Here's the next chapter.
When Tierja was nearly finished dying Jade’s hair and was almost ready to take her to go rinse the dye out the door to the shop suddenly swung forcefully open.
“THERE you are!” came David’s angry voice causing everybody in the shop to stop and look at him. Ava’s entire body became tense upon seeing her worst nightmare standing at the door.
“Alex…” she whimpered nervously and she looked around only to find that he is nowhere to be seen. Nick went over to her and wrapped his arms around her protectively.
“It’s okay sweetie, I’m here” he reassured gently.
“David get out! You aren’t welcome here!” Tierja ordered.
“I have every right to be here! My daughter and girlfriend are in here!”
“Not unless you have an appointment. Last time I checked you didn’t so you need to leave.”
“I didn’t come here to get a haircut; I came here to get Ava and Jade. I’m taking them home.”
“I don’t think they asked for you to pick them up. Ava?” Tierja asked and Ava shook her head.
“No…” Jade answered softly and she shook her head. She just knew that this was going to happen. She knew David was going to come after them. He always does.
“I don’t care WHAT they fucking want they are coming home with me whether they like it or not!” David roared not caring in the least bit if they are in a public place. Fantastic Sams isn’t very busy anyway and the only people who are in the shop are the employees and three other customers who are getting their hair done. It’s been like that all day and Brian and AJ have stepped outside and are completely oblivious to the situation. All of the employees, who are used to this by now seeing as how Ava runs to Tierja all the time, grabbed the two small children who belong to the customers and took them into the back where David can’t harm them.
“We aren’t going anywhere, David. This is a public place! Stop making a scene!” Ava spoke up. The only reason she has the courage to is because Nick is by her side for support.
“Don’t you dare talk back to me! You know what happens when you do!”
“I’m going to call the police if you don’t leave right now!” Jaime one of Tierja’s employees threatened.
“YOU shut up! This isn’t any of your business!”
“No, it’s not, but it’s mine and I want you to leave right now!” Ava ordered tearfully.
“Don’t you DARE talk back to me like that you fucking know better!” David growled before going over to her and grabbing her roughly by the arm. He yanked her off of the counter and began to drag her toward the door.
“MOMMY!” Jade shrieked, suddenly breaking down into heart wrenching sobs as she watched David repeatedly punch Ava in the face and Nick dove toward him.
“LEAVE HER ALONE!” he shouted and he shoved David away from Ava. He started to bring her back but was suddenly shoved roughly to the ground and he went flying backward landing right into the wall. Nick cried out in pain and Ava backed herself into a corner sobbing, her whole body aching with pain just from David’s very presence. AJ suddenly walked in and took in the scene in front of him and he found David standing just inches away from his sister whom is crying and has a bloody nose.
“LEAVE MY SISTER ALONE!” he shouted and David looked at him.
“They’re coming home with me! I am taking my baby and girlfriend home with me and there is nothing you can do about it!” David informed him firmly. He grabbed Ava by the arm then and forced her up from her spot in the corner and he dragged her toward Jade, but Tierja beat him to her grabbing her up into her arms protectively.
“NO, you can’t have her!” she insisted. Jade buried her face in Tierja’s shoulder and cried as she held onto her tightly and Tierja took her into the back with her knowing that AJ and Brian would protect Ava and she pulled out her cell phone to call the cops. AJ grabbed David and he pulled him away from his sister and punched him in the face much harder than David has ever hit Ava and David cried out in agony.
“Yeah see how it feels? See what you put my baby sister through? How would you like it if you had to go through this shit you put her through EVERY FUCKING DAY OF YOUR LIFE?” He shouted at him and he shoved him into the wall slamming his face into it and he held him there. “TIERJA, call the cops!”
“I’ve already done that” Tierja replied from the back. Just then David retaliated and kicked AJ hard where it counts. AJ cried out before dropping to the ground in sheer pain and David ran toward the door, pushed it open and fled.
“FUCK!” AJ moaned. Ava went over to him and she helped him up from the ground before sliding her arms around his waist and burying her face in his shoulder and she sobbed. AJ rubbed his hand over her back in a slow circular motion, kissed the top of her head, and waited for his own pain to pass, which was happening slowly.
“It’s okay sweetie…he’s gone now…I’m here now…” he told her softly in her ear.
“Where were you Alex? He walked in and I called for you and you were nowhere to be seen.”
“I’m so sorry honey…Brian and I went to go check out the comic book store. It was a huge mistake…I won’t leave your side again okay? I promise.” Ava nodded tearfully.
“Are you okay?” she asked while sniffling and she looked up at him with eyes full of concern.
“I’ll live” AJ promised. “Might be able to still have babies if I’m lucky,” He added, trying to lighten things up a little. After a few moments when she had calmed down some she pulled away from him and went over to Nick who is still lying on the floor against the wall where he was thrown to.
“Are you okay Nick?” she asked softly as a single tear rolled down her cheek.
“The real question here is are you okay?” Nick replied. “I don’t matter honey, don’t worry about me.”
“No", Ava replied firmly. “No,” she added while pulling him up from the ground. “You do too matter. You are in pain because of me…you got thrown against this wall because of me” she sniffled.
“No don’t you dare blame yourself! It’s not your fault!” Nick demanded while gently cradling her face in his hands. “Do you understand me? This was not your fault! I don’t want you to blame yourself for anything that man does.”
“Kay…” she sniffled and he pulled her toward the back where Tierja and Jade are hiding. He brought her into the bathroom after grabbing a washcloth and he got it wet before lightly pushing her back up against the wall and placing the cloth gingerly to her nose. While he was doing this, he gazed into her watery brown eyes with anguish and guilt in his own. Knowing exactly what her best friend is feeling right now, without him having to tell her, Ava reached up and pressed her hand to his cheek lightly caressing it.
“Stop it Nicky. I know what you’re thinking…if I’m not allowed to blame myself for what happened, neither are you.”
“I just feel like I should’ve been able to protect you better than that. Here that bastard was trying to take you from me again, and I got knocked right on my ass and was pretty useless. I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if AJ hadn’t come back when he did.”
“You were no more useless than I was…I probably would’ve let him run off with me, not because I wanted to, but because he terrifies me so much that I feel like I have no control what so ever when he’s around. You did what you could, but honey you were all alone and David is a pretty big guy…”
“That’s no excuse,” Nick insisted. He gently pulled the wet cloth from her nose and when he saw that it was clean and had stopped bleeding, he put it on the counter before turning his full attention on her again. He cradled her face in his hands, lightly brushing stray tears away from her cheeks with his thumb. “I’m much stronger and capable than that. I will be damned before I let him have you again, Ava” he told her softly and she closed her eyes before anymore tears could form in them from the emotions that his tender words and gentle hands had awoken. She sucked in her breath as he placed light kisses over her closed eyelids. She isn’t used to being handled with such care. Not since David entered her life, she’s forgotten what it’s like to be loved and cared for. When she felt him pull back, she opened her eyes and they connected with his sincere blue ones. He brought his arms down and around her waist and he pulled her into a hug. Ava returned it, resting her head against his shoulder.
“I love you Nicky, and I’m glad you were there for me. Please don’t beat yourself up over this.”
“I love you too,” Nick responded while pulling her a bit closer protectively, silently vowing to himself that he will do better next time. When he was sure both he and Ava were okay emotionally, he opened the bathroom door again and brought her back out to the front where Tierja now has Jade. AJ is talking to a policeman and Brian is interacting with the children of the costumers. He can hear him apologizing to them for frightening them and signing autographs for them and such. Tierja had rinsed Jade’s hair in the back room when they were hiding.
“Mommy…” Jade spoke up suddenly while holding her arms out to her and sniffling. With Nick’s arms still around her protectively, Ava gently took her from Tierja and hugged her close to her affectionately.
“It’s okay baby…everything is going to be fine. Uncle J got rid of daddy…he’s not going to force us to go home with him” Ava reassured while gently rubbing Jade’s back. “I love you” she whispered when she managed to calm her down after a while.
“I love you too mommy.” After what seemed like forever, when AJ had finally finished talking to the policeman he eventually went over and questioned Ava. When he finished doing all of his questioning he left and Ava looked at AJ wanting to know what was said between the two of them.
“He says a restraining order is strongly advised. It won’t put up an electric shield around you that will send him flying every time he tries to come near you, but it would still be very helpful. We can have him arrested if he ignores it.”
“Is he going to try to find David?”
“I gave him his license plate number and the address to his house so that they could but chances are he’s on the run by now. He said to call him the moment we see him again.”
“Kay…” Ava replied softly and even with Nick still in his protective stance behind her, AJ slid his arms around her and pulled her to him for a hug.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah…Nicky cleaned up my bloody nose for me.”
“I’m so sorry I left your side…I don’t know what I was thinking. This whole situation could have been prevented.”
“It’s okay Alex, it’s not your fault” Ava reassured. After a few moments when they pulled away she looked over her shoulder at Nick and then down at Jade in her arms. “Why don’t you go see Nicky now baby? I change my mind about getting my hair done…” Jade nodded quietly and Ava kissed her cheek before turning around and handing her over to Nick who gladly took her.
“Hey baby J,” Nick spoke softly as he gathered her into his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her head against his shoulder and he walked around trying to think of ways to make her smile. Ava sat in Tierja’s chair and watched Nick knowing right off that is his mission. He went up to the front counter and grabbed a root beer lollipop and he opened it up and handed it to her. Jade couldn’t help but smile a little bit as she took it from him and put it in her mouth.
“Nicky,” Ava spoke up after a few moments of silence as Tierja placed a new black cape on her.
“Yeah beautiful?” he asked and he looked at her as he stood there placing soft kisses on Jade’s forehead.
“Will you blow dry Jade’s hair for me? I want to see what she looks like.”
“Me? You want me to use a hair dryer? But I’m a guy, I don’t use that stuff” Ava stuck her lower lip out in a pout then.
“Aren’t you the type of guy who is willing to do anything his Queen asks?” She asked him innocently, reminding him that he had deemed her his queen earlier that day. AJ was now watching Nick in amusement now curious as to what he is going to do. He along with everybody else knows that Nick has been in love with Ava since the very first day he set eyes on her. Everybody except Ava that is…but Brian is the only one who has actually heard him admit it because he is his best friend and they share everything. Only Brian knows how he truly feels about her. Nick let out a heavy sigh before going over to Tierja’s workstation and getting out her hair dryer and Ava smiled while AJ chuckled.
“This will be interesting to watch.” Nick sat Jade on the desk and plugged the hair dryer into the wall and he leaned over and whispered into Jade’s ear.
“How do you turn it on?” Jade giggled slightly and she pointed to the button that you slide up and down to make it either go high or low.
“Did you just ask Jade how to turn it on?” Brian asked, suddenly erupting with laughter.
“No, of course not!”
“I didn’t! Did I Jade?”
“No,” Jade answered while shaking her head, remaining loyal to her best friend.
“Then what did he say to you?” AJ wanted to know. She sat there thinking for a few moments before answering.
“He said that my Uncle J is nosey.” Nick, Brian, Tierja, and Ava all laughed at this knowing full well that Jade is just covering for Nick.
“Yes I did” Nick agreed and then turned the hair dryer on before anyone else decided to pick on him and he began to blow dry Jade’s hair using a brush as well to brush it out.
“Wow…I knew her goal was to look as much like Nick as she could get but…color her hair blonde and she really looks like his clone only female…” AJ announced as shock formed on his face. Tierja, Brian, and Nick were all staring at her speechless. Nick picked her up and turned her so she is looking in the mirror. He knew she had the same color eyes as him and personality but it never occurred to him that if you dye her hair blonde she would look exactly like him.
“Nicky?” Ava spoke up after a long moment.
“Let me see my baby.” He turned around then and handed her over to Ava and Ava looked at her for a couple of moments before speaking.
“You look so beautiful baby…I didn’t think you could get any more beautiful then you already are but I was sure wrong.” She smiled and rested her head against her shoulder and Ava sat there rubbing her back. Nick stood there looking at them for a few moments and then finally spoke up.
“I’m going for a walk. I’ll be back.”
“Can I come Nicky?” Jade asked hopefully. He looked at her for a couple of moments and then shook his head and Jade frowned.
“Nicky needs to be alone for a while,” he told her before turning around and walking out of the shop. Brian stood there thinking for a couple of moments, and then went after him.
“Nick what is the matter with you?” Brian demanded as soon as he had caught up with him.
“Nothing” Nick answered and Brian watched a tear slide down his cheek and drip off of his chin.
“Yeah, that is bullshit. It’s just me; you know you can talk to me. What the hell is your problem?”
“There is NOTHING wrong with me!”
“So you are just crying for no reason at all?” Nick let out a frustrated sigh and he suddenly stopped walking. He raked his fingers through his hair and then looked at Brian to see a very concerned look etched on his features.
“Does this have anything to do with Jade?” Brian guessed. Nick gazed at him for a couple of moments and the nodded before sitting down on the curb while pulling his knees to his chest and he hugged them. Brian sat next to him and waited patiently for his best friend and little brother to finally open up to him.
“I’ve wanted Ava and Jade to be mine for the longest time Brian…I’ve wanted Ava to be more than just my friend since she was just 11 years old and I was 13. The moment she stepped onto the bus with AJ I looked at her and the first thing I thought was wow is she an angel? and I looked at you and asked you that very question. You laughed at me and told me no that is AJ’s sister and she is coming on tour with us. Right then and there I knew she and I just had to be friends. I wanted to get to know her…everything about her I wanted to know. I fell in love with that angel on the tour bus Brian but I can never bring myself to tell her. What if she laughs at me? What if she calls me stupid or something horrible like that? I couldn’t do it so I kept my mouth shut all these years and look what happened? She ended up with this asshole that never treated her right from the very beginning. She had Jade…and when I was in the delivery room with her…getting to see Jade being delivered was the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had in my entire life. Holding her that night was like holding my baby for the very first time and god I really wanted that to be true. There was never a day that went by after Jade was born that I didn’t wish she were mine.”
“Nick if you love Ava as much as you say you do then you need to stop being scared and make a move. You need to let her know or you are never going to get anywhere and you are always going to be hurting. She is not a mind reader Nick; she has no idea how you feel. She thinks you only like her as a friend. But you need to make your move now while she is single or you may never have another chance. If you want her to be your girlfriend…tell her so. If you want Jade to be your daughter then make it happen.”
“But what if she laughs at me?”
“Nick, do you really believe that she would laugh at you? She is your best friend and she always takes what you have to say seriously. She is so hurt right now...you telling her how much you love her just might help her feel better. All she needs right now is your love.” Nick sat there with Brian sitting quietly by his side in case he was needed for a long while until Brian looked down at his watch and realized and hour has passed and got to his feet. “Come on buddy…lets go back inside, I’m sure they miss us.” Nick stood up too and he followed Brian back into Fantastic Sams after making sure there weren’t any stray tears left behind for Ava to see.
“Nicky!” Jade exclaimed upon seeing him enter. She is sitting in Tierja’s chair while Tierja and Ava are in the back and Tierja is rinsing her hair. Nick went over and gathered the four-year-old into his arms and he hugged her close to him possessively.
“Hey beautiful angel of mine” Nick greeted with a grin and he kissed her cheek as she rested her head against his shoulder.
“What was wrong with him?” AJ asked Brian curiously and Nick heard him and looked over at them.
“Nothing,” was all Brian said. A few moments later Ava walked out of the back room with wet hair and Tierja at her side.
“I’m going to have to steal baby J from you Nick. Just for ten seconds. Ava wants me to trim her hair and bangs.” Nick handed Jade over to Tierja and she put the booster seat in the chair and then sat Jade on it and she began to cut her hair. As soon as she finished she brushed the hair from her clothes and then picked her up and handed her back to Nick.
“Ooh so much better, now we can see your beautiful eyes!” Nick informed while looking into her eyes. She smiled and again rested her head on his shoulder. Tierja then swept up the remaining hair belonging to both Ava and Jade and she cleaned up her area. When she was finished she looked at Ava just as she had turned the hair dryer off. Ava had requested for a little trim at the ends of her hair – but not a drastic one because she loves her long hair. It took her a year to grow it out so that it would rest almost at the middle of her back and Tierja put some golden highlights in it and gave her some thick bangs.
“Do you like it?”
“Thank-you Tier, I love it. I really needed this.” Ava told her while pulling her friend into a hug. Tierja returned her hug before going to the front counter with her and Ava paid for both hers and Jade's hair coloring and such.
“Tier when do you get off work?”
“Mhm, I get off work at eight tonight. Laura is closing up for me.”
“Wow, it’s eight? We were here for that long?” She asked, looking at the clock in surprise and Tierja laughed.
“Yup, it is.” She took off her Fantastic Sam’s uniform revealing her mint green colored short sleeve shirt, blue jeans, and she has some black heeled boots. To go along with her outfit, she had used green and black eye shadow and black eyeliner and mascara to create the smokey eye look and her blonde hair is clipped up in a messy do making her absolutely beautiful in AJ’s eyes. Tierja noticed AJ staring at her just as she hoped and she smiled and turned to him.
“Will you put this away for me?”
“Mhm, sure will” he answered flirtatiously as he took the Fantastic Sam’s uniform and he went to the back to put it away and Tierja stared at his butt as he went. Ava rolled her eyes but giggled slightly. When AJ returned, he noticed she had pulled a forest green knitted scarf out of a drawer where she had placed it for safe keeping, so she wouldn’t get any hair dye on it and she was now wearing it to complete her outfit. He took Tierja’s hand into his, kissed it, and brought her toward the door. He opened it up and stood to the side.
“Ladies first” he told her and she walked out of the shop and he followed. The rest went out after them.
“Tierja are you coming to our house?” Ava asked hopefully after making sure Nick has Jade with him, which he does. She didn’t have to look very far, because now that they were outside she noticed he was back to standing next to her in that protective stance that he had on her earlier after the attack.
“Yes of course” Tierja answered. They went back to the house then and when they got there Brian unlocked the door and let everyone inside.
“We should call Raven and Kathryn tomorrow” Ava announced.
“Yes we should” Brian agreed, wanting more than anything to know how Raven and Zara are doing.
“Where are Howie and Kevin at?” Tierja asked curiously.
“Who knows…they both went their separate ways today, the both of them having a million different places they had to go. Hopefully they get back soon or they are going to miss out on a perfectly good pizza,” Nick answered as he was in the process of dialing the number to Pizza Hut while still holding Jade. When he finished he put Jade down and she happily ran off to play with her toys.