Chapter 40 - Two Weeks Later

"I. HATE. IT." Isabella shouted angrily from her seat in the bathroom.

"But you look beautiful!" the stylist pleaded with her, fluffing her hair slightly.

"I look like SHIT!" Izzy shouted back. Typical.

"Isabella!" her mother exclaimed, appalled at her choice of language, undoubtedly.

"Oh please, Mom. Don't pretend you've never heard the word." Iz snapped back. "My hair is so 80s, big hair is not in-"

I saw Mrs. Walters's quickly darkening expression and jumped in with, "Izzy, you look great!"

She studied my face intently, eyes narrowed. Already I could tell that she was coming around... she valued my opinion a lot. She then critically eyed her hair loosely curling in ringlets around her face and then slowly said, "Okay."

The collective group let out a sigh. "I told you, Isabella," her mother told her, beads on her evening gown clicking as she shook her head.

"Time?" Izzy asked, ignoring her mother.

"6:45," one of the stylists replied.

"Everyone out now." Isabella ordered, getting up. "We have to get dressed," she grabbed my arm as they filed out. She smiled at me finally and then walked me into her room. "I like being in charge," she said, unbuttoning her blouse, and taking it off.

"My little prima donna is 18!" I teased in reply, grabbing my dress that Lucy had set out earlier off her bed.

"I'm not a prima donna!" she whined back, taking off her sweats.

"Ha." I replied dryly, turning my back on her, and undressing. "Biggest understatement of the year!" I pulled on my dress.

"Pfft," she snorted behind me, her own dress ruffling as she put it on.

I smoothed out the dress and then asked her, "Can you zip my dress up for me please?"

"Sure," she replied. She grabbed the zipper and quickly zipped me up. "Now me," she said as I turned around. I zipped her up and then she turned around with a smile. "Black and white," she said quietly.

"Black and white." I repeated with a smile back. "Happy birthday, Iz."

"Thanks," she replied. We hugged. "Let's take a picture," she said, walking over to her dresser and grabbing her slim digital camera off the dresser. She threw her arm around my neck and snapped the picture. There we were, forever trapped in time.…

"Isabella?" Andrew poked his head in. His eyes fell on me and his mouth dropped open.

"Yes?" Isabella prompted him finally as she put on her heels.

"It's time," he replied, not taking his eyes off me. She nodded and walked out past him. "You look beautiful," he told me quietly.

"Thanks." I smiled back shyly, walking over and patting my loose bun absent mindedly. "Happy birthday." I said quietly, wrapping my arms around his neck.

"Thanks," he replied, wrapping his own around my waist. He kissed me slowly, running a hand up my back to my neck.

"Ana." Isabella called.

"Let's go." I said quietly, pulling him out of the room.

Izzy looked at us and then smirked, putting a hand on her slim hip. "Andrew, that shade of lipstick isn't really that unbecoming," she teased him dryly.

Andrew quickly wiped at his mouth and I hid a smile. "Do you want to walk down with me?" he asked me.

"Sure." I replied.

"Who's going to walk me down?" Izzy demanded, suddenly looking panicked.

"It's your debut." I replied. "Don't you walk yourself-?"

"David's downstairs but he can't get up here, Ana!" she lunged and grabbed my arm. "Ana, I can't do this alone! I need you!" she begged.

And we had come full circle.

"Okay." I replied simply.

"Really?" Izzy asked.

"I'll meet you downstairs." I told Andrew.

"Okay," he agreed with a shrug and then walked downstairs.

"Thanks, Ana," she told me quietly, looping her arm through mine.

"What are friends for?" I smiled back.

There was a clanging of glass downstairs and the rumble of voices slowly quieted. "Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to society my daughter.…" she paused and then began again with, "My daughter Isabella Christina Walters and her best friend-" Andrew must have spoken to her. "-Anastasia."

Isabella picked up her dress as they applauded. "Black and white," she told me quietly.

"Black and white." I agreed. "Happy birthday, Iz." I said quietly and then we descended the stairs.

Andrew smiled at me, clapping along with the rest of the crowd. He took my hand once Izzy and I had reached the bottom of the stairs. "Let's get out of here," he whispered in my ear quietly.

"How?" I whispered back, smiling at random people smiling back at me.

"Like this," he slowly made his way through the crowd and then quickly pulled me down the hallway into the library.

He pulled me into the library and kissed me quickly. I kissed him back and then pulled back. "What do you want for your birthday?" I asked him, wrapping my arms around his neck.

"I'm pretty sure I already got it," he replied before kissing me.

The future was unknown for us but I knew that I had Andrew. From there, it could only get better.

"I love you." Andrew told me quietly and then kissed me.

I ran my freshly manicured nails through his short hair and kissed him back with all my love.


Author's Note: the reason for the title change

This story used to be called The Shadow because initially, I was going to have Ana moving out of the shadow of Izzy. The thing is, Ana is her own person and there's no real point that it actually happened. After reviewing the finished product and really thinking about the plot, the whole thing with Andrew, Nick, and Ryan just kind of happened... part of the story, not the central point. Izzy and Ana are prominent characters in this story so I decided to make it more about them rather than Ana and her boy problems. And through everything, through her mom taking off, the guys, everything, Izzy was there for Ana... so a title and summary change was needed and done.