The next few weeks flew by as Emma started the new school year and the Labor Day party was coming up that weekend. She was excited to have Addie and her family coming down to celebrate but she hadn’t heard anything from Nick about whether he was coming or not. There were a thousand reasons she could think of that would explain why he wasn’t coming but she couldn’t think of one reason he would have to come.
She had thought about all the conversations they had had when she was staying at Addie’s and although there were some when they were getting along, she felt that maybe Nick was regretting talking to her. He had been so angry with her to begin with and, since they had all lectured him about his anger, he had just given in and was talking to her to be nice. His concern on the plane that she thought meant something, might just be because he felt sorry for her.
Michael knew it was killing her not to know whether he was coming and, if he had his number, he would have called and given him a piece of his mind. If Nick had just been nice to her to appease his friends, then he should have the decency to at least text her a no. It wasn’t fair to run her through the ringer just because he couldn’t say no.
Nick finally texted her two days before the party to let her know that he would not be coming. Using an excuse about preparing some music, he told her he was sorry and wished her a fun time. Emma was crying when Michael came home so he figured Nick had given her an answer and it was one that stung. After Emma went to bed, he texted Addie and told her what had happened.
“What’s Nick’s problem?”
Howie has just come in and found his wife sitting at the kitchen table, cell phone in hand, wearing a very irritated expression.
“He has a bunch, you’ll have to be more specific.”
Howie was trying to break the tension, but his wife wasn’t having it. She explained that Emma had invited him to the Labor Day party and he had texted her an answer of no; this confused Howie.
“I just talked to him two days ago and he said he was coming.”
“Well, obviously something changed because he made it clear to her that he’s not coming.”
“Let me call him,” Howie said with a sigh, “and I will try to figure it out.”
Addie nodded, kissed her husband on the cheek and went upstairs to check on the baby. Howie could tell she was upset and that probably meant that Emma was upset. He couldn’t figure out why Nick would tell him yes and then suddenly text her no. They had been getting along before she left, and it wasn’t like she was asking him to be her date somewhere; it didn’t add up why he wouldn’t come to a party.
Howie put the groceries away and dialed Nick’s number. At first, he didn’t answer, and it went straight to voicemail. He could tell his younger brother was trying to ignore him, but he wasn’t about to let that happen. Continuing to dial and hang up when he got the voicemail prompt, it took Nick six more times to answer.
“What the hell Nick?” Howie asked when his friend picked up. “I know you’re avoiding my call but cut the shit.”
“I was in the shower and…..”
Howie cut Nick off before he could get any further; he knew whenever Nick was lying, and he just didn’t have the patience to deal with it at the moment.
“Save the story for someone who doesn’t know you.” Howie told him. “I don’t have time for games. How come you told me that you were going to Emma’s for Labor Day since you texted her no?”
“Something came up and I just can’t make it.”
Nick was lying through his teeth and he knew it; he was hoping that his friend would buy the story but there was no such luck.
“You guys were getting along just fine and now you’re avoiding her. You didn’t even have the decency to call and decline, you just sent a text message. Something is going on and I want to know what it is.”
Nick knew Howie wasn’t going to let it go and he needed to be honest with his friend.
“I just can’t face her right now, I need some time away from her.”
“You’ve had two weeks.”
“I know but you don’t understand.”
“What don’t I understand?” Howie asked. “It’s a pretty simple invite, she’s not asking you to marry her! Addie and I will be there, so you don’t have to worry about not knowing anyone.”
“It’s not that.”
“Then what the hell is it?”
“I don’t know how I feel about her.”
Nick had been playing situations over and over in his mind for the last two weeks trying to figure out what he should do. Part of him wanted to just keep things the way they were and only face Emma when he absolutely needed to. The part that he didn’t want to acknowledge was the piece that wanted to go there and just be near her. The feelings he had for her had never disappeared no matter what he said; he was struggling with that now and didn’t want to get hurt again.
He explained all of that to Howie and he could tell his brother had sympathy for him. However, Howie still felt as though he should go and just enjoy the time they all spend together. When Nick as dating Emma, they loved to hang out with Addie and Howie and it was fun to be as a group.
“Are you afraid of her feeling too much for you or not enough?”
Howie knew he struck a nerve with the question and he had the answer in Nick’s silence.
“I want you to really think about going and putting some of this stuff aside. I won’t say anything else about it and I’ll leave the decision to you. Just promise me you’ll think about changing your mind.”
They said goodbye and Nick went back to sitting on his back porch. He loved the view from his seat and he had been spending a lot of time out there thinking. This whole situation was driving him crazy and he had a lot of things to consider.
Last Chance by Kyrie