Loss to Love Ch. 05Loss to Love Ch. 05


As we walked closer to the botanical gardens, the smell of nature permeated the air. The woody scent of pine mingled with the sharp flowery aroma of flowers. The weather was pretty good, with enough sunlight to make the day seem at least a little bright without being too glaring. Being a weekend, it was no surprise that many residents of Seattle had the same idea to check out the new botanical garden. Just then a small boy, no older than six ran past me, turning and shouting to his parents behind me. I looked down at him and gave him a small smile, to which he returned a beaming grin.

The sound of a camera shutter diverted my attention to the right. I looked as Nick lowered his DSLR smirking at the photo. “Hey, we’re here to take pictures of plants, not human specimens. Besides, that’s my bad side.” I teased, turning to show him my ‘good’ side.

“Hmm seems the same to me. Cocky and big headed.” He said, which I had to give a light punch to his arm. He rubbed his arm playfully before picking his camera up and snapping a couple photos ahead.

I turned to the direction of his shots and saw the first of three domes they had at the garden. I call them domes but they more like huge waves frozen in place. Supposedly, each dome has a specific climate to cater to the different plant species that happen to grow in conditions where Seattle weather didn’t permit.

“Whoa, didn’t think they were that big.” I said, looking up at the towering structure.

“Yeah. C’mon, it’s this way.” I followed Nick to the ticket counters to get our tickets. Most parts of the park was open to the public, but the domes required tickets to enter, and seeing that our topic was deserts and Seattle was anything but, we had to get them. Plus, what’s the point in visiting the place if we weren’t going check out the most significant features of the garden.

I stood by Nick as we purchased our tickets, or should I say argued about paying for my ticket. You see I expected to pay for myself, seeing that this was a school project and it won’t be fair to have him pay, but he insisted. We kept arguing till the lady at the counter had to step in.

“Um guys…if we can get this going? There is kind of a line.” She said, as politely as possible. I looked behind me and met the glare of an angry lady behind me who probably thought we were taking too long.

“Yeah tickets for two.” Nick said, putting down the money.

“Thank you.” She said, printing the slips before handing them back to Nick. “You should be glad your boyfriends wants to pay for you.” She smirked at me. I stared at her dumbfounded but Nick pushed me out of the line before I could defend myself.

“Just let it go.” Nick said.

“But I’m still paying for my ticket.” I said.

“Yeah…No.” I rolled my eyes and followed him. “So what do you want to do first? Research or check out this place.”

“Research. I’d hate to overestimate our time and end up not being able to get enough material.” I said, steering him to the direction of the desert dome.

“Can’t argue with that.” I led the way, following the signs that pointed to where I wanted to go. I had to stop a couple times when Nick lagged behind because he stopped to take a few shots. Just our luck that the desert dome had to be the furthest from the entrance and after what felt like half an hour of walking we finally arrived at the entrance to the dome. Made of glass held together by metal struts and wires, the domes looked like huge terrariums. The smallest of the three, the desert dome still towered over us.

The dome entrance consisted of two sets of doors, probably to contain the climate. Stepping foot into the dome for the first time felt like I got transported into another country. In contrast to the cold and humid air of outside, the inside was dry and warm. Not terribly hot, but definitely not temperatures you would experience during October in Seattle.

“This is cool.” I said.

“It’s quite warm actually.” Nick pointed out.

“You know what I mean.” I glared.

“So how do you want to do this?”

“Okay um…I guess you focus on the photos and I’ll take down any notes about the plant species. We’ll go for, two, three species maybe?” I asked Nick for his opinion about the project.

“Yeah three sounds good. I’ll just follow you so lead away. After picking the specimens, just give me a shout and I’ll focus the shots on those.” I nodded and walked down the path, looking at the various plants species and reading the little info on each plant. Nick stayed behind me, snapping away at anything and everything.

We fell into a rhythm as we went along and time passed. I took down notes while Nick took pictures. We were making good progress and an hour later, we had everything we needed. “I guess that’s it. We got all we need.” I said.

“Awesome, so what do you want to do now? We still have time here. Wanna check out the rest of this place?” Nick asked.

“Yeah but first, can we grab something to eat, I’m starving.” Just then, the sun came out from behind a cloud, etimesgut escort illuminating the surroundings. Sunlight reflected off the sand and it really looked like a desert at that moment.

“Don’t move!” Nick shouted. I froze where I was; the urgency in his voice had this commanding tone that just made me obey what he said.

“Why? Is something on me?” I said, looking around while moving only my eyes.

The camera shutter diverted my attention once again. “Perfect.” Nick said, lowering his camera. My body relaxed and I moved.

“Dude, I thought you saw something on me.”

“Sorry, the lighting was just too good. See?” He showed me the picture and for a moment I was stunned. The photo was stunning, the sun behind me casted an almost halo effect and the light reflecting off the sand lit up my face nicely. If I didn’t know he just took that, I would have expected some photo editing was done.

“Ok fine, I’m impressed but seriously stop with the pictures. I don’t like my photo taken.” I said.

“Oh really.” Nick said, raising the camera up to his face once more.

“Stop it.” I said, half laughing, putting my hand up to block the camera but still he snapped a shot.

“Wow, for someone who doesn’t like to take photos, you sure are photogenic.” Nick said.

“Shut up. Can we go now? I said I was starving.” I didn’t wait for a reply, instead just walking to the dome exit. Nick ran up behind me and pulled the cap I was wearing off my head, putting it on himself. “Wow thanks man, I totally wanted everyone to see my horrible hat hair.” I said, snatching back my cap.

“You care about your hair too much.” Nick said.

“And you are annoying as hell so I guess that’s fair.” I walked out the dome and realized I had no idea where to go, or if they even served food here.

“This way numb nuts, I saw a stall on the way here.” Nick said leading the way down the path. I followed Nick until we came to this open area with a small hill. Families lay on mats on the hill, having little picnics with the basket of food they brought along. At the base of the hill was one of those pushcarts selling sandwiches and some drinks. I bee lined for the cart, telling Nick to find a spot on the hill. Since Nick paid for my ticket, the least I could do was buy him lunch, if only lunch wasn’t just a sandwich and soda.

After paying for the food, I scanned the area for Nick seeing him near the top of the hill, snapping more shots for his camera. I approached the meathead, throwing his sandwich in is lap, handing him his soda.

“Thanks. Like the spot I picked?” He said, unwrapping his sandwich. I looked over the heads of the people down below us and smiled. The hill wasn’t very big but it had a nice view of the whole garden.

“Good choice.” I said, digging into my sandwich.

“Maybe one day we can have a picnic here too. Seems like a nice place to do so.”

“A picnic? Really? Sounds more like a date to me.” I played, sipping my soda.

“What if it was?” I immediately choked on the soda, the carbonated drink burning my windpipe. I coughed violently, trying to rid the liquid in my airway. “Whoa whoa I was joking.”

“Not funny.” I croaked out, my voice coarse.

“Wow you must not like the idea of dating me.” He joked and I just glared at him. Here I was suffering and he still had the nerve to joke. Quite the contrary actually, I wouldn’t mind dating Nick, if he wasn’t straight I mean. He just caught me off guard.

“Don’t joke like that again.” I scolded. Okay so maybe it was more than just catching me off guard. I was lonely enough as it was and Nick teasing me like that wasn’t helping. We just talked about it in the car ride here and already he is back making me feel lonelier.

“C’mon man, I was joking.” He defended himself.

“And I’m telling you to stop it. I thought I made myself clear back in the car that I don’t like to be reminded about my sad love life.” I snapped back, a little hostility in my tone. The smile on Nick’s face fell when he realized how much I was upset by his statement. He opened his mouth to, I assume, apologize again, but then shut it. Smart boy. I started chewing on my sandwich again looking out to the garden. We settle into a silence after that, I stared out and kind of got lost in my thoughts.

Nick knocked me out of my trance when he patted me on the elbow. “Shall we continue or do you wanna stay here.” He asked, a little quietly, like he was afraid he was going to make me angrier.

“Continue.” I said, getting up and collecting our trash and throwing them in the bin before heading on. I led the way again, Nick trailing behind like a sad dog. Once again he had to make me feel guilty. Yeah he kind of made me angry but I really shouldn’t have snapped like that. I did realize I was being kind of bipolar. I slowed down enough so that he could catch up. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap like that.”

“No don’t apologize. I fucked up…again. Earlier in the car I did it and then again just now.” He said.

“I otele gelen escort guess we’re both fucked up then. You’re not completely to blame. I guess sometimes I’m just a little too sensitive. Call it PMS or whatever. It was a joke. I didn’t need to flare up like that.”

“We seem to argue a lot these days huh. Kinda makes me fell like maybe being friends wasn’t the way we were supposed to be.” Nick said.

“So you wanna end this? You know, go back to the way things were.”

“What? No! I didn’t mean that. What I’m trying to say is that maybe because of our history, we kinda don’t wanna lose to each other. Maybe that’s why we always argue. So how about this, we’ll both agree that we’ll not take everything each other say to heart too much. Just live in the moment. We joke and shit but we both know that that’s it, joking.” Nick said.

“That sounds fair, I’ll try to be less whiny about dating on my part. And if I ever go all sensitive bitch again, I hereby give you the right to slap me.”

“Slap that cute face? Never.” Nick cooed, like he was talking to a child, pinching my cheek as he said so.

I punched him in the arm. “And I give myself the right to hit you when you pull something like that.” Nick chuckled sweetly putting his arm around my body and pulling me into his side. Never have I had my ribcage crushed by a side hug but there was always a first time. I poked him in the side, which made him release me instantly, straightening the shirt I was wearing, which I just remembered was Nick’s and not mine.

We walked and talked, taking pictures along the way. We moved at a leisurely pace seeing that we had gathered what we needed for the project. Eventually we made our way to the rainforest dome, which was the largest of the three structures. Like the desert dome, walking into it transported you to another place. This one however was extremely humid as opposed to the dry atmosphere of the desert dome. Warm and moist, it was a matter of minutes before a layer of sweat formed across my skin.

“Wow it’s warm.” Nick said, stating the obvious.

“C’mon let’s look around quick and get out of this heat ASAP.” I said pulling him up the path. The climate of the dome wasn’t my favorite type of conditions but the flora was definitely the most diversed. I’d hate to be the group whose topic was rainforests. Nick was caught between walking fast and taking some amazing shots of the plants.

As we continued on the path, the sight of an enormous rock formation came into view. Towering over everything else in the dome it was the main attraction. At the top, little walkways jutted out from the rock face, tiny silhouettes of people paced along them. “Oh I want to go up there. The view must be amazing.” I said.

“Up there? Really?” I turned and saw Nick looking at the skywalk with some trepidation.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Um…nothing nevermind.” I gave Nick an incredulous stare, raising an eyebrow in question. “It’s nothing. C’mon.”

Nick pulled me towards the rock structure. It was a small hike up a trail to get to the treetop walk as it was called, winding around the structure and through the middle of it at one point. As we ascended the structure, the temperature fell, a cool artificial breeze blowing. I sighed with content when the cool wind touched my sweaty skin, instantly cooling me down. Nick looked a mix of relief and constipation. “What’s wrong?” I asked

“Nothing. The breeze is nice.” He squeaked out but he looked paler than usual, contradicting his words. “Just carry on.” I followed his instruction although a little worried about him. Maybe he wasn’t feeling too good.

Finally we reached the top and I walked to the rail, looking down at the entire dome before me. Down below, people walking along looked like insects scampering across the ground. The air, still humid but a lot cooler brushed against my heat flushed skin, giving me a much needed rejuvenation. “It’s beautiful.” I said, turning to my right, expecting to see Nick there, but he wasn’t. I looked around, trying to spot him and my eyes fell on him some distance back by the rock face. He was looking in my direction and I waved him over, but all he did was give me a weak smile and mouthed ‘nevermind’. Confused I walked towards him, closing the distance between us. “What’s wrong? The view is amazing.”

“It’s okay. You enjoy it. I’ll just stay here.” I could hear the nervousness of his voice now. The way he kept his eyes focused on the glass ceiling was extra peculiar. I looked down his arm and his hand was tightly fastened onto the rail, his grip so tight till his knuckles were white. I looked down and the view through the metal mesh landing gave me slight vertigo.

Then it hit me.

The nerves. The tight grip. The way he diverted his view. His trepidation. Nick was afraid of heights. I smirked and folded my arms, watching Nick in such torment. It was definitely a new side to him I had never seen before. The tough guy did have a weakness. “Nick Preston kızılay escort is afraid of heights? Oh this is too good.” I laughed which earned me a glare.

“Shut up. I’m not.” He argued, maybe trying to save his male ego.

“Oh? So I guess you can release your vice grip on the rail now then.” Nick’s eyes turned to my face and I waited for him to move. Slowly he released his grip, but without a solid support, his fingers started to tremble.

“See?” He said, acting triumphant but his shaky hands betrayed the truth.

Feeling a surge of evil coursing through me, I did what I’m sure gave Nick a heart attack. I wrapped my arm onto his elbow, locking us together. Before Nick could react, I pulled him with me to the edge of the landing. He tried resisting at first, but his jelly arms and legs didn’t have the strength they normally possessed. I held him by the rail and Nick was as close to hyperventilating as I had ever seen him.

“Just relax.” I said, moving his hand to the rail, which he immediately gripped. His eyes however, were still locked to the ceiling. “Look at me.”

“I…” Was all he could choke out.

“C’mon. It’s nothing. I’m right here. Just look down and you’ll see how beautiful this place is.” I said. He closed his eyes and tilted his head down, keeping them shut.

“There I’m looking down.” He said, obviously trying to be cheeky.

“Just open them.” He sighed and fluttered his eyes open. Tentatively looking further and further down, I could almost feel the tension that was radiating off of him. Eventually he saw the scenery that was laid before him. “Was that so bad?”

“Yes.” He deadpanned which I had to laugh.

“Well at least you can now see what you were missing. I mean this is beautiful.” I said, breathing in the air.

“Yeah.” I turned and Nick was looking at me, before quickly darting his gaze away. I raised an eyebrow at him but he returned to look at the ceiling. “Can we go now?” I shook my head chuckling, before pulling him away and down back to solid ground. I swear if we weren’t in public, I’m sure Nick would have kissed the ground. After that heart thumping experience, Nick suggested we head home to cover some stuff for the project. Feeling that perhaps I had put him through enough for the day, agreed and soon enough we were heading home in his car.

The car ride home was a lot faster than the ride from, partly due to the better traffic. It was just before 5pm when we pulled into Nick’s driveway. We got out and gathered our stuff, preparing for a long night of work. “Your house or mine?” Nick asked, and I couldn’t help but think about how under different circumstances, that line would mean something totally different.

“Hmm, well my dad is home,” I said, spotting his car in it’s usual spot. “But he won’t bother us.”

“And I have Steph, who will bother us every few minutes.” We looked at each other for a moment. “Your house.”

“My house.” I said at the same time, both of us coming to the same conclusion of using my house. I led the way to my front door, unlocking it. The TV was turned on in the living room, the sound from it echoing through the otherwise silent house. “Dad I’m home. My friend’s over too.” I announced climbing up the stairs. I was halfway up them when my dad appeared from the kitchen doorway instead of the living room, surprising me.

Nick caught sight of my dad and gave a small smile. “Evening Mr. Langston.” All my dad did was grunt and carried on into the living room. I rolled my eyes and made my way to my room. I threw my notes onto my desk, stripping the cap I had on from my head, running my fingers through my hair. Nick closed the door behind him, setting his bag onto the floor. “Your dad’s a man of few words.”

“That’s an understatement. More like a man of no words.” I walked to my dresser pulling out a new t-shirt. I stripped off the top I was wearing, pulling my fresh shirt over my head. “Before I forget. You want me to wash it? I can hand it back to you after and you can return mine too.”

“Um…I’m sorry what did you say.” Nick shook his head, probably coming out of a daydream. I ignored it and repeated the question. “You looked good in it. How about you keep it.”

“What? Dude c’mon I’m not gonna take your shirt.”

“Just keep it. I’ve got three more just like it.”

“I don’t care if you’ve got a hundred of them, I’m not taking your shirt.”

“Ugh whatever. Then wash it first. I’ll get it back and return yours at the same time.” He said, walking over to my bed and flopping down. I rolled my eyes, throwing the shirt into my laundry pile. “We still haven’t decided what we’re gonna do for the project.”

“Poster?” I suggested.

“Too normal.”

“PowerPoint slide show.”

“Too boring.”

“Well I guess we could do a video.” I tried. I mean that was what I was planning to do but I didn’t want to sound pushy jumping straight to my idea without his input. It was after all OUR project.

“Yep we are.” He replied without so much as a blink.

“You sure come to decisions fast.”

“Actually I was already expecting to do a video. The question was kind of rhetorical. I mean seriously, why would you even suggest anything other than a video? That’s supposed to be your area of expertise.” He smirked, an expression he seemed to regularly show me.

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