Nick and the other guys along with their bodyguards instantly stopped talking and fell silent when they heard the doorknob turn. They sat there riveted as the door creaked open slowly, almost timidly, eventually revealing a seventeen year old girl.
A very familiar seventeen year old girl.
Nick just stared at her for a moment before he realized that the other guys were standing. He quickly got to his feet too and followed them as they went over to greet her. As he did that, one single thought was running through his head.
Kayla Prescott is even more beautiful in person.
She had caught a glimpse of them and had instantly stopped walking and covered her eyes with her hands as if she was afraid to look, maybe for fear of it all being a dream. When she heard the guys approaching her, she uncovered her eyes and dropped her hands. She saw them once again and put a hand briefly to her mouth. But Nick could see that she was smiling.
Brian was the first one to greet her. He stepped right up to her and gave her a great big hug.
"Hey, Kayla!" he said cheerfully.
"Hi," she replied in a voice that was just a little bit louder than a whisper as they released each other. She covered her mouth again. "I'm sorry, I just...oh my God. I can't believe this."
Brian stepped away, and Howie walked up to her. "Hi, sweetie," he said, giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Kayla started to blush, despite her hidden attempts not to. "Hi."
Kevin was the next to walk up to her. Nick noticed her eyes widening slightly when he got closer to her.
"Hey," Kevin said, shaking her hand.
Her jaw dropped. Her jaw dropped. "Oh my God, I have the biggest crush on you," she blurted out. Then she gasped, and her hand flew to her mouth. "Oh no! Did I just say that out loud?"
"Yep," said a grinning Kevin.
"I am so sorry!" Kayla murmured. "I didn't meanó"
"Don't worry about it," Kevin interrupted, chuckling as he gave her a hug too.
A.J. came next. "Hey, what's up?" he asked casually, wrapping an arm around her.
"Oh my God, everything," Kayla mumbled, getting a laugh out of him as he released her.
Nick could feel his heart beating faster as he stepped up to her. He had been planning on hugging her, but at the last minute he lost his nerve. Plastering a friendly smile across his face, he extended his right hand. "Hi, Kayla," he said.
She took it, and he practically felt like moaning. If she never let go of his hand, he would honestly have no objections.
"Hi, Nick," she said, smiling.
Nick already loved the way she said his name. In truth, she said it just like anyone else did, but in his head, he could hear a difference.
Nick just stopped moving for a moment, mesmerized by her warm blue eyes as their hands stopped moving up and down but stayed together. Kayla froze too, and he could see slight confusion cross her face as she stared back at him.
Before anything else could happen, Brian starting talking again, and they broke the gaze, quickly letting go of each other's hands as they looked away.
"So this is your dad?" Brian was asking, pointing to Mr. Prescott.
Kayla cleared her throat, still recovering from her meeting the guys. "Yes," she affirmed. "And Sara and Linz," she added, pointing to them.
During the next ten minutes or so, everyone was introduced to everyone else, and by the end, Linz was giggling with A.J., Sara was talking about sports with Brian, Mr. Prescott was discussing something with Kevin, and Kayla was talking to Howie and Nick. Actually, Kayla was talking to Howie. Nick was off in his own little world and wasn't participating much in the conversation. Instead he was thinking about...Kayla. He didn't know why he was thinking about her. He hardly even knew anything about her. They had just met ten minutes ago! It was insane! Nick kept telling himself that. But he still couldn't stop thinking about her, despite the peculiarity of it all.
Finally an airport security guard came into the room and notified everyone that the flight would begin boarding in just a minute. He added that the people who would not be traveling on the flight should clear out soon. Kayla swallowed, knowing that she had to say goodbye now, and excused herself from Howie and Nick. She went up to Sara and Linz first.
Even though she was smiling, Kayla felt tears stinging her eyes as she hugged both of them. "I'll miss you guys," she said softly.
"You are so calling us, Kayla. It's not even funny," Sara said, hugging her again.
"Don't worry, I will," Kayla promised.
"You'd better," Sara warned, letting her go.
Kayla turned to Linz, who had a smirk on her face.
"Think you'll manage to keep your hands off of Kevin?" Linz asked as she hugged Kayla.
Kayla laughed. "Well, I'm going to try," she resolved. She gave Linz a squeeze before letting go. "I love you guys."
"Love you too," they both echoed.
Kayla grinned at them before turning towards her dad. She sighed and hugged him tightly. "Dad..." she mumbled.
"Kayla, I don't want you to look at any part of this as negative," Mr. Prescott said before she could say anything else.
"But I don't want to leave."
"That's just one little sacrifice you have to make," her father said. "And we're going to miss you a lot, but it's going to be worth it."
Kayla smiled weakly as she let go of him. "Let's hope so."
"Call us when you get to Orlando," her father ordered.
"I will. I promise," Kayla said. "I love you."
"I love you too, Kayla," he replied. "And now we have to get going."
She sighed. "Okay. Bye Sara, bye Linz."
"Bye, Kayla. Have a great time," Sara wished.
"Bye, Dad," Kayla added. She rushed forward and gave him a quick squeeze before backing away again.
"Bye, honey. Have a safe flight," he replied as Linz reached for the door.
"Bye!" Kayla said one last time, waving, as they started to file out the door. They all waved back before they disappeared from her view. She sighed when they were gone, feeling a heaviness in her heart.
Immediately she felt Brian's arm wrap around her shoulders. "You okay there?" he asked with concern.
She had to smile. "Yeah, I am."
"Ready to get this show on the road?"
"I am so ready," Kayla replied.
"Then let's get going!" he declared. Picking up her carry-on from the couch for her, he gave her another friendly smile
before heading towards the door. "Come on, guys, we have a plane to board."