Christmas Eve morning Madison and I set out the candy for the gingerbread houses we were going to make with all of the girls that afternoon. As I skipped down the stairs from my room I heard a knock on the front door. I hurried to answer it but all that I found was an envelope with my name written on it. Stepping out farther onto the front steps I tried to see the disappearing deliverer, but I could find no one. When I opened the envelope I was surprised to see that the letter inside was from Jake. Slipping past Madison who was busy in the kitchen, I ran outside and down to the beach. When I was as close to the water as I could get without getting wet, I sat down in the sand and read the letter.

Dear Callie,

Thank you for your letter. I'm glad that you wrote to me and I'm sorry it took me so long to reply. You were very kind to write to me after I was so incredibly rude to you. I had no right to treat you so coldly without knowing what was going on. I was very hurt when I saw you with Derek, and not just that last day, but the whole month or so you two were "together". You were right about my feelings towards you, it's just that after that night at your house I got, well sort of shy and nervous because I realized how much I liked you and I was afraid you wouldn't like me. So when I thought that you were interested in Derek, of all people, I was upset and sad and decided ignoring you would be the best way to deal. I was wrong. It only made things harder. Anyway, now that I realize how immature I was behaving I have to tell you that I can't forgive you because you did nothing wrong. When you kissed Derek, you were only trying to help him. I understand that now. All I can say now is that I am the one who is sorry, and I beg your forgiveness, because I don't think I can handle us not talking much longer.

Sincerely, Jake

P.S. The reason I didn't reply sooner is because of the situation with my family. After I told you about my parent's divorce, I thought of you as someone I could trust with anything. And then, well the thing with Derek made me worry that I couldn't trust you and then with the problems I see my family going through...I don't want to go through something like that, not with anyone. Please try and understand where I was coming from. Everything was just so confusing and complicated and I didn't know exactly how to behave. Please forgive me.

When I finished reading the letter I reread it twice just to let it all sink in. I stood and stared out into the ocean with a satisfied smile on my face. I strolled down the beach, humming a jovial tune in my mind as I grew closer to Jake's house. The wind blew past me, rustling my hair and forcing me to turn my head away from the water's breeze. When I turned, I happened to glance towards the guys' patio. Jake was standing on the deck, leaning casually against the railing. His steady eyes watched me and I could see my happiness reflecting in his perfect smile. Neither one of us moved but instead just stared and smiled. He knew that I had received the letter and that it had pleased me. After a few moments of tender silence, Madison came partway down the beach calling me back into the house because the other girls had arrived. I folded the letter and stuffed it into the back pocket of my jeans and smiled at Jake's slight wave before heading inside to meet with my dear Hollywood friends. I was unable to see what the future would bring; between myself and Jake or even any of my other new friends. However, no matter what happened, I knew that I now had a close, new group of friends whom I trusted and whom I loved.

The End

Okay, now I'm going to end this book here. However, I am already in process of writing a sequel, so please continue to read and review this book as well as the other when I post it. It will be called Rising so please look for it before the end of summer. And please give me all of your feedback on this book!!! Thanks!

XOXO ~Nat~