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Chapter 43

            On the way back to Nick's house, he notices Dottie is really quiet and he says, "What's wrong, D?"

            She has her head on his chest so he can't see her face, which at this moment is a good thing for Dottie because she's on the fringe of a panic attack and she's trying to hide it.  Hoping she can make her voice sound normal, she says, "Nothing's wrong, Nick. I'm just enjoying this."

            He squeezes her tighter and relaxes back against the seat. She quietly sighs; thankful he isn't pushing because right now, she doesn't know what to say. Is she sure about their love? Yes. He she sure about their marriage? Yes. What she can't figure out is why she feels like freaking out.

            OK, she admits to herself why, but she won't...she can't say it to Nick. She's afraid of the fans reaction when they find out who Nick is marrying. Tears slowly pool on her lashes before one by one they start to fall. What if she hurts his career? What if the fans are furious because of it? Can she live with herself if she ruins the Backstreet Boys? Not hardly.

            It doesn't take Nick long to realize she's crying. Pulling her up onto his lap, he cradles her close and whispers, "Tell me what's wrong, D."

            With hiccupping breaths, she says, "I can't marry you Nick!"

            That statement shatters his heart. He says, "Why? Baby, what..."

            She says, "They'll all hate me and I can't do that to you guys. I just can't."

            Finally, he gets it. He says, "Sweetheart, I want you to listen to me. OK?" She nods and he says, "For months now I've told the world how much I love you."

            She leans back and says, "Months?"

            He nods and says, "Yeah, months. It started on Twitter. Someone said I needed a good woman. I said I have one. From there, it just snowballed. Everyone knows I'm in love and happy and they are thrilled. Look at the concert the other night. I told you in front of tens of thousands of people how much I love you and how sorry we all are as a group for our part in what happened to you. No one got upset. The fans aren't mad. They are happy.  Happy that I'm happy."

            She cups his face in her hands and gently kisses his lips. She whispers, "Nick, you're everything to me. I love you more than I thought I could ever love anyone." Pressing her forehead to his, she says, "I guess I still have a little more work to do on me."

            He hugs her closer and says, "I'm here Baby. I'm not going anywhere. If you need to scream, cry, rant and rave, do it. But let me help you through it. In two weeks time I'm going to be saying ‘I do' and I mean it Babe. I'm with you through it all because I love you."

            She snuggles on his lap and almost falls asleep.  When the car gets back to Nick's, once they are out of the car, he sweeps her up into his arms and carries her to the door.

            Once inside, she says, "Nick...I have a surprise for you."

            He smiles at her and says, "I have one for you too. You go first."

            She says, "It's upstairs. Will you wait here?"

            He nods and kisses her gently, before saying, "Want something to drink?"

            She shakes her head no and says, "Thanks anyway. I'll be right back."

            When she gets upstairs, she digs through her bag to find the negligee she had bought back before they first made love. She kept putting off wearing it because in the back of her mind, she kept telling herself it would be perfect for a wedding night all the while, never believing she'd have a wedding night.

            After sliding on the white silk and lace gown, she turns to the mirror and fixes her makeup. After fluffing her hair and spraying on her favorite perfume, she steps back to see how she looks. The gown floats around her body, with a slit up the side to the top of her thigh. The lace accents at the top of the slit and above her breasts are meant to tease Nick about what's underneath. She turns and the deep V in the back makes her smile. Her favorite thing to feel on her skin is her man's hands and this gives him plenty of open space to explore.

            When she goes back downstairs, Nick is sitting with his back to the stairs. The TV is on and he's quietly flipping through channels. Striking a pose about three quarters of the way down the steps, she says, "Hey Nick."

            When he turns to see her his mouth goes dry. He puts down the remote and just stares at her. She starts to feel self conscious because he's so quiet so she says, "You don't like it?"

            Her question pulls him from his trance and he stands.  He says, "Like it? Baby, I LOVE it. Do you know...can't you...D, you're SO beautiful."

            She blushes with his praise and her breath catches in her throat when he steps up on the steps. He stands on the step below her and slides one of his fingers up her thigh, tracing the slit. When he sees her shiver, he smiles. He leans forward and kisses her gently. When their lips part, he says, "I love you D."

            She whispers, "I love you too." Taking his hand, she leads him up to the bedroom.

Once inside, he turns on some music and unbuttons his shirt. After shrugging it off, he pulls her into his arms and they start to dance. They never stop kissing and his hands never stop moving. When she's breathless from his touch, she whispers, "Please Nick."

He nibbles on her neck and says, "We have all night."

He lays her back on the bed and joins her, still wearing his pants. He runs his hand over the silk covering her stomach as his lips once again finds hers. Tonight is about love. Love between a man and a woman who've been to hell and back and did so together.

When his hand finally sneaks up under the slit, he finds her wet and ready. His fingers toy with her flesh, causing his own body to harden almost painfully. Reluctantly, he takes his lips from her skin and whispers, "Can I give you your surprise now?"

Thinking he means to make love to her, she whispers, "Oh yes, Nick."

He pulls her closer to his chest and looks deeply into her eyes. He says, "D, I love you and for the rest of my life, I'm going to love you."

She says, "I love you too, Nick," all the while pressing herself more firmly against him.

Holding her tightly, he says, "D, I want us to have a baby."

That stops her cold. She searches his eyes and whispers, "But you said it wasn't the right time..."

He smiles gently and says, "I was scared stiff, D. But tonight, I saw it. It suddenly became so clear to me. 50 or 60 years from now, I want to be watching our grandchildren growing up and getting married. I finally want it all D. I want a wife and children.  I want a family and I want it with you."

Struggling to hold back the sob of sheer joy that's racing through her body, she wraps her arms tightly around his neck and whispers savagely, "I love you Nick!"

Kissing her shoulder, he holds her tightly, amazed at the fierceness of his love for her and he says, "I love you too, D."

No other words are necessary. After making love to her for hours, Nick snuggles her close and watches her sleeping. Finally, all is right with the world. In two short weeks they'll be married. Hopefully, soon after that she'll be pregnant. As he traces her face with his fingertips, he smiles. Kissing her forehead, he closes his eyes and drifts off to sleep.

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