Kayla finished drying her hair just as there were three knocks on her door as well as a yell of "Kayla!" the next day around noon. Grinning, she turned off the hairdryer and hurried out of the bathroom to open the door.
"Leah!" she cried when she laid eyes on her old friend. She pulled her into a hug. "How are you?"
Leah hugged her back. "I'm wonderful! How are you?"
"Oh, I've never been better, I promise you," Kayla said jokingly, making Leah laugh.
"God, Kayla, I still can't get over this. Do you know how much I freaked out when I saw your picture on MTV News? I started screaming my head off!"
"Funny, I had the same reaction," Kayla joked. "Want to come in? The party doesn't start until 1:30, and the house is an hour away, so we have half an hour to get ready."
"Sure," Leah agreed, stepping inside. "Are we having lunch there?"
"Yep. Amanda's ordering a bunch of pizzas."
"Yeah, for you maybe. But I have been living on pizza for the past few months!" Kayla groaned.
"You poor little thing," Leah commented sarcastically.
Kayla giggled. "Oh, I know. So how goes it?"
Leah shrugged. "Good."
"Ugh. Don't rub it in."
Kayla laughed. "Got a boyfriend or anything?"
Leah smiled and nodded. "Yeah."
"Ooh! Tell me about him," Kayla begged.
"Oh my God, Kay, he is soooo fine," Leah gushed. "Here, I have a picture," she realized, getting out her wallet. "He's really, really sweet too. He's...not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. But he's very lovable."
Kayla swallowed. Leah had just given her a perfect description of Nick himself. She managed a smile as Leah pulled out a picture and handed it to her. A tall, brown-haired guy was standing with his arm around Leah's shoulders and his fingers tangled in her dark hair. Smiles were spread across both Leah's and the guy's faces. Kayla took the picture and smiled as well. "Damn," she remarked. "You weren't kidding. So does this Greek god of yours have a name?"
Leah nodded. "Thomas. But everyone else calls him Tommy."
Kayla handed her the picture. "Everyone else?"
"Yeah, I call him Thomas 'cause it bugs him," Leah explained, grinning
Kayla swallowed at the coincidence. "Cute," she said, forcing a smile.
"What about you, Kay? Hook up with Kevin yet?" Leah asked suggestively.
"Why does everyone always ask me that?" Kayla wondered, laughing. "No, actually, I don't have anyone right now. I'm wayyy too busy." She hoped that Leah would buy her excuse. She really didn't want to risk telling anyone about Nick just yet.
"Yeah, I can understand that," Leah agreed.
"But anyway about the party. Did you bring me a bathing suit?" she asked hopefully.
"Oh, yeah, it's in my bag," Leah said. She unzipped the Adidas bag that she was carrying and rummaged around in it for a minute before pulling out a blue and white floral bikini.
Kayla's eyebrows shot up when she saw how skimpy it was. "Wow, that's...interesting."
Leah laughed. "Is it okay?"
Kayla remembered just then that Nick was going to be attending the party, and she smiled. "Yes. It's great. I was just kidding."
At 12:30, Kayla was just pulling on some shorts and a camisole over the bikini. Leah was already dressed. Kayla slipped into some flip flops, and the two of them left.
"Listen, I don't have a car," Kayla informed her as they walked out of the front doors of the hotel, escorted as usual by Kayla's bodyguard.
"That's okay," Leah said. "We'll just take mine."
Nick sighed in frustration and crumpled up the paper cup he was holding as he walked around the spacious Latona house. He had been hoping to talk to Kayla at this party, but so far, she was nowhere to be found, and it had already been twenty minutes.
Nick spotted Brian and Leighanne sitting on lounge chairs and talking as they ate. Setting his jaw determinedly, he hurried up to them.
"Hey, Frick, sorry to interrupt, but have you seen Kayla around?" he asked anxiously.
Brian shook his head. "Nope."
"Leigh? Have you?"
"No. Sorry, Nick."
"I think she and Leah must have gotten sidetracked somewhere," Brian added. "You know how it is with old friends."
Nick ran a hand through his hair. "I guess." He sighed. "Are you sure that she's coming?"
"She'll be here, Frack, don't worry," Brian assured him.
"Yeah, I hope so."