Author's Note: Alas, my dear readers, we have reached the end. I know this story was short, and I apologize for that, but it felt like it had run its course, and I didn't want to force more into it. Also, this ending is for those of you who hated the ending of the prequel. I feel like I might have gone a bit over the top with it, but enjoy nonetheless! And as always, thank you for reading, and I welcome your thoughts on the story. :)
"It's stupid of you to throw a party like this," Elyria murmured, her purple eyes sweeping across the crowded hall. It was filled to the brim with vampires, werewolves, and even a few necromancers and witches. In just a month's time, I'd been able to make quite a few new friends, and it seemed that they were fitting in well with the old ones.
"How is it stupid?" I asked, watching her watch the crowd. "It's meant to be a celebration of all those we've seen die in these foolish battles. I thought you would like that. I thought you would like to remember them all."
She sighed, suddenly resigned, and looked up at me. "You're right, Eli. Thank you for this. Since we couldn't have a funeral for them all –" She broke off, her voice cracking on the last word, and I wondered how close she was to tears, though there wasn't even a hint of sorrow to her expression.
"It's all right," I said softly, taking her hand in mind and giving it a gentle squeeze.
"Am I interrupting something?" Bethany asked hesitantly, and I wondered just how long she'd been standing there.
"Ah, no," I answered, letting Elyria slip her hand from mine. "Did you need something?"
The werewolf lowered her eyes sheepishly. "I wanted to talk to you." Elyria turned to leave, but she added pointedly, "Both of you."
"Is something wrong?" I asked, growing worried. Something had to be wrong for Bethany to want to speak to Elyria in any capacity. The world had to be ending, or Hale had to be dying somewhere in the middle of the dance floor, or someone had to have set fire to the mansion.
"No, no," she said quickly, picking up on my worry. "I just...I wanted to apologize." Her eyes drifted from me to Elyria and back again. "To both of you."
"For telling me that I would just get fat if I ate a lot to get my boobs back?" Elyria said, and I chuckled. She just would not let that go.
Bethany smiled. "Well, for that, and for treating you both so horribly." Her smile faded, and she gazed between the two of us earnestly. "I never meant to come between you like I did. I won't apologize for being so fond of you, Eli, but I will apologize for causing so many problems. If we're not meant to be, we're just not meant to be, right?" She smiled hesitantly at me, then turned her attention to Elyria. "I promise, I won't try anything like what I did before again. He's yours unless he says otherwise, and I won't try to force the issue."
"Well, you know," Elyria began, and I didn't like the way her eyes flashed as she smirked, "if you're into drinking blood at all, the three of us could always have some fun together..."
"Elyria!" I said sharply, shocked that she would even suggest such a thing. Well, shocked that she would suggest such a thing without knowing the woman's sexual orientation, stance on blood drinking, and a whole mess of other issues...
"What?" the necromancer said defensively, nose wrinkling as she looked at me. "You're fun and all, but having sex with the same person over and over is boring."
Bethany giggled, and we both turned to her, surprised that she was taking this so lightly. "I'm not really into blood, but I might have to take you up on that offer sometime," she said, smirking sexily. "Especially now that your chest has come back," she added, reaching out to give the girl's breasts a light jiggle before winking and walking away.
We watched the werewolf disappear into the crowd, and Elyria blurted, "That woman's got sex appeal and balls. Why did you let her go?"
I rolled my eyes, though I couldn't stop myself from smiling down at her. "Because I love someone who's got even more sex appeal and the balls of an elephant, of course."
She looked up at me and, completely serious, said, "Well, now you're just being gross." A smile sneaked through her facade after a moment, however, and I laughed lightly.
"Would you care to dance?" I asked, offering her my hand.
Her smile grew, and I was amazed she was willing to show so much emotion in public. "I thought you'd never ask."
I led her to the dance floor and took her in my arms, beginning to lead her to the beat of the string quartet's waltz. The skirt of her short black dress flared as we spun, and I breathed deeply the scent of her blood-red hair as I pulled her close. Hale smiled at me from his place beside the refreshment table, Bethany smirking at his side, and I smiled to myself.
We had no enemies, Elyria and I, only friends and allies – and we had each other. We'd always had each other.
As we whirled across the floor, I hoped this waltz would last forever, and I hoped Elyria would never leave my arms, and I hoped against hope that daylight would never come.