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Author's Chapter Notes:

Alyssa suspects she is pregnant. Nick finds out that Shayla has been hiding something from him.

Chapter 16 – False Alarm

Ever since they first visited the fertility clinic, a noticeable improvement in Alyssa’s mood became evident to all of those around her. While before she had been moody and irritable, now she seemed hopeful and energetic. Even her relationship with Sean seemed to improve. They’d recently gone for their first appointment to get tested, but had not been able to get another appointment to discuss the results for another three and a half weeks. This bothered Alyssa a great deal, knowing that her results would be ready in two weeks, but because of a tight schedule she’d have to wait even longer. This time, even using Kevin’s name wasn’t enough to squeeze her and Sean in any sooner. She supposed that it could’ve been worse though. The wait definitely could’ve been longer.

Their decision to go through with the testing had also helped to add a little more vigor to their sex life. Things still definitely were nowhere near mind blowing, but Alyssa could swear she at least began to feel some hint at an emotional connection again. It was like knowing that help was coming for them renewed their efforts to continue trying. And finally, it was beginning to seem like those efforts just may have finally paid off.

It was only a few days after the testing when Alyssa began to notice that she was feeling much more tired and rundown than usual. She’d sit down on the couch after work and wind up nodding off until she was woken up by Sean coming home. She’d definitely been moody and irritable lately these past few weeks, ecstatic one minute, having a meltdown the next. Most importantly her period was late. Only by about a week or so, but still, she couldn’t help but to hope that maybe this was finally it. Maybe she was finally pregnant.

She tried hard not to get her hopes up. It wasn’t like she was already experiencing morning sickness or anything really tell tale. Being tired and irritable could relate to a lot of different ailments. If she was pregnant, it would show up in her test results from the fertility clinic. How ironic would it be if she and Sean showed up to their appointment to discuss their test results, only to have Dr. Beard laugh and say that he couldn’t help them because Alyssa was apparently already pregnant? She tried to be patient and wait for either more symptoms to develop or her test results to come back, but like an anxious child on Christmas Eve, she found herself needing to find out immediately, before she went crazy.

She hadn’t even planned on buying the home pregnancy test. There she was pushing her shopping cart around the pharmacy section of Target after work one day, stocking up on some odds and ends, when she’d passed the pregnancy tests. Curiously, she’d paused, picked a box up and scanned the information written on it. She was about to place it back onto the shelf, but another voice in her head held her back. Instead, she placed it into her shopping cart. She wasn’t exactly sure how reliable the results were, but she couldn’t go on like this until her next doctor appointment.

Alyssa had taken the test almost the minute that she’d walked in the door and she had to admit that waiting for the results had to probably be the longest five minutes of her life. When the time was finally up, she drew in a shaky breath as she finally got the courage to look at the symbol that was pictured on the stick.

As soon as her eyes saw the results she instantly felt hot, frustrated tears forming at the back of her eyelids. Negative? It can’t be! she argued with herself. She had the symptoms… She’d practically convinced herself that this was it. The test has to be wrong, she decided. There’s no way I can’t be pregnant. The denial that flocked her brain was so strong that it blocked out all rational reasoning. Alyssa grabbed the directions and searched them over again. These things can’t be one hundred percent anyway.

Her face fell once she read that although it was possible to get a false positive, it wasn’t possible to get a false negative. Translation: She definitely was not pregnant. “Damn it!” she cried out loud as threw down the stick onto the bathroom counter in disgust. She couldn’t believe how she’d fooled herself into thinking that she could’ve been pregnant. She just had wanted it so badly that she’d created this illusion for herself. Call it crazy, but she could actually swear that her breasts were beginning to feel tender and that she was starting to feel queasy in the morning. The mind was an amazing thing sometimes.

Before long, the tears finally fully hit and she began to sob so hard that her knees gave out and she slid down against the bathroom wall until she was sitting with her knees drawn into her chest on the floor. All the cheer and the positive attitude she’d had since visiting the fertility clinic had vanished. Again her hopes were dashed. She couldn’t put herself through his emotional anguish anymore. She was done; ready to admit defeat. She’d wait and see what Dr. Beard had to say about her results, but she was through with consciously trying to get pregnant. She just wanted things to go back to normal, back to a time when there still had been a spark of excitement between her and Sean. Back to the way things were before they began talking about having a baby. If anything, these past few months taught her that she couldn’t rush the hands of fate. If it was meant for her and Sean to become parents it would happen naturally, when the time was right.

Alyssa was still on the floor sobbing by the time Sean arrived home from work. She was so distressed that she barely even noticed the bathroom door creak open or Sean’s comforting arms around her shoulders. “Alyssa? What’s going on?”

His voice sounded far off to her ears even though she was well aware that he was sitting right next to her. She was too upset to answer though and her only reply came in the form of another choked up sounding sob.

“I’m finding you in this position a lot lately,” he commented. “You’re scaring me baby. What’s this all about?”

Throughout her blurry tears, Alyssa could make out the overly concerned look on his face. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever seen him this freaked out before. Still she couldn’t find her voice. All she could do was point towards the discarded pregnancy test that lay on the counter.

Sean stood up and looked over the mess, finally putting two and two together. His expression immediately flooded with sympathy. “You thought you were pregnant…” he whispered. “God Lyss… I’m so sorry. I wish that the outcome was different too, but we can’t give up now. It’s only a matter of time. I mean we’re getting our test results back pretty soon. Once we have those things will get so much easier, I promise.”

“No Sean…” Her voice finally broke through her tears. “Suddenly I’m not feeling as optimistic as I was once about those results. I just want this to be over already!”

“It will be soon,” he tried to reassure her. “We just have to be patient. We’re getting closer and I can feel it.”

Alyssa found herself fighting back the urge to roll her eyes at his false hope. “You’re not listening to me Sean! I don’t want to do this anymore! I can’t keep pressuring myself like this. We can see what Dr. Beard has to say about our tests, but as far as trying to have a baby, I’m giving up. If it happens, it happens. Don’t you see the way this is tearing us apart?”

“What do you mean tearing us apart? Yea, it’s been stressful at times, but I wouldn’t say that it’s actually tearing us apart? Aren’t you being a little melodramatic?”

She opened her mouth, all set to start rattling off the reasons why their inability to successfully become pregnant by now was taking its toll on their marriage, but before she could get a word out edgewise, Sean cut her off. “Look Lyss… You’re pretty upset and worked up right now. Maybe you just need to calm down and think things through a little more before we decide on anything rash. We probably just need a little break from trying or something. Maybe we should just drop the baby conversation for a few days and see how it goes?”

Not having the energy or the spirit to argue with him she just weakly nodded her head. He was partly right. She definitely wasn’t in the most level headed state of mind at the moment. Still, she knew deep down that she couldn’t keep putting herself through this hell. It was only a matter of time before she completely snapped.

Little had changed between Nick and Shayla when he’d finally returned home after Shayla had announced her pregnancy to him. They’d reconciled enough for them to at least act civilly around one another, but Nick still did not give her any indication that he supported her pregnancy. Frankly, he wasn’t sure how he felt about it himself. On one hand, he felt betrayed and angry that somehow Shayla had wound up pregnant against his wishes. Yes, he was well aware that he’d definitely contributed to that outcome, but he found it all too coincidental to be considered an accident. He couldn’t seem to get her innocent remarks about ‘forgetting’ to take birth control pills out of his head. Then though there was the part of him that had to admit as fucked up as circumstances were, it wasn’t their child’s fault, and it wasn’t fair for him to make it suffer. It was still his responsibility to be a good role model and he didn’t want to be one of those deadbeat dad’s who refused to even acknowledge their children.

Nick remained on the fence with what to do exactly until he’d decided to confide in Brian for advice on what he should do. Nick had always looked up to and respected Brian for his family values, and although he gave him a lot of crap about it, he had to admit that Brian was a damn good husband and father. He knew that if anyone could push him in the right direction it was Brian.

And Brian had done just that. He’d pretty much told Nick flat out that becoming a father was the best gift he’d ever received and even if Baylee had been conceived under false pretenses, he couldn’t imagine not having him in his life. Nick would be a heartless asshole to not acknowledge Shayla’s pregnancy, if only for the baby, he’d pointed out. Nick had to admit that his friend was right. He owed it to his unborn child. It couldn’t help the fact that its mother was a master manipulator. Knowing what he must do, he cleared his entire schedule for that afternoon. Shayla had mentioned that she had a doctor’s appointment at two, and Nick intended on being there for it.

While he drove to office of Shayla’s doctor where Nick had accompanied her a few times before, he had to admit that the idea of a baby was slowly beginning to grow on him. He wasn’t exactly looking forward to midnight feedings and changing diapers, but he had to make the best out of the hand of cards that had been dealt to him. He smiled a little to himself as he thought about how surprised and happy Shayla would be to see him waiting in the doctor’s office for her. Afterwards, maybe he’d take her out for lunch and hopefully they really could sort things out between the two of them.

He pulled into the parking lot a few minutes before two and headed straight inside. His eyes glanced around the waiting room, but there was no sign yet of Shayla. Maybe she’s running late, he figured as he made himself comfortable on one of the chairs. He sat there and waited staring expectantly at the door every time it swung open. None of the women that entered the office were Shayla though, and after almost twenty minutes of waiting, Nick became concerned.

Maybe she got hold up and she called the office to tell them she’d be late? Nick wondered. Maybe they’ve heard from her. Growing more impatient by the moment, he cautiously approached the front desk.

“Can I help you?” a pretty, redheaded receptionist asked him.

“Yea actually you could. My wife was supposed to have an appointment for a prenatal exam today at two and I was showing up to surprise her, but she hasn’t shown up,” he explained, feeling slightly embarrassed. “I was wondering if maybe I missed her or she may have called to say she was running late?”

“What’s the name?”

“Shayla Carter.” Nick impatiently shifted from one foot to the other as the receptionist entered the name into her computer. She frowned as the schedule came up.

“Are you sure she had an appointment today, Mr. Carter? Because she’s not scheduled. Are you sure it was for today?”

Now it was Nick’s turn to frown. “I’m pretty positive she said it was for today. Was it possible that she called to cancel?”

“I’ve been here all day and I’ve had no cancellations,” she reported. “Let me look though and see if maybe she’s scheduled for another day.” She pressed another few buttons on the keyboard and then a confused look came over her face. “You said she was in for a prenatal exam?”

A worried look came over Nick’s face. “Yes.”

“I’m sorry Mr. Carter, but there must be some kind of mistake. Shayla hasn’t been here for at least a few months now.”

“But she had an appointment just last week,” he insisted.

The receptionist shook her head. “I’m sorry, but if she did it wasn’t at this office. Unless she’s decided to change doctors, but we haven’t gotten any requests to send her files to another office yet.”

Feeling his cheeks grow red Nick muttered a quick apology and strode out of the office his mind trying to process exactly why Shayla would lie to him about having a doctor’s appointment today. Furthermore, why would she neglect to tell him if she’d decided to visit another doctor? Granted, they hadn’t been on the best terms when it came to communicating, but Nick couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that something wasn’t adding up.

He was just getting into his car when he felt his Sidekick vibrate against his leg. Opening it up, he saw that he had received a text message from his friend Chris asking him how things were going. Lately Nick had been so busy that he hadn’t had a lot of time to keep up many of his friends and Chris was definitely one of the ones that had suffered. They hadn’t talked or hung out in probably over a month. Nick sighed, realizing that he now had the rest of the afternoon to himself and could probably use something to distract him from Shayla’s suspicious behavior. He quickly texted Chris back and asked if he wanted to meet for lunch. After a few more messages they agreed on arrangements and Nick was on his way to the restaurant that he and Chris had selected.

Being that he was in the general area, Nick arrived first and decided to go on inside and wait for Chris there. He pushed open the door and waited for the hostess to seat him. While he waited his eyes wandered around the restaurant which was relatively empty since most of the lunch crowd had already left by now, but there was one group of four or five women sitting at a table a few feet away. He must’ve stared a little too long because one of the women elbowed one of the others sitting next to her and whispered something in her ear while she continued to look in Nick’s direction. Nick assumed that they were probably fans or something that recognized him which he wasn’t exactly thrilled about. He wasn’t in the mood to do the whole fan thing just then.

Nick quickly changed his mind though once the other blonde headed woman whipped her head around a panicked look in her wide blue eyes. He gladly would’ve welcomed a group of fans over the horrified look on his wife’s face. The group sitting at the table had been Shayla and a few of her friends and judging from the shopping bags that lay at their feet, they’d spent majority of the day shopping. Even more incriminating and shocking to Nick was what appeared to be a Cosmo sitting in front of her with more than a few sips taken out of it.

Anger was already beginning to bubble up inside of him. She lied about her doctor’s appointment to go shopping with her friends? And if she was so gun ho about this pregnancy, why was she drinking alcohol? Not even stopping to think about what he was doing, he approached the table and roughly grabbed Shayla’s shoulders. “I think you and I need to have a talk outside.”

“Nick, I can explain!” she sputtered.

“I’m sure you can and you better,” he coldly responded. “Outside now.”

Shayla didn’t even bother to argue with him. Knowing that she was in trouble she reluctantly followed him outside to the front of the restaurant. As soon as they were outside Nick began to ream into her. “I think you better start talking and explain to me why when I stopped by your doctor’s office to surprise you by showing up for your appointment, you not only never showed, but the receptionist had no record of you coming in at all recently? Then I walk in here to meet up with Chris for lunch, only to find you having a grand old time with your friends, sipping cocktails? Last time I checked pregnant women weren’t supposed to be drinking!”

Finally finding her nerve, Shayla tried her best to turn the subject around. “Since when are you interested in this pregnancy? Ever since I announced it to you, you’ve been everything but supportive! You’ve made it pretty clear that you didn’t give a damn, so why the sudden change in attitude?”

That’s when it finally fully clicked in Nick’s mind what Shayla had done. She hadn’t purposely gotten pregnant at all. In fact she’d done something much worse and much more deceptive. It all began to make sense. Lying about the doctor’s appointment… The cocktail with lunch… How could he have been so blind? “What pregnancy?” he challenged. “Do you really think I’m that fucking stupid that I wouldn’t figure it out?” He could tell just by the guilty look on his wife’s face that he’d hit the nail right on the head. “You were never pregnant in the first place! You lied to me just to give me some kind of test on how I would handle the situation! What was your logic in that? Don’t you think I’d have thought something was up when your stomach didn’t get bigger? Or were you planning on stuffing a pillow in there or something?”

Shayla sniffled, seeing that she was defeated. “I was going to pretend to have a miscarriage,” she quietly admitted.

“Of course! The convenient miscarriage! How soap opera of you,” he sarcastically replied. “I still don’t understand why you’d do something like this? Who actually fakes a pregnancy? What possessed you to do something so psycho?”

She looked up and glared at him completely stone faced. “Let’s just say I had my reasons,” she stiffly answered.

Nick was about to ask her what those reasons were, but quickly realized he really could give a rat’s ass at that point. He actually wasn’t interested in her excuses. He couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that she’d gone and lied to him in the first place. That was unforgivable to him. “You know what? I don’t even care why you did it anymore! When you first told me that you were pregnant, my first instinct was that you did it on purpose. You made that comment about forgetting your birth control pills, so I just thought this was your way of trapping me. I was really hurt at first, but then I did a lot of thinking and even though I didn’t really want a child, I knew that deep down I couldn’t turn my back on my own flesh and blood. Which is why I was all set to show up and surprise you today. Now as it turns out, you did just the opposite. You lied about being pregnant for some crazy, manipulative reason that only you can figure out. I’d say that this is even worse! Do you realize how upset Alyssa was when I told her you were pregnant? And it’s just some big joke to you!”

“Oh, God forbid we upset Alyssa!” Shayla shot back, not being able to mask her jealously.

“Is this what this is about?” Nick asked, sounding disgusted. “You knew how badly Alyssa wanted to get pregnant, so you figured that if you mysteriously became pregnant it would hurt her?” Shayla remained silent, but crossed her arms over her chest sullenly, giving Nick all the conviction he needed. “Unbelievable… You know you don’t fuck with people’s emotions. Especially by making them believe that they’re going to become a parent. That’s just sick! You disgust me.” Not even having the respect to look at her for another moment he turned around and began walking away.

“Nick!” Shayla attempted to call after him, grabbing his arm.

Nick turned around to face her giving her a warning glance. “Don’t. I’m heading back home and getting my stuff. My lawyer will be sending you over divorce papers as soon as I can draw them up.” Without even bothering to wait for her reaction he turned back around and strode off. In the distance he could hear her muffled tears from behind him, but he had no regrets. He was doing the right thing.

As promised, Sean kept silent about the baby topic for the next two weeks. Neither he nor Alyssa brought it up. It seemed like an unspoken agreement between the two that the subject wouldn’t be mentioned again until their appointment with Dr. Beard to discuss their test results. Alyssa was secretly grateful for this arrangement. It was almost a relief for her to not have to stress over the baby situation constantly hanging over her head. Of course just because the word ‘baby’ seemed to have been eliminated from both of their vocabularies, did not mean that their relationship instantly turned itself around. There was just as much tension between them as ever and whether or not it was consciously or unconsciously, Alyssa found the two of them to be almost politely avoiding each other. It was almost beginning to feel like they were nothing more than roommates, co inhabiting the same space instead of a happily married couple.

Not too surprisingly, Alyssa had gotten her period two days after she’d taken the pregnancy test, sealing the fact that she had been wrong. Afterwards she couldn’t help, but to kick herself for mistaking the symptoms of a really bad case of PMS with the symptoms of pregnancy. She’d moped around for the next few days that followed, but once she realize that she was only making herself feel worse she tried to put on a more cheerful façade, hoping that it would trick her into thinking that she was feeling better. She wasn’t sure if it completely worked, but Sean seemed to buy it. Of course they hadn’t spent very much time together either.

That’s why she was shocked and surprised when he flopped down next to her on the couch that following Friday night while she was curled up with her lesson plan book, trying to map out her daily plans for the remainder of the school year, which was already beginning to dwindle down. Her eyes shot up from her plan book and gave him a questionable glance as soon as she felt his weight next to her. He seemed to have been gone out of his way to steer clear of her for most of the week, so him voluntarily coming to sit beside her seemed a little strange.

Ignoring her suspicious expression, Sean grabbed her legs and pulled them onto his lap, lightly beginning to rub her feet. “Working again?” he playfully teased. “Didn’t you do enough of that today?”

Alyssa appeared blasé to his attempts at pulling her away from her work. “There’s only a few more weeks left of the school year. I’d rather get all my plans intact now so I can concentrate on packing up my classroom for the summer.”

“You have plenty of time for that still,” he insisted, reaching over her to grab her plan book from her hands and setting it on the coffee table in front of them. “It’s Friday night. Surely you can think of something better to do than work on lesson plans.”

Her eyes traveled to the discarded plan book. She was all ready to sail into him for disrupting her work, but something stopped her. This was the most attention he’d devoted to her since the afternoon he’d found her crying on the bathroom floor after the disappointing results of the pregnancy test. She raised her eyebrows and smirked, finally giving in as she slid her body closer to his so that her legs were now dangling off the side of his lap. “Sounds like you have something in mind.”

Sean shrugged. “Not exactly.” He reached out to stroke her dark hair. “I just realized how much I’ve missed being with you lately.”

Alyssa giggled a little bit. “Well, I’ve been right here the whole time. Kind of hard to miss someone when you see them everyday.”

“That’s not what I meant about missing you. Yea, I physically see you everyday, but I just miss the whole emotional connection I guess. Let’s face it, we haven’t been very close lately,” he pointed out. “It’s like we’ve been tiptoeing around each other, and I’m not even sure why exactly.”

She was a little taken aback by his observation. He was saying everything that she had been feeling lately and it made her wonder just a bit where this was all coming from. “Same here. I think that we let so much outside stress get in between us that it really messed up our ability to keep up a solid relationship,” she admitted, trying her best to dance around the baby issue. “I think we sort of started to take each other for granted and kind of stopped communicating there for a while, which definitely was a mistake. Even solid relationships take work to keep them that way and I think we just kind of slacked off. We just became so focused on other things and other people that we forgot to put ourselves first.”

“You’re right,” Sean agreed, tracing circles on the top of her thigh. “I kind of miss the way things were when we first got married. I know the honeymoon doesn’t last forever, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be miserable right? As corny as it sounds I miss those nights we’d just spend on the couch, holding each other.”

Alyssa felt her defenses start to melt. Had he really missed the days before they learned he was being shipped out to Iraq and before they began discussing having a baby, too? “Me too… You know that sounds like a great way to spend my Friday night,” she coyly suggested.

“Better than working on lesson plans?” he teased, as he drew his mouth closer to hers. “Because if you’re really that anxious to get back to them-“

Their lips met before he could even finish the sentence. Pulling away just long enough to get the last word in, she grinned. “This is much better.” Their lips met again, and Alyssa closed her eyes trying to lose herself in his kisses as her hands traveled up to the back of his neck. It felt really good just to sit there and make out with him on the couch like they were a bunch of teenagers. Sadly, Alyssa couldn’t really remember the last time they’d just taken their time with each other. Between trying to get pregnant and both of their overloaded schedules, any alone time they had was always rushed and to the point. So, it definitely was a relief to throw away all sense of time and just relax in each others arms.

Finally Alyssa was beginning to see a glimmer of that emotional connection they once shared and the fact that they were finally bringing the focus back onto each other was definitely a turn on. She couldn’t deny that Sean’s kisses didn’t exactly put the same thrill in her that the fading memory of Nick’s kisses from a few weeks ago, but at the moment his predictability and familiarity seemed comforting and safe. When she felt his fingertips slip underneath the thin material of her tank top, she didn’t hesitate to raise her arms, helping him lift the garment off of her body.

One by one, articles of clothing flew off the couch onto the floor below, until there was nothing separating their skin from each other. Even though it had been a while since they’d really taken things this slowly, Alyssa found herself already growing impatient. She knew that probably seemed pretty ironic since she’d been complaining to Teri and Tricia about how lately her and Sean usually got right down to business, but just the idea of making love without having to worry about whether or not this would be the time she’d get pregnant gave her such a rush. Flipping them over and climbing on top of Sean, she bent down to drop a few light, teasing kisses on his chest as she positioned her body over his. She was just about to sink herself down on him when he gripped her hips, pulling her off of him.

“What do you think you’re doing?” he playfully asked.

Alyssa smirked. “What does it look like I’m doing?”

Sean shook his head at her as he switched their positions so that he had her pinned down against the arm rest of the couch. “Not that way. This way is better.”

She looked up at him with a puzzled expression on her face. “Don’t you get sick of the same thing all the time though? I know you’re a control freak and all, but don’t you want to try something different? And why exactly is it ‘better’ this way?”

Sean seemed to hesitate for a moment. “Uhh, well I guess its kind of stupid, but I just heard somewhere that it’s uhmm easier to conceive a baby in this position. Like you’re at a better angle or something.”

As soon as the explanation left Sean’s mouth, Alyssa sighed and pushed him off of her. Everything had been going so great, but the minute he’d brought up the word ‘baby’, it was like flicking a switch off. She sat up and started to gather her clothes. “Thanks. Way to ruin a mood there.”

“What do you mean? What’d I do?” Sean asked, looking genuinely confused.

Alyssa pulled her tank top back over her head before spinning around to face him. “I thought I made it damn clear that I didn’t want to discuss the baby topic anymore. Why is that every goddamn time we have sex you always have to remind me that we’re trying to create a child? Can’t it just be about the two of us for once? Does it always have to be all about the fucking baby?”

“I’m sorry… I didn’t think-“

“That’s exactly the problem! You don’t think!” By now Alyssa was standing up pulling on her jeans. “And I can’t believe that you’d actually buy some line of crap like that about which way is easier to get pregnant. There’s no proof of that! Besides, we’ve been doing in that way for the past eight months and nothing has happened, so maybe there’s a clue right there!” She crossed the room to where her flip flops were sitting by the door and slipped them onto her feet as she grabbed her denim jacket from where it hung across the banister of the stairs.

Sean watched her with his brows knit in concern. “Where are you going?”

“I don’t know! I just need some space.” Without even waiting for his reaction she opened up the door and stepped outside, ignoring Sean’s pleas to drive carefully. It was a particularly rainy night and just walking from the porch to her car was enough to leave her thoroughly drenched already. She found herself wishing that she’d thought to grab an umbrella or a jacket that was more suited for the weather, but her stubbornness refused to let her back into that house again and give Sean the opportunity to try to calm her down.

She climbed into the front seat and peeled out of the driveway not sure where she was headed. She knew that she’d be more than welcome to spend the night at Izzy’s or with Teri and Howie, but she really didn’t feel like having to explain her whole argument with Sean. She wanted just to go someplace where she could be alone and just relax. Stopping at a red light, she momentarily considered just checking into a hotel for the night, but then she remembered another option. She reached into her glove compartment and felt relief flood over her as she stumbled upon the key to the condo Nick had given her. She’d stuck it in her car to use in exactly a case like this, knowing it was bound to come in handy sometime. He did say that I can use it anytime I need to just get away for the night. Making up her mind, she plugged the address into her GPS system and sped off in the direction that it indicated.

She arrived at condominium complex about half an hour later. The roads had been pretty flooded and miserable and she was just glad to finally arrive at her destination. Thankfully enough, Alyssa had little problem finding the address and she pulled into the driveway. Even though she had the heat blaring, her clothes were still damp from before and as soon as she stepped out of the car door she was soaked again. It really was a torrential downpour and of course once she reached the door, her hands fumbled with the slippery key. When the door finally sprang open she was so drenched that her clothes seemed to stick to her body like a second skin.

Alyssa stepped inside and immediately took off her jacket and hung it on the coat rack next to the door. Not wasting any time she unbuttoned her rain soaked jeans and let them pool around her legs as she stepped out of them. There was nothing more uncomfortable than wet denim. I’ll just get out of these wet clothes and then look for a blanket or something to warm me up, she figured as she pulled her tank top over her head.

She was so focused on getting out of her wet clothes that she hadn’t even noticed the sounds of another person coming from the living room. Nick had arrived at the condo only a few hours earlier. After his confrontation with Shayla earlier that afternoon, he’d cancelled his lunch plans with Chris, gone home, and packed a suitcase with enough clothes to last at least a few days at the condo. He had absolutely no intentions in returning to his home unless it was to retrieve the rest of his stuff. He’d been vegging out on the couch when he thought he heard the sound of the door opening, so he got up from the couch to investigate.

The sight waiting for him around the corner was enough to make him freeze in both surprise and awe. At the end of the short hallway was Alyssa, and he’d gotten there just in time to watch her cross her arms in front of her and pull her maroon colored tank top over her head until she was standing there in just a pair of black and pink boy shorts with a matching black bra. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from her body. Judging from her damp hair and glistening skin, he was able to figure out that she’d probably gotten caught out in the rain and thinking that she was alone, decided to ditch her wet clothes before she caught a chill in the air conditioning. His eyes traveled down her back and spied another one of those newly added tattoos that she’d hinted at; a pair of pink toe shoes peeking out just above the waist of her boy shorts on the right side of her lower back. It was obviously meant to symbolize her long time love of dance. He continued to stare appreciatively, getting a great view of her ass while she bent over to pick up her wet clothes.

He was so transfixed by her half naked appearance that he barely had time to react when she finally turned around noticing him standing there for the first time. Alyssa shrieked in surprise protectively holding her damp clothing over her body as if it were a sight he’d never seen before. “Nick! What the hell are you doing here? You just scared the shit out of me!”