Who Wants to Date Kaitlin Jameison?

Chapter Twenty

The End, The Beginning

The clock on Kaitlin's bedside table read 6:00 am. Her room was shrouded in complete darkness—not that she noticed; she was slumbering peacefully in her warm, comfortable bed, oblivious to anything else. She was comfortable, she was sleeping soundly—everything was at peace and alright in her world.

Alright, that is, until her cell phone started to ring.

The ringing of her phone brought her back into the waking world with such a quick jolt that she almost jumped out of bed. Grumbling, she ignored the phone and buried herself in her pillows, wanting to get back to sleep.

But it kept on ringing and ringing until Kaitlin conceded the battle. Groaning, she sat herself up on the bed and reached for her cell phone. Grabbing it from her bedside table, she pressed a button and muttered a very sleepy, "Hello?"

"Morning, Kate!" said the much too cheerful voice on the other end.

Throwing herself back onto the bed with a rather loud slump, she glared at the dark expanse before her. "You're unbelievable," Kaitlin grumbled, voice still groggy from sleep. "Even when I'm not living in your house, you still manage to wake me at an unholy hour."

"Oh, come on, Kate," Nathan replied, and Kaitlin could easily picture his wide grin. "We leave for Boston in six and a half hours. Don't you want to be up early to savor our last few moments here?"

"No, actually, I want to sleep for another thirty minutes, which I would be doing right now if you hadn't called me," Kaitlin said, reaching to turn on the lamp.

"Then hang up."

Kaitlin paused. Was she annoyed at her ever wonderful boyfriend for waking her up? Yes. But did she want to stop the conversation? No. Despite herself, Kaitlin began to smile. She'd never admit it to anyone, but she loved talking to him, even during times like this, hell, she just liked hearing the sound of his voice.

Ah, the feelings of a girl in love.

Still, she didn't want to seem that she let him win, so she finally said, in her best grudgingly agreeing voice, "Well, I'm already awake and can't go back to sleep, and besides, we're already talking, so we might as well have a full conversation."

She could just imagine his smug grin, as though he'd already anticipated her response. "Admit it. You just don't want to hang up because you like hearing the sound of my voice."

At this, she smirked. "Admit it, you called and woke me up just because you like hearing the sound of mine," she shot back.

"Touché," he said. Now that sleep had officially left her, Kaitlin got out of bed and turned on all her lights, all the while clutching the phone of her ear. "So…" he said. "Today's the day, huh?"

"Yeah," she said, sitting on her computer chair, "In just a few hours time, we're going to board a plane for college. It's terrifying and thrilling at the same time."

"Going to college isn't terrifying," he said. "Asking your dad if we could go to Boston together was."

Kaitlin let out a laugh as she recalled the memory. The day after they'd made things official between them, they'd gone to tell both sets of parents about their relationship and of their rekindled plan to travel to Boston together. Nathan's parents hadn't been hard to convince, had even been pleased, but Kaitlin's had been harder.

Her mother had been good-natured about the whole thing, asking him a few questions and giving him warnings and such before finally consenting. Her father had been a whole matter different entirely. When they'd told them that they were dating, he'd gone very quiet, but there was a clouded look on his face. When they'd asked for his permission to travel together, he'd said a flat-out, "No,", and when Kaitlin made him reconsider, he'd then proceeded to grill Nathan with questions that would put any inspector to shame.

Nathan, to his credit, had answered properly, but the ill at ease expression on his face was hard to miss. Even Kaitlin had gotten worried—her father had never had to deal with a boyfriend of hers before, so she knew that he was relishing and possibly overdoing the experience. There were more questions, more answers as that long hour dragged on, before her father had finally said, "Fine, you have my permission. But we'll do this my way: I make all the arrangements, and I expect a call when you arrive, and when you get settled. Your mother and I will be flying in to make sure that everything's fine. And no funny business, because your mother and I could arrive at any time."

He'd then turned his attention to Nathan, who had actually turned slightly pale. "As for you," he'd said. "The instant I hear that you've hurt my daughter or made her cry, well…let's just say that that rifle in my study isn't just for decoration."

Nathan had nodded weakly, and that was the end of that.

"Stop laughing," he told her, bringing her back to the present. "Your dad hates me, I know it. He's just allowing this because he loves you too much."

"Don't be ridiculous, he doesn't hate you," she said with an eye-roll. "He hates the idea that you're dating me. He's my father—it's basically in his programming to hate any boyfriend I might have."

"Speaking of parents, our moms are insane," he said flatly. "Yesterday I heard mom talking to your mom…and I'm pretty sure the words, "June wedding" and "beachfront reception" were included in the conversation. Out of the four of them, I think my dad's the only one who's completely calm about this whole thing."

Kaitlin rolled her eyes. Their mothers might be acting nonchalant about her dating Nathan, but she knew better: Kaitlin knew Annette and her mom wanted them together, and were probably already planning the dream wedding in their heads, and thinking about the beautiful grandchildren they'd have. Mothers.

She turned her head and paused when she caught sight of her luggage sitting on one side of her room. Suddenly, like a douse of cold water, she was jolted wide awake with the blatant realization that today was The Day. She was finally leaving Forest Hills, going to college, basically saying goodbye to everything she knew. And while the knowledge made her smile slightly, it didn't stop a few butterflies from invading her stomach.

"Kaitlin?" Nathan's voice broke her train of thought. "You still there?"

"Yeah, sorry, I just blanked for a moment," she said, shaking her head. "Why are you up so early, anyway?" she asked him, changing the subject. "Don't you have anything else to do? Like sleep?"

"Well, considering that I'm standing outside your bedroom window right now, then no."

Kaitlin shot up so fast from her previous position and, clicking her phone off, went and opened the window. She looked down, and her slightly open-mouthed expression was a mix of surprise and a smile when Nathan looked back at her from below, giving her his signature grin and a cheery wave.

She shut the window and put on her robe. The house was still dark when she left her room, and quietly she stepped downstairs and went outside. He'd walked over to the front lawn, so she met him there.

"Hey," he said, obviously pleased as he gave her a brief hug and a short kiss on the lips.

Kaitlin smiled at the gesture but gave him a questioning look. "Hey. What are you doing here?"

He shrugged. "Visiting my girlfriend, that's all."

"At 6 in the morning?" She quirked an eyebrow. "Nathan, I love you and everything, but timing is something you really need to work on. "

"Oh please, like you're not glad to see me here," he scoffed with an eye-roll.

"Let me see—you woke me up unceremoniously before 6 am by calling my cell phone, talked to me until I stopped feeling sleepy, and then made me come outside when you told me you were here," Kaitlin listed with an impassive face before finally giving him a small smile. "Of course I'm glad to see you."

He smirked. "Thought so." They went and sat on the porch steps, and as he brought an arm around her, she leaned her head on his shoulder. They stayed in that position for a few moments, just staring ahead as the sky continued to lighten up into the luminous shades of day, silent, until Kaitlin realized why he was here.

"You're nervous about leaving today too, aren't you?" she said quietly. "That's why you're here."

"Of course not," he said with an eye-roll. "I'm here because I wanted to see you. I'm not nervous about anything."

"Don't lie to me, I know you better than most people, and I know when you're not telling me the truth," she snapped. "Don't ever forget that."

It was scary how she could read him so easily, but then again, he could also read her just as well—part of the reason why they were good for each other. "I wouldn't exactly call it nervousness," he finally let out. "It's more of…you know, that kind of feeling I get before a game—that odd feeling at the pit of my stomach when I don't know what's going to happen out there, and all I can do is hope for the best."

"Exactly how I feel, only about ten times worse," she murmured. "I'm not exactly comfortable with change, and this is a big step. I could hardly get to sleep last night, and now I got to wake up earlier than usual thanks to you."

"You're welcome," he said without even the slightest hint of apology. "The feeling's there, but I have to admit, I'm more excited. And you should relax. It won't be perfect, but it'll be awesome. That I'm sure of."

"But the workload, the homesickness--"

"—the college parties, wild Spring Breaks," he interjected, and then added with a grin that made her heart skip a beat. "You."

Kaitlin shook her head, biting her lip to keep from smiling as she removed herself from his hold. "That charming smile of yours isn't helping any," she informed him, trying to keep a straight face.

"Just calm down, Kate," he said as he stood up. He held out his hand, which Kaitlin took as she stood as well. They stepped away from the porch and back onto the lawn. "Everything's going to be fine. We'll get on that plane, we'll get settled in Harvard, and we'll have the time of our lives together. Simple as that."

"Don't tell me what to do."

He sighed—this girl really was too damn stubborn for her own good. He tilted her head up to meet his, a small smile spreading across his face, his eyes lighting up. "Hmm…." He murmured. "What could I possibly do to make you relax?"

She rolled her eyes and was about to speak, but his lips had already found hers, shooting the familiar, yet all-too delightful thrill down her spine. She smiled against his lips, relaxing into the kiss, sweet and so tender that she felt herself weakening to him within a matter of seconds.

"Well, well, well, I see history repeating itself once more," a male voice cut in suddenly, making them jump apart. Taking a deep breath, both teens turned to face Patrick Jameison, who was standing on the porch, arms folded and pointed expression on his face.

"Kissing outside the house—we seem to be having a recurring theme here, aren't we?" he said dryly as he approached them.

Kaitlin smiled hesitantly, warmth gathering in her cheeks. "Good morning, dad."

Nathan nodded politely, but there was no missing his change of expression when he saw her father. "Good morning, Mr. Jameison."

Patrick muttered something under his breath before facing the two teens, Nathan in particular. "Since we're playing with recurring themes, here, let's repeat what happened after the first time this happened, shall we? Kaitlin, why are you awake so early, and Nathan, what are you doing here?"

Kaitlin opened her mouth to speak, but Nathan beat her to it. "I wanted to see your daughter sir. I called her on her cell phone to wake her up and let her come out."

"Why am I not surprised?" Patrick said in a clipped tone. "I know that the both of you are extremely eager to get on that plane and finally pry yourselves from the clutches of your parents, but until then, please do try discretion—and proper hours to meet." He turned to Nathan. "Go home, Nathan," he said, "You'll get to be with her for the next few years. I'm sure you can survive a few hours apart. Inside, Kaitlin."

"Yes, dad," she said, her cheeks reddening, but she was smiling anyway. "I'll see you later," she murmured to him.

"Bye." And after kissing her on the lips once more—a bold move, since her father was watching—he gave her one last grin before heading off.

Kaitlin watched as his car disappeared from her line of vision, the smile still there and lips tingling from the earlier sensation. And then she turned, and the smile slowly turned sheepish as she faced the questioning, stern look on her father's face.


"Ready to go?" Nathan asked her. It was almost 10, and everyone was out on the lawn of the Gallagher house, getting ready to leave. The Jameisons had gone to the Gallagher's awhile ago as both sets of parents wanted to talk before going to the airport. While the adults were talking, they'd stayed in the kitchen (They didn't dare go to Nathan's bedroom, not after what had happened that morning with Kaitlin's father), just talking, until it was time to leave.

Kaitlin was about to nod when her gaze caught on the Hawthorne house. She hesitated, internally debating with herself, before finally shaking her head. "No. There's something I have to do first." And without waiting for a reply, she crossed the street.

She rang the buzzer, and after a few seconds of waiting, the door finally opened. "Kaitlin," Eric said, somewhat surprised. "What are you doing here?"

"Uh, I heard you were back," she said.

He grinned slightly. "Yeah. I left Grandma's early so I could take care of some stuff for college, and before you ask, yes, Jenna is still at my grandmother's house." Closing the door behind him as he fully stepped outside, he shifted from one foot to another. "So, uh…what's up?"

"I came to say goodbye," she said. "I'm leaving for Boston in a few hours; I'm about to go to the airport right now, actually. I just wanted to tell you in person."

"Oh," Eric said, nodding. He looked past her for a moment before saying, "So, you and Nathan are--"

"Yeah," she finished for him. "How'd you guess?"

"Well, the murderous glare your boyfriend is giving me is kind of a tip-off." They laughed for a few moments before Kaitlin thought, "To hell with it," and threw her arms around him in a friendly hug.

"I'm going to miss you," she said as he returned the hug. "You've been a really great friend, and…I really am sorry."

He let go of her and waved away her apology. "I told you, you don't have to apologize for anything. As long as you're happy, everything's fine. Besides, college is on the way—maybe I'll meet someone there."

"I hope you do." She smiled at him. "Good luck. Keep in touch, okay?"

He nodded with a smile of his own. "Yeah, you too. Bye, Kaitlin; it's been a great summer."

She gave him another brief hug. "Yeah, it has. Bye." And with one last smile and a cheery wave, she turned and walked back to the Gallagher house.

Ignoring the rather strange expression on Nathan's face, and the adults' quizzical expressions, she smiled once again and said, feeling somewhat lighter, "Now I'm ready."


The airport was teeming with people. It seemed to be yet another busy day, and as the airport was a long way from home, both Mr. Jameison and Mr. Gallagher were thankful that they'd managed to avoid the heavy traffic.

So many people, and yet, Kaitlin paid no mind to them. Being in this place was giving her a sense of finality, that the day she'd awaited for so long was finally here. She didn't understand how Nathan could look so calm—despite the fact that she'd been dreaming about this for a good part of her life, the butterflies in her stomach were still fluttering wildly and multiplying at a rather alarming rate.

"Kate? Are you okay?" Nathan waved his free hand (Kaitlin had taken his other hand) in front of her, snapped her out of her reverie.

She laughed without any real humor in her tone. "Of course I am. I'm leaving behind my family to board a plane so I can go to a college that is halfway across the country. I'm just peachy."

"Which is why you're crushing my hand?" he muttered.

"Sorry," she said hastily, letting go. "I tend to get a chokehold grip on whatever I'm holding whenever I'm nervous."

"Gee, thanks for the warning," he said sarcastically, flexing his fingers.

"Okay, you two," Richard said, making the teens' attention turn to them. "You're going to board the plane, soon, are you sure you've got everything you need?"

"Yes, dad," Nathan said with a slight eye-roll. "We have everything we need, just like we did the other ten times you've asked us that question."

Kaitlin's mother took a look at her watch. "Well, kids, you'd better get rea--"

"Kaitlin! Nathan!"

Kaitlin's mother's words falling to deaf ears, both teens turned at the all-too familiar female voice, and their faces broke into grins as they watched their friends approach them. The rather large group seemed to be panting, as though they'd ran the whole way, but large grins were plastered into their faces as Kaitlin and Nathan hugged them.

"I can't believe you're here!" Kaitlin exclaimed happily as she let go of Patricia. "Brian! You're back!" she added, giving him another hug.

"I got home last night. We couldn't all let you leave without saying goodbye, now could we?" Brian said, grinning.

"We thought we were too late," Haylie said, still slightly out of breath. "We would've arrived sooner, but two someones," she glared at James and David, "insisted on driving the two cars."

"Don't blame us," David defended. "So maybe we were a little fast, but we got here on time, right?"

"Exactly," James protested indignantly. "If it weren't for our quick and speedy driving, we wouldn't be here right now."

"If it weren't for your manic, so-called 'quick and speedy' driving, then both cars wouldn't have had to pull over, get a speeding ticket, and delay our travel time," Haylie retorted.

Kaitlin couldn't help it; she laughed. Seeing her friends here, Haylie bantering with James, the conversation—it made her realize just how much she would miss them. "I'm really going to miss you guys," Kaitlin said, another change for her—she hadn't been a very declarative person when it came to goodbyes and such before.

"Same here, Kate," Patricia said, grinning, but her eyes were glazed over, as though she was trying not to cry.

"You watch yourself there, okay?" David, ever the big brother, said as he slung an arm around her shoulder, giving her a squeeze. "I'll visit if I get a chance. Providence is only around 50 miles or so away from Boston, anyway--just a few hours' drive."

"Good luck at Brown," she told him with a small smile.

"You'd better keep in touch," Brian warned her as he gave her a hug of his own. "If we don't get a call or email from you every week, then we're filing a missing person's report. Oh, and mostly importantly--have fun."

"Will do," Kaitlin replied. She turned to Haylie, who'd strangely been quiet since her earlier banter with James. "Hails?"

And to everyone's amazement, Haylie was biting a quivering lower lip, and her eyes were bright with tears. "Oh, Kate!" she said, flinging herself at her friend in a tight hug. "I'm going to miss you so much!"

Seeing the normally strong, composed Haylie crying because she was leaving, Kaitlin couldn't help it; her throat choked up, and the first traces of tears began to form in her eyes. And of course, Patricia had to join in, and soon they were hugging and laughing and crying and talking at a lightning-fast speed.

The boys backed away from the rather emotional scene and looked at one another in confusion. Nathan had exchanged words and 'man-hugs' with his friends, David and Brian included, and now, they were watching the girls hugging each other amid laughter and crying, something they'd never, ever seen them do, and something they'd never expected to see.

James sighed in exasperation, pointing towards the scene. "Hey! I thought we'd agreed on no tears! Happy or sad, didn't I say earlier that I didn't want to see anymore drama?"

He was ignored.

"Girls, honestly," he thought to himself. "One might be an uptight perfectionist, the other a bitchy editor-in-chief, and the other a normal person, but when someone leaves, they all dissolve into tears. Unbelievable."

Rolling his eyes, he turned to Nathan. "Seriously, though, man, take care, okay? I still don't understand why you had to choose a college in the East, though."

James was going to Knightmoore University, a school in California. "Sun, beaches, hot babes in bikinis? What more could I ask for?" he'd once said. Aaron was going there too, but Jason had opted to stay in Washington.

"Yeah, well, I'm actually planning on learning something instead of sunning it up in the beach," Nathan replied with a grin.

"Oh, trust me, I'm planning on learning—and even teaching something-- too. But I can't guarantee that it'll be purely academic." James smirked.

"I pity his future prey—I mean, women," Aaron said, shaking his head. "I'll try to keep him in line, though."

"Taming a lion would be easier," Jason piped up.

"Anyway, good luck out there, man," Brian said, slapping his shoulder good-naturedly.

David then gave him a level look and added, "And don't you dare hurt her."

He returned the look, nodding. "Don't worry. I won't."

The girls had finally disbanded, and for the next few minutes, there was nothing but chatter, laughter, even plans to visit each other, until Annette gently intervened then. "Guys, I hate to break this up, but it's time."

The group looked at each other before exchanging another flurry of hugs. "Take it easy on Nate, will you?" James said, only letting go of Kaitlin after Nathan had punched his arm. "Your crazy, perfectionist ways are foreign to him, and he doesn't know what he got into when he decided to fall for you. He may already be whipped, but I'd like for him to maintain even a small shred of manly dignity."

Kaitlin only laughed. "One day, James Masterson, you will find a girl who will capture your attention and heart so much that you're willing to do anything for her, and then we'll talk."

They finally detached themselves from their friends and went to their families. Kaitlin hugged her parents in turn. "I love you," she said, smiling.

"Oh, sweetie," he mother said, dabbing away tears from her eyes. "Be careful, have a great time there, and don't forget to call, okay?"

"And be sure to tell me the moment you shed so much as one sad tear over him," her father added. "I have the rifle on standby."

"Dad…" Kaitlin groaned, but she was laughing anyway. She turned her head to watch as Nathan said goodbye to his own parents, and the smile that was on her face grew.

The action wasn't lost on Patrick Jameison. Being the protective father he was, he had been glad to see that Kaitlin was more focused on academics instead of boys, because he had never liked the idea of Kaitlin dating and falling in love—and getting hurt. But Kaitlin was no little girl anymore, she knew how to learn from mistakes. Furthermore, this boy loved his daughter, and he knew that his daughter was in love with him too. Nathan Gallagher made Kaitlin happy, and if there was something Patrick always wanted for his daughter, it was her happiness.

And in that one instant, he realized that it was finally time to get go.

"Nathan," he called, and slowly, the younger boy turned and approached him. Kaitlin, who had gone to say goodbye to his parents, stopped and turned toward them. Slowly, he nodded once. "Take care of her, alright?" He extended his hand—a sign of acceptance.

Nathan met the gaze of Kaitlin's father as he nodded. "Yes sir," he said, shaking the offered hand. From the corner of his eye, he could see Kaitlin smile happily.

"Well," Annette said, sniffling slightly. "You'd better go."

After a flurry of last minute hugs, kisses, and goodbyes, Kaitlin and Nathan readied their luggage, thoughts running through their minds as they did so, especially Kaitlin. A chapter was closing, another one was about to be written, and as of now, it was still hazy with uncertainty. Would she achieve everything she'd ever dreamed of? Would she and Nathan last? They'd only been going out for a few days, and now they were on their way to a completely new environment, and while she knew she would never let him go without a fight, who knew what could happen out there?

She turned her head, and her eyes met his—and in that moment, all her doubts began to slip away as she took in the small upturns of his mouth and the look in his eyes that seemed to say, "After everything that's happened, I'm not letting go of you that easily. We'll be fine, I know it."

Kaitlin took a deep breath, surveying her family, her friends, everything she loved, and slowly nodded in understanding—an understanding she knew Nathan shared.

This wasn't goodbye. Not really.

And with that thought in mind and one last smile for their loved ones, their future, and most especially, for themselves, slowly, they began to walk away.

A.N: And Who Wants to Date Kaitlin Jameison is finally done! You have no idea how wonderful it feels to finally be able to put 'complete' on this story. Thank you so much to my wonderful readers and reviewers who've supported and encouraged me throughout the whole process. It's been great!

Now, as to my next story...I'm not sure yet when I'll be able to start posting again, seeing as in three days summer break will be over, and my Senior Year will finally start. One more year, and then college, wee...Anyway, there are still alot of ideas running through my head, one I'm thinking about in particular...but I'm also very seriously thinking about writing a sequel for Kaitlin and Nathan in college, or James' story...maybe even Jenna's..but nothing's decided fully yet, so stay tuned!

That being said, once again--infinite hugs and kisses to all who've read my fic, and for now, this is angelstarshine, signing off...