The following day everyone is down at the sheds early including Nick.
The tension in the air is awful and everyone feels it.
When time is called to start.
Alex works in silence.
The shed is quiet considering how many are there, normally there would be laughter, joking and general chatter but today there is none.
When Nick calls time for morning smoko the atmosphere remains the same.
As they begin to move outside Meg arrives with their morning tea.
Nick is walking towards her and she asks "What's wrong with your leg Nick?"
Nick is in a filthy mood and in a lot of pain and before he thinks about what he's saying he snarls at Meg "Why don't you mind your own bloody business."
Jake is the first one to him, grabbing his shirt front Jake raises his other fist to his Uncle and says "Don't you ever speak like that to her again Uncle Nick! Do you hear me?'
Nick is shocked at Jake's reaction.
So is everyone else.
Matt calmly puts his arm between Nick and Jake and quietly says "Nick I think it's time you left the shed."
Quickly Alex and Marcus have stepped up and pulled Jake away.
Xander is beside Meg and has his arm around her shoulder when Nick walks past he stops and says "Meg I'm so sorry I shouldn't have spoken to you like that."
Jake walks straight over to Meg and asks "Are you alright?"
She smiles and says "Of course I'm alright Jake I've got my two body guards looking after me! I feel like a movie star!"
Everyone laughs at her joke and for the first time all morning the shed feels right.
During the next stint before lunch the machines buzz and the chatter and laughter add to the feel of the shed.
Production lifts and everyone feels the tension disappear.
Up at the house Nick is sulking but unrepentant.
Bloody Alex always sticking his nose into Nick's business.
Always trying to look after him!
If he'd done that all those years ago maybe Nick wouldn't have been hurt.
But he'd goaded Nick into riding when he shouldn't have.
On the following day Nick is back in the shed and again tension fills the air.
Alex has made no attempt to speak to his brother and Nick certainly hasn't apologized because as far as he's concerned he isn't in the wrong.
Throughout the morning everyone waits for something to happen and as they reach lunchtime Marcus pulls Tess to one side and asks "How long will this go on Tess?"
Tess offers" Your guess is as good as mine Marcus. Nick is usually very easy going but he's adamant he's done nothing wrong. I told him I disagree so he isn't talking to me either."
Back in the sheds one of the bales needs to be moved and both Alex and Nick arrive at the same time they stand looking at each other for a moment.
Alex moves and begins to undo the fasteners and move the bale.
It's heavy but easy enough for him.
Nick feels a pang of guilt and offers to help.
Alex snarls through gritted teeth "Piss off Nick you don't need my help and I sure as hell don't need yours."
"Grow up Alex." Nick retorts.
Alex stops what he's doing and stands tall "Grow up you say Nick! Perhaps you should do us all a favour and listen to your own advice."
"Well my advice works way better that yours does." Nick scowls.
"Yes that's right Nick thank you for reminding me. You're the smart son. The son that can do no wrong! Dependable Nick and his dependable brain." Alex growls.
Nick leads with "Oh give up, it's not my fault I was good at school! Maybe if you spent less time chasing women and more time studying you would have finished school."
"Bugger off Nick you had the easy run even with your accident. I was second best right from the word go."Alex yells at him then continues.
"Oh poor bloody Nick lets all feel sorry for him forever and a day. The accident happened half our lifetime ago Nick stop playing the bloody victim."
Nicks face turns red, lifting his shirt he yells "I'm not playing Alex I've got the scars!"
Alex glares at him and walks away.
As Alex walks passed Tess he softly says "I'm sorry Tess I'm just making things worse I'm going home. I'll come back later and get Stevie and the children."
Placing her hand on his arm she says "This isn't your fault Alex."
He smiles at her but continues outside.
"Get out of the shed Nick!"Tess yells.
"It's my bloody shed I'm staying put."He growls back at her.
"Fine you'll be shearing on your own then because if you don't leave I'll send everyone home and the bloody sheep can stay as they are."She yells back at him.
Folding his arms he says "I'm not leaving!"
"Time everyone! "Tess yells.
Everyone there is unsure what to do so for the moment they turn off the machines and head outside.
Tess tries to talk to Nick but he is being completely unreasonable and she's at a loss to understand why he's being so obstinate.
She's tried everything but it's like coming up against a brick wall.
Alex has been chatting to Meg when they notice everyone coming out of the shed.
Tess storms towards them and as she passes says "I've called time take your family home Alex! He won't get out of the shed."
Alex turns and walks back to the shed as he reaches Stevie she says "I think you need to talk to him Alex."
"No I've tried that Stevie and it just made it worse. Come on we're going home." He says defeated.
While they're talking Georgia has walked back into the shed and climbing up onto one of the full bales.
She sits with her arms wrapped around her bent knees and her head resting on them.
Nick is sweeping the floor and hasn't noticed she's there until she says "If you lived at my place you'd be on the naughty chair around about now for the tantrum you just tossed!"
He turns and looks up at her.
He doesn't reply but she notices the corners of his mouth turn up as if to smile.
She sits and waits awhile and he continues to sweep.
"You know I love you Uncle Nick but you've upset my Dad, Jakey and now Auntie Tess. The sheep aren't being shorn and everyone is feeling very uncomfortable. I know something is upsetting you but no one can help unless you tell us what it is..." She offers.
He continues sweeping but says nothing.
Alex appears at the doorway and looks at Nick and then Georgia.
"Come on Kitten it's time to go home."Alex states.
She jumps off the bale and begins to walk to the door.
"Georgia!" Nick calls.
She stops and turns around.
"Thank you."He offers.
She walks over to him, hugs him and says "I love you Uncle Nick."
Alex waits for her and as she moves passed he follows behind her.
Nick calls "Alex can I talk to you please."
Alex turns and says "What so you can abuse me again Nick. I don't think so. I took enough of that crap from Harry for three life times. "
Alex turns to walk out the door and Nick says "I've been getting more chest pains and shortness of breath."
Alex turns and says "Have you been to the Doctors? Does Tess know?"
"No and No."Nick states.
"Is that what all this crap is about? You bloody idiot Nick what in the hell are you doing you could drop dead!"Alex growls then says.
"Why push the limits that's just plain stupid Nick. You yelled at me for trying to take care of you and then you tell me this! You obviously want to die!"Alex growls at him.
"No I don't but I hate how it is. I can't work properly because of my leg and my heart it isn't right. It isn't fair..."His voice breaks as it trails off...
Alex looks at him and asks. "Did you ever stop to think that maybe that's why you got the brains Nick? I don't go around sooking because you're smarter than I am. It's a fact. I'm good with my hands and strong and that's a fact. Marcus got a bit of both lucky bugger. Between us and the girls we are ploughing along and making a real impact and earning loads of money as we go! In the next few years we'll expand the properties like we planned. Where we are now is because of your brains Nick and all of us working hard. What more do you want?'"
"I want to be fit and healthy!"Nick states.
"Well if you keep carrying on as you are you'll be dead Nick!"Alex growls then adds. "Your fit and healthy is different to mine and the sooner you accept that the sooner you'll find peace and so will the rest of us."
Both men stand silently deep within their own thoughts until Nick says "Georgia just told me if I lived at your place I'd be on the naughty chair by now for the tantrum I just tossed."
Alex grins at him.
"I'm really sorry Alex, Georgia was right, I was childish and mean."Nick says.
Alex says "That's what little brothers do Nick."
"I'm a grown man Alex."Nick offers.
"Till the day I die you'll be my little brother Nick and I'll look out for you."Alex says as he moves towards him.
He hugs Nick and says "When are you going to the hospital to get checked out?"
Nick looks at him and replies "After I apologize to everyone and beg Tess's forgiveness."
Alex grins and says "Can I watch you grovel? It's usually me that has to do this! It could be fun!"
Chuckling they move outside to the others.