Thanksgiving. He almost gasped when he realized that maybe she'd had a point. Alyssa certainly wasn't acting as if she had any plans to leave Sean and be with him. Hell, they were putting the nursery together in Sean's house! Maybe she was just stringing him along and using him for her own convenience. Perhaps when Sean came back from Iraq, he'd be the one to look like a fool.


            "Nick? Are you listening? I just gave you the directions for the next step," Alyssa's voice pulled him back to the present.


            He set down the electric screwdriver he was using and stood up leaving Alyssa to look up at him in confusion. "I don't see how Sean has any right whatsoever when it comes to naming this baby. This is my child and I say that I should have some input on the matter."


            "Nick... Sean and I had discussed baby names before I even got pregnant. He just sort of assumed that Katherine was what we were going with," she tried to defend herself.


            "Well, maybe he should unassume it! Especially if you're as serious about coming clean to him about us, as you claim," he thundered.


            "I am serious about it! I've told you though that I can't do anything about it until Sean comes back from Iraq. What if the baby is born before then? I can't just switch the name up on him."


            "Bullshit... You so can. How is he going to stop you from halfway around the world? He won't even be around to sign the damn birth certificate, giving you the control to name the kid Sassafras if you wanted to," he pointed out. "That's a cop out!"


            "It's not right," she said in a small voice. "We agreed-"


            "You agreed? Funny... If I recall correctly you already broke the biggest agreement you ever had with him, with me!" Nick cut her off.


            Alyssa's dark eyes flashed with anger as she slowly rose to her feet, the instruction booklet tumbling to the ground from her lap. "Oh, and you're so innocent? If I correctly recall I'm not the only one cheating on a spouse here, okay?"


            "At least I own up to it! You make excuses and hide behind the fact that Sean isn't right in front of your face, so that you don't have to make a solid commitment. I bet that you aren't even planning to leave him, you're just telling me what I want to hear, right?"


            "That's not true," she shakily replied.


            "You say one thing, but your actions say completely another! Look at this nursery even! Why the hell are we setting it up here if you're only going to tell Sean the truth anyway? Do you honestly think he's going to be perfectly fine with the two of you living in his home after you cheated on him? Get real Alyssa! We should be doing this at the condo or something. It's like you're desperately trying to cling on to him for some Godforsaken reason!"


            "I'm not!" she shook her head. "I just-"


            "Want to have this room ready in case the baby arrives before Sean does," he finished for her. "Frankly Alyssa, I'm getting a little sick of playing hot and cold with you. We need to decide where the fuck this is going between us. If you want to be with me, great! If you'd rather cling on to your faithful Marine, go right ahead! But, you can't have it both ways. You need to make a decision here before we take one more step further, so what is it going to be? Me or him?"


            Alyssa looked helplessly around the room, the pressure mounting on her was enough to make her crack and she burst into tears. "It's not that simple!" she cried. "Honestly, I'm more attracted to you, but let's face it Nick, I don't mean to insult you, but you haven't been the most dependable guy in my life. I've given you chance after chance and you continually manage to screw it up! Yea, Sean isn't as exciting or as charming, and he definitely can't make me feel anywhere near as good as you do, but he's ready for this Nick. You? I don't know about. Sometimes I think you might be and other times... Well. I'm just afraid you're going to stick a knife in my back."


            Nick hung his head feeling a little guilty. He had to admit that she had a point there. His track record spoke for itself. "I'm a different person now Lyss... I swear to you. A lot has changed in my life. I'm a different man. I want to show you how much I've changed. I want a life with you, if you'd just give me a chance."


            "You're a different man, yet you're cheating again. What's to say that you won't start a life with me and then cheat on me again when the first conflict arises?" she pointed out.


            "You're right," he admitted. "All I can give you is my word. I've fucked up a lot in the past, especially with you, but I feel like I've been placed in this situation with you for a reason. I want to right all the wrong I've done to you."


            Alyssa looked up staring him square in the eye. "So, what are your intentions? What do you plan on doing about Shayla?"


            Nick shrugged. "It's up to you. You leave Sean, I leave Shayla. I understand that you're kind of in a stalemate until Sean comes back home. I completely understand your reasons for not wanting to hurt him by doing it over the phone or whatever, so I can wait. I just need to know that you're serious about this and you're not going to fuck me over in the end and back out."


            Alyssa sighed, her brow creased in deep thought. "Nick, I want to be with you so bad, but I'm just afraid of what other people are going to think."


            "Screw what everyone else thinks! All that matters is us and whether or not we're happy," he interrupted.


            She just shook her head. "No, Nick. Meg made an excellent point to me. No matter how much in love we are with each other when people find out that you're leaving Shayla for your pregnant ex girlfriend who just happens to be carrying your child, all hell is going to break loose. The media will be up in our faces, but you've dealt with that before. I haven't. Besides that our friends and family are going to learn the truth. I could not only lose my job, but lose my teaching career for good. There's a lot more at stake than I think both of us realize and we really need to think this through a little more before we make any decisions."


            "Is that what you're afraid of? The backlash?" Nick asked her in a concerned voice.


            Alyssa nodded and wiped her eyes. "Yea... I don't know if I'm strong enough to be labeled a whore and hear people say all these nasty things about me."


            "So you'd rather stay with Sean and be miserable?" pointed out. "I mean I won't lie. I'm sure the backlash is going to hurt like hell, but I need you to know if you do decide with me that I'll be right by your side. It's not just you going up against the world. It's us. And I'm sure we'll have the support of at least some of our friends and family. I know that Teri and Tricia have your back regardless of anything you do and Izzy may be upset at first, but she'll come around too. You two have been friends too long to let this stop you. Besides if it weren't for her I'd never have met you anyway. And you'll have your sisters to support you."


            Alyssa sniffled back some tears as she realized for the first time that every word that came out of his mouth had been true. "Since when have you been the one pushing for us to be in a relationship?"


            Nick shrugged. "Since when have you been the one to use sex as a way of avoiding problems?"


            "I don't use sex to avoid my problems," she argued.


            He raised his eyebrows at her. "What about last Sunday at the condo? Anytime I tried to bring up us you tried to distract me with your womanly ways."


            Alyssa blushed as she realized what he said was true. "Well, it worked didn't it? Okay... So maybe the roles have switched up a little bit." She sighed as she raked her hands through her hands. "Okay..."


            "Okay, what?" Nick asked.


            "I'm definitely going to come clean to Sean when he comes home and then ask for a divorce, if he doesn't ask me for one first. I expect you to do the same with Shayla, at that time. In the meantime, I guess he can just keep doing what we're doing. Keep us on the down low and just be really cautious."


            "What about this?" he nodded to the half completed nursery. "And the name issue?"


            "We just proceed with setting it up. We already started to put it together and ordered pretty much everything. Not much we can do now," she decided. "As for the name issue well, we have time to discuss that still. But I will consider the name Zoey."


            Nick looked thoughtful as he considered it. Even though it seemed on the outside like they hadn't really accomplished much, it felt like a huge relief to get everything all out in the open between them. And he'd finally gotten an honest answer from her and they seemed to both be now on the same page. "Well, I guess that's about the best I can expect for now." He stepped closer to her, taking her into his arms. "I love you," he told her dropping a light kiss on her lips.


            Alyssa was a little taken back at how easily the term fell off of his lips and how natural it sounded. Was this really the same Nick, who a few years ago had held those three words back until finally it had been much too late when he'd actually finally said them. "I love you too," she found herself responding against his lips.


            "Now how about we get back to putting this bad boy together? Maybe we'll have a changing table sometime tonight." Nick pulled away and settled back down on the floor. "Where did we leave off?"


            Alyssa scrambled to the floor and picked up the assembly pamphlet. "I think right about here," she answered pointing to the spot in the directions.


            The two spent the rest of the afternoon working together to put together the changing table. It was almost as if nothing unusual had transpired between them, but in reality everything had changed.