A/N: Hello! Alright I know I said that I wasn't going to post the alternate ending to this story, but there were two reasons that caused me to change my mind. First, well originally I didn't want to post it because it would be weird because I was going to rewrite scenes and stuff, and I thought it might be confusing and everything. But since this turned out to be a continuation rather than an alternate ending the confusion isn't a problem. And second, e-mail this to people is so incredibly complicated because I have the original people and then the new people and I have to make sure that they get everything and are still put on my special little address group book for that. And it's tiring. But since this turned out to be a continuation rather than an alternate ending the confusion isn't a problem. I hope everyone got the important message... eh I'll reiterate: THIS IS A CONTINUATION, IT TAKES PLACE IN THE FUTURE. THIS IS NOT AN ALTERNATE ENDING IN A SENSE. I hope everyone likes it, but um... oh yeah fair warning the chapters are all gonna be pretty short. I'm sorry. That's just the way I wrote it. Enjoy!


Old Cigarettes & Something Familiar


She glanced up from the warmth of the cup of coffee she held between her hands. She hadn't meant to look at anything in particular, just a glance at her surroundings.
Her eyes stopped on those of another, a soulful gaze that caught and held her own. She felt a shiver up her spine though she was quite warm, and suddenly she knew that what she felt was more than just a chill. It was...

"Ugh!" I groaned in frustration, crumpling up the worthless beginning I'd just written. Why was this so hard for me. I mean I'd been writing for a good three years now; I'd chosen English as my major. I'd never had a problem before. This creative writing class was supposed to be a breeze for me, and yet, here I was, unable to get more than a few mediocre sentences out.

Of anything, I guess it was the topic. Love, romance, whatever you wanted to call the genre, I was incapable of writing about it. I had never really had much luck in that department and well... it was obviously affecting my writing. I didn't really have much to base it off of, I suppose. There had been one major...experience, so to speak, back in high school that hadn't ended well. I didn't speak of it very often because it was just one of those things that I tried to forget. I had been young, naive, and impressionable then, only a sophomore, and now... three years later I wasn't much better off. I'd had small flings, I couldn't really call them relationships. Just people I dated for the sole purpose of dating. I hadn't really felt anything for a long time. Maybe it made me bitter. I don't know, but I just didn't believe in love anymore. To me it was something alien and strange. I was no longer a real enthusiast of the genre; I found it a false portrayal. In my experience it hadn't been anything like that. I guess there had been parts that were wonderful, but the pain, the anguish, that was what I recalled. Perhaps there was more to it than that, but rather obviously it didn't compare.

It was a stupid assignment, I decided, staring at the little ball of paper. I had picked up my pen and proceeded to tap it against my notebook as I thought. Why hadn't the professor picked something original? Classicism is all well and good, but romance novels and short stories are overdone to the point where they've become trite. Why not a fantastical epic of a great hero, or the psychological thriller filled with twists and turns, but no, Professor Quinsy had decided to ruin my life.

I had planned on writing some generic crap about love at first sight or...one of the other quixotic, overused plots that are so common, but quickly found that I could write the words, but there was no real feeling, no tone behind them to make them able to elicit emotions, to make the work worthwhile. It was like the assignment that wouldn't be. As soon as my brain got to the topic it would shut off and start churning out stoic, impassive dribble. What was killing me though, was the fact that I couldn't seem to do a damn thing about it.

I chucked the ball of paper across the room as hard as I could in the general direction of a trash can and watched as it bounced off the wall and landed a few feet in front of it. Customers were sparse at nine in the morning on a Saturday, but the few that were around were subtly watching me to see if I would pick up my trash or not. Unable to leave the masses disappointed, I took another sip of my coffee. savoring the rich, acquired taste, and slowly trudged over to it, squatting as I picked it up. As I put the ball in the trash can my gaze passed over my car. It took a second for the image to click and a whole two minutes for me to start running outside to see what the hell the person who was circling my car like a vulture wanted. I've never been a very confrontational person, and that much hasn't changed, but my car was something I didn't joke about. It had a lot of history behind it.

As I got closer I realized that there was man inspecting my car, his back was to me and I didn't really get a good enough view to know whether or not I knew him. I took a deep breath. "Step away from the car," I said, loudly in the most authoritative voice I could manage.

He turned around, and I found myself staring, caught up in pair of twinkling icy blue eyes. He had a helmet on his head, covering the majority of his features. "What will you do if I don't?" He asked, trying to hide a small grin.

I was surprised. I didn't know what to say, I hadn't been expecting that response from a stranger. I fumbled for words, "I'd, well I'd, um...well if it came down to it, I'd make you."

This elicited outright laughter. "You'd try to move me to protect your car?"

I nodded.

He tried to keep a straight face, but it was hard. Even I knew how outrageous I sounded. He must've been a good six inches taller than me, and he was well muscled, I could tell just from his gait as he walked over to me. "Must be some vehicle."

I shrugged. It was a great car. A beautiful '65 Mustang with shiny powder blue paint on her. "She's good, but it's kind of got more sentimental value."

"Really? Do tell."

I looked up at him in surprise as we leaned against my car. Why was this stranger so interested in my baby? I shook my head, "Well it was a gift from a really good friend of mine. I haven't seen him in a while, and I just kind of like to keep the car as a reminder." And why did I just tell a complete stranger that? I asked myself.

"You miss him?" he asked softly.

I nodded, wrapping my arms around myself. Ashton was...probably my best friend back then, and despite how close I'd thought we were, we hadn't spoken since...he graduated. I shivered as I realized that in my rush to get outside I'd left my jacket inside. The autumn air was awfully chilly in the mornings.

I didn't even notice when the stranger wrapped his warm leather jacket around me. It was soft and it smelled of old cigarettes, and something familiar.

He leaned down and whispered, "Masterson, why didn't you ever tell how much you missed me?"

My mouth dropped open in shock. That voice, I glanced down at the jacket I was now wearing and the realization hit me as he swept me up into a hug, spinning me around. "Ah!" I nearly screamed. "Ashton! What're you doing here this early on a Saturday?"

He grinned as he took off his helmet, "I just got into town, what're you doing up this early?"

"Working on an assignment, and what is that on your chin?" I asked indignantly.

He laughed, "It's stubble, I know you've seen it before. I haven't had much time to shave lately."

I frowned as I ran a hand along his jaw; I didn't like the way it scratched my hand. "What're you doing in town?" I glanced around for his precious motorcycle, "You didn't ride all the way here from California, did you?"

He put his hands on my shoulders and began pushing me back inside, "You'll freeze to death out here. I'll tell you everything you want to know when we get inside."

I paused and tilted my head back to look at him, "Everything?"



A/N: EEEE!!!!!!!! Ashton's back!!!!1 Whoo-hoo! I love that guy. But other characters might come in soon. I haven't decided whether or not more characters will be coming back. Um... yeah. I hope everyone liked it, or didn't hate it. Either way, I'm curious.



He gave me a soft smile, and then looked back down into my bag, "I am too." He lifted a familiar looking black velvet box out of my bag. "So when were you planning to tell me about this?"