Epilogue:

Okay- most dreams don't come true. Now I said most, because people tend to dream a lot. Only select but important dreams do come true. Reality is what you make of it, and you should never let anyone, not even your best friend, tear you away from your dreams, because the real world does hurt, it can make you cry. Pain can be beautiful sometimes, and high school can turn out to actually be the best years of your life. Yes! Second placers can become the It Girls, if only for a moment in time, to risk sounding like a pep talk.

After my birthday, the world found out who Christian's Mystery Date was, to my utter annoyance. Not that I don't love Christian but you cannot date a rock star without becoming famous yourself. School started and that was the end of privacy for me. I was followed by camera people, stalked during gym, and had interviews after track practice. It is funny how quickly life can change.

Connor and Bella began an item and Connor soon got her name tattooed on his back shoulder, done by the muse herself. When Connor falls in love, he falls hard. I don't want to say that Bella is his rebound girl from Cher, but someone has to say it. Either way, I am glad that Bella and I are friends because I do not see her going away anytime soon. Knowing Connor, it is just a matter of time before he buys a ring and drives them to Las Vegas.

As for school, I was not a shadow anymore; I mean people knew my name! Maybe it was because I dated Christian Williams, lead singer of The Capricorn Minds, or because I had a rockin' dye job, or because I was the All-State champion of the 200 meter dash, or maybe it was because Sophie was my ex best friend. Who knew? I surely did not. I still was not the most popular girl at school, that remains Sophie's spot, but I was happy as who I was- who I've always been. I still hang around Miss Grace, but I no longer saw her as my mentor. Mentors were for people who needed guidance that they could not find anywhere else- I had all the help I needed now, but I do still see her as my friend, a close one.

One of my major fears about finishing off my senior year was the absence of Sophie in my life. Technically I did steal Christian away from her; and inexcusable transgression against Sophie and I thought that vengeance would be swift and lethal, like it was for all of those other girls who crossed her in the past. After the first week of school, I found out that my nightmares would not be my high school reality. Sophie did not technically ignore me, but did not go out of her way to do anything special either. One day I was going to lunch late and there were no more empty tables, except for the table Sophie sat at alone.

Naturally I assumed it would be better to eat outside with the stoners and skater kids than to endure a lunch with the one person who hated me the most. Still, I was supposed to be the new and improved Hope Mendez, age 18, Hispanic, and loving life. So I marched right over to her table, and it felt like all eyes were on us, as if this was a momentous occasion. I set my tray down on the table, and she looked up from the thick library copy of Jane Eyre at me through the new thick rim black glasses she was toting. And that was it; she looked back down at her book and I sat down. After that day, the rumors about us died down and nothing went back to normal. Being normal is vastly overrated anyway.

Then something really unexpected happened. Sophie was sitting on the bleachers after school one day, with the lingering paparazzi I was growing accustom too. It was déjà vu; like old times, when she would do her homework and wait for my practice to end so we could drive all night and do crazy house paper jumping. After coach let us go for the day, I packed my things into my black athletic bag, and paused as Sophie came down the bleachers to greet me. It was mid November, close to Thanksgiving- I know because I was anticipating spending the holiday with Christian in Atlanta, where some big award show would be taking place.

"Hey stranger," Sophie said as she finally stood in front of me.

"Hey yourself," I said in a casual response, and gave her a smile. I had to admit, I did miss her. So I told her. "I miss you."

She nodded. "Me too."

We walked to her car, and I got in the passenger seat, wondering if this time, our friendship would last. Would things get better? How was it ever going to work after everything I said, she said?

I buckled myself in, as she turned on the engine.

"I thought you hated me," I said simply. "I thought you would be plotting your revenge by now. Just like with all of those other girls."

She turned towards me, and gave me a sassy smile before she checked her side mirror. "Vengeance is a waste of life, don't you think?"

So we took it from there. No, it has not been easy since, there are still a lot of things we have not even begun to cover, but it is a start. Our friendship will never be the same as it use to be, but then again, why would I want that? I was her puppet. Now it was time for her to accept me as who I am, who I was, and who I will be as I continue to better myself. Only time will tell for us.

So I proved myself wrong. Fairy tales do come true. Christian and I? Fairy tale, magic, love- whatever you want to call it; it's real, and that will always be enough for me. Hope is something everyone should have, I know I do now. Without those wishes, without those dreams to hope for, where would I be now? I don't even want to think about it. Who knows what the future holds for me, or for Christian, or for Sophie, or Connor, or even my Dad and Roxanne? Maybe it will be fame, maybe fortune, or maybe your own tattoo shop/record store, or maybe even wedding bells? Anything is possible. It can really happen, and not just in your dreams.