Title: Girlfriend

Disclaimer: I own nothing, obviously, because if I did Cody Longo would have been bumped to series regular before Brothers and Sisters could steal him for a minuscule one-episode stint.

Rules of the Payson-Nicky-Forever's Challenge:

1) The two of us are going through the alphabet writing stories using a word that begins with each letter.

2) We both started with 'A', but now alternate. She does 'B' next and I do 'C' and on and on.

3) We get to pick each other's word.

4) All stories have to be at least 500 words in length.

5) We have five days after the other author posts to post the next one.

6) My stories will always be Kaylie/Nicky and hers will always be Payson/Nicky

Once the contest is over, we're going to each put up a poll on our profiles asking people to vote for their favorite story in the contest.



Their relationship hasn't and won't ever be one of those things that are easily explained away. It's like asking which came first – the chicken or the egg – or how exactly the universe came to be. It's complicated, spikes controversy and is much easier brushed under the rug rather than talked about. Despite it's unexplainable nature, the connection between them is undeniable. It's magnetic and more than not, explosive.

"Nicky, stop it!" Kaylie squeals.

They're sitting together on the mats, supposedly stretching. Kaylie has her legs spread and she tries to reach her fingers past her toes, warming her muscles for the strain a day of training at the rock promises. Meanwhile, Nicky's fingers slowly skid up her bare, tan legs, dancing over her knee and trailing dangerously over her inner thigh. Kaylie immediately slaps his hand away and shoves him hard in the chest.

"What is it you think you're doing?" she asks, trying hard to sound less stirred and more angered. Kaylie tells herself not to look around to check if anyone saw. Looking from side to side only draws eyes and confirms guilt.

Nicky looks over at her with an adorable, crooked smile.

"Dunno," he innocently replies. "The art of seduction?"

His words paired with that face only makes Kaylie laugh aloud.

"More like the art of annoyance and the fast track to a restraining order," she responds

"You'd never," Nicky says with mock shock.

"Oh, I would," Kaylie says, biting lightly on the tip of her tongue.

Nicky's stuck. With the teasing tone to her voice, it almost sounds as if she's just daring him to lean in and kiss her. Even though they both know it can't happen, least of all in the center of the main portion of the gym, Nicky can't help, but be tempted. He can't remember the last time he's kissed her, especially since her parents have been hanging around both the Rock and her house more than usual. It doesn't help much the way her tongue glides across her soft, pinks lip, making them glisten beneath the florescent lighting of the gym.

"Am I interrupting something?" a voice calls out, startling both of the young gymnasts.

The dark-haired couple whips their heads around to see Sasha standing there. His arms are crossed over his chest and he doesn't look too pleased. Nicky's head is telling him to move away from her and tuck his hands in his pockets, but it's as if he's lost all motor skills, trapped beneath Sasha Beloff's icy blue stare.

"Um, no, not at all," Kaylie says. She avoids eye contact and picks at the fabric of her leotard near her neckline. Nicky inwardly groans. He may really, really like this girl, but she's such a dead giveaway. "Did you need something, Sasha?"

"Just a word with you," Sasha says. "But since I have the two of you here, at the same time, together, I thought I'd just remind Kaylicky that I'm glad you aren't like pit bulls going at it anymore, but also that despite what the media might say and think, this is still my gym and the no dating rule is still strictly enforced. You remember what happened to Carter, don't you?"

They both nod.

"You don't have to worry about a thing," Nicky says. Inwardly, he's arguing that it's a bad idea, but he does it anyways. Nicky ropes his arm around Kaylie's neck and pulls her into a headlock, grinning. "Nothing's going on. Cruz is like my little sister, an annoying little sister."

The words make him sick to his stomach. Not only is it a lie, but it's creepy too.

"Very well." Sasha nods. "Kaylie, let's have a little chat about your latest floor routine."

Sasha starts to walk away and Kaylie immediately flings Nicky's arm off of her as if the skin-to-skin contact literally made her sick. This time, when she shoves him, it isn't playful or flirty. It's with disgust and violence.

"Don't ever touch me again," Kaylie says sternly.

Nicky groans. "What else was I supposed to say?"

"Um, anything, but that! Nicky, that's so weird!" Kaylie says. A shiver runs through her and it isn't very pleasant. She shakes her head. "I think I threw up a little in my mouth when I heard you say that."

Nicky sighs. "Kay—"

"Kaylie!" Sasha shouts, already at the stairs to his office. "I don't have all day!"

Kaylie marches away as much as Nicky wants to chase after her, he holds back. At the end of the day, he always has an appearance to keep up and a reputation to uphold. If this relationship is going to last then that's one of the many things that Kaylie has to respect. He's willing to compromise on certain things, but the secrecy policy is set in stone. Always has been and probably will be.

By the end of the day, Kaylie's still pretending to be annoyed, but she isn't mad anymore. If she had been, Nicky would have been leaning against his car in the parking lot of a local park, waiting out there all night. After she parks her car and gets out, Kaylie marches right up to him, but doesn't say a word. They just stand there in the dark, still and staring. Nicky offers her a smile and Kaylie glares in return.

He holds out his hand and in a matter of seconds she takes it, lacing her fingers through his. It's a silent truce. Kaylie doesn't instigate and Nicky doesn't try to apologize. No doubt the both of them have been ruminating and rerunning the morning over and over in their heads. They've thought so much about it that the last thing they want to do is talk about it so they don't.

Sometimes it's just that simple. Other times, Nicky feels like a cat running out of lives.


Nicky has no earthly idea what compelled him to make a Twitter account. Really, it's mostly Kaylie's doing since she made the account for him and tweets him, telling him to tweet. Nicky Russo isn't a man of many words. Least of all, he really doesn't see why it's any of anyone's business what he's doing every second of his life. Nicky likes to think it's just another way for Kaylie to keep tabs on him.

He does get a kick out of the fact that he has a thousand-plus followers (less than ten of them he actually knows) and he thinks it's sweet how Kaylie replies to almost every single fan that tweets her.

One in particular catches his eye.

Creative_Dummy: I think NickyRusso & KaylieCruz should just admit they're together and have beautiful gymnast babies already!

Nicky almost chokes on his Smart Water when he reads that.

Even more amusing is Kaylie's reply.

KaylieCruz: OMG! RT Creative_Dummy I think NickyRusso & KaylieCruz should just admit they're together and have beautiful gymnast babies already!

Nicky sits back in his chair and scratches the back of his head. Even if they are together, no one is supposed to know that. Kaylie's reply can go one of two ways. It can either say she's outraged at the mere suggestion or that they are together and she just doesn't want to openly admit it. Before it can escalade, Nicky decides to nip it in the bud himself.

NickyRusso: Maybe in her dreams. Sorry to disappoint. RT Creative_Dummy I think NickyRusso & KaylieCruz should just admit they're together and have beautiful gymnast babies already!

The next day Nicky goes to the Rock and sees that Kaylie isn't talking to him.

The next time he logs onto Twitter (a week later) he notices that she both unfollowed him and blocked him. Though he's already apologized and she says she's over it, she still hasn't let up the cyber shunning. Nicky doesn't ask about it. He actually convinces himself that it's better this way. Why does he care if Kaylie's making a sandwich or what move she's boasting about perfecting anyways?

If he's being honest with himself, Nicky might want to keep tabs on her too.


"You don't have to be here if you don't want to be here."

"Is that code for 'go away, Nicky'?"

Kaylie groans. "If I said 'yes', would you actually go away?"

"Not a chance."

"I thought so."

Nicky grins at Kaylie from his spot on the ground. His legs are stretched before him and his eyes are on Kaylie, working her favorite stepping machine. She's trying hard to ignore his intrusive stare. Nicky can't help himself. He watches careful as the sweat builds at her hairline and traces down the curve of her cheek. He watches the way the muscles in her legs contract each time she steps and the machine slides back on one side, bringing up the other, over and over again.

"You don't have to supervise me, you know," she says bluntly.

Ever since people finally got wind of the way she's been simultaneously starving for attention and over-exercising to beat Genji Cho, everyone has been a little more cautious. Sasha watches her a little more carefully and her parents don't even argue at dinner anymore, overly concerned that she eats and keeps it all down. Everyone is in a state of hyphened sensitivity.

"I know, but I will," Nicky says. "So was all of that worth it? Starving? Stupidly overworking yourself?"

Well, everyone except Nicky that is.

"It brought you back from Denver, didn't it?" she shoots back. Nicky feels his chest tighten and his teeth grit.

"Don't even try to play that game, Kaylie," he warns her. His gaze drops and his eyes darken. "It was never about me. I was just the consolation prize. You did it for your parents and yourself. Jeez, and I thought Lauren was manipulative. So were the consequences worth it?"

"You mean bringing my parents back together at the expense of losing all credibility as a gymnast?" she asks bitterly. Sasha doesn't trust her anymore. Neither does her national teammates. Nicky's all she has left and even that's kept in the shadows.

"Come on, get off that thing," Nicky says. Honestly, it's because he doesn't have an answer for her. "Kaylie, you're done."

"Just a few more minutes," she nearly begs.

Nicky's face irritably contorts. "What's so good about that thing?"

"It feels good."

"It makes you look emaciated."

"You wouldn't understand."

"Well, you're going to need to give me more than a three word explanation, Kaylie."

"It's like…my body, what I do, how I feel, it's one of the few things I feel I still have control over," she explains. "Nothing else in my life is mine anymore. I'm a puppet. A zombie. At least when I'm exercising and my heart is racing and it feels like it's going to literally explode in my chest…it's one of the few times that reminds me I'm still alive."

Nicky can't bring himself to do more than stare at her.

Kaylie looks down, embarrassed, and starts to speed up.

"I shouldn't have told you that," she mumbles self-consciously. "It's stupid."

"No. It's not. Wow, Kaylie, when did you get so deep?" Nicky asks. It makes her smile and Nicky quickly stands, approaching her. "You think two people can fit on this thing?"

"Nicky, don't you dare!"

Despite her protest, Nicky jumps onto the stepper machine behind her, trying to be as graceful as such an awkward move would allow. The tips of his sneakers pressed into the heels of hers and his front presses to her back. He doesn't know what to do with his arms and ropes them over Kaylie's shoulders before he tumbles backwards and really does hurt himself. He just sort of clings to her for a bit and Kaylie slows down, but Nicky pumps his legs, trying to get them moving again.

Kaylie's sweaty and Nicky can feel the heat radiating off of her. In direct contrast, Nicky's skin is dry and cool. When they brush against one another, the friction sparks something somewhat intimate and extremely dangerous. Steadying himself the best he can, Nicky delicately runs his hands from her shoulders, over her protruding shoulder blades and finally to her waist.

Low and alluring, he whispers, "You know, there are other ways to make you feel alive."

They slow to a stop as his lips graze the most sensitive point on her neck and Kaylie presses her teeth hard into her inner cheek to keep from sighing.

"You could have just called me," he whispers, softly kissing lower on her shoulder.

"And you would came?" Kaylie asks softly.

"I would have came running for you, Cruz," he tells her in all honesty.

There's loud, approaching footsteps and someone calling out Kaylie's name. Nicky nearly topples over, filled with a sudden sense of panic. He loses his footing and throws himself off the stepper machine, landing awkwardly on the ground. Mere seconds later, the door creeks open and in comes Alex Cruz. His baldhead shines beneath the light high on the ceiling and his dark eyes light with surprise when he sees Nicky there, sprawled out on the floor.

"Nicky Russo!" Alex bellows. Kaylie, leaning against the arms of the machine, completely flushed, rolls her eyes at how her dad acknowledges Nicky before his own daughter. On the other hand, she's sort of glad for the distraction.

"Hey Mr. C," Nicky says coolly in reply. He quickly stands, glad he didn't break anything and nothing's sore with the uncomfortable way he got off the stepper machine. He immediately goes to shake Alex's hand and puts on the most charming smile he can conjure.

"What brings you here?" Alex questions.

"Just spotting for Kaylie," Nicky replies. "You're done for the day, right, Cruz?"

Kaylie doesn't even reply. She just jumps off the machine and towels off.

"Don't mind her, Nicky," Alex says, laughing. "She gets that from her mother. Boy, if she's treating you this way now imagine what'd it'd be like twenty years from now." Alex busts out in laughter and Nicky fakes one of his own. "You two aren't, are you?"

"Strictly a working relationship, sir," Nicky says surely.

"Good. I don't want to have another Carter on my hands. You with your fists, could actually do some damage," Alex laughs again. "So should I tell Ronnie to set the table for four? You staying for dinner, Nicky?"

"And listen to you guys talk about gymnastics all night? " Kaylie blurts out. "No, dad. Nicky is really busy. He actually has somewhere to be right now. Don't you, Nicky?"

"Right." Nicky winces. "I should go, but thank you for the offer, Mr. Cruz."

"Some other time then," Alex says understandingly. "It was nice seeing you, Nicky, and Kaylie, why don't you wash up? Dinner is in an hour."

Right when Alex leaves, Kaylie whips Nicky with her towel.


"You're such a schmoozer."

"Your dad loves me," Nicky says with a smile.

"Yeah, we'll see how much he loves you when I tell him you sneak in through my window when everyone goes to sleep," Kaylie says, hitting him again in the chest. "Working relationship?"

"Yeah, I think this relationship is working," Nicky smiles.

Kaylie just lets him pull her close and she whispers, "Yeah, me too."


It's more classic hormonal teenagers than classy, but neither really cares. When they both have a free minute, they meet out behind the Rock, among wooden crates and broken equipment. Kaylie sits on Nicky's thigh with her long legs hooked over his knee of his other leg. Her arms are around his neck and she moans when she feels Nicky's lips against her collarbone, his hands all over her.

"I swear," Nicky pants, so low and husky. His hands trace up the curve of her hips and her breathing speeds up. "The leotard was a joint invention by the National Committee and the Church to keep gymnast from getting past first base."

Kaylie chuckles. "Nicky, shut up."

"Seriously," he breathes against her neck. "It works better than any purity ring."

Kaylie laughs before she brings her lips back to his, shutting him up herself.


Both freeze, almost afraid to look and see who caught them. Most people would walk away after an awkward encounter such as this. Apparently, not Austin Tucker. He stays to mock.

"See, Carter and the little blonde, them I expected to be sneaking off and making out, but Fräulein Cruz and Robot Russo?" he asks, smirking. "Talk about a plot twist."

Kaylie groans and embarrassedly buries her face in Nicky's neck. "Go away, Austin."

"But, see, now I'm curious," he says. The tan, built gymnast dares to move even closer towards the couple. "So are you two together or is this some casual friends-with-benefits-setup. Oh, I got it! Two high-strung gymnasts letting out all of that pent up emotions, huh?"

"Are you sure you're a gymnast and not a psychologist?" Kaylie asks sarcastically. "You know, what? I don't have to explain myself to you of all people. Now if you excuse me, I have training to do."

Kaylie carefully untangles herself from Nicky and gives Austin a quick glare as she goes.

Austin can't help, but laugh. "Aww, did I just cockblock you? Ouch. I did, didn't I?"

"Get out of my face, Tucker," Nicky says lowly.

"Bro, come on, it's not like you were going to get lucky with Kaylie Cruz behind the gym."

"It's not that."

"Then what is?" Austin asks. "Oh. This is about me beating you at Nationals, isn't it? Come on, Russo. We're both representing the Rock now. Let's be civil."

Nicky just tries to walk pasts him and their shoulders bump in the most painful way.

"Come on, Russo!" Austin calls out, sounding frustrated. "Can't we be friends?"

"No because friends usually like each other to some extent, which we don't, and no because friends usually have something in common and we obviously don't have that either," Nicky replies.

"We both have an interest in the same girl. Doesn't that count?"

Nicky stiffens with his back to Austin. Did he really just hear that?

"What did you just say?" Nicky demands.

"Oh, so Kaylie hasn't told you? Must not be that serious, huh?" Austin asks. "Look, I'm not telling you to be a douche bag, but because lying is no way to start any friendship. Yeah, Kaylie and me hooked up. Honestly, dude, before you came here, she was as good as mine."

It takes all of the self-control Nicky has left not to start something, right out there behind the Rock. Nicky doesn't even reply. He just turns and starts walking back.

"So does this mean we're cool?" Austin chuckles after him. "Or at least give me the okay to start something with Kaylie. I'm asking here, Russo. I respect you that much, man."

"Sure," Nicky coldly replies. "I hope you two have gorgeous, unnaturally tan babies together."


"Why are you mad this time, Kaylie?" Nicky asks. He sounds tired, worn out. Truthfully, he's done with all the fighting – in both senses of the word.

"Did you not see what just happened in there?" she asks, sounding outraged. Nicky might have walked out of the men's locker room just in time to see Kaylie and Lauren engaged in one of their many verbal pissing contests. The second he realized what was going on, he walked right away, staying out of it.

"What was it about this time?"


"Why am I not surprised?" he sighs.

"I swear, Nicky, it's like she's setting these traps, like she wants to fight with me," Kaylie says, practically ready to tear out her hair. "I overhear her talking about Carter and I might have given her my input just for her to turn around and snap about how I don't have a boyfriend and shouldn't have a say."

Nicky groans. "You're making a big deal out of nothing."

"I'm tired of the lying," she admits, sounding miserable.

"Really?" Nicky asks, sounding just as miserable. "So when were you going to tell me about Austin?"

Kaylie blinks, looking confused. "What is there to tell about Austin?"

"That you two hooked up."

"It wasn't even anything," she says quickly.

"But you kissed, right?" Nicky counters. "When I asked you if you were with anyone while I was in Denver, you said no. So when were you planning on telling me, huh? 2012?"

"Did you expect me to wait for you?" she asks angrily. "I wasn't even sure you liked me!"

"But Austin Tucker, Kaylie? Really?"

"He was there for me, alright? You weren't!" she bellows.

Her chest is heaving and her heart is pounding, but it doesn't feel like exercising or when Nicky and her are intimate. She feels like everything is falling apart all over again. His face is dark, a mask he wears when he's hurt. She knows that look well. The silence between them only solidifies that feeling currently nagging at her. It's a little too late to take everything back and Nicky continues his infamous streak for making things worse.

"I don't think this is working," Nicky says, kicking at the gravel. "Like you said, the lying to everyone we care about, it's getting harder and harder every day. It's unnecessary. I'm sorry, but I think it's best that we don't see each other for a while."

"How long is a while?" she asks. Her voice cracks and the tears take shape. "You mean for good?"

"Whatever works for you," Nicky says coolly.

"So are you going to run away again? Go back to Denver?" she asks accusingly.

"Depends. Are you going to make it difficult sharing the Rock?" he counters.

"I can't make any promises," Kaylie replies curtly.

"Alright. Well, I'm sorry if I ruined your night."

With that, he turns to leave.

"Nicky, wait," she whispers. Kaylie's fingers catch his thumb and suddenly it feels like his feet are cemented to the ground. She isn't so much holding his hand, but keeping him from walking away.

If he's being honest, in that second, if she asked him to stay, he would. If she asked him to take back everything they both just said to just hold her hand like old times, he wouldn't even think twice.

"For what it's worth, I really did care about you," she says. "I…I still do."

"Yeah," he says, unhooking his thumb and giving her one last look. "Me too."

The next few days are a testament as to why the Rock has a no dating policy. It isn't the actual relationship that's the distraction, the reason. It's the aftermath if the relationship sinks. It's having to see the person you were once physically and emotionally involved with six days out of the seven in the week. That's the biggest distraction of them all.

Austin flirts mercilessly with Kaylie and she tries her best to fend him off. Everyone in the gym is convinced that it's only a matter of time. After all, he's Austin Tucker. Nicky gets a little taste of what he's missed, being in Denver. They do make a good-looking couple and their babies would, without a doubt, be gorgeous and tan.

Without Kaylie, Nicky's only other friend in the Rock is Payson. The same people who are already predicting the birth of Kaystin or Auslie (it just doesn't sound as natural or roll off the tongue like Kaylicky) also assume Nicky is pursuing Payson yet again. They obviously don't know Payson. She wouldn't let that slide for a second. Payson Keeler is no replacement girl and Nicky wouldn't make her one, never in a million years.

"You're hopeless," Payson says.

"You say something, Pay?"

"I said you're hopeless," she repeats, louder this time, clearly enunciating each syllable. "You do realize that she sees you staring at her like a lost little puppy, right?"

"I'm not staring," Nicky argues. "Glancing, maybe."

"I don't have much experience in the department, but aren't you going at this all wrong?" Payson asks. "You're not mad about the Austin thing anymore. She isn't mad about any of your little mess-ups. Yet you two aren't back together and just chasing glances across the gym?"

"It's just…complicated, Pay."

Payson laughs. "Nicky, is there anything involving Kaylie Cruz that isn't complicated?"

"Point taken."

"So you still care about her, right?" Payson asks.


"And even knowing that things are always going to be difficult and complicated, you still want to be with her, right?"


"Then what are you waiting for?" Payson asks. Nicky tilts his head when he doesn't have an answer. A small smile crawls across his face and Nicky pulls the blonde gymnast into a one-armed hug.

"Thanks, Pay. You are an angel."

"An angel that's whooping your girlfriend at the 2012 Olympics," Payson says, laughing.

"Hmm, girlfriend," Nicky muses. "That sounds right, right?"

"Right." Payson nods. "I just think you're asking the wrong girl."

"Hey, what are you doing here?"

"The Cruz residence happens to be the last stop on my Nicky Russo Confessions Tour." Nicky shifts nervously on the front porch of the castle of a house. This is the first time they've met one-on-one since the break up and Nicky couldn't blame her if Kaylie just shut the door in his face without another word.

"Oh god," Kaylie murmurs. "No good can come of that."

"So are you busy?" he asks. "You wanna go for a walk?"

"Nicky, I don't think that's such a good idea," Kaylie mumbles.

"What? Hot date with Austin Tucker?" he asks, sounding almost accusingly and incredibly jealous. Glaring, Kaylie tries to shut the door on him, but Nicky stops it with his palm. "Look, okay, I wasn't thinking when I said that."

"Why do I get the feeling that not thinking is your specialty?"

"Just humor me, will you?" Nicky asks. "Can't you see I'm desperate here? Just to that park with the red rocket ship and back."

"Not there." Kaylie shakes her head.

"Why not?"

"Too many memories," Kaylie mumbles beneath her breath.

"Then we'll just walk. Wherever our feet take us."

Kaylie looks at him suspiciously. "Nicky, are you on something?"

"Kaylie, I know that look on your face. You're bored in here. Feeling trapped." He says it like he's reading her mind and Kaylie thinks back to her parents, currently arguing in the kitchen. "Walk with me. Please? Then I'll leave you alone forever if that's what you really want."


Kaylie slips her arms through the sleeves of one of her pink sweaters and steps into a pair of sneakers. She grabs her cell phone and house keys before they make their way down the steep driveway of the Cruz mansion. Nicky walks quietly at her side, his hands stuffed into the back pockets of his jeans.

"So you and Tucker?"

Kaylie turns right around and starts walking back to her house. Nicky immediately chases after her, grabs her shoulders and turns her right back around.

"Not the greatest opening line, I'll admit," Nicky says. "I'm just wondering, Kaylie."

"You're snooping, Nicky," she says sharply. He groans and the longer he looks at her, the expression on her turns one that says but it's nice to know you still care. "And no. There's nothing going on with Austin and me. What about Pay and you?"

"We're friends," Nicky says, like it's that simple. "Did you know she's really smart?"

Kaylie laughs. "Smart, pretty, talented and powerful. Sounds like the Payson I know."

"She actually launched the Nicky Russo Confessions Tour," he says as they start to walk again.

"Hmm, so where was the first place you hit?" she asks. They slip past the front gate and start down the street. The sun is just about to set and Boulder looks fantastic, bathed in dying light.

"First was Austin Tucker's cabin. I went in there and told him that you and me aren't just a friends-with-benefits setup or two high-strung gymnasts and pent up something-or-other," Nicky explains almost shyly. "I told him you and me are the real deal."

"Nicky, we aren't even—"

"And Austin says that if you decide to take me back, he'll back off for good," Nicky continues, effectively silencing her. Then he rolls his eyes. "I guess being civil with Tucker will be better for all of us and the Rock."

Kaylie's eyebrows shoot up. "You and Austin are friends?"

Nicky shrugs. "It's no fast track, but he isn't all that bad if you actually talk to him."

Kaylie fails at fighting a smile. "So where did you go next?"

"Lauren Tanner's place. I told her that she needs to stop picking fights with you and flaunting Carter. All denied, of course. Then she asked me why I'm fighting your battles for you." Nicky stops, averting his eyes and locks his hands behind him. Kaylie comes to a halt, standing beside him.

"Then what happened?" she asks, practically holding her breath.

"Things got a little…"

"Violent? Loud?" Kaylie asks, wide-eyed. "Wait, you killed her and now you need someone to help move the body, right?"

"I was going to say cheesy," Nicky confesses, looking up at the sky.

Kaylie laughs. "You had a Disney moment with Lauren Tanner?"

Nicky sighs. "You're going to make me say it, aren't you?"

"Like I'd let you get away with not telling me."

Nicky sighs again. "I told her that you're my girlfriend and I'm going to keep fighting for you because, Kaylie, you're like my heart and I'm like your armor."

"Aww," Kaylie coos. Her fingers itch to touch his cheek, to cradle his jaw and caress his skin, but she resists, curling her hand into a tight fist instead. "She laughed at you didn't she?"

"Mercilessly," Nicky says bashfully. "Then I told her that when we're together, unlike another rather heedless couple everyone knows, you don't have to bribe me with sex to be with you. I'm with you because I want to be with you."


"And then I told her the sex isn't that bad either."

With her jaw dropped, Kaylie hits him hard. Nicky catches her arm and pulls her close.

"Sadly, Sasha and your dad weren't any of my stops," Nicky explains.

"Wise choice." Kaylie nods. "Listen, about the whole Austin thing, I'm sorry I didn't tell you."

"Don't worry. I'm over it. I know I haven't been the best boyfriend. Most of the time we were together, I couldn't even say the word boyfriend. I've been thinking lately and I've missed you. I'm sorry. I know I screwed up a lot and basically gave up at one point, but I'm ready this time. I want you to be my girlfriend. What do you say, Kaylie? Give me another chance?"

"Ugh, Nicky…I…call me your annoying little sister again and I will castrate you, Nicholas Russo," she says, bringing her arms up over his shoulders.

"So that's a yes?"

Smiling, Kaylie leans in and kisses him.

Nicky smiles when she pulls away and rests his forehead against hers. "Well, I'm glad because if you said no, me tweeting this before I rang your doorbell would have looked pretty dumb."

Reaching into his pocket, Nicky shows her the screen of his phone.

Nicky Russo: KaylieCruz is the best gf in the world. Yes, Creative_Dummy, gf = girlfriend. OMG, indeed.

"Aww." Kaylie laughs. "You better pray Sasha and/or my dad aren't following you."

"Already checked and set my account to private."


Author's note: Posted this from Vegas! I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I just wanted to get it up and see what everyone thinks. Super annoying that I couldn't really make it look like twitter. The uploader wouldn't let me. Oh well.

#SPOILER (for the latest episode) OMFG! Beals is blah. BRIAN! Aw, Marty. Is it weird I was stoked to see Kelly Parker back? I'm unexplainably leaning towards almost liking KP. And why do I really want to see this Payson/Sasha liplock-ness? Not that I ship it, but I haven't been wow'ed by MIOBI in a long time. It's a bold move by the show. Any other thoughts on the latest episode?

Now back to my vacation. I hope you enjoyed it.

Payson-Nicky-Forever: H is for hickey.