A/N: This is a one-shot dedicated to all the Nic-Nik fans out there! Hope you like it! Na-hopia ako sa camping trip nila eh!
It was late at night in Tagaytay, yet in the tent, it was stiflingly warm. The humidity made it difficult to sleep. With a sigh, Nikki opened the tent to let some fresh air in. But when she looked out, she saw Nicolo sleeping uncomfortably halfway out the tent he shared with Luke.
He swatting at the mosquitoes bothering him but his eyes remained closed. Nikki couldn’t stand seeing him sleeping so fitfully, so she decided to do something for him. She rummaged in her bag and got the pack of anti-mosquito patches that Amiel gave her. A pig, yeah, that would suit him, she chuckled to herself softly. Ang takaw kaya ni Nicolo!
She crept silently towards him. Nikki paused right in front of Nicolo, taking the opportunity to look at him closely without anyone seeing her. His dark, wavy hair fell across his forehead in a very boyish way. She crouched down near him and couldn’t resist pushing his hair back, away from his eyes. She let the back of her fingers linger near his cheek for a moment, sighing as she watched him sleep. Then she put the patch carefully on his shirt. She was turning to leave when a hand grasped her wrist.
Nikki gasped almost audibly as she whirled back to see Nicolo holding her hand. He opened his eyes and looked at her, blinking the sleep from his head. He searched her face, wondering what she was doing here.
Nikki blushed as she realized he was already awake. She wanted to run and hide in the security of her tent but his gaze was so intense, she couldn’t look away.
“Niknik bakit gising ka pa?…” Nicolo began but Nikki said ‘shhhh’ and looked around to see if anyone else was awake. Fortunately no one was.
Nicolo stood up and looked at Nikki, but his hand remained where it was, holding Nikki’s. Nikki glanced down at their hands with nervous eyes, and Nicolo quickly let go.
“Hindi ka ba makatulog, Niknik?”
“Ako din, di ako makatulog ng maayos. Ang daming lamok. Gusto mo bang maglakad-lakad muna?”
“Okay, sige” Nikki nodded again and they made their way to one end of the campsite, where the observation deck was. The moon was full and bright, giving them a majestic nighttime view of Taal volcano.
“Niknik, I’m sorry pala ulit dun sa nangyari kanina. Hindi ko naman gustong mahulog ka sa putik eh. Sobrang naasar lang talaga ako sa Amiel na yun. Puro pa-cute at papansin ang ginagawa.” His mood turned sour the moment he thought of Amiel.
“Eh what is that to you ba, Nicolo?” Nikki challenged him.
“Eh hindi sya ok, okay?” he replied in exasperation. “Transferee sya… Hindi natin alam ang background nya. Eh kung masamang tao pala yan, kick out ng ibang school? Ayoko namang mapahamak ka Niknik,” he said, looking away.
Nikki turned to look at his face, surprised at the passion in his voice. But Nicolo averted his eyes.
“Ikaw naman kasi Niknik, ano ba ang nakita mo dun at crush na crush mo sya?” Nicolo said softly, yet almost accusingly, still too embarrassed to look her in the eye.
“Hindi ko sya crush, ok?” Nikki replied quietly.
Nicolo blinked and turned his head towards Nikki. This time, she was the one looking away.
“Ha? Akala ko ba sya si Mallows…?” Nicolo was scratching his head in confusion.
There was no more room for more lies. Nikki decided to come clean.
“I lied. Ang kulit kasi ni Kuya eh. I didn’t want him to know the truth, who the real Mallows is…” Nikki couldn’t look back at him. Nicolo swallowed nervously. Not the real mallows? Eh sino?… Could it be?…
An uncomfortable silence hung between them. Nicolo’s heart was beating faster now.
“So… yung real Mallows, kung sino man sya, sya talaga ang crush mo?” Nicolo began hesitantly.
“Yes,” Nikki replied with a smile, finally looking at him. “We’re friends, although mukhang hanggang dun lang coz he’s so manhid,” Nikki said with a chuckle.
Gears were turning in Nicolo’s head. He dared to hope.
“Manhid? You mean nagpapapansin ka pero di ka nya pinapansin?”
Nikki nodded with an embarrassed smile.
“Baka naman natatakot lang sa kuya mo?” Nicolo countered, his heart pounding as he watched Nikki’s reaction.
Nikki’s eyes widened and she held her breath for a moment, hesitating. Then she smiled.
“Maybe. Close kasi sila ni Kuya eh…” Nikki let that statement hang in the air for a while, throwing caution to the wind. Maybe, just maybe he’ll finally get what I’m saying. “Pero I think he’s just really, really torpe,” she added, glancing at him sideways. He was smiling, hoping. Somehow he knew. Nikki grinned back.
“Torpe pala ah?” he repeated and stepped closer to her. Nikki’s eyes grew even wider and her heart started to race. She looked down, biting her lip.
“Uh, maybe lang naman,” Nikki replied quickly, disconcerted at the lack of personal space between them. She was holding her breath.
“Baka naghihintay lang sya ng opportunity sabihin sa yo na gusto ka din nya…”
Nikki looked up at him. “You mean, like when he and I are alone together?”
“Um, yes, parang ganun…” Nicolo moved even closer.
“Maybe like in a romantic place?” Nikki could hear her heart pounding in her ears.
“Uh-huh. Siguro kelangan sa magandang lugar… tahimik, sariwa ang hangin, bilog ang buwan…”
Nikki looked around and saw the full moon’s reflection on the lake.
“You mean like right now?” Nikki held his gaze. They were so close she could feel the heat radiating from his body.
He nodded. “Yeah, like right now,” he breathed as he closed the last bit of gap between them.
Nicolo pulled Nikki towards him and touched his lips to hers lightly, savoring the softness of her lips. Nikki closed her eyes and sighed. He then stepped back, holding her hands in his.
“I love you, Nikki Grace Lim.”
“I love you too, my Mallows.”