IMPORTANT NOTE: This is part of a double update. If you skipped to the end, go back to chapter 22.

Review? Please? Maybe?

Warnings: Language, abrupt ending, bla bla


I stared out at the crowd as I walked onto the stage. It was storming again, but inside the arena, you'd never know of the storm raging just outside these walls. Inside, the place was packed with fans. It seemed that the drama the band went through over the past year and a half only increased our popularity. Our shows were constantly sold out, and it was strange to be hounded for autographs as we walked down the street. Sure, we'd been popular before, but not like this.

Shane and Hale wasted no time in coming out about their relationship. They revealed it during a TV interview only a month after they got together, much to Reed's horror. He wasn't thrilled about the constant calls we received for two months straight after that.

As the music started and I glanced over at Asher, I couldn't help but smile at him. It was the last concert of this tour, and after plenty of physical therapy and getting back into the swing of playing the guitar again, this was also his first concert back. He was thriving in the moment, and I couldn't help but wish I had a camera. It was almost as if he was glowing with happiness.

His parents did get divorced, and his mother tried to sue his father for emotional trauma due to the reporters publicizing the event. Of course, she lost when it was revealed that she's actually tipped off the reporters about their separation in the first place. Asher's dad was now dating a woman about four years younger than him. She'd moved in with him, along with her four foster children. Niko was having a blast taking care of them, and Asher had practically jumped for joy when he found out about them. I hadn't realized just how much he loved kids until that moment. If we ever settled down and stopped touring, maybe we'd have to adopt a kid. We hadn't talked about it, but I doubted Asher would really say no to the idea.

I almost laughed at myself, despite being in the middle of what was now the third song of the night. I was performing at a sold-out concert, and I was thinking about adopting! Of all the things I could have been thinking about, it had to be that.

Reed was engaged, now. I hadn't met her until a year ago, but I loved her instantly. After all, it was her fault that Reed wanted a room by himself, causing me to room with Asher in the first place. If it weren't for her, I'd never have fallen in love with the best damn thing to ever happen to me. They were due to be married in three months. It's about damn time, if you ask me.

I glanced over at Asher when it came time for the final song. He looked over at me questioningly, as did Hale and Shane. They knew what I was planning, but I think on some level they doubted that I'd really go through with it. I just smiled at them, nodding in confirmation, before turning to the crowd.

"Ladies and gentlemen, you've been an amazing audience tonight!"

The screams that roared back at me boosted my confidence. The fans loved us. I knew that as soon as I did what I was planning, they'd probably love us even more. That's what happened with Shane and Hale, anyway.

"For being such an amazing audience, we're going to perform a song that will be on our next album. You're the first ones to hear it!" I yelled, and I was met with a mixture of excited squeals, gasps, and screams. I laughed, making an elaborate bow. "By the way, if anyone has a camera, I highly recommend turning them on. You'll know when it's okay to turn them off."

I looked out at the confused faces as they rushed for their phones, cameras, whatever they could that had video. I nodded to Asher, who gave me one last, hard look, before starting the song.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is called Ardor."

As the rest of the band jumped into the song, I looked out at the crowd one last time, before losing myself in the song. I let every emotion I felt when I wrote it pour out, knowing this song would change everything.

"Baby, tell me what I did
To put the fire in your eyes.
Blazing with a passion
That you can't disguise.
Tell me just what draws you in,
What brings you to me.
Tell me so I can ensure
That we will always be."

As I continued singing, I glanced over at Asher. He was alternating his gaze between the crowd, the guitar, and me so fast that I could barely keep track. As the song came to a close, I made my way over to him.

"You're the reason that I breathe,
The reason I'm alive.
The very fact that you're here
Helps me to survive.
Forget the lock; forget the key.
I give my heart to you.
No longer will I be afraid;
I know that this is true."

As the song ended and I stood next to Asher, I turned to him. We shared one last look, a look that relayed every emotion we felt towards each other, before he suddenly swung his guitar behind him. He then grabbed my waist and pulled me against him as my arms wound around his neck. With one last look, as we were suddenly aware that the crowd was torn between shock and anticipation, we sealed our fate.

We kissed.