Chapter 8 I Think You Just Lost The Best Thing
The only thing that brought me comfort while Nick was gone was a sweat jacket he left behind by accident. It was just a simple gray sweat jacket but it reminded me so much of him. It kept me warm at night and engulfed me in a hug when I was feeling lonely. It acted like a pillow some nights and the scent of the cologne that rubbed off of his skin helped me fall asleep. It sounds weird but that sweat jacket did keep me company, expect it couldn’t kiss me or tell me the night mares I would wake up from were only dreams. It also didn’t have a heartbeat. I never realized that Nick’s heartbeat acted like a lullaby until he was gone.
But I had one thing that kept me occupied for the first week Nick was gone, the dance competition.
“Ok guys go out there and dance your asses off but have fun doing it!” Mark gave our students a pep talk before they hit the dance floor.
“And don’t over dance!” I warned them, “I don’t want to see any of you get hurt and if you do get hurt pull yourself out of the competition. You don’t want to give yourself an injury for life.”
“Up next for the cha cha are the competitors representing the Diangela Studio,” the announcer called over the loud speaker.
“Alright guys this is your time to shine,” I said.
“Break a leg out there kids,” Mark wished our students luck. “Hands in and on three let’s dance.”
Mark stuck his hand out and the students and I piled ours on top of his.
“One, two, three… Let’s dance!” we all screamed. Then our students broke away from us and hit the dance floor.
They were amazing! Mark and I have never seen them dance like that in the past ten or eleven years we had taught them. They looked like professionals and performed perfectly! Mark and I watched them nervously but they kept getting better and better with each of the six dances they performed. And with each move our students made Mark and I became less nervous and more assured that they had that competition in the bag. Also we were paying close attention to the other teams and there was no comparison.
At the end of the night it boiled down to one long, agonizing moment; the moment when all six dance teams were called onto the stage so they could announce the winners.
Third place was announced, then second, and the judges took their time when deciding who would take home the first place trophy and our students were still waiting for their names to be called.
“And first place goes to,” the head judge paused looking at the remaining dance teams.
I grabbed Mark’s hand and we both silently prayed for our students.
“First place goes to… the Diangela Dancers!”
The team jumped high into the air and screamed with pure joy. They were all so happy and they all did amazingly! Mark and I have never been so proud of them before.
I watched as the trophy was handed to our students and they each got a chance to hold the trophy and take a picture with it. Then they handed it to Mark and I and we all took a group picture with the trophy.
My students huddled around the trophy then turned to Mark and I. The team captain held out the trophy to us and said, “We couldn’t have won this competition without you and we unanimously dedicate this trophy to you two. Mark, Kalie, you are the best dance instructors and all of us consider ourselves lucky and blessed that you have taught us. Thank you so much for everything you have done for all of us. We all love you both very much and this trophy is yours.”
I smiled and tears started to form in my eyes. I had never been so proud of my students in my life.
Mark was getting emotional too and answered, “You were the ones who worked the hardest for this trophy. It’s all yours. You all deserve it. And I’m speaking for both Kalie and I when I say that we are blessed and lucky to have all of you as students. We love you guys too.”
That night I watched the videos of my student’s performances before I went to bed. Kasey had videotaped every moment of their victory. Happy tears came to my eyes again as I watched the team rejoice when they were announced the winners. Just as I was about to turn off my light and slink under the covers the house phone rang.
“Hey babe! What’s up?”
“You sound really tired and hoarse. Are you feeling ok?”
“I’m fine. I just woke up and we had a show last night. What time is it back home?”
“It’s bed time here.”
“I didn’t wake you up did I?”
“No you didn’t. I was just about to turn off the lights. But I would have picked up the phone anyway. I really wanted to hear your voice. You didn’t call me yesterday.”
“I’m sorry about that. My phone died. I really miss you.”
“I miss you too Nick.”
“How’d the competition go?”
“Excellent! You must be proud.”
“I really am.” I yawned loudly into the phone.
“I better not keep you up. So I’ll say good night Kalie. I miss you so much but I love you more.”
“I miss and love you too baby. Good morning Nick.”
He chuckled, “I’ll call you again when I can. Or I’ll send you an email.”
“Sounds good sweetie. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
The greater the time distance the shorter our conversations got. We used to talk for hours but now our conversations were reduced to mere minutes. Also it was tough to figure out the time difference because he kept moving from place to place. I was starting to wish that I did actually go with him.
But things were continuing on like normal. Well not exactly normal but a new normal because the house was very empty without Nick. So I hosted a Smith Family night once and my siblings and their families stopped by on many occasions to go swimming with me. But still Nick wasn’t there and every inch of me was missing him.
Time dragged on and it was already two months without Nick. We talked whenever we could and he sent me pictures from behind stage and I even got to talk to the rest of the Boys and the Backstreet Family. They kept repeating over and over again how much they wanted me on tour while Nick on the other hand dropped the subject after I almost lost him one night.
“How about I buy you a ticket and fly you out here?” my boyfriend suggested.
“Nick…” I started.
He cut me off, “You’ll fly first class.”
“Don’t do that.”
“Why not? I want you here with me Kayl.”
“I know you do but I can’t Nick.”
“Yes you can. The competition’s over. You don’t have any big obligation now do ya?”
“So why not take up the offer? I’ll pay for everything.”
“Don’t spend your money on me.”
“You’re my girl why shouldn’t I spend my money on you?”
“Because I don’t want to be the spoiled girlfriend. I’m not like that Nick. I’ve never been like that and I’m not gunna start now.”
“How much do you miss me?”
“I miss you a lot. It’s pretty lonely in this huge house of yours with only one person.”
“Then why don’t you want to come on tour with me?”
I didn’t reply. I truly didn’t know why I didn’t take Nick up on the offer. He was right; I didn’t have any other big obligations except getting my brides maid dress for Lacey and Mark’s wedding. But I could always buy the dress and get it altered right before the wedding. Now that the competition was over I had no excuse for not going on tour. I just didn’t know why I didn’t reply.
“You don’t want to be on tour with me do you?”
I tried to answer but no words came to my mouth so Nick continued, “There’s somebody else keeping you home isn’t there? You don’t miss me at all do ya?”
Again I didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say anything. I was starting to get upset and Nick was starting to get angry.
He nearly screamed at me, “Are ya gunna answer me?”
“Nick! I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to leave home but I do want to be with you.”
“What’s holding you back? Why don’t you want to come with me?”
“I said I don’t know!”
“Kalie, be honest with me, do you really miss me?”
“Yes very much so.”
“Do you love me?”
“Yes I do.”
“Then there should be no problem making up your mind about coming with me. You should be here now. You should’ve been here in the first place.”
“Nick you know why I couldn’t come in the first place.”
“I know that but what’s holding you back now?!”
By now I was mad so I stayed silent.
“Ok now you’re not going to answer so I’ll say bye Kalie.”
“Nick… wait,” he hung up cutting me off.
I screamed and threw my cell phone onto the table I was sitting at and left it there for the rest of the day not answering it. It rang a few times about 15 minutes later but I ignored it. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted to figure out what was wrong with me.
“You’re missing Nick but yet when he offers to fly you out there, you won’t go,” I said to myself in the mirror. “What is wrong with you? Don’t you love Nick?”
I grabbed the picture of him and I kissing and started at it. My eyes started tearing and I said to my reflection, “You really should be there with him. Why are you being a fucking coward by staying here? I think you just lost the best thing that ever happened to you.”
Three days pasted when Rochelle called me when I had gotten home from work one day.
“Kalie you really need to talk to Nick. He hasn’t been himself these past three days. He’s really sorry. But why am I telling you this? Here’s your boyfriend.”
I heard her hand over the phone then Nick’s voice, “Hi Kalie.”
There was a pause and then I heard AJ say in the background to Nick, “Just tell her man! You know you want to.”
He took in a deep breath then said, “Baby I’m sorry. I’m sorry I hung up on you and I’m very, very sorry that I lost my temper. I never meant to. I just miss you too much. Are you mad at me?”
“I’m not mad at you. I’m just mad at myself.”
“Why are you mad at yourself? You did nothing wrong.”
“I should have gone with you in the first place.”
“Kalie I understand that you had a family obligation to be home for and I can only imagine how proud you are of your students. I just don’t get why you won’t come now.”
“To be honest I don’t know why either.”
“Is it a money issue?”
“In a way yes,” I thought about the words as I was answering.
“You don’t have to worry about the money it would take to get you out here. I’ve got it covered.”
“Nick it’s not that. I don’t want you to spoil me like that. I’ve never had issues with my earnings from my job and I have never been dependent on boyfriends to help me out financially. I’m happy that I have the job that I do and I don’t want to lose it. I mean I miss you like crazy but I don’t think I could stay away from work for that long.”
“Don’t you want to see the world though?”
“I do but… I don’t think I could take the stress of moving from place to place as quickly as a tour does.”
“You’re right it is stressful. I don’t want to stress you out.”
“Are you mad at me?”
“No of course not. I just really miss you that’s all. Do you forgive me?”
“Of course I do.”
He breathed out a sigh of relieve, “I’m really glad you do forgive me. I’m sorry I can’t talk to you for much longer because we have to hit the stage in half an hour and we have to go do our warm ups.”
“Ok baby. I love you.”
“I love you too. I really do.”
“I can’t wait until you get home.”
“Me neither. I’ll talk to you later baby.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
***Nick’s Point Of View***
“See aren’t you glad you talked to her?” Rochelle asked.
“So things are good again with you two?”
“Yes. Thanks for convincing me to wait to talk to her.”
“You’re welcome. Now go catch up to the guys before you’re late for the show.”
“And thanks for talking to Kalie before I did.”
“It was no problem. I really want to see you guys last.”
I jogged to the room were the other guys were waiting for me. That was a close call between the two of us and I had felt really guilty that I raised my voice to her. I really didn’t want to lose her. That almost happened once and I wasn’t willing to let it happen again.