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Emma woke the next morning, wrapped in Nick’s arms, and let out a soft sigh. She had waited months to have this moment and it brought back memories of all the times they had shared a bed together. Every night was amazing with him and she had never felt that same feeling with anyone else. Not wanting to wake up, she snuggled a little closer to him and closed her eyes, his heartbeat relaxing her; soon she was asleep again.

It was about an hour later when Ava came bouncing down the stairs, took a running leap and landed right in the middle of their bed, causing both to wake up with a start.

“Wake up, wake up!” Ava insisted as she continued bouncing on the bed. “It’s turkey time!”

Emma laughed as the little girl finally bounced her way off the bed and bounded up the stairs yelling that she woke them up. It took a few moments to wake up completely and when she looked over at Nick, who was still trying to wake up, she chuckled; his hair was a mess, his eyes still drooping and he looked generally stunned to be woken up so quickly.

“What the hell was that?” he finally muttered.

“That was a very excited little girl.” Emma answered as she crawled out of bed and dug through her bag for the clothes she was wearing that day. “I think she’s happy to have us here.”

“Apparently.” Nick grumbled. “Can I go back to sleep?”

“No,” Emma replied, “get your butt out of bed and get dressed.”

“I will under one condition.”

Emma turned to face him and got pulled down on the bed by surprise. Nick gently tugged her towards him and gave her a long kiss. He finally let her up and smiled at her blushing face. Grabbing his outfit, he wandered out to use the guest bathroom so that Emma could use the one in their room. She could still feel the redness in her face and was surprised that she was welcoming that kiss instead of shying away from it. Thinking about it while she was dressing, she was determined to make sure that wasn’t the last one.


The couple finished dressing and headed upstairs to help their friends prepare for the holiday dinner; Nick helped AJ take care of the cleaning while Emma was working with AJ’s wife in the kitchen. Since Rochelle was close to her due date, Emma wanted to be as helpful as possible; she knew Denise would be there soon, but she still wanted to do whatever she could.

The couples finally finished and took a few moments to sit down and relax. Nick conveniently took a seat next to Emma on the loveseat and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She smiled up at him and he leaned down to kiss her just as the doorbell rang and interupted them.

AJ came back a moment later with his mom, stepdad and some of hie wife’s family. Denise was thrilled to see Nick and excited to meet Emma as her son had only good things to say about her. She noticed how comfortable they were sitting and smiled; she hoped Nick had finally found someone who could settle him down.

“You two make such a cute couple.” Denise said as Nick stood up to hug her.

“Thanks Denise,” Nick replied with a smile, “but we’re only friends.”

Nick looked back at Emma with a smile and saw something flash across her face; she smiled quickly back at him and stuck her hand out to shake Denise’s. As AJ’s mom made her way around the room to visit with Rochelle’s family, Emma stood up quickly and headed right to the kitchen without saying a word to Nick. He was about to follow her when AJ tugged him over to meet one of his brothers-in-law.

Nick didn’t get another chance to talk to Emma until they all came together to eat. Once they all sat down, he gently nudged her, but she didn’t respond; he waited a minute before nudging her again and this time, she acknowledged him with a look but didn’t say anything. He knew that he had done something earlier to upset her, but he couldn’t remember what it was.

The dinner went by quickly with everyone talking, catching up, telling stories and enjoying each other’s company. The last guest didn’t leave until late that night and when the boys came in from walking the last one out, they found Emma and Ro absorbed in some discussion. Nick was tired and wanted to go to bed but couldn’t seem to get Emma’s attention without interrupting their conversation.

Nick finally joined the two women while AJ was putting Ava to bed and gently put his hand on Emma’s shoulder. She turned to look at him but didn’t make any move to get up.

“Hey, I was thinking about turning in.” he told her. “Are you tired?”

“No,” Emma replied quickly, “I wanted to stay with Rochelle for a bit and have some girl time. I’ll be down in a little while.”

Nick got the message loud and clear and was disappointed because he really wanted to talk about what happened earlier. They needed time together so that the air could be cleared and whatever he said or did could be straightened out. However, her attitude and body language told him that he shouldn’t bother to ask again.

He made his way downstairs and stayed awake for as long as he possibly could so that they might get a chance to talk. Eventually, he fell asleep and was out cold by the time Emma made her way to their guest room. She grabbed her pajamas, changed in the attached bathroom and slipped out of the room again. Rochelle had pulled out pillows and a blanket for her and left them on the couch in the living room. Emma climbed in, snuggled down and, as much as she wanted to sleep, her mind replayed Nick’s response to them being a couple repeatedly until she finally drifted off to sleep.