Positive. Oh my god. Becca held the pale pink test strip with shaking fingers as she stared helplessly at the "plus" sign on the tip.
"A baby," she whispered to her reflection in the vanity mirror. "I'm going to have a baby." Her mouth curved into a tiny smile as, for just a brief moment, she allowed herself to be caught up in the giddy anticipation. "Kevin's baby," she sighed, closing her eyes and picturing a sweet-smelling bundle with thick black hair and piercing green eyes.
Her thoughts drifted far away and before she could keep them channeled on Kevin, the image in her mind changed. It changed to crystal blue eyes, boring into her own, partially obscured by the damp blonde hair that fell over Nick's face as he made love to her.
"Perfect," he'd groaned as he pushed himself into her willing body, his fingers locked with hers, holding her hands high above her head. "Baby, you feel so good."
Becca's stomach lurched as she remembered the touch of his hands on her body, the way he'd made her feel as he slid his hot steel within her heated depths, driving her higher and higher toward-
"Bec?" The front door slammed, jarring Becca from her memories.
Kevin was home. With trembling hands she hid the test kit behind the bath towels and splashed cool water on her flushed face.
"Becca?" he called again, and she could hear him as he searched for her, room by room.
"In here," she answered weakly.
"Hey, there you are!" he said brightly, pulling her close and kissing her gently.
Becca hugged him lightly, not really returning the gesture.
"Bec? What's wrong?" Kevin stepped back, gently holding her arms as he stooped a little to look into her eyes.
"I don't feel too good," she managed before rushing past him to lose what little was left of her lunch. Spent for the moment, she leaned against the cool tile, wondering idly where Kevin had gone. Her eyes were closed and the throbbing in her temples was massive when she felt a cool cloth pressed against her forehead and a glass of ginger ale pressed into her hand.
"Sip Bec, it'll help settle your stomach."
"Thank you," she whispered, embarrassed at the scene she'd caused. Getting sick was bad enough, but having your lover watch you? She wanted the earth to just swallow her up.
Kevin looked at her, a frown on his face. "I hate it when you're sick, baby."
"Sorry," she shrugged her shoulders. "There's a bug going around Ö"
Kevin easily picked her up in his arms and carried her to their bedroom. "You sleep, Bec. I'll call the guys and cancel our plans for tonight."
"Kevin, no, you don't have to-"
"Sure I do, I didn't really feel like going out tonight anyway, and if you're sick I'd rather be here taking care of you."
"Okay," she managed as the hot tears began to stream down her face. He was so good to her and she didn't deserve him. "I'm sorry."
Kevin chuckled sympathetically. "Bec, you're a mess, baby. Get some sleep and when you wake up maybe you'll feel like eating a little something."
Sniffling loudly, Becca buried herself beneath the covers and tried to tune out the world and her thoughts.
* * * * * * *
It had been five weeks since the argument. Five weeks since Kevin had driven off leaving her alone and miserable. She'd cried for a while, then she'd cursed and finally, after shattering a crystal vase against the living room wall, she knew she had to get out of there. As with most arguments, it had been over something stupid and trivial and boiled down to neither wanting to give in. And neither had.
She drove until nearly midnight, when she found herself in front of a house by the ocean, her finger pressed to the doorbell.
"Becca?" Nick had eventually answered the door, his hair tousled from sleep, wearing nothing but a pair of silk pajama bottoms.
Becca was immediately contrite. "I'm so sorry, Nick. I woke you up and itís really late Ö I'll just go-"
He caught her arm as she'd turned to leave. "Bec, don't go. Where's Kevin?" he looked past her to the car.
"I don't know," she whispered. "And I don't care," she said as the tears began anew.
"Come in, you can't stand out here all night."
He'd led her to the living room, poured her a drink and lighted the fireplace. After fifteen minutes of silence, he asked, "What happened? Why are you driving around Tampa at this hour, especially alone?"
"He left me, Nick."
"Kevin LEFT you?"
"No, not like that," she said. "At least I donít' think so," she began to cry again. "Nick, what if he DID? What am I going to do?"
Nick sat beside her and took her in his arms. "Shh, Kevin wouldn't leave you, Becca, he loves you."
"But what if-"
"No what ifs. It was just an argument, Bec. You know how Kevin gets and I know how YOU get. Two of the most stubborn people I know." He smiled down at her. Poor thing, she looked so forlorn, so lost. "He'll be back in the morning. He's probably ended up at Howie's. He'll bitch and moan, probably break a few things and he'll be over it."
Becca began to giggle.
"What?" Nick asked.
"Remember that vase that my aunt sent us?"
"The hideous one on the mantle?" Nick shuddered, remembering the ostentatious piece of imported crystal that no one liked, yet everyone had been afraid to put in storage. You just never knew when great-aunt what's her name might decide to show up.
"It's toast." She giggled again. "I think I left a small hole in the wall when I heaved it."
"Go Bec!" Nick laughed. "You two are meant for each other, you know? You're so damn alike it's frightening."
"I love him."
"I know you do, so do I in my own twisted way." He laughed, and then laughed harder at Becca's expression. "No, not THAT way. You need to stay off the internet, girl."
Nick poured her another drink, and then it was one a.m. and then two a.m. And then at four a.m., they both awoke to find themselves wrapped around each other by the dying embers of the fire. It wasn't the alcohol, it wasn't love, in fact they weren't sure what it was except for the coming together of two good friends in a moment that seemed far removed from real time.
Nick awakened first, looking softly down at the sleeping woman with her head pillowed on his chest. Her hair was everywhere, falling in soft waves and looking like spun gold as the firelight reflected off the curls. She sighed in her sleep and pressed a hand to his bare chest, and Nick took a deep breath at his body's instinctive response. He shifted away, there was no way he wanted Becca to wake up and feel what was happening, but it was too late.
Becca sighed as she tried to focus and before she was awake enough to realize where she was, she had snuggled even closer to Nick, her leg between his and her hand caressing his chest. Her fingers were following the soft trail of hair down toward his waist when she realized what she was doing. Like a deer in the headlights, she froze, her fingertips just beneath the string tie at Nick's waist and his erection throbbing against her thigh.
Their eyes remain locked, and Becca's lips parted on a sigh as Nick leaned forward just enough to brush his lips over hers. It was such a loving gesture, so sweet, that she couldn't help but return it. She kissed him back, slowly, softly, learning him and tasting him and then her hand had untied the strings and reached inside to touch him. They pleasured each other until the sun began to rise, never once speaking the name that was ever-present in both their minds.
The love they'd made was sweet, and both accepted it for what it was. Comfort, companionship, and maybe love. But not the kind of love that is destined for fairy-tale, happily-ever-afters; just the love of two friends who found themselves together in a time of need.
The sun was high as Nick walked Becca to her car. He leaned on the door, bending to see inside as she buckled her seat belt and started the engine.
"Drive carefully, Bec."
"Bec, go home. This never happened, okay?"
Becca sighed and tried to see behind the wall he'd carefully erected. "Thank you," she whispered.
"You're welcome," he smiled sweetly. "Tell Kevin we'll get together soon."
They never spoke of that night, ever.
* * * * * *
Becca slept deeply and awakened to find Kevin watching her in the dark. His love and concern was clearly etched on his face and in that split second, she made her decision.
"Hey," she whispered, smiling.
"You feel better? You look a little better." Kevin moved to sit by her, the bed dipping with his weight.
Becca sat up and ran her hands through her hair, pulling it back off her face and smiling. "Yeah, I think so. Kevin, we need to talk, I have something to tell you."
~~~ one month later ~~~
Kevin waited until everyone had gathered poolside before announcing the other reason for their get-together. Lacing his fingers with his new bride's, he told his best friends in the world how he and his wife had created the miracle of life and how in just six or seven more months would be having their first child.
No one saw the knowing glance that passed between Kevin's wife and his best man. No one saw Nick's eyebrows lift as he correctly read between the lines and tipped his head questioningly at Rebecca Richardson. No one but Nick saw her shoulders shrug slightly as she answered his unspoken question the best that she could.
Everyone gathered that afternoon saw the smile that covered her face, but none saw the reason. With a knowing smile, Nick raised his glass with the others in a toast to the future, as he silently confirmed, 'it never happened.'