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Forever And Almost Always

Ali had her arms wrapped tightly around Jesse like she was hanging on for dear life. “Please don’t go Jesse, please don’t,” she mumbled into his chest, which was already soaked with tears.


It tore him up inside to see Ali like this. He gently stroked her hair, trying to soothe and calm her down. “Shh, don’t cry Ali, I’ll be back for winter break in no time and trust me, time will fly by so fast you won’t even notice I’m gone,” Jesse explained, pressing his forehead against hers as he gazed deeply into her chocolate brown eyes.


Ali tried to regain her composure while her breaths continued to come out sharp and ragged. “I wish I wasn’t a senior in high school, so that I could go to college with you,” she exclaimed, glancing her tear stained face back down to the pavement. The thought of him leaving her brought tears to her eyes yet again.


Jesse lifted up her chin, “Don’t worry Ali, I already told you I’ll be back soon and plus my campus is only a two hour drive from here.” He wiped away her tears and kissed her softly on the lips.


“You’re right, I was just being overly dramatic,” Ali laughed quietly to herself, “wow I must’ve sounded so dumb back there.”


He wrapped his arms securely around her waist, letting a smile plaster onto his lips, “No, you didn’t sound dumb. I actually think it’s cute that you’re going to miss me this much.”


Jesse’s smile was contagious because she couldn’t help but do the same. He always knew the right things to say and when to say them. Jesse was perfect in her eyes. He was Ali’s everything. “I think you should go now if you want to get there while it’s still light out,” Ali said, barely audible to let the words escape from her penetrating lips.


“Yeah, I think you’re right,” Jesse slightly nodded his head, hesitating whether to let go of her or not because he knew he wouldn’t be able to have Ali in his arms like this in a long time. He knew he wouldn’t be able to kiss her everyday anymore or hold her when she needed him to. That killed him the most. “Promise me you’ll take care of yourself and not to do anything stupid while I’m gone?” Jesse asked, holding out his pinky finger.


Ali looked up at him with weary eyes before intertwining her pinky with Jesse’s. “I promise,” she said, breathlessly.


“I love you Ali Mae Ryan,” Jesse whispered in her ear as he moved over to her lips while he kissed her one last time, trying to savor every moment of it. Seconds later, he pulled away, giving her a hug as her got into his old, beat up car.


She watched him drive away until his car was barely visible, pulling onto the main highway. This was probably one of the hardest moments of her life. I have to be strong…for him at least, Ali thought to herself before walking into her lonely house.
---

This had to be the longest car ride of Jesse’s life. Yeah two hours seemed like nothing and he was almost there, but with every second that passed by, Ali would pop up into his head. What was she doing?, Was she okay?, Does she miss me? These were the types of questions that were important in his life. Lost in his train of thoughts, Jesse almost passed his campus. Slamming hard on the brakes, the tires screeched against the pavement, making nearby students stop and stare. This wasn’t exactly the grand entrance he had pictured.

---

Ali laid in her bed, emotionless. Her mother had called for her a few times, but Ali wouldn’t answer. Her mother was beginning to think she was in a minor state of depression. Her phone began to play Jesse’s ringtone and in a split second she was out of bed. “Jesse!” Ali screeched, her voice filled with excitement.


“Hey Ali!” he said, his velvet voice matching her tone of excitement, “so I made it to my campus and I’m all settled in.”


“That’s great Jes! So, have you met your roommate yet?”


“Yeah, actually I did. She seems nice.”


Ali’s eyebrows furrowed together in confusion. “She? As in a girl?” Ali questioned, her voice sounding guarded.


He instantly caught to the tension in her voice, patching up any other thoughts she might have, “Yeah, there’s no need to be jealous babe because I only have eyes for you and only you.”


“Me? Jealous? You’re delusional. I mean I trust you and know you wouldn't do something stupid to hurt me.”


“Who’s my girl?” Jesse murmured into the phone, his angelic voice sounding playful


“Me,” Ali said smiling as if he was there with her.


“And who do I love more than anything else in this world?” He hears her respond with a ‘me’ once again, making him smile. “Alright Ali I have to go get my class schedule. I’ll talk to you later.”


She pouts, not wanting Jesse to hang up, “Okay, will you call me tomorrow?”


He chuckles to himself, wondering how he could get so lucky to have a girl as cute as Ali. “Of course I will. I’ll call you everyday actually, but right now I really have to go. Bye, I love you,” Jesse said before hanging up.
---
Ali woke up to the ray of sunshine peeking through her window. Normally she would never wake up this early, but today was special. Jesse was coming home for his birthday since he had left home almost a month ago. Ali got out of her bed and put on a pair of comfy sweats and a sweater. There were so many things for her to do today, but such limited time to fit them all in. She heard her cell phone begin to ring while the caller I.D. flashed the name Nick in front of her. “Hey Nick!”


“Hey Ali, Jesse just called me. He said that he’s going to be at your house at 3:30.”


She glanced at the clock ticking in front of her, her mouth dropping to the floor in shock. “S***! Nick, that only gives me thirty minutes to get everything ready. I have to go, talk to you later,” Ali hung up hastily, rushing to get last minute things prepared for Jesse’s arrival.
---
Ali managed to get everything ready on time as well as have some time to fix herself up. All of Jesse’s family and close friends were sitting on the leather couches in the living room, awaiting his arrival. The doorbell rang, sending a surge of excitement through Ali. “Guys, he’s here!” she murmured excitedly, looking in the mirror and fluffing her hair one last time before opening the door. “Surprise!” Ali shouted gleefully along with everyone else who cared to join in. She went up to him and gave him a hug, whispering in his ear, “God I missed you so much.”


He reluctantly hugged Ali back. This wasn’t supposed to be happening right now. The only reason he had come back was not only for his birthday, but to tell Ali that it was over between them. But, after seeing her once again with the smile on her cherry red lips that lit up the whole room, made things a lot more complicated to do. “I ugh I umm missed you too,” Jesse responded, trying to sound as convincing as possible.


She pulled back, giving him a sweet peck on the lips. “Do you like your surprise?” Ali asked, glancing around at all of the people who had shown up to the party.


“Of course Ali, you know I love a good surprise,” he said, forcing a smile as he entered the house to greet everyone.


As the party went on Ali came to notice that Jesse hadn’t even said more than three words to her. She quickly brushed it off, figuring he was probably just trying to catch up on his friends and family’s lives’.


Every few minutes he would glance over and take a peek at Ali. She hadn’t changed a bit since the last time he saw her, her eyes still filled with happiness and how graceful she was whenever she moved. Jesse just couldn’t bring himself to do it and humiliate her in front of everyone.
---
The party eventually came to an end and everyone left, leaving her and Jesse alone. Ali wrapped her arms tightly around his neck, not wanting to ever let go. “So Jesse I think we have some catching up to do,” she smiled nervously, biting her bottom lip.


Jesse unwrapped her arms quickly from around his neck, not wanting to hurt he feelings, he held her hand. “Actually I’m really tired, it was a long car ride,” he explained, faking a yawn.


“Oh,” Ali nodded her head in turmoil, “I just thought since you’re leaving tomorrow to go back to your campus you might want-. You know what just forget it, I understand.” She smiled weakly, replaying the night in her head to see where she went wrong, “So do you want to sleep in my room or the guestroom?”


“Umm I forgot to mention that I got my own hotel room because it’s closer to my college, but it’s getting late and as I said before I’m tired, so good night,” he hugged her slightly, leaving the house without saying ‘I love you.’
---
It was the next day and Jesse still hadn’t called or texted her to say that he made it back fine, but she was sure that he was already there. Ali logged onto her Facebook account and saw that Jesse was online. She sent him an IM: ‘Hey babe, did you make it back fine? I haven’t heard from you.’


Hannah scrunched her eyebrows together in confusion as she typed back: ‘Who is this?’


Was he joking? ‘Ha ha very funny Jesse. It’s your girlfriend, Ali.’


‘Ali? Um sweetie this is Hannah…Jesse’s girlfriend.’


Ali just stared at the screen. This couldn’t be happening to her right now. Hannah was Jesse’s roommate. She felt like her world was crumbling right before her very eyes, shattering right as it hits the maple hardwood floor. Ali logged off and just sat in her desk chair, emotionless and shocked, when it all hit her. Yeah, she was hurt and dying on the inside, but she was even more pissed that Jesse would do this to her. She stormed downstairs, grabbing her car keys, preparing to go give Jesse a piece of her mind.
---
Jesse was in the library trying to study but he couldn’t because there was too much running through his mind. He began to think about Ali and Hannah, realizing that he and Ali went through everything together unlike him and Hannah. Ali was truly perfect for him and the girl of his dreams. He had to fix things right now before it was too late and it got way out of hand. Jesse left the library in a hurry, bumping into somebody in the process. “Ali?” Jesse asked shocked that she was standing in front of him, but scared about what she was going to say next.


She looked up at him with fury in her eyes, letting all of the anger she had felt out into the open, “So when were you planning on telling me that you f***ing cheated on me? You promised Jesse, you promised that you would never do anything to hurt me. I’m sorry Jesse, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m tired of pretending like nothing’s wrong and I’m tired of faking a smile, but most of all I’m tired of looking into your eyes, knowing that you’re not in love with me anymore.”


These words stung and made Jesse feel like crap. It felt as though someone kept piercing a sword in and out of his heart. He could feel the lump in his throat, begging for her forgiveness, “Ali, please just give me another chance. I know you probably won’t believe me when I say this, but I am truly sorry.”


“No, you’re not Jesse! How could you even say that? You made me fall in love with you Jesse. Why would you do something like this? I hate you!” Ali screeched through her tears, “I’m going to save you the hassle of breaking up with me since weren’t man enough to do it yourself. It’s over Jesse and I don’t want to see your face ever again.” She walked away, knowing this would be the last time she would ever see or speak to him again and she didn’t care. The only feeling she had towards Jesse was spite and hatred.


It was true. How could he do this to the girl he loved? He promised her that he wasn’t like any of the other guys. Jesse would never forgive himself for this stupid mistake he had been dumb enough to make in the first place. He had lost Ali forever because he knew that she was never coming back. He just stood outside of the library while he shook his head, letting the stream of tears roll down his angelic face.



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