A/N: Sorry that Chase is OCC, but I wanted to show you how much he's changed since his high school days. If that bugs you, let me know. Review if you want me to update. I have another chapter finished but I'm only posting if you guys want me to.
Disclaimer: If the Zoey 101 creators had a fanfiction account, I'm sure it would be cooler than this one. So no, I don't own anything.
Italics are past events.
Your heart nearly stops as you hear your name being called in an all too familiar voice. It has literally been years since you've spoken, neither of you attempting to reconnect as the thought just brings back those painful memories that you've been trying so incredibly hard to forget.
"Chase. How, um, nice to see you again."
You try to smile, but as you look into those piercing green eyes, you just remember the fighting, the arguments. The lack of trust. How their seemingly perfect relationship managed to crumble, to fall to pieces because of no particular reason. They just fell apart.
You stand on your front porch, tears streaming down your face. He came to visit you in California for the last two weeks of the summer. Tomorrow, he leaves for NYU, while you are headed to Stanford. No more Pacific Coast Academy. No more late night grape wars. No more sushi rox dates, or just sitting by the fountain talking. You haven't accepted that this is the reality. You've grown up, and now it's time to move on.
"I'm going to miss you so much. I should have applied to New York. I don't want to leave you." The tears continue to fall and you don't try to hide them anymore. You know what it's like to be without your best friend, your love, and you aren't prepared to have to face that again.
"Zoey." He said, simply. You see the pain in his eyes, hinting that he also has tears to shed, but he holds them back. "I love you. Don't beat yourself up. Going to Stanford has always been your dream. You can't give that up. We'll see each other again soon, I promise."
"You're going to call me, right?"
"Every single day."
"I love you so much, Chase. Remember that."
"I love you too."
He takes your face in his hands and kisses you, slowly at first, but building as neither of you wants to stop. You know this will be your last kiss for a long time, and you just wish that this moment would last forever.
You watch as he gets in his car, giving you one more, very sad, look before driving away.
You feel the tension between the two of you, but you can't walk away. Something inside of you – inside of you both, is keeping the two of you standing there in her old favourite coffee shop, staring at each other.
Chase had kept his promise. He called every day for her first year of college. You had met in his hometown, Boston, for thanksgiving, at your house in California for New Year's, and had spent most of the following summer with the old PCA gang at Logan's mansion.
You remember how confident the two of you were, believing that your relationship could in fact carry on like that for the next three years.
You were naïve, though.
As school got busier for both of you, phone calls became shorter. They became less frequent. The only text messages sent were "Can't call tonight, huge assignment due. Love you."
You could feel Chase distancing himself from you, unintentionally, of course, but still noticeable. You would tell yourself that he needed some room, that he was busy with his school work. You were incredibly busy too, the pile of unfinished school work on your indicated that.
You know that you really should be finishing your paper, but you just can't concentrate. It was Sunday night. Sunday night usually meant your weekly video call with your boyfriend, but he still hadn't signed online.
You were nearing the end of your third year of university, and while you missed your old PCA friends with all of your heart, you love college. You've made so many new friends (ones who DIDN'T nearly blow up the school), and you genuinely enjoyed your life here.
The last you had heard from Chase was that he had gotten a small position at a major journalism corporation in NYC. He was beyond excited, but had to face the challenge of keeping up with his courses while writing his column.
You finally give up staring at your video chat contact list, where 'FroBoy21' appeared offline, when your phone rang. 'Chase Matthews' appeared on the screen.
"Hey Fuzzyhead", you say, bringing back your tenth grade nickname for him.
"Hey, Zo, listen. I'm still at work and I won't be able to make our video call tonight. I'm really sorry. Next week, I promise."
You hear a female voice in the background talking to him.
"Who's that talking to you?"
"Oh that's Marley. She goes to NYU with me, and she's helping me with my article this week."
"I've never heard you mention her before."
"I'm sorry, Zo. I've just been so busy lately. I want to see you, I swear. But this job is a really big thing for me.
You try to hide the hurt in your voice, "It's okay. I understand. Just call me when you can."
"Thank you so much. Look, I have to go. Love you."
You begin to reply when you hear the line go dead.
You're twenty four. Most of your friends have married, or are in serious relationships. You keep in touch with Lola when you can, and talk to Michael every once and a while. Logan and Quinn live just ten minutes up the road from you, having eloped several months ago, so you see them quite frequently. You see no sign of a ring on his finger, but that means nothing.
"What are you doing in California? I thought you were staying in New York." You say, trying to remove any emotion from your voice.
"I moved a few weeks ago. I liked my job and they paid me well, but it was too stressful. I'm working on a novel right now." He says neutrally. There's something different in his voice.
"That's good, I guess."
You don't really know what to say to him. You don't want to bring up the past events, but you know that you have no choice.
The phone calls became almost non-existent. Every conversation they did have seemed to revolve around his work, and the name 'Marley' was used quite frequently, and one day, you just snapped.
"Yeah and Marley and I were thinking about – "
"If you like this Marley so much, why don't you date her instead, and stop wasting your time with me". You weren't an overly jealous person, but you could feel him slipping through your fingertips, and you didn't want to let go.
"You heard me."
"Zoey, you know I'm in love with you. I always have been."
"Well lately, I'm not sure I believe that any more."
You hung up the phone, not bothering to listen to his response.
You had woken up to find three voicemails from him, all saying the same thing over and over. ('I love you', 'We'll spend more time together')
You didn't bother to call back, because you know he would be too busy to talk anyways.
You don't hear from him again, and after many sleepless, tear filled nights, you decide that it is time.
"How have you been lately?" He asks. You know how stressed and sleep deprived you are, and you're sure the bags under your eyes reflect that. You suspect that he may be genuinely concerned, but he masks his emotions well.
"I've been alright, I guess."
You plan a trip to New York over Christmas, as you already know that he isn't coming back. You've been to his apartment only once, but you remember the route very clearly.
It's been exactly fourteen months and fifteen days since you've seen him face to face, and your stomach fills with butterflies (not even the good kind) as you ride the elevator to the eighth floor of his building.
You knock on the door, hearing laughter on the other side. It opens, and you see him standing in the entrance.
He looks matured, his baby face completely gone, a slight shadow on his chin. His hair is less bushy, shorter, tidier than it had been when they had departed. His eyes were still the same, still bright green, now bearing a shocked expression.
"Zoey!" He had exclaimed, giving you a hug. You don't hug him back, because you don't want to be distracted from what you came here for. He notices, because he always does. "Is everything alright?"
"We need to talk." You say flatly.
"Okay then. Come in."
You walk into his apartment to find a brunette woman sitting on his couch, watching TV.
"Oh, and this is Marley."
She looked up at you and smiled.
You sigh, "Can we talk in private?"
He looked around nervously, "Well….no, we can't. Marley moved in with me because the rent here is so expensive, I couldn't afford it on my own. So she lives here too."
You can't push this off any farther, so you try to pretend that you're alone with him. "Chase, we need to break up."
You see his face drain in colour. You don't doubt that he loves you, but you know you're not the center of his attention anymore. "What? Where is this coming from?"
"Don't pretend that you haven't felt things changing. Things aren't the way they used to be, and I guess we're just different people now." It kills you to say, but you feel as if you might finally be free.
"No, Zoey. Please don't do this." He pleaded with you. You can see the light in his eyes change. "I swear, I'll be a better boyfriend. I'll quit my job. I'll come visit more often. Just please, Zo."
You know your eyes are filling with tears but you blink them back. "You haven't called me in months. You don't visit your family on holidays anymore. I know. You say you're too busy to even text me, yet I show up here and you don't seem busy at all. You've changed, and as much as I wish we could go back to the way things were, we can't."
"Is this about Marley? Zoey, I'm not seeing her, I swear. She's just a friend."
"You really don't get it, do you?"
He looked deflated. "I know."
"I think you're just stuck under the delusion that you still love me, but I don't believe you do anymore."
He strode across the room and grabbed your hands, kissing you. The kiss was too hard, not soft like the ones she remembered so well. It didn't feel right anymore.
"You're saying that you don't feel anything when I kiss you?" He had a sad look in his eyes, one that caused you pain to see.
"I do feel something, Chase. That's the problem. I love you, which is why it hurts so much to go that long without hearing from you. We haven't seen each other in over a year. I've tried making plans, and you keep canceling."
You know this is hurting him, but you need to be selfish for a change.
"So that's it? We're just done?"
You look down at your feet, (almost) regretting coming here. "I guess it does."
You turn to the door, but he calls out your name one more time before you can leave.
"I love you, Zoey. I always have. Don't forget that."
"I love you too." You give him one small smile before leaving. "Goodbye, Chase."
Your heart breaks over and over again, but you don't trust him anymore. He may be Chase Matthews, but he's not your Chase Matthews.
You later find out, from posts on SplashFace, that he and Marley had started dating. You know it was inevitable, but it pains you to think about.
He gives you a look that says he sees right through your façade, but you ignore it.
He smiled. "I don't know. I haven't seen her in three years."
"She was nice and everything, but too controlling over my work. We didn't last very long."
"Oh. Well I'm sorry to hear that." You hate how formal you sound, but you don't have anything else to say to him.
"Don't be." His eyes are sad, the kind of sad that used to make you want to wrap your arms around his waist and kiss him until he felt better, but times have changed.
You don't know how to respond to this, but he speaks again before you have to. "Look, Zoey. I screwed up. A lot. I know we've both grown up and have met different people, but I swear, Zo, I'm still Chase. I'm still the same guy who fell off his bike eleven years ago when he saw you for the first time."
You take a deep breath because you really don't want to hear this, and even though you so, so badly want the old Chase back in your life, you don't miss the pain.
"Chase, we've changed. You can't deny that because it's true. Have you even talked to anyone from PCA lately? Because I have, and none of them have heard from you in years. Not even Michael. The Chase I knew wouldn't kick his friends to the curb over a stupid job."
He looks up, and you can see that he's fighting the tears that are threatening to shed. "You're right. You are completely right." He sighed. "I moved back here because that job was becoming my life. I had no friends there, just people I would work with. I didn't even like it, it was too stressful and demanding, and I had no freedom at all."
"Well what made you all of a sudden realize this?"
"I saw a picture of all of you at Logan's a few months ago. I didn't even know he and Quinn got married. All of you looked so happy, and I want that back. No job is worth losing everyone I love."
"Well if you just think you can move to California and just walk right back into our lives, you're mistaken. Everyone's pissed at you, Chase. Not just me. Even Lola, who just got a part in a movie, makes time to see us. And you haven't even called."
"I'm so sorry. I am so, so extremely sorry. I know saying that is probably useless but please, Zoey."
You didn't think it was possible for him to break your heart after he had already broken it, but seeing him like this hurts you. "I miss you, Chase. I miss having you, the old you, around. But it's going to take some time."
"Have dinner with me tonight." He says, seemingly out of nowhere. His hands are shaking slightly, and you can tell he's nervous.
"Have dinner with me. I'll prove to you that I haven't changed. Come to my house tonight, I'll cook. "
"Chase I don't think that's a good id-"
You give in, only because you know you'll only regret this if you say no.
"Fine. What's your address?"
You pull out a slip of paper from your purse and a pen, and he writes it down quickly.
"That works. I'll see you tonight I guess." You turn and walk out, not giving him another look.
I was in the mood for a little Choey angst, considering how much fluff I've been writing lately.
Does anyone want me to continue this? Or should I just scrap the idea all together?
I'm not sure what direction this fic is going to take, really. What do you guys want to happen? Let me know what you think.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions/comments/concerns, or if you just want to say hi. I love meeting new people and hearing different ideas.
Anyways, let me know your thoughts.