Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chapter 41: Bellissima

"What am I going to do about your father?" Jacklyn asks when she goes down to nursery in the early morning. Her relationship with Nico happened so fast, starting with a drunken one night stand and moving too quickly into parenthood and an engagement. She was going to marry him, she gave herself over to love and trust in a way she never thought she would. He betrayed her, and now she's left alone with the daughter she hadn't meant to keep, the child Nico said he wanted, even while he was out sleeping with this other woman. "We'll get through this, Trill," Jacklyn sobs, glad her daughter is too young to feel her mother's pain.

Jacklyn isn't too happy to run into Debbie when she goes to the kitchen to find some breakfast, but she reminds herself that the girl just meant to help. From what Jacklyn understands, that's what girlfriends do for each other. She doesn't have much experience with girlfriends herself; her friends have mostly been the guys in the bands she's played in since she was a teen. The only girls she ever called 'friend' were her bandmates' girlfriends, and her friendship with them never outlasted the break up of either the couple or the band.

"I just got off the phone with Andrea," Debbie informs her, "He can come by any time today to pick up  any of Nico things...whenever it's convenient for you."

"Thanks, Debbie," Jacklyn says, "I'll get his shit together this morning I guess. And thanks for taking him in," she adds, making an effort to be grateful.

"Are you okay? Do you need to talk?"

"I'm fine," Jacklyn insists, "You don't have to stay here with me. I just need some time to myself." Get out, get out, get out, she thinks, she thinks while she forces a smile to show how fine she is. And then it occurs to her that Debbie might have some information she wants, "You knew he was having an affair, didn't you?"

"I'm sorry," Debbie stammers, "I didn't want to interfere..."

Jacklyn waves her concern away, "I understand. I would have done the same," she says. What she wouldn't have done was involve herself in another couple's life at all, but she doesn't blame Debbie for that, either. "I just want to know, do you know how long he was...he was seeing her?"

Debbie shakes her head, "I only know the first time I saw them together, and the first time I heard them, in the dressing room next to mine in Herb Glitts' studio."

Jacklyn bites her lip. wishing she hadn't asked. Maybe she doesn't need to know these kinds of details.

Andrea comes by for Nico's things later that morning. "I can't tell you how sorry I am," Andrea says, "I just want you to know, whatever happens with you and Nico, you will always be a sister to me."

"Thank you, Andrea," Jacklyn says, "I'm glad Trill has an uncle like you to look after her." Though she never got as far as marrying Nico as they planned, she has his child, and that means she's part of his family now, whether she wants it or not. Not that she doesn't like Andrea, Jacklyn just doesn't have a very high opinion of families in general. Too much involvement in other people's shit, too much interference in her own life. There's a reason she broke off contact with her own family, but for Trill's sake she's going to have to accept her membership in the Petrangelo clan.

When they are finally all gone and out of her way, Jacklyn has the peace to think about her new situation, to cry when she feels like it. It goes on like that for days, Jacklyn spends hours staring out into the ocean, doing nothing for herself, putting all her energy into caring for Trill. Andrea or Debbie come by every day to check on her, speaking in voices hushed with concern, like she has some terminal illness and not just a broken heart.

This house used to be hers alone, and her life never felt empty before she met him. But he came into her house, into her life, and gave everything new meaning it never had before. Now he's gone and nothing is the same, the house is vacant without his presence, every room, every corner, holds some memory of him she cannot let go of.

Then, after days of letting the heartbreak and pain fester inside her, she gives it outlet the only way she knows, through song. They come furiously once she picks up her guitar, her rage, her despair, the loss and betrayal, in lyrics that scream, howl and rasp everything she would say to him, if she could bear to see him.

Like Jacklyn, Nico expresses his heartbreak through music. He has no words, just this sad melody he's been working over for days, every note a prick of pain, a stab of guilt, a keening for what he's lost.

"Debbie wants me to turn it down, right?" Nico says when his brother enters the room. She has strict rules about when he can play plugged in. Staying here has been a nightmare in pink, Debbie is open in her contempt for him, and Andrea hasn't been much better, feeling almost as betrayed by Nico's lie as Jacklyn. As inhospitable as it is, Nico has put no thought into finding a place of his own. Doing that would just be an admission that he's never going back home, will never be with Jacklyn and Trill again, and that would be worse than suffering in this pink hell for all eternity.

"She's not here," Andrea says, "She has a shoot today."

Nico continues playing as his brother takes a seat on the bed. 

After a minute of playing while his brother looks up at him, expecting something from, Nico puts down the guitar. "How do you stand all this pink?" Nico asks when Andrea continues to keep his silence.

"It's her," Andrea says with a shrug, "It's like being surrounded by her all the time."

Nico imagines being enveloped in a ball of cotton candy, gagging on the sweetness. But as much as he would choke and starve on Debbie's diet of pink and sugar, it seems to provide real sustenance for his brother.

"Tell me, brother, do you love our father?" Nico asks quietly, changing the subject.

"I never meant to put him in the hospital," Andrea says defensively, "I just wanted him to stop."

"That's not what I asked," Nico pushes, "I want to know if you love him."

"Of course I do, Nico," Andrea says, standing up, "But I hate him, too. For hurting Mama, for his lies and betrayals."

Nico doesn't ask if that's how his brother feels about him, too. What he's worried about right now is Trillare. "I don't want my daughter to grow up hating me," he says desperately. Before Andrea can point out the obvious, Nico continues, "I know, I should have thought of that before I started fucking around. But I can't do anything about that now. I want to fix this, I want my family back, but I don't know how."

Andrea sighs, not having an answer for his brother. "Nico, listen, you've been cooped up in here for days, you never even leave this room. You don't sleep, you don't eat. You can't keep living like this. I'm starting to worry about you."

"I don't have a life, Andrea," Nico says, "I won't have one until I'm with my family again, with Jack and Trill. I need you to bring something to her for me."

Andrea looks reluctant and Nico hands him a carefully folded piece of paper. "What if she doesn't want it?" he asks.

"Just give it to her," Nico insists, "She can burn it if she wants. I just need you to put it in her hands."

Andrea did as Nico asked, handing it over to Jacklyn the next morning when he paid his daily visit. As soon as the soft, worn paper touched her hand, Jacklyn knew it wasn't a letter, it was music. Nico always transcribes songs as he writes them, working the notes over and again, and this sheet shows all his work, the erasure marks where he's made changes, the coffee stains telling of the hours he's put into perfecting this one piece. She knows how he works so well, polishing one piece at a time, lavishing all his care and attention on it until it's finished. Her songs come fast and furious, several at a time, all clamoring in her head at once until she can separate them. She never finishes one song before she's working on the next, trying to grow them all simultaneously as they come to her. And as her eyes scan over his notes, she hears his guitar, as distinct as his voice, and even sees his hands on his instrument, working the strings, playing this sad, beautiful ballad, telling her his love and regret.

His music stays in her head for the rest of the day, she hums it while she plays with Trill, and by late afternoon, she's written lyrics for it, different from the lyrics she's written for the songs she's been working on. Her songs have been about her anger, her anguish, but this one tells another side of their shared story, of the loneliness of their separation, the wrenching pain of love lost.

Before sunset, her drummer, Randell calls to catch up with her. He and Stacey had a son, Philip,  right around the time Trill was born. "When things settle down, we should get together and jam," he says.

"Of course," Jacklyn answers, "I've got a bunch of new songs to work up." 

"Great," Randell says enthusiastically, "When you and Nico get them worked up, send me a copy so I can get started on the drum tracks." She hasn't told him yet about what's been going on with her and Nico, and she doesn't say anything now, instead just agreeing to send him the music and set up a jam when they're ready.

Back in her father's mountain cabin, she had expressed her concerns to Nico about accepting him into her band while she was in a relationship with him. What she was worried about was the effect working together would have on them as a couple; she didn't anticipate what trouble in the relationship could do to her band. But here she is now, angry and heartbroken, never wanting to see Nico again, but at the same time planning to work her songs up with him. He's her guitarist, unlike any other guitarist she's ever worked with before, and she's not ready to replace him. She's not so sure he even could be replaced, not even a more technically proficient musician could do the things with her songs that Nico does.

The phone is still in her hand, Nico's cell is still programmed on it. It takes only the press of one button to talk to him.

"Jacklyn," he answers, his voce hoarse and eager.

"Listen," she says, then puts the phone down near her tape machine and plays back the rough tracks she's been recording here on her own. After three full songs play out, she turns off the machine and brings the phone back to her ear. "Well?" she asks.

The lyrics were scathing accusations hurled at him, but Nico knows that isn't what she wants him to respond to. What she wants is what she always wants when she plays a rough track for him, so, he picks up his guitar and starts to play her songs back for her, tightening up her sloppy notes, adding melody to her rhythm.

"Can't you plug in?" she asks, listening to the dull slap of strings against wood, unamplified.

"Not this late," Nico answers, "Debbie's rules."

 "Well, that sucks," is Jacklyn's heartfelt response. She takes a deep breath, "Do you want to jam?" she asks.

"I'll be right there," he says.

"Wait, Nico..."


"We're just going to play, okay? I'm not ready to talk yet."

Debbie's condo is less than an hour's drive away from the house, and Nico sped over as fast as he could, afraid she might change her mind on the way over and turn him away at the door. Though she never took his keys away, Nico thought it would be best to knock instead of letting himself in.

"I've got a bunch of songs to work on," she says as she lets him in. Just looking at him makes her want to cry, but she's good at holding her tears back when she needs to.

"Can I see her first?" Nico asks. He's been giving Jacklyn her space, not making any demands on her, only able to hear about his daughter from Andrea and Debbie after their visits.

Jacklyn nods, really working now at keeping her emotions in check. Nico catches himself crossing himself as he heads toward the stairs, a gesture he makes unconsciously during times of great stress. He casts a guilty glance in Jacklyn's direction; she always calls him superstitious when he does things like that. But she's turned away from him and doesn't see.

"Trillare, my angel," he whispers as he lifts his daughter from her crib, "I've missed you."

They get right into jamming, avoiding any conversation. Her ban on talking is almost unfair, as she gets to direct her rage at him in song, telling the story of his betrayal and her heartbreak over and again, making him listen without being able to respond. He takes it all, unflinching, feeding her extremes of emotion through his instrument. The fact that he feels her so deeply and responds so immediately to her vast and varying repertoire of passion is what makes them so tight as musicians. They spend hours like this, working on the catalogue of roughs songs she's sketched.

"I wrote some lyrics to your song," she says after they've worked up several of hers, "Do you want to hear?"

"Of course," he says, and starts to play the tune.

She fills in the rhythm, and sings her lyrics, giving voice to the loneliness and regret he put into his ballad. She exhausted from days of sleeplessness and her voice breaks and trills in odd places as she sings. When they finish playing, she looks at him expectantly.

"Bellissima," he says, touching his heart.

"Nico, why? We had such a good thing. Why did you have to go and fuck it up?" Jacklyn asks, breaking her own rule about not talking.

"Don't try to find a reason for what I did," he says, "There was no reason. I had everything, and I was so happy with you. And then she came after me and I was weak. There's no more to it than my own stupidity."

"How am I ever going to trust you again after this?" she asks.

"I don't have an answer for that, either. I'd be stupid to make you any promises now after breaking so many. I love you Jack, I always will. I know I fucked that up, and I'm sorrier about that, about what I put you through, than I can ever say."

Jacklyn forces the tears that start welling up in her eyes back, but one long sob escapes her. Turning away so she doesn't have to look at him, she picks up her guitar. "Let's get back to work," she says, her voice cracked and hoarse.

"You need some sleep," he says, taking the guitar from her hand.

"No," she wails, sounding like a truculent child. She has him here, and while she isn't ready to work things out with him, she also doesn't want him to leave her alone with it again. "I want to work."

"You can't work like this," he says, putting his arms around her. He comes so close to her, close enough to kiss her, and Jacklyn can't decide if she'd slap him or return the kiss if he tried.

But he doesn't try, he just lifts her up and carries her up to their bed.

He lays down beside her, just to see that she gets to sleep, and falls asleep himself as she curls up to him, hand on his chest.

After just a few hours of sleep, more than either of them has gotten since their separation, they are awakened by the hungry cries of their infant daughter.

"Let me," Nico says as Jacklyn starts to get up. She snuggles deep into her pillow as he rises, and as she falls back into sleep, he dares on light kiss on her shoulder before going down to Trill.

He gives Trill her bottle and sings to her, then settles her back into her crib. He thinks about going back up to bed with Jacklyn, but that isn't his place. She was too exhausted to kick him out before, he thinks, but she won't be happy to find him there when she wakes.

Not having the will to go back to his brother and his pink  lingerie model girlfriend, Nico goes out on the balcony leading out from the nursery, and watches the waves.

Jacklyn wakes again after a few minutes, and lays waiting for Nico's return. As the minutes pass with only silence, She gets up and throws on a shirt to find out what happened to him, and discovers him on the balcony.

"Are you all right?" she asks.

"No," he says, "How can I be after what I've done? I've lost you, Jack, and as much as I want to be a good father to Trill, I keep thinking she'd be better off if I just stayed away from her." Nico turns away from her to face the ocean; much like Jacklyn, he tries to hide his tears even from the ones he loves.

Jacklyn steps up behind him, wrapping her arms around his chest. "Trill needs you, Nico. Don't walk away from her." She presses her face to his shoulder, "I don't know what to do about us," she says, "But I miss you, I miss what we had. And I'm to tired to think about it right now. So, come upstairs, come to bed. We can talk tomorrow."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Chapter 40: Confession

Nico waited until the last moment to inform Marilyn of his intention to stop seeing her, calling her mere hours before their next scheduled date. It was mostly cowardice that kept him putting it off, but there was also the fact that he hasn't had a moment to himself since Trill was born to make such a private call. It's only now, while he's out doing some errands for Jacklyn that he's got the privacy to call her.

"I'm not letting you out of this so easily," Marilyn says, managing to sound threatening beneath her sexy purr.

"I can't do this anymore," Nico says with an exasperated sigh.

"You could at least say goodbye to me in person," she says, "Or are you not man enough to do that? I'll be at hotel. If you aren't here in a hour, I'll come to your house and we can do it there."

"How nice of you to come," Marilyn greets Nico in a quiet corner of the hotel's grand lobby. Though he doesn't like being out with her where he can be seen, this is better than meeting her in one of the suites, where he might fall prey to the temptation.  The hotel is particularly busy today, the lobby buzzing with film crew personnel for some kind of shoot going on here. Nico just hopes they can go unnoticed amidst all the activity. "Now, look at me and ask yourself, do you really want to give all this up?" Marilyn demands.

"I never wanted this in the first place," Nico says, "You pushed yourself on me, and I stupidly let it happen. And now I'm ending it."

"I pushed myself on you?" she hisses. "I seem to remember you being very enthusiastic about our little meetings. You wanted me, you know you did."

"Okay, yes, I wanted you," Nico admits, "But it was just sex between us. You don't love me, you would have tossed me aside anyway when you were done with this movie and no longer needed to practice your Italian."

"Of course it's not love," she says, "And of course it was going to end. But I do still need you, and I'm not ready to let go just yet," she says, reaching a hand toward him.

"Don't touch me," he says, grabbing her by the wrist, "Whatever this was, I don't even feel it anymore. I'm not just giving you up to save my relationship; I look at you now and I don't even recognize what I saw before that made me so crazy for you. Let it go, it's long past over."

"You aren't special, you know," Marilyn says angrily, "I could find a hundred men just like you. You were just my plaything.  I don't need you."

She storms off fuming, and Nico is happy to let her have the last word if it means he's truly done with her. This affair could have cost him everything, but he got himself out of it before it could cause lasting damage. Finished with his mission, Nico follows her out of the lobby to wait for the valet to bring him his car.

Outside by the pool, Debbie watches the exchange through the window, and watches the couple leave the lobby together. She saw the valet parking Nico's car earlier, and she saw Marilyn coming into the lobby while she was gathering with the other models. Debbie wanted to believe it was just coincidence, but she knew it was very unlikely either Nico or the actress had any legitimate business in this hotel. Seeing them together made it obvious for her to pretend to herself that things would work out if she just kept quiet about what she knows, that Nico would keep the promise he made to his brother and stop cheating on Jacklyn.

After her shoot is over, Debbie meets Andrea at muscle beach. "I have a confession to make," she says.

"I'm listening," Andrea answers, wondering if he should be worried.

"When I first met your brother, he was with Marilyn. It was at a nightclub, and they were just talking, so I didn't think anything of it. Then, when I had that shoot with him, she showed up again. His dressing room was next to mine and I heard...well, it sounded like sex."

"You're saying Nico was having an affair with this woman even before I caught him with her at that party?" Andrea asks.

Debbie nods, "I wasn't completely sure of it until you actually found him out. All I knew was what I thought I heard."

"He lied to me, then," Andrea growls, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I'm sorry, Andrea, I just thought, since he promised he wasn't going to do it again, that it might have been a wake up call for him, and things would be okay. You were so angry with him, I just didn't want to see you more upset by this. But I should never have kept it secret from you. I'm sorry."

"It's okay, Debbie. You meant well," Andrea says, "And you're telling me now."

"There's more," Debbie says quietly, "I saw him with her today, at he hotel where we doing the shoot."

"I'll kill him," Andrea says, turning to punch the chin up bar in his rage.

"Baby, don't," Debbie says, "He lied to you, but you're not the one he's betrayed. We have to take this to Jacklyn and let her decide what to do with him."

Debbie manages to calm Andrea down enough to bring him to Jacklyn and Nico's house, but as soon as he sees his brother, Andrea's rage boils over again.

"Bugiardo!" he shouts, his fist balling, ready to strike, "You lied to me! You made me keep your filthy secret, and then you broke your promise. You were with her today! Debbie saw you!"

"Andrea, calm down," Nico stammers.

"What's going on here?" Jacklyn demands, coming downstairs from the nursery when she hears the shouting, "What is he talking about, Nico?"

"Tell her, brother," Andrea growls, "Tell her the truth or so help me, I'll do it for you."

With Debbie and Andrea as witnesses, Nico is forced to tell Jacklyn everything. "I had an affair," he confesses, "With Marilyn Hennessey. But it's over, I swear it."

"You said that before, when I caught you with her at that party," Andrea acuuses, "But Debbie saw you with her today."

"I hadn't seen or talked to her since that party," Nico explains, "Today I met with her to tell her it was over. I didn't...I didn't do anything with her." He turns to Jacklyn, who has stood still and silent while he's made his confession, and he's more frightened by her calm than of his brother's rage, "I'm sorry, Jack. It was stupid and wrong, but I'm done with it now. Please forgive me."

"Fuck you, Nico," she says through gritted teeth, "Fuck you and get the fuck out of my house." She turns to run upstairs before she starts crying. It's humiliating enough that Andrea and Debbie apparently knew about this affair and she had to hear about it with them watching, but she's not gong to cry in front of them. This pain is hers and hers alone, no one can help or comfort her now.

"Jacklyn, wait," Nico reaches out to stop her, "Let me---"

Jacklyn wrenches herself out of his grasp, sobbing while she stumbles away from him. "Don't touch me, don't you dare touch me."

Andrea glances at Debbie. "I'm going to stop this," he says, and then moves before she can stop him.

Nico reels back as his brother shoves him. Andrea's fists come up, ready to strike, but Debbie steps between them and places her hand on Andrea's chest. "Hitting him won't solve anything," she says.

"Get him out of my house," Jacklyn says, keeping her voice cold and steady through sheer force of will, "Do what you want with him, just get him the fuck out of here. I want to be alone."

Unable to hold herself together for another moment, Jacklyn runs upstairs to her bedroom, leaving Debbie and Andrea to deal with the cheating bastard.

"Take him to my place," Debbie says, giving Andrea her keys, "I'll stay here with Jacklyn tonight, so she doesn't have to be alone."

Having Debbie around is the last thing Jacklyn would want, Nico knows, but he doesn't say anything, knowing that they wouldn't listen to him. They don't know her the way he does, they don't know what she needs, they don't love her, but none of that matters to them. He betrayed her, and for that he's lost the right to help her through this.

"And, baby, no fighting, okay?" Debbie says gently, "You know if you hit him, you'll just feel bad about it later."

"I promise," Andrea says, "Call me later, okay?"

Debbie follows Jacklyn up to her bedroom and sits with her while she cries herself to sleep. If Jacklyn could get any words out between the sobs that wrack her body, she'd ask Debbie to leave her alone and let her suffer in peace.

If there were anything she could do or say that would give her comfort, Debbie would do it. But all she can do is sit with the grieving woman and be there if she asks for anything.

"You're lucky I don't kill you now," Andrea says when he brings his brother to Debbie's condo.

"Not really," Nico says. 

Andrea slaps him on the back of the head. Nico braces himself for a punch, ready to have his jaw broken. Being drugged and hospitalized would be sweet relief right now.

"I promised Debbie I wouldn't," Andrea says, "I keep my promises."

"I'm sorry I lied to you, Andrea," Nico says, knowing his apology won't be worth much to his brother, just at it won't be worth anything to Jacklyn, if he's ever allowed close enough to speak the words to her.

"What were you thinking?" Andrea asks, "You had everything. And you threw it away for that whore."

"I wasn't thinking," Nico says with a bitter sigh, "I was just...I can't even explain it. I was stupid and weak. But I was telling the truth when I said it was over. After you caught me at that party, I came to my senses. I saw her today because she threatened to come to the house if I didn't. What Debbie saw today was me telling Marilyn that it was done for good."

"And you think that makes it any better?" Andrea asks.

"No, it doesn't. But it's the truth. I owe you that, after all the lies. And if I never get to tell Jacklyn myself, you have to do it for me, brother. I love her, more than anything. I need to get her back."

"I don't think she'll ever forgive you for this," Andrea says sadly, "I'm not sure I'll ever be able to forgive you."

Andrea shows him to the guest room Debbie keeps for when her little sister visits. Nico sinks down onto the girl's bed. He's not going to sleep tonight, his guilt and despair won't let him.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chapter 39: Like a Broken Heart Song

Pissing in a River is a powerful song, but very rooted in the 70s. Jacklyn knew she could count on Nico to take the music and make it his own, but listening to him play it, just like every time she hears him play her own songs, she's blown away by what he can do with his guitar. 

"What's this song about, anyway?" he asks her.

"Smith said the lyrics are about trying to find meaning as a musician," she answers.

"Really?" Nico raises a surprised eyebrow, "It seems more romantic than that. Like a broken heart song."

"Yeah, that's why I want to cover it. It's deeply moving, but the meaning is ambiguous, so you have to give it your own meaning."

"Like your songs," Nico observes, "It suits you vocally, too."

"Like my songs," Jacklyn says quietly, "Nico, I haven't been able to write anything since we got together. I'm afraid I might have lost it, that I won't be able to write songs that don't come from a place of pain or unhappiness. "

"The suffering artist," Nico says, "Jacklyn, that's bullshit. You have an amazing talent. It comes from you, not from your circumstances. Give it time, you'll write more songs. Great ones."

Andrea has met with Debbie's trainer and the two of them are talking about getting into business together.

"That's great," Nico says, happy for his brother, "But you and Debbie...I worry that you might be moving a little too fast with her. You're always with her, and now she's controlling your life..."

"Debbie isn't controlling my life," Andrea says, "She gave me the push I needed to get my life started. And I love her, Nico. Who are you to tell me I'm going too fast?"

"I just don't want to see you get hurt," Nico says.

"When I want relationship advice from a cheater, I'll let you know," Andrea says coldly as he get up to leave.

"We're going to parents soon," Jacklyn says as they watch the sun set from the balcony, "And then we're getting married. Leave it to me to get the whole thing backwards."

"We're not backwards," Nico laughs,"We just do thing our own way."

"And that way just happens to be half-assed?" Jacklyn laughs with him, "Debbie's been talking to me about dresses for the wedding. I'm just so not that girl. You should have seen her face when I told her I was going to wear a black leather miniskirt with flames."

"If you want to do it like that, we'll have to get the pyrotech guys to set up effects for us."

"Don't even joke about this with Bill," Jacklyn says, "Or we really will end up with some heavy metal horror wedding televised on MTV."

Nico pulls her close and kisses her hair. He strayed so far from her, he almost lost his way home. Being caught out by Andrea may have lost him his brother's respect forever, but Nico is glad it happened, just in time to wake him up to what he was doing. What he has with Jacklyn is more important, more real, than anything he ever had or could have with any other woman, and when he thinks about Marilyn now, he can only wonder what the attraction was, why he'd even bother with something so shallow and empty. He's left that behind forever, but the peace he's found in his own redemption is shadowed by the worry of what Debbie might have heard from his dressing room that day of the shoot, and how he's going to tell Marilyn that it's over.

Jacklyn looks out anxiously for Nico to finish his shower and come downstairs.

Watching Debbie and Andrea audition for World's Sappiest Couple get a little tedious.

Nico finally comes to her rescue.

Just in time for her contractions to start.

Andrea has plenty of nieces and nephews back in Italy, but Trillare is special, being Nico's daughter, and coming at time when he's starting to think about marriage and family for himself.

"I guess I have to start planning a wedding now," Jacklyn says with a sigh.

"No hurry," Nico says, "I want to be married before Trill starts school, but you don't need to start stressing yourself now."

Jacklyn smiles, "I'm going to be stressed anyway; Bill has already started harassing me about losing my baby weight and getting back on stage."

"I'm going to punch Bill one of these days," Nico says, "Or better, I'll send my brother to punch him. Don't listen to his crap, you don't have any baby weight to lose. If anything, you're too thin."

"I'm glad you're here," Nico embracing his brother when they find themselves alone in the nursery, "I've missed you so much."

"It's going to be all right," Nico says, more to himself than to his daughter. He only has one loose end to tie up, and then he can safely bury his sordid past and move forward, to be the husband and father he wants to be.

If you've ever wanted to light Nico's ass on fire, check out the new pics in the Breaking Immersion page.