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It was pretty much the best sex Amanda had ever had. Nick had been so gentle, and so careful. He'd been thoughtful, and it seemed he had a sixth-sense, knowing exactly where to touch her and when. His hands had been everywhere, and so had his mouth. And while Nick had done his magic, she'd stared up at the stars and felt as though she were soaring through them... Nick was sending her over the moon. He'd kissed constellations onto her body. She had never felt so connected to someone before.

And Nick... well, he was thinking the same thing. Amanda fit so right in his hands, reacted so much to his touch. He found pleasure in her pleasure, and she knew exactly how to push every single one of his buttons. Everything had been perfect; right down to the way she'd run her fingers down the length of his spine, over every bone, playing his senses like a piano...

But when Nick woke up the next morning, he was only extremely aware that he and Amanda were both very naked. Normally, this would be sexy. Normally, the feeling of her skin up against his skin - of her ass where it was - would've been justification to have more sex for breakfast. The wood stoves, however, had turned the loft into a sauna, and instead of getting turned on that she was very very naked next to him, their skins were stuck together in a sheen of sweat and he felt more like they were two walruses that had run ashore.

Amanda had not yet woken up, and Nick didn't particularly want to disturb her. He shifted and a feeling like when you sit on a leather chair on a hot day ripped at his skin. "Ow," he breathed. Why the hell didn't we turn off those damn stoves last night? he thought to himself. Not only was it dangerous, but holy shit was it hot.

He was busy trying to extricate his right leg from under neath Amanda when he heard Brian on the ladder.

"Nick?" Brian was calling.

Oh shit.

"Don't come up here!" Nick cried out, but his voice was strangled by the dry air and lack of water, and it came out more like an incoherent noise than a warning. He choked on his own tongue, and started hacking. Amanda jumped at the sudden shout and the entire length of her back pulled away from his chest like a gigantic band aid as she rolled away, her eyes popping open.

And Brian definitely didn't get the message through all the choking because, over the sound of his lungs trying to jump out through his throat, Nick vaguely heard Brian cry out, "Oh my Lord!" and "Sorry! Oh my Lord!" and scramble back down the ladder.

Amanda was looking at Nick, groggy, panting, sexy but untouchable thanks to the heat, her hair flipped over to the other side of her head from the velocity of her roll. She was face down, thank God, her breasts tucked beneath her. Brian would've only seen her ass sticking up like a speed bump. Nick however...

"Jesus." Nick closed his eyes and dropped backwards from the half-sitting position he'd been in to laying flat on his back on the bed, still coughing a little.

"Why the hell is it so hot?" Amanda gasped.

"The wood stoves..." Nick muttered.

"Did Brian just see us naked?" she asked, still groggy.

Nick grimaced. "Either that or he was praying really loud."

Ten minutes later, decent and still hot as hell, Nick and Amanda climbed down the ladder and found Brian had already extinguished the source of the hellfire heat and opened every window in the entire lodge. The sliding glass doors were wide open, too, and Brian was sitting on the deck with a can of Pepsi and staring off at the mountains.

None of them mentioned the incident, and Nick wondered how much Brian had actually seen.

It only took them a few minutes to decide that staying at the lodge was a bad idea. It was still hot inside. Nick had to go back to get the motorcycles anyways, so he decided to take the bus out to Lost Paddle and just put them on the rig. Brian, however, wanted to look around the center of Boulder, and Nick suggested that Amanda stick with him since he'd been acting a little funny all morning.

So as Nick took off to retrieve the bikes, Brian and Amanda wandered through a daunting amount of outdoors sporting goods stores and a little general store that had a wall of penny candy and a barrel of home made pickles. Brian selected a huge bag of the more unique candies the store had to offer for Baylee, including some really cool rock candies and an assortment of gummy animals shaped like Colorado's more notorious wildlife.

Amanda kept a close eye on Brian, as Nick had requested. For the most part he seemed okay, but he'd pause at random intervals and take deep, shaking breaths with his eyes close, as though he were in great pain. This was worrying Amanda, and she kept making him sit down to take breaks.

In one of the stores, Amanda found a shirt that would look amazing on Nick, and Brian helped her pick out the right size for him. It felt good to finally buy something for Nick, instead of the other way around, even if it meant Amanda would probably run out of cigarette money before the trip was over.

They were sitting down at a picnic table outside of a little dairy bar, eating ice cream sundaes that Brian had treated her to, when Amanda realized she didn't have a clue where her cell phone was. What if she needed help for Brian? she thought, thinking about how he'd kind of collapsed into the seat across from her. She was rummaging through her purse, looking for it, when Brian said, "Oh you know, I think Nick had it still last night. Remember? He was calling all his credit cards because of his wallet?"

"Oh. Right." Amanda frowned. Not good, she thought.

Brian pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, "I dunno if it still works after the water, but if you need to make a call..."

"I'm okay," Amanda said, "I can wait."

Brian opened up his phone anyway and was amazed to see the screen still lit up. "Impressive," he said, holding it up for Amanda to see.

"You know, if you put a wet phone into a bowl of rice it'll actually dry out, too... But apparently yours is Super Phone," she laughed.

"I paid enough for it, it better be super something," Brian laughed back.

They finished the sundaes and resumed their wandering. Brian was getting tired. They'd been walking around Boulder for a couple hours, staying on the main strip so that they wouldn't miss Nick when he came back through with the rig, but he was taking forever. Finally, they sat down in a square on some benches and Brian closed his eyes, letting the sun warm his face. Amanda was picking at a loose string on her shirt.

Brian's phone vibed.

He pulled it out of his pocket and looked at the phone number displayed. "I have no clue who this is," he muttered, letting it go to voice mail.

"Do you think Nick got lost?" Amanda asked.

Brian snorted, "Probably."

His phone vibed again. It was the same number as the first time. With a sigh, he flipped it open. "Hello?" he asked.

"Brian? It's me," Nick's voice sounded far away as it echoed over the phone.

"Hey Nick, where the hell are you?" Brian asked, "We were just wondering if you got lost."

"Yeah, um, about that... Can you come bail me out?"