CHOICES

Premise: Dylan and Avery couldn't resist each other - if only for one night. They made love in the snowstorm on Valentine's Day in 2013 and now there are repercussions, mostly Avery's unexpected pregnancy. Who is the daddy though - Dylan or Nick? Who will she ultimately choose to spend her life with?

Please note: Dylan will be dealing with his PTSD issues in this story.


A – Accept

"Avery, why did you call me over here?" Nick asked as he walked into her apartment. Right away he stiffened as he spotted Dylan inside, standing awkwardly in the middle of the room. "What the hell are you doing here?" He barked at the other man.

"Same as you, I guess," Dylan said. "Avery called me and asked me to come."

"Well where is she?" Nick asked.

"Locked in the bathroom. She said she's not feeling well."

"Well neither am I," Nick said. The sight of Dylan made him sick. In his mind, he had taken advantage of Avery at a weak moment, while they were holed up in the snow storm three weeks ago. Avery had admitted that she had slept with Dylan the morning after and Nick had been doing everything he could to avoid them both since, knowing if he saw either of them he was going to explode. Right now he wanted to pummel Dylan so badly, it was unreal.

"The sight of you makes me sick," Nicholas reiterated as if Dylan didn't know what he meant.

Dylan sighed. "Look, Avery, is not feeling well, like I said. The least we can do is try not to make her feel worse."

"Avery is –"

"Right here," Avery said walking into the room. She looked pale and tired. Very tired. Nick didn't know why he cared though. She had screwed him over for the first and last time. He wanted nothing to do with her although the desperate, pleading, non-Avery-like message she had left him had peaked his curiosity enough for him to drop his work at The Underground and rush right over.

Dylan turned to look at Avery. "How are you feeling?"

"Like the room is spinning," Avery said, touching her forehead.

"Let me get you some ginger ale or a glass of water," Dylan offered. Avery looked at him with an appreciative smile but shook her head.

"I'm going to be fine. It's just … Guys, there is no easy way to say this. I could try to sugarcoat it somehow but I know once the sugar melted away, the bitterness would remain … What I am trying to say is that the night I made love to Dylan –"

Nick threw up a hand. "I do not want to hear this."

"You have to," Avery said. "Because this affects you too. The night Dylan and I were together, I hurt you both so much. I hurt you, Nick, because I betrayed your trust and I hurt you, Dylan, because I told you we could never be together again. Essentially, I abused both of your faith in me. And it's not going to get any easier, or any less complicated with what I have to tell you."

"Just spit it out," Nick snapped.

"I'm pregnant," Avery said, her voice shaky.

Nick felt the ground fall out beneath his feet. "Are you saying Dylan knocked you up?"

"That's not what I'm saying," Avery answered. Nick looked at Dylan and couldn't help but relish the pain in his eyes. "I am saying I was stupid and thoughtless and now I don't… Well, either one of you could be the father."

Nick growled and immediately threw back his arm, launching a fist at Dylan's too-pretty face. Dylan looked shocked as he grabbed his nose which was immediately leaking blood. "I don't want to fight, Nicholas," he snapped.

"Well we're going to. You did something truly disgusting and I want you to pay."

"Stop it!" Avery screamed as Nick went to punch Dylan again. Dylan responded this time by blocking the hit, grabbing Nick by the arm, and forcing him to the ground, his foot coming to rest on Nick's neck.

"What the –" Nick tried to buck underneath Dylan's foot but he was holding him steady. Dylan's blue eyes had taken on a crazed, faraway look. Nick didn't know what to make of it except to think that this man must be insane.

Avery pounded on Dylan's back. "Let go of him, Dylan. Let go!"

Dylan finally seemed to come out whatever trance he had been in and moved his foot from Nick's neck. He then had the audacity to offer Nick his hand to pull him up. Nick just shoved it away and then catapulted to his feet. He considered taking another swing at Dylan but resisted as he noticed the tears streaming down Avery's face.

"Please, you guys, stop it. Stop this pissing contest already! The truth is that one of you is going to be a father. As soon as it's safe to have an amniocentesis, I will let you both know who that is, but until then you need to try to accept each other in my life. I can't have you too at each other's necks constantly. So just stop it – for the sake of the baby if nothing else. Stress can't be good for him or her."

Nick waved his hand at Dylan. "I can play nice if he can."

"Ditto," Dylan replied.

"But let's make one thing clear, Avery," Nick said. "I am only hanging around because of this baby. You and I have nothing left after what you and he did. Can you accept that?"

Avery nodded slowly. "I have to…"

XoXoXo

B – Burden

"I've always wanted to be a father," Dylan admitted in a quiet voice as he brought Avery a warm cup of hot chocolate, placing it in her tiny ivory hands. He looked at her closely, observing the tear tracks on her face. She looked utterly miserable. Following her revelation that she was pregnant and didn't know which of the two men was the father; Nick had snapped out some nasty words and then stomped out. Dylan had stayed behind and tried to comfort her. He didn't exactly relish being in this position either because he knew it couldn't end well but at the same time, having the chance to be in Avery's life again, even in some small way, was everything.

Avery looked up at Dylan as he sat on the edge of the end table, watching her. "I know you did. I mean, you never exactly said the words to me but I – I knew. You'd be excellent at playing daddy too… Truthfully, there was a time when having a baby with you would have been the best thing to ever happen to me."

Dylan rubbed his cheek and looked away, not wanting to see the expression in her eyes, whatever it may be. "And now, it would be a burden, I guess," he said. "You love Nick and you don't want anyone or anything to mess that up."

Avery sighed loudly and took a small sip of her drink which Dylan saw from the periphery of his eye line. "I do love Nick, Dylan, so much. We – well, I assumed anyway - that we would have kids together one day. I didn't expect it to be like this. Not knowing if he's the father of this child or if you are. I have made a complete mess out of things."

"You didn't do it alone, Avery. You didn't make a mess of things all on your own."

"I should have had more control that night, Dylan," she said in a whispered voice. "But being so close to you again, having your hand on mine and your lips touching me, I couldn't stop. I couldn't say no."

Dylan finally turned to look at her. "I am so sorry that I took advantage of you."

"Nick thinks you did, maybe, but I don't. I think actually, that I took advantage of you. I took advantage of both of you. I feel horrible about it. I'm a horrible person, just like my sister has always said."

"Well, from what I remember of Phyllis, she's really in no position to point fingers," Dylan murmured. "We all make mistakes and you didn't take advantage of me because I wanted that – I wanted you – more than I ever wanted anyone. I still do."

"Dylan …"

"Even if this baby is not mine, Avery, it doesn't even matter." He watched her set down her mug and he reached for her hands, staring into her eyes earnestly. "Because I want to be in your life, no matter what. I want you. I always have, since the day we met."

"Dylan…" Avery sighed and a new tear slid down her pink cheek. She withdrew her hands from his grasp. "It's not that simple. I love Nick. I promised him that we would be together…"

"Maybe you promised him that because you didn't know that I was alive at the time. Now you do know it and you and me - we can have everything that we wanted so much before." He was desperate to make her see that they belonged together, that he was not even half of a man without her. His heart would be broken all over again if she sent him away; if she said that she no longer loved him. But he had to know. He had to know if that was the case so that he could stop wishing for things that might never be.

"Would you want that, Avery? Would you want a future with me, the one we could have had before?"

Avery looked away. "I don't know, Dylan - so much has changed since then. The only thing I do know for sure is that I need to think about my son or daughter. They need to be my first priority, my only priority really. Can you just – can you just –"

He knew what she meant. Even if she couldn't say it, he knew what she wanted to ask him. "Yeah. I can go." He grabbed his jacket off the back of a chair. He moved towards the door. "If you need anything…"

Avery nodded. "I'll call you if I do. I promise."

Dylan sighed and walked out of the loft, feeling that once again, he had lost her.