The next afternoon, Amanda walked to Nick and AJ’s place, eager to see what would happen. Could they stay friends or was this the end of them? She hoped the latter part was a false statement.
As she rounded Oceanview Drive, she caught a soft melody….it sounded like a guitar. A voice was singing and Amanda just followed it, letting her ears guide her along. she closed her eyes and felt warm….a safe feeling enveloped her.
“Who needs the world when I have you…..switch off the sun, the stars and the moon…”
She realized then that she had heard the tune before, just not anyone singing along. Amanda opened her eyes to see Nick sitting on his porch, strumming and singing with a soothing voice. She was stunned, he’d never told her about this talent before. He suddenly stopped playing and looked up, blushing before running into the house, the door slamming behind him as Amanda giggled.
Nick felt humiliated.
“Stupid, stupid…..stupid. You just had to be out front today, didn’t you?” he scolded himself. He heard the doorbell but slipped out back, hopefully she’d give up and go home. He wasn’t ready to talk to her yet, wasn’t ready for anyone with all he had on his mind.
“I’m not home!” he yelled to nobody in particular as he went outside.
Amanda shook her head, wondering why he was playing this hiding game right now. She figured he was now out back, so she walked around the corner of the house. He was sitting on the deck, strumming the guitar again.
“Nick….” she called softly. He looked up, feeling ashamed and guilty.
“Hey.” he said finally, rubbing the back of his head, the guitat slung around his neck.
“That was you singing?” Amanda asked, getting right to the point as he blushed.
“Sorry you had to hear that horrible racket. It won’t happen again,” he said, Amanda not sure whether he was being serious or not.
“That was really you?”
“Yeah, why?” Nick asked.
“It was beautiful. I thought it was the radio….” Amanda told him quietly. Nick tried to hold back the grin on his face as they sat down on the steps leading to the beach.
“It was the song I played to you after prom.”
“The one you wrote….right? Listen….about that night…” Amanda said as Nick strummed, humming.
“Amanda, you don’t have to give me the speech you planned in your head. I know you love Lance. I know sleeping with me was nothing….” he snapped without intending to.
“That isn’t what I was going to say.” she whispered.
“Sorry. I guess I’ve just been thinking about a lot of things lately. I didn’t mean to snap like that.”
“Nick, I care for you a lot. You’re my best friend and I do not want to hurt you. I asked you to be my first because I knew I wouldn’t regret the decision.”
Nick nodded, the words best friend seeming to choke him.
“Well, do you now?” he blurted.
“No, I am glad I did. I trust you and you trust me….right? How about you?” she asked, her hand on his. The truth was, deep down……Nick did regret it. He regretted being so open with her because his heart had gotten broken, and he was afraid….so afraid that if he and Amanda dated he’d lose his friendship with her. That was far more important than his virginity.
“No. I just have so much on my mind with graduation coming. I don’t know what I am going to do after school is over. I have no future.” Nick lied. He had a stack of acceptance letters on the kitchen counter put neatly into a pile….letters that he was afraid to decide on.
“You’re so smart, Nick. You could do anything you want. What do you mean you have no future?” Amanda chuckled. Nick disappeared into the house, bringing the letters with him when he returned.
“Wow….this is amazing….”
Amanda leafed through them, her eyes wide. Letters from Princeton…..MIT….Yale, so many orher big name colleges.
“Yeah, the guidance counselor said I should apply to a bunch of different ones and explore options.” Nick told her with a smile.
“What does this one say? It’s in French.”
“We are pleased to extend you a invitation to study abroad here in Paris….” Nick read, before putting the letter down. He knew all of these presented fine opportunities, but none of them felt like they were right for him.
“Nick, you can go anywhere you’d like. Have you accepted any yet?” she asked.
“No…I don’t feel like college is what I am meant to do. Like something else is out there for me. I don’t want to be a lawyer, or a translator….a mathematician or a basketball player….but I just dony have anything else.”
Amanda nodded, then it hit her. Nick was given the gift of music.
“Why don’t you just not do any of those if you aren’t comfortable? I am staying in Florida and going to the University of South Florida to study business. I am doing what feels right for me. You should do something with that music of yours.” she suggested.
“Music? I dunno. Do you think I look like a musician?” Nick asked, looking out at the water. He felt like the school’s genius student, not a rockstar.
“If Brian of all people can be a cop…..you can sure as hell be a singer.”