A steady beat accompanies her slow drift back into consciousness; as she comes fully awake, she realizes it's his heartbeat. She lifts herself up, and he awakens beneath her.
"What time is it?" he asks sleepily. The sun is high and shining through the picture windows. For a moment, just this moment, everything is right, everything is like it was before and they are simply together. It won't last, he knows, there's too much shit they have to work out before they can get back to normal. But right now, waking up together in each other's arms, right now, everything is good.
"I have no idea," she says, "I haven't slept this late since--"
It comes to them at the same time, the house is too quiet, they should have been awakened hours ago. "Trill," they say in unison, jumping out of bed to rush down to the nursery.
They both sigh in relief when they find Andrea in the nursery with their daughter.
"I didn't want to wake you," he says, smiling, "So I spent some time with my niece."
Jacklyn goes back upstairs to shower, leaving the brothers in the nursery with Trill. "When you didn't come back last night, I figured she either killed you or took you back," Andrea says as he lays Trill back in her crib.
"Thanks for checking on me," Nico says with a wry smile.
"I'm glad she didn't kill you, brother," Andrea says, clapping him hard, too hard, on the shoulder, "Though you would have deserved it."
"We still have a lot to work, I don't know that she's taking me back yet," Nico admits.
Andrea nods. "I hope she does. But don't fuck it up this time," he warns.
Andrea leaves while Nico makes breakfast, giving the couple privacy. Jacklyn tucks into her pancakes hungrily, while Nico stabs at his, not eating.
"Not hungry?" she asks when he pushes the plate away.
"No," he says, "I've been a little off lately," he says. By which he means sharps pains in his stomach, nausea and vomiting. "I'm fine," he adds when she shoots him a concerned look, "I'll be all right once I get out of that pink hell."
"Debbie's place. Everything is pink. It's like living inside a dessert. It's no wonder I can't eat," he says, deliberately making light of his suffering. It's the guilt, eating at his insides. Or it's divine retribution, punishment for his sins. Either way, it's his pain to suffer, and he's not going to use it to get her pity.
Jacklyn laughs at his description of Debbie's condo. "Now you're making me want to throw up," she says.
After she gets her dishes into the washer, it's time for some serious talk.
"Here, I want to give this back to you," she says quietly, putting the engagement ring her gave her into his hand.
"I can't take this," he says, trying to give it back to her, "It's yours, Jacklyn."
Jacklyn closes his fingers around the ring, refusing to take it back.
"Nico, I still love you," she says in a soothing voice, "And I miss you like crazy. But you hurt me. You hurt me real bad, It's going to take a lot of time, and a lot of work, for me to ever trust you again. I can't have this hanging over my head the whole time. I hope we can get back there someday, but it's not a sure thing."
Nico fumes, stung by her rejection. "You could keep the ring without it meaning we're engaged," he protests.
"No," she shakes her head, "I can't. Don't take it so hard," she says, caressing his cheek even as he pulls away from her touch, "I am letting you out of pink hell, after all," she soothes him with a smile, "We're just starting over."
"You still love me?" he asks, wanting heart it again,.taking her in his arms.
"Even though you don't deserve it, I do," she sighs, "You make feel so...mmm," she doesn't get to finish her sentence, as his lips find hers and they melt into a long, sweet kiss.
"My brother called," Andrea tells Debbie, "Jacklyn is taking him back. He'll move his stuff out of here tonght."
Debbie leaps off her treadmill and into his arms. "That's wonderful news," she sighs, and kisses him as though they were the newly reunited couple.
Andrea sets her down gently, "I thought she might, but I didn't expect it to happen so fast. And now you get your apartment back."
"What about you, Andrea?" Debbie asks, "Are you going with him?"
"Do you want me to stay with you?" Andrea asks. He'd moved in here along with his brother when Jacklyn kicked Nico out, and Debbie never asked how long they'd be staying or what would happen when Nico finally left.
"I've really enjoyed waking up with you every morning," Debbie sighs, "Not to mention having you in my bed at night, and knowing that you'll be here for me...Do you want to move in with me? For real?"
"I do," Andrea says.