Elizabeth woke up the next morning to sunlight pouring through the window. She rolled over and looked at the clock on the nightstand. It was ten o’clock.
She lay in bed thinking about her date with Brian the night before. He was so sweet and she liked him a lot. They stayed at the beach until eleven-thirty just lying on the blanket looking up at the stars and talking.
Brian drove her home and walked her to the door. He reached out and gently touched her face while looking into her eyes. Then he leaned in and tenderly kissed her lips. They said goodnight and Elizabeth went inside.
Elizabeth got out of bed and walked to her closet. She pulled out a pair of jean shorts and a purple top. She got dressed and pulled her hair up into a ponytail.
She went downstairs and into the kitchen. Her mother was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee.
“Good morning, sweetheart. How was your date last night?” Anna asked her daughter.
Elizabeth sighed happily. “It was great. I really like him, Mom.”
She poured herself a bowl of cereal and sat down at the table across from her mother.
“That’s wonderful, honey. Brian’s a good boy, but I always thought you’d end up with Nick.”
Elizabeth looked down at her bowl. “Yeah, well, things don’t always turn out the way you think they will,” she stated dryly. She shook her head, trying to shake out the thoughts of Nick being more than a friend. She finished eating and cleaned up after herself.
“I’m going to Nicky’s. Then I have to meet Brian at the park. I’ll be home by curfew,” Elizabeth said, kissing her mother on the cheek.
Elizabeth went outside and over to Nick’s house. She climbed up the ladder and entered his room.
“Hey, Nicky. What’s up?” Elizabeth asked.
“Nothing much…Hey, where were you last night? I tried calling you like ten times.”
“I had a date,” Elizabeth said with a smile.
“Lizzie, you’ve never been on a date before. Who’s the lucky guy?”
“Brian Littrell?” She nodded. “You went out with Brian?!” he yelled.
Elizabeth was taken aback by Nick’s angry reaction. “Yes, I went out with Brian. God, Nick, what’s your problem?!”
“Brian is a dumbass! You could do so much better than him. He’s a loser and I don’t want you dating him!”
“Nicholas Gene Carter! He’s your best friend! I can’t believe you would say something like that. I like Brian a lot. He’s the sweetest guy I’ve ever known and he likes me, too. Where the hell do you get off telling me whom I can and cannot date? I will date whomever I want. And I want Brian!” Elizabeth yelled angrily. She was so mad she couldn’t think straight. Elizabeth turned and climbed out of the window. She couldn’t believe Nick would say those things about Brian. She glanced at her watch and realized it was time to meet Brian.
Brian noticed the troubled expression on Elizabeth’s face when she arrived at the park. He asked her what was wrong and she told him everything.
“Why would Nick not want you to date me?” Brian asked with a hurt expression on his face. He thought of Nick as his little brother. It hurt to know that Nick had said these things about him.
“I don’t know, sweetie. It really upsets me to see him act this way.”
Brian pulled her close and kissed her. “Did that cheer you up?”
Elizabeth smiled at him. “I’m still a little upset.” He smiled and kissed her again, this time longer and deeper. Elizabeth pulled away and looked Brian up and down. He was wearing a white tank top and baggy blue jean shorts. The outfit showed off his muscular arms and legs. “By the way, Bri, you look really good.” she told him.
“You look better,” he responded. She blushed. “You ready to play some basketball?”
“Brian, you know I suck at basketball.”
“You don’t suck, baby. You just need someone to teach you,” he said.
She took a step towards him. They were now just an inch apart. “You gonna teach me?”
He wrapped his arms around her waist. “Oh, yeah,” he said, bringing his lips to hers.
Elizabeth giggled. “That’s not what I meant, silly…Hey, when did my name become ‘baby’?”
“When you became my girl,” he replied simply.
She was surprised by his answer but went on. “And when did I become your girl? Cause I don’t remember you asking me. And I think I would remember something as important as that.”
Brian watched, amused, until she was finished. Then he took both of her hands in his and looked into his eyes. “Elizabeth, I know last night was our first date, but I’ve known you almost my entire life. And I know that I like you a lot. Will you be my girlfriend?”
“Yes, Brian,” she said with a smile.
He smiled and pulled something out of his pocket. It was two silver rings. He slipped one on her finger and the other one on his.
“They’re promise rings. I’ve had them for awhile. Before, I was gonna give it to you as a symbol of our friendship…but now, I want it to be a symbol of our new relationship. Every time you look at it, I want you to remember how much I love you.”
Elizabeth had been looking at her ring. She looked up at him with wide eyes. “Brian…You love me?”
“Lizzie, I love you so much my heart hurts.”
The look in Brian’s eyes told her he was sincere. She felt a tear trickle down her cheek. “Oh, Brian…I love you so much.”
She threw her arms around him and held him tight. Then she kissed him tenderly on his soft lips. She knew at that exact moment that she was really in love with Brian. Brian brought his mouth to her cheek and kissed her tear away.
“You’re so sweet,” Elizabeth said.
“You’re sweeter.” He kissed the tip of her nose.
“I love you,” she said.
“I love you, too,” he said. “Now let’s play some basketball.”
He took her hand and led her to the basketball court. Brian spent the first half-hour teaching Elizabeth the right way to shoot the ball. They were both enjoying the physical contact. The next hour was spent playing an actual game, which Brian let Elizabeth win.