The Emma Hudson series is back! I've missed writing it. So, this first chapter is supposed to be like the ending of S3 of Glee (only Nick and Emma don't break up), so that's why the lyrics keep popping up at odd places. I'm not sure if I'll include stories from throughout their college years or go straight to when Ryan and Ava get engaged and Emma begins to wonder what the future holds for her and Nick. (Or I might have Ryan and Ava get engaged earlier rather than at the end of college so I can do both.) I hope you guys enjoy the first chapter and review if you want me to continue and what you think I should do.

Chapter 1: Goodbyes

"Hi!" Emma said, getting in Nick's car. Today was it. They were off to college. In different states. She wasn't sure if this had been such a good idea, but the fact of the matter was, what she needed was at Chicago and what he needed was at Harvard.

"Hi," Nick whispered.

Emma immediately got a weird vibe. Something didn't feel right. Finn and Rachel had agreed to let them drive to the airport together and give each other the final goodbye. She'd said her goodbyes to her parents and siblings earlier this morning, and she'd said goodbye to Ryan and Ava when she dropped them off at the airport to New York last week. She knew this goodbye would probably be even harder. She and Nick had been through so mcuh together, and long distance relationships were a challenge.

"Let's go off to college," Emma said, trying to sound excited. To anyone else, starting college would be exciting. But for her, it was scary. Chicago was a lot bigger than Cleveland, and she'd be without her boyfriend and her friends and her family there. But she reminded herself, this was the school that had the strongest writing program, and she really wanted to be a writer. She and Nick had their whole lives to be together, and they could handle four years of separation. Couldn't they?

"Okay," Nick said. The drive to the airport was almost completely silent. Emma was afraid to talk because she was worried she'd say the wrong thing and make Nick want to break up with her. There probably would be girls at Harvard who were more appealing.

"Was it hard?" Nick finally asked. "Saying goodbye to your parents and your siblings?"

"Yeah, it was," Emma said. "It was pretty upsetting when we took Ryan and Ava to the airport last week, too. I really miss them."

"So do I," Nick said.

"But hey, New York and Boston aren't too far from each other, you can visit them anytime," Emma said. She then felt herself feeling jealous. She missed her brother and her best friend.

"I am worried about Grace and Kyle," Nick said. "It is her senior year, and her parents aren't here with her. And when she goes off to college, he'll be on his own."

Emma sighed. She knew losing their parents had been very, very hard for Nick and his siblings. "Was it hard to say goodbye to them?"

"So hard," Nick said. "I know our aunt and uncle are taking good care of them, but it did feel at times like we only had each other. They're only related to her by blood, after all."

The car arrived at the airport, and they got their stuff out. Finn and Rachel had shipped some dorm furniture to Chicago so Emma didn't have to bring too much stuff on the plane. Yet, the two bags she had with her still felt heavy.

"What time does your plane leave?" Emma asked Nick.

"2:09," Emma sighed. She looked at her watch, there wasn't much time left. "What about yours?"

"3:22," Nick said. He looked at Emma, looking nervous. "I just hope this works."

"It'll work," Emma said, but she was sure she needed the reassurance more than Nick did.

"You're 100% sure you want to be with me, right?" Nick asked.

Emma sighed. That was the one thing in life she knew. "Of course I am."

"It's pretty uncommon to be 100% sure about something," Nick pointed out.

Emma was feeling frustrated. "Well, I am 100% sure."

"I'm also sure that you're that one in a million," Nick said. "Emma, you're going to do really great things at Chicago. Your writing is the best I've ever read."

"We've already broken up once, and it was absolutely miserable!" Emma protested.

"It was hard for me, too," Nick said.

They moved through security, but Emma still had a feeling that there wasn't much time left. She wanted this to work, but would it?

"My plane leaves from Gate 24," Nick said. "Where does yours leave from?"

Emma looked at her pass. "Gate 27."

"Those are close enough to each other," Nick said. "I'll wait with you until the plane boards."

Again, they walked to the gate in silence. Emma sent a quick text to her mom, letting her know that they'd arrived at the airport and that the plane would be boarding soon. As they walked to the gate, she recognized the song on the radio. It was the song she and Nick had used as their duet to say goodbye to the Gold Stars. But as she listened, she wasn't hearing the original singers. Her mind flashed back to the day she and Nick sang it to say goodbye and could hear it again, and now the words said so much.

Emma: Hey, hey
So many things to do and say
But I can't seem to find my way
But I wanna know how
I know I'm meant for something else
But first I gotta find myself
But I don't know how
Emma (Nick): Oh, why (Oh) do I reach (Oh) for the stars (Oh)
When I (Oh) don't have wings (Oh) to carry (Oh) me that far? (Oh, oh)
I gotta have
Emma and Nick: Roots before branches
To know who I am
Before I know who I wanna be
And faith to take chances
To live like I see
A place in this world for me, oh oh

They sat quietly in the waiting area until the flight attendant announced the flight to Chicago was boarding. Now, it really was time to go. Emma took her bags and looked up at her boyfriend. "I love you so much."

Nick leaned in to kiss Emma. "I'll love you forever."

She held in her tears as she got on the plane. Letting go of Nick's hand was hard, but she had to get on this plane and go to Chicago. As the plane took off and she watched the only town she'd ever known as her home get smaller and smaller, she felt even more tempted to cry, but held it in. She continued to remember that day in the choir room, and how much the lyrics meant to her now.

Emma (Nick): Sometimes I don't wanna feel
(Sometimes I don't wanna feel)
And forget the pain is real
(And forget the pain is real)
Put my head in the clouds
(Oh, ooh)
Oh, I start to run and then I fall
(Start to run and then I fall)
Seein' I can't get it all
(Seein' I can't get it all)
Without my feet on the ground
(Oh, ooh)
There's always a seed before there's a rose
The more (Oh) that it rains (Oh), the more I (Oh) will grow (Oh, oh)
Gotta have
Emma and Nick: Roots before branches
To know who I am
Before I know who I wanna be
And faith to take chances
To live like I see
A place in this world for me, oh oh

If only the pain wasn't real. The airplane touched down in Chicago, and Emma made her way out of the airport and into the city that was now home. She remembered what she and Nick had sung about that day. She had to be strong.

Nick: Whatever comes, I know how to take it
Learn to be strong, I won't have to fake it
Oh, you're understanding, oh
Emma: But we can come and do what's best
Roaming north and south, east to west
But I'll still be standing
I'll be standing
If I have
Emma and Nick: Roots before branches
To know who I am
Before I know who I'm
And faith, oh, to take chances
To live like I see a place in this world
Gotta have
Roots before branches
To know who I am before I know who I wanna be
And faith to take chances
To live like I see a place in this world
For me, oh oh
I gotta have roots before branches, oh yeah

Walking through the streets of Chicago, Emma got out her cell phone and called her mom. There was no use in trying to call Nick, his plane probably hadn't even landed in Boston yet.

"Emma!" Rachel said, picking up the phone.

"Hey, Mom," Emma said. "I'm in Chicago."

"Are you okay?" Rachel asked. "I really didn't think it was a good idea for you to fly out to Chicago by yourself, but I know that's what you wanted to do."

Of course Rachel was talking a lot. She always was. "I'm fine, Mom. Don't worry."

"How did things go at the airport?" Rachel asked.

"They went fine," Emma said. "He didn't break up with me. That's something."

"Of course it is," Rachel said. "You two will be fine."

"Can I just call you once I get to campus?" Emma asked.

"Yes," Rachel said. "I love you, Emma."

"I love you too," Emma said. She took the train to the University of Chicago campus and went to her room. Her roommate wasn't there yet (she was coming from all the way out in Washington State), so she could set up her side of the room quietly. When she put a photo of her, Ryan, Sarah and Jack on the shelf, she felt a sense of sadness. She felt more sadness when putting up a photo of her, Ava, Lizzie, Lexie, Laura, Izzy and Meg at Nationals, then one of her and Nick at prom. Then she heard her phone vibrate. She looked and it was the house phone. "Hey."

"Hi Emma," Finn said. "Are you on campus yet?"

"Yeah, I'm in my room," Emma said. "My roommate isn't here yet."

"How are you?" Finn asked.

"I miss him," Emma said. "I miss you guys too."

"I understand, I missed your mom," Finn said. "But we ended up going to college together, who knows what'll happen?"

"He said he'd text me when he gets there," Emma said.

"Of course he will," Finn said. "You should give Ryan and Ava a call too, they called to ask about you."

"I will," Emma said. "I miss them."

"I'm sure you do," Finn said. "With both you and Ryan gone, the house feels really empty already."

Emma heard the door open. "That must be my roommate, I should go." She took a deep breath and went to go greet her roommate, not sure if she was ready for this.