Chapter One – Calm after the Storm

She sat on the edge of the window seat as she looked out the window watching the droplets of rain hit the umbrellas below and collect on her window seal outside. This was so soothing to her. She could collect her thoughts completely and see things much clearer than she ever had before.

She turned around at the sound of a knock on her door.

"Felicity, you coming?" Meghan said.

"Yeah. I will be there in just a second." she said, her plastered smile fading as Meghan vanished from view.

She wiped a tear from her face and took a look in the mirror and pinned back a few loose pieces of hair. She grabbed her keys and slowly moved towards the door, taking one last look out her window at the gray sky.

As Felicity stood in line to the side of the stage she thought of her high school graduation and how much hope she had then. She was young and had her whole future ahead of her and was about to follow the boy she loved. Now…she couldn't see much happiness coming her way anytime soon.

Just as another tear was about to fall to her cheek, she looked over and saw Meghan and Sean smiling there faces off. Even Sam was smiling. He was three years old and the cutest Godson that anyone could ask for. Of course, Javier was standing up with his camera in hand. This brought a smile to her face for just a split second, until the line started moving again.

The Dean of Art and History was at the podium reading the names of the students that had received their Master's in Arts degrees this spring semester. There was a pause and he flipped his paper over and Felicity stood there waiting for her name to be called, so she could strut and leap across the stage. Well, that is what a normal person would do if they were at all happy about receiving their Doctorate. A degree that should have taken about three years to finish, but took Felicity over four years to complete. There were things that got in the way of her staying on schedule, of course. You know, like her dad dying of cancer at the age of 50, her mom marrying a new man, her best friend and her husband having a son, and her boyfriend of four years leaving her for a married woman.

"And now we will announce the candidates for a PhD in Arts. We have one candidate this semester. For a PhD in Art History with a minor in Art Critique, we would like to present Felicity Porter for the spring semester of 2007."

Felicity had completely zoned out. She was staring at the nearby tree swaying in the humid, California breeze. At the sound of her name being spoken in quite a louder tone, she snapped out of it, put a smile on her face and stepped up onto the stage.

As she walked across the stage she looked out into the audience and for a split second thought she saw Noel sitting on the back row. She looked back and he was gone. Her heart dropped and she fell flat on her face as she missed the last stair step. She tried to ignore the gasps of the five hundred people before her. She felt her face grow hot and she could have sworn she heard Javier's gasp loudest of all. She looked over and saw Javier standing with his hand over his mouth. Sean held his lips closed as he tried not to let his laugh escape. Meghan looked over at Sean, caught his expression, and jabbed him in the arm, making Sam giggle.

After all the guests had left Felicity's apartment, Meghan reclined back as she finished the last sip of her bubbly drink. She glanced over to see Felicity still shuffling the dishes. Felicity looked over and Meghan patted the couch, inviting her to come over.

"You have plenty of time to do that later, dear." Meghan said.

Felicity plopped down on her soft, yet slightly lumpy couch next to her best friend in the world. Well, her best girlfriend that is.

"…I miss him." Felicity said.

"Ben. I know, babe. It's been a year though. Are you ever gonna move on from this?" Meghan said.

"No, not Ben. I was over him the minute he proved me wrong for the fiftieth time."


Felicity raised her eyebrow, making her answer obvious to Meghan.

"Oh…finally, you figure it out." Meghan said.

"Yeah." Felicity said.

She had finally admitted it to herself that she missed Noel. She had hurt him so badly. She had not listened to him. She didn't trust her best friend and now she did not have her best friend. She did not have Noel.

"So, how were the boys today? Did he behave himself?" Felicity asked.

"Yes, he did really well actually. That silly boy. And Sam did really well too. I just love my guys to death."

"So, Noel called Sean yesterday." Meghan said.

"Really? Did he ask…" Felicity said, hope in her eyes.

"No. I'm sorry." Meghan said as she shrugged.

"You know he is still hurting, Felicity?"

"Yes, I do. I hate myself everyday for what went down. And I can't take it back."

"Yes, you can. You can always ask for forgiveness. Have you done that yet?"

"No. I don't know what to say. I don't know where to start. I don't have the words."

"Honey, you will find the words, believe me! I have heard many words leave those lips of yours." Meghan said, giggling.

"Do you think so?"

"I know so. And I love you and want to see you happy, not in this funk, like you have been for the past few months." Meghan said, leaning over on Felicity's shoulder.

"I love you too Meghan. Well, I am tired and am gonna head to bed." Felicity said, grabbing the champagne flutes that were sitting all around the room from dinner earlier.

"Ok. Goodnight." Meghan said, as she walked down the hallway to the guest bedroom, where Sean and Sam lay snoring in unison.

The lights had only been off for a minute when Felicity's cell phone came to life on the table next to her. She blinked at the flashing screen. She did not recognize the ordinary ring tone or even the phone number, but there was something about it that made her need to answer.

"Hello?" Felicity asked.

"Hey…" the voice from the other end said.

As she heard the voice, she began to tremble in disbelief. Then a huge smile stretched across her face. She pulled back the curtain on her window and could now see the sky begin to clear.