Nick is finding it hard to concentrate on his work. He's been staring at the same sheet of paper for half an hour and he still doesn't know the circumstances surrounding Janet Stevens eviction from her apartment of forty years. When there's a knock on the door and Laurie puts her head round, the smile Nick gives her is genuine, fueled by relief of having something different to concentrate on.
"Laurie, how was your vacation?"
"It rained all the time, but, just being away from work and with old friends was good enough."
" It's the chance you take when you go to Oregon. What can I do for you Laurie?"
"I come with sad news Nick. Betsy Fortunato died last night. The girl who shot her Mother and had..."
"...Huntington disease, I remember. The last time I visited her, she didn't know who I was and she'd forgotten she'd had a baby. Usually she always asked after her daughter. I'd probably never seen her happier."
"I didn't realise you kept in touch."
"I just saw now and then. In fact the hospital just called me half and hour ago, I'm still assigned as her Guardian."
"Of course. We see some tragic stories."
Nick gives a deep sigh.
"We certainly do."
"I'll let you know when the funeral is."
Laurie stands up and Nick looks up at her.
"Thank Laurie, it's good to have you back."
Nick raises his hand in parting. As Lauri exits the door she bumps in to Lulu.
"Oh Lulu, sorry. How are you doing? Hope you are well?"
"I'm doing good Laurie, how was your holiday?"
"It was great seeing family. See you later."
Lulu then enters Nick's office.
"Hi Nick. How are you."
Lulu knew he wasn't fine but didn't expect any other answer.
"I was thinking Nick, why don't you have dinner when you come pick up Anne? I'm not busy tonight and I feel like cooking. Unless you have other plans."
"No I don't have other plans. The last time you invited me to dinner, you dropped a bombshell."
"I promise, no bombshells, it's just dinner."
When Lulu left, Nick took out his phone but there were no messages from Jenny. He decides to give her the weekend, since he's busy with Anne and if she has contacted him, he will get in touch as he has a right to know what happened.
Lulu welcomes Nick in to the house, he really doesn't feel like being sociable with anyone and has regretted accepting the invitation all afternoon, but he had and it was kind of Lulu to invite him. He'd expected her to still be mad at him because to the Chicago business, but, she'd really surprised him by how quickly she had gotten over it. Anne's face lights up at the sight of her Daddy and he takes her in to his arms and smothers her with kisses. He sits down on the couch and places Anne on his lap, she tries to wiggle off and is reaching for a book on the side table.
"Let Daddy get it for you."
Nick picks up the book and Anne settles down in his lap, looking up at him and giving him a big smile before turning her attention to the book. Nick feels tears prick his eyes at the pure love in her expression. It still amazed him that there is someone on the planet who loves him, and accepts him and is patient with most of his weaknesses, and quickly forgives him for the rest. Having Anne is something in his life he will never regret. He knows that having Anne this weekend will be the best remedy for him. By the end of the fifth reading of the book, Lulu pops in to announce that dinner is ready. Nick's surprised when he's led into the dining room instead of the kitchen. He can tell that Lulu has made an effort with the table, everything is gleaming and there are candles flickering a center pieces. For the first time he realises that Lulu has changed since she came home from work and is wearing a dress.
"You didn't need to go to all this effort for me Lulu."
"I wanted to Nick. I know it was unfair of me to contemplate taking Anne to Chicago away from you and I want to make it up to you."
"There's no need."
"Well it makes me feel better so, settle Anne in her high chair and sit down, I'll bring in the food."
The meal was delicious, Lulu really was a talented cook. She'd even cooked his favourite recipe of hers - a vegetable Lasagna that was to die for. He pushed his plate away after seconds, feeling full.
"That was amazing Lulu, you may not have needed to cook me a meal, but I'm glad you did."
Lulu beamed at the compliment, showing off her dimple that always drove him crazy to full effect. He realised it's been a long time since she smiled at him like that.
"It was my pleasure."
She gives Nick a thoughtful look.
"You can tell me it's none of my business, but, is everything alright? You seem a little down this evening."
Nick almost tells her about Jenny but decides it's too painful to talk about, so he covers.
"I'm fine, a client died today."
"I'm sorry Nick, did I know her?"
"I don't think so, I had her case when Brian had that patient die on him, so you were busy with that. She shot her Mother who was ill with Huntington disease and then found out she had it herself. She put her baby up for adoption, who thankfully is clear of the disease."
"I think I remember something about it...If you want you can stay here tonight rather than go home to your empty house, you know...if you don't feel like being alone. We can have a drink and talk...or something..."