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College Years

Chapter 13

The Start of a Beginning

Maddie was sitting on her bed, studying for an upcoming exam. Zack walked in, having just returned from a class.

He looked at her and said quietly, "Hi."

"Hey, Zack."

"What're you doing?"

"Studying."

"Oh."

She looked up from her book, with tears in her eyes. Zack crossed the room and sat next to her and said, "Maddie…what's wrong?"

"Zack…I think we need to take a break."

Zack tried to stand up, but his legs felt like lead. He closed his eyes and whispered, "Please, God, no…"

"Zack, we've been fighting a lot lately, and we've never fought before. I think we rushed into this."

"Rushed? Maddie, I've been waiting for you for 6 years! What? Should I have waited for 20 or something?"

"No, I mean…we shouldn't have…we shouldn't have moved in together...so fast…"

"Cody and Sarah are living together in Oklahoma and they just met 6 months ago! They're doing great! We met 6 years ago, and you're telling me we rushed?"

"Zack, you and Cody are two different people leading completely different lives! You've got to stop comparing yourself to him! Just because it works for them doesn't mean it's working for us!"

"But, Maddie, I—I—I love you! It has to work! It has to!"

"Not everything is a fairytale, Zack! Pull your head out of the clouds and wake up! It's over! I can't do this anymore! I won't do this anymore! I don't love you anymore!"

She got up and left the room. Zack wanted to follow her, but he couldn't breathe, much less move. He whispered softly, "Maddie…Maddie, no! Not us! No…" He got a hold of himself and stood up. He moved towards his things, and started packing them up. He knew he had to leave the room. He wasn't welcome here anymore. He wanted to leave Berkeley forever, but he couldn't. He'd have to deal with this pain for a month before the end of the year.

Maddie left the room, slamming the door behind her. She stormed down the hall, tears rolling down her cheeks at the speed of light. She ran to her car and jumped in, not sure of where she was going, but knowing she couldn't stay here. She pulled out of the parking lot, sobbing. She looked at the sky and the dark clouds rumbling above her. She saw a raindrop hit the windshield but kept driving. She got onto the highway and kept going. She intended to get as far away from here as possible. She kept wiping the never-ending stream of tears from her eyes, but it was no use. Between the rain making everything outside look black and her tears obscuring her vision, she couldn't see. But she was too upset to notice. She was too upset to see the guardrail coming at her. The last thing she saw was the airbag, flying towards her face, and then blackness.

Zack picked up his last box and moved it into the hall. It amazed him how fast he had been able to pack up all of his things. He still had his old dorm key so he was able to move his things back into his old dorm. He put Maddie's dorm key on her desk with a note and turned around, telling himself to remain calm. He reached the hall and closed the door behind him. He walked slowly towards his and Cody's old dorm. He was about to put the key in the lock when his cell phone rang. He put the box down and answered the phone, "Hello?"

"Hello, this is the NJ Memorial Hospital calling. We have a patient here by the name of 'Madeline Fitzpatrick'. This number was found in her purse with 'Zack' written under it. Do you know her?"

"Oh my god, what happened to her?"

"I'm assuming you know her then? You're Zack?"

"No duh! Yeah I know her! She's the love of my life!"

"Oh, you're her boyfriend?"

"Yeah! Well, we kind of broke up a few hours ago…"

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that…"

"Yeah, we've been together for like 6 months."

"Well that's not too bad…"

"What? I've been in love with her since I was 12!"

"Oh…well then this sucks."

"Yes it does. Wait a second, why am I pouring my problems out to some guy I don't even know? Who are you?"

"Well I'm Dr. Kingfield."

"Okay, hi Dr. Kingfield. What's wrong with Maddie?"

"Well she was in a car accident. She's unconscious right now so we can't get details but from what we can figure out, she skidded off the road, hit a guardrail and then went flying back into the highway traffic, getting hit by another car."

Zack gasped for air, feeling more scared than he ever had in his entire life. He managed to say, "How is she?"

"Well, like I said, she's unconscious. She broke her left arm and leg and a couple of ribs. Other than that it's a few bumps and bruises. All we're concerned about is that she's unconscious. Does her family live nearby?"

"No, her parents live in Boston…"

"Can you give me the number?"

He gave them Maddie's parent's number and then Dr. Kingfield said, "I think she'd like you to come down."

"How would you know, she's unconscious!"

"The ambulance driver said she was mumbling, 'Zack…Zack…' when they pulled her from the car before she lost consciousness. I think she wants you to come down."

"Okay."

Dr. Kingfield gave him directions and before he knew it, Zack was in his car, driving as fast as he could to the hospital. He pulled into the parking lot, still trying to remain calm. He rushed through the double doors and into the cool waiting room. Why are waiting rooms always so cold? He walked to the lady behind the desk and said, "Hi, um, Dr. Kingfield told me to come down to see a Madeline Fitzpatrick? Can you tell me where her room is?" The lady popped her gum and started checking her computer saying, "Fitzpatrick, Fitzpatrick…ah, here we go...Fitzpatrick, Madeline. Room 524, sweetie. 5th floor." He thanked her and sped off towards the elevators. After waiting for an empty elevator to arrive, he boarded and pressed the number five button and it lit up instantly. The elevator moved slowly up and seemed to take forever to reach the 5th floor. When the doors finally opened, Zack took off, watching the signs and taking the correct turns. At last he reached room 524. He stood outside, debating whether to go in. Come on, suck it up, man! You love her! He turned the knob slowly and entered the room.

Hannah Clark sat on her bed, anger filling her up. She mumbled through clenched teeth, "How dare he reject me like that! How can he like Sarah over me! I'm simply gorgeous, and she's so not! She's too smart for her own good and if you ask me, she needs to be taught a lesson…her and her beloved Cody…I don't care if he is the most gorgeous man I've ever seen, nobody, and I mean, nobody, humiliates Hannah Theresa Clark and gets away with it! Nobody!"

Sarah woke up at 3 o'clock in the morning to the phone ringing. She rubbed sleep out of her eyes, looked over her shoulder at Cody, who was still fast asleep, and reached for the cordless phone by their bed. She answered and quickly moved out to the hall so she wouldn't disturb Cody.

"Hello?"

"Hi, honey, did I wake you?"

"Mom?"

"Yeah?"

"It's 3 in the morning! Of course you woke me!"

"I'm sorry, dear, it's just that, well, Hannah just came to us, sobbing about something that happened between her and Cody…"

"Oh, you mean how she tried to seduce Cody into sleeping with her and trying to steal him from me?"

"What? No, you've got it backwards. Hannah said that Cody was the one trying to seduce her!"

"What! That's preposterous! He told me on the way home that she was trying to get to him!"

"Honey, you shouldn't believe everything you hear. Cody's lying."

"I should say the same to you! Hannah's the one lying! Cody would never lie to me! He told me in the car! If he was hiding it, don't you think he wouldn't have told me?"

"Well why did he want to get out of here as soon as possible?"

"Because Hannah freaked him out and he wanted to get away from there! He didn't want to see her! What exactly is Hannah saying happened?"

"Hannah said that she took Cody upstairs to show him an old photo album of the two of you when you were younger. She came out, having changed quickly into her pajamas, and sat on the bed to show him the album. Then Cody came at her and started trying to get her to take her clothes off! She resisted and threw him out of her room."

"That little liar! Cody said that she took him upstairs to show him something and then disappeared into the bathroom for like, 30 minutes and when Cody offered to help her with whatever she was doing, she refused. Then she came out in what I hope isn't her pajamas! Cody said it was a tiny little tube top and rolled up shorts which covered nothing?"

"That's her pajamas."

"I can't believe you let her wear that! Anyway, she came at him, whispering a load of crap into his ear about how I'm intimidating and I scare guys off because I'm just so smart—"

"Well that is sort of true…"

"Shut up, mother! That's not the point! Hannah was the one trying to get to him and if you ask me, coming and telling you guys this was just a way of getting back at Cody for rejecting her! She's never taken rejection well! I mean, did you see the way she made a big deal about how she wasn't upset at all about breaking up with Brian and how she flirted with him all through dinner?"

"Hannah says that he must've taken that to mean she wanted something."

"Well then this is her fault no matter who came on to who! Cody says she came at him, that would be her fault, and Hannah says that he came at her because of stuff she said, making it her fault also. You can't blame Cody on either side!"

"So you admit that Cody did it!"

"I most certainly do not!"

"Well it doesn't matter because I called the police. They're on their way to your house right now to arrest Cody for sexual assault."

With that said, Sarah's mother hung up the phone. Sarah stared at the phone in her hands, anger boiling out of her. She opened the door of her room and slammed it shut, waking Cody instantly.

"What? What's wrong?"

"What's wrong is that my sister is blaming you for what happened tonight!"

"Huh? How?"

"She went and told my parents that you came at her, not the other way around. And they bought it."

"They did?"

"Yeah, and what's worse is that my mother called the cops. They're on the way over right now to arrest you for sexual assault."

Cody stared at her for a minute with his mouth hanging open. He finally said, "They bought that!"

She nodded. He said, "Do you?"

"No! I just defended you to my mother in a yelling match!"

Cody breathed out quickly and pulled Sarah into a hug whispering, "It's okay…it's okay…" She broke the embrace and he got up, searching for comfy clothes.

"What are you doing, Cody?"

"I'm not going to jail in my boxers and a wife beater."

She laughed, despite the situation. Cody had just pulled on a pair of jeans when a knock came at the door. Cody took a deep breath and left the room, heading for the door. He opened it and there stood two uniformed cops.

"Hello…what can I do for you?"

"Cody Martin?"

He nodded and they continued, "You're under arrest for the sexual assault of Hannah Clark. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you…" He turned and they put handcuffs on him and kept reading his rights. He said to Sarah, who was standing in front of him with tears in her eyes, "It's okay, Sarah. Don't worry. They can't prove anything! She's lying!" She nodded and kissed him passionately before one of the policemen pulled him away saying, "Come on, lover boy." He was put in the backseat of the cop car and they pulled away, the sirens blaring. Sarah stood at the door, tears streaming her face and her fists clenched at her side. Hannah's gone low before, like the time she stole my Bandfest concert tickets and went herself or when she took my favorite pair of jeans and stained them with a smoothie…but this is her lowest trick ever.

Zack sat by the bed, holding Maddie's hand. Her left arm and leg were in a cast and she had bandages all over her face. He gave up on trying to be calm and let the tears fall onto the pure white blanket. He sobbed out, "Come on, Maddie! Don't do this! We're meant for each other, you know it! I know what happened to you…you were crying, weren't you? Because you don't like the idea of us breaking up either. Your vision was blurred because you were crying and it was raining and that's why you ran off the road, isn't it?"

He paused for a second and looked down at his feet and the checkered floor. He continued, "I love you, Maddie, and I can't stand the thought of losing you. Not to you dying, and not to you thinking that we need to break up…I can't live without you, Maddie! Can't you see how happy being with you makes me? These 3 years while you were in college and not right there, at the Tipton, were the saddest times of my life! I used to love you when I was a kid, but it was such an immature love. Now that I've had the experience of really loving you and kissing you and holding you, I know that I love you more than anything in this world. Not in that immature way anymore, but for real. I want to marry you someday. I want to have a family with you! I want to be with you! I can't live with the thought that we almost made it, and one mistake ruined the whole thing!"

He stopped again, thinking. He looked back up at her closed, bruised eyes and continued, "My life is nothing if you're not in it. I don't have a meaning, I don't have a purpose. If you're not right there beside me, then I don't want anyone else to be. I used to believe that there was more than one person that you could be with and truly love. But after being with you, I realize that it can't be! I want to be with you, and only you. There's no one else in the world that could give me the sense of completeness, that never-ending happy feeling that I get when I'm with you! Please don't do this to me, not to us! I know I'm different than Cody and things don't work the same for us, but this is one thing that I really want to work! We don't have to live together, just be together! So you were right, as always, about us rushing into living together, but that doesn't mean we have to break up!"

He looked around the room, biting his lip before continuing again, "I already moved back into me and Cody's old dorm. You're parents are on the way. When they get here, I'm going back there. I know you can hear me in there…I know you can. Please…all I'm trying to say…is please…don't give up on us now…not after everything that we've shared…not after everything we've been through. Even if you don't feel the same…I will always love you…I will love you until my dying day and beyond. I loved you yesterday, I love you today, and I'll love you tomorrow and the many days after."

He heard the door open and saw Maddie's parents come slowly into the room. Before rising to his feet he whispered to her, "Bye…" He felt her hand squeeze around his as he let go. No…she's unconscious…you imagined it. He nodded to her parents and then left the hospital.


A/N- See? I told you I'd get it out soon! I wrote this chapter in a day and I'm so proud of it! Okay, NOTES:

Note #1- I made up the hospital and the doctor's name. They're in New Jersey, and I think there's a 'Memorial Hospital' around here, too, so I made it up. The doctor's name was just me typing random words into a last name and spell check changing it to an actual word.

Note #2- As I said in my 'FOREWARNED NOTE' in the previous chapter, you should feel free to review if you have a problem with the rating. Someone did respond, saying that he/she didn't feel comfortable with what happened. I'd like to extend a note to you:

I'm sorry! I really can't change what happened without completely changing this chapter and chapters after. I will change the rating to 'M' for 'Mature' if you'd like and in the future, I'll let you know ahead of time what parts to avoid if there's anything in them that you probably wouldn't like. Just let me know in a review what you'd like me to do, and I'll be sure to do whatever I can!

Note #3- Tears well up in my eyes as I say this: THIS IS THE LAST CHAPTER! WAAAAA! sniff>> BUT! FEAR NOT! Because as I have stated before, THIS IS A SERIES! The next "season" or "installment" will be up shortly (depending on my internet access) and will start to answer the MANY questions I'm sure you have!

Note #4- As I've said before as well, UPDATES WILL BE SLOW! I have restricted internet access and a bit of Writer's Block (on other stories, not this one. I always seem to have inspiration for this one…it's my HP ones that I tend to lose ideas…) so there's going to be LONG periods of time before an update! I know it's frightfully inconvenient, but I can't do a thing about it. I think I'll get something like half an hour per…maybe every 2 weeks? I don't know. My parents are starting to ease up. If you have any direct questions you want answered, then email me, my email address is in my profile. I have emailing on my computer.

That's it! I hope you enjoyed this story and I hope you continue on to the next sequel!

All my love and gratitude,

DC