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Nick and Emma awoke early the next morning, got ready quickly and made their way to the airport using the car service Nick had hired. They were both still tired and there wasn’t much conversation happening. The same happened on the plane when both fell asleep as soon as they took off.

They awoke about 4 hours later as the flight attendant was asking people to prepare for landing. There had been some turbulence during the flight so it took longer than expected to get there; both were just happy that they could finally step onto flat ground that wasn’t moving.

Just as he’d promised, AJ was waiting for them as they emerged from baggage claim. As soon as Emma saw him, she burst out laughing; he was standing behind a giant piece of poster board that was welcoming Mary-Ann and Gilligan to California. Other people began to point and chuckle, but Nick looked like he wanted to throttle his brother; they just wanted to get out quickly and AJ was attracting attention from everyone.

Nick caught him by the elbow and started dragging him out to pick up lane where he found Ro and Ava waiting in the car for them. When AJ’s wife saw the expression on Nick and Emma’s faces, she burst out laughing. Her husband had told her what he planned on doing to get their attention, but she had thought he was just kidding around. Seeing the actual poster, he’d made caused her to laugh even harder which sent Ava into a fit of giggles.

Emma caught sight of her friend’s wife and his daughter and started chuckling as well; the only one not laughing was Nick. He got poked in the side by Emma who was smiling up at him and he lost some of his annoyance and joined in with the rest of the group.

AJ loaded all their luggage into the car and asked if they would mind stopping at the grocery store on their way back to the house. He had forgotten some things for dinner the next day and he didn’t want to make another trip out if he didn’t have to. His friends said that it was no problem; Emma went in with AJ to help because they thought having Nick in there as well would have brought too much attention to the quick stop.

The five of them got back to the house and the brothers offered to bring in all the shopping bags and luggage while Emma took Ava and Ro inside so she could sit down and relax. As soon as Ro was sitting on the couch, Ava grabbed Emma’s hand and yanked her in the direction of her room. As they were leaving the room, AJ and Nick finally got a chance to sit.

“What’s with that?” Nick asked as he heard Ava and Emma laughing.

“Ava has been dying to show Emma her new Barbie head.”

“Barbie head?” he asked with a shocked look. “What happened to the rest of her?”

Ro cracked up laughing and AJ explained that they had gotten her a mannequin Barbie head so she could have someone to put make-up on; she had been using her dad but after the last time, he decided to give her someone else to practice on.

“She probably has her looking like a hooker,” AJ said as he stretched out on the couch, “here’s hoping she doesn’t try her new obsession out on Emma.”

The three friends spent a few moments chatting before Emma finally made her way back to them. AJ was thrilled that Ava hadn’t talked Emma into modeling for her and Nick was just happy to have her near him. He made room for her on the love seat next to him and she didn’t shy away from him.

The two couples caught up on the last few months over a dinner of pizza and salads and Ava entertained them all with her stories. They talked well into the night before they realized how late it was; AJ knew his mother would be over early tomorrow to help and he wanted to make sure everyone got some rest.

He took his friends down to the guest room and sheepishly told them they would have to share a room because the other guest bedroom had become the new nursery. He noticed that neither one of them rejected that idea and he smiled; he knew that they belonged together and it was nice to see that, maybe, they had realized the same thing. After wishing them a good night, he slipped out and closed the door behind him.

Nick and Emma stood there for a few moments before Emma excused herself to the bathroom so that she could change her clothes. Her heart was beating super fast and, as much as she wanted this, it made her so nervous to even think about sleeping in the same small bed as Nick. After she finally calmed herself down and made her heart beat slower, she made her way back into the room. She was touched that Nick still knew what side of the bed she slept on and he had turned the covers down for her.

“Are you sure you’re ok with this?” Nick asked quietly. “I can always go sleep out on the couch.”

“I’m fine, honest.” Emma replied. “We both need to sleep in a bed and it’s fine that we’re together.”

Both of them tried to make themselves comfortable without getting too close but it was hard in the full size bed that AJ used as a guest bed. There was no way they could both be in it without touching so they eventually gave up trying. Looking her in the face, Nick held the covers up so she could slide closer to him and, when she did just that, he wrapped his arm around her; she cuddled into his side and looked up to see what he was thinking.

Without a moment’s hesitation or a second thought, Nick leaned his head down and kissed her gently on the lips. When she didn’t flinch or pull back, he cautiously increased the intensity of his kiss; whatever had been building between them suddenly broke like a dam.
Emma threw her arms around Nick’s neck pulling him as close as she could.

Nick moaned softly and pulled her as tight as he could against him without ever breaking the kiss. Emma’s hands flew up into his head and she ran her fingers through his hair. This sent Nick into a fervor and he flipped her over on her back, hovered above her and the intensity of the kiss doubled. His hands slid down her side to the hem of her shirt and he started yanking it up.

Emma’s brain finally broke out of the trance and she pulled back. This motion caught Nick by surprise and he immediately stopped what he was doing.

“Are you okay?” he asked as he noticed several tears trickle down her face. “I’m sorry if I pushed you…”

“You didn’t.” Emma assured him. “It’s not that I don’t want this because I do, I just think maybe we should slow it down just a little.”

Inside his head, Nick agreed that it was going too fast and they might do something that they would regret the next day. Unfortunately, his heart and body didn’t feel the same way and were encouraging him to keep going. Out of respect for her, he finally backed off and lay back down in the bed.

“I’m sorry.” Emma told him quietly. “I really am.”

Nick knew she had been right and he felt awful that she felt like she’d upset him. He pulled her close to him again and kissed her head.

“We have plenty of time, there’s no need to rush.” he told her and himself. “Let’s get some sleep and we can figure it out tomorrow.”