It's been a year since Alex left the beach. A year since her heart broke in two, never to be repaired again. A year since she realized that despite the love she shared for one woman, it was not enough. A year since she realized it was not their destiny to be together. Why? Marissa was in love with another.

Damn Ryan Atwood! Damn Seth Cohen! The 2 brothers in arms who despite everything, would help each other and protect their relationships with Summer and Marissa at all costs. Or so it seemed.

….

12 months before-

Marissa had watched Alex leave the beach, without looking back she had gone to Ryan. The fantastic 4 were reunited. Alex had turned one last time to see her ex getting cozy with Ryan. It had broken her heart literally. Her faith in one love forever destroyed. As tears engulfed her, she headed back to her apartment, packing up its belongings with one idea in mind - to leave Newport once and for all.

But she couldn't do it. She couldn't leave Marissa. Alex knew it was over, but she wanted to be sure Marissa would be ok. Parking her jeep outside Marissa's house, she dropped off a suitcase. Inside a note "Marissa, I'm sorry. I will love you always, XXX A" With that, she drove into the dark night, heading for the one place she cherished above all else. The one place she and Marissa shared. Their spot.

Looking out over the beach, the Blaze of Glory was gone. A few random students could be seen in the distance. Alex was safe for now. Her whereabouts unknown to Marissa and her friends. No one was looking for her. They were happy being the reunited foursome. Tears rolled down her cheeks until sleep finally set in …

…..

Over the next 12 months, she was there for the major events that formed Newport's news. In the distance out of sight, she knew of the Bait Shop drug show down involving Trey, Caleb dying, Marissa getting kicked out of school after shooting Trey. Marissa was in self destruction mode and despite how much pain it bought Alex seeing her like this, she couldn't come out of hiding … not yet.

Volchok was the final straw. Alex's jaw clenched as she saw what had become of Marissa. She had destroyed the last strings of innocence left inside by going out with Volchok. 'What was with Marissa that she always wanted to date bad boys?' Alex questioned. Then she laughed to herself and thought, 'well I'm a bit of a bad girl so… hmm …. Makes sense.'

Finally Graduation day came. Alex got dressed in her best dress. She was dressed to kill. Checking one last time in the mirror, she smiled. She was ready to fight for love. If she had to bring down Atwood or Volchok in a dress, she would do it in a heartbeat she thought.

Leaving her apartment, she jumped in her jeep and headed down to the high school, parking a short walk away.

The school was jumping with activity; students were everywhere, parents smiling. For just one day Marissa looked like one happy student who had finally accomplished all she wanted, to graduate. Her thoughts were running so fast. In a matter of hours she would be leaving Newport, destined for a change of scenery helping her Dad out on a boat. As she mulled things over, memories of Alex returned. Her happiness clouded over as the memories of their break up engulfed her thoughts. 'Could it really have worked?' she questioned herself. 'What if I were to find her and try again? Would she even forgive me?' Sighing and shaking her head in disappointment, she had drawn the same conclusion she had come up with each time. NO, Alex was gone and it was all her fault. She never tracked her down. She never fought for them. She just gave up. Was leaving Newport giving up too? What if there were a second chance to make things right?

Her head down in thought, Marissa hadn't even noticed someone walking towards her until it was too late. As she looked up, she was lost in a sea of blue. These eyes she had seen before, but how could it be? Alex was a distant memory of good times gone bad. Forever banished from Newport because of what she, Marissa Cooper had not done. Stepping back she took another look at the person standing in front of her. A beautiful black evening dress, stilettos, blonde hair, a streak of purple. She gasped and stumbled as a pair of hands reached out to help her. "Marissa?" Back on her feet and steady,
Marissa opened her eyes once more as she took in the beautiful sight standing before her. "Alex? How… What are you doing here?" she stammered.

Alex smiled as she replied "You didn't honestly think I'd miss out on seeing you graduate did you?" Marissa was shocked. As she looked into Alex's eyes, there was no heart ache, no sadness, just a deep sincere look of happiness and love. How could this be? Honestly, just 12 months ago, she had broken Alex's heart and caused her life to turn upside down. She couldn't be this forgiving surely?

Alex took Marissa's hand, almost as if she had read her thoughts "Hun, I couldn't stay angry with you. The love I hold for you is just too strong."

"You love me?" Marissa gasped.

"I've always loved you Marissa. I couldn't bear my life without you. I had to come back and tell you and ask you of one thing" the blonde began.

"Just one?" the brunette asked.

"Could you come away with me? Leave Newport behind and start again? I know how hard it would be to try with all these Newpsies around. Not to mention your mother, I mean she had it out for me from the moment she met me and then Ryan and Seth, please don't even get me started on those two…" Alex stopped as a familiar face wrapped his arms round Marissa's waist.

"Alex….." Ryan exclaimed, "wasn't expecting to see you here". Tension was building. Everyone unsure of what to say next. "Um… we're all heading up for photos now. Your mum and the Cohen's are already on their way up" Ryan said hesitating with seeing Alex and Marissa together. Marissa looked at each of them before removing Ryan's arms off her waist. "I'll be up there shortly ok. Let them start without me if they need to", her eyes fixed on Alex thereafter. Ryan hesitated and stammered as he prepared to leave "um… ok…. Be quick though, you don't want to miss out, I'll see you round Alex." Taking one last look over his shoulder, he wondered what Alex's return meant. Was she back for good? Was she back for Marissa?

Marissa in the meantime had kept her eyes firmly locked on Alex. Blown away by her beauty and the evident surprise that she was back in Newport, so many questions were accumulating in her head but at the point nothing mattered. Nothing but the fact that she was still in love with Alex Kelly and that despite her initial reservations about their relationship, she wanted a second chance and was now seriously contemplating the offer of a new life with her away from Newport.

"Alex…. Your offer is so tempting but honestly, I've been offered a spot at Berkeley and I'm on a flight out of here tonight to work on my Dad's boat and….." Her words were silenced by a finger laying itself on her lips. "Shh…. What about if I come with you? We can make up for the loss of the last 12 months. Turn over a new leaf together so to speak." Alex was now millimeters from Marissa, their bodies making contact. Sparks flying for both women as they realized this was meant to be. A second chance to remedy mistakes of the past. Another shot at love that would be forever. As Alex reached out and wrapped her arms around Marissa, she whispered in her ear "So Cooper, what do you say? Are you willing to take a chance and be with me?" Marissa shuddered as she felt each breath on her ear. Each breath making her gasp for her own.

A few seconds went by, but for Alex they seemed like an eternity. The suspense of not knowing was killing her and finally an answer…

"Ah there you are Babe", a set of hands groped Marissa's butt. "Come with me, I got something special in the back of my van for ya. … Hey what are you two all cozy for? Care to let me join in the fun?"

Marissa smacked his face, yelling out every profanity she knew "Get out of here Volchock. I told you it was over!"

"You're leaving me for her? " he spat out.

"Not just for her, for a chance of life where I am loved and cherished. I'm not just a piece of meat. I love Alex and I want to prove I'm worthy of her without the likes of you around, trying to get me boozed up and high. You're a low life scumbag Volchock. I'll be quite happy if I go through my whole life never seeing you again!" Marissa yelled before pushing him in the chest.

Volchock's eyes shrunk with anger as he towered over Marissa. "You'll regret this Marissa Cooper. I'll make sure that happiness is one thing you will never have!" With that he stepped back and began to turn around to leave. His body mixed with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. Rage was simmering deep within. Alex was ready for this. This was the fight she was destined for. The fight for her love. Without a moment's hesitation, she bound towards Volchock. Her fist making contact with his face. As he stumbled out of shock and inebriation, he was expecting Atwood but instead saw Alex, her eyes showing she was ready for a fight. As he prepared to take a swing, another fist landed on his jaw, and one more. Marissa was scared. She knew Alex was a tough one but she'd never seen her like this. As she looked around her to see a way out that both girls could run for it, she came face to face with Volchock again. Alex was standing between them. Her body in a protective stand, defending Marissa.

"You!" he stammered. Words had escaped him. Drugs, alcohol and humiliation overpowering him. He fell to the ground in a heap as Alex delivered a number of blows to his stomach, each one harder than the previous one until finally he could take no more, the final blow was delivered. Volchock lay in a fetal position, totally humiliated and unable to move. Security had been made aware of the events and consequently, Volchock was arrested. Alex turned to Marissa who was visibly shaken. As she cupped her face she whispered "See Hun, I'll always look after you. I'll protect you from the demons of this life and if you let me I'll look after you and cherish you…."

Alex's declaration of love was stopped by Marissa's lips crashing on hers. All the wrongs of the past had been forgiven with one reason. Love had bound them. Love had made them whole again. Love had given them a reason to live and together they could overcome anything.

Marissa still had questions about Alex's whereabouts over the last twelve months, but none of that mattered anymore. She had her partner back. Alex didn't hold judgment over what had happened. They were content to just be. Happy to be back in each other's arms.

Together they walked back to join Julie and the Cohen's, each of them smiling. Hard work lay ahead but the promise of a new day with the adventure of a new life outside Newport was just what they needed to start again. Love will come but once in a lifetime. For Marissa and Alex, they had a second chance. With that, they smiled at each other and once again, like they did that night at the Bait Shop, they took each other's hand. Their faces showing promise of being better this time, not holding back when things get tough and most importantly they would fight their battles together. United, they were one. A force to be reckoned with.

The End.

Please let me know what you think of this one shot and R&R.