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- Mandy`n`Nick :
" THE ONE " : Seventhy Part

Nick and I didn’t have to go anywhere to have fun- as long as we had each other, we’d be fine. I woke up the next morning totally refreshed. The air was nice and sweet smelling. I looked behind me to see if Nick was awake yet or not. He was, and to my surprise, he already was looking at me when I turned around. “How long have you been awake?” I asked. “Long enough.” “So...? Have you just been watching the sunrise this whole time or what?” “No, actually I’ve been watching you sleep.” “Why?” “I’ve got my reasons.” “And your not going to tell me what they are either, are you?” “Nope.” “Nick, you’re just something else.” “Why do you say that?” “I’ve got my reasons.” I couldn’t help but cracking up. 4 hours later... “Oh Nick, that is totally you!” Nick was trying on all these crazy hats! None of them looked good, but he insisted on us getting matching ones. He decided to buy the first ones we tried on. “I refuse to wear these out in public!” “C’mon! It’ll be fun!” “Yeah right!” He gave me a puppy face that I had used on him many times. “Maybe later.. Maybe!” “Cool,” he said half - satisfied. We went around surfing through all the shops in the mall we had came across. The rest of the Backee gang said they’d catch up with us later for some lunch, so Nicky and I continued looking through some things by ourselves. I spotted the food court, grabbed Nick’s hand, and raced on over. Once we stepped in, I dropped his hand and let out a sigh. “Hungry?” “No! I’ve got to pee!” “Awww! And what am i supposed to do while you’re in there?” “Wait for me.” “Hunny, I’ll wait to the ends of the earth for you.” “Well, I don’t think that’ll be necessary. Afterall, all I gotta do is pee.” He laughed, “Alrighty, just don’t be long.” “I’ll try not to.” A roar of laughter came through the both of us, we were like two little kids pretending they were in some kind of romantic movie. It was too funny. I planted a wet one on his lips and raced into the restroom.restroom real I stopped on my way out for a double check in the mirror. As I came out, I heard Nick’s voice. He was talking to someone. I figured it was Brian or one of the other fellas. But to my surprise there was a girl standing in front of him. She looked strangely familiar but I wasn’t sure where I had seen her before. Before I could gather up my thoughts, she gave Nick a big juicy kiss on the lips. “Mandah..” I gasped, then looked at him in disbelief. No! Don’t let this be happening! Nick turned and looked at me. “Oh, no.” Not knowing what else to do, I turned and ran in the opposite direction. “Mandy, no! Please wait!” There was no way she was going to stop running. I had to catch up with her. I looked back at Mandah and shouted, “What were you thinking?!? We’re over with! Done! I can’t believe you just did that!” “What? Why are you so upset?!?” “You just kissed me in front of my girlfriend! And if I lose her because of you.. there’s absolutely NO way I can forgive you!” “Where are you going?” She asked chasing after me. “I’m getting Mandy back!” “No, Nick wait! I need to talk to you! I want us to get back together!” I stopped in my tracks. “You want to get back together?!” “Yes Nick, I do.” “Mandah we’re over with!” “It doesn’t have to be that way. Remember what we had..?” “Yes it does have to be that way! And yes I do remember. We had nothing. And whatever we may have had disappeared when you clearly stated we were over with. So I’m now reminding you Mandah, it’s over. We’re over. There’s no going back- Only forward. Which is what I was doing, until you came and set this horrible scene into Mandy’s head. Now she has the wrong idea completely. And I need to find her, before anything else goes wrong!” “What else could possibly go wrong?! My day is ruined!” “Yeah, and thanks to you Mandah.. so is mine.” I know what I may had said to Mandah may have been somewhat harsh, but I was in desperate need of telling her what was going on before I lost Mandy completely. And I did not have the time to sit down and explain to her in full detail that our relationship is old news. And the only way to make someone like her understand that is to tell it like it is. Which is what I did. I have never ran so fast in my whole life. I literally ran like the wind. I quickly shot a look behind me. Nick was catching up. All he kept doing was shouting my name and saying he’d explain everything. The last thing I wanted to do was to listen to words fly out of his mouth.. especially after his ex- girlfriend had been smooching all over them! “Mandy PLEASE! Wait! Hear me out!” I blocked out everything he said and hopped into my car. I grabbed my keys and started the engine. Then I pulled out of the parking spot I was in, and took off. I looked in the rear-view mirror. He was now chasing my car. Oh god Nick, don’t make this any harder than it already is. Reluctantly, he gave up and jumped into a taxi, which he had following me wherever I went. I decided I’d just go home. Once I reached the doorstep, the taxi pulled in the drive way. Crap! Hurry up, Mandy! I stuck the key in the door and ran in. I locked every door in the house I could think of. I started to relax thinking he couldn’t get in- until I heard the front door open. Shoot!! I forgot I gave him my spare key when I went to school! I shook my head, and ran to my room. “Mandy!” He grabbed ahold of my arm. He held a strong grip. “Let go!” I shouted. “Not until you hear me out!” He managed to spit out- totally out of breath. “I don’t want to hear anything you have to say! I can’t believe you Nick! I thought you were different! I trusted you! And.. I- I go in the restroom for a split second and you go and.. and you kiss the first girl you see!!!” “No! That’s not what happened!” I tried to pull away. His grip had loosened a little, but I still couldn’t go anywhere. “Mandy, you can’t just walk away from this!” “Watch me!” I struggled, then ran to my room. I locked the door. I could hear his footsteps coming up the stairs. He was not going to leave this alone. I’ve gotta get out of here! Somewhere I know he won’t look! I didn’t have time to think of where. Things were happening all so suddenly. I opened the window in my room, and carefully crawled down the roof. I slid down the railing, and raced to my car and took off. By now it was raining. And not just a few sprinkles it was pouring! It was hard, thick, stubborn rain that was not going to stop, and definitely wasn’t going to let something like the sun stop it from pouring down- just like I was not going to let Nick- my sunshine - stop me from doing what had to be done. I was driving and racing down the streets, still very unsure of where I was going. “C’mon! Please work!” I held a bobby pin in my hand, as I tried to unlock the door. It worked. “Yes!” I opened the door. To my surprise, the room was empty. I thought maybe she was hiding or something, until I noticed the window was wide open, that is. “Ugh! She’s got me on a wild goose chase!” I went and shut the window, and ran outside. Her car was gone. The taxi was still sitting in the driveway as I had asked him to wait for me, just incase something like this was to happen. “Did you see where she went?!?” “Yes. Down that street.” “Good, lets go!” I hopped in and the driver followed the route he thought she had taken. In no time at all, we were a few cars behind her. We kept close eye, hoping not to lose sight of her in all the traffic. We came up to a subdivision near Kroger’s. I wonder where she’s heading. I ended up at Crystal’s. As I ran to her front door, I prayed she was home. My prayers were answered. She opened the door. I was soaked. Not just from the rain, but also from my tears. “Mandy! What a surprise! Come on in! Man, look at you! You’re drenched girl!” She looked me in the eyes, and noticed I had been crying. “What’s wrong?” she asked sympathetically. I didn’t have time to answer. Brad, Josh, and Sean came over to where we were standing. “Hey, Mandy! It’s about time you came over here! We haven’t seen you forever!” “I know..” Crystal realized how uncomfortable I felt and brought them into the kitchen and politely asked them to leave. She knew we needed to talk on a serious note. “Ok, but we’ll be back!” said Josh, giving Crystal a kiss on the cheek. “See you soon.” We watched Sean, Brad and Josh walk out. Just as Crystal was about to shut the door, Nick came running in out of the rain. “I need to talk to Mandy.” “Sure. She’s right- Where’d she go? She was just right there.” I walked to Crystal’s room, hoping Nick wouldn’t see me. Unfortunately he did. He ran in and followed me down the hall. “Mandy we need to talk.” Instead of slamming the door in his face, I looked him straight in the eyes. The eyes I have stared at many times. I loved his eyes. And through them, we always seemed to understand each other. This time was different. I didn’t have a clue what he was thinking; his eyes didn’t tell me a thing. I knew mine right now was filled with hurt, and pain. And I knew it showed. I couldn’t stand being so close to him right now. Not after what he did anyways. I pulled away, and shut Crystal’s door. I leaned against the back of it and slowly slid down. I could feel Nick doing the same thing on the other side. I was overwhelmed with emotions and I just wanted to be left alone. “Nick.. ummm... I think you better go..” I looked up at Mandy’s friend. She was standing there with a strange look on her face. She had to be so confused right now. I stood up and walked over to her. “Crystal. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to barge in like that. Please take care of Mandy right now. She needs someone to talk to. And I know she doesn’t want that someone to be me.. Will you do me a favor though?” “Sure. What exactly is it you want me to do?” “Just tell her I love her. I always will. And.. I didn’t mean to hurt her. And I’m sorry.” “Umm.. ok.” “Thanks.” I turned and left. I decided to give her time. She needed it, and so did I. I needed to think things through, and look at it in her perspective. Not only did I need to think, but I too needed to talk to someone. And that someone needed to be my best bud, Brian. “Mandy.. what’s wrong? What the heck happened between you and Nick? I thought everything was going great between you two!” “So did I.” “Please talk about it. Please, Mandy. You’re going through so much pain right now, and I want to be able to help.” I studied Crystal for a moment and could see she was sincere. She leaned over and gave me a hug. I needed one and it helped. I tried drying my eyes, but there was no use. The tears came one after another. “Gosh, Crystal. It’s horrible.” “What is?” I told her about the scene I saw after coming out of the bathroom. She gasped. “Oh, Mandy. I’m so sorry!” We talked things out and she assured me there had to be an explanation. “Nick insisted there was but what is there to explain? He shared a long kiss with another girl! And not just anyone, his ex!” “Maybe you should just hear him out.” “I know we need to talk, but I just can’t bring myself to even look him straight in the eyes! I feel so betrayed! I don’t feel like I can trust him anymore... I don’t know. This whole thing’s a big mess. I don’t know what to do.” “Give him a call,” She suggested handing me the phone. “I can’t. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. So..” I said hoping to change the subject. “What’s going on with you and Josh? You two hooking back up?” Crystal looked at me as if asking, ‘Is it ok for me to talk about it right now?’ I nodded. She filled me in on the latest info. “Yeah. We’re like you and Nick. I.. I mean.. I’m sorry.” “It’s ok.” “Mandy, are you sure you’re alright?” “No. But I’ll have to be.” “You don’t have to be or do anything Mandy.” “I know. Umm, Crys? Could I use your phone?” “Sure. I’ll leave you alone.” She walked out and went into the living room and watched tv. I reached into my pocket, and pulled out a slip of paper that had Leighanne’s number written on it. I told Brian things would work out for them; and just because me and Nick were having problems didn’t mean things still couldn’t be good with them. I wasn’t going to let that affect my promise to Brian. After all, we had made a pact. Friends Forever. I took a deep breath and dialed the number. “Hello?” “Hi. Is this Leighanne?” “Yes it is.” I introduced myself and told her how me and Nick met, and how Brian and I had become great friends. I was surprised by how easy it was to talk to her, even though she was a total stranger to me. I explained how Brian has been feeling lately, and how much he cares for her, and how much he wants her back. All she seemed able to say was, “I had no idea.” We talked for a few more minutes and she agreed to call him up. I gave her the number to the hotel they were now staying at and we got hung up. I was so tired from all the running around I had done today so I just made myself comfortable on Crystal’s bed. I closed my eyes. All kinds of memories of Nick and I together rushed through my mind. The pool experience was the first to pop in my head, and I made it my last. I can’t handle this, I confessed to myself. It’s just too much. I got on the phone again and told my mom I wouldn’t be home tonight, instead I was going to be over at Crystal’s. I gave her a brief reason why and hung up. When I woke up early the next morning, it was 6:00 am. With the way I had felt, I only managed to get about an hour of rest. I went into the living room and saw Crys asleep on the sofa. The television set was still on. I grabbed a bowl of cereal and sat down in front of it. She had had it on VH1. They were now having the countdown. Mandy Moore’s video for “I Wanna Be With You” came on. “I Wanna Be With You.” I repeated the words over and over. It was the truth. I wanted to be with Nick. But I was too hurt.. and too scared. Scared to let him in again. Scared to trust and love him like I did- Like I do. I’m still afraid to admit how I feel for him. I’ve been hurt too many times. And the hurt was going to stop. Stop right now. I’ve had enough. “Take a look at this week’s topmover. It’s the number one video.” The screen went black and BSB’s “The One” came on. “How convenient,” replied Crystal startling me. “I thought you were still asleep! You scared me there for a sec!” “Oh, well sorry about that. By the way.. seeing that come on made me remember something.” “What?” “I was asked to leave you a message from Nick.” “You know what- I don’t even want to hear it.” “Mandy.. he said he’s sorry, and that he didn’t mean to hurt you.” “But he did.” Crystal continued, “He also said he loves you, and he always will. And I believe him Mandy. I know he would never hurt you intentionally. And I also know you still love him.. and you always will- whether you’ll admit it or not.” I just stared at the floor. Everything Crystal had said was true; and I knew it. Not sure what to say, I continued looking at the floor. “Mandy... I know you’re hurting. But you two need to work this out, and soon.” “I know, I know. But I can’t even look him in the eyes without it hurting. I need some time.” “I don’t blame you. But you need to make him aware of what you’re feeling, and how badly you’re hurting.” So much for my plan. “You know what?” I asked Crystal. “I think I’m going to check my answering machine and see if I got any messages. Mind if I use your phone?” “No.” I saw Crystal roll her eyes as she knew I kept changing the subject. I went into Crys’s room and dialed our number. “You have 6 new messages.” Wow! I wonder who all called. “Mandy.. we miss you! It’s no fun without you here! And Nick is miserable. We want you two to work this out! And when you do.. girl you better get up here so we can do some more of that shopping! Well, talking to your machine is not much fun either! I guess I’ll let you go. C-ya.” That’s AJ for ya! “Hey, Mandy. This is Howie D. I just wanted to say that, you and Nicky really need to talk. You need to hear what he has to say..” “Mandy.. pick up! Okay, well.. you have GOT to do something about Nick! All he does is walk around moping- he’s driving me nuts! And hey- we miss having you up here! Come see us. Love you, Kevin.” “Friends Forever, right? Well, friends need to talk! And tell each other how they feel- without holding anything back. Mandy, Nick misses you terribly.. And so do we! It’s so much different without you here. We want you back! Oh, and thank you. You totally got Leighanne and I back on track. You are such a sweetheart, and a true friend. Now it’s my turn. Let me help work things out between you two. That’s what friends are for right? Meet me at your place at 10:30, ok? Trust me on this one. Bye.” The fifth message was blank. Whoever it was was still on the phone though. Every now and then I could hear them taking in a deep breath. It’s like they didn’t know what to say. Then the 6th message came. There was a brief pause. That’s when I heard Nick’s voice. Oh God. It was automatic. Tears already welled up in my eyes and came splashing down. “Mandy... we need to talk. And I know you’re upset and you don’t want anything to do with me, but..” You’re so wrong, Nick. I want everything to do with you.. but it’s just so hard. “Please. I miss you. I miss holding and kissing, and just being with you. Your smile just lights up my day.. and I miss that. Please. I’ll do anything. Please don’t shut me out... You probably aren’t even listening to this message now that you heard my voice, so my talking isn’t doing any good. But if by chance you are.. Mandy, I love you. And I miss you. Please come over to the hotel. We can work this out, I just know we can... I love you, Bye..” Click. Oh Nick! Part of me just wanted to run over there right now and hold him and cuddle. Then the other half just wins over and makes me not ever want to see him again. I looked at my watch. It was now 6:30. Brian wanted to meet at 10:30. I decided I’d meet with him. I was going to show up. Nothing was going to be held back. I was going to tell him Everything! When I arrived at my house later that day, Brian was already waiting. “Oh, I’m so glad you came, Mandy!” “So am I.” He welcomed me with a hug and I started to sit down on the porch. “Not so fast.” He said tugging at my sleeve, and pulling me up, “I was hoping we could talk in a more quiet area.” “Like where?” I asked. “I’ll show you. Just follow me.” “Okay..” Brian drove me up a street or two and then hiked up to a spot on a hill. It overlooked houses, trees, along with lakes. You could see everything. “Wow. This is nice. How did you know this was here?” “Actually I didn’t find it. Nick did.” I dropped my head. Even hearing his name seemed to cause pain. “Mandy..” He lifted my head and continued, “He was walking the other day and just happened to find this area. He came here to think. And you know what of? You. I had a chat with him, and got him to try to see things from your perspective. Now I’m asking you to do the same thing. Try to see things from his.” “I don’t think I can Brian. It hurts too much! Even hearing his name.. it .. it just brings tears to my eyes.” He was quiet. He just sat there and listened. He waited hoping I’d continue- and I did. “I’ve never been able to find that special someone B. And when I think I finally did- he goes and kisses another girl! And not just anyone, but his ex!” I shook my head in discust, and continued, “I always get hurt like this. Always. It never seems to fail. No matter what I do and no matter how hard I try to make it any different... each time I get into this type of situation a wall forms around my heart and I try not to let anyone in. And this time, well.. I thought he was different. I really I knocked down every single one of those walls, and let Nick into my heart. And what did he do? He went and formed another one-- this time bigger than ever. It hurts too much... and I guess I’m just afraid to knock that wall down and let him in again...” My words drifted in the air and I looked up at Brian for the first time since I started talking. “Does that make any sense? Do you understand what I’m talking about?” He shook his head. “Mandy I know exactly what you’re talking about and where you’re coming from. I was in the EXACT same position with Leighanne as you are with Nick. And I know it hurts, I really do. But you know.. things do end up working out for the best. I should know! Mandy-- as hard and as painful as it may be, you should really try to let Nick back in. Not all at once.. but slowly. This stuff takes time.. but I promise you. It’ll be worth the wait.” He put his arm around me and we sat there in silence for awhile. “Thank you Brian. I know you’re right.. and I.. I promise I’ll try.” “Good.” Brian made a crazy face that he knew would get me cracking up. “Aw.. there she is! That’s the part of you we miss! Keep that smile on your face. That’s the part of you we want to see! So.. you going to come up to the hotel later or what?!?” “No. I can’t.” “Mandy, you need to work this out!” “No really Brian, I can’t. I have a softball game.” “Oh!” He sounded relieved, “When and where?” “Why? You planning on showing up?” “Yeah!” “Ok, well it’s at 6:00 tonight. Over at the Taylor Mill fields... you know where that’s at?” “No, but I’ll find out. I guess I’ll see you then.” “Guess so!” “See you later, Mandy. Oh! And promise me another thing will ya?” “And what exactly is that?” “Take care of yourself ok?” “Alright, bye Brian.” “Hold on gurl! You’re not getting away without giving me a goodbye hug!” “Aww! Hey- I tried!” “Oh ok!” “I’m just playing! Come here Brian!” We shared a long friendly hug, then went our seperate ways. “She’s safe!” called the ump. Laurie yelled at the top of her lungs, “YES!” “Next batter.” I was up. I looked around. Bases were loaded. The score was 2-0. The other team was in the lead, and this was the last inning for us to catch up, and there were already two outs. So to put it bluntly, it was all up to me. I went up and took a few practice swings. Come on, Mandy! You can do this. I let the first pitch go by. “Strike one!” That’s ok. It’s only one. I stepped out of the batter’s box and watched the signal my coach gave. He told me to go ahead and swing at the next pitch. The pitch came, but something told me not to swing at it. Trusting my instincts, I didn’t swing. “Strike two.” Oh, man! I looked at my coach. He was upset and aggravated. Just then I heard a familiar voice. Once again, I stepped out of the batter’s box and turned around. As I had thought, there stood Nick. He looked so hot, and- Yeah, but he cheated on you.. his lips were on another girl’s.. I had anger all built inside of me now, and I had to get it out. As the ball left the pitcher’s hand, a flashback of that kiss went through my mind. I swung as hard as I possibly could at that ball. BAM! Cheers came from the dugout, as I ran and ran and ran. That ball was gone! I ran to first, rounded second, and got to third. My coach was unsure if I should keep going. He just couldn’t make up his mind. So I did it for him. I saw the ball being brought into shortstop, but I didn’t care. I ran to home plate. The pitcher got the ball and threw it to the catcher. I slid. “Safe!!” “Yes!!!” I screamed. I had just gotten a grand slam! Everyone of my teammates, and coaches, along with all the parents, ran out onto the field and congratulated me with hugs and screams. I was phsyced! I had gotten all 3 girls that were on base in, along with myself. The score was now 4-2, Us. Since we were home team, and there were already two outs, (and the game had been running over time anyways) the ump replied, “That’s the game!” More cheers. We all lined up and shook hands with the other team. Afterwards Amy came over, and dumped the ice-cold cooler over top of my head. “Oh my gosh!” I shrieked. I stepped out of the dug-out and onto the field which had all the sun. “Aw! Now it’s feeling good!” My whole team stood there giggling. I walked off the field and grabbed my stuff when Nick ran over to me. “That was awesome!” He said giving me a hug. I returned it and said excitedly, “It was wasn’t it!” I stopped and moved back almost immediately. There was still a lot of tension between us and I knew it was probably my fault for shutting him out. But it still hurt -- and I had a feeling it would for awhile. Nick had figured out why I had backed up and decided it would probably be best to go ahead and tell me what he had been trying to say for so long, “Mandy. I’m so sorry. And I don’t want you to think I’m trying to blame it on anyone else- but it really wasn’t my fault.” “What? It sure as heck wasn’t mine!” “No, no. I didn’t mean it was your fault cause it wasn’t!” He looked me in the eyes as he had many times before. “I promise I didn’t kiss her Mandy.” I looked at him in disbelief. “What are you talking about! I saw it with my own eyes Nick!” “That’s not what I meant. And.. looks can be deceiving.” “Nick I know what I saw!” “Mandy..there was nothing on my side of that kiss I promise you!” I didn’t know what to think anymore.. or who to trust. I had nothing to lose so I just decided to hear him out. “Mandah just came up to me out of the blue and told me how good it was to see me again. The next thing I knew-- she leaned over and kissed me on the lips.. I guess that’s when you came in. But Mandy.. I pushed her away as soon as she stuck her lips on mine. Then I saw you standing there..” He looked away. I swear I saw a tear or two form. “I.. I didn’t know what to say. Then you started running. I looked back at Mandah and told her I couldn’t believe she did that and I reminded her that we were over. I told her that like a million times. I said there’s no way I could forgive her... Then I chased after you.” He looked my eyes once again. “I swear I didn’t mean to hurt you. And that kiss.. it meant absolutely nothing to me Mandy. You’ve gotta believe me! It meant absolutely nothing.” I studied his eyes. Well, he looks honest.. Just then my instincts kicked in and told me everything would be okay and that I should let him back in. I had no reason not to trust my instincts. Especially after what happened in the game! I smiled at Nick for the first time in a long while. “I believe you.” “Oh, thank god!” A smile swept across his face in total and utter relief. We stood there for a couple of minutes unsure of what to do. “Umm.. I don’t want to push you into anything too fast or anything.. but umm..” There he went stuttering again; just as he did when I first met him. “May I kiss you?” I grinned and shook my head acknowledging it was ok. We leaned into each other, and shared the most amazing kiss. It was definitely the best one yet. All the walls I had built up came crashing down in that instant. I trusted Nick again and I wasn’t afraid to admit it. I knew at that moment that he was “The One” and I thought I should let him know. “Not only have I found “The One” I have been waiting for, Nick.. but I definitely found my ‘Perfect Moment’! And that I want to thank you for. So.. thank you!” “Your welcome! But you shouldn’t be thanking me! I should be thanking you!” “For what?” “For sticking with me this whole time! I was so afraid I was going to lose you-- and that’s the last thing I want to happen! You mean so much to me..” “Aww. Well in that case, your welcome!” He gently and sweetly replied, “Mandy, I love you.” “I love you too, Nick.” “YES!!” Someone shouted. We turned around. There stood Brian, AJ, Kevin, and Howie, who were all applauding. “It’s about time!” yelled AJ, whole heartedly satisfied. We all exchanged glances and laughed the rest of the way to their car. As I got in I realized that so far, this was truly the best night of my life. I had faced my fears and jumped many obstacles to be with Nick. And as Brian had promised it was all so worth it!

:::THE END:::

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