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A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 32

Nick had just finished getting dressed before he and the girls went to the bar. Angel and Nick would stay for a drink or two while getting something to eat and then head back to MaryAnn's place. As he put on his jewelry, he smiled thinking about their Christmas day together. It started with an old-fashioned breakfast; there was enough food to feed a third world country. Nick was rather nervous about his ice fishing expedition, so he didn't eat too much. Then they all sat around the tree and handed out the presents. Nick was touched that Angel's family had included him on this holiday and their presents were an added surprise. Angel's parents and sister enjoyed their gifts from Nick, especially the roundtrip airline ticket to visit Angel in Los Angeles. Nick loved the gifts Angel gave him especially the Movado watch he was clasping to his wrist.

Nick sat down on his bed and felt something in his pocket. He put his hand in and felt the metal object. He began to recall what had happened earlier that day while ice-skating. Nick wasn't very coordinated so he didn't stay as long as Angel did on the ice. He didn't want to end up getting hurt; for no other reason than to have a great night with Angel alone. He should have thought about the film, but it didn't seem as important to him. MaryAnn had sat with Nick on the bench while they watched Angel and Sheridan race and try to do old tricks. MaryAnn explained to Nick that both Angel and Sheridan hadn't been on the ice in years. When they were younger, they lived on the ice every winter. As they sat, MaryAnn quietly thanked Nick for taking good care of her baby sister. Nick was shocked hearing her words and it confused him at first, then he realized Angel had the "Joey" talk. MaryAnn stared at her sister as she spoke to Nick, never looking at him. Part of her was mad at herself for not realizing what was going on in her own sister's life. MaryAnn felt like she had let Angel down in a way. Being a cop, MaryAnn knew all the signs to look for in a troubled relationship. She had been trained to read people's expressions and body language. Nick let MaryAnn say what she needed to say; he just sat and listened while watching the girls on the ice. When MaryAnn was through, Nick heard her sniffle. He handed her a tissue and put his arm around her shoulder while pulling her into a side hug.

"Before I forget, here's a key to my place. You guys have a nice holiday together," MaryAnn smiled up at Nick.

Nick leaned down giving her a kiss on the cheek, "You're a good sister MaryAnn, don't ever forget that."

MaryAnn nodded her head and then laughed as she saw Angel try to spin, falling flat on her ass. Nick caught the tail end of Angel's accident. He yelled, "Hey, don't get hurt woman, we've got a date."

Nick's cell phone ringing pulled his thoughts back to the present.

"'Ello"

"Hey Nick, where are you?" Aaron asked wondering when his brother was planning on coming to visit for the holidays.

"I told you Air, I'm with Angel at her folks' place in Pennsylvania and I wasn't going to be coming to Florida."

"Man, that sucks. I didn't think you were serious! I thought you were just pissed and that you'd change your mind."

"Sorry Bro. I didn't mean to disappoint you. Hey, didn't you guys get the presents I sent to you last week?"

Sadly, Aaron replied, "Yeah, we did. But I was still hoping to see you." Suddenly, Aaron's voice became excited, "Thanks a lot for my new toys. The girls loved their gifts this year from you. How did you do that?"

Nick chuckled, "Easy, I had Angelina with me and she basically guided me in what to get them."

"Guided you? Don't you mean she picked them out?"

"Yeah, alright, she did the shopping, I did the paying."

"So, everything going alright between you two?" Aaron wanted to make sure his brother was happy.

"Yes Air, everything is going great. How are you doing? Anything new?"

Nick talked with his brother for a while before speaking to the rest of his sisters.

As he was heading out of his room, Angel hit him in the chest as she was expecting to hit the door. "Ops, sorry," she laughed.

"You think that's funny huh?" He grinned while wrapping him arms around her, pulling Angel in close to his body. As they stood kissing each other in the hallway, MaryAnn came flying up the stairs, "Alright kids, that's enough of that. You can do that for as long as you want later tonight, but right now, let's get moving. We're going to be late."

"May May, Sheridan's going to be late anyways. It's not like we have to be there exactly at six."

MaryAnn pouted, "Hey, I called in a favor to get today and tomorrow off. I want to spend as much time with my friend as I can."

Nick laughed as he grabbed his and Angel's overnight bag, "Okay MaryAnn, let's go."

Just as Angel predicted, they arrived prior to Sheridan. They sat in a booth and looked over the menu. Angel and MaryAnn ordered a glass of wine while Nick opted for a beer. Angel was just about to call Sheridan when she finally arrived.

"Better late than never. We're starving," MaryAnn said.

"You could have ordered without me," Sheridan said, "Hello guys, how are you doing?" She directed her question towards Nick and Angel. "Let me see," she said as she grabbed Nick's wrist to admire the watch.

"Very nice Angel. I can see why you didn't wear that while ice skating Nick," Sheridan said with a wink. "Your turn," as she grabbed Angel's wrist.

Nick had given Angel a beautiful diamond tennis bracelet for Christmas. "I'm impressed Carter. Who did you take with you to pick this out?"

Nick smiled as he said "Howie. But I saw it first and knew it was perfect."

MaryAnn rolled her eyes and made a gagging noise.

"Green isn't a pretty color on you May May," Angel replied with a wink.

The group ordered their dinners and sat back and talked about their visit. Nick was trying to convince MaryAnn to come back to LA to spend New Year's with them.

"I really wish I could, but I have to work. I took off four days this week, and I don't even have kids. Other policemen that do had to work Christmas. I can't this time, but I'll be visiting soon, you can count on that."

Angel giggled, "With or without the parents?"

"Without of course," MaryAnn answered.

Sheridan sat confused, "You are going to pay for a ticket to come to LA? That's not like you, just to visit your sister or me."

Angel frowned. MaryAnn was laughing, "This is true, but Nick bought the parents and I roundtrip airplane tickets to visit Angel in LA."

Sheridan's shocked face turned towards Nick, "What? I had no idea what to get them. It was the only thing I could think of," Nick shrugged.

Angel and MaryAnn replied simultaneously, "It was perfect."

Nick grinned, "You guys are scary. You've done that at least once a day."

After they ate, they moved from the booth to the barstools for a few round of drinks. Sheridan and MaryAnn hit the dance floor to find prospective opportunities for the rest of the evening's entertainment. It seemed Sheridan had found herself a cowboy type with tight jeans, boots, and a hat to match.

Nick's face morphed through various funny expressions as he watched the women flirt and carry on with various men in the little group that had been standing off to the side.

"What's the face for?" Angel leaned closer to him, happy that not one single person in the bar recognized him.

"I had no idea," Nick shook his head.

"Oh that," Angel's head turned from side to side. "My best friend and my sister can act like men sometimes. Meet the female versions of A.J. and Kevin."

"Nothing like doing the nasty on the dance floor," Nick almost giggled as he watched Sheridan latch on to an extremely tall, blonde haired man with large shoulders and a wide brimmed hat.

Angel's eyes switched from her sister to her friend. "It's been awhile, leave her alone. Besides he looks sort of like Brad Pitt from Thelma and Louise."

"Kevin isn't going to like this," Nick grumbled as the man wrapped his arms around Sheridan's body. One hand snaked around her waist, the other around her back.

A sharp pain in his arm made him turn toward Angel quickly, his face mimicked the pain he was feeling. "Ow!"

"Kevin shouldn't care; he isn't dating her or anything."

"He wants to and you know it," Nick yanked his arm away. "Damn, look at those two."

Angel laughed, "Oh yeah, go girls!" Her smiled grew as MaryAnn and Sheridan joined them at the bar. Sheridan's head was bobbing up and down as they approached Nick and Angel while chattering away to MaryAnn.

If they were like men, they had found their picks for their private entertainment for the evening, "You are not acting like the Sheridan I know," Nick said it half jokingly.

"I'm here for one thing Nick and one thing only. A third leg," Sheridan's green eyes twinkled back at him.

"You're too aggressive, you'll scare him off. Slow it down a little. Grabbin' his ass like that ain't scoring points with him." Nick looked pretty pleased at his assessment of the situation.

A grin broke out on MaryAnn's face, "Hey Sheridan, you're getting advice from the baby of the group. I got news for you Nick. If the Green Eyed God was here, he could straighten out this entire situation."

Catching MaryAnn's wink as Sheridan's face flushed and her mouth began to open. Nick coughed just before he spoke, "Yeah, I'm sure he could take care of it. It would be his pleasure."

Being half in the bag, Sheridan didn't care, "Mine too, but I can't. He's my employer now and you know how he feels about relationships with the employees." Sheridan's eyebrow cocked as she looked at Nick and Angel.

"He's made exceptions," Nick grinned back, not wanting to be one upped by a woman who was three sheets to the wind.

Sheridan had to turn the conversation off of her, she was drunk and feeling light headed. The thought of Kevin would make matters worse. "I'll never forget the day he came looking for you and found you in Angel's bed. My, my, that man has a temper."

"Oh, tell me more," MaryAnn jumped on the little tid-bit Sheridan had tossed out.

"Time for us to go," Angel slid off her barstool. "Sheridan, close your mouth and don't bring it up again or I will send Kevin the little secretary and boss visual you wrote last week."

Sheridan smiled, "You wouldn't dare."

The group chit-chat was interrupted by the tall, blonde cowboy from the dance floor. "Care to dance?"

"Certainly," Sheridan smiled as she sipped her drink. "We'll be with you in a minute. We need to say good-bye to our friends."

The man casually walked away since he had been dismissed for the moment.

"Be careful girls," Nick warned as he grabbed Angel's hand and started to leave.

"Pfft…please, I can kick their asses," MaryAnn answered with a lopsided grin as she checked out the tall blonde man's friend.

"Oh boy, she's well on her way to waking up with a nasty hangover," Angel noticed. "Good luck gals."

Sheridan and MaryAnn replied simultaneously, "Have fun."

Nick looked at Angel, "Definitely. Thanks for Angel's pjs too MaryAnn."

MaryAnn wiggled her eyebrows, "No problem."

"Okay Sheridan, the children have left the building, let's party," MaryAnn snorted as obnoxiously as Angel always did.

"Oh yes, how many bedrooms do you have?" Sheridan set her drink down.

"Plenty and the walls are thick," MaryAnn stepped next to her as they headed to the dance floor.

"How nice for me," Sheridan giggled as she latched on to the cowboy. "He looks like Brad Pitt."

"But you would prefer Kevin," MaryAnn snickered.

"Stop rubbing it in, I can't stand it. We work together now and I swear every time he is in the room, I think I'm going to explode. Now it will be even worse, I will be working at his house."

"Ohh, we need to talk girlfriend," MaryAnn smiled as she sidled up to her choice for the evening.

"I can't stand it," Sheridan wrapped her arms around the neck of the man she planned to wake up with.

"Stand what baby?" a low throaty whisper in her ear made her shiver.

"The wait," she calmly replied.

"We don't need to," his tongue brushed over her ear.

"For a little bit we do," Sheridan swayed to the music. "But not too long."

The hours rolled by before MaryAnn and Sheridan left for MaryAnn's with their prospective pick ups.

For the hundredth time, Nick put his hand in his pocket to remove MaryAnn's house key. As they walked into the foyer, he gave the key to Angel to put on her keychain, "MaryAnn wants you to keep this key on your set."

Angel gave Nick a strange look, but took the key. "When did she give you the key?" They both took off their boots, leaving them in front of the radiator to help dry them.

"At the pond. You've got a great sister Angel; hell, your whole family is just amazing. You're very lucky." Nick grabbed a hold of Angel's hand and walked further into the house.

"So tell me the truth," Angel started grilling Nick, "How was ice fishing with my father?"

Nick laughed thinking back to his afternoon with Mr. Lydon, "Honestly, it was a lot of fun. Even the weather wasn't that bad. As long as I'm dressed in layers, I'm good."

"I know my father. He didn't go out on a holiday without alcohol in his cooler. Did he say anything that requires further explanations from me?"

Nick smiled at Angel, "Nothing." Nick thought back to his conversation with her father. Mr. Lydon talked about his suspicions about Joey and what happened in that relationship; his concern for Angel's safety gallivanting to the other side of the country, Angel's rebellious, self-defense mechanism, and her stubbornness. *Mr. Lydon also talked about her earlier childhood. Nick had a hard time picturing Angel as a timid child. As she grew and attended school, she was very active in sports. She had a genuine concern for others and participated in many local charity events. She even co-coordinated a social issues day event at her high school bringing awareness on issues such as homelessness, domestic abuse and AIDS - to name a few, to the entire student body. Nick watched as Mr. Lydon spoke of his daughter with such pride. Nick was grateful for being sent off with him to go ice fishing. He knew the person he was in love with was exactly who he thought she was.

Angel went into the kitchen to grab some drinks, wine for her and a beer for Nick. When she came into the living room, Nick had started the fire in the fireplace and patted a seat for her next to him on the giant beanbag chair. "I can't believe you and your sister have matching beanbag chairs!"

"We love these. There from the Love Sack store. They are just so comfy for watching television, falling asleep….."

With a twinkle in his eye, Nick leaned over giving Angel a kiss, "Ah huh, I wonder what else they're good for?"

Acting innocent, Angel answered, "I don't know. What did you have in mind?"

Nick started to leave a trail of kisses down her neck to her collarbone, "Let's find out, shall we?"

"Okay," came out in a whisper.

Nick removed his shirt then helped Angel take off her sweater. Angel was wearing a camisole and no bra, he could see her nipples reacting to the cold chill still in the air. As he began to pull it off of her body, he leaned down capturing one of her nipples in his mouth. Caught off guard, Angel fell back on the bag, bringing Nick down on top of her. Her hands were busy trying to unbutton his pants but Nick was distracting her. Having trouble concentrating, she began rubbing him on the outside of his jeans. Taking Nick by surprise, he ground himself toward Angel's hand, as if on instinct. It had been a few days since they had been intimate, and with all the emotions going through his body, he needed to show Angel how much he loved her. Nick's hand wandered to the front of Angel's jeans, releasing the button and her zipper. Suddenly, he stood up and carried Angel into the bedroom. He knew this would take awhile, and he didn't want to risk getting caught if they lost track of time.

"Sssh, you're going to wake up our friends," Sheridan giggled as she stumbled over her cowboy.

"Knowing Angel she isn't sleeping," MaryAnn grabbed the hand of the man she had brought home. There was no need to communicate who should go where since the ladies had worked all of that out before they had even left the bar.

Nick heard silly laughs and giggles of the female persuasion then he heard a deep round of male laughter, Nick groaned.

"What's the matter?" Angel's body half covering his, since they had made love for the past few hours.

"I don't like knowing Sheridan and MaryAnn are having sex with people they just met," Nick drew her body completely over his. His hands began to search her out to drown out the noise around them.

"Like you never have," Angel dropped a kiss on him that made him forget what he was going to say next. "We have needs too," Angel wiggled a finger at his nose.

"I like old fashion girls," Nick stroked her nipple. "So does Kevin."

"Why the hell is Kevin so important all of sudden?" Angel understood the relationship between the pseudo father and son, but Nick was more like the Dad not the son.

They were on the same wavelength as usual. "Because if Dad is happy; we're all happy." He pulled her down to him as his hips pushed upwards.

"Screw Dad," Angel began to lose herself in that wonderful feeling again.

"I'm trying to get Dad screwed," Nick laughed.

"Leave them alone, it's going to be a slow process. We'll talk about it when we get back to LA." Angel's voice was barely a whisper as they began to synch each other's movements.

Hours later when Nick awoke to the smell of coffee and sunshine streaming through the windows, he knew it was time to get ready to leave. Turning in the bed, he saw he was alone now. Grabbing some clothes, he tossed them on, and headed downstairs. The kitchen was full of people and conversation; he was a little shocked. His one-night stands had always been just that; they would be gone before morning; most times because he would be leaving their town. Angel was dressed to go as well as Sheridan. Both cowboys were still there but looked like they were heading out the door. Nick listened as the Brad Pitt look alike asked a question using the wrong word.

"So when will you be back in town Sheri?"

"My name is Sheridan and nothing else. I'm not sure. I have your number, I'll call you."

"You better call me woman," The man grabbed her at the waist and pulled her towards him. "Last night was one hell of a good time."

Angel saw Sheridan's expression change and knew Sheridan was feeling the guilt. Angel ran interference. "Don't worry cowboy, she'll call you like most men tell us they'll call." Angel opened the door and the frigid December wind blew in. With her hand on the knob, she pointed out the door. "See ya," Angel smiled.

The door closed abruptly as the two men left. Angel put her hands on her hips and glared at MaryAnn and Sheridan. "If you are going to do this, you have to learn to do it better. You don't make small talk; you show them to the door and that is it. You don't promise to call them; you don't make future dates or plans. You don't….

"Well, aren't you the expert on getting rid of the morning afters," Nick wasn't pissed, but on the other hand, he wasn't pleased that his girlfriend could act like a guy.

"Ohhh," MaryAnne poured her coffee at mid-level not wanting to miss any of the action.

"Well!" Angel huffed as she crossed her arms.

MaryAnn saw the defensive stance and knew Angel would cause an argument to prove a point.

Sheridan took her turn at running interference, "She didn't show you the door Carter. That has only happened a few times. The first one was Joey and she should have shown him the door. Most of them don't even get breakfast."

MaryAnn eyed her sister and Nick, "When you two get married, do it in the fall. I prefer the fall and here of course too."

Sheridan let out a belly laugh and danced around the kitchen as she watched Angel and Nick gape at MaryAnn for the marriage comment. "Damn, I feel good. I so needed to get laid!"

Nick squared his shoulder and winked at MaryAnn, and then he turned toward Sheridan. "You had a Pitt look-a-like; Richardson would have been better."

Sheridan withered in her spot. "You suck!"

Nick laughed as Sheridan stormed off and pouted.

"Why did you do that to her?" MaryAnn gave him a sinister smile.

"She needs Kevin to do her right and she won't be looking anywhere else." Nick grabbed a cup of coffee.

MaryAnn laughed as she went upstairs to spend the little time she had left with her friend before they caught their flight back to west coast.

"Nick, you better stop doing that to her. One of these days, she is going to blow up." Angel shook her head.

"Maybe she needs to blow up, sort of like the little melt down you had with me. Close the old wounds and start fresh."

MaryAnn had lingered by the door. She had a new appreciation for Nick Carter; he was damn wise for a twenty something kid.

Hours later, the girls said their goodbyes to their parents. MaryAnn drove the crew back to Buffalo to catch their plane headed for Los Angeles.

Angel noticed Sheridan didn't look so good. "You okay Sheridan? You look pale."

"I think it's going to be a long flight back home."

"I have some Dramamine in my purse for you. Take two, and you should sleep the entire flight." Angel has had experience in having hangovers and being held captive on a six hour flight. The only way to get through it is to sleep it off.

Sheridan closed her eyes and fell asleep with her head against the cold window.

Nick leaned into Angel's ear and whispered, "Thank God we are in first class."

Smiling, she replied, "No shit." Becoming more serious, "All thanks to you." Nick noticed the look in her eyes. He finally realized Angel would never tell him how she truly felt for him first, but he could see it in her eyes. Mirroring the seriousness in her eyes, he grabbed her chin, "Tonight, stay with me okay?"

"Okay." Angel squeaked as she felt the butterflies in her stomach. 'Maybe I'll take some Dramamine too' she thought.

MaryAnn watched the couple in the rearview mirror and couldn't help but smile. They were going to be just fine. On the other hand, she was worried about Sheridan. As much as Angel and MaryAnn made Sheridan feel normal for picking a guy up in a bar and sleeping with him, they both knew that this was a rare occasion.

Once they arrived at the airport, MaryAnn woke up Sheridan as Angel and Nick got their luggage checked in. As they said their good-byes, MaryAnn wrapped a tight arm around Sheridan and rocked her back and forth. "You need to let it go. When you're ready, call me. I don't think you're going to let it all out with Angel."

"Of course she will, but we'll make it a three-way when she does," Angel dropped more Dramamine in the palm of Sheridan's hand. "We'll be home soon."

"Just swell," Sheridan groaned as she headed for the gate.

The flight back to LA was quiet thanks to the first class seats. Sheridan slept most of the time as well as Nick and Angel. After the plane landed and the luggage had been retrieved, Nick hailed a cab to take them home. Dropping Sheridan off and making sure that she was safe, Nick and Angel headed to his place.

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This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

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