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Chapter Fifty Eight

“So here we are in Wenatchee, Washington and our big happy family here is trying to decide where to eat,” Nick explained, as I held the camera. We were all crowded into a black van which had been circling the city for over an hour; the Boys couldn’t come to a consensus on where to eat. We were all getting tired and cranky. I zoomed in on Howie.

“What’s your pick, Howie?” I asked. He slid his sunglasses down his nose, his brown eyes meeting the camera lens dead on.

“Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant,” Howie said.

“I’m not taking Baylee to a place that starts with Tequila,” Brian said. I zoomed in on him.

“What about you Bri?”

“My vote’s on Red Robin. I want one of those onion ring towers.”

I turned. “AJ?”

He glanced out the window. “Smitty’s Pancake & Steak,” he said. “We’ve passed it about three fu—“ he paused as the moms in the room glared at him. “We’ve passed it three times.”

I turned back to Nick.

“And you?”

He smiled. “Well, Tequila’s is out because the last time I had tequila with Howie was a big mistake.”

I saw Howie grin out of the corner of my eye.

“Smitty’s Pancake & Steak makes me think of an overweight Elvis with like this huge stack of pancakes and syrup and then a T-bone steak, which is kinda disgusting. No offense, dawg,” Nick apologized. AJ looked around for young eyes; seeing an all clear, he gave him the finger.

“Okay then, what’s your pick Nick? Side with someone, I’m starving,” I said.

Nick looked at Brian; Brian looked at Nick.

“Red Robin, yummmmm,” they sang in unison.


“That is the tallest stack of onion rings I’ve ever seen,” Nick said in awe as the waitress put down two humongous orders. He looked like a kid on Christmas; he grabbed the first one off the top.

“So how’s that diet going Nick?” AJ asked. Nick’s eyes narrowed as he looked over at him.

“Mine’s going good,” Nick leaned back, placing a hand on his flat stomach. “You, on the other hand, look like you haven’t hit the gym in a few weeks brothah.”

“We’ve been busy,” AJ said. “We,” he indicated himself and Rochelle. “Have a wedding to plan.”

“He’s a bridezilla,” Rochelle explained.

“Excuse me for wanting this to be awesome,” AJ said.

“He’s had some good ideas,” Rochelle admitted. “Since we’re getting married on Halloween, we’re going to make our rehearsal dinner the day before into a huge costume party.”

“What are your wedding colors?” Leigh asked.

“Black,” AJ said.

Everyone waited for him to continue; he didn’t.

“Just black?” Nick asked.

“I’m wearing white,” Rochelle said. AJ snickered; in return he got a jab in the stomach.

Rochelle discussed their ideas a little more as everyone dug into the onion rings, everyone except me that is. If I wasn’t throwing up, I was belching and I couldn’t think of anything worse to belch than onions. Nick would thank me later.

“Baylee, it’s not a bracelet,” Leighanne said, tugging an onion ring off his wrist.

“But, Nick’s doing it!” Baylee complained.

I looked over at Nick. He dipped his wrist in the zesty sauce and began to eat the ring off his wrist. He looked up when he realized everyone was looking at him.


He was saved by the waitress bringing our main entrees. I had ordered a crispy chicken salad. It smelled amazing; I really was starving. I dug in with gusto. In fact, I was the first one done.

“Nick’s rubbing off on you, Liv,” AJ teased. I blushed. What was worse is that I was still hungry. I wished I had grabbed an onion ring while I had a chance, onion breath be damned.

Nick slid his basket my way. “Eat some fries.”

I grabbed a couple; the first tasted rather bland. I picked up the hot sauce that Howie had been hoarding and sprinkled some drops over the remaining potato wedges. . The extra spice did the trick. I closed my eyes and smiled.

“I know that look!” Leigh said. I opened my eyes in surprise; she was smiling at me. Simultaneously, Leighanne frowned.

Howie nodded. “Your smile moment was fries dipped in chocolate sauce,” he added.

“They tasted like your mom’s churros,” Leigh said. “Well, they did at the time at least. Now that sounds so disgusting.”

“Putting hot sauce on fries isn’t weird,” I explained. “I do it all the time.”

I had never had hot sauce before in my life. What was worse was the thought of chocolate fries sounded even better than hot sauce fries. I wasn’t even supposed to be having cravings this early; what a dead giveaway.

“Oh, c’mon,” Leigh said. She looked at me. “Are you or aren’t you?”

“For your sake, I hope you’re not,” Howie said. “Especially considering Nick was just wearing onion rings bracelets.”

I looked over at Nick.

“Oh, just spill the beans you two,” Brian piped up. He looked over at Howie and Leigh.

“We had them down to the house for dinner a few days ago. Nick couldn’t wait to spill the beans. I can’t believe he hasn’t blabbed already,” Brian explained.

Nick took Brian’s opening to jump in. “Well, first of all, there’s nothing wrong with onion ring bracelets. And secondly, yes another Carter is headed into this world.”

“No fucking way. There goes the neighborhood,” AJ announced. He smiled. “Congratulations.”

A round of congratulations echoed around the table.

“So when are you due?” Rochelle asked.

“Late March,” I said.

“Oh good, then you should still be easy to fit into a dress.”

“What?” I said.

“Well, I want to ask you three girls to be in my wedding party,” Rochelle smiled. “AJ wants a best man and six groomsmen so I’m working on getting my seven girls together.”

“Seriously?” Leigh said.

“Yeah,” Rochelle said. “I’m sick of seeing you girls in pastels and bright colors. A little black nail polish, black shoes, and a black dress and you girls will look hot.”

“And I want Baylee to be our ring bearer,” AJ said.

“And James came be in a little wagon with one of my tiny flower girls,” Rochelle said.

By the end of the meal everyone had been assigned a roll in the McLean wedding and my baby issue was forgotten. As we all walked back to the van, AJ and Rochelle began to argue about the smallest of details. I couldn’t help but agree with Rochelle; AJ did seem to be quite the diva. Even so, it was shaping up to be the wedding of the century.

If they didn’t kill each other before the tour was over, that is.


“We wouldn’t have been able to keep it a secret,” Nick said as we lay curled up in his bed.

“I know,” I sighed. “I would have felt worse about it if Brian hadn’t spoken up first.”

Nick lifted my shirt; he leaned down and kissed my stomach. “You need to eat more. You don’t even have a bump.”

I snorted. “Give me another month or two.”

Nick sighed, resting his head under my chest. I tousled his hair.

“This baby’s got to be mine,” Nick reasoned. “Look at all the chaos he or she has caused already.”

I traced the letters of his KAOS tattoo down his back.

I laughed. “You certainly have a point.”

I only wished the test could be that simple.