The next day was filled with hugs and kisses goodbye.
"Look at Brian and Rose," Rae said. Nick looked at them.
They had been sitting in the same position, talking ever since they got to the airport an hour earlier, arms wrapped around each other. Julia and AJ were sitting together, too. AJ had his arm around her while Julia rested her head against his shoulder. It looked like they were having a pretty good conversation. Kevin, Howie, and Nick were talking to Rae. She was holding onto Kevin's and Nick's hands.
"Keep me up on the details of your singing careers," Rae said.
"Don't worry. We will," Howie said, dutifully.
"We'll call you when we have something going," said Kevin.
"Flight 366, Ontario to Orlando, now boarding at Gate 17!!" a voice announced over the speaker.
Everyone stood up, picked up their overnight bags and backpacks, and headed towards Gate 17. Rae held onto Kevin and Nick, AJ kept his arm around Julia, who had her arm around his waist, and Brian had his arms around Rose's waist.
After more hugs and kisses goodbye, the Boys boarded the plane. Nick had given Rae a little box which she held in her hand. She had also given him something. Julia held a little box in her hand and so did Rose.
"Come on, girls," Rae said, a little sad. "Let's go get something to eat."
They walked out of the airport to the car, where Rae's dad was waiting with Todd. They drove to a McDonald's down the street and walked in. Mike and Todd were nice enough to leave the girls alone so they could talk.
"What do you got there, Julia?" Rae asked, pointing to the little box.
"AJ gave it to me before they boarded the plane," she said.
"Open it," Rose said. "How about we all open our presents at the same time. I know you got one, Rae."
"Yes, I do. Nick gave one to me before they got on the plane." Rae looked at the box in her hand.
"And I have mine from Brian. Alright. 1... 2... 3... OPEN!!!"
All three girls opened their presents. Rae looked inside her box and her eyes watered. There were a pair of garnet earrings and a matching ring. She was going to take out the earrings when she noticed a note.
By now, I'm on my way home. I'm going to miss you so much. Actually, I'm missing you right now and I haven't even left your room yet. I was so happy when you wanted me to come see you. I'm glad I was there for your 12th birthday. I'm sure this is coming out all wrong, but you're really important to me. No distance could change that. You'll always be my best friend, so I give you my birthstone. Garnet.
I Love You, Nick "
Raelene started crying. She looked up and saw Julia and Rose crying with notes in their hands, too.
"What did you get, Rose?" Rae asked.
"A pair of amethyst earrings and a matching ring," she said, tears in her eyes. "Amethyst is Brian's birthstone."
"Read us the note," said Julia.
" 'Rose'," she read. " 'I've only known you a short time, but I can already see you're special. I had fun getting to know you, seeing your beautiful face light up when you laugh or smile. My dad told me once he gave my mom his birthstone when he realized he'd found someone special. So now, I give you my birthstone with my heart. I miss you. Love Always, Brian'."
Rose held up the box to show Rae and Julia the earrings and ring. They could tell Rose was trying so hard not to cry.
"What about you, Julia?" Rose said, her voice wavering. "What did AJ give you?"
"A pair of earrings and a ring. We saw them in Claire's when we went to the mall. We thought they were real crazy-looking." Julia held them up. Rae and Rose started laughing. It looked like someone took a bunch of wires, twisted them into weird shapes, and painted them bright colors. The ring matched the earrings.
"Read us YOUR note now," Rose said.
" 'Julia'," she began. " 'I had a lot of fun hangin' out with you. It was cool to have somebody to listen to me without interrupting. With the guys, it's hard to get a word in edgewise. And they think I talk too much. Anyway, I remembered these earrings and ring we saw and went back and got them. I think they'd looked good on you. Keep in touch and enjoy!! Love Always, AJ'."
"You're turn, Rae," Julia said.
"Nick must've went shopping with Brian 'cause he got me a pair of garnet earrings and a matching ring. Garnet is Nick's birthstone." Rae was smiling sadly.
"Read us the note, Rae," Rose said.
So Rae read her note. After she finished, the table got quiet. The tears started coming for all of them. The rest of the time at McDonald's and the ride back home was pretty quiet.
"Whatcha got there, Nick?" Howie asked, taking the present Rae had given him.
"Just something Rae gave me," Nick said, taking it back.
"Open it, little buddy," Kevin said.
Nick opened the box and saw one half of a 'Best Friends' necklace. It had pink zircon stones on it. Nick saw a note and read it to himself, while all the guys looked at the necklace.
"What does it say?" Brian asked. He was holding the necklace.
"Come on, Nick. Read to us," AJ said.
" 'Nick'," he said. " 'I'm glad you were able to visit me for my 12th birthday. Seeing you after almost two months was my birthday wish. Now my birthday will always be special. I give you half of this necklace with my birthstone. Sorry it's pink. I can't exactly change that, but I wanted you to have something that reminded you of me. And I won't be hurt if you don't wear it. Just knowing you have it makes me happy. Always remember: you're my best friend forever. I Love You, Raelene'."
The guys were quiet for a few minutes. Howie, Brian, AJ, and Kevin looked at each other, then looked at Nick. They watched him as he toyed with the necklace.
"Are you gonna out it on?" asked Brian.
"Yeah," Nick replied. He put it on. It took a few minutes, but he got it on.
"Do you miss her yet?" AJ asked.
"I started missing her before we left," Nick smiled.
"We miss all the girls," Kevin said.
"Have you planned your next visit yet?" Brian inquired.
"All we planned was that she's coming out to Florida to visit. When that happens, I have no idea." Nick leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
"I hope it's soon," Brian said. "Then she could bring Rose with her."
"Amazing," Howie said. "Two best friends find two beautiful cousins."
"Frick and Frack score!!" AJ yelled out.
The two best friends looked at each other and smirked.
"We just know how to pick 'em," they said in unison.
The rest of the flight was spent recalling events and memorable times of their two weeks, helping their special girl celebrate her birthday.