Chapter   Eighteen

"Brian, where are we going?" VJ asked. She was blindfolded and couldn't see where her and Brian were headed.

"I told you, it's a surprise," Brian said.

He drove towards a carnival that was taking place in Tampa. He and VJ decided to stay at Nick's house for a couple days, then head back to Orlando with him, Alisha, and Nicky. Nick, Alisha, and Nicky had already taken off for the carnival an hour earlier and the five of them were going to meet at the ferris wheel with Nick's parents and his brother and sisters, in a couple of hours. Then the two couples would go to a small community dance by the ocean.

As Brian's car neared the carnival, he turned up the radio and made sure all the windows were up so VJ wouldn't hear the carnival music. VJ was starting to get impatient, but she and Brian were trying to get their relationship back together, so she didn't complain.... much.

"It feels like we've been driving for hours, Brian," VJ said. "Aren't we there yet? Wherever 'there' is."

"Just a few more minutes," Brian muttered. He parked the car and turned to VJ. "Okay, you can take off the blindfold now."

VJ ripped it off and looked out the window. "A carnival! I haven't been to one in years!"

VJ jumped out of the car before Brian could take off his seatbelt. He laughed at her enthusiasm. VJ was practically jumping up and down with excitement by the time Brian reached the other side of the car.

"I thought you could use a day of fun with all that's been going on this week," said Brian.

"Thank you so much, sweetie," VJ smiled. She gave Brian a quick kiss on the lips, then grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the entrance.

They had a lot of fun. Except VJ couldn't get Brian on any ride that went up in the air, which was practically everyone of them. After a while, they went to play some games. Brian tested his strength and won VJ a huge teddy bear. To them it felt like the first time they got together, like they were getting to know each other again. Luckily, Brian and Nick were wearing hats and sunglasses so they wouldn't get recognized. As it started getting darker out, they had to remove the sunglasses and pray no one recognized them.

A couple hours later, VJ had three stuffed animals and Brian won a couple of goldfish. They could see Nick, VJ, and Nicky on the ferris wheel. Bob, Jane, BJ, Leslie, Angel, and Aaron were also riding the ferris wheel. VJ and Brian stood by a waited for them to come over.

"Hey, guys," Nick said, walking over. "What's up? Did you have fun?"

"Have you guys riden the ferris wheel yet?" Aaron asked.

"Yes, we did," VJ answered. "It was one of the few rides I could get Brian to go on with me."

"But did you not have fun anyway?" Brian pointed out.

"Yes, Brian, I had a lot of fun," VJ agreed.

"Nick won me this huge bunny rabbit, and Nicky got a stuffed dog," Alisha said, smiling. "It looks like you two got a lot of souvinirs."

"No kidding," Brian said. "I spent some money to get this stuff."

"Well, I think it's time to take the children home," Jane said.

"Aw, mom, can't we stay a little longer?" Leslie asked.

"Yeah, mom, pleeeeeease?" Angel begged.

"Sorry, but you have school tomorrow and you need to get to bed," Jane told them.

The big crowd headed towards the exit. After reaching the general area of where they parked their cars, Nick and Alisha handed Nicky over to Jane, so he could be put to bed and give them some time alone. After kissing Nicky goodnight, Nick, Alisha, and BJ hopped into Nick's car and took off to the community dance, with Brian and VJ following close behind in their car.

The five of them reached the dance and BJ hurried off to meet her friends. Nick and Alisha hit the dance floor, while Brian and VJ went to go find them a table. Soon, everyone was on the floor, dancing to a slow song. When Nick spotted his sister with some guy's arms around her, Alisha had to remind him that she was sixteen years old and would come to them if she needed help, but Nick kept a close eye on the guy.

Brian also saw the guy with BJ and VJ kept her arms around him tightly so he couldn't go over there and scare the guy 'cause she knew BJ would be so embarrassed. She kept his attention on her. VJ was fine until one song started playing....

I know that there are times when I
Don't listen to you
And maybe now it seems that I
Am untrue
But give me one more chance and I'll prove
My love to you

And, oh, girl
I'll do anything
To be back with you
I'll show affection
In anything you choose
And I'll do all this to prove
That I love you
I do love you

And, girl
You know I love you and
I care, yeah
And if you ever need me, I
Will always be there
I'm missing all the love (All the love)
That you and I share

And, oh, girl (Oh, girl)
You and I
Should never be apart
So, can't we try it again
And make a brand new start
You I love you with all my heart
'Cause, baby, I love you
I do love you

Now I lay me down to sleep
You're not my side
My pillow soakin' wet
From all the tears that I've cried
When I look in your eyes
I don't see me anymore
So, can we try it one more time
Before you walk out that door

And, oh, girl (Oh, girl)
I'm sorry
I didn't understand
That all you wanted
Was a sensitive man
So I'll do all that I can
To show you I love you
Oh, baby
Baby, I do love you

You know, girl (You know, girl)
I love you so much (I love you so much)
I just can't understand how come (Why)
Things can't work out for us
If I could only tell you right now (How I feel)
I know everything between you and me would be all right
(I know everything between you and me would be all right)

You know I love you, baby

You know, girl
I love you so much (Oh, baby)
I just can't understand how come
Things can't work out for us
You know, girl (It's gonna be all right now, baby)
I love you so much
I just can't understand how come (You know that I love, baby)
Things can't work out for us
You know, girl
I love you so much
I just can't understand how come (I care so much about you)
Things can't work out for us (Oh, I love you, baby)
You know, girl (I need you with me)
I love you so much (I want you with me)
I just can't understand how come (Oh, baby)
Things can't work out for us....

By the time the song ended, VJ was trying her best to hide her tears. But Brian felt a wet spot on his shoulder and made VJ look at him. He saw the tears in her eyes before she could wipe them away.

"VJ, what's wrong?" he asked her.

"I don't know," she answered. "The song just really got to me, that's all."

"The song reminded you of us, didn't it?" Brian went on when VJ didn't answer. "It reminded me of us, too, but we're going to get past this. VJ, we're going to make it."

"How do we know that?" VJ asked, not bothering to stop the tears falling down her face. "Brian, we've been 'trying' for the past five months. When is it going to happen? When will we get past this barrier that's formed between us?"

Brian led her off the dance floor, outside onto the beach and sat down next to her on a bench. "I don't know. I've tried everything I could think of to get you to trust me again. There's nothing I want more than to hear you tell me you love me again. But I don't know what else I can do."

VJ looked at him, seeing his own tears. Then all of a sudden she felt like the chains that had been holding her down were taken off. VJ stood up, pulled Brian out of his chair, and put her arms around his neck, holding him close. Brian wrapped his arms around her waist, not knowing what to expect.

"I love you," VJ whispered in his ear.

Brian pulled back and looked at her. "What?"

"I love you, Brian," she repeated. "I love you with all my heart and soul. You make me complete."

Brian couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Do you mean that?"

VJ nodded, then Brian picked her up and spun her around.

"I love you, too," Brian whispered, just before he kissed her.

Brian and VJ kissed for the longest time, letting all the pent up emotion flow through them. When they parted, they headed back to the dance with their arms holding each other close.

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