In Pieces – Chapter 6

Ashleigh jerked away from Nick’s grasp. She felt annoyed, irritated and positively stupid. She was embarrassed to have been recognized by him, and even more mortified that he had come up to talk to her. “What do you want?” She challenged.

Nick held up his hands. “I just wanted to say hey.” He said sincerely, wondering what had gotten into her. She had been at the concert, front row no less, didn’t that mean she had wanted to see him?

Joey stood, somewhat shocked. If she had known that Nick was going to seek them out, she never would have brought Ashleigh to the concert. Ashleigh was going to be pissed. She looked around to see if anyone was watching, but no one was in sight. The arena was empty. “Hey Nick!” She grinned, and Ashleigh shot her a death glare.

Nick smiled. “Hey, Joey.” He replied, though she wasn’t the one he wanted to talk to. “I haven’t seen you girls in a long time, what’s up?” He asked, as if they were old friends.

Ashleigh scoffed. They were anything but old friends. “I have nothing to say to you, Nick.” She said, annoyed that he just figured he could walk back into her life at the drop of a hat.

Nick didn’t falter. She was here for a reason, he was sure of it. “We don’t have to say anything.” He winked, and she rolled her eyes.

“Of course you think that.” She muttered under her breath, too angry to see straight.

Joey laughed, putting an arm around her friend. “Don’t worry about her, Nick, she’s just in a bad mood because the concert’s over. You know, this is the only one we’re seeing this tour.” She joked.

Nick laughed. “No? Not going to stalk us this time?” He said good naturedly.

Ashleigh peeked up at Nick as he and Joey bantered back and forth. As much as she felt she hated him, she had to admit he was still very attractive. His hair was longer now than it had been back then. He’d lost weight, and seemed to be a little more mature. Rather than hitting on them, he was talking to them nicely.

She didn’t know why, but it made her blood boil. She wanted to scream at him, ask him why he had hurt her they way he did. She wanted to know what gave him the right to treat her like she meant nothing to him, and then just waltz back into her life as if nothing had happened between them.

Instead, she kept her composure. “I need to get going. Goodbye Nick.” She said quickly, turning on her heels and walking away from the two of them. She didn’t look back, but she hoped that Joey would have enough sense to follow her.

Joey stared at Ashleigh as she walked away. She turned back to Nick. “Sorry Nick.” She said, knowing her friend was going to explode in anger the entire ride home. “I kind of dragged her here. She was really worried about seeing you.”

Nick shrugged, now understanding. “It’s okay. I get why she’d be pissed. I thought it’d be cool to catch up though. I’ll be here for a couple of days.”

Joey sighed, knowing that she needed to get back to Ashleigh. Quickly, she took out a pen from her purse. She scribbled Ashleigh’s cell phone number onto the back of an old receipt and handed it to Nick. “Here’s her number. If you want to see her, call her. I’ll try to talk to her.” She replied, biting her lip. Ever the dreamer, Joey believed in fate. Nick showing up wanting to talk to them had to mean something, right?

Nick nodded. “Thanks. Maybe I will.” He smirked, and walked off.

Joey shook her head, not believing the scene that had just played out in front of her. Quickly, she ran out to the parking to find Ashleigh standing beside the car. She didn’t look as though she was in the best of moods.

“Hey, Ash…” Joey started, unlocking the doors. She knew that Ashleigh was going to start ranting any second.

As soon as they were in the car, Ashleigh glared at Joey. Joey turned on the ignition, and as the car started up the CD player clicked on. The speakers blared the familiar sounds of The Answer To Our Life, which made Ashleigh angrier still.

“The nerve of him!” She spat, not bothering to turn off the music. “I can’t believe he would just show up like that, thinking he’s all hot shit.” She complained.

Joey didn’t answer, she knew anything that she said was just going to end with Ashleigh telling her how angry she was for making her come to the concert. Instead, she listened to her friend. She had to admit, she did feel a little guilty. She hadn’t expected Nick to recognize them, much less seek them out after the show.

“Well let me tell you something.” Ashleigh continued, rolling down the window to let some air into the car. “He is absolutely not hot shit. Not at all. He’s a jerk that thinks he can get any girl he wants just by grinning all sexy like.” She ranted, clenching her fists.

Joey rolled her eyes, not bothering to point out how well Nick’s charms had worked on her in the past.

“He thinks he’s such a player. Hi, I’m Nick Carter, I’ll have sex with you because I’m so special and great and fantastic. Don’t you love my blonde hair and perfect lips? I’m so cute! Except that no one likes my crappy band now so I have to resort to trying to sleep with girls I did a long time ago!” She mocked him.

“I think he was just being nice, Ash.” Joey tried, knowing full well that it wasn’t going to help.

“Nick Carter is never nice.” She replied, glaring at Joey.

Joey sighed, thinking that if Nick did actually end up calling her, Ashleigh was going to be more than pissed. “He’s probably grown up a lot since then.”

Ashleigh took a deep breath. She wanted nothing more than to never think about Nick again. He was a thing of the past, gone, finished. So why did he constantly haunt her mind? Why couldn’t she let him go?

Why did he insist on showing up just when she thought she was finally getting over him?

“I hate him.” She said simply.

“You don’t hate him.” Joey responded.

Ashleigh glared at Joey, insulted that her friend thought she knew her better than she knew herself. “No, I really hate him.”

“You’re hurt.” Joey rationalized always the more down to earth of the two when it came to things like this. “Besides,” she continued with a grin. “There’s a fine line between love and hate.”

“I do not love him.” She said darkly.

“Not what you were saying last time we were driving home from one of their concerts…” Joey replied in a sing song voice, knowing it was going to make Ashleigh angrier. She didn’t care, she figured Ashleigh may as well get it all out of her system now. Before Nick called her.

“I was stupid. He’s horrible. I’m with a much better man now.” She replied, not caring to go into the details of how and why she came to change her mind.

The rest of the way home the two girls were silent. The only noise that could be heard was the rest of the Black and Blue album, which Ashleigh still didn’t bother to turn off.

Once Ashleigh’s anger began to fade, she listened to the music in silence. How did Nick possibly still have to power to control her emotions like that? Shouldn’t she be over him by now? It shouldn’t matter anymore, especially since it didn’t seem to matter to him at all.

But maybe it did matter to him. After all, it was Nick that had come to find them after the show, not the other way around. Could he possibly be sorry for what he had done all those years ago?

But I love you, and I always will, so I wonder if you want me still?
Can you forgive me and open your heart once again?

She heard Nick’s voice ring out through the stereo, and it pulled at her heart. For a split second, she felt bad about not talking to Nick, not giving him a chance to explain.

But reality hit her, Nick had never loved her and he never would. There was no point in thinking about him anymore. All he’d seen when he’d seen her tonight was another opportunity to score with her again. That’s all it was and all it was ever going to be.

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