"I thought guys were supposed to get ready faster than girls," Linz complained. She, Sara, and Kayla were back in Kayla's room the next afternoon waiting for the guys to get ready for their little outing together. They were all going out to lunch and then miniature golfing for awhile (Nick's idea—there was also an arcade with video games).
"No kidding," Sara groaned. "I'm so hungry."
"It's probably just A.J.," Kayla said, smirking. "He always takes forever."
"Well, he always looks fine as hell, so it's all good," Linz replied, grinning.
Kayla laughed. "That is a good point," she agreed.
"Although, the man probably would look just as fine the second he rolled out of bed," Linz theorized.
"He does," Kayla said. "Believe me. All of them do."
Sara gave her an incredulous look. "You've seen them all like that?"
"Yeah, I've slept on most...no, on all of them too," she said with a smug grin.
"You're such a little brat," Sara said, laughing.
"Oh, I know. Howie tells me that all the time," Kayla said with a grin.
The phone rang. Kayla rolled over onto her back to pick it up.
"Hello?" she said, still upside-down.
"Hey," Nick replied.
He's doing that on purpose, Kayla thought resentfully, hearing hs low tone of voice. It was making her want to shiver again. "You guys ready?" she asked.
"Yeah, the limo should be here any second," Nick said.
"Ooh, the limo, eh?" Kayla said, more for her friends than for Nick.
"Hell yeah, the limo," Nick replied.
Kayla grinned. "My friends are gonna get the wrong idea. They're gonna think I'm pampered."
"Isn't that the point?"
Kayla laughed. "Okay, I'm getting nasty looks from Sara, so I think we'd better head on downstairs now."
"Okay...we'll meet you down there," Nick said.
"Okay. Bye." Kayla hung up the phone and sat up. She turned to her friends and smiled. "Let's go."
"No, Sara, you're too short for that one," Brian said, making everyone laugh. They were picking out clubs at the miniature golf course.
Sara smacked him on the arm. "I wouldn't talk about being short, Brian," she replied.
"She's got a point there, Frick," Nick replied, deliberately looking down at his best friend. Sara chuckled and gave him five.
"At least I have some people here who are shorter than I am," Brian said.
"At least I'm at the perfect height to kick you in the nuts," Sara replied sweetly.
"So that's where Kayla gets it from!" Nick burst out suddenly. Everyone laughed.
"You're lucky she didn't actually teach me her kicking techniques," Kayla said, grinning at Sara.
"Damn straight," Sara agreed.
"Okay, mental note: be verrry nice to Sara," Kevin said.
"Yeah, you'd better," Sara threatened, pretending to kick him in slow motion.
"Aw, I'm not afraid of her," Nick said, swinging his arm around her shoulders.
"That might not be a good idea, Nick," A.J. warned.
"Yeah, she's little, but she's vicious," Linz added.
"Awwww, but she's so cute!" Nick cooed, pinching her cheek.
"Well, appearances can be deceiving!" Kayla said, giggling.
"Yeah, no wonder you're so ugly!" Brian chimed in. Kayla smacked him. "It was a compliment!" he protested. She just rolled her eyes.
"Something's telling me we're never gonna make it through all eighteen of these holes," Howie predicted.
"Oh yes we will!" Nick insisted. He grabbed Sara's hand and held it up. "Let's go!"
"Hey, y'all, we're gonna have to split up," Kevin pointed out.
Everyone looked at him. Nick voiced the universal opinion by saying, "Huh?"
"Only six people in a group...we've got eight," Kevin said.
"Oh my God," Nick groaned. "I cannot believe you just said that."
"I think they'll make accomodations for you guys," Linz said dryly, patting him on the arm.
Kevin smiled crookedly. "Oh yeah," he recalled.
They started to play. Since it was a Thursday afternoon, the place was practically empty, and the groups just drifted along the course. Kayla wound up near the back of the line, but Sara and Nick were near the front.
Throughout her friends' whole visit, Kayla had been noticing something slightly different about Nick when he was around her. Ever since they had spent that night together, whenever Nick was in her presence, he acted differently, even if there were other people around. He would speak a lot less frequently, and when he did say something, his voice was quieter, and his sentences were shorter. And every once in awhile, she would get this funny feeling that meant someone was watching her, and when she looked up to see who it was, she would find Nick gazing fixedly upon her. Their eyes would meet, and for a moment, they would be staring deeply at each other. But then one of them would inevitably get uncomfortable and turn away. Usually that person was Kayla.
However, now it seemed that Nick was completely back to normal. He was talking a lot and laughing constantly, and his posture looked confident again. He was no longer giving Kayla those long, intense looks. Instead...Kayla realized something. Instead of looking at her, he seemed to be spending a lot of his time looking at Sara.
Kayla breathed in sharply as confusion and instinctive jealousy simultaneously took over. Nick was looking at Sara? Wait a second. Nick who had just spent the last six months being madly in love with her, Nick who had lost his virginity to her just as she had to him, was looking at Sara? Kayla forced herself to calm down. She had to be making a mistake. She was analyzing the situation too much. Nick had just taken a liking to Sara, that was all. They had connected. They were friends. That didn't mean that he wanted her. Even if he thought she was hot or something...that didn't mean...
Kayla looked over at the two of them, and her heart sank. He was helping her with her putting techniques, and not simply with verbal coaching. He had his arms around her, his hands holding the club on top of her own, and he was standing directly behind her. Because of the height difference, he was leaning down and speaking into her ear. She was concentrating on hitting the ball, but he had this little smile on his face. It was one of the most horrible things Kayla had ever seen.
Feeling a disturbing stir of emotions, Kayla turned away. She didn't know whether to burst out crying or laugh of out of relief. At this point, though, she was leaning slightly towards the crying.
"Kayla," said someone.
She jumped and then relaxed. "Hi Howie," she sighed.
He smiled. "Hi. Are you okay?"
"Hm?" Kayla decided to play dumb.
"You look a little worried," he said, choosing his words carefully.
"Oh, I'm just fine," Kayla said. "Just zoned out there for a second. You know me."
"So...everything's okay with your friends?" Howie prodded.
Kayla instinctively glanced towards Nick and Sara but also glanced at Linz to cover up her mistake. "Yeah, it's great," she assured Howie. "It's really nice to see them again."
"Okay." Howie looked like he decided to stop bugging her for now and would wait until later to really get the truth out of her. Kayla would have to remember to avoid talking to him later.
The game went on. Nick and Sara were getting to the point where it was almost impossible not to pay attention to their constant laughing and playing around with each other. She was starting to feel sick from how touchy-feely they were. Sara kept hitting him gently or touching his arm, and he kept finding creative ways to touch her and put his arm around her. He even tickled her once or twice, and Kayla remembered almost bitterly the way that tickling had led to her and Nick's first kiss. She wasn't the only one noticing Nick's apparent infatuation, though. The other guys kept glancing at Nick then at Kayla then at each other, and it was only making her feel worse. The culmination occured when Sara got a hole-in-one.
"Oh! How sweet was that?!" she exclaimed.
"You go, girl!" Nick agreed jokingly. He held his hand up in the air, and she slapped it. Kayla noticed the way that they stayed with their hands together for just a few extra seconds.
"Now the question is, can I do it again?" Sara asked, grinning.
"I bet you can. C'mon." Nick wrapped his arm intimately around her waist, and they began to stroll over to the next hole.
Something about seeing Nick with his arm around someone else struck a nerve in Kayla.
She muttered a quick excuse ("Gotta pee!") under her breath before turning and hurrying back into
the main building.