I bounced up and down on Matt's doorstep, eventually ringing the doorbell. It felt like an hour passed before someone managed to answer the door. I'd expected it to be Matt, but instead stood in front of me was his little sister.
"Hi Molly," I greeted her nervously. "Do you remember me, Blair… Pippa… Peach?" I rambled. God, it would be easier if everyone called me one name. I supposed that was mostly my fault though.
Recognition dawned on the girl's face. "Oh yeah," she said, beaming at me.
I waited a moment to see if she would take the initiative and go get Matt for me. When she didn't, I asked, "Is your brother home?" She nodded at this, and I prodded more. "Do you think you could get him for me?"
"Yeah, sure," she said, running off up the stairs behind her. I stayed outside, sheltered from the rain on the stoop.
Matt appeared at the door, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "Peach," he said, sounding surprised it was me. I guessed Molly hadn't told him.
Eddie had told me to say what came to my mind, and I followed his advice by saying the first thing that did. "You're a big pain," I told Matt.
There was a pause while he stared at me, probably trying to figure out if he'd heard me right. "That makes two of us then?" he suggested, still looking confused.
"No, that makes you," I said. "You just leave me to go be miserable without you and sort out my feelings!" As my voice travelled up a few octaves, Matt stepped out of his house to stand barefoot on his front step with me.
"Do we remember what calm feels like?" he asked patronisingly.
I slapped his arm. "You can't ask me about calm! I'm not calm!"
"I, uh, hadn't noticed," Matt said, taking a step away from me. "Was there any particular reason you're here, Peach, or just to tell me I'm a pain?" There was a silent question in that and we both knew it.
Suddenly feeling very exhausted by the conversation I dropped to sit on the step, my feet unprotected from the rain. Matt took a moment before he plopped down next to me.
"I'm mad at you," I informed him, picking at my jeans.
"You came here because you're mad at me?" Matt asked. He seemed very confused today.
I sighed in frustration that he wasn't getting it. "No, I'm mad at you because I came here."
Matt blinked, and he did it in such an exaggerated way that this seemed like his response. Since I didn't know how to reply to a blink, I waited for him to say something. "And why did you come here?"
"Well, Eddie threatened me," I said, indicating my best friend in his car across the road. Matt looked, noticing the boy, and waved at him cautiously. "I was all up for moping some more without you."
Matt swung his head around back to face me. "You were moping?" he asked enthusiastically.
I tensed somewhat, mildly hurt. "Could you try not to sound so excited about me being upset?" I asked moodily.
This smile edged onto Matt's face, and he moved slightly closer to me, his knees touching mine. I forgot what I was meant to be saying. I forgot everything.
"You were moping about me?" He reached out his hand, brushing my cheek with his thumb.
"No…" I denied quietly.
"That's a shame," Matt said, moving a little nearer to me again. His voice didn't sound right for what he'd said, but I couldn't concentrate on that. His hand was still on my face. "Because I've been moping about you a bit, and I felt really lame, but if you were doing it too then I'd probably be okay."
"Oh," I said. I looked at my hands, folded neatly on my lap. "Well I wasn't moping a lot."
"But you were a little?" When I looked up, Matt had his head tilted to the side, his green eyes wide and bright.
"I don't get why you're so obsessed with me moping," I said moodily. This didn't really seem to be going well. Why hadn't Eddie let me plan? "I mean, it's all your fault. A few months ago I didn't care a bit about you, except that you were really annoying to me, which you still are by the way." Matt had this odd look on his face, and I tried to stop myself because I really wasn't saying the right things. "And now I feel so goddamn stupid, because all I'm doing now is wondering if you think I'm stupid or if you're going to think I look pretty, and I'm pretty sure my hair's gone all frizzy now and I'm quite stressed about that." Matt's facial expression changed until he was almost smiling again. "And you're there at all the right moments, and all the wrong ones. And you believed me when no one else would. You knew." I choked slightly, but recovered myself to keep going. "You knew, and I didn't even have to tell you." I paused for a moment. I hadn't talked about Leah in months and it was hard, harder that I'd imagined it would be. Reaching up to brush a tear away, Matt took my hand in his and brushed it away himself. "And so now I've ended up caring about you, you big pain. And I don't really know what to do about that."
Matt smiled, squeezing my hand in his. He leaned towards me a little bit. "I do," he whispered, closing the gap between us and letting his lips meet mine in a kiss. He shifted his body towards me, his hands wrapping up in my hair, running up and down my back, his tongue sliding gently into my mouth. This was the kiss I wanted, the rest of the world disappearing, as all I could think about was Matt and the way he made me feel.
This lasted about twenty seconds before a car beeped its horn for no apparent reason, and Matt and I pulled slightly apart. His nose stayed in contact with mine as we turned our heads to see the commotion. Inevitably, it was just Eddie across the road, looking excited and giving us a thumbs up.
I moved my head back around, looking straight into Matt's bright green eyes, so close to mine that I could see every element that made them what they were.
"I want to be with you," Matt whispered. I could feel his breath on my cheek, warm and soothing.
I smiled at him. "I'm here, aren't I?"
That was enough. At that moment, we were both there and exactly where we wanted to be. We could figure out the complicated things later. There were so few moments for us when we had the chance to just enjoy life, and there was no point in ruining this one.
Two months later came the moment of truth – results day. I'd find out just how useful Matt had been to my life. He'd volunteered to drive me to school to collect my results, and I was nervous about seeing him. Matt had been for an appointment at the hospital earlier in the morning, and half of me wanted to find out how he was doing while the other half wanted to be ignorant in case it was bad news.
I spotted his car pulling up by my grandmother's house, and ran out to meet him before he had a chance to park. I was still staying with my granny, even though the situation with my dad had become less strained over the months. Things were getting easier in my life, but I wasn't expecting them to be perfect. I knew I could never expect them to be how they were before either.
Matt caught me running towards his car and unlocked the doors so I could jump in.
"You're quick," he said, smiling at me and leaning across the car to plant a kiss on my cheek.
"I wasn't waiting for you or watching out the window or anything," I joked, pulling a seatbelt over myself.
Matt cocked an eyebrow at me, a half smile still on his face. "So, I was thinking," he said.
"Mm," I sounded nonchalantly.
"I never told you what 'when I'm sixty-four' was supposed to mean." The number of times I'd tried to beg the answer out of him over the last two months was ridiculous. He'd just refused to tell me outright. It was cruel.
"Oh, you didn't? I'd completely forgotten about that," I said sarcastically. The only thing I'd really guessed at was that old Beatles song of the same name, but that seemed semi-nonsensical, so I'd abandoned such a theory.
"So I guess we'll get to find out," Matt said, as though I was going to understand this.
"What are you talking about?" I asked, sighing in confusion.
"You said you'd be nice to me when I'm sixty-four," he responded, "and, with any luck, we should get to find out."
"What?" I said again, still lost.
"When you were eleven, I asked if you'd ever be nice to me, and you said you would when I'm sixty-four. And I'm in good condition now, I should be able to last that long, assuming nothing else unpredicted kills me before then." Oh, I'd kill him before then for that.
I was very excited about him being well obviously, but seriously. "That's it?" I asked.
Matt blinked. "Uh, yes."
"That's all this is? Some stupid thing I said six years ago? I'm nice to you now, you idiot," I objected, sticking my tongue out at him.
"Oh, yeah, I'm feeling so much love right now," Matt joked. He reached across the car at a stop sign and squeezed my side.
I giggled. "Shut up, I'm nice. I'm so happy you're not dying." I waited until we reached a red traffic light before I leaned over and hugged him to show him this emotion.
"I'm glad," Matt responded. "I think we'd have a problem if you weren't."
We sat in comfortable silence for a while. There's only so much you can say about the postponed death of your boyfriend. This wasn't entirely his day though. I mean, my results were obviously important too.
"Aren't you going to wish me luck?" I asked him, as we neared my school.
"It's too late for luck, don't you think, Peach?" He grinned at me, adding, "And you don't need it anyway."
Eddie had picked up his four 'A's earlier and agreed to come to my house later on to celebrate (and possibly console me if things had not gone so well). I didn't know about Licia yet. She was meant to turn up at school within the same half hour as I was. We'd become closer again over the last few months, probably because we'd both been worrying about each other so much. I still couldn't understand her reaction to losing a baby though, but I supposed I didn't have to understand everything, and as long as I was with her I couldn't worry about her too much.
Now, grades were on my mind. I figured there was no point in worrying anymore though. There was nothing I could do about it anyway. I could avoid my grades for a day or two, but they were out there in the world and I had to face them sometime so why not now?
"You say that now. Wait until I come out with all 'U's. You'll feel bad then," I responded. So maybe I was worrying a little.
"I guess I would. Better not let me down like that then," Matt said, smiling as he parked the car across the road from my school. There were about twenty people from my year standing outside already, some holding envelopes and looking happy and others looking less happy, preparing to go in or having just received their grades.
I pressed my lips together nervously and curled into a hug from Matt, needing reassurance. This was nothing. In the warmth from Matt's body, I felt so safe and so calm. It was the oddest change in my life and it had happened so naturally.
"You'll be great, Peach," Matt said, planting a kiss on my forehead, and I believed him, stepping confidently out of his car and walking into school.
It was the same as it had been a year ago to collect GCSE results, all our form teachers in one room with a stack of envelopes in front of them. I took in a breath and walked over to Madame Bouvier, who happened to be my form teacher as well as French teacher. She held out the envelope with my name on it. "Good luck," she said warmly, abandoning the French for once.
I smiled anxiously back. I was too impatient to go outside to open it and nervously tore the envelope open in front of her, looking at my results. Adding them up in my head took a few seconds, but once I had I brought my face up and grinned fully at Madame Bouvier. She would have known my results already, and she returned the grin.
"Congratulations, Blair," she said.
There was just one last thing for me to clear up. I kept my smile on, biting my lower lip, and corrected her, "It's Pippa."
A/N: Well, that's it. I cannot believe this is over. I've been writing All Play and No Work since I was fourteen and I'm eighteen now, so it's just weird for me to absorb that it's finished. I've never successfully finished anything until now. Wow.
At any rate I hope the ending was satisfactory. I don't think this chapter is that well written, and I don't know if I've tied up every loose end. Hopefully I'll pick up on those in editing, but I hope it was all right reading.
I don't know what I'm going to do now, without this story. I know I've got other writing projects, but this was always the one I was most dedicated to. I suppose I'll figure the rest out later. I hope everyone enjoyed reading this story, because I loved writing it and even with its many imperfections I still sort of love this story.
Also, thank you so much to everyone who voted for this story in the SKoW awards, where All Play and No Work won for 'Best Cliché (Incomplete)', which is amazing. Generally as well thank you to everyone that's ever reviewed this story, 'cause it's amazing to have over 1000 reviews. I never expected to get it.
Thanks also to these people for reviewing (sorry if I haven't replied, the rush of finishing this story distracted me): fortuneismymuse, Anonymous-gurl, Evenstar1389, Lindsay, gorgeous806, siddika, clichedwords, Endowment's Seraph, Oooh.Look.A.Cat, Unique Child, sarahpor, DuchessYappingDog, Wabibito, chic rebel, toxic-noodle725, bananasplit, mer-person, dawn's unforgiving darkness, selkiewings, DH L'Orange, Jaz108, yarrowicefrost, freelancewriter, Shojogurl, Randomisation, Shima and Tempis, thoughtsofwisdom, swimchickslam, knitted, RedPillow, kailahboo12, Words of wisdom91, DragonFaeLynn, Kaede Kitsurani, ImmortallyImperfect, runaway peanut, Deafgurl's world, musicalsoul, rockchick07, ItalianQT, Briar Rose 05, NightlyHalo, Singers To The Back, tickle-me-pretty15, Queen of Laughs.
Well, I think I've turned that into an overly long author's note. Thanks for reading.