Hello everyone, welcome back! Here's the second chapter, which I actually wasn't sure I was going to use, but I ended up rather liking it. Let me know what you think, I personally believe it'll end up in a direction people will love. Hopefully.

Read, review, and enjoy!

"Whatever it was, we didn't do it this time"

Nico had to smile slightly at the guilty statement; well aware that he looked the part of the intimidating head of security they were used to. He hadn't planned on coming around with that specific image in mind, but if it got Lindsay and Ray Jay to keep a lid on their sarcastic remarks, he was more than willing to use it to his advantage. He motioned to the empty chairs on the other side of his table, disposable coffee cups for each of them waiting. Lindsay was more cautious than Ray Jay, who sat down swiftly, taking a sip of the latte Nico had gotten him. He sighed quietly as he sipped his drink, his eyes flickering between his sister and the head of security. His sister finally sat beside him and reached a hand out to pull her cup closer, not making a move to drink the warm liquid.

"You know, I really hate-"

"Coffee in any and all forms? Yes, I'm aware. That's why it's actually caramel hot chocolate Ms. Santino. I am not trying to be a burden in either of your lives, I simply just wanted to…run something by the two of you" he finished off only slightly uncomfortable, taking a sip of his Café Americano as he waited for the information to sink in a bit. Ray Jay just looked baffled, while Lindsay finally took a taste of her drink before really acknowledging him.

"Do we at least get to know something about you before we have this 'talk'" she said, putting air quotes around the word talk as she looked challengingly at him.

"If I can call both of you by your first names, we have a deal" he said, leaning back as both Santino children sat forward, looking eager as he made a motion with his hand to give them the go-ahead. Ray Jay was quicker than Lindsay with his curiosity.

"What's your name anyway, like your real name? And why did you text us to meet you here?" he questioned, motioning at the nearly empty Starbucks in the afternoon on a Friday. Nico waited a second, watching as the siblings looked form one to the other, Lindsay nodding her agreement as she held her drink closer to her chest, leaning back waiting for his answer. They were too much like their mother for their own good, and possibly for his as well.

"I'm Nico Careles, and no Nico isn't short for anything. I had the both of you meet me here because I have a…problem, and I think the two of you would be the most helpful to me" Lindsay looked at him for a second, regarding him with a calculating gaze as Ray Jay once again spoke up.

"Alright, fair enough. The only reason we would be the most helpful before anyone else would have to be because it has something to do with mom. What is it that you need help with when it comes to mom anyhow?" Lindsay looked at her brother in shock, envying the fact that he'd read and retained some information from their mother's psychology textbooks. She looked at Nico head on, watching, as he looked at Ray Jay with confidence, unafraid to meet his stare and be completely honest.

"You are very perceptive young adults, I respect that. To honor my end of the deal, the reason you're here is to advise me on whether or not it would be a good idea to be honest with your mother. On a personal matter"

"A personal matter? If that's all we're getting, you really don't have a snowball's chance in hell of doing anything" Ray Jay threw back, smirking as Nico just tilted his head to the side before finishing off his coffee in silence. He was aware that he was making both Lindsay and Ray Jay uncomfortable with his quietness, but he had to find a way to phrase what he wanted to say in a way they would understand.

"I am well aware that neither of you regarded Mr. Donnelly with any sort of respect when you first were made aware of their relationship," he said, raising his hand to silence the outbursts he was sure were just barely being held at bay, "but that isn't what this is about. Your mother and I have only a working relationship, but I do care for her deeply, more so than I have for anyone in quite some time. That being said, I wanted to know that both of your opinions on the matter are most important aside from your mothers. If either of you are uncomfortable with my feelings for your mother, I will forget we ever had this meeting"

Nico waited, watching the way Lindsay put her cup down on the table slowly, disbelief and amazement clearly written on her face. The combination of the two emotions baffled Nico if he were being completely honest. Ray Jay's feelings were a bit more predictable. He looked smug and sat back, crossing his arms in front of him as he slowly smiled.

"I knew it had to be something like this. What I can't seem to get is why you wanted to talk to us about it. Seriously, if you wanna date mom, most guys would just ask her out" Ray Jay pointed out, and Nico just looked at Lindsay who gave her brother an exasperated glare before she turned to Nico.


Both men turned towards her, Ray Jay confused while Nico was intrigued. He knew what it was that she was asking, but if she couldn't verbalize it, it meant that he didn't have to put his heart on the line for them to do with as they please. He didn't think that Dani had raised her children to be cruel, but he knew that loyalty to family brought out the protective side in most people.

"Why what Linds? I just asked why he didn't just ask mom out-"

"Not that you dope. I meant, why do you have feelings for her? Why is she so important to you that'd you'd risk coming to us of all people? We could make or break the nonexistent relationship you'd have, so why jeopardize that?"

Nico nodded his head slightly, acknowledging the fact that she was putting all of her cards on the table with that question alone. She couldn't take it back now, not when she honestly wanted to know his answer. He knew she was her mother's daughter, no matter how much she wanted to shed the comparison; she was just as protective and curious, and he had always had problems being secretive to those brown eyes they shared. He took a breath and locked eyes with Ray Jay momentarily before settling his eyes on Lindsay, watching the way she seemed to settle under his gaze comfortably. There was definitely that strong willed streak Dani's side of the family seemed to share.

"Why do I care for her? Think about the most intense relationship you've had with the opposite sex. Now, magnify those feelings by at least 50. Then, imagine being labeled a protector of the person you have come to, as some say, love or care for, and then watch them love someone else. It can break a weaker person, but I chose to remain a friend that your mother has come to count on in her times of need. That's been enough until now"

"What changed?" Ray Jay blurted out; looking enthralled with ever word that came out of Nico's mouth. His sister seemed to stay suspicious, but her demeanor suggested she believed him the longer he spoke. He smiled at looked at Lindsay again, addressing her specifically.

"Remember that fish that died last month?" he got an affirming nod, so he continued, "the same night your mother mourned the loss of your fish, I came by to inform her that something important to her had been retrieved. I can't tell you what, but just that she was relieved. It was then that I told her that I too had lost a friend that night, a friend that had saved my life when no one else could. I was unraveling and she anchored me, keeping me from getting lost in my thoughts. She saved me that night, and the lines blurred enough to let something spark between us" he finished, not telling them explicitly, but it was enough. He waited for them to bombard him with a million questions, but they stayed silent as he looked down at the table, waiting for a sign that they were no longer in shock.

"So, what are you asking us exactly? Do you want us to be okay that you like her or that you want to try to date her?" Ray Jay questioned, and Lindsay's hand shot out to slap his bicep, mumbling an insult as she gave him a glare.

"He's trying to ask if it's okay that he wants to be around our family in the long run, right? This isn't some fling, it's the real thing for you huh?" she questioned hesitantly, chewing on her lip as she waited for his answer.

"To answer your questions, it is the real thing for me. I've never cared for someone like your mother and I honestly think she'd make me a better man if we ever had the chance" the silence he got in return was deafening, but was once again broken by the oldest Santino.

"Dude, that's deep. Can you teach me stuff like that?"

Nico smiled, the chuckle threatening to escape as he watched Lindsay groan and slap a hand to her forehead in embarrassment. He hadn't expected them to be as understanding as they were, and it made him let his mask slip a little bit.

"Why don't we see if your mother agrees on the depth of my words first? I've been avoiding her as of late-"

"Oh my god, you're that guy!" Nico tilted his head to the side in question, making Lindsay turn red as Ray Jay finally connected the dots himself. He grinned in triumph but stayed mercifully silent as Lindsay tried to backtrack.

"Not that she talks about you a lot, but you know, she kinda does. Especially when she's woken up in the middle of the night, but usually she's got this goofy smile…I'm not helping any, am I" she asked timidly, fiddling with her empty cup as her guilty gaze met his amused one.

"I'm not here to judge either of you. I honestly just want to pursue a romantic relationship with your mother. I genuinely enjoy what I've witnessed of both of you today, and this will be the impression I have of you until you decide to change that. Call it starting off on the right foot, but I do honestly want you to come to me if you need anything. I'm not here just for Dani, I'd like to be here for you both s well, but you can decide on that at a later date" he said, getting up and putting his coat on as both Santino children scrambled to do the same. They figured that he was done with the conversation, but when he paused outside the door in the cold wind, his gaze seemed to ask them to make a choice of some sort.

"Well, Linds and I have to get home so…we'll see you later Nico?" Ray Jay asked awkwardly, testing out the name and nodding in satisfaction. He could see Lindsay worrying her lip as she looked between both of them again, her mind having seemed to come to a decision in that very moment.

"Actually Ray Jay, I think I'm gonna see if Nico can give me a ride home. Don't you have a football dinner in," she looked down at her cellphone, "like, an hour? That stuff's like team bonding or something, right?"

"Oh crap! Nico, it'd be a total life saver if Linds-"

"It's no problem, go to your dinner. I know how important those tend to be, especially in high school" Lindsay and Ray Jay looked at him as he smiled secretively before turning away from them, heading towards his car.

"You think he actually played?" Lindsay just shook her head, shoving her shoulder into her brother's as she jogged to catch up with Nico. She dropped her bag onto the floor of the front seat as she climbed in, thankful that he'd had the foresight to turn on the heater. She buckled her seatbelt as he pulled out of the parking lot, heading for the highway in silence as she turned to look at Nico head on.

"So, you are going to tell mom you love her when we get home, right?"

Was it worth it? I hope so, I actually like it a lot.