With Project US being released this year it is only fair to have the characters be introduced before hand. I have already done Men of Ottilie with Nick. Just like my other books Project US is told through two characters, Nick and Rachel. I'd like you to meet the characters before hand. She was interesting to write, and I loved writing their relationship.
Loves to read
Worries for her friends
Favorite book is Wildflower Hill
She likes ice tea
Has a younger sister
Ringing, ringing, ringing; whoever was calling needed to be shot or to have the wires in the phone send out electric shocks! Rolling over, I picked up the phone as I couldn't feel movement over our makeshift of a wall, lucky jerk. The plastic of the room phone on the nightstand felt cool against my fingers. Wouldn't our cell phones have been easier?
"Hello," I spoke, hearing how drowsy my voice sounded. I wanted more sleep as I put some effort into listening to what the teacher was saying so that I could remember to tell Nick.
Hanging up the phone, I turned to look at Nick who was lying on his back as I tried to figure out how was I was supposed to wake him up. My heart sped up a little at the thought of having to touch the Nick March. Leaning over the fake wall it was crushed below me as I reached out to contact Nick's bare shoulder with hesitant fingers when I noticed his eyes were opened the smallest crack possible.
"You're awake aren't you?" I whispered incase I was wrong, my hand still not touching his skin.
"Morning," Nick responded, yawning and stretching so that his lean muscles moved under his skin, that faker.
I pushed my hair back out of my face so that the wavy pieces were out of the way.
"How long have you been awake?" I asked, my head tilting lightly so that the locks that I had just moved fell back down.
"I don't know what you're talking about I just woke up," Nick retorted, his voice airy and with a matching grin on those lips.
I shoved his shoulder as he sat up and he let out a small mock-yell.
"Rachel, you touched a shirtless guy! What a scandal!" Nick reacted. His blue eyes were wide as his fingers went to hide his nipples.
"You're insane! We've got to be downstairs in like forty minutes for whatever it is they're planning on doing with us."
I stood up, sliding my legs out of the bed. Standing on my toes with my hands reaching high above my head I stretched out my entire little-over-five-feet body, which just made me slowly, but surely, happier to be awake. Feeling eyes on me I glanced over to see Nick just sitting there watching me, which caused me to fall back onto the soles of my feet, arms crossing over my chest and for once wishing I was wearing a bra. Biting my lip I had to move my gaze elsewhere as the heat rose to my face. Guys didn't look at me and they never asked me out. My mom always asked if I thought guys were intimated by a group of girls always hanging out together. How would I know; I was quite happy about not being inside a fifteen-year-old male’s mind?
"Um…" I started, not sure what to really say, was I imagining things?
The shirt was long so I knew no stomach was showing and I was close to flat-chested.
"Is it raining outside?" Nick asked, his voice sounding sincere.
I sighed as I moved the blinds. "No it's not raining," I replied, my voice soft as I pulled some hair behind my ear.
Nick closed his eyes for a moment as he ran his fingers through his longish brown hair that was slightly curly. Nick kept running his fingers through his hair till the locks were flattened.
"Do you need a brush?" I finally asked.
"Nope, I have this hair well under control," Nick answered, shaking his strands.
Keeping my arms folded over my chest I walked away from the bed still feeling Nick's eyes on me. Bending over, I picked up my bag and not soon enough had the bathroom door closed between us. Taking a deep breath I let it out gradually as I stared at the girl before me in the mirror. The waves were begging to be controlled as the top part of my hair was slightly puffed up while most of it fell flat. Reaching down into my bag, I threw on a long sleeved purple shirt and jeans. Picking up my brush and mascara, my golden locks were tamed as my light eyelashes were once again found. Once the knots were gone I threw my hair into a mid-high ponytail. Sighing once more at my reflection, I made my way out of the bathroom.
Dropping my bag onto the ground I started to put my socks on. My purple polished toes were now covered by the white fuzzy fabric, making my feet slightly warmer instantly. Glancing up I saw that Nick was sitting on the bed still running his fingers through his hair before reaching over into his bag for a comb then for a can of body spray. The new scent, faint and husky, filled the room causing flutters in my insides. Blinking frequently I hastily moved to my side of the bed where my jewelry was so that I could put it back on. Round blue eyes watched me as I poked the earrings into my ears and my own gaze drifted onto the bed, my cheeks warming.
Finally as I hooked my necklace around my neck I asked, "What?"
"Nothing," Nick chuckled, his eyes sparkling. "When did you get your second hole in your ear?"
My face scrunched as an eyebrow arched high.
"Um, two weeks ago," I answered as I sat on the edge of the bed about to slip on my shoes, changing my mind about the socks so I took them off to then put on my black flats.
Nick stated, "So you really don't look that much different without make up."
I glanced over in his direction. "I'm sorry to disappoint you?"
"It's not that it's a bad thing…" Nick started to ramble which I could not remember him ever doing before. "Never mind, I'm just not used to living with a female that isn't blood related and they don't count."
I smirked. "Be sure to tell your sister that she doesn't count as a female, I'm sure it'll go over well."
He chuckled. "Oh don't worry, she's used to hearing that, it's nothing new. She usually turns it around saying my brothers and I aren't really guys, we're subspecies males."
I grinned. "Oh the joys of siblings," I sang, thinking of my own little sister who was probably enjoying life as an only child during the days while I'm on this trip.
A lopsided grin took over Nick's face, his cobalt eyes glittered with mischievousness. "You seriously have never been to my house before."
"No, but by the sounds of it, it kind of sounds overwhelming. Wait until karma comes back to bite you in the butt with your own kids."
Nick simply laughed. "Oh karma and I will one day be having an amusing conversation in a bar, we'll have to work out a deal."
Shaking my head slightly dry laughter slipped from my lips.
"See, and you were worried that we would fail," Nick commented as he held the door open for me to leave, I followed his lead out into the hall strolling besides him.
"It's still early," I shot at him.
Nick pressed his hands over his heart stumbling back a step or two. "Ouch, Rach, that really hurt."
I giggled, rolling my eyes. "You're absurd."
"Don't be jealous of my awesomeness."
I snickered fully at him, getting ahead of him as I hopped down the steps.
He was still behind so I waited for the slow poke, now feeling a little jittery from the giggles and hopping. Nick finally reached the bottom, but beat me to the door to open it.
Nick's voice came out slow, cautious, "So…were you able to sleep? Were you comfortable enough with the makeshift wall?"
I bit my bottom lip as my cheeks warmed. My fingers went straight to my necklace, playing with the pendant. "Yeah I slept fine, you?" My voice came out shaky.
"Always do, was limited with rolling space, but wasn't sure if you were okay."
"Thank you." Silence filtered between the two of us as I kept glimpsing over at him, only to watch his own retreating. I could not begin to guess what shade of red my face was from feeling his eyes on me. "Why do you keep staring at me?" I blurted out, my voice sounding shrill.
"Sorry." His eyes darted away in another direction, just as a thud echoed through the hall, just as I glanced over to the source of the sound.
There was Nick with his hand to his forehead. He had walked into the wall.
"Nick!" I exclaimed as I closed the gap between the two of us, my gaze skimming over his eyes to see his forehead, brushing aside chocolate strands to press my fingers against his warm skin. "Are you alright?" I could hear the panic in my voice.
"Yeah I'm fine. God your fingers are like freaking ice cubes! I don't need ice for the bump." Nick's lips became crooked.
"Sorry," I spoke, recoiling my fingers and keeping them under my shirt sleeves. "You okay though?"
"Well you've always said that I was hardheaded so I'm a-okay." Nick shrugged.
"I'm sorry!" I retreated quickly, my eyes widening as my concealed hands went to my mouth.
"Rachel, I was only joking," Nick responded as he kept moving into the entryway of the conference room towards the table we were at yesterday.
We sat down at a table that was assigned to us as I kept peeking over at my partner hoping that he was alright. Yet, his shoulders were stiff and he seemed to be avoiding eye contact. I knew he didn't want to talk about the incident anymore.
Dill was sitting across from us when he shouted at Nick, "Dude what's on your face? Don't tell me Worm did that to you."
"How the hell could Rachel hurt me?" Nick snapped then his voice got lower. "I walked into the wall."
"You what?" Dill asked with a brow raised high, judgment glistened in his eyes.
"I walked into a freaking wall, you happy?" Nick barked, causing his friend to smirk.
"Are you serious? You're so stupid and here's an example of it, you walking into the wall."
"I got distracted…" Nick rolled his eyes at his own words.
What was he distracted by? We weren't really talking at that point.
"By what?" Dill questioned, just like he had read my mind.
Nick shrugged. "I was thinking."
"Thinking doesn't work for you my friend," Dill said, taking a sip of his drink.
"It works better for me than it does for you," Nick muttered under his breath as breakfast was served.