Emma was dozing on the couch when Nick got back several hours later; she hadn’t been sleeping well since the accident and he didn’t want to wake her now that she finally sleeping. Instead, he headed down to his basement studio to put down some ideas that had been running through his for awhile. He was so absorbed in what he was doing that he lost track of time and jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Sorry,” Emma said when he turned around, “I called you a couple of times but you didn’t answer. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“That’s okay.” he replied. “What time is it?”
“A little past five.”
“Oh God!!” he exclaimed. “Did you just wake up?”
“Did you sleep at all?”
“Not much. The nightmares just won’t stop.”
Emma’s eyes started to tear up and Nick stood, wrapping his long arms around her. He held her as she cried without saying a word and just hugged her until her breathing became even.
“Sorry.” she said, wiping her tears. “I don’t understand why they’re still happening.”
“You went through a traumatic accident, Emma. I hate to say it, but I think they’ll probably stick around for awhile.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.” she replied quietly.
“How about I change the subject to something a little lighter?” Nick suggested. “What would you like for dinner?”
The couple ordered pizza and salads and watched television through dinner. Nick didn’t want to push but he knew that they needed to talk about things and the time they had together was short. He waited till they were done and had cleaned up before he started.
“When do you leave for England?” he blurted out as they sat back down in the living room.
“Please let’s not do this, Nick.” Emma begged. “I don’t want to argue with you about this.”
“I don’t plan on arguing about it. I just wanted to know when you were leaving.”
“No argument?” Emma asked with a pause. “You were so angry about it the other day. What changed?”
“Me thinking I would never see you again.” Nick admitted. “All I could think of when you were missing, and on the drive to the hospital, was that I would never get the chance to see you again. It broke me to think that I would never see your smile, hug you, hold you, or even hear you yell at me again.”
Emma’s eyes filled with tears as Nick continued with all the honesty and emotion he could put into what he was saying.
“I honestly don’t care, now any way, if you move to Timbuktu or anywhere else. All I want to know is that you’re safe and there’s a chance that I could be near you again.”
Nick had just completely poured his heart out and Emma had no idea what to say. She knew they both had feelings for each other but Nick saying these words brought home exactly how strong those feelings were.
“I’m sorry that I scared you that much.” Emma finally replied. “I never meant to cause that much hurt.”
“I’m not hurting. I was, but having you here now, in front of me, I can let it go. All I want is for you to be happy and for you and I to have some kind of relationship.” Nick grabbed her hand and continued. “I don’t want to just be friends but if that’s what you want, we can do that; I just want to know I’ll see you again.”
Emma sat there trying to absorb everything he was saying; she didn’t know what to say or to do. Part of her just wanted to leap into his arms and stay there but the other part was scared to start something and then have it go bad; she wanted Nick in her life and she didn’t know if they could withstand another break up.
Nick knew he just unleashed what he was feeling and he understand why she was silent; he had debated with himself whether to say it all but he knew it would fester if it wasn’t addressed. He had been hoping that she would say she felt the same but, even though she didn’t, he was grateful that she hadn’t rejected the idea of them getting back together.
“I leave at the third week of January.” Emma finally responded, not sure what else to say.
Nick nodded but was a little hurt that that’s all she said. He knew that, at this point, he needed to tell her the other truth.
“To be honest and fair, I have something else to tell you.” Nick told her. “I’m leaving the middle of January.”