Author's Belated Note: OMG! I AM SO SORRY I HAVEN'T UPDATED! I really can't believe I haven't updated for a month and a half! See...I recently started a fanfiction account, and then I started writing all these fanfics...so I've been really busy. Also, I had writer's block for this story, so...ah...let's just say I left it for a while. But here, at last, is the last chap of 'Fortissimo'. I thank my reviewers with all my heart. You don't know how much reviews mean to me...even if it's only to sweet talk me. You guys still reviewed even though I went away...*sob* PLEASE FORGIVE ME! *goes down onto knees* THANK YOU, THANK YOU, AND A THOUSAND MORE THANK YOUS WITH IT!

And without further ado, 'Fortissimo'.

Fortissimo

By: Kitana

Kaylee closed her locker door silently, oblivious of the crowd swarming noisily around her, and lost in her feelings. How could she ever have fallen in love with Alex? He...he was the snotty popular guy, was he not?

But he changed, she reminded herself. He changed. He realized that popularity wasn't worth it, to just hurt and all that to be considered 'cool'. He's changed.

Kaylee gathered up her homework notebooks, and crammed them into her overstuffed back. A crumpled piece of paper fell out from her blue binder neatly labeled 'French' onto the floor. Kaylee bent down and retrieved it. She scanned the words quickly and her eyes fell onto the name at the bottom, hastily scribbled.

Alex.

He sent me this note? thought Kaylee in surprise. Nonetheless, Kaylee reread the note, devouring every single word and not even noticing that her bag was falling over.

Kaylee:

I'm free afterschool today, and I [here he crossed out something] want to chat with you for a bit. Don't worry, it's nothing...REALLY serious or anything, but I'd like to see you all the same. Could you meet me under the apple tree just at the corner of the school field? Thanks.

Alex

Kaylee frowned. How did the note get into her binder? She thought back to French class, where Madamoiselle Herbert was explaining future tense verbs. Of course, she thought. Alex takes French class with Madmoiselle Herbert too, at fifth period. He probably slipped the note into my binder...

Kaylee reread the note. The apple tree at the corner of the school field...Kaylee remembered that the corner of the school field was also right beside Windwild Drive. Not many students lived there, or walked that part, because it was deserted and eerily quiet. If Alex wanted to meet her there alone then that meant he wanted to 'chat' about private business...Kaylee wondered what was so private that he wanted to meet her at Windwild Drive. Agonizingly, Kaylee zipped her bag up with difficulty, hoisted it over her shoulder, and walked a little worriedly towards the school exit.

"Hey, Kay, what happened to your hair?" called Tammy tauntingly. "Did the micies in your house nibble at them?" Her and her clique of girls laughed like hyenas. Kaylee snorted. Their lives were so small. One day they'll realize that making fun of people won't get them anywhere, but it'll be too late, thought Kaylee grimly. She ignored the comments that landed on her and pushed the exit door open.

~*~

Alex paid less attention than usual at his math class. Ms. Fong's words went through one ear and out the other. He did practically all his questions wrong, but he couldn't care less. All that was on his mind right now were questions about Kaylee: Did she get his note? If she did, would she meet him at the apple tree? Or did she still hate him or something?

Alex sighed. Ah well, he thought. I'll soon find out. He sighed again and continued to work on his problems. What is the circumference...blahblahblahblahblah...Alex's vision blurred. Oh God, he thought. This is boring me to tears! He blinked and rubbed his eyes. He glanced towards the clock, checking the time. 3:27 pm. Alex nearly cried out in relief. 3 more minutes until the bell.

"Mr. Thomas?" Ms. Fong looked at him piercingly through her square spectacles. "Are you finished with your work yet?"

"Not yet, Ms. Fong," replied Alex indifferently.

"Then I suggest you do the last of your problems and stop daydreaming about your girlfriend," snapped Ms. Fong sharply. Alex's green eyes swivelled in her direction.

"I'm not daydreaming about any girlfriends."

"Whatever you're daydreaming about then. Get back to your work or it's detention." If it was detention, thought Alex, then I won't be able to see Kaylee, and then she'll think it'd all be a hoax...

"Whatever you say then, Ms. Fong," said Alex serenely, and returned to his last problem. He did some quick calculations in his head (he was not sure they were correct, but of course he did not care), and hastily jotted down a number 'rounded' to three decimal points. He threw his pencil into his pencil case and proceeded to check the clock.

3:29 pm...3:30 pm...ten...nine...eight...seven...six...five...four...three...two...one.

The bell rang. Everybody scrambled out of class, Alex at the front. But then-

"Mr. Thomas! A word if you have time to spare!" Alex turned around, and was immediately ambushed by several stampeding students. After fighting his way back to the teacher's desk, he said, "Yes?"

"Next time," Ms. Fong told him severely, "don't let me catch you daydreaming instead of doing your work, okay?"

"Yes, Ms. Fong," replied Alex, and turned around to leave.

"Alex!" He looked back. Ms. Fong smiled warmly at him.

"You're a good boy," she said, "but you just need to pay attention a little more, okay?" Alex forced a smile.

"Right."

~*~

Alex threw his binder into his locker and hastily locked the combination lock back on. No homework, he thought, so there's no point in taking my bag home. He took it with him anyway.

As he made his way out of the school, he caught a brief but clear glimpse of Kaylee, still putting her binders away. Please find the note, Alex prayed silently. Please find my note. He pushed the doors open, ignoring Tammy's greetings. Adjusting his backpack more securely over his shoulder, he jogged all the way across the field to the apple tree near Windwild Drive.

There, he put his bag down and leaned against the warm, dark bark. The sun was shining high above him. A slight breeze drifted past him lazily. Alex breathed in the fresh scent of the breeze, his eyes closed. Then he opened them and glanced casually across the field. A lump rose in his throat.

She was a lone figure walking calmly in his direction, weaving in and out of the many cliques that had already filed out of the school. Alex shifted slightly, and his skin prickled uncomfortably. That was how he had always felt when he was around Kaylee.

Gradually, Kaylee approached nearer and nearer. Alex forced the lump in his throat down. It's okay, he told himself. You can do this. You can do this. You can definitely do this.

"Uh...hey, Alex." Kaylee smiled tightly at him. Alex noticed her voice shook ever so slightly. "Er...good day?"

"Um...yeah. You?"

"Same here." Alex forced one of his famous smiles. "So," said Kaylee, looking everywhere but at him, "You-wanted to tell me something?"

"Yeah," replied Alex, seizing gratefully on what he mentioned in the note. "Yeah, I-er-wanted to-um-tell you something." His voice was jerky.

"Well...what is it?" inquired Kaylee. Alex loosened the collar around his shirt.

"Er...well...it's kind of hard to say," he muttered.

"It's okay, take as long as you want."

"I guess...it's best summarized shortly..." Kaylee waited very patiently for him. Alex talked Gibberish for a while, and then took a deep breath.

"I...I guess I just..." he took another breath. "I guess what I'm trying to say is...I just love you." Kaylee was observing a squirrel when he said it, but when Alex finished, her head whirled in his direction so fast Alex could hear it crack.

"What?" she said a little too quickly. "What did you say?" Alex squirmed slightly.

"Look, Kaylee, I love you! I just do! I love everything about you! I don't care if nobody else likes you, I don't care if you're not as attractive as Tammy or one of her friends, I care about *you*! I don't know when I fell for you, but that's unimportant. What *is* important is that I..." his voice died away. You bastard, he sneered at himself. You idiot. Congratulations on using a speech from about two thousand different torrid romances and movies and dramas...

"Alex?" Kaylee's voice was very soft.

"Yeah?" he mumbled. He fiddled with his fingers, look at his brand new white Nike shoes.

"Look at me." Alex looked. Kaylee's eyes were very bright.

"I love you too." She kissed him, and it was just like that; it was something indescribable. 'I love you' sums it all up.

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The last few phrases that Kaylee and Alex said are really cliched and everything, huh? It's been used millions of times, I know, but that can't stop me from using them. They are simple, repeated, and even dull, perhaps, but nevertheless true.