Nick takes Casey out on a date that gets interrupted by the paparazzi, and Nick has an unpleasant phone call from Kevin the next morning.
“Are you excited for this break?” she asked.
“Yes. I’m looking forward to being able to relax a little and sleep in for two weeks. What about you?”
“Yeah, I guess. It’s weird because I feel like I should go back to school now, like this was just one big vacation. I’ll probably visit my friend Sasha when I get home. By now she knows I lied to her about my ‘vacation’ and my father, so she’ll want a long and detailed explanation of what I’ve really been doing.”
“Are you going to tell her everything?”
“Of course,” she told him, with a mischievous smile. “I’m going to tell her all about the dirty little secrets I’ve learned about all of you and your weird habits you don’t want anyone knowing about.” They laughed, but then quieted when Kevin stirred in his sleep in front of them.
“Do you have any plans for tomorrow?” Nick asked, suddenly serious.
“I was wondering if you’d want to go to dinner with me tomorrow. I know this really nice restaurant at the beach that I’m sure you’d love.” Casey noticed Nick blushing, obviously timid about asking her out on a date. She knew it took a lot of courage, considering he must be worried about Kevin when he found out.
“I’d be happy to join you for dinner.”
She laughed when Nick tried to hide his breath of relief. They soon fell asleep for the rest of the plane ride, waking up so Casey could return to her seat for landing. Kevin drove Casey back to her apartment, but not before Nick promised to call her. She gave Kevin a hug and then fell asleep immediately after climbing into bed.
Casey spent the morning with her friend Sasha, answering all the questions she could without giving away anything about the guys they wouldn’t want known. They spent hours sitting and talking about other things, like school and boys. Sasha demanded to know if Casey was dating Nick like the paparazzi hinted at, and Casey told her no. While she was going on a date that night, she didn’t want to have Sasha spreading rumors. The rest of the day Casey spent waiting for Nick to pick her up.
“You look nice,” he said when he picked her up. She smiled and complimented him as well. They drove to the restaurant Nick had mentioned, and she immediately fell in love with it. It was built to look like and old fishing dock, with dirty, rotting wood. They ordered their food inside, and then took a seat at one of the tables surrounding the outside of the building, overlooking the ocean.
“So what did you do on your first day back home?” Nick asked Casey.
“I spent most of it with my friend Sasha, just like I told you. She was furious that I lied to her about my dad and the whole ‘vacation’ thing, but she got over it after I told her all about my time on tour. She’s jealous, of course, being such a big fan, but she promised not to talk to the paparazzi.”
“That’s good. I spent my morning sleeping in, and it was wonderful. It’s so nice to sleep straight through the night in a comfortable bed, not spend half in a bunk on the bus and the other half in a new hotel each night.”
“Do you ever regret joining the group or staying with it?”
“No, I just sometimes forget what home feels like. We’re on tour for so long each time that it becomes a treat to come home.”
Casey smiled, but then the conversation stopped as their food arrived. Nick ate quickly while Casey ate slowly, savoring every bite. When they were finished, Nick paid and then they decided to go for a walk along the beach. Casey decided to take off her shoes and let the sand massage her feet.
“Why don’t you take off your shoes too?” she told Nick. “The sand is nice and warm.” Nick shrugged his shoulders and took his shoes off too. “There, now doesn’t that feel better?”
Nick gave her a playful push and then took off running. They ran a short distance, just far enough to get away from the noise of the restaurant. Then they slowed and let the waves wash over their feet. A few minutes of silence passed, and Casey felt Nick reach out to hold her hand. Wanting to let him know she shared his feelings and approved of his holding her hand, she made it easy and grabbed his.
“Casey, I know this is going to make things difficult with Kevin, but I really like you.”
“I like you too Nick. And I’ll talk to my dad about us, and hopefully he’ll see reason.”
She smiled up at him, and he smiled back. With no one around to stop them, they both leaned in and Nick gently kissed her for the first time. A few seconds passed and soon they saw flashes. Both opened their eyes and saw people with cameras taking pictures of them. Nick grabbed Casey’s hand tightly and pulled her after him towards the car. They ignored the questions shouted at them. Finally they reached the car and slammed the doors. Nick drove as fast as he could safely. He didn’t want to get sued by a photographer.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Yeah. I’m still not used to the paparazzi, so it’s always startling when they just pop up out of nowhere, but I’m getting better at handling it. Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, just a little angry.”
The adrenaline from their sprint to the car soon faded and the rest of the car ride was enjoyed with music and conversation. Nick dropped her off, kissing her goodnight and looking forward to seeing her again. He wasn’t looking forward to the following morning though, when he was sure to get a call from Kevin.
Sure enough, Nick woke to the sound of a phone ringing. If phones could sound angry, his phone would have sounded irate. After answering, Kevin immediately started giving him a piece of his mind.
“What were you thinking, going out with Casey last night? Didn’t you think the paparazzi would be waiting for a chance to get pictures of her for a story? Have you read the stories yet? They all talk about how you two are secret lovers, making me look like a liar based on my response from that press conference, and they have pictures of you two kissing and holding hands! I thought I told you to stay away from her, but you didn’t listen to me. You obviously did what you wanted to do, and now look at the mess you’ve gotten us all into. I haven’t talked to Casey yet because I wanted to speak with you first. I want to make this as clear as possible: I don’t want you seeing my daughter, now or ever. Do you understand?”
“Kevin, I realize that yes, I made a mistake last night. I let my guard down and the paparazzi surprised us. I’m sorry about that. You have to believe me when I say I didn’t want to put Casey in the spotlight. And I’m sorry that I made you look bad because of what you said in the press conference about us. But I’m not going to apologize for going out with Casey. We like each other Kevin, and we want to be together.”
“I don’t care what you want, Nick, I care about what’s best for my daughter,” Kevin said, interrupting. “I know you’re history with women and it’s not impressive. I refuse to stand by and let you hurt my daughter. And as I’ve already said to you before, I think you’re too old for her.”
“Kevin, please, give me a chance–”
“Like the chance you took with Casey last night? No, I’m done giving you chances Nick. I want you to stay away from my daughter, do you understand me?”
Kevin hung up before Nick could respond. Nick sighed and leaned his head back on the couch. It was going to be a struggle for him and Casey to get through to Kevin, and he hoped Casey wouldn’t give up when Kevin talked to her next.