A/N: Epilogue is up! It took me a long time to write this, but...I'm pretty happy with it. I don't think you will be happy with it though, but please don't kill me. And you remember that I promised you guys that there was something that was probably going to make you happy? Well, just read the A/N at the bottom (after reading the epilogue of course!)
Huge thank you to all my wonderful reviewers! I feed on your reviews! Not kidding!
One special thank you to my beta-reader extraordinaire Valerie!
Three months later.
Three months. It sounded like a long time. A really long time. It really wasn't though. It still felt like yesterday. She still remembered everything about him and she still missed him as much as she had the first few days after he'd left. The cliche was true though: Life goes on. It really did. She hadn't heard from him or spoken to him at all in those three months and Lily decided it was time for her to move on. So she had. Enter Jason. Jason Miller. Kind of cute, a whiter than white toothpaste smile, wicked sense of humour and an accent to die for. He had recently been transferred from a High School in Australia and ever since the first day he laid eyes on Lily, he knew he had to have her. Of course he didn't know about her history. Of course he didn't know about a certain guy named Ryan. Of course he didn't know that deep down Lily still wasn't over him. All he knew was that Lily was beautiful and funny and seemed different from all the other girls he knew. So he went after her and after weeks of trying Lily had finally given in. After all, she wanted to move on and it was obvious that Jason had 'moving on' written all over him.
So here they were, walking through the mall, holding hands. Things weren't that serious between them. Or at least Lily didn't think so. He was a nice guy and she enjoyed spending time with him, but he was no Ryan. Ryan. Somehow his name always came back. She wondered sometimes why she didn't just pick up the phone and call him. Just to hear his voice. Just to find out how he was doing. But then again: he hadn't called her either. So why should she be the first one to call? And besides, it was only going to pour salt in a still open wound and she didn't need that right now. So this seemed the right thing to do. Move on. She was moving on to a guy named Jason. The 'transition guy' as Cindy called him. Although Lily was pretty sure Jason wasn't going to like that. He really seemed to like her and she felt bad about not feeling the same things he felt, but...what else could she do? She needed him right now. She needed him to get over Ryan. She hated how selfish that sounded and she hated herself for being that selfish, but it was the only way.
"What are you thinking about?"
Lily smiled at his question. There was no way she was going to answer him with the truth. She could never do that to him.
"Nothing important." She told Jason and squeezed his hand softly.
"Well...we've been walking through this mall for almost 30 minutes now and I don't think I've ever seen you this quiet."
"I'm just a little tired. But I know something that will solve that though..."
She gave him a pleading look and she knew Jason knew what she meant.
"Starbucks should worship you, you know that?" he said, smiling. "You're without a doubt their best customer."
"And proud of it." She added. "They should name a coffee after me."
"Keep drinking their coffee like this and they will." Jason assured her as he bent over and gave her a quick kiss. "I'll be right back. Don't move."
"I wouldn't dare."
Jason had to let go of her hand and entered the Starbucks. It was pretty busy inside and Lily knew he wouldn't be back for at least another 10 minutes. She sighed as she watched him through the glass doors. She then looked around the mall, not in the mood to just stand here and wait for Jason to return with the coffee. Her eyes fell on the gorgeous blue skirt in the window of her favorite clothing store that was very conveniently located opposite the Starbucks. She threw one last look at Jason who was still last in the never-ending line, before walking up to the store to admire the skirt from up close. God, the thing was beautiful. One look at the price tag told her that drooling in front of the window was a close as she was ever going to get to the skirt, but...it was drooling of the good kind. She could stand her all day and drool. She considered going inside to check out the rest of the new collection, but kept herself from actually going in, because she didn't trust herself around that many beautiful clothes. She knew herself well enough to know she would end up buying something. Probably something expensive. Probably something she didn't even need. So...she wasn't going in. She had to be strong. She had to slowly back away from the store. She would just walk back to Starbucks and wait for Jason to return with the coffee. She could do it. She was going to do it. Her gaze moved back to the dazzling blue skirt and she let out a moan of frustration and sadness. She then slowly backed away from the store. One step at the time, never taking her eyes off the skirt that would look so damn good on her!
People should have eyes in their back. Because if Lily had had eyes in her back, what happened next wouldn't have happened. If she'd had eyes in her back, she would have seen him coming and she would've...well, she probably wouldn't have believed her own eyes, but after that she would've hid. So he wouldn't see her. So there would be not salt poured into any open wounds. However, Lily didn't have eyes in her back and Ryan was too caught up in his own thoughts to see the girl he knew so well backing away from her favorite clothing store. Call it fate. A twist of fate, if you like.
She tried to keep her balance when she suddenly bumped into someone. Two strong hands grabbed her by the shoulders to keep her from falling and Lily curiously turned around to find out who had saved her from public humiliation.
"Oh God, sorry…" the voice of the man sounded, not yet realizing what 'fate' had in mind for him.
Lily figured it out sooner though. She was the first one to see it. The first one to notice. She had to grab his arm to keep herself from falling nonetheless. She just stared at him in complete awe. That's when Ryan noticed. Fate could be proud. This was definitely one of its better twists.
"What are you doing here?" Lily managed to ask, recovering from the shock.
Ryan stared at the girl, suddenly realizing he was still holding her by the shoulders, although that was no longer necessary since she seemed perfectly capable of standing on her own two feet now. So he let go of her. They were still standing pretty damn close to each other though.
"Shouldn't you be in school?"
Yes. Of course she should be in school.
"That's not an answer to my question." Lily said.
"No, it's not." Ryan agreed, still not completely realizing that it really was Lily standing in front of him. He had gone to the mall, because he knew Lily wouldn't be there. He knew there was no way he would run into her at this time of the day. Apparently he had been wrong. There was no messing with fate. "I...came to pick up the last couple of boxes."
"In the mall?" Lily asked, raising an eyebrow.
"No... at my apartment. But then I got hungry and... I had no idea you would be here. I figured you'd be in school."
"So I picked one hell of a time to skip class, huh?"
"Your timing has always been...astonishing."
A short silence fell. Lily looked at him. He looked good. Really good. Of course he hadn't changed much (after all, it had only been three months), but he looked healthy and... incredibly hot. Stop it, Lily.
"You came to pick up the boxes yourself? You couldn't have...I don't know...hired one of those companies that transports things from one place to the other?"
"I could have done that...but I haven't."
"How are you doing?" he quickly changed the subject.
"Been better." Lily said. "Been worse too though. You?"
"The same...You look really good."
"Thanks. You too."
"You look older." He said, smiling.
"No, I don't. You're just saying that because you know I am older."
"Maybe." He admitted. "But you still look good. And I was actually saying you look older so I could ask you how your birthday was."
"It was nice...There was just someone I really wanted to be there, but...he wasn't." She said, looking him into the eye, a sad feeling taking over her.
"Maybe he didn't have a choice." Ryan said. "But I'm sure he wished you a happy birthday, although he couldn't be there."
"He did. He sent me a very sweet text message." Lily said, not looking away. "I haven't heard anything from him ever since though."
"Maybe he was waiting to hear something from you first."
"And maybe he just thought it would be too painful to call you and hear your voice, knowing he could never be with you."
"It doesn't mean he doesn't miss you."
"I guess not." She whispered.
Now Lily looked down at her feet. She hated this. She didn't want this. This was the exact definition of pouring salt into an open wound. Her open wound to be exact.
"Everything okay here?"
It was Jason. Lily's head shot up and saw Jason making his way towards them, holding two cups of coffee in his hands. He had a worried look on his face. Lily felt Ryan's eyes on her and she just really wanted the earth to swallow her right now.
"Yeah. Everything's fine." Lily lied, trying to smile.
Jason had reached them now and handed Lily her coffee. He looked at Ryan and Ryan looked back at Jason. It was a very uncomfortable situation to say the least. Lily cleared her throat.
"Uh...Ryan, this is Jason Miller. He's my...boyfriend."
She had no idea that using that word could be so hard.
"Jason, this is Ryan Davies. He's my former English teacher..."
"And boyfriend." Ryan added, not even trying to hide his jealousy as he kept looking Jason straight in the eye. Of course Jason gladly returned the gesture.
"That too of course." Lily said, sighing. This sucked.
Suddenly Ryan looked away and smiled at Lily. She saw the look in his eyes. It was a look of sadness and... defeat. It made her feel even more horrible than she already did.
"I'll just be going..." Ryan said.
Before Lily even had the chance to say anything to that, Ryan gave her a quick nod and turned around. He walked away and Lily watched him.
"You dated your English teacher?" Jason asked, surprised.
Lily heard him, but his question didn't really get through to her. She just watched Ryan leave and felt her heart break with every step he took.
"Lily?" Jason asked.
When Ryan had disappeared around the corner, she turned around to face Jason again.
"Yeah." She then said. "I used to date my English teacher. And that was him..."
Jason didn't say anything to that.
"I'll be right back. I can't let him leave like that."
Jason opened his mouth to say something, but Lily didn't let him. She just smiled at him and then walked off. She disappeared around the same corner Ryan had disappeared around only seconds ago and she looked around for his familiar face. She spotted him leaning against one of the benches in front of a store. His back was turned to her and he seemed sad, even from behind.
"Ryan." She said.
He immediately turned around. They stood there for a little while, just looking at each other. Both realizing how much they really loved each other. Both realizing they still wanted to be together. She then ran up to him, not taking her eyes off him.
"What are you doing?" Ryan asked her.
"I don't know...I..."
She was cut off by Ryan as he pulled her into a kiss. Lily didn't know what was happening, but she gladly wrapped her arms around his neck as Ryan deepened the kiss and wrapped his arms around her waist. This kiss was different from all the other kisses they had ever shared. This one held more meaning than any of the other kisses. It was a sad kiss though. A goodbye kiss. They could never be together. That much was obvious by now. They had never had a real chance, but they also knew they were never going to get a real chance. If there was such a thing as 'impossible love' then this was definitely it. And the realization made both of them very sad. It was then that she broke the kiss, although she still had her arms wrapped around him. She looked at him.
"I love you." She whispered.
"I love you." He answered.
"I just wish that meant more than it does."
"You have a boyfriend." Ryan stated.
"I know...and this is totally not fair towards him."
"You love him?"
"No... I don't love him. I could never love him, but... I'm trying to move on, Ryan."
"You should move on."
She nodded as she slowly let go of him. The second they let go of each other, it felt like they were standing miles apart, although in reality it was only inches.
"You're still wearing it." He said.
She knew immediately what he meant. She looked down at the necklace.
"I could never take it off." She told him.
"Good. Never take it off then."
"I won't." She promised him.
A short silence fell as they looked at each other.
"I should go."
"Yeah, you should...I can't let you go just yet though."
"What do you mean?"
"You're gonna have to promise to call this time. I don't want us to...never talk again."
Ryan placed a soft kiss on Lily's forehead. She closed her eyes when she felt his lips on her forehead. She didn't want him to go. She so desperately wanted him to stay here. With her.
"Your coffee is getting cold." Ryan said, nodding towards the cup of coffee she was holding.
"Here." She said, handing him the cup of coffee. "For old times sake."
She thought back to their little encounter in a diner, not so long ago, when they had shared her 'barrel' of coffee.
"Thanks." Ryan said as he took the cup.
Ryan smiled at her one last time and she returned it. Then he turned around and walked away. Lily watched him. Before he left the mall the turned around one last time. She held up her hand. He just nodded. Then he left the mall and with that, he left her life. For good, this time. Or maybe not...Who knew what other twists fate had in mind. Time would tell.
A/N: I know, I know...this is still not the happy ending you hoped for. But there's a little bit more closure now, right? Right? :-s
Good news: I'm thinking about a sequel to this story. I haven't exactly thought out the plot yet, but I have a few ideas, so....Anyone interested? Please let me know in your review!
I had a wonderful time working on this story and I feel really committed to Ryan and Lily now and...well...thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully I'll be back soon with a new story (maybe a sequel) and hopefully I'll see all of you then!
Now review please!