It was a beautiful sunny morning after the girls shopping bonanza, and Jessica felt absolutely incredible. Today was the day that she and Dane were going to tell their parents about their relationship, all but a few things would be known by all. After taking a luxurious bath, she put on her ensemble. The yellow and baby blue sundress was as cheerfully displayed to the world as her emotions when she beamed at herself in the mirror. Finally the day, neither she nor Dane thought would ever come, had come. It was exquisite!

There was an obvious bounce in her step as she descended the stairs and made her way into the kitchen. She was the first one down this morning, and she decided to cook breakfast for the family. Busily cracking eggs and scrambling them and chopping vegetables she didn't notice when the entryway was filled by a certain hunk of man. When he spoke to her, she jumped slightly startled then laughed at herself. Dane walked across the open space between them and after Jessica took a peek around she placed her hands on his shoulders and rose up to brush her lips against his. Suddenly butterflies erratically started to flutter about in her stomach. When she pulled back and saw his wide beautiful smile she felt dizzy with the sensation of anticipation and true happiness. The pang that came to her heart made her feel like she may burst from all of the emotions coursing through her. After one solid squeeze they separated.

"Good morning Jess." he said soberly searching her eyes.

"Good morning to you." she responded slightly breathlessly. To try and lessen the intense emotions she walked over to the coffeepot and poured him a mug, then brought it to him. He sat at the breakfast bar while she returned to preparing breakfast. For half an hour she could feel the heat of his gaze and every time she looked up from chopping or buttering some toast the pleasure at seeing his sappy grin as he watched her she had to fight the impulse to go kiss those lips and never stop.

"Well! Good morning kiddo, did you cook us breakfast?" Her father entered the kitchen and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

"Yes Daddy, I was up before anyone else and felt like it."

Her stepmother's voice from the dining room, was unmistakable, "Mmmm, it smells delicious down here." She made her way into the kitchen, a bright smile on her face.

"Good morning!" Dane and Jessica said in unison.

Jessica ushered them out to the table, and put the finishing touches on the plates to bring them out for the group. When all were seated with their plates in front of them, they ate much more voraciously than usual in silence for a few minutes. Diedre broke the silence with a tidbit of information she'd learned after running into a friend the day before. From there they just started chit chatting and joking around. Jessica felt so light she could just float away, the sensation was unlike anything she'd ever felt in her life. Each of the four was so relaxed that it was shaping up to be a good day to divulge the secret. After finishing breakfast she began to feel some nervousness despite this, and made eye contact with Dane across the table. It was time. As she leaned forward, the words on her lips which were going to be a segue into that realm, didn't quite make it out, her dad cleared his throat as a means of showing he was readying for a transition in conversation. He made eye contact with Diedre, and Jessica felt a small lump of dread form in her stomach.

"Well, since everyone is in a chipper mood this morning, I should give you the good news that will make your spirits soar even higher." Jameson said confidently.

As far as the good news went, there was very little doubt, from the way he prefaced it, about what the news would be. There was a loaded moment of silence, Dane and Jessica both dreaded what they both believed to be coming, and Jessica fought an inner battle with herself to prepare her emotions for when the news was out there to be dealt with.

At seeing that subtle interplay on Jessica's features, Dane felt his heart rate speed up and felt a surge of panic that he wouldn't be able to hide from anyone who looked his direction. Luckily nobody did. He'd seen that look countless times, and had been counting on never having to see it again. The panic gripped him, threatening to make him choke.

Jameson's deep voice made it's way through the fog that had suddenly come over Jess's mind, "Diedre and I have decided that we were hasty to just call it quits, and though we'd contemplated it for awhile before arriving at that prior decision, there's something still there and we want to fight harder to put ourselves back together."

Dane was the first to speak. Rising from his chair he said quickly but quietly, "Wait, you're doing what?!"

"Honey, what's the matter? You almost sound upset." his mother looked at him with concern.

"I just don't understand. After, I assume, weighing the options and making a decision you're just reversing course? I just-" he stopped abruptly, "I don't feel very well, excuse me." He quickly climbed the stairs and went into the nearest bathroom.

Jessica's concerned eyes watched him make his way, then she turned to her father and stepmother. "Well, that's wonderful news. If you'll excuse me." she sort of took a bow as she rose and went in the direction that Dane had gone, obviously to check on him.

Jameson and Diedre looked at one another and smiled at the way their children cared for one another. There are even blood siblings who don't show as much concern for each other, and they were grateful each had always been there for the other despite times of disagreement or tension.

When Jess swung the door open, she found Dane crumpled on the floor near the toilet. He looked very pale. She closed the door behind her after stepping inside. "Are you okay?" she came over to rub his back in a soothing circle. He looked up at her and the heartbreak in his eyes mirrored how she felt inside. The pain was palpable as a minute passed in which they both shared their emotions without words. She lowered down to sit beside him facing the opposite direction so they were face to face.

"Why didn't we see that coming?" she half-heartedly joked.

"How can this be happening? I feel worse than last time you said for us to move on with our lives. It doesn't change how I feel… now that we were so damn close to… fuck!"

She felt a jolt in her stomach at his sudden shouted expletive and the accompanying thwhack of his fist hitting the hard tile floor. She wanted to take that torment away from him, but didn't know how, she was fighting the need to release it in the same way.

He reached over and brushed a blonde tendril of hair away from her face. The love mixed with sadness in his eyes made her ache inside, and she felt a sudden sob escape her throat and then she was in tears. Nearly imperceptibly she moved closer to him, and said so softly he almost didn't hear her, "I love you. So much. Oh God, I don't want to feel so bereft about that. Dane… I am so sorry. I cannot stop myself from hurting you by saying it but, I need you to know I will never stop loving you." She leaned forward and gave him a soft kiss, and left abruptly to lock herself up in her room. Her legs gave way underneath her and she quietly cried until she felt hollow. The day that had seemed so promising had turned into something else entirely, creating gloomy clouds that weighed the two of them down. Dane spent the day in his room, feeling sicker than a dog, and resting was the only thing that made sense to him. A little after noon, Jameson and Diedre announced they were taking off to run some errands and that they should not expect them for dinner. Dane and Jessica just stayed where they were, their empty states unchanged. It was relief to them both, when either of them felt anything besides that emptiness, the hurt was too consuming and unbearable.

Without leaving a note or word for anybody, Jessica left in the early morning hours. She had a meeting to attend the next day in Nevada, but canceled it and found herself standing in line at the airport. She didn't really have a plan, hadn't reached a decision about where she was going, and only had the weekend bag she'd brought for visiting her family with her, but that's where she was. When she reached the counter she passed her credit card to the woman behind the desk and got a ticket to London. She'd always wanted to go there, and Mitch was going to take her there for the visit with his family sometime over the summer. Now she was going to already be there, though she had not yet decided whether or not she'd tell him that's where she'd gone. She just had to get away until her strength returned. She felt the cracks in her heart and soul, but had no idea if this would help her to repair them. But she had to try something.

Dane slept fitfully through the night, and was not entirely surprised that she was no longer there in the morning. He was surprised that she had not told anybody goodbye before she left. He went about preparations to leave as soon as he greeted his mother and stepfather in the morning, and was on the road for home thirty minutes later. He gripped his wheel tightly as he drove the desert roads to get back home. Usually the drive was almost meditative, but today the same shit kept churning around and around in his head. When he got through the door to his home he was exhausted and his eyes were severely blood shot. With one look at him, Janet knew he needed a good rest, and so after helping him out of his jacket, she took his hand and led him into the bedroom. He was out in minutes and she watched him sleep. The tension that had been in his face disappeared, but his eyes were red-rimmed, and Janet wondered what he was dealing with.

He dreamt about Jessica. She was wandering through a large mansion and every time he'd get to the room she was in she'd be walking through another door out of the room. It went on and on like that, then suddenly she was standing still and he was getting closer to her, they looked at one another and when he reached out to touch her face, a door was suddenly slammed between them, injuring his hand and causing it to start bleeding onto the floor. He woke with a start. Even in sleep his mind was trying to remind him that the future he'd hoped for was impossible, just out of reach. He hoped the feeling of falling into the abyss would lessen soon, he didn't know how much longer he could handle it.

He got up to have a cigarette on the balcony, and as he watched the smoke drift across his view of the moon he whispered into the night air, "I love you Jess. No matter what, I always will."

A/N: Originally I had a certain idea in mind, and this conclusion though similar is not entirely how I planned to end it. This is sort of a blending of another plotline I'd been formulating with different characters. It just morphed into it over the last couple days. I am sorry for anybody that was expecting a happy ending. A lot of my stories have a bittersweet note to them, and some of them still work out, while others… do not.

Don't despair! Even though this is complete, this story is far from over. I intend to not only continue with the overall story arc, I will also be providing the history between these characters that is eluded to in this self-contained segment.

When I first decided that they would face the obstacle of their parents reuniting on the brink of setting their own lives together in motion I struggled with whether I was going to let that be the end of this time period, or if I would add another chapter afterwards in which Jess wakes up to realize it was a dream. I had a whole scenario planned out for that ending, and two ways I may conclude it from there.

I hope you enjoyed reading this three-shot. I would be pleased to answer some questions, if anyone has any, but cannot give too much away. If you love or hate this I'd love to read your review or PM about it! I wonder what the people reading this think of the characters, writing style, plot every time I see people have been reading it. Till next time- Ciao!