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Nick stood rooted in the middle of the parking lot, waiting with bated breath for her reaction. After what seemed like forever she slowly turned around to face him again, eyes full of something he couldn't decipher. Finally, she spoke. 

"N-Nick… did you just?" Unable to finish the sentence she let it hang in the air, waiting for him to respond. Needing to get them back on familiar ground he used deflection as his next tactic. 

"Yes I did. What about it?" Ellie's eyes were full of fire now and she slammed her door, walking up to him with purpose. 

"What about it? What about it?! Nick you just turned down a date for me then told me you loved me and that's your response?" 

"Look I'm sorry Ellie. You know I deflect when things get serious which is why I cancelled your date last year and said I was being overprotective when I was really jealous as hell. But I can't stand seeing you with another man because I wish that you were with me. Maybe if I would've just listened to Ziva and stopped being such a wuss last year we wouldn't be in this predicament but I didn't and I fully regret that." Taking a deep breath, Ellie uncrossed her arms, dropping them to her side with a sigh. 

"Why now Nick?" Running a hand over his face Nick thought back to the past few days. It had been three years since Clay was killed and they had taken their unplugged trip to get away from all of the reminders of NCIS. 

"Today is 3 years Ellie." It took her a moment to realize what he was talking about and when she did her mouth dropped open in shock. "I wanted to take you back to the cabin we stayed in during our unplugged trip. I had it all planned out… the candles, the flowers… so when he asked you out I panicked. I didn't want to lose another chance to tell you how I felt. I'm so sorry I made you mad, that was definitely not my intention. I just uh, I don't know I guess I just didn't want anything to mess up our weekend but instead I was the one that messed it up." At the end of his declaration Ellie was still quietly staring at him so he pressed his lips together, nodding stiffly. "Okay then. I guess I'll uh, go home and leave you alone then. Goodnight Ellie." Taking a chance he reached out and squeezed her hand, letting it drop back down to her side. With a stiff smile he started walking backwards slowly toward his Jeep, hoping she would break out of her trance. When she was still standing there he hung his head and turned around. He knew hearing her say it back was too good to be true.