Amanda was just finishing up classes for the day when she got back to her dorm and saw a brown package. Nick had sent her a gift from Los Angeles…she had a feeling about what it was. Grabbing it, she ran excitedly to her car and drove to Nick’s house….he wasn’t home but AJ was taking care of the place while he was recording.
“AJ!!” Amanda shouted happily, walking into the house. Nick had given her an extra key and said she could come in anytime. AJ rounded the corner in nothing but a pair of SpongeBob boxer shorts. Amanda stood there in surprise, holding back a laugh.
“Uh….don’t you knock?” AJ asked, holding a plate with a sandwich on it.
“Don’t you wear pants?” Amanda giggled.
“Not when there is nobody here but me…” AJ replied, sitting down and propping his feet on the coffee table. Amanda took his feet and let them drop to the floor.
“Nick would kill you if he saw footprints on his coffee table.” she commented. AJ scowled and set down his sandwich.
“What brings you here anyway? Don’t you have something….ah…what was it? Oh yeah….college?” he teased.
“Look what came in the mail today!” Amanda squealed happily, holding up Nick’s CD. He was on the cover, standing barefoot on a beach with a sunset behind him.
“I got one too,” AJ said as he pointed to the brown package on the coffee table. Amanda was so proud of Nick, holding the CD in her hands and looking at his picture….he looked so professional and happy.
“Wanna listen to it with me?” she asked excitedly. AJ laughed and agreed.
“Go put some clothes on first.” Amanda teased as she got Nick’s stereo ready. AJ returned with pants and a tank top on. He sat on the floor cross legged next to the stereo as Nick’s voice came out of it.
“Help me….figure out the difference between right and wrong, weak and strong…day and night, where I belong.” AJ said after listening for a bit.
“He wrote all the lyrics….that’s unheard of for a solo artist just starting their career.” Amanda pointed out. Nick was only 19 and had written almost the whole album. She took out the lyric book and read his thank yous.
“What?” AJ asked when he saw her tearing.
“Listen to this…” she said before clearing her throat.
“I have been through good and bad times….high points and low ones…but you have been there through them all. A….you are my best friend and I could never repay you for all you’ve given me. This album is dedicated to you…143.”
“What does 143 mean?” AJ asked in confusion.
“I don’t know, but its so sweet of him to say. He thanks you and Brian too, but wow…” Amanda said. She wanted to know what 143 meant, Nick was funny like that when he wrote in code.
“So do you guys like it?” a voice said behind them. Amanda turned around to see Nick standing there holding his bags, grinning at them.
“Nicky!” she squealed, running to hug him. He laughed and held her, but his heart broke a little knowing she was not his.
“The prodigal son returns….for good I hope?” AJ asked.
“No, just for a little over a week.” Nick said. Amanda was a little shocked by this because she had been wishing he would come home, but she knew with his career that he would be busy and away a lot of the time.
“That’s not very long.” Amanda commented. Nick looked down at his feet and put on a smile for them.
“JC asked me to open for him on his world tour. I’m going to Germany next week.” he said.
“Wow, that’s awesome….you’re legal to drink over there.” AJ laughed. Nick laughed too, he knew this but he was not looking forward to going away. This time was different, there would be an ocean between him and amanda instead of one country. Amanda was concerned, Nick had never been out of the country before, but she knew JC would take care of him.
“I wish you could go to my first show,” Nick said several days later when he was leaving for Germany.
“Me too…but school calls.” Amanda told him sadly.
“flight 562 to Germany is now boarding.” came the message over the loudspeaker.
“I have to go.” Nick said tearfully. Amanda hugged him and held him tight, his long arms wrapped around her. She almost wouldn’t let him go as she started to cry.
“Call me when you land, Nickolas Gene.” Amanda said, smiling as tears ran down her face.
“I will….” Nick said, laughing. When he landed in Germany, it was very cold. He shivered as he waited for JC to meet him, who had taken a different flight but was landing not long after him.
“Hi, Nick. You okay? How was your flight?” he asked after they collected their bags.
“Not really….I wanted Amanda to come to my first show…” Nick started, stopping to yawn from the jet lag.
“So invite her, I will pay for her ticket.” JC offered.
“Good luck getting her to leave school, college is important to her and I don’t want her to fail.” Nick laughed.
“I can fix that.” JC muttered as they walked out of the airport and into the waiting limousine.