A/N: Triple update 10/5/13.
As I've mentioned before, I have finished this story so this is it. Here's the grand finale! Oh and if you got an update for another chapter, I accidentally uploaded the last two chapters twice so I had to delete it and then load the actual last chapter. Enjoy! Thanks for reading!
That night, after frantically scrolling through my emails and making sure that everything was ready for the benefit, I finally realized that I had done all that I could. I poured myself a glass of red wine and sat down in front of my television, ready to catch up on some trashy reality television and veg out.
But my mind kept wandering to Will… of course it did.
I remembered the first time we had touched when I had almost fallen into his lap because of the turbulence on the plane… the feeling of his big hand wrapped around my hip…
That scar on his face…
The feeling of his skin under my fingers, hot and damp from his post-practice or post-game shower…
The way he could make me laugh…
The way he had loved me so deeply… which reminded me of how I had treated him badly… of course he didn't want me around him.
I didn't realize I was crying until I tasted the salt from my tears on my lips.
I had screwed everything up. I deserved him not choosing me.
Maybe I should have chosen Jamie after all… at least he wanted me back. But then I was just choosing him because I was dulling the pain of Will not wanting to be with me. And I didn't want to be with someone just to be with someone.
Maybe I was just destined to be alone.
Luckily for my drama, I had so much to do that I hit the ground running the moment I woke up the next morning and had no room to think about anything more than whether or not the food was too salty. When I asked for Jordan's input about the food just before the event started, he shrugged and said, "Let's just serve them pizza and beer." Then he saw the murderous expression on my face and yelped, "I'm just kidding! Just kidding!" He slung his arm around my shoulders and said, "You're so tense. Everything looks great."
"But—" I began, my eyes darting over the linens, the band, and the food.
"Go get ready. You're fine." Jordan soothed, pushing me toward the staircase and upstairs, where my dress hung in my old room. "We'll be fine."
I checked my watch… I really did need to put my dress on or else I'd still be wearing old NYU sweats when the guests started arriving. "I'll be back."
"Okay." Jordan said as he pushed me toward the staircase. "I'll send up those make-up and hair people when they get here."
"Thanks." Then I rushed upstairs. My hair and make-up people had arrived by the time I was done with my quick shower so I ran through lists and emails as they brushed, sprayed, and pinned my hair up into a braided sleek bun. Everything seemed to be coming together nicely… but I still had an odd feeling of pessimism. Something didn't feel right.
"Hey!" Holly sang as she entered the room an hour later, just as the make-up artist was putting the final touches on my make-up. She had flown down just to support me and I was eternally grateful to her. I thanked the make-up artist, handing her the final check, and then Holly asked, "Need help putting on your dress?"
"Yes, that would be great." I sighed, relieved that I didn't have to wiggle into the dress and somehow zip it up by myself. She helped me slide the dress on and zipped me up as I did a final check in the mirror. "Thanks for coming, Holls."
"Wouldn't miss it." She squeezed my arm and then we headed downstairs.
Jordan's house was already quickly filling up. The jazz band was playing a jaunty tune while waiters wandered around the room with cocktails (Jordan was not allowed to have one) and appetizers. I stationed myself next to the door and started greeting guests as they arrived. The nice thing about standing next to the door was that I could make myself scarce when Will showed up… I wanted to avoid another awkward interaction with him. And I didn't have to wait long for him to arrive… he was, after all, co-hosting the event.
First his mother, who was dressed elegantly in a simple black dress, entered with his tuxedo-clad father, who looked even bigger than I had remembered. Then Miranda, who kept looking over her shoulder, presumably at Will. Then, instead of Will, Marissa and Brad entered… followed by Will, dressed in a perfectly tailored tuxedo and hobbling awkwardly on crutches. But Will didn't hold my attention for long.
Whitney, who was dressed in a bridal white gown and clinging to Will's arm, caught my eye.
What the hell was this?
Whitney's eyes quickly scanned the party and she found me almost immediately. She made eye contact and then smirked at me.
That bitch. What the hell was she doing with him?
I wanted to rip that smug smile off her face as soon as possible.
I think I actually let out a growl as I took a step forward, my teeth bared in an approximate smile, but Jordan caught my elbow. "Get out of here," he muttered, his eyes on Whitney and Will. Blood pounded in my head as I hesitated. But Jordan could see my intentions in my eyes and shook his head sharply. "I mean it, Liv. Go. Go check on something… the caterers, the band, the photographer… just go." I glanced at Will, who hadn't seen me yet, and then looked at Jordan but saw how adamant he was. So I obediently slipped away, fury coursing through my veins.
I'd never had such a jealous reaction before… especially to someone who didn't want to be with me. That reminder cooled my anger significantly… but I still headed into the kitchen and checked on the caterers, who assured me that everything was running smoothly.
I left the kitchen, intending on heading back to the front door and dodging Will, and ran right into…
I'll give you one guess.
"What the hell are you doing here?" I demanded of Jamie, not even bothering to say hello.
"I wanted to talk to you." Jamie answered evenly. He too was dressed in a nice suit and holding a glass of amber colored liquor… great, he had gone ahead and helped himself to the open bar even though he hadn't even been invited. What had he done? Paid off the security team at the gate?
"I'm busy." I shot back, taking a few steps back. "You shouldn't be here. This event is for people who are donating to the charity."
"Then I'll throw in some money." He rolled his eyes. Of course he said that… a few thousand dollars out of his trust fund would be no sweat off his back. He pressed his lips together and then asked, "When are you not going to be busy?"
"Tomorrow morning." I shot back. I looked closer at his eyes as they struggled to focus on me and then demanded, "Are you drunk?"
Jamie shook his head. "It has to be now."
"I'm in the middle of this!" I hissed, gesturing around the room at the guests, band, and caterers. "This is my job! I'll talk to you… later!" He said my name but I turned and walked away before I could strangle him. Of course he showed up… he thought he could walk in and out of my life when he felt like it. He had no consideration for my feelings or that I was in the middle of running this event. I decided to ignore Jamie and pushed aside my feelings, pasted on a smile, and began to work the room and check in on the guests.
Then Whitney found me.
She smiled falsely and simpered, "Olivia!" Her teeth were so white against her tanned face, red overly plumped lips, and white dress. I briefly remembered how horsey she used to look and struggled not to roll my eyes.
My blood started boiling again as I wondered what she would be like if I clawed her surgically plumped face for trying to steal my man. "Whitney." I managed to say evenly. "Thanks for coming. It's such a great cause, right?" My eyes moved past her, eager to talk to someone else, anyone else…
But she stepped in front of me. "Are you here with Jamie?" Did she want me to punch her in the face? Because that's what I was considering doing to her right now.
"No, Jamie and I are over. Really over." I snapped back, unable to remain civil any longer.
"Oh. Now I don't have to keep tabs on you." She trilled a phony laugh.
I almost missed that last sentence as I looked around for an escape route. Then I actually processed her words, frowned, and gave her my full attention for the first time. "What? Keep tabs on me?" Then I smiled dryly. "Are you stalking me these days, Whitney?"
"Not stalking." Whitney said quickly, shaking her head. "Jamie asked me to keep an eye on you while he was in New York."
"What?" I demanded, baffled. "Why the hell would he do that?"
"Because he didn't want Will to infringe on his territory." Whitney answered after taking a casual sip of champagne. "It was actually quite a lucrative job though… I sold some pictures of Will and you to some gossip websites."
I froze as I sucked in my breath after hearing this bizarre turn of events. What? She followed me? She took pictures of me? All at the request of… Jamie? "Why?" I finally asked faintly. "Why did you do that?"
She shifted her weight and then glared at me with such hatred that I took a step back. "Because you callously brushed me off during our freshman year of college." I winced, remembering how I hadn't been the nicest person when I had told her to leave me alone. But really? She'd been harboring a grudge for how many years now? Although that was awfully rich of me, considering my now eight years of being infatuated with Jamie. "And you tried to steal away my man!"
She was delusional! Two fries short of a Happy Meal, whatever you want to call it, she was crazy. "Your man?" I demanded incredulously and then shook my head. "I don't think Will was ever really yours, Whitney."
"Not Will," she clarified sharply. "Jamie."
"Jamie?" What the hell was she talking about now? She'd never had a thing for Jamie!
"Jamie and I hooked up for a while during freshman year." Whitney hissed back at me. "You know… back when he was sleeping with every girl that walked past him." What? Jamie had done that? Where was I during this part of Jamie's life? Whitney smiled cruelly. "Oh… so you don't know about that. Well, he did. He slept with me… and Brittany Price… and Rebecca Paulson… and Roshelle, of course. All at the same time. I think there were a few more girls too. But he stopped everything with me the minute you declared that I… what was it?" She pursed her overly full lips as she pretended to remember. "You accused me of stalking you. Correct me if I got it wrong."
I winced again as I relived a moment I wasn't proud of and then said lowly, "I was an idiot when I was eighteen. We all were."
"Yeah. And I guess I'm still an idiot because Jamie and I went back to hooking up again a year later." Whitney sighed.
The timing wasn't quite adding up. "But he was dating Roshelle." I said immediately. When she remained impassive and didn't correct me, I realized the truth. "Whitney—"
"Save it." Whitney said sharply. "After he proposed to Roshelle, I broke it off." Whitney had been Jamie's girl on the side for six years? He had been seeing Whitney too while he was proposing to Roshelle and telling me that he loved me? The façade of Jamie began to crumble before my eyes and I struggled to keep up with her story, which was so ridiculous that it must have been true. I mean, who makes lies like this up? "But he came crawling back after you left New York… and we hooked up when he came down here to see you too." My mouth dropped completely open, my jaw trying to touch the floor. It was one thing for him to screw around on Roshelle… he had done that with me and it was bad enough. But he had screwed around on me too?
Of course he had.
That's who he is.
For the first time in eight years, I saw Jamie for the man he truly was: a deceitful cheater who could never be trusted.
Meanwhile, Whitney smiled faintly and then chirped, "Now my conscience is clean! I'm off to find Will… he asked me to be his date tonight, you know?" She smiled that fake smile one more time and then disappeared into the crowd.
I was reeling… I wanted to hide and let everything settle for just a moment.
The walls were closing in around me and the crowd was making me claustrophobic.
But I was the party's main hostess and I had a job to do… so I pasted on another smile because I'm a professional and checked on the guests. Everyone told me what a beautiful party it was… and it was. I had worked really hard. I deserved to be told that I had done a nice job. But I barely heard them as my mind whirled.
After all these years… Jamie had been with Whitney?
He had screwed around on me?
Of course he had.
I wondered if this was how Roshelle had felt when she had found out about me screwing around with Jamie behind her back. No, probably not. She had probably felt much more furious and deeply hurt. I was just stunned and furious.
So much for me being the best person for Jamie.
So much for him telling me how much he loved me and wanted to be with me.
Was it the thrill of getting me, someone that seemed unattainable, that was so attractive to him? Maybe it was that he had never had a chance to get me into bed… like he had with so many other girls before me.
And, just as I was finishing processing all this information, Jamie reappeared. "I need to talk to you." His breath, hot and reeking of whiskey, washed over me.
"I don't want to talk to you." I hissed back. "I swear, Jamie, I'll—" But before I could even finish my sentence, he grabbed my hand and dragged me through the crowd. I tried to pull away but he had a tight grip on me. "You're hurting me." I complained as he dragged me into my brother's rarely used library. I glared at him venomously and hissed, "Jamie, don't even start with me."
Jamie closed the door behind us, took hold of me by my shoulders, and looked down at me. "I love you."
"Oh, you love me?" I batted his hands away from my shoulders and pushed him away from me. "Do you love me more than Whitney?" I demanded. Confusion appeared first on his face, followed quickly by… guilt. Even though I'd already known, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach all over again… I had believed her in the first place but to see him confirm it… wow. "You bastard." I whispered.
"She didn't mean anything to me," he finally said. "I was…"
"What?" I demanded, shaking with rage. "You were what? You were hooking up with her for the past six years? Because what we did was bad enough. But cheating on me and your fiancé…" I trailed off as I stared at him. "Oh, you bastard."
Jamie stared at me for a long moment, blinking rapidly, too drunk to process how quickly he was losing me. "Don't you love me?"
Oh, now he wanted to talk about whether or not I loved him? "I loved the idea of you, Jamie." I snapped back. "I loved the man I saw, the man I thought I knew, not the person you really are. Because you're just a scumbag who screws around on three different women at the same time."
Then he scraped at the bottom of the barrel: "This is because of Will, isn't it?"
That was what finally made me lose my temper. "No, it's not!" I shouted back at him. "Will never cheated on me! Will loved me! He loved me so much and I loved him too but I screwed it all up!" My voice caught on the lump that had formed in my throat but I swallowed quickly and filled myself with anger. "I threw it all away for you! And look where that's gotten me!" I shook my head and threw my hands in the air.
Then the library doors opened and Jordan appeared. "Liv?" He looked at me, looked at Jamie, and then his expression darkened. Then he asked ominously, "Everything okay?"
"Jamie cheated on me." I announced without prelude. "He was just leaving."
"So soon?" Jordan asked flatly although his expression was murderous. Jamie began to sputter but Jordan spoke over him: "Should I call security or will you be leaving by yourself?"
Jamie looked at me for one last moment and then walked out the door, his tail behind his legs like the dog that he was. And I was sure that I was never going to see him again.
"Good riddance." Jordan muttered as I let out a sharp breath. "He cheated on you?"
"With Whitney." I said faintly. "Well, he's been with Whitney since he started dating Roshelle six years ago."
"Wow." Jordan remarked, leaning against one of the marble pillars. The sounds of the charity ball, which I had worked so hard to plan, filtered in through the open door. "What about Will?"
"What about him?" I asked, broken down. "He doesn't want me. I screwed everything up when I went back to that… worm!" I shook my head, horrified by how stupid I'd been. "Jamie… he got me so good. I bought into his lies."
"Well it's better that you figure it out now instead of years from now when you catch him with Whitney or something." Jordan answered mildly. "You didn't really want him anyway, did you?"
"No." I whispered. "And now I've lost Will."
He glanced past me, and something may have flickered across his face, but it was gone in an instant. "But you still love Will," he pointed out in reply. "When are you going to tell him?"
"I can't." I sighed. "I screwed it all up. He's done with me."
"What if things change?" I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of Will's voice. I spun around and found Will in the library, struggling to climb out of a wingtip chair that had been facing away from the door. Instinctively, I rushed over and helped support him. He clung to my arm as he placed his crutches in his armpits and then leaned against them. "That was supposed to be a little more graceful than that." He smiled quickly and then it faded as he looked at me. Well at least he had smiled. I took a few steps back, suddenly shy and humiliated. I looked back toward the door and found Jordan slipping out, a small smile on his face as he closed the door behind him. Oh, he though that he was so clever… he had undoubtedly noticed Will sitting in the chair.
"Did you hear that whole conversation?" I finally asked, looking everywhere but at Will.
"Yeah." Will answered, his voice gruff. "I wasn't trying to eavesdrop… I wanted a few minutes to sit down. But then you two came storming in here and I couldn't escape without you both noticing." He looked over his shoulder at the door and remarked darkly, "That guy is a scumbag."
"Yeah, he is." I agreed. Finally I raised my eyes to meet his and found him staring down at me, his expression unreadable. "Will." I whispered after a long moment. "I screwed everything up."
He stared at me for a long moment and I was just about to kick myself for being so vulnerable when he said gravely, "I think I had a hand in screwing things up too. I should have drop kicked Eva back to New York the moment she showed up."
"I should have filed for a restraining order against Jamie." I said flatly, thinking of how many times Jamie had shown up uninvited to ruin everything.
He half smiled and the familiar sight of his lips quirking sent a rush of warmth through me. I missed him… I missed him so much. I smiled tentatively back at him, moving a little closer. "So… I heard how you feel." He quirked an eyebrow at me.
"I was going to tell you." I said, my voice dropping to a whisper. "But then you told me to go… so I did."
"I thought you were still with him." His voice was rough. I shook my head. When he spoke again, his voice was deeper. "Well… he left. And that's it, right?" I nodded vigorously. "That makes you single, right?"
"Yes." I nodded, feeling something bubbling up inside of me. Hope. But then I realized he hadn't exactly come here by himself so I asked, "What about your date?"
"She left early." Will shrugged. "Holly accidently bumped into her and spilled red wine on her dress." He raised an eyebrow at me when I covered my smile with my hand and then cleared my throat. "Convenient, huh?" He smirked at me and I tried to casually shrug, thanking the stars that Holly was my best friend. Not the most mature but, then again, neither was I. "Brad set me up with her… but she's not really my type. Especially since she's a unapologetic cheater." He finally smiled… his wonderful, warm, loving smile that I had fallen so in love with. Finally. Relief filled my body as I felt myself pulled toward him. "You're my type, baby." Then he grabbed me around the waist with his free hand and pulled me to him.
When our lips met, it felt like coming home… my fingers curled around the lapels of his tuxedo jacket as his hand slid up my back and into my hair. I could have kissed him all night… in fact, that was what I was planning on doing until I heard the door open and then someone loudly clearing their throat.
We broke apart and found Jordan standing in the doorway. "They need you out here, Liv." But he smiled faintly, appearing happy with the turn of events, which made me happy in return. "Fix your lipstick first though."
I touched my mouth, then checked Will's mouth, and laughed. "You're covered in lipstick." I said as I tried to wipe it away.
"I suppose so." He smiled as he wiped at his mouth and then wiped at mine. "You look beautiful."
"With lipstick all over my face?" I laughed.
"Even with lipstick all over your face." He gave me a squeeze.
"As adorable and vomit inducing as this is, they really need you now, Liv." Jordan broke in quickly.
"All right, all right. I'm coming." I said before I retouched my lipstick in a nearby mirror and then hurried past Jordan, who patted me on the back.
The band had stopped playing and the bandleader was speaking into the microphone as I walked back out to the party. "…Looking for her. Olivia Taylor?" Then he caught sight of me. "Ah! There she is! Ladies and gentlemen, Olivia Taylor!" Everyone applauded as I hurried to the microphone.
I thanked the band leader as I grabbed the microphone and then said slightly breathlessly, "Everyone, thank you so much for coming. On behalf of Jordan, Brad, Matt, Will, and Kevin, thank you so much for your generous donations." My eyes scanned the crowd until I found Will, who was smiling quietly back at me with his parents, who were looking curiously back and forth at Will and me.
Somehow, I knew we would make this work.
The charity ball was a huge success. I was exhausted and glad that it was over. I tried to stick around and help clean up but Jordan shooed me away.
But I wasn't too tired to drive to Will's apartment after everything was cleaned up and done.
He answered the door after I knocked and smiled widely at me. I smiled back, noticing the dimples in his cheeks. We had wasted so much time being apart… but now we could make up for it. He put his hand around my waist, brought me to him, and then gave me a delicious, toe-curling kiss. Then he pulled back, tucked my hand in the crook of his elbow, and said softly, "Come in." He crutched across the apartment and I patiently walked by his side as he headed for the balcony.
He took my hand and led me out onto the balcony. When we reached the railing, he took me in his arms and murmured, "I've missed you."
"This is what you really want?" I asked him instead. Call me psychotic but I just wanted to hear it finally come out of his mouth. "Is this it?"
He looked down at me, pain shadowing his face briefly. "Olivia…" He said it softly and laced it with pleading… meaning, "Olivia, please, we got here, so don't make this difficult."
I raised my eyebrow and said softly, "If this is what you want then you have to do it right."
He frowned, confused. "What do you mean?"
"You have to say it right." I said, my voice barely above a whisper. "If this is what you want then I want you to say it right."
He swallowed as he looked down at me. "Olivia," he said softly. "I…" He stopped and searched for the right words.
I held my breath and waited.
"I love you." Will said softly, cupping my face with his big hand. "You are a piece of me."
Beautiful. Simple… but beautiful. Simply beautiful.
"I love you too." I whispered with a wobbly smile. Then I got up on my tiptoes and kissed him, sealing it.
I stood in the dark, feeling a tiny bit uneasy. Will had said he would be right back… I had nothing to worry about but I had always been secretly uneasy when I was in the dark.
Then the lights came on… hundreds of white lights on the ten foot tall Christmas tree filled the room with a warm glow. I blinked in the bright light and then gasped at the beautiful sight. "Will! It looks amazing!"
"Thanks." Will said behind me with a smile. "It took forever to string those lights on that tree. I had to get some of the guys to help me." He slid his arms around me from behind and kissed my cheek. I happily smiled as I leaned back into him. After eight months, he still made me feel fuzzy around the edges and warm.
We had spent eight blissful months together. Will had moved into a house during the break between seasons (thankfully he had several movers to help since he had been on crutches). He didn't live that far from Jordan… he had seen his house up for sale when he had been on his way to a get together at Jordan's. He had seen it and made an offer on the spot. A month after he moved in, he officially asked me to move in with him… officially meaning that I was basically living here anyway.
Unfortunately Will's broken foot had been worse than we had realized. He had needed twelve weeks in the cast, then another couple months in the walking boot, and lots of physical therapy. Luckily his house had six bedrooms, one of which was on the ground floor, so we had temporarily made that our bedroom. He had finally started playing again a few weeks ago… the Hurricanes were glad to have him back.
Thankfully I hadn't heard from Jamie since the night of the charity ball. Holly occasionally sent me paparazzi pictures of him... Whitney was usually in the background, looking smug. But she was also nowhere in sight in other pictures of him with his arm draped around beautiful models as they left several popular nightclubs… I bet his father was thrilled with those pictures. It looked like I was right about him all along.
Will slid around to face me and then kissed me. I kissed him back, sinking into his embrace. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me harder, like he was trying to burn something into me. I kissed him back eagerly, wondering if he was about to pick me up and carry me upstairs… wouldn't be the first time he had done that. But instead he gave me one more quick kiss and then pulled away, releasing me but taking my hand in his. I smiled back and then turned slightly to reach for my wine glass. But then he said, "I want a kiss."
I quirked my eyebrow at him, turning back, and said, "I just kissed you."
"Well I want another," he jutted out his lower lip playfully. I chuckled under my breath, quickly kissed him, and then reached again for my wine glass. I'm not an alcoholic, he had opened a bottle of our favorite wine, and I didn't want it to go to waste. He moved next to me and when I turned back, he was kneeling in front of me.
Kneeling… on one knee.
I froze, clutching my wine glass tightly.
He held my hand not holding my wine glass and smiled at me. "I love you Olivia. I know that it's been only eight months but… I can't imagine being with anyone else. Will you marry me?" He kissed my hand, released it, and then used both hands to open the ring box, which had a beautiful diamond ring inside of it. I stared at him, my mouth opened, stunned and trying to quickly process what was happening.
Will was proposing.
Will was proposing to me.
He had said it right.
His smile wavered ever so slightly as he said, "You have to say something, baby."
"Yes." I choked out finally, my heart swelling with love. "Yes. Of course I'll marry you."
He grinned, looking thrilled and maybe a little bit relieved as he got back to his feet. He took the ring out of the box and slid it on my finger. It fit perfectly… I stared at it, still stunned. Will took the wine glass out of my hand, set it back down on a nearby table, and then took both of my hands in his as he laughed. "Success! I rendered you speechless." I let out a surprised chuckle and then wrapped my arms around him as he met me halfway to kiss me. I sighed against him and then memorized the feeling of the moment… him against me, kissing me soundly, my heart pounding against his solid chest… I loved him so much. I would always love him so much.
He pulled back and then called into the darkness of the rest of the house, "Okay! She said yes." I jumped as several voices cheered in the distance. And then our friends and family excitedly poured out of our kitchen… Jordan, my parents, Holly, Alexis, Josh, several of Will and Jordan's teammates and their significant others, Will's parents, and even a begrudgingly happy Melinda, who still hadn't quite accepted me as Will's girlfriend. Well, now fiancé. She would have to get used to that real quick. "I rendered her speechless." Will announced proudly.
"Will!" I exclaimed, smacking him lightly on the arm. Everyone laughed and then gathered around us, excitedly congratulating us. I grinned enormously, thanking them, and never letting go of Will's hand.
My father was apparently already crunching wedding numbers. He eyed Jordan and Will's enormous teammates and then asked suspiciously, "How much food will we have to get at your reception for all of your teammates?"
"I'll pitch in." Jordan announced magnanimously.
"You have that much money?" I asked curiously.
"Does thirty million dollars sound like a lot of money to you?" Jordan shot back.
"Thirty million dollars?" I gasped as I stared at my little brother, remembering when this multi-millionaire liked to pick his nose when he was four. I mean, obviously he had a lot of money… the man still carried around a roll of hundred dollar bills ("Livy, what if they don't take credit cards?"). But thirty million dollars?
"Don't look at me like that." Jordan shot back. Then he gestured to Will and announced, "He has more." He did?
"Thanks man." Will shot back with an eye roll and a smile as he wrapped his arm around my shoulders. Jordan put his hands up and then headed over to my mother, who was trying to hide her happy tears. I smiled kindly at her.
Then Will leaned in, his lips right next to my ear, and then asked, "Forever?"
I nodded. "Forever." Then I kissed him.
So that's it! The grand finale!
I originally intended the prologue excerpt to come back at the end of this story as a conversation between Olivia and Jamie during their final confrontation. However, when it came time for them to have their final confrontation, in my mind it didn't fit. He was going to say everything wrong (in Olivia's eyes) and push her finally and officially to Will. I originally never planned for Will to get injured during a game. But I went in a different direction and added everything with crazy Whitney... I never actually intended her to have that past with Jamie either. But it made much more sense as her reason behind disliking Olivia... originally she was just going to dislike Olivia because of Olivia calling her names (horse face) when they were at NYU. Plus I feel that the revelation of Whitney's past with Jamie finally completely pulled the veil off Olivia's eyes and made her see Jamie for who Jamie really is (a scamming playboy) instead of this idea she had of Jamie (kind, gentle, loving, sweet, pretty much perfect).
Evan was intended to be anther suitor for Olivia... but I changed my mind and cut him out for the most part.
If anyone thinks that Will and Jordan made up too easily, I honestly feel that's how dudes often settle disputes. They're pissed at each other for a while, they hash it out, and they get over it in like three seconds. As teammates, Jordan couldn't stay that mad at Will forever. And while their conflict added a layer of complicated to Olivia and Will's relationship, it wasn't the main conflict (the Olivia-Will-Jamie triangle). Plus ultimately I wanted Jordan and Will on the same side (against Jamie).
The way Will proposed to Olivia is very, very similar to the way my husband proposed to me, haha. My husband asked me to marry him and I speechlessly stared at him for a minute before he literally had to tell me to say something. We had been together for four years by that point so it was not a surprise that he was proposing, it was just a surprise that it was happening RIGHT THEN. And he also proposed to me in front of a huge Christmas tree in downtown San Jose :-)
Thank you readers for sticking with me for so long! Since I started this story in March 2010, I graduated from college, got engaged (on the same day I graduated from college!), planned a wedding, worked at two different jobs, commuted for two hours a day for almost a year and a half in soul-sucking bad traffic, got married, moved twice, and celebrated my second wedding anniversary on October 1, 2013. Oh and since November 2012 to now (October 2013), I also had six bouts of the flu (three that resulted in terrible sinus infections), found out that I was allergic to penicillin the hard way (rash all over my body), cracked a rib from coughing so hard during my second to last round of the flu in February, had a corneal ulcer in both eyes in February, had muscle spams in my back in March, my husband fell off his bike and fractured his arm in April, suffered from constant migraines for about a month, and also got a concussion Memorial Day weekend. THOSE are all the reasons for pretty much all of my lack of updates (minus when I had occasional writer's block). Oh and I teach preschoolers who cough and sneeze in my face constantly (that's how I got all those bouts of the flu).
Thank you for reading! I'm working on new material and I haven't decided if/when I will post it. Right now, I'm feeling like I want to burn half of the stories I've posted on here to the ground...
until next time,
a smile that explodes