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Elisa got up the next morning and drove to the hospital, where they were releasing Leah to Rochelle.

Leah was in good spirits, considering what had happened to her, and Rochelle looked a little better.

Leah had talked to the social worker. She had said Roger told her she couldn’t tell her mommy what he was doing, or she would be mad at her. After a few more talks, the doctor and social worker cleared her to go home to her mom, but it was suggested that Leah was to see a counselor twice a month.

“So, you and Nick?” Rochelle asked in the car.

Elisa smiled as she drove.

“We’re friends.”

“Uh huh. Sure you are, sweetness.”

“Shut up,” Elisa said. “We’re having fun being friends. Maybe it will be more. Who knows?”

“Well, I think he’s very sweet. He saved your ass from jail last night.”

“I know he did.”

Rochelle looked back at Leah. She was busy playing with her stuffed frog.

“I hope she never remembers it,” she whispered.

Elisa saw the pain in Rochelle’s face as she looked at her.

“Yeah, me too.”


Elisa arrived home after spending the day with her sister and niece. She sent Nick a text, saying she was home and she’d call him later.

She poured a bowl of cereal and watched some TV.

“Some news here, apparently Nick Carter and his fiancee Maureen are done! Maureen was seen on the streets of New York kissing another man, and when their publicists were contacted, it was confirmed that the couple split months ago, amicably. Nick’s publicist stated that “things were handled well and the couple have a mutual respect toward each other. They weren’t ready to settle down, and ended things on friendly terms.” With Nick headed to Japan with the Backstreet Boys, there will be some very happy ladies to greet him!”

Elisa rolled her eyes and turned the channel. They were only four months late.

She found a horror movie on and she settled in to watch it. She laughed at the memory of her calling Nick a freak for liking these movies. He was definitely rubbing off on her.

She fell asleep halfway through it.

Her phone rang at 10:00 and she woke up, startled.

She saw it was Nick.

“Shit, Nick, I’m so sorry, I fell asleep,” she said as soon as she answered.

“Naw, it’s fine, don’t apologize. Just calling to check up on Leah and Rochelle.”

“Oh, they’re fine. Leah is in good spirits. Rochelle is trying not to blame herself.”

“She shouldn’t, it wasn’t her fault.”

“I know that. But still…anyway, changing the subject, I saw the news earlier,” she said.

“Yeah, that was funny to see. So, look, you think you can take Tuesday off? It’s my last full day before Japan, and I want to spend it with you.”

Elisa smiled a little.

“I’ll see if I can take off early, but Wednesday is a day off from school anyway, so I can’t take Tuesday off, too.”

“Understandable,” Nick said. “So, what do you think of spending some of Tuesday with me?”

“I’d love to.”


On Tuesday, she walked in happily, as Yolanda rolled her eyes playfully at her.

“Personal reasons my ass! You’re fooling no one!” she called after her. Elisa stuck her tongue out at her.

She filled out paperwork and talked to a few students, counting the hours before it was time for her to leave.

Yolanda was working on something a few hours later as a man cleared his throat.

“Does Ms. Montgomery work here?” he asked.

“Yes but she’s in with a student and she’s leaving early today- oh, my God…” she trailed off, as Nick Carter, in a leather jacket, blue jeans, and a kind smile stood in front of her.

“Yeah, she’s not expecting me,” he said, chuckling at the look on Yolanda’s face.

“Um, have a seat Mr. Carter, she’ll be right out.”

“Don’t tell her I’m here, just say last minute visitor,” he suggested, smiling wickedly. “And it’s Nick.”

“Yolanda,” she said breathlessly.

“Yeah, she’s told me about you,” Nick said, sitting down as Yolanda called inside to Elisa’s office.

“Last minute visitor…I know but he’s very insistent and is refusing to leave until you see him…I know…Don’t give me that, I know exactly why you’re leaving early…okay.”

Yolanda turned to Nick, laughing.

“She’s not happy.”

“Of course not,” Nick replied, snickering.

The door opened.

“Okay, Michelle, just have it to me by the tenth, and we’ll send it off, okay?”

“Yes, Ms Montgomery.”

Michelle left the office and Elisa turned to Yolanda.

“Where is the visitor?”

“Right there,” Yolanda said, pointing at Nick.

Elisa turned, and then smacked Yolanda with her clipboard.

“You two are so mean!” she said, laughing as Nick hugged her.

“C’mon, Ells. You’re mine for the next few hours.”

“Have fun,” Yolanda said teasingly.

“Take my car to my house, Yolanda. At least you don’t have to use the bus,” Elisa said, tossing her her keys.

“Will do, girl.”

Elisa followed Nick out to his car.

“Where are we going?”

“Well, where would you like to go?” Nick asked. “As long as I can spend the day with my best girl, I don’t care what we do.”

“Well, I have a thing for graveyards, so I was wondering…if we could go to Forest Lawn?”

Nick thought for a moment.

“Damn, I really am rubbing off on you,” he said, laughing. “Yeah, we can.”

Putting the car in drive, he headed out.

“Are you excited for Japan?” Elisa asked.

“Yes. I love Japan. But I’m going to miss you. You’re like my best friend, and I don’t know what I’m going to do without you over there.”

Elisa smiled.

“Ditto. But you have Brian, don’t you?”

“Brian’s my boy, sure. But I don’t feel the same way about talking to him about stuff like I do you. Although your interests are so similar it's crazy. But I guess all Georgians are cousins or something.”

"First of all, Tampa-man, it's est Virginia that does the cousins thing. Secondly, Brian's a Georgia transplant, since he's originally from Kentucky."

"So? I was born in New York, but I consider Florida home."

"Yeah...but...damn. Point to you," Elisa finally said as Nick smirked.

She changed the subject, and they talked about Japan the rest of the way.

They parked, and a guard let Nick and Elise go right in.

“Who exactly are you looking for?” Nick asked
“Well, I can’t see the exact place where Michael Jackson is, but I’m looking for Clark Gable, James Dean, Liz Taylor, all of them.”

“Okay,” Nick said, taking her hand.

They spent most of the day finding the graves and talking about old movies. Nick actually didn’t watch old movies unless they were horror movies.

Nick learned her favorite movie was Gone with the Wind, and it was her favorite book as well. A Georgia thing, she’d said. Which made a lot of sense in Brian’s case, who loved the hell out of that movie.

He watched her as she stared at the building that held Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor.

“You a Michael fan?” he asked her.

“Yes. He’s the reason I dance. I was a mess when he died.”

Nick smiled and touched her arm.

“We all were. I loved the dude, he was really cool, too. I remember defending him one time.”

Elisa smiled.

“He was the best, and he knew it. Sadly, the world was cruel to him”

Giving the building one last look, she said “I think we can go somewhere else now. If we stay here too long, we’ll probably attract celebrity zombies or something.”

Nick laughed.


They walked back to the car.

“Your turn now,” she said.

“What about my place for a movie?” he asked.

Elisa grinned.

“Sounds good to me.”

Nick’s house wasn’t obnoxiously huge, but it was definitely beautiful. It was on the sound-front, and if she looked closely, she could make out his boat in the back.

He showed her in.

“Make yourself comfortable, I’ll pick a movie,” he said, taking off his jacket and laying it on the counter.

Elisa sat on his couch and looked around. There were pictures of his family and friends everywhere. She smiled at a picture of him and Brian goofing off. And she was surprised to see a self taken picture of the two of them framed on an end table. He took it at the gym after she’d done five miles on the treadmill.

He came in with two movies.

“Left or right?” he asked.

“Ummm…left,” she said.

He looked down and groaned.

“Looks like I get to see what the big deal is with Gone with the Wind. I’m going to need some popcorn for this,” he said, grumbling.

“Wait, you actually have the movie?”

“Don’t judge me, my sister Brian left it here.”

“I’m going to tell him you said that.”

“He’ll embrace it and channel his inner Southern Belle,” Nick said in a horrible southern accent.

Elisa laughed.

“What’s the other movie?” she asked.

“Dracula, the one with Gary Oldman.”

“Ooh, let’s watch that.”


“Yeah! I love it. It’s one of the few horror movies that I have seen before I met you.”

Nick grinned.


He put it in, and settled next to her.

They were soon engrossed in the movie.

Nick watched Elisa out the corner of his eye. He really liked her. Sure, she came with baggage, but she was upfront about it. She definitely had a take me or leave me attitude. He has said she was his best friend, but he knew what he was feeling was a hell of a lot more than friendly shit.

He kept wondering what it would be like to date her. Really date her. He was enjoying being friends with her, but, frankly, he wanted more with her. It didn’t help that the more he hung around her, the more he realized she was the sexiest woman he’d ever known. Her sassy attitude, her looks, the way she could banter with him like the boys could, it was all a major turn on.

It was dark by the time they were finished with the movie. Neither wanted her to go home, just yet, so Elisa challenged Nick to cook. He made spaghetti while she made a salad, and they ate dinner together. Elisa deemed his dinner acceptable, for a guy who lived off of whatever food the road offered.

Finally, it was time for her to go. Nick drove her home, and walked her to her door.

“Today was wonderful, Elisa,” he said softly.

“It was. Thanks for everything,” she replied back, looking up at him.

He took his hand and caressed her face again. She looked into his blue eyes, and she saw true sadness. He was really going to miss her in Japan.

However, there was something else there, too. She knew immediately what it was and her walls went up in an instant.

“Look, Elisa, do me a favor.”


“Don’t go dating guys until I get back?”


Nick sighed.

“Because, I want to be that guy. These past few months, I don’t know. I love being around you. You’ve become more to me than my friend, and the thought of not seeing you for a month is already hurting. I just want to know if you’ll wait for me.”

Elisa was panicking. She wasn’t ready for this. She wanted this, but she was not ready to hear those words leave his mouth.

“I don’t know, Nick. I know I won’t be dating anyone, but I’m not sure we’re ready for that. I don’t want to be a rebound.”

Nick shook his head.

“You’re not just a rebound to me, Elisa,” he said urgently.

Elisa knew he was being truthful.

“I don’t know, Nick. I see you, and you’re…everything I could ever want in a guy. But so was Derek, and look how that turned out.”

“I’m not going to fuck around on you.”

“I know that! But my trust issues are still there, and-“ Elisa stopped, trying to stop the horrible memory from returning. “I’m more than a little messed up, Nick. I’ve never kept that from you.”

“So am I. But you do something to me I can’t explain. You make all that bad shit I feel go away. And I know I do the same to you. I can feel it.”

Elisa looked up at him again, and his eyes were full of emotion.

“If you say no, fine. We can still kick it like we do now, because I don’t want to lose you. But I just want you to think about it.”

“I’ll think about it. But I won’t date anyone else. I promise,” she said.

Nick drew her close, and dipped his head down and kissed her.

This kiss was strong, like whiskey. It burned, and it was making Elisa want more.

Nick drew away.

“Something to think about,” he whispered. He then turned and walked back to his car.

Elisa went inside, and took a deep breath. She still felt his kiss burning on her lips.

What the hell was she going to do?