"Kayyyla Prescott!" Brian sang loudly as he walked into her open dressing room at a different venue a few days later.
She looked up from the textbook she was studying and smiled at him. "Hey, Bri," she greeted.
"What's up, babe?" he asked, pulling a chair up next to her and sitting down.
She sighed. "Studying U.S. history," she muttered, giving the book a nasty glare before slamming it shut.
Brian nodded in empathy. "When are you taking the test?" he wanted to know.
Kayla shrugged. "A couple of weeks maybe. I'm already done with all the other subject. This is my last one before I get my diploma," she explained.
"Ooh!" Brian commented. "We're gonna have to have a party or something for you when you're all done!"
"Don't be turning into A.J. on me, okay, Bri?" she asked sarcastically. "I swear, any excuse to have a party," she added, shaking her head.
Brian laughed. "Don't worry. I don't think I could ever be like A.J."
Thinking about this, Kayla laughed too. "That would be so funny! Brian being a bad-ass. Ha!"
"You're saying I can't be 'bad?'" he challenged.
"Pssh, yeah!" Kayla replied.
Brian smirked. "Well, you know what? I bet if you asked Leighanne, she would tell you differently," he predicted.
Kayla giggled. "I'm sure she would."
Brian nodded vehemently. "So anyway...bus trip tonight."
Kayla made a face. "I know," she said glumly. "Don't remind me."
"You mean...you don't like the bus trips?" he asked in mock surprise.
"No, I only don't like overnight bus trips," she corrected. "I can't sleep on them."
"Oh, don't worry, you'll learn. Believe me," Brian assured her. "But you know what? I don't think you'll be having that problem tonight."
"'Cause tonight you're coming on our bus and watching scary movies with us," he replied factually.
Kayla squeezed her eyes shut. "Brian—"
"Kayla, the ones we picked aren't that bad," he interrupted.
"But you love scary movies," she reminded him.
"So of course you don't think they're that bad!" she concluded.
"But Kayla...you can snuggle up with Kevin!" Brian told her.
She stopped in the middle of opening her mouth to protest, and a smile spread across her lips. "I'm so in," she said. "Mm...snuggling up with Kevin..."
"'Mm?'" Brian echoed. "Kayla, I think I'm gonna have to tell Kristin about all this. Seems she's got a little competition all of a sudden."
Kayla rolled her eyes. "Kristin loves me."
"So? Keep your friends close and keep your enemies even closer."
"That's a horrible thing to say!" Kayla said, laughing.
"I know, babe, I'm just teasing."
"Hey, Bri, as long as you're talking to Kris about the 'mm' thing, maybe I'd better mention this 'babe' thing to Leighanne," Kayla said as he got to his feet.
"Fine...what do I call you then?" he wondered, pretending to think.
"'Kayla' would be the best option."
"Nahhh...too easy," he rejected. "Ah, well, can't think of anything. Guess I'm stuck with 'babe.' And now I have to go, 'cause I'm already late for sound check. Just wanted to invite you..."
"Okay. See you later, Bri."
"Bye, babe!" he called over his shoulder as he walked out of the room, leaving her to laugh and roll her eyes before opening her book and going back to studying once again.
Kayla sighed sharply and turned over onto her other side as she lay in the spare bunk on the Boys' bus later that night. She had no idea what time it was. Probably around two a.m., since they had finished their second movie and gone to bed around one. And she had to have been tossing and turning for at least an hour. She had thought that after such a long day and both of those movies, it would be easy to fall asleep. But no. All of a sudden she was feeling all homesick, and it was keeping her awake.
She was still thinking about this and trying to go to sleep a few minutes later when she heard a similar sigh to her own being let out from what sounded like the bunk directly underneath hers. Frowning, Kayla went through what she remembered of who slept where and tried to figure out who she had heard. She smiled when she realized who it was.
"Nick?" she whispered.
There was a short pause and the sound of sheets rustling around before he whispered back, "Kayla?"
Pulling back the curtain on the side of her bunk, she poked her head out and looked down. His head was already there, and she could tell he was looking up at her, although it was hard to make out his features in the darkness. "Hey," she whispered, smiling at him.
"Hey. What are you doing up? It's past two o'clock."
Kayla looked away. "I hate to admit it, but...I'm homesick." She smiled weakly. "How about you?"
"Yeah, I'm homesick too," he lied. He didn't really want to tell her that he was awake because he hadn't been able to get her out of his head.
A touch of wryness came into her smile at the coincidence. "Really? I don't know what brought it on me all of a sudden," she sighed.
"Yeah, me neither," Nick agreed.
There was a moment of silence. Kayla averted her eyes and half-smiled awkwardly.
"Hey," Nick said suddenly, breaking the silence and making her look back at him.
"Come on," he said with a smile, getting out of his bunk and pulling a blanket with him.
"Huh? Nicky, what are you doing?" she mumbled.
"Just come on. And bring your pillow," he added as he disappeared into the back of the bus.
Although she was frowning, she decided to trust him picking up her pillow and taking it with her. She found him standing next to the couch and spreading out the blanket on top of it.
"What are you doing?" Kayla asked.
"We are gonna talk this out a bit, and it's freezing out here, so I brought the blanket," Nick explained.
"What about the pillow?"
He shrugged. "I wanted you to be comfy."
She laughed. "You're so cute," she commented.
He was glad the darkness hid his blushing. "Yeah, yeah," he mumbled.
That just made her laugh more. "I love you to death, Nicky," she told him.
"Who doesn't?" he cracked. He didn't quite have the balls to tell her he loved her too at that moment. He was afraid it would come out wrong and she would know everything if he said it.
Kayla smiled as they both got under the blanket. "Good point," she agreed.
Nick nodded confidently as he settled himself on the couch. He was surprised when Kayla snuggled up close to him so that their bodies were touching.
She must have noticed his surprise because she offered an explanation. "I'm cold too," she said.
Nick smiled and wrapped his arms around her, rubbing her arm to try to make some heat. He was glad to have the opportunity to be so close to her at that moment. Although he would have preferred to warm her up in another way...
"So..." Kayla said, breaking the sudden silence.
Nick turned his head towards her and smiled, forcing those images out of his head. "Let's talk," he said.