A.N. PLEASE READ ENTIRE AUTHORS NOTE! This is the final chapter of Loving You is Complicated and I hope all of you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I haven't decided if I want to write an epilogue yet and so I am leaving it up to you, the readers. If there is enough interest in one then I am more than open to the idea of writing a short epilogue.
Also because I have grown crazily attached to these characters I am thinking of writing a few one shots about them. I have a few ideas of my own but I am open to taking suggestions and prompts. If anyone has any ideas they would like to share with me please leave them in a review or PM.
Thank you so much to all of you who have reviewed my story and to all of you that put this story on your alerts and favorites list. It's all of you that kept me motivated.
Sorry for the long author's note and I hope you all enjoy the last chapter =)
It was the following Friday and Sam was home alone waiting for Abby to arrive. His parents had gone out to dinner and a movie and Tyler had stayed on campus that weekend so Sam had decided to take advantage of the empty house and invited Abby over for a quiet night of take out and a movie. The doorbell rang and Sam bounded down the stairs opening the door to reveal his clearly excited girlfriend practically bouncing on the balls of her feet.
"Hey what's up?" Sam managed to get out before practically being tackled to the ground and being kissed forcefully. "Not that I'm complaining," Sam managed to say between kisses but what's with the tackling?"
"I'm just really excited and I thought this would be the best way to let out some of my excitement" Abby said finally pulling away from him, still clearly vibrating with excitement.
"Seems like a good way to express your excitement, you won't hear any complaints from my end, but can I ask what has you so excited."
"I got my first acceptance letter" Abby revealed as they headed into the living room.
"That's great Abby congratulations, where did you get accepted to?"
"St. Mary's, it was my first choice Sam! I got early acceptance into my first choice school" Abby squealed now bouncing on the couch."
"That's fantastic, your parents must be thrilled too."
"They will be when they find out but my dad's away this weekend on a soccer tournament with my little brother and my mom wasn't home from work yet when I left the house. You're the first person I've told."
"Oh wow, we should do something to celebrate" Sam suggested.
"No… not yet anyways I want to wait until after my tryout for St. Mary's soccer team next week before I celebrate. I don't want to jinx anything by celebrating prematurely."
"But you got accepted into the school regardless of the tryout why not celebrate now?" Sam questioned.
"Because even though St. Mary's is my first choice I don't know if I'll go if I can't play soccer. Especially if I manage to make it on to some other school's team."
"I'm sure you'll make it onto the soccer team at St. Mary's, they'll be lucky to have you" Sam reassured.
""Thanks Sammy, that means a lot. Anyways let's order food I'm starved."
Half an hour later found them in front of the TV with boxes of Chinese takeout. "This is nice, just the 2 of us" Abby said leaning her head on his shoulder as they watched a random comedy that Sam had popped in.
"Yea it's one of the first weekends in a while that I've had the house to myself"
"Yea Tyler has been home an awful lot this semester" Abby mused, "wonder what kept him on campus this weekend."
"He told my parents he had a paper due next week but I think the real reason is because Ari isn't here this weekend." Sam revealed. "I'm pretty sure this whole semester Tyler's only come down on weekends when he thought he'd see Ari, and this is including even before when they were just friends."
"That's so cute though, that he wanted to see her as often as possible" Abby smiled, "but that reminds me do you know why Ari went to New York this weekend and why her parents let her miss school today to go."
"No idea, I thought you'd know."
"No" Abby pouted clearly upset over the fact that she wasn't any closer to having answers, "I wonder if its' because her parents have noticed how stressed she's been lately. Maybe they thought a weekend away with her cousins in New York would do her good."
"You seriously think Grace and Vince would let her miss a day of school and fly to New York for the weekend just to de-stress."
"Maybe, I mean now that she's gotten into FXU and MSV, maybe they've lightened up on her a bit."
"That's another thing that's weird. Ari has been stressing about college acceptances ever since she sent in her applications, you'd think getting accepted to some of them would make her relax not get even more tense."
"I know I felt like the weight of the world just fell off my shoulders when I saw the big envelope from St. Mary's in my mailbox today" Abby shrugged.
"I felt the same way the other day when I got my letter from MSV" Sam said.
"You got into FXU too weren't you excited about that?" Abby asked curiously.
Sam shrugged uncomfortably, "it's different with FXU. I wanted to get into a school that my brother had never applied to. MSV was a school that Tyler never chose, so he can never hold over my head that he got accepted there first."
"Yea I guess I can see your point, sort of, but it's still different. You guys applied to two different programs, completely unrelated to one another. It's still an accomplishment in your own right and besides it's not your fault you were born second. Of course he's going to do certain things before you."
"I know but I still wanted to do something I could call my own. If I go away for school, that can be a first that's all my own. I'd be the first one to completely move out of the house without the weekly or biweekly visits back. I'd be completely on my own."
"So does that mean that MSV is your first choice" Abby asked softly, shifting on the couch to face him.
Sam shrugged, "I don't know, I applied to a few other schools that I haven't heard back from yet. I don't want to make a decision now. I still have a few more months to decide."
"Yea but those other schools are all far away too." Abby replied.
"Not all of them, I applied to Memorial, which even though it's an hour and a half away from home it's only a half hours drive from FXU and St. Mary's."
"Yea I guess, but from the way you're talking now, whether you want to admit it or not, it looks like you're most likely going to decide to go away to school and I don't think that extra half hour away from home is going to satisfy you."
"Yea probably" Sam admitted, "I'm just done with always living under my brother's shadow. You and Ari won't ever be able to understand that because you're the oldest, or in Ari's case the only one. It's different being a youngest child. You're constantly being compared to your older sibling."
"That can't be true" Abby protested, "I've never heard your mom or dad compare you to Tyler."
"Trust me they do. I know they don't do it intentionally or to hurt me but we're always being compared."
"Tyler is far from perfect Sam, he wasn't exactly an A+ student in high school and I highly doubt he's getting A's now that he's away from home and can basically do whatever he wants. If anything I'd feel bad for Tyler, your parents probably ask him why he couldn't have been more like you."
"You'd be surprised how well Tyler is doing now, I know I was" Sam replied, "and despite all the headaches he probably caused my parents in high school apparently according to my parents he's matured."
Abby snorted at this, "I highly doubt he's matured that much. He still acts the same as always from what I've seen."
"Yea I'm with you there, but my parents insist that he's grown up and who am I to argue. All I know is that there's a huge part of me that wants out. I want to be free of my brother and everything that being Tyler Parker's younger brother entails." Sam stopped talking as he could see Abby's struggle to keep the frown off her face. "Abby…" he trailed unsure of what to say.
"Sam it's great that you know what you want really, I'm happy for you."
"You could have fooled me." Sam raised a skeptical eyebrow, "you don't exactly look happy."
"It's just hard to think about the fact that you'll be so far away next year. No matter where I choose to go to school the farthest from home I'll be is an hour and a half. I want to be close to home. Unlike you, and to an extent Ari, I have no desire to get as far away from everything that's familiar to me. I like the familiar. Enough is going to change next year without me having to give up my family and friends and familiar surroundings."
Sam shrugged helplessly, "I don't know what to say. I don't feel the same. I embrace the change. Don't get me wrong I'll miss my friends and family but I want a brand new experience, and FXU definitely won't provide that for me."
"So what does that mean for us?" Abby asked sadly, "I don't want to have to give you up."
"You won't have to, at least not anytime soon. We don't have to make decisions about university until May. So much could change in that time. Maybe I'll change my mind and decide to stay close to home, or maybe some amazing offer from a school farther away will come along and you'll change yours. Even if we don't change our minds we'll still have until the end of August together and even then who says we have to break up if we don't want to. My point is lots can happen in that time."
"That's true, I just sometimes wish it hadn't taken us so long to get together."
"It wouldn't have changed anything, come September we'd still be going to different schools."
"I know but it's just our time together has been so limited."
"What are you talking about, we've spent the last 7 years together. I don't think I could have spent much more time with you even if I tried." Sam teased trying to lighten the mood.
"Sammy" Abby scolded, although he could see the smile returning to her face and her green eyes brighten with amusement. "What I'm talking about is different and you know it."
"Not my fault you took so long to tell me you liked me" Sam teased tickling her sides.
"Well you could have realized how you felt about me sooner too" Abby protested as she squirmed away from him giggling.
"So we're both idiots, at least now we can be idiots together." Sam leaned over her continuing to tickle her as she leaned further back attempting to get away from his impromptu attack.
"Sammy stop" Abby screeched now laying back fully on the couch, Sam hovering above her.
"Only if you promise to cheer up and stop worrying so much about the future," Sam said still tickling her.
"I promise" Abby got out between shrieks of laughter, "just stop tickling me. I can't breathe."
"Ok" Sam said hands stilling at her sides, his thumbs now gently brushing the bare skin at her waist where her shirt had risen up slightly from all the squirming she had been doing previously.
"Thank god" Abby sighed taking in great big gulps of air.
"I much prefer using other methods to make you breathless anyways" Sam said as he leaned his head down closer towards hers and brushed his lips gently against hers.
"Yea I prefer those methods too" Abby smiled as she curled her fingers around the nape of his neck and brought him down closer, pressing her soft pink lips against his.
~ ~ ~ ~ATSA~ ~ ~ ~
It was the following Friday afternoon and Ari was in bed having just woken up from a nap. The flu had been going around school and she had a sneaking suspicion it was her turn to get it. She had gotten home from school, changed into pajamas and fallen into bed drifting off to sleep immediately. She was still curled under the blankets debating whether she should go back to sleep or get up and do something productive when she heard a knock on her bedroom door.
"Can I come in?" a familiar masculine voice asked peeking his head in.
"What are you doing here?" Ari asked still slightly disoriented, having just woken up.
"Came to see you of course" Tyler said as he opened her bedroom door further and walked in holding a tray full of food.
"What time is it? Who let you in?" she glanced at her alarm clock as she said this and bolted out of bed when she realized how late it actually was "oh my god I slept that long? I was supposed to make dinner."
"Relax, get back into bed" Tyler said placing the tray on her dresser and guiding her back to her bed. "Your mom let me in, she's the one who gave me all the food and told me to come up and check on you."
Once she was settled under the blankets again he grabbed the tray and placed it on her lap before taking a seat on the edge of her bed facing her.
"I can't eat all this" Ari replied warily eyeing the assortment of food on the tray.
"Luckily it's not all for you" Tyler replied, "some of it is for me."
"I guess that means you plan on staying for a while?" Ari asked lifting her gaze from the food to Tyler.
"That was the plan unless you're that desperate to get rid of me."
"No, it's fine, but I could have sworn when we talked on the phone yesterday I had already told you that I thought I was coming down with something and I'd maybe see you Saturday if I felt ok."
"Yea you did, but then I thought I'd be nice and come visit you instead, and see I even brought you dinner in bed and everything, what more could you possibly want."
"It would have been nice to get a heads up that you were coming over, I would have tried to make myself slightly less pathetic looking and you know actually be awake when you arrived."
"I like surprising you better, besides you look cute in your Minnie Mouse pajamas, never seen you wear them before."
"That's because I don't usually wear them out in public." Ari replied with an eye roll. "Anyways what on this tray is supposed to be for me, I'm assuming the chicken noodle soup and crackers?"
"Yup and the glass of orange juice and the lemon tea with honey, and there's also some toast there if you feel up to it" Tyler pointed out each item. "The chicken strips and fries are mine, along with the coke."
"I still can't believe I slept until 7pm, I had planned on sleeping for maybe an hour, an hour and a half and then I was going to make dinner and start on some homework and you know be productive." Ari sighed as she stirred the soup sitting in front of her and blew at the still steaming bowl.
"Relax, you're sick, you're allowed to be a little lazy." Tyler said grabbing his plate of food to start eating, "and besides your mom had me to help out with dinner."
"Wait, you helped my mom make food? How long have you been here exactly?"
"I got here about a half hour ago" Tyler replied easily, taking a bite of a chicken strip slathered in ketchup and plum sauce.
"Oh my god" Ari groaned, "you've been hanging out with my mom for the last half hour?"
"What's the big deal you hang out with my mom all the time when you come over"
"It's different, anyways should I be worried about eating this soup now, if you had a part in making it?"
"The soup is fine, I do help my own mom out with dinner occasionally so I have some idea of what I'm doing. Besides that your mom was mostly the one in charge of the soup, I made the fries and chicken strips."
"Oh ok" Ari smiled as she finally tried a spoonful of soup. The soup warmed her insides and also made her realize just how hungry she actually was. She started eating the soup in silence just enjoying the feeling of the warm soup sliding down her throat.
"How do you feel?" Tyler asked after she finished eating what she could of the toast and soup.
"Not bad" Ari shrugged, "it's not like I was feeling completely horrible before either, I just have a sore throat and I was feeling completely exhausted. I haven't gotten to the queasy stomach, want to barf at the sight of food stage yet. I'm hoping I can skip that stage."
"That's good, are you done with all of this? I'll take it back down to the kitchen for you" Tyler motioned to the tray still sitting on her lap.
"Yea just leave me my tea" Ari smiled gratefully at him as he handed her the mug of tea and lifted the tray off of her.
When he came back up he motioned for her to scoot over on her bed and sat down next to her leaning against her headboard.
"So what do you want to do now?" Tyler asked shifting to get more comfortable.
Ari shrugged as she eyed him sitting on her bed so comfortably. It was weird for her to have him in her bedroom. Her parents hadn't let her have boys alone with her in her room since she was in grade 7. The only exception being Sam and occasionally Matt; her parents didn't trust any other boy. Seeing Tyler sitting next to her so comfortably, fiddling with her favorite stuffed animal was surreal, especially considering the fact that this was the boy she'd been crushing on for so long now.
"What? What's wrong?" Tyler asked noticing how she was just sitting there studying him.
"Nothing, just surprised my mom let you come up here, my parents usually have strict rules about me having boys in my room. The only guys who've ever really been allowed up here are Sammy and Matt"
"Well maybe your mom just trusts me, she has known me almost as long as she's known Sam. Then there's the fact that you're sick so she probably assumes it's safe to leave you alone with your boyfriend and have nothing happen."
Ari who had begun to nod in agreement froze at the use of the word boyfriend. "Boyfriend?" she asked.
"Yea, I've been meaning to talk to you about that" Tyler said shifting on her bed to face her properly.
"You have?" Ari asked feeling suddenly jittery. She grabbed at another stuffed animal on her bed to play with so as not to give away that her hands were now shaking.
"Yea I have" Tyler smiled at her, "for a while now actually, but I thought it would be better to ask you in person then over the phone and since you went away to New York last weekend…" he trailed.
"Oh yea… well um yea…" Ari stuttered nervously unsure of what to say exactly.
"Ok so I see you're going to make this difficult on me and actually make me ask you properly. I guess I should have expected that from you though." Tyler laughed now sounding somewhat nervous as well. "So Arianna Raymonds, will you be my girlfriend?"
Ari clutched the teddy bear in her hands tighter, her nails digging into the plush fabric. Her mouth had gone dry and she was struggling to even get sounds out never mind actual words. She was torn between being thrilled to bits at having Tyler want to actually make things official between them and distraught over the fact that she felt like she couldn't agree to it.
Abby had told her about her conversation with Sam about universities the weekend before and it had made Ari think about how she and Tyler would be in the same boat as her two best friends if things developed further between them. Ari, like Sam had applied to schools that were quite far from home. She had even gone one step further then Sam and applied to schools that weren't even in the same province. One of those schools, unbeknownst to anyone but her parents, a select few teachers at White Oaks and her aunt and cousins in New York, was out of the country too, it was all the way in New York.
Ari, with a little convincing from her cousin Carrey and the secret desire to see if she could actually do it, had applied to NYU and had actually managed to get a conditional acceptance. Part of the process in getting into the school was having an interview with someone in the admissions department along with the professor in charge of the creative writing program, which was the program she had applied for since she didn't have enough of a portfolio to apply to their journalism program. She had missed school the previous Friday and taken the earliest flight to New York she could find to go for her interviews and tour campus with her cousin. As of now Ari wasn't sure if she'd be accepted into the program and she wouldn't know for a while but knowing that the option to go to NYU might be made available to her made her hesitant to further tie herself down to home then she already was. She refused to have a long distance relationship if the distance between the two of them would be a whole country.
"Ari now would be the time to say something." Tyler said after the silence between them had drawn out for what seemed like an eternity.
"I… I can't" Ari replied in barely a whisper, her voice cracking.
Tyler's smile faded from his face as he stared at her in what she interpreted to be a mix of hurt and disbelief. "Can't or just don't want to?" Tyler asked, his voice sounding detached as he shifted away from her, and looking as if he was ready to leave with one wrong word from her.
"Tyler let me explain" Ari said finally releasing the bear that had been in her grip and latching onto Tyler's arm to prevent him from moving further away. The last thing she wanted to do was completely blow her chance with the one boy she'd liked since elementary school. "It's not that I don't want to be with you, I do… more then anything really."
"Well then what's stopping you?" Tyler interrupted her explanation, the disbelief having faded completely from his face and leaving only the hurt.
"Because what's the point if in a few months we might have to break up anyways." Ari answered dejectedly.
"You're not making any sense, who says we'd have to break up if we don't want to." Tyler asked now looking more confused than anything.
"I got accepted into NYU a few weeks ago" Ari stated looking down at her lap.
"Ari that's great news, why didn't you tell me earlier?" Tyler questioned looking genuinely happy for her.
"I didn't tell anyone" Ari replied, "the acceptance is conditional, based on an interview, which is what I went to New York for last weekend, and on if I keep my grades at where they are now and a few other things."
"Still though, that's fantastic. I'm sure they'll give you a proper acceptance come May. I don't know why you wouldn't tell anyone just because of that." Tyler said.
"Tyler don't you get it, NYU is all the way in New York!" Ari exclaimed eyes widening as she tried to get him to understand.
"Thanks babe I knew that already"
"Ugh, you don't get it. NYU is far, it's not only out of province, it's out of the freaking country. If I go there then I'll probably never see anyone ever again."
"Exaggerate much? You make it seem like you're going to Antarctica to live with penguins for 4 years and not just a school that's a short 3 and a half hours by plane."
"Do you own a plane I don't know about?" Ari asked sarcastically, getting exasperated with Tyler's blasé attitude with everything.
"No, but what does any of this have to do with me. I'm trying to let you know that moving away for school won't be the end of the world for you, especially not with your parents."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Ari frowned crossing her arms defensively.
"All I mean is that if you happen to get insanely homesick and want to come home for a weekend your parents would have that plane ticket booked for you before you could blink."
" Despite what you may think we are not made out of money Tyler, things aren't that simple in my life."
"Ari you're taking everything I'm saying wrong. All I mean is that your parents love you, you're their only child, they'll probably miss you more insanely then you'll miss them. If they don't decide to move to New York with you then I know many a plane ticket will be booked, either for them to go visit you or for you to come home and see them. Ultimately, no matter what your parents might say all they want is for you to be happy and I know they'll do anything in their power to make sure you're happy. If that means spending a little extra money so that you can see your family and friends occasionally while still going away for school then I'm sure they'd do it for you, within reason of course but still, it would be money well spent in their eyes."
"Oh… yea I guess you're right" Ari conceded now seeing what Tyler meant. "Just don't give them that idea about moving to New York with me, they might actually be crazy enough to do that."
"I won't I promise" Tyler laughed putting an arm around her and squeezing her to his side. "You know we got way off track though, this doesn't explain to me at all why you don't want to be my girlfriend."
"Yes it does, you seriously don't get it do you."
"No I'm sorry to say I really don't, but I don't know why it should come as any surprise. In all the years I've known you, I've never been able to completely figure you out, why should now be any different."
Ari scowled at him before launching into her explanation. "Tyler what's the point of getting into a relationship now if in a few months we might have to break up because I decide I want to go to NYU, or even MSV or Dalhousie if I manage to get accepted there."
"First of all, I know you'll manage to get into Dalhousie, don't ever doubt that. You're smart and talented and they'd be stupid not to accept you" Tyler said as he grabbed her arms that were crossed across her chest and tugged. Ari uncrossed her arms and let him slide his hands slowly down her arms leaving a trail of goose bumps where his fingers touched her bare skin. He held her hands in a loose grip, drawing lazy circles on the tops of her hands, clearly trying to reassure her. "Second of all the keyword in that sentence of yours was might have to break up. To me, that means you're not sure where you want to go to university. You told me before that you got accepted into FXU and I know you applied to St. Mary's, I'm sure they'll accept you there too. Who's to say you won't decide to go to one of those schools instead. They're both really good schools too. FXU being the best of course" Tyler added grinning at her playfully to let her know he was joking, at least partially.
Ari nodded slowly, seeing the point he was trying to make, "I guess."
"Look Ari I'm not going to sit here and convince you to be my girlfriend. All I'm trying to say is I really like you and a lot can happen between now and August."
"Tyler decisions about university have to be made in May" Ari interrupted.
"I know that, but who says that the moment you decide where you go to school we'd have to break up. If things are going well between us, and neither one of us wants to split up then we can stay together a bit longer. Have one of those cheesy whirlwind summer romances with the whole teary goodbye scenario at the end of August and everything just like in those stupid romantic comedies girls love watching" Tyler joked clearly trying to lighten the mood between them.
Ari rolled her eyes half heartedly, trying to contain the laughter bubbling up inside of her. "You're ridiculous you know that right?"
Tyler shrugged, "just trying to put things into perspective for you. Sorry to say this but you over think things too much sometimes. You need to learn how to just go with the flow and enjoy the moment."
"Yea maybe I do over complicate things sometimes" Ari conceded.
"So then you going to give me an answer to my question now?"
Ari grinned, "Yes Tye I will be your girlfriend."
"Good" Tyler said as he slowly leaned forward with the intention of kissing her.
Once Ari realized what he was doing she leaned back putting as much distance as possible between them without falling backwards, "Ah no don't"
"What? What did I do?" Tyler asked looking at her startled.
"I'm sick remember. No kissing!"
Tyler rolled his eyes before beginning to lean forward once more, "I'll take my chances."
"You're so stubborn" Ari muttered before finally allowing him to press a quick kiss to her lips. He attempted to deepen it but Ari turned her head away.
Tyler tried to protest but Ari shushed him with a finger to his lips. "No, that's all you get. You may be stubborn but so am I and at least my stubbornness will hopefully keep you healthy. Now back off mister."
Tyler rolled his eyes before pulling away and leaning back against her headboard once more. "Fine, but you better find another way of keeping me occupied then."
"We can watch a movie on my laptop" Ari said hopping out of bed to grab the laptop on her desk.
"Don't know what's the point of having a girlfriend if I can't even kiss her" Tyler muttered as she settled back on to her bed next to him and opened up Netflix.
"Stop your whining and pick a movie you big baby, before I pick one for us and I'll make sure it's one of those awesome romantic comedies you love so much," she shot him a cheeky grin.
"Ok, ok let's see what you have here then." Tyler conceded shifting closer to her and bringing his arm around her pressing her to his side.
She settled her head against his chest and watched as he scrolled through the selection of movies, bypassing the romantic comedy genre completely. At that moment nestled into Tyler's side she felt completely content. She had no clue what the future had in store for her or her relationship with Tyler but for now she was going to take Tyler's advice and just enjoy the moment.