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I found an incredibly romantic song that I think is perfect for Nick and Nat. So I thought I'd try to write an N&N story to go with it.

A Love until the End of Time. Lee Holdridge/Carol Connors

I love you with a heart that knows no one but you, A love I never thought I'd find. A love that comes just once and never comes again, A love until the end of time.

I'd give you all the love I have in me to give, If I could only make you mine. I love you with a love I've never known before, A love until the end of Time.

I can't believe that you are not unreal, You're everything I wanted you to be. I always knew someday that I would find, A love like ours until the end of time.

I love you with a heart that knows no other love, A love I can't believe is mine. Now that I've found you, I will never let you go, From now until the end of time.

I can't believe that you are not unreal, You're everything I wanted you to be. I always knew someday that I would find, A love until the end of time.

A Love until the End of Time by NiteRose (Rosemary Beard) Copyright 1997

Natalie had waited a long time for this vacation. It was too bad that Nick couldn't get time off to join her, but their relationship wasn't going anywhere and maybe a separation was just what they needed. The Bahamas, with their sunshine and beaches and brilliant blue water, were a dream come true. Nat had never been there and a little time away from the morgue was just what the doctor ordered. Busily she set about packing what she would need for her trip. Fourteen days in the sun and surf would make a new woman of her, after all the old one was getting nowhere with Nick. Nat thought about Nick. He had known so many fascinating people. She was just a simple doctor, and a coroner at that. She dealt with death everyday. That tended to limit one's experiences. Among those people Nick had known were bound to have been many women. Did he love them? What made her think she could compete with any of them? She knew he had been married at least once. Did he still love his wife? Nat shook herself mentally. She needed to get back to the present. If she didn't hurry, she would miss her plane. Reaching for the phone, she called a cab. Grace had offered to drive her to the airport, but Nat declined. Grace was already keeping Sidney for her until she returned, that was enough. Looking around to make sure she didn't forget anything, she grabbed her cases and went down to meet the cab.

* * * *

Settling back into her seat for the long flight, Nat thought about her relationship with Nick. What did he really feel for her? She knew he cared about her, she had heard him say it often enough, but what did that mean? Did he care for her like a kid sister, just another being on the planet, someone he needed to protect, or was it more than that. She wished she knew for sure. Nat was lost in her thoughts and didn't realize she was being watched. A pair of eyes had been following her every move since she had left her apartment. Nat was brought out of her daydreams by the stewardess's voice announcing that the plane was starting its landing procedures. Touching the clasp on her seatbelt to assure herself that it was fastened securely, she braced herself for the landing. She hated the landings. They always made her feel as if she was falling from the sky. Nat wondered to herself, what would it be like to fly like Nick, without a plane. The thought frightened, yet intrigued her. The plane made a smooth landing and Nat breathed a sigh of relief. Undoing her seatbelt, she stood up and reached into the compartment above her head. Retrieving her overnight case, and carry on bag, she followed the rest of the passengers off the plane. The eyes followed her and a silent figure fell in line with the rest as the plane emptied of its charges.

* * * * *

Nat looked around the airport, trying to get her bearings. Slowly, pulling her cases behind her, she made her way through the crowds and out of the terminal. Nat walked over to the line of waiting taxis. One of the drivers, a fatherly looking man with a broad smile, hurried to help with her luggage. Natalie settled herself in the back seat of the cab and gave the driver the address of the cottage where she would be staying. All during the trip from the airport, the driver kept up a stream of friendly conversation, giving Nat a brief history of the island and pointing out items of special interest. Nat was polite but her mind was elsewhere. Taking in the scenery around her, she was overwhelmed with the variety of colors and sounds. This was very different from Toronto. Soon the cab reached its destination . Nat got out and reached into her handbag to get the key to the cottage. Two weeks rent for this small house had cost her dearly, but she had wanted to get away and rest. She payed the cabbie and added a generous tip, then turned and hurried up the path to the house. Just down the road, another car was making its way toward the house. Slowing to a stop, its passenger watched from the window as Natalie rushed up the path. Motioning to the driver to proceed, he settled back into his seat as the car sped away.

* * * * *

"Nick. Phone call for you, long distance." Schanke handed Nick the receiver. "Knight here." Nick said, as he lifted it to his ear. After hearing the voice on the other end, he asked "can you hold?" Schanke gave Nick a curious look, " This is about our case , isn't it?" he asked. "Listen Schank, it's private, okay?" "Sure, sure. Don't tell me anything. I'm just your partner." Don said, a little irritated. " I'll wait for you in the Caddie". Det.Schanke turned and walked away. Nick returned to the phone, " She's there? Good, give me the address." Hurriedly he wrote some numbers in his notebook. "Okay, thanks. Keep me informed." Nick hung up the phone. Smiling he turned and walked out of the door.

* * * * * * *

Nat woke the next morning feeling more rested than she had in a long while. She lay in bed listening to the bird song coming from the trees outside her window. In the background she could hear the sound of the ocean lapping at the shore. At home she usually woke to the sounds of traffic or the other tenants in her building, busy with their own lives. Nat stretched lazily. Normally she wouldn't have lain here so long, she would be up and rushing around to get ready for work. Nat lay there thinking about the people she worked with, average, normal people, with average, normal lives, and then there was Nick. Nick was like no one she had ever met. It was not just the fact he was a vampire. It was something else, something less tangible. She felt drawn to Nick, but she wasn't quite sure why. She lay there thinking of Nick and wishing he was here. "No", she told herself, "I'm not going to dwell on Nick, I'm here to have fun." Nat climbed out of bed and threw on a light satin robe over her nightgown. Padding across the carpet on bare feet, she headed to the kitchen and set about making herself some coffee. Taking the mug with her, she returned to the bedroom and walked out onto the balcony. Below her was a sea of bright colored tropical flowers. Nat breathed in the scent of them. Everything is so lovely here, she thought to herself, I could be very happy living here. A movement from below caught Nat's eye. Despite the glare of the sun, she managed to make out the figure of a man. He was jogging . As Nat stood watching him, he disappeared farther up the beach. She suddenly had the uneasy feeling that she had seen this man before. Nat stood staring down at the beach, trying to figure out where it could have been. He hadn't been on the island long, she was sure of that, he wasn't tanned. Nat slowly ticked off in her mind all the places she had been recently, yet she couldn't recall seeing him there. "Natalie Lambert", she said to herself, " this is ridiculous. You've been working with the police too long. If you are going to do this to every stranger you see, then you really DO need a vacation. " She turned and walked back into the bedroom.

Nat spent most of the morning walking around the island, seeing the sights and checking out the shops. She stopped for lunch in a small cafe and then headed back to her little cottage. That afternoon after a swim in the warm ocean she decided to catch up on a little reading. She had stopped and bought some books at one of the shops. This one was on the best seller list and was very highly rated. Nat seated herself in one of the comfortable chairs on the balcony. She liked it up here. She felt that she could almost see the whole island. Opening the book she started to read. Soon she became so absorbed in her novel that she failed to notice the figure on the beach looking up at her.

* * * * *

Nat looked at her watch. It was getting to be late afternoon and she was getting hungry. Placing the book in the chair, she got up and walked into the house. She went into the kitchen and fixed herself a light supper. She hated eating alone. "Maybe tomorrow", she said aloud, " I'll just go into town to one of the hotel restaurants. At least then I won't be alone." Nat was having second thoughts about coming here without Nick, she missed him. Looking around she spotted the phone. Picking up the receiver she dialed for the operator. What would she tell him? Having a lousy time, wish you were here? Nat quickly hung up the phone. She would have to stick to what she had decided on. They needed to be separated, if only for two weeks. Maybe Nick would begin to realize how much he came to depend on her. Maybe he would realize he needed her. " Maybe", she told herself, "you're was just wishing for the moon." Nat cleaned the dishes and went to bed.

* * * * *

Nat woke from a restless night's sleep. She kept dreaming of Nick. The dreams had all ended the same way. Nick disappeared and Nat was left searching for him. Rather than lingering in bed this morning, Nat decided that she would go for a walk on the beach, maybe it would help clear her head. Having no real interest in what she would wear, she pulled on a pair of cutoff jeans and a tee shirt. Searching through one of her cases she found her canvas shoes and a large floppy hat. Putting them on, she went down to the beach. Nat walked along thinking of Nick. No matter how much she tried to keep her mind off him, she always seemed to be thinking of him. "Will he ever feel that way about me ?" , she asked herself. Tears formed in Nat's eyes. She really wasn't sure it would ever happen. Nat continued walking aimlessly up the beach, stopping only occasionally to pick up a shell and throw it into the water. Soon she grew tired and returned to the cottage. She made herself a mug of coffee and went out on to the balcony. Looking down onto the beach, she sighted the jogger. He was loping along in the sand at a steady pace. " That's me", she thought, " always plodding along and never getting anywhere." Nat turned and went back into the house. She really didn't feel up to mingling with the other tourists today, so she decided not to go into town. She spent the day unpacking and puttering around the cottage. She finished the novel and started reading another. Yawning, more from boredom than exhaustion, she went to bed early and fell into a fitful sleep.

* * * * *

Nat was beginning to settle into a routine. Every morning she took her coffee onto the balcony and every morning the jogger came running up the beach. She'd stand there watching until he disappeared and then she'd returned to the house. This morning was no exception. Looking down, she spotted him and said to herself, "Here he comes again, right on time." This morning ,however, he seemed to know she was there. This morning he turned and waved to her. Startled by his action, Nat hurried back into the house. He couldn't have know she was there, she told herself, he must have been waving at someone else. But who? There was no one else on the beach. Nat's curiosity got the better of her and she quickly pulled on a pair of khaki shorts and a shirt. Grabbing her canvas shoes, she went down to the beach. Taking the stairs two at a time Nat ran out onto the beach. There was no one there. She looked in both directions, but saw nothing. Where did he go? He couldn't have just disappeared. Puzzled, she started back to the house. As she neared the stairs Nat heard someone call out, "Hello neighbor!" Nat turned around and found herself looking up into a pair of deep brown eyes. "Hi", he said, offering her his hand. " I'm Mark Butler. I'm renting the house just up the beach." He motioned in the direction of the other cottage. "Nice to meet you." Shaking his outstretched hand, she said " I'm Natalie Lambert." Nat's eyes traveled up and down her new neighbor. He was tall and athletic looking, with dark hair. Mark looked down at Nat. "I had hoped this house was still empty." he said, " Makes for a quiet vacation." "Well, I only got here a few days ago." she said, "if I promise to be very quiet, can I stay?" Mark was smiling. " I'll let you know, after I've given you a tour of the island" Nat looked up at him. She had only just met him, but she HAD come here to have fun, why not go with him? "Okay. Its a deal." Nat locked the cottage and the two walked up the beach to get Mark's car.

* * * * *

Nat put down her packages and opened the cottage door. Turning, she waved good bye to Mark. She had had a wonderful day. Mark had taken her to many little shops and then to lunch. They had seen some of the sights the island had to offer, and then gone to dinner. No one had noticed nor seemed to care how she was dressed. She needed a shower and some sleep. Mark was taking her sailing tomorrow. Nat took her packages to the bedroom and piled them on the floor. She walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Quickly she peeled off her shirt and shorts and stepped into the shower. Nat stood there for a long time, thinking about today as the warm water splashed over her. " I can't remember the last time I had so much fun", she said to herself." Nat stepped out of the shower and dried herself with a fluffy towel. Picking up her nightgown, she slipped it over her head and walked back into the bedroom. Nat went straight to the bed and climbed in. In a few minutes she was fast asleep.

* * * * *

" You did WHAT ? I'm coming down there, don't you make another move." Slamming down the phone, Nick turned to find Schanke staring at him in disbelief. "What is it Nick? What's wrong?" "Nothing. I can handle it." , Nick said, brushing his partner aside. " Nick, I'd like to help if I can. Remember me? I'm your partner?" Don was concerned. He seldom saw Nick this upset. Nick looked at Schanke. He was only trying to be a friend. " I'm sorry Schanke, I'm all right. Thanks anyway, but I can handle it." " Okay, but if you need me..." "Yea, thanks." Nick walked out to his car. Looking up he realized it would be light soon. There was nothing he could do until tonight. " Damn him", he muttered as he climbed into his car.

* * * * * * *

"He told her! Damn him, he told her." Nick was very angry now. How was he going explain it to Nat, IF she would even talk to him. This was something Nick had not anticipated. He never imagined that Mark would betray his confidence and tell Nat. "Well", thought Nick, " I can't do anything about it now. I just have to hope Nat will understand." Nick pulled the Caddie into the garage. All the way up to his apartment he mulled over in his mind what he would say. But how could he explain to Nat that he had only done it because he cared about her? How could he make her believe that he had meant it only for her good? Why did he always wind up hurting those he loved? Nick headed straight for the fridge. Taking out a bottle and opening it, he took a long drink. "This is going to be a long day", he said aloud. Going back to the fridge he grabbed another bottle and disappeared up the stairs.

* * * * *

Nat woke early and threw off the blankets. Mark was taking her sailing today and she wanted to be ready when he called for her. Nat made her way to the kitchen to get her mug of coffee. As she passed the front door she noticed something fastened to the outside glass. Opening the door, Nat removed a large envelope from the glass. She closed the door and walked to the kitchen. Nat had an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. Something was wrong. She sat down at the table and tore open the evelope. Inside was a letter addressed to her. As she read what was written there, her expression changed from concern to anger. "Of all the inconsiderate, underhanded........ Just exactly who does he think he is?" Nat was furious. Nick had hired someone to watch her. What did he think she was going to do? What gave him any right to do that? And Mark, he had known who she was all the time. How dare he play her for a fool! If he thought that she was going anywhere with HIM, well........ he could just go....... jump off his sailboat. She never wanted to see either of them again. Nat stormed around the kitchen, slamming anything that came into her hands. After breaking four coffee mugs, Nat stopped herself. Slowly she sank down into a chair, put her face into her hands and cried.

* * * * *

Mark walked up the path to Nat's cottage. Stopping just before he reached the stairs, he realized the envelope was gone. Nat had the letter, it was too late now to undo what was done. After pausing a moment, he climbed the stairs and knocked on the door. Nat was not answering. He knocked again. Finally the door opened and Nat stood there looking up at him. "What do you want?", Nat snapped. " I just wanted to say I'm sorry." "Sorry? Sorry for what? For lying, for making a fool out of me, or for telling me the truth?" "Nat", Mark started, " I don't know what to say, except I'm sorry. I was just doing my job. I never meant to........." Nat stopped him before he could finish. "Your job? And just what was your job? Making me look like some love starved teenager, or did Nick hire you to keep me from getting involved with someone else? He doesn't want me, but no one else is allowed to either, is that it? " "No, uh, I don't know, uh, I didn't ....." "Get out of here, just go! I don't want to see you around here again or I'll call the police. You can tell Nick that I don't want to see him again either. Now get out of here and leave me alone!" Nat fairly spat the words at him. She slammed the door, leaving Mark standing on the porch feeling very guilty. " Poor kid.", he said to himself as he walked away, "She must really love Nick" Mark returned to his cottage and packed his bags. He would return home on the next plane. He hadn't wanted this job in the first place, but Nick had "persuaded" him to take it. After meeting Natalie, he couldn't go through with it. It just wasn't right. He had to tell her what was happening. Let Nick do his own dirty work. He wanted no part of it. Mark loaded his cases in the car and drove off in the direction of the airport.

* * * * *

Nick walked into Stonetree's office, only to find him on the phone. Motioning for Nick to take a seat, he finished his conversation and hung up the phone. "What can I do for you Knight? Schanke tells me you're having personal problems." " Well Captain, I, uh, I really don't see..." "Look Knight, Schanke is your partner and he's worried about you, says you been getting some long distance calls that cause you to go off the deep end. Want to talk about it?", Stonetree asked, putting on his best fatherly demeanor. "No Captain, thanks. What I really need is to take some time off to get this worked out." "We're kinda behind here right now, and I could really use a few more men, but from what Schanke tells me, you're no good to me like you are. He says you're distracted and emotional. Maybe some time off would help. Okay. How many sick days you got coming?" " About 6 or 7 days worth.", Nick said, trying to remember how many he had used up for other things. He couldn't call them sick days, he never got sick. "Take some of them and get yourself straightened out." Stonetree got up from his chair and walked over to where Nick was sitting. Putting his hand on Nick's shoulder he said, "All right Detective, you're outta here. For the next few days, you're "sick". Now get out of here before I change my mind." "Thanks Cap. I really appreciate this.", Nick said, rising from the chair, "you won't regret this." Nick turned and walked to the door. "I hope not", said Stonetree, " I hate to be wrong". Nick arrived just before dawn. He'd have to go to the cottage he'd rented for Mark. Nick hurried up the path to the house. With lightning speed he managed to close all the storm shutters, he then let himself in and began covering the windows with the heaviest blankets he could find. " If only I could have left earlier", he thought to himself, "I'd have been able to talk to Nat right away." He'd tried calling but she wasn't answering the phone. Nick walked into the kitchen. On the floor he noticed the case of bottles he'd arranged to have delivered. He opened the box and took out one of the bottles. Taking it with him, he walked back over to the couch and stetched out. His long trip had been tiring. He needed to feed and he needed rest. As much as he hated the idea, talking to Nat would have to wait. Nick raised the bottle to his lips and drained its contents. He settled back on the couch and was soon in a deep sleep.

* * * * *

Nat followed the bellboy down the corridor. The hotel seemed large and overwhelming compared to her little house on the beach. She missed it already. She began having second thoughts. Maybe she should have stayed and faced Nick, let him know how she felt about what he had done. She could still change her mind and go back. "Here we are Miss Lambert", said the young man, turning the key in the lock. Nat followed him into the room. The bellboy put her cases down near the door and began giving her a tour. He intently pointed out all the features of the room and waited for her approval. Nat, however, was lost in her own thoughts and didn't hear him until he asked, "Is there anything wrong Miss Lambert?, uh, Miss Lambert?" "Oh, what?.... no, no nothing, I'm sorry." she replied, "My mind was elsewhere. Everything is fine. It's a lovely room. Thank you." The young man smiled to himself and after having received a generous tip, turned and let himself out of the room. Nat walked over to the window. Looking out she couldn't help wishing that she had stayed at the cottage. Angry or not, she loved him. He would be at the cottage tonight, but she would be here. * * * * * Nick woke right before sunset. "Just a few more minutes", he told himself. Getting up from the couch he paced the room, trying to compose some sort of apology. " I'll tell her I was concerned for her safety." he started, " With all the terrorist activities in the world, the bombings, the hostage taking, the...." Nick shook his head. He knew she wouldn't believe that. He had to think of something to say. Whenever he was with her, he couldn't tell her what he really wanted to say. The words just wouldn't come. "Maybe if I just go see her" , he thought, "maybe something will come to me." Nick walked to the window. He carefully pulled the edge of the blanket away from the window. Looking through the seams in the shutter, he could see that darkness had arrived. Nick charged over to the door and pulled it open. The sun had gone down, he could go see Nat. Slamming the door behind him, he flew down the beach to Nat's cottage. When he arrived, he found the house dark. Nick walked up to the door and knocked. No one answered. He checked the address that Mark had given him. This was the right cottage. Again he knocked on the door. Still no one answered. A car was coming down the path. Nick watched as it pulled close to the house. " Nat", he said, breathing a sigh of relief. But instead of Natalie getting out of the car, a middle aged, fatherly looking gentleman was coming up the path. Nick went down to meet him. "Is your name Nick?" , he asked, " I got a message for a fella named Nick." " That's me. What's the message? Is it from Natalie?" " Miss Lambert says I was to tell ya that you're wasting your time. She don't wanna see ya. Might as well go back. She won't talk to ya." "Where is she?", Nick demanded." I have to see her." "Won't do ya no good, she says to tell ya she don't wanna talk." the man replied," 'sides I don't know where she is. I drove her here from the airport the day she arrived, pretty little thing, well, anyway ,she called me this morning and tells me that there will be a man at her cottage tonight after sunset. Asks me if I'll deliver this message to him. That's all I know." Nick watched as the man returned to his car and drove away. " What am I going to do now", Nick wondered. "I have to see her. I have to explain." Nick looked out at the ocean. He thought about all the times he had left without word, just moved on. Suddenly he knew how those he'd left behind had felt. He knew something else too, he loved her. The thought that she didn't want to see him, or even talk to him had made him realize just exactly what she meant to him. He had to find her and make her listen to him.

* * * * * * *

Nat returned to her hotel room totally exhausted. She had spent the day with a group of irritable tourists who found fault with everything they saw or did. "This certainly isn't what I had in mind for a vacation.", she told herself, "I'd have gotten more rest if I had stayed in Toronto." Wearily she walked to the window and stared off in the direction of her island. Nick hadn't managed to find her yet. Had he even come ? Maybe he stayed in Toronto. Nat turned from the window. She hated it here. She wanted to be back in her little cottage, alone with her thoughts. "To hell with this", she said out loud, " I'm going back." Nat picked up her empty cases and threw them on the bed. She began shoving her clothes haphazardly into the open suitcases. She had to sit on them to get them shut, but she didn't care. She knew that her sanity would not hold if she had to spend another day on one of those tours. Picking up the phone, she dialed down to the front desk. "Can you send someone up for my bags? And, please, have my bill ready. I'm checking out."

* * * * * * *

Nick paced up and down the room. He had spent all night trying to find Nat. She couldn't have gone far, most of her things were still at the cottage. He had had no luck trying to "persuade" the dispatcher at the cab company. No one seemed to know which ferry she took or even what island she went to. "Damn", he growled. He picked up an empty bottle and flung it against the wall. "How could she just vanish?" Nick walked to the kitchen and picked up a full bottle. It had been a long, frustrating night and he needed to feed and rest. He knew that even if he slept he would get no rest, not until he found Nat. "How could I have been so stupid?", he asked himself. Nick raised the bottle to his lips and drank. He felt so alone, and so lost, as if part of himself was missing. Nick walked back into the living room and stretched out on the couch. He lay there thinking about all the women he had known before Nat. Sure, he had loved them, but not like this. Nat was special. She was the kind of woman that you searched for all your life. It had taken him several lifetimes to find her. Now she was gone, and he had been the one to drive her away. He knew he had to find her and tell her how he felt, no matter what the cost. He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep as one single, crystal tear rolled slowly down the side of his face.

* * * * * * *

Nat had arrived back at the cottage late in the afternoon. It was too late to make any plans for the evening so she decided to stay in and put a movie in the VCR. Nat sat down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn in her lap. Staring at the TV with unseeing eyes, she replayed in her mind the events of the last few days. She kept wording and rewording what she would say to Nick when she saw him. She'd tell him what she thought about his having her followed, how betrayed she'd felt, how angry she was. She'd make it clear to him that he had no right to do such a thing. She'd..... A noise from behind her brought Nat back to reality. Looking over her shoulder in the direction of the noise, she saw Nick standing there smiling down at her. Nat stood quickly, knocking the popcorn to the floor. "What are you doing here?" "I saw your lights on." Nick said quietly," I've been worried about you." "So turning on the lights becomes an open invitation?", Nat asked angrily. "I'll thank you kindly to please leave. I don't want you here." Nat said icily as she began picking up popcorn and returning it to the bowl. "I would have imagined Mark had told you that." "I'm sorry, Nat", Nick said as he walked over to help her. Nat looked up at him. "Sorry won't work this time Nick." She was hurt and angry. "You had no right." "I know, and I'm sorry. I was worried about your coming here alone. I only did it because I care about you." Nick started to explain. "Care?", Nat interupted. "You have me followed like a criminal because you care? I'm sick to death of hearing about how you care. Nick, you had no right. We are not married, we're not even lovers. You don't OWN me." Nick stood there looking as if he had had the wind knocked out of him. "You're right." he said sadly, "I don't." Nick turned and left as quickly as he had come. Nat stood there for a moment, too stunned to move. She hadn't expected him to give up so easily. She stood there looking at the empty place where he'd been standing only a few minutes before. * * * * * "I don't want you here!" The words echoed through Nick's mind. He never expected to hear that from Nat. The words had burned through him more painfully than anything he had ever experienced. How could he let her go? He didn't own her, but she was his, whether she knew it or not. He didn't want anyone else. He could almost hear LaCroix laughing, telling him that Natalie was only a mortal, and not worthy of Nick's concern. "Love is a mortal emotion." LaCroix would say, "We are above all that." Nick walked slowly down the beach to his cottage. He thought about the others he had loved and lost. "It's not going to happen again." he said out loud," I won't let it!" He was forming a plan in his mind to win Nat over. Suddenly he knew what he had to do. It wouldn't be easy, but he had to try. Nick turned and headed for town. It was late but he was sure he could get what he needed. Nick arrived at the florist shop just as the owner was locking up. Stepping in front of him, Nick asked him if he could reopen the shop, if only for a few minutes. The owner looked up at Nick, planning to explain that it was late and his wife would be waiting for him. His eyes met Nick's and in a few moments they were both in the shop. * * * * * Nat felt empty inside. She wished she could take back the words. "I don't want you here!" Why had she said that? It wasn't true, she did want him there. She had been angry. Nat remembered the hurt look on his face. She never meant to hurt him. She just lashed out, not thinking of what she was saying or the effect it would have. Nat turned off the TV, and walked into the bedroom. Slowly she moved toward the balcony. The stars were out and there was a large full moon shining. It was a beautiful, romantic night. Looking in the direction of the other cottage she whispered, "Nick, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. Please come back." Nat sighed and turned from the view. Walking across her bedroom, she lay down on the bed and tried to sleep. Thoughts of Nick raced through her mind. "If only he'd have come with me in the beginning.", she thought. "This never would have happened."

* * * * *

Nat woke before dawn with the erie feeling that someone was standing next to her bed. Slowly opening her eyes, she found the room empty. As she sat up in bed, her hand brushed across something lying on the blanket. It was too dark to see what it was, so she reached over and turned on the light. There on the bed was one perfect red rose. Tied to the long stem was a card that read, "Nick." Nat held the rose up to her cheek. It was lovely, but what did it mean. Was he moving on? Was he trying to tell her goodbye? She gently laid the rose on the table next to the bed and flung off the blanket. Nat sprang out of bed and hurriedly dressed. Grabing her hat and shoes she raced off in the direction of Nick's cottage. Running down the beach she reached the cottage. She nearly tripped trying to take the stairs up to the cottage two at a time. Breathlessly, she knocked on the door, no answer. She reached above the door where Mark had kept the key, and used it to let herself in. Looking around in the semi-darkness she realized that she was alone. Nick wasn't here. It was daylight, where was he? Nat walked into the kitchen and saw the box of now empty bottles. He had been here, but how long ago? Sadly she looked around the house one last time. He was gone, she'd told him that she didn't want him here and he'd left. Nat walked back into the living room. "It's your own fault." she said, "You told him to leave." Nat let herself out and closed the door behind her. Slowly she descended the stairs and walked back to her own cottage. Opening the door, she walked inside and sat on the couch. She looked around the room. Popcorn was still scattered across the floor. Absent-mindedly she kneeled down and began cleaning up the remnants of last night. In her mind she replayed the events of the night before. "You did the right thing." she told herself, "He was wrong, he had no right to have you followed. He doesn't own you." "Then why do I feel so hollow ?" she asked out loud. Nat put the bowl back on the table. "I'll just have to face it. He's gone, that's all there is to it. He moved on, he doesn't need me anymore." Nat stood up and walked to the kitchen. She began going through the motions of a normal day. She made herself some coffee and took the mug out onto the balcony. "I'll just start my vacation over again, put all this behind me." she said, matter of factly and sat down in one of the lounge chairs. A tear ran down her cheek, as she reached for the novel she had been reading.

* * * * *

Nat spent the day trying to keep herself busy. She didn't want to think about what it would be like to never see Nick again. It took her all afternoon to finish one chapter of the book. Her mind kept wandering back to Nick. "This is ridiculous.", she said, and put down the book. She stood up and stretched. Walking back into the house, she went to the kitchen and made herself a light supper. Taking it into the living room, she settled down on the couch and turned on the TV. Nat yawned. She had not slept well last night and it was catching up with her. Nat closed her eyes, and when she opened them again the movie had finished and it was dark in the cottage. She sat there for a minute, trying to remember where she was, when she heard a noise. It sounded like music, but where was it coming from? The TV screen was full of static. Nat reached for the remote control and turned the television off. The music was still there. Then she heard a man's voice. He was singing. Nat got up to investigate. The sound was coming from her bedroom. She cautiously moved toward the doorway. Looking around she saw only an empty room. Where was the sound coming from? Nat walked into the room. The music was outside. Walking towards the sound she reached the balcony. The sound was coming from the garden below. Nat walked out onto the balcony. She looked over the edge and saw Nick standing in the garden. Nick stood there looking up at the balcony. The moon shone on his face and Nat saw him smile. His eyes met hers and he began to sing. "I love you with a heart that knows no one but you, A love I never thought I'd find. A love that comes just once and never comes again, A love until the end of time. I'd give you all the love I have in me to give, If I could only make you mine. I love you with a love I've never known before, A love until the end of Time." Nat stood on the balcony with tears in her eyes. She'd only dreamed of hearing him say those words. Here he was singing of his love for her. In an instant he was standing next to her on the balcony. Taking her in his arms he gently kissed her tear stained face. " I love you Nat." he whispered. Nat reached up and put her arms around his neck. "I love you too Nick. I think I always have." Nick smiled and drew her closer. As their lips met he whispered," I'll always love you Nat. Until the end of time."

END