Author's Note: Set sometime after the Elizabeth books, although there isn't really a need to be familiar with the books to be able to understand this.
A knock sounded at Elizabeth's apartment door. The news had spread extremely rapidly through the Sweet Valley grapevine that she was back in town, and the combination of that and Jessica's insistence on her having a full and active social life meant that she'd seen everyone that she ever knew.
At least, of the ones that still lived in Sweet Valley, that is.
The person knocked again. So much for her quiet night at home catching up on reading. She stuck a bookmark inside her book and walked over to the door. "Who's there?" she called out.
"Liz. It's me," the voice on the other side of the door said.
She felt a breath catch in her throat as she turned the lock and opened the door. "Hi, Todd."
"Can I come in?"
Make that nearly everyone.
"How did you hear I was back home?" Elizabeth asked, handing him a glass of iced tea and sitting back down on the other end of her loveseat, idly tracing her finger up and down the spine of her book.
"The Patented Jessica Wakefield Phone Gossip Tree," he replied with a laugh, sipping his iced tea before placing the glass on the endtable and turning to face her, "although, I would have preferred to hear it directly from the source."
She nodded. "Sorry about that. I've been so busy -"
"No need to apologize, Liz. It's nice to see you again," he said, cutting her off mid-sentence; he paused for a moment. "You look good."
"You do too." She looked at him, smiling. He was still unmistakably the boy who had been the focus of most of her romantic thoughts for the better part of her life, and she had to admit, if not out loud, to herself: he could still make her heart skip a beat or two. "Look at us, sitting here on a Saturday night, talking in my apartment."
"It's not too late to go out to dinner, you know," Todd said, before backtracking, "I mean, if you want to, that is, not that it'd be a date or anything. Just two old friends catching up."
She laughed, and said, "Nah, that's fine. I already had dinner, courtesy of Stouffer's."
"Oh." His tentative smile turned into a slight frown.
"But if you're sold on this dinner idea, I'm free tomorrow night around seven?" she quickly added.
"That sounds great." He made no moves to get up from where he was sitting, only settling further into the throw pillow. "What have you been up to? I only heard that you left town."
"I left town, flew to a foreign country, fell in love with an engaged guy, Jess came all the way over to 'rescue me,' I came back home, and here we are." She counted each event off on her fingers.
"Are you still in love with this engaged guy?"
"I guess, maybe, yeah, a little, but I can't see it working out now that I'm home. Two completely different worlds and all that. It was nice, though."
The room was filled with a tense silence after she finished speaking, her tapping her finger on the armrest, him picking at a loose thread on the throw pillow. He broke the silence with a cough and another question: "What about us?"
"There was no 'us' when I left, Todd."
"I know. Not seeing you for so long, though, made me realize that I'd like for there to be an 'us' again."
Their eyes locked, and she felt light-headed. They'd been running circular paths around each other for years, repeating the same steps over and over again until the path was worn in deep. He was her rock, her safe harbor in a storm. It'd be easy, so easy, to fall back into the same worn path of movie dates and cuddling on the couch, of going to the Dairi Burger and the beach on moonlit nights, of being nearly inseparable.
It was a matter of if she wanted to or not.
"Do you, Liz?"
She leaned across the loveseat, placed her hand on his thigh and kissed him on the corner of his lips. "Is this a good answer?" she whispered, as he pulled her close.
His silencing kiss was his only reply.
She was awoken the next morning by her phone ringing; the first thing she noticed was that she had fallen asleep on the loveseat. Her shirt from the night before lay crumpled on the floor, as was another t-shirt she couldn't quite place at first. Ignoring the phone for a moment - if they were important enough, they'd leave a message - she turned over and saw Todd laying there next to her, one hand buried in her hair and the other arm wrapped around her waist, almost protectively.
It was a good sight to wake up to.
"Good morning," she said.
He grunted and opened his eyes. "G'morning," he said, "sleep well?"
"Yeah," she said, the memories of the night before coming back and flooding her cheeks with a distinct red blush. "There's a donut shop around the corner that has amazing crullers, if you want breakfast."
"What's the rush?"
"This loveseat is a bit small for two people," she said, before hearing her stomach rumble, "and I haven't eaten since last night, so having breakfast soon would be nice."
"Point taken." He kissed her shoulder blade, and she leaned back into his embrace, savoring the moment.
Oh, it was so good to be home again.