Loose Ends

By MaxCale

Romance

Back to Square One

Ricky and Ben were both trying their hardest to stay focused on their work, to avoid getting on Bunny's bad side, but it wasn't easy. Ben was preoccupied with his discussion with Amy and trying to wrap his head around his impending fatherhood. Ricky was trying his best to contain his mixture of fear and excitement. If tonight's talk went well, he'd not only be able to conclude the conversation he and Amy had started four days ago but he also might be able to find out what types of things Amy found romantic. He had no clue how he was gonna get her to tell him without making her suspicious but he would definitely try.

Amy was too busy focusing on her son to worry too much about her talk with Ricky that evening. Since she didn't have to go to work until tomorrow, she spent the day entertaining her son. They started off with a trip to the aquarium. Amy's mood was lighthearted as she watched the genuine awe and happiness on her son's face as he watched the various fish and mammals swimming around. She took an adorable picture of John with his hands pressed to the glass and smiling as a dolphin swam up to him to say hello. I wonder how old I was when I lost my innocent sense of wonder and had no fear? She had packed them a lunch to save money and after enjoying their meal in a shaded garden at the aquarium, they left and spent some time playing at the park in hopes John would be tired enough to go down for his nap without a fuss. He was nodding off in his stroller as Amy pushed it home from the park. Once he was tucked in his crib Amy began packing their overnight bags. Trying to avoid too much awkwardness, she decided to shower before she and John went over to Ricky's so she wouldn't need to shower in the morning. Hmmm. Might as well shower now while he's napping Amy thought and quickly finished packing their bags and did just that, taking the baby monitor with her.

Ben and Ricky both sighed with relief once their workday was over. Ricky dashed upstairs and quickly showered and changed and then started preparing dinner. He was just about to set the table when there was a knock at the door. He opened it to find Amy with a very happy John in her arms. "Dada!" he squealed, causing both of his parents to smile. Amy set John down near his toys as Ricky returned to the kitchen to grab plates, cups and silverware. Amy helped him and they made short work of getting dinner on the table. They made polite small talk about their day as they ate, both very aware that the other was avoiding any serious topics and doing likewise. John was blissfully unaware that his parents were mildly uncomfortable. They continued 'playing nice' as they worked together to put John to bed and clean up the dinner dishes. When the last dish had been put away, they faced each other and an awkward silence filled the room for several moments.

"I'm gonna get ready for bed," Amy announced. "That way I won't have to worry about it if it gets late."

"Good idea," Ricky agreed. Amy grabbed her pajamas, toothbrush and toothpaste and headed to the bathroom. Ricky meanwhile changed into a t-shirt and sweatpants in the bedroom, being careful not to wake John. He was sitting on the couch waiting for her when she emerged. He brushed his teeth as she secured her toothbrush and toothpaste. He found her sitting on the couch, patiently waiting for him. They faced each other and another awkward moment of silence filled the room.

"So, where do you wanna start?" Ricky said. Amy gave him a small smile before answering.

"With an explanation." He looked at her confused and she continued. "Something you said to me the night I can home got me thinking." Ricky didn't respond, waiting for more information before he jumped in. "When you told me you never said you were ready to be with just me, a saying popped into my head: Hope for the best, plan for the worst." He gave her a questioning look.

"Meaning?"

"Meaning that I had read more into our New York conversation than was actually there." Ricky looked away from her, guilty for not keeping his promise to Amy, even though nothing had been set in stone when he left. "And then I came to a decision." Ricky turned his head back to face her, her statement snapping him out of his little pity party.

"And what was that?"

"I decided I'm tired of always feeling like an idiot when the other shoe drops." He interrupted her before she could continue.

"What do you mean by that? What other shoe?" Amy sighed.

"There are times when people, you included, have given me their word about something and a little voice in the back of my head tried to tell me something wasn't right but I ignored it, giving people the benefit of the doubt. Then, that little doubting voice ended up being right and I felt like an idiot. I'm tired of feeling like that so I've been doing something about it." Ricky started to feel nervous.

"And what exactly have you been doing about it?" he asked hesitantly.

"I've been talking to everyone that's currently a part of or entangled in my life and getting answers to some unanswered questions I have to try and figure out who I can trust." Ricky looked at Amy with a mixture of awe and surprise. Where did this proactive Amy come from? Not that I mind completely, I just hope the sweet girl I met at band camp is still in there somewhere.

"And what have you figured out so far?" he asked, giving in to his curiosity.

"I've figured out I've got some trust bridges to rebuild with my family and two best friends, I've got more allies than I realized, I've been selfish and immature, and I've still got some uncomfortable conversations left to have."

"Who have you talked to so far?" Amy knew parts of her previous conversations would come out as they talked but right now they needed to focus on their relationship, beginning with band camp.

"Ricky, we'll get to all that later. Right now I want to talk about us and how it all got so screwed up, starting with band camp."

"Band camp? Haven't we covered that already?"

"No."

"Well what's left to talk about?"

"Did you lie to me or do you just have a habit of changing your mind?"

"Huh?" Amy gave him an irritated look.

"Do you remember any of our conversations from band camp?"

"Yeah." I remember all of them.

"Then answer the question. Did you lie to me or do you just have a habit of changing your mind?" Ricky mentally ran through all of their conversations and still wasn't sure what she was getting at.

"Amy, can you help me out here and just tell me what you're tryna get at instead of us playing twenty questions to get to a point." Amy gave him a look that said 'you asked for it.'

"First you told me you weren't looking for a girlfriend because you weren't boyfriend material. You later told me you were looking for a girlfriend and maybe I could be your girlfriend. You said after our late night snack that this could be the start to something big and then you acted like I was suddenly invisible after we had sex, not even speaking to me until six weeks later. So I'll ask you again. Did you lie to me at band camp or do you just have a habit of changing your mind?" Ricky shifted so he could lay his head against the back of the couch and then closed his eyes.

"It wasn't like that," he said to himself, not realizing he'd spoken out loud.

"Then what was it like." He turned to face her and Amy saw fear and worry in his eyes. They stared at each other for several moments before Ricky found the courage to speak.

"I was scared, Amy." He saw a mixture of surprise and confusion wash over her face.

"Of what?" He sighed.

"Amy, I meant every word when I told you I liked you and liked talking to you. It wasn't until I kissed you again and you wanted to leave that I realized I liked you liked you and it wasn't until after we'd had sex that I realized I was developing deeper feelings for you and that scared me." Amy was confused and tried to process what he'd just said. When she still couldn't make sense of it, she spoke up.

"Ricky, we'd only hung out for most of a day. I'm no expert so I don't know how long it actually takes for someone to develop a crush on somebody but why would thinking you had feelings for me scare you?"

"Because to have feelings for someone you have to let them get close to you and if you do that you can get hurt. With my childhood history I have a hard time letting people get close to me. Plus, I knew even then that you were special, Amy, and I was too screwed up to be your boyfriend." Amy gave him a curious look.

"What made you think that? You never asked me to be your girlfriend and we never dated. You didn't know me well enough to know if you were too screwed up for me." Ricky couldn't help but smile at that. Leave it to Amy to point out the obvious after that fact. "You told me why you were scared but you still haven't explained why you didn't speak to me again after school started." Ricky wasn't sure how to explain himself, but he'd try. He couldn't look Amy in the eye as he began speaking.

"Amy, when I realized I might have real feelings for you, my only thought was to run in the opposite direction from you as fast as I could until the feelings went away. In the process I met Adrian and she was a nice distraction. Then school started and there you were: in the hallways, in band class, at band practice. I finally approached you again because I was still attracted to you and still wanted to talk to you and I thought I'd outrun my other feelings for you." He finally looked at Amy and he saw in her eyes that she was processing what he'd just told her.

"Ricky, how'd you go from wanting to make out with me to having sex with me?" Ricky looked at Amy like she'd sprouted antlers or something.

"Uh, you were there too, remember? You know how it happened." Amy shook her head and Ricky gave her a disbelieving look. Amy brought her knees to her chest, wrapped her arms around them and rested her chin on her kneecaps. Ricky saw fear and pain in her eyes just before she lowered them to stare at the couch and Ricky had the sudden urge to hug her. He wasn't prepared for what she said next.

"It felt like I was being invaded, Ricky," she said quietly. He was struck by a sudden chill but had no time to respond because Amy continued. "You were the first guy I'd ever kissed. Kissing you felt nice, even though I didn't know what I was doing, and I kept telling myself to relax and just enjoy it. And then, out of nowhere, you moved to second base. From that point on, Ricky, I was having a mental debate with myself, too busy talking to myself trying to process what had just happened to be aware of you moving from one base to the next until you'd already done it. And when it was over, it had been so quick, awkward, and unromantic, nothing at all like in movies, romance novels, or on TV, that I wasn't even sure I had just had sex, until six weeks later when I was staring at that positive pregnancy test in my bathroom. You told me that you figured if I didn't stop you I must be on the pill or something but you somehow missed that I was too preoccupied and confused to have said anything. I need to know how you managed to transition from making out to having sex if you hadn't planned on doing it in the first place and you had feelings for me." Ricky had to look away from her again before responding.

"Amy, I honestly can't tell you how the shift happened. One minute we were making out and the next my libido kicked in and I just wanted to be closer to you. When you didn't stop me I kept going. I didn't realize you weren't prepared to go all the way until it was too late, Amy." He turned to face her but quickly looked away again as her expression made him flashback to that night. "You had that same look in your eyes that night. That's what made me run," he told her quietly.

"What look?" Amy asked, not sure what he was talking about.

"Your eyes are easy to read, Amy. That night, after we'd had sex, your eyes told me you were confused and hurt and all I wanted to do was hold you until the pain and confusion went away. That thought made me realize I cared about you, a lot, and I didn't know how to handle that." He placed his elbows on his thighs and ran his hands through his hair, disgusted with himself. I wasn't worthy of you back then, Amy. He turned his head to look at her, hoping he was explaining himself well enough. He was a little unsettled to find her looking at him so calmly.

"I wish you'd been brave enough to just tell me that back then, Ricky. You made me feel horrible about myself by running away from me without an explanation."

"I know I hurt you, Amy…" She interrupted him.

"No, you don't, Ricky." The sad tone of her voice silenced him. "I was shy and unsure of myself before I met you, still trying to become the wolf. When you dismissed me after that night, I felt worthless." Ricky mentally cringed at her words. He knew he'd hurt her, but never knew he'd made her feel so low. "I couldn't believe that I'd acted like a slut by having sex with some guy I'd just met and you confirmed that I was one because you used me as a one night stand and then you were done with me." Ricky began to tear up at her words. Amy was the most important woman in his life besides his mother and finding out he'd cut her so deeply emotionally was gut wrenching. He flashed back to his conversation with Ben in the hospital the day Amy went into labor. I still don't deserve to have a child with Amy. She scooted back on the couch until she was leaning back against the arm of the couch and tucked her legs under her; her right arm resting on the back of the couch and her left resting on her knee. Ricky scooted closer to her and reached for her left hand, relieved when she didn't pull away.

"Amy, I knew I hurt you by treating you so badly after that night. I just didn't know how much." He began rubbing his thumb in small circles over her hand, focusing on the action and not looking at her. Amy sighed and her voice lost its sad edge as she reassured him.

"There's a lot you didn't know about what was going on with me and my life beneath the surface because you never bothered to talk to me, Ricky. And we'll get into that more later on. Right now I need you to explain why you continued telling me things and then changing your mind after you decided to be involved in deciding our child's fate."

"What do you mean?" he looked up and said. Time to start rehashing some of those earlier conversations Amy thought with an inward sigh.

"Well, let's start with your stance on adoption. When we talked about our baby for the first time, you told me you weren't against adoption so long as it was an open one. Then you were completely opposed to it, although I think your father showing up had something to do with it. You later told me you wanted me to keep our baby because you just didn't think you could handle handing him off to strangers. When I asked you to go along with my decision, you told me you would but then sabotaged our meeting with Donavan and Leon. Ben told me you'd admitted to him on your guys' first day of work that you wanted me to keep our baby. When and why did you change you stance on adoption and why'd you lie to me about it?" Ricky swallowed past the lump in his throat. He knew he'd been wrong to mislead Amy; back then he was just trying to buy himself some time. Too bad it didn't work out that way. He knew he owed her the truth; it was time to come clean and face the music. He cleared his throat before responding.

"My father coming back to town made me realize for the first time that I wasn't him, that I could be a better dad to my son than he was to me; I just needed you to give me a chance to do it. I meant what I said about not being sure I could just hold our son and then hand him off to strangers. I wanted you to keep him and for the two of us to raise him. I didn't know how we'd do it I just knew that I couldn't walk away from my son and I didn't want to. It wasn't that I changed my mind on a whim, Amy. I'd really thought about it and I wanted to raise my son, with you." He sighed, ashamed of himself, but continued. "I knew I'd hurt you by getting you pregnant and then trying to ignore you and that's why I didn't come right out and say I was against adoption after I realized this. I figured that as we spent time together, talked and got to know each other while looking for adoptive couples, you'd get to see that I wasn't such a bad guy and you'd change your mind and raise our son with me." Amy tried to pull her hand out of Ricky's grasp but he tightened his grip slightly so she couldn't. Her eyes filled with irritation at this and his eyes became pleading. "I know it was wrong of me to lie to you and lead on hopeful couples. I just couldn't say no to you at the time, Amy. You had your heart set on it and since I'd already hurt you I thought that if I went against you by saying no then you wouldn't let me get close enough to you to try and change your mind about me and keeping our son." A question suddenly came to mind. "And speaking of my father, I've got a question for you. Did you decide for sure to go the adoption route before or after you met my dad?"

"Before." At his disbelieving look Amy explained. "I was sitting on a couch with Ashley in the garage the night your dad dropped by. I'd just gotten home from babysitting and we started talking about how much it cost to take care of a kid. I realized I had to give my baby up for adoption because I wasn't qualified for anything and without a job I couldn't afford to raise a child on my own." Ricky suddenly felt ashamed for snapping at Amy the day after he found out Bob was in town. He'd accused her of wanting to give their baby up because she was afraid of him doing to their son what Bob had done to him. That thought made him wonder something.

"Amy?"

"Yeah?"

"Did your parents try to talk you into adoption after they found out Bob was in town? Afraid I might be just like him or something?"

"No. My parents accepted your past and the fact you were still dealing with what your father had done to you." Ricky was taken aback at her words.

"How do you know that?" he asked with genuine curiosity.

"Because they both made an effort to get Bob outta town." Ricky's curiosity was quickly replaced by confusion.

"And how do you know that?" Amy sighed. She didn't see how the answer to his question was relevant but since he didn't appear to be letting it go, she would answer.

"Bob came to our front door and spoke with my dad after introducing himself to me in our driveway. I heard Bob speaking to my dad and accusing you of being a liar. After he left I sat both of my parents down to tell them that I knew Bob had abused you. My mom told me yesterday while we were talking that my dad went over to your parent's house to see if they had any ideas about how to get him outta town and your dad told mine what Bob was really up to. When my dad told my mom she confronted him at a gas station when she ran into him and told him to leave the three of us alone." She raised her face to look at Ricky and saw surprise and gratitude in his eyes.

"Your parents believed you, and took my side?" he asked, his voice breaking a little. "I thought your dad hated me back then." Amy giggled.

"Ricky, my dad might've hated you for getting his little girl pregnant but no decent parent is gonna stand by and let some creep hurt a child, or their grandchild. Besides, he likes you a little better now." Ricky chuckled and nodded in agreement. "I knew when I told you that next day I'd settled on adoption you might be against it simply because you were upset about your dad being in town. And now that I know why he was around, I've been wondering about something though. Do you think you would've stuck around for John if Bob hadn't helped you change your mind about adoption?"

"I'd like to think so but I don't know. When I realized I had more respect for myself and my son not to sell him to the highest bidder I realized for the first time that I'm not my father. And after our hug in the hallway, I wanted nothing more than to raise our son with you." Amy could hear the sincerity in his voice and the nervous way he was glancing at her from underneath his eyelashes showed it. She squeezed his hand for a moment to let him know she understood and she had forgiven him. She still had a question about his attempt to sabotage her relationship with Ben, however.

"Now that we've cleared up the adoption issue, I wanna ask you about you and Ben." Ricky sighed, already guessing the questions she was going to ask him and simply nodded. "I spoke to Ben on Saturday and he told me that you had plans to 'steal me' from him before John was born. What was that all about?" Ricky had to think back for a moment and Amy quietly let him. She noticed his facial expression change the moment he remembered. He looked down at her hand is his and held it a little tighter, not wanting her to pull it away when he answered her question.

"That was part attraction and part manipulation." He looked up at Amy and sighed at her questioning look. "I told you, I was still attracted to you and Ben and I didn't like each other because we both liked you."

"That's not an explanation, Ricky. I already know that."

"Okay, okay. Ben was the good guy who was standing by your side. I was the bad boy who'd gotten you pregnant and hadn't treated you very nicely. He wanted to step up and be a father and so did I. The problem was I had run from my feelings for you and, since I'd gotten you pregnant, you weren't likely to give me another chance as long as your boyfriend was around." He sighed, irritated with himself over his past behavior. "Telling Ben I would find a way to win you and his dad over to my side was just a low blow to try and get him to walk away from you. I took it back though," he added quickly.

"Took it back how?"

"I could see that even though you were having my baby and I wanted to raise my son, I wasn't the best guy for you. Ben was and on top of that he made you happy. You deserved to be happy so I decided not to get in the way of that. I told him our first day of work that I shouldn't be trying to get on his dad's good side; I should be trying to be on Ben's good side because he could convince you to keep our son. He told me he wanted you to keep our son too so the two of us agreed to work together and try to be friends so that would happen." That was what Ben told me so so far he's being honest with me. Amy sighed and stared down at the couch before asking her next question, knowing they were now moving into territory that was still emotionally painful for her.

"Okay. So was that the moment you decided to stop trying to date me and only have me as your baby mama?" There was something off about the way she said that. Ricky gave Amy a quizzical look. He knew she wasn't saying something.

"What aren't you asking me in that question?"

"I'm wondering when I transformed from someone you were attracted to and had feeling for into someone you simply tolerated because you had to," she replied with a serious face.

"WHAT!? When did I ever treat you like that!?" he asked, shocked that Amy had ever felt that way. She didn't speak right away, trying to decide how to answer his question. "Amy!?" She still didn't know how to answer him.

"It was pretty obvious, Ricky. What other conclusion was I supposed to come to?"

"Amy, I did what I could to help you out and try to make things easier on you. I went out of my way to try to stay on your good side. If you think I was just trying to tolerate you then I need you to explain what I did or said that made you think that." Amy sighed and finally succeeded in removing her hand from Ricky's.

"I'm gonna need you to let me talk for a while without interrupting." When Ricky nodded, she tucked her hair behind her left ear and began telling Ricky how she had felt back then. "After the way you treated me after band camp, I had a hard time understanding how a guy who had seemed so nice and had found me attractive could treat me like that. After my doctor confirmed I was pregnant, I only went out with Ben the first time as a distraction; to give myself more time to figure out how to tell my parents and what to do. I honestly believed once he found out I was pregnant he'd walk away from me too so what was the harm in delaying the inevitable. When he stayed and continued treating me like I was special, I thought that I'd finally met a guy who loved me and I fell in love with him. I rushed to marry him because I was scared. My due date was coming, I hadn't found an adoptive couple and I was scared to try and raise a baby on my own. I needed and wanted someone who cared about me to take care of me so I could take care of my baby. At that point having someone's love and help was more important than financial support, given my rapidly dissolving family." Ricky was too ashamed and filled with too much guilt to be able to speak.

"After John was born I was angry and lashed out at whoever was closest to me at the time. I was angry because I was stressed and felt invisible. My friends and the rest of the world were moving on with their lives while I was tied down with a baby and instead of typical teenage drama I was focused on my son. With motherhood, school, work, and my freak show family, I was stressed out and the only person really helping me was you, someone that was better at taking care of my baby than I was and who didn't care about me." Ricky opened his mouth to speak but quickly shut it, remembering he'd promised to let Amy speak her mind. "I was angry at myself because I'd been too stupid and naïve to keep myself from becoming pregnant and part of the stressfulness of my life was my own fault. So, I lashed out and blamed you. It was easy to do because you were a constant reminded that I was stressed because I was a teenage mother but you also constantly reminded me that you were only around for John. If I hadn't gotten pregnant you wouldn't even know I still existed. I was so hurt by that thought that I even went so far as trying to convince myself I hated you. Yes, I know I told you I hated you, but I never actually did. I couldn't." Ricky was too stunned to speak, even though he desperately wanted to tell Amy she was wrong about how he felt about her. She shifted on the couch and continued.

"Every time I looked at John I could see you in him, Ricky. John wouldn't be the same little boy we love if he wasn't the exact mix of you and me that he is. I love John unconditionally and so no matter how stressed and unhappy I was, I couldn't bring myself to actually hate you; you gave me John. It's for that reason alone that I love you and care about what's going on in your life. And before you freak out on me I only said that I love you; I'm not in love with you. That was one of the main reasons I was so irritated with you too. I love you because you're my son's father but you don't love me. If you did, I would've been a part of your life and you would've cared about my feelings. You never told me anything about your parents, introduced me to them, or had me over to your house. You were a part of my life and family because of our son but I was just your son's mother. We weren't romantically involved and we weren't even friends really. I didn't understand how you could make John a part of your life and family and not his mother. I didn't want to be romantically involved with you back then or anything but it would've been nice to know that even when there was nothing related to John for us to discuss you cared if I was still breathing."

"I did and I still do!" Amy was startled at Ricky's sudden outburst. He huffed out a frustrated breath, upset that he'd made Amy feel that way and irritated that he'd forgot raised voices might wake up John. "I know I agreed to let you talk and I'll let you continue after I explain something to you, Amy. I care about you in a way different from anyone I've ever cared about because you're the mother of my son. As John's mother you're the person I care about most next to him, and sometimes more than him. Amy, after John was born my main concerns were to help you take care of him and stay on your good side so I could keep seeing John. I was over at your house constantly and I gave you every dime I could. I came over after work to help you put him to bed and I was over on the weekends to help you out too. Like I told you, I knew you were tired and stressed and I was willing to help you out any way I could. I love you too, Amy, and I have since the moment I held John for the first time and it hit me that you'd given me a son. I even told your dad that I love you and was still attracted to you shortly after John was born, not that he was thrilled to hear it. The point is you matter to me, Amy! You have since the moment I decided I wanted to be involved in deciding what happened to our baby. I know I could've and should've done more for you and all I can do is tell you how genuinely sorry I am I didn't do better by you when I should've. I need you to understand that you matter to me, Amy! And you always will!" he reached for her hand again and Amy let him take it.

"Ricky, I know you were doing your best to be a good father to John and help me out as much as you could. I'm sorry for not letting you know that I noticed or telling you how much I appreciated it. You didn't deserve for me to verbally assault you every time you came over and I shouldn't have told you I hated you when I knew that I didn't. When you love someone you don't do things to hurt them. We both dropped the ball on that one." Ricky wasn't following her and she could see it in his eyes. "Ricky, you knew I didn't get along with your girlfriend and yet you kept telling her our business and allowing her to be around my son. Not once did you ask me why I didn't like Adrian or want her around John. Why was that?"

"Amy, Adrian only made digs at you because she was jealous that I was spending time around you."

"So why did you keep seeing her knowing she was going to continue picking at me instead of dealing with her jealousy?" Ricky sighed, knowing his answer wasn't a good enough reason.

"I liked the sex." He sighed and continued. "Adrian put a lot of effort into trying to keep me away from you and that effort meant sleeping with me." Amy rolled her eyes.

"So sex was more important to you than my mental health or being my friend?"

"Say what?"

"You weren't around the two of us all the time Ricky. You didn't hear the types of things she said and implied to me." This was news to Ricky.

"What kind of things?"

"The kind of things that made me uncomfortable with her being around my son or knowing our business. And when I told you I wasn't comfortable with Adrian being around John, you basically blew me off and dismissed my concerns. That hurt you know."

"I'm sorry, Amy. I wasn't trying to blow you off I just thought you were blowing things out of proportion and couldn't take a little teasing. Tell me though. What kind of things did she say? What kind of concerns did you have?" he pressed. It was Amy's turn to exhale a frustrated huff.

"She implied that you would never love me and would in fact forever hate me because by keeping our baby I'd ruined your life. She also implied that because she was willing to sleep with you, she'd replace me as John's 'real' mother someday and the two of you would raise him as a 'real' family." Ricky's jaw dropped in shock and his eyes quickly filled with anger. "Needless to say," Amy continued, "I didn't want her around my son taking care of him or poisoning him against me." Ricky's anger suddenly dissipated and was quickly replaced by regret.

"I didn't know she thought that, Amy. I'd never let someone else replace you, not that they could." Amy chuckled.

"You thought she'd come out and tell you what she thought about me to your face? You just admitted you knew she was trying to keep you away from me and you encouraged her efforts by continuing to sleep with her. She had no reason to tell you she wanted me out of the picture because your actions let her know you didn't care if things between you and your son's mother were tense. Sex was more important to you than getting along with your baby mama. I get that I had no say in your love or sex life because we weren't romantically involved, but I wasn't just voicing an opinion about your choice of girlfriend for the heck of it, Ricky. I kept talking to you about her because I wasn't comfortable with her being around my son." Ricky hung his head in shame.

"I should've just asked you why." Ricky saw Amy nod her head out of the corner of his eye. "I honestly thought Adrian was just acting out of jealousy and you were taking the bait. Especially when you called her a slut." Amy chuckled humorlessly.

"Stooping to name calling only happens when you take the bait and Adrian figured out exactly how to push my buttons. Now I can see how petty and immature it was. At the time I was simply looking for a way to pick on her for picking on me and throwing her reputation in her face seemed like the best way to do that."

"Amy, if I'd known how bad she was making you feel I would've broken things off with her a lot sooner."

"Are you sure? You cheated on her a couple of times and still got back together with her. How can you be so sure you would've broken up with her just because you found out she was taking her teasing of me too far?"

"Because John was the most important thing in my life and I didn't want anything to take him away from me." Amy tilted her head in confusion and Ricky turned his body to face her and reached for her hand again, but she pulled it away.

"After you told me John was never coming over to my apartment again, I asked Adrian to apologize to you and not make problems for me because I wanted to keep seeing my son. I found out later that she'd made you mad and gotten you suspended and asked her to apologize again." He sighed and ran a hand through his hair before staring at the couch cushion. "I know my relationship with Adrian was toxic but it took her sleeping with Ben, someone I considered to be my friend at the time, for me to finally be able to walk away from her for good. I'm sorry she did so much damage in the meantime."

"Ricky," she asked curiously and he lifted his head to look her in the eye. "If you knew back then that Adrian was doing her best to keep things tense between us, why did you tell her about our business?"

"What do you mean?"

"Did I or did I not ask you not to tell anyone that you had spent the night at my house the first summer after John was born?" Ricky looked away guiltily, his reaction the only answer Amy needed. "Did you know she told Ben?" Ricky swiveled his head back to look at her with his brows knitted but didn't respond. "Apparently Ben and Adrian felt like third wheels since their significant others were involved with someone else they weren't in love with so they chatted. She told Ben that you'd spent the night at my house and he was so upset about it he stopped calling me the last two weeks he was in Bologna."

"I didn't know. I told her not to say anything it was just that she kept pestering me the day after those nights about where I'd been or why I hadn't returned her calls or texts. I didn't know it made problems for you and Ben."

"Ricky, I asked you not to tell anyone because I was embarrassed about it."

"Why? We didn't do anything wrong. We were just taking care of our son."

"Even though that's true, I was embarrassed that I couldn't take care of my own baby as well as his father could. Admit it, Ricky. You could soothe John and get him to sleep quicker than I could and more consistently too. It made me feel like an incompetent mother as well as feeling embarrassed. That's why I didn't want anyone to know that I'd needed help taking care of my own child at night that first summer or that the help I got came from you."

"Amy, I didn't know you felt that way about it. I should've just done what you asked me to do." Amy sighed. "But it's not like you never told Ben what we talked about," he shot back, a little defensively. Amy shook her head.

"Ricky, I unintentionally pushed Ben aside a lot while he and I were dating so I could talk to you about our son. You remember how he got Mr. Molina to call us both into his office to talk?" Ricky smirked and nodded his head, remembering that day and how he told Ben to just show up at Amy's if he wanted to be there. "I hadn't told him about our plan to talk that night because it was a conversation you and I needed to have about our son. Ben got to have an opinion about certain things, like suggesting I call you to be there the day I went into labor, but conversations that you and I needed to have about our son I kept between the two of us."

"Wait, Ben suggested you call me to be there for John's birth?" Amy nodded. That was definitely news to Ricky. I might not have been there the day my son was born if it weren't for Ben? Ricky made a mental note to thank Ben the next time he saw him. Then he remembered Adrian was pregnant and vetoed that idea. I'll just keep that information to myself. "Amy, I feel like a broken record." Amy raised her eyebrows in question. "I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry I hurt you; I didn't know." This time Amy reached for his left hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. He quickly covered it with his right hand so she wouldn't let go just yet.

"Ricky, it's like I said. There's a lot about what was going on with me and in my life that you didn't know about because you never bothered to talk to me. Oh sure we talked about John and some of the drama with our twisted circle of friends and you knew some of what was going on with my family based on what you overheard, but you never made the effort to talk to me about how I was really doing, what was really going on with me. A lot of it was me trying to piece my dysfunctional life back together after those other shoes I mentioned dropped." Ricky scooted closer to her on the couch, taking her other hand so that he was now holding both of hers in his.

"Amy, tell me about the other shoes that dropped, please." His eyes both pleaded with her and let her know she had his undivided attention. She took a deep breath and began.

"When you first told me you'd changed your mind about wanting to be involved after talking to my dad, part of me knew that I'd have to talk to you eventually so we could process adoption paperwork and that little voice in the back of my head told me that you were going to change your mind down the road. When you told me you'd go along with the adoption and were looking forward to meeting Donovan and Leon, I was livid with you when you sabotaged it. When you promised me you'd help take care of John, that little voice told me someday you were gonna change your mind and leave and I would be left having to explain to my son that even though his father loved him, he wasn't ready to be a father and decided to walk away from him. My biggest fear, Ricky, was that John was going to know you, love you, trust you and then be even more devastated when you changed your mind and left simply because he would be emotionally attached to you when it happened. John was almost a year old when that fear of you leaving became a reality. When Ben stopped calling me from Bologna that little voice told me we were going to break up. Sure enough we broke up, after I found out he'd cheated on me and then lied about it. News about my dad's fake vasectomy started spreading around school and that little voice said that news was too serious of a lie to be fake but Ashley talked me out of believing it, even though she already knew it was true. When my dad finally confessed to my mom he'd lied, that little voice turned out to be right again. As a side note it's also because of his lie that Adrian even knew he would need to sell his house soon to move back in with my mom. When my friends and family stopped talking to me while I was in New York, that little voice told me something big was going on back home and they were keeping it from me. After Ben came and told me about Adrian, I found out that everyone back home already knew and had kept it from me, like that little voice suspected. The last straw, or I guess the last shoe, was the conversation we started when I came home from New York early."

"Amy, I don't know how to begin to explain my actions or apologize for what I've done to you in the past. And after listening to what you've said tonight I'm not sure I deserve your forgiveness for any of it." Amy gave his hands a reassuring squeeze, causing him to look at her with a questioning gaze. She smiled back at him.

"Ricky, with all the conversations I've had over the past four days I've learned that a lot of problems in relationships happen simply because the people involved don't really know what's going on because no one's really talking. Sure a lot of people are speaking but there's no real heart-to-heart conversations going on. No one's asking the hard or uncomfortable questions. I've also learned that sometimes those questions don't get asked because the people who need to talk about them don't or can't trust each other." Amy chuckled. "I know that's why I'd never spoken to either one of your parents before Saturday night."

"Huh?"

"I went over to your parent's house for dinner Saturday night because I needed to talk to them."

"About what?"

"I wanted to understand why they, like you, accepted John into their family but wanted nothing to do with me." She shook her head to stop him from speaking when she saw him open his mouth to defend them. "And before you say anything I already cleared all that up with them. I now know that they've always been concerned about my feelings and were simply butting out of our business, deciding to let us work things out for ourselves. I let them know that by not reaching out to me I thought they didn't want anything to do with me so I didn't bother trying to reach out to them. We agreed to start spending some time together and talking more so we can get to know each other better."

"Amy, I never meant to make you feel unwelcome in my family. I was just trying not to rock the boat, to let you set the rules of our relationship because I wanted to keep spending time with my son." His last statement caught her off guard for a moment.

"Then why did it take you leaving and coming back for you to change your mind?"

"What do you mean?"

"You just said you were willing to let me set the boundaries of our relationship where John was concerned. So why the mediation?" Ricky sighed.

"I always wondered if you were still secretly angry with me about that."

"No, and not for the reasons you've probably assumed."

"Come again?"

"Why do you think I'm angry with you about it?"

"Well, you told me you didn't want me and any dates to play house with John and you just told me you didn't trust my parents, plus the simple fact that I took legal action against you." He looked at her hesitantly, trying to prepare himself for the reasons she was actually angry with him about their mediated agreement.

"How often have you thought about us and the distant future where it concerns John?" His questioning look was once again all the answer Amy needed and she continued. "I began thinking about it the day after I decided to keep John. I realized that if we were going to raise a son together we'd always have to live near each other. That was going to be difficult once you graduated from high school. If you went away to school, I'd be raising John by myself and he'd wonder why daddy wasn't around so much anymore. I also knew that I couldn't go away to school because I couldn't afford out of state tuition plus the childcare I'd need to pay for to take John with me and separating John from his daddy for extended periods of time wasn't fair to either one of you. I love my son unconditionally, Ricky, but I'm just his mother. I can't teach him all the things only a father can teach a son. After you came back and told me what custody arrangement you wanted, I rejected it because I was angry and scared."

"Scared!? Didn't you trust me to take good care of our son at that point, my little disappearing act aside!?" he let go of her hands and she crossed her arms.

"It had nothing to do with your ability as a caregiver."

"Say what?"

"Ricky, you like to sleep around and you had your own apartment to do so in. If John was at your apartment every weekend all weekend, there was no way for me to know who else was around my son, what he might see or hear, or who might be influencing his moral compass, for good or bad."

"You honestly think I'd have sex in front on John!?"

"Ashley heard my parents having sex in the garage while they were separated and they'd thought they were being pretty careful about it so you never know when your child might hear or see something they shouldn't. Besides worrying about my son's moral upbringing, you planned to leave him in the care of a woman who was a complete stranger to me. Granted you love her like a mother and she's a foster parent so the state of California vouches for her, but I didn't know anything about her and caregivers play a direct role in shaping the character and personality of children. Those fears aside, I was angry at you about your proposed arrangement for several reasons. One, it would legally force me to stay away from my baby during the only time of the week that I have to spend the most quality one-on-one time with him. Two, it meant my college options were restricted to wherever you chose to live after graduating from college. And three, my future career options were restricted to whatever you chose as your career. I know the judgment was fair and I had no right to try to come between you and John when you were willing to be a permanent part of his life. I was just too scared and angry to see that at first. It wasn't until we were sitting in that room that I knew I was wrong and needed to admit it." Ricky hung his head for a moment then quickly raised it again to look Amy in the eye.

"Back up. How would my future plans affect your college and career plans? I'm not going to college."

"Ricky, the judgment states that you pick John up from my house Friday nights before his bedtime and I pick him Sunday nights before his bedtime. That means that until John's eighteen we have to live relatively close to each other so we can both get back and forth to each other's houses. So, I have to go to college in state and after I graduate I can only work in the same city you live in." Ricky was speechless for a moment. He'd never thought about how joint custody was going to affect Amy after high school. He wanted to apologize but he wanted to discuss the rest of Amy's issues with their agreement before he did.

"I admit I never actually thought about that since I have no plans to go anywhere, again. What I don't get is why you were angry about me wanting to spend one-on-one time with John when you get to do that every day all week." Amy shook her head and gave Ricky a patronizing smile.

"Did you learn anything about my weekly schedule living at my house for four weeks?" Amy saw realization slowly spread over Ricky's face. He closed his eyes and sighed. "And how much quality one-on-one time did you actually have to spend with John?" Not much. Oh man did I screw up. How'd I miss that? Ricky opened his eyes and looked at her, already knowing his apology and understanding were coming too little too late.

"Amy, I guess from my point of view at the time I thought having custody of John for the whole weekend would give us equal amounts of quality time with him. Plus I was angry that you told me you didn't want my son to love me. I know now that you were just scared of me hurting him by leaving and I get that, but when you said that I was hurt and angry and it made me sure I was going to go through with it. I also didn't realize until I was walking in your shoes that the only time you really have alone with John is in the morning and for an hour or two after work. No wonder you're angry about me for wanting to take John for the whole weekend."

"Ricky, I'm not angry about it anymore. I told you, I realized it was wrong of me to try to come between the two of you. I've just come to terms with it and I try to make the most of the time I do get to spend alone with John. I'm a little more comfortable with the fact your mom watches him Saturday mornings now and I'd already decided how to deal with future birthdays and holidays that fall on weekends so the mediation itself is no longer an issue for me."

"And how exactly are you going to deal with those birthdays and holidays?" he asked curiously. Amy shrugged.

"He and I will just celebrate them early or after the fact." Irritation flashed in Ricky's eyes.

"So two birthdays again?"

"Yes," she answered cautiously, not sure why Ricky's expression was telling her he had a problem with her plan.

"Why can't we just agree to celebrate all major holidays and his birthdays together as a family, including your family and my parents? It's not like we can't alter the arrangement when we both agree to. That's why the three of us spent his first birthday together, remember?" Amy smiled, remembering how much she enjoyed celebrating John's first birthday with just the two of them present.

"Okay."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. From now on the three of us will celebrate all major holidays and John's birthdays together, no matter if they fall on a weekday or the weekend. And we'll make sure to include our families."

"Deal." Ricky smiled and Amy smiled back. They were making progress. Ricky turned serious again moments later.

"Why didn't you just explain all of your concerns to me when I was explaining to you why I wanted joint custody?"

"I couldn't trust you."

"With what? That information?"

"Ricky, as we've been talking tonight I've told you that you've demonstrated a pattern of saying one thing and then changing your mind. Plus, I told you my biggest fear was that one day you wouldn't be there for John and you told me you'd never leave him, only to turn around and do just that a few weeks later. You'd never made any attempt to really talk to me about how I felt below the surface about issues concerning our son and you didn't listen to me when I revealed my fears to you or told you about any concerns I had, such as having Adrian around John. Why would I tell you any more of my fears let alone explain them in depth? It's like I said, we've never had a real heart-to-heart, personal conversation about ourselves or our relationship to our son, until that weekend in New York, and we didn't even really resolve anything."

"I guess we really dropped the ball when it came to communication, huh?" Amy nodded. "So what do we do about it now? How do we fix it?"

"I don't know, Ricky. I don't know how we openly communicate when I'm still not sure I can trust you to be honest with me or keep your word. I don't know what happened to us in New York. It was like we were in another dimension or something. With no one else around to get in our business and no external drama to distract us it was like we connected as friends, or at least two people working on becoming friends. We were even able to talk about our son like two, responsible adults working together to raise their child as partners. I don't know where we go from here."

"Amy, we're gonna be in each other's lives for the rest of our lives. We can't keep doing what we've been doing. It's not working for me and it obviously hasn't been working for you either. We've gotta try something." They were both quiet for several minutes, lost in their own head space.

"Ricky?"

"Yeah?"

"Why do you think it was time for us to really talk two weeks ago and not any time before then?" Ricky licked his suddenly dry lips. I don't know how to tell her without freaking her out but I guess it's now or never. He chuckled.

"Because absence makes the heart grow fonder." Amy gave him a confused look and he chuckled again.

"Amy, I walked in your shoes for four weeks and I realized two things after those first two weeks." Curiosity washed over Amy's face as Ricky continued. "I realized that I had no clue what you went through on a daily basis all week and," he suddenly paused, looking away from her and blushing slightly before finishing his sentence. "I missed you."

"Why?"

"Huh?" her question caught him off guard.

"Why would you miss me? It's not like we've ever been all that close." Ricky ran a hand through his hair, still unable to face Amy out of embarrassment and frustration over his jumbled emotions.

"I meant it when I told you that I hated talking to you over the phone, I just left out a few things. I knew you were a good mother to our son and took good care of him I just didn't realize how much or what you were doing when I wasn't around and I felt so guilty for not helping you more; it's no wonder you're stressed and tired a lot. And I know they're your family and all but your parents can be pretty ridiculous and petty sometimes and I felt bad that you had to deal with their drama when you went home at night. You're stronger than you realize, Amy, physically and mentally, putting up with me and all of that. I missed being able to talk to you face to face. I missed seeing you every day in the hallways at school and over at your house after work. It's true what they say that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone and when you weren't physically around anymore, every day it just felt like something important was missing in my life. Living your life for two weeks also showed me just how much I'd taken you for granted. When I saw an opportunity to see you again I jumped at it. And I'm glad I did." He finally looked back at her and saw her giving him a look of disbelief.

"Did you realize you missed me before or after you lead on Ashley?" He sighed in frustration.

"Amy, we already talked about that kiss. It was a mistake and I'd never sleep with your little sister."

"That wasn't what I asked you. I asked if you started to miss me before or after leading on my sister." Ricky had to take a moment to think about it.

"I liked flirting with her and she flirted back, but it wasn't anything serious." Amy shook her head at him.

"Ricky, how could you possibly think it was okay to flirt with your son's aunt if you had no intention of having a relationship with her? Haven't you figure out by now that some of the girls you mess around with get their feelings hurt because whatever you're doing with them actually means something to them? You hurt her, Ricky."

"I know," he said with regret. "She was pretty mad at me afterwards. It's why she told you about it after the fact too. Look, I like Ashley, as a friend, and I care about what happens to her because she's my son's aunt and your sister." He gave a mirthless chuckle. "Apparently I have a bad habit of kissing the Juergens girls when I shouldn't."

"So why did you kiss us?"

"I already told you why I kissed you and, funny enough, it's the same reason I kissed Ashley: I wanted to, I had an opportunity to and so I did."

"Did either of those kisses mean anything to you?"

"Yours did."

"Why?"

"Because I'm still attracted to you, Amy. I've never stopped being attracted to you."

"Ricky, why did you lead on Adrian and Ashley if you were just waiting for a chance to hook up with me again?"

"Because I'm selfish alright!" Amy was startled by his sudden outburst. "I knew I wasn't good enough for you but that didn't stop me from wanting to be around you. I also knew you weren't interested in having sex with me again because I'd already gotten you pregnant and I like having sex, Amy. Adrian was interested and we enjoyed it so we kept seeing each other. As for Ashley, I liked talking to and just hanging out with her and I enjoyed our little flirting game so I kept it going, until I kissed her and then instantly regretted it." Amy shook her head.

"Ricky, you can't play with people's emotions. I did that unintentionally with Ben and I feel horrible about it. I hurt Adrian without thinking it through when I kissed you and I felt bad about that too. Do you regret any of the people you've hurt by treating them like toys?" He looked her in the eye and spoke with complete honesty.

"Yes, Amy, I do. And the person I regret hurting more than anything is you." He reached for one of her hands again and she let him take it, realizing that holding her hand somehow made Ricky feel better.

"You still haven't told me when you started to miss me."

"It happened gradually I guess. It wasn't until we were talking at the end of that second week that my frustrations about your absence really hit me. Especially when you told me about the end of the program and I realized I wanted you to come home and you wanted to stay away longer and that didn't sit well with me because I missed you." Amy chuckled, earning a confused look from Ricky.

"I missed you too, Ricky." She giggled when he smiled back at her. "Part of the program involved group discussion sessions. Listening to some of other girls' stories made me realize that I was lucky. My parents hadn't kicked me out and disowned me when they found out I was pregnant; my two best friends didn't turn their backs on me, completely; and my relationship with you could've been worse or non-existent." He smirked, remembering their phone conversation before he flew out to New York.

"I thought you said we weren't in a relationship?" Amy smirked back at him.

"I couldn't think of a better word to use just now, okay." Something she'd just said piqued his curiosity.

"What did you mean your best friends didn't turn their backs on you completely?"

"Well, they were indirectly responsible for word getting out I was pregnant with your baby and Lauren talked about me behind my back to you when you made out with her." Ricky had the decency to look ashamed for kissing Lauren.

"Amy, Lauren's nice and all but I was just trying to get her to give me your phone number."

"I know."

"You do?"

"Yeah. She told me. You shouldn't have tried to manipulate her though."

"True. Wait, are you sticking up for Lauren even though she made out with me willingly?"

"Yes, because you hurt her."

"I did? How?"

"She thought that when you opened up to her about your childhood that you were interested in actually having a relationship with her. When you didn't call her or acknowledge her the next day, she knew you'd played her by trying to make her feel sorry for you so she'd give you what you were after. In this case my phone number." Ricky had no response. "You could've just waited until I called you like I said I would."

"I know." Amy let him sit there quietly processing and organizing this thoughts. "Amy?"

"Hmmm?"

"How do you know they let it get out that you were pregnant?"

"Lauren told Jason hoping he could give her some medical advice about pregnancy she could give me. He let it slip in the boys' locker room." He didn't hide the surprise on his face quick enough.

"How do you know that?"

"I asked him how he found out, trying to figure out who spilled the beans first, and he told me. Then I asked him if he'd told anybody and he told me who he'd told and where. Speaking of spilling the beans, how did you find out I was pregnant with your baby?"

"I heard Jason in the locker room." Amy thought back to all the information she'd learned and remembered that Alice and Henry had told Ben she'd had sex with Ricky and another question came to mind.

"Ricky, do you know how Adrian found out you were interested in me before word got out about my pregnancy?" Ricky sighed, remembering the day Amy asked him point blank if he'd told anyone about them sleeping together and he'd lied to her face.

"Yeah, I told her we'd slept together at band camp." Amy hadn't expected that to be the answer to her question. She suddenly remembered asking Ricky the same question he knew he'd lied about. Ricky could see it in her eyes and beat her to the punch. "Yes, I lied to you when you asked me if I'd told anyone about us because I honestly didn't think Adrian was gonna say anything." He sighed and explained, already knowing what she was going to ask him next. "She saw me talking to you outside the band room and said there was no way I could seriously be interested in you and I told her that some girls don't broadcast their sex life. She got annoyed and said you looked like you'd never even been kissed and I just smirked at her, knowing I was the first guy to ever kiss you. She pestered me about it so I told her we were together at band camp, thinking it might make her jealous enough to sleep with me again and it did. You already know what she did about it," he finished with a sigh, shifting so he could once again lean his head on the back of the couch and stare at the ceiling. There were several minutes of silence before it was broken by Amy's laughter. Ricky turned his head to the left to look at her like she'd lost her mind.

"We are so dysfunctional." He kept staring at her like she was crazy, having no idea where she was going with this. Amy chuckled. "Think about it. First we maybe developed romantic feelings for each other at band camp. Then we were too busy with other relationships and raising our son to do anything about them. It was only after we were single again and apart while I was in New York that we realized maybe those feelings were still there. Now we're both in the same place again but where exactly does that leave us since even though we know each other a little better now I'm not sure I can trust you to be honest with me and you're not ready for a monogamous relationship?" Ricky couldn't help but laugh.

"I have no idea but I think we really need to figure out if we're truly over band cap." This time Amy looked at Ricky like he was the crazy one. "Think about it, Amy. I had feelings for you at band camp and then ran from them. You told me that night that you thought you felt the same way about me that I felt about you and then you were too confused about what happened and angry about getting pregnant to know for sure." He sighed, suddenly very serious. "I honestly think we need to figure out if we still have feelings for each other that we've just been avoiding or we're never gonna be able to figure out what we're gonna be to each other for the rest of our lives."

"How are we supposed to do that, Ricky? How are we supposed to try a romantic relationship if you wanna have sex but I'm not ready to do it again and I want an exclusive relationship but you aren't ready for monogamy?" Ricky shook his head.

"I have no idea, Amy." She shifted so that she could also lean her head against the back of the couch. They sat there for a solid five minutes with their eyes closed, trying to come up with a solution. Amy sat up and turned to face Ricky, thinking she had a way to solve their dilemma.

"Ricky."

"Yeah," he said, opening his eyes and turning his head to face her.

"I think the best option is to first see if we can get along as friends."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, let's say we tried a romantic relationship and it didn't work out. We'd still be in each other's lives because of John so we would need to find some way to become friends, at least for his sake. Why don't we just try to be friends first and see if any romantic feelings surface?" She had Ricky's attention now, or at least his curiosity.

"I'm listening."

"Why don't the three of us spend time together as a family for a while, like the rest of the summer. We could go on family outings one weekend a month or have dinner together once a week, like we did tonight. You and I would be working together as a team and spending quality time with our son plus we'd be talking and getting to know each other better. Since we wouldn't be dating you wouldn't feel pressured to be in a relationship you're not ready for and you could still sleep around, if you wanted to." Ricky looked at her impressed. That sounded like a perfect solution. But was hanging out together once a week really gonna do it?

"That sounds like a good idea, Amy. I just wonder, is us hanging out with John once a week really gonna help us build a friendship?"

"What do you mean?"

"You suggested we have dinner as a family once a week and spend time as a family one weekend a month. Why not every weekend?"

"Weekends are your time with John," she answered, thinking her answer was obvious. Ricky rolled his eyes at her.

"Didn't we just agree to alter the agreement and spend all holidays and birthdays together with John? I'm willing to spend every Saturday this summer doing something with you and John if it means we can figure out what we are to each other or what we want to be. What do you say?" Amy smiled and nodded.

"Okay."

"Okay." They shared another smile and then Amy yawned. Checking his phone Ricky saw that it was 1:00 AM. "We should be getting to bed." Amy nodded and got up to head to the bedroom.

"Good night, Ricky," Amy said with a smile.

"Good night, Amy," he replied, also with a smile. He waited until Amy shut the bedroom door before turning off the lights in the living area and making himself comfortable on the couch. He had just gotten himself situated for the night at the same time Amy had gotten comfortable under the sheets of his bed. Even though they couldn't see each other, they both fell asleep with a smile on their faces, happy to have cleared the air just a little bit.

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