"So, Jalen darling, are you going to tell us what this is all about?" Cheyne asked.

That morning she'd been surprised to find that her sister had risen before she had. In fact, Jalen had been to Jason's and back by the time Cheyne had found her toothbrush. By noon, Chase, Trent, Travis, Cheyne, the Malloy parents, and the Callaways were all invited to dinner with Jason and Jalen. Two hours later, the decision was made for Sadie to join them.

Now, all eleven people sat around a table, full and content, waiting for the big news.

Jason looked over to his best friend, who sat next to him. Grinning, the two friends stood together, gripping hands excitedly.

"We have an announcement to make," Jason breathlessly began, then turned to his counterpart.

"It was very important to us that all of you be here tonight because of the significant role each and every one of you play in our lives," Jalen told them, meeting every pair of eyes watching them. Lastly, she looked at Sadie, offering a smile. "We wanted you to know that we love you and appreciate you, and through the years, your support has meant more than anything to us."

She glanced at Jason, and the speech tag-team act continued with him. "But now, the reason we're here… This morning, Jace and I both received calls from the producer of a new show. We were chosen out of more than two hundred people they auditioned." Not knowing what else to say, he stopped.

"The show is called Undeclared, and our characters are Brayden Shale and Austin Kendall." Exchanging a glance with Jason, she grinned. "We're not sure who's who yet."

The table was full of smiling faces, but everyone was silent, waiting to see if they were done. When the friends sat down, the ruckus began. Everyone seemed to be talking at once, and both mothers had tears in their eyes, while the fathers sported looks of pride.

Travis stood, grabbing his wine glass and holding it up. "I'd like to propose a toast to the enchanting Jalen Malloy and the oh-so-talented Jason Callaway. Best of luck to both of you in this new adventure. We all feel so blessed to stand with you on this one."

"Hear hear," someone said, and wine glasses and water glasses raised alike.

Cheyne stood next, holding her shirley temple up. "We're all so proud of you both, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for you. When you're rich and famous, you'd better buy me a nice house!"

Everyone laughed as they clinked their glasses together.

The toasts went on for a little while before they ordered dessert to share.

The Callaways invited everyone over their house afterwards, and everyone but Scott and Amy Malloy accepted, saying they had work in the morning.

With many hugs and a few tears, everyone climbed into their separate cars, acting as though it would be ages before they saw each other again.

-----

Fifteen minutes later at the Callaway house, the game room had been invaded. In one corner, Chase was battling his brother in fooseball, while Jason and Cheyne had teamed up against Trent and Sadie in pool. Jalen was downstairs helping Lisa Callaway with some snacks while the two chatted about hopes and expectations for the show.

"I beat you! I so beat you!" hollered Chase. "Take that!"

Travis grinned in acceptance of his fate. "I put up a good fight, though, little brother."

With a huge smile, Chase punched his brother's arm lightly before jogging over to Cheyne. Jason was shooting, so Chase wrapped his arms around his girlfriend, whispering in her ear, "I love you."

Cheyne couldn't stop her own smile as she leaned back against him, tilting her face up, hoping for a kiss. "I love you, too," she told him before he planted his lips squarely over hers.

No one but Trent noticed as Travis snuck downstairs in search of his own girlfriend. Smiling to himself, Trent hit the last solid ball in before calling the eight ball shot and making it.

"Good game, kid," Jason told Trent, tussling his hair. "And you're game has improved," he told Sadie. "Last time we played, I don't think you hit more than one ball in. Good job."

Sadie's eyes were on the floor, though she smiled in victory. "Could we maybe go somewhere and talk for a minute Jason?" she asked, finally gathering all her courage.

"Yeah… Uh, give me a minute. I'll meet you in Dad's study. First, I need to talk to CJ."

Nodding in understanding, Sadie quietly exited the room as Jason made his way over to where Cheyne was tickling her younger brother.

"Ceej, can I talk to you a minute?"

Cheyne was suddenly very serious, and she hit her brother quickly as she followed Jason out into the hallway.

"I just wanted to make sure we were still all right," Jason began. "You'll always be Cinderella, and you'll always be my best friend's sister, but most importantly, I want you to always be my friend. I wouldn't want the past few weeks to get in the way of that."

She smiled and hugged him suddenly. "Of course, Jason. Absolutely. We won't pretend nothing ever happened, but it's in the past now. Don't worry about it."

When he offered a small smile in return, she let herself back into the game room. Jason walked a few feet down and opened the door to his dad's office, where Sadie was staring out the window.

Hearing the door close, she snapped out of her trance. "Hey," she said.

"Hey."

"Congrats. I'm really excited for you."

He sat down in a chair on front of the desk. "I know."

She bit her lip and sat down in the chair across from him. "I've been a real monster the last month since I've been home," she began. "I can't imagine why you even let me stay here now that I look back on things. The truth is, though, I was awful even before I came back, even before I left really. I loved you and it scared me, and I didn't want to share everything with you because I was afraid you would break my heart. It sounds so stupid now, I can't believe I ever really thought that… But I did, and I wasn't myself around you for a long time." Pausing, she appeared to be thinking over what she was saying, so Jason stayed quiet.

"At first I thought I would come back and everything would be great—at one time you had loved me, and I was sure you would again… Until I realized that the me I showed you back then isn't the me I am now, or even the me I was a month ago. And I want to change, but not because I want you to love me, but because I see that I need to change. In the beginning, I loved who I was when I was with you, but the closer we got, the more I was afraid to show you who I was. So what I'm basically saying is… I still love you, Jason, and I came back hoping for a second chance. Now I know that I still want that chance, but before I even ask for it, I need to work on who I am. Elliot has been a great friend to me lately, and she's really helped me work out some things in my life. I hope that someday everything just falls into place for you and me, but it may not. So if it doesn't, I want to make sure that we're okay with each other. I understand if you don't want to be friends, or if you don't want to forgive me, but I'm going to ask you to anyway, just in case. So, Jason, forgive me for all the pain I've caused you?"

Jason smiled and knelt in front of her, taking her tightly clasped hands in his own. "Sadie Oliver, I forgive you and you are my friend. You are my first love, and even though I don't see romance in our future, I don't know what will happen tomorrow or any moment after this instant. I'm glad you're working on happiness for yourself." Standing, he held his arms open, waiting for her to hug him, and it took her only a moment.

From somewhere in the house came a loud scream, and the two instantly jerked apart, running for the game room.

In the game room, everyone looked around and rushed out into the hallway. When the two groups met and saw that everyone upstairs was all right, they quickly rushed downstairs, sounding like a herd of wild stampeding elephants. In their confusion, everyone seemed to be rushing different ways, searching different rooms, until all at once, everyone stumbled into the kitchen, where Jalen had her arms wrapped around Travis' neck, tears streaming down her face. He was holding her several inches off the ground, his strong arms around her waist, his face buried in her neck.

Upon hearing everyone rush in, the two looked up. Travis gently set Jalen on the ground, and she bit her lip trying to hide her smile.

"What's wrong?" Cheyne asked, straining to see her sister from the back of the group.

A huge smile spread across Jalen's face. "Travis and I are getting married!"

While everyone else gathered around the couple, offering hugs and congratulations, Trent hung back, grinning to himself. "Mom and Dad are gonna be pissed they went home," he whispered to himself, waiting for everyone to clear away before going to hug his sister. "I always thought CJ and Chase would elope before you two got married," he whispered into his sister's ear as he hugged her.

Jalen laughed uproariously and hugged her brother tighter. "I love you, TC."

"Cookies anyone?" Lisa Callaway hollered over the noise.

Standing off in a corner, Cheyne crossed her arms over her chest and smiled to herself, thinking, Life just doesn't get any better than this.

-----

A/N: I can't believe it's over. I feel like part of my life has been sucked out of me (see Princess Bride, The). I feel really teary-eyed and sentimental...

Okay, on with the show. I've already started the sequel with Jason, and I think it's going to be equally focused on Elliot too. Because I like Elliot. Maybe not totally equally, but I want some follow-up on Elliot, because she's awesome. And pretty much all the characters in this story will have roles in the next one, minor or major or cameos at least. Now, I'll be writing my butt off until Saturday afternoon when I have 18 friends from Canada coming down to visit me for a little more than a week. I may or may not get writing done while they're here, and I want to have five chapters done before I post the first chapter.

Now, to my readers:

Crayzie: Yeah, I felt bad for Sadie too, which is why I decided to make her have a turn for good. I'm not sure how things will go for her in the future, but I have a feeling that if she puts her mind to it, she'll come out on top. I can't believe it's over either. It just feels so weird... This is the first story I've finished that has been placed in California, and I feel like I can just drive over and visit them. They're very real to me. I may write sequels forever just so that I don't ever have to let them go... Maybe not, though. Anyhow, thank you so much for your support throughout this whole thing. I really enjoyed your reviews and always looked forward to them. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Hope to see you again soon, once I start the Jason story.

Linsea: Thanks for all the reviews! And for reading. I know you have negative things to say... We're a writers' group, it's what we do. Go ahead and e-mail me those real comments.

Jac: I really do want to work Elliot into the Jason story (which lacks a better name at this point,,, any ideas?). Thanks for picking up at the end. Make sure you give me helpful critques, too.

Mac: I hope this was a happy enough ending for Jason for you. I know I promised a happy ending overall, and I think I did a good job of that... Didn't I? Yeah, I thought the end was sudden, too, but suddenly there just wasn't anymore to tell about that story. I'm glad you'll read the sequels. I'll work hard on them for you. Hopefully, I'll write faster this time, too. Now, the important thing: Thank you so much for all the support you've given me. I sincerely appreciate all your reviews, and always looked forward to them. Your support means a lot to me, so thank you.

Russell darling: I don't know how much Sadie is gonna be in the sequels, but I'll try to let you know what happens toher. Thanks for reading!

Everyone else (that is, the fourteen people who read the last chapter and didn't review): Thanks for reading. Next time, reviews would be appreciated, but I really hope you enjoyed it. Thanks again for reading.

The sequel should have the first chapter(s) posted within two weeks. How's that? I hope everyone loved it, and thanks for reading. Give me one last great review, everyone, okay? Love you all for your support! Mack