Growling sotto voce, Greg looked around the break room once more, to be sure he was unobserved, then continued typing furiously on the keyboard of his laptop. He only had twenty minutes of his lunchtime left and he needed every second of it to release his feelings so he could focus on his work when he went back to it.

--- You're on the phone with your girlfriend, she's upset.
She's goin' off about somethin' that you said.
'Cause she doesn't get your humor like I do ---

Perky... God, I never thought it was possible to hate a word so much... but I do. She's so... so... perky! I hate the word and I hate her! If only I'd never seen her. Seeing Nick on the phone with her was enough. How could he wanna be with somebody who makes him look so hurt and... and so domesticated?

--- I'm in the room, it's a Typical Tuesday night.
I'm listenin' to the kinda music she doesn't like,
She doesn't know your story like I do... ---

I mean... it was supposed to be our night... our time to hang out, listen to country and talk out the bad stuff we see at work, you know? But the phone rings and he smiles and runs to pick it up like God might be calling. For a second it's okay, but then his face falls. You can tell she's yakking at him 'cause Nick can't even finish a sentence! He hates when people do that. Really hates it. Ever since the Gordon mess, he takes things slow- wants to soak up every bit of life and every moment before they get past him... and wishes everybody else would too.

--- She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts.
She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers... ---

Nick's like me, I'm like him. Her... she just doesn't fit. Now I know what she reminded me of when I saw her today! A cheerleader! Cheerleaders... ugh. I mean, anybody who REALLY knows Nick had to just be like... gimme a break. Right? Girls who wear stuff like that only do it to show off, and if you have to show it... right?

--- Walkin' the streets with you and your worn out jeans,
I can't help thinkin' this is how it ought to be.
Laughin' on a park bench, thinkin' to myself,
Hey, isn't this easy? ---

Then Friday... By some miracle, we both had time off and we were just walking up and down the Strip, gabbing and looking in store windows. Nothing special, just him and me. Nick was in jeans and boots... I had my favorite old sneakers on. It was so great, you know? Then, behind one of the chapels, we found this tiny, hidden park that neither of us ever knew was there. I sat on the bench and he sat in the grass right beside me. It hurt, what I was thinking...that it was so perfect and everything I ever wanted and needed was right there... but the feeling just wouldn't go away. And that smile... why'd he have to smile?

--- And you've got a smile that could light up this whole town.
I haven't seen it in a while, since she brought you down.
You say you're fine, I know you better than that,
Whatcha doin' with a girl like that? ---

It kills me when he grins like that... I can't think or talk and DEFINITELY don't wanna move. Every single thing inside me either turns to stone or water and I just know if I move I'll end up a puddle or break into a million, jillion itty-bitty pieces... Yeah, yeah, I know what it sounds like. You mean you haven't figured that out by now? Anyway, he smiles, which he hadn't done since that stupid phone call on Tuesday, and... and then it's like he remembered and the smile just faded out. I asked him the question you're supposed to ask (I am his friend and friends do that) and he says he's good, nothing wrong. It took all the strength I had not to call him a liar.

--- I remember you drivin' to my house in the middle of the night,
I'm the one who makes you laugh when you know you're 'bout to cry... ---

A few days after the stalker thing, he showed up at my place... he knew I had the night off. He kept saying he hated the motel room he'd been staying in, couldn't be by himself anymore... then he dropped into a chair and... started crying. I'd never seen him do that before and it shook me huge at first... but I fixed it. Me, I made him feel better. Told him it was okay, let him go for a little while, then put on a Weird Al CD and got him laughing... I'll never let go of that memory. Alzheimer's couldn't make me forget that night. I did it. Not perky cheerleader girl. Me. She's not right for him, damn it! Nobody who hurts Nick and dismisses his feelings is right for him!

--- If you could see that I'm the one who understands you,
Been here all along, so why can't you see?
You belong With Me. ---

Hearing voices approaching the break room, Greg checked his watch and realized he'd run out of time. Leaping up, he closed the computer, stuffed it under the sofa and ran out, praying he'd be able to retrieve it later without being seen.

"You want a coffee, Nicky?"

"No thanks, Cath. Hey... what's this?"

"That's Greg's. Nick, don't. He'll kill you if he finds out."

"Greggo? Never. He loves me." Nick joked as he opened up the laptop.


END? Up to you...