Maya stood on the balcony staring down at the street below her. She was exhausted. Her face hurt a little, but it was worth it if it put him away for a longer time. Jake opened the sliding doors and leaned on the railing next to her looking out.

"I can't believe how warm it stays here at night."

"Yeah," she said. "Miami is a warm one."

"Now we just have to get through the civil proceedings." he said.


"How's your eye?" he said turning towards her.

She touched it lightly. "A bit tender, but nothing serious." Jake leaned down and kissed the bruise with the softest of kisses. She gave him a smile.

"Maya, I was gonna wait and talk to once we were back home, and everything had calmed down…" he began.

"I think we should wait Jake. Right now my emotions are running the gamut. It's almost over and I think that it will all be easier for us when we're back and all of this is behind us." she told him as the feeling of dread invaded her stomach.

"Ok, M. We'll do it your way." They stayed on the balcony and watched the city moving quickly beneath them.

When they arrived at the civil court several days later it was to find Bill Grant there alone. He informed the court that her father and stepmother were no longer contesting her request. It was all a matter of paperwork from there. They left the courtroom happily that day.

Kate Hamilton looked at Maya and could see such relief on the girl's face. "Maya have you thought of where you're going to spend your summer?"

Maya smiled at Kay. "At school. I can't wait to get back. I even thought maybe I'd buy a car to get back and forth to town with." Jake frowned at this information.

"Oh, Maya, you can't stay at that school all summer!" Lanie exclaimed.

"No you can't dear. Why don't you stay with us this summer?" As soon as she made the offer Lanie squealed and Jake smiled widely.

"Oh no, I couldn't…" she began.

"Nonsense, of course you will. It'll be good to have you. Jacob, Jake's father, and I would love it. And I know that all the kids will love it."

Maya looked at the three. The smile of glee on Lanie, the warm smile on Jake, and the very set and determined smile on Kay Hamilton. "Ok." she told them meekly.

It was on the plane on the way home that she found out that her father and stepmother had pleaded no contest to the charges brought against them. They wouldn't spend any time in jail, but they each had five years probation, a hefty fine, and lots of community service. She didn't feel anything knowing that they were suffering now. Not sadness, or happiness. She was just glad it was all over.

There second week of Maya staying with them had Jake seeking her out. It was time they spoke and figured out if they could deal with everything that had happened. She was reading in the library, and he sat at the end of the couch waiting for her to look at him.

Maya put the book she was reading down, and waited for Jake to speak.

"Maya I watched the entire proceedings. Seeing what he did to you. Knowing how badly he hurt you, tore me apart. It infuriated me. But it didn't make me care for you any less. It didn't make me think less of you. If anything I feel more for you. You are so strong, and so brave. You've overcome so much. I want us to try to have a relationship M. I want to go out, and I want to be able to call you my girl." He looked at her with his beautiful green eyes and she almost wept.

Could she handle him knowing all of it? What if he decided that he wanted to be intimate and she didn't think that she could? Could she handle this? A real relationship? Yes, she could. Jake was there the whole time for her. He didn't cringe away from her, he didn't look at her with pity or disgust. He swooped in and saved me when I needed saving, and more than just the once. What better guy to have in your corner? Who better to have caring about you? She gave him a smile. "I'd really like that Jake."

Jake leaned down and gave her the best kiss either one of them had ever had.

June 5yrs later.

The organ music began and the men at the end stood up straighter. Several lovely girls walked down the aisle. The third girl a petite blonde stared at the best man with a grin. Her engagement ring sparkled on her finger, and she only had eyes for him. Chelsea mouthed I love you, and Doug smiled back. The two had surprised all of their friends and family when they'd begun dating two years before.

The maid of honor, heavily pregnant, came down the aisle next. She too was petite, with a pixie face, and dark hair which had grown past her shoulders over the years. Her husband watched her with pride. She smiled radiantly. She and Mick had married the year before after having been together since they were juniors in high school. Their first child was due in two months.

Finally it was time for the bride. The tall, slender girl stood proudly. Jonathan Lee escorted her down the aisle. She'd never lost contact with the man who'd done so much for her. The white silk dress flowed down her body emphasizing her loveliness even more. Her train trailed behind her, and she clasped a bouquet of white and purple orchids. As she walked down she caught sight of Kate and Jacob Adams in the front pew, and they smiled at the girl who'd become a daughter to them. She loved them like they were her parents. Mr. Lee kissed her cheek and handed her off to Jake. Her future.

They'd dated from that day after the trial, and had never parted. Oh, they'd fought, but nothing had ever been important than what they felt for each other. The first time they'd made love had been their sophmore year of college when Jake was sure she was ready, and he'd made it the most beautiful experience she could have imagined. Then right before Mick and Lanie's wedding the year before he'd taken her to the family home where they'd shared their first kiss, and he'd proposed. Now, a year later, they were getting married. In the fall he started Law school, and she started Medical school. They knew that life wouldn't always be so easy, especially with the schedules they'd both be working, but they loved each other enough to know what they wanted to fight for.

Jake and Maya looked into each other's eyes that day and promised to love each other forever, and that's just what they did.