Nick pulled away abruptly and I frowned, feeling a spark of hurt. He held both hands out in front of him, his cheeks blushing.
“Gah, why? Did I do something?” Nick asked, confusion evident on his face. I sighed and shook my head before burying it in my head.
“No, I did,” I muttered, sitting down on the bench. He stood there, unsure what to do before sitting next to me.
“I was so concentrated on getting over Amber I convinced myself you were interested. And based on your reaction, you're not,” I said. Nick starred at the ground as I spoke. He nodded, understanding creasing his features.
“Oh … Sorry if I put out signals … or something,” he trailed off, clearly uncomfortable. I smiled, shaking my head again.
“It's my fault. I just have no clue what to do. I don't want to want Amber anymore, not after some of the crap she put me through,” I said, sighing loudly. I looked at Nick for some kind of help but he just shrugged.
“I guess its your choice, whether you want to give her a second chance. But I think you already answered that question,” Nick said.
“I did?” I asked, trying to understand his meaning.
“You might not want to want her, but you do. Sometimes who you like can be a little screwed up,” Nick said with a small laugh.
“So you like someone?” I asked.
“Yeah, but I somehow doubt anything will ever come of it,” Nick admitted.
“Did I even have a shot with you? For my own self-esteem please say yes,” I asked, adding the last bit with a laugh. I may as well make my embarrassment complete by finding out.
“Well, If I was into girls sure,” Nick answered. I blinked and started laughing. Nick smiled and held up both hands.
“I didn't even realise,” I said, shaking my head.
“It's okay, I didn't make a big deal of stating it,” Nick replied.
“Have I completely freaked you out or are we still friends?” I asked. Nick gave me a 'really?' look and I laughed. I stood up and released a breath, trying to shove my shame away.
“See you Monday,” I said with a wave. I caught the train home feeling a whirl of emotions. But the one that surprised me most was relief. Nick would've been nice, but he was right. Amber was the one I wanted to be with. Despite all the crap she'd done. Now I just had to find a way of starting things up. But this time on my terms rather than hers. I remembered Darren suggestion and grinned. The rehearsal session on Monday was going to be fun.
I walked home from the station, Flashing my badge to the front gate guys. I saw the younger one giving me an appraising look and rolled my eyes. I'd never go out with someone interested in being in the army. Why would I want someone to experience all the moving about I have? When I got home the smell of ginger reached my nose, I hurried into the kitchen just as my dad was putting vanilla icing on top of the ginger cake.
“Have a good time?” he asked as he cut a slice for me. I took it happily and nodded.
“Though I'm no closer to helping a friend meet someone,” I muttered. At this rate Derek was going to spend the next few weeks and summer watching Zack and Michael.
“I wouldn't worry about it. Trust me, when the times right your friend will find someone. For all you know they already have and are just keeping it a secret,” Dad said. I grinned, the idea that Derek had some guy hidden in his room made me laugh.
“I'm thinking of giving someone a second chance. But I'm worried it'll just backfire. That I'll end up hurt again,” I said, whispering it at first. I never really talked relationship stuff with my parents, not since I came out. Dad studied me, exchanging a look with my mother before leaving. Was I about to get the birds and bee talk again? I doubted it applied anymore.
“You know, your dad was a total player. Until I rallied him in,” Mum said, taking a seat next to me. I blinked, somehow the idea of my old man ever being a player didn't add up.
“Was it easy?” I asked.
“At first, nope. Had a few close calls. But in the end we both knew we were meant for each other,” she said. I remembered Amber desperate expression when she talked to me in the gym. Maybe it hadn't been an act.
“Promise one thing, if it works out bring her over for dinner. We reserve the right to tell embarrassing stories,” Mum said with a small nudge. I laughed, surprised that she actually vocalized my sexuality.