Linz woke up slowly to find Nick had drifted to the other side of the bed.
"Nicky baby." Linz went closer to him rubbing his chest from behind.
"Huh?" He turned around to kiss her.
"What's wrong you're all the way over here while I'm all alone over there?"
"I'm sorry honey. How can I make it up to you?"
"Do you really hafta ask?" Linz grinned evilly.
Nick started to kiss her passionately.
"Wait Nick. I have to talk to you about something."
"Baby come on. Can't it wait?" Nick kissed her neck.
"Oh yes it can," Linz gave in and kissed Nick.
She would talk to him about it in the morning. He didn't need to know anyway, she assured herself.
Kevin knocked on Kati's door. He knew it was early but this was really important.
"What?" A groggy Kati answered the door in a not so cheery mood.
"I need to talk." Kevin let himself in.
"Please come in," Kati said sarcastically as she closed the door and sat down.
"Seriously Kati. Linz's doin' it again," Kevin said worriedly.
"Kevin! Linz and Nick do it every night!" Kati exclaimed.
"No. No that do it. She's dealin' again," Kevin explained.
"You make it sound like it's a bad thing," Kati joked.
"Kevin, Linz wouldn't do that again. She hated what happened. Why would she want to. She has money up the wazoo."
"Kati? You're forgetting one little thing."
"She's a McLean."
"Oh, yeah. Then she's probably doing it again."
Linz kissed Nick goodbye. She had to leave early that morning for dance practice. He kept sleeping as she got dressed and got her stuff together. She was sneaking out the door.
"Where are you going?"
"Remember I have dance practice."
"Oh yeah. Have fun."
"I love you baby."
"I love you too."
Linz walked out the door and through the house to her car outside. She felt bad about leaving Nick early but she had a job and she would see him that night.
AJ stumbled over to his door to see Kevin and Kati.
"Kevin? Kati?" AJ rubbed his eyes. "What's goin' on?"
"We need to talk to you."
"Can we come in?"
"Uh," AJ looked around. "Yeah. No one's here. Come in."
"It's about Linz."
"What about her?" AJ looked up when hearing his sister's name.
"We think she's dealing again."
"Why do you think that?"
"She's always gone."
"She's come into a lot of money."
"That means nothing. You two are just way too white."
"We didn't want to bring this up but..." Kati looked down as she pulled out some crack.
"Oh G-d." AJ put his hands in his head.
"I found it when some of her clothes got mixed up with mine."
"I can't believe her! Are you sure it's hers?" AJ looked up with hopeful eyes.
"I don't know. Linz's the only one who would..."
"Why are you guys talking about Linz?" Nick walked into the room.
"1 & 2 & 3 4 5 & 6 7 8. You got it?" Linz asked the other dancers.
She was teaching them the dance for a performance. Nick, AJ, Kati, and Kevin walked into the room. Linz waved to them, but they oddly didn't wave back. Maybe they thought she aws busy, she thought.
"Then take the cane and flip it?"
"Just kind get the momentum and flip it over your hand."
"You'll get it when we do the dance." Linz looked over at her friends. "Everyone take a 5 minute break."
All the dancers left to get some water. Linz walked unexpectingly over to her friends.
"Hey guys. Hey baby." Linz stroked Nick's hair but he pulled away. "What's wrong?"
"This is what's wrong," AJ said as he pulled out the bag.
"What? What is it?"
"What is it?! It's crack! Your crack!" Nick grabbed Linz's arms.
"Stop it Nick. You're hurting me." Linz squirmed away. "I didn't do it. I don't do that anymore."
"But we found it with your stuff," Kevin argued.
"You guys seriously think I would do this...again?"
There was an awkward silence.
"I can't believe this." Linz walked off.
"Linz! Wait!" Nick ran after her and touched her shoulder.
"Don't touch me." Linz threw her hand back and ran off to her car.
"Everything's fitting in perfectly," Kelly said over the phone.
"Already did it."
"Well you're faster than I thought. I'll have to 'congratulate' you when I get out of this dump."
"Do you want me to find the..."
"Yes," Kelly cut off. "Fine and lead her to Nick."
"I'll deal with her."
Linz sped home in her Miata. She couldn't believe they thought that crack was hers. She had just finished that shit and they went off blaming her. "Fuck them! Fuck them all. I don't need them," she thought. "Especially Nick!"
Nick. How could he think that ? He went through the separation process with her!
She pulled her car into the apartment building garage and took the elevator up to her room. Room 1013. Home sweet home. She opened the door to her lonely 2 bedroom apt. Lonely was all she thought. She checked her messages. Nick had already called her and so had AJ. Third message Kati. Nothing important. She deleted them all and flipped the TV on.
BSB interview. Changed the channel. TRL. Changed the changel. Some bad scary movie...that she and Nick had watched before. Linz turned off the TV. Lunch...it was only 10:30.
Linz ripped out her cell phone as it rang.
"Well don't you sound depressed."
"Sarra thank G-d it's you."
"What am I being dragged into now?"
"Who called who again?"
"I'm joking. Something must be really wrong."
"It's not important. What'd you call about?"
"Just checkin' in. Hey aren't you supposed to be at dance?"
"I got fired."
"So that's what's wrong."
"Nowhere close. Someone's on the other line. Bye."
"Bye," Sarra said. "Talk to you later."
Linz switched over.
"Howie, listen, I got to go."
"Where? You got fired." Howie's words rang through the phone. "Listen Linzey, I'm like your best guy friend, if something happened tell me."
"They said they found the crack in my stuff but I didn't do it."
"I'm sorry," Howie said as he heard Linz crying on the other side. "How about I come over there and we can talk. I'll bring Chinese food. Juicy lemon chicken." Howie tried to cheer her up with a bribe. Lemon chicken was her favorite.
"Howie? Would you really do that for me?" Linz sounded surprised.
"Of course," Howie reassured. "I'll be over in a few."
The two friends hung up. Howie rushed out of the house and Linz turned the TV back on.
Nick lay on his bed. Everything was so perfect last night and now he was in his room alone with the lights off. Kevin came into his room and sat down next to him.
"I'm sorry, but you had the right to know."
"You really are sure she did it?"
"Who else would it be?" Kevin asked. "A.J. also said she pulls that for empathy."
"I wish it wasn't true," Nick moaned.
"Did she call back yet?"
"I'm sorry, man."
Howie rang his doorbell with his one free finger. Linz opened her door slowly and she saw him struggling with the boxes and helped him immediately.
"How are you?"
"Ok, I guess. At least for someone in my shoes."
"How about you?"
"Confused to say the least."
They talked until seven that night. After everything was explained Howie had comforted her for a long while. He suggested to her what to do. He had even got a smile or two out of her.
"Are you sure you don't wanna come back with me?"
"Yeah." Linz looked around. "I'll stay here for t'night."
"Okay. Call me in the morning."
"We could go over there," Kevin suggested.
"Maybe I will a little later." Nick turned his head towards the window.
They had been talking too. Suddenly A.J. burst into the rom.
"You son of a bitch," A.J. directed towards Nick.
"Howie just said that he was over talking to Linzey and she was crying. You hurt her you bastard. I knew I should never have trusted you!"
"A.J., stop it!" Kevin got up and stood between A.J. and Nick. "Nick's been in here all day, does it look like he's having fun? Linz is the one who did something wrong."
"What did you just say?" A.J. changed his focus to Kevin now.
Suddenly they heard a voice coming from outside the door. A.J. went over to the door quietly. There was their new maid.
"Yeah, they're all fighting. It's perfect."
A.J. practically picked him up and threw him against the wall.
"What do you know?"
"I'm not telling you."
"What do you know?" A.J. repeated as he took out Linz's gun.
"I planted the crack in Linzey's clothes, but only because she told me to do it." The maid cringed.
"Kelly Sevin. She said Linzey would pay for what she did. I'm sorry. Please don't kill me."
"Hello? I need the police here. There's an intruder in the house....Alexander McLean....4901 Pandora Drive....Thank you." A.J. hung up the phone as quickly as he had picked it up.
"I can't believe this! I hafta go see Linz." Nick started to get up.
"Stay here until the police take him awway, she'll still be there."
Linz went to her liquor cabinet with the specific purpose of getting drunk. At least she could get it off of her mind for awhile. Sparkling wine from France. The one she was gonna save for their anniversary. Oh well it's not like they were gonna hvae an anniversary anyway. She took it out and started to drink it.
Nick went out the door without saying goodbye to anyone.
"Wait Nick. Listen, I'm sorry I lost it with you," A.J. apologized. "Let me come with you."
"I don't know."
"Ok, but if we start..."
"I'll know when to leave."
A.J. got into the car, and Nick sped off.
Back at Linzey's apt., she had fallen asleep. Partially because of the wine and partially because of the day's events. Ryan slipeed into her unlocked apt. and grinned evilly. "Sleeping like a baby. A baby with 3rd degree burns, that is." Ryan pulled out some matches and the liquid fire can. Before 5 minutes was up the apt. room was burning fast and Ryan slipped out as fast as he had slipped in.
10 minutes later, Nick knocked on the hot door. He made an odd face at A.J. and opened the door to see a large fire surrounding the main room and a body. A body on the couch. Linzey's body.
"Holy shit!" Nick heard A.J. say.
"Give me your shirt," Nick commanded to A.J.
"Nick, I don't think this is the best time to be experimenting."
"Shut up and give it to me." Nick's eyes lit up.
A.J. took his shirt off and gave it to him. Nick put it over his mouth and went into the apt. A.J. called 911.
Nick ran through the hot firea nd over to the unconscious Linz. Was she dead? he thought as he picked up her limp body and brought her out of the fire. He laid her down carefully and felt for life signs. She wasn't breathing.
"Fuck," Nick said as he started CPR He breathed her air and pumped her chest. Linz gasped for air.
"Linz? Can you hear me?" Nick asked. "Are you okay?"
"What's going on?" Linz groaned. "Your apt. caught on fire, honey." Nick pushed some hair out of her face.
"Did you come back to yell at me?" Linz turned sour.
"No the maid was paid to plant it in your things. Kelly was behind it." Nick looked away from her. "Baby, I'm so sorry. I just didn't want to lose you to drugs. Can you forgive me, sweetie?"
"How could I not forgive you?" Linz smiled up at Nick.
"I'm sorry too, Linz," A.J. mumbled.
"It's ok." Linz managed another smile.
"Where's the fire?"
"In there." Nick turned around to the firemen.
"Turn it on," the fireman called back to another one. He turned on a hose and drenched the fire out.
A couple of house later, Linz was tolled into the hospital room that Nick was told to wait in.
"How are you feeling?"
"That's expected. Can I ask you why you didn't try to getout of the apt.?"
"I was already passed out."
"Did someone hurt you?"
"No, I had been drinking. I drank the wine I got from France that I was saving for our anniversary. I'm so sorry, Nick."
"Don't apologize, baby. How about we go to France instead."
"Really? Could we? Oh Nick I don't know why I'd ever hurt you."
"When I didn't call you back or ran off like I did. I love you so much."
"I love you too baby...um the doctors said you could go when you wanted to go. I know how you hate hospitals."
"I'd love to go home, but I don't have a house."
"Come home with me."
"I don't know..."
"We don't have to you know t'night."
"Thanks you read my mind. But I'll make it upto you t'morrow," Linz said as she was helped out of bed by Nick.
The phone rang late that night. Nick woke up to see Linz sleeping soundly with her arms loosely around him.
"You're on my list, Carter. You can't be lucky for long. You and your bitch girlfriend are going to live through my hell until I die.
"Who is this?" Nick said fruitlessly as the caller hung up.
"Who was that honey?" Linz asked groggily.
"Wrong number." Nick went back over to Linz. He didn't want to worry her anymore than she already was. It didn't matter though since he wouldn't let anything happen to her again.