Chapter Seven

I hate rainy days, Nick thought as he looked out his bedroom window. The sky was gray and it was pouring. Something’s not right, he thought. I can feel it.

The doorbell rang. Nick ran downstairs to get it. He opened the door and found Elizabeth standing there with a blank expression on her face. She was soaked to the bone.

“Lizzie!” he exclaimed.

She started to sob. He grabbed her arm and pulled her inside. She stood there, shaking and crying. Nick ran to the hall closet and brought back a big towel. He wrapped it around her and rubbed her arms to get her warm. Nick led Elizabeth upstairs into his bedroom. He sat her down on the bed and then sat beside her. She was crying almost hysterically now.

“Lizzie, honey…calm down…shh…breathe, Lizzie…shh…” Nick soothed as he held her.

“They’re dead,” she said in between sobs.

Nick’s heart dropped to his stomach. “Who’s dead, Lizzie?”

“My parents,” she said quietly. “They’re dead, Nicky.”

Nick closed his eyes and ran his hand through his hair. He swallowed hard. “What happened?”

“My dad hit a slick spot in the road and lost control of the car. He ran off the road and hit a tree. They were both killed instantly,” Elizabeth said quietly. She had calmed down a bit but was still very upset.

“Oh, God…I’m so sorry, Lizzie,” Nick whispered as some tears trickled down his cheeks. He felt like he had just lost his own parents. He had always been so close to them. Nick laid down on the bed and pulled Elizabeth down with him. He wrapped her up in his arms and held her as they both cried.

~*~

The funeral was two days later on another rainy day. It was a small funeral, just Elizabeth, Nick, and a couple of her parents’ friends. Brian and Nick’s parents were unreachable due to huge snowstorms that shut down communication and travel.

Elizabeth stood emotionless looking at the two caskets. She felt like she no more tears left to cry. She was sure she would find some, though.

When the funeral ended, Nick walked Elizabeth to his car. On the way there, they were stopped. “Excuse me, Miss Whitter?”

Elizabeth turned around to see a middle aged man. “Yes?

“My name is Martin Matthews. I’m from the Department of Social Services. It has come to our attention since your parents’ passing, that you have no living relatives. Your parents left no instructions for a legal guardian, either.”

Elizabeth swallowed hard. “What are you trying to say, Mr. Matthews?”

“Well, Miss Whitter, since you are a minor, you are now a ward of the state. You will be placed in a foster home.”

Elizabeth blinked several times. She felt Nick wrap his arms around her from behind. “When?” she asked.

“I will pick you up at seven tomorrow morning.” Nick’s heart sank. He was losing Elizabeth. He tightened his hold on her, afraid to let go. “Pack only what you need,” Mr. Matthews said and walked away.

~*~

“Nicky, I’m so scared. What’s gonna happen to me?” Elizabeth asked when they got back to her house.

“I don’t know, Lizzie.”

“I’m never gonna see you again, Nick. Or Brian either. I won’t even get to tell him goodbye,” she said. She started to cry.

Nick hugged her. “Lizzie, we’ll see you all the time. We’ll talk on the phone and we’ll come to visit you. You know that both Brian and I can’t live without you.”

Elizabeth smiled sadly. “I’m gonna miss you so much, Nicky.”

Nick squeezed her hand. “Come on. I’ll help you pack.”

Nick helped Elizabeth pack some of her clothes and essential things. She also made sure she had her photo album, the picture Nick gave her, the locket Brian gave her, and the charm bracelet from her parents. “You can drive my car if you want to…I won’t get to,” she said.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t want tomorrow to come,” Nick said quietly.

“Me either…believe me.”

“So what do you wanna do?”

“Just be with you.”

“That works for me.”

They laid down on the bed and talked until they fell asleep. Elizabeth woke up at three AM. Nick was sleeping soundly next to her. She reached over and gently touched his face, careful not to wake him. Nick started to mumble incoherently. She could only make out a few words. “Lizzie…I love you…Please don’t leave me,” he mumbled.

Tears pricked at her eyes. She leaned over and kissed Nick ever so softly on the lips. “I love you, too, Nick…I’m sorry,” she whispered.

~*~

“She’s gone,” Nick said to himself. “Elizabeth is gone.”

After nearly an hour of crying, begging, and screaming from both Elizabeth and Nick, Mr. Matthews had managed to get her in the car. Nick literally felt his heart break when the car drove out of sight. He had lost his best friend and the only girl he had truly loved.

He remembered a dream he had the night before. It had felt so real. He could still feel Elizabeth’s lips on his and the warmth of her breath when she whispered that she loved him.

Nick laid on his bed thinking about Elizabeth. He began to cry. Sad, angry tears streamed down his face. He had no idea where they took her or what kind of people she would be forced to live with. There was no way he could protect her. That is what upset him the most.