Never Say Forever

Later that evening, Kaleah, Alex and Olivia met up to go see a movie, as they had planned earlier that day. Kaleah and Alex were walking their normal pace, chatting and laughing as they walked. But Kaleah couldn't help but to notice that Olivia always stayed a few paces ahead, and was stomping as though she was angry. 

"Liv!" Kaleah called up to her once they cut across the park. "Liv! Slow down!"

"We're not going to make the movie in time! We need to speed up!" Olivia called back, not bothering to pause for a moment. Kaleah stopped walking and after a few short moments, Alex stopped walking too, staring after Olivia as she continued to stomp away.

"What the hell is her problem?" Alex said quietly to Kaleah. Kaleah shrugged and watched as Olivia was nearly out of site. A  few seconds later, Olivia finally noticed that her friends had stopped and she turned back around to join them.  

"What the heck are you guys stopping for?" Olivia said as she approached them, arms across her chest and a furious line forming on her brow. "I told you, we're going to be late!"

"Screw the movie, Liv! Why are you stomping around all angrily?" Alex asked, a little too harshly. Kaleah put her hand on Alex's shoulder.

"Be nice." Kaleah said to Alex. She turned her attention back to Olivia. "But she is right...what's wrong?" Olivia shook her head.

"So, guys are like...a team now?" Olivia asked coldly. 

"We're not a team, you idiot. We're you're best friends and we know when something is the matter." Alex said back.

"A best friend of mine wouldn't call me an idiot..." Olivia pointed out.

"Okay, this is getting us no where!" Kaleah butted in. "Olivia, just tell us what's on your mind...or else we're not going to that movie."

"Oh, so threats now?" Olivia's voice was raising and Kaleah noticed she was getting angrier and angrier the more they spoke. Kaleah rolled her eyes. 

"You know I hate it when people roll their eyes at me, Leah!" Olivia snapped. Kaleah shook her head and stomped off, finding a clean spot next to the fountain to sit away from the drama. She came home to avoid drama, not be stuck in the middle of it. Alex begun to follow Kaleah but Olivia stopped her.

"Are we going to this stupid movie or not?" Olivia asked, voice cold and angry. She pulled on Alex's arm, but Alex pulled back, causing Olivia to be thrown off balance.

"Don't touch me!" Alex snapped. "Alls what Kaleah and I were trying to do was be good friends and ask you what's on your mind! Now you're all defensive and getting mad at us for no reason!"

"That's not true! You guys have given me plenty of reasons why I should be mad at you!" Olivia snapped back.

"Oh yeah, like what?"

"Walking super slow, talking to only each other and excluding me, teaming up against me when you for some reason think there is something on my mind! The list goes on!" Olivia hollered, flailing her arms as she spoke.

"Liv, there is something on your mind! We've known you for years! You don't think that we can't tell when something is bothering you?"

"You don't think that maybe, just maybe I don't want to tell you what's on my mind? For once?" Silence over came the three friends, Kaleah staying right out of the line of fire.  

 "I thought best friends told each other everything..." Alex said quietly, breaking the silence. Olivia took a deep breath.

"Me too." She said, accusingly. Alex studied Olivia's expression but had a hard time reading it. Kaleah stood up and sighed.

"Come on. We actually are going to miss the movie now! Let's get going." Kaleah said, trying to urge her friends back in the direction they were heading.

"I don't want to be near Olivia." Alex said. She didn't sound angry anymore. She sounded...mean. "You guys can go without me." Alex began to turn away, but Kaleah stopped her.

"Alex, no! Please don't leave!" Kaleah pleaded.

"Yeah, Alex. Stay." Olivia said. "I will leave."

"No! Both of you are staying right here and we are going to go see this god damn movie!" Kaleah hollered, getting frustrated. "I didn't come home to be in the middle of your stupid fights! We were supposed to all hang out together. Now, that's exactly what we are going to do!" Olivia and Alex looked breifly at Kaleah, but only seconds passed before they were back to glaring at each other.

 "If your forcing us to go to the movies together, I'm sitting on the opposite end of the theater." Alex said as she stared at Olivia. Olivia rolled her eyes and started to walk away. 

"Olivia, where are you going?" Kaleah asked.

"If Alex doesn't want me around, I'm not going to stay!" Olivia said harshly.

"Good." Alex said over her shoulder as Olivia continued to walk away. "Your a bitch when you're grumpy anyways and seeing as your refusing to tell us whats on your mind, your not being a very good friend either!" Olivia whimpered as she began to run away instead of walk and Alex and Kaleah watched her over their shoulders. "Good riddance." Alex exclaimed under her breath.

"Alex!" Kaleah said, now getting angry. "That was so uncalled for!" Kaleah crossed her arms and started heading in the direction of the theater, walking fast to avoid falling in step next to Alex. As much as Kaleah was annoyed with Olivia as well, Alex was being harsh, especially since they had their own secrets they kept from Olivia. 

Kaleah arrived at the theater first and made sure she was ahead of Alex the entire time. Alex kept calling for Kaleah to slow down, but she didn't listen...and in Alex's heels, she could barely keep up. Kaleah waited at the front of the theater before going in, allowing Alex that time to finally catch up. When she reached Kaleah, Alex was out of breath.

"God! You walk like a superhuman!" She said jokingly. "Why wouldn't you slow down?"

"I'm mad at you." Kaleah said, crossing her arms again. 

"Why!? I only said what both of us were thinking!" Alex snapped, getting impatient with all of this.

"So?" Kaleah threw her arms up in frustration. "What if shes upset because she knows about me and Dawson? And we just got mad at her for keeping secrets when we are keeping a big one from her!"

"Whatever." Alex checked out her reflection in the window of the theater and quickly fixed her hair. "It's just Olivia."

"Olivia is our friend. Does that not mean anything to you?"

"Listen, Leah!" Alex snapped her gaze from her reflection over to Kaleah. "Olivia may be my friend but she is no where near as close to me as you are! And I know that's the same way you feel about me. Olivia would flip the hell out if she found out about you and Dawson and it's time to accept that keeping it a secret from her for now is the right thing to do! At least until you have your feelings for Dawson completely sorted out. Olivia can be a real bitch without even meaning to be and you know it! I'm going to stick up for myself...I'm going to stick up for you! If that means hurting her in the process then so be it! I don't take kindly to bitches. I may be a bitch, but I don't like other bitches and Olivia is one of them!"  Kaleah rolled her eyes and headed in to the theater.

"This is dumb." Kaleah said, as she opened the doors. "Lets just go watch this movie." 

After the movie, Kaleah and Alex parted ways. They barely spoke the entire time and Kaleah was just exhausted from the events earlier that night. She wasn't mad at Alex, as Alex did have a point that Kaleah somewhat understood, but she really didn't feel like being in the middle of her friends' drama. So, with a quick goodbye, Kaleah headed home and spent the rest of her night drawing. She had used a drawing table similar to the one her mother had in her office back when she was dating Tyrell. As much as she enjoyed an easel, the drawing table was something that Kaleah missed. So instead of painting her emotions, she decided to draw them. She went to work quickly, penciling hard lines all over the massive canvas. Normally, she would freehand everything she would paint or draw. But tonight, she wanted precision and for the first time, she used a ruler to make her lines. It wasn't long before Kaleah got lost in her art and forgot all about the events of the night. Two hours had successfully passed by and Kaleah was finally at peace again. Drama stressed her out to no end and she came home to avoid that. 

As she was finishing up her drawing, a dinging sound on the computer broke Kaleah's meditative trance. She jerked up right, dropping her pencil, as if the noise had startled her. Without hesitating, she went and turned the screen on to see what had made that sound. A chat window was popped open and Sam was trying to talk to her. Kaleah must have left her chat logged in the night before when she quickly checked her email. It looked as though Sam had been trying to chat with her all day long. She scrolled to the top of the chat window to see what he had written. He almost sounded desperate.

Samson_Hero909: Kaleah! Oh boy am I glad to see you online.

Samson_Hero909: Kaleah? Are you there?

Samson_Hero909: Kaleah! I really need to talk to you. I've been worried sick! 

Samson_Hero909: You didn't even bother to call me to let me know if your flight landed properly. Please tell me you're okay!

Samson_Hero909: Kaykay?

Kaleah cringed at the use of her nickname that her cousin had made for her. She hated that nickname, even more now than ever. Kaleah hesitated before typing a message back to Sam.

leahbaby435: I'm here.

Samson_Hero909: omg! finally...I've been online all day waiting for you to respond...

leahbaby435: sorry...I left my chat logged in without realizing. whats up?

Samson_Hero909: whats up? srsly? 

leahbaby435: ...

Samson_Hero909: how was ur flight?

leahbaby435: boring.

Samson_Hero435: oh. hows home?

leahbaby435: just as boring.

Kaleah wasn't sure if she should tell Sam the truth about how much fun she was having away from Sunset Valley. She wasn't sure if she wanted him to know anything that was going least, not yet. 

Samson_Hero909: so come home.

leahbaby435: sam...this is my home.

Samson_Hero909: you're not coming back? =( 

Kaleah stared at Sam's last message, as though the words would somehow change if she stared at them long enough. Without saying another word, unsure of how to answer Sam's question, she turned off the computer. Kaleah stared at the black screen for quite some time, trying her hardest to push all thoughts of Sam back out of her head. With a sigh, she got up off the computer chair and headed to her room, as sleep suddenly sounded very promising. 

The next morning, Kaleah woke up disturbingly early and couldn't find herself able to fall back asleep. With a sigh of defeat she got up and got ready for the day, heading instantly outside, knowing that Dawson and her mother were already back there. 

"Wow, Dawson." Kaleah giggled. "You do more gardening than most women I know." Dawson turned to face Kaleah and smiled.

"Hey, now! Gardening is a very manly job." Dawson teased.

"Gardening is actually for old people." Belinda chimed in. Dawson elbowed her and laughed.

"I'm not old!" he smirked. He walked over to Kaleah and gave her a deep, welcoming hug. Before he pulled away, he kissed the side of her head.

"Good morning." He said, only inches away from her face. Kaleah smiled and found herself startled at their proximity, unable to say anything back.

"I have to admit, honey. It's weird seeing you up before the sun has fully risen." Belinda called over, breaking the moment between Kaleah and Dawson. He pulled away and turned to face Belinda.

"I think it calls for a celebration." He said back. "Mrs. Morgan, can I have the day off?" Belinda looked at him, sort of shocked, as if he had just slapped her in the face.

"It's Belinda, dear." She said, finally. "And yes, I suppose I can allow that."  

"Oh my guys are acting like I just completed a successful brain surgery." Kaleah laughed. "There is no need to take the entire day off to celebrate my getting up early." Dawson smiled and took Kaleah in his arms.

"I wanted to anyways." He said. "I have a surprise for you." Kaleah blinked in shock. Noticing Kaleah's lack of words, he laugh and pulled her towards the gate. "Come on."

Dawson led Kaleah almost completely through Ironhorse, not telling Kaleah where he was leading her. When they were getting close to their destination, he told her to close her eyes. Hesitantly, Kaleah obeyed, tripping over rocks and other obstacles that he kept forgetting to warn her about. He held her hand as he guided her through the woods. Kaleah could feel the damp morning Earth beneath her feet. She was startled when she was suddenly lead onto what seemed like a wooden plank. Dawson grabbed Kaleahs waist and moved her towards a wooden fence. She put one hand on the top of the fence and begged for Dawson to let her open her eyes. He laughed and finally told her she could. When she opened them she realized that the wooden plank she was on was a bridge and she was standing directly over a very small, hidden lake. The trees were enveloping the small opening in the woods and in the distance, she saw a broken down railway. The fog surrounded her and the sounds of toads and chirping birds echoed. Kaleah was in awe.

"Do you remember this place?" Dawson asked in almost a whisper, his hand on the small of Kaleah's back and his lips nearly brushing her ear. Kaleah shook her head, unable to place where they were in her memories. "I'm not surprised. This used to be Big Lake." Suddenly, Kaleah remembered.

"Where we used to come and have our fake weddings." Kaleah giggled. Back when Kaleah and Dawson were very young, they would pretend that they would be getting married. Sometimes, they would even marry off their teddy bears and have teddy bear picnics. Kaleah smiled as she recalled the memory and studied her surroundings. "What happened to this place?"

"Nature took it's toll." Dawson said, approvingly. "To be honest, I think I like it better like this. It's eerie, but secret and I like it." Kaleah nodded in agreement.

"Yeah I know what you mean." She said softly, still studying her surroundings. 

Dawson turned Kaleah so she was facing him. It was a forceful gesture. It was gentle and inviting and Kaleah couldn't help but to be invigorated by the sweetest Dawson radiated.

"Do you remember anything else significant about this place?" he asked softly, playing with a lock of Kaleah's stray hair. Kaleah shuddered at his touch and shook her head slightly. "This is where we had our first kiss...way back in the day." Kaleah's eyes grew wide as she quickly jerked her head around. 

"Oh my god! I totally remember that now!" Kaleah smiled at the new memory. Back when Kaleah and Dawson were 10 years old, they were playing out here. They had watch a movie earlier that day...a movie where people kissed all the time. Kaleah had a bright idea to try kissing and as much as Dawson thought it was a disgusting idea, he eventually gave in and agreed. They kissed for only a few short moments before they pulled away and wiped their mouths, totally grossed out and swore never to do that ever again. "We kissed on this exact bridge." Kaleah recalled. Dawson nodded.

"In this same spot, too." He smiled big as he wrapped his arms around her waist. "And we thought it was the most disturbing experience of our lives." Kaleah giggled.

"I hope we don't still feel that way." She teased.

"Well, lets find out." Dawson said, leaning towards her. 

He kissed Kaleah. It was gentle at first, and Kaleah was reminded of how lightly he had kissed her back when they were ten years old. If they were reliving that memory, Kaleah would've pulled away now, fake gagging and spitting the cooties out everywhere. But they weren't reliving that memory. They were creating a whole new one. Dawson's kissed turned strong - hungry. Kaleah could've easily gotten lost in that kiss. After a few moments, he pulled away.

"I didn't bring you here to make out with you." He said, teasingly.

"Why not?" Kaleah asked, just as jokingly. Dawson laughed and took a step back.

"Kaleah we need to talk...about us." He said in complete seriousness - any signs of kidding around completely wiped from his expression. Kaleah sighed, afraid that this conversation was bound to happen. 

"You know exactly how I feel about you...I couldn't be more clear about it the night at the abandoned train tracks." Dawson said, unable to meet Kaleah's eyes. "You know what I want...." Kaleah stared at him for a few seconds before responding.

"I want you to tell me what you want." She said, quietly. Dawson looked at her briefly, still shy about this conversation.

"Isn't is obvious?" He asked, a slight smile forming in the corners of his mouth. "I want you. All of you. In every way possible." 

"Like sex." Kaleah stated, a little annoyed. Why is it that all guys ever think about it sex? To her surprise, though, Dawson shook his head.

"No, not sex." He sighed. "I mean, sex would be nice but I'm not talking about that. I mean...I want you as mine. Exclusively."


"No, listen. I know you had your doubts with me in the past and that's why we never made it official between us but that's the past. You said it yourself that I make you happy and isn't that enough?" Dawson was staring right into Kaleah's eyes now, no longer afraid of what he had to say. Kaleah nodded slightly.

"Yes, that should be enough." She said softly. "But to be honest, I really need to take things slow."

"That can be arranged." He said, smiling.

"I mean, I don't want to complicate things right now by giving us a title." thoughts of Sam suddenly creeped into Kaleah's mind. She did all she could to push them away. "After what I've went through recently, I just want things to I want them to go where they are supposed to go on their own terms."

"So you don't want to be exclusive with me? You don't want to be my girlfriend?" Dawson's expression turned disappointed and the sadness in his eyes made Kaleah's heart jump. 

"I do want those things." she said. "But in time. Dawson....I don't even know for sure if I'm staying home or going back to Sunset Valley." This time, Dawson smiled in amusment, which confused Kaleah.

"I think you'll stay." He said. Kaleah mirrored his smile, glad that that conversation was over. Dawson gestured towards the end of the bridge where a wicker basket sat. 

"What's that?" Kaleah asked.

"Your main surprise." Dawson said, smiling big. "I packed us a picnic. You know, to be romantic and stuff." Kaleah giggled as she let Dawson lead her to the end of the bridge. He set up the blanket and sat next to Kaleah around the basket. Together, they prepared themselves food and giggled and teased each other. It seemed like a precious moment...but nothing is ever what it seems. 

A wave of sadness overcame Kaleah as silence fell upon her and Dawson while they ate their food. She looked over the side of the bridge and saw a bunch of fish swimming peacefully together. Thoughts of Sam began to flood Kaleah's mind all over again as she realized the familiarity of all of this. Kaleah and Sam had bonded over a very similar picnic back when they were first roommates. They also spent the entire afternoon fishing and that was when Kaleah learned about most of Sam's past. That was the day Kaleah started to have feelings for Sam and now, being in a similar situation with another guy, Kaleah truely missed him. She started to wonder what he was up to. She started to wonder what more would have been said if she stayed logged in to her chat the previous night. Kaleah tried all she could to push these thoughts of Sam out of her head, but she couldn't. If Dawson wasn't sitting right next to her, she would've started crying. Dawson made her happy...that much was true. But how long could she hide from Sam?  

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