TLC
by Judith Freudenthal
2000

Nick entered Natalie's office.

"What did I do this time?" Nick asked as he saw the glare she gave him.

"Why do I have to be hurt to get any TLC from you?"

"I don't know," Nick said, sincerely. "Maybe I'm afraid of hurting you. Accidentally." Nick took a deep breathe and continued. "Maybe I'm afraid of LaCroix fulfilling his promise of revenge." Nick looked at his shoes then back at Natalie. "Maybe I'm afraid you don't feel the same things for me that I feel for you."

"Nick, I love you," Natalie said, hoping he felt the same way.

"I love you too. I guess sometimes I feel like you only need me when you're hurt. You're so strong and independent."

"I have to be. I'm not always strong. I do need you, even if I'm not hurt." Natalie approached him. "Everyone likes to feel special. Likes to be pampered. It doesn't have to be something big. It can be as little as a touch, a kiss, or a package of their favorite junk food left on their desk. Just something to let them know you care."

"I promise that from now on, I'll make sure you always know I love you."

"And I will do the same," Natalie said, pleased with the result of their discussion.

"And I'll start by taking my favorite person out to dinner. Anywhere you'd like to go," Nick said with a smile.

"Panda Pagota will be fine," Natalie said with a smile.

The end

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