I hid behind Joe and Nick, holding his hand, as I trailed behind them through the airport. I could see cameras flashing at the exit and held my breath.
“Not to worry, grad,” Joe called back to me, “It’ll be weeks before they notice you.”
I kept my eyes on the floor, hoping that if I couldn’t see the cameras they wouldn’t be able to see me.
“That is if you keep your hands to yourself,” Joe mentioned eyeing my hand in Nick’s.
It’s not even a question at this point, I let go of Nick’s hand instantly and he looked back reactively.
“Don’t worry about it, it'll be over in seconds,” he assured me.
As soon as we stepped out of the airport there were cameras everywhere. People were screaming at Nick and Joe. All asking them a slew of questions that I was unable to distinguish. Before I knew it, we were being herded onto a black SUV with security. The door closed behind us and the voices became muffled again.
“See, over in an instant,” Nick smiled beside me.
We sat in the back row while Joe sat in the middle row with security. I let out the breath I’d been holding in before forcing a smile.
Nick shook his head, “you didn’t like that.”
Joe chuckled, “don’t worry about it, by the end of the tour, you won’t even notice them.”
“I don’t mind it, it’s fine,” I lied.
Nick squeezed my hand to call my attention. I looked over to see a very concerned look on his face. I really don’t like that he knows me as well as he does.
“The faster we stop talking about it, the faster I can forget about it,” I tried to bargain with him.
“That’s the spirit!” Joe agreed. “So, grad, you ever been in Arizona before?”
“Joe, I told you she travels a lot, she’s been a lot of places,” Nick responded dully.
“Uh, I’ve been to Red Rock, once. I think I was only ten, though, so I don’t remember too much about it. Oh, I’ve also been in Bullshead… we went to Lake Mead.”
“Do you remember the heat?” Joe Smirked back at me.
I looked around the vehicle wondering why Joe had so many questions, “uh, kind of… but we were in the lake so… we’d just jump back in.”
Joe quirked an eyebrow at Nick. What am I missing? “Did you bring your swimsuit?”
I bit my lip before nodding. Joe smirked over at Nick. “You hear that Nick, we’re going for a swim!”
I looked over at Nick to see him blushing. The memory of waving my ass in front of him at Kevin’s pool party came flooding into my brain causing me to blush. I turned my face away from both of them and set my sights on the window beside me. Half of me was just trying to hide my face while the other half was hoping this window would roll down so I could jump out of it.
I kept my eyes on the city that passed me by. Had it not been for the occasional cactus, I would never be able to tell we were in the middle of the desert. The cool AC seemed to be out to get me as I wrapped my oversized cardigan tighter to my form.
“Are you cold?” Nick asked.
I turned around to find his eyes on me and shook my head, “I’m okay.”
Nick spoke louder as he directed his voice to the front of the vehicle, “can you turn the air down a bit?”
The security up front obliged and turned the air down two notches. That was my fault. If people start to get sweaty and uncomfortable it’s going to be my fault. I need to dress warmer to make up for the cool air constantly blasting. Did I bring warmer clothes? I don’t think I did. Is the cardigan as warm as it gets? Did I pack two weeks worth of clothes and not even consider air conditioning?
I looked over at Nick wondering if this was really the kind of struggle he was interested in hearing about. I mean it’s really not a big deal anyway. Still his eyes watched me inquisitive, might as well just say it.
“I just realized I didn’t pack anything warm.”
Nick smiled at me, “we can stop by the shops and pick something up.”
“No, we definitely shouldn’t do that. This is just a lesson learned for the next part of the tour.”
“It’s gonna be a long two weeks like that.”
I shrugged, “the punishment for being dumb.”
He smirked as his arm wrapped around my shoulder, “you’re far from dumb.”
His arm gave off the extra warmth that my cardigan failed to provide. My stomach did the airborne thing again and I wondered if Nick could read that, too. I think it’s safe to say I’m crushing on my friend. I just hope he doesn’t notice. My hope was that I could sail through this crush under the radar with this friendship intact and undisturbed.
Joe looked back at us with a smirk again and I played with the threading on my shorts while setting my eyes on the window again.
“Kev says he and Dani are in… Why are you stroking yourself?”
My face turned bright red as all eyes were on me. I knew the implication behind his words and I’m certain everyone else did, too.
“Joe, leave her alone,” Nick instructed beside me.
I tucked my hands under my legs and tried to avoid eye contact, maybe if I don’t look at them they’ll stop looking at me. I tried taking deep breaths while my legs started to bounce uncontrollably. Nick placed a weighted hand on my knee to stop my movement and catch my attention.
“Don’t worry about Joe. He’s just messing with you.”
I looked over to see a menacing smile on Joe’s face, “we don’t get a lot of new people on tour.”
That seems highly unlikely. “Not for the long run anyway.” … That makes more sense.
“Is it going to be like this the whole time?” I asked him.
He shrugged, “just until it stops being fun.”
I looked at him puzzled. What would it take to not make this fun for him? I guess Nick is right, I just need to ignore him and eventually he’ll stop. We pulled up to the hotel and were shown to our rooms. I looked around at the huge room they had assigned to me. This is definitely fancier than I ever anticipated. I crash landed onto my bed after the hotel staff brought up my luggage. I managed to squeeze in a fifteen minute nap before there was a knock on my door. I got up to answer to find Joe.
“What are you doing here?”
“Did you check the hole before opening?”
“Always gotta check the hole, better safe than sorry, you know.”
Joe walked right past me into my room to sit on my bed. “On the off-chance a fan gets into the hotel you need to check before you open the door.”
Didn’t think about that. New dangers have arisen… fun. I watched Joe turn on the tv while making himself at home in my bed.
“What are you doing?”
“Well, I have to wait for you don’t I?”
“Get your swimsuit on, we’re going to the pool.”
“You, me, Nick,” he wiggled his eyebrows at me. “Kevin and Dani are going. I think I also saw some other band members already hanging out by the pool.”
I stared at him trying to recall when I had agreed to this. Then again, do I get to have a say? I mean it’s not my trip. I must’ve stood around debating with myself for too long because before I knew it Joe was snapping me out of my thoughts.
“Chop, chop, grad! Time’s a-wastin.”
I figured it was in my best interest to start trying to get along with Joe. How bad can it be? If anything, he might stop teasing me.
I started searching through my luggage before finding my black two piece suit. Joe eyed me with a smirk, “what happened to the green one?”
I rolled my eyes, grateful that Nick wasn’t around this time. “I’ve burned it,” I lied.
Joe chuckled, “Why? It was Nick’s favorite! How are you going to get his attention without the green one?”
“I don’t want to get his attention,” I lied again, as I made my way into the bathroom to change.
I walked out to find Joe still on my bed. His brows lifted as he looked me up and down, “that could work.”
I tried to ignore his words hoping he’d drop the subject. “So you’re really not interested in Nick?”
I pulled out the printed black sarong and tied it around my waist still ignoring his words.
“Why not? Is he not your type?”
I sighed, “my silence means I don’t want to talk about it.”
Joe raised his brows again, “you know that’s not the reaction that someone who doesn’t have a crush would have.”
I finally turned to him, “I don’t know you, Joe. You don’t know me. I don’t owe an explanation to someone I don’t know.”
The corners of his lips turned down, “well I’m trying to get to know you. New tattoo?”
He nodded toward the new ink on my ribcage, “I didn’t see it at the pool party.”
I wanted to tell him to fuck off. That his teasing and prodding wasn’t anywhere near cute. But it wasn’t in my nature. So I held my tongue and responded with a nod.
Joe bit his lip momentarily before coming to some conclusion. “You’ll be miserable if we fight all the time.”
I zipped up my luggage before looking up at him. “I’m not fighting you.”
“Well, you are, just… in a different way.”
I slipped on my shoes without another word.
“Can I make you a deal?”
I looked over at him to find he still hadn’t gotten up from my bed. He patted the space beside him, inviting me to sit beside him.
I don’t want to do that. I crossed my arms over my chest.
He smirked, “I may not be as observant as Nick but I know what that means.”
“Can we go now?” I asked, motioning toward the door.
“You haven’t heard my offer… I’ll stop bugging you for the rest of the day if you tell me three things about you.”
“Because I don’t know you, and since we’re going to be spending a good amount of time together it seems like a good idea to try and change that.”
What three things? What does he want to know?
“What do you want me to tell you?”
He shrugged, “anything you’d like to volunteer.”
I thought about it for a moment, “I like to keep my distance from most people.”
He nodded, “Nick mentioned that part but I’ll accept it anyway.”
Duh! That explains why everyone was so good about giving me space at the graduation party. I bit my lip trying to think, “I like watching superhero shows and movies. I think it’s because I like the idea of something beyond human.”
Joe chuckled, “yeah, you’re not the only one.”
I looked up at him surprised, “you like superheroes?”
He shook his head, “no, Nick does.”
Hmm, that I did not expect. Joe motioned for me to continue. “Um, I don’t like drinking.”
He laughed, “what do you mean?”
I shrugged, “the times I tried it, it wasn’t particularly… anything? It tastes gross and I don’t think I’ve ever actually been drunk.”
Joe shook his head, “well you’re just not doing it right! I’ll show you how it’s done.”
With that he got up and moved to the door, “let’s go, slowpoke. I’ve got much to teach you!”
“Teach me about what?”
He smiled in my direction, “come with me and find out.”
We made our way down to the pool to find Matt and Jacob already in the pool with Rochelle and Jazmin. They looked over at us and waved us in.
Joe dumped his shirt on a sun chair before kicking off his sandals and heading for the pool.
“Let’s go, little one,” he smiled at me.
Joe’s fit… possibly more so than Nick? That’s kind of weird. Never thought I’d know that about them. I discarded my shoes, sarong and room key on the same chair where Joe left his items before following him in.
“Hey, there Nessa!” Rochelle hugged me. “How are you liking tour life so far?”
I smiled, “it’s very different, I haven’t decided, yet.”
Jazmin laughed, “I’ve been doing this for years and I still haven’t decided. Somehow it’s really good and really bad at the same time.”
Matt smiled and raised an arm as a waitress came by, “here comes the good part.”
The waitress walked over with a smile on her face, “hi, can I get you guys anything?”
“Yeah, can we get…” Matt looked around at the group before deciding on a quantity, “six shots of Patrón. And a Mexican Mule.”
“Make that two mules,” Jacob cut in.
“Whiskey neat,” Joe ordered.
“Long Island Iced Tea.”
The waitress looked over at me waiting for me to order. “Um.”
“Do you have any sweet drinks?” Joe cut in.
“Yes, we have the midori sours, piña colada, we’ve got flavored margaritas…”
Joe looked over at me, “take your pick.”
“Uh, the first… one?”
The waitress looked over at me with concern, “is everyone 21?”
“Yeah, just turned twenty one actually,” Joe lied. “Still trying to figure out what she’s got a taste for.”
The waitress looked at me, not entirely convinced before choosing to ignore it and walk away.
Joe handed me a mixed drink and a shot. “You’re gonna hate this one,” he motioned to the shot, “but you’ve got yourself a chaser.”
We all took our shots together and he wasn’t wrong, but it definitely wasn’t as bad as what Gilbert had offered me.
I was three shots and two midori sours in before Nick showed up.
“Hey, guys,” he greeted as he approached a now significantly larger group of intoxicated individuals.
I looked over to see him sporting shades and a black tank top. Why is he so good looking? I smiled up at him as he stripped his shirt to join us. Well damn.
My eyes widened at the sight of him before Joe nudged me. I looked over to see him smirking in my direction. I blushed immediately before turning away from both of them and swimming back toward the girls.
Dani smiled at me as she saw me coming, “my goodness, what would your mom say if she could see you now?”
I shrugged, “she always said I could drink while at home or with family… I just never did.”
Rochelle smiled, “well, I guess we’re your family now!”
I laughed, “that’s what I’ll tell my mom if she finds out.”
“Finds out what?”
I turned around to find Nick standing behind me with a smirk. I’m starting to think I’m a little drunk.
I smiled as my hand reached out to pat his strong shoulder… was that always there? “I heard you like comic books.”
He gave me a look of amusement, “I like Spiderman.”
“Spiderman, really? That’s your favorite?”
His amused smile quickly became a smirk. “Who is your favorite?”
I pouted my lips in thought, “Are we talking Marvel, DC, Avengers, X-Men, Justice League, Birds of Prey, Suicide Sq-”
Nick laughed, “you definitely know more about it than I do. What about your top three?”
My hand slowly slid off his shoulder and down his arm. Did I leave that there the entire time? Is that why he was smirking at me? How drunk am I? Is it normal to be this weird when drunk? Are people seeing me be this weird? I looked around and realized that most people weren’t concerned with what I was doing.
Nick looked at me concerned, “are you okay?”
“Uh, I think I might have drank too much.”
“Are you seeing double?”
I shook my head, “don’t think so.”
“Do you feel dizzy? Off-balance?”
I squinted my eyes at him, “I’m kind of always off balance?”
He chuckled, “you seem relatively sober to me, sounds like you might be right in the zone.”
I took his sunglasses right off his face before putting them on myself and smirking back at him. “I don’t think so, I think I’m about,” I eyed the distance between us, “two feet away from the zone.” Wait, did I just flirt? With Nick? What is happening, this is not like me at all! I do not flirt!
Nick smiled down at me, “the zone is when you feel it just enough to loosen up but not enough to get sloppy.”
Oh! That’s what’s happening. I smiled back up at him, “I was wondering what was wrong with me.”
Nick raised his eyebrows, “I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s something wrong with you. I think you’re just coming out of your shell a little bit. That’s not something you do often.”
Often? As in I’ve done it before? Can someone please explain when?
My look must have said it all because he did explain, “mostly when you’re competitive, like sports or games on rare occasions outside of the competitive world.”
He smiled, “Like now.”
I smiled up at him just as Joe decided to butt-bump me. I tipped over into Nick pouring the last of my drink on him.
“Hey, little one, are you in for another round?”
I quickly scooped water into my free hand to try and wipe the sugary drink off of Nick. I poured the water over his chest before running my hand down his chest and past his abs before realizing what I was doing. I quickly pulled away and noticed Nick biting his lip.
I turned around to avoid that awkward confrontation to see a look of shock on Joe’s face, “I’ll take that as a yes; Nick, you, too? Wonderful!” He didn’t even wait for a response as he quickly retreated away from us.
I tried to fight off the bright red color on my face before turning back to face him.
“I’m sorry,” I blurted out before I was even fully turned.
Nick shook his head, “don’t be, it wasn’t your fault.”
“I should not have done that, I don’t know what I was thinking. I make such a huge deal about personal space and then I just-”
Nick placed both hands on my shoulders to steady me and capture my attention, “don’t worry about it. Invade my space, it doesn’t bother me at all,” he assured me.
“Our personal space is virtually non-existent when we’re touring. You touching me is far from a problem.”
My face was overheating at the thought of his invitation to touch him. He cleared his throat, “anyway… you, uh, you had a top three?”
I shut my eyes tightly and scrunched my nose trying to shake all the wiggles of nervousness, embarrassment and possibly attraction that had piled up in my body. “Right, that. Um, I like Captain America, Batman… and Jean Grey.”
He squinted his eyes at me, “Jean Grey?”
“X-Men? Phoenix? She’s like the strongest one plus she’s in everyone’s head which is… awesome… in theory?”
“The theory being that I’m Jean Grey and I can read minds as opposed to the other way around. No one should have to hear my thoughts, it’s a mess in here,” I pointed to my brain.
Nick chuckled, “I don’t know, I think your brain is kind of cool. I’d be Jean Grey.”
He definitely does not need to know the jumble of thoughts going through my brain at any given moment.
Nick took my glass from me and retreated to the edge of the pool to collect our shots. Everyone gathered on the edge to take the shots together.
“Cheers to another tour!” Kevin called out.
Everyone clinked glasses before knocking back the shot. I reached for my drink immediately after hoping to wash away the taste. Nick reached for his glass filled with a brown liquid.
“What is that?” I asked, pointing to his glass.
“Whiskey. Wanna try it?” He extended his glass out to me. Might as well, right?
I took the glass from him and took a small sip; instant regret. My face twisted in disgust as I tried my best not to gag.
“Oh, god, that is awful!”
Nick chuckled quietly, “it’s an acquired taste, it definitely takes some getting used to.”
“How can you drink that?”
“I don’t consume sugar beforehand, that tends to make it worse.”
“You like that?”
He shrugged, “I’m still searching for a drink of choice, but for now this is it.”
“Wanna try mine?”
Nick put his hand up to reject my offer, “no, thanks, that looks like more sugar than I can currently handle.”
As the drinks kept flowing I started to feel bolder. I started to stand a little closer to Nick when we hung out with different groups. I reached out to touch his shoulder more than I ever would have sober. Every so often I would catch a glimpse of Joe smirking at me. Eventually the drinks became too much for me to handle and I started to slip out of ‘the zone.’
I looked over at Nick.
“I think I’ve been drinking too much.”
“Do you feel sick?”
I shook my head, “my face is numb and also everything is slow but fast. Like lag on a video, maybe?”
He chuckled, “how about we get you some food?”
My brows perked up at his words, “I like food.”
He breathed out a laugh as he placed his hand on my back to lead me out of the pool. After downing a side of fries, a turkey club and a pineapple juice, the bloating had begun. Thank god my swimsuit is high-waisted and covers up to my belly button.
“You were hungry,” Nick smiled beside me. “I think this is the most I’ve ever seen you eat.”
I shrugged, “I don’t know how it happened. The whole thing was a blur.”
He laughed, “to be fair, I don’t think we’d fed you all day.”
I smiled, “I probably don’t need to be fed for the rest of the week.”
Nick let out a chuckle, “I had no idea that’s how it worked.”
I heard a knock on my door around ten which made me jump. I got out of bed in my short pink satin pajama shorts with a white lace trim and matching white satin top to open the door. I opened the door to find Nick standing on the other side. He wore basketball shorts and a loose tank with his defined arms on display.
He stood at my door as his eyes slowly scanned from the floor up to my face, “hey, I was just coming to see if you were busy?”
Am I supposed to be? Am I lame if I say no? Should I lie? “Uh… no?”
Nick cleared his throat, “the rest of the band went out for the night… I was going to head down to the bus and work on some recording stuff if you want to come?”
“The bus? But we came on a plane?”
“That’s true,” he nodded. “But we actually do have a tour bus that transports a lot of our equipment as well as our makeshift studio, in case inspiration strikes.”
“Inspiration struck you today?”
Nick exhaled, “not yet, but you never know. I might get lucky. So, wanna join us?”
I get to see Nick in action? This is amazing! How is this my life? “Um, yeah, I just need to grab my cardigan.”
I grabbed the cardigan I had hung up in the closet to turn back around and find Nick was still watching me. Am I missing something? “Should I change?”
“Um, no you look great! I mean, you look- or, as long as you’re comfortable.”
I bit my lip as I tried to hold back a smile. I’m not crazy, right? That was almost a compliment? I wrapped my cardigan tightly around my form as I followed Nick’s lead toward the studio bus.
I sat on the couch while Nick set up shop. I watched as he lifted sound machines and moved them around. I could see the muscles in his arms at work. Was he always that strong? I must’ve known that already, right?
Nick turned to see me watching him and the blush on my face was instantaneous. He smiled at me, “you’re cute.”
My eyes widened in shock. That was a compliment! Like a real compliment! I’m sure of it, it’s got to be! Shit, what do I say to that? Should I say a compliment back? Is that too creepy? I’ve gotta say something.
“I, yeah, what?” Oh, no. That wasn’t it.
Nick let out a breathy laugh.
I shook my head, “that didn’t come out right.”
“Wanna try again?” He offered.
I bit my lip trying to contemplate what I should say. “Um, thank you. I think you’re pretty, or handsome… you’re nice to me?” Why am I so bad at this? Why was this easier when I was drunk? I started tugging on the sleeves of my cardigan feeling frustrated with myself.
Nick chuckled, “thanks, I work very hard to be all of those things.”
I exhaled and pushed my hair out of my face semi-viciously. “I’m bad at this.”
Nick watched me with amusement, “bad at what?”
“I’m bad at fl-” I stopped myself mid sentence. I shouldn’t tell him I was trying to flirt with him. What if he’s not interested and Joe’s just a liar? I mean he kind of lied about Nick being into superheroes and- let’s be honest, me? Why on Earth would he ever pick me? “I don’t know, talking?”
Nick stared at me for a moment with a smile so minimal I might have imagined it. What is he thinking? Why can’t I read his mind like he reads mine? He shook his head at whatever he was thinking before speaking.
“Do you wanna hear a new song?”
What? How am I getting this kind of offer? Why is this even a question? “Y-Yeah! Yes!”
Nick offered me a tight lipped smile, “it’s not done, yet. I was hoping I might get your opinion on it.”
Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no. I don’t want to do that.
One song somehow became the whole album. Before I knew it his entire focus was on me. “What do you think?”
“Um, well…” I bit my lip trying to figure out what to say.
“Be honest, I’d rather hear it from you than from critics when we release it.”
“Oh, uh… There’s a lot of really good songs in there. I just…”
Nick nodded for me to continue. “They don’t fit… together.” He didn’t respond. “‘First Time’ sounds like a well crafted piece with double entendres and it’s almost universally sentimental. ‘The World’ is in a similar sound space and in a way so is ‘Neon’ and ‘Pom Poms’- although, ‘Pom Poms’ is kind of- I don’t know. But then ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ fits in a similar space to ‘What Do I Mean To You' and ‘Wedding Bells’ doesn’t really fit in with the others. ‘Wedding Bells’ is clearly sentimental to you, but it’s different. It’s almost dipping into Hall and Oates territory, maybe? Sort of electronic new wave-y. And Pom Poms kind of sounds like a high school band thing? But it’s weirdly catchy and annoying at the same time, like it was formulated to be a radio hit without anything particularly special added to it? The whole album is swinging between sentimental and insignificant while also shifting from electronic to rock to pop and new wave and it’s… it feels like most of these songs should not be sharing the same album.”
I finally stopped talking and regretted every word out of my mouth. Still Nick stared at me without another word. Can we go back to the part where he was complimenting me again? I’d really prefer that part. Can he kick me off the tour for this? Will he stop being my friend?
Nick finally sighed, “I think you’re right.”
“I’ve been telling Kevin and Joe but they still think that it’s good enough.”
“They’re not bad songs, it’s just-”
“Yeah, that’s what I’ve been trying to explain to them but they seem convinced that we have 12 good songs and that’s enough to make an album.”
I mean they’re not wrong, it’s just… maybe not as cohesive as it could be?
Nick sighed as he ran a hand through his curls. “I don’t know what to do anymore.”
About what? This all feels like an extremely personal moment for Nick and I don’t know how to respond to any of it.
“I’m trying so hard to make this work and they don’t seem to care,” he buried his face in his hands.
I’m pretty sure this is my turn to step up as a friend. I got up from the couch and slowly moved toward him to rest a hand on his strong shoulder. How had I not noticed the size of his arms before? I definitely shouldn’t be thinking about his arms right now. I tried to search for something to say to him but really what can I say? I’ve never been in this position.
Before I could think of something to say Nick wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me into him. His head rested against my stomach while his arms encircled me. I froze not knowing how to proceed.
My instinct was to push him away even though I knew I couldn’t do that. I closed my eyes and tried to process what was happening. I took deep breaths while I talked myself through it.
You’re safe. Nick isn’t hurting you. He’s your friend and he’s struggling. Help him. How? What should I do?
I kept my hand on his shoulder while the other rested in his hair. I ran my fingers through his hair not wanting to really hug him back at this time.
Technically, I’ve hugged him before but that was me hugging him on my terms, not his. I kept running my hand through his hair before I started to feel like I was petting a dog. I should probably stop. If I feel like I’m petting him he probably feels like he’s being petted. I resorted to just keeping my hand steady on his head. I’m doing this wrong, I’m pretty sure I’m doing this wrong. He probably knows I’m doing this wrong.
My nerves got the best of me and my hand began absentmindedly tracing the valleys on his arm. Just breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Just keep breathing, just keep breathing, just keep breathing, breathing, breathing… Why is my brain reciting Finding Nemo? What am I thinking?
Nick chuckled and I felt his warm breath through my satin pajama top as it drew my attention away from the mess in my mind. I looked down at Nick to see him redirecting his attention to me.
“Did I make you nervous?”
What? He didn’t even see my face, how does he know?
He smirked up at me, “you trace when you’re nervous. You’ve been tracing my arm.”
My eyes widened as a pink hue covered my face again. I stopped moving my hand and rested a flat palm on his bicep, “sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“I know,” he smiled. “I’m not mad about it.”
I bit my lip realizing Nick’s face was only about a foot away from mine. Is this normal? Is this a normal friend space? Are friends usually this close?
His eyes focused on my lips and I forgot how to breathe. Nick sat up a little straighter and his face got a little closer. My stomach did that stomach thing again. What is happening? Am I imagining things? Am I reading this wrong?
His arms seemed to wrap around me a little tighter like he was pulling me in. Is this real? Is he going to kiss me? He’s about six inches away now. His smile slowly vanished as the space between us started to shrink further. Oh, my god, how is this possible? Can I even do this? Do I want to do this?
I shut my eyes as my lips parted in preparation. As soon as they did I inhaled sharply as my body reminded me that I had stopped breathing some time ago. It took a few seconds before I felt Nick’s grip loosen around me before releasing me altogether. I opened my eyes to find a larger space between us as he leaned back in his seat away from me. What just happened?
I exhaled slowly while my entire face felt like it was boiling in embarrassment. What was I thinking? I’m so dumb! I shook my head trying to get myself together before I stopped to look at Nick. He’d been watching my face with furrowed brows. Is he confused? Why is he confused? I’m confused.
“I thought that-” he shook his head before muttering under his breath, “I see what you mean by yes and no.”
I looked down at my feet wondering what I was supposed to do in this situation before Nick cleared his throat.
“I should get you back to your room, tomorrow is going to be a long day.”