I'm sad to say that this is the last chapter. I'm glad this story is over, even though I love the characters so much. Don't worry, I'll post one shots about them! They will not be forgotten!

Chapter nine

-Edward's POV-

I couldn't believe how lost I was in the subtle bliss. Nothing seemed to change after the hospital bit, and if they did, it was for the better. Aaron's hand never left mine, and I never shook in his embrace despite the shivering of anticipation. Both of us were cured of our past curses, and I couldn't thank them more for all they had done. If not for them, I would be sick of this world.

Time still passed by silently, and we were lost in the worlds of our eyes. Aaron lost the bandages and stitches, lost his hate and every desire for the drugs that before numbed his mind of that hate. I was proud of him, he'd grown. I guessed that I had grown as well, though. More so, I had hoped. The stings in my chest were no longer of pain or grief, but the stereotypical sensing of a storm that my Native American blood bestowed upon me.

I remember looking at Aaron and realizing how much we had changed. His Mohawk had grown out, now thrown to the side, but the fuzz on the sides still just short enough to tickle my skin. He'd upgraded his over-worn hoodie to a thigh-length leather jacket that was equally beaten and worn. His Mustang hadn't changed, though the mileage the backseat got had increased steadily.

I now look at the sky with a hope so strong that I can't believe I was so lost just two years prior.

---

The fuzz that started to gather on Aaron's chin and jaw tickled my neck. When a giggle escaped me, this only encouraged this small torture. I held onto the arms that were looped around me, laughing and snorting loudly as I tried to wiggle away from him.

We were laying on the hood of Aaron's mustang, parked near the docks. It was a cloudy day, a bit chilly, so there was no one at the beach. Neither or us were skipping school, I having graduated that year and Aaron the year before. I flicked him in the nose and he eventually stopped tickling me, laying back against the windshield.

"Look." I pointed at the horizon, the red sun peeking through some thinning clouds. Purple, bright pink, red and orange striped parallel to the sea. The water reflected the colors, churning them in the sharp waves. I felt Aaron's chest jerk as he chuckled. "It's pretty."

"Well, admire it for a little bit. I have to take you home soon." Aaron sighed. I always knew he never did like taking me home. Ever since he graduated, he's been renting an apartment on the edge of town. I won't say it was hard to let him leave, as most love-sick teens do. In fact, it added to the pleasure I got when I saw him. It's quite amazing how happy and eager you get just by not seeing your loved one for a couple days or a week.

"If you must…" I sighed as well. Aaron snorted at my attempt to mimic him and ruffled my hair. I'd let it grow out a bit, but besides being taller and wearing newer-looking clothes I didn't look much different. Aaron said I looked more defined, whatever he meant by that.

Soon, the sun set underneath the sea, and Aaron nudged me to slide off the hood. I did, and climbed into the passenger seat while he got into the driver's seat. The small skull on his keychain swayed after he started the mustang. I settled into the seat, the wonderful seat-warmers beginning to make me sleepy.

Every couple of stop lights--there weren't many, to my disappointment--Aaron would lean over and kiss me. A brief, light peck that I could've mistaken for an exhale of a breath if I wasn't looking. The kisses got harder the closer we got to home. We pulled into the driveway of Derek's house, the lights in the living room flickering. Derek was long asleep on the couch; he worked from five in the morning to probably about five in the evening that day.

Aaron leaned over again, but I pressed my lips to his first. It was long, never resting. I felt so tempted to grab Aaron's shirt and drag him to my room, but that damned sticky note in the back of my mind fluttered. I had college applications to mail, and let's face it, our government would never produce self-licking envelopes so I could get some.

"I gotta go." I pressed my fingers to Aaron's lips and pushed them away slightly. A cute smile and a wink from me made him nod, whispering bye against my finger. I kissed him quickly on the forehead before climbing out, jogging to the front door. I knew he'd be looking, so why not give him a show? I bent over, plucking the key from my shoe and slid it into the lock. I pushed the door open and closed it behind me. If I had looked back, I probably wouldn't of been able to keep a straight face. Aaron's expressions amused me so much.

Derek was, indeed, asleep on the couch. With a smile, I covered him with a blanket and clicked the TV off. His hair had grown more, and he braided it now. He still looked the same to me, though.

I climbed the stairs up to my room, kicking my door shut and belly-flopping onto my bed. I groaned pathetically into my pillow and rolled over, sitting up. I picked up the stacks of envelopes from my end table and dropped them onto my bed. Sixteen envelopes, sixteen chances for a yes. I was nervous and numb at the same time. Questions I didn't really want to think about raged through my mind. Would anyone say yes? What if the college I really wanted said no? How would Derek react?

How would Aaron react?

I hadn't told either of them about my endeavors, and I was still nervous to do so. I licked the first envelope, my face scrunching on the rather horrible taste of it. Fifteen more. Stamp here, address there, lick this, close it and…done.

---

"Where'd my stamps go?" Derek called from his work room. He was going through the small drawers in a tiny cabinet for the roll of stamps that was now in my room, because I stupidly forgot.

"Uh, not sure." I was sitting on the couch, watching some movie marathon. I had really hoped that he wouldn't persist on it, just thinking he misplaced it or something. But this was my brother.

"I could've sworn I had it in here…Did you happen to move it?" Derek peeked his head out of the room to look at me on the couch. "I saw you go in here earlier." He wasn't accusing me of anything, but that made me just feel even more guilty.

"Um." I fidgeted. They were on my end table. Dammit, dammit, dammit. "No. I didn't see them. I thought you used them up." Ugh, I felt bad for lying. But he couldn't know! Not yet, anyway. I wanted to surprise him with an acceptance letter.

"Oh, did I?" Derek bit his lip. "Oh well, I'll go buy more, I guess."

"No, I'll buy some this time. Don't worry about it." He smiled, trying not to make it look fake. He merely shrugged.

"Alright." He said. He grabbed his keys and coat, "I have to go to work." He kissed my cheek. "I'll be back in time for dinner." As the door shut I sighed loudly. I felt bad, yes, but I hoped that it would be worth it.

---couple weeks later---

I was sitting on the couch, watching TV. A peaceful day, and I relished in it. I had yet to get that little tingle in the back of my mind that reminded me of the fact I was lying to both Aaron and Derek. A miniscule lie, in my book, but nevertheless! But I felt a shred of dread wash over me. I looked over at the front door when it opened.

"When were you gonna tell me?" Aaron leaned against the door jam, handful of letters in his hand. Oh…uh oh. Was he mad?

I stood up. "I was gonna tell you when I was accepted." He looked mad.

Aaron rolled his eyes, still holding the letters. "Oh, right. 'Sorry Aaron, I got accepted into a university far away. I'm gonna move and we're never going to see each other again'."

That stung. "I wasn't going to say that! I only applied to two far away universities, and I doubt they accepted me!" I shot back.

Aaron threw the letters onto the coffee table. "As if! They're probably all begging to get you to come to their universities!"

I gritted my teeth. Why was Aaron mad about this? I thought he would be happy! "I'm not that smart, Aaron! Most of them are probably 'no' letters!"

"You're a little fucking Einstein!" Aaron raised his voice. "They would have to fucking be insane to not say yes!"

"Why are you so mad?" I shouted. "Why does it bother you that I'm applying to universities?!" My fists were clenched by then.

"Because I know I'd never get accepted!" Aaron shouted back. "I'm not smart like you, if anything I'd get accepted into the university you didn't apply to." I winced slightly. "And what if you do get accepted into the far away universities? What if the nearby ones say no?" I felt my stomach drop when he looked at me with worry. Those brown eyes of his… I bit my lip. "I don't have enough money to move out there with you."

"If I get accepted to a far away university, I'll turn it down." Now his eyes widened, but he didn't say anything. "I understand. I'm sorry. I should've told you."

Aaron closed the door behind him, looking down at the floor. He stayed silent as he walked over to me. I wrapped my arms around him, and he buried his face into my neck. "I am happy for you." He mumbled. "I just got scared. I'm sorry."

It felt weird, to be the one comforting him. Usually it was me being comforted. "It's okay." He wrapped his arms around me. "I'm not going to move away. I promise."

"I can always borrow money." Aaron said into my neck. "Dad or my Aunt will lend me some, no problem. I'll sell some stuff…it'll be fine."

"What if I told you that, if I went to a far away university, I wouldn't be in a dorm, I'd be renting an apartment?" I smiled, knowing that the gears in his head was turning. I guessed correctly, he had completely thought I was going to live in a dorm.

He stood up slightly. "Got enough room in your bed for me?" He still looked worried, but smiled effortlessly. I nodded, leaning up. I pressed my lips to him, feeling him relax against me. So he was just worried about losing me? I was going to scold him later for worrying about something so stupid. But for now, we just held each other.

-----

Derek actually threw a party after he found out about the application letters. I think my ribs are permanently bent like this after all the hugs he gave me.

The end. :'[ Please stay tuned for one-shots, they will be coming!