Chapter Sixteen

Moving On

"Hey, Jess, is this the last box?" Jeremy asked, dropping a heavy box on the floor of Jessica's new dorm room. His girlfriend appeared in the doorframe of her closet, dressed in short blue jean shorts and a red halter top, her blonde hair pulled up into a high ponytail.

Jessica squinted at the box. "Yeah," she finally said, "I think that's the last one. You can just drop it there."

Jeremy followed her instructions, dropping the box, and then jogging over to her, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her neck. Jessica giggled, pulling back and walking into her bedroom.

"What now?" Jeremy asked, sitting down on her bed, just admiring the smile on her face. Slowly but surely, Jessica was turning back into her old self.

"My dresser." Jessica said, hauling a box into the center of the room. She opened it to reveal some of her pajamas, bras and underwear. "Want to take on this box?" she asked, watching her boyfriend blush.

"Sure," Jeremy said finally. "I guess that I can handle it."

Jessica smiled again, leaving the floor and sitting down on the bed, right onto her boyfriend's lap.

After kissing her for several minutes, Jeremy pulled back, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. "How are you doing?" he asked quietly, so her new roommates wouldn't hear. They didn't know of the events of the last year, and Jessica preferred that it stayed that way.

"Okay," she said, squirming on his lap. "I had a fairly hard group session last night." Ever since they'd talked about her getting help, Jessica had been going to group therapy sessions with other rape survivors. While she was doing better, Jeremy know that she was still emotionally fragile. He knew that the therapy helped her, but sharing her story and talking about her feelings was hard for her. It had helped her to know that she wasn't alone, though, that there were other women that had been raped and had survived.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Jeremy asked, "I noticed you didn't come home and talk about it last night like you usually do."

"We had to share our story in front of everyone," she said, quietly. "I started crying in the middle of it. I still feel ashamed of what happened."

Jeremy nodded, knowing how hard it was for her. He also knew that she'd always be emotionally scarred, but would someday be able to move on with her life. "I know it was hard for you, sweetie."

Jessica leaned her head against his shoulder. "It was. I wish that this hadn't have happened."

Jeremy patted her back. "I wish that it hadn't have happened, too. You didn't deserve it." He held her close, giving her a kiss. "But please don't feel ashamed of yourself. I know that it's natural to have feelings like that, but you did nothing wrong, and you have to remember that."

Jessica nodded. "You're right, but I still don't feel comfortable talking about it, especially in front of a group of strangers."

"I see where you're coming from." Jeremy said, releasing his hold on her. "So I'll drop it for now."

Jessica nodded, giving him a slight smile. "Thanks. You always know what I'm thinking, and what to say to me. And whatever you say always makes me feel better."

Grinning, Jeremy moved her off his lap, and moved himself to the floor. Jessica followed him. "See," he said, "I'm your boyfriend. It's my job to read your mind." Jeremy smiled, reaching down into the box she'd gotten for him, and dug out a frilly, lacy pink bra. "Now," he said, playfully teasing her, "Why don't we sort these things out and put them away?"

Jessica blushed, taking away her bra and swatting her boyfriend across his chest with her hand. "Fine, I guess that we can, but would you please try to behave? I don't want my roommates thinking that you're an overgrown jock with a one track mind."

Jeremy smiled, giving her a deep kiss. When he finally pulled away from her, both breathing hard, Jessica just rolled her eyes slightly. "I'm done clowning around now." Jeremy said, "I don't want your roomies getting the wrong impression of me, at least not this soon in the year."

"Yeah," Jessica said, sweetly, "But at the rate that you're going, I'm starting to wonder myself." Jeremy tried to look at her sternly, but it didn't work. He laughed, and pulled her into his lap, and started to kiss her like crazy.

Later that evening, Jessica and Jeremy, along with Melissa had made their way over to Elizabeth and Conner's apartment. They'd been living there for a month and a half now, and Jessica knew they were doing fairly well.

"Hey Liz!" Jessica chimed happily, walking in with Jeremy at her side. His hand rested familiarly at her hip, and Melissa followed behind them. She was one of Jessica's three roommates this year, and they were still close friends. She'd lived with the Wakefields all summer, as even now, her parents didn't support the choices that she'd made.

"Be quiet!" Elizabeth hissed, her expression worn out and tired. Jessica looked at Conner, waiting to see if he'd offer them an explanation. He just shrugged, looking over to Elizabeth.

"She just got the twins asleep for a nap. I think that they gave her a hard day." Conner said, "I just got home about half an hour ago." Jessica nodded, following her sister and Conner into the kitchen, with Jeremy and Melissa following. Jessica looked over at Elizabeth, waiting for her to confirm if what Conner had said was right.

"He's right. Neither of them behaved well, or would go down for a nap all day." Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "I think that they take a great pleasure in wearing me out, seeing they do it often."

Jessica laughed, knowing that Elizabeth's act was mostly a front. She knew how much her sister loved her son and daughter. She also knew how much Conner loved them, too. So far, they'd been great parents.

"How was your guys' day?" Elizabeth asked, "Are you all moved into your dorm rooms now?"

"I know that I am." Jessica said proudly. "Jeremy helped me. We had a lot of work that we did."

Melissa laughed. "Helped you? I thought that he was there as a reason to take a break from cleaning things and putting them away." She looked over toward Elizabeth and Conner. "Those two spent more time making out then moving in."

Jessica felt her face flush crimson, and looking behind to Jeremy, she could tell he was also blushing. She glared at Melissa, as Elizabeth and Conner laughed. Her friend managed to maintain her look of innocence for all of thirty seconds, before she too burst out laughing.

Conner looked at them, a sly grin on his face. "Oh, we should lay off the two of them." he grinned, "But Jeremy, it's good to know you've figured out that's the way to deal with your girlfriend." He teased, as Elizabeth reached over and playfully smacked him on the arm.

"Bad." She said, laughing as Conner grinned, scooting his chair closer to hers and moving her onto his lap. He gave her a kiss on the cheek.

Melissa looked from Jeremy and Jessica over to Elizabeth and Conner. "See, that'll be the good thing about college. More guys." She grinned. "You people are all paired off, so I need to go and find me a man."

"Hey!" Jeremy said suddenly. "I've got an idea. Just come over and hang around my dorm sometimes. There are a lot of nice guys around there."

Melissa smiled. "I like the way that you think."

Jessica leaned back against her boyfriend, as she was sitting on his lap. "you never did tell me about your roommate. How is he?" Jeremy had moved into his dorm in Reid Hall the day before, and by the time Jessica had to leave to drive back to Sweet Valley so she could go to her group meeting, his roommate still hadn't arrived.

"Oh, Matt?" Jeremy asked, and continued, 'He's really nice. He's from Florida, so it took him awhile to get here. He's also on the football team." Jeremy smiled. "And the guys in the dorm next door are nice. They're juniors… their names are Danny and Tom."

Jessica smiled. "Do you think that you guys will get to be friends?"

Jeremy nodded. "I think that me and Matt are already on the way to being them. We're both thinking about majoring in pre-med, and we're going to be on the team together."

Melissa frowned. "What about the other two guys, Tom and Danny? I don't know if I want to take on another football player." she blushed. "No offense or anything, Jeremy."

"None taken. I know what you mean, and if I was you, I'd be more then a little leery of football players, too," Jeremy said warmly. "But I mostly talked to Tom. He's really nice, but I take he's also fairly quiet, too. He's a journalism major, and works at the campus station."

"It's WSVU, right?" Elizabeth asked, interjecting. Jeremy nodded. "That's cool. It'd be fun to work there."

"He sounds nice," Melissa said, "I might have to take you up on your idea."

The others laughed. "Speaking of work," Jessica asked, "how's your new job going, Conner?" After moving into their apartment, Conner had been able to get a job at anther branch of the music store he'd worked at back in Sweet Valley.

"Good." he said simply. "It's not much different then working at the other store, you know." Because they'd need someone with the twins at all times, Elizabeth wasn't going to work until second semester. They'd both even worked out their class schedules so that someone would always be home with Adam and Sarah, or Jessica or someone else would be able to baby-sit.

About an hour later, Jessica, Jeremy and Melissa had left. No more then ten minutes later, Sarah had woke up crying, so Conner and Elizabeth had went ahead and woke Adam up, and they'd fed them dinner. Now they were trying to get them ready for bed, so they could have some time alone together.

Conner was drying Adam off as Elizabeth was washing Sarah up. Already, she'd proved herself to be a great mom. "I'm sorry that I wasn't around to help you today," Conner said, as he changed Adam into a fresh diaper.

"Don't worry about it." Elizabeth said, "You had to work. I don't mind watching them, and you now it."

"Yeah," Conner said, looking over at her. "I know how much you love them." he stopped, looking at her. "Do you have any regrets?"

Elizabeth paused. "No." she said, finally, "I love the twins, and I love you. I'm glad things have worked out. We're both happy, and we're doing good. I do wish that we would have waited a few more years, but I'm not mad that I made the decisions I made. I think that that things were meant to happen like this." She pulled Sarah out of the infant tub in the sink, and wrapped the gurgling baby in a soft pink towel, drying her off from her bath.

"I'm glad that you feel that way, because I do too. I love you and the twins more then anything." Conner said sincerely, sliding Adam into a blue sleeper. Already, his eyes were at half mast, and he gazed sleepily from his dad to his mom. He was the easy going, mild-mannered twin, while Sarah was much more alert and slightly fussy. The twins had already established very different personalities.

Elizabeth smiled, her eyes lighting up happily. Conner took a few seconds to admire how great she looked. She'd lost nearly all of the weight from the pregnancy, and was pretty much back to looking like her old self. It was apparent that little Sarah was going to take after her mother, she already had the blonde hair and sparkling blue-green eyes.

"Thanks," Elizabeth said, snapping closed the buttons on Sarah's sleeper and picking up the baby. "I'm happy with the way things are going." She walked out of the bathroom and into the babies' room, setting Sarah down in her crib, and Conner followed with Adam. It only took a few minutes for both babies to be fast on their way to falling asleep. Leaving the door open partway, Elizabeth and Conner left the room, retreating in the living room.

Elizabeth sat down heavily on the sofa, and Conner sat down next to her, wrapping an arm around her. "I'm sorry that the twins gave you a hard time today." he kissed her, and she smiled slightly.

"Yeah, they did. Adam was okay, he just wouldn't sleep. Sarah, on the other hand, was fussy all day, and felt the need to burst out crying every thirty minutes." Elizabeth snuggled closer into her boyfriend's arms.

Conner smiled, hugging her. "I'm glad that they finally settled down for you." he kissed the top of her head. "It was nice seeing your sister and Jeremy and Melissa."

Elizabeth nodded. "I'm glad that Jess seems to be doing better. It's great that she finally is getting help dealing with what happened with Will."

"Yeah, it is good. She's a sweet person, and didn't deserved to have that happen to her." Conner said, pulling back, and taking her hands in his.

Elizabeth bit her lip. "Yeah, she didn't. Speaking of which, how's Megan doing?"

"Pretty good, now that she's in group, too. She's really started to look up to Jessica, you know. Once she found out that Jessica was trying to move on and come to terms with what happened, she found the courage to do the same. She's handling it well, for the most part." Conner informed, thinking about his little sister for a few moments. He'd had no clue that she'd even been raped, and finding out that she was finally getting help made him feel better.

"That's good, I'm glad that they're doing better. I'm also glad that Jess has Jeremy, because I don't think that she'd have made it if she didn't have him. They're good together." Elizabeth amended.

"He's a nice guy, and I like him. Which you know is rare for football players," he said, teasing. Conner leaned forward and kissed her softly.

"Yeah," she said, giggling slightly. "I think that I've picked up on that by now. But it's good that she found someone that really loves her. I'm lucky, too, because I found someone that really loves me."

Conner wrapped his arms around her. "Oh, you did?"

"Yeah, I did," she said, resting her head on his shoulder. It was times like these, when they were together, that made Elizabeth love Conner even more. "I love you."

Conner ran a hand through her blonde hair, knowing how much he loved her. More then anything. "I love you, too."

Elizabeth kissed him again, enjoying the silence for a few moments. "You know, I really think that everything is going to work out for us and the twins." she said, feeling relief in knowing that they had made it this far.

"It will work out," Conner said, reading her mind, "We've made it this far, and I know that we'll make it from now on. I don't have a single regret. I had so many doubts in myself, that I worried we wouldn't even make it to now. But I guess we did, and I think that it's made us stronger.

"It has," Elizabeth said, "It really has. I can't thank you enough for what you've done for me. You're one of a rare few that wouldn't bail when this happened. Instead, you've been so great that I can't even remember why I worried."

Conner nodded, rubbing her back softly. "You don't have to thank me. I did it because I love you, and you know it." he kissed the top of her head. "And I promise that I always will, regardless of what happens in the future."

Elizabeth closed her eyes. "I know that there could never be another person that I loved like I love you, and that's why I'm not worrying about the future… because I know that I will love you then, and that I have your love, and support, too."

"I had a great evening, sweetie," Jeremy said, encircling his arms around his girlfriend's tiny waist, and feeling her rest her head on his shoulder. After going over to Elizabeth and Conner's apartment, they'd dropped Melissa off at their dorm, and he and Jessica had gone out for dinner. Now, as the night drew to a close, he had to drop her off before going back to his dorm room. Leaving wasn't something that he wanted to do.

"I did too." Jessica replied, enjoying the moment with him. She didn't want him to leave, but she knew that he had to, because it was the first night of enforced dorm curfew, so he'd have to leave.

"I'll see you in the morning, right?" Jeremy asked, letting go of her and walking up the first few steps to the entrance of the building with her. He stopped, feeling the slight breeze. Otherwise, the August night was hot, almost too warm. But it was cooling off now, and Jeremy saw Jessica shiver, only wearing a tank top.

"You'll see me in the morning." Jessica agreed, snuggling into his arms when he pulled her to him. She leaned his head against his shoulder, wishing that he didn't have to leave that night. They'd had a great night together, and she knew if he stayed over, then she'd probably open up to him some and talk to him about some of the things that she'd been feeling lately. He'd been there for her every step of the way, and Jessica knew that if it wasn't for him, then she wouldn't have even begun dealing with having Will rape her.

"Cold, sweetie?" Jeremy asked, looking down when she tilted her head up. He kissed the top of her head, smelling the sweet scent of the freshly cleaned blonde hair.

"Not anymore." Jessica murmured. "I wish that you didn't have to leave, I'd rather stay with you tonight."

"I wish that I could, because that's what I'm in the mood for tonight." Jeremy said gently, walking up the next few steps, his arm still around her waist. If it was this hard to let go of her, Jeremy could imagine that he'd be spending every moment of his free time with her, now that they didn't have parents breathing down their necks and telling them what to do.

"I love you." Jessica said, letting go of him finally and slipping her hands in his, giving them a firm squeeze.

"I love you, too." Jeremy said, squeezing them back, and looking deeply into her soft blue green eyes. She stared back for a moment, and then he leaned forward, and gave her a kiss, pulling her towards him again. When they broke apart, Jessica looked up at him with a hazy smile.

"Do you think that we're going to be able to separate tonight?" She asked, teasing him slightly. Jeremy laughed, brushing his fingers through her hair.

"I don't know. I know that I don't want to." He kissed her again. "Want to meet in the student union for breakfast tomorrow?"

Jessica nodded. "I don't want you to leave, either. Breakfast sounds good, as long as I'm spending time with you."

Jeremy nodded. "Want me to come by at seven, sweetheart?"

Jessica scrunched up her nose. "Seven? That's insanely early. Try, like, ten or something. That's plenty early for me."

Jeremy laughed. "I'll come by at eight thirty. Melissa will be awake and let me in, and I'll wake you up. I'll be the first thing that you see in the morning."

"You think of everything." Jessica said, giving him another kiss, before fully breaking apart. She walked over to the glass doors of the dorm building, and blew him a quick kiss before she headed inside.

"Hey baby, it's time to wake up," Jeremy said for what had to have been the twentieth time the next morning. Jessica was yet to show any signs of life.

"Go away." she finally mumbled, groggily moving the pillow to cover her head. Jeremy put his hand on her shoulder again, giving her a slight shake. He hear Melissa give a snicker from the door, and he smiled, amused. Jessica would never be known as a morning person, that was sure.

"It's me, Jess. Wake up." Jeremy prompted again, and she finally sat up, rubbing her eyes, and then turning to face him, still looking half-asleep.

"Good morning," she said, fully opening her eyes.

"Good morning to you, too, honey." Jeremy smiled at her, standing up and offering her a hand to stand up. She was in a pair of leopard print pajamas, and he thought that she looked absolutely adorable. "Hungry?"

"I don't know. I haven't tasted the food at the student union yet." Jessica said, stripping off her shirt and pulling on a white baby T-shirt, and slid off her leopard print boxers and into a pair of cut-off jean shorts. "If it's really gross, then I don't think that I'll be very hungry." she wrinkled her nose and made a little gagging noise.

Jeremy laughed, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her neck. Squealing, she pushed him away, as she was trying to brush out her hair.

"How bad could it be?" Jeremy said innocently. "It's basically one of two places on campus to eat. Therefore, most of the students have to eat there, and I don't think that SVU has had too many reports of student death to food… but then again, that would be the type of thing that they'd hide from the general public…"

"Jeremy!" Jessica snapped. "Bad. Don't gross me out before we get there! Otherwise, I won't have anything to eat for the next four years." Jeremy laughed, wrapping an arm around her and letting his hand rest easily on her hip.

"What? Did I do something wrong?" Jeremy asked, stopping at the door, and moving her around to face him, wrapping his arms around her and resting them at the small of her back. He looked down at her, staring intently into her eyes.

Jessica studied him carefully, looking at the sweet smile he had on his face. "Ugh! Every time you do that to me I become powerless and give in to you. Why do you have to have that effect over me?"

"I don't know." Jeremy said, bending down to kiss her softly. "But I do like it, because every time I do something bad and you yell at me, I just wrap my arms around you and stare down at your eyes, and I get off the hook!"

Jessica smiled, taking his hand and leading him back to her bed. She sat down, legs crossed, on top of her quilt, and Jeremy sat down next to her. "You know," Jessica started quietly, looking across the room to make sure the door was shut, "Back when we got back together, I was almost positive it was going to be another three, four week deal and we'd be over with for good. Obviously, I was wrong."

She paused, taking a deep breath, and taking his hand and holding it in hers. "Then, I guess I really did fall in love with you. A weeks later, Will raped me, and everything changed for both of us, and our relationship. I didn't think that you would want to stay with me and help me through all the emotional turmoil that I knew I'd be going through in the next weeks, months, even years to come."

Jessica paused. "I really messed that one up, didn't I? I guess what I'm really trying to say is that you proved a lot of people, even me, wrong, when you helped me through everything. And I can't thank you enough for doing that."

Jeremy nodded, knowing exactly what she meant. He'd had so many doubts in himself, as well, from the moment that he'd promised her he'd be there for her. Looking back, he knew that he'd made the right choice, and he'd changed because of it. "I know what you're saying, honey, I had so many of the same doubts myself. At the time, I had no clue whether or not I'd end up helping you, or breaking your heart more. But you don't have to thank me for doing what I thought was right."

Jessica nodded, knowing that if there had even been a doubt of the future left in her mind, it had been crushed now. Jeremy was the guy she loved, the guy that had been there through everything, the guy that she'd always love and always would be there. "I love you so much." she said softly.

Jeremy hugged her to him, closing his eyes and breathing in the fresh scent of her hair. "I love you, too. And I always will."

Omigod! People, can you believe it? Seventy-two pages later, I finally finished it! Well, this book at least. Wait, does that sound scary? Well, this is the last book set in the time of senior year. The next book that I'll be writing that adds onto this will be set four years in the future. I have the plot etched out, and am ready to begin writing soon… that is, if I can come up with a title! So, any comments, suggestions, raves or rants should be sent to be at Please send me feedback, or I might feel unloved. Anyway, sorry for the wait of a million years for this chapter, my finale, my wonderful (dare I say that?) creation! But, there's been some serious complications to my life lately, and sometimes writing felt a little too real to me, so I had to give myself a break. But, since I'm not starting book four until Christmas time, I need to send out my thanks… to Katie and Esther, my writing buddies, to the other Katie for hosting my never-ending novel, to the people that sent me e-mail about my story, and to the people that took time to read it! All of you, you're the best! It's because of you that my writing improved (you can see the difference. Look at The Love Game. Look at The Price of Love. See it?) and I kept writing. I really can say that I love you guys!