Nick had been in LA for almost 2 months now. Even for December it was quite warm, but still somewhat cold. He was on his way to the recording studio again….the album would be done in about a month. Nick was hoping he would be home for his 19th birthday at least. Living on his own was something he had come to enjoy, but he missed home once in a while. Everything was happening so fast…but he liked that the record company was being so understanding about his feelings as well. Nick was seeing a therapist twice a week to deal with his emotional problems….he was getting help with his self esteem and confidence. The record company told him there was a lot he needed to do with himself before he was ready for touring, and Nick agreed.
“I will do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be, I want this music career and I want this album to be perfect.” Nick had told them. The executives liked this about Nick. They knew he had talent and the drive. JC was helping him a lot as well, and Nick felt this was the best he had been his whole life. He felt that the new Nick he was seeing was how he was meant to be. As he got out of the car, he balanced his coffee in hand and locked it before walking up to the door of the recording studio.
“NOW!” someone shouted in a gruff voice. A net fell on top of Nick and he dropped the coffee, the contents spilling over the pavement. Nick toppled over and someone moved to grab him.
“Help!!!” he screamed, unable to break free. He managed to throw off his attacker and tried to run, but got tangled in the net and fell over.
“Grab him! Grab him!” one of them said. He noticed that one of the men was tall and thin and the other was short and muscular. They both wore ski masks. Nick screamed, but nobody came to help as he was carried off to another car waiting nearby. They tied his feet and hands before putting a blindfold over his eyes and putting him in the car.
“Where are you taking me?!” Nick demanded, unable to see anything from the backseat of the car. His cell phone was ringing but he couldn’t answer it…it was Amanda calling.
“Let me go!!” Nick begged as he began to cry. He knew that if he couldn’t answer his phone that Amanda would be worried. Trying not to think about it, Nick fell asleep after what seemed like a few hours.
“Get up….” the voice said suddenly, nudging him. Nick was paralyzed with fear, but his body was shaking. He sat up and the man untied him so he could get out of the car, but not his hands.
“Where are you taking me?” Nick whispered, his heart beating so hard he thought it might jump out of his chest. The man didn’t answer him, he pushed him along. Nick couldn’t see anything, the man just kept holding onto his arm and leading him forward.
“Keep walking.” he told him. Nick started to cry again…wondering where he was and what would happen to him. It was just before Christmas….why was this happening? They went inside of a building and Nick felt his legs give out from underneath him as he fell to the floor.
“WHAT THE HELL?!” someone shouted before running out of the room.
“Help….” Nick sobbed weakly, the blindfold covering his face.
“Oh my god….Brian? What the fuck did you do to him?” Nick’s head shot up when he heard her voice. Amanda was there. He moved his head in confusion and the blindfold was taken off of his face.
“Surprise….” Brian said as he removed the ski mask on his head.
“You fucking asshole! I thought….I thought…” Nick stammered while Brian untied his hands.
“I brought you home for Christmas.” he explained. Amanda saw how upset Nick was and walked over to Brian.
“Why did you tie him up and blindfold him?!” she demanded, smacking him upside the head.
“I wanted it to be a surprise….I didn’t think he would fight back so much, honestly.” Brian said sheepishly, shrugging. Nick looked mad but when he saw Amanda he was happy, happier than he had been in a long time.
“Wait…who was that other guy?” Nick asked, remembering the tall man who had thrown the net.
“That was JC…” Brian explained. Nick walked over to Amanda and hugged her as AJ came back into the room. Amanda was so shocked at how Nick looked….his clothes were different, his hair had gotten shorter and he was taller than she remembered. She found herself getting lost in his eyes again, all of her feelings for him coming back in the one moment he held her.
“You guys need a minute?” AJ asked, smirking.
“If I did, it would be more than a minute,” Nick chuckled as he winked.
“Oh….I missed you so much, Nick. We all have.” Amanda said when it had calmed down a bit. They ate dinner together….the four of them reunited.
“I missed you guys too. So much is happening….the album is almost finished and JC wants me to open for him on tour…they are still talking about it.” he rambled. Amanda was surprised at how confident he sounded. After dinner Nick and Amanda sat on the couch, talking. She thought about not telling him at all….taking him back and dumping Lance. She was falling for him all over again…Nick was so good to her.
“Amanda, I have to be honest with you….after this album is done I’m going to be busy.” he said suddenly. Nick had been about to kiss her but pulled away.
“Your career comes first….I don’t want to get in the way.” Amanda told him.
“I have worked so hard, but you can never get in the way. I like you a lot…” there was that word again. Amanda almost wanted to hit him, she wished he would just tell her how he really felt. Who was she kidding? Nick didn’t love her.
“I’m going to Germany most likely….JC’s tour is a world tour.” he added.
“Nick, I have to tell you something.” Amanda said, putting her hand on his knee. Nick sighed, he had felt this coming but hoped he was wrong.
“You’re back with him, aren’t you?” he whispered. He was disappointed in Amanda for going back to Lance after everything they had been through, but he guessed she just wanted someone to be with.
“Yes, Nick….he begged me for 5 days to take him back. Stood outside of my dorm room every day.” Amanda laughed.
“Persistent little fucker, isn’t he?” Nick commented with a smile. Amanda buried her head into Nick’s shoulder.
“I’m so sorry. I wanted you and I to work.” she whispered. Nick smiled but didn’t say anything, he simply kissed her forehead as she rested on his shoulder. The day after Christmas, Nick said goodbye to his friends as Brian was to drop him off at the airport. JC paid for his plane ticket back to LA.
“See you in a month.” Amanda said, hugging him. Letting him go was even tougher this time.
“Amanda…I know you’re with Lance, but can I have just one more kiss? So I have something to remember what we had?” Nick asked. Amanda smiled, tears in her eyes as she nodded. Nick leaned in and kissed her, her lips tingling. She wanted to pull him back into the house and keep him there, but he had to go. Watching him leave, she realized how much she really loved him.