Chapter 20: We Meet Again

My hand curled into a fist and my elbow drew back sharply. I released the force (Star Wars, here I come!) and decked her below the eye.

Nikki fell back with a witch-like screech and the heads of the crowd turned to look at us. Nikki came up seething.

Donovan started at me with wide, shocked eyes. My slightly aching hand dropped by my side and I quickly sidestepped, avoiding a lunge from Nikki. She stumbled and fell into the wall. I heard snickers from the crowd.

"You bitch!" She screamed at me from the ground. I smiled lightly and started to move to the stunned bodies of Donovan and Dylan. I didn't exactly trust Nikki not to throw herself at me again.

The crowd of students watched for another moment, obviously hoping for a full fledge girl-on-girl catfight.

No way, Jose.

My gown felt sticky against my body. I grimaced and stopped by Donovan and Dylan, who was still gripping his arm. Donovan was watching me intently and I felt the faint blush creep up my face. Dylan merely winked at me and murmured, "Way to be, kid."

I started to say something, but was stopped abruptly by a clear, sharp voice.

"Miss Evans!" The principal's voice.

Uh-oh. My expression froze on my face. I doubt they would understand why I hit her. Quick! Think!

Nikki looked over and smirked, standing. She straightened her skimpy gown and flipped her slightly tousled hair over her shoulder. She looked so smug. Except her expression was slightly marred by the blooming spot underneath her eye. Heh.

"Yes, Mr. Bruder?" I asked, turning to face him. The music still played, but all eyes were on us. I hated scenes. Why did I ever hit her?

"What happened?" He asked. The experience of dealing with such scenes as these was plain on his face. It made his voice monotone and his visage almost dead.

"She hit me!" Nikki interrupted.

"Nikki." The principal said threateningly. Mr. Bruder hated disrespectful people. Actually, he wasn't too fond of girls like Nikki.

"I… um…" My reply was practically inaudible due to my nervousness and the music booming from the speakers. I toyed with a clean spot of my dress, twisting it in my hand.

"Nikki fell." Donovan's deep voice was clear against the music, surprisingly. He spoke with confidence, like he had been practicing for this moment all night.

Mr. Bruder turned his dull gaze to Donovan and immediately brightened. He didn't snap at Donovan like I expected him too.

"Oh, really?" Did I just see his mouth quirk up in a smile?

Oh, yeah. I forgot. Mr. Bruder was head of many sports, all of which Donovan participated in. Mr. Bruder was also pretty sexist, so automatically he would believe a favorite and a male. Normally I would have been outraged, but considering Donovan was covering me up, I was grateful.

"Yes, sir." Donovan said respectfully. It was said so respectfully that it almost lacked inflection.

"Then what explains, er," Mr. Bruder's eyes unwillingly traveled to my stained dress, "her accident?"

Nikki had started to sputter furious words at this time. Donovan gave her a brusque look and she quietly…well, she shut up. Man, the effect that man has on women is crazy.

"She tripped into Miss Ellie and spilt the drink on her by accident." Dylan finished off for Donovan.

I can't believe they were covering this all up for me. Well, I could believe Dylan's motives, but Donovan? Maybe he really meant what he said.

"Ah." Mr. Bruder leveled his eyes on Nikki, who was cursing.

"A lady does not curse, Nikki. Follow me." He said sternly. Ooh, she was going to get it. Nikki shot daggers at me with her eyes but I tentatively smiled. No need to get too cocky, Evans. Okay! I'm not suspended. I know Mr. Bruder would never believe Nikki over Donovan the Perfect One.

Mr. Bruder looked at me and my smile quickly vanished, being replaced with a solemn one.

The crowds' gaze stuck on us like glue for another moment but then were turned back to their dancing partners. I swallowed, keeping my arms a width away from my sticky dress. My poor dress.

Donovan shed his jacket and placed it over my shoulders. I glanced over with a slight start, not expecting someone to touch me. Donovan and Dylan were both staring at me. I blushed.

"Thanks, you two." I said quietly over the din of laughing kids and music.

"You're welcome." Dylan voiced. Donovan simply nodded. I tugged the jacket more over my shoulders holding the front to me.

I shifted my weight and the moment turned silent in our own little…triangle and awkward.

"I think I'll go help Maria over there." Dylan said, taking the not-so subtle hint from Donovan. We looked over at Dylan's words and saw Marisa trying to fend off an unwanted suitor.

I smiled at Dylan, murmuring another thank you and he waved, leaving.

I licked my lips nervously, trying to figure out something to say to Donovan.

He beat me to it, "I imagine you've had enough excitement for tonight."

I nodded, the events of tonight, the past hours, catching up to me.

Donovan took me by the elbow and I all but leaned against him as we walked out. My last glance of Dylan was him having his arm around Maria, gently leading her away from her fan club. Awww, love is in the air, I thought with a soft chuckle. Donovan gave me a look and I glanced back up at him, smiling. I was happy that Dylan might have found someone. Like a great person like Maria.

We walked out of the place and started towards his car. The night was already blooming with stars and they were twinkling back at us like diamonds on velvet. It had gotten chilly and I was grateful for the jacket Donovan had lent me.

He opened the passenger door for me and I got in carefully, not wanting any of the liquid to rub onto his nice seats.

"Don't worry about it, sweetheart." Donovan said, I guess referring to the seats but all that hit me was the word sweetheart. Hmm. That's so adorable.

I simply smiled and leaned back, pulling the seatbelt tightly over my chest and latching it in the lock. Donovan shut the door and got into the car, walking behind it to his side. I guess he was scarred for life when I honked the horn at him.

He got into the car and turned on the engine, turning on the radio. I wrinkled my nose; the station had been turned to this screamo stuff.

While he steered out of the lot and quickly reached over and pressed the seek button, plus a few favorites. Donovan shot me a look, "Whomever drives, gets the right to choose the music."

I looked at him.

"Okay, change it." He said with a sigh. I grinned and leaned over, kissing him on the cheek and changed the station to an oldies one. Donovan looked slightly surprised at my display of affection.

"Don't distract the driver. Didn't you pass your driver's license test?" I said to me.

I didn't answer, I merely squealed when a Frank Sinatra song came on. Donovan rolled his eyes, "You're crazy."

"STRANGGERRSSS IN THE NIIIIIGHTTT…" I sang along to Sinatra's crooning voice.

Donovan gave a martyred sigh and continued to drive. I laughed and hummed along. The stars were moving fast by us, the moonlight our lamp.

I twist in my seat to face Donovan, singing dramatically, "Something in yoursmile was so inviting, something in your eyes so exciting, something in my heart told me I must have youuuuu." At this point, I swung open my arms like I was beckoning him to embrace me passionately, like Vivien Leigh would have to Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind.

Donovan merely laughed as he glanced to me, "Ain't that the truth, sister." He said with a tone of someone from the 40's.

I laughed and sat back in my seat. We came upon a red light and Donovan pressed down on the brake. He took that moment of pause to quickly twist in his own seat, seizing the moment to kiss me.

He pressed me back against the seat, lifting his hand to cradle the back of my head. While he was kissing me intensely, making me lean forward to sink deeper into him, I vaguely wondered how he was keeping his foot on the pedal.

A sharp horn interrupted our side of paradise and Donovan moved back with a grin, leaving me with a dazed look on my face. Frank Sinatra's voice dwindled off with the last stanza of the song.

Oh, boy.

I watched Donovan from my little corner of the car and at each red light, he would pause, lean over and kiss me.

I am such a girl. This feeling of, what, love? is going to be the death of me. Donovan turned the wheel, going down a road that was overshadowed with cherry blossom trees. My mind was assaulted of a memory from watching Pleasantville, where they were driving to Lover's Lane and the petals were falling onto the car.

Biting my lip to keep a smile from spreading across my face, I settled back against the plush seats and looked out the window. My hand dipped down to press the button, the shield slowly rolling down and the breeze silently entering the car like an invader in a house.

Donovan steered into an empty parking lot and I realized that he had taken us to the local park. Monkey bars were reflecting in the moonlight, a sand box in the corner, a slide in a sand pit and a big field surrounding it.

My eyes traveled the view, until they landed on a set of lonely swings. I bit my lower lip hard, quelling tears, as my memory remember that dream I had dreamt all those months ago, about Donovan and my childhood, at this very park. I had forgotten about this park. I hadn't returned after that day that Donovan gave me his ice cream.

I slowly looked over at Donovan and smiled, the smile lighting up my face and the moonlight turning my eyes a darker shade of blue. Donovan returned the smile, reaching over to brush away a strand of hair.

"Come on." He whispered, getting out of the car and walking to my side. He opened the passenger door and helped me out of the car. Donovan turned and gestured to his back. I stared at him, foolishness taking over my feeling of sentimentality.

"What?" I said.

"Piggyback ride." He responded.

"No."

"Why not?"

"I'm too heavy."

Donovan turned and looked at me.

"Fine! But when you break your back, don't come crying to me." Oh, God, I sound like my mother!"

I trudged over and hiked up my gown and all but climbed up his back. I wrapped my legs around his waist, thinking how indecent this must look. I linked my hands around his neck and leaned against him.

"You're like, a feather." Donovan argued.

"Yeah, okay. Forward, beast!" I heard Donovan laugh and he straightened, walking to the swing set. I rested the side of my face against his broad shoulders and sighed. Okay, maybe I could get used to this.

Donovan's jacket had fallen off my shoulders and the cool night breeze grazed over my skin, sending a fit of chills through my body.

"Cold?" Donovan asked.

"A little." I murmured, closing my eyes and snuggling against him for warmth, "but I'm okay. Just give me a second to warm up."

"You mean steal my warmth."

"Exactly."

Donovan led us to the swing set and I slid off his back, straightening my dress. He gallantly offered me a swing, bowing and gesturing with his arm to one.

"Why, thank you."

I moved over and sat down in the swing, pushing off lightly on the dirty ground, which spurred the swing into motion.

Donovan sat down in the swing next to mine and repeated the action that I had done. I linked my arms around the chains of the swing and looked over at him, tendrils of blonde crossing over my eyes.

Donovan grinned at me, "What?"

"I'm just thinking."

"About?"

"You'll get freaked out." I refused.

"Try me."

"I'd rather not." I stubbornly responded. I turned my gaze to the ground and pushed my legs back and forth, sending the swing higher in the sky.

"Why not?" Donovan also urged the swing faster, trying to catch up with me.

"Because I'm probably just being fanciful and thinking things I shouldn't." I upturned my face to the wind, pressing against me like a lover. I am getting too romantic. Even the wind represents love now!

Donovan seemed to muse over my response as he kicked his feet in the air.

"What makes you think that?" He voiced. Even though I didn't want more questions about us, it made me feel better that he was still thinking about it. That I didn't scare him into silence. How awful that would have been.

I turned my head to look at him, gripping the chains in my fists tighter. He looked like such a rogue, with his hair blowing the wind and his dark looks mystified by… me.

"Donovan, what can't you get?"

"You."

I frowned. He turned my question into something else. I meant what he couldn't understand. He knew that's what I meant; yet somehow he turned it into me asking what can't he get. See the difference? How puzzling. I ignored the butterflies in my stomach.

"We're from different worlds."

"No, we're not." He disagreed.

"Who are you trying to kid? Of course we are."

"Explain it then." Donovan's voice sounded slightly angry with me. Well, I hate to ruin his night but honestly… why couldn't he see this? I stared down at the ground far below us, the sudden motion making me feel light-headed. I lifted my gaze to him. Our swings were linked in a pair, going at the same rate and time.

I remembered the old joke that goes with this. We're married! And when one of the swings out slow down, lose the pace we would freak out, we're getting a divorce!

Donovan seemed to follow my thoughts because he smiled. I shook my head with a smile, willing myself not to get distracted. Married. My God, I'm a senior. I barely knew what I wanted do to after school. Okay, actually I knew I wanted to be a high school teacher. But, why would I ever want to think about marriage?

It worked for my grandparents and my parents. They were all high school sweethearts. Both sets stayed married until death do them part. I know at least Donovan's parents were high school sweethearts. I didn't hear much about them. Note to self: learn more about Donovan's parents. They were mostly traveling around the world, sailing from port to port like Steve and Slim.

Ahh! No distractions!

I cleared my throat and looked back at Donovan, "Fine. I'll explain it. It goes down to the high school cliques: you're popular and I'm not. You're a "somebody," I'm a "nobody." You can't honestly care for me, that's the hormones talking."

This time Donovan truly looked angered, "Don't tell me what I am or what I feel. Do you honestly think I care for those cliques? If you do, you don't know me as well as you thought."

That stung. The wind seemed to get suddenly colder and I slowed my swing down to a stop, sitting there in silence. Donovan also slowed his swing down and we sat there, him staring at me and me staring at the ground.

Suddenly I was angry, "That's not true! I know you, Donovan. Better than you think, better than you will ever know. How am I supposed to think, to understand, if you don't care about those things? Anymore, at least? You left me after my father died, for arrogant jocks and sluttish girls."

"I was fourteen! You think I really knew anything?"

"You're at least supposed to have the common sense of not leaving a friend in a time of grief and pain! When that friend needed you most."

We were both shouting at each other now, our words echoing like swords clashing in battle.

"I'm sorry. Gosh, I'm sorry! I didn't ever mean to just leave you. I was a stupid, heartless, social climber," Donovan leaned over in the swing, jerking mine towards his and I hung suspended in the air, "what do you want me to do to make it up to you? Hurt myself? Well, I have, Ellie. More than you know."

My anger drained as I listened to his words. It was so useless fighting about the past, I suddenly realized that. I almost lost my balance and grabbed onto his hand to keep from falling off the swing. Donovan jerked me off the swing and into his arms, sending us both into a bit of confusion for a minute. He retained his balance and shifted me in his arms and simply stared down at me.

"What do you mean?" I asked quietly, feeling foolish for yelling at him. Donovan's warm seeped into me, sending away the chills that I had been fighting for the last hour.

"Ever since then, you've been in the back of my mind. I think about you everyday, every night before I fall asleep and you're the first thought in the morning. When I hurt you, I just end up hurting myself. I felt horrible, full of regret of leaving you when you needed me most."

"Donovan…" I murmured

"Let me finish. That was so many years ago and I've been yearning to fix it. I maybe didn't realize it then, but now I do. Now, I just can't take my eyes off of you. I love you."

My heart just shattered. Not of regrettable pain, but just…every possible blissful emotion just overwhelmed me and I threw my arms around him, murmuring, "I love you, too. I was just so scared and I'm sorry, I just let all my pent up emotions hit you for some silly reason such as popularity. I'm sorry."

Donovan's arms tightened around me and he kissed the side of my face, "It's okay, everything will be okay. You won't get in trouble because of Nikki, I'll see to that. I think Dylan's found something in Maria so I won't have to worry about competition." He winked at me.

I drew back and smiled up at him, "We can be high school sweethearts, eh?"

"Forever and always."

And he drew me close again and…

Kissed me 40's style.

- The End -

A/N: I can't believe it's over! I loved this story so much, I feel like I'm losing someone I know by ending it! I wanted it to continue, but I felt that the time was right for Miss Ellie and Mr. Donovan. Thank you SO much for reviewing and giving me the confidence to go on, chapter after chapter. I may be writing an epilogue, so if you have any questions about the characters/story that you would like to be answered (I hate it when books just leave off and you don't know what happens to the other characters or whatever because they don't leave an epilogue) LEAVE THEM IN YOUR REVIEW and I shall make up an epilogue for you girls!

Lady Seiryu: Thank you! We're so glad she finally decked her too. I really hoped you liked the book. We're going to be starting a new one soon, after some planning, so please stay with us!

FairyOfDeath: XD. Perfect endings certainly pull a book together. Thank you! Stay with us!

LilLaTLuv: : )! I'm glad you liked the chapter so much.

Exquisite Extreme: Thank you! I'm sorry for such a long wait, but we had been writing over a collective amount of days. I hope this has paid off! You've been with us since the beginning and gave us the courage to move on with the story! Stay with us!

Red Orchid: Thank you! I hope this was a nice ending for Dylan for you. I wanted to go further into the story with a gal for Dylan but my partner disagreed. Use your imagination! Thank you and stay with us!

MurfDurf22: XD, yeah! Thank you!

That Girl Next Door: Haha, yeah! I can't stand those little snooty cat fights (speaking of which…there was a girl fight today at school! Catfight, more like it).

Babe anjwl: Thanks!

Xoxtweetzxox: Thankkkss! I'm really glad you liked this one!

Hatedxlife: Being decked is when you're punched. Like, if I "decked" you, that means I would have punched you or hit you.

PandemoniumExpress: I really, really hoped you liked this one. Enjoy! Stay with us!

Strange Lil Cynic: Thank you very much! You have no idea how much that pleases me to hear.

Beckylouwhoo16: XD, yep! Thank you for reading!

Tenshistar: Haha, of course every good story needs a punch! I really hope you liked this book and stay with us!

SweetKissOfChaos: Oh, good. I always love new readers : ). I know this is the ending of this book, but I shall be coming out with another one soon. As a matter as fact, I already have two chapters of it done : ) !

Miss-India: Thank you! Sweet sixteen, XD. I hope you've liked it!

Sabby: I agree that Dylan is pretty cute ; )

Ohxperfectionx: Haha, really?! I must check out your story then. Nikki just seems like a good name for the evil gal. And guess what? My dog is named Nikki. XD.

Summers-end: Thanks! I know, I'm glad about the dress too! He held him back because Dylan realized that Ellie needed to solve this for herself. Like, it was some "coming of age" thing. I hope you're glad with Dylan's ending. Stay with us!

Sitabird: Eep, not a couple updates but maybe a new story out! I know, realistically… but a book isn't supposed to be realistic, y'know? It's simple paper that we can lose ourselves in for a couple of hours and escape from reality.

Slowlydancingtothestars: Ahh, as do I. Now you know! By the way, I adore your screen name!

Rosiedreamer: Decked means when you punch or hit someone. Like, if I "decked" you, I would have punched you. Decked normally refers to being hit in the face, not body. I hope that cleared that up!

Garnet-earth-princess: Sooo many questions! I hope they were all answered. We might do an epilogue. So if you have any questions, ask them and we'll answer them in an epilogue : ) Thank you for reading! Stay with us!

Elohimdancer319: Haha, yeah!

Silvrraindrop: Ah, you caught on. Wellll, you'll find out about Scarlett and Brad, hint hint. Dylan, well, he might be another story. XD.

Thank you so much, everyone, for reading this story! It has meant so much to me and has created a world of possibilities and given me the courage to write on. Thank you! I don't know when I shall be posting the next story, I may give it a week or two for a slight break and because I want to gather up some more chapters for quicker updates : ). Thank you and PLEASE stay with us!