It was a good crowd that night as Nick Stone made his first appearance as a professional magician.
Nick was the final act after the headliner but it was still a good time for him.
Nick was the final act after the headliner but it was still a good time for him. After leaving he was approached by a few members from the audience to congratulate him on a job well done. He even took a few pictures as well. But as the crowd was leaving he realized Nellie was nowhere in site. Had she missed his act? Had she blown him off? He looked quite disappointed as he began to walk toward the restrooms. Then he heard his name being called from across the the stage. A young woman then approached him. He took a double take when he realized it was Nellie.
Nellie: You were great up there! Sorry I was a little late. I wanted to get you something and the front seating was full.
He was so occupied looking at her new look that he was oblivious to what she was saying. Nick: You look....different.
Nellie: I know. Ms. Carol insisted I make a few changes for tonight. I tried to say no but you know how that woman can be.
Nick: Yes, but you have to give it to her, she has good taste
There was an uncomfortable silence.
Nick: OH! Why don't we go to my place first so I can really change. I feel a little over dressed in this suit. Nick would not let Nellie know where they were going. He went to his apartment to change and then promised her a night out on the town. After a late dinner, the two went out to the Karaoke bar. They laughed at how bad they sounded and everyone else would cheer them on. They went up at least 3 times singing duets. Their favorite was "I got you babe". Meanwhile Carol was at home with Mary. The older lady smiled as she looked at how late it was getting.
Ms. Carol: Looks like I am tucking you into bed tonight girl. I hope your mother is having a good time. She deserves a little of that from time to time. Later on that night the two went to the beach that was just a block away from Ms. Carol.
Nellie: So you just come here to watch the stars.
Nick: And wait for the sun to rise. But I only do it on the nights I can't sleep.
Nellie: It's so pretty.
Nick: Yes it is.
Only Nick wasn't paying attention to the stars.
It wasn't the new hair or the makeup on her face, but it was something in her eyes that he kept staring. Nellie: You know, I really want to thank you for taking me out tonight. I never realized how much I needed to just get out and go somewhere nice.
Nick: Anytime. I like to know you're having fun. It's even better to know I'm the reason why.
They stared at each other for a while. Somehow this time they were lost in each others gaze. They were still, not saying a word yet not needing to. He raised his hand almost wanting to touch her and then both realized what they were doing. Both looked away. Nick gave a small laugh and shook his head. Why was he so nervous. It's Nellie! He thought. She was no different than before tonight. He slowly nudged her and she looked back over to him shy and yet nervous at what he would do next. He gave her a small smile and she smiled back. They both laughed at themselves.
Nick: Hey, let me show you this new trick. I've been working on. He helped her up and stood in front of her. He pulled out his wand.
Nellie: I can't believe you carry that thing around everywhere.
Nick: Hush and be a good audience.
Right before her eyes he turned the wand into a real bouquet of flowers.
She gasp at the surprise.
Nellie: How did you do that?
Nick: I can't reveal my secret.
He gave her the flowers and she smelled the perfume.
Nellie: These are real?
Nick: It's a trick I learned just for you. You deserve them. She smiled and then stopped.
Nick: What's wrong?
Nellie: I just don't feel right.
Nick: For what
Nellie: I don't know, like I shouldn't be enjoying myself right now. You and Ms. Carol have both been so good to me. It was only a year ago I was a stranger without friends and home. And she took me in, the both of you. Nellie: I feel so lucky yet so guilty that I don't know how to repay either of you.
Nick: I'm not looking for payment Nellie. You have been a good person to me. And when I see someone in need I want to help. There was something about you that night that drew me to you. And I am happy I didn't just walk away. Without hesitation he reached for her and touched the side of her face.
His warm hand touched her cheek and she laid her face in his palm. She closed her eyes at his touch, melting in his hand. Nick placed his hands on her waist and drew her close to him. Her knees began to shake and her heart beat faster.
He lifted her face to his. But before their lips could touch Nellie pulled away.
Nick tried to continue moving towards her but this time she let go of his grip.
Nellie: No, we shouldn't be doing this...
Nellie: I can't do this. And before he could say another word, she began to run away.
He called for her but kept going. His shoes digging into the sand made it harder for him to run after her. He stopped running, realizing that the more he called her name, the faster she ran. The sun began to rise behind him, but he didn't turn to enjoy it as he had done many times before.
Nick: Nice going Nickolas. It had been a few days since their last date. He was too embarrassed to visit Ms. Carol or Nellie. Embarrassed at how he acted.
He broke the friend code and tried to kiss her. Too scared of what she would say, or if she would be mad with him. So instead he just stayed away. At least until it blew over.
Instead he spent time perfecting his craft throughout town. He was becoming one of the most recognizable performances and was stopped on occasions to do a trick. He liked the small attention and felt obliged when a little kid would ask him. He enjoyed watching them awe over the simple tricks and cheer with delight. In the meantime, Nellie had tried to forget that night with Nick. She too was avoiding him and rarely stayed at Ms. Carol's in order to not be around him. She was embarrassed and confused. They had made sure their relationship was strictly as friends and up until that moment, she had not thought about him more than just that. Or had she. She was beginning to second guess her own feelings for Nick. It had been a week and he missed spending time with Mary and Nellie. He missed her laugh and reading to her, the look on her little face when he showed up to greet her. He thought about how silly he was acting.
Nick: Surely, we are two adults that can handle this.
So the next day after his show he came to Ms. Carol's house. He didn't even wait to change afraid that he would chicken out if he went back to his apartment.
Nellie answered the door and was just as shocked to see him standing there.
Nellie: Nick, it's late.
Nick: I know but I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to get some things off my chest. Nellie: Nick you don't have to.
She was afraid of what he might say.
Nick: No, I have to. The other night I may have taken things too far with you and I am sorry. I should not have Nellie: It's okay. We should should not
They each cut each other off afraid of admitting that there ever could have been a kiss between the both of them.
Nellie: We are friends
Nick: And we will always be friends.
Nellie: We are being childish.
Nellie: So let's just forget about the whole thing and go back to being where we were. No more talk about last week.
Nick: No more.
They both shook on it.
Nellie smiled at him and he returned her smile.
There was a long pause again. Nick: Man, I'm glad we got over that hump. I was worried there for a moment.
They both laughed. Only the laughs were more fake than of sheer happiness.
Nick: I almost forgot....I have the greatest news ever! I'll be going on tour.
Nellie: Tour? Nick: My agent was able to get me booked on a 3 month tour across the state. I will be touring with some small acts from other towns. It's called "The Fab 5". Five acts, all great, including yours truly. Imagine that me, on a tour.
Nellie: When will you be gone?
Nick: I leave in a few weeks. I just learned tonight after the show. Nellie tried to sound happy for him.
Nellie: That is so wonderful. I am so happy for you.
Nick: I'm so excited. And we're going to keep in touch right. Emails, letters, smoke signals.
Nellie: You bet.
Nick: I'm really excited about this and to know you are happy for me makes me feel so much better.
The two friends hugged. But inside, they both knew that it also was fake. Nick kept his promise, he wrote to Nellie every day. Talked about his experiences on the road and the many places he had seen. He sent her pictures of life on the road and she sent him pictures of Mary.
Ms. Carol watched and shook her head. It was only a few weeks into the tour that Nick was becoming more popular than the other members. His manager Barry began negotiating for more attention to Nick. He was crude but smart businessman and within a week, Nick was headlining in his own show. This meant that his tour would run for another four months. The more he was appearing, the more word went around about his talents and soon his venues were bigger.
Nick: No more bars and pubs.
He would always stand out on the stage before the show. He couldn't believe how he had gotten to this point but he was happy he was there. At night he would write to Nellie about the day. As promised he continued to write her. Although she wasn't writing back as much, when she did they were always about Mary and Ms. Carol and how she was doing at work. The longer he was on tour the more he missed all three of them, Carol, Mary, and Nellie. After performances he went back to his hotel room and watched tv until he fell asleep. As his popularity grew so did his fan base. He was often approached after the show to make "special appearances" but unlike his old ways, he turned them down. It was not the same as before. He had his share of women and was just not interested anymore. He kept their picture in a frame and took it with him on the road from town to town. It was his only reminder of home and he often looked at it when he was alone. They never mentioned that night ever again even thought he often thought about it when he sat in his bed. He regretted never kissing her or even apologizing for wanting to. And the longer he was away from her, the more he wanted to be around her. Nick pulled up to Ms. Carol's house in his new truck. He sat outside for a little while, practicing to himself.
Nick: Nellie, for the past months, I've been thinking. And I want to take our friendship to the next level. No, no, no.
Nellie, I care about you and I know you care about me. So why don't we just do it. No, that's dumb. Nellie, you + me = a good match.
He banged his head on the steering wheel. Nick took another breath.
Nick: This was so much easier on the way here. You can't chicken out man. It's now or never.
Nick nervously got out the car.
Lost and Found IV
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