My Happy Ending – Chapter 16

The next couple of months were a blur for Nick and Ashleigh. Nick was constantly busy, trying desperately to do as much work as he could while he was away and Ashleigh was trying her best to get everything set up for the arrival of their child.

Nick came in for a couple of weekends to go shopping for the nursery and whatnot, but his demanding schedule usually only allowed him to go back home for a couple of days at a time.

Ashleigh hadn’t been having much trouble on her own. Truthfully, she was enjoying the silence and the ability to do things at her own pace. As much as she would have loved to have Nick at home with her, she understood the demands of his job. It wasn’t as though she didn’t know what is was like to be away from him for an extended period of time.

Joey had stayed with Ashleigh for the first week, which had come as a great relief to Nick, knowing that Ashleigh would be taken care of somewhat while he was gone. As much as he knew she was independent, the thought of her being alone scared him a little. He called as often as he could to check in with her, and she always reassured him that she was doing fine. Still, he couldn’t shake the worry.

Needless to say, Nick was relieved when he was able to take a break from recording and go home to Florida.

When he got home that afternoon, he wasn’t surprised to find that Ashleigh was still asleep. From what she’d told him, she would sleep for the better part of the day and be awake for most of the night lately.

“Ash…” He said, gently shaking her awake.

She rolled over, and lazily opened her eyes, nearly jumping out of bed when she spotted Nick standing before her. “Nick!” She exclaimed, hugging him tightly. “You’re a week early!”

Nick grinned and lightly kissed her forehead. “I know. I managed to get away sooner, and I wanted to surprise you.”

Ashleigh rolled her eyes, but giggled. That was typical of him.

“So, what’s been going on here?” Nick asked, sitting down next to her. “How are you?”

Ashleigh sat up a little more and shrugged. She hadn’t really done much at all. She’d bought some baby supplies, and gone to doctor’s appointments, but most of the time she’d just lazily laid around the house. Occasionally she would walk around the city, but that got tiresome on her own. “I’m good. I haven’t done very much.”

Nick nodded. He couldn’t even imagine how bored Ashleigh must have been, she didn’t know anyone in Florida at all. “Well, why don’t you get ready and we’ll go to the mall and do some shopping.”

Ashleigh gave him a strange look. “You just got back. Aren’t you tired?”

Nick shook his head. After years of touring, he was used to constantly being on the go. Besides, he’d been looking forward to doing this for the entire time he’d been gone. “Not at all.”

Ashleigh nodded. “Yeah, sure. Just let me shower.”

An hour later the two of them were walking around the mall. “You want something from Starbucks?” Nick asked, pointing in the direction of the popular coffee chain.

Ashleigh wrinkled her nose. She hated Starbucks with a passion, even more so now that one had moved into the mall where her old store had been. She gave Nick a look that said he was crazy for even suggesting they go there.

“Okay, okay sorry.” Nick said, holding up his hands to admit defeat. “Will you be mad if I get something from there?” He asked, though he was more joking than anything.

She shot him another look. “You don’t want anything from there, their coffee’s disgusting.”

Nick laughed as they entered TJ’s Kids. “So… I know nothing about any of this stuff.” He said as they perused the aisles. “What do you think we should get?”

Ashleigh shrugged. It wasn’t like this was her area of expertise or anything. She’d never had any siblings, and she’d never taken care of and children. She knew just as much as Nick did in that regard. “I have no idea. Like…a crib and stuff?”

Nick nodded, and they continued to look around the store. As Nick tried to figure out what the difference was between the different pieces of furniture, his thoughts were interrupted by Ashleigh grabbing his hand. “It’s kicking!!” She said excitedly, placing Nick’s hand over hers.

“What?” Nick asked, somewhat confused.

“You haven’t felt the baby kick before.” She said excitedly, grinning up at him.

Nick just stood there for a moment, sure enough Ashleigh was right. He could definitely feel their baby kicking. It was at that moment that this entire thing began to seem real for him. Sure he’d been feeling better about it, even excited, but for the first time he was actually starting to realize the reality of the situation.

“I love you Ash.” She said, kissing her softly, and catching her completely off guard.

“I love you too Nicky.” She laughed, returning his kiss. “Did you pick out a crib yet?”

He shrugged his shoulders, he really couldn’t tell the difference between any of them. “Uh, I guess so?” He said. “They all kind of look the same to me.”

Ashleigh nodded. This really would have been easier if her mom would have been able to go with them. However, her mom was halfway across the country and quite busy with work as of late. “Maybe we should ask someone for help.” She suggested.

“You mean a store clerk?” Nick asked, pondering that for a moment.

Ashleigh shook her head. “No…I mean like… someone who knows about this stuff.”

Nick couldn’t agree more with that. He and Ashleigh had no clue what they were doing. He didn’t really know of anyone that would be willing to come down to Florida to help them though. “I guess I could phone Brian and Leigh. Even if they don’t want to come down, they might be able to give us a few tips.”

Ashleigh nodded. That sounded like as good an idea as any. “Yeah, okay.” She agreed.

Ever the shopaholic, Leighanne had agreed to drive down to Tampa for a couple of days to help Ashleigh and Nick out. So, two days later they found themselves once again shopping around for baby items, still clueless as ever. However, this time they had Leighanne helping them.

“Have you decided on colours for the nursery yet?” Leighanne asked, as they drove to yet another store.

Ashleigh shook her head. “Not really. I guess we should probably go with something neutral, like green.”

Nick stuck his tongue out from the backseat. “I hate green.”

Ashleigh giggled and turned around to look at him. “But Nicky, the magazines all say that you love green!”

“The magazines lie.” Nick replied, rolling his eyes. “Isn’t it supposed to be pink for a girl, and blue for a boy?”

“But we don’t know what we’re having.” Ashleigh pointed out. “That’s why it’s better to go with something neutral.”

Nick shrugged. “Why do we have to paint the room anyway? It’s fine how it is.”

Leighanne looked at Nick through the rear-view mirror. “It’s a bland white colour!” She said, laughing. That was hardly childlike at all. “Maybe you should go with something like yellow.” She suggested.

Ashleigh nodded. “Yeah, I like that! It’s all bright and cheerful. What do you think?”

“Yellow sounds good.” Nick agreed. He was incredibly grateful that Leighanne was there to help them out. Colours for the walls? He never would have even thought of that on his own. Of course now he suspected this meant he was going to have actually paint the walls. That was something he wasn’t too keen on.

As the two girls giggled and traded pregnancy stories in the front of the car, Nick actually smiled to himself. Any worries he’d been feeling had faded away and were replaced with excitement for things to come. He and Ashleigh had been getting along quite a bit better lately, and Nick only hoped that it would last this time. He didn’t think he could handle another stress in their relationship. The only thing he worried about now was having to leave Ashleigh again once their child was born to go record again. However, that was quite a ways off for the time being.

As Leighanne parked the car, Nick took Ashleigh’s hand in his as the three of them walked towards the store entrance. He was certain that things could only get better from here.

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