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Chapter Eight

Jullian Atchley was five foot four with dark brownish black hair and a tongue ring. She looked more like the type of girl AJ would date. Then again, I had never been picky. In fact, I was pretty sure J and I had quite a few duplicate entries in our little black books...

"Miss Atchley?" Kev asked. I snorted. He was being the total Southern Gentleman to a girl who, albeit short, looked like she could snap him in half with her eyes. In fact, I got the distinct impression that Kevin hadn't made a good first impression. She tried to look around him.

"Where's Nick?" she asked.

Kevin looked at me. I grinned. "See this won't be so bad," I said. "You mention my name and the girls will just come a'runnin'."

I got a major eye roll for that. Kev turned back to Jullian. "Well, this is going to sound odd, but Nick was in a car accident two days ago. He's brain dead and--"

"Then not much has changed. He was brain dead on our entire date," she said with a scowl. I gasped. Kevin grinned from ear to ear. I didn't know why he was so happy; if I had already gone on one date with her that meant she wasn't my car-crash girl.

"I take it that you wouldn't give him another chance?" Kev mused.

Jullian smiled. "I didn't say that. He might be dumb, but he's cute."

"Ha! Ha, ha!" I shouted as Kev's grin slid right off his face. "I'm cuuuuttteee! Make her kiss me!"

"I know your cute!" Kev yelled.


Kev winced. He pretty much sucked at the 'don't address invisible Nick when others are around' game.

"What I meant to say was that Nick told me you were cute," Kevin said. Jule's (isn't that a cute nickname? I just thought it up) eyes narrowed.

"Listen, if you're looking for a date, you've called the wrong girl. You're not my type and--"

"No!" he practically shouted. I sighed. I was pretty sure I was mere seconds away from losing my first potential 'one.'

"No," Kev said normally. "I'm calling on behalf of Nick."

Now he had her attention.


Kev nodded. "He told me that if anything ever happened to him that he wanted me to call you."

Jule's eyes filled with tears. "That's so...sweet."

"I am sweet, aren't I?" I said. Kev snuck a finger behind his back. I'll give you one guess which one it was.

"We're not sure if he's gonna make it and he really wanted just one last kiss," Kev said. His delivery was kinda lame, but luckily Jules was still stuck on the part about me wanting someone to call her.

"Is he really brain dead?" she asked. Kevin nodded. I'll give him credit - he was a decent actor when he wanted to be. He even produced a big tear. Jullian started to cry.

"Oh my gawd. What hospital?"

"Woohoo! We got a bite! On our first try! You are friggin' awesome!"

In my excitement, I tried to hug Kev. I landed on the floor. Not that it hurt--I ended up just hovering. Kev shivered miserably.

"I wish you'd stop that," he said quietly.

"I'm sorry," Jullian said. "Do you have a Kleenex?"

"Not y--" Kev started to say. He clamped his lips shut and turned around.

"Kleenex is in that bathroom," I said sweetly. I wiggled my finger in the direction of the hall. Kev disappeared. I studied Jules. She looked around curiously. I imagined myself getting all old and wrinkly with her. I didn't know what happened to pierced tongues when you got old; I imagined it wasn't very attractive.

But, none of that really mattered. If she could wake me up, I'd totally suffer through gaping tongue holes and saggy stuff any day.

I just wanted to be me again.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Ask her when we went out," Nick commanded. He was hovering in the back seat of the car while I drove Jullian to the hospital to give this kissing thing a whirl. She was sitting there in her emo-punk clothes, playing with her tongue ring on her teeth. I hate tongue rings. I had been purposely trying not to speak to her. I didn't like this girl. Figures Nick would want her to come make out with him. But whatever. Whatever worked to get him off my back.

"So uh, when did you and Nick go out?" I asked tentatively.

Julian shrugged, "Been awhile."

She was apparently trying not to answer me as hard as I was trying not to talk to her.

"Ask her .. ask her what we did," Nick suggested. He was looking at her as though he thought he were in love with her.

"Oh I'm pretty sure I know what you did," I muttered under my breath.

Jullian looked at me. "What?"

Shit this girl's gonna think I'm a friggin psycho, I thought. Then I considered the situation. Maybe she's right. "I asked what you did," I said lamely, "On the date, with Nick."

"Oh," Jullian's face turned red. "You know. We - We -" she cleared her throat. "Ate dinner."

Nick grinned.

Ate dinner clearly was translating into sex.

"I am so the man," Nick hissed from the back seat.

I stared at my hands on the steering wheel, trying to think of anything to say to Jullian to keep this conversation from ending on a completely awkward note. Nothing came to mind. Finally, I squeaked out, "Well, that's nice." But the comment was so late, it made it even more awkward.

"I'm so excited," Nick was babbling in the backseat, "I'm gonna wake up and I'm gonna propose and we're gonna have lotsa lotsa babies and sex and stuff and I'm gonna grow old and die an old, old, old man - like that dude, that dude in the Bible there, whats his face? With the longass, weird name..."

"Methuselah," I said.

"What?" Jullian looked confused.

"Sorry, thinking outloud," I muttered.

"YES!" Nick yelped, "Methuselah. He was all like old and shit. I'ma be old and shit before I die too." He grinned. Then he stuck out his tongue at me. "You can't pull the plu-ug, you can't pull the plu-ug," he sing-songed.

I bit my lip and reminded myself if I slugged him I'd just get cold fingers and a strange look from Jullian.

When we got to the hospital, I led Jullian, whose eyes were now watering, to the unit Nick was in. When the nurse stopped us and asked who we were, she shook her head, "Only blood and next of kin." She thumbed at me.

"This is his fiance," I said, thinking quickly.

Nick floated around Jullian, "Yes it is, yes it is, that's true! She doesn't know it yet, but I'm sooo gonna marry her and have lotsa lotsa babies and --"

I tuned him out.

The nurse's eyes flashed with sadness. "Oh. Oh, I didn't know he had a fiance. I'm sorry. Come with me." She led the way to Nick's room. When we got there, I opened the door and started to follow Jullian in, but Nick hovered in front of me.

"Stay here, Kev," he said, "I need some alone time with my bride to be." Nick grinned.

"Whatever." I wandered to a seat in the corner and sat down. Nick scooted through the door into his hospital room and I cupped my hands over my eyes. "For the love of Pete," I muttered, "I'm going insane."

"You okay?"

The busty nurse from a moment before was standing in front of me.

"Yeah I'm great," I said, "Just - y'know, worried about him."

"Who wouldn't be? I'm sure he's a great friend." She smiled and sat down next to me. "But there's always hope, you know? That's why we encourage the family to talk to the patients, because you never know what might bring them back..."

"Oh trust me," I muttered, "I've talked to him plenty."

Suddenly Nick came floating out of his room door, a panic-stricken look on his face, "KEV! KEV! GET IN HERE! GET'ER OFFA ME!!"

"I - I uh - I'm gonna go check on them," I stammered, and I leaped to my feet and ran for the room.

Ten minutes and three security guards later, the pierced pixie had been hauled off of Nick and I was sitting in the corner of his room in a plastic chair while the busty nurse was checking his vitals. Nick was hovering at the end of his bed, over his own feet, looking glum.

"I thought for sure that was the answer," he muttered.

The busty nurse was fixing Nick's pillow and adjusting the stoic version of him to make sure he was comfortable. "There ya go, right as rain," she laughed, "Stay here, I'll be back with your fluids." She bustled out of the room.

"I need to find the one, Kev," Nick muttered, "Someone who will kiss me and wake me up and marry me and have lotsa lotsa babies and sex and --"

"And make you stop haunting me, yes," I moaned, rubbing my forehead.

Nick nodded, "Yeah, that too." He hesitated, "Well, I guess it's back to the drawing board... or the book, whatever."

"Yeah, the Nick Carter Booty Directory," I mumbled.

Nick beamed, "Hey I like that. I could start a business. I could rate them from one to five stars and --"

Oh Jesus.