So yeah…this story is going under some revision, considering I believe it to be mediocre and in need of some work. Hopefully I can complete this and, if I'm up to it, continue. So if there are any readers out there, this story is going to be much improved from its former state.

"Katherine! Over here!"

Katherine Montgomery looked over to see her best guy friend, Jeff, calling her over to sit next to him at lunch. She smiled to herself. She knew what he was going to do. It was her birthday, and every year he did the same thing.

"I'll be right there, Jeff! I have to ask Janine a question!" Katherine yelled over to Jeff.

Putting on a face of mock disappointment, he nodded and decided to go over in his head what he was going to do. He would surprise Katherine this year with something different then he usually did, which was sing his crazy rendition of happy birthday, give her another simple but unique gift, and pinch her the amount of times her new age was. He thought that they were old enough to move on to something more mature, although he wasn't sure if she would like it or not.

It was Katherine's 21st birthday, and both she and Jeff were juniors at the University of Minnesota. Katherine was striving to become a journalist, and she was quite on her way to becoming one. She showed her true potential, and whenever a teacher read her stuff, they would encourage Katherine to keep on writing. However, Katherine struggled to meet due dates for assignments because she believed it needed to be the best it could be, no matter how long it took…this led to her grades suffering somewhat, but she cared more about the quality than the grade itself.

Jeff wanted to become a marine biologist. He was fascinated with the ocean and its many wonders, and he wanted to learn as much as he could. The teachers realized that he truly was passionate about studying the ocean and had a promising future.

Katherine had dark brown hair that sometimes looked red in the sun, and it was a little over shoulder-length. She was slender, but not shapely, thin, or stunning like some of those models in magazines; Katherine didn't want to be like them anyway. She was about 5'6", and had brown eyes with flecks of green, which made them hazel. Her skin was tanned from running track, and freckles dotted her cheeks.

Jeff was about 6'2" with brown hair and light blue eyes, and was muscular since he played on the college football team. He didn't like to sit with the other players because he never really felt like he was popular enough to fit in with them. His skin was also tan, but a little darker than Katherine's.

"Hey Janine, did you…um…break it off with Ryan today?" Katherine asked cautiously.

Janine sighed. "Yeah…he kind of just stared at me, and then he grimly nodded at me and said 'It's probably for the best'. I think he knew it was coming anyway since I've been acting kind of distant. Even though I know I did the right thing by breaking it off with him, it still makes me feel guilty, you know? I feel like he was really in love with me and that I broke his heart."

"Well, at least he didn't blow up in your face and start swearing at you or anything," Katherine added, trying to look on the bright side. "Breakups are never easy."

"I suppose you're right about that," Janine said thoughtfully.

"Well, I have to go meet Jeff. It's my birthday, and you know what he does every year," Katherine said with a smirk on her face.

That seemed to lighten Janine's mood. "Yeah, you'd better get over there before he starts yelling at you," she said with a small smile.

"See ya later in class, Janine"

"Okay, bye hun."

Katherine walked over to Jeff with a feeling of excitement. Birthdays are always fun! she thought, giggling like a little girl.

"Hey Katherine! Happy birthday!" Jeff exclaimed with a broad grin on his face, giving her a bear hug.

Katherine pushed him away jokingly, as he was purposely crushing her. "Thanks Jeff! Now, what "surprise" awaits me?" Katherine asked, grinning expectantly and tensing for the pinches she was sure would ensue.

"Well, you'll just have to wait, because I'm not giving it to you until after school," Jeff said mischievously. I can torture her a little while, can't I? Jeff thought.

"Do I really have to wait that long?" Katherine whined mockingly, but wondering what exactly he was planning. Maybe the pinches come later?

"Yep." was all Jeff said in reply, the goofy grin still on his face.

"Well okay, fine then. So…how has your day been going Jeff?" Katherine said, changing the subject as to get her to stop thinking about her surprise.

"Pretty good. I got my Biology of the Great Barrier Reef report back."

"How did you do?"

Jeff's cheeks turned faintly red. They always did when he was telling her what a teacher said. "It wasn't really that big of a deal…" Katherine gave him a look. "Ok fine…Professor Romar praised it at length, saying it was the best work she had seen in years, and that I had a successful future ahead of me…if I kept up the hard work," He looked down as if his shoes were the most interesting thing in the room.

"Jeff, why do you get so embarrassed when you accomplish something? You should be proud of yourself for doing well!" Katherine said, putting a hand on his shoulder and giving it a comforting squeeze.

Jeff looked up at her, "I know…I'm just not one of those people who is comfortable gloating over stuff like this. I mean it's great and I am happy, but there are more important things in life than grades". He gave her a genuine smile, his eyes twinkling. Katherine was a little unsure of what his eyes were trying to say. "Like my birthday?" she joked, trying to play it down a bit. Jeff nodded with a wink and left, heading back to his apartment to get Katherine's gift.

After school was out, Katherine raced to her place and waited impatiently until his class was done. By this time, she was bursting at the seams with excitement, and she couldn't wait to find out what it was he was giving her. It seemed like maybe it would be different this year, since Jeff was acting differently. Then she saw him walking towards her with a box in his hand.

"Hey Katherine. Waiting been too hard on you?"Jeff teased.

"No! Well, maybe just a little," Katherine admitted, a guilty smile on her face.

"Let's go over to Kolger park. I know you love going there."

"That would be great, Jeff." Katherine said, barely able to contain her excitement, but trying to hide it.

When they got there, they found a little bench that was away from the path and the noise of the little kids playing. Jeff pulled out the box and handed it to her.

"I hope you like it. I wanted to make sure it was special," Jeff said nervously.

Katherine opened the box, and what she saw made her gasp. Inside the box was the very journal that she had excitedly been pointing at in a magazine while her and Jeff were studying a few weeks ago. The thing she loved about it was on the cover, embroidered letters said, "To Katherine, on her 21st birthday. All my love, Jeff" There was also additional written words embroidered in the background, in a language she thought she recognized but didn't expect Jeff to even know.

She looked up at Jeff, and pointed to the Sindarin script. "I didn't know you knew any elvish." Katherine said fascinated. "I thought I was the only "Lord of the Rings" fan.

"It's Sindarin, not elvish," he replied. Katherine looked at him disbelievingly, an eyebrow raised. "Well I don't actually know anything," Jeff admitted. "I went online and looked up "elvish words" and that's what came up".

"Do you know what the words mean?"

Jeff nodded, "They mean something like, 'May your future be full of happiness', at least I hope so since that's what the website said." He seemed unsure, but his fears disappeared when Katherine smiled.

She looked down again, at the ending of the message that said 'All my love, Jeff'. "What does this mean, Jeff?" Katherine asked warily. He had never signed anything he had given to her, like cards and such, with that phrase included. Generally he just said "Your best friend" or something to that effect.

Jeff looked at her, and took her hand. In his eyes she saw a familiar sparkle, the one she saw earlier. She additionally saw he was nervous.

"Katherine, look. I've known you since we were freshmen in college, and we've been great friends ever since," He looked down for a moment, seemingly to gather his thoughts, and continued, "The thing is, and I hope I don't freak you out, is that my feelings for you have grown into something more," He looked back up and into her eyes, and she saw intensity there, "Katherine, I want to be... more than just friends." Jeff said, full of emotion and sincerity, "I want to be with you".

Think Katherine, think! In the few seconds it took her to reflect, she knew that she felt the same way but hadn't realized it until faced with his admission. I am going to tell him the truth.

She looked up into Jeff's eyes again. They were full of hope. "Jeff, I...I think I feel the same way," Katherine said shakily. "No, I know I do."

Jeff's eyes lit up with happiness. "Really? Truly?" he asked, hoping he had heard correctly.

"Yea Jeff, truly." was all she replied before leaning over to kiss him on the cheek. Jeff turned her head so she was kissing him on the lips. She felt a warmth creep up and down her body. Woah, isn't this a little fast? Katherine's mind tried to reason with her. I mean, I thought we just decided to try to be more than just friends. Well, it feels nice, at least. Should I allow it? Looks like it, seeing as I'm still kissing him! Katherine thought all of this as he kissed her, which were some of the most wonderful seconds of her life. When they broke apart, Jeff looked down sheepishly, cheeks turning red.

"I'm so sorry, Katherine. I didn't even ask if that was okay. Was that too fast? I should have thought first," Jeff said, looking down the whole time.

"No-no really...it's okay. I was just a little surprised, that's all." Katherine stammered, a goofy smile on her face.

They looked at each other for a few moments, and Katherine contently sighed. Wow, how much luck do I have, to be with such a man?

Suddenly they both noticed the wind started to pick up. "This is odd," Katherine said, her brow creasing in confusion. "Is there a storm coming?"

Jeff shook his head, "The sky is clear…I'm not really sure what's going on".

A huge gust of wind hit them, and the bench was knocked over. They both flew off the bench and onto the grass. Katherine looked over at Jeff to see if he was all right, but a strange fog was gathering. Am I moving? Katherine thought wildly. Jeff seemed to be getting further away from her. "Jeff, what's happening?"

"Katherine! Katherine come back!" Jeff yelled, but he seemed distant and far away.

Then she felt an enormous tingling sensation all over her body, the wind whirling around her, and everything went black.