Sorry for the wait on this chapter. I've had a hard time getting started again. It's been busy in my life. I'm hoping for this one to be a long one to make up for the wait. I've got so many different ideas swirling around in my head it's hard to sort out the good ones. Thank you so much for all of your positive comments and for reading this story. Enjoy!

Chapter 8

It was nearing the end of the semester, and Michaela was hopelessly trying to decide what to do about the summer. Dr. Bernard had offered to let her come back and work with him, but she would need a place to stay in Colorado Springs. The summer was only going to be three months long, and that was a lot of work to get settled back in for only three months. Housing and a car had to fit in the mix. Then there were her parents. She hadn't been home in almost a year. She knew she was going to have to face Boston at some point. Her mother had been bothering her for the last two weeks. Her father had offered her a summer job working with him at Boston Memorial. She wanted to work with him, but the idea of going home somewhat scared her. She was making a life for herself here in Colorado, and really didn't want to leave that either. Then there was Sully. She didn't want to leave him for the summer. She had no idea what his plans were. Did he plan to stay with Daniel this summer, or was he going back to Colorado Springs?

She slumped on the couch and rested her head in her hands. Too many decisions and not enough time, she thought. "You ok?", Colleen asked as she walked in the door. "Yeah, just trying to sort out my crazy life.", she sighed.

"Well, I've got something that might help. My mom offered to let you stay with us this summer if you decide to take that job at Primrose. We've got plenty of room, and she travels a lot. So, it wouldn't be like living at home. We'd have the same convenient situation that we have here, only we wouldn't have to pay for anything.", she nudged her.

"I couldn't take advantage of your mom like that", Michaela replied. "Why not, she thinks you're a good influence on me anyway. You'd be doing her a favor", Colleen snickered.

"I'll consider it. I know my mom will flip out if I tell her I'm spending the summer here. She thinks I'm crazy wanting to be this far away from the family", she groaned. "She loves you is all. She just doesn't know how to show it yet", Colleen answered.

Michaela slumped even further into the couch. "What else is bothering you?", Colleen asked. "I can tell by the way you're acting, that in your mind this is the end of the world". "Sully", Michaela sighed. "I just don't know where the summer is going to lead us. I want this to work, but I feel like the cards are stacked against us. I mean I feel like every time we make some headway in our relationship, something happens to set us back." "He loves you, Michaela. He'll make it work.", Colleen stated matter of factly.

Just as she finished that statement, there was a knock at the door. Colleen rose to open it, and there stood Sully flowers in hand with the widest smile she'd ever seen. "She needs some cheering up", Colleen whispered swinging her head in Michaela's direction.

Sully waltzed pass her smiling heading for the couch. "Hey beautiful, thought you might like some company", he announced happily. "Yeah, sorry I'm not in the best of moods." she lamented. "What's got ya so bummed?" he questioned. "Let's talk in private?", she asked. With that the two walked down the hall to her room and she closed the door.

"Now you've really got me worried. What's going on?", he pleaded.

"I'm worried".

"Yeah, you said that already, what are you worried about?"

"Truthfully, us…."

"Ok, you've lost me here. Did I do something to upset you?", he was scratching his head.

"No, it's just, that summer's coming and well I have to decide what I plan to do."

"How is that a problem?", he questioned.

"Well…I can stay here and take summer classes. Or…I can go to Colorado Springs and work at the hospital like I did last summer. Or…I can go home. I really don't want to do that one. At least not for the entire summer. I must make a trip at some point though because my parents are really missing me at this point."

"I still don't see how this has anything to do with me", he asked?

"I want to be with you, I don't want us to spend the summer apart. I want to spend it with you. I thought you would want the same thing." she began to get angry.

"Whoa, hold on here. Who said anything about us not spending the summer together?" he looked at her trying to calm her down.

"Well you just don't seem all that concerned with the possibility of me not being here in Denver." she shot back.

"Well if you'd calm down and listen for a minute you'd see why. Wherever you decide to go, I'll go too. I told you, I want this to work. And if you need to leave Denver for the summer, I'll leave too.", he moved closer to her trying to comfort her.

"You'd do that for me? Why? I mean we haven't even known each other that long." she questioned.

"Because I love you, and I want to be with you. When are you going understand, my heart's your's now.", he moved closer to her closing the gap between then. She looked up into his sparkling blue eyes and smiled slightly. "You really mean that?, she asked. "Yes, with all my heart", and he bent forward to give her a soft kiss.

"How bout some dinner?", he asked. "Sounds great, let me grab my purse and I'll meet you at the front door." With that he smiled and began walking out of her room. She grabbed her purse, took a quick look in the mirror to make sure she was presentable, and went to meet him.

On her way out to the living room Colleen stopped her, "everything ok?" "Yes, crisis averted", she smiled. The two left knowing that tonight they were going to be ok.

After a few days of intense thinking, Michaela had decided that she would return to Primrose. The offer that Ms. Cooper had made to her for free boarding was just too good to pass up. Colleen was ecstatic that Michaela would be spending the summer with her again, and Sully would have an easy move since he had been living in Colorado Springs before they met. Colleen had even convinced Daniel to get a place with Sully for the summer so they could be close. Everything seemed to be falling into place.

Classes were finishing up and campus was a buzz of excitement for the upcoming summer. The girls had decided to sublet their apartment for the summer so that they could have it back in the fall, and not worry about storing their stuff. Since they were staying at Colleen's childhood home, it would be furnished and they would not need their things.

"Finally", they both sighed as they pulled up to the small ranch house. "This is it", Colleen beamed.

It wasn't much, but it was free and close to the hospital. The girls jumped out of the car and walked to the front door. "My mom travels A LOT with her job. She'll probably be gone more than she's here. In fact she won't be back from her current trip for another week.", Colleen looked at her mischievously. "Maybe Daniel and Sully could come over tonight and help us get settled", she wagged her eyebrows. Michaela was completely oblivious to her suggestion as she just wanted to bring her luggage in and relax. "Yeah, sure", she responded almost robotic like.

Later that evening, Colleen grabbed her cell and called the guys. "Hey, we're here. You wanna come over and hang out? Great, how about grabbing a pizza on your way. The address is 317 Parkwood Dr. See you in a few." Colleen said into the phone. "They're on their way", she looked at Michaela.

Michaela looked at herself in the mirror and realized that she looked a mess from her day of travel and feeling tired. She had napped earlier in the day, and her hair was a mess. She retreated to the room she had claimed to brush her hair out and change into something more comfortable.

When the doorbell rang, she emerged from her room. She was wearing one of Sully's old t shirts that she had borrowed weeks ago and had decided to claim it for herself, and a pair of cotton shorts. Due to the size of the shirt it hung off one shoulder and was long enough to cover almost all of the shorts leaving her to look rather naked. She pulled her hair up in a loose ponytail and removed her shoes and socks. Looking in the hall mirror, she thought, this is as good as it's going to get tonight. I'm tired and want to be comfortable. When she walked down the hall towards the group, she saw Sully's mouth fall open as he looked her way.

"You know this just isn't fair?" he whispered into her ear as she moved closer, "My shirt looks really good on you and I'm gonna have a hard time keeping my hands to myself." he groaned.

"Who said anything about you keeping your hands to yourself?", she flashed him a crooked grin. "There's lots of stuff we can do, and not you know."

"Oh, I know", he grabbed her from behind and tried to tickle her.

"Hey now, I wanna eat that pizza before it gets cold", she giggled.

The foursome sat down in the living room around the coffee table and began to pass the pizza box. As they devoured the pizza, they began discussing their plans for the summer. No one noticed how late it was getting due to the fact that they were having such a great time. It was the first time they had hung out without the stress of classes the next day. It was summer now, and they didn't have to worry about what the next morning held.

"Hey, I'm bored", Colleen announced. "Let's liven up this party". She jumped up and bounced into the kitchen.

"What did you have in mind?", Daniel asked.

"This", she appeared around the corner with four shot glasses and a bottle of vodka in her hands.

"Oh no, not for me", Michaela squealed.

"Oh come on, we're not going anywhere and school's out for the summer. We have to celebrate. I won't let anything happen to you." she begged.

"I will if you will", Michaela looked over at Sully hoping for some support.

"Ok, what the hey. Since we're not going anywhere.", then he realized what he just said. "Wait a minute, not going anywhere? Does that mean you want us to stay here tonight?", he asked.

"Well, my mom's out of town, and we've got plenty of extra beds. Or you can always share with somebody", Colleen giggled.

Sully looked over to see Michaela turning a dark shade of red and shaking her head. "You, Colleen, are going to be the end of me. I just know it", she rolled her eyes.

Colleen placed a shot glass in front of each member of the group. Let's play "I never", she giggled.

"Oh, this game always gets me in trouble", Michaela rolled her eyes.

"Why, because you're so perfect?", Daniel laughed.

"Actually, yes", she retorted.

"I'll go easy on you then", he stated. "I'll start. I never… found the woman of my dreams", he snickered.

"Hey, that's no fair. She's a girl.", Colleen snapped.

"I said I'd go easy. Your turn", he looked at Colleen.

"I never ….made straight A's in my life", she flashed an I'm gonna get you look toward Michaela.

After a thirty minute game the group was pretty intoxicated. They were laughing and rolling on the floor, and at this point they couldn't remember what was so funny in the first place.

Then Daniel started in with the "remember when" stories. "Hey, remember when we went to The Clam Bucket and Michaela jumped Sully right in front of us?"

Michaela blushed and turned her face away from the group as they erupted in laughter. "Hey, watch it buddy", Sully laughed "I've got some pretty embarrassing stories about you."

"Oh yeah, like what?", Daniel challenged.

"Ok, you asked for it", Sully warned. "Remember when we were sixteen and I dared you to go streak around the house that summer?" Daniel covered his face with his hands, "yeah" he sighed. "Then I turned the lights on in the yard and the neighbor's daughter saw ya. You couldn't look at her for a month without looking like a tomato", Sully fell backwards in a fit of laughter.

"Ok, with that I think I'm going to bed", Daniel chuckled. "Me too", Colleen glanced over at Michaela. "You gonna be ok?", she asked. "You look a little green."

"Yeah, I'm fine. Not really ready for sleep yet.", she replied as she glanced over at Sully.

"You mister are going to tell me more about this streaking", Colleen grabbed Daniel's hand and pulled him down the hall to her room shouting "don't mind us." Michaela rolled her eyes, "we won't".

Michaela was feeling the obvious effects of the alcohol. She wasn't sure how much she'd had but it was enough that she stumbled when she tried to rise off the floor.

"Whoa there, let me help you", Sully said as he steadied her. "I'm ok", she said unconvincingly. "I just need to get to the bathroom."

Within minutes he could hear her in the bathroom retching up the alcohol. He rubbed his hand across his forehead realizing that tonight was going to be a long night. This is why she doesn't drink, he reminded himself.

"Oh god, I feel like I'm gonna die." she moaned. "You're not gonna die", he said trying to calm her. "Do you want me to help you to your room?", he asked.

"Yeah, but I don't think I can walk", she whined.

"That's ok, I'll carry ya", he stated. He slid one arm under her legs and the other behind her back and lifted her as if she was weightless. She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned her head onto his chest. "How did I get so lucky to find you", she asked sleepily?

"I ask myself that everyday sweetheart", he replied. "Which door is your's?"

"Second on the right", she replied.

He brought her in and laid her on the bed. Just as she hit the mattress she jumped up and ran across the hall into the bathroom. "Oh god, not again", she sighed as she bolted.

After a few minutes she waltzed back into the room. Hair frazzled and flushed cheeks still did not take away from her beauty. "Are you sure you're gonna be ok?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'll manage", she moaned.

She looked so helpless sitting there on the edge of the bed. She pulled the comforter back and slid her shorts off while sliding into the bed. She didn't even notice that Sully was still in the room. Under normal circumstances she would never have removed the shorts, and he knew that as he stood there gawking at her.

"Well, I think I'm going to go lie on the couch for awhile", he said turning toward the door.

"Stay with me, please", she begged.

"I don't know if that's a good idea Michaela. We've been drinking and I really don't want you to do something that you might regret." he sighed rubbing the back of his neck.

"Please", she begged sticking out her bottom lip.

She looked so cute and irresistible when she did that. He couldn't resist her, and she knew she had him.

"Please", she begged again batting her eyelashes this time.

"Ok, I give up", he removed his shoes and walked closer to the bed. He climbed in the other side leaving space between them.

"You know I won't bite", she laughed. Remembering that he had used that same line on her on their first date, he sighed and moved a little closer. She turned on her side and slid up next to him. He moved even closer spooning against her back. She reached over and grabbed his hand pulling it across herself and lacing her fingers in his. As she did this, he could feel his heartbeat speed up. He lifted his head and placed a soft kiss to her temple.

"I love you", he murmured softly.

"I love you too", she answered sleepily.

He could feel his desire beginning to take over his body. He chided himself for feeling this way when she was so vulnerable and wanting comfort from him. His time would come, he told himself. Tonight she needed his comforting embrace, and that's exactly what she was going to get. He could feel her breathing becoming deeper and steadier. He knew she was slowly falling asleep. He too was tired and sleep was slowly claiming him. He lifted his head one last time and placed a kiss to her cheek. "I love you so much. You have no idea how much, and I'll wait for you." he whispered. He thought she was sleeping since she didn't answer back. However, she heard, and a smile spread across her lips. Yes, she was lucky and she knew it. They drifted off into a peaceful sleep content to just be in each others arms.

Morning came all too soon for the group. Michaela sat at the kitchen table with her head in her hands "I'm never drinking again. I feel awful", she groaned. Sully came walking over with two cups of coffee in his hands. "Here, drink this. I'm afraid to give you anything else for fear that it's just going to come back up". His words were comforting after the night full of trips to the bathroom. At one point Michaela couldn't believe that she still had anything in her stomach.

Colleen came walking into the kitchen, "oh I feel like I've been hit by a truck", she whined. "Remind me of this the next time we think about drinking ourselves sick."

"Whose idea was it to do a zillion shots last night anyway", Michaela asked. "Oh yeah, yours you crazy fool."

As Daniel walked in the room, Sully began rummaging through the cabinets looking for fixings for breakfast. "How can you think about food right now Sully", Daniel asked.

"Well for starters, I didn't drink myself sick last night", he laughed. Upon finding nothing to eat, the group decided to go out for breakfast.

It was Saturday and Michaela had one day to get this alcohol out of her system before she had to begin work at Primrose. "Don't worry", Sully sighed. "We'll have you as good as new in time for work".

"I sure hope so", she glanced up at him.

He kissed her on the cheek, and the group left to go eat hoping that their stomachs would settle on the way.

Things began to fall into place for Michaela as the weeks went by. Work at the hospital was going great. She was happy because she actually had a schedule that she could work with. There were new interns for the summer so she could pass off the shifts that she didn't want to them. Things with Sully were moving along great. Living at the Cooper house was working out better than she could imagine. Colleen was right, her mother was hardly ever home.

She later found out that Ms. Cooper was a photographer for a nature magazine, and that she traveled all over the country to get the best shots. Colleen told her that when she was five, her dad just up and left them. He left for work one day and just never came home. Her mom was heartbroken at first, but then decided she better make something of herself. She did some free lance work, and a Mr. Watkins saw it and fell in love with her talent. He offered her a job locally until Colleen graduated, then she started traveling. She loved her work, but it did keep her away a lot. "She reminds me of you in a lot of ways" Colleen told her one day. She's very independent and strong. "Thanks, that's sweet of you to say that", she told Colleen.

"Mail's here", Colleen announced as she came through the door. "Something for you here in a fancy envelope", she said as the dropped it on the kitchen table.

There on the top of the pile was a cream colored envelope with fancy gold writing. As Michaela scanned it over, she saw that the return address was for Boston. "Who could be sending something from Boston", she wondered. Upon opening the letter a smile spread across her face. Inside was a fancy gold and cream wedding invitation. It read, Mr. and Mrs. James Anderson request your presence at the wedding of their daughter Miss Miriam Anderson to Mr. Robert Tilson on July third, two thousand twelve at four o'clock in the afternoon. A reception will follow at the Liberty hotel ballroom. Black tie attire is required. Michaela gasped. She couldn't believe Miriam and Robert were finally getting married. This will be the wedding of the summer for Boston. Michaela knew that Miriam's parents came from money so no expense would be spared.

"Oh wow", she gasped. "What's wrong", Colleen looked over at her. "A good friend of mine from back home is getting married next month. This is an invitation to her wedding.", Michaela said wistfully. "Oh that sounds like fun", Colleen squeaked. "Yeah, it would be. I just don't know if I want to see all the old gang yet. I'm sure David will be there. He's good friends with Robert. This also asks me to bring a guest.", she was getting more nervous by the minute.

"Well, it's a good thing that you're dating Sully then, right?", Colleen asked.

"I don't know Colleen. This is black tie, that doesn't exactly sound like Sully's thing. I'd have to bring him to meet my parents too."

"Well, it's good that he loves you, and you'd get to see him in a tux. Doesn't that excite you even a little?" she prodded.

"Yeah, I guess it does", she began to smile. Seeing Sully all dressed up did make her swoon. She could only imagine the looks she'd get entering the ballroom on his arm. Her parents had been bugging her to come home for a visit. This would give her a chance to show Sully where she grew up, and meet her family. The fact that her mother was so judgmental worried her though. What would the family think of him, of them together. She made her mind up that the next time she saw him she would ask him to come. If he said no, then she would stay home. As much as going back home worried her, she secretly wanted to go to this wedding to prove to herself she had truly moved on.

Michaela was sitting on her bed watching a movie when her phone started buzzing. "Hello" she answered.

"Hi, what are you doing right now?", Sully asked.

"I'm watching TV thinking about you"

"You are huh? Want some company?"

"Sure, who did you have in mind?", she joked.

"Well, I thought I might bring some take out over to my girlfriend's place, but she doesn't seem to be interested. "

"I'll let her know you're coming. When should she expect you?" she giggled.

Just then the doorbell rang. "Hang on someone's at the door", she tossed her phone on the bed. When she opened the door, there stood Sully, phone in one hand and a bag of Chinese takeout in the other. Michaela laughed, "I thought you were going to your girlfriend's place".

"I like hanging out with you better", he quipped.

He came in and she invited him back to sit in her room and watch the movie as they ate. They sat in silence for awhile as Sully watched her.

"What? Do I have food on my face or something?" she asked.

"No, you're just so beautiful. I can't stop staring.", said gazed lovingly at her.

"I'm a mess, what are talking about?", she laughed.

"You'll always be beautiful to me no matter what, you know that right?"

"Yeah, speaking of beautiful, I have something I want to ask you", she raised her eyes to him.

"Ok, shoot", he requested.

"Well my old roommate and best friend from NYU is getting married next month, and she invited me", she explained with a worried tone.

"And", he prodded.

"Well, I get to bring a guest, and I was wondering…well hoping that you'd be my guest?" she glanced at him trying to read his expression.

"Is that what's got you so uptight right now?", he asked. "Of course I'll go with you."

"There's more. It's formal, meaning you need a tux.", she stated.

"Ok, and…", he questioned.

"And it's in Boston, which means time with my parents. I hope you're ok with that. It also means that we're probably going to run into David at some point over the weekend we're there. He's good friends with the groom.", she dropped her head.

"You act like I'm going to yell at you or something", he said touching her face. He leaned over and gave her a soft kiss on the lips. "I'd love to go with you, I'll get a tux. I'll meet your parents. AND I'll be fine seeing David." he tried to use his most convincing tone.

"Are you sure?" she asked. "Because we don't have to go."

"Yes, anything to spend time with you", he nodded.

"Good", she threw her arms around his neck. "I love you so much!"

"I love you too!", he exclaimed.

With that they finished their dinner and began making plans for her trip home.

"My mom's not a very understanding person", she said as they were putting their bags in the over head bins.

"I'm good with parents, don't worry", he patted her on the shoulder.

"You've never met my mother. You think I'm stubborn, you haven't seen anything yet", she laughed.

They settled down in their seats, and waited for the plane to take off. Michaela nervously fidgeted in her seat. This was her first time going home since she left last summer. This was also the first time she would be bringing a boy with her. David had lived just down the street, so she never had to worry about this. Sully would be staying at her parent's house, under the same roof as her. To say she was worried about the friction between her mother and Sully was a gross understatement. She was quite tired due to the fact that she hadn't slept well in days She'd pretty much worried herself sick. As the plane climbed higher in the air, she leaned over and rested her head on Sully's shoulder. "Here goes nothing", she whispered. "Everything's gonna be fine. Stop worrying", he soothed. With that, she drifted off to sleep.

Ok, so I hope this will keep everyone happy, as it might be several days before I can finish the next chapter. I spent all day writing this one. Thank you so much for all your positive comments.