Julianna's point of view

"Mom? Dad?" I called out, stepping inside my parents' house.
Nick walked in behind me, cautiously looking around.
"What are you looking for?" I asked him.
"Your Dad's gun collection," he said, nervously.
"Nick, for the last time, my Dad does not have a gun collection!" I exclaimed.
"But I could get one if you like," came my dad's amused voice.
Nick jumped like ten feet in the air. I started cracking up. The terrified expression on his face was way too hilarious. Where was a camera when I so desperately needed one?
"Hi Dad," I said and hugged my father. "Dad, you remember Nick," I said pointing to my poor, terrified friend.
"Nice to see you again Mr. Palmer," said Nick shaking my father's hand.
I wasn't sure if he actually shook my dad's hand cause I think Nick's hand was shaking. I held back a laugh as I watched Nick take one last look around.
"Honey!" exclaimed my mom, coming into the room and giving me one of those hugs that cut off your air supply.
"Oxygen," I choked out.
"Oh, I'm sorry," said my mom with a laugh and let me go.
I drew in a lungful of air gratefully and laughed along with her.
"Mom, you've met Nick," I said.
"Nice to see you again Mrs. Palmer," said Nick shaking my mom's hand this time.
You'd think that with all the people that boy meets, he would be more relaxed around his friend's parents.
"Sweetie, we missed you so much!" said my dad smiling and kissed my forehead.
"I missed you guys too," I said, looking lovingly at my parents.
"JULIANNA!!" came Annie's yelling and a few seconds later my sister flew down the stairs and into my arms.
Nick laughed as the eight year old nearly knocked me over and I stumbled back a bit.
"Hey!" I said laughing and hugged my little sister tightly. I missed her so much.
"I haven't seen you in forty thousand years!" exclaimed Annie looking up at me with her blue eyes.
Okay, so she was exaggerating, but it sure felt like it.
"I know, I'm sorry about that," I said kneeling down to her level. "But I have to work," I said sighing. "I'll be home again in a couple of months."
Annie pouted. "That's a long time." Then her small face brightened. "Can I come with you?" she asked eagerly.
"I wish you could kiddo," I said ruffling her hair. "But you gotta stay here with mommy and daddy and go to school," I told her.
Annie's pout returned.
"Honey, can you give us a minute to talk to Julianna and Nick alone?" asked my mom turning to her youngest daughter.
My little sister looked at me sadly.
"Don't worry, we'll only talk for a little bit, then you can hang out with Julianna," assured my dad.
Annie smiled. "Okay," she said and ran off to her playroom.
I looked at my parents worriedly. I couldn't have done anything wrong right? I mean, I wasn't even in the state for the past couple of months. And it's not like you could do something wrong when you're a fifteen-hour drive away, right?
"Let's go to the living room," gestured my dad and we all followed him and sat down on the couches.
I leaned back as I studied my parents' expressions. They didn't seem angry, just…confused.
I looked at Nick and he also had a confused expression on his face. He probably couldn't figure out why my parents would want to talk to him too. Then again, neither could I.
"Is everything okay?" I asked carefully.
"Yes, everything is fine, we just saw something very interesting in the paper today," said my mom and held out the paper to Nick and me. At the sight of it we both groaned. The article, the stupid photo, of course.
"Crap," I muttered and heard Nick mutter something of the same nature.
"Is there something going on between the two of you?" asked my dad pointing at us.
We immediately shook our heads as if on cue. "No," we both said firmly.
"We were just ice skating and we fell, that was all," I explained.
"But this sucks, if your parents thought that there was something going on, can you imagine what everyone else is thinking?" groaned Nick looking at me. "I remember what happened last time with the fans, I do not want a repeat of that," he added.
I nodded. "I know what you mean." I took another look at the paper. Reporters really had no shame.
"Why don't you two just pretend that you're dating? At least then the fans would leave you alone," suggested my dad.
"They might not do that," said Nick shaking his head.
"But on the other hand they might," I reasoned. "Everyone already thinks that we're dating anyway, we might as well just let them think that."
Nick ran a hand through his hair. "You think that'd work?" he asked.
"It's worth a try, what do we have to lose?" I said shrugging.
"Good point," he agreed.

Nick's point of view

I woke up to the sound of someone talking in my room. I rubbed my eyes sleepily and spotted Julianna talking on my cell phone.
"What are you doing?" I asked her.
She whirled around and glared at me. "Nick, I'm too young to have a heart attack, so don't scare me half to death!" she warned.
I grinned. "Who's on my phone?"
"Brian. He's been calling non-stop for like the past hour and since you were too lazy and too asleep to get your butt up to answer the phone, I did. Cause frankly, it was annoying the hell out of me with the ringing. Ever heard of putting it on vibrate?" she said smirking.
"Ha, ha," I commented and got out of bed.
Julianna eyed me up and down appreciatively and then I realized that I was only wearing a pair of boxers. I quickly threw on the first shirt and pants I saw.
By then she turned her attention back to the phone.
"Uh huh…of course he was…not surprised at all…sure hang on," she said and then handed the phone to me.
"Thank you," I said bringing the phone up to my ear.
"I need to learn to carry a camera with me wherever I go," I heard her mumble.
I raised my eyebrows at her comment but she just grinned and exited my room.
"Bri? What's up?" I said into the phone.
"The ceiling Nicky, did you forget where you were supposed to be today?" asked Brian.
"No, I know we have a meeting later on this afternoon," I retorted.
Ha! For once I knew where I was supposed to be! Wait, no, that wasn't for once. I knew…most of the time.
All I heard was silence from Brian's end. "Hello? Am I talking to myself here?" I asked.
"Sorry, I was just struck speechless by the fact that you didn't forget about the meeting," replied Brian.
"Oh come on, I don't forget that often!" I groaned.
"Sure, sure, you just keep on believing that," said Brian.
I rolled my eyes.
"Don't roll your eyes," he scolded.
Wow, a psychic and a Backstreet Boy all in one.
"Is that the only reason you called?" I asked.
"Aww Nicky, I just wanted to hear your voice," said Brian sweetly.
And he was my best friend why?
"Very funny, you're a regular comedian," I said dryly.
"I know I am," replied Brian. "All right, so I'll see you at the meeting today right?"
"Yes Bri, I'll be there," I said sighing.
"Okay, catch you later."
I hung up my phone and tossed it on the dresser.
I walked out of my room to go take a shower, but then I heard voices coming from downstairs. I went to the living room and saw Julianna standing there with a girl about her age who had black hair and stood shorter than Julianna.
I stood at the entrance to the living room, leaning on the doorframe.
"And then we fell!" I heard Julianna say.
The girl burst out laughing. "He actually landed on you?"
Julianna nodded. "Yep, so now we decided to pretend we're dating. You know, to keep stories like that out of our future," she said. "Don't tell anyone!" she warned.
"Sure, no problem."
I cleared my throat to announce my presence.
Julianna turned her head sharply and looked at me. "You know, eavesdropping is illegal," she told me.
"No it's not," I retorted.
She was thoughtful for a few seconds. "Okay, it may not be, but it's rude," she said.
I chuckled and looked at her friend, who seemed to be gaping at me.
"Nick this is my best friend Jessica, Jess this is Nick," said Julianna introducing us.
"Nice to meet you," I said holding out my hand.
"You too," said Jess and stared at my outstretched hand.
"You're supposed to shake it," I said grinning.
Jess snapped out of her trance and quickly did so.
"Sorry, it's been a long morning," she said sheepishly.
I smiled. "I know the feeling," I said nodding. "I have those all the time."
"Nicky, shouldn't you go brush your teeth and stuff?" asked Julianna. "I can smell your breath all the way from here," she added waving her hand in front of her face.
Why that girl called me Nicky was beyond me. Why I was letting her get away with it was even more beyond me.
"Are you sure it's not your breath you're smelling?" I said and gave her a toothy grin.
"I'm sure," she said smiling right back. "So you better get a move on it. We have a flight in a couple of hours in case you forgot."
"I didn't forget," I informed her and turned towards the stairs. "And I didn't forget you drooling over me in my room earlier either," I added and ran upstairs as fast as I could before she could throw something at me, which I knew she would. Surely enough, when I got to the top of the staircase, I looked down, and saw a pillow lying about halfway up the stairs.
I laughed and then proceeded to the bathroom.

Julianna's point of view

"You were drooling over him in his room?" Jess asked, confused.
"I wasn't drooling," I said and went to pick up the pillow I launched at Nick. "But I wasn't exactly opposed to the view I got either," I said grinning.
"What did you see?"
"Let's just say that Nick doesn't sleep in much."
Jess's mouth dropped open. "You mean he sleeps…naked?!"
I laughed. "No! I didn't want that view. He was wearing boxers, but that was it," I told her.
"Ooh, you should've taken a picture," Jess said, laughing also.
"I know, I really gotta carry a camera around when I'm with him," I said smiling at the memory. Hey, it was a good view.
"So you and Nick are dating huh?" Jess asked with a smirk.
"Ha, ha, you know we're just pretending, I told you like ten minutes ago," I said, smirking right back.
"Okay, so let me ask you a question," Jess said folding her arms over her chest.
I raised my eyebrows. "Should I be afraid?"
"Nah, it's not that bad."
"Okay, what is it?"
"How good does Nick look in boxers?"
I burst out laughing, then looked around to make sure blondie was nowhere around, so that I didn't add to his already over-inflated ego by my next statement. "He looks really hot," I said grinning.
Nick then came downstairs dressed in jeans and a sweater. He eyed Jess and me carefully.
"Okay, I can tell by your expressions that you were just gossiping about something, so I'm gonna go take a walk, get some fresh air," he said and headed for the door. "I'm leaving," he announced with a grin. He then opened the door and shut it behind him.
Jess and I exchanged a glance.
"Who's gonna tell him he's in the closet?" Jess asked.
I held up my wristwatch, grinning. "Five, four, three, two, one-"
"I knew it was a closet all along," Nick said defensively, coming out.
I raised my eyebrows. "So you're finally coming out of the closet?"
"Ha, ha," he said sarcastically.
I turned to Jess with mock seriousness. "See, it's always the cute ones who are gay, they're just too gorgeous to be straight," I told her.
Jess snickered and nodded.
I looked at Nick and saw a smirk playing on his lips.
"So you think I'm gorgeous?" he asked.
"I wouldn't be so thrilled with that Nicky. Don't forget, I used that word in the same sentence as I used the word gay," I said, holding back a laugh.
"You know," Nick said shaking his finger at me. "For some bizarre reason I keep letting you call me Nicky."
"That's cause I'm your girlfriend," I said cracking up and sticking out my tongue.
"Don't remind me," he sighed and shook his head.
"Hey Nick," I said, getting an idea.
"Your fly is open."
Nick's eyes immediately went to his zipper, as did his hands.
Jess and I burst out laughing.
"Made you look!" I exclaimed cheerfully.
Nick nodded. "All right, if that's the way you want to play," he said with an evil grin.
For some reason, I decided that running would be a good idea right about now. So I did.
"Get back here!" I could hear Nick yelling from behind me as I ran up the stairs.
I ducked into my room and locked the door behind me.
"Whew, I lost him," I said out loud.
"Wouldn't be so sure of that if I were you," came Nick's voice, he was standing near my bathroom door, which I forgot wasn't locked.
"Ahh!" I literally jumped. I fucking jumped! "You moron! What did I tell you about scaring me half to death?" I exclaimed, stomping up to Nick and hitting him.
"Okay, first of all, OW!" he retorted, rubbing his shoulder. "Second of all, that was so funny!" He grinned.
I immediately got a mental image of him standing in front of the mirror and practicing that smile.
Hey, it could've happened.
"You…you…you…ugh!" I had no idea what I said but I was too frustrated to come up with a smartass remark.
"Me, me, me," Nick taunted. His evil grin returned. "Now, payback for that zipper comment."
I sighed as I once again found myself looking down at Nick's ass.
"What is your obsession with picking me up and slinging me over your shoulder?" I asked. "Do you not realize we're not in the Middle Ages anymore? The whole treating-your-woman-as-a-sack-of-potatoes is so caveman. It's the year 2002 Nicky, wake up and smell the twenty first century."
I felt, and heard, Nick sigh.
Then, without saying anything, he went out of my room and went downstairs.
"OH NO!" I screamed, as I realized where Nick was heading. "YOU ARE SO NOT GOING THERE!" I yelled.
Nick remained silent but I would've bet money on the fact that he was wearing a very evil grin on his face.
My eyes widened as Nick opened the backdoor and stepped into my pool area. It was winter and my pool should've been drained and covered, but was it? Of course not. Thanks to lazy-ass me.
I started squirming in hopes of maybe making Nick lose his hold and set me down. No suck luck. When did he have time to get strong anyway?
"NICK, IF I GET HYPOTHERMIA IT WILL BE-" my yell was cut off as my body was introduced to the ice-cold water of my pool.
I grimaced underwater as my head hit the floor. That. Hurt. I slowly surfaced, holding my left temple.
"That's what you get for-" Nick began and then his eyes widened as he saw me holding my head. "Fuck," he whispered, then hurried over and helped me out of the pool. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"Just peachy, I always wanted to know just how hard the bottom of my pool was," I replied sarcastically.
"Jul, I didn't realize…I'm really sorry…are you okay?" Nick panicked.
I took my hand away from my forehead. "Fuck," I cursed softly, when I saw blood on my fingers.
"Oh my God, you're bleeding!" Nick exclaimed.
"No duh, Sherlock," I snapped.
"Let me help." Nick offered his hand to me.
"You've done enough. Just leave me alone," I told him, and walked into the house leaving him standing there alone.

chapter 13 chapter 15