A/N: I know what you're thinking. First, what the hell am I doing starting something new? Second, Nicole/Chase, really?

To answer your first question, I'm feeling restless (job hunting is going poorly) and I've found myself oddly excited about this story. Plus, I am trying to write Discovering Us. The unfortunate problem of it at the moment is that the detailed outline for it is God knows where- it was in my suitcase on my way back from Italy and no one seems to know where my suitcase is. It's been 13 days, but I'm still trying to hope for the best. Writing without my outline is proving challenging. I'm constantly second guessing everything thinking, "Was that what I meant to do?" "If this is wrong will it throw off everything else I had planned for the story?" Frustrating, but I'm slowly working through it.

In the mean time, and to answer your second question, I've become enthralled by the idea of Nicole and Chase ever since I briefly gave them potential in Stay- which this is a companion piece to, but Stay doesn't need to be read for this to make sense except to know that Nicole returned to PCA for senior year (though I recommend reading it anyway, especially if you like DL). Why Nicole with Chase? It just occurred to me that given the right circumstances they could be exactly what each other is looking for and a story was born from there.

This was originally intended to be a one-shot, but as I just started writing part five I realized I was on page 47 and from my experience with Stay I realized people aren't crazy about insanely long one-shots. Since this is seven parts (therefore a prime number) I didn't feel good about any combination of splits other than a seven way. So, the first two chapters are the build/background, the climax is the third through the sixth, and the resolve in seven. What I'm saying is please give it a chance to capture you.

And yes, if you've read everything above then you did catch that I do have more of this already written (part way through part 5) so updates should be unusually quick for me on this.

If you've made it through all that, Congratulations! Now, I will finally shut up and let you get on with the story.

Disclaimer: Yeah, I own it. That's why I'm desperately searching for a job as a high school history teacher. Wait….that's not right. Not mine (just the plot).

Summary: Nicole and Chase discover a friendship. And oh how they wished it was that simple. Instead, they have heavy hearts piling up on them. –This is the saga of their relationship, told in seven parts-

Heavy Hearts

I. The world got smashed to pieces and put back together the wrong way

Chase never expected that he'd be spending the night of his senior prom alone in his room, but that was exactly how he spent it.

Until eleven fifteen that is, when a beautiful brunette in a long magenta v-neck halter gown came floating through the door.

"Wow," he breathed, unable to articulate any other words, for no others were forming in his mind upon the sight of her.

"I know, right?" she agreed as came over and sat down next to him on his couch with a sigh. "You'd think that looking this great would keep my date's attention for at least three hours, but of course not."

"What happened?" he asked, genuinely interested in something prom related for the first time in the last three weeks.

"Got drunk, passed out," she answered simply.

Chase didn't understand how that could happen given the prom was a school supervised event. So, he began, "How-"

But Nicole caught on and cut him off, "He brought a flask…well, a few flasks."

"Classy," Chase commented sarcastically.

"Oh yeah, I sure know how to pick 'em," Nicole continued self-deprecatingly.

They settled into a comfortable silence, the type of silence that had become common to them due to the great amount of time they seemed to find themselves hanging out alone together lately.

Chase had found a marathon of old Dawson's Creek episodes on and had long since settled on watching them. Teenaged angst felt appropriate given the current situation. Plus, watching the problems of Dawson, his rollercoaster relationship with Joey, her falling for his best friend Pacey; it was all a nice distraction for a while.

Nicole smiled as she realized that she not only got lucky enough that the episode currently on happened to be the one where Pacey first kissed Joey, but that it was only seconds away. She couldn't resist an "aw" as soon as it happened. She had always been a PJ fan.

She glanced over at Chase. He didn't seem at all thrilled like she was to see the infamous relationship being. She would have brushed it off that no one got as excited about things that happen in re-runs as her, but she had come to know Chase better than that. His mind was far from Capeside. She waited for him to confirm what she already knew he was thinking about.

It wasn't long before he did just that by asking, "Did she have a good time?"

Nicole knew what was being asked and she hated that she had to answer. But Chase needed to hear that Zoey had moved on, because though it was clear before Zoey even finally officially and forever broke up with him that they didn't belong together, Chase still had a difficult time accepting it.

"Yes," she responded regretfully.

"Did she-" he paused, he needed to know, he needed it, but that didn't make it any easier. He mustered up his courage and forced himself to ask, "Where was she when you left?"

"Adam got them a hotel room, they left about thirty minutes before I did," Nicole confessed even though she hated to. Not only did Nicole know Chase needed to hear the truth, she also wasn't going to lie to him-he got far too much of that from Zoey, not intentionally, but still...

Chase sighed as the ache in his chest grew at the confirmation of what he had already suspected. She had completely moved on and she meant it when she said it was really over this time. He knew each time she had taken him back they were a little bit more miserable together and their next break up was a little bit worse. But still, it was difficult to believe it was over.

"I'm Dawson," he said suddenly, hopelessly.

"What?" Nicole asked, completely confused.

"I'm Dawson," he repeated, "My soul mate is a girl I fell in love with when I was 14 and I'm not going to end up with her. I'm Dawson to her Joey."

"No you're not," Nicole responded adamantly, "You're Joey." Claiming Chase was the girl in the situation left him utterly confused, which Nicole could tell. She explained, "We're all Joey's. We're just looking for the right person and on our way we meet Dawson's who seem right and who we want to be right and who we fall for temporarily, but ultimately they're not right. And what we're all really looking for is our Pacey, and I think we're both going to meet our Pacey's someday."

Chase looked thoughtful as he replied, "So, I'm Joey, Zoey's my Dawson, and my Pacey's out there somewhere?"

"Yep," Nicole confirmed.

"Hmm," Chase said considering it. He smiled and concluded, "You know, I really like that idea. It's optimistic."

"You should be optimistic. You're going to meet someone great someday," Nicole assured, "Except when you find your Pacey you're never going to let them go, because you know better, you've seen seasons five and six of Dawson's Creek and you don't want to go through that crap."

Chase laughed, "Of course."

They settled into a comfortable silence again until Chase realized he wasn't the only one having a bad night. He returned the favor she had paid him and said with a glance to her, "You know, you're going to find your Pacey too, some guy who would never want to be without you."

"Yeah," Nicole agreed with a smile, hoping that he was right, trying to convince herself that she had faith. "And hopefully, he'll look like Joshua Jackson."


Nicole called Chase everyday of summer.

For the first few weeks their conversations were a bit awkward. She had never called him before the first day of summer and though they had always easily talked when they were together, it had always been about something going on. She didn't want to bring up Zoey. He didn't want to talk about how he was still thinking about Zoey. So, for the first week and a half their phone conversations usually consisted of them discussing one of the things one of them had recently watched on TV, celebrity gossip, or why Logan ditched senior trip- the events of which they didn't talk about since Chase barely survived being around Zoey (who was trying to be friendly towards him for the sake of their friends and who he was trying to be friendly to in return, but it just hurt too much).

Prompted by an article on MSN on the second Thursday of summer, they were discussing what celebrity couple had the cutest kid(s), when Chase heard giggling coming from the other end of the line, but clearly not from Nicole. He asked, "What's going on at your house? Who is that?"

"Oh, that's my mom," she responded offhandedly, "it's a Thursday and on Thursdays after dinner my dad puts on some randomly chosen song and asks her to dance. He waltzes her around the house, dips her in the hall, twirls her in the kitchen." She sighed and added thoughtfully, "I guess it's why I'm so convinced that movie romance exists in real life. It's what my parents have."

"Mine too," Chase added wistfully, "Every Saturday night my mom makes my dad his favorite dinner-spaghetti with her own sauce- and he brings her flowers. He said that when they were first married they didn't have a lot of money so he used to pick the flowers from anywhere he could. And my mom's spaghetti is still his favorite dish because it's what she's been making him the longest and the reason why he started stealing flowers in the first place. Spaghetti was economically reasonable and they used to eat it almost every night and she used to worry that he would get tired of it and she seemed so distressed over it that one Saturday night he went out and picked her flowers, came home to their crappy little apartment, and told her that he'd eat cardboard with her every night if it meant he could eat it with her. And still now, he brings her flowers and gives them to her saying things like he had to buy them for her because they were so beautiful that they reminded him of her."

Nicole sighed and admitted, "I want that."

"Me too," Chase agreed, "I mean, I know it sounds kind of cheesy, all the stuff my parents say to each other and do for each other, but I still want to find something exactly like what they have."

"Well, I'm sure our Pacey's will be like that. Into the romance and everything, I mean, they'd have to be if they were our Pacey's," Nicole reasoned. And before Chase could respond she had a thought and asked eagerly, "Oh, what's the most romantic thing you've ever heard or seen? I mean, I know a ton of good lines and moments and I remember them because I'm a romantic, but now I'm positive you are too so you have to have some."

"Hmm…" Chase pondered, "That's a difficult question. You're right; I remember tons of good stuff. But the most romantic thing? I don't know." He continued to consider it for a few seconds before finally responding, "I guess one of my favorite things has always been the lyrics to a song I've heard my parents listen to, the kind of thing my mom plays in the car. It's called, "That's All." Have you heard of it?"

"Is it that song Adam Sandler sings at the bar-mitzvah in The Wedding Singer?" Nicole inquired, easily recalling that she had like that particular song in that movie and it had had the words "that's all" in it.

"Yeah," He confirmed, "My mom usually listens to the Mel Torme version, but it's the same song."

She remembered bits of it and she had sat down at her computer to look up the lyrics, but they were on a role, completely void of awkward moments with this topic so she decided to keep it going. She asked, "How does it go again?"

Chase cleared his throat. The thought suddenly struck him that he shouldn't know off hand, how embarrassing would that be? But then again this was Nicole he was talking to and he felt really comfortable telling her stuff. So, he responded, "I can only give you love that lasts forever, and promise to be near each time you call. And the only heart I own for you and you alone, that's all, that's all. I can only give you country walks in springtime and a hand to hold when leaves begin to fall; and a love whose burning light will warm a winter's night, that's all, that's all. There are those who I am sure who have told you they would give you the world for a toy. All I have are these arms to enfold you. And a love that time can never destroy. If you're wondering what I'm asking in return dear, you'll be glad to know my demands are small. Say it's me you'll adore, for now and ever more, that's all, that's all."

He had said the words with such conviction, like he actually believed in them, and by the end Nicole found her eyes damp and her nose in need of the attention of a tissue. For a very brief moment she had let herself think that the words were actually meant for her, from him, and she had the fleeting thought of how nice it would be if that were true.

Chase sighed a little after he finished and reasoned, "I guess I just always hoped that love would be as simple as that song. If you really wanted to be with someone, loving them would be enough, and that's all, everything would just be perfect."

"Me too," Nicole agreed, but she had a feeling that they were both wrong and love would never be so simple.


Sometimes, she calls him and starts talking as if they're already in the middle of a conversation. Somehow though, it works for them.

"So my sister walks into my bedroom this morning, without knocking again, and she starts accusing me of stealing her pink and white polka dot headband, which I absolutely didn't, I swear. So we argue for an hour and guess what happened?"

"You recently found the headband?" Chase guessed, smiling because his daily call from Nicole had become the only good thing about any day. His summer job sucked. Why did Wendy's have to be the only place in town hiring? And why did everyone else who worked there have to be so incompetent?

Nicole sighed and replied, "In my car. But I know I never borrowed it. I may have a lot of pink, but nothing this exact shade. So I couldn't have borrowed it because I have nothing to go with it. She must have found it since our fight and realized she was wrong, but instead of showing some maturity and apologizing, she planted it under the seat in my car."

"Well, look on the bright side," Chase suggested.

"What's that?" Nicole was quick to question.

"In two more weeks you'll be a couple thousand miles away from her again," Chase reminded.

"Right," Nicole agreed, "Thanks for the reminder. That's the best thing I've heard all week."

"You know, this is like a milestone for us," Chase commented.

"What?" Nicole questioned, her heart fluttering ever so briefly at all the possible things he could mean.

"It's the first time you've called me in the last month, possibly all summer, that you haven't started off by telling me about some guy you met or saw on TV or in a movie," Chase answered. He didn't know why he noticed, probably because it was such an evident pattern, but he did notice. Everyday she would call him, and it would be the best part of almost every day, and she'd always tell him about some guy she met at the grocery store or what new celebrity crush she had developed.

"That's totally not true," Nicole denied, "I do not begin every conversation talking about a guy." She didn't think that could be true at all. She hadn't met that many guys to be talking about them. She hadn't even found one good enough to date so there certainly wasn't one good enough for her to ramble about.

"Yesterday you spent an hour explaining to me why you love Sawyer from Lost," Chase retorted.

"He jumped for Kate!" Nicole reminded adamantly, "And I think we established yesterday that Sawyer is amazing and anyone who doesn't love him is insanely stupid. Like Kate, stupidest female character on TV ever-including the cast of Baywatch- since she wasn't half a second behind him jumping off that helicopter too."

"I know, I know," Chase agreed. He reluctantly had to admit that after he had watched every season of Lost at Nicole's insistence, he did agree with Nicole. "But still," he continued, "it just seems like you talk about a lot of guys. I guess…I've just noticed because I'm not seeing anyone. I'm not even ready to start thinking about seeing anyone. But you've obviously been dating…not the whole celebrity crush things, but with the other guys you tell me about. I don't know…I just…noticed." He stumbled through suddenly realizing he sounded like an idiot. He had no idea what possessed him to bring it up. He was lonely he supposed, and since Nicole had these guys she mentioned (the real ones, not the fictional characters), he realized she wasn't. They didn't have that in common anymore.

"I haven't been dating," Nicole responded. She didn't know what was going on. She was suddenly very confused. Somewhere in the very back of her mind the twelve-year old girl that lives in her squealed, "He's jealous!" But she didn't actually think that since what was far more apparent at the moment was how awkward everything rapidly became. She called him everyday, he was one of her best friends (if not her best friend at this point), and if she was dating, didn't he think that they were good enough friends that she'd tell him?

"What about the guys you've talked about?" Chase questioned. It wasn't that he didn't believe her, but he was genuinely confused. If she was meeting all these great guys, then why wasn't she dating?

Nicole sighed and explained, "They were just cute guys at Starbucks who held open a door, or a waiter who seemed to linger, but I haven't been dating because even if I meet a guy who seems good I don't get asked out. In fact, I think I've made the first move in every relationship I've ever been in."

"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," Chase exclaimed, "How does a girl like you not get asked out everyday?"

Nicole was already smiling. She knew it was probably the best compliment she had ever gotten, but since she could ask, she questioned, "What do you mean 'a girl like' me?"

"Nicole," Chase said very seriously, "you're smart, funny, and drop dead gorgeous. That's the kind of girl you are. And every guy who doesn't try to make you his is definitely going to regret it once they realize what they passed up when they didn't ask you out the first second they could form coherent words after they met you-which, let me tell you, takes a few minutes since just being you, you put them in a state of awe."

"Thank you," Nicole said sincerely, touched to the point of tears at his words. "You're so officially my best friend."

Chase smiled his lopsided smile and returned, "You're mine too Nicole."

"We should celebrate our official BFF-ness," Nicole squealed excitedly, "Turn on your video chat and let's dance! We so need some Britney!"

"No!" Chase immediately squashed, "I told you I'm never doing that again."

"Aw, come on," Nicole begged, "Please, for me. Your new best friend forever. Please."

Five minutes of pleading later, Chase gave in.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed the start of the relationship and are starting to get into the idea of Nicole and Chase.

The chapter title was from "Left Behind" by Aqualung.

Part II title: My love is growing stronger as you become a habit to me (Otis Redding, "I've Been Loving You Too Long")

Please, please review. Feedback is love.