AN: I realized I'd never really written Nick before and decided to take this opportunity to try. I hope you all enjoy.
spoilers for "Complete Repeat"
Lyrics (Sara Bareilles)
"There's nothing here to hold on to. Could I hold on to you?" – City
For the psychology paper due that Monday, the university library was really the only option. The Horace Mantis library was overcrowded with students studying for finals but the university was practically a ghost town since their finals were a week earlier. Unfortunately, the university library was four stories high, which made the elevator a necessity after a long day, sixth period PE, and a run for the bus.
Amy sagged against the side of the elevator, letting her heavy backpack slide from her shoulder to the floor and leaning into the wall when she hit the button for the third floor. The doors slid closed slowly, only to pop open just before sealing her in. The familiar boy who came in turned to hit the buttons on the other side of the door and so didn't see her at first. He was heading to the fourth floor and she thanked her lucky stars.
Amy silently counted down the seconds until the doors closed, debating the wisdom of running. In the end, she was too tired and just waited, knowing the ride would only last a few seconds and she'd be free soon enough.
She was pointedly looking at nothing when he turned around.
"Amy?" Nick asked.
She blinked, pretending she hadn't noticed him until now. "Oh, Nick, hi!"
He shoved his hands in his pockets as the number two flashed above them. He was clearly just as uncomfortable as she was. She decided the seven seconds it would take for her to get out were too long to live with this much tension.
"We've gotta stop meeting like this, huh?" she asked, a light laugh in her tone.
The corners of his lips curved upward slightly and he glanced at her. "Yeah," he said.
She looked up at the number over the door again and frowned. It should have changed by now. And just like that, the elevator lurched to a sickening stop.
Nick's eyes widened and, if he'd had the ability to focus at that moment he would have seen Amy's expression exactly mirrored his. This was not happening. This could not be happening.
First of all, he had an English final to study for. He needed the precious hours of peace he was guaranteed at the university library. He couldn't study at home. Kevin and Joe were at home. And Joe had mentioned something about a study session with Stella. There was no way anyone could study in the mess that would result.
And then there was the second part of the problem: he was an internationally known rock star. Trapped in an elevator. With a girl. The horrifying tabloid headlines flashed before his eyes.
A slight crackling filled the air and he realized Amy had hit the emergency call button.
"Hello?" Amy said.
"Hello?" came the rough reply.
"Hi, we're trapped in an elevator. It looks like it's stuck between the second and third floors."
"How many of you are there?"
"Just two," Nick said over Amy's shoulder.
"Okay, you kids sit tight, we'll get you out as soon as we can."
The crackling stopped abruptly. Amy turned slowly to face him and he didn't miss the trepidation on her face. "It shouldn't take too long," she said.
He nodded, because that was clearly what she wanted him to do. But really, he was remembering the story of a man who was once trapped in an elevator for more than a day.
She slid down the wall and rested her head against her knees. She seemed settled enough, so he pulled out his cell phone. He had one tiny little bar and he hoped it would be enough to call out, tell his family what was going on just in case this took a while. He tried twice, the call cutting off within seconds each time, before Amy said, "Text."
"What?" he asked.
"The signal's not strong enough in the library to carry anything bigger than a text."
"Oh." When he'd come here before he'd always wondered why a building full of young people was so devoid of cell phone conversations.
He sent a quick text to Stella, knowing she'd see it first.
Stuck in elevator - uni library.
Mere seconds later Stella responded.
WHAT?!!! R U OK?
He rolled his eyes, thinking, "Of course not, Stella. Because if I was injured and trapped in an elevator, I'd totally text you first." Instead he texted her back.
I'm fine. Just stuck.
Kevin wants 2 know if u r alone.
Nick chuckled, imagining what his brother had really said. Probably something about him being trapped with a sumo wrestler or something.
No. Amy's here.
Amy?! Elevator girl?
Nick frowned. As far as he knew, Stella didn't know about Amy dumping the shake on his head. He'd cleaned the shirt he was wearing himself, not wanting to get Stella angry at the girl.
Joe? Did you steal Stella's phone?
Nick rolled his eyes and sat down in the corner, tossing the phone into his bag and pretending he didn't hear it when it rang again. He glanced at Amy and found her staring at him across the small space. She turned away quickly and he didn't miss the slight blush on her cheeks.
"Did you tell your family what's happening?" he asked, hoping to break the ice.
She nodded, focusing on the wall directly across from her instead of him. "My parents almost never check their phones though, so hopefully we'll be out before they start freaking."
"I wish I had that problem," he muttered, letting his head fall back against the wall.
"Why?" she asked and he noted that she was finally looking at him.
"I called Stella, our stylist --"
"The girl your brother just needs to date already?"
"Yeah, that's her. Anyway, she told my brothers who are now freaking enough for both of our families combined. I'm really not sure whether I hope they've told Mom and Dad yet or not."
"Why? Shouldn't your parents know? They could probably calm your brothers down."
"Oh no. Mom would try, but Dad would freak even more than the guys and then they'd just feed off each other -- I prefer option number two."
"That they're on their way here with some ill-conceived plan to get us out on their own."
Amy's reaction was exactly what he'd expected. She stared, then the skin around her eyes crinkled as she grinned. "You're joking," she said.
"No," he said, completely serious, "I'm really not."
"Oh boy," she muttered.
"Yeah." Nick glanced at his watch. "I give it an hour before we hear them arguing with a librarian."
She laughed again. It was a nice laugh, not too loud, not obnoxious. He frowned. If he hadn't followed Kevin's stupid plan -- really, what had possessed him to go along with a plan that came from Kevin in the first place? -- he could be dating Amy right now.
Amy looked away quickly and he realized he'd been frowning at her. He hit his head against the wall. She probably thought he was annoyed with her. He watched her dig her binder out of her backpack and flip it open.
"Psych paper," she said, pulling out her headphones next.
"Fleedman?" he asked.
"Yep. I was gonna work on it tonight, but --" She shrugged and seemed to encompass the whole space of the elevator in the movement.
"Hey," he said, stopping her just before she could turn on her mp3 player. "You don't happen to have an English book in there?" He'd left his at school, knowing he could find all the texts he'd need in the library and not wanting the extra weight.
She slid the heavy tome across the tiled floor. "You want my notes too?"
"Sure," he said, surprised she'd offered.
She turned to the back of the binder and unclipped a folder. He took it and quickly set to studying.
Amy had never been more thankful for her mp3 player. It let her get lost in the music while she wrote out her paper long-hand -- she could find studies to prove her points later and add the quotes when she typed everything up -- and distracted her from the annoyingly cute boy sitting a few feet away.
Why did she have to get stuck in an elevator with Nick Lucas of all people? And, more importantly, why did her entire relationship with him seem to happen in small, vertically moving spaces?
After she'd dumped the shake on his head she'd walked away, head high, intent on never troubling herself with any of the Lucas boys ever again. But she still had classes with Nick and she still saw all three of them around school, so she wasn't so much never troubling herself as she was catching herself thinking about Nick way too often.
Maybe she should have given him a third chance. It wasn't like she'd never done anything stupid. Just last week she'd gotten the creamed corn from the cafeteria, just because she always got a vegetable and her tray felt unbalanced without the usual baby carrots. She'd paid for that mistake all night -- and she wasn't even sure it was really creamed corn she'd eaten.
Okay, maybe the music wasn't really helping anymore. But she'd gotten a good chunk of her paper written before thoughts of Nick started distracting her. She glanced at the small mp3 player, deciding a faster song might help, and realized its battery was almost dead. It had been full this morning. How long had they --
"Right on schedule," Nick muttered.
Sure enough, yelling could be heard beneath them.
"Your brothers are so weird," she said.
Nick's head shot up and she blushed. Idiot! He had the whole world watching his family, he probably didn't like anyone making fun of them.
"You don't think I'm weird?" he asked.
"Oh," Amy said, suddenly shy, "I guess I kind of do. But not as weird as they are. I mean, I once saw your oldest brother getting trampled by a family of ducks in the petting zoo. And the other one once walked into the girls locker room to ask Stella if she was really going out with Van Dyke that weekend."
"He did what?"
Amy giggled. She'd never seen Nick look so shocked, his expressions tended to range from placid to okay.
"He had his eyes covered and Stella got him out before any teachers saw him, but still."
"Wow. I wish I could say I'm really surprised by that, but those do sound like my brothers -- though, I would have thought Joe had more sense than to walk into the girls locker room. But still, I turned you down for a date, made you ask me again, and then turned you down all over again. That's not exactly normal."
"But you're not normal."
"You know what I mean," she said, not caring how stern her tone was. "You're an internationally known rock star. Your life is bound to be a little different, no matter how hard you may try to be normal."
"We do try," he muttered.
"I can tell. Everyone can."
She nodded. "Kids from other schools either think it's 'totally awesome' to go to school with you, or they think you must be pompous jerks who make the rest of our lives unbearable. But it's not either. Most students at Horace Mantis can tell how much you work to keep your rock star lives separate from your school lives -- and that means a lot."
"I had no idea."
She smiled, turning back to her paper. If she hadn't known better, she'd think she just saw Nick Lucas blush.
"Amy?" he asked seconds later.
"Thanks for telling me."
Nick glanced at his watch and bit back a moan. They'd been in here for hours! By now the sun had set and he had no doubt that someone, somewhere, had informed the media that a member of JONAS was trapped in an elevator. Plus, he'd probably bomb his final. After she told him how normal he was Nick hadn't been able to keep his focus -- at least not on English. He'd always tried so hard to be normal and always failed so miserably. Or so he'd assumed. Maybe all his efforts hadn't been in vain.
He wondered if that was what had given Amy the courage to ask him out. She'd mentioned worrying about him being too big and famous, maybe seeing how hard they all tried not to be that way was why she'd put herself out there. And he'd been an idiot and blown it. Twice. Maybe, if he was lucky, she'd give him one more chance.
"We're gonna be stuck in here all night, aren't we?" she asked and he noticed that her hand was resting idly on her stomach. She was probably just as hungry as he was.
He grabbed his bag and began digging around. "I've got a bag of chips and a soda. How about you?"
She looked up, confused, then quickly began going through her own bag. "Um, a candy bar, a PB and J I didn't eat at lunch --" She'd learned her lesson about school lunches after the creamed corn incident -- "and a water."
"Sounds like a feast," Nick said, trying his best to smile encouragingly. He scooted over to her side of the elevator and took her food, laying everything out between them. "You want the soda?"
She shook her head. "They make me jittery." She handed him half her sandwich and toasted him with her half.
They ate quietly for several minutes, only the gentle glug-glug of their respective drinks and the crunch of chips between them.
"I really am sorry," he said. "I don't think I ever said it." She paused, her hand on one of the chips.
"You don't have to--" she began, not looking at him.
"Yes, I do. And I want to. I never should have hurt you just to write a song."
He thought he was going to have to beg for her forgiveness when the elevator lurched. The lights went out and something warm wrapped around his hand. He just realized it was Amy's hand when the elevator lurched again and she jumped closer to him. He instinctively reached around to hold her awkwardly. The lights came back on and the elevator slid slowly downward.
Amy pulled away from him just before the doors opened and the little bit of her face he saw as she turned was bright red. Joe and Kevin rushed in, looking wild-eyed. Joe saw how close the two of them were sitting and nodded appreciatively.
"Don't say it," Nick snapped, pulling himself up. He turned to offer his hand to Amy but she was busy gathering her things off the floor. He looked back to his brothers. "We were studying."
Stella came into the elevator next, pushing Joe further in. "Oh thank goodness!" she said.
Nick thought for a moment that she was coming to hug him but instead she hugged Amy, who was now on her feet.
"I am so sorry you got stuck in an elevator with him," Stella said.
"Hey!" Nick cried.
"I mean, he is better than the other two," Stella continued.
"Hey!" Joe and Kevin chorused.
"But I'd still rather be alone," Stella said as if they hadn't spoken. She laced her arm through Amy's and pulled her out the doors. "I'll give you a ride home," Nick heard her saying while his brothers asked what had happened.
Nick shook his head and began gathering his belongings. Things hadn't gone nearly as well as they could have, but they hadn't gone horribly either. Maybe he had another chance with Amy -- after finals, of course.
"I don't want to hear about it!" Nick snapped, pushing past his brothers, who quickly grabbed him and steered him towards a back exit. "I didn't get nearly as much studying done as I wanted to and you two had better leave me in peace this weekend!"
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