I Guess This Is My Happy Ending
We were clustered around the television as Colin Firth, in poor, broken Portuguese, confessed his love to his former Portuguese maid. Said maid's father and sister, as well as, basically, the entire town, stood behind him as he stumbled through his proposal for marriage. The entire restaurant was dead silent as he stopped speaking, waiting for her reply. When she accepted, the entire restaurant, as well as Leslie, Mary, Emily, and me, burst into cheers. We were short one; Kristen, a few weeks after school had started junior year, had abandoned us for a more popular groups of friends. Of course, it was inevitable. Kristen had always been the most social of the group.
And here we four were now, Sunday, the day before our first day of our senior year. Our last year in high school, at Crescent Hill. Our last year for memories, for remembering old ones and creating new ones. Our last year together, at the same school, in such close proximity. I just couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that high school was already almost over. It felt like just yesterday I was a scared, nervous little freshman without a single friend in the entire school.
A sharp poke brought me out of my musings.
"Anybody home?" Emily asked with her eyebrows raised in an amused manner.
"Of course not," Leslie answered for me. "She's daydreaming about Alex."
I turned slightly pink. "No, I'm—"
"How long have you guys been going out, again? Half a century?"
"A year and four months today. The 27th."
Mary and Emily smiled dreamily.
"You're so lucky," Mary sighed.
Leslie made a face. "It's so cute, it's sickening," she teased.
I threw a pillow at her head. She stuck out her tongue and threw one back. The next thing I knew, the four of us were all clutching pillows and wildly beating each other with them. About five minutes into the fight, my three friends decided to gang up on me, and all simultaneously chucked their pillows at me. Caught off balance, I toppled over and burst into laughter. The three exchanged high fives and collapsed onto the floor, also laughing. Once the laughter died down, we were plunged into silence, excepting the sounds coming from the TV.
"Shouldn't you guys be celebrating or something?" Emily asked after a few moments.
"Nah." I shrugged. "A year and four months isn't really a big deal like six months or a year." A smile tugged at my lips as I remembered how we'd spent our one-year anniversary. "Besides, I'll see him on Tuesday when he leaves for college."
"But we have school on Tueday," said Mary.
"I know, but my mom said I could miss school to see him off. I mean, it's only the second day of school. It's not like anything real important's gonna happen."
All three nodded. Once again, we lapsed into silence, until Emily quietly asked: "Are you gonna miss him?"
I nodded vigorously, a frown spreading onto my face. "Like hell."
"Are you worried about him cheating?" Mary inquired.
"I guess so, yeah," I replied, shrugging. My breath caught in my throat as I thought about the possibilities. "I mean, he'll be so far away. I can't really help wondering if he'll still care about me, y'know?" I looked down at the pillow on my lap and picked at the stitching.
"Come on, you guys. Could you pick a more depressing topic?" Leslie intervened. I smiled gratefully. If there was anyone who was so good at making me grin when I was upset, it was she. "Seriously. Our first day of school is tomorrow, and you're talking about Angie's boyfriend leaving. We might as well just sit here and discuss the fact that this is our last year together."
"Okay, okay," Mary surrendered, tossing her pillow at Leslie. "Let's talk about rainbows and sunshine and cute little puppies."
"Well now that we completely missed the end of the movie . . ." Emily commented, glancing at the television screen, where the credits were now rolling across.
"Let's go somewhere," Leslie urged, "instead of sitting around my house doing nothing."
"Yeah, let's go." I popped the movie, Love Actually, out of the DVD player, put it in its case, and stood up. "C'mon, lazy bums."
"Go where?" queried Emily as I hauled her to her feet.
"Somewhere," responded Leslie. "I dunno. The mall. The pool. The used car lot—just anywhere but here."
"My personal vote is for the used car lot," I joked as we four made our way up the stairs.
"Like you need a used car when you have your nice BMW," Mary remarked, not without bitterness.
"I didn't ask for it, you know," I reminded her.
"I know," she sighed. "But I still wish my parent's had gotten me a BMW when I got my license."
We piled out of the door to Leslie's house, deciding to take the car nearest to the driveway, which happened to be mine.
"Guess this means I'm driving, huh." I pulled out my keys and unlocked the doors.
"Guess so," Leslie said with an impish smile. "Shotgun!" she called, opening the passenger's side door and hopping in. Groaning in disappointment, Mary and Emily climbed into the back. I sat in the driver's seat and turned on the car.
"Where to?" I questioned, placing my hand on the gearshift console.
"Let's go pick up guys," Leslie suggested lightheartedly, shooting me a sly grin.
"Oh yes, let's," I said in a dry, sarcastic monotone.
"Oh, c'mon, grumpy. It's been a year and four months; it's time you broadened your horizons."
I just rolled my eyes. "Of course." My voice was still bland and sardonic. "Because don't you know? I love cheating on my boyfriend."
"You know I'm totally kidding, right?"
I flashed her a look. "Of course I know that, you moron. What I don't know is what we're going to do. I'm wasting gas here." I glanced down at the gas gauge, noticing that the needle was nearing empty. "Speaking of gas, I've gotta go get some." While the rest of them brainstormed, I backed out of Leslie's driveway and headed towards the gas station.
I'd just finished at the gas pump and had climbed into the car when Emily unexpectedly shouted, "I know what we can do!"
So we went and did it.
"First place . . . Hear Me Roar!"
I grinned and walked up to the laser tag employee to receive my scorecard. Various people sniggered behind their hands, probably at my alias, and some of the males shot me angry, jealous looks. I went up, accepted my scorecard from the employee, who had one eyebrow raised in an amused manner, and made my way back to my friends.
"Well, aren't you on a role!" Leslie cried as we shared a high five. "Second time in a row, you little winner. What's your secret? Cheating?"
I tried to look mysterious. "If I told you then I'd have to kill you."
"That means she cheats," Leslie pretended to confide to Emily and Mary, though she knew I could hear her perfectly well.
"Liar," I laughed and hit her with my purse. "I won fair and square."
"Seriously, though," said Mary. "When did you get so good? I remember one time, summer before sophomore year, we went laser tagging and, well, you sucked."
"Ah, but that was before Alex taught me the art of aiming a gun and sneaking in shadows."
All three of them rolled their eyes almost simultaneously. Actually, it was kind of creepy. The laser tag employee called out Leslie's alias, and she ambled up to receive her scorecard.
"I actually remember that date," Emily mused, a faraway look in her eyes as she recalled the past. Her eyes sliced at me as a smile graced her lips. "You were so stressed out 'cause you went to that cheap haircut place and got the crappiest haircut."
I grimaced and fingered my wavy hair, which just barely skimmed my shoulders. "Ugh, that haircut was awful. My head looked lopsided."
"You mean it doesn't normally look like that?" Leslie popped into our conversation, waving her scorecard around like she was a maniac.
"Shut up," I snapped good-naturedly, snatching her scorecard out of her hand and checking her statistics.
Emily's alias was called out right then, immediately followed by Mary's. Once we'd all teased each other sufficiently about each other's stats, we—we meaning I—drove over to the mall. However, we never really shopped. We just sat a table at a Starbucks kiosk and chitchatted about whatever. As we were sitting there, gossiping, a strong feeling came over me. I looked around at my friends: at Mary sipping delicately from her hot chocolate even though it was eighty degrees out; at Emily greedily slurping up her caramel frappuccino, and at Leslie opening the lid to her coffee to check out much she had left. Maybe it wasn't our last summer together, but it was our last day before our senior year of high school. It was the last time we'd ever celebrate our last day of freedom together, as a whole.
I took a sip out of my own drink and smiled.
"I'm just so stressed, Alex."
I was sitting at my desk trying to finish my math homework while talking with Alex on the phone. We'd somehow made it though his first semester of college without anything huge. Sure, we'd bickered—that was expected—but nothing was blown out of proportion, and, even though we were so far away, we were still together.
"I mean . . . I just . . ." I slammed my pencil on my desk, cursing my Precalculus homework into oblivion, and rested my head in my hand. "They're making such a big deal out of me, and it's not like it even matters. I'll be eighteen in three months!"
Almost twenty years too late, my parents had decided that they didn't love each other enough to stay married to one another. The divorce case was huge, involving so much money and other . . . crap that just made my head spin. And there was me. Everyone was making such a huge issue of whether I'd live with my mother or father when, in three months, I'd be able to buy my own living quarters and live on my own anyway. Not that I would, but it was the fact that I could that was bothering me. I'd be with whichever parent for that amount of time before I could go basically wherever I wanted.
"I wish I could be there, Angie," Alex said with sympathy in his voice.
"I know." I leaned back in my chair, balancing on the two back legs. "I wish you could, too."
"But you know, three months isn't that long in the long run."
"I know, but still. Even my parents' lawyers are telling them to cool it, but they won't listen. My mom thinks I'll grow up to be a delinquent if I go with my father, and he thinks I'll grow up to be an airhead if I go with my mom. I'm almost fucking eighteen. Whoever I live with isn't going to make that big a difference." I allowed my chair to drop back onto all four legs.
"Have you told them that?"
"Yeah, I've tried. Their lawyers have tried too. But they don't care. I mean, it's not about me anyway. It's just them wanting to fight with each other." I picked up my pencil and, pressing down extremely hard out of bitterness, started to doodle on an unused sheet of notebook paper.
"Try to think of it this way: once it's over, it's over. You'll never have to deal with it again."
I sighed and flopped onto my bed, staring intently at the ceiling. "That's true. But everything's still just—I mean, what about college? What if I don't get in anywhere?"
"Trust me, Angie, you'll get—shit, man! What the hell?"
"Hang on a sec."
Away from the phone, I could hear Alex stringing out curse words at his roommate. I could only make out some words every here and there, but from what I gathered, Alex was sick of his roommate bringing in random girls all the time at completely random hours. Otherwise, though, I'm pretty sure they usually got along.
"Hey, Angie?" Alex said back into the phone.
"I have to go. But I'll call you later, okay?"
I rolled onto my stomach and looked at the clock. "Okay, I think my mom wants me anyway. But it's late and I've got a ton of homework, so just call tomorrow, okay?"
"Alright. Sorry I have to cut this short."
"Whatever, it's no problem. I'll talk to you later."
"Love you, bye."
I hung up the phone and left it sitting on the pillow. Even if our conversation had been cut short, I felt relieved that I'd gotten all of that off my chest.
"Angela?" my mother called again. Heaving a sigh, I hopped off of the bed and slowly made my way downstairs. My mother was sitting at the kitchen table with a handful of papers spread out in front of her. She was staring at them with a puzzled expression, shifting them around every now and then as if that would help her understand them. A lot of makeup covered her face, but it didn't get rid of the bags under her eyes. Ever since the divorce process had begun, my mother had been sleeping less and less. Anyone could tell that it was taking a toll on her.
"You wanted me, Mom?" I asked, announcing my presence.
She looked up at me from all the papers. "Tell me honestly, honey: would rather me or your father have custody over you?"
I rolled my eyes. "Mom, how many times do I have to tell you this? It doesn't matter. In three months I'll be able to live with whoever I want, anyway!"
"I know, sweetie." She sounded exasperated. "But these are the last three months that you'll ever be in high school! They're important; you need to spend them with the right home life."
"It's not like you're home much more often than Dad is," I told her resentfully.
She frowned. "That's not fair. I'm at home a lot more than your father is. At least I come home at night, and I'm home every weekend."
"I still hardly ever see you."
"I've got a lot of homework, okay, Mom? I don't need this right now," I spat. She sighed wearily, and, before she could say anymore, I returned to my room. Maybe I was being unfair, but anyone else would be too in my situation. They were just placing unnecessary stresses on me. With all the deal about colleges and schoolwork, the last thing I needed was to have my mother and my father asking me every second of the day whom I'd rather live with. And right now, I just didn't care.
I knew there was a reason I didn't want to be home this weekend. I just knew it. I'd tried calling everyone I knew in an attempt to get out of my house—even Kyle, whom I'd weakly rebuilt my friendship with sometime in our junior year—but everyone was doing something. And as a result of that, I was sitting here, eating dinner with both of my parents, caught in the middle of a storm. A figurative storm, not a literal one. It was the weekend, and therefore, even Rosa wasn't here to make me feel better. It was just my mother, my father, and myself.
"So, Angela," my father said in the midst of an awkward silence, trying but failing to break it, "how's school going?"
"Fine," I replied curtly, shoving a forkful of mashed potatoes into my mouth.
"Do you know which college you want to go to yet?"
"Oh, well where have you applied? Maybe I can help."
"I don't want your help." I shot him a death glare, fully not appreciating his feeble attempts at winning me over. Ever since I'd found out about the divorce, he'd been trying to get on my good side so I'd go and live with him. Not that my mother hadn't been doing that either, only she wasn't so subtle. I almost respected my mother's attempts more since she at least admitted to what she was doing, whereas my father seemed to think that I had no clue that he was only putting on an act.
"Are you sure?" he persisted, either oblivious to or completely ignoring my hostile tone of voice.
"Dad, you went to Princeton. I doubt you'd know anything about any lesser school."
He frowned. "Angela, I only want to help."
"I already told you I don't want your help!"
With my father's loud sigh, the room plunged back into silence. I looked over at my mother who, even though she was always trying to keep her emotions hidden, had a victorious smile on her face. She treasured the moments that I argued with my father because they only alienated me further from him. Little did she know that she was alienating me too. Sometimes I seriously considered asking Leslie's parents if they'd adopt me for the next three months. They already treated me like one of their own anyway.
"Please, Melissa, wipe the smirk off your face," my father said very politely. "Angela doesn't seem to like you any more."
Ah, fuck. He did not just do that. Not right in front of me. Did they think I was an animal? That I didn't have feelings? That it didn't bother me when they picked fights right in my face?
My mother scowled before wiping all emotions off her face. "I beg your pardon, Richard, but I am not smirking," she replied in an equally civil, yet extremely sarcastic, voice.
"Don't pretend, Melissa. I don't appreciate it when people lie to me."
I swear they were like petulant children—with refined speaking, that is. And I didn't appreciate being referred to as though I couldn't hear what they were saying.
"Oh really, Richard? Isn't that a bit hypocritical?" My mother's temper was rising.
My father's face darkened. "I am not a liar."
"Is that so? What about all those weeks? 'Oh, I'll be home tomorrow!' 'Don't worry about that, sweetheart. I'll take care of it!'" She paused, and then dropped a bomb: "'Oh, honey, of course I want to keep the baby!'"
The world froze at that moment—at least, it did for me. I stopped breathing, staring bug-eyed at my mother. My father adopted a face so ferocious that it gave new meaning to the word "enraged." Was I an accident? A "broken condom" baby? Had my parents even wanted me?
"I did want to keep the baby!" he roared.
"Then how come you're never home?" she yelled back in an equally irate voice.
I couldn't listen to this anymore. I just couldn't.
I pushed my chair back from the table, the legs loudly scraping against the wood floor. When both of my parents turned to look at me, horrified expression on their faces as they realized what they'd said, a sadistic pleasure flared up inside of me.
"I'm full," I announced before dramatically stomping up to my room. As soon as I shut the door behind me, though, I burst into tears. I flung myself on my bed and grabbed my cell phone.
"Leslie," I wailed into the phone when I heard the voice of my best friend. She, even upon hearing those two small syllables, immediately knew something was wrong. She promised that she would drop whatever she was doing ("It's not important," she told me) and come pick me up.
We hadn't even backed out of my driveway before I was telling her my story.
The story? My parents had decided not to have a baby, but of course, inconvenience that I was, I appeared in my mother's stomach anyway. So they decided that they'd have a kid after all.
And, in case you were wondering, after that conversation, my parents stopped caring about whom I would live with, and I decided to just stay with my mother.
I finally realized it—figured out the truth—one lazy summer afternoon, a week after my senior year of high schoolhad ended (Alex's freshman year of college had ended about half a month ago), when Alex and I went mini-golfing. Somehow we'd made it through his first of year of college together. Yes, there had been fights. Once, I'd refused to speak to him for a week. But we'd gotten past it. We'd worked through all our problems, and here we were, still together. Next year, my first year of college, it would hopefully be easier for us, because I was going to a college that was only two hours from his school. (No, I didn't plan it that way. Things just turned out with our colleges somewhat close.)
Now I had never been particularly good at mini-golf. In fact, I was rotten. One time in eighth grade I accidentally hit the ball so hard that it flew off the ground and hit some guy in his strategic area.
We were merely at the second hole, and I already had a score of eighteen. Not that anyone was counting. Alex had just thought it would be funny to inform me that, on the simplest hole in the entire course, I'd taken eighteen hits to get the ball into the hole. So on the second one, after he got his ball in with three simple strokes, he stood behind me, trying to teach me how to hold the club properly. His stomach was pressed right up against my back, and his hands covered mine as he showed me what to do.
"Okay, move this hand up," he said, pulling my left hand higher up on the club. "And then you just—"
"Ew!" I shrieked when I felt something wet hit the back of my neck, since my head was bent down over the club. I spun out of his arms. "You just spit on me!"
He smirked. "Which shouldn't be that big of a deal since my spit has been inside your mouth. Frequently, I might add."
I blushed hotly. "Yeah, but it's still not pleasant to have your spit fly out of your mouth and—" I felt another drop of wetness, this time landing right on the tip of my nose.
"I think it's starting to rain, Angie," he told me, laughing as I wrinkled up my nose at the drop of water. "So that probably wasn't my spit. But if you really feel like my spit is that disgusting . . . maybe we should stop kissing. At least with our mouths open." He had his eyebrows raised mischievously.
"No," I said roughly, snatching the club from his hands and giving the ball a nice hard whack, "we shouldn't." The ball flew across the ground, bounced off the other end, and rolled all the way back to me. I sighed in frustration.
"Or maybe," Alex went on, ignoring me but laughing at my horrible attempt at putting, "we shouldn't kiss at all, even with our lips closed, because there's always a chance that something could get through."
I gave the ball another whack, this one unintentionally aimed to the side, so the ball slammed against one of the sides and zigzagged its way down to the hole.
"We should not stop kissing," I reiterated. I was about to walk down to my ball when Alex grabbed my arm and pulled me back in front of him. The raindrops started to come down more frequently.
"But if you're so grossed out by my spit . . ."
"I am not."
I turned away and charged down the mini-golf lawn thing to my ball. Alex followed me. I was about to hit my ball again, when he stepped in front of me, obstructing my view of anything behind him. The rain came down harder now. Some of the other people who were on the mini-golf course abandoned their game and rushed towards their cars. Alex and I were two of the few people who remained there.
"Alright then," he said smugly. "Prove it."
He was always doing this—finding some way to "make" me kiss him, usually by asking me to prove something. Sometimes I went along with it, and sometimes I didn't. Right now, though, I probably wasn't going to. It was always fun to tease him by not kissing him, and right now I was feeling kind of grouchy anyway since I was performing so poorly at this mini-golf game.
I held out my pointer finger in his face. "Lick it."
He shot me the most puzzled of looks. "What?"
"To prove that I'm not afraid of your spit, lick my finger. Would I let you if your spit completely grossed me out?"
He uneasily watched the finger I had dangling in front of his face before grabbing my hand and putting it on his hip.
"I am not going to lick your finger," he told me.
I took my hand off of his hip, put it on my club, stepped around his body, and took another hit at my ball. It missed the hole by about a fraction of an inch and ended up back on the other side of the course for this hole.
"Come on." Using his hand, Alex tilted my head up so it faced him. I looked into the emerald eyes that I'd grown to love so much. "Prove it."
With a resigned sigh, and yet, a smile (no one said I didn't like kissing him), I pulled his face down until his lips met mine. The ever-intensifying rain was drenching me, and I could feel the drops trickling down my face. As my fingers slid into his hair, his arms snaked around my waist and pulled me to him until our bodies were mashed up against one another. Then the weirdest feeling rushed through my body. It was the most inexplicable, overwhelming, and warm feeling that I'd ever felt.
And even after all these years of not knowing or understanding, all this time, I knew what it was. I couldn't believe that I hadn't recognized it before, that I hadn't realized that it was this force pulling us through his college year.
So I pulled my face away from Alex's and breathed those three treasured words: "I love you."
Startled, he backed up until I could see all of his face. "Say that again," he requested, his eyes probing into mine.
At first, I thought I might feel ashamed to say it again. But I wasn't. In fact, I wanted to. I was eager to. I wanted to shout it from rooftops, to call up everyone I knew and let them know that I was in love with Alex. I loved him.
"I love you, Alex."
He grinned a brilliant, beaming grin that slid slowly onto his face. "I love you, too."
We were in love.
And that was the truth.
. . . Thank God for that Fateful Friday.
((Gasp)) It's over! No more! ((bursts into tears))
I disclaim the movie Love Actually and Starbucks.
Prepare yourselves for a long A/N (which I advise you to read, even if it is long), but first, some poll questions:
1. What was your favorite scene? Favorite chapter?
2. What was your least favorite scene? Least favorite chapter?
3. What was the weakest aspect of this story?
4. What could I do to improve my writing?
5. Overall, how do you feel about the ending? (I realize that, to some people, this may be considered "too happy." Y'know, zooming off into the future and stuff. If you feel that way, then by all means, let me know!)
And please, be as brutally honest as possible in your answers. Some part of the story had to be your least favorite. And this is not a perfect story, nor am I a perfect writer. So please, even if your review is "Your story sucks because x, y, and z," I will not mind. Any opportunity I have to improve is appreciated.
Now moving on.
First of all, I am going to MISS this story! It's the longest story that I've ever written, and I feel both sad and elated as it's coming to a close. It's going to be hard for me to leave Alex and Angie. ((sniffle sniffle)) Lol, sorry, I guess I'm being rather melodramatically sentimental for fictional characters. But I've got some ideas in my head—some unwritten scenes between these two that may turn out as one-shots. Though I don't know, so check back here—here being my profile—periodically.
Second of all, a big thanks to SALLY CAN WAIT for being my 500th reviewer :). Now . . . it'd be amazing if I passed 600 reviews. I know it probably won't happen, but if it does, I'll faint with insane happiness. And I might just be inspired to post a new story a little quicker ;) (see below for more details). Oh yeah, and I plan to reply to each and every one of your reviews on this last chapter (meaning that if you're an anonymous review and you want a reply, leave your email). After all, it's the last one!
Third of all, I probably won't be starting a new story anytime soon, just because I don't want to keep you all waiting gazillions of years for me to update (since I know that I'll be updating slowly now. However, if I receive enough encouraging responses telling me that my readers don't care about the time gap between chapters, then I might post something within a few weeks). I will continue to write, though. I've got a billion ideas running through my head right now, though I've got two right now that I'm probably going to focus on. One is a romantic comedy: fluffy, (hopefully) humorous, and entertaining, of which I've already written three and a half chapters. The other is a more serious, dramatic romance that will actually get you to think, unlike most of the brainless things that I write.
Last of all, I've got a potential summary handy for that romantic comedy I was referring to above. If you're interested in seeing it, let me know, and I'll PM it over to you or something.
Punch Line to Last Update's Joke: "Revives dead 'hare.' Adds permanent wave."
Don't you just love puns :P
Random Fact: A toothbrush within six feet of a toilet can catch airborne bacteria.
Random Joke: Three guys live in an apartment together. One day, they, being the idiots that guys tend to be, decided to have a competition to see who could catch their watch after dropping it from the top of the apartment building. They climbed onto the roof of the building, and the first guy dropped his watch. He sped downstairs to get it, but he was too late, so the watch shattered on the ground. The second guy dropped his watch, but the same thing happened to his watch. Then the third guy dropped his. He took his time getting downstairs, went out for a sandwich, bought a present for his mom, then came back and caught his watch. "Wow! How did you do that?" the first two guys asked, utterly amazed. The third guy shrugged: "My watch is thirty minutes slow."
I know. A lame (and, once again, poorly told) joke, but it was the only one I could think of. Forgive me.
Hands out extra yummy chocolate bars to:
ELEgant-disasTER, R.P. Sawyer, cheimpo17, Alenor, sara, .baby, Kayli, Asianista Is A Fashionista, yonderwindow, bananasplit, Sally Can Wait, x3Mishna, loves-romance-2-much, CallMeCute, hislam08, thoughts-of-wisdom, HelloLonely, jammi, aBitterKiss., Tricksters Illusion, diamondewdrops, Lilybet Edyvean, sarahpor, woodstock1969, Twirl, meshyxmesh, swimchickslam, araihc12, miss-hyperactive, LethargicLove, cherrypiesizzle, jekodama, Megan-The-Writer, iwishillwilluponyou, city-gay7, Unique Child, White Rabbit Tale