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Chapter 21

            Nick didn't realize it but all the guys are riding together to the venue. Before Nick can say anything once everyone is in the car, AJ says, "Brian, what hell is wrong with you?"

            Brian just gives him a blank stare and says, "Not now, AJ."

            AJ pushes on, saying, "No, we have to talk about this now. What the hell is wrong with you going after Amy like that in public? I mean, I get it, she's hot and you two are in love, but dammit, Brian, that was...that was NOT something you do in public."

            Nick turns to Brian and says, "Rok, look, I'm the first to say what Glenna did to you was shitty on every level.  But AJ's right. You can't treat Amy like that. She's not Glenna.  Amy actually loves you and she thinks being here for you will be a problem."

            Brian looks at all their faces and says, "I'm sorry guys.  Glenna fucked me over and she is still fucking me over." Looking at Nick, he says, "How do you know what Amy...I mean did she say anything?"

            Nick says, "Yeah, she did. Brian, I KNOW what Glenna did to you. I know how she treated you and how things happened between you. I'm telling you, you gotta let that shit go and let Amy be there for you. Amy really loves you and she's questioning whether or not her being here is a good idea."

            A pained look crosses Brian's face, but he doesn't say anything else.  Howie feels the need for a subject change so he says, "Nick, what about Dottie? Is she really going to see Jake?"

            Nick nods and says, "She's going to try to fly out tomorrow.  I don't want her too, but she's right. If anyone can shake him, it's Dottie. Look what the piece of shit did to her."

            Howie says, "Then I think Brian had better make up with Amy."  When Brian looks up, Howie says, "Brian, do you really think Dottie should go alone? Do you think Amy would LET her go alone? They've been friends forever and Amy knows just how bad it was for Dottie when she got out. What we saw probably only scratched the surface. There's no way in hell Amy will let Dottie go alone."

            Nick sighs and says, "He's right. Plus I don't want her to go alone. It's making me sick thinking of it, but Howie, you're right. Amy will go too."

            Brian sighs and says, "I'm messing everything up."

            AJ says, "No you aren't Brian. But you should have told us about Glenna from the beginning.  You just have to be thankful you have Amy and she loves you like she does. You've been a real prick today, Man. I bet you get that from me."

            Everyone sort of chuckles before Brian says, "You guys are right. I owe Amy and apology at the least.  She means so much to me. I hate it that she knows...that all of you know what Glenna did.  It's embarrassing."

            Nick says, "Come on Man, don't be embarrassed. We've got your back.  And Amy loves you.  And if anyone can turn this around, it's Dottie."

            AJ smiles and says, "He's right. And when she does turn this around and everything gets back to normal, I think you two should take your ladies off for some much need R & R and show them how much you love them."

            Brian smiles slightly and says, "I hope everything can be normal again. I hope I didn't mess up too badly with A."


            Dottie and Amy get to the venue first and find the dressing rooms.  Dottie makes flight reservations as Amy sets up her appointment with the gynecologist.  After all the calls are made, the girls sit back and talk about everything except what's about to happen.  Amy can tell Dottie's having a hard time dealing with what's happened and she's letting her set the pace for their conversation.

            As they are talking about LA and what plans Nick might have made, the guys come in.  Brian walks over to Amy and drops down to his knees in front of her.  Without even caring that anyone else is listening, he says, "A, I'm so sorry. Please say you forgive me."

            Amy, on the other hand, is acutely aware everyone is there.  She blushes and says, "Of course I do. I understand you're under a lot of stress Brian."

            He says, "No, you don't get it. I'm sorry for how I've treated you today. Ever since I found out Glenna was involved, I've been living in the past. Living in what she did to me. That's not fair to you. Not at all.  Can you please forgive me?"

            Amy puts her hand on the side of his face and says, "Of course I can."

            Nick sits down beside Dottie and says, "How are you Babe?"

            She snuggles against him, not caring if anyone is listening or not and says, "I'm ok Nick. I really am."

            He kisses her forehead and says, "You don't have to do this."

            She tilts her head back and he leans down to kiss her. When their lips part, she says, "Yes I do. I have to fix this."

            Brian hears what she says and he asks, "Why do you say that, D? What makes you think you have to fix it?"

            Dottie looks around at all of them before she stands up and walks away from Nick. When she turns, she says, "I should have seen what was happening before. I should have seen what Jake was doing and stopped him. It's my fault that he got away with as much as he did because I didn't pay attention."

            AJ steps up and says, "Stop that right now, D. It wasn't your place..."

            She stops him and says, "But it was, AJ. I should have seen it."

            Amy steps forward and says, "D..."

            Dottie shakes her head and says, "Don't.  Amy, I know what you're all going to say and it means a lot to me, but this is my fault. I'm going to fix it, no matter what I have to do."

            Silence weighs heavy in the room.  Dottie turns and opens the door.  Before she can leave, Nick is up and across the room, pushing it shut.  He turns her to face him and tilts her head up till her eyes meet his.  Tears are pooled in his gorgeous baby blues and he says, "This is why you have nightmares, isn't it? It's not just about being in prison. You blame yourself." A tear slides down her face and he pulls her against his chest.  He whispers, "Baby, it's not your fault."

            AJ says, "D, come on, you know it wasn't your fault. Jake was a sneaky bastard. It wasn't up to you to keep an eye on him."

            She sniffs and says, "You guys don't get it. I worked with him. I was in that office with him on a daily basis. I should have paid more attention..."

            Howie says, "Stop right there. You had a job and you did it. That job didn't include keeping an eye on your supervisor. None of this is your fault. It was never your fault. It's not Brian's fault either."

            Brian keeps Amy in his arms and he says, "Dottie, we were both used. I feel as guilty as you do and I think I understand where you're coming from. But it wasn't your fault."

            Amy says, "Neither of you are to blame. Truth be told, you are more Jake and Glenna's victims than anyone else."

            Nick rubs Dottie's back as she sobs into his shirt. He says, "She's right. We may have lost some money, but that's nothing compared to what they did to you two."

            Before anyone can say anything, Jenn walks in and announces it's time for the sound check.  Nick pulls back and looks down at Dottie. Wiping the tears from her face, he says, "I love you, D. Don't you forget that."

            She smiles up at him and sniffles before whispering, "I love you too, Nicky."

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