“Kayleigh! The doorbell is ringing! Can you get it?” Carolyn called from her bedroom. Kayleigh tossed the magazine on the ground and ran down the stairs, just as it rang again.

“I’m coming,” she mumbled. “Keep your pants on.” She threw open the door and stood wide-eyed at who was on the front steps.

“Nick!” she shrieked and jumped into the arms of her best friend whom she hadn’t seen in months. “Oh my god! I can’t believe you’re here!”

Nick squeezed her tight. “I missed you, girl.” They broke apart and Kayleigh led him into the kitchen. “I though you weren’t supposed to be back for another week or so.”

“We weren’t,” he told her. “But something got screwed up and they let us come home early. I wanted to surprise you.”

“And it worked,” Kayleigh said, biting into an apple. “So, how are things over in Euro-land? I hear through the grapevine that you have a girlfriend.”

Nick grinned. “Yeah. She’s actually from Florida. She goes to boarding school over there. She’s your age.”

“Ooh,” Kayleigh teased. “Nicky’s got himself an older woman.”

“Shut up!”

“So, am I ever going to meet this mysterious girlfriend of yours? What’s her name?”

“Her name is Jessica,” Nick answered. “And you’ll meet her next week when she flies in.”

“Cool!” Kayleigh commented. “Maybe we can all go out. You, me, Jessica, and Tyler.”

Nick made a face as if someone had just suggested that they feed him to a hungry pack of wolves. “Yippie. A night with Tyler.”

She hit him on the arm. “Hey, whether you like him or not is beside the point. He’s still my boyfriend and I’d appreciate it if you kept your comments to yourself.” She walked into the family room and turned the television on, collapsing on the couch.

“I’m sorry, Kayles,” Nick said, following her. He sat down next to her and she stretched her long legs across him. “It’s just that I don’t think that he’s good for you. You need to find a guy who is.”

“How would you know?” she asked. “You’ve met him, what, twice?”

“And twice was all it took for me to decide not to trust him,” he explained. “He treats you like he owns you. Not like he loves you.”

“Glad I have your support,” Kayleigh spat, sarcastically.

“You asked my opinion, Kay, and I gave it. I’m sorry if you don’t like it,” Nick told her.

“Then why don’t we forget dinner next week,” Kayleigh said. “I wouldn’t want you to have to spend more time with the guy I love than is absolutely necessary.” She stood up, angrily, and walked outside by the pool. She sat down and stuck her feet in the water. Nick sighed and watched her for a minute, running a hand through his blond locks. They had been having the same argument for months now. Ever since Nick had met Tyler back at Christmas time, he decided that he didn’t like him. And he hated the fact that he tried to run her life. Kayleigh was supposed to fly over and visit Nick for Spring Break, but, instead, Tyler had convinced her to break her plans with Nick and go down to the Keys with their other friends. Nick knew Tyler didn’t like him. He viewed Nick as a potential threat. Nick had to laugh at that. He and Kayleigh would never look at each other as anything other than friends. That would just be...wrong...in so many ways.

He took a deep breath and walked outside, sitting next to her. “I’m sorry, Kayles. I didn’t mean to make you upset.”

She shrugged. “I can’t force you to like him, Nick. I know that. It’s just that you’re my best friend. Your opinion matters to me. But just because you don’t want me to be with him doesn’t mean that I’m going to listen to you. And I can’t believe that you would even expect me to break up with him just because you don’t like him.”

“When the hell did I say that?” Nick exclaimed.

“You didn’t have to,” Kayleigh yelled in return. “I’ve known your for almost five years, now, Nick. I can tell what you’re thinking half of the time and when you want something.”

“Don’t you dare put words in my mouth, Kayleigh,” Nick warned. He was interrupted by her mom walking outside.

“Is everything alright?” she asked, tentatively, noticing how her daughter and her best friend were glaring at each other.

“We’re fine, mom,” Kayleigh answered, still glaring at Nick. “Nick was just leaving.” Nick’s jaw dropped. They had fought before but she had never kicked him out of her house. Neither one would leave until the fight was resolved.

“Uh…nice to see you again, Mrs. Madison,” Nick stuttered, still in complete disbelief that Kayleigh was acting like this. Carolyn turned around and walked inside, not really understanding what was going on.

“Leave, Nick,” Kayleigh growled, noticing that he was still rooted to his spot. “I don’t want you here right now.’

“I’m not leaving til we settle this, Kayles,” he told her.

“Don’t call me that,” she said through gritted teeth. “Only my best friend can call me that.” Nick opened his mouth to say something but no words came out. He watched as she spun on her heel and stormed inside her house, slamming the door behind her.

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