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Emma woke up the next morning feeling like she was hit by a truck. Looking around, she realized that she wasn’t in her room; looking down at the weight on her side caught her off-guard. Her memories of last night started coming back and she was so embarrassed by her behavior; it had just been a stupid haunted house and she had turned it into some daytime drama. She didn’t know if she should try to slip out from under Nick’s arm or just wait till he turned over; the sound of his voice spooked her.

“Are you going to sneak out or are you at least going to buy me breakfast?”

Emma laughed in spite of herself; she had always loved Nick’s sense of humor and his way of sweeping away anything serious with a joke.

“I was going to leave a note,” she answered, “but you caught me.”

“I guess it’s a good thing I did.” he told her as he removed his arm and turned onto his back. “You would have left me here by myself, starving, wasting away.”

Emma gave him a playful elbow to the stomach and she climbed out of bed.

“Let me go shower, pack my stuff and I’ll come by to get you for breakfast.”

“I was just teasing about breakfast, you don’t have to take me out.”

“I wasn’t going to pay, just swing by so you could join me!”

Nick lightly tossed a pillow at her and stuck his tongue out; she had forgotten how much she cared about him and, being able to share this small amount of time with him, made her realize how deep her feelings ran. Nick had expressed his concern and care for her but that didn’t mean he loved her too and she wasn’t willing to walk out on a ledge only to find out that she was the only one feeling anything.

There was no way she could have realized that Nick was feeling the same thing. When he woke up that morning with Emma sleeping under his arm, he smiled to himself and pulled her a little closer. He knew it was going to be over once she was awake and he prayed that she would sleep a little longer just to give him more time with her.

Emma had just opened the door to leave when she saw a very surprised Howie standing at the door; she laughed and gave him a moment to pick his jaw up off the floor.

“Sorry to scare you Howie, I was just leaving.”

Howie watched as Emma slipped by him and headed down to her room; he booked it inside and stared at Nick in the bed.

“You guys didn’t…”

“No Howard, we were very well behaved and absolutely g rated.”

Nick explained what happened the night before and Howie couldn’t tell if he was happy or sad that nothing else had occurred; he knew his wife was upset about the whole situation and he had gone to Nick’s to smooth everything over between him and Addie. Seeing Emma happy and smiling made him feel better and it was a little easier to coax Nick from the edge of yelling at Addie and causing a scene.

“Is she really okay?”

“Yes,” Nick replied, “but there is not going to be any more pushing her into doing things. I don’t want to see her again like she was last night.”

Howie agreed with him and waited for his friend to change; Nick packed up his things and the two men headed down to Emma’s room. She had just opened the door and Nick took her luggage so she didn’t have to carry it; normally, she would have insisted she carry it herself but something had eased between them last night and she found herself okay with it.

Once they had Addie, and all the couple’s bags, in tow, they headed down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Emma had to catch a flight later that day and the foursome wanted to spend as much time together as they could. Nick wasn’t sure when he would see Emma again as they had made no plans. He knew she was spending Thanksgiving with Howie and Addie but he was heading to AJ’s for the week and planned to spend the holiday with him and his family. Addie had already told Emma about the holiday plans and, after this weekend, she was sad that she wouldn’t be seeing Nick again until at least Christmas and that was only if he was around.

The four friends finished their breakfast and drove the few hours to the airport to drop Emma off for her flight. Nick was driving back to Tennessee in his own vehicle and Howie and Addie were off to see the baby and spend some time with his family. Nick helped Emma with her bags and brought them as far as he could without any one seeing him. He wanted to walk further with her but he was afraid that he would get swamped by fans.

Without thinking, Nick leaned down and kissed Emma’s cheek when he sat her bags down. Emma blushed but she smiled and thanked him again for the night before; he reassured her that it was nothing and he had just wanted to make sure she was okay. They hugged and then parted ways; he went back to the car and she checked into her flight. Both were sad their time together was over and they hadn’t made any plans to see each other again. Maybe it was for the best that it ended that way and hadn’t gone any further.


Emma was working over time for the next few weeks, getting everything prepared for parent conferences and working on a new curriculum for the following year. She barely had time to eat or sleep and it wasn’t until the middle of November that she had a chance to sit and breathe. It was Monday night, the week before the holidays, and she knew it would be a long one; she had taken off the two days before Thanksgiving and was heading to Boston that weekend to spend the week with Addie and her family.

She had just sat down on the couch with takeout and a movie, when her phone started to vibrate; picking it up, she saw AJ and his grin flashing across her screen and she picked it up.

“Hey Feisty!”

“Hey AJ,” she relied with a laugh, “how are you? How’s Ro and Ava?”

“I’m good and Ava is amazing!” he paused for a moment. “Ro is actually the reason why I’m calling.”

“Is she ok?” Emma sat up quickly, starting to feel nervous. “What’s wrong?”

“Calm down sweetie, she’s fine, getting ready to be done being pregnant. I hate doing this but I need a favor kind of for both of us.”

“Anything, just tell me what you need.”

AJ had always been there for Emma, even when it caused problems between him and the guys. She could never pay him back for all his support but she would do whatever she could to help.

He explained that Rochelle was getting closer to giving birth and she was exhausted; the doctor had told her to take it easy and advised AJ to do whatever he could do to help. Unfortunately, he had agreed to take Nick for a simple day surgery to remove some arthritis from his rotator cuff. There was no way he could do both and the two of them knew that he wouldn’t put anyone in front of his wife.

AJ knew he was asking a huge favor from her but he couldn’t leave Rochelle or tell Nick that he would have to find another way to the hospital. Nick would be fine but he would need some small help at home for the next few days.

“I understand if you’re not comfortable and you have every right to tell me know. It’s just that you’re closer to him and …”

“I got it AJ, just tell me when you need me.”


“What the heck AJ, nice notice buddy!”

“If you can’t…”

“I will,” she replied, “let me call my boss, take the days off and I will text you once everything is set.”

“You’re the best Feisty!”

“Don’t forget it!” Emma said with a laugh.

They talked for a few more minutes and finally said their goodbyes; she knew her boss wouldn’t be thrilled that she was taking off more time, and that it was little notice, but she would do what she could to help. She only hoped that Nick wouldn’t mind seeing her for a while.