Chapter 24 – The Hit and Miss

Brittany was taken aback by Nick kissing her so suddenly. She hadn’t expected it, and now that it was happening she didn’t know how to react. Shock was a good word to describe the situation.

His hands were firmly on her shoulders, but she didn’t know what to do with her own. She just stood there, with his lips pressed against hers. They were softer than she’d expected them to be, and he tasted sweet. Probably on account of the drinks they’d had before. The kiss seemed like it lasted for hours, but in reality it was probably only a couple of seconds.

Nick pulled away and smiled at her. It was a look she’d never seen on his face before. His eyes were half-closed, and his expression was almost loving.

She nearly forgot that Danielle and Liam were standing right there.

“I knew you weren’t going to the bathroom,” Brittany said to Nick, putting her hands on her hips and looking at him knowingly.

Nick didn’t say anything, he just glanced over at Danielle and Liam.

“Nice to see you again, Nick,” Danielle said with a smirk. “Thanks for coming.”

“Yeah,” Nick replied, looking at Brittany out of the corner of his eye. “It was a really nice ceremony.”

Brittany had to stifle a laugh.

Danielle smiled. “Thank you.”

There was an awkward silence. Brittany bit her lip a little, not really knowing that to do. She was sure it was only awkward for herself and Nick – and maybe even only for herself because she was overthinking and her mind was going a million miles a minute. “Um, Nick,” she said quickly, looking in Liam’s direction. “I don’t think you guys have met yet actually. Nick… this is Liam. Yeah.”

The two men shook hands and greeted each other, while Brittany glanced at Danielle. Even though they hadn’t seen each other in person for quite some time, it was easy enough for Brittany to convey what she was thinking through a look.

And that look read “I guess you were right.”

“I suppose we should go see some of the other guests,” Danielle said, putting her hand on Liam’s shoulder. “Really, Brittany, thank you so much for coming,” she said, leaning in to her her friend. “I told you so,” she whispered into Brittany’s ear as she leaned downwards.

“Thanks,” Brittany grinned. “Congratulations again, guys” she smiled, before they walked off.

Then she turned her attention to Nick.

Nick, who had his hands in his pockets. Who had a cocky smirk on his face, but managed to look sheepish at the same time. Nick, who had just kissed her, and who she found herself wanting desperately to kiss again.

“Drink?” he suggested, raising his eyebrows.

“No,” Brittany said, grabbing her clutch off the table. “No.” She took Nick by the hand and led him out of the reception hall and back into the hotel area. They walked briskly, until they were at the elevator. Brittany hit the button and waited impatiently for it to show up. She turned at looked at Nick.

She tried to take a deep breath. She wasn’t even sure what to say to him or how to go about saying it. It was clear that he didn’t either, given his silence. But of course, Brittany knew that serious conversations had never been his forte, and that dramatic entrances, such as random kisses were his thing.

The elevator doors opened and the two of them stepped inside. Brittany turned to look at Nick. “So…” she said softly.

But as soon as the door closed and the elevator started to move, Nick’s lips were on hers again.

Brittany couldn’t quite say she minded too much while Nick pressed her up against the wall. His kisses were firm, and his hands played with her hair. She sighed. He was a really good kisser. Almost too good.

“Mmph, Nick,” she said when they reached their floor. “We have to get off.”

He pulled away and gave her a cocky grin. “’Kay,” he said, taking her hand and pulling her towards his room. He let go of her hand to dig in his pocket for his room key. Brittany placed her hand on his arm and thumbed the material of his white dress shirt. Her heart pounded in her chest.

It was hard for her to believe that this was actually about to happen. She couldn’t even count the number of times she’d imagined it in her head. She’d wondered if he was a good kisser (which she knew now, the answer was definitely yes), if he was a good lover, what his body would feel like against her own.

She almost shivered just thinking about it.

Nick opened the door and stepped inside, with Brittany following right behind. The door slammed behind them, but neither of them paid it any attention. Instead, Nick tossed the key onto the table and kicked his shoes off. He laid down on the bed, motioning with his hands for Brittany to join him.

As she started to sober up she began to feel nervous. Still, she took off her own shoes and crawled on top of him. As she let him wrap his arms around her, she leaned down and touched his lips to hers again. They kissed softly at first, but as the minutes passed by, their kisses got more heated and frantic.

Nick’s hands were all over her back, and as he moved to unzip her dress, Brittany felt a pang of nervousness once again. It was bad this time, and she almost wanted him to stop.

She didn’t though, pushing forward. Nick and her had been friends for so long, it was only natural that this was going to feel awkward, wasn’t it?

She took in a sharp breath as Nick’s hands touched her bare skin.

“Relax baby,” Nick soothed in between their kisses. “It’s just me.”

Yes, it was just him. Her best friend in the entire world. She pulled away from him slightly at the realization of this, but the alcohol clouded her better judgement. For the past year, all she’d thought about was Nick, and how much she was sure she was in love with him, and how much she wanted him for her own.

Now, she wasn’t so sure it was Nick who she wanted.

She breathed heavily, looking down at him and placing her hands firmly on his chest. She gulped a little, wanting to go through with this despite the doubt in her mind. She tugged at the collar of his shirt, undoing the buttons of it slowly.

“Here,” Nick said softly, placing his hands on her wrists and stopping her. “Let me do that.”

Brittany sat up as she watched Nick finish unbuttoning his shirt. He sat up and shrugged out of it, letting it fall behind him. Nick took his hand and touched her chest lightly, before pulling Brittany’s dress over her head and tossing it onto the ground.

Brittany took a deep breath as she looked at the man in front of her. She’d seen Nick without a shirt on plenty of times before, but never in this context. Never when his skin was so close to her own and certainly never with the intention of seeing a lot more.

She wrapped her legs around his waist as he pulled her in closer to himself. She leaned in to kiss him again, slowly at first. She parted her lips and allowed his tongue to explore her mouth.

Nick bucked his hips upwards and Brittany clung to him tighter, feeling his erection through his pants. She moaned against his mouth and Nick pulled away slightly.

“You like that, baby?” he asked seductively.

She just nodded, pushing him down on the bed and moving to take his pants off. Again, she struggled with it, her mind going back to the place that reminded her that this was Nick and what they were about to do would be crossing a very big line.

Nick took note of her nervousness, just as he had before and shuffled out of his pants himself, pushing them onto the floor beside the bed.

“Nick,” Brittany said softly, looking at him. “Did you bring…?”

“Oh,” Nick said, kissing her quickly before going over to his suitcase. “Yeah.” He hadn’t entirely planned on this happening with her during their trip, but he’d erred on the side of caution just in case.

He retrieved a condom from one of the pockets on his suitcase and placed it on the side table before crawling back onto the bed. “Are you sure you wanna do this?” he breathed, looking at her.

Brittany looked at him and took a deep breath. If she wanted to stop before things were completely changed between them, now would be the time.

Nick was kneeling overtop of her, poised on his hands, ready to drop and kiss her and make love to her. Yet, the only thing she found herself able to think about was the way her ex-boyfriend had looked at her hours ago, when he was giving his best man speech. When he’d been talking about true love and finding that one person, and how Danielle and Liam had found each other and were so, so lucky.

And at one point, Brittany had felt just as lucky as they had. When his blue eyes had connected with hers, she remembered what it was like to kiss him, and how the first time she’d slept with him, it didn’t feel like this. The first time she’d been with him, her thoughts were only consumed with how much she loved him, and how right it was.

Not how she wished she was with someone else.

Nick gave her a look, watching as she breathed heavily. She neglected to close the space in between the two of them, and she had yet to give him the right of way to do it himself. Her face looked nervous, sad, and not at all what he’d expected for this to be.

It was easy for him to tell that she didn’t want this to happen, but she wasn’t going to say anything about it. So, Nick leaned over, kissed her cheek and laid down on the bed.

“What…” Brittany trailed off, looking at him as he pulled the covers over himself.

“Come here,” Nick said softly, motioning for her to join him under the blankets.

She did, snuggling close up to him. She could feel his heart beating rapidly in his chest, and wondered just how badly he had wanted this, and how hard it had been for him to stop. Guilt washed over her. Here was this perfect man who intuitively knew exactly what she was thinking, and yet, she didn’t love him.

“I’m sorry,” she said quietly, closing her eyes.

“Don’t be,” Nick said, wrapping his arm around her, thankful that they’d never bothered to turn on any lights in the room. “It would have changed everything.”

She looked up at him, grateful that he seemingly understood. “Thanks,” she mumbled, leaning in to hug him again. “Can I just… stay here with you tonight?”

“Yeah,” he said, taking a deep breath. He was tired anyway. It had been a long draining day both psychically and emotionally.

She sighed as she laid close to her best friend. If nothing else, they still had that.

Nick held on to her, looking up at the ceiling as she drifted off to sleep. Truth be told, he was somewhat relieved. Sure, he’d had feelings of love for her in the past few months, but romantic love? Could he honestly say now that he was laying next to her, that he was in love with her?

No, he couldn’t at all.

Had he slept with Brittany, they would have needed to have a conversation afterwards, and they’d have changed their relationship forever. They probably would have had to redefine it, and at some point down the road, though Nick didn’t like to admit it, it probably would have ended.

He glanced down at her and smiled sadly to himself.

Over the course of the day, he’d learned two things. The first was that whatever affection they’d had for each other had been confused with strong feelings of friendship, and nothing more.

The second being that Brittany was clearly still in love with Niall.

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