(I am so, so incredibly sorry for the long delay. I got busy with school and work and I guess before I knew it 5 months went by. Time and the story got away from me. Very sorry, I'm going to try to stick with my one chapter a week, or at worst one chapter every other week.) Timeline wise we are right after Topanga broke up with Cory.
"I can't believe you just let her go without a fight."
"What was I supposed to do, Shawn? Topanga made it quite clear that she didn't want to be with me anymore and I wasn't going to change her mind. Should I've tied her to a chair and kept her here until she agreed to stay with me?"
"You and Topanga are meant to be together," Shawn insisted, pacing the length of the apartment. "At least that's what you two have been telling me all our lives. Now when things get difficult she wants to bail and you just let her? How could you do that, Cory? You guys kept telling Angela and I how much we belonged together and we finally smartened up and listened. Now you fall apart?"
"Shawn, enough," Angela exclaimed. She knew if she didn't jump in he wouldn't stop. "You are not helping right now. And Topanga has some very valid reasons for not wanting to be in a relationship at the moment."
"Of course you would take her side."
"I'm not taking any side. I'm Topanga's friend and I'm Cory's friend. I intend to support them both through this, just like they supported us."
"They supported us by getting us back together."
"Shawn, shut up," Cory said, putting his head in his hands. "It'll be a little more difficult for us to get back together because she's transferring to Yale.
"Yeah, Topanga wants space and independence to be her own person."
He sat next to Cory. "She's wrong. She's never better than when she's with you."
Cory wondered if he was this annoying when he was trying to get Shawn and Angela back together. "Shawn, I know your heart is in the right place, but right now I just need you to be quiet. You're not helping." He reclined back onto the red couch. "The last 24 hours have been one big blur. I drove back and forth from Pittsburgh and have been up all night thinking."
"Have you told your parents anything," Angela asked, bringing Cory a cup of coffee.
"No. I got home after they went to bed and left before they woke up."
"Did you try Feeny? Maybe he will know how to get Topanga to come home."
"Shawn..." Cory sighed.
"What? Up until now I thought you would do anything to be with Topanga. Now what? You're willing to just let her go?"
"You weren't there, Shawn. You didn't see her, weren't talking to her. Topanga needs this. I hate like hell that she does, but it's true."
Shawn stood up, shaking his head. "I'm going back to sleep. Let me know when you snap out of the shock and become the Cory who never gives up on love again."
"You know," Angela began, jumping when Shawn slammed the bedroom door, "you are taking this very well, I must say."
"I know. That's weird, isn't it?"
"Kind of. Part of me expects you to be freaking out and to be on your way back to Pittsburgh in an instant."
"I freaked out a lot on the drive back home," he laughed. "Believe me." He pulled a ticket out of his back pocket and handed it to Angela.
"Cory! You were going 95 in a 35 zone? You could've hurt someone."
"It was one o'clock in the morning and there was no one else around. That was freak out number three," he smiled sheepishly. "I was going back to Topanga's mom's house."
"I'm almost afraid to ask what the other two freak outs were."
"Number two was yelling at the radio every time a song came on that reminded me of her."
"Of course. I ended up listening to monks chanting."
"They play that on the radio?"
"What was your first freak out?"
He looked down at the floor. "I was on my hands and knees, pounding on Mrs. Lawrence's door, begging Topanga to reconsider."
Angela moved beside him and wrapped her arm around his shoulders. "Oh, Cory."
"It was pathetic. I only got up when Mrs. Lawrence's neighbor, some huge, scary, retired cop made me leave or threatened to have me arrested."
"I'm sorry. This sucks."
"Angela, did you know she was going to do this?"
She averted her eyes. "Sort of," she mumbled.
"What," he jumped up. "You knew and you didn't warn me? Or better yet, try to talk her out of it?"
"Cory, I didn't think it was my place to talk her into or out of anything. All I did was try to be a good friend and listen to her. And when we last talked she hadn't heard back from Yale yet."
"Had she already decided to break up with me?"
"I think so."
"Did she ask you if you thought we should break up?"
"What did you say?"
"All I told her was if she was having any second thoughts then you guys definitely shouldn't be getting married this summer. But breaking up completely was her call. She tried to get me to okay it, but I knew it had to be her choice. I wasn't going to order her to either stay with you or break up with you."
"Great," he sighed, sitting back down on the couch.
"Cory, I really think Topanga is being honest when she says that she doesn't know how to be in a relationship at the moment."
"She knew a couple weeks ago."
"She also existed in a little bubble where nothing truly bad had ever happened to her before. Her parents separation has totally upset the center of her world and she can't cope right now. Honestly, I understand how she feels about being unsure of being in a relationship. I doubt myself all the time, especially given my history with Shawn."
"But you're with Shawn. You decided to try to work it out."
"Yeah, but it's not easy. My mother walked out on my dad and I when I was 11 and I haven't seen her since then."
"Wow, I knew she left, but I didn't know you haven't seen her."
"It's not something I brag about. I'll get the occasional letter or present once every couple of years, but that's it. Before she left, my parents fought constantly- at least when my dad wasn't deployed. I'm terrified of ending up in a relationship like theirs', just like Topanga is now afraid of ending up like her parents. Unfortunately, not everyone is like your parents."
"I understand that. What I don't get it why what went wrong in her parents' relationship has to end ours."
"I don't know what to say."
Cory patted her knee. "That's okay. I don't think anyone can really help me right now. Only time...I guess. Thanks for listening."
Angela looked at the clock. "I hate to do this to you now, but I have to get ready for work." Mr. Feeny had helped Angela get a summer job at a book store that was run by some friends of his. She had been working there for a couple of weeks.
"Oh, right. How is that going?"
She smiled. "It's fantastic. I love it. I'm surrounded by books. I'm in heaven. And they said if things go well over the summer, they'll keep me on part time during the school year and maybe even let me write up some of the store's book reviews for their web-site."
"That's great," he said, genuinely happy for her.
"Of course, if I'm late, all this talk is for nothing," she said, hurrying up the stairs. "Shawn's probably going to be in bed until noon since he doesn't work until later this afternoon, but Eric's gone until dinner if you want to crash in his bed."
Angela rushed around to get ready, not bothering to be quiet. She knew Shawn was still awake even though his eyes were closed.
"You know, Cory really needs a friend right now, not someone who challenges everything he says."
"I am trying to be his friend," Shawn said, sitting up. "Getting him back together with Topanga- his soul mate- is the very best thing I could do for him. I'm just trying to talk some sense into the guy. You're the one not being a friend."
"No. He and Topanga are meant to be together," he insisted.
"Why are you taking this harder than Cory at the moment?"
"I don't know," he muttered, running his hands through his hair. "Them not being together is just wrong."
"I think you know why it bothers you." She sat on the bed beside him. "Talk to me, Shawn."
"I haven't had a lot of constants in my life, but Cory and Topanga were one of them." He took Angela's hand. "I thought I could always count on them being together, you know? The sky is blue, the grass is green, Mr. Feeny will always be my teacher, and Cory and Topanga will be together forever."
"Shawn, baby, I know you have a hard time when things change, but...,"
"I think you're mixing me up with Cory. He's the one who cannot handle change. I've been dealing with change all my life. I never knew what was going to happen one day to the next, so I had to get pretty good at dealing with change."
"So long as the change doesn't include your constants," she asked sympathetically. Angela quickly glanced at her watch, inwardly cringing. She really did need to leave for work. Why did all important conversations have to start at inopportune times? "I really hate to leave like this, but I have to be at work in twenty minutes. Can we finish talking tonight? I'll stay awake and wait for you to come home." He nodded. "Great," she smiled, kissing him. "I love you."
"You mean that?"
"Of course." Angela tried to walk away to finish getting ready, but Shawn wouldn't let go of her hand. "Shawn, I need to go." She finally freed herself and walked over to the dresser.
"Will you promise me something?"
The seriousness in his eyes left her feeling unsettled. "What?"
"Promise me we won't end up like Cory and Topanga."
She paused, unsure of how to answer. "I promise we won't let the actions of others dictate the future our relationship."
"That's not exactly the answer I was looking for," he frowned.
"Well, I'm sorry, that's all I can give you right now."
"Shawn," she began, exasperated, "seriously, we'll talk tonight. I have to go to work. Me losing my job would not be very good for our relationship because I would not be happy." She gave him a quick kiss and grabbed her keys. "I love you and I'll see you tonight."