Amanda was jarred out of sleep later that night by the sound of heavy breathing near her bed. Her eyes shot open, thinking someone had broken into the house while she and Nick slept. She lay still in the dark, reached for a pillow nearby and hit the shadowy figure as hard as she could. A body landed next to the bed with a thump and Amanda turned the light on to find Nick on the floor, doubled over and wheezing.
“Nick? Oh god…I’m sorry!” she exclaimed, helping him up as he gasped for air. She had knocked the air right out of him. Amanda helped him up and he sat down on the bed, coughing.
“I’m….ok…” he said, his voice breathy.
“You scared the crap out of me, Nick!” Amanda scolded him.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you…” Nick replied sheepishly.
“I can’t sleep.” Nick said, looking at his feet and blushing. Amanda just smiled at him. He was away from home and in a new house for the first time, of course he would be having trouble sleeping.
“Hop in.” she said, pulling back the blankets. Nick stared in confusion.
“Yeah really.” Amanda grinned. Nick climbed into bed with her, but kept his distance. Amanda still had a boyfriend, Lance. Lance was his bully as a child and they did not get along whatsoever, so Nick didn’t want him to find out he was in a bed with his girl. He finally fell asleep sometime later. Amanda woke up a few hours later feeling Nick’s body next to her, his arm draped over her and a smile on his face. She smiled as well, not caring he was in this position. Amanda felt safe with Nick next to her, like he was protecting her even though she protected him more. She awoke at 7 to the sound of running water in the bathroom. Nick was in the shower, steam coming from above the glass door. Amanda peeked into the bathroom, she could see the curve of his muscular back and arms through the glass. Feeling her face flush, her heart began to beat quicker as she saw him turning and washing himself, rubbing his hands all over his arms and chest…the soap sliding down his biceps. She watched him through the frosted glass of the shower for a while before she heard the water turning off. Amanda ran and hopped into the bed as if she was never there.
“Amanda?” he called after a few moments.
“Yeah Nick.” she answered, trying to act as innocent as she possibly could.
“Can you come in here? I need help with something.” he asked. Amanda was curious…she stepped closer to the bathroom door and saw him standing there in nothing but his boxers…his hair hanging in strings along his face and his skin still damp.
“What’s that?” she asked, noticing the gauze taped over his right shoulder.
“Oh…can you take it off for me? I can’t reach it.” Nick begged. Amanda gently removed the gauze and discovered a music note etched into his skin.
“When did you get this? It looks new…” Amanda commented, running her hand across it…making him shudder with excitement.
“AJ did that one….he did the shark on my arm too.” Nick explained, grinning as he continued to dry himself. Amanda watched him flex his muscles and was distracted enough to remember that Nick had worked the day he claimed to have gotten the tattoo.
“Hold up. You were working that day. You told me you were working a double that night. And how did you get off from work on such short notice?” Amanda demanded. Nick put a shirt on and reached for his pants, frowning.
“I….I uh…don’t work there anymore…” he half whispered.
“Nick stop playing with me. Where do you work now?”
“WHAT?!” Amanda shouted, her brown eyes flaring with anger.
“Amanda, I wasn’t happy there. I threw the keys at my boss and told him to fuck himself.” Nick said, smiling as if he were proud of himself.
“Nick, you don’t quit a job without a backup plan! What are you going to do for money?” she demanded in frustration, forgetting he was still half dressed.
“I’m getting a record deal, why do I need that crappy ass job?” he said, sounding suddenly like AJ. Nick’s attitude was shocking her.
“What if you don’t get it, Nick? Besides, even if you DO get the deal…you’re not getting paid right away. I am so disappointed in you.” Amanda said, rubbing her forehead in anger. Nick looked hurt then and it killed her to not agree, but she knew she was right.
“What gave you the idea you’re getting the contract? You haven’t auditioned yet.” Amanda added. Of course, she had faith he would succeed, but she also didn’t want to pick up the pieces when he was rejected. Nick had a bad habit of letting himself get excited and setting himself up for disappointment. She suddenly had a vision of him crying histerically after not being signed and giving up completely on his dream. That was the last thing she wanted.
“You’re upset with me.” he said softly, his head hanging and his eyes towards his own feet. He finally left the room, leaving Amanda to her thoughts. She felt bad for being so hard on him, but Nick had to realize that confidence would only get him so far. Amanda just wanted this day to be over…and she hoped it would turn out well for not only him…but her as well.