"Nick?" Leighanne said, knocking lightly on the door to his dressing room the next afternoon. The door was open but she didn't want to just walk right in.
"Hm?" he said indifferently from inside the room.
"Can I come in?" she asked, ready to persuade him that it was in his best interest to talk to her. Nick wasn't the type of person who was extremely verbose when he was in a bad mood.
Surprisingly, he didn't put up a fight. "Okay," he muttered.
She opened the door and found him sitting listlessly in a folding chair, his elbow resting on the table and his cheek resting on his fist. He looked like he hadn't slept much last night, and personally, she couldn't blame him.
"Hi," she said carefully.
Nick raised his head, knowing what was coming. "Have a seat," he said glumly.
"Kayla?" Brian said, knocking lightly on the door to her dressing room. It was shut tightly and locked.
"What?" she replied sharply. She didn't sound too pleased to be speaking to him.
Brian gulped. "Can I come in?"
There was a pause as she contemplated the situation. "No," she finally said sweetly.
Brian rolled his eyes. "Please?"
"Please just leave me alone," she said, irritated.
That would have been simple enough to do, but Brian wasn't giving up that easily. "Sweetie, I'm not gonna bug you any more. I just wanna talk."
"No," she repeated.
Brian sighed. This was going to be a long afternoon.
"Then what happened?" Leighanne asked softly as she rubbed Nick's back. Slowly, bit by bit, she was getting the story of the previous night's occurences out of him.
"Then...she just starting crying. She said...I didn't deserve to be treated the way she was treating me."
"Well...that's good. At least she feels bad about it," Leighanne pointed out.
"Yeah, that's what I was thinking," Nick agreed. "So of course I couldn't stay mad at her when she was like that. I had to try to make her feel better."
"Did you?" Leighanne asked.
Nick nodded. "For a little while, at least." He sighed. "Then I made a huge mistake."
Leighanne raised her eyebrows curiously. "What did you do?"
Nick squeezed his eyes shut. "I kissed her."
"Kayla, please," Brian begged. "Will you open the door?"
"No, for the last time!"
"Why?" he finally asked.
"Because last time you wanted to talk to me, I broke someone's heart, and I won't let that happen again," she mumbled.
"Kayla, I'm not gonna try to talk you into anything again. I just wanna talk."
She hesitated. "Promise?" she asked suspiciously.
"Promise, now will you open the damn door?" Brian groaned, finally losing patience.
There was a pause, and then finally, the door the opened to reveal Kayla standing there. She looked miserable. Brian had never seen her like that before.
"I'm a terrible person," she said looking at the floor.
Brian sighed and put his hand on her back. "Let's talk."
"I just don't get her, Leigh," Nick said, shaking his head. "I thought girls were supposed to want serious relationships. I should be the one who just wants her for play, not the other way around," he complained.
Leighanne chuckled. "That's one way of looking at it, I guess. But she doesn't just want you for that. You know there's something else there. She wouldn't let just anyone do the stuff you've been doing."
Nick let out a long sigh. "That's what I used to think, but the same thing keeps happening again and again."
Leighanne stopped rubbing his back to give him a hug. "I know it's frustrating...but she'll come around."
Nick looked up at her. "When?" he asked.
"Kayla, it's okay. Don't be so hard on yourself," Brian soothed. He was standing in her dressing room with his arms around her while she cried into his chest.
"You didn't see that look in his eyes when I pulled away," she sobbed. "It was so horrible. I felt like..." She searched for the right word but didn't find one and gave up. "I don't even know. But it was the worst feeling in the world."
"Kayla, there is a solution," Brian reminded her gently.
She sighed. "I tried to, Brian. I really did. But I just got so scared and nervous...I had to get out of there before..."
"Before what?" he asked quietly.
"I don't know," she said.
Brian pulled away to look into her eyes. "That's what I don't understand," he said. "And that's what he doesn't understand. What in the world is going to happen that's so horrible?"
"I don't know," she practically whispered. "Maybe nothing. Maybe that's what scares me most of all."
"I want to do something," Nick said. "I want to convince her, to show her that I won't hurt her, but it seems like that just makes it worse."
Leighanne got an idea. "Maybe you need a different approach," she said slowly.
"Obviously," Nick snapped. He saw that a light had gone off in her eyes. "What do you have in mind?" he asked.
"Maybe instead of showing how good you would be to her, you should show her how good you'd be to someone else."
Nick raised his eyebrows. "You mean make her jealous?"
Leighanne shrugged. "It's something, isn't it?"
"Maybe I just need a break," Kayla said. "Maybe the best thing would just be to get away from it all...away from Nick."
Brian shook his head. "Your friends are coming tomorrow."
Kayla groaned and smacked her forehead. "I totally forgot. Oh no...I have to entertain them on top of all this?"
"It's okay," Brian said calmly. "You don't have to take them out or anything...y'all can just hang out at the hotel or on your bus or something." He smiled, amused, and put both hands on her shoulders. "You can handle this," he said slowly.
That finally got her to smile. "Shut up, Brian," she muttered, pushing him away.
He chuckled for a minute, but then his face turned serious again. "Kayla," he said, putting a hand on her cheek and brushing it with his thumb.
She looked up at him and sighed deeply. "I'm working on it," she said softly.
Brian nodded and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her in tightly. "Okay," he said,
patting her back and kissing the top of her head. "That's all I can ask."