Nick was whistling as he got off the flight from Tokyo and walked from the terminal to the baggage claim. He stopped and sat down to wait for Amanda, grinning and taking out the velvet box from his carry on bag.
“Today’s the day.” he said as he looked at the ring again, feeling nervous but excited all at once. On the flight home he had planned out exactly what he would say to her, down to the last detail. It was going to be perfect.
Lance hovered over Amanda in the bed and smiled as he kissed her gently. Amanda returned it…she felt so comfortable at that moment.
“I love you.” she said, touching his face with her hand.
“I love you too.” Lance told her as he lay next to her and they cuddled and kissed again. Lance looked at the clock on the wall and smiled.
“Where could she be?” Nick wondered aloud. His flight had been on time and Amanda didn’t answer his phone calls. It was going on 11am and she had not come to pick him up. When noon rolled around, Nick called Brian to come get him.
“Thanks for picking me up, I have been here for almost 4 hours.” Nick said softly, his voice worn. Brian saw his red rimmed eyes and knew something wasn’t right as he helped Nick with his bags.
“Nick, what’s wrong? You seemed so happy when I talked to you last night.”
“Amanda was supposed to pick me up but she never came to get me.” Nick said sadly. They got into the car and Brian didn’t ask where he wanted to go, they simply sat there in silence. Nick looked gloomily at the road in front of them, he was tired from the flight and grumpy but wanted to see Amanda more than anything.
“What do you have there?” Brian asked after Nick had made him stop at the florist to buy a bouquet of flowers. Nick was holding the box and looking at the ring, sighing.
“I am gonna ask her to marry me.” Nick said. Brian almost went off of the road and had to regain control of the car.
“Brian, don’t kill me before I get home.” Nick laughed. His friend blinked at him.
“You are asking her to marry you? Nick, I don’t think that is a good idea, let’s be reasonable here.” Brian said, trying to keep his eyes on the road. Nick closed the box and put it in his pocket.
“Why not? I love her…..I am just going to tell her how I feel….find out if she feels the same about me.” he explained. Brian didn’t know what to say, he had talked to Amanda the other day….he knew she was engaged to Lance. In his opinion, Nick’s plan was a heartbreak waiting to happen.
“That’s great, Nick…but I think you should stop and think about this, you know? You have never been on a real date with her…you never lived together….what makes you think you are ready for marriage? You’re only 20.” Brian suggested. Nick nodded, he privately agreed….but he knew what he wanted. He saw no harm in trying anyway, he was determined to tell Amanda how he felt while he had the courage to do so.
“Take me to Amanda’s place.” Nick said after a moment of awkward silence.
“Are you sure?” Brian said, raising an eyebrow. Nick had no idea that Amanda and Lance were living together, he was asking for trouble.
“Positive. I don’t care if she is dating him, I’m telling her how I feel.” Nick replied sternly. Brian shook his head and made the turn for their street.
“What about your bags?”
“Just bring them to my house. I will be by there later. I gotta talk to her.” Nick said, picking up the flowers and heading towards Amanda’s house. Nick walked to the door and before he rang the bell, it opened.
“Lance…” Nick said timidly as he stood there, smiling. Lance came out onto the porch and nudged Nick away from the door.
“What are you doing here, Nick?” he asked, his eyes narrowed as they fell upon the flowers.
“I want to talk to Amanda.” Nick said, staring back at him. He knew Lance was trying to intimidate him, but it wouldn’t work this time.
“She doesn’t want to see you. Why do you think she never picked you up?” Lance told him, an arm around Nick’s shoulder. Nick wriggled out of it and stared at him.
“But how do-”
“How do I know? Ah, Nicky….Amanda lives with me now. I know everything. She doesn’t want to see you…she wouldn’t come to the door, she sent me to talk to you.” Nick frowned at Lance using his nickname.
“Well I want to talk to her anyway.” Nick said defiantly, heading for the door again. Lance stepped in front of him.
“Awe. Are you gonna tell her you love her? Is that it?” he asked. Nick was silent. He wondered how Lance knew everything before he said it.
“Yeah I am. So get out of my way.” Nick snapped.
“Go ahead…but you are going to wish you hadn’t.”
“What do you mean?” Nick asked, turning around. Lance grinned. Nick had overstepped his bounds….he was going down.
“Tell me something, Nick. How are you going to take care of her? You are famous….you will be traveling all the time.”
“She can come with me.” Nick said. He hadn’t thought about this at all.
“You expect her to give up her dreams? Her career? To what, travel around in a tour bus for the rest of her life? What about children….that is no way to raise kids.” Lance continued. Nick was silent….looking at him and feeling lost.
“Come to think of it, Nick….you can’t even live on your own without help. How would you provide for Amanda when you are emotionally unstable? Look at you…you’re going to cry.”
“I love her….I can take care of her. I damn well could treat her better than you.” Nick said, fighting the urge to shed tears.
“Nick, your own parents did not even love you. What makes you think anyone would love you….Amanda sure as hell doesn’t, or she wouldn’t have agreed to marry me.” Lance sneered. Nick’s heart sank at the word “marry”. It couldn’t be possible….he had waited too long.
“I want….I want to talk to her.” Nick said softly, looking at his feet.
“Bro, I told you….she doesn’t want you. She wants me. Give it up.” Lance replied, placing a hand on Nick’s back.
“You will never be good for her, Nick. She needs a strong man….you’re weak. You can’t take care of yourself, how would you support her? Just save yourself the embarrassment.” he added. Nick felt his eyes watering. He knew Lance was right….he was not strong enough to take care of Amanda.
“Nick….you’re home…” Amanda’s voice came from the door.
“Hi honey. We were having a little chat.” Lance said, walking to her and kissing her cheek. Amanda looked at Nick, concerned as Lance went into the house.
“Are those for me?” she asked, noticing the flowers.
“Y-yeah.” Nick replied, noticing the ring on her finger. He felt his heart drop completely and fought off the urge to cry in front of her.
“They are beautiful…thank you.” Amanda said. She moved to hug him, but Nick backed away from her.
“I have to….I have to go.” he said shakily….turning and walking away from her….she never saw him cry. Nick had never felt so awful in his life….but now he knew what a broken heart felt like.