I'm here without you baby,

But you're still on my lonely mind

Years had passed since they'd seen each other, but through it all,

they still knew they loved each other. People came, and people went,

but none of there were right for either of them.

Jessie had done everything she could to forget about Katie, except

break her promise of wearing the necklace. She had had many

boyfriends, which she tried to use to forget Katie, but nothing

worked. It was a huge step for her to decide to go home and see her

family. She hadn't been back since left for Australia all those

years ago.

So here she was, five years later, sitting on a plane, heading back

to the one place she never thought she'd ever want to go again. She

was nervous... she looked forward to seeing everyone, but somewhere

in the back of her mind, she wondered... maybe even hoped a little

that she'd see Katie. It was strange, she had tried for so long to

forget Katie, and now she might actually be looking forward to

seeing her. 'Of course I am.' she thought. Katie was someone she

always looked forward to seeing, no matter what.

'I'm getting ahead of myself,' she reasoned 'I don't even know where

Katie lives or anything.'

She exited the plane and went over to find the nearest pay phone.

She dialed a familiar number and waited for them to pick up.

"Hello?" The voice cracked over the phone.

"Hey mom."

"Jessie, honey, is that you?"

"Yes mom."

"Well! How have you been?" Her mother questioned, sounding pleased.

"Pretty good. I've got a surprise for you."

"What?"

"I'm home."

There was a pause on the other end. " Umm...hello?"

"Yes, dear, I'm here... You're home? As in *here* home?"

Jessie smiled. "Yes, as in *here* home. I'm at the airport right

now. I'm gonna go get a rental car, then I'll be over in a bit. I

just wanted to call and let you know!"

Jessie navigated down the familiar streets to her mother's house.

When she pulled up front, she turned off the car and stared at the

house. 'So many years, so many memories.' she thought. She made her

way out of the car and up the sidewalk to the front door. She paused

for a second before knocking. In a matter of seconds the door was

opened, and she was greeted with a warm, and very tight, hug.

"Baby, it's soo good to see you!" Her mom said as she let go of her

long enough to get a good look. "Jessie, you look great!" Jessie

grinned and thanked her mom.

"You look good too! Where's Henry?" Karen smiled

"He's out at the store, to get some food for you."

"Aww, he's so sweet!" Karen nodded.

"Come in, come in, tell me about your life." And so that's what she

did.

A short while later Henry came home, and they all caught up

together. It was getting late, so Jessie decided that she was tired

enough to turn in, so she did. She made her way up the stairs and

into her room. It was the same now, as when she left it. The solar

system that her dad made was still hanging in the corner, the big

teddy bear was sitting in his chair next to the bed. All was well

and good, and it was like she had been transported back in time, to

simpler days, care free days. Days with Katie. She reached down and

felt the half heart around her neck and sighed. She unpacked what

she would need for the next few days, got her pajama's on, and

crawled into bed.

The next morning, she awoke to the smells of coffee and eggs. She

stretched and forced herself out of bed. She sleepily made her way

down the stairs and into the kitchen where she was greeted by Henry

cooking over the stove, and her mother looking on, with love in her

eyes. It was such a wonderful sight. It was good to see her mother

so happy, because she remembered back to days before Henry, when her

mother was always sad and depressed.

Jessie went over and sat down at the table and ate as soon as Henry

placed the food in front of her. Karen asked what she had in mind

for the day, and Jessie thought for a moment before she answered.

"I think I want to go visit some people. I'm thinking Grace, Eli,

and maybe even stop by Booklovers to see how that's going, and

visit Judy." Karen nodded.

"You better get stared then, you have a long day in front of you!"

Jessie grinned and nodded her head in agreement.

Her visit to Grace had been great. She hadn't realized how much she

had actually missed her until they were sitting around talking.

Grace hadn't found that special someone yet, though Jessie had

always thought Grace and Eli would make such a wonderful couple if

they ever got around to hooking up, so Grace told Jessie all about

her latest boyfriends.

In turn Jessie told her about her life back in New York and all the

wonderful things happening there. Grace had a small smile etched

across her face the whole time, like she was keeping something from

her, but Jessie couldn't tell what it was.

After spending a couple hours with Grace, she made her way over to

Eli's apartment. He had started to get his act back together, and

had just finished his bachelors degree in music, so now he was

trying to figure out what to do with that. He was musically gifted,

and though his band broke up after he moved, he didn't think he

would have much trouble getting one together. He also worked a part

time job at a music store to help pay for rent. Everything was

otherwise fine by him, he didn't have a girlfriend, because he spent

too much time working on everything else. Jess was glad to see him,

he was a sight for sore eyes. Though they hadn't been extremely

close while they were growing up, they still loved each other very

much.

After a slight pause in the conversation, Jessie decided to ask the

question that had been nagging her for so long.

"Eli?"

"Hmmmm?"

"Have you heard anything about Katie Singer, where she is and what

she's doing?"

Eli thought for a moment. "Actually, yeah, I have. Funny you should

ask. I remember Grace saying something about her coming home for

Christmas this year. I think she actually saw her a couple of days

ago." Jessie's heart leapt, though she tried not to show her

excitement. 'So that's what Grace was smiling about the whole time I

was over there, eh? The little sneak' she though. A small grin crept

across Eli's face.

"You two were more than friends, weren't you?" Jessie's eyes got

really big, and her jaw dropped.

"How did... did you..." Jessie stuttered. "Wha... was it really

that obvious?" Eli smirked and folded his arms across his chest.

"Jess, when you spend that much time around a hot girl like Katie,

whether you're a girl or not, you're bound to fall for her. And

besides the fact that you two were attached at the hip, it was like

you and she had a connection, and when you stared into each other's

eyes... well, lets just say you could feel the love radiating off

you two." Jessie blushed deep crimson. He continued. "And when you

saw her enter the room or something, I could see your eyes light up,

like they never had before, and I could tell. You were in love."

"So... you're ok with that? That I was... am in love with a girl?"

Eli smiled, and leaned his chair back.

"Well, I'm not too happy about the fact that a seriously hot girl

was... or still is off the market, but other than that, I think

it's great." He joked. "Besides, it's not like you can choose who

you fall in love with." A far away look came into his eyes, and

Jessie smiled. She knew what... or who he was thinking of.

"Go for it." She stated. Eli looked at her strangely.

"What do you mean?" Jessie grinned knowingly.

"You and Grace. Go for it. You both want it, I know that, so just do

it. Ask her out. Date her. Invite me to the wedding in a couple of

years." She joked. He raised an eyebrow at her and gave her a 'yeah

right' look and she grinned.

"But seriously, ask her out, I can almost guarantee she won't say

no."

"Really?"

"Really."

Jessie left Eli's house a short time later and headed over to

Booklovers. She was a bit excited about seeing Judy, after all, she

was one of her mother's closest friends [Sorry if that isn't right,

I'm not exactly sure how Judy actually fits into the O&A

plot, 'cause I only got to see one episode]. She got out of her

rented car and walked up the familiar sidewalk and into the store.

It hadn't changed much in the five years that she was gone, the rows

of books were the same and the scent of coffee still lingered in the

air. Jessie made her way around the books and chairs over to the

register where Judy was helping a customer.

"Thank you, Mrs. Gordon, you have a good day now!" The woman nodded,

turned around and left.

"Hey Judy." Judy looked up at her, and it took her a second to

realize who she was.

"Jessie? Oh my god! What are you doing here?" She said as she

reached over the counter to give her a hug. Jessie smiled and

explained that she was home for the holidays and was just going

around visiting people. They talked for several more minutes before

another customer came up, and Judy had to help them.

Jessie wandered through the bookshelves, running her hands along the

familiar rows. She wasn't paying attention where she was going when

someone rammed into her at full speed, and the other person's books

went flying everywhere.

"I'm so sorry!" The girl said as she began to bend down to pick up

her books.

"No, totally my fault, I wasn't looking where..." Jessie stopped in

dead sentence. The girl looked directly at her, and right then

Jessie recognized her.

"Katie..." She breathed her eyes wide, and her heart beating a

thousand miles an hour.

I think about you baby,

And I dream about you all the time

Katie had been home for two days now. She'd made the rounds and

visited all the people she used to hang out with that were still

around. It was nice to catch up with them. She had even seen Grace

right after she got back, when she went to the grocery store to pick

up some stuff to eat, because her parents never kept the kitchen

stocked with the kind of food that she liked. Her relationship had

been strained with them ever since she had come out to them so many

years before. They had always wondered what they had done wrong, and

why their daughter was like this. They blamed themselves for the way

she was, even though she tried to convince them otherwise. Her

mother was still in a little denial, so Katie would never bring home

a girlfriend when she came home for the holidays to be considerate.

Not that she ever had a girlfriend that she would have consitered

serious enough to bring home for the holidays or anything. Her so

called 'girlfriends' consisted mostly of one night stands.

She had made her way over to Booklovers to pick up a couple of

books, which would be the last of her Christmas shopping. While she

was there, she began to look at books, and because she had developed

a love to read over the last couple years, she soon found herself

with a pile of books to buy. She some how managed to twist her arm

in the right direction to be able to see her watch. She was late, as

usual. She was suppose to go and get a hair cut in less than ten

minutes, so she took off. She was looking in the opposite direction

for a moment so she didn't see the girl walking slowly in front of

her. She rammed into the poor girl at full speed, and her books fell

all over the ground.

"I'm so sorry." She said as she began to bend down to pick up the

books. Before she did though, she heard a familiar voice.

"Katie..." the girl breathed. Katie looked up at her, and her eyes

grew large when she realized who was in front of her.

"Jessie?" Katie managed to get out. She opened her mouth to say

something else, but no words came. So she closed it. She opened and

closed her mouth several more times before she finally gave up on

being able to form a complete sentence.

Jessie was standing in front of her, much like she had been in the

dream. 'This meeting wasn't chance' Katie thought. 'It's fate for us

to be together.'

They were both just standing there, neither of them moving, just

staring at the other, taking in everything about each other. Katie

couldn't stand it any more so she took a step forward and enveloped

Jessie in a warm, and very tight hug. She felt as the tears sprung

to her eyes.

"I missed you so much." She said, tears threatened to fall. Jessie

pulled away, tears forming in her eyes.

"I missed you too." Katie put her hand on Jessie's cheek, memorizing

the feel of Jessie's skin on her hand. She ever so carefully

caressed the soft skin with her thumb, burning the touch into her

memory forever. Jessie closed her eyes, trying to suppress her

emotions, while melting into Katie's touch. Katie moved her thumb

across Jessie's velvet flesh, and down across her lips. Jessie

didn't move, so Katie leaned down and gently brushed her own lips

against Jessie's. She pulled away, so as to see how Jessie would

respond. Jessie just stood there, eyes closed and lips slightly

parted, in a dream-like state. A couple of moments later, she

reopened her eyes, and they grew wide as she stared at Katie.

In that moment, Jessie made a decision.

She had always wondered what she would do if she ever saw Katie

again, but she never thought she'd do what she did... She reached up

and put her hand around the back of Katie's neck, then pulled her

down and kissed her... hard. She put everything into the kiss. All

the emotions that had built up inside her over the years. Through

that kiss she told Katie how much she really missed her and how much

she loved her. She conveyed so many things with that one kiss, but

most of all, that she was no longer ashamed of who she was, and of

Katie. At last, she didn't care what people thought, her friends,

her family... her parents. She no longer cared what anyone

though... except Katie. She had lived long enough away from Katie

that she knew she wanted ... needed Katie in her life.

And for the first time in a long while, she was happy.

I'm here without you baby,

But you're still with me in my dreams,

And tonight girl, it's only you and me.

Katie stood there in shock. Complete and utter shock. She had never,

in a million years expected Jessie to be the one to kiss her, and in

public of all places. Not only in public, but in a store they used

to frequently visit, in which people still knew who they were.

Katie's eyes were wide with surprise when Jessie pulled back. She

smiled at Katie, the same smile that was able to melt her years ago

still had the same effect on her. It turned her to putty in Jessie's

hands. Jessie's arms were still around her neck, and she slid her

arms around Jessie's waist as she recovered.

"Wow"

"Surprised?" Katie nodded her head vigorously as Jessie looked a bit

shy.

"Me too, to be honest. Do you want to get out of here, I want to

talk to you, but I don't think here is the best place... somewhere

quieter would be nice." Katie nodded her head and took Jessie's hand

in hers.

"Wanna go back to my parent's place? They won't be home for a couple

more hours." Jessie nodded, and Katie led her out the door. They

only lived a couple of blocks away from where they were, so they

decided to go ahead and walk from where they were.

They walked inside, and Katie took Jessie's coat and motioned for

her to sit on the sofa. She hung up their coats, and went to join

her. Jessie turned and looked at her thoughtfully before she spoke.

"I realized some thing... several things actually." She said,

continuing their conversation.

"What?" Katie asked and Jessie took a deep breath and looked Katie

right in the eye.

"I realized that I made a huge mistake long ago, by leaving. I

shouldn't have, and it would have saved both of us a lot of grief.

It would have saved me wondering for the last five years what would

have happened if I hadn't left, if I'd stayed here with you."

"Me too." Katie quickly interjected, and Jessie readjusted her focus

to the wall.

"I knew I shouldn't have left, but I was scared. I was scared of

what people would think about me, about us. I was ashamed of who I

was." Katie looked on in understanding.

"So, what changed?" Jessie looked back at Katie.

"I've spent the last five years of my life missing you. I don't want

to live without you anymore. And now I don't really care what anyone

else thinks. After all these years, I still know one thing."

"What?" Katie breathed, and Jessie's eyes twinkled.

"I still love you." Katie broke out in in a huge smile.

"I love you too, Jessie." And with that, Katie leaned down and

captured Jessie's lips with her own, and they shared a sweet kiss.

When they pulled away because the need for air was great, Katie

rested her forehead against Jessie's, looked into her sparkling blue

eyes, and smiled.

"I've waited for this moment for so long, to have you back in my

arms. I just can't believe it." Katie said, and while she said it,

her tone changed, to more serious.

"But Jessie, I want you to promise me something." She said as she

pulled back to look Jessie right in the eye. Jessie nodded for her

to continue.

"Promise me that you won't leave again, that you won't run away.

That you'll talk to me and we can talk things through. Together. I

don't want you to feel like you can't. And please, no more rash

decisions, like moving to a foreign country, ok?" She added with a

grin.

"But seriously, don't run from me, ok? We can work this out if we

want to. For better or for worse, richer and poorer, and all that

stuff. Please, just promise me that we'll talk." Jessie looked up at

her seriously.

"I want this to work, Katie. More than anything I've ever wanted

before. I'm happy now, being with you, and I don't want that to

change. Ever. So, yes, I promise. And this time, I'm not leaving.

Ever again." And she sealed it with a kiss.

When they drew away, Katie remembered something. She looked at

Jessie's neck, for any trace of the gold necklace that she had given

her all those years ago. Jessie looked at her quizzically, then

looked down at her neck before she realized what Katie was looking

for. She smiled, and pulled it out from underneath her shirt.

The smile on Katie's face could not be described. It was huge.

Bigger than huge. It was by far the biggest smile that Katie had

ever shown. She pulled her own necklace out from under her shirt,

and together they put the halves together to make the heart, and the

word, whole.

"Forever?" Jessie asked.

"Forever." Katie confirmed.

~*~3 weeks later~*~

Jessie and Katie walked down the street through the freshly fallen

snow. Jessie took Katie's hand and looked into Katie's eyes and

tilted her head.

"Katie?"

"Hmmm?"

"What do you think tomorrow will be like?" Katie thought for a

moment.

"I don't really know" She said, as she turned to look at

Jessie. "But I do know one thing."

"What's that?" Jessie asked, and Katie grinned.

"That we" She paused for a moment and squeezed Jessie's hand. "Will

be together." Katie said seriously.

"I know something too then." Jessie said as she stopped and turned

to face Katie.

"What?"

"Then tomorrow will be a good day." And with that, she leaned up and

kissed Katie, first delicately, then with more passion. Right then

they shared one of the sweetest, yet most intense kisses ever.

As they kissed, the sun began to set and the snow began to fall,

while the rest of the world faded away, leaving them standing

together. And everything was perfect, like it should be.

The End.