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Most of the guests started packing up around seven and Michael announced to the group that was left that they would be walking down the street to the beach because they had fireworks planned for tonight. Everyone grabbed towels or blankets, a couple of coolers and headed towards the water.

“So do you like the fireworks here?” Nick asked Emma as he caught up to her.

“I do but the ones in Boston are the best. It’s the rocks I like the least.”


Emma nodded.

“Yeah, there is a jetty on the beach that’s all rocks and it’s uneven walking. You can see the fireworks better from there but you know how I am with walking on flat ground.”

Nick chuckled and remembered all the times that he had to catch Emma to keep her from falling. She was a beautiful woman but her gracefulness wasn’t quite as lovely. Nick surprised himself with what came out of his mouth a moment later.

“I’ll be here to catch you.”

“Thanks.” Emma said with a blush. “I appreciate the support.”

The couple followed the rest of the pack and were getting settled down on the rocks to watch the fireworks. Emma hadn’t been kidding when she said the rocks were rough walking; Nick noticed many holes where a person’s foot could get caught and it would make for a painful fall.

Emma spread out a blanket for her friends but she saw Addie and Howie set up their own. Looking up, she smiled at Nick and offered the seat next to her. He accepted quickly but made sure to keep a little space in between them. She noticed his behavior and had to remind herself not to get disappointed as they were only talking to each other at this point.

Nick hadn’t wanted to put space in between them; in fact, he would have preferred wrapping his arms around her and snuggling into the blanket. He knew this wasn’t the right time or the right place and he didn’t want to make her uncomfortable in front of everyone. There was no way he could know that she was wishing for the same thing.

The fireworks lasted for about twenty minutes and then everyone packed up their stuff; most of them headed to the house to pick up their vehicles and say good-bye. Almost everyone was gone before the four friends could get up. As Emma as standing up to join them, her sandal got caught in one of the holes that had concerned Nick and slipped on the rocks. Nick’s arms shot out like they were in a cannon and prevented her from going down and getting cut; unfortunately, Emma had twisted her ankle and she could feel the pain radiating through her foot.

“Are you ok?” Nick asked he helped her dislodge her foot. “It looks pretty bad.”

Emma’s ankle had started to swell and she knew there was no hiding it.

“No, but I’ll be ok.”

She tried to put some weight on her ankle and winced; there was no way she could make it back to the house without some help.

“Want me to go get the car?” Howie offered.

“No but thank you.” Emma told him. “There’s really no good place to park down here. I can make it back to the house.”

Before she could say anything else, Nick swept her up in his arms and proceeded to walk towards the house. She tried to protest that she was too heavy to carry all that way but the look on his face told her that she wouldn’t win that argument. Nick made it all the way to the house and asked whether she wanted to be on the couch or in her room. She had a bathroom off her room and asked him to take her up there.

Michael and Arthur were concerned as soon as they saw her and offered to take her from Nick. He thanked them but didn’t hand her over; he followed her directions and set her down on the bed. Howie indicated to everyone with a nod that they should leave the two of them alone and the couples split off into their bedrooms.

“Are you sure you’re going to be alright?”

Emma nodded and dragged a pillow under her foot.

“Do you have any crutches?”

“Shoot!” Emma answered. “I’ll have to go to urgent care tomorrow and get some.”

“What are you going to do if you have to use the bathroom?”

“I can get Addie to help me.”

Nick just gave her a look and shook his head. She realized that there would be no way she could get Addie’s attention from her bed and sighed.

“Why don’t I stay?”

Nick’s question caught her off-guard and he realized how he sounded.

“I mean I can sleep on the floor or something. You can wake me up if you need anything.”

Emma thought about it for a little bit; it made sense to have someone around in case she needed them but it was weird that it would be Nick. Knowing she didn’t have any other choice, she told him where the air mattress, pillows and blankets were. He dug them out and set them up right next to her bed; this was, if she needed him, she could just reach out and shake him.

“Do you need anything before I turn out the light?” Nick asked as he got everything settled.

“No, I’m good.” she replied. “Thank you for doing this.”

“Anytime.” he responded with a smile. “Just whack me if you need me.”

Emma soon fell asleep and Nick just watched her as she snored slightly; he wanted to reach out and hold her but it would cross a line that didn’t need to be messed with. Sighing, he turned over and tried to get some sleep before she needed something.