After Amy leaves, Dottie says, "You shouldn't tease her like that."
Nick looks at her and says, "Why?"
Laughing, she says, "That's my job."
He laughs with her before sitting down at the bottom of the bed and laying back, putting his head on her thigh. She plays with his hair as he says, "I'll remember that. Are you ok, D?"
Leaning her head back against the wall of the bus, she says, "I want to say yes. I feel like I am. I feel like a huge weight was just lifted from my shoulders." After a minute of welcome silence, she says, "Thank you Nick."
He says, "For what?"
Laying a hand on his chest with her eyes still closed, she says, "For being here. For letting me work through this the way I need to. For understanding things I didn't even know I was going through. I thought I was doing so well, hiding it from you. But today...today I realized hiding it wasn't making it go away. I need to face it head on."
Nick looks up at her, loving her more than he ever thought he could. Covering her hand on his chest with his, he says, "Look at me D." When she looks down at him, he says, "I love you. You're a strong woman and you survived living in a nightmare for a year. A year that I will spend the rest of my life trying to make up to you. I knew you didn't belong there. I would have traded places with you if I could. I just want to take it all away and bring back the smile I fell in love with so many years ago."
Stroking his cheek with her fingertips, she says, "Years?"
He laughs and says, "From the first day you started working for us, you were my best friend. Not like Brian was, you were different. I had secrets from him that I didn't from you. You knew everything from day one and you were always there for me. Do you remember when I first moved into the house and the furniture got delayed?"
She laughs and says, "Oh yeah. You wanted to make dinner for me. Which ended up being McDonald's because your appliances didn't make it either. We ate on a blanket in the living room floor and you made me watch The Goonies with you."
He reaches up to tweak her nose and says, "I still consider that our first date."
She leans down and kisses him gently and says, "It was a great first date." He closes his eyes and snuggles against her stomach. She says, "Baby, you're so tired. Why don't you get ready for bed?"
Giving her a lazy smile, he says, "Only if you do too."
Looking at him thoughtfully, she says, "That's the best offer I've had tonight."
He sits up and slides closer to her. She loops her arms around his neck and smiles at him. He says, "I love you."
She says, "I love you too."
Nick goes to the front of the bus, giving her privacy to change into her sleeping shirt. When he comes back, he says, "Sweetheart are you sure you're ok?"
She says, "I think I will be Nick. I think maybe when we get home I might see a therapist for a while."
He takes off his shirt and pants, leaving on his boxers, and stretches out on the bed. As she turns down the lights, he says, "Why do you want to see a therapist? You know you can always talk to me."
She lies down and scoots closer to him. When he folds his arms around her, she briefly forgets what she was saying. After recovering her train of thought, she says, "I know I can Nick. Which is why I wanted to ask if you'd go with me? I don't think I can do this without you, but I'm afraid..."
Moving till they are lying face to face and he can see her in the muted light, he says, "What are you afraid of?"
He wipes the tears from her face as she whispers, "I'm afraid I'm not good enough for you Nick."
He kisses her gently and says, "Stop it. You're perfect for me. We're a perfect fit for each other. And of course I'll go with you. Whatever you need to do, we'll do it. But I want you to promise me you know you can always talk to me."
Sliding her arm over his waist, she presses herself against him and says, "I know that Nick. I love you."
He kisses the top of her head and says, "I love you too, D."
When she wakes up the next morning, Dottie knows something has changed. She's still wrapped in Nick's arms. No nightmares. No panic attacks. For the first time in well over a year, she got a good night's sleep. Pressing herself against his body, she drinks in the feeling of being in his arms.
Nick comes awake slowly, feeling every inch of Dottie's body pressed against his. He knows she's awake because she's gently rubbing his back. He whispers, "Good morning, Beautiful."
She kisses his chest and says, "Good morning Nick."
He says, "How do you feel?"
She smiles to herself and says, "Wonderful, how about you?"
He says, "I'm feeling pretty good. Are you really ok?"
She pulls back enough to look at his face and she says, "Did I wake you up from having nightmares or panic attacks?"
He says, "No, you didn't."
She scoots closer to him and says, "See, I feel wonderful."
He kisses her head and says, "I'm so glad, Dottie. I don't want you to have nightmares anymore. Or panic attacks. I want you to sleep and dream about you and me and how much I love you."
She says, "I love you too, Nick."
He says, "D, after you went to sleep, I thought about what you said. About seeing a therapist. If you really want to, I want to go with you. As much as you need to work through what happened in the past, I need to learn how to help you move on. Just promise me you know you can always come to me to talk when you need to."
She says, "I promise Nick. And I want you to come to me too. I think not talking about what happened just makes it worse. I think it's why..."
He says, "What Baby? Tell me."
She says, "I think it's why I'm so nervous about making love to you. I want it to be perfect. I want to please you every way I can. But I'm doubting myself right now."
He says, "So am I, D. I'm so afraid of pushing you when you aren't ready. I want you so badly, I can't stand it. Some mornings it's all I can do to not just take you. But this has to happen when you're ready for it."
She says, "Nick, I want you too. I want you now. I've always wanted you to make love to me."
He pushes her onto her back and covers her lips with his. Drinking her flavor from her lips, his hand slides down her side to her thigh, gripping it and pulling it up around his body, allowing him to grind his knee against her body.
She moans and pulls him closer, her body igniting with passion for him. When he tears his lips away, she whispers, "Don't stop Nick. Please."
He says, "Baby, I can't...I'm so close...I don't want to hurt you."
She holds him close as he nuzzles her neck. She whispers, "It's ok Nick."
He kisses her neck and says, "Soon. Very soon I'm going to make love to you. I'm going to feel your body against mine and I'm going to make you feel like you've never felt before."
Sighing as she holds him close, she whispers, "I hope it's soon Nick. I need you."
Propping himself up to look at her face, he says, "I need you too, D. And our first time is going to be magical. Not in a bus parked outside an arena."
She says, "Wherever we are, with you it will be magical."
Thinking of the plans he's made for them in LA, he says, "It will be the first night of the rest of our lives, My Love. I can promise you that."