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Author's Chapter Notes:
It feels like it took me a million years just to write this chapter lol. Enjoy!
Chapter Twelve:

“Who all is going to the park with us?” Ava asked, looking to her brother and her group of friends after Nick had stood up with her and placed her so that her feet were on the ground.

“All of us. Nick invited us to go while you were upstairs earlier,” Tierja answered. Ava nodded and quietly watched as AJ slid his arms around Tierja’s waist, pulled her near, and planted a kiss on her forehead. She raised her eyebrow curiously at this, but turned her attention on Jade nonetheless.

“Jade needs her hoodie before we go anywhere,” she announced while gathering her daughter into her arms. Jade slid her arms around her neck and snuggled into her, resting her head upon her shoulder.

“I’ll run up and get it, where is it?” Nick asked while gently combing his fingers through Jade’s hair and leaning forward and kissing the back of her head.

“Upstairs in my room, in the closet.”

“Okay, and would mommy like a hoodie too?” Nick asked while gently rubbing her bruised arms. “I don’t need to remind you how cold you were last night.”

“Your dark brown leather jacket,” Ava told him. Nick smiled softly and turned and disappeared upstairs. When he returned he had his red buccaneer’s hoodie on and Jade’s hoodie and his leather jacket in his hands. He wrapped Jade’s hoodie around her shoulders causing her to slide her arms in and when she was set, he took his leather jacket and did the same for Ava and as soon as she had her arms in the sleeves as well, he leaned forward and kissed her forehead before sliding his arms around both her and Jade and hugging them close to him while he looked at the others. When they were all finished bundling themselves up, they walked out of the house, locked it up, and with security at their side they headed to the nearest playground. As soon as they arrived at the park Ava put Jade down and she and Zara took off running to the play structure. Drew followed after them planning to keep a close watch on them knowing that David could be anywhere. While he was doing that, Q and Mike stuck to Ava’s side like glue, Q taking Ava’s hand into his and gently squeezing it.

“I heard you made some of your famous cookies today,” He commented gently.

“I did,” Ava answered while smiling softly. “J-Baby talked me into it, there was no saying no to her and that innocent face,” she added while casting Nick a playful annoyed look and he gazed back at her innocently.

“I’m going to have to get me some of those later, you know I’m a sucker for your cookies” Q insisted and Ava pulled him into a hug.

“I’m sorry Q; I would’ve brought some out to you if I didn’t have to be at the meeting with Nick’s lawyer.”

“That’s all right sweetheart, I’m a big boy and I’m perfectly okay getting my own cookies. I would have if I wasn’t so busy at the time” Q reassured gently while hugging her back and she rested her head against him causing him to kiss her forehead. “Don’t worry about a thing.” When she pulled away she took Nick’s hand into hers and he squeezed it and gently tugged her in the direction of the Ramada where everybody else chose to sit. When they arrived there, she noticed everybody but Tierja and Brian were there and looked around the playground curiously only to find Tierja sitting under a tree and Brian just walking up to her and sitting down next to her.


“What are you doing over here all by yourself?” Brian wanted to know.

“I don’t know…” Tierja sighed and she hugged her legs to her chest, and rested her chin on her knee.

“AJ?” Brian asked, taking a guess.

“Yeah…” Tierja answered and Brian slid his arms around her shoulders causing her to lean into him and rest her head against his shoulder.

“You two seemed pretty cozy on the couch earlier…”

“Yeah, I know, but it’s not enough…”

“I know,” Brian responded sympathetically and he hugged her closer and planted a kiss on her forehead. “I’m going to give you similar advice that Raven gave to me to pass on to Nick a week ago, honey.”

“Telling him is not going to make much of a difference, Ava has told him plenty and he still doesn’t do anything about it.”

“Exactly, and that is why you need to do something about it instead,” Brian insisted. “He’s a McLean….they’re stubborn, it runs in the family haven’t you caught on by now?” he joked. Tierja couldn’t help but laugh a little bit and Brian smiled, obviously pleased at his accomplishment. “Make the first move, some guys actually like that in a girl. If I know AJ at all, I’m pretty sure he won’t be any different. He’s scared for some reason, and just like Ava, it’s not really his fault. You just have to find a way to get past that.”

“Any suggestions on how I’m supposed to do that? None of the moves I put on him seem to work. I was the one who asked him to be my date to the party the other night, remember? And I flirt with him constantly too.” Brian thought about this for a few moments.

“You sleep over at our house on the couch with the girls every night…ask to sleep in his bed tonight instead.”

“Better yet, just be there waiting for him when he goes up for the night” Kathryn added, she Raven, and Ava suddenly joining them. Kathryn sat on the other side of her and wrapped her in her arms as well and the other two sat in front of her. “Don’t ask for permission.”

“Wearing really sexy lingerie...he’d really like that.” Raven added with a laugh.

“If he’s scared to be with me for some reason, how do you know that’s not just going to scare him off?” Tierja asked, feeling a mixture of doubt and amusement. Ava rolled her eyes playfully.

“Trust me, if my brother finds you in his bed in nothing but lingerie he will not be turning you down.” Tierja bit her bottom lip nervously. “Believe me honey, in his mind you’re his. Brian is right; you just have to break past his insecurities somehow.”

“Should we go lingerie shopping Tier? Ava, Kat, Q, Mike, and I will totally take you” Raven responded and Ava looked up at Mike and Q and burst out laughing at the looks on their faces and the other women joined her.

“If I’m seriously going to take your advice, we’re going to have to. I don’t have anything remotely sexy” Tierja answered when she managed to calm down.

“You’re taking their advice. Nick and I will watch the kids and everything” Brian spoke up again.

“All right…I could use a mall trip with my girls anyway…” Tierja replied while hugging Kathryn closer to her. “I’m sure Ava could really use it too.”

“You’re right, I could” Ava agreed. “The more that I am laughing and smiling and not thinking about David, the better.”

“AHHHH!!!! Mommy help me!!!! Save me from the evil monster daddy!!!” Jade shrieked playfully and Ava looked over at her and saw Nick chasing her around the park while she giggles uncontrollably and runs from him. Ava smiled softly and Jade ran over to her and flew right into her arms.

“Oh no! It’s a terrible tragedy! Nicky-Zilla is on the loose! AHH!” Ava replied dramatically as she shelters her and Jade continued her giggling. Nick ran over to them and made monster sounds as he tried to playfully grab her from Ava and Jade shrieked some more.

“Oh No! Oh No! Don’t take my baby Nicky-Zilla oh PLEASE!!” Ava continued. Brian chuckled and rolled his eyes playfully while Kathryn, Raven, and Tierja just watched in amusement.

“Mommy save me!” Jade shrieked amidst giggles while Nick tickled her.

“I’ll fight the Nicky-Zilla away, it’ll be okay!” Ava replied and then handed Jade to Raven before getting to her feet.

Stay back you evil Nicky-Zilla you! I’m warning you!” She threatened and Nick pretended to be very terrified.

“AHHHH!” He yelled and began to run as Ava chased after him and Jade giggled uncontrollably in Raven’s lap.

Nick let Ava chase him around the playground once, before suddenly turning around on her and taking her by such surprise that she shrieked. He playfully lifted her into his arms and spun around in circles with her, purposely making her laugh. When he stopped moments later, she shifted so that she is straddling him and slid her arms around his neck while he stood there holding her, before resting her forehead against his.

“Now Nicky-Zilla has mommy, what are you going to do now huh?” he asked and looked into her eyes playfully.

“You’re under arrest, Nicky-Zilla!” She told him loud enough for Jade to hear, and she heard her giggle some more, obviously very pleased that Ava had ‘caught’ him. Nick raised his eyebrow playfully.

“Oh really, may I ask what for?”

“For tickling my baby, that’s what for!” she insisted and Nick chuckled before gently placing his hand to her cheek and bringing her lips down on his and kissing her.

“What if I promise to be very sorry?” He asked when he pulled back slightly and she stared into his beautiful blue eyes slightly dazed.

“Then I guess that would be okay,” She told him softly before leaning down and kissing him again and he smiled between kisses, sliding his hands down over her sides and resting them on her bottom for support. When she pulled away some time later, she rested her head against his shoulder and snuggled into him while he hugged her close to him affectionately and carried her back over to their group of friends, AJ, Howie, and Kevin now sitting there as well. Jade had run off to play with Zara again over on the play structure with security keeping a very close watch on them.

“Aren’t you getting just a little bit too old to be chasing boys around on the playground Ava?” Kathryn asked amusedly.

“I would chase Nicky even when I’m 80,” she answered while Nick sat in the grass with her in his lap and she tightened her arms around his neck just a little bit and looked up at him. “No matter what my insecurities are, I know I will be chasing my best friend in a wheel chair someday.” Nick smiled amusedly upon hearing this.

“And our grandchildren will be chasing us trying to keep us crazy old folk in line,” He agreed before kissing her forehead lovingly and Ava giggled softly at the thought, making Nick grin and tighten his arms around her waist and gently make her rest her head against his shoulder causing her to snuggle deeper into him. “I love hearing you giggle, it’s the most beautiful sound in the world” he told her softly in her ear while everybody went back to their conversations and she looked up at him and lightly caressed his face with her fingertips just admiring him. He’s grown his hair out long since the last time she saw him before the big fight with her brother, and she loves it.

“I forgot how to giggle until I came home to you,” she admitted softly and Nick smiled at her lovingly, managing to keep his emotions at bay when he really wants to cry. This is the closest she has come to acknowledging her feelings for him since she found out he is in love with her. It’s a small admission, but he’ll take it.

“I’ll have you fully remembering in no time baby,” Nick reassured gently. Everyone hung around the playground for a couple of hours until Tierja, Kathryn, Raven and Ava announced that they were going to the mall for some girl time with Mike and Q tagging along. While they did that, the guys with Drew and Raul accompanying them, decided to take Jade and Zara and go to Nora’s Nook, a restaurant owned by a good friend of theirs.

“Hey guys, I haven’t seen you in here in quite a while” she greeted with a friendly grin when they entered.

“Hey Nora, how are you?” Nick responded while watching her grab up two kid’s menus and some crayons and seven adult menus.

“I’m doing okay,” she told him while flashing him a small smile that everyone instantly saw as fake. “I see you have Jade with you does that mean Ava is finally home? Should I be expecting her too?”

“Yes, she’s home, but no not today she, Raven, Kathryn, and Tierja decided to ditch us for a girl’s day out at the mall so it’s just us.”

“Oh okay, well right this way then” Nora responded and she turned and lead the group of Backstreet Boys and their security through the nearly empty restaurant to their favorite booth by the window and they all climbed in, Jade seated in Nick’s lap. He had tried to put her down, but the small child is being slightly clingy at the moment and insisting on sitting in his lap. Zara was being no different with Brian. “Can I start you all off with some drinks?” Nora offered and when she had their order down she turned and left to go get that. When he was sure she was far from hearing point, Nick looked at Kevin concerned.

“Was it just me, or did something seem a little bit off about her?”

“Nope, we all got that vibe,” Howie was the one to answer. Nick frowned slightly, but turned his attention on Jade nonetheless, kissing her forehead.

“What do you want to eat princess?” he asked gently and he proceeded to look at her menu.

“Grilled Cheese an’ Apples,” Jade answered after only having to look at her menu for a short minute.

“An’ I’ll have chicken strips an’ fries Brian” Zara added while looking up at her favorite person in the world.

“Yes ma’am, chicken and fries it is” Brian agreed and he chuckled at the happy smile on her face that told him he pleased her, and kissed her cheek affectionately. Nora gave them enough time to look at their menus and decide what they want before returning with seven cokes and two chocolate milks. She sat them all in front of them.

“Have you all decided what you want to order?” she asked.

“Yes, but that can wait. First you’re going to tell us what’s bothering you” Kevin insisted in his best fatherly tone that he tends to use on the boys. Nora narrowed her eyes at him playfully.

“I have a restaurant to run, Richardson.”

“We’re your only customers at the moment, Delaney. So, spill.” Nora sighed softly and after a long moment when she was sure she had control of her emotions, she spoke up again.

“My Grandmother has just been diagnosed with cancer and I’m the only one available to take care of her, so I will be closing the restaurant down in a week and moving to Iowa to be with her.”

“Oh Nora, I’m so sorry…” AJ responded and he reached out and took her hand into his and squeezed it. Nora gave them the best brave smile she could muster.

“It’s okay; we’re going to fight it. She’s going to make it through this.”

“Of course she will, especially since she will have you there by her side every step of the way” Brian reassured.

“You’ll keep us posted on everything that’s going on wont you?” Howie asked. “You know you will always have friends here if you need us.”

“Of course I will, I’ll keep in touch as much as I can.” Nora answered and she rubbed at her watery eyes and flashed them all smile. “Now what do you all want to eat huh?” she asked, making it clear that she really needs to be busy right now. The guys all listed their orders and she disappeared in the kitchen to pass the information onto the cooks, leaving the guys to chat amongst themselves. By the time she returned with their food some time later and had handed it all out and left again, Howie looked at Kevin and spoke quietly.

“Would it be insensitive to buy this restaurant once she is gone? I just got an idea…” Kevin shrugged his shoulders.

“She’s moving away, someone else will end up buying it anyway...and I’ll bet she’d want this place to be put to good use. What’s your idea?” Howie looked over at AJ and Nick and gave them both a look they would understand.

“That’s a really big gift D…you’d have to pitch it to her just right. You know how she is. She has to work for everything she gets, she doesn’t like to use us” AJ cautioned when he did understand.

“And she’s terrified of cooking right now to begin with. I just got her started on baby steps this morning with baking cookies with Jade…she’s going to have to feel safe cooking for the five of us before she feels safe cooking for an entire restaurant of people” Nick added.

“Her cooking is just too amazing for her to keep it in the family, I think she would be really successful if she had her own restaurant and could share her recipes with the world” Howie insisted.

“I agree with you, no one is a bigger fan of her cooking than I am, she’s been cooking for me since the beginning of our friendship. But like J said, it will have to be given to her just right or she won’t accept.”

“I’m sure I can come up with a sneaky way of making her feel like she earned it all on her own. Get her past this fear of hers and I will work on the rest.”

“I think once she’s cooked dinner for Nick alone and has seen that he would never hurt her, she’ll be okay” AJ insisted.

“And like I said, I’m working up to it. It’s going to take baby steps” Nick added. He looked down at Jade in his lap causing her to look up at him in return and he smiled at her. “Me and my right hand girl have it covered, don’t we princess?”

“Yeah,” Jade answered happily and he kissed her cheek affectionately.

“Operation: Carter Family is underway.”


When the boys, Jade, and Zara finished their lunch and paid for it and left they went home. While everybody was busy doing their own thing and Jade and Zara were playing and had Drew watching them like a hawk, Nick went ahead and went downstairs to the basement.

He spent a few moments on the phone with Denise, the only other person besides Brian and Jade who are in on the big “Secret Ava Project” that he has going on and then spent a good hour in the gym. By the time the girls came home and Ava ventured down into the basement looking for him, she found him lifting weights.

She leaned against the door frame and quietly admired the shirtless man while he sat on the bench working out, completely oblivious to her presence. He may be covered in sweat and his long blonde hair may be messy at the moment, but he is still the sexiest man she has ever seen. Suddenly getting the feeling that he is being watched, Nick looked up and grinned when he realized that it’s her and she smiled back.

“Hey beautiful, how long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to have probably the most unpopular opinion ever,” she admitted with a small innocent smile and Nick raised his eyebrow curiously. “Don’t ever cut your hair Nicky, okay?” She added and Nick chuckled softly.

“You’re right, that is an unpopular opinion. Half of my fan base keeps telling me the opposite.”

“I happen to think it’s sexy…especially right after a workout.” Nick smirked slightly and motioned her toward him with his finger. Ava complied and when she was standing in front of him, he slid his arms around her waist and pulled her down into his lap so that she is straddling him. Despite how sweaty and gross he is, Ava slid her arms around his neck.

“Your opinion is the only one that matters to me,” He informed her before bringing his lips down on hers and kissing her softly. “I missed you. Did you have fun at the mall?”

“Mhm…I really needed the girl time. I feel a lot better than I have in a while” Ava admitted.

“Good, I’m glad” Nick replied and she rested her forehead against his and scrunched up her nose playfully.

“You smell Nicky, go take a shower.” Nick smiled playfully.

“Yes ma’am, but you’re coming with me” he told her while getting to his feet and shifting her so that she is hanging over his shoulder causing her to shriek and then laugh while he carried her out of the Gym and up the stairs to the basement.

“Put me down, you crazy man” She demanded as he carried her into the living room, earning the attention of their amused friends and Nick just laughed and proceeded to carry her up the stairs and into her room since it was the closest. He shut the door behind him and locked it, before bringing her into the bathroom and sitting her on the counter. He cradled her face in his hands and looked into her eyes with so much love and adoration in his own before bringing his lips down on hers in a soft kiss. Ava slid her arms around his neck and kissed him back and he brought is hands down to her legs and slid them up under her dress and she squirmed slightly when he caressed her skin between her legs, moving them up between her thighs. When he pulled back from their intense kiss, he grabbed the hem of her dress and brought it up revealing her stomach before leaning down and placing feather light kisses.

“As much as I love you in this dress baby, it’s coming off” He told her between kisses, and he began a trail of them up over her stomach, bringing her dress up with each kiss. When he reached the valley of her breasts, he rained tender kisses over it before continuing his trail until he reached her neck. When he did, he pulled back only briefly to pull her dress over her head and toss it aside, before resuming his kisses on her neck going for his favorite spot between her neck and shoulders.

She tilted her head back in utmost pleasure and he slid his hands back behind her, unclasped her bra, and tugged until it dropped to the floor. Ava dragged his mouth to hers and kissed him hungrily and while he kissed her back she brought her hands down to his jeans and fumbled with the button and zipper until she had them open and wasted no time in yanking them, along with his boxers down. When they were around his ankles he stepped out of them and grabbed the waistband to her panties before sliding them down her legs and dropping them.

With them both completely naked, he reluctantly pulled back from their kisses and after retrieving a condom from his jeans, he crossed the bathroom to the shower and proceeded to get the water running and adjust the temperature. When he had it just right and turned around, he found her standing behind him, braids undone and her hair down. She moved closer to him and cradled his face in her hands before bringing his lips down on hers and resuming their kisses.

Nick brought his hands down and cupped her bottom in them, causing her to jump up and wrap her legs around him and he got into the shower and stepped under the water, letting it cascade over them. Ava gently slid her fingers through his wet hair and when he pulled back from their kisses, she rested her forehead against his, tangling her fingers in it and he lightly pressed her back up against the wall. Her brown eyes met with his blue and whether she knew it or not, they were filled with so much love and desire that it tugged at his heart strings.

“You’re beautiful, and perfect, and I love you” he told her softly and he kissed her forehead lovingly and when she closed her eyes, he kissed her closed eyelids before cupping the weight of her breasts in his hands and bringing his mouth down on her left one and suckling lightly. Ava moaned and cradled his head in her hands causing him to suck harder. After paying thorough attention to both of them, he trailed kisses down over her body. When he reached her stomach he knelt down and with her pressed up against the wall and her legs spread apart, he buried his face between them and wasted no time in devouring her. When she felt his tongue and teeth, she gasped and pressed her hands to the wall above her head, needing something to do with them.

“Oh god…Nicky please!” she cried out, causing him to smirk slightly and kiss her inner thigh. He replaced his mouth with his finger and she squirmed when he dipped it in and out of her, deliberately teasing her and she whimpered. He kept it up until he had her practically writhing in pleasure against the wall and he stood up and kissed her mouth.

She reached down and grabbed his shaft in her hand and she traced her finger along the length of it, before closing her hand around it and moving it up and down, instantly causing a series of groans from him. When he became erect in her hand, she reached over and grabbed the condom that he left in a safe place, un-wrapped it, and slid it on him.

He slid his hands around behind her to her bottom, cupped it in his hands and lifted her up so that she was straddling him and he and the wall were the only two things holding her up. He captured her mouth with his own and kissed her hungrily and she kissed him back, gripping his shoulders as she felt him push into her.


Meanwhile downstairs, Brian who had taken the girls outside to play in the backyard shortly after Nick had gone downstairs to the basement earlier, brought them back inside only for Jade to start going directly toward the stairs.

“Where do you think you are headed Little J?” AJ immediately intervened when he noticed. He is glad that Brian had decided to take the kids outside for a while. Ava isn’t exactly quiet. Jade stopped abruptly at the stairs and turned her innocent eyes on him.

“To find Daddy, I want him to read me a story.”

“How about you wait until Daddy comes down to you?” AJ suggested warily. He glanced at Brian and gave him a help please kind of look, and an amused Brian went over and playfully snatched the small child up into his arms, making her laugh.

“Come on sweet angel, I’ll take you and Zara downstairs to play in the recording studio for a little bit. Maybe we can make a song together or something,” He told her while gathering Zara into his arms as well and taking the two of them downstairs to distract them. Raven who hadn’t seen her boyfriend or daughter at all since she’s been back because she was too busy having fun with Tierja and Kathryn, got to her feet and followed them down there and as soon as Brian had the two girls content in playing with the different sound effects and was sitting near them keeping a good eye on them, he slid his arms around Raven and pulled her near causing her to wrap her arms around his shoulders and he kissed her softly.

“So Ava and Nick are upstairs huh?” he asked while giving her an amused look and Raven laughed.

“Yeah…as much as she denies loving him, it didn’t stop her from hunting him down in this basement the second she walked in the door earlier.” She answered, and Brian gently pulled her into his lap. “Someone should consider making their two room’s sound proof one of these days if they’re going to keep this up on a daily bases though…sheesh.”

“He’ll awaken her hidden love for him soon enough, if he hasn’t begun to all ready” was all Brian said, ignoring her second comment.

“What did my daughter and the love of my life do while I was gone, huh?” Raven asked while planting a kiss on his forehead and glancing over at Zara.

“Nothing too much, just missed you. We had lunch at Nora’s; turns out she’s closing it down and moving to Iowa to take care of her grandmother who has been diagnosed with cancer.” Raven frowned slightly at this news.

“Oh no, that’s awful…”

“Yeah, she’s not doing good…but she’s staying strong. Meanwhile, since she’s closing the restaurant down, Howie is planning on buying it and giving it to Ava as a gift,” he announced and Raven widened her eyes.

“Wow, seriously? That’s a really big gift…he’s going to have to persuade her into accepting it.”

“I know, but he says he has a plan. I think he plans on telling her that they’ll be partners, but it’ll really be all hers, named after her and everything.”

“And her fear of cooking…?”

“Operation: Carter Family is underways,” Jade spoke up, having had partly been listening ever since he brought up the restaurant and Brian chuckled when Raven gave him a half amused and half curious look.

“It’s something fun Nick made up to help her feel involved in helping her mommy so they can eventually be a family. He calls her his right hand girl and everything.”

“Aw, I’m sure J-Baby is a very good right hand girl,” Raven praised and Jade beamed happily.


“Nicky faster, please go faster!” Ava pleaded, while tangling her fingers in his hair and Nick instantly did as she requested moving into her at a furious pace while he still held her against the wall. Ava threw her head back and he brought his lips down to her neck and kissed her softly before going to his favorite spot between her neck and shoulders and lightly nipping her with his teeth.

Ava cried out as the feverish passion between them was just enough to send her completely over the edge and after a couple of more deep thrusts, Nick followed. Still breathing heavily, Ava rested her head against his shoulder as he delicately held her against him.

When both of them managed to get their breathing under control moments later, Nick slipped out of her and she slid her arms around him and placed delicate kisses on his neck and he combed his fingers through her wet hair lovingly. “Please don’t ever leave me Nicky; I couldn’t handle it if you did.” With his hands still in her hair, he gently pulled her head back so that he is looking into her eyes.

“I’m not going anywhere sweetheart, I promise. You have me forever” he reassured. She gazed into his eyes in silence for a few moments, looking like she very badly wants to believe him, but isn’t quite there yet, before gently cradling his face in her hands and kissing him. He kissed her back while moving under the water and letting it cascade over them.

When he pulled back, he reached over and grabbed a wash cloth, soaped it up, and began washing her. When they were both clean and had their hair washed, the two of them got out of the tub. She grabbed her towel and wrapped it around her before walking out of the bathroom and going to her closet. By the time he came out of the bathroom behind her with his towel around his waist he went up behind her and slid his arms around her waist before kissing the back of her neck.

“You didn’t bring any clothes in here, did you? Now you have to walk through that hallway in a towel,” she pointed out amused and Nick chuckled softly.

“It wasn’t exactly on my mind while I was carrying you up here to make love to you.” Ava shook her head smiling, and he leaned down and kissed her cheek.

“Just let me get dressed and then I will go get you some.” She pulled a pair of denim shorts and a white tank top down from her closet, some panties out of her drawer and got dressed and when she finished, she went down the hall to his room and returned with a white tee, a pair of jeans, and boxers and while he proceeded to get dressed, he watched her put his bucs hoodie on herself and zip it up and shook his head smiling but otherwise didn’t say anything. When he was dressed and the two of them had brushed their hair, he gently took her hand into his and squeezed it before leading her downstairs. When they got down there, they received attention from everyone.

“Where are the kids?” Ava asked somewhat protectively when she realized her daughter wasn’t among them. Until David is caught and behind bars, she is going to have to know where she is at and who she is with at all times or she will go into straight up panic mode, no joke.

“Brian took her and Zee downstairs to play in the recording studio for a little bit. Mommy and Daddy need sound proof bedrooms,” Kathryn answered teasingly and Ava blushed and looked away, but otherwise relaxed at the reassurance that her baby is okay.

“She wanted you to read her a story Nick, I told her to wait until you came down here to her.” AJ added while quietly eyeing his sister. He just hopes they’re smart enough to use protection this time, because his baby sister is not ready to be pregnant again.

“I will have to do that, but right after dinner. I was thinking of asking her to help me make dinner for everyone,” Nick answered while looking at Ava pointedly.

“That’s a good idea, what are we having?” Howie spoke up.

“Something from Ava’s special menu” was all Nick said, and he slid his arm around her waist and pulled her near. She looked up at him and he kissed her forehead softly. “Want to come sit in the kitchen with us? I might need some pointers.”

“I’m sure you will do just fine, I taught you everything you know remember?”

“Yeah, but it’s been such a long time. You never know, I might need you to refresh my memory.” Ava narrowed her eyes at him playfully and he narrowed them playfully right back.

“Don’t think for one minute that I don’t see what you are trying to do here, Carter.”

“I’m not trying to do anything baby, except get you to keep me and Jade company in the kitchen that’s all” Nick responded innocently and she rolled her eyes. “Please, please, please?” he begged while playfully tickling her causing her squeal and laugh as she tries to squirm away from him, but he only held onto her so she couldn’t escape.

“Okay, okay I will, stop!” she laughed and he smiled in satisfaction and slid his arms around her waist and once again kissed her forehead before taking her hand and bringing her downstairs to the basement with him so they could retrieve their daughter from his best friend.

“Mommy, Daddy!” Jade exclaimed happily upon seeing them enter the recording studio.

“Hi Princess, are you having fun?”

“Yeah, Brian, Zara, an’ I are making a song! He’s writing it an’ then we’re going to record it!”

“Ooh, that sounds like fun I can’t wait to hear it” Nick responded, earning a smile from both kids, telling him he had pleased them. “Do you think you can take a break for a little while and come help daddy cook dinner?”

“Okay!” Jade responded enthusiastically. She loves too cook and secretly has hopes that she will get to help her mommy out in the new restaurant. She slid down from her chair and ran over to Nick and he gathered her up into his arms and instantly accepted her cuddles. She rested her head against his shoulder and he kissed her forehead affectionately.

“What are we having for dinner?” Raven asked with a small smile as she watches the picture perfect family before her eyes.

“It’s a secret – something off of Ava’s special menu, that’s all I’m saying” Nick told her with a small smile, and he slid his arm around Ava and began to take his girls upstairs to the kitchen so they can get to work.
Chapter End Notes:
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