We Could Be:

Blank never went to England with Amiee. In fact, he called me two days after my hospital visit and apologized profusely. He said that she didn't like me from the moment she heard about me and wanted to make the lasting impression that I wasn't good enough for him. He said he didn't even know why he kissed her back, but he had. And he was sorry. I smiled to myself, feeling this glow radiating from my face and told him not to worry about it.

It was weird. I just didn't want to be mad at him. I felt like I couldn't. We didn't date after that, partly because we couldn't. Blank's condition worsened after his surgery and in May, three days before our junior Prom, his family moved to Boston. Lillianna was heartbroken from losing Iiyken, and I was just as crushed because Blank was like my best friend. There was just something about him, something that said I could tell him everything and he would never tell a soul. As far as I knew, he hadn't told anyone anything. I could trust him. And I did.

My father, after making a huge scene from his disappearance, returned home a week after. He looked like he was glowing. Turned out, he went to Hawaii for the week and just relaxed in the sun for twelve hours, all through the six days Lillianna and I were wondering if we were ever going to get our father back. He handed me an authentic Puka necklace, kissed my forehead and told me that everything was going to be all right. I gave Blank the necklace. It looked better on him, anyway.

I've hated my father ever since, but I never let it show. Elaina and I stayed close all through high school. She was my best friend. We had our differences, but we stuck it through. We were even planning on going to college together in Florida, but she didn't get accepted. She told me to go anyway, and I did. She went to some private college in Alabama, and we visited each other often.

After Blank left for Boston, Vance and Carly continued to talk to me. I had been glued to Blank since that Christmas, so they kind of had to accept me, but after he left, they still talked to me. And I talked to them. Elaina finally stopped giving them the cold shoulder and her and Vance hit it off pretty well. I see him a lot when I go see her. They've been together for almost five years. Elaina said I could be her Maid of Honor when they get married. She's waiting patiently for him to ask.

I don't know what's going on with Carly. Like I said, through high school we talked, but once I left for Florida, we became disconnected. Vance hasn't heard from her in almost four years. I'm sure whatever she's doing she's happy. I mean, it's Carly. She makes everything adjust to her, not the other way around.

I loved getting away from home. At first, I thought I'd feel lost and so utterly detached from the people I had lived with all my life, but the feeling of independence towered over any doubt or uncertainty. I loved it, absolutely and completely. I made wonderful friends in college, but sadly, no boyfriends. To be completely honest, I still wasn't over Blank and I couldn't figure out why. There was this one guy, Bret, whom I was very close to. He asked me out and I accepted, but it didn't feel right. I just couldn't do it.

So this summer, the after my senior year, I'm taking an Internship at a local, made from nothing, business. I'm an entrepreneur, by degree. A minor in journalism. I want to start my own magazine, you see. I haven't figured out what it'll be called, but my professors said I held a lot of promise since I was such a priss and needed to have my way. The internship was a big break for me, actually, and if I played my cards right, they could help sponsor my magazine.

My first day on the Internship was only a few days ago. I was so nervous you don't even know. I straightened my shoulder length hair (it took me years before I could bear to part) and curled the ends out ever so slightly. I wanted to look cute, but I wanted to look professional. I buttoned the fitted maroon suit and looked at myself in the mirror. My skirt flared out at the end an inch or two above my knee, fitting my body perfectly, just like the jacket. My pretty pumps tied the whole ensemble together. I was so nervous you don't even know. I grabbed my leather briefcase, full of portfolios and magazine ideas, and headed outside.

I hopped into my car and drove the half-hour commute to the business. It was a large building of glass. I stood in front of the building and breathed deep. Don't be nervous, but I was. I took the elevator to the fourteenth floor where I had been instructed. It was bustling for eight A.M. I stepped out of the elevator and just stood there. I held up the letter that I had received upon my confirmation of the internship and read it over. I didn't know where to go.

"Can I help you?" Someone asked. I later learned her name was Mary. "You the other intern?" she asked me.

"I guess." I smiled.

"Your desk is just down the hall. You'll see it – it's the only empty one." She laughed. "Mr. Anderson should be waiting for you."

"Am I late?" I panicked.

"No." She smiled. "He's just always early."

"Okay. Thank you." I said, smiling widely.

I walked down the hall, past people in dress pants or skirts and plain shirts. I smiled to them, loving the more casual atmosphere. I saw a man though, dressed in suit and tie, standing near an empty desk. I clutched my hand around the handle of my briefcase and stepped forward.

"Mr. Anderson." I acknowledged, showing off my pearly whites as I aggressively shook his hand. He smiled widely, his wrinkles erupting on his gray face. "Pleasure to meet you."

"Why the pleasure's all mine, Miss. Maree." Anderson said. "Hayden, right?"

"That's right." I said, biting my lip. I was just so excited to be there. "Thank you so much for this opportunity."

"And thank you. I've seen some of your ideas, and I'd like to sit down with you, one on one, sometime. How's lunch Friday?"

"That's great."

"Well, get settled in." Mr. Anderson said. "This will be your desk for the next three months. Let's hope we get you another one at the end of the internship, huh?"

"Let's hope." I grinned widely to him. God, it was amazing! You can't imagine my excitement. This company was fantastic, the boss was so nice and he wanted to keep me around! I shook his hand again as he left. I set my little designer briefcase on the desk and looked around. Bright, wide, floor to ceiling windows surrounded me. I was afraid I would be confined to some cubical in the middle of nowhere, shadowing the mail lady. This was so . . .wonderful.

I sat down in the leather chair on wheels and leaned back. To be honest, I was just in awe. I rocked the chair back and forth for a minute before I heard Mr. Anderson's voice again. I couldn't make out what he was saying, but he was talking to the other intern. The guy's voice was quiet and deep. I sighed, hoping he was a looker. I was ready for a new guy – ready to move on. The other empty desk was across from mine, not too far away because there was a lot to squeeze into the small space of the fourteenth floor. I heard Mr. Anderson and the guy say their goodbyes and I waited for the boy to come into view. Finally, when he did, I nearly fell out of my chair.

Was he ever a looker! And better than that –


I couldn't say anything. All the words were punched out of me. I sat there, arms limp and mouth open. He set a small stack of folders on his desk and that was when I bolted. Bolted right into his fucking arms.

It was like heaven all over again. Like tasting the sweetest candy and breathing the freshest air. It was like having all the water I wanted after spending years in a desert, seeing a million faces after being confined to the dark for ages. His strong arms enveloped me, one hand playing with my hair, the other on my back, forcing my body to mold up against his. My arms wrapped around his neck, my face right next to his. I combed my fingers through his hair, loving the familiarity of his silky locks on my fingertips. The wall behind him was blurry from the tears in my eyes. I closed my lids, feeling warm tears fall down onto my cheeks.

"It's really you." I said, not wanting to let go. I couldn't lose him again. But he broke away. He cupped my face gently in his hands. His midnight ocean eyes gazed into mine as though I was the most beautiful, desired woman in the world. He made me feel so fucking special, just staring at me.

"God . . .I've missed you so . . .so much." He whispered, unable to tear his eyes from him.

"I've missed you too, Blank." I said softly. And he laughed. His brilliant smile of artificially whitened teeth blinded me with a wonderful sense of some odd security. He dropped his hands from my face to my hands. He laced his fingers in mine as though that was just the natural thing for us to do.

"No one's called me that in years." He said to me. I missed the sound of his voice so terribly. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard in my entire life. He brought his hand up and rubbed his thumb on my cheek, taking away the tears from my eyes. I laughed softly.

"What . . .what are you doing here?"

"Taking the internship." He said with a shrug, unable to control his smile.

"In Florida?"

"In Florida." He laughed. "I went to school here."

"In Florida!"

"In Florida."

"Oh my God! I went to school in Florida." I said, and Blank, er, Ashton, just laughed at me.

"You look so different." Ashton said, holding his arms out so he could get a good look at me. I spun around playfully, letting him get a good look at what he had been missing. At what he could have had. "It's the hair."

"I was so afraid to cut it." I said, touching my tendrils for a moment. "I think it looks more professional."

"You look beautiful." He stated. To be honest, he didn't look that bad himself. His dark hair was no longer streaked with blue. It was a beautiful caramel brown, shaggy yet well groomed. He had filled out, muscle wise I mean. He was still thin, but he was tone. I could easily see that underneath his black slacks and white button up. God, I just wanted to run my hands all over him.

"I've missed you." I said softly, gazing up at his face. I just wanted to sit there and stare at him. I didn't need a conversation, no words, no touching – just to stare. I was in love, and in the worst, most wonderful way. "So, where are you staying?" I asked, tossing my mind out of its trance.

"Uh, a hotel." He said with a laugh. "I'm going apartment hunting after work."

"Well uh," I stuttered for a second, "I was just going to put an add out for a roommate after work. Maybe, you could check out my place, see if you like it?"

"I guess I could look." He smiled. God, that fucking smile. I just wanted to fall to pieces for that smile. I looked at my watch briefly and saw it was almost eight thirty.

"I have to go." I said softly. "I will . . . I'll leave my address on your desk, okay, in case I don't see you later today."

"That's fine." He said. "I better get going too."

"I know. I don't want to be late." I was nervous to let him go so quickly. It had been so long since I last felt his touch. I stood there for a second or two, gnawing on my lip before I gave his lips a quick kiss. I lingered there afterwards, inches away, just wanting to rip his clothes of and travel every inch of his beautiful body. But, instead, I left.

And I didn't see him at work the rest of the day. I left my address on his empty desk and went home quickly. My apartment was in a nice neighborhood. It was sort of expensive, but I had money from my grandparents saved up, and my father still insisted on sending me cash monthly. I knew, after the internship, that paying the rent wouldn't be a problem . . .especially with a roommate.

I waited for Blank until seven. A knock came to the door and I jumped to my feet. I was dressed casually in jeans but remember to wear a tight top with a black bra.

What? I wanted him to stick around!

I waited a second before I got the door. I opened it slowly and saw him standing there. He looked at me and grinned. "Hey." His voice slithered into my ears seductively. I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be that way or not. He wore a worn pair of jeans that fit him loosely, but perfectly. I watched his ass as he walked passed me into the apartment. His white tee shirt was crisp without creases. It hung from his broad shoulders slightly.

"Nice place." He said, looking around. "How's the rent?"

"Not bad." I said softly. "With you here, it's probably about three hundred for each of us."

"Three hundred?" He whistled.

"But for you, I mean, not like it's my own money that's paying for this." I stopped. I rolled my eyes for effect. "My dad insists on paying for it until I'm done with the Internship."

"Well, in that case." He smiled gently. He looked so innocent and so protecting. He didn't look capable of harm and with him around, I felt that no harm would be able to touch me, either. Because he'd just protect me. Because that was just how it worked.

"What do you think?" I asked, wringing my hands behind my back. This was like some crazy second chance. My feelings for him hadn't diminished even a minuscule amount. I still loved him as much as the day he left near, six years ago. We had both changed so much, both grown and matured, but yet, our feelings, mine at least, hadn't aged a day.

"I'll think about it." He said, looking around.

"How about you try it out tonight?" I suggested, stepping closer to him. "See how you feel in the morning."

Blank laughed softly and stepped towards me. We met with a warm, lazy embrace. He looked down at me. I looked up at him. "All right."

"I have to call Elaina!" I said, bounding towards the phone. "Did you know her and Vance are together? They've been together for years. God, you've missed so much, you know that? They'll both be so excited you're here-"

"I love you."

I stopped dialed. I looked over at him and smiled. "I love you, too."

"I'm sorry I never said it back before."

I set the phone down and walked towards him. "It's okay." I said. "I knew. I really did." He pulled me to him with a gentle aggressiveness. I laughed out, loving his touch. I rested my head under his chin and wrapped my arms around him. He rubbed his hand up my back and breathed deep.

"I love you." I whispered softly to him, my voice quivering.

"I love you, too."

I choked a laugh and looked up at him. "Now we're getting somewhere."


A/N: Ah, happy endings. I love them. So, anyway, that's it! I loved writing this story so much and I've loved the response I've gotten in my reviews. Thank you so much for reading my work, and thank you twice as much for reviewing it. I really, really don't want to lose you as readers, so please keep coming back to this site and venture in to one of my other stories, and know that maybe more are on the way. I've actually started one that I am in love with. It's funny, but dramatic – it'll be great.

So, anyway, thank you all so very much! I really appreciate your support and am so glad you took time out of your day to read something of mine. I'll do my best to return the favor! See you soon!