Nick and Chelsea soon made up again, but then China Lee demanded $25,000 for an annulment. Nick gambled a small amount of money he cashed in through a life insurance policy, but lost. China Lee let him off the hook, but was soon arrested for soliciation. Thus, Nick was stuck with his two stepsons, Artemis and DeMarquette. Not wanting to put them in foster care, Nick decided to do the honorable thing and take care of them for 30 days while China Lee served her sentence. Chelsea unfortunately dumped him, claiming he couldn't have a relationship with her if he chose to take in the two boys.
Nick felt devastated by Chelsea dumping him for good and partially blamed it on Jett Carver. He eventually bonded with his stepsons and proved he was quite capable of being a loving and responsible father. Chelsea realized how responsible and caring Nick was to the boys and renewed her friendship with Nick, although he yearned for more.
Jeremy came to Nick desperate for a place to hide from the cops. Nick reluctantly gave in. One night a man named Umar Abboud came to Nick's place looking for the boys. Nick protected them from the suspicious man, who warned Nick that the boys were the son of a powerful man overseas and that their lives were in danger. When Umar accosted him and demanded the boys, Jeremy came to the rescue and scared Umar away.
Nick came to Chelsea's rescue when she was kidnaped and taken hostage by someone demanding Artemis and Demarquette. Ironically, Umar came to rescue them both and announced that the boys' lives were no longer in danger, and they could return to their country. Nick shared an emotional good-bye with the two kind and well-mannered young boys whom he had grown to love. Chelsea came to her senses and realized that she did indeed love Nick. They reconciled and renewed their relationship.
Chelsea recruited Nick's help in seeking evidence against Ford Decker, who was accused as the campus rapist. He reluctantly assisted her in breaking into Ford's dorm room and took pictures of incriminating evidence. Since the evidence was obtained illegally, they weren't able to use it. Little did Nick know that Chelsea and the sorority girls lured Ford to the Alpha Chi Theta house, where Ford fell down the stairs to his death after being pushed by Chelsea.
Chelsea confessed the awful truth to Nick regarding Ford's death. Surprisingly, Nick declared that he wanted nothing to do with the cover-up. He issued her an ultimatum: unless she came clean to the cops, he would end their relationship. Nick continued to keep the truth from a suspicious Billie and Chelsea finally did the honorable thing and fessed up to the cops.
Nick and Chelsea were able to put the Ford Decker incident behind them. The two soon began to slowly drift apart after she was distraught over her ill father Bo Brady and he applied for an alternative fuel research grant. Nick confronted his best friend Max over tearing a page out of his notebook. Unbeknownst to Nick, Max had altered his calculations.
Nick was busy working on his grant, but took time to visit Chelsea in the hospital when she donated a portion of her pancreas to help her ailing father. Little did Nick know that Chelsea was falling for the new doctor in town, Dr. Daniel Jonas.
Nick received his grant and shared the news with his friends. Soon afterwards, Nick met Daniel at the Java Cafe and marked his territory where Chelsea was concerned. Chelsea was soon rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a severe secondary infection as a result of her recent surgery. Nick stood by her and still professed his unconditional love even after she told him the devastating news that she was no longer able to have children.
Soon after Chelsea was released from the hospital, Nick sensed her distant behavior towards him. He went to the Brady Pub and spilled beer all over his grant papers. Little did he know that Max stayed up all night working on his papers, then mailed them in to the administration office at Salem University. Nick was heartbroken when Chelsea broke up with him, but assured her that he still wanted her to be happy.
Stephanie finally confessed to Nick that Max redid his work for him and had her send it to the dean. Nick berated his friend for his actions, predicting that his grant would be rescinded. He confronted Max and demanded his papers back, suspecting that Max was more of a genius than he let on. Nick ultimately received his funding for his grant project. During this time, Nick and Stephanie became better friends and she expressed how much she thought of him.
A celebration at Chez Rouge was held in Nick's honor, where the new dean of the physics department at Salem University, Trent Robbins, presented Nick with a check to go towards building his alternative fuel prototype. It didn't take long for Nick to finally realize that Max altered his work. A betrayed Nick announced to Dean Robbins that he was giving all the grant money back, since Max deserved the credit. The dean implored Nick, however, to review the changes which Max made to his proposal, and if he still felt the same way they would revisit the conversation.
Nick made amends with Max and encouraged him to go back to school and make use of his God-given talents. After Max headed to France in search of his half sister, Nick saw a video blog of Melanie Layton and realized that she was Max's sister. He soon headed to France and found Melanie in a bistro. He pretended to be rich and got her attention. The two seemed to form a connection and hit it off. They met up with Max and Stephanie, eventually getting them out of jail.
After Melanie agreed to a have a drink with Claude, someone whom Trent owed a gambling debt to, Nick rescued her from nearly being raped by the creep and got shot in the process. Nick was able to convince Melanie to return to the states and start a new life.
After Trent Robbins was murdered in the cemetery, Nick was among the list of suspects. He had a bruised hand, but Nick claimed that he did it during the fiasco in France. Nick soon got a DUI and bemoaned to Maggie how he still had feelings for Chelsea.