Chapter Twenty-one
Ashley: Such Sweet Sorrow

Our adventure was over. The thought struck me like a brick... but with less physical pain. This pain was emotional and wasn't something that could be fixed with a Band-Aid. Jenny was going back to her home, and I was going to mine. It was over, and the worst part was I didn't know when I'd see her again.

Liam had promised to take us all out to eat the next day, but it didn't help. A bemused smile crossed my face as I remembered my parents' reaction to meeting Liam. They hadn't really believed me until they saw him give me a welcoming hug.

I stared out the window of our hotel room, lost in my thoughts as my parents went on about the dangers of what I had done. Same ol', same ol'. I wanted to see Jenny. We had been separated shortly after everything had been sorted out at the police station. I hadn't even gotten to apologize, though I wasn't sure what I wanted to apologize for. For her being in jail for so long, for letting her get caught... but I knew what she would say- that it wasn't my fault. I still felt bad.

Much to my own amazement, I felt a tear slip down my cheek as I glanced back at my parents. My mom was crying, as she had a tendency to do when she was upset, and my dad, I could tell, was angry. I never wanted to hurt them...

I found myself getting to my feet and moving over to sit between my parents. I laid my head on my mom's shoulder and wrapped my arms around her neck, crying. "I'm sorry," I whispered. "I'm sorry."

The next day found me in a much less melancholy mood, and I found myself dreading and anxiously awaiting tonight's dinner, both at the same time. My parents had thoughtfully packed several things for me, but there was nothing among them suitable for a fancy dinner with a movie star. The same for Jenny. So they agreed to let us go shopping for dresses. Since we still had the money from Liam, along with the rest of our stash, we went wild.

We tried on outfit after outfit, modeling for each other before dismissing each one. Finally we decided on matching dresses. It would be our last night of being sisters together, and we wanted to make the most of it.

We locked ourselves in a hotel room and started getting ready. Two hours later, while the rest waited in the hallway, we stepped out, arm in arm.

Our dresses were black and sleeveless with sheer black jackets that were slightly longer than the knee-length dresses. I wore a black choker around my neck and Jenny had a heart pendant on a silver chain. Her hair was slightly curled with small clip-on hair jewels here and there, while her Padawan braid hung free. Mine was done up on top of my head, held in place with silver clips also except for the Padawan braid that hung down over my dress.

"Wow," Liam said with a smile as he saw us. He wore a tailored suit with a dark blue shirt that set off his eyes. "Quite an improvement from the ratty things that knocked down my door."

Jenny laughed. I didn't have the chance to. Ryan had stepped up and kissed me tenderly. "You're more beautiful than ever," he whispered in my ear.

"So are you," I responded shyly. He was also wearing a suit and his hair was slicked down except for a few stands that fell lightly across his forehead.

He offered an arm to me, and I slid mine through it. With a crooked grin he extended the other one to Jenny. She accepted it and we made our way to the elevator, following Liam, with both sets of parents bringing up the rear.

To our surprise, Liam had a limo waiting for us. He opened the door and gestured us inside, a smile playing on his lips.

The details of the dinner are a blur to me. I remember laughing and loving every minute. But I remember everyone there the most. Ryan sitting by me, squeezing my hand beneath the table and joking with my parents. My parents and Jenny's parents exchanging childhood stories of us and forgiving both of us for running off, without ever saying a word. Liam laughing loudly as we once again recounted how we scared people on the road by waving our plastic lightsabers at them.

And Jenny. Most of all Jenny. My best friend and partner in crime, seated beside me as we shared the knowing looks that only best friends could share. But we were best friends. In fact, in the short time we had known each other, we had become more than best friends. We were sisters.

We said goodbye to Liam and to Ryan that night, and the next day it was time for our final farewells. Our parents waited in the cars while we stood together one last time. Something inside me was aching. I tried to fight back tears but it was a losing battle. Jenny looked at me, tears in her own eyes. We wrapped our arms around each other. Through tears, she managed to speak. "I miss you already."

"I'll write you every day."

"It won't be the same."

"I know." This was it, I realized. The last time we would be together for who-knows-how-long. I felt like I should say something important, like they do in the movies. But I could think of nothing. "We'll see each other again, right?"

"Of course!"

I sniffed, brushing at my eyes. "How do you know?"

She smiled, breaking away from me. "Because we're Sisters-in-Star-Wars. We can do anything."

I hugged her again, smiling. "Bye, Jenny."

"Bye."

I climbed into the back of my van as Jenny got into her parent's car. I waved until the car was too far away to see. Then I sunk back into my seat. Our adventure was over. But I knew there would be many more to come.

The End (or is it?)