Chapter 8 – Drawn to the Fire

“There is no way you’re getting me on that roller coaster, Nick.” I said seriously, crossing my arms over my chest. I’d never been much of a fan of theme park rides, and the twists and turns of this one tracked contraption were no exception.

“Come on, Dani!” He persuaded, trying to pry my arms away from their resting space. That boy just didn’t give up. But I was equally as stubborn and wouldn’t budge. I tried to hold as firm as I could by seriously looking at the ground and biting my lip

But one look at Nick, his face pleading me for me to just sit beside him on that stupid ride and I was finished. Damn him and his charm! “Fine.” I mumbled, giving in to him. “I’ll go on the stupid ride with you. But you’d better hold my hand the entire way.” I grinned.

You should’ve seen the way his face lit up when I said that to him. “Yeah, whatever!” He said, pulling us both in line to meet what I was sure to be my ultimate fate. Did I mention I hate roller coasters? Because I really do.

“I only do it because I love you.” I flirted, blowing him a kiss.’

“Of course you do.” Nick laughed, pulling me closer to him as we waited in the line.

“No, Nick, I really do.” I said, trying as best I could to keep a straight face.

You should have seen the look he gave me, priceless! “Really?” He asked in all seriousness.

I burst out laughing. “No!” As much as I hate roller coasters, I love messing with Nick. “But that’s what you get for dragging me on all these stupid rides.”

You’re probably wondering what Nick and I were doing puttering around an amusement park. Let me back up a little here.

A couple of days after the whole Brian fiasco, the boys had a very rare day off. This was of course because we’d made a stop in Lexington, which was Brian’s and Kevin’s hometown. Naturally, those two were off visiting their family. Howie and AJ were off doing – what else? Shopping, of course.

Which left Nick to his own devices. Bev and Joe had invited me to accompany them to Six Flags, and when Nick heard about this, he’d jumped on the idea. I wasn’t so keen on it, but I figured it’d give us something to do. Besides, what kind of fake girlfriend would I be if I didn’t accompany my boyfriend on all kinds of terrifying rides?

Evidently not a very good one. So the four of us had set off to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. So far the day hadn’t been very eventful. Bev and Joe went on some of the tamer rides, while Nick would try to drag me on to all sorts of scary things. The strange part was, he was actually succeeding for the most part. Oh sure, I’d put up a fight at first, but he’d pout, and I’d give in.

It was a little sickening.

Which was exactly how I felt after I got off the roller coaster. And before I got on any of them. Come to think of it, the entire roller coaster experience was pretty awful. I felt terrified while standing in line and watching it, I felt even worse while we were on it, looking down at the ground which was 50 feet below. And afterwards… I was fine for about two minutes until Nick dragged me to the next ride.

“No more rides, Nick.” I practically begged once we were let off yet another one. “Can’t we go get some cotton candy or something?”

To my surprise, Nick actually nodded. Thank God, I didn’t think I could take another death defying experience. “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea, I’m getting kind of hungry.” He said, lacing his fingers with mine. “Let’s go find Bev and Joe.”

So the two of us walked around the park, trying to find the other half of our little group.

“So what are you going to do about Brian?” Nick asked me, seemingly out of nowhere. We hadn’t really talked about that much, and honestly I didn’t really want to.

“I don’t know.” I answered honestly. I didn’t really have feelings for Brian, and that thought was only solidified when I looked up at Nick. He’d just gotten his hair cut the day before that, and I had to say, it looked pretty good on him. He’d finally gotten rid of that God awful parted down the middle style in favour of a shorter, spikier look. Definitely sexy.

Wait, sexy, Nick, what? I shook my head, trying to push those thoughts out of my head and return to the topic at hand. “I just… don’t have feelings for him.” I said dumbly.

“I think you guys would be good together.” Nick said, and I just sighed. Did we really have to talk about this now?

“I guess.” I mumbled, pulling him in the direction of Top Dog. “Come on, I want a Chili Dog.”

Nick grinned as he pulled his hand away from mine and lazily draped his arm over my shoulder. “Fine, but I’m not kissing you after you eat that.”

I rolled my eyes. “You wouldn’t be kissing me anyway.” I reminded him.

“Hey, there’s Bev and Joe!” Nick nearly shouted, pointing out our friends who were standing in line at Top Dog. It figures, as soon as we stop looking for them that they would pop up.

“Hey guys!” Bev greeted us with a smile as we stood behind them in the line. “What have you been up to all day?”

I gave her a distressed look and leaned my head on Nick’s shoulder. “What do you think?”

Nick just laughed. “She’s no fun though, she won’t go on T2 with me.”

I shuddered, that was the one ride I absolutely refused to go on with him. No amount of pouting from him would get me on it, I guarantee you that. Evidently, Bev felt the same way about it.

“Take Joe with you.” Bev said, pushing her boyfriend towards Nick. “He’s been bugging me to go on that all day.”

And with that, the two boys very quickly forgot about food and dashed off in the direction of the ride. Bev and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes. That had worked out well. The guys could go on their stupid ride, and Bev and I could have some girl time. Which was apparently needed.

“So, what exactly is going on with you and Nick?” She asked me, as we sat down with our trays of food.

I raised my eyebrow, not really knowing what she was talking about. “Um, what?”

Bev shook her head and gave me a look that I really couldn’t read. “You know, you guys show up and you’re all cuddly, his arm is around you and you guys look totally couple-y.” She explained.

What was she talking about? She knew about my whole plan with Nick! “Um, fake dating, remember?”

Bev continued to look at me questioningly. It didn’t seem like she accepted that an answer at all. “But there’s no one to fool here, Dani.”

I shrugged. “So what? Nick and I are just having fun.” I said, and took a sip of my coke. “I mean, I get to do all that fun boyfriend stuff like holding hands and going on dates without having to deal with the drama of a real relationship.” It made perfect sense to me, anyway.

“You call this no drama?” Bev laughed, of course referring to the whole Brian and AJ kerfuffle.

“Well… I mean drama between the two of us.” I sighed, knowing full well she was just trying to give me a hard time. “It’s just fun, okay?”

Bev shook her head. “I don’t know, Dani. I think you like him for real.”

“That’s ridiculous, I do not like him for real.” I stated firmly. Me like Nick? Gross! Come on, he smelled… well actually, he smelled pretty good. Kind of like a mixture between old spice and Adidas body wash. Uh… okay not really the point. But still! He wasn’t boyfriend material at all, he was… well, pretty sweet actually. It wasn’t like I found him attractive though… except for that hair. Good God, his hair looked amazing now that it had been cut.

Oh fuck me. I did like him for real. And upon realizing this, I put my head in my hands and groaned. “Shut up.” I muttered.

Bev just clapped her hands together and grinned. “I knew it! I knew you would end up liking each other!”

I peeked over my hands and glared at her. “I like him. That doesn’t mean he likes me back.”

“Oh please, he totally does.” Bev waved her hands distractedly. Come on, let’s go find those guys. And we’ll get Nickers to kiss you.

I sighed, this was sure to lead to nothing good.

No sooner had we met up with the boys, than we were standing in line for yet another ride. This one wasn’t nearly as bad as the others though, instead it was just an exceptionally large ferris wheel. Nothing too scary. And definitely romantic, I grinned to myself.

The ride was perfect for the four of us. Nick and I sat on one side, and Bev and Joe sat on the other side facing us. I’m pretty sure that compared to the T2 or whatever ride the guys had just been on, this one seemed boring but I didn’t care, I thought it was nice. Not every ride had to be terrifying beyond belief.

So the four of us made small talk as we sat on the Ferris wheel. Well, I should say that the three of them made small talk. Most of my time was spent sitting there quietly and peeking up at Nick every so often.

“What’re you looking at, Dani?” Nick asked suddenly. Damn it! Busted.

“I uh… looking over the edge, you can see the whole park!” I stammered, sounding totally ridiculous, I’m sure.

Nick turned his head to the side and I leaned on his shoulder. His arm was around me once again, and while earlier that day I’d thought nothing of it, it was suddenly the focus of all my attention. He turned back to me, and I couldn’t help but notice that our lips were inches apart. How easy it would have been for me to just tilt my head up and kiss him. Of course, I wanted to know that he did actually like me too, I wanted for him to kiss me.

I tried as best I could to give him the hint, too. I stared into his eyes, licked my lips, moved my face closer to his…

“Oh man, we have to go to Splashwater Kingdom after this!” He exclaimed, pointing over the edge to the water park that was below us. I glanced at Bev and she shot me a sympathetic look. How could someone who had been with so many girls be so oblivious?

As we made our way over to the water park section, Nick and I still walked hand in hand, and again it was everything I could think about.

Trust me when I say that the water park is much, much better than any roller coaster. Sure there’s big water slides and all that, but you get a little bit wet (or drenched) and that’s about it. Nick didn’t really have to beg me to get me onto any of those water rides.

By the time we left the park, it was nearly midnight. It was about an hour and a half ride back to Lexington, which didn’t get us back to the hotel until about 1:30am. As Bev and Joe had taken their own car, the four of us split up once we got to the parking lot.

“Nice to see you again, Joe.” Nick said, as the two guys shook hands. “See you back at the hotel, Bev.”

Bev rolled her eyes as she looked straight at Nick. “You’re totally oblivious.” She said, walking off with her boyfriend.

Nick looked at me with much confusion. “What’s she talking about?”

I laughed nervously, not sure if it was the best idea for me to tell Nick what I was feeling. After all, that wouldn’t work out well. If us fake dating had caused an uproar, imagine what would happen if we were to start dating for real. Though… everyone already thought we were together for real

Except for Brian. That would definitely crush him. No, I couldn’t tell Nick. Not unless I was sure he felt the same way, then we would be in this together.

“I have no idea.” I said, getting into the car. “Let’s get going, I’m tired.”

And with that, the two of us set off on the drive back. I slumped down into my seat, this definitely was a dilemma.

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