61. Nick

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As he's filling Bailey's drink, he hears a girl's voice behind him. "You must be new here."

He turns around and doesn't recognize the girl at first, but then remembers that she is the one who winked at him as he was waiting at Bailey's door a week ago. She's basically wearing a bra and panties,
trying way too hard to get attention.

She wasn't going to get his. He already has the hottest girl here. He gets ready to walk away without responding, looking for Bailey. He sees her a ways down the hall, in a deep conversation with...Derek.

They are both leaning against the wall, facing each other, and Bailey is fucking smiling at him. She's wearing Nick's clothes, talking to someone else. She knows he doesn't want her hanging out with Derek...right? Fuck. Now he can't remember their exact conversation—she had been riding him at the time. But fuck it, he can talk to other people too.

He turns back to the half-naked girl and gives her his most seductive smile. "Actually, I'm just visiting a friend."

"Oh yeah?" She takes another step toward him and trails her finger down his chest. It makes his skin crawl, but he doesn't show it.

"You know, my roommate is gone," she whispers.

Nick looks up at Bailey, but she still hasn't seen him. He's not sure how far he should let this flirting go. He's already over it.

"Back off, Tricia." Bailey's friend, Abby, appears out of nowhere. "That's Bailey's boyfriend."

The girl takes a step back, hands in front of her. "Sorry." Nick doesn't bother correcting them that he is not, in fact, Bailey's boyfriend.

She walks away, and Abby stands in front of him, hands on her hips. "What was that about?"

He shrugs, not answering. Bailey still hasn't looked in this direction once.

Abby sighs. "Listen, I came over here to apologize for calling you an asshole."

Nick's focus is back on her. "Excuse me? When did you call me an asshole?"

Her eyes widen. "Oh shit. I assumed Bailey told you."

"She didn't."

"It was before. She was trying to decide if she should go on a date with Evan, since she still liked you. And she told me about you, and all the shitty things you said to her. I told her to go on the date because you sounded like an asshole. I was going to say sorry to you, but then I see you flirting with Tricia. So to be honest, I don't know what to say now."

Nick's mind is reeling. Not only did this chick call him an asshole, but she also encouraged Bailey to go on a date with another dude? Nick's anger is boiling, threatening to explode. And on top of everything else, Bailey is still talking to the douchebag wearing pajamas that should be on an infant.

He looks at Bailey and can see that she has something on her cheek—a piece of lint, or beer foam, or something. It doesn't matter.

For some reason, seeing it brings back his rational—sober—senses. It's not this girl's fault that Bailey dated someone else, it was Nick's fault. He shouldn't be angry.

"Listen, that wasn't what it looked like," he explains. "I would never do something like that. Now if you'll excuse me..." he brushes past her. He needs to wipe whatever it is off Bailey's cheek. He is hyper-focused on it right now, tuning out everything else.

He can already feel how soft her skin will feel under his finger—

In slow motion, Nick watches in horror as Derek raises his arm toward Bailey. He places his thumb gently on the side of her face, swiping away whatever had been there. Bailey giggles and thanks him.

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