-This is the same story, but with an extended, hopefully better, ending. Enjoy.
Meant to Be
We're in his room when the call comes in.
"It's the girlfriend." He tells me.
Oh. It's her. I nod, not looking up from my history book. There's a test tomorrow on the French Revolution, and we're studying for it together.
"What's wrong?" I hear him ask. The concern in his voice catches my attention, and I look up from the book to watch him. His face is worried, his mouth is set in a deep frown, and his eyebrows are scrunched together in a way that causes wrinkles to appear on his normally smooth forehead. I glare at the phone in his hand, hoping she can feel it; hoping she can feel my anger at her for causing such a handsome man to have wrinkles.
"I did? When?" He still sounds concerned, but confusion has found its way into his tone. As discreetly as I can, I scoot a little closer, hoping to hear what she's saying. It doesn't work.
"I was just kidding, Jess. I didn't mean anything by it."
Didn't mean it? Didn't mean what?
"No, no. I really don't think that. No, no, I don't think you're ugly…or fat…no, you don't have thick ankles."
I snort, causing Nate's clear blue eyes to flick over to me. I grin when I see one corner of his mouth twitch up in a small smile; a mere fraction of what his normal smile is.
"Yes, Jess. I'm really sorry. No, Jess, I won't ever do it again. Okay, Jess. Okay. Yes, I'll see you tomorrow. Yeah, love ya, too." He shuts the phone, leaning back against his bed, and closing his eyes.
I sit, waiting for him to tell me what happened.
He does. "I went to the mall with her today. She tried a shirt on, and when she came out she asked me if I thought the shirt made her look fat. I thought she was kidding, so I told her that it did. She didn't seem all that affected at the mall, but, I guess, she thought I wasn't kidding."
"What an idiot." I say, knowing he'll understand that I'm not talking about him.
He smiles, letting out soft chuckle. "Don't talk about her like that, Kat."
I raise an eyebrow. "It's the truth, though, isn't it? Sarcasm's, like, the first language you learned. English came after that. If she doesn't know that, then she's an idiot."
"Whatever you say, Kat." He says, his smile widening. "You know, sometimes I think you know me better than I do."
I laugh. "'Course I do! I'm your best friend, silly!" Of course I do. I love you, you idiot.
It's a typical Tuesday night; with me hanging out in Nate's room, listening to his IPod. I'm lying on my stomach on his floor while he checks his email on the computer.
"Jess hates my IPod." He tells me.
"Really? Why?" I ask, scrolling through the diverse list of artists.
"She says I've got weird tastes. She says the songs I listen to are 'un-cool'."
"Psh. Un-cool, my ass. They're frickin' awesome." I say, selecting some random Celtic song.
Nate shuts down his computer and joins me on the floor, lying down and resting his head on my back. "I love this song."
"I know you do." I state as I close my eyes, relaxing under the familiar weight of his head.
"How the hell do you know that?" He asks me, shifting to a more comfortable position.
"'Cause you're my best friend, I know everything about you." 'Cause I love you.
I'm sitting up in the bleachers at the Friday night football game, watching Nate do what he does best. Win.
My best girl friend is sitting next to me, her kohl-lined eyes riveted on the game.
"Enjoying the show?" I ask when I see a small dribble of drool leak out of the corner of her mouth.
"Hell yeah, I am! Hot, muscular boys in tight-ass pants? What's not to enjoy? I'm gonna have a freaking orgasm from the sheer sexiness of those boys." She says, her eyes never leaving the field.
I laugh when the boy next to her gives her a funny look, then laugh even harder when Anna flips the guy off without ever looking at him.
"So…" Anna starts when my laughing finally dies down. "You confessed yet?"
I look at her, confused. "Confessed to what? A crime?"
She rolls her eyes, smacking me in the back of the head. "No, you idiot. Have you confessed your love to your hunk?"
"Who? Nate?" I ask, turning my gaze back to the game. Oh, look, we scored a touchdown. Go Nate!
I sigh. "He's got a girlfriend, Anna."
"So? Soooo…I can't confess to a guy who's already got a girl."
I look at my bgf (best girl friend), exasperated. "Because. It's morally wrong."
"What the fuck? What kind of reason's that?" She finally tears her eyes away from the boy candy, turning to stare at me. "What's the real reason?"
I don't say anything for a long time, staring at her staring at me. Finally, though, I give in, breathing deeply before I speak. "I don't want to ruin our friendship." At her confused look, I try and explain. "I'm afraid that if I confess to him, and he doesn't like me back the way I like him, then things'll be awkward between the two of us, and he'll stop feeling comfortable around me, and we'll start to drift apart until we're no longer friends. Then we'll both go our separate ways in life, never speaking again, all because I had to confess to him and make things awkward in the first place!"
Anna stares at me for a minute, before slowly shaking her head, giving me a pitying look. "You poor thing. You're so paranoid."
"Anna! I'm being totally serious!" I yell, smacking her arm.
"Come on, Kat! You'd rather keep what you have now, a mere friendship, than confess and get something so much better?" She asks me, rubbing the spot where I smacked.
"Yes." I tell her, turning to watch as the only man I've ever loved runs over to his cheerleader girlfriend, and gives her a big hug, before pulling her up to kiss her.
"Looks like we won the game." Anna comments, her voice barely audible over the loud cheering.
"Yeah…" I mumble, my eyes never leaving the couple that had moved from simple kissing, to making out.
We're walking down the street, our hands brushing in a friendly manner. He's laughing at something I just said, his smile brighter with me than it ever is with Jess.
He never really smiles around that girl. At least, he doesn't smile the same smile I see him use around me. The way he smiles when he's with her is a lot softer than the way he does than when he's with me.
When he's with her, his smile is close-lipped, and his eyes squint just a little bit.
When he's with me, all his white, white, white, teeth show, his single dimple makes its appearance, and his eyes close all the way.
He never smiles like that with her.
"I don't want to be a professional football player." He tells me one night, his head resting on my stomach as we lie on the floor of his room.
"Yeah. I want to be a police officer."
"A police man, huh? I can see that." I say, turning a page in the magazine I'm reading.
"You can?" He asks, sounding a little shocked.
"Where do you want to work?" I ask, ignoring his question.
"I'm not sure…but, I want to work in a place with a high crime rate so I can make more of a difference." He explains. He reaches up and takes the magazine out of my hands. "You really think I can do it?"
"Of course I do. You're the type of person, who, if you set your mind to it, you can do just about anything." I tell him.
"So…if I were to go to the Police Academy, you'd support me?" He asks.
"Hell, you know I would, Nate." I say.
He turns away, laughing. "God, Kat. You're the best friend a guy could ever ask for. I don't know what I'd do without you here."
I smile, not saying anything, and run my fingers through his hair, in a, hopefully, sisterly manner. "You'd be a wreck."
"Ain't that the truth?"
When Jess breaks up with him, I'm the one he comes to. He climbs up to my window and knocks. I mute the television and get up to let him in, already knowing why he's come.
I shut the window when he's climbed through, and join him on my bed, our backs up against the wall, and our feet hanging off the side of the mattress.
I un-mute the t.v., and we watch Ice Age 2: The Meltdown together.
He ends up spending the night, and we stay up the whole time, watching Disney movies, including our favorite: Mulan.
The next day, Jess calls, crying and apologizing, begging for Nate to take her back.
When Nate tells his parents he wants to become a police officer, I'm there with him.
"What about football, dear?" His mother asks him after she gets over the shock at his announcement.
"I like football, but I don't want to pursue a career in that sport." He tells her.
"Are you sure, son?" His father asks.
"Yes, sir, I am." Nate says.
"All right, if that's what you want, then who are we to stop you?" His father sighs. His mother nods her agreement, and Nate's smile's so wide, I'm afraid it'll tear his face in two. He hugs both his parents, and gives his mother a kiss.
That night, we sit on the roof of his house and watch the stars together. We stay up there all night, and watch the sun rise, promising one another that we'll both become what we want to be, then celebrate by drinking ourselves stupid.
On our last day together – okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit. Really, we'll still see each other when we return home to our families on our breaks.
Anyway, Nate and I are standing in the airport. Our flights leave at about the same time, however, they're on opposite sides of the airport, so we have to say our goodbyes here.
We're facing each other, our carry-on's sitting on the floor between us.
"I'll miss ya, Kat." He tells me quietly, a sad smile on his face.
"Miss me? Psh! Whatever, you'll be happy to get rid of me." I joke, trying to lighten the mood a little. Nate's smile disappears and he grabs my shoulders, staring hard into my eyes.
"No, Kat. I really will miss you. I'll think of you every day. I'll miss having you hang out in my room with me. I'll miss going to the mall together. I'll miss our all night movie nights. I'll miss your sarcasm. I'll miss your support. I'll miss everything about you. There's no way I'd ever be happy to be away from you. You are my oldest, and best, friend. No amount of time away from you can ever change that. You got that?"
I stare up at him, sure that my jaw's touching my feet. "Y-yeah, Nate, I got it."
"Good." He says, straightening before he suddenly smiles. "I have a secret."
I raise an eyebrow, confused at abrupt change of topic. "Do you, now?"
My other eyebrow joins the first. "…you gonna tell me what it is?"
He shakes his head, his smile widening to a grin. "Nuh uh."
"Why not?" I ask him, glancing at the clock on the wall. 10:43; my flight boards at 11:00. I should probably leave soon.
"You can't know what it is until we've both graduated from college, and have good, stable jobs." He says.
"Seriously? Why?" I grab my carry-on bag and hoist it over my shoulder.
He leans down so our faces are only about an inch away from each other. "Because, by then, I'll be ready."
I frown at the statement. "Ready for what?"
"You'll see." He says, his grin widening, before giving my cheek a quick peck. "I'll see you at Thanksgiving?"
"Yeah." I mumble, watching as he walks away. After staring at his retreating form for a few short moments, I shrug, turn, and walk towards my flight.
Harvard Law School? Here I come.
It's been eight years since Nate told me he had a secret. I now have a steady job at a law firm, and Nate's working at a Police Station a few blocks away from me.
Coincidence? Hell no. He graduated before me, and moved to the city where the law firm I was planning on working at was located. He bought an apartment, and, when I graduated and moved to that same city, he suggested that we live together. I said 'sure, why not?', and that's how it's been ever since.
It's awkward at times, especially since I still have a crush on the man who's only grown even more handsome as the years have passed.
Tonight, we're sitting on the roof of our apartment building, watching what little stars we can actually see, the lights in the city making it difficult to see a lot of them.
"Do you remember that secret I told you about?" He asks, sitting up so he could look down at me.
I nod. "The one you wouldn't tell me?"
"Yeah, that one."
I sit up. "What about it?"
"I'm ready." He says. I raise an eyebrow, but don't say anything, and watch as he pulls something out of a pocket. The object he's pulled out is a small, velvety-black box.
Nate moves so he's on his knees, looking up at me. He holds the box out in front of him and opens it, revealing a small ring with a single diamond.
"Katherine Annabelle Thompson, will you marry me?" He asks.
Oh, shit! "Are you serious?" I say it so quietly that even I can barely hear it, let alone Nate. But, he somehow ends up hearing it, and, smiling softly, nods his head.
I think my brain just exploded.
After I still don't say anything, Nate's expression turns anxious. "Kat? What's your answer?"
I snap out of my shocked daze and give him the largest smile I've ever smiled, despite the tears rolling down my face. "Of course I will, Nate. I'll marry you."
-So, what'd you think of the new and improved ending? Was it better, or what? And did you notice something about Kat's name? Her initials spell out her nickname if you didn't catch that.