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Bruce's birthday party was an enormous success. It was not apparent that Nick and Nicole had fought earlier in the day. They enjoyed their family and friends and invested their time on Bruce. The after party clean up went smoothly as Nick did the yard and Nicole did the kitchen. By the time the day ended they were both too tired to discuss anything.
Monday morning arrived and Nick awoke early. He made coffee and breakfast for Nicole and as she sat down at the table he said, "We need to talk."
Nicole looked at him and asked, "About what?"
"About me being the target of your anger and distrust. I have not done anything to deceive you and I don't really understand why you believe I have. I think there is something much deeper going on with you and it is just easiest to blame me."
"Okay," She responded.
"Okay? What is that supposed to mean?"
She looked at him and said, "I hear what you're saying. You're entitled to your opinion and okay. I know you don't think you've deceived me, but I think otherwise. I am still very hurt that you did not make it to the hospital when I was in labor. I don't believe the story you told. I suppose I have to get over that. I think that is where this anger is coming from. When I think about it; I get angry and of course you are the target of that anger."
"What can I do to prove anything to you?" Bruce asked. "Have I not been a good husband, father and provider since Bruce arrived?"
She looked above his head to the left and thought about his question. "I'm not sure you can do anything. I think it is all about me and the betrayal I felt that day. I just can't seem to let go." She stopped and looked at him. "I know you are a good father and husband; there are just times when I forget."
"Do you think it would be good for us to go talk to someone about it?" He suggested
She emphatically said, "No. I can handle this and will try to get better."
He said, "Okay, we can try it your way, but if I feel like I am being a target again I am going to insist that we do something."
"That's fair," she replied. "Will you be home tonight?"
"Yes," he said. "I'm working out of the office today and leave for Bismarck tomorrow."
Nicole greeted Nick at the door, "How was your trip? Did you get any new business?"
Surprised at how affectionate she was upon his return he replied, "It was a very successful trip. I finally landed the company I had been wooing for the past two years. When something like that happens it makes all of the unsuccessful trips disappear."
"Good!" She exclaimed. "I know how taxing all of this travel is on you and it is nice to hear you say something has finally paid off. Dinner should be ready in about an hour, why don't you go relax and hang out with Bruce?"
"Sounds good to me!"
The three of them dawdled at the table; Bruce in his high chair, smearing food all over his tray and himself, Nick and Nicole watching.
"Every time I go away and come back something has changed with him," Bruce said. "I feel like his childhood is flying by."
"I'm not sure you'd feel like that if you saw him every day," Nicole said. "Is there any possibility of you changing your job so that you travel less?"
"Not sure that will happen any time soon. Right now I am the strongest closer we have. But I can certainly talk to my boss about it. It would be nice to be able to devote more time to the family and still be able to service my clients. The only problem I see is that these clients like to see me to make sure they are still being taken care of."
"I understand," Nicole said. "Why don't you go give Bruce a bath and I will clean up."
The summer was drawing to a close and Nick’s travel schedule had slowed down. The Patterson’s managed to spend over a month together with Nick home every night. They had gotten into a routine wherein Nicole would spend the day with Bruce and when Nick got home he would give her at least an hour to herself and then they would have dinner. Nick giving Bruce his bath and reading him a bedtime story and Nicole cleaning up after dinner. Once Bruce was in bed the two of them would spend their evening together catching up on the day’s events or planning their future.
At the beginning of December Nick came home and could not find Nicole. The car was gone, Bruce wasn't home, and there was no note, nothing. He tried to remember if she had said she was going anywhere that day and couldn't.
Finally, around six thirty she pulled into the driveway. He met her at the car and asked, "Is everything okay?"
She smiled and said, "Yes, why wouldn't it be?"
"You weren't home when I got here and I couldn't remember you telling me that you were going anywhere today."
She laughed, "Silly, I told you I was going to see my parents today. We left right after you did this morning."
He shrugged it off, knowing she had never told him that. "Oh, how was the day?"
"It was really good. I miss the farm life. It just seems to be so much calmer and quieter. Things are based upon a clock, but rather on a routine."
"We have a routine," he replied.
"I know, but somehow it just doesn't feel the same."
That night when they were getting ready for bed Nicole said, "Oh! I almost forgot to tell you. I'm pregnant."