On Nick's birthday, it rained.
Not a light sprinkling of small water droplets or a little bit of drizzling that got slightly worse every few minutes and then died away again.
Hard, pounding rain.
It was so loud, it was inescapable, and in Nick's beach house, which was practically nothing but windows, he could see it everywhere he went. Nick could have closed all the curtains and turned up his stereo to shut it away, but he didn'tóhe welcomed it with open arms. He loved the rain. While he ate breakfast, he looked out the window and watched the way it fell into the ocean, and he was mesmerized.
But then he saw something strange.
Out on the sand that was now wet and hard, there was a large blue lump. Nick squinted harder to try and see it through his rain-streaked window, and after a moment, he figured out that it was a person. His eyes widened, and he quickly grabbed his coat. Anyone who was outside right now, especially out on the beach, would surely get soaked to the bone and come down with something.
Outside the warmth of his house, the rain was cold and its roar was even louder, but by now, Nick was used to it. Squinting so that water wouldn't get in his eyes, he started to walk towards the person.
As he got closer, he could make out long hair as well as a black denim jacket over a short skirt, meaning it was a girl. Her clothes were completely drenched, and she was lying on her side as if she had collapsed. Nick sped up a little, and soon he reached her. Kneeling down beside her, he turned her over onto her back, and his eyes widened when he recognized her face as Kayla's.
"Kayla!" he yelled above the storm, tapping the side of her face gently with the palm of his hand. "Kayla, honey, wake up!"
She didn't move. Her face was peaceful, but it was an eerie kind of tranquillity, and it was making him uneasy.
"Okay, you're coming inside!" Nick decided, scooping her unconscious body up in his arms. The rain beat relentlessly at his back as he walked back into his house.
Once inside, he set her down on the couch in his den and tried to wake her again, but she still wouldn't stir. Then he kind of panicked. He couldn't call the hospital because the phone lines were down and he was in a dead zone for his cell. Driving was out of the question. The hospital was miles away, and the dirt road from his house was in an unmanageable condition. She was breathing, he had checked for that already, but she still could be in serious condition. Nick desperately walked around his house in search of something to help, but he found nothing. Finally he decided that the best thing to do would be to get her into some dry clothes and put her in bed to get her warm before she caught pneumonia.
Nick carried her upstairs where the bedrooms were, his heart beating madly at the realization that to get her into warm clothes, he would have to undress her first. Swallowing hard, he went into his room and put her down on his bed. He stared at her for a moment before quickly turning and going to his dresser. A moment later, after pulling out his smallest t-shirt and a pair of pajama pants with a drawstring that would keep them from falling off of her, he turned back around.
At first he jumped when he saw that her eyes were open and fixed on him, but then immense relief set in, and he sighed heavily.
"Thank God you woke up," he murmured.
Kayla frowned in confusion and sat up sleepily. "What happened? Where are we?"
"In my house. I found you out on the beach in the rain and brought you up here so you wouldn't get sick or anything. You must have passed out or something. I couldn't wake you up," Nick explained.
"Passed out?" Kayla echoed.
"Yeah." He grinned. "You haven't been hitting the booze again, have you?"
"Well, you know me, Nick," Kayla replied with a grin. "I guess I was just out for a walk or something...I don't remember. That's kind of scary that I just passed out."
"At least you're okay now," Nick said, smiling. Their eyes locked for a moment before he looked away. "I, um, got you some dry clothes," he said, feeling the tension in the room begin to climb.
"Oh, okay. Thank you," Kayla said. "These aren't too comfortable. What the hell was I thinking, wearing this skirt in January?" she wondered out loud.
Oh, it's really okay, Nick thought, taking the chance to look at her legs. "I don't know. Well, do you want to take a hot shower or something?" he offered.
She nodded, standing up. "Yeah. I have sand on me."
Nick tossed her the clothes before nodding towards the door. "Guest bathroom's down the hall."
"Thanks." She smiled at him and went out the door.
Nick sighed and went to lie down on his bed. To tell the truth, he had hoped that she would wake up a little later. Later as in after he had changed her clothes. But that was just life with Kayla. After he shut his eyes, he heard faint singing from down the hall, and he smiled. He loved her voice.
He must have dozed off for a few minutes, because the next thing he knew, the water was off, and the singing was gone. Nick assumed that since he couldn't hear her moving around anywhere, she had decided to lie down somewhere and take a nap. He thought he should go check on her, but he really didn't want to get up out of bed.
That was when his door opened and Kayla came into the room.
The first thing that surprised Nick was that she was still wearing her wet clothes instead of his dry ones. Then he noticed the fact that her jacket was open, and the only thing she was wearing under it was a bra. Her skirt was also hiked up so that the slit on the side showed a little more than was intended. Finally there was her facial expression. Nick couldn't even describe it. He had never seen anything like it on her face before.
As he watched, she closed the door behind her and leaned up against it without saying anything.
Nick sat up, his heart beating faster. "Oh...were the clothes too big on you or something?" he asked.
Kayla shook her head slowly. "That's not it," she said, pushing wet hair out of her face as she started to approach him.
Her movement made her jacket move a little too, and Nick swallowed, seeing more of her skin. "Then...why aren't you..."
"Shhh," Kayla said as she reached the bed. Climbing on top of it, she crawled up to Nick and hiked up her skirt a little more before seating herself in his lap and straddling him. She put her arms around him loosely and let her fingertips stroke the back of his neck.
Nick could barely breathe by now. "Kayla..." he began, his hands automatically going to her hips.
She shook her head and, withdrawing her arms, took both of his hands in her own. She slid them up her back and under her jacket to the back of her bra. He took the hint and quickly unhooked it. Smiling at him, she slipped out of her jacket, and he pulled her bra all the way off. Nick tried to kiss her, but she wouldn't let him. With an almost hungry look in her eyes, she pulled off his sweater and undershirt. Pressing her body against his, she finally let their lips meet. Nick pulled her under the covers with him, and, after undressing both of them all the way, let her make love to him for hours on end.
When Kayla was so tired she could no longer move, she finally stopped. She lay there on top of him, her head resting against his chest, as the two of them caught their breath. Then she lifted her head and gave him that predatory look again.
"Happy birthday, Nicky," she whispered, her hand sliding up his chest.
He smiled and laid his head back on the pillow, playing with her hair. "Thanks, baby girl...I think that was the best present I've ever gotten."
Kayla smiled too and laid down on his chest. He felt her eyelashes move as she shut her eyes and, rather mysteriously, noise swelled in the background.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" yelled a large group of people, awakening Nick from his dream.
"Wha...huh?" Nick mumbled as he opened his eyes and found himself not in his beach house but in his hotel roomówith about fifteen other people, including the guys and Kayla.
"Happy birthday!" everyone yelled again. Lisa threw some confetti, and Brian blew a little party horn.
"Oh God," Nick moaned.
Everyone laughed at that. Then Kayla and Howie came forward. Howie was carrying a covered tray.
"We got you some breakfast, Nicky," she said, gesturing toward the tray. "My idea, thank you very much," she added as Howie set the tray down and uncovered it.
"Thanks," Nick said, looking at her face and trying not to think about his dream.
Kayla grinned. "Happy birthday," she said, hugging him tight and kissing him on the cheek.
That actually made him smile. "Thanks," he replied to her. "Thanks, guys," he added wearily. "I appreciate it." He was smiling for two reasons. One, because she had just kissed him.
And two, because he had just gotten an idea.