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Chapter Fifty

What should have been an extremely amazing moment in my life was overshadowed by the possibility that I was having the wrong Backstreet Boy’s baby.

“Do you remember anything about that night in Vegas?” Nick asked as we drove back to his hotel. I shook my head.

“Absolutely nothing.”

Nick looked thoughtful. “Well, maybe you guys didn’t do anything. Maybe Brian passed out first.”

“That’s a lot of maybe’s Nick,” I said quietly. He sighed.

Nick had booked a room at the Holiday Inn. We were quiet as we took the elevator up to his room. Once we got inside, I turned to look at him. Tears sprang to my eyes; he looked like a half deflated balloon.

“I’m sorry, Nick,” I cried. He wrapped his arms tightly around me.

“How is this your fault?” he asked. I blubbered against his chest. He kissed the top of my head, holding me as if he was never going to let go.

“Leighanne handled the Vegas incident so well,” I continued, sniffling loudly. “But now…”

Nick’s fingers dipped under my chin; he lifted my face to his.

“They don’t have to know,” he said quietly.

My eyes widened in surprise. “What are you talking about?” I said. “Of course they do.”

Nick led me over to the bed, we sat on the edge. I had never seen him so serious.

“As far as I’m concerned I’m in love with you and no matter what you’re having my child,” Nick said.

I sighed. “Nick, I love you too. But, we need to at least let Brian know there’s a possibility---“

Nick cut me off. “After the baby’s born we can do a DNA test. If it turns out—“ he choked up but quickly shook it off. “If it turns out the baby is Brian’s then we’ll tell him. I just don’t want to go through the next seven months with him and I both wanting to take care of you. That’s my job.”

I knew his logic came from a deep well of denial. It was logic I didn’t agree with.

“I have a feeling he might do the math,” I said. Nick looked at me; I could almost see the devil on his shoulder whispering in his ear.

“We’ll just tell them that you’re only five weeks instead of six weeks,” Nick explained. “We’ll erase all possibility.”

“Nick I can’t do this,” I said in frustration. “If the baby does turn out to be Brian’s, how do I explain that? I can’t just call him from the hospital room and say ‘Oh Brian, congratulations you’re a daddy, again.’”

I jumped as Nick punched the mattress in frustration. He stood up; I could feel the anger radiating off of him.

“This isn’t supposed to happen this way!” he yelled out. He took the ultrasound out of his pocket, clutching it tightly in his hand. I watched him storm into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.

I fell back on the bed, crying even harder than before. Nick had been in town for less than eight hours and we had already managed to start coming apart.

After fifteen minutes Nick still hadn’t come out. I called out to him; he refused to answer. After another five minutes, I wiped my tearstained face and got up, heading quietly out of the room. I just wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.

I took the first bus back home. I smelled like puke, I felt like a leaking goldfish bowl from the ultrasound, and my “morning sickness” had turned into “all day sickness.”

And then there was the fact that Nick was locked in a hotel bathroom fuming because I refused to go along with his plan.

I walked the block from the bus stop to my mom’s house. I tried to slip in quietly, but my mom was watching TV and turned at the sound of the door opening.

“Is that you honey?” she asked, turning around. “Where’s Nick?”

“Oh,” I paused. “He had some phone calls to make. I’m going to go take a shower.”

Without waiting for her to respond, I slipped into the bathroom. I stood under the warm spray until my fingers and toes turned into prunes. My fast falling tears mixed with the water pouring down on me.

Finally unable to stay in the shower any longer, I wrapped myself in a robe and padded to my bedroom.

My mom knocked on the door minutes later.

“Are you sure everything’s okay sweetheart?” she asked, poking her head in.

“I’m fine mom, I’m just…really tired,” I said. In truth, I really was. My entire body ached.

“Okay, honey. Well, goodnight.”

“Goodnight mom.”

She turned off the light, shutting the door behind her.

It was only seven-thirty in the evening. I rested my face on the cool satiny pillow. Bitsy, having mastered the art of jumping on the bed, hopped up and licked my face before curling up next to me. Atari was already lying at my feet.

I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard a tap at my window. I assumed it was just a bird, but a minute later I heard the sound again.

I got up slowly and pushed back the curtain. Nick stood at the window, his head resting on the frame, his hand on the glass.

With a little grunt, I pushed open the window. A rush of mid-summer air flew into the room. He looked at me with soulful eyes.

“Hey,” he said softly.

“Hey,” I whispered.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine Nick,” I said. He held onto the frame and began to slide inside the room. I stepped back to admit him entry.

“No, it’s not fine.” Nick ran his hand down his face. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

I couldn’t help it; he seemed so downtrodden. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him gently. He hesitated but only a second; I felt his arms wrap around my waist and his soft lips pressed against mine. As I pulled away for breath, his forehead leaned down to nuzzle mine.

“We’ll tell Brian,” he whispered.

I nodded. “It’s the right thing to do,” I said.

“But, can we not do it until we start the tour?” Nick asked.

I couldn’t deny him that request; I nodded again.

“Somehow I don’t think this is something that can be done in a phone call,” I added.

As we stood there in an embrace, I suddenly realized how weird it was to have Nick in my old room. Even though it was now pretty much a computer office, I could almost see the ghostly images of the posters that had adorned the walls for years and years; the faded rectangle on the wall behind Nick’s shoulder where the “pants down” photo had hung so it was the last thing I saw at night. Now I was standing here with the real thing.

And I was pregnant.

I exhaled deeply. It was sinking in slowly.

“You okay?” Nick asked, his lips brushing mine. I nodded.

“It’s just been an overwhelming day,” I explained. I sank down on my bed. Nick lay beside me. Bitsy’s behind wiggled excitedly, she jumped on him, covering him with kisses. Nick laughed softly, finally picking the little pup up and holding her at arm’s length. Her entire body still wiggled in glee.

“I missed you guys,” Nick said. He set Bitsy down, letting her pounce on him. He leaned over and kissed me softly once more.

We talked quietly; I talked about work, Nick talked about golfing with AJ and being a hermit. After awhile I heard my mom shuffling down the hall. I heard the click of lights; she was heading to bed.

My eyes fluttered closed. As much as I wanted to stay awake, I couldn’t fight it anymore. I felt Nick take my hand, his fingers sliding gently through my own. My body relaxed; our first disagreement had lasted only two hours. It was two hours too long.

I just didn’t want it to happen again.