Chapter   Twenty-Three

"Come on, Nick, let's go," Brian said.

"I thought the girls were going to pick us up?" Nick said, tucking the white, silk shirt into the baggy, black jeans he borrowed from Kevin.

"VJ called and said that she thought it would be better if we picked them up," Brian told him He was already dressed in baggy, blue jeans and a blue shirt that matched his eyes. "You know, make a good impression with the parents."

"I guess." Nick looked at his appearance in the mirror. "How do I look?"

"You look great, now let's go." Brian grabbed the keys to his jeep and walked out of his room with Nick following him.

"Good luck, guys," Howie said. "Don't embarrass us."

"You guys look good in my clothes," Kevin said. "Be careful around their brothers. If my only sister was going out with any guy, I'd be keeping an eye on them."

"Kevin, you don't have a sister," Nick said.

"I was speaking hypothetically, Nick," Kevin said, looking at him weird.

"We don't have time to chat, guys," Brian said, hurriedly. "Nick and I have to go now."

Nick and Brian walked out of the apartment and ran to the jeep. They drove over to VJ's and Alisha's apartment a couple buildings down. They jumped out of the jeep and ran up the stairs. Nick knocked a couple times and waited a few minutes. Aliaha opened the door.

"Hey, guys," she said. "You look great."

"Thanks," Nick and Brian said in unison.

"Come on in, we're almost ready." She stepped aside and let them in.

"Is VJ in her room?" Brian asked Alisha.

"Yeah, she's trying to figure out what shoes to wear with her outfit. Go right in. She's already dressed."

"Cool." Brian walked down the hall and stopped in front of VJ's door about to knock when he heard someone singing.

"Outside my window
Rain is falling down
And I can see your face
Mirrored in my mind
I have to wonder
Is this just a dream
Or are you thinking of me
Looking through your window too...."

Brian opened the door quietly and saw VJ standing in front of the mirror putting on a pair of earrings. Then she look at a couple of necklaces and picked one to wear. He stood in the doorway, watching and listening to her sing.

"And I'll make a wish
And send it out to you
I've got all my heart
And all my love to give you
I didn't mean make you hurt
Or make you cry
I still feel this love, boy
Deep inside.

"I wanna stay
Forever with you
Feeling ever heart beat
So close to mine
I wanna stay
Forever with you
Holdin' on o every breath
Stay forever with you...."

"You have a beautiful voice," Brian said aloud.

VJ turned around and saw Brian standing in her doorway. She smiled at him. "Thanks."

"I didn't know you could sing like that. Why didn't you tell me?"

"I don't know. I just figured you do enough singing for the both of us. And it never really occured to me to tell you."

Alisha walked into the room with Nick. "Come on, you two. We have to get going if we want to be on time."

The two couples walked into the living room. VJ and Alisha checked to make sure all the doors and windows were locked, grabbed their jackets, their house keys, and headed to the jeep. Nick and Alisha got in back, VJ took the front passenger seat, and Brian got into the driver seat. VJ directed Brian on how to get to her parents house. Within a half hour, they pulled up to a security gate and VJ got out to enter the number code. She got back in while the gate was opening and Brian proceeded into the large circular driveway. He parked the jeep and they all got out. Brian and Nick looked at the extravagant house.

I don't think this counts as a house, Nick thought. It's too big to be a house.

Whoa, Brian thought. This isn't a house. This is a really huge mansion.

After getting over their initial shock, Brian and Nick offered their arms to VJ and Alisha, and walked them up the door. Right when they got there, VJ's brother, JJ opened the door.

"It about time, little sister, Alisha," he said, giving them a big hug. "Hey, Brian, Nick, how's it goin'?"

"We're doin' pretty good," Brian answered, offering his hand. JJ shook hands with Brian, then Nick.

"That's good. Well, everybody's already here. They're all in the living room."

Brian, VJ, Nick, and Alisha walked inside the house. JJ walked ahead of them into the living room to tell the adults they arrived. Brian and Nick hesitated a litte.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" VJ asked. "If you don't, we can go right now."

"Yeah, Nick," Alisha said, looking at him. "You don't have to do this if you don't want to."

"I'll be fine," Brian said. "I'm just a little nervous."

"Me, too," Nick said, grabbing hold of Alisha's hand.

"It's okay," Alisha assured him. "My parents aren't that scary."

"Neither are mine," VJ said.

"Alright. Let's go in there." Brian held out his hand and VJ took hold.

They all walked into the living room, holding onto each other's hands real tight. None of them knew what to expect.

Chapter Twenty-Four:
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