Elizabeth walked over to Nick’s house and rang the doorbell. She didn’t feel right climbing through Nick’s window. Nick’s mother, Jane, opened the door. She looked surprised to see Elizabeth. “Lizzie, you haven’t come through the front door for years. Is something wrong?” Jane asked.
“Not really. I need to talk to Nick.”
“Nick told me what he did. I couldn’t believe it. It must have been very upsetting for you…He told me you used to be in love with him.”
Elizabeth could feel herself blush. She couldn’t believe he told his mom that. “Yeah, I was…But then he told me her loved Callie and I fell in love with Brian.”
Jane smiled. “Ya know, I always thought Nick was crazy to pick Callie over you.”
“Brian told me that, too.”
“How are you two doing?"
Elizabeth smiled. “Great. I really love him, Jane.”
She smiled. “I’m really happy for you, Lizzie. Brian’s a good boy… Well, Nick’s in his room.”
“Thanks, Jane,” Elizabeth said, heading up the stairs. She reached Nick’s room and hesitated. She took a deep breath and knocked.
“Come in,” Nick called.
She opened the door and walked in. Nick was lying on his bed staring at the window. “Hi, Nicky,” she said, quietly.
He jumped up at the sound of her voice. “Lizzie!” He exclaimed. He wanted to run and hug her, but he knew he couldn’t.
“I got your note. It was sweet.”
Nick smiled. “You still mad at me?”
Elizabeth shook her head. “No…Look, Nicky. You gotta understand that I don’t love you the way you love me. I’m with Brian and I love him with all my heart.”
“I do understand that. I’ve been thinking a lot these past couple of days. I’d rather be just your friend then lose you forever by insisting I love you more than Brian does. I love you too much to lose you over my own stupidity. It was wrong of me to put you in the position I did. I’m sorry, Lizzie.”
Elizabeth was trying hard not to cry. She walked over to him and hugged him. He hugged her back tightly.
She pulled away and looked at him. “Nicky, you’re not stupid and you’re not just my friend. You’re my best friend. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you. I want you to know that I do love you.”
“Can we go back to the way it was before our hormones got in the way?”
Elizabeth nodded. “I was gonna ask you the same thing.”
Nick smiled. “We always could read each other’s minds.”
“Yeah,” Elizabeth smiled.
“Lizzie, we gotta leave in a couple of hours so I’m gonna give you your Christmas present now,” Brian said.
“Okay…but I don’t want you to go,” Elizabeth said.
“Baby, you know I gotta go see my family. I’ll be back after New Years.”
“I know. I’m just gonna miss you.”
“I’m gonna miss you, too.”
He kissed her softly on the lips and hugged her. He left the room and came back with a small, neatly wrapped package.
Brian handed it to Elizabeth and she opened it eagerly. Inside was a gold heart shaped locket. She opened it and inside was a picture of Brian on one side and a picture of both of them on the other side.
“Oh, Brian…It’s beautiful!” Elizabeth exclaimed.
“Look at the back,” Brian said.
Elizabeth turned the locket over and saw that it was engraved: Brian Thomas Littrell and Elizabeth Marie Whitter Always Forever 12-20-98
“Oh, Brian, thank you…I love it!”
He smiled. “Where’s my present?”
“Be right back,” she said. She left the room and returned with a fairly large package.
“Oh, gimme, gimme, gimme!” he exclaimed. Elizabeth laughed. Brian looked so cute. He reminded her of a little kid.
He opened it and found a basketball jersey and a blue baseball cap. He put the cap on backwards and smiled.
“Look at the back of the jersey,” Elizabeth said and smiled.
Brian looked on the back. A wide grin spread across his face. On the back it said: LITTRELL 75
“This is so cool! Thank you, Lizzie! I love it and I love you,” Brian said.
“I love you, too. I’m gonna miss you so much while you’re gone, Brian.”
He hugged her close to him and kissed her forehead. “I’m gonna miss you, too, baby. I’ll try to call you every night.”
“God, Nicky, I miss him already,” Elizabeth whined. She had taken Brian to the airport an hour earlier. It had been a tearful goodbye on both parts.
“It’ll be okay, Lizzie. Bri won’t be gone long,” Nick said, giving her a hug.
“I know…I’m just a little sad.”
“Well, I know something that will cheer you up.”
“I’m gonna give you your present early,” Nick said.
“No, Nicky. It’s okay. I can wait two more days.”
“Well, I wanna give it to you now.”
He reached under the bed and pulled out a package. He handed it to Elizabeth and she just looked at it.
“What is it?” she asked.
Nick laughed. “You gotta open it, silly.”
Elizabeth opened it and found a framed picture of her, Brian and Nick. It was taken eleven years ago when she was five, Nick was seven and Brian was twelve. Elizabeth smiled. “ Oh, Nicky. I love it…I remember the day this picture was taken. It was my first day of school. You and Bri walked me to school so I didn’t get lost. You even walked me to my classroom. You were always looking out for me.”
Nick smiled. “Well, I had to look out for you. You’re my little buddy.”
“Aw…” Elizabeth said and hugged him. “You want your present now?”
“Not now. I’ll come over tomorrow after my parents leave.”
“Where are they going?”
“New York to stay with relatives.”
“Why aren’t you going?”
“Cause I wanna stay here with you,” Nick said.
Elizabeth smiled. “You’re a good guy, Nick.”
“Can you say conceited?”
Nick smiled. “Conceited.”
Elizabeth smacked him playfully on the arm.
Christmas Day came and went. Nick spent it with the Whitter family. Elizabeth gave Nick a Nintendo 64 game and a comic book. Her parents gave her a green Ford Mustang and a gold charm bracelet. They had a nice, quiet Christmas dinner after they opened the presents.