Authoress' Note

After much feedback, requests, and thought, I've decided to add a new ending. Let's face it, there is enough pain in the world. So this is for everyone out there whose life sucks.

For those of you reading for the first time, the ending in the previous chapter can stand alone. This is kinda a miracle ending. . .

Also, as an aside, I once asked an author on fanfiction to rewrite the end of a /very/ depressing story and he/she didn't do it. So, of course, I've always felt that I had to rewrite this one. . .

Chris went away to college, out of state, out of country. His mother had finally broken down when Chris had refused to leave the bridge at all. She had contacted his father, who had paid the tuition to a small university in Austria. After his father left them both for a younger woman, Chris had sworn up and down that he would never speak with him again. But Chris had no room in his heart for anger anymore. There was only Amy, and watching and waiting for her.

Every morning when he opened his eyes, Chris half expected and wished her to be there standing by his bed. Sometimes, as he walked to class, he felt eyes on his back but when he turned, she wasn't there. Hiking in the foothills, he came across bridges and would stop there for a while, staring up the trail, waiting as tears slid down his face.

At his father's home for Christmas break, far away from their bridge, Chris sometimes sat on his bed at night and wondered as he looked up into the starry night if Amy had been waiting for him that day at the bridge. His father and stepmother tried hard to distract him, and Chris did enjoy playing with his little step-sister. They made gingerbread houses and decorated them with candy canes and gum drops. Chris wondered though, as he watched his little sister, what it would have been like. Would their daughters have looked like Amy?

It was not until the beginning of summer, two successful semesters of college under his belt, that Chris returned to the bridge.

The sun was just peeking up over the trees as Chris left the house, closing the door softly behind him. The day was warm already, and the cicadas were already humming. Chris followed the trail through the woods, beneath shady green boughs of the trees.

He paused just before the bridge came in sight, shutting his eyes and breathing in and out slowly. Then, trying to still his shaking hands, Chris walked up the hill and saw.

Amy was not there. The bridge was not there. He remembered how the old boards had been growing rotten. He had heard people in the town talking about the menace it presented, but he not believed that anyone would, could possibly ever take away this, the very last thing of Amy he had.

Chris couldn't stop the wracking sobs, stumbling forward, stopping on the bank of the creek. Even his sitting rock was gone, no where to be found. Chris was all alone at the edge of the water.

Why had he left her? Why hadn't he run away with her, somewhere far away where they could always be together? She never would have left him, why hadn't he protected her? Something terrible had happened to her, he knew it, and he had not been there to save her.

"Amy," Chris sobbed as he stood by the water. "What happened to you? Where are you? I've been waiting, I'll always be waiting. Please, please come back, and I'll never leave you alone again." Someone gasped, and Chris whipped around, his eyes opening wide.

Amy was standing there, bathed in the light of the rising sun. She looked as she had the last time he had seen her, from baggy black pants to tousled brown hair, and she was staring at him.

"Chris?" She asked, gulping. "Chris?" Tears began in her eyes as she stumbled towards him across the mossy bank, holding out her arms.

Chris moved to her, in an instant catching her in his arms and holding her close. "Amy, Amy," he whispered raggedly, kissing her head and hair. "Amy, it's you, it's really you."

"Yes," Amy said, smiling through her tears up at him. "It's really me."

Chris never asked, but Amy could never say where she had been. The void in her memory never filled. Chris told her, though, that it did not matter. They were together, and they would always be together.

True to his word, Chris would never be far from Amy the rest of their lives. Their families, shocked and incredulous at Amy's mysterious reappearance, counciled the two of them to not make any hasty decisions about their future together, to wait and see if their feelings had changed. For Chris and Amy, however, the waiting was over.

They married on the edge of the creek as the birds sang above them in the green trees and the creek bubbled happily.

Amy's stepfather died in a drunken brawl soon afterwards, and her mother wed a kind widower with two young sons. Chris's mother never remarried, but she found great happiness in her grandchildren. Amy and Chris gave her many of them, twin girls and four young boys, and found even greater fulfillment in the incarnations of their love.

And they all lived happily ever after, until death took them both in the same night and sent them to walk together, hand and hand, through golden gates into eternal light.