Nicki is stuck making two huge choices at once: picking a boyfriend and leaving home by herself. She follows the advice one prospective boyfriend offers and finds herself stuck in the middle of way too much. Then, when things start to look up, another huge problem sends carefully formed plans toppling to the ground and uncovers the largest undercover operation in a lifetime.
"What are you doing?"
"Chatting with Nicki."
"What's she have to say?"
"well, right before you came in with your big news she felt like she had to tell someone and since i was online she told me. She wanted me to know that you and her were officially dating."
"As if what you think about it matters." Chris bristled, a bit out of whack after finding out that his news was no news at all. "You already knew? Whay didn't you say something to me?"
"Well, you did a good enough job of telling me yourself that all i had left to say was what Nicki told me. so i did."
"Hey now, that's not true, is it?"
"no. But about your statement, 'As if what i think matters', you seemed to think so when you ran all the way up that staircase to burst into my room, interrupt my conversation with your girlfriend, and tell me that she was your girlfriend."
"yeah, well, forget that part, huh?"
"you mean you've been dating for ten minutes and you're already breaking up with her?"
"no, that's not what i meant! Let me rephrase my, uhh, my phrase. i mean, um, yeah, well, you know what i mean don't you?" he almost pleaded with Jon, who laughed to his little brother's consternation.
"got a little tongue tied, did ya? Well, no need to glare at me like that. just finding the time for a laugh in my busy life and stating the very obvious."
"I noticed. Thanks. So as i was saying, what i wanted you to disregard was my wild entry, not my actual statement."
"That's what you saying? Was it in a different language?"
"And i thought having you as a brother would be great!"
"it is! I promise. wait and see. when you find out how well i can cook a big dinner and how heartily i pack a lunch, you'll eat your last statement out of sheer obstinacy. I know it won't be your only option."
"you sure have a way with words!"
"Yeah, well, actually wha ti just said made no sense at all. The trick is in not letting the other person sense that it makes no sense. which, i know makes a lot of sense." Jon grinned while Chris wore his best face face; you could positively see the question mark written on it.
"so, can we stop talking in king james and come back to the twenty-first century?"
"As you wish. wait, that was before london, right? or was it before Paris?"
"I give up." chris dropped his head in his hands playfully.
"Hey." Jon's tone was so sharp that Chris popped his head right back up in surprise.
"I don't care if you're just playing. I don't care if you're joking. Promise me that you will never lose heart, you will never lose faith, and you will never, ever give up. no matter what the situation, it won't beat you, and regardless of the opponents, they won't keep you down. Promise me that, Chris."
Chris looked at him for a long moment, then he slowly nodded. "Alright," he said solemnly, "I promise. I will never lose heart, hope, or faith, and i will never ever give up."
"Are you just repeating it?"
"no. I made you a promise, and even if i can't keep facts stright in my head or make words come out right all the time, the one thing i can keep control of is the promises i make. I have never gone back on my word, and i never intend to. end of story."
"Impressive. Well, whenever you want to make another promise, come see me. i have a list i want you to make."