4. Nick

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When they returned to the Rogers' house, Bailey and her friend, Ginny, went straight to her room while Ian started toward the kitchen.

"I need to take a piss," Nick said to Ian, trying to sound casual. He began ascending the stairs to the second level.

Ian was already shoving handfuls of chips into his mouth but mumbled, "Why are you going upstairs? Just use the one down here."

Nick sighed. He wanted to hear what the girls were saying, if they were talking about him. He had to think quickly, "Let's play the Xbox today."

"Seriously? You guys never want to play the Xbox."

That was true. It was in Ian's bedroom, which typically was so cluttered they had a hard time finding space for all three of them and also had an odor that was truly overwhelming at times. Bailey insisted they find the source of the smell one day, but they had all gotten distracted after fifteen minutes. It remained a mystery, and Ian didn't seem to mind it.

Nick had no choice though. He had to get upstairs.

"Okay, well, I'll grab some sodas from the basement. Meet you up there," Ian said while grabbing another bag of chips. Nick mentally prepared himself for an afternoon of rancid air and climbed the stairs.

He went down the hall towards the twins' bedrooms silently. Their parents had a rule about keeping their bedroom doors open when they had company, but Nick was still relieved to find Bailey's door open an inch. They didn't always follow the rules when their parents were gone.

He could hear the girls talking and knew he was just in time. It was Ginny's voice. "So who is that Nick guy?"

"Ian's friend," Bailey said nonchalantly.

That hurt. He always considered himself her friend, too.

Ginny's volume rose slightly. "Whatever, girl. I saw you staring at him at the pool...and while riding his bike."

She was? Nick hadn't noticed since he and Ian had taken the lead on the way home.

Bailey didn't respond and Ginny continued, "He's super cute. I guess you won't mind, then, if I call dibs? Considering you don't like him?"

He heard a small intake of breath and then Bailey's voice took on a defensive tone. "You don't want him, trust me."

"And why's that?" Nick can tell Ginny is smirking, thinking she's about to get some good gossip.

"He's just super immature. He and Ian have burping contests all the time. It's disgusting."

Of course Bailey failed to mention that she also participated in these contests.

"I think I could live with that..." Ginny said.

Bailey quickly adds, "And he smells! Have you noticed the smell coming from Ian's room? I think it's from Nick. I just haven't had the heart to tell him. It's sad really...but gross, very very gross."

That was all Nick needed to hear. He didn't know if Bailey actually believed those things about him, but why would she say that? Ginny is obviously a gossip and now everyone at his new school is going to think that he's disgusting.

When he and Ian spent the rest of the day playing Xbox, Nick didn't even notice the smell—his mind was elsewhere.

He had fallen in love and had his heart broken all within one afternoon.

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