You didn't always make the wisest choices when it came to securing Chelsea's affections, though. Creating a fake online persona to woo her, using your boss in the medical lab as your avatar? Unwise. Especially considering he was a skeevy perve who tried to take advantage of her. But I understood your insecurities. Chelsea treated you like a lap dog when she first met you. It's only natural you would think you didn't stand a chance with her. And you came clean about that and you two were on the right path. I loved the day you helped her with her calculus homework and the two of you ended up making out. Wonderful, perfect first love stuff! You kids were beautiful! Course then she found out you lost your virginity to her mom, Billie. I stood by you after that, too. It was very much a wrong place, wrong time scenario. You still thought you didn't stand a chance with your dream girl so you took comfort in her sassy cougar-ma. It wasn't a full-blown, Mrs. Robinson type affair, just a one-off thing. I know you only ever had Chelsea in your heart.
The day Chelsea learned the truth was devastating for both of you. That happened on Valentine's Day, didn't it? What a cruel twist of fate. You guys never really recovered from that betrayal. I hoped you could get past it but, let's be honest, it was never the same for you and Chels after that. That's why you agreed to compromise your morals and jump through hoops to try and earn her trust again. This brings me to the hairbrush saga. Remember the hairbrush? The one Willow the ex-prostitute used to frame Chelsea for the fire at Bo and Hope's house? The fire that Willow herself set after being rejected by Sean Douglas? You stole that brush so that Chelsea wouldn't be charged with the crime. It was illegal but it was admirable, too. The same cannot be said about your confrontation with Willow on the beach. You struggled. Willow fell and hit her head. She (and her unborn baby!) died instantly. What a mess. It became harder to defend you to fellow viewers at this point. You were something of a trainwreck.
Here's the thing, though. Chelsea was a monster before she met you. The show put you two together so she could have a redemption arc at your expense. The more you screwed up the better she looked by comparison. And here's another thing (maybe the most important thing of all): all the mistakes you made were the result of your misguided efforts to make others love you. You never intended to hurt anybody. You just didn't want to be alone. That resonated with me. Big time. You were never a villain. To me you were a deeply flawed, tragic hero.
The show subjected you to further insults as you continued to fight for Chelsea and her love. Do you remember the trip to Vegas, when Jerry Springer acted as your gambling guru, and then you married a random stranger named China Lee and she split but saddled you with two kids? I don't blame you if you don't remember. You had pretty significant head trauma at the time. Not that Chelsea or anyone else noticed. Can you imagine a character like EJ or Lucas or Brady being saddled with even one of your crackpot storylines? I can't imagine any of them coming through something so humiliating with their dignity intact. But you did. And as often as you made mistakes you did a lot of stuff that was truly selfless and heroic. No one in Salem seems to remember any of the good stuff. Except for Kayla, who made a mention of you finding the antidote that saved her when she'd been poisoned. No one talks about how you fostered Artemis and Demarquette, those kids you picked up in Vegas, and eventually reunited them with their real parents. Or how you saved a pregnant Sami from a bomb planted in a bouquet of flowers. Or how you took a bullet for Melanie in Paris. This was one of your final acts of heroism but it also proved to be your downfall.
How were you to know you'd get hooked on pain pills, go off your head and become obsessed with Melanie (and, let's be honest, she was only ever Chelsea-lite; you and your bad girl fixation). Sure, you stabbed her father, Trent, in the back and killed him but, in your defense, he was harassing her at the time. I'm sure, in your drug-addled state, you believed you were saving her life. And Trent was scum. Everyone in town had a reason to want him dead. That doesn't mean you should have let Caroline take the fall for it, or tried to gaslight Melanie into believing she'd done it herself. Not gonna lie, that was bad. But no worse, really, than what most characters on the show have done at one point or another. I had hoped you'd develop Dissociative Identity Disorder, like your mother, Jessica, and get a great big, juicy, angsty mental illness/therapy story. You would have rocked the hell out of that. Instead you got a prison sentence and, in January of 2009, you exited the show. I was heartbroken. For weeks. Even though you are not real I hated the idea of you withering away in some prison cell. I stopped watching Days of Our Lives in protest. I turned my back on Salem, convinced the show would never have the good sense to bring you back. And then, in May of 2012, the unthinkable occurred. Word came down that you were returning to the show. I'd never allowed myself to believe it was a possibility. I couldn't have been happier.
At first it was great. You were older, more subdued and brooding, but that was all to be expected. You were still my Nick. My Nick! Back in Salem. For the first several days I could barely wrap my head around it. There you were, working at the Brady Pub, bonding with the adorable Gabi and going out of your way to look out for her even though she'd made some terrible mistakes. Another bad girl. Some things never change, do they? And then it all went to hell. It was revealed that you were homophobic. When Gabi turned up pregnant after a one night stand with your cousin Will, who happens to be gay, you showed your true colors. You married Gabi and blackmailed Will into waiving his parental rights. You started spouting off nonsense about God and the Bible and what's right and wrong. You were so smug and arrogant. You sounded like an idiot. And you were filled with hate.
I could always overlook your shortcomings but this was finally too much for me. This was not you. I thought about the years you'd spent in prison. I was certainly not alone in thinking you had been subjected to all sorts of horrible mistreatment at the hands of your fellow inmates. But it took forever for this to come to light. And in the interim I admit, with shame, that I lost my patience with you. I even tuned out for a few days. I couldn't stand to have my favorite twisted into something so unrecognizable. But I came back. I couldn't stay away. And I even began to enjoy you as a villain. You weren't the Nick I fell in love with but maybe you didn't need to be. Maybe, if I didn't love this new you, I could at least find him amusing, in a twisted way. And I did. I never condoned your homophobic antics but I liked seeing you stick it to certain characters. Salem is populated with hypocrites. You really didn't look like such a monster next to some of them. And you were still smart. There was something endearing about your tenacity and your single-mindedness when it came to Gabi and her baby. You tried so hard to construct a perfect, make-believe life for yourself. You were sort of like Gatsby with his green light. Doomed to fail. But I have a soft spot for underdogs.
Then, after months of speculation, we got the big reveal. You were raped and beaten in prison by a fellow inmate. Repeatedly. At your worst I didn't think this explanation would be enough to excuse your actions. And maybe it isn't. But it explains them. And based on what you told Maggie yesterday you've known all along that what you were doing to Will was wrong. I didn't recognize my beloved Nick Fallon during this storyline but it sounds like you didn't recognize yourself, either. Now that the truth has come to light it all makes sense to me. And yesterday, for the first time since January of '09, I caught a glimpse of the old Nick Fallon. The real Nick Fallon. My Nick Fallon.
Welcome back, sweet pea. I don't have words for how much I've missed you. And I can never properly express why you mean so much to me. I'm not even sure I understand it myself. But I'm sorry for what's happened to you. And I'm sorry I gave up on you, even if it was only for a few days. That won't happen again. No matter what happens I am in your corner. Always.
PS - Your portrayer, Blake Berris, is to be commended for bringing you to such brilliant life. As are all the writers who have helped, over the years, to make you real.