Chapter One

“Brian, you dork! Get off me!” Elizabeth Whitter yelled.

“Not until you say it,” Brian Littrell said. He had her pinned down on her bed and was lying on top of her.

“Never!”

Brian pressed down harder, but not hard enough to hurt her. She could feel his breath on her face. “Say it!”

“Fine. Brian Thomas Littrell is the sexiest man in the world…There, I said it. Now get off me!” Elizabeth demanded.

“Okay,” Brian said. He kissed her forehead softly and then got off her.

Elizabeth sat up and smacked Brian on the arm. “You’re such a dork!”

“I know,” he said, smiling happily. Elizabeth couldn’t help but smile at his child-like behavior. She really wasn’t mad at him. She turned to her friends who were sitting on the floor, laughing. “Thanks for helping me, guys.”

“You’re welcome,” Nick Carter said, smirking.

Callie Potter snickered. “Besides, you know you liked having Brian on top of you.”

Brian and Elizabeth both blushed. “Shut up!” Elizabeth exclaimed as she threw a pillow at Callie. Callie caught it and laughed.

Elizabeth had been best friends with Brian and Nick her whole life. She had only known Callie for a few months. Elizabeth and Brian didn’t like Callie all that much, but they tolerated her because of Nick. They all lived next to each other in an upper class neighborhood in Ruskin, Florida.

Elizabeth was sixteen. Her chocolate colored hair came halfway down her back. She had delicate facial features and big brown eyes. She was five foot six. Brian was twenty-three. His short light brown hair curled ever so slightly at the front. His beautiful aqua colored eyes were his best feature. He had a sharp, strong looking jaw bone and high cheekbones. He was five foot eight. Nick was eighteen. His golden blonde hair was parted in the middle and came down to the middle of his ears. He had pretty blue eyes. His face was a bit rounded and his nose was a little big. He had full, well-defined lips. He was six foot one. Callie was seventeen and often talked down to Elizabeth because she was younger. She had green eyes and shoulder length curly blonde hair. Her face was really round.

Elizabeth looked at her watch. It was after midnight. She sighed. Callie’s mouth was really getting on her nerves. I wish Callie had never moved here. I miss the way it was when it was just Nick, Brian, and me. We used to be the three musketeers…Actually, the three stooges is probably more accurate. That all changed when the blonde slut moved in across the street. Now Nick spends all his time drooling over her, Elizabeth thought, bitterly.

Elizabeth sighed again. She had had enough. “Okay. All of you go home. It’s late and I wanna go to bed.”

“Can I spend the night?” Brian asked. Elizabeth, Brian, and Nick had always spent the night with one another ever since they were little kids. They didn’t really think much about doing it, it was just something they had always done.

“Come on, Callie. I’ll walk you home,” Nick said. They said goodbye and headed downstairs.

Elizabeth turned back to Brian. “Not tonight, Bri. I’m really tired.” Brian gave her the puppy dog face. He knew she couldn’t resist when he looked at her that way. “Brian, don’t look at me like that. I said not tonight.” She looked at him and her heart melted. He’s so adorable, she thought. “You can stay tomorrow night.”

A huge smile spread across his face. “Okay!”

Elizabeth giggled. “Come on, I’ll walk you out.”

They walked downstairs and to the front door. Before Brian left, he pulled Elizabeth close to him and hugged her tightly. He didn’t say a word after the hug; he just left.

Elizabeth slumped against the door and sighed. She began thinking how lately Brian had been much more affectionate with her. Then there were the times he would “accidentally” touch her or brush up against her. She didn’t mind, though. In fact, she liked it. She had had a crush on him for the past few months. But, she was in love with Nick. She tried not to be and she wished she wasn’t, but she couldn’t help it. Nick was too busy drooling over Callie to notice her, though. Brian knew she was in love with Nick. She confided everything in him. She trusted him with her deepest secrets. She knew Brian would never do anything to betray her trust. Elizabeth shook these thoughts out of her head and went back upstairs.

Brian lived by himself in the house next door to Elizabeth. His parents gave him the house when they moved to Kentucky three years earlier.

Brian walked in his room and looked toward the window. It faced the window in Elizabeth’s room. Her shade was down, but he could see her outline clearly. She was changing her clothes. He knew he shouldn’t watch her, but he couldn’t help himself. He was mesmerized.

She’s so beautiful, he thought. She had changed so much in the past year. Brian no longer thought of her as his tomboy best friend. She had always been beautiful on the inside, but now she was beautiful on the outside as well. His feelings for her went a lot deeper that friendship. He loved her. He had known it for a long time, but he tried to ignore his feelings. He couldn’t ignore them anymore. They were too strong.

Brian was still standing looking out the window when Elizabeth pulled the shade up. She was surprised to find him standing there.

“Brian, were you watching me change?” she called through the open windows.

“No,” he lied. “ I just got up here.”

Elizabeth looked at him for a moment. “Okay…Well, goodnight.”

“Goodnight, Lizzie,” Brian said. He couldn’t tell if Elizabeth believed him or not. He hated lying to her, but he was embarrassed and she would probably be mad if she knew the truth.

The next night, Brian headed over to Elizabeth’s house. He walked in her room and found her sitting on the bed talking on the phone. She had an annoyed look on her face. When she saw Brian, her face automatically brightened. She smiled and waved. Brian sat down in a chair and watched her.

“That’s great, Nick…Yeah, sure…I’m sure Callie will love it…Yeah. Okay. Bye,” Elizabeth said into the phone. She let out a disgusted sigh and hung up the phone.

“What was that all about?” Brian asked.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “Nick was rambling on about Callie, as usual. Tomorrow is her birthday and he got her some real expensive gift and asked if I thought she would like it.”

“What did he get her?”

“A diamond bracelet.”

Brian’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “Damn…He must really like her.”

Elizabeth looked down. “Yeah,” she said, sadly.

Brian realized what he had said and felt bad. “I’m sorry, Lizzie. I didn’t mean to say that.” He moved next to her and hugged her. She moved closer to him.

“It’s okay, Bri. He does really like her. I’ve got to accept that.”

Brian didn’t respond. He just held her tightly in his arms.

A week later, Saturday morning, Elizabeth climbed up the ladder that led to Nick’s bedroom. She climbed through the window and entered the room. Nick was still asleep. His hair fell over his eyes and Elizabeth thought he looked like a little kid. He stirred and opened his eyes.

“Hey, Nicky,” Elizabeth said. She was the only one he allowed to call him that. That was because she was his best friend.

“Hey, Lizzie. How long you been here?” he asked, sitting up.

“Not long,” she said, watching him get out of bed. He was wearing a pair of boxers and a tank top. His body was skinny but muscular. Nick walked to his closet. He pulled out a pair of baggy blue jean shorts and slipped them on.

“You coming over tonight?” Elizabeth asked as he put on a white Nike tee shirt.

“Is Callie gonna be there?” he asked.

Elizabeth’s heart dropped down to her stomach. Anger flashed in her dark eyes. Damn it, the world does not revolve around that blonde twit, she thought. She had had enough. Nick always turned everything into something about Callie.

“You love her, don’t you?” she spat out. She couldn’t believe she had just said that out loud. She was also surprised how cold her voice was.

Nick looked at her, surprised. “What?”

Elizabeth felt incredibly stupid. There was no way she could get out of this one, so she went with it. “You’re in love with Callie, aren’t you?” she asked again, this time more calmly.

“Why? You jealous?” he asked, smiling.

“No! Why would I be jealous?” she asked, not looking at him. She was afraid he would know why if he looked in her eyes.

Nick shrugged. “Don’t know…Yeah, I guess I’m in love with Callie. I’m gonna ask her to be my girlfriend today.”

Elizabeth felt tears prick at her eyes. She bit her lip, determined not to cry in front of him. “That’s great,” she said, dryly.

Nick could tell something was wrong with Elizabeth; he just didn’t know what it was. He walked over to Elizabeth and wrapped his arms around her. “Lizzie, you know I love you. You’re my best friend. I just love Callie in a different way. A more than friendship way,” Nick said. He spoke simply, as if explaining something to a child.

Elizabeth was hurt and angry. A tear escaped and trickled down her cheek. She wiped it was quickly so Nick wouldn’t see. She pulled away from him.

“I gotta go,” Elizabeth said. She quickly climbed out of the window before he could say a word. Elizabeth ran across the yard to the other side of her house. When she was sure Nick couldn’t see her, she sank to the ground and cried. Hot tears streamed down her face.

“Lizzie?” she heard a voice call. She could tell without looking that it was Brian. She’d recognize his voice anywhere. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Brian. Go away,” she said through clenched teeth. Her words came out more harshly than she intended. She instantly felt bad for snapping at him. It wasn’t him she was mad at.

Brian sat down next to her. “You don’t look fine and I’m not going away.” He reached out and gently wiped away some of her tears. “Please tell me what’s wrong,” he begged.

Elizabeth looked at him through tear filled eyes. His blue eyes were full of love and concern. “Nick told me he’s in love with Callie. He’s gonna ask her to be his girlfriend today. Then he went on to explain the difference between his feelings for me and for Callie…Brian, he talked to me like I was a kid. He’s never done that before.”

“Oh, Lizzie. I’m so sorry,” Brian said as he pulled her in for a hug.

He held her tightly as her body became overcome by sobs. He stroked her hair and tried to comfort her. “Nick is stupid not to see how wonderful you are. He doesn’t deserve you. Lizzie, you need someone who will treat you good. Someone who will love you forever.”

Someone like me, Brian thought.

Brian’s words really touched Elizabeth. She slowly calmed down and looked at Brian. “Thank you, Brian.”

“For what?” he asked, confused.

“For being so sweet…And being there when I need you. You don’t know how much you mean to me.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek then got up and went inside.

Nick walked across the street to Callie’s house. It had been two hours since Elizabeth had run out of his room. He was still just as confused as when she left. He had no idea what was wrong with her.

Everytime I say something about Callie, Lizzie gets all defensive and mad. I can’t understand why. Callie’s great. How can Lizzie not like her? he wondered.

Nick rang the doorbell and a minute later, Callie’s mother, Kathy, opened the door. “Hi, Kathy,” Nick said.

“Hello, Nick. Callie’s in her room. You can go on up,” Kathy said.

“Thanks,” Nick said as he stepped inside the house. He headed upstairs to Callie’s room and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” Callie called.

Nick opened the door and walked in. Callie was lying on her bed reading a book. She looked up when Nick walked in.

“Hey, Nick. What are you doing here?” she asked, sitting up and putting her book down.

“I need to talk to you.”

“Okay. Sit down.” She patted to a spot next to her on the bed. Nick sat down and breathed in the smell of her perfume.

Damn, she’s hot, he thought as he looked her up and down. She was wearing short jean shorts and a tight gray top. Nick thought she had a great body even though she was a little too skinny.

“What’s up?” Callie asked when he remained silent.

He took a deep breath and said, “Callie, I like you a lot. I think I might even love you and I want you to be my girlfriend.”

Callie sat there looking at Nick. She wasn’t sure if she had heard him right. She hoped she had. “Did you say you love me?” she asked quietly.

“Yeah, I love you. Will you be my girl friend?”

“Yes, I will,” she said with a smile.

“Great!” he exclaimed as he threw his arms around her. He pulled away from her and smiled. Then he leaned forward and softly kissed her lips. She returned the kiss eagerly.

“You don’t know how long I’ve wanted to do that,” Nick said. Callie just smiled.