At the beginning of Forever …, the protagonist, Katherine, and her best friend Erica, (both seniors in high school) attend a New Year's Eve party. The party is given by Erica's cousin Sybil, who is described as having a poor self-image because she is overweight and tends to be sexually promiscuous in order to feel loved. At the party, Katherine meets Michael, a friend of Sybil. The next day, Michael asks Katherine to go for a drive with him. Afterward, he kisses Katherine before saying good-bye and tells Katherine that she is delicious.
Katherine is at home, telling her mother that she has met a nice boy and that she has a date with him that weekend. Katherine describes her mother, whose name is Diana and who works in the children's room at the local library, as thin and tall and not necessarily athletic. Jamie, Katherine's younger sister, is also introduced. Jamie is in the seventh grade and is artistic, unlike Katherine. Jamie and Katherine, despite their age difference, appear to be friends. They respect one another's talents and are supportive of one another. Jamie volunteers, for example, to embroider a design on Katherine's jeans to wear on her first official date with Michael.
Katherine then talks about Tommy Aronson, the boy whom she dated before she met Michael. Her relationship with Tommy was not good. Tommy dated Katherine, she finally discovered, only to have sex with her. When Katherine made it clear that she did not want to have sex with him, Tommy dropped her for another girl, presumably one who would. Unlike Tommy, Michael makes Katherine feel good about herself. He is attentive and caring.
Katherine invites Michael to come back to her house after their date. She takes him to a private room downstairs that has a lock on the door. They start to kiss, but Katherine stops Michael when he goes a little too fast for her. He asks if she is a virgin, to which Katherine answers yes.
Katherine introduces her father, who is a pharmacist. Later, Katherine invites Michael and Erica over to the house. Michael brings Artie with him. Erica and Artie play backgammon in the kitchen, while Michael and Katherine retreat to the downstairs room. They kiss, but Katherine stops Michael again because he is moving too fast for her. Michael and Artie leave, and Erica spends the night. Erica says that Artie seems shy because he did not even try to kiss her. Then Katherine and Erica discuss their feelings about sex. Erica says that girls do not have to be in love to have sex, but Katherine disagrees.
Jamie plans a big dinner with her grandmother, who has come to stay with the girls while their parents are away. Michael picks Katherine up one night at the hospital where she works as a candy striper. Michael invites Katherine to his school's play. Artie has the lead role, so Katherine then invites Erica to come along. When they get home, Katherine introduces Michael to her grandmother, who later warns Katherine to be careful about pregnancy and venereal diseases. Katherine is a little embarrassed and disturbed that her grandmother assumes that Katherine will have sex.
After Michael leaves, Jamie tells Katherine that she wishes Michael had a younger brother. When Jamie asks if Katherine and Michael are having sex, Katherine becomes upset. Jamie tells her that Katherine's generation is too hung up on sex.
By chapter six, Erica is frustrated in her relationship with Artie. He still has not kissed her, so she tells Katherine that she plans on doing something about it. The two girls then go to see Artie in the school play. Sybil and Elizabeth are also in it. When Katherine sees Elizabeth, her jealousy begins to swell. By the time the play is over and everyone has gone to Elizabeth's house for a party, Katherine has trouble controlling her emotions. Everyone congratulates Artie for his wonderful performance, but this is not a sufficient distraction for Katherine, who can barely talk because she is so emotional.
Michael and Katherine leave the party early and end up at Katherine's house. They make out for awhile, but once again Katherine stops Michael when she thinks he is going too far. She tells him that she might be physically ready to have sex, but she also wants to be mentally ready, too. Later, when she is alone, she realizes that the thought of sex frightens her.
In the next chapter, Michael invites Katherine to go skiing with him and his sister and her husband in Vermont. Katherine would be away from home for three nights, so her parents want to think it over before giving Katherine an answer. As Katherine waits for her parents' answer, she talks to Erica about the tension she is feeling. Erica informs Katherine that Artie has told her that he might be gay. He is in the process of trying to find out what his sexual feelings are. Erica has told Artie that she will help him find out. Later, Katherine finds out that her parents have agreed to let her go.
The next two chapters are set in Vermont. Katherine and Michael have adjoining bedrooms and before Katherine falls asleep, Michael comes in and asks if he can be with her. Katherine tells him not to get too physically aroused because she does not want to have sex. That is when Michael tells Katherine that he loves her. Katherine is not ready to say this back to Michael, although she feels she loves him. They fall asleep in one another's arms.
Before they go skiing the next day, Sharon and Katherine have a talk. Sharon tells Katherine that Michael is a good boy and is also very vulnerable; and she does not want to see Michael get hurt. This comment concerns Katherine, who wonders if Sharon thinks that Katherine is just using Michael.
Michael teaches Katherine to ski. They are on the slopes all day. At night, they return to the apartment to find Ike and Sharon smoking marijuana. Both Katherine and Michael have tried it before, but they pass on the invitation to join the other two. Instead, they go to bed. Michael climbs into bed with Katherine, and they make out. This time, they both reach climaxes without having full intercourse. Before going to sleep, Katherine tells Michael that she loves him.
When Katherine returns from Vermont, her father confesses that he is concerned that Katherine is getting too involved with Michael. He does not want to see her tied down to one boy, he tells her. The next morning, Katherine's mother explains that Katherine's father just wants to see her spending time with more people. On the way to school, Katherine asks if her mom was a virgin when she married Katherine's father. Her mother says she was until they were engaged. Katherine's father was not a virgin, however. But Katherine's mother explains that there were different standards for girls and boys back then. It was all right for boys to have sex. But girls were supposed to be virgins when they got married. Katherine's mom then warns Katherine that having sex with someone can make her more vulnerable. She also tells Katherine that she is not going to tell Katherine what to do. It is up to her, but Katherine should make sure that she is ready for it.
Later, Erica says she cannot believe that Katherine is still a virgin, although Katherine has not admitted whether she is. Erica says that she can tell, however, that Katherine has not yet had sex. Katherine then...
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