Nicola Atkins was the one girl in her whole high school whom everybody loved. She was a dancer, an Honors student, a leader, a friend, and a chameleon. She blended and fit in well in any kind of clique. She was neither at the bottommost nor at the highest part of her school's social ladder. She was right in the middle, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
"Nicola," a familiar voice called out to her. "I've got something to tell you!"
She turned her head around and came face-to-face with Aaron Farris. Aaron was another kind of perfect. If Nicola had the perfect stereotype, Aaron had the perfect…everything. He was the typical all-American jock personified, with almost-white blond hair, pale, dark blue eyes, and an olive tan. Nicola and Aaron were a perfect match, and that was why they were best friends.
"This better be good," said Nicola in a teasing tone. "Hurry up or I'm going to be late."
He placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed it.
"I have problems…" He bit his bottom lip, and this tempted Nicola to squeeze his cheeks. He was just awfully cute that guys like him shouldn't even exist. They made everyone, male or female, insecure. "Girl problems…"
She noticed the way in which he frowned. "That bad, huh?"
"You could say that," was his quick reply.
They started walking to their next classes, their elbows rubbing every time they swayed their arms. Soon, accidental rubbing turned to hand holding and Nicola looked down and noticed that their fingers were intertwined together. An odd, yet nice, feeling came to her, but she hid it. They were just best friends and nothing more.
"You do realize you're holding my hand?" she asked him, and he sheepishly smiled in return.
"I need some physical comfort." He looked at her then winked. "After what Brittany put me through, I'm done chasing cheerleaders."
Brittany Perkins was their school's typical cheerleader. She was blonde, dumb, and bitchy, yet whether she was simply sucking-up to Nicola or she really had genuine intentions, Brittany was nice to her, and had always been friendly ever since they entered high school. They sometimes even engaged in cordial conversations, and this was saying something. Brittany wasn't the kind of person to just go up to anyone and start talking to him or her….unless she was fishing for gossip.
"Did she scratch you with her sharp claws before she broke up with you?" Nicola asked as a joke.
She then felt Aaron tighten his grip on her hand.
"I broke up with her, and then she scratched me. That and a tantrum," Aaron answered forlornly.
They were now outside the Physics classroom which was Nicola's next class for the day. With her back against the array of lockers, she leaned comfortably on the metal while he stood in front of her.
Nicola feigned surprise before she mocked-gasped at Aaron.
"Cheerleaders exaggerate everything." Nicola laughed at her own remark. "But why were there no gun shots?"
Aaron chuckled, his voice soft but deep, before he stretch his arms out and rested the palms of his hands behind his neck. Nicola didn't know why, but when he stretched, she felt an odd sensation, an odd attraction towards Aaron. She shook her head. It was just her hormones being naughty.
"Thank God there were no gun shots and thank God you weren't there!" He was playing with her now. "Trust me…her death glare was enough."
"Her signature death glare?"
"Her signature death glare."
Nicola pretended to sympathize him as she stuck out her bottom lip in a pout, her eyes starting to look watery in worry, and he couldn't help but think how cute she looked with that expression on her face. It was a refreshing facial and was something new and different from the 'I'm-too-good-for-you' expression cheerleaders pulled off oh-so perfectly.
"Is there something I can do to make you feel be-"
Nicola stopped midway when she realized Aaron wasn't listening to her anymore. He had a shocked expression on his face, like he was too preoccupied thinking about something. Nicola turned her head around and followed Aaron's gaze. There was a familiar figure coming closer to where they were. Her eyes were heavily lined with eyeliner, and her lips were colored in bright-red lipstick. Nicola continued to eye Greta. That was the name of the girl. She then noticed the black nail polish, the dark-colored tank top, the baggy cargo shorts, the fish-net stockings, and the pale, porcelain, and fragile skin tone. Aaron was too distracted, and Nicola was at a loss for words.
"Aaron, you seriously can't be interested in he-"
He wasn't listening to her.
"I'm so done with cheerleaders," he then said, a mischievous smile on his face.
Nicola rolled her eyes. As a best friend, the only thing she could do was to support him in his decisions no matter how irrational they may be, and at the moment, she needed to understand his attraction for the wrist-slitting, black-wearing, and world-hating Greta Morrison. This was the day Nicola could already die – when jocks hung out with emos.
The screeching sound of her ring tone playing right by her ear caused Nicola to quickly open her eyes and jump out of bed. She ended up falling on the floor, and with a sigh, she buried her long nails into the thick comforters of her bed and pulled herself up. Groggily, she reached for her mobile and held it up against her ear.
"Hello?" she asked, her voice irritated.
"Nic, I need your help!"
Aaron was the only person who had the nerve to call her at such an ungodly hour – three-thirty in the morning. Rubbing her eyes, Nicola felt a little bit more awake and went on to ask her best friend the reason he was calling.
"Why couldn't you call Jake or Brad?" she then questioned, referring to his football buddies. "They're probably more awake than I am."
She heard a laugh from the other line of the phone, a calming and relaxed chuckle. It was such an uplifting sound to hear at such an early hour in the morning. It made her feel at ease with herself.
"But you're top one on my 'Favorite People List', doesn't that mean anything?"
The sucking-up was beginning, and Nicola could only smirk at what Aaron was trying to pull off. She laced her voice with sarcasm.
"It's refreshing to know I hold such a high position in your life."
"You do," Aaron easily answered.
"So the least you could do is treat me like a person and let me sleep." Her voice rose. "Why did you even call?"
Silence went about for a few seconds until the background noise coming from Aaron's phone quieted down. He let out a cough to clear up his throat before he spoke, "I'm at this Gothic club, and I'm stranded."
Laughter erupted from deep within Nicola's throat.
"No, seriously?" She held a hand against her stomach. "Not to burst your bubble or anything, but Gothic clubs and you don't mix..." She smirked from ear-to-ear. "And I don't think you two ever will."
"I'm glad we're seeing eye-to-eye here," Aaron said, his voice adapting a tone of apathetic-sarcasm. "So please get me out of here and pick me up."
"Nah." She knew he was lying. "Just paranoid." She thought so.
She told him to text her the address of the club, and he did, quite quickly for that matter. She hopped in her pick-up truck and drove away, and after about twenty minutes of passing intersections and stop lights, her car pulled up in front of the club, and Nicola called out Aaron's name to get his attention. He turned around the moment he heard the familiar voice of his best friend, ran to her, and pulled her in for one tight hug.
"I owe you big time," he said, kissing her forehead as a sign of 'thank you' and appreciation. "Really, I don't know what went up my ass and pushed me to come to some fucked up place like this."
Aaron's voice was low enough that only he and Nicola heard what he said.
"Perhaps, you've been blinded by Greta's charm?" She wriggled out of his arms, and when that happened, she wished he was hugging her again. "Where is she anyway?"
"She's having body shots with some stoner."
Aaron looked away when he said that, avoiding eye contact, and Nicola knew he was still a little bit hurt with their immediate break-up. The cause of their separation was still unknown to her, but like she cared. Aaron had broken up with too many girls, some for the same reasons, that when last year struck, she gave up trying to update herself weekly with her best friend's dating history. She just went with the flow, and she was satisfied with that.
"Can I infer what you think I'm inferring?"
"Are you inferring that we broke-up because I didn't like her anymore?" he returned, answering her question with another question, before he pulled her closer to him.
"You got the first part right," was her answer, and after that, she said, "What's with the hugging and the hand-holding, anyway? It's as if you can't keep your hands to yourself even just for a split second."
He grinned at her, and her internal organs melted by the sight of his smiling face.
"I told you I needed some physical comfort." He still didn't let go of her, and instead, from her arms, he brought his hands down to her wrists. "Can you at least give me that?"
Aaron looked slyly at his best friend who was trying so hard to control herself from jumping him. Aaron was well aware of his God-given gifts, and at the moment, he was using it against Nicola.
"I'm not that kind of woman."
They both grinned sheepishly at each other.
"Yeah, I'm a woman. You have a problem with that?" Her lips did a downturn. "What did you think I was? A little girl?"
He shook his head and then said, "I thought you were a man."
That was one lousy attempt at a joke. Seriously.
"So now that you've played around with the whole female population of our town, are you going now for another gender?" She fluttered her eyelashes innocently at him. "I'm a man, aren't I?"
"I haven't dated the whole female population, you know." He scratched his head and slowly started to let go of his grip on her.
"So, who's the lucky bitch, now?"
She tugged on the hem of his shirt and forced him to give her an answer.
"I think I'll go for musicians now," he said thoughtfully.
Nicola, on the other hand, felt her heart constrict inside her. Was he being serious?
"Let's go talk about it over ice cream." He was still dozing off in la-la land. "Cold Stone?"
"You know me too well."
Grinning, Aaron stepped closer to her and slung an arm around her shoulders as they walked back to her car, their hips poking one another.
The lights grew dimmer, and the people turned mellower, waiting for the next performer to come up on stage. Nicola never really liked bars or clubs. She was the type who preferred staying at home and just chilling out in her living room, but Justin, the guy she was out on a date with, forced her to come and watch his gig tonight. His band was one of the first performers, and they totally rocked their show. As Justin banged on his drums, the crowd was jumping and shouting. Nicola too made a fool out of her self and did some head-banging. Who knew dating a musician could be so much fun? She didn't, and it was a good thing she decided to give Justin a chance. It all started out with curiosity really. She just wanted to know why Aaron was so whipped with Kylie Latimer, his new girlfriend and the vocalist of an all-female band. She now knew why. Dating musicians made a person feel like her or she was a kid again, like music and dancing could take all his or her fears and problems away, and that was how Nicola was feeling at the moment.
"Hey, I heard that the next performer is a newbie," Justin whispered into Nicola's ear. His breath sent tingles inside her, and she liked the feeling. "This will be his first gig actually."
Nicola thinned her lips.
"Some poor bastar-"
She stopped when a familiar figure steeped onto the pedestal – Aaron. He was the next performer, and along with him was a not-so-quite recognizable person holding a guitar.
What the hell is he doing up there? Nicola thought.
"Hey everyone!" Aaron's voice was little bit…off…a little high, probably because he was feeling nervous. "Before I start, I just want to dedicate this song to Kylie."
Nicola immediately felt a tug, a bad tug, at her heart. For some reason and all of a sudden, she was anxious. It was like the whole club's temperature abruptly rose up. She was feeling hot, and she got the feeling that it was because she wasn't going to like what Aaron was going to say next.
"I want to tell you a few things…" A number of people cooed at Aaron's words, but Nicola wasn't one of them. "So here goes the song…"
I've dated cheerleaders, emos, and Goths,
But none of them has ever clouded my thoughts
Like the way you do, you do
I don't think I'm ever going to get over you
Your voice is like a ripened fruit during winter
It stands out and tells me to come hither
Telling me to get closer to you
I'll do just that. Baby, I'm only taking my cue.
Nicola kept her gaze at Aaron, while his eyes scanned the whole club probably looking for Kylie. Singing wasn't his forte, and neither was music, yet, with the way he put so much emotion into belting out the lyrics, his performance could top anyone else's. Even though it was mean, Nicola couldn't help but frown. Aaron was a jock, and jocks never put effort into dating, so why was he up in the stage doing something Nicola never expected he'd do? All for Kylie. That was probably why.
I'm taking a step
And I'll do my best
I'll reach for Heaven
I'm taking a step
And I'll do my best
From you, I ask reciprocation
That's my eternal damnation
The chorus was a stab to Nicola's heart. I'll reach for Heaven. I'll reach for Heaven. I'll reach for Heaven. The lyrics were killing her. He was killing her, and she soon realized why. She never had competition (ever) when it came to getting Aaron's attention. They were the best of friends, and like he said, Nicola was top one on his 'Favorite People List', up until Kylie came, entered the picture, and messed up the whole story. Aaron's voice echoed throughout the whole room, cutting Nicola's train of thought short.
So Kylie Latimer, you now know how I feel
Please say something, don't make me ill
I'm not really expecting anything to come from this
Or maybe…just maybe…one sweet kiss?
I'm taking a step
And I'll do my best
I'll reach for Heaven
I'm taking a step
And I'll do my best
From you, I ask reciprocation
That's my eternal damnation.
His voice reverberating, Aaron looked at the whole crowd, and through the spark in his eyes, thanked the audience for the warm support they gave him. Unknowingly, his eyes landed on Nicola, and the two seemed to stand still. With the intensity his deep blue eyes gave off, Nicola was forced to look away, and at that moment, she felt an ache.
Best friends don't affect each other like this, she thought and then gasped at her realization. With the effort and emotion he put into his performance, Nicola saw a whole new different side of her best friend. Tonight, he sang for Kylie in front of a crowd, and that courage made Nicola admire him, like him, and probably love him not as a best friend anymore.
Before she knew what was happening, Aaron had come up to her and hugged her. He pulled her tight against his chest, and when he loosened up, he put his hands on her shoulders.
"I didn't know you were here!" Aaron greeted enthusiastically, while Nicola forced herself to smile.
"Yeah, well, Justin forced me to go," Nicola said a little bit softly, hoping that Aaron would feel even just a tinge of jealousy since she was out on a date with a guy that was equally as gorgeous as he was, but Aaron remained unperturbed.
"Tonight's worth it, isn't it?" Justin said, slinging an arm around Nicola's shoulders and pulling her closer to him.
"You have no idea…" she said, continuing the unfinished sentence in her mind.
Tonight, I realized I was deeply 'in like' with my best friend and with what he did for someone else.
"Hey guys." That was Kylie in all her punk-rock glory.
"Hey," Justin and Aaron said in unison.
Kylie turned to Nicola before saying, "so you're the infamous best friend of Aaron Farris. I've heard a lot about you."
Nicola didn't really know what to say. She was too distracted looking at Kylie's arm which was around Aaron's waist, not even Brittany, the cheerleader, was that possessive over Aaron.
"I've heard a lot about you too."
The awkward conversation between Kylie and Nicola ended there since Aaron butted in and asked the group if they were interested in hanging out together and grabbing a late bite to eat at the nearest Burger King. Even if Nicola couldn't stand to see Kylie and Aaron groping each other, she said 'yes' since she didn't want to come off as a killjoy.
"Great, so Kylie and I will meet you in twenty," said Aaron. "We just have to get our equipment backstage and then we can leave."
After a few awkward embraces between Kylie and Nicola, the latter, along with her date, left the club and headed over to the BMW parked right by the street. In a jiffy, they arrived at the fast-food restaurant and occupied a booth that was exactly fit for four people. In no more than half an hour, the door opened and in came Aaron and Kylie. The four then headed over to the front and ordered their meals, and when all the orders had been plugged in, Nicola excused herself and went to the bathroom.
"Don't take too long," Aaron said grinning. "Especially if you're just going there to fix your make-up. You look pretty already."
Nicola mentally cursed herself for blushing and actually smiling at the compliment/joke. Aaron always teased her with compliments, and they usually never affected her up until now. Calming herself, she breathed out a sigh of relief before saying, "Suck it, Aaron," and then she ran to the ladies' room.
When Nicola was gone, the three, Aaron, Kylie, and Justin, turned to face each other and smiled suspiciously.
"Fuck, I screwed up." Aaron was rubbing his face with his hands. "She told me to 'suck it'!"
Kylie let go of her hold on Aaron's waist and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"You didn't," Kylie said in response. "I'm a girl, and even if Nicola and I are from different cliques, our actions still say the same things."
Justin laughed with the way Aaron was acting. The latter, too, was flustered just like his best friend, and this was a Kodak-worthy moment. Their high school's Golden Boy never blushed, and it only took a petty joke about his best friend to make him do so.
"Dude! You did it!" Justin was smirking. "You were able to make her like you! You should've seen the way she looked at Kylie when you were groping each other."
Kylie laughed along before saying, "I really thought you were interested in me, but the façade we pulled off was fun while it lasted."
She didn't seem to harbor any hard feelings toward Aaron.
"Now give Jason and me two-hundred dollars each. Pay up, Aaron!"
He was hesitant.
"How are you two even sure she likes me?"
They walked back to their table and continued the conversation. Nicola hadn't come back yet. Thank God. The three needed more time to evaluate tonight's events.
"Seriously, man," Justin started. "She never glanced my way while you were singing, and she was out on a date with me." He feigned bitterness. "Thanks by the way for forcing me to ask her out. She's an awesome girl."
Kylie interjected, "too bad she's taken already." The three then shared a laugh. "But seriously, why'd you have to bribe the two of us into joining this little scheme of yours? You could've just told her you've been in love with her ever since she socked your nemesis. You didn't have to make her jealous by dating random girls like me."
"I was sure she wasn't interested in me then."
"So you dated the cheerleader and the emo freak?"
Kylie looked incredulous while Justin was just amused.
"I told you I wanted to make sure that my feelings for her were true," he said. "And they are. Greta never stood a chance, but Nicola really thought I was truly interested in her."
"Are you planning on joining the drama club now?" Justin quipped.
In response, Aaron exhaled deeply before he pulled out his wallet.
"Just shut it, guys." He looked down at his food. "I'm thankful that you two are wonderful actors, but the interrogation's getting messed up, alright?"
"You do know what we want, right Aaron?" Kylie asked mischievously, popping a french fry into her mouth.
Aaron nodded, smiled, and took out four hundred-dollar bills. It was a lot of money, but Justin and Kylie did their part. He handed them two-hundred bucks each before he placed his wallet on the table and started to chomp on his burger.
"Don't I get two-hundred dollars, too?"
That was Nicola, and she was back. In Aaron's eyes, she looked more beautiful than ever under the fluorescent lights of Burger King. If what Justin and Kylie said were really true, that Nicola liked him back, then maybe, just maybe, he could have a future with her.
"You get more than that, Nic," he replied, smiling mischievously and suspiciously. Thank God she didn't hear anything Justin, Kylie, and Aaron talked about. "You get the whole of me – my money, my things, my everything, my-…me."
Nicola couldn't help but chuckle.
"You're awfully happy and hyper today."
"Yeah…" Aaron looked contemplative. "I just realized something. That's why."
So did I, Nicola thought to herself.
Nicola had never been a fan of mornings ever since she started school and was forced to wake up early, and today was no exception. She walked sleepily and languidly to homeroom, but abruptly stopped when she saw Kylie and Aaron talking to each other. She was too far away to hear the two of them, but their actions were enough. She saw Aaron nod his head and wave 'goodbye', and suddenly, a jumble of thoughts raced through her mind. Why didn't they kiss each other? They weren't even holding one another...but why did they look so happy?
Kylie put a halt to the ongoing tirade happening in Nicola's insides.
"Hey Nicola, what's up?"
She took the time to survey Kylie, rebellious yet pretty Kylie Latimer, her eyes, her face, her personality. And Nicola realized she had every reason to be jealous of the musician, yet Aaron, too, had every right to date her, but why didn't they look like a couple just a while ago?
"Just tired and sick of school – the usual." She slung her bag over one arm. "What about you?"
"Oh, me?" Her eyes were sparking in amusement. "I was just talking sense into Aaron."
"Something wrong with him?"
Kylie's eyes never lost their glimmer, and it was starting to affect Nicola. She was starting to feel worried. She didn't know why though.
"I had no idea how dense your best friend was!" she said with laughter. "Blind as the dead, let me tell you."
Nicola laughed along. She also had no idea about that.
"Oh, yeah?" she asked whilst she multi-tasked and paid attention to Aaron with the corners of her eyes.
"Yeap," Nicola replied with a curt nod. "You're both so blind you two are perfect for each other!"
"Uh–, no not reall-"
She was saved by Aaron, who seemed like he was in a rush to get her away from Kylie.
"Are you harassing her?" he demanded, although the sarcasm in his tone was evident. "Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Kylie. If I were you, I'd be scaring the shit out of some poor boy."
"Unlike you, I haven't moved on yet from our break-up." Nicola's insides tightened at hearing Kylie's words. "So sue me if I'm still sulking."
"I won't sue."
"That's a relief," Kylie said with an indignant smirk.
"I prefer to laugh."
The musician glared at the jock before she turned her head to face Nicola who had been quiet all throughout the two's conversation. Kylie's smile nerved the other female.
"I'm going to leave you two now…" She gave a climatic pause. "So Aaron can finally 'move on' once again."
"What is she talking about?" Nicola asked, quite confused with Kylie's cryptic remarks.
In return, Aaron simply laughed and settled his arm around his best friend's shoulders. He pulled her closer to him and led the way to her next class. After a few seconds, his hand held a stronger grip on one of her shoulders, and she really, really liked the feeling. It sent bolts of energy to the now–dancing butterflies in her stomach.
"I'm going to," he started, sounding uncertain, before he sighed. "I'm going to–…I want to date this girl…"
Nicola thinned her lips. Had he moved on already? She shook her head in disagreement to herself. Everything was happening too fast to the point that she couldn't keep up with him anymore.
"Kylie also thinks it's a good choice," he continued before she could even comment on what he said. "What do you think?"
Nicola didn't know what to say that.
"Depends on who she is, really," she said so softly it was barely audible even to Aaron who was right beside her. "What clique is she from?"
Aaron took a heavy breath – one which Nicola felt against her skin and made her exhale as deeply. They were still holding on to each other, and that made the woman think. Why was he holding her so tight? So tight that Nicola felt like she was his girlfriend?
"I've never dated anyone like her," Aaron replied with a small shrug.
He then looked down at Nicola to give her a small, soft smile. She grinned back although at the pit of her stomach, she felt sick by his touch, by his smile, by his face. She felt dizzy by the sight of him, and she cursed herself for feeling that way. He was the only guy who had that kind of effect on her, and he didn't know that, and he needed to know that.
"Can I ask something from you?" she asked, her voice still timid.
His reply was quick, as if he didn't have to think about it.
"Can you abstain?"
"I'm not getting fat, am I?"
Nicola shook her head hastily.
"Hell no! What the–…? You wish though!" The air between the two of them lightened up, and Nicola was chuckling softly. "I meant…" She hesitated. "Abstinence from girls."
"You've got to be kidding me, right?" he asked, his voice laced with incredulity. "Are you asking me to stop breathing?"
Nicola laughed. That was such an Aaron remark, she thought, but at the same time, she couldn't help but laugh at him. He didn't really mean that…or did he?
"I'm asking you to do it for me."
Aaron, in turn, ran a hand through his messy mop of hair and exhaled. For me…do it for me…
And how could he say 'no' to that?
"Tell me first why you want me to do it."
Nicola looked up and met his eyes. They were soft, and they were wild, and they held all the positive emotions she wanted him to feel for her. It was like he was telling her to just say to him how she really felt. His translucent azure eyes even seemed like they were challenging her to a game of 'Revelations', and Nicola was never one to surrender and lose, and so, she said it. She told him how he felt.
"Do it for me," she said, looking at him with a straight face. "Because I like you, maybe I even love you, and I don't want to see you with another girl, at least even just for a month."
Aaron smirked at her mischievously, but she continued anyway, forgetting that he was smiling suspiciously and slyly at her.
"And they have all these quotes like…" She was starting to rant now. "Abstinence is key…and Absence makes the heart grow fonder…"
He pulled her closer to him, holding a tight grip on her hips, and she didn't even take notice of the possessive hold he had on her. She was too focused on letting out all that she felt.
"I'm even going to be doing you a favor…" His other hand started playing with the ends of her hair. "You're going to be even 'harder to get', and we, girls, love a chase."
He silenced her by saying her name.
That sure as hell got her attention.
"I wasn't fucking joking when I said you're not like anyone I've ever dated," he then said, a glimmer of hope in his eyes.
Nicola could only blink up at him. She was still in a daze, and his revelation still hadn't sunk in yet. Her heart was still swallowing the little pieces of his confession, while he took his time to admire her in his arms. Did she really think what she was thinking? Was she the girl Aaron wanted to date? With the way he held her, it definitely seemed like it.
"So I'm the last resort, huh?" Nicola teased. "Just because you've gone through every girl in our school?"
He bent his head down, and captured her lips in a soft, fragile kiss. He was simply living the moment, not rushing at all, since he wanted to cherish every second that his lips were on hers. Taking it deeper, his hands found their way to the hem of her shirt, causing her tank top to rise just a few inches, revealing a little portion of her waist. Her arms, on the other hand, circled his neck while her hands played with the hair on the nape of his neck. They caught the attention of a few people, but neither cared as they continued releasing all their pent up feelings for one another until Aaron pulled away. He was grinning at her.
"I always save the best for last."
And that was more than enough for her to bring his head down and kiss him again.
This is a MAJOR update! Still the same character, slightly the same concept as the original one, but I personally think this one is more interesting than the first! :D Lol. I hope you guys will like this since I really enjoyed writing this oneshot! :P Please do leave a review, and tell me what you guys think! :P