Bed of Roses
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven
Chapter Thirty-Eight
Chapter Thirty-Nine
Chapter Forty
Chapter Forty-One
Chapter Forty-Two
Chapter Forty-Three
Chapter Forty-Four
Chapter Forty-Five
Chapter Forty-Six
Chapter Forty-Seven


She was going to speak. Really. In all honesty, she had planned to open her mouth and tell him exactly how funny he was to think of bringing up a past that she was sure he had forgotten, but wanted him to remember so badly it hurt. She had planned to laugh, to hug him, to explain that she loved him too and she treasured his friendship more than anything, because it had almost been taken from her and she couldn't bear the thought of losing it again.

She was going to say a thousand and one things like she always did, make a witty comment like she always did, or make a joke out of the fact that they would've fit perfectly into one of the Full House re-runs she used to make him watch.

Then she saw the seriousness, the raw honesty that shone through the blue in his eyes, and every word she had planned to say rolled back into her throat and gathered there, forming a large lump that she didn't dream of speaking around.

He's kidding. He's trying to trip me out. He's pulling a Carter and playing with me, just to see my reaction. In a second, he's going to laugh and punch me and tell me exactly how well my picture would look under "gullible" in Mr. Webster's finest creation.

The seconds ticked by, one after the other, painfully slowly. She waited, patiently, fearfully, watching his eyes for any sign of the smile that thousands of teenage girls kissed before falling asleep at night. Soon, her heart was beating double-time in her chest, thundering loudly above the monotonous ticking of the clock. However, the silence was louder, screaming into her ear the words that she dreaded accepting.

He's not kidding.

Suddenly, her stomach was churning and the walls were closing in and she couldn't breathe without feeling as though Atlas had paused in holding the world so that he could squeeze her lungs in his two huge hands and her heart was beating faster and the second hand of the clock was spinning and the floor wouldn't swallow her and the door was calling her name and...

Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.

She knew that she managed to stutter out a response from the tears that suddenly caused his eyes to sparkle in the light. If she concentrated hard enough, she could pretend they were sparkling from the laughter he was holding in. Yeah fucking right. Not even I'm that good an actress.

The door kept calling, and her footfalls answered slowly, then quickly. His eyes did their best to hold her hostage in front of the doorway, but she tossed a mop of hair at them and ran for the doorknob that would allow her an escape from the madness that had suddenly overtaken her reality.

She couldn't get out of the room fast enough.

Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God

Her thoughts pounded more quickly as the rhythm of her feet against the posh Persian carpet increased in time. The same three words rang throughout her subconscious, but she didn't dare think otherwise. If she allowed herself to ponder whatever had just occurred, she'd stop and she'd cry, and she wasn't about to forego with that kind of display in a hotel hallway. Not when someone could hear her, and not when Nick would be looking for her. She wasn't even sure if he'd leave the room, but she didn't want to be anywhere close to the door when he finally decided that he needed out.


She wanted to ask what had happened between the two of them that had blown his heart in the wrong direction. She wanted to ask why he couldn't step on the feelings he had as easily as he had stepped on her during the last leg of the tour. She wanted to ask if he was sure enough to risk his life on it, his heart and his friendship with her, because, in essence, he was. She wanted to ask how he could possibly drop that kind of bombshell as casually as he had, how he could tell her something so meaningful in the middle of a joke. More than anything, she wanted to ask him if he expected her to reciprocate. She wanted to ask herself if she did in fact reciprocate.

She wanted to ask a million questions, but she didn't want any of the answers. For once in her life, Alli wasn't prepared for a confrontation, and she didn't want to sit down and talk it out.

She didn't much want to think anymore either.

Instead, she kept running.

If she got far enough by morning, maybe he would change his mind. Or maybe she would change hers. Or maybe she'd be exhausted to the point that it wouldn't matter enough anymore and she wouldn't care so much about preserving her friendship with Nick. For a moment, she wondered if there would be anything left of that friendship by morning.

She shook her head slowly and decided that she didn't want to know the answer to that either. And so she did the only thing she could do without damaging another part of her psyche.

She kept running.