Love isn't an emotion he was entirely familiar with. Sure he felt love for family and friends, and what he was sure was love for Sofia..but not the kind of love that makes you warm inside, the kind that makes you wish to stay awake just to be with them a little longer.
He thought maybe he could have that with Elena. She was beautiful, smart, funny, kind- but there was always a voice in the back of his head reminding him of the fact Ellie fit all those things too. Then he would try and think of ways they were different. Elena didn't have a love for odd flavored food, she didn't sit on desks or tables, she didn't smack your hand if you tried taking food from her plate, she didn't borrow his sweaters and return them with paint stains, she didn't constantly challenge him on his opinions and beliefs, she didn't call him in the middle of the night rambling on with so much energy from all the sugar she just had-
But then Nick would realize he actually liked all those things.
Being with Elena was supposed to help him forget the feelings for Ellie. After the note, when he got home the fear of what could happen set in. He never had a real relationship before, and if he somehow screwed things up with her..he didn't know if he could ever forgive himself.
Sure he was serious about Elena, but Ellie would be it.
At that moment he sat across from her in some restaurant she had picked that he wasn't paying attention to, and Elena's words repeated in his head like a broken record.
"It's obvious you like her Nick, way more than you like me. It's been a while since I've dated..but I know attraction when I see it. You're an amazing man, she'll be lucky to have you."
Nick for the first time ever had been dumped...and over the phone nonetheless. Yet he couldn't bring himself to care about that, sure it stung but there were more pressing matters.
Like how he had told Ellie she was like a sister to him. What the fuck was he thinking?
His eyes trailed over her as she mumbled something about getting more napkins, getting up from her chair. He scoffed to himself, no way did he think of her like a sister. Not with the way he constantly looked her over, the way he wondered if she still tasted the same, the way he wanted to hear what she sounded like in the throes of pleasure, and not in the way he wanted to kiss every inch of her.
Fuck what was wrong with him?
Ziva was right..he was a wuss.
Nick hadn't expected anything when he walked her to her apartment door like he had done plenty of times.
He certainly hadn't expected Ellie to confront him, or for how things went after.
"I know you don't think of me like a sister." She blurted out after unlocking her door. He gaped at her but said nothing. "And I know you weren't being overprotective, I just- I freaked out for a second and wanted to give you an out."
"You freaked out?"
Ellie chuckled shortly. "Yeah. Things between us started tipping and I..got scared."
Nick sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. "I know what you mean..hence my stupid sister comment."
"That was kind of stupid." Ellie laughed, tilting her head slightly as her nose scrunched up a little in amusement.
His lips twitched into a smile, his heart racing a little in his chest because this was happening. Neither of them had outright told their feelings but it was underneath every word.
"Maybe we should test it out..just in case." Ellie said carefully, the slight seductive like tone in her voice immediately catching his attention.
Nick raised an eyebrow. "Test it out?"
Ellie bit her lip, looking at him through her lashes. "To see if it really was stupid of you to say..or if there was some truth to it."
"You sure about that?" He murmured, stepping into her space. His hand came up to her neck, tangling in her hair tilting her head up at just the right angle.
Ellie breathed out and leaned in as her answer. Nick's grip on her hair tightened slightly in anticipation. He closed the rest of the distance.
Right away they both knew.
Nick couldn't help but groan at the taste of her again, he had gone almost two years without her lips on his and he honestly had no idea how he survived.
Ellie gripped his jacket, taking him with her moving backwards into her apartment after scrambling to open the door blindly. He followed willingly, kicking the door shut with his foot behind him. Her hands moved up to slide his jacket off his shoulders, he let go of her to help her before his hands were back on her returning the favor.
"Ellie.." He breathed out against her lips.
"It's okay." She answered, cheeks already flushed and breathing quickened. "Just let go Nick..it's okay."
He sucked in a breath at her words.
Nick surged forward, crashing his mouth back to hers almost forcefully. Ellie whimpered against him, having to hold onto him to not fall. His hands slid down to her ass, getting the message she jumped up, her legs wrapping around his waist. Nick moved them to her bedroom, both of them high on the anticipation.
Hours later Nick lay wide awake while Ellie slept peacefully curled against him. He softly ran his hands through her hair, an action that made her practically purr in her sleep causing him to smile.
It was an odd feeling lying there with her. For once his heart felt..full, his body relaxed and light as if all the problems in the world and with himself were washed away.
For the first time he could remember in years he felt at peace.
Nick closed his eyes, tightening his hold on her just slightly as he breathed in the smell of strawberry body wash from the shower she had taken after their heat filled night.
It was nothing like he had imagined it would be because it was better. While the sex was amazing, he had never experienced all the deep emotions that could come with it.
"Nick.." Ellie mumbled suddenly, breaking him out of his thoughts. He opened his eyes to see if she had woken up but her eyes were still shut. Letting out a little happy sounding sigh, her lips twitched upwards in her sleep and she snuggled in closer.
His heart jumped and he grinned.
Love was an emotion he was familiar with now. Had been for a while.
She broke down all his walls like a wrecking ball, and in the process wormed her way into his thought to be cold heart.
Nick was terrified but Ellie was his partner in every way, and he knew she had his six. She wouldn't let him fall, and he in return would catch her if she fell.