Chapter 29 – My Happy Ending

I've learned that while some things won't ever change, other things will.

Like Brandon. And me, too.

It's only been a week since…well, you know. I don't really have a name for it. But I know you know what I mean. Or at least I hope you know what I mean.

I wasn't expecting Brandon and me to be all perfect and crazy in love right off the bat, the way some other people are after they get back together after a huge fight. It's just not realistic enough to fit with us. First off, Brandon and I hadn't been together in the first place. We were just getting over a long period of denying our feelings; things like this required baby steps. So now I'm really getting to know him, and he's getting to know me – the real me. Second, I knew that Brandon was sweet and romantic, but the line had to be drawn somewhere. Besides, we still had a few things to work out. No successful relationship ignores the problems. I wanted things between us to be solid. Brandon has questions he wants answers to, and so do I.

We're going to talk. Soon, I hope. Right now he's on vacation with his family, and I'm at home taking things easy. But when Brandon gets back, we're going to figure out where we stand.

Dr. Phil says that communication is the number one factor that keeps rocky relationships alive.

And hell, I guess the man is right.

And if you're wondering, Brandon and I still haven't had that 'true love's kiss' yet. I think he's saving it for Christmas.

Looks like I'm going to have a happy new year, after all.

It didn't help that he looked so cute. I mean, really really really cute. What was I supposed to do, just sit there?

Brandon had discarded his jacket and his crisp white shirt was untucked with the sleeves rolled up. So, so hot.

Like you have no idea.

I'm glad my parents are friends with his. I'm glad I get to spend Christmas with him. I'm just so happy for a lot of things.

Because when you've got that 'person' the world is definitely a better place.

As a thank you for inviting us over for Thanksgiving, my parents invited the Millers over for Christmas lunch. This time, Brandon had dressed up.

And this time…he was mine. All mine.

Sometime after lunch, Brandon and I went upstairs to my room. No, we didn't do anything dirty (although I'm sure you thought of that).

"You know, you didn't have to call off the blackmail," I told him as we lay back on my bed.

"And miss all of our drama? Never," he deadpanned.

"Be serious. I mean, you were supposed to make me fall in love with you and break my heart all before Christmas, right?" I asked.

"Don't remind me," he said grimly, "I feel so fucking shitty for doing that."

"Well you would have beat Chelsey," I said.

"But you're not in love with me," he pointed out. "Or are you?"

I sat up, propped on my elbows. "It's too soon to say. But…I think it'll happen eventually."

He gave me my present, which wasn't actually anything special, if you thought about it. Brandon told me how my mother had actually snatched the football pendant up when she saw it lying on the floor of my bedroom and given it to him. The clasp had broken, but he'd replaced it too. In addition, on the back where my name was engraved, he'd added above it Brandon with aplus sign so that now it read Brandon Shelley.

Pretty freaking sweet, right?

I couldn't help myself. I practically launched myself into his arms. Brandon hugged me tightly, signifying that somehow, everything would work out in the end. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but things would eventually be okay.

It wasn't even planned, but it felt like the right thing to do. He bent his head and my lips met his to form the sweetest, most powerful kiss either of us had ever experienced.

It was our first real kiss.

God, it felt so good, so worth the wait. As Brandon held me, we knew this was exactly where we wanted to be. We'd work things out later, but for now, this moment was perfect.

He pulled away, a slow, knowing smile forming on his lips. "Chill. It's just a necklace."

I only gave him a silly grin and leaned in again.

It was more than that, more than just a necklace, and we both knew it.


The rest of the year passed by in a blur. When we all went back to school after winter break ended, our classmates didn't seem too surprised to see us holding hands or even kissing. I'm not much of a PDA person, but you've got to admit, when you've got a boyfriend as irresistibly kissable as Brandon, it's kind of hard not to keep your hands off him. So I guess his cockiness isn't really cockiness-he just happens to know what girls think of him.

It seems like the end of an era-me and Brandon. Who would ever have imagined that we'd end up together?

Apparently, Team BS (as I later found out) and the rest of the world did.

But I for the sake of it, I will say it again. Who in their right mind would have imagined we'd end up a couple judging by that first day we had met at my first football practice? It didn't seem possible, but now that we know, it just feels right. Nothing is ever forced or rushed. It's simply as close to perfect as things can be, and things are going great.

And we both know that that's going to be enough.

Graduation came and went. We all cried, or at least the girls did. Most of the boys shuffled around, grunting "See you." I'll bet they had their own crying sessions in private.

The football team came together one last time just because. We said our final goodbyes, and I'm proud to say that a lot of them openly cried. It shows the distance we've come. We've all grown closer, although Brandon and Johnny still aren't exactly on friendly terms. But regardless of their stubbornness, I love those guys like they're my own family, and they pretty much are. We've had some rough times and definitely a lot of good times together. I will miss each and every single one of them. The bonus is that several of them will be on the East Coast with me. All I know is that I won't be forgetting any of the boys any time soon. I had a sinking feeling our little reunion was be the last time we'd all be together.

And you know what? I hear the song "Just the Girl" playing in the distance. Or maybe it's just my imagination playing tricks on me. Maybe I'll wake up and discover that none of this ever actually happened.

Ouch. I just pinched myself.

Nope, I'm definitely not dreaming.

It's real.

And while I don't love Brandon, I know there's always that possibility. We have the rest of our lives ahead of us.

If there's anything this year has taught me, it's that miracles happen; you just have to believe. As corny as that sounds, you've got to admit that it's true. Do you really need evidence? For one, the football team winning more than two games, making it into CIF, and actually winning. Hell, we were champions! And to make my year even sweeter, I got into New York University. Do you know how hard I busted my ass to get into that school?

And then, of course, there's me and Brandon.

We're going to be on opposite sides of the country. Brandon's staying in California, attending USC on a football scholarship, no less. I'm going to be all the way in New York. It sounds kind of scary to be so far from home, but the prospect of a new beginning is exciting enough to make my fears go away. And sure, it sucks that we'll be so far apart, but they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. And you know what? I miss him already. Besides, it's only for four years, and I'll be coming home for all the holidays. I'm can always watch all of Brandon's games on TV too, so it's not like I won't see him at all for long periods of time.

And you know what Brandon said to me before I got on this plane?

"We'll find a way," he promised.

And I know he's right.

We'd find a way to be together-or make one.

Because that's what love is all about. It's not worth anything unless you're willing to work and fight for it, give it a chance.

Wise words of Brandon Andrew Miller.

Hey, I guess I'm falling in love with him already.

Destiny (literally) once told us to let love run its course. And that's exactly what we intend to do.

So for now, I say goodbye to California and the life I'm leaving behind. It's the end, but it also feels like the beginning of something so much more.

A/N: I'm happy and sad to say that this is the END (finally!) of For the Love of the Game. Sorry it took so long to post this chapter. I think I put off writing it because I knew that once I finished this, it would be the end of the story! I really hoped you guys liked this chapter – did you think I needed to take some parts out, or maybe you thought it was too short? I'd like to know; maybe I can rewrite it.

And as happy as I am to have completed it, it kind of pains me to let this story go. But I'm off to write bigger and better stories (hopefully), and if I'm lucky you guys will stick with me!

I thought it was pretty straightforward, but if you're still seriously confused about last chapter, let me know and leave me your email address in a review and I PROMISE I will get back to any questions you might have.

A HUGE thank you to all of my reviewers, especially those who have been here since the very beginning. Personally I don't think this story was the greatest, and there were times I wanted to quit, but you guys kept me going! Thanks so much for all your support! This is such an accomplishment for me; I've never finished writing any of my stories. It's been a long and difficult journey, and I'm delighted that so many of you could share it with me.

Keep an eye out for the sequel, which should be up sometime soon, if I even decide to write it. I'm still debating. It will be titled Picture Perfect(Morgan's story). And if you missed the summary I posted a few chapters ago, here it is again:

They were opposites from the beginning. She's new to the 'real world' of gossip and fame, and he wants a break from it. She wants to stop being so serious, and he needs to start. The only thing they have in common is that what they're really looking for might just be each other.

If you haven't already read Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, please check it out! Its category is Romance/Drama, but it's really more a barrel of laughs (at least that's what I think). You won't be disappointed!

Tons of LOVE,

i found nemo