"Kayla, I think Nick just saw you here," Leah whispered in her ear after she saw him disappear into the house.
Kayla's eyebrows shot up. "Where is he?"
"He just went inside."
"Then how do you know he saw me?"
"Because number one, he kept stealing glances in your direction, and number two, he had a hard-on the size of Texas."
Kayla smacked her. "Leah!" she exclaimed, laughing.
"What?! He did!" Leah protested.
Kayla's face turned serious, and she rubbed her forehead, worried all of a sudden. "I don't know how much more of this I can take, Lee. Just this past week...every time we made eye contact...God, it was just so weird."
"Then talk to him," Leah replied. "Tell him you want to be with him. From what he said to you on Saturday, it seems like he would be all too happy to hear that from you."
"But I don't know if I want to be with him," Kayla argued.
"Come on, Kayla, of course you do. It's so obvious. You're face turns red whenever I even mention him."
"Lee, I just don't know if I want something serious at this point," Kayla said. "And do you know what? I really don't want to talk about this any more because I've just been stressing about it day and night ever since it happened, and I came to this party so I could maybe get my mind off of it."
Leah sighed. "Okay, fine. We won't talk about it. I just don't want you to make up your mind that you want to be with him and then have it be too late," she explained.
Kayla nodded silently.
"But anyway...think you can introduce me to Howie over there?" Leah asked, nodding towards him. He was standing in another part of the pool, talking and laughing with one of the band members.
Kayla smiled weakly. "Sure. Let's go."
As soon as Nick got inside the house, he immediately spotted Brian and Leighanne talking and laughing in the corner. As he walked towards them, Leighanne said something to Brian and gave him a quick kiss on the lips before sauntering away towards the kitchen.
Brian spotted Nick coming and smirked. "Did you see her?"
"God, yeah. I think I need a cold shower now," he muttered.
Brian chuckled. "She does look pretty."
"Pretty?" Nick echoed. "Oh my God, Bri. I've never seen her like that before. She looked..." He shut his eyes again. "I can't even describe it."
"Her friend was cute too," Brian offered.
Nick shook his head, waving those words away with his hand. "I don't care about her friend. I want her."
"So go talk to her!" Brian replied. "Go over there and win her over again! You had her before, Nick. She wouldn't have let you do anything with her if she hadn't been feeling something for you."
"How do you know that?" Nick asked. "She said it was just a physical thing, and that's why she did it."
Brian shook his head. "Her last boyfriend wanted to do stuff with her, remember? Well, she was physically attracted to him, but when tried to get her to have sex with him, she dumped him. That means there has to be something more with you."
"I don't think so," Nick said dubiously. "She just got caught up in the moment."
Brian sighed. "Okay, fine, I really wasn't supposed to tell you this, but...do you remember how you came to my room the morning after asking me what to do?"
"Well, a few minutes after you left, Kayla showed up," he said. "When she got there, her eyes were all red. It was pretty obvious that she had been crying. And she told me—and this is a direct quote—that 'seeing that pain in his eyes when I was telling him no was like torture.' What else do you need, Nick? A signed declaration of her feelings for you?"
"It's not like I didn't try! I was begging her to give me a chance, but she still said no. What else am I supposed to do?"
"Win her over again," he answered.
"Okay, do you want to know what I told her?" Brian asked. "I told her to really think it over before she decides anything but also to watch you and see how you interact with her and with other people. I told her she might find out something new. So just go up and talk to her. Like I said before, show her you're a good guy. She's halfway there, Nick. She just needs a little more convincing."
Nick ran a hand through his hair. "All right, fine. More convincing. Great." He swallowed. "Thanks," he said, a touch of sarcasm in his voice. "I'm going to go for that cold shower now."
Brian laughed. "Okay, you do that."
Nick nodded at Brian and then went over to Amanda, who was sitting in A.J.'s lap on the couch as the two of them made out heavily. Making a face, Nick stood there awkwardly for a moment before he finally ran out of patience and reached forward to gingerly tap her on the shoulder. She immediately broke the kiss with her boyfriend and looked to see who was there.
"Hey, Nick, what's up?" she greeted with a smile.
"Where's your bathroom?" he asked.
"Right down there," she said, pointing. She looked Nick up and down and smirked. "I can see why you might need it."
Nick glared at her, which just made her laugh more, and hurried off. As he left, he could hear A.J. saying, "Now, baby, that's just gross." He rolled his eyes as he shut and locked the bathroom door behind him.
Kayla was listening to Leah tell a story about her new boyfriend Thomas when all of a sudden, Leah trailed off, and her eyes widened slightly.
"Uh oh," Leah murmured.
Kayla shook her head. "What?"
"Don't look now, but Nick's coming this way," Leah warned softly.
Kayla squeezed her eyes shut. "Damn it!" she mumbled under her breath. "He still have that hard-on?" she asked with a wry grin.
Leah grinned right back. "I can't tell but I'm betting that it's a yes," she said.
"Oh my God, Leah, what am I going to—"
"Shhh, here he comes!" Leah reprimanded. She cleared her throat and started to talk about Thomas again. "I know, it was so cute! I was so surprised when I found the rose in my locker! He—"
"Hey, Kayla," Nick said timidly from behind her.
She turned around and saw him smiling hesitantly. "Hi, Nick, I didn't see you before," she said, forcing herself to smile back.
"Yeah, I've been here for awhile," he said. "I was inside though."
"Oh. Yeah, well, we just got here a few minutes ago," Kayla said.
"So, um...aren't you going to introduce me to your lovely friend?" Nick asked with a grin.
Kayla smiled. "Oh, yeah, of course. I'm sorry. Nick, this is my old friend Leah. Lee, you know who Nick is."
The two of them shook hands.
"Nice to meet you," Nick said.
"Likewise," Leah agreed.
"I'm sorry...I guess I interrupted," Nick realized.
"Oh, don't worry about it," Leah said before Kayla could reply.
Kayla looked at her with murder in her eyes but didn't let Nick see anything. "Yeah, don't worry about it," she echoed casually.
"We were just talking about my boyfriend," Leah said with a smirk.
"Oh, I wanna hear about him," Nick said.
Kayla smiled weakly. "Well, go ahead, Lee, tell us more," she said.