note: I'm sorry if you thought I updated, I was fixing up a couple of mistakes and fiction press hates me and won't let me export so I had to delete and re-upload.

thanks so much for your support, and waiting for the last chapter, and for all the reviews I got that made me feel awesome-cool! this one, if I'm not mistaken is the last chapter. well, the last chapter before the epilogue. hope you guys like it!

and mia, if you're reading this? you rock

clash

chapter 12 dedicated to kamikaze mission for being awesome-cool. or just because.

somewhere only we know

The day after everything, I phone Cate and make plans to meet up with her.

She wasn't particularly happy about being woken, even if it was at ten, due to the fact that "she hadn't done much sleeping last night".

I didn't need to know that, but I ignore it.

"Meet me at DeRange?" I ask her.

"Fine. Half an hour." She finally mumbles and hangs up.

I smile, crawl out of bed and get dressed.

"Mom, can you watch Abbey for a couple o'hours?" I ask her when I get downstairs.

"Sure darling," She says, lost in reading bills or whatever. "Where are you going?"

"Just to meet Cate," I say cheerfully. "She's engaged!"

Mom looks up. "That's great. Pass on my congratulations, won't you?"

I nod, drink some water and grab my keys. "See you!"

I walk to DeRange which isn't all that far from my house.

"Hey Stella, it's been a while," says Mike, the owner.

"Hey Mike, yeah sorry." I tell him and order a mocha. And an apple muffin.

"Sure thing." He says and it arrives minutes later, at the same time that Cate does.

"Stella," She greets me and I greet her with an amused smile; her hair is completely trashed, clothes unwrinkled and her walk is slow.

"Have a good night?" I ask her innocently and she ignores me, choosing to order a strong black coffee.

"Show me the ring," I suddenly exclaim, this minor (or major, depending on the size of the rock) having slipped my mind.

Cate holds out her left hand, and true to form, there is a pretty-damn-big diamond, nestled on a band of gold.

"Shit. That's pretty damn gorgeous." I comment and she laughs.

"I know, I couldn't stop looking at it," She says with a bit of a giggle.

"It's so.. wow."

"I know!"

"You're getting married." I tell her. She nods excitedly, her eyes sparkling.

My best friend Cate, is getting married. The Cate that I've known since primary school.

"You're gonna be my bridesmaid." She tells me.

"Are you kidding?" I ask her, shocked.

"Who else would I get?" She asks me.

"Wow. Thanks. I'll try not to look too good," I say teasingly.

"And we have to go shopping!" She continues. "In fact, you have to help me arrange the entire thing!"

I nod, stunned. Wow.

"In fact, let's go shopping!" She proclaims.

I laugh. "Now?"

"Yes! You're not busy now, are you?" She asks, worried.

"No, but don't you have to work later today?"

"Nah, I rang in sick."

I laugh again. "Ok then, let's go shopping."

She claps her hands, gleefully, and calls for the bill. I pull out my purse.

"It's on me, Cate." I insist, and force my money onto the waiter who arrives.

She rolls her eyes. "Fine."

I collect some of the change and Cate drags me to her car, her step a bit quicker now, more excited.

"Let's go!" She says, hurrying me up.

I slide into the passenger seat and Cate drives us to one of the bigger shopping centers.

"Ok, where do you want to start?" I ask her, when she has successfully parked (her driving skills aren't her best trait).

"Uh. Oh, wedding dresses!" She exclaims.

"Lead on," I say.

There's only one wedding boutique in the entire store but it's pretty big.

"Hey Cate, Stella! What brings you gals out here?"

I turn around to see Ryan. "Hey Ryan, what are you doing here?"

"I asked first," He says.

"I'm engaged," Cate all but shrieks at him.

"Congrats, Cate." He says, hugging her.

"Now what are you doing here?" I ask him.

He shrugs boredly. "My girlfriend is gonna be a bridesmaid for her sister and they're trying on dressesā€¦ I'm bored."

"You could hang with us but we're gonna do the same thing," Cate says cheekily.

"I'll pass," He says. "See you later."

He heads back to his girlfriend, who is waving at him to come over.

"I haven't seen him in a while," I comment to Cate.

"Yeah, me too."

"Oh, I know! We can throw a celebration dinner and invite everyone!"

"And what are we celebrating?" Cate asks obliviously.

I stare at her. "Your engagement?"

"That's not a bad idea, actually." She says thoughtfully, although her mind is elsewhere.

"Cool. I'll plan it." I say. "Want to try one of these on?"

Cate nods, holding out a gorgeous, pink dress. "Isn't is beautiful?"

She tries it on, proclaims that it makes her look fat, and returns it.

"It didn't make you look fat," I try to convince her but she ignores this and continues browsing.

The next couple of dresses yield the same result.

"I'm not gonna find one that I'll fit into." She tells me passionately. I roll my eyes. All of the dresses looked absolutely stunning on her.

"That was depressing," She tells me when we leave.

"Cate, ALL of those dresses looked great on you," I tell her.

"Don't lie." She tells me, looking rather down.

"Hey," I say, searching for something that will cheer her up. "Why don't we have that celebration dinner tonight?"

She brightens. "Yeah, that'd be fun! Me and Trent and you and Matt?"

"Yeah. And how about asking Ryan and his girlfriend? Then we could all catch up."

She nods eagerly. "You're on."

"Great," I smile at her and she hugs me.

"You are the best friend in the world."

"Yeah, yeah." I wave off her compliment. "Let's see if we can find Ryan again."

We find him in the same store, with the same look of boredom on his face.

"Hey Ryan."

He looks up. "Save me."

"Can do. What are you doing tonight?"

"Something, hopefully. I can't stand any more shopping."

"Want to come to dinner with us? We're gonna celebrate Cate's engagement." I tell him.

"Yeah sure, sounds good."

"And bring a date." Cate adds.

"Ok then, I'm sure Nikola's up for it." He says firmly. "Now, where and what time?"

Cate and I exchange glances. "Uh, I'll make a booking at that uh, restaurant near the beach for about six?"

Cate nods her approval. "Cool. See you there then."

I wave Ryan goodbye for the second time, and we leave the shop, again.

"Now where?" Cate asks me.

"I've got to get back. I told Mom I'd only be gone a few hours."

"I'll drop you back then." Cate says.

In the car, I send a message to Matt.

Hey Matt, dinner with me, Cate, etc tonight. You up for it?

I also phone the restaurant, and make the booking for that night.

Beep beep.

Matt's just messaged me back.

Sure, I'll come over about six-ish?

"What'd he say?" Cate asks, eyes fixed on the road.

"He's coming." I tell her and she smiles excitedly.

Great, see you then xx

Cate drops me off, declining my offer to come in. She wants to go home and find something cool to wear. I stifle a laugh.

I go inside the house. Madison is sitting at the table, reading something.

"More bills?" I ask her, amused. She smiles vaguely at me.

I go upstairs where Abbey is with Mom.

"Hey Mom, I'm going to a dinner tonight. Are you ok to watch Abbey then too?"

"Oh, sure sweetheart." She says.

"Great. I'll take her now, then."

Mom nods and I pick Abbey up, and take her back to my room.

"Heya Abs." I sit her on the bed, watching her. I think she's going to start crawling soon.

Sure enough, she pulls herself to her knees but can't seem to go further and lands face first on the bed.

I prop her up again.

"You're gonna stay with grand-mommy tonight ok?" I tell her. She ignores me, and tries to pull herself up again.

"Be a good girl, yeah?" She grabs my finger and squeezes.

I play with her for a while, and put her down for a nap.

She wakes up just after I've had my shower, so I feed her a jar of baby food and out her in her playpen where she can digest.

From there, I change into something slightly more formal, my red dress over my black pants and put my hair up.

"Where are you going?" Madison asks me quietly, watching my pin my hair up.

"Dinner. Cate. Trent. Matt. Ryan. Ryan's girlfriend." I tell her.

She nods vacantly.

"Are you ok?" I ask, slightly concerned. She's being rather quiet.

"I'm great," She says, with a bit more spark. "Have a good time."

"I will, thanks."

She leaves me to do my thing, although I'm thinking that she's acting kind of.. odd?

I ignore it though, for the doorbell rings.

"I'll get it," Madison says. "Oh, hey Matt."

"Hey Madison."

"Come on in, she's just finishing up." Madison says cheerfully. "Can I get you a drink?"

"Nah, I'm good." He says. "How's school been?"

"Not bad." She says. "How've you been?"

"Pretty good, actually."

"Hey, thanks Madison." I say, sliding my earrings in.

"You look fantastic." Matt tells me, and kisses my cheek.

"I'm off then, ok?" I tell Madison. "Abbey is with Mom, tell her to feed her at about seven."

Madison nods, and closes the door behind me.

"So, where we going?" Matt asks.

"Uh, that restaurant near the beach. Shell Harbor, or something like that."

"Yeah, one of my friend's parents owns that. With who? Cate?"

"Yeah, Cate, Trent, Ryan and his girlfriend. Did you know Cate's engaged?"

"To Trent?" Matt asks, surprised.

"Yeah, who else?" I laugh.

"Wow, that's great. And that's the reason for the dinner right?"

"Yeah."

The drive is a reasonably short one, about ten minutes.

"I think we're early," Matt says as he parks, a smile on his face.

"Yeah," I say and lean in for the kiss.

Have I mentioned he's a great kisser? A shiver runs down my back and-

Knock, knock.

Someone raps on the car window, and I pull away, startled.

"There'll be time for that later," Cate says cheekily.

I glare at her, and she laughs. "Come on, let's go."

I get out of the car, smoothing down my dress. Matt hold out his arm, and I link mine through his and my other through Cate's.

"Is Ryan here yet?" I ask her.

"Right here," He says from behind me and I turn to look at him. His girlfriend stands casually beside him, smiling politely.

"Let's go then." Cate urges impatiently and I smile at her enthusiasm.

A doorman opens the door for us and the maitre'd ushers us inside. "Have you reserved a table, m'am?"

I nod. "It's under McAllister."

He nods. "Of course. Over here, if you will."

He leads us to a table near the middle, beautifully set.

Cate sits down, I sit next to her, Matt next to me, Ryan next to him, his date next to him, with Trent sitting between her and Cate.

"Guys, this is Nikola, by the way," Ryan introduces his girlfriend. She's pretty, with cropped red hair, and brown eyes.

"I'm Cate," Cate says.

"It's nice to meet you. Congratulations about your engagement, by the way," Nikola says nicely.

"Thanks!" Cate says enthusiastically, kissing Trent on the cheek firmly.

A waiter arrives and hands out menus, which we all browse for a minute.

"Steak, rare."

"Lasagna."

"Steak, medium-rare."

"Veal, and salad."

"Lamb, please."

"Vegetable loaf."

The waiter takes it all down, arranges for a bottle of champagne to be sent over and leaves us.

"So, have you set a date or anything?" Matt asks Cate and Trent.

"Not yet," Says Trent. "We're thinking sometime next year though.. Because we're so busy this year."

"But me and Stell went shopping today!" Cate interjects.

Matt laughs. "Did you find anything?"

Cate's face falls.

Oh, lord. I think to myself.

"They didn't make you look fat, Cate!" I say before she can even opensher mouth.

"Did so!" She exclaims. I note that Trent is trying not to laugh, as is Ryan.

"They didn't." I insist.

"I'm sure you looked sensational." Trent tells her and she brightens up again.

"Why is it that you won't listen to me when I tell you that?" I ask her.

"Cause you're not sleeping with her," Trent tells me, and laughs when Cate glares at him. I laugh too.

"That's not funny." Cate tells us sternly, but she dissolves into laughter too.

"Oh yeah, you guys up for being Best Men?" Trent suddenly asks.

"I'd be delighted," I say, mock seriously. When I realise I actually came off as serious, I tell them that I am actually going to be a bridesmaid.

Matt kiss me quickly.

"You almost had me there," He says, amused. "And Trent, I'd be honored."

Ryan nods too. "Congrats man, again."

"Yeah, thanks man."

The waiter arrives again, balancing a bottle of champagne with six glasses.

Ryan stands up, pops the cork and fills up everyone's glasses. "I'd like to propose a toast, to Cate and Trent-"

I smile.

"-to being friends, and to doing this more often."

The glasses are clinked together and everyone sips.

:: later ::

We end up staying pretty late, but just before closing, I get the bill, which I put on credit, even though I have the worst credit rating and wave everyone goodbye.

"That was fun," Matt says, as he drives me home.

"Yeah, it was."

"We should do it more often,"

"Well, there's a wedding coming up, so yeah." I say happily.

He walks me to the door. "Have a good night."

I wrap my arms around him and kiss him. One of his hands goes to my waist, the other to my face as he pulls me in tighter..

"Love you." He says quietly when we separate.

Heat rushes to my cheeks.

"Love you too," I say, so quietly that I don't know if hears me. He does.

"I'll see you soon," He says, and squeezes my hand.

He goes back to his car and I watch him drive away before letting myself into the house.

"Did you have a good night?" Mom asks me. She is watching TV, but she turns is off.

"Fantastic," I say with a smile. "Is Abbey asleep?"

"She went down a while ago. Stella, sit down. There's something that we need to talk about."

I look warily at Mom and sit down.

"Madison and I have been talking a lot," She says. "And we realise that we have been slightly unfair to you."

I nod, unsure of what to say.

"And you've been extremely fair to us with Abbey. But we can't ask you to look after her forever," She keeps talking.

"Right," I say, no idea where this is going.

"But we decided, that it's time to sort this out for once and for all."

Madison joins us. I suspect that she's been listening since I arrived home.

"Ok. So what?" I ask.

"I want you to adopt Abbey." Madison says. She catches my startled look.

"You love her, more than any of us. She belongs with you. You don't have to adopt her, I'd understand if you didn't. But I think you do." Madison continues, with rare insight into my mind.

"And you decided now was the best time to sort this out?" I ask skeptically, confused.

"We didn't want to leave it too long," Mom says and she indicates to Madison, who leaves the room and returns with a pen and a bunch of papers.

"You want me to decide this now?!" I ask.

They put the forms in front of me, all ready to be signed.

"If you want some time, you can have it. But Madison and I both agreed that time wouldn't change a thing. You know what you want to do." Mom says gently.

My heart beat pounds in my ears.

I love Abbey, no doubt about it. If I signed these papers, she'd become my daughter. Officially.

Adopting someone is a big deal, even if you have been pretending to be their mother. Not that I was pretending. In the end, I think Abbey was exactly what I needed. Because she needed me to be her mother when Madison couldn't.

Maybe that's where I finally went right. I didn't need adoption papers to prove I was Abbey's mother. I become one the day I was asked to.

And, now that I think about it, that was one of the easiest things to do.

the end, kind of.

author's note how awesome-cool was that?! I liked it, but blah. Just the epilogue to go and that won't take too long. Sorry this chapter took so long but I'm in the midst of exam week, and am slightly stressed. But don't worry, term ends this week so the epi will be up really quick, I hope!

Just a note, I'm going to write the epilogue as a fast-forward, about five years later from now. I thought that was the best way to conclude this.

::review responses::

guest thanks for reading and reviewing! I'm really glad you like it even though the situation is a bit weird.. anyhoo toodles!

funky peaches ha, that's ok, glad you liked it, since you are pretty damn awesome yourself XD see you!

Miss-India your reviews are always so short, I never know what to say apart from thank you for being awesome-cool! hope you like this chapter too!

Need 'n' Know wow thank you for ALL you reviews, they are awesome-cool and sensational and made me really happy! Glad you like the story, thanks SO mcuh again!

Rose he is pretty cool, eh? I quite like him although he is rather minor.

Irish Fairy I love SMFAHE too but I'm just so blocked on it.. actually, I think it's easier to write SMFAHE than Clash, bit I started Clash first and want to finish it first. Thanks for reviewing!

psychedelic mishap thank you thank you.. why do I thank you here when I could just TELL you thank you? blah, whatever.. Anyhoo, see you.

Lala thanks, they're kinda random, actually. They're supposed to tie in with the chapter's events but they don't really but whatever. Thanks for reviewing!

LilMisMusical thanks for the review, and yes I agree, the last chapter was a bit dead-ish but I think that's cause I killed myself trying to write it, I hate my computer. See ya XD

dyingofluv you want parents like his? how odd.. I'm not sure if I wrote them correctly, they're not supposd to come off as nice.. but they're not mean, just stiff. thanks for reviewing!

find-my-way thanks for reading, hope you still are! and thanks heaps for reviewing! toodles

Sun Dried Blanket aww addicted? wow, thanks for reviewing! hope you like this chapter!

False Advertisment Description is one of me weaknesses, I'm a dialogue writer/lover. I can't do description, it ends up all lame but will work on that and thanks heaps for reviewing!

Sugpup yeah, I love writing Cate in, she's so much more carefreeā€¦ glad you liked it! thanks for reviewing!

chinx they don't dislike her, but they don't like her, more like they're reserving judgement. they're just oldfashioned, that's all. thanks for reviewing!

kira thanks so much! wow, cute and awesome? nice, thanks for reviewing heaps!

kamikaze mission you are awesome-cool, you know that? you're the coolest reviewier in the world because and I've just checked this, you're read (I assume) everything I've ever written! and that is the reason that is chapter is dedicated to you, caus you're awesome-cool and you rock my socks and your reviews always make me smile!

kat6528 yes it is, if I drag it out more, it'll just end up being more horrible that it is.. thank for reviewing!

Allison Ashley yeah, go Cate, who I love to bits even if she is a slightly minor-ish character! thanks for reviewing!

if I've missed anyone, tell me please?