G – Gone

The DNA results are in! Meet me at the lab ASAP. Plz!

Avery texted Dylan and then Nick before slumping down into her chair at the office. She needed a minute or hell, a year even, to try to catch her bearings but she knew that she didn't have that luxury. The lab had just called; it was time to face the music, pay the piper, whatever… All those horrible clichés were running through her mind as she stared at her phone blankly.

Today she would know the identity of her baby's biological father and she was worried that no matter who called himself "Daddy", at the end of the day, lives would be destroyed, people would be hurt. Worst of all, she was worried that her baby would have to suffer for all of the idiotic choices she had made of late.

She was soon receiving nearly simultaneous replies. Nick's text message said simply "Ok" while Dylan's said "I'll b there. Don't worry - everything will be OK."She hoped Dylan was right about this. Whatever happened today would change lives, destines, even.

She tucked her cell phone into her purse and then forced herself to her feet. She felt tired and nauseous but there was no delaying the inevitable anymore. It was time for her to face the truth.

XoXoXo

Avery arrived at the lab first and went to pick up the results at the front desk. They were enclosed in a simple manila folder. Her patient number and initials were printed ever so discreetly on the front. She wanted to rip the envelope open right then and there just to get it over with but she had promised that she would give the men the news at the same time. God willing, neither of them killed the other based on what the results revealed.

She took to pacing the waiting room and time seemed to pass so quickly and yet not quite quickly enough as she walked around in frenzied circles.

Dylan arrived soon enough. He offered her a small wave and then a hug to go with it. She wanted to cling to him but she didn't dare. Especially because she saw Nick approaching then.

"Well?" Nick immediately asked. His voice and body language conveyed how unhappy he was to see the two of them together - again. "Let's get this over with now, okay?"

"Nick –" Avery started.

Nick held up a hand to stop her. "I don't want to hear any more excuses or justifications for what you did. Just tell me the truth, Avery. I think you owe me that much."

Dylan glared at Nick. "Settle down, Nick," he warned.

Nick just glared back at Dylan as Avery sighed. "Let's go into one of the empty rooms over there," Avery said, pointing across the way. The men nodded and followed after her.

Avery walked inside and took a deep breath. "Guys, please just let me say one thing. I'm truly sorry for putting you both in a situation like this. If I could take it all back –"

"Would you take it back, Avery?" Nick asked darkly. "Because I think you enjoyed sleeping with this guy. Maybe you just like having two guys jockeying for your attention."

"Nicholas –"

Dylan shot him another incredibly cold look. Nick just rolled his eyes. "Open the envelope, Avery," Nick said.

Avery nodded and her fingers felt thick and clumsy as she worked at the prongs on the envelope. Finally, she was sliding the paper free from its protective cover. She looked at both men for a moment. Both men who she now realized that she loved in entirely different ways.

"Nick, Dylan," she said. "Uh, are you both ready?"

Dylan nodded while Nick tapped his foot impatiently. Avery took a deep breath, scanning the page. Tears popped into her eyes as she read the name printed on the paper. She couldn't bring herself to look at Dylan. All she could say was, "Dylan, I- I'm sorry." She turned to face Nicholas instead and handed him the paper with a shaking hand. He practically tore it from her grasp, reading it over.

"I'm the father," Nick pronounced. "How accurate is this?"

"There is a 99.899 percent accuracy rating. There's no mistake," Avery said, looking at Nick as tears rolled down her face. She still could not yet face Dylan. She didn't want to have to see the hurt in his beautiful blue eyes. She also couldn't face the fact that she had wanted him to be her baby's father more than anything and he wasn't. It all hurt too much.

"Well," Nick said. "I am actually glad. This baby will be better off with me as their father than him- some guy with no family, connections, influence …"

Avery shook her head at Nick. "None of that matters, Nicholas. Besides, Dylan will still be a part of the baby's life because he is always going to be a part of mine." She sighed and finally turned to look at Dylan. "Dylan, I need to-" Her voice trailed off when she noticed that she and Nick were now alone in the room.

Dylan was gone.

- A/N: I know, I know. Everyone wanted Dylan to be the daddy but I can only say that this is how I envisioned the story all along and I can't betray my muse. Plus, I am building to something good. While Nick is definitely staying the baby daddy, Dylan is the love of Avery's life. That carries some serious weight. Now lemme have it! lol