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Chapter Eleven: Being Strong

When Ava reached her room, she proceeded to get out clothes for Jade, deciding on a red Ramones tee shirt. She grabbed some panties, black jeans, and a belt with little decorative jewels around it. Ava buys a lot of Jade’s clothes from Hot Topic. That’s one thing she managed to inherit from her mommy besides her natural brown hair and her talent for being stubborn – her taste in music and her sense of style.

David always went out of his way to inform her that she’s corrupted her and turned her into an even bigger devil child then she already is. At one time, it had upset Ava so much that she smacked him and earned herself a major beating for it and a trip to the hospital in result.

Ava grabbed up Jade’s red high top converse shoes and her bathing suit and she went down the hall to Nick’s room where he and Jade were waiting to enjoy their bubble bath, Nick already in his swim trunks and everything. She handed over the bathing suit and while he proceeded to dress Jade in it, she walked out of the room and just as she was placing the rest of her clothes on the bed for later, AJ peered in the room and grinned upon seeing his little sister.

“Hey sweetheart…I haven’t seen you all morning, I thought I’d come up and see how you are doing,” he greeted gently and he went over to her and pulled her into a hug. Ava nestled into him and returned it and she smiled as he planted a kiss on her forehead.

“I’m doing better,” she answered and he pulled back slightly and looked into her brown eyes. When he saw that she was telling him the truth and she really did look much happier than she was yesterday afternoon, he grinned too.

“That’s because you have Nick here taking care of you,” AJ insisted. “Admit it Ava, he’s good for you.”

“Yeah, yeah give it a rest J” Ava insisted while rolling her eyes playfully and she went over and sat on the bed and hugged her legs to her chest. “You’re his biggest fan, I get it. But I think he’s too good for me, if you want my opinion.” AJ went over and sat in front of her before hugging his legs to his chest as well and he took her hand into his and gently squeezed it. “He’s too nice to me Alex; I’m not used to it…I keep waiting for him to turn around and smack me for saying or doing the wrong thing,” she admitted softly.

“He loves you honey, he always has. He would rather chew off his own hand then ever hurt you,” AJ insisted while wrapping his arms around her and hugging her and she rested her head against his shoulder and hugged him back.

“I don’t feel like I deserve to be loved by him after everything I put him through. I kept such a big secret from him for four years and it hurt him.”

“He knows David forced you to do it, it’s not like you wanted to do it. You were protecting your baby like any mother would do.”

“I spent so many hours at night in her room after she was born guarding her crib because I was terrified he’d smother her with a pillow behind my back. It took a month before I could sleep at night.” Ava admitted tearfully and AJ hugged her tighter.

“I wish you would’ve come to me about this instead of living in fear like that.”

“That wouldn’t solve anything, I would just be living in fear about him coming after us and following through with his threat like I’m constantly doing now ever since I left him, Alex.”

“But you wouldn’t have had to protect her alone. Nick and I aren’t letting him anywhere near the two of you…not without a real good fight. He spends hours down in the gym pretending that punching bag is David, just preparing himself for the moment where he has to fight him off of you.” Ava looked up at him and AJ gently combed his fingers through her hair. “The point is you’re my sister Ava. I don’t want you to be terrified into not coming to me about these things ever again. You need to know that I would walk through fire to protect you, and so would everybody else downstairs. Okay?” Ava nodded tearfully and he gently wiped away her tears. “I love you,” He told her seriously, before pulling her into another hug.

“I love you too,” She murmured into his shoulder and he kissed her forehead and after a moment, smiled to himself.

“Now do you want to tell me what you were thinking sleeping with Nick at sixteen? He was eighteen years old, Ava. Do you know how much trouble the two of you would’ve been in, if that was discovered by anyone outside of our family?” Ava smiled innocently, still not removing her head from his shoulder, though he could see it.

“It was the best decision I ever made, and I don’t regret it one bit no matter what age we were Alex.” AJ raised his eyebrow at her and when she saw him silently analyzing her answer, she quickly went on. “He gave me my beautiful little girl.”

“I think you’re using Jade as cover up instead of admitting that you think it’s the best decision you ever made, because you’re in love with him” he told her in playful amusement.

“I am not in love with him” Ava insisted stubbornly and AJ chuckled.

“Oh yes you are. If you weren’t why did you insist on doing it with him?”

“Because he’s my best friend and we experience everything together.” AJ rested his forehead against hers and looked into her eyes.

“Or maybe, you have always secretly been in love with him from the start and that was your excuse.” Ava narrowed her eyes at him and he playfully narrowed his own in return. She huffed and pushed him away from her and he just laughed.

“Don’t throw a fit just because I know you so well, Ava.”

“Two can play this game, Alexander James. If anyone is in denial about their feelings in this house, it’s definitely you.

“What is that supposed to mean?” AJ asked innocently.

“You know exactly what I mean. You’ve been flirting with Tierja and dodging your feelings for her for how long now?” AJ twitched at Ava’s words and avoided eye contact with her. She looked at him in silence for a few moments, and then reached out and gently tilted his chin up with her finger so that he is looking into her eyes.

“Tierja is good for you, Alex.” She told him, throwing his words from earlier right back at him. “So if you want me to even begin to work out my issues with Nick, you’re going to have to do the same thing. You’re in danger of losing her if you don’t.”

“What do you mean?” He asked, raising his eyebrow.

“She loves you Alex, but if you make her wait any longer, she’s going to try to move on because she can’t handle the pain anymore. She was telling me just last night how hot this new guitar player is. So if you don’t want competition, you better do something about it.” She held his gaze just long enough for him to see how serious she is about this, and then leaned up and kissed his cheek. “I’ll work on my issues if you work on yours. Be my role model, Alex.” She told him gently, and then got up and disappeared in the bathroom leaving him alone to think about this. AJ stared after her in silence for a long moment, before getting to his feet, grabbing up the tray of empty plates and glasses from her breakfast in bed surprise earlier that morning, and headed downstairs with it.

Meanwhile when Ava walked into the bathroom, she found father and daughter sitting in the tub together just covered in bubbles. Nick smiled at her appearance and Ava flashed him a smile right back before grabbing up Jade’s Barbie towel and leaning against the wall. She watched as Nick washed Jade’s hair and rinsed it and helped her clean up and then he stood up with her.

“Here sweetie, why don’t you take her while I take a very quick shower?” he asked and Ava nodded, opened up the towel and held it up and Nick gently placed Jade inside it allowing Ava to wrap her up and cradle her. She looked at Nick then and he leaned over and gave her a brief but meaningful kiss before she turned around and headed out of the bathroom.

She brought her over to the bed and gently lay her down on it before taking her bathing suit off of her so she could dress her, trying her very hardest not to think about the bruises on Jade’s body and how they got there. By the time she had her clothes on and was just finishing up on tying her shoes for her, Nick came out of the bathroom in just a towel and he noticed just by looking into his best friend’s eyes that something is truly upsetting her right now.

She is putting on a brave face for their daughter, but he knows better. He handed her a brush before retrieving some of his own clothes and going into the bathroom to get dressed himself. Ava brushed her hair and even put it up in pigtails and by the time she was finished, Nick came out of the bathroom dressed. Ava hugged Jade close, kissed her forehead softly, and looked into her blue eyes.

“Go downstairs sweetie and your daddy and I will be down soon okay?”

“Kay,” She said, and then got up and went downstairs. Ava waited a long moment until she was sure Jade had enough time to get far from hearing point, and then got up and went to Nick. She slid her arms around his waist, buried her face in his shoulder, and she began to cry letting all of her pain and frustration out in a flood of tears. He gently rubbed his hand over her back trying his best to comfort her, though he hasn’t yet figured out what has caused her to be so upset all of the sudden.

“Why did he do this Nicky? Why did he hurt her? She’s just an innocent child…she could never ever do anything to deserve this. Why does he punish her for something that I did? It’s just not fair!” Nick tightened his arms around her, now getting the gist of what is going on in her mind – of course. She’d been dressing Jade…she had to look at her bruises. That would do it…

“Because he’s a sick man honey…he has a problem. And if he ever comes near you or my baby again I’ll beat him senseless. He can’t hurt you anymore…not with me here. And this restraining order is going to do wonders. It won’t put us in a bubble, but we’ll have the law on our side if he comes near you and violates it. AJ has called Marcus and asked him and Q to come guard our property and when we go on tour I’m going to personally see that both you and Jade have a personal bodyguard at all times. We’ll have all the protection in the world…” Ava looked up at him feeling slightly calm now, though tears rolled down her face. He brushed them away with his finger before tilting her chin up and leaning down and brushing his lips lightly over hers. “I love you baby, it’s going to be okay” he told her between kisses and she tightened her arms around him and nestled her head in his shoulder.

“I need to take a shower and get ready for the day,” She murmured into his neck after a long moment.

“Okay, do you want me to stay up here with you?”

“No, I want to be alone for a while is that okay?” she asked softly, looking up into his eyes. “I’m not pushing you away Nicky, I promise. I just really need some space.”

“Okay, but I want you to call for me if you need me and I will come running.”

“Don’t worry, I will” Ava promised and Nick tightened his arms around her waist and kissed her one last time, making sure to pour all of his love into it. When he pulled back he tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and held her gaze for a moment before she turned and walked out of the room to go to hers where all of her stuff is. Nick looked over at the bed expecting to see a tray there, and when he saw that it was gone he raised his eyebrow. Had Ava taken it downstairs while he was busy with Jade? Shrugging his shoulders, he turned and headed downstairs. When he got down there, Jade spotted him, smiled hugely, and got to her feet and ran straight for him. Nick grinned in return and caught her as she flew into his arms and he snuggled her closer to him causing her to nestle her head in his shoulder. While he was hugging her, Brian suddenly appeared in front of him, arms crossed over his chest and eyebrow raised. Nick raised his eyebrow in return.

“You’ve been holding out on me. I am your best friend, and you’ve been holding out on me. All these years you’ve confided in me about Ava, and I didn’t even know what happened between the two of you four years ago? This is best-friend-needs-to-know information, Carter!”

“Are you kidding me? I wasn’t going to reveal that kind of information, I was scared to death AJ would catch wind of it and murder me for sleeping with his sister.”

“As I very well should,” AJ spoke up from over on the couch where he was currently lounging. “And I would, if part of me wasn’t thrilled at the fact that my dream of you being with my sister is finally very slowly coming true.” Nick shook his head and placed a kiss on Jade’s forehead as he looked at Brian who continued to stare at him wounded.

“You couldn’t find a way to let me know when he wasn’t around?”

“So I kept one secret from you, Frick, big deal. You’re in on everything else going on in all things to do with Ava.” Brian huffed, gave Nick a look, but pulled him into a brief hug anyway. “I’m glad you’re happy again and finally have everything you ever wanted Nicky.” He admitted sincerely after a moment.

“Almost,” Nick corrected. “Ava needs some serious romancing, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.”

“Speaking of which, where is she?” Kathryn spoke up curiously.

“Upstairs taking a shower…she requested some space, and despite my better judgment I gave it to her. I hate not having her right where I can see her at all times though.”

“Q and the entire security team are around, so she will be okay for the time being” Kevin reassured. “Q is outside guarding the gate and he’s aware that your lawyer will be visiting soon. Everybody else is running about the place making plans to make it safer for both her and Jade for the remaining time that we’re here before we go on tour. So no one is getting in here and harming her.” Nick smiled softly upon hearing this information.

“That’ll make her happy, she’ll want to go right out and say hi to Q when she finds out,” Nick commented. He looked down at Jade who has her head rested upon his shoulder and was just staring up at him in silence. He smiled at her lovingly and kissed her forehead before going over and sitting on the floor with her a few feet away from the stairs, wanting to be nearby to hear Ava if she should call for him.

“Ava wants to take Jade to the park later; does anyone else want to come?”

“You know we’re coming,” Raven replied as she watched her daughter look at her with a pleading look and Jade and Zara squealed happily. Brian chuckled in amusement and went over and sat on the floor beside Zara before taking her into his arms.

“We all might as well come, security included. After last night, I think it’s better Ava has an entire guard whenever she goes out. I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if you hadn’t gotten to her on time.”

“Yeah, trust me, she’s not pulling a stunt like that ever again” Nick insisted while hugging Jade closer to him as if she were Ava. AJ smiled in amusement.

“Careful Nick…being too controlling isn’t a very good way to win her heart. She doesn’t like being told what to do; my mom has been trying all her life.”

“Tough cookies. When it comes to her safety, she’s going to listen to me. I’m not letting her leave this house alone like that again.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” AJ shrugged and Nick looked down at Jade and began conspiring with her about another plan he has for Ava. Meanwhile upstairs, when Ava got out of the shower she put on a black smocked waist dress with a leopard print belt. She blow dried her hair and then did it in two braids and applied makeup using black eyeliner, black mascara, and gold eye shadow. To complete her look, she put on some gold double teardrop chandelier earrings, black and gold bangles on her wrist, and some black and brown asymmetrical designed sandals.

When she was finished getting ready, she stood there quietly staring in the bathroom mirror contemplating her look. She hasn’t worn a dress in a really long time; David never liked her in them. He didn’t want her showing off too much, insisting that she doesn’t have anyone to impress because she belongs to him.

And now she’s left him and here Nick is insisting she belongs to him and no matter how hard she tries not to let it, it terrifies her. She doesn’t want another man claiming to ‘own’ her; she won’t allow herself to be in that sort of relationship again. Everything has to be equal or she’s not having anything to do with him.

The minute he starts telling her what to do, she’s done. Her promise to work with him on this slowly growing relationship will be over. When she managed to get her emotions in check and was sure she was ready to be strong and happy for her daughter like she vowed to herself that she would be, she turned and walked out of the bathroom and then her room and headed downstairs.

By the time she reached the bottom of them, her eyes fell on him as he still sat on the floor with their daughter in his arms and her stomach did an entire flip flop. When he smiled at her, her breath immediately left her lungs. She watched him stare at her in surprise for a few moments as he took in her outfit before getting up and gently putting Jade down.

He walked over to her and when he gently pressed her back up against the wall next to the stairs and those captivating blue eyes of his met with her brown ones, her control on her emotions went straight to hell as she felt the butterflies consume her. Nick rested his arms against the wall on either side of her so that she was caged between him and the wall and he rested his forehead against hers and looked into her eyes with so much love in his own.

“You look beautiful,” he murmured softly. He placed a soft kiss on her forehead before trailing his lips down over her nose kissing the tip of it before bringing his lips down to hers and pausing just inches away. “Kiss me,” he told her gently. Fighting desperately to hold onto what little control she has left, Ava gently pushed at his chest in attempt to get him to move, but he didn’t budge.

“Let me by you crazy man…I’ve got a daughter to take care of.”

“I’m not moving until you kiss me. We’ll just stand here all day” Nick insisted stubbornly, and she smiled up at him in amusement.

“Your lawyer is coming soon.”

“In an hour and when he does, if you haven’t kissed me by then, I’ll hold you captive in my lap until you do.”

“Is that supposed to be a threat Nicky? Because if so, you really need to come up with something better than that” Ava asked softly, secretly finding the thought of being held captive in his lap very appealing and she slid her arms around his neck.

“It’s not a threat, it’s a promise,” Nick insisted and he once again rested his forehead against hers. “Kiss me,” He ordered again.

“No,” Ava insisted.

“Why do you have to be so stubborn?”

“I was made that way, that’s what you signed up for when you fell in love with me.” Nick noticed the hidden fear behind her eyes, and knows it’s because David worked very hard to squash that trait out of her. She was going to do what he said, when he said it, and if she didn’t she was punished for it. She was going to be the way he wanted her to be, not the way she was born to be. Nick lightly caressed her cheek with his finger before bringing it down to her chin and tilting it up so she is looking into his sincere eyes.

“I love you exactly the way you are, baby. There is nothing about you I would change.” He lightly rubbed his nose over hers, giving her an Eskimo kiss. “Kiss me. Please?” He whispered, before bringing his lips down on hers and lightly kissing her. She found herself tightening her arms around him and after a moment she kissed him back causing him to smile between kisses and slide his hands down slowly over her arms, down her sides and he rested them on her hips. When he pulled back minutes later, she had to remind herself to breathe.

“I’m going downstairs to the basement to work a little bit on my solo project for an hour baby; I just waited until you came downstairs. Is that okay?”

“Yeah, it’s fine, I want to spend some time with Jade anyway” Ava insisted after only looking slightly taken aback at being asked permission for something. Usually it’s the other way around in her relationships.

“You order me around in this relationship, remember? You’re my Queen; you have me wrapped completely around your finger.” Nick told her, not missing a single thing. Ava raised her eyebrow and Nick chuckled softly. “I’ve been your best friend since you were eleven sweetheart, I know you and how you think” he reminded her and playfully tugged on her braid, flashed her his heart warming smile, and turned and headed for the basement stairs and soon disappeared to work on his project. Ava rolled her eyes playfully as she watched him leave.

She forgot he always loved to tug on her braids when they were younger. When she could no longer see him, she turned her attention on everybody else who was pretending to mind their own business. She once again rolled her eyes, before going over to Brian and the kids who were sitting on the floor playing with a mixture of Jade and Zara’s toys.

Ever since Raven and Brian became a couple, all of hers and Zara’s things have been mysteriously showing up at the Backstreet House very slowly. Last time she checked, Brian even gave her half of his closet. Smiling to herself at how well the new relationship between her friends was going, Ava sat down behind Jade and gently gathered her into her lap. Ava leaned down and planted a kiss on her forehead and quietly watched her as she snuggled into her comfortably.

“Are you having fun with your best friend, baby? It’s great having her over here every day isn’t it?”

“Yeah” Jade answered, smiling bigger than Ava has ever seen her smile and if she was being honest with herself, she knows a big part of it is because of Nick. Ava smiled softly and hugged Jade even closer to her. All she wants to do is do what’s right for her baby – she is what’s most important right now.

She left David, now she needs to find a way to be strong for her, because Nick knows the truth and as soon as David finds out that he does, he’s going to stop at nothing until she is punished for it. The fastest way to do that is to hurt her baby girl and he knows that. It’s his favorite power play against her. She’ll be damned before she lets that happen. She just doesn’t know how she is going to find the strength, every time the evil bastard comes near her she feels useless.

“Mommy,” Jade spoke up.

“Yeah baby?”

“Will you bake cookies with me?” Ava looked down at her daughter in brief surprise upon hearing this random question.

“Bake cookies with you huh?” She asked, casting suspicious eyes toward the basement. This has Nick written all over it.

“Please mommy? I miss baking with you, we used to do it’s all the time.” Ava stared down at her daughter’s hopeful face for a few moments and knew there was no way she was ever going to be able to say no to her and she sighed softly.

“All right…lets go,” She told her before getting to her feet and Jade squealed happily in response. “What kind of cookies should we make?”

“Peanut Butter!” Jade answered enthusiastically and Ava rolled her eyes playfully. There is not a doubt in her mind that Nick put her up to this. It’s a well-known fact that Ava’s peanut butter cookies are Nick’s favorite.

“Zara, do you want to bake cookies too?” She asked, turning to the other little girl, who still sat contently in Brian’s lap.

“Yeah!” Zara answered and Ava smiled at her warmly.

“All right sweetheart, come here” She told her gently, before gathering the other child into her arms as well with Brian’s help and taking them both into the kitchen with her where they proceeded to bake peanut butter cookies.


The three of them baked for an hour and by the time they had three batches of cookies fresh out of the oven and cooled, AJ poked his head in the kitchen.

“Sweetheart, he’s here” he announced gently.

“Kay, I will be right out” Ava responded and he watched her as she grabbed up a plate and placed two cookies on it and poured a glass of milk. When she finished she knelt down and handed the plate to Jade.

“Do you want to take this out to your daddy for me baby? I will be right out with yours and Zee’s plate next.”

“Okay mommy,” Jade responded and she leaned up and kissed Ava’s cheek before grabbing the plate from her, turning around and walking out of the kitchen. AJ gently squeezed her shoulder and smiled at his niece lovingly. When she was gone, he walked over to his sister and took the milk from her.

“Is this for Nick too?”

“Yeah…do you want a plate of cookies as well?”

“I’m sure everybody does, you know how much we all love your cookies. It’s been a very long time since you’ve baked for us” he told her and pulled her into a hug.

“I have to admit, I really missed this hardcore kitchen and oven that you made sure I had when we first moved in” Ava insisted while giving him a small smile. AJ chuckled softly.

“Why don’t you bring one big plate out and I will pour a pitcher of milk and bring out a bunch of glasses to make things easier.”

“Kay,” Ava responded softly and AJ kissed her forehead affectionately before taking Nick’s glass out to him. When he returned he proceeded to make a pitcher of milk like he said he would and when he had that finished and Ava had a big plate of cookies ready, he followed her out there. She glanced at Nick who was watching her every move from his spot on the floor leaning up against the couch, before going over and putting the plate of cookies on the coffee table.

“Oh Ava, those look really delicious…” Kathryn insisted while eyeing the plate of cookies with lust in her eyes and Ava couldn’t help but giggle softly.

“Everybody help themselves, there’s lots more in the kitchen so take as many as you’d like” she insisted as she watched AJ put the pitcher of milk and a stack of glasses down next to the cookies. She fixed Jade a plate of cookies and a small kid’s cup of milk that AJ had thought to bring out for her and handed it over to her daughter who sat contently next to Nick on the floor and Raven did the same for Zara. As soon as everybody had their cookies and were content, Ava started to go sit next to her brother only to have Nick slide his hand into hers. She glanced at him while he remained sitting on the floor and he squeezed her hand gently.

“Come sit with me baby, please?” She looked into his blue eyes and he made sure she could see nothing but love in them. She went over and sat in his lap and he enveloped her in his arms and hugged her affectionately. Ava hugged him back; her tense body eventually relaxing and he planted a kiss on her forehead. “The cookies are good baby, thank you” He told her sincerely and Ava rested her head against his shoulder absolutely refusing to cry when she heard the truth behind his words. Nick gently rubbed his hand over Ava’s back and looked over at his lawyer who sat on the other couch across from them and everybody else sat around them too enjoying their cookies and waiting for the discussion to start.

“James, this is my girlfriend Ava, Ava this is my lawyer James Conrad” Nick introduced.

“Hello Ava, it’s nice to meet you” James responded and Ava gave him a small smile but snuggled deeper into Nick nonetheless.

“Nice to meet you too,” She told him softly.

“I understand I’m here to discuss the possibility of a restraining order?” he asked, looking at Nick for this answer.

“Yeah, for Ava against her abusive ex-boyfriend” Nick affirmed while hugging Ava close to him protectively and planting a soft kiss on her forehead.

“Do you have proof of the abuse?”

“Yeah, both Ava and my daughter Jade are covered in bruises and we’ve reported incidents to the police a couple of times now where he’s forcefully tried to take her from us.”

“And a doctor willing to back us up if it’s necessary too…” Ava spoke up softly as she sat with her arms wrapped around Nick’s neck and her head rested on his shoulder. He looked down at her and noticed her trying very hard not to have a second meltdown over Jade in one day. He looked at James again who was confused.

“He molested Jade…we took her to the doctor and he’s made it clear that he will vouch for us that it happened” He explained softly.

“And Ava has been to the hospital several times in the past too,” AJ spoke up. “Every single doctor she has been to knows her well and has been urging her to leave him for quite some time, so I know they will gladly be a witness as well.”

“Okay, I’m going to need to see the bruises.” Nick nodded and looked down at Ava, gave her a trust me look and when he saw a small amount of trust in them for the first time since he told her he was in love with her, his heart warmed. He shifted her so that she was straddling his lap and gently made her rest her head against his shoulder before unzipping her dress just far enough that the cuts from all of the belt beatings she received in the past on her back were revealed and nothing else.

“She has lots more all over, especially on her face because of last night when he attacked, but she got in the habit of covering those up with makeup a long time ago. You can see her arms all black and blue from him grabbing her and digging his fingers into her constantly too,” he explained while gently rubbing his hands over her arms.
“Okay, I’m going to need you to take pictures of both Ava and Jade’s injuries before they fade and get them back to me as soon as you can so we can use it for evidence against him can you do that for me?”

“Yeah absolutely,” Nick answered while kissing the top of Ava’s head and zipping her dress back up. “We can do it tonight after she’s taken all of her makeup off for the day and I will give them to you tomorrow.”

“How soon after you’ve gotten all of the evidence against him, can you have a restraining order issued?” AJ spoke up again. “This is a very urgent situation, James, David is out there running free and we have no idea where he is or what he is going to do to her next. We have our Backstreet Security on her now, but we need all of the protection that we can get. He’s already tried to take her from us twice, like Nick said.”

“As soon as I have all of the evidence against him and you’ve filled out the petition, you will be given a temporary restraining order that will last fifteen days. David will be served during that time and then you will need to face a judge to be given a full restraining order.”

“And what if he doesn’t show up? Or violates it in some way?” Ava spoke up again for the first time in a while. “He’s not going to care; it’s just going to be a piece of paper to him, I know him.”

“It won’t put you in a bubble, but taking this action is still necessary because at least you will have police protection on your side. They’ll track him down and arrest him if he violates it.”

When he violates it,” Ava corrected him and she snuggled deeper into Nick. Nick tightened his arms around her and hugged her close to him protectively.

“He’s not going to get you baby, I won’t let him” He reassured gently and she buried her face in the crook of his neck. “So we’ll fill out the paperwork tomorrow then when we bring in the pictures?” he asked James.

“Yes, and if you will just provide me with phone numbers, I will take care of the doctor reports.” Nick nodded and pulled out his cell phone and began listing names and numbers and James wrote them down. When he had all of the information that he needed and set up an appointment for another meeting in his office tomorrow he left. Nick looked down at Ava in his lap to find her looking up at him not looking anymore reassured than she was before the discussion.

“I know it’s not going to put up an electric shield around you sweetheart, but it’s still a necessary step to take. Like he said, you’ll have full police protection this way.”

“I trust you to protect me a lot more than I trust this restraining order to protect me, Nicky…” Nick couldn’t help but smile softly and he slid his arms around her waist and rested his forehead against hers.

“Well that’s a big step away from how you felt just yesterday, that’s for sure.” Ava gently cradled his face in her hands and looked into his blue eyes.

“I told you I’d try…I meant it. You just have to be patient with me Nicky.”

“I have every intention of being patient with you baby, I’m not going anywhere” Nick reassured and he brushed his lips lightly over hers. “Except to the park with you and Jade because we promised.”
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