“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
The week back home turned into two. Then three.
Then Esmée got so very mad on the phone when her agent wanted her to come back immediately, they argued in a civil manner until he said the wrong thing about her family, and she let him have it to the point of him telling her her film career would be over forever, to which she suggested various anatomically challenging actions for him to do with her career.
Both KC and Everleigh heard her on the patio while they were watching TV, it got THAT loud.
It was surprising, as Ezzy had lost her zest for life and had barely shown any emotions since her nervous breakdown. She functioned, was polite and reacted as it was expected in certain situations, but her entire family knew that was not Ezzy.
As nurturing as she was, she had always had a temper, Ethan had always been the calm and composed one of the two.
The only one able to get a rise out of her without much effort seemed to be Nick. And now whomever she had given a solid piece of mind on the phone.
“Are you okay sweetie?” Evey asked when she came back inside.
“I am. But your daughter is unemployed now. Sorry. I may have to stay a bit longer.”
“Good. Saves me from locking you in your room.” KC said dryly.
“I wasn’t joking.”
“You do not belong there. You never belonged there. Especially not alone. The only reason I had not been there yet to drag your behind back home was because your mother forbade it. Either way, you are NOT going back there.”
“Yes, seriously! That is bullshit!”
“She is 24! I am sure she has heard a fucking curse word by now! Especially with that sailor mouthed boyfriend of hers. Or fiance or whatever the fuck kinda game we are playing these days. All I know is that I am tired of all of us worrying about my little girl who is a grown woman now, knowing she is too far away for me to protect anyway!”
“KC! For heaven’s sake!”
“Nick is not my boyfriend! Or fiance! He is …. uhm…”
“I am going to bed, I have a headache from hell. And if he isn’t, how did you know exactly who I was talking about? Good night, ladies. Keep the plotting to the minimum, for my sake.”
KC stomped off.
“I’ll be right behind you with some pain meds, honey…”
KC mumbled something neither of them heard.
“Why is daddy so grumpy?”
“He is worried about you. We all are.”
“Oh, really? So in order to un-worry everybody, I should just run and marry Nick, ride off into a sunset and all is well again? Seriously?”
“Angel, nobody is saying that. What happened to you two is a tragedy. A series of unfortunate events, no denying. But you both made it through, not exactly how it happens in the romance novels, but you are getting better and he is doing okay from the looks of it. Much thanks to Ethan, and Nick knows that, so like it or not, and however you may or may not feel about him, Nick is going to be a part of our lives forever, because of Ethan alone. You are a lot like me, Ezzy. We both are strong minded women and need a strong man to keep up with our strong convictions. Nick is a strong man. And you cannot lie to me, baby. You are not over him. Far from it. And daddy knows it too.”
“Mom, you do not even know the half of it.”
“I know you are hurting, and daddy knows, and Ethan knows that you have been keeping things from us, which saddens us and makes us feel helpless. We all deal with issues in our own way, we all accept this was yours, but we have always been too close to not know that there was much more to all this than you let on. We just all respect you too much to hurt you more by trying to force it out of you. Still, we all are heartbroken that you do not seem to trust us anymore like you used to.”
Ezzy started crying and told her mother everything. Every little detail, every feeling. All of it. Including about the nights with Nick in Del Sol Valley.
Everleigh sat there, holding her daughter in her arms, quietly as tears ran down her face too. Finally, when Ezzy pulled away a little then sat straight up, she was surprised to see a smile.
“Mom, you are right. I do feel better. I AM lucky. I have you. And daddy. And Ethan. And grandma and grandpa. This is not the end.”
“I love you, my beautiful, strong, brave little girl.”
“I know. I KNOW. That’s just it. I KNOW. Mom, can you tell dad? And Ethan? Not sure I can talk about all that again so soon. And also – I just realized that I have some place to be.” Ezzy got up.
“Angel, can this not wait till tomorrow? It is late and dark out and you are … emotional …”
“No, mom, this can’t wait another minute…. I’ll be fine. Really, I actually will be fine, but I have to do this. Now. Wish me luck, cos I may need it. I have no idea how this is going to go over, but I have to do it.” with those words she ran upstairs to change, leaving behind a worried looked Everleigh. Even more so when she heard the front door shut and a car engine start just minutes later.
“Sorry, I am not interrupting anything, am I?” Ezzy asked politely after she had been invited into his penthouse.
“You are. I was just about to have a wild orgy with a half a dozen Victoria’s Secret models.”
“That shouldn’t take long. I can wait the five minutes.”
“Ouch! So, is this just a drive by to mow down my dreams of my own male vigor and give me a verbal punch in the groin or is there another reason you are here so late?”
“There is. I saw the Forrest for the trees. The Forrest with the two ‘R’ variety.”
He smiled, as he looked her over, then pointed to the couch as she followed him.
“We need to have a talk, Nick. I know it is late … hopefully not too late.” she was serious and searching in his eyes as she spoke, he knew she wasn’t talking about the hours on the clock.
“You know it is not. I told you it is not. But I agree. We need a clean slate. And a plan.”
“How much do you want to know? Just know, it is not pretty and I do not know how much you can handle…”
“Ezzy, whatever happened to you, happened to me too. I could not be there for you then, but I am here now. And will be, no matter how much you swat me away. I think I have a good track record of that now. Please don’t worry about what I can handle. Whatever it is, I can handle it.”
“What if I told you that after the miscarriage I could never have a baby again?”
“What about it?”
“Ezzy, stupid question. I want YOU. First and foremost. The baby was a bonus, not a requirement. I don’t give a shit. I mean, I am sorry about that, but no, not a deal breaker. It is YOU I need.”
“Even if there are going to be babies all around us soon, reminding us?”
“We’ll spoil them rotten and send them home with their parents. Even better.”
“What about your parents?”
“What about them?”
“They hate me.”
“They do NOT hate you, and have their own problems right now. Once I was capable of full sentences, I had a blunt talk with my mother. She deflected and got mad, till my dad lost his shit. Man, I have never seen anything like that. He was scary angry with her. Ever since, I have gotten a brief check in text now and then, but no more meddling. I’d say it’s fixed, but even if not, you don’t think for a second that if you come back to me, I’d ever allow anything like that to ever happen again, do you? We were both young and dumb. maybe we are still young, but that year and change has matured me. Back then I didn’t realize how destructive my mother’s behavior was, I just blew her off all the time, not realizing what it was doing to you. I learned my lesson, Ez.”
“What if I told you, I needed this – us – to move forward very slowly?”
“Just dating. Maybe a night over now and then.”
“What if I told you …”
“Ez, let me cut through the chase. Whatever you are going to throw at me, I’ll deal with it. I have had a LOT of time to think about all this and about what I want. I don’t need conditions, or timelines or promises. I need you. The end. So whatever you come up with, I’ll agree to.”
“Ok, what about if I were to say I want to get married next week.”
“I’d say text me time and location. My only one humble request would be that whatever you wear would be any color except black. I like black as much as the next dude, but am tired of my girl looking like a Greek widow.”
“Ez, I have told you many times, I know you. You would not be here with that song and dance if you weren’t going somewhere with it.”
“So, why are we sitting around here talking? Why haven’t you taken me to your bedroom yet?”
“Do you think I am some cheap late night booty call?” he smirked.
“You’re not? I must have the wrong door…” she smirked back.
She giggled loudly as he pulled her up to her feet then threw her over his shoulder, ran to his bedroom where he tossed her on the bed as they tore the clothing from each other, as they greedily began touching each another and Nick became very passionate.
“Nick …. Nick … slow down a bit …”
“Why? That’s just cruel, woman!”
“I am not saying stop .. just … turn it down a notch….”
“Since I didn’t think to check if this may be bad for the baby….”
“The … are you serious?”
“I am. And if you ask me now whose it is, I swear I will punch you out!”
“Could be the bellhop’s.” he grinned, winking.
“Valet! And you really are an ass!”
“So what was with that ‘I can’t have babies’ BS?”
“I never said that. I said ‘what if?'”
“So, how long have you known?”
“Since that time you came to convince me to come back home….”
“So you had planned to come home anyway?”
“When were you going to tell me?”
“When it was safe. Not too early this time … just in case….”
“I haven’t been to the gyn yet, so I really cannot say. Look, everything in my body and mind has been so messed up, sometimes I get my period, sometimes I don’t, so this didn’t register until fairly recently. I just never worried about birth control since we … since your accident. I wasn’t interested in dating and felt the last thing I needed was to have hormones mess with me on top of all. Then you happened and all that didn’t even occur to me until I realized something was off. Took a test … well …”
“You are taking this shockingly well.”
“So are you.”
“I am taking this the same way I took it last time.”
“Touche. Truth be told, I am happy. A second chance. OUR second chance.”
“So, does this qualify as the Cameron curse?”
“That is the Forrest Nicholas Gray curse.”
“That’s a mouthful. Whatever, fuck it! Marry me, baby.”
“Look, from where I stand, we are still engaged. I still have your old ring. Unless you want a new one.”
“Nick, that is all a bit too fast … maybe we can start slower …”
“No. No, we can’t. We’re are past slow now. This is happening. Marry me. Say you marry me.”
“Ok, ok, I’ll marry you.”
“See, was that so hard?”
“Speaking of … hard …”
“You really are something else, you crazy woman!”
“Hey, if this all goes well, in a little over half a year, give or take, we won’t have that luxury of succumbing to our primal urges whenever we want.”
“He or she – or they – will be sleeping most of the time. We still have that luxury until they start walking, we just won’t have the energy.”
“Listen to you, you baby whisperer.”
“Hey, I did some reading into baby stuff, figured I’d be watching Ethan’s kid every now and then. Least I can do after all that dude did for me. But right now I am thinking he can watch his own damn kid. I’ll have my hands full with his sister and MY own baby.”
“How are we going to tell everybody? They’ll all think we have gone completely crazy. This IS crazy. We ARE crazy!”
“I can live with crazy. At least we will never get bored in our relationship. Zero to one hundred in point zero seconds, baby.”
“When the baby is born, we’ll do a paternity test, just so you know for sure. I owe you that.”
“Are you sure it’s mine?”
“I told you I was. There was nobody else. Never has been.”
“Good enough for me. Now let’s shut up and carefully work on some upgrades while that baby is still in development.”
“Oh my gawd, you really are the worst. You are terrible!” she giggled as he flipped over and was atop her again.
The next morning they had breakfast together on his patio.
“I never thought I’d ever see this again.” she told him in between bites, as he watched her eat with a healthy appetite. A rare sight these days.
“First time I have sat out here myself since it all happened. Just couldn’t do this without you.”
“How can you be so disgusting one minute and so incredibly romantic the next?”
“Disgusting? I made you – and I quote – ‘Oh Nick, breakfast! That is soooo delicious and thoughtful and sweet….’ -unquote.”
“I still sound nothing like that.”
“Sure you do. If I called your parents in that voice, they’d never know …”
“Oh my God, my poor parents! I never told them I was staying over! I need to call them!”
She dialed immediately.
“Mom? Oh, hi dad? No, I am absolutely fine .. I am at … uh … ”
“NICK’S – making more babies all night and planning weddings!” he screamed towards her phone.
“What? No no, he’s just … being … a Nick…”
“HI GRANDPA!” he yelled louder.
“Shut up! No, not you daddy. Uh, what he meant… ummm….is mom there? OK, Nick and I will be over in 30 minutes. We have a few things to talk to you guys about … no, nothing bad this time. Ok, love you too, daddy and see you in a bit.”
She got up right after hanging up
“Get your ass out that door now, Gray, and you are SO DEAD for this stunt!”
When they arrived at her parents home, everybody was there. The entire local Cameron clan was assembled. Nick burst into laughter, while Ezzy stood stiffly, mouth agape, especially when she saw the freshly baked cakes …
“What the …?!” Esmée mumbled surprised.
“Telling you, baby, we all know you too well. Now let’s go and celebrate with them whatever they already figured out and fill them in on the rest.”