Chapter Six

Riley's eyes fluttered open as she coughed up the water, her body desperate for air. Taking in her surroundings, her eyes adjusted and she noticed people gathered around her, worried and panicked looks on their faces.

"Oh thank god." A voice said to her side, and she turned to see who had spoken. Nate was beside her, his head clasped in his hands as he panted heavily. Her entire body ached and burned as though it were on fire, but what hurt her most was the panicked look on Nate's face. Stretching her hand out, she took his fingers in his gently and squeezed.

"What happened?" She asked, her throat burning and her voice groggy. Her memory was patchy at best; she recalled being out surfing, but that was as far as it stretched. Something terrible must have happened though; it had been a while since she had seen Nate in such a state.

"You don't remember?" He asked, leaning back over her and signalling to people to give her some space. Most people, satisfied that she seemed okay, left across the beach to go back to their own devices. Shaking her head, she tried to sit up, groaning when her body ached in response.

"Woah, take it easy." He continued, only pausing to make sure she was okay. "I was an ass, honestly. I shouldn't have challenged you. You went further out to sea and got caught in a wave that was too big, and got dragged under. You were unconscious by the time I got to you and dragged you out. Oh God Ry, I thought I'd lost you..." He said, pain etched in his face.

His dark hair stuck to his face from the sea, and she swore she could see small tears forming in his eyes. Despite the fact that it hurt her, she gently lifted a hand to his face and cupped his cheek, smiling softly as he shut his eyes and relaxed into her embrace. Her heart fluttered slightly, and acting on the moment, she lifted herself up, pressing her lips to his softly. Shock surged through him as he felt her lips upon his, and with great reluctance he pulled away.

"Come on Ry, I should get you home." He said, pulling away and standing up. She tried to hide the disappointment on her face as he extended his hand towards her, ignoring the warm feeling his touch sent down her spine. She couldn't help but feel that she needed to get a grip on her emotions, and quick.

"Fancy coming in for one of our movie nights?" Riley asked, breaking the awkward silence between them as they pulled into the drive. She swore she could see his grip on the wheel tighten, and cringed at the thought that she may have misinterpreted the situation when she kissed him.

"Sure, just let me get in and have a shower first. I'll come in the normal way." He said, climbing out of the car. Following suit, she moved towards her house, watching him as he unlocked his own front door and went in, without sparing her a glance. Frowning, she opened her own door and went inside, thankful for some warmth.

"Ah sweetie, thank God your home. Your fathers got stuck in at work and I'm running late for my shoot. Dinners in the fridge and if you need anything, call me." Her mother said, rushing about in her usual state. "Wait – what's with the hair, and the towel? What happened?" She asked, turning towards Riley as she took in her appearance. Her blonde hair was starting to dry, but still stuck to her face awkwardly. Nate had slung his towel round her shoulder along with hers, in order to try and keep her warm.

"Oh...nothing. Me and Nate went surfing earlier." Riley said, trying to shrug it off. Luckily her mother wasn't very perceptive with her busy life, so she merely shrugged and headed for the door.

"Make sure you eat sweetie!" Her mother exclaimed, kissing her cheek before scuttling off to her job. Over the years, Riley had gotten used to looking after herself due to her parents' commitments to their work. Sighing, she headed up the stairs, intending to shower before Nate came over to watch a film.

Stepping out of the shower ten minutes later, she was thankful that she finally felt warm. Pulling on her favourite sweatpants and AC/DC shirt, she looked over at her phone, frowning when she saw a text waiting.

Need 2 c u. We need 2 tlk. Z xxx

Confusion swept her as a blush spread across her cheeks; Zach had texted her! But why? They hadn't even spoken much since it had come out that she was with Nate, so what could he possibly want? Before she had a moment to contemplate it all, there was a knock on the bathroom door.

"Ry, you in there? Your window was unlocked, I hope you don't mind." He said as she stepped out the bathroom, hiding her phone in her pocket. For some reason, she thought bringing up the text right now would further damage her relationship with Nate.

"No of course not Nate. Don't worry about it. What film do you want to watch then?" She asked, stepping around him and sitting on the bed gently. Watching him walk towards her bookcase and look over her DVD collection, her heart couldn't help but flutter. There was something about being in his presence that was oddly comforting, no matter what was going on between them.

"Perfect." He said, turning around to show her the case. Groaning inwardly, she hated the fact that he had picked Paranormal Activity. It had been a joke present from him the previous year, as he knew she hated horrors. It was still in the plastic wrapping for Christ's sake!

"Fine." She mumbled, settling back on the bed and pulling the covers over her. She knew it was useless to argue with him – he loved to make her watch horrors, no matter how much she protested. Joining her on the bed, he pressed the play button on the remote and settled in. She couldn't help but be a little disappointed that he lay on top of the quilt instead of getting underneath.

The film had dragged on for what felt like forever, and the events of the day had begun to take its toll on Riley. Being scared as to what would happen in the film, she curled up against him as she fought off sleep, her eyes fluttering as he wrapped his arms around her and held her close. Drifting off, she was sure she heard him whisper her name and sigh before she fell completely asleep.

Nate had insisted that she take the next day off school to recover from her accident, so when she finally returned, people were anxious to hear what had happened. Cringing from her own stupidity, she merely told them that she had been caught up in harsh waves at the beach and walked away before they could say anything else. Nate was still playing the doting boyfriend and helped her towards her locker, trying to shield her from the gossip.

"Riley, can we talk for a minute?" Zach asked, breaking through the crowd. She swore she could feel Nate tense behind her, and she placed a gentle hand on his arm before giving her full attention to Zach. Giving Nate her reassurance that she would be okay, he glared at Zach for a moment before parting to go to his own locker.

"Actually, mind if we go somewhere a little...quieter?" Zach asked, taking her arm softly and leading her to an empty classroom at the end of the corridor and shutting the door behind her.

"What's wrong Zach?" Riley asked, folding her arms across her chest and propping herself against a desk opposite him. Suddenly she felt nervous; afterall, she hadn't been alone with him since they had been a couple.

"I miss you Riley...I made a huge mistake picking her over you." He said, stepping forward and taking her small hands in his larger ones. The gesture was reassuring, but she couldn't help but compare the feel to Nate's hands. Nate's were definitely smoother. "I want you back baby. I miss you." Taking her silence as confirmation that she felt the same, he closed the distance between them and placed his hands on her sides. Lowering his head, he pressed his lips against hers hungrily, as if he had genuinely missed her. The kiss was nice enough, and she was happy with the familiarity, but she couldn't help but compare him with Nate. She needed to get her head straight, and sharpish.

A/N: Sorry it's taken me a while to update. I've just started back at university and I'm swamped with stuff at the moment. I'll try and update as much as possible, and my new story should be up within the next week :) As always, please R&r, I hope you enjoyed it!