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Chapter 15

            After Amy leaves to go talk to Brian, Nick comes out onto the balcony and kneels down beside Dottie. He says, "Is Amy ok?"

            She sighs and says, "I don't know. I've never seen her so emotional."

            He says, "Maybe it's PMS.  Angel was a real bitch sometimes and she always blamed PMS."

            She looks at him and says, "It's more than that, Nick."

            Knowing she's got something on her mind, he says, "Tell me."

            Knowing she can trust Nick with anything, she says, "Just between us, right?" He nods and she says, "Amy's worried she might be pregnant."  His shocked look tells her Brian never said a word to him about the unused condom.  She says, "Nick, you can't say anything to Brian.  No one is supposed to know but me."

            He says, "Don't worry, D, I won't say a word."

            She leans into him and says, "I know. It's just a big mess."

            He's genuinely puzzled and he says, "Why?"

            Dottie says, "She won't admit it, but she's still not sure of what Brian wants. He just got divorced and they just really started dating."

            Nick says, "You're joking, right?  Brian loves her. He adores her. Even before the divorce was final, he told me she was the one."

            She shakes her head and says, "I think Brian should have told HER that."

            Nick says, "Sometimes, guys don't always do what they should do. Look at me.  I should have been doing more to help you get over the past and look to our future together.  You aren't going to be alone ever again, Missy.  And you're DAMN sure not going back to jail.  Do you think that if I tell you that enough you'll start believing me and the nightmares will go away?"

            She sighs and says, "Nick, I think I should see a counselor.  I think I'm going to have to have to help to move past this."

            He tweaks her nose before pulling her into his arms and saying, "Anything, Babe.  ANYTHING you need.  I want my woman happy. I want to open my eyes in the morning and see your smiling face looking back at me."

            She snuggles against his chest and whispers, "Please don't let go of me Nicky. I don't think I can make it without you."

            Nick says, "Where would I go?  I belong with you."

            Dottie says, "Nick I love you so much.  You have put up with so much because of me. I don't know how I'll ever make it up to you."

            He shakes his head and says, "Baby, what you went through was because I couldn't figure things out fast enough.  If I had gotten my hands on Jake before the police did, I would have killed him for doing this."

            She shudders and turns away from Nick. He folds his arms around her and she says, "Why did he do it Nick?  What did I do to him to make him do that to me?"

            Nick says, "Baby, I don't know.  I don't know and I don't care. He hurt you and for that, he deserves to rot in hell for the rest of his life."

            She leans her head back on his shoulder and says, "I know I should forgive him...I know it's what I'm supposed to do...but I don't know if I can."

            He says, "Sweetheart, I will never forgive him.  When I first saw you, after they let you out, all I wanted to do was die. You looked so fragile.  In some ways, you still do, but you are so strong. You faced the worst life has to offer and you're still standing here.  I know it's hard. I know there are still times you are afraid.  Baby, when you feel like that, come to me.  Let me show you that you don't have to be afraid anymore."

            Turning in his arms, she presses her face into his chest and sobs.  Holding her tightly, he lets her ride the wave of emotion until the tears are spent, then he whispers, "I love you D.  I'll always be here for you."

            Lifting her tear stained face to his, she whispers, "I love you too Nick.  I can't live without you in my life."

            He kisses her gently and says, "You don't have too.  I'm yours Baby. I've always been yours. Remember the 2 weeks we were house shopping in Florida?"  When she nods he says, "I fell in love with you then. I turned down most of those houses just so we could spend more time together."

            She sort of giggles and says, "I picked out ugly houses to show you to make it last."

            He laughs loudly and says, "See, we're soul mates. I knew I loved you all that time.  If only I had been brave enough after buying the house. I wanted to ask you out on a real date then, but I was so damn afraid you'd say no.  So I made all our dates working dates, that way you couldn't say no."

            Looking into his eyes, she says, "Nick, I could never say no to you.  Not even then."

            He smirks and says, "What about now?"

            Pressing firmly against him, she slips up on tiptoe and sensually kisses him.  When their lips part she says, "Not even now."

            He lifts her up and carries her back into the room.  As he bends over to lay her on the bed, her phone rings.  They both sigh and he puts her down, reaching for her phone for her.  He kisses her gently and says, "I'm going to go get us a couple of drinks and a bucket of ice.  Hurry."

            She smiles as he walks out and answers her phone. "Hello?"

            Jenn says, "Hey, Dottie, listen, can you come to my room a second?  I need to show you something and ask your advice."

            She says, "Sure.  Let me tell Nick where I'm going."

            Jenn says, "Don't tell Nick. I need this between us for now, ok?"

            Feeling more than a little curious, she says, "Sure, not a problem. I'll be there in a few."

            She meets Nick in the hallway, handing him the key card to get back in the room. She says, "Jenn needs me for a minute. Why don't you do me a BIG favor?"

            He says, "What?"

            She says, "Go into our room, take off all your clothes and wait for me. I won't be long."

            Kissing her gently before hugging her tight, he says, "Hurry Baby."


            When Dottie gets to Jenn's room, she says, "What's wrong? You sounded upset on the phone. Are the boys double-booked somewhere?"

            Jenn sighs and says, "No, if only it were that simple." She has Dottie sit and she sits beside her and says, "I wanted to talk to you about this because I want to make sure you know I believe in you and I'm SO glad you're taking care of the boys for me.  I couldn't do my job without you."

            Dottie says, "I appreciate that Jenn. I love my job.  I love taking care of the guy's personal stuff.  It's actually fun most of the time."

            Jenn says, "Well, our fun may be over for a while.  Look."

            Dottie goes over a few of the files with her and it's painfully clear.  Someone is still taking money from the guys.  When her eyes meet Jenn's, Jenn says, "No, I don't for a minute think it's you and the boys don't know. So far, it's just between you and me.  I think I've figured out how it's happening, but you have a better head for figures than me. Will you help me trace it?"

            Dottie nods, afraid to speak.  Jenn takes her hand and says, "I promise, I don't think it's you.  I never thought it was the first time.  You have to believe me."

            Dottie nods again, her whole body shaking. Jenn says, "I'm going to call Nick, Dottie.  Keep breathing."

            By the time Nick gets to Jenn's room, Dottie is in a full blown panic attack.  Nick manages to get her calmed down before turning on Jenn and saying, "What the hell is going on?  Why did she get so upset?"

            Jenn says, "Nick, I'm sorry.  I wasn't trying to upset her. I swear.  But something's going on and I wanted her to help me figure it out. I don't think she believed me when I said I believe in her."

            In a quiet voice, Dottie says, "I do believe you Jenn. It's ok.  I'm still just struggling with things.  I want to help you.  But I think Nick and the guys need to know what you told me."

            Nick turns to Jenn and says, "What's going on?"

            Jenn sighs and says, "Nick, money has started disappearing again. At an alarming rate.  I THINK I know how, but I wanted Dottie to help me trace it. She's so much better at that end of it than me."

            Nick turns back to Dottie and says, "Sweetheart can you do that for us?"

            Dottie nods and says, "I can.  I just don't want you to think...."

            Nick cups her face in his hands and says, "STOP! I will not have you thinking we're all going to blame you.  Dottie I love you with everything I have in me. I know the kind of person you are and everyone associated with this group knows it too. You have to know that we believe in you. OK?"

            She nods before turning to Jenn and saying, "Who do you think it is?"

            Jenn says, "Brian's ex-wife, Glenna." 

Chapter End Notes:

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