Author's Note: Heh, last chapter! *tear* I really enjoyed writing this, especially these last few chapters with all the angst. :] If you read a lot of my stuff, you probably know that I really like angst. Hehe, cutie eskimo. xD. Anyway, enjoy this chapter.


Chapter Twenty One-Explanations



"Hi Nicole," Shawn greeted, pasting a smile onto his face, though he must've realized that I stiffened at the sight of her. "Do you want to come in?"

She smiled widely. "Sure." With her, she dragged a man behind her. The same man with the sunglasses I'd seen at lunch not long ago.

"I'm so glad you're here," I heard Shawn say, and frowned. "Now we can sort this entire thing out."

"Shawn, drop it. I don't want to get into this anymore," I ordered sternly.

"No. You need to hear the truth."

"I already know the truth!"

"No you don't!"

"Fine. Are you going to tell me that you supposedly weren't cheating on me with Nicole? That you really were loyal to me?"

"What, Shawn?" Nicole asked.

"Yeah, you want to tell us what's going on, dude?" the man beside Nicole echoed.

"Let's go sit down. I have a feeling this is going to be a long talk," Shawn replied.

We all followed him, as I dreaded having to confront Shawn as well as Nicole about it again. Wasn't once enough for a woman to go through heartbreak?

He motioned for us to sit down on the two couches opposite each other, and Amanda and Daniel pulled over a couple chairs.

"Why don't we start from the beginning?" he suggested.

"Fine," I muttered.

"So you think I'm cheating on you with Nicole—"

"Were cheating on me. You can't cheat on me anymore."

I noticed him wince slightly before covering it up. "Right. You think I was cheating on you with Nicole. But I don't see how you got that, or how that relates to anything."

"Well, a few months ago, at the hospital I work at, I overhead you telling Nicole that you loved her. That you loved someone ten years ago, but it was all just a blur. Shawn, you were with me ten years ago," I said, hoping I wouldn't cry through the entire explanation. "You even admitted to cheating on me, if you don't remember."

"When?"

"When you came to visit me in the hospital. Remember?"

"No, I didn't admit to cheating on you then."

"Shawn, we've already been through this. When we broke up, you even admitted to admitting to cheating on me."

"I thought… I thought you were talking about something else."

"What else could I be talking about?"

He paused, lowering his head. "Running over you."

"What?!"

"I thought that was what you were accusing me of."

"You were the one who ran over me?!"

"Yeah."

"When? What? How could you have done that? You were professing your goddamn undying love to Nicole."

"I told you, I wasn't."

"I heard you, Shawn. I know you did."

"No, I didn't. Maybe I should give you the whole story. What do you think, Brian?" he asked, turning to the man beside Nicole.

"I think that's a good idea," the man named Brian replied, with a voice extraordinarily like Shawn's.

It was then that I realized the uncanny similarity between Brian and Shawn. And I realized that I might've made a horrible mistake.

"Well, that day, I had a social worker call on me. You know, the day I was supposed to meet you. She said that I had some long-lost cousin or something. And she had to go through all the complexities of the situation, and I realized I would be late. Well, Brian was that long-lost cousin. He must've been the one at the hospital with Nicole, or whatever you were talking about that had happened, but I don't know anything about that. I just remember getting really annoyed that the social worker had taken so long. That day it was raining. I drove really fast, although I knew I was already late. I didn't see you until it was too late. I couldn't stop the car because of all the water on the road."

"But… you said you were sorry."

"For running over you."

"How'd you meet Nicole, though?"

"Brian. He's my cousin, and he's also Nicole's husband. The father of her daughter, unlike your suspicions about me. And I wanted you to meet her, because I wanted you guys to be friends. Honest to god, I'm not cheating on you, Jen."

"Weren't cheating on me. You can't cheat on me anymore," I corrected.

"Are you deliberately trying to rub that in my face? That we're not a couple anymore?"

"Why not? I want you to feel the pain I've been feeling for the past few months–not ever knowing whether your boyfriend's cheating on you or not; wondering if you should say something, yet afraid to ruin what you already have; wanting to get answers; and all the while, wanting what that woman you think your boyfriend's cheating on you with has; the child, the husband, the wedding."

"You don't know how much pain I've been going through the past few days. Just picturing my future without you in it. I know that sounds like an overused line, but it's true. I kept thinking about what I did wrong, what changed. I kept blaming myself for driving you away, yet telling myself that I didn't deserve you and I'd lose you in the end anyway," he replied.

"It's been a long day. Come on, let's go finish our dinner. Nicole and Brian are welcome to come as well," Daniel said.

I nodded, looking at Shawn across from me with forlorn eyes, wondering how everything had become so messed up. I'd leapt to conclusions too easily, letting my heart get the better of me. People do that when they're in love.

~

I leaned against the trunk of the tree, staring out the waves, idly picking up a handful of sand and allowing it to sift through my fingers. I smiled. Somehow, I felt more content than I had in months.

"Jen."

I recognized that voice. After so many years, he still seemed to bring a smile to my face, no matter what happened.

"I don't like her, you know."

"I know," he said resignedly. "Nicole didn't seem like she'd become a friend to you. But that's okay. You don't have to like her. I just want you to be content and to be happy."

"I am. With you," I whispered. "Life really does go on, doesn't it?"

"Yeah. Not everything turns out perfect, but it's close enough.

"It is, isn't it?" Holding me at arms length, he tipped my chin up with his finger and gave me a light kiss. "I love you, you know."

I cocked my head to the side. "I like the sound of that. Don't hear it real often."

"Well you better get used to it, because you're going to be hearing it a lot more often from now on. I've got you back, and I'm certainly not letting you go this time."

I sighed, wondering what he meant by that, yet not caring at all. He let go of me, and kneeled down in the sand, taking both of my hands in his.

"Jennifer Chen, will you marry me?"

I felt my breath catch in my throat, as I opened my mouth to respond. Tears formed in my eyes.

"Jen, I'm asking you to spend forever with me."

I winced at the word 'forever', but I knew when he said that, he meant it.

"Yes," I whispered, eyes glistening. "Of course."

He smiled deeply, enveloping me in his arms. I felt content just where I was.

Resting my head on his shoulder, I looked into his eyes. "I guess we both have lost and found."

"I guess so," he muttered, pressing his lips to my forehead.


.: the end :.


Author's Note: Well, this is officially over. Sometime, whenever I find time, I'll go back and edit this entire shitty trilogy. *shudders* I'm scared to look at what I've written… to horrible to speak of. Thanks to everyone for reading, and especially to those who reviewed! You guys are awesome! As always, constructive criticism is welcome, and PLEASE KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MY NEW STORY!


.: swt hugs :.

~julia 1.15.2004


|Thanks for Reviewing|

Differentlyhappy: Yup, it's the last chapter! *tear* But yup, Nicole came… heh. Thanks!

gigigirl281: Nope, I'm not strangled yet! Ur mumsie will SO know! Hahaha! Yup… you saw my lil arsonist thing! Hehe. I really like writing it. It's kewl. Yes, I had a kewl cliffie as well. Thanks!

Tragedy Is Love: Ahh, now I remember! Lunar Writer… hehe. I just KNEW I'd seen your profile before. So glad you thought that was so sad, though! (the chapter with all the thinking.) Hmm, yeah, I really liked your review on chapter nineteen, where you talked about Shakespeare's lil sonnet. Yup, sonnet 116. That's a really good quote. But I liked your speculation about my situation with the characters and everything. You might want to reread your review, just so you know what I'm talking about. Yeah, I think that love is blind, especially when you've broken up mistakenly. Thanks!