Oh, my goodness, I can't believe this is the last chapter! I'm going to cry, I swear! I hope you all like this chapter, and I hope you like the story. This has to be the randomest story for me to write (by my standards). I need to thank my Mom, of course, who read every chapter and almost killed me a few times if the chapters were too short (Love you, Mom), and I need to thank all of you that reviewed!!!
Okay, I hope you enjoy, and don't forget to leave a review!
Drinks were being passed around. I smacked Cole's hand away from a shot of rum.
"No way in hell are you drinking rum," I said, hands on my hips as I sat in the booth at Gravestones. "Pick something else."
"But I want it," he pouted, reaching for it again.
"No!" I said, thwacking his wrist again.
"You're so mean to me," he said. "And on my birthday!"
"Aw," I taunted. "Boo-hoo. I'm the one who's going to have to deal with you later."
Rory took the shot from the tray and swiftly downed it, and Cole's look of shock was so funny that I couldn't help but laugh.
"You are so uninvited to our wedding," Cole muttered crossing his arms over his chest.
"I haven't said yes yet!" I screeched, smacking his shoulder.
"Wedding!" Shay said, her eyes brightening.
"Cole, I swear to God . . . ."
"You'll say yes eventually," he whispered at my ear. Shivers went down my spine, but I quickly controlled my reaction to him. "I'll wait as long as it takes until then."
I nodded absently, sipping at my tequila sunrise and glancing at Rory.
"One thing, Rory," I said, pointing accusingly at him. "The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that you were pushing me toward Cole. Explain yourself."
He had the good graces to blush. "Well," he started, looking to Cole for help. "Remember when you were in the hospital?"
"How could I forget?" I said, smacking Cole lightly on the arm. "Asshole."
"Hey!" the smackee yelped indignantly.
"When we were waiting to find out what was wrong with you, Cole and I had a long talk."
"Did you now?" I muttered, glaring at him sideways. "What about?"
"Uh . . . basically what it came down to . . . was how much Cole missed you and that he had realized how deep his feelings for you were after you heard what he had said."
"Really?" I muttered, turning my glare to Rory. "And you knew about this, huh? And you let me continue to think that he hated me?"
"Shay, lets dance," Rory said grabbing her arm and pulling her along.
"But I don't want to . . . ." Her voice trailed off behind her as they moved into the crowded dance floor.
I sighed. "Looks like it's just us," I said, turning to smirk at Cole.
"And whose fault is that?" he said, his arm snaking around my shoulders.
"As if you didn't want to be alone for awhile," I muttered, moving easily into his embrace. I tucked my head under his chin.
"You've got me there." He tilted my head up and planted a soft kiss on my lips, and I smiled.
I hooked my arm around his neck and held on while he teased me by nipping gently at my mouth. When we were out of breath, I slid away while linking my fingers through his.
"Well, well, what's this?" I heard from behind me, and I barely suppressed a groan. Bitch.
Susan walked in front of our table with her arm looped through Tony's, who sneered down at me. I steeled myself.
"Cole, it really was rather rude of you to kiss and run last night," she said, pouting. "I thought I meant something to you."
"I feel nothing for a vindictive whore like you," Cole said, barely looking her way. His hand tightened on mine. "Stop trying to weasel your way into my life. I said it's over and I meant it."
Her eyes narrowed. "Whore, am I? I put up with you for three years while you pined away for this bitch, and all I got for it was the occasional kiss and dinner on my birthday."
"And all the while you were fucking other men, so I don't want to hear your whining, Susan. As if I would ever touch you, knowing that."
"We got close one time, don't you remember, dear," she said, smirking seductively. Her eyes shifted to mine. "It was amazing. He was wild, and his hands were all over me." I set my gaze on the table, not wanting to hear this. "I never thought he could be like that. I'd never been so turned on in my life . . . ."
"If you'll excuse me," I snapped, sliding out of the booth. "I don't exactly enjoy sitting around and listening to a bitch-slut talking about making out with my boyfriend."
She looked a little taken aback. "Boyfriend?"
"Soon-to-be fiancé," he muttered, playfully glaring at me.
"That's right," I said, crossing my arms over my chest. "So you'd better get the fuck out of here before I have to kick your ass."
It was obvious that she tried to compose herself. It was sad, really, because she looked at Tony with a worried expression, and then she turned her gaze to me.
"How cute," she said. "And how sad that you actually want him; after all, he was with me for three years. You will always be his second choice."
I threw back my fist and swung . . . .
I sighed as Cole pulled me into his lap. The television flashed in the dark, and I closed my eyes as I tucked my head against Cole's shoulder.
The rest of the night had been interesting, to say the least. Susan had screamed bloody murder upon seeing my fist speeding toward her face. With a smirk and snicker, I had paused moments before actually smashing my fist into her face, and it was one of the greatest—and most sadistic—pleasures that I had ever felt in my life when she had started crying dramatically. I had felt guilty for about two seconds, but then I remembered who she was.
"Did you really think that I would ruin Cole's birthday by wasting my time on you?" I had muttered, and then I had grabbed Cole's hand and led him out on the dance floor.
Now we were indulging in a good horror movie and we were sharing a big bowl of popcorn between us.
"Did you have fun tonight?" I whispered, smiling when his hand came up to my knee and squeezed. I felt so comfortable with him touching me and the way that he would stroke my hair or touch my shoulder. Even the way he would look at me from across the room was so incredibly loving that I often found myself trying to wake from this dream.
"Yeah," he whispered back, turning so that his eyes met mine.
"I'm glad," I said, touching my forehead to his. "I thought for sure that Susan would ruin it."
"Never," he said, kissing the corner of my mouth. "I love you. I was with her to hurt you, but we're beyond that. We're together now."
"Happily ever after and all the bullshit in between, right?"
"Absolutely." His hand traveled higher on my thigh. "Just for the record—in case it ever comes up again—the only time we even came close to . . . you know . . . I was drunk out of my mind and it stopped quite abruptly when I called her by your name."
That got my attention. "I feel like the sordid mistress," I whispered.
He kissed my lips, lingering so that our breath mingled together as he looped his arm around my waist. "I loved you all along. If anyone should be ashamed of anything, it's me."
I didn't say anything as I claimed his lips with mine. Like I had said before, we were both pretty fucked up, but at least now, we were fucked up together.
"I don't care," I said, holding him around the neck. "I want to forget everything. I want to pretend that the last three years were a screwed up dream."
His arms held me just as tightly. I shifted so that I was straddling his waist on the couch, and I laid my head against his shoulder again. He smelled of clean soap and faintly of stale smoke from the bar.
We stayed like that for a long while, long into the movie and definitely long enough for me to almost fall asleep. Suddenly, though, my eyes flew wide and I smacked his shoulder lightly to get his attention.
"You have to go with me tomorrow and help me find an apartment."
"What?" he asked, stumbling a bit. "You live here."
"Not once my parents find out that we're together-together. Do you really think my Dad will let me live with my boyfriend?"
"Good point. Why do you need a new apartment? Just move back into yours."
"I . . . uh . . . got rid of it."
"You what?" Shock resonated in his voice.
"Surprise," I sang meekly. "Happy birthday!"
He didn't say anything. He only stared at me.
"I wanted to surprise you by moving in with you full-time. I was coming back from the meeting with my landlord when I saw you and Susan . . . ." I let the rest hang between us. Cole brought his hands up and framed my face.
"Thank you," he said, giving me the briefest kiss. "It's exactly what I wanted."
"Too bad you had to ruin it by sleeping with me. Now I can't live with you," I said, pouting cheekily.
"Babe, any time it comes down to you living with me or you sleeping with me . . . well, I think you can guess which one will win every time."
"Pervert," I said, snuggling into his embrace.
"You love it," he said cockily.
"I love you," I said, standing. He turned off the television and followed me as I led the way to the bedroom. I settled onto the bed, and he went behind me and draped his arm over my middle. I let out a big, tongue curling yawn. "I'm so sleepy."
"I am, too," he said as he breathed in my hair.
"We still have to tell your parents and my parents that we're together," I muttered, closing my eyes.
"We'll do that tomorrow," he whispered.
"Okay," I said, furrowing deeper into the covers. Sleep soon overtook me.
After spreading the news to my parents and looking at a few prospective apartments, Cole and I settled back at his apartment for lunch.
A few minutes later, my cell phone rang.
"Yeah," I muttered, taking a bite of my sandwich without looking at the caller ID.
"Temperance," Rory said. "You looking for an apartment?"
"You know I am," I said, rolling my eyes. "I only told you forty times yesterday."
"There's an opening at my building. If you want to stop by today, you can talk to my landlord and set up something."
"Rory, you're a lifesaver," I said, glancing at Cole with a smile.
"I try. See you in a few."
"Bye." I snapped the phone shut and took another bite of my sandwich. "Rory said that there's an apartment available in his building. That's closer than any of the other apartments we looked at. Probably cheaper, too."
He nodded, glancing at the clock. "Well, let's go. I have a class at four."
"Okay, okay, I'll hurry." Then I stuffed the rest of my sandwich in my mouth.
The apartment was really clean and spacious—which I was particularly excited about—and we all worked out an arrangement so that I could move in as soon as possible.
We were all in Rory's apartment after the meeting.
"Where did you and Shay disappear to last night?" Cole asked. "One minute you were on the dance floor, and the next minute you were gone."
"Shay got a phone call, something about a family thing . . . I don't know, but she had to get home. She was parked here and I hadn't even had my car parked when she jumped out and drove away."
"Was she okay? Did something happen?" I asked.
"Like I said, I don't know. She didn't say anything during the drive, but she looked really pale." He seemed distant as he remembered that. "She even left her books here."
"That's weird, but she'll be back for them."
"Yeah," he said, shrugging. "So, what did you two do last night?"
"Do you mean besides the hot, crazy sex?" I asked, my voice breathy as I looked at Cole.
"I did not want to know that, I did not want to know that," Rory chanted, running a hand through his hair. "God, you've only been together for two days. Slow it down or there'll be nothing to enjoy later."
"Oh, yes there will," Cole said, wrapping his arm around my shoulder.
"You two are disgusting," Rory said as he pretended to sneer at us. I knew he was joking, so I pretended to be hurt by gasping and pressing my hands to my heart.
"You wound me," I said, sniffing dramatically. Then I laughed.
"That was my intention," he said, standing and stretching. "It's going to be a long week."
"Lots of exams?" I asked.
"Yeah. Shay's going to be practically living here until Friday."
"I like her," I said, pointing at Rory. "Try not to be a complete asshole, alright."
"Alright, I'll try. It's so hard, though."
"Only because you and Shay are so alike—you don't take bullshit from anyone."
"True," I drawled, leading us to the door. "You guys had better get going. If Cole stares at that clock any longer, I'm going to have to insist that he marry it."
"Attendance counts in this class," he said defensively, pulling me along. "If I'm not there in half an hour, there goes my A!"
"See you, Rory!" I shouted as I was being bodily pulled from the building and then stuffed into Cole's truck. Soon we were back at his apartment, where he left me so that he could run off again.
I slowly became aware of warmth. It was subtle, strong, and I burrowed deeper into it. My head felt light, but I ignored the sensation as I shifted.
"Can't a guy get comfortable?" I heard from next to me, and I smiled as I opened my eyes.
"No," I said with a husky voice. "When did you get home?"
"Two minutes ago. I thought I had lost my keys and about panicked when I saw that the door was locked."
"How can you lose keys that you keep in your front pocket?"
"You'd be surprised."
I pushed my hair from my face and looked up at him. "I'm glad you're home."
"Glad to be home."
"It's going to be strange not living with you," I murmured.
"If you'd marry me, that wouldn't be a problem," he said, and I gazed up at him in all seriousness.
"I know you want to—and I do, too—but not for some time. I love you, and I always will, but I need to get through school first and so do you. How can we be expected to keep a marriage together if we're both working on master's degrees? Or PhD's?"
"I know," he said, grazing his fingertips over my lips. "I will marry you someday."
"You'd better," I said, pulling his head down for a kiss.
"Happily ever after and all the bullshit?" he said, nipping at my lips. I sighed contentedly.
"Happily ever after and all the bullshit."
I know, not much happened, but I hope you like it anyway! Wow, its really over. I'll see if I can come up with something for Rory and Shay, kind of a sequel (but not really). We'll see.
Okay, please review.
I'll try to get my new story out soon, so keep a look out for it! Thank you all so much!!!