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Emma was sitting just inside the hospital lobby waiting for the taxi when AJ spotted her. He could tell that she’d been crying again and, for once, he didn’t know what to do. There was nothing he could say that would make up for Nick’s actions and there were only so many times he could tell her it would all be ok. The truth was that it might never been okay and there would come a time where the best they could do was an uneasy truce.

“Thought I’d find you down here.” he said quietly as he sat down next to her. “The dumbass came back and I figured from the look on his face that he bumped into you.”

“He did…literally.” Emma said and put her hand on AJ’s when she saw him starting to get upset. “I can’t expect any less.”

“Yes you can. You don’t deserve to be treated like that Em.”

“He’s angry and I can’t say that I blame him; I know I hurt him deeply and you can’t tell me I didn’t.”

AJ saw the taxi pulled up and Emma stood as the valet waved for her to come out.

“I’m gonna head back to the hotel.”

“Why?” AJ asked as he tugged on her hand. “Stay here; Addie might need you and I don’t want you by yourself.”

“I can’t go back up there and sit with him. It’s only going to make him angrier and I don’t want all of you to have to sit there uncomfortable.”

“Fine.” AJ said and waved the valet off. “We’ll go sit somewhere else and wait. Addie and Howie need all of us here and you shouldn’t have to leave in order to make peace.”

Emma just stood there not sure what to do. She wanted to be there for her friend but she couldn’t handle any more run ins for that day. It was draining her to have her heart being ripped open over and over again every time she saw Nick’s face. He had never been cruel to her before and she could see that she had truly scarred him when she left.

“I don’t know…”

“I do.” AJ said and dragged her to the courtyard entrance. “It’s nice out and we can sit here for a while. The guys have my number so if anything changes, they’ll call me.”

“Aren’t you going to be in hot water with them for spending so much time with me?”

AJ shrugged his shoulders as he took a seat.

“It’s not like I haven’t been there with them before. When I was drinking, I caught way more hell than I’m gonna catch for this. Plus, Howie told them what you said to Addie about not seeing anyone. I think their attitudes will change a little now that you’ve saved them from all getting chewed out by an angry, pregnant woman.”

Emma laughed as she sat down and pulled her legs up against her chest. She had always felt safe and relaxed with AJ and, even after all the issues with Nick, she still felt that way. He had always gone out of his way to make her feel included and respected; she valued his friendship, especially at the moment, more than she could tell him.

She sat there as she watched him grab them some coffee from the vendor that was set up in the yard. Eventually, she knew she would have to go upstairs and face Nick again but, for the moment, she was happy to just sit and talk with AJ.

“Thank you.” she said as she accepted the hot cup. “You know you really don’t have to stay here.”

“Yes I do.”


“Go get her.” Addie pleaded. “I need her.”

She had started having contractions and as much as Howie tried to soothe them, he knew that a woman’s help was needed. After assuring his wife he would be right back, he dashed out to the waiting room. Scanning the private room, he noticed AJ and Emma were missing.

“Where is she?” he asked, breathlessly.

“What’s wrong?” Kevin asked as the boys stood. “What’s the matter?”

“Addie’s having contractions and I need Emma in there to calm her down.” He turned towards Nick. “Where is she?”

“How the hell should I know?”

Howie could tell from the red shade creeping over Nick’s face that he knew exactly where she was and why she wasn’t up there.

“Tell me you didn’t make her leave.”

“I didn’t do shit.”

Before the two men could proceed with their soon-to-be blowout, Kevin suggested calling AJ’s cell; he knew that if one person would know where she was, it was him. To everyone’s relief, AJ assured them that they were heading back to the floor as they spoke. It took a couple of minutes but AJ appeared with a cautious Emma behind him.

“Addie needs you.” Howie said, grabbing her by the hand. “Like right now.”

The two of them raced off to see Addie while AJ took a seat with the guys. There wasn’t much to say as Nick already knew he was wrong for having run her off and the others didn’t have to reprimand him. He knew his brothers weren’t happy with him, AJ more than the others, but he didn’t know what to say. She had hurt him when she’d left him standing alone at the airport and he didn’t know how to get past it.