Author's Note: So, here it is, the last chapter...I probably won't post the new story for a while. At least not until the school year ends (I finish in mid May) If this chapter feels like an ending rather than a to be continued, like usual, that's because in a way it is. Even though there are two more stories to come they're an entirely different chapter of the characters lives. Thanks for keeping the reviewing up, I appreciate them!
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Chapter 61: I love you
Two weeks had passed since graduation. Julie had been staying with the Rileys, since as maid of honor she couldn't take off just yet. Charlie and Connie's wedding had gone off without a hitch the night before. Now she was packing the last of her stuff into a box in Tammy's room.
"Hey," Tammy whispered, walking in. "You guys are leaving today right?"
"Yeah," Julie whispered. "As soon as Jimmy's ready." Tammy nodded. "Tam, I," Tammy hugged her.
"I'm going to miss you so much," Tammy whispered.
"I'm going to miss you too," Julie said. "Tammy, you're the best friend I've ever had."
"This is so stupid," Tammy wiped her eyes, "I mean no one's dying. So you'll be in California, and I'll be in New York. No big deal, we can talk on the phone."
"And IM," Julie said. Tammy nodded. "But it's going to be so far away." She nodded.
"You'll be 3000 miles away," Tammy said, "Connie's married. Everything's changing."
"Not everything," Julie said. "There's you and Fulton. You're going to have the best summer ever." Tammy laughed. "These past four years have been,"
"Yeah I know," Tammy smiled. "Um, just, don't change too much when you see the whole country." Julie shook her head.
"Don't become some crazy fashion bitch," She sighed, "OK?"
"OK," Tammy nodded. "Anything else?"
"Um, when you're in New York," Julie said, "I mean, I know it's a big city and you're not going to the same schools but,"
"If I run into him," Tammy nodded, "I promise to make sure he's not in too much trouble."
"Thanks," Julie smiled.
"Hey," Connie walked in.
"Aren't you supposed to be on your honeymoon," Julie smiled at her.
"I couldn't go without saying goodbye," Connie walked over and hugged her. "I can't believe we made a real girl out of you." Tammy giggled.
"Congratulations," Julie said softly, "I really hope you and Charlie are happy." Connie smiled. "Please tell me you're not taking his name."
"That's the same thing Guy said," Connie rolled her eyes. "I'm not by the way. See I can be all modern and 90s like you two."
"It's the new millennium," Julie corrected her. "Do you guys want to get a cup of coffee?" The other two giggled.
Kelly sat at her vanity and took a brush and ran it through her hair. It exposed her bare neck and she touched it. She'd never reclaimed her mother's necklace from Scooter, and he hadn't asked for his Eden Hall ring either, and she couldn't bring herself to wear the snowflake he'd given her for gala her senior year.
"This one," Scooted came in and slid her mother's necklace around her neck.
"When do you leave?" She asked.
"Right now," He said. "You?"
"Three days," she said.
"I can't believe you're going to New York for him," He shook his head.
"You didn't ask me to go with you," She reminded him. "What's keeping me here? Rick and Cassie found a house, Jimmy's doing his whole cross country crazy fest with Julie, my dad has Ana."
"Kelly," He whispered. "This is your home, he's taking that away from you."
"If I spend a summer with Liam in New York it doesn't make Minneapolis any less home!" She argued. "And he's not taking anything from me, I chose this." He kissed her. "Scooter, don't, please."
"You said I was the love of your life," he whispered. She nodded. "So come with me." She closed her eyes as he stroked her face. "Kelly." His voice was soft and gentle, intoxicating.
"I can't," She said. He pulled away, "I want to, but I can't." He nodded. "Scooter, we were friends once, good friends, the best. We can get back to that, I know it! I need you in my life, and I love you, I will always," She looked down. "But I can't, I can't hurt anymore. And with Liam, I don't. Do you understand that?"
"We belong together," He cupped his hands around her face, "And you'll see that again. And when you do, I'll be here." He kissed her deeply. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled close. "I love you." He said and walked away. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, falling back onto her bed. What was wrong with her?
Dean sat on his bed at home staring at the envelope. Elena had handed it to him at the airport, making him promise not to open it until he was home. He'd been home for about six hours and he hadn't opened it yet. Why he didn't open it while he was still in Minnesota he wasn't sure, but he just had this feeling that Lena would know. He missed her, he understood she was doing what she thought was best, but he simply missed her. He pulled open the glue of the envelope.
I don't even know how to begin. I guess just that I love you. I love so much, that I can't even begin to say how much. And I'm incredibly proud of you. Despite whatever it is that made me do what I did, I want you to know that the past few months when we were happy were the most amazing I've ever had. Being with you had changed everything in the best way possible. Before you I was sure my life had to turn out a certain way. I now know that that isn't the case. My life is whatever I make of it.
So I want to thank you for understanding, for loving me enough to let me go and get better and…
There was a tear stain on the paper there. He bit his bottom lip.
There's so much I want to say and so much that I don't know how to. Just know I understand if things change for you this summer, while I'm away. But I am coming back to you. I really believe that there is something even deeper than love between me and you. Something cosmic and beautiful and perfect. I sound crazy, so I'll stop writing, but I will always love you.
He smiled and hugged the letter.
"Hey there," Tanya leaned against the door.
"Hey," He said. "Was wondering when you were gonna show up." She laughed and walked in.
"Letter from the junky girlfriend?" She asked. He nodded. "How's she doing?"
"I haven't heard from her in a few days," He said. "But she's seems OK. Healthy, which is the point."
"Sure," She nodded. "Wanna get some food?"
"Yeah," he nodded. "I'll be write out." He'd been struggling with writing to Elena and now he knew exactly. He sat down and grabbed a pen.
I love you too.
Brad sat on the dock at the Rhode Island house, looking up at Gabrielle's window. He'd seen her walk into it and look out over the water once, a sort of sad smile on her face.
"What are you looking at?" He turned hearing her voice.
"Gabrielle," he whispered and stood up. He cupped his hands around her face and kissed her. "Baby, I missed you so much."
"I missed you too," she said softly. They kissed again, and it felt for a minute like every space between them had closed up, then she pushed him away. "Oh Brad, what happened to us?"
"I don't know," He sighed and put his arms around her, "But I'm so happy to see you. You have no idea." She blinked her green eyes at him and then kissed him. "So happy," he moved down and nibbled gently on her neck.
"Brad," she whimpered, his hands moved down her body and rested in the small of her back and pulled her close, "Oh, don't!" She said.
"I won't stop," he shook his head, "Gabrielle, I can't! I need you." He kissed her. "I need to know you forgive me. It's killing me."
"I talked to Angela," she said softly. "She told me Elena went to rehab."
"In Arizona, yeah," he nodded. "It's been weird." She nodded. "What?"
"When she comes back, all better," Gabrielle said, "It might change how you feel."
"Nothing in the world," he kissed her, "is going to change how I feel about you Gabrielle. I want you, and only you." She kissed him.
"I think I believe you," She said gently. "Is it too late to go out to the ocean?" He smiled.
Jimmy sat looking around his room. Everything that needed to be was packed up. And if he forgot anything, it could be shipped, or picked up on one of their swings back around the country. Still, sitting on his desk undisturbed, was the slightly yellowed envelope with his name in his mother's cursive. He knew Julie was in the next room, waiting for him to be ready.
"Hey," Rick walked in holding Eva. "She wanted to say goodbye."
"She did?" Jimmy laughed and looked at him.
"Alright," Rick sighed, "I did." Jimmy nodded. "You sure you know what you're doing here kid?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure," Jimmy nodded. "Come here," He took the baby, "I'm gonna miss you," He kissed her and she cooed and hugged onto him. "She'll be so big by the time I get home." Rick nodded. "House'll be practically empty."
"I know," Rick laughed. "Poor Tommy." Jimmy nodded. Rick looked over at the desk. "Did you read it yet?"
"Nah," Jimmy swallowed, "it's just kinda there." Rick nodded. They stood in silence for a minute, "I love you."
"Dude don't be gay," Rick took the baby, and started walking out, he turned, "But me too." Jimmy laughed. Kelly wandered in too. "Make sure he doesn't get hysterical huh?" Rick bumped her. She laughed.
"Hey baby brother," Kelly said.
"Hey," He smiled and hugged her. "Are you gonna be OK?"
"Yeah," She said, "Of course. I mean, I'm getting there. I'll see you at gala?"
"I wouldn't miss it," He nodded. "And I'll call you." She nodded. "Thanks for raising me Kel."
"Right back at you," She said. "See what Mom had to say." He smiled. "I love you." She cupped her hands around his face. "I love you more than anything or anyone. That's it, you're it." He nodded. "I'll give you privacy." He smiled and hugged her close again. He took a deep breath and picked up the envelope.
My Sweet Baby,
For once I know that this is letter will remain between just me and you, because I know your nature. James, you are everything I want to leave behind to the world. If I can be grateful for anything with this illness it is for the times I've spent with you my darling baby boy. The afternoons you've spent at my bedside are my favorite times in my life. If your heart could heal me, I know I would be by your side right now.
I hope and pray that your heart has only grown in my absence and that the things we've talked about or whatever dreams have come since then are within your grasp. I knew how great you could be from the moment I held you in my arms.
I love you baby, so much my heart is going to explode. Be good.
He closed his eyes and thought for a moment about those afternoons, sitting with her. Telling her he wanted to be a doctor so that he could fix other people who were sick like her.
"Hey," Julie wandered in. He smiled and kissed her. "You ready to go?"
"Yeah," He nodded. "I'm ready." He kissed her. "I love you Jules."
"I love you too," She smiled.
Coming Soon: Little Rileys Part V (WHOA): Littles Out in The World...College and senior year hit for the littles and some of the Ducks. New York, Chicago, California and the world beckon. But what will happen when couples split up, love triangles share bathrooms, and families grow bigger? Nothing will ever be the same.