Kayla had just gotten dressed after her shower that night and was about to start drying her hair when someone knocked on the door to her hotel room. She muttered a curse and quickly ran a brush through her hair a few times before going to answer the door.
"Hey," she said when she opened it and saw Nick standing there.
He forced a smile. "Hey."
"Come on in," she invited, opening the door wider.
He did. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" he asked as he walked inside. That frown was still on his face from before.
"No, no. I was gonna dry my hair, but it's okay. I'll just put it up tomorrow. I watched your part of the show tonight. You did good."
Nick shook his head. "My mind was somewhere else."
Kayla shrugged and went over to sit down on her bed. "It didn't show." She patted a spot next to her on the mattress.
He came and sat down too. "Thanks. I think."
Kayla smiled. "How are you holding up?"
Nick sighed. "I don't know. Okay, I guess. It's just...I'm not even gonna be able to go to his funeral."
"When is it?"
"Tomorrow morning," he said sourly. "And you know why I can't go? We have a photo shoot. I have to miss the funeral of a man I've known since birth because I'm gonna be at a fucking photo shoot!"
Kayla put her arm around him. "Sweetie, it'só"
"No, it's not okay!" Nick said, pushing her arm away. "It's a photo shoot, Kayla!"
"I'm missing a funeral foró"
"Nicky," Kayla interrupted loudly. "Honey, it's okay! It's just a funeral! It's just some people gathering around and saying some nice words together. If you miss it, that doesn't mean that it's the end of the world, or that anyone's gonna think that you didn't care about him. Everyone knows that's not true."
He looked away. "Kayla, I know that, I just..." He swallowed. "I could use the support." His voice cracked, and he coughed nervously.
Kayla wrapped her arm around him again. "Aw...now, that's what I'm here for."
"But that's not the same," Nick mumbled. "You don't know him. They do."
"So tell me about him," Kayla suggested.
Nick looked at her. "Huh?"
"Tell me what he was like. I wanna know."
Nick frowned. "Butó"
"Sweetie, it'll help. Just talking about it will help you feel better," she coaxed, rubbing his back.
Nick sighed. "Okay. Fine."
"So tell me...oh, I don't know. Tell me your first memory of him," she said.
A smile slowly spread across Nick's face, and his tense shoulders relaxed a little bit. "Okay..."
When the phone rang a couple of hours later that same night, Kayla quickly rushed over to it, not wanting to wake up Nick. After talking it out with her for a little over an hour, he had fallen silent with his head in her lap, and a few minutes later, she had looked down and found his eyes to be closed. Kayla was actually glad that this had happened, even if it meant that she had to sleep on the couch that night. She had a feeling that he would have had trouble falling asleep if he had been on his own.
"Hello?" Kayla said softly into the receiver, stealing another glance at her unconscious companion. She had to smile. He looked irresistibly cute with his hair falling in his face like that. "Kayla. It's me," Brian's voice replied. "Do you know what happened to Nick? I never heard him come back to his room."
"Yeah, he's asleep on my bed right now," Kayla said.
"You bad girl," Brian joked.
She laughed. "No, we were just talking, and he was lying down, and he turned quiet, and I guess he just drifted off," she explained.
"How do you do it?" Brian remarked. "I don't understand...I mean he wouldn't even look at any of us, but then you get in there and he's crying in your arms." Actually, Brian understood perfectly, but he didn't think he should tell Kayla the real logic behind everything.
"Oh, that's easy...he just needed to be cuddled a little," Kayla answered simply.
"Come on, Bri...were you really about to call him sweetie and let him cry into your shoulder or lie down in your lap while you stroked his hair?" Kayla pointed out. "He needed to be comforted. We all do sometimes."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Brian agreed. He was going to try to make another kind of a connection but before he got the chance, Kayla did it for him.
"I mean, when you feel like that, you just turn to Leighanne, but it's kind of different for us single people," Kayla reminded him.
Brian smirked, thanking the heavens for his luck. "Yeah, well, you know what I think Nick needs?"
"A girlfriend. I think he needs one so bad it's not even funny." And that's where you come in, Brian added silently.
"Yeah...that makes sense. I guess he could use that support," Kayla agreed.
Brian was going to say something else, but before he got the chance, she interrupted.
"Uh oh, I think we were too loud...he's waking up," she observed, seeing him start to move around. "I'm gonna send him back to his room, I guess. I'll talk to you later, okay?"
"All right. Bye, Kayla," Brian said.
"Bye." Kayla hung up the phone and went over to sit next to him. "Nick," she said, putting a hand on his shoulder.
"Huh?" he murmured, opening his eyes. He was a little surprised to see her there, but he recovered.
"It's really late...almost three. And while I don't want to kick you out, I really need to sleep too," she said.
"How long have I been out?"
"Just fifteen minutes or so."
"I'm sorry...I didn't meanó"
"It's perfectly fine, honey, I just don't want both of us to be really tired tomorrow," she said.
Nick nodded and slowly sat up, yawning. "I'll get out of here then."
"I want you to call me if you can't sleep or anything else is bothering you, okay?" Kayla said as he stood up and she started to walk him to the door.
Nick shook his head. "You've done enough."
"No, Nick, I don't want you to feel like you're a burden on me because you're not, okay? Whatever you need...I'm here."
Nick forced a smile. If only you knew what I really need, he thought wryly as he returned the hug she was giving him. "Thanks, Kay...I appreciate it."
She let go of him. "Anytime. I'll see you in the morning," she said as she opened the door.
"Okay. Bye. Thanks for the patience," he said as he walked out the door.
Kayla smiled and waved after him. "Bye," she said, giving him one last smile before closing the door and going to get ready for bed.