Author's Note: Thanks as always to everyone who reviewed, you guys are awesome. I know what the next few stories are building to, so we should have some fun over the next few months, as long as you keep reading I'll keep writing. I'm glad you guys like this gang, because they'll be around for a while!
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Epilogue: It Hurts Me
August, One Year Later
"Aaron, I said I don't want to talk about it anymore!" Stephanie said insistently walking up to the kitchen door. He followed her.
"Stephie," he said, "we have to talk about it!"
"No," she said and shook her head, "this is hard enough without talking about it more." She wiped her eyes. "I have to go," she walked into the house slamming the screen door in his face. She closed her eyes and leaned against the door and sobbed.
"Good morning," she looked over and saw Jimmy sitting at the kitchen table.
"Jimmy," she whispered, "you're awake."
"I'm on my way to the hospital," he said. "You stayed out all night."
"I tried to get home," she said, "but Aaron," he nodded, understanding. "It won't happen again, I promise."
"I've heard that before," he said. She nodded.
"I mean it this time," she whispered, "it's really over." She walked upstairs and lay down on her bed, Jimmy followed.
"What happened?" He asked.
"I don't want to talk about it," she said, her face buried into her pillows.
"We can call Julie if you want," he said and sat down. "I know this is hard for you Bug, but they really needed her in LA this summer, I hate that she's away too." She sat up and looked at him.
"You haven't called me that in a long time," she said as he pushed her hair behind her shoulder.
"You haven't felt like my Bug in a long time," he said. She smiled. "Is everything OK? Are you pregnant?"
"I'm not pregnant," she said, "even if I wasn't a virgin," she said, Jimmy heaved a sigh of relief, "between Julie, Aunt Jaime and Taylor I'd say Aaron and I know how to be safe."
"Your sister always was a stickler for birth control," he said. "So, what's wrong?"
"I broke up with Aaron," she whispered.
"I caught that," he said. "Any particular reason?"
"I'm not in love with him anymore," she said softly. "God, I hate saying that, it sounds so puny!"
"Dad's going to flip when he finds out," Bella said as she and TJ sat on Eva's bed and watched her pack.
"If you two keep your mouths shut I'll be in Paris by the time he does," she said. Her two younger siblings looked at her. "You will keep your mouths shut won't you?"
"I don't narc," TJ shrugged, "I think you're being stupid, but I won't." She looked at him. "And I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too," she said, "but there was always the possibility of this. Aunt Tammy's been saying for years that I should go to school in Europe."
"Yeah, the key words there being 'go to school,'" Bella said, "not run away and shack up with David Portman!" Eva looked at her little sister. "I want a hundred dollars and your room."
"The room's yours and I'll wire you the money when I land," Eva said. "I know better than to pay you upfront." Bella looked at her. "I'll miss you Annabelle Leigh." She hugged her and Bella squeezed her tightly.
"So don't go," Bella said. "I'm starting high school in the fall, that's like huge and you'll miss it."
"Dad'll get over it in a few months," Eva said, "and then David and I will come home and get married just like we planned."
"You're going to do it without us," Bella whispered, "I know it."
"Don't be stupid," Eva said, "I could never get married without my maid of honor." Bella nodded. "And you have to be there to make sure TJ looks good in the dress." Bella giggled.
"Bella," Cassie walked in and looked at her oldest daughter. "That's a lot of packing for a few weeks in New York."
"I guess I got carried away," Eva shrugged.
"Right," Cassie nodded, "anyway, Bella, Eddie's downstairs." Bella perked up and jogged to down to the foyer and giggled running into Eddie's arms. It was impossible for her to be unhappy or uneasy when her boyfriend held her close, like her body wouldn't let it happen. He kissed her softly.
"Hi," he whispered.
"Hi," she smiled, running her fingers over his perfectly sculpted patrician features. Eddie was what she called, "boy beautiful." "What are you doing here?"
"I figured you'd be in a crappy mood so I brought you a present," he said, holding out a box. She squealed and clapped and then took it, and they walked into the living room and sat down. "I was waiting until your birthday, but I figured now would be appropriate." She opened the box.
"Oh!" She whispered. It was a beautiful silver pendant, on one side were her initials, "ALR" and on the other was his, "EAC."
"This way we can always be together," he said putting it around her neck, "even when we're apart."
"It's beautiful, I won't ever take it off, I promise!" she said and kissed him. "I love you."
"I love you too," he said.
Connie woke up and giggled, pulling the comforter over her face. Donavan playfully pulled it down.
"What are you embarrassed about?" He said as she blushed.
"Nothing," she said, "I'm just happy." He laughed.
"You're not sorry?" He said. She shook her head and he kissed her. "Not even a little."
"No," she said. "Of course not, I mean, I kind of wish we'd done it sooner," she said, "you're only by yourself in the dormroom tonight."
"Mm," he nodded. "That is a problem, but you'll visit and I'll visit." They kissed, "and in two years you'll be here."
"What if I don't come to Yale?" She said, "what if I go to Fordham or Pace like my birth parents?"
"I don't think you'd do that to your dad," he said. She laughed.
"I did this to him," she said, "when he expressly told me I was not to have sex until I was 30." Donavan laughed and kissed her again. "I love you so much."
"I love you too," he said.
"What are you thinking about?" Lizzie asked, laying with her hair spread out on Tony's chest.
"I somehow owe your brother forty five dollars," he said, "even though I bet that the Mets would beat the Cubs, and they did."
"Did you bet flat on the spread?" Lizzie asked. Tony looked at her.
"What's a spread?" He said. She laughed. "Anyway, any chance you can help me out with that?"
"Nope," she said. He looked at her.
"Really?" He said, "wow, OK, worst girlfriend ever.'
"Oh!" She said, "No, I warned you not to mess with Dean, and I warned him not to let you screw yourself, I wash my hands of the both of you. You pay him or his stupid goons are going to break your knee caps."
"I think they just leave threatening notes in lockers," he laughed, "I don't think there's anything physical."
"Whatever," she shook her head, "one of these days he's going to get in huge trouble and I won't be able to get him out of it."
"Yeah, your in crowd cred doesn't go that far with the administration," Tony sighed. "It did help him that time he didn't have the cash to pay those Blake guys right away."
"That was Donavan," she shook her head. Tony shrugged. "You're never going to give the guy any credit ever, are you?"
"Nope," he kissed her.
"So where'd we go wrong exactly?" Charlie asked, Fulton looked at him and laughed as they watched Kevin and Gordon toss a football back and forth in Charlie and Connie's yard. The two boys had just found out that they'd be starting on the Eden Hall Freshman football team.
"Hey, at least Gordon plays out of love for the game," Fulton shrugged, "I think Kevin just does it to piss me off." Charlie laughed. "I think Eden Hall will be good for him though. Same as it was for us."
"Calming influence?" Charlie smirked. Fulton laughed and nodded. "I don't think that was the school man."
"As far as Tanya knows it was," Fulton shrugged. "I try to bring her up as little as possible." Charlie nodded.
"Yeah, me too," Charlie said. "Different reasons though. You'd think after all these years they could be friends again." Fulton nodded.
"My dad's happy though," Fulton said, changing the subject back, "hated when I quiet football." Charlie nodded.
"I remember." He said. "It should be good."
To be Continued...
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