Nick was being quiet on what all they were going to do in Atlanta. As far as Elisa knew, the trip to Atlanta was her present. She was excited nonetheless.
They landed in Atlanta and Leighanne was waiting for them. She greeted them enthusiastically, hugging Elisa tightly and kissing Nick on the cheek.
“Bri’s at home with Bailey, he didn’t feel well,” Leighanne explained.
As they headed to Brian’s house, Leighanne caught up with Elisa.
“So, what’s new at work?”
“Some stuff came up that I’ll talk about later,” Elisa said, making Nick look at her curiously.
“Okay, we’re here!” Leighanne said brightly, pulling into the driveway of her decent sized house.
Elisa walked through the door to hear a huge “SURPRISE!”
All the guys, their wives, and their kids were there, in a very decorated living room.
“Oh my God, guys!” she exclaimed, covering her face.
“Happy birthday, girl!” AJ said, bumping his ass on hers.
“Thanks, ya’ll, wow,” Elisa said taking everything in.
They all had cake and refreshments, and Leighanne gave her a gift of new writing journals.
“I’m sure yours is getting full,” she said.
Elisa bit her lip and nodded.
Leighanne noticed her look, and pulled her aside.
“What the hell is going on? What’s going on at work?”
“They want to promote me. They want to send me to Buenos Aires to work with underprivileged teens for a year,” Elisa said in a whisper.
“Oh my god,” Leighanne said, clapping her hands to her mouth. “And Nick doesn’t know?”
“No. I need to talk to him, but they need an answer by the end of April.”
Leighanne shook her head and hugged her.
“I’ll be here if you need me, I promise.”
Nick surprised her the next day by taking her to the house that was the inspiration for Tara in “Gone with the Wind”.
“How in the hell did you do this?” she asked as they walked the grounds.
“Brian helped. He told me of all the places here I need to take you, that were inspired by that chick flick you two like so much.”
Elisa punched him on the arm playfully as they walked on.
“Okay, so, not really wanting to ruin our day, but what was that about your job yesterday? What’s come up?” Nick asked, leaning against a tree.
Elisa winced, really not wanting to talk about it.
“They want to promote me,” she said.
“That’s amazing, Elisa!” he said, kissing her. Pulling away, he saw the look on her face that suggested it wasn’t really great news. “What?”
“The job is out of the country. I’d be helping underprivileged teenagers in Buenos Aires for a year,” she explained.
“Oh, wow,” Nick said, leaning against the tree again.
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know. I need to give them an answer by the end of April.”
Nick smiled at her.
“So you have plenty of time to decide,” he said. “Don’t worry about it right now, let’s just enjoy your birthday.”
Elisa smiled back, and kissed his cheek.
“Thanks baby,” she said.
Brian, Leighanne, Nick, and Elisa went out to dinner at one of Brian’s favorite places. It served real soul food, and, although both Nick and Elisa were concerned about their diets, they gave in with promises to upping their runs the next day.
Nick thought about what Elisa’s dilemma was. He did not like the idea of her going away for a year for work. However, he knew that he did it all the time.
She loved her job, and Nick was happy she did. It gave her something to do while he was gone, but he would be lying if he said he’d be happy if she chose Argentina. He’d be devastated.
As he watched Elisa interact with his friends-well, her friends now- he couldn’t help but feel some sort of dread in his stomach. He had a feeling this wasn’t going to end well.
Their happiness truly was short lived, as the next week, the guys took off on their tour.
Nick kissed Elisa sweely as she tried to hold back her tears.
“Don’t cry, baby girl. I’m already having problems getting on that plane,” he said, chocking back his own sadness.
“I’m just going to miss you. I know you’ll be back, it’s just going to be hard sleeping without you.”
Nick grinned suddenly.
“What?” she asked, smiling slightly.
He took something out of his pocket and handed it to her.
It was a key.
“It’s not the same as sleeping with me, but if you’re in my bed, it’s close,” Nick said, chewing the inside of his jaw.
“Thanks, baby,” she whispered.
“Nick, time to go,” Kevin said, sending a sympathetic smile to Elisa.
Nick pulled Elisa in for one last kiss, and he made it count.
“I love you, Elisa Montgomery,” he said, looking in her eyes.
“I love you, too, Nick Carter. Come back to me,” she whispered back.