Big hugs and thanks to Laney Evelyn Jade for her editing efforts throughout this entire story. I could not have done this without you!
I also wanted to, again, thank all of you for your pacience with my writing. I'm sorry it's taken so long to get this last chapter out, but on the bright side, I do believe it is the longest chapter in the story.
I would like to again thank Minigolf and EZZA4EVA for their fabulous banners. If you haven't checked them out yet, they are listed on my profile.
I wanted to give big thanks to those of you who have been with me from the beginning. Whether you've reviewed or not, I love that you've taken time to read my story and I hope you have enjoyed it. I'd like to especially give thanks to Abbygrl, EZZA4EVA, FerrariFiend89, Hannahww77, Minigolf, animegirl214, dddenised29, mcluver455, pinkie509, Aqualblue marine, and to any of you who have reviewed regularly that I've missed. Thank you all for your kind words and support throughout this entire story.
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I know I said I'd post the wining outtakes with this chapter, but I've decided to leave it open a little longer as some are tied currently. If you haven't voted yet, please do and I will announce them on my twitter next week.
Now on with the final chapter! I'll see you all at the bottom!
"That was seriously the longest flight ever," Carly complained as I opened the door to our apartment.
"You were the one who demanded we fly home coach," I reminded her.
For some reason she had gotten a bug up her butt before we'd booked our flight to pack up the rest of my stuff and all her things insisting that if Keaton was paying for the flight then we were flying coach. Keaton tried to convince her to fly first class instead like he wanted and like Thomas always insisted, but their arguments fell on deaf ears. After flying first class for the last year or so, I'd had no desire what-so-ever to go back to coach, but I wasn't going to sit by myself and being the besties that we are, I eventually conceded to her.
"Remind me why I did that again," she requested as we dropped our bags in the living room.
"Something about trying to somewhat stand on your own two feet," I replied.
The apartment looked just the same as when we had left it almost two months ago. There was a slightly stale smell in the air from having been shut up for so long and I'd wished it would've dawned on me sooner to have Jake come over and open it up or at least turn on the air conditioner.
"I've gotten too used to London weather," I mumbled as I made a bee line for the thermostat.
"Tell me about it," Carly agreed dropping onto the couch. "I could so go for a drink right now," Carly said and I walked into the kitchen.
"I think that's all we have anyways," I laughed opening the cupboard where we kept the liquor, "alcohol and frozen food."
"Thank the Lord we tossed everything before we left, we could've had a very interesting science experiment going on in there," she motioned to the fridge.
"Wow, we have been gone a long time," I noted as I pulled two martini glasses out each covered with a slight sheen of dust.
"It didn't seem that long though, did it?" she asked as she began to pour ingredients into the shaker.
"No, but I have to admit that it feels odd to be back," I said.
"Have you noticed?" she asked and I looked up confused at where she was going with that question.
"Noticed what?" I asked when she didn't finish her sentence.
"That neither of us have said 'home'?" she replied turning to face me fully.
"I'm lost," I told her shaking my head.
"Neither of us have said anything like, 'it's good to be home,' or anything like that," she finally explained.
"We're not," I told her with a small smile understanding now.
"I never thought anywhere else would really feel like home to me," she sighed. I smiled in agreement with her happy where my life had taken me.
"Good grief I needed that," Carly announced after taking a long drink of her martini, "I never thought I was going to get the sound of that kid crying during the whole damn flight out of my head."
"Tell me about it," I agreed taking a sip of my drink, "I think I'm booking a massage tomorrow for the beating my back took from the kid kicking my seat behind me," I paused rubbing my lower back, "and people wonder why I don't want children."
"You wouldn't have had that problem if we'd been in first class," she pointed out. I turned and fixed her with a glare she had seen many times before.
"The ship has sailed Car, let it go," I told her in mock anger. She had been trying to convince me for years that I really did want kids and I continued to tell her otherwise. "I don't want them and Thomas doesn't want them," I informed her, "not to mention he can't have them."
"Can't?" she asked her face suddenly perplexed. "Define can't," she demanded.
"Snip, snip," I replied taking another swallow.
"Really?" she asked.
"What kind of operation did you think he had in February?" I asked.
"Didn't really think about it," she shrugged. "So it's pretty final then," she said and I nodded in confirmation.
"I think he'd be a little upset if I ended up pregnant," I laughed.
"What about Jake?" she asked.
"What about him?" I asked staring at her extremely confused.
"Well you guys like hooked up right?" she asked trying to get me to understand with her eyes.
"Jake and I?" I asked wondering where she'd gotten this odd idea.
"Well, the three of you," she clarified.
"Oh," I said understanding, "just that one time on New Year's, but we didn't have sex."
"Didn't you say when you guys talked about it that there was a possibility of it happening again?" she asked and I was finally understanding where she was going with her original question.
"I don't know, maybe," I shrugged, "Thomas didn't seem to be upset by it and it wasn't awkward or anything…" I trailed off in thought. "I just think that maybe Jake got a little more attached to me because of it and I don't want something like that messing with him finding someone," I said honestly.
"That makes sense," Carly nodded in agreement.
"And even if we did, I would make Jake wear a condom," I added. Carly gave me a slightly sad look realizing that she would never have my children to play "auntie" to. "I'm sorry Car," I said patting her hand, "You know that I've never been big on children and Thomas doesn't want them either."
"I guess I'll just have to pop out my own then," she said with a sigh and a laugh.
I pulled my luggage through the door to my old room letting out a deep sigh as I took in the mostly empty space. Everything was just as I had left it, but there was now a slight sheen of dust smattering my dresser. I tossed my roll along onto my bed before opening the blinds and letting in the strong California sunlight. The air conditioner had finally kicked on full blast and the cool air blew into the room. I unzipped my luggage and began to put away the clothes I had brought with me.
There were a few hangers left in the closet along with some of the coats that I had planned on having Carly send to me eventually. Everything looked so bare and unlike it had when I had lived there that for some reason, I couldn't imagine ever calling this home again. I clicked the light off in the closet when the picture of Thomas on my nightstand caught my eye. It was the one that I had taken of him that very first time in Disneyland and i frowned realizing how much I missed him already. I dug my phone out of my purse and dialed him before I even checked the time. Almost one, I thought to myself, well, he might still be up.
"Hello?" Thomas answered sounding tired but not like he had been sleeping.
"Hey," I murmured as I plopped down onto my bed.
"Hey," he replied in a soft tone.
"I didn't wake you did I?" I asked.
"No, I'm up," he assured me. "Is everything okay?" he asked sensing the sadness in my tone.
"Yeah, it just feels odd being here," I told him honestly as I glanced around the room again.
"Odd how?" he asked.
"Like it was a lifetime ago that I lived here," I replied. "I really thought it would be like coming home and that things would feel just the same as they always had, but it doesn't feel like I belong here anymore. This isn't home now; home is in London with you," I told him biting my lip slightly.
"Is it terrible that I love hearing you say that?" Thomas asked.
"I know, I know," I rolled my eyes but smiled anyways, "you love to hear me refer to London as home."
"True," he agreed, "but I love hearing you refer to me as home more."
"Sap," I mumbled.
"You know you love hearing me say crap like that," he laughed in response.
"Well when you put it so eloquently," I laughed.
"So how was the flight?" he asked and I was grateful for the subject change.
"Long," I sighed.
"That's what she said," Thomas laughed in response.
"I think you're spending too much time with Keaton," I accused.
"Probably, but he is staying here right now and I don't have you to distract me," he countered. "So what made the flight so long?"
"Annoying newborn that cried the whole time not to mention the toddler behind me that kicked my seat the whole time," I groaned, "I am never flying coach again."
"Regret letting Carly talk you into it?" he chuckled knowing he'd been right when he told me that I'd hate flying coach again.
"Yes," I agreed, "I think you've officially spoiled me."
"Well, someone's gotta do it," he replied.
"So what're you up to?" I asked as I began to finish unpacking.
"Just sitting in bed reading," he replied and the image of him shirtless sitting against our pillows came unbidden into my mind and then it wasn't just my heart that was missing him.
"I wasn't sure if you'd be up so late," I said trying to clear the image from my brain.
"I have a hard time sleeping when you're not here," he reminded me, "especially now that this is our bed. Just feels lonely without you."
"If it makes you feel any better I don't like sleeping without you either," I told him honestly.
"Alright, well now I'm missing you more than I was, but hearing from you has made me feel a little more at ease, so I'm going to turn in," Thomas told me as he yawned.
"Goodnight babe, I love you," I told him.
"Love you too Court," and with that we hung up. I finished putting away the stuff I'd brought with me before heading to the kitchen and starting to pack.
"Are you not drinking tonight?" I asked Carly after the waitress left with our order the next evening at Mikuni's. We had spent the rest of the prior evening packing up the kitchen and the living room before ordering a pizza and calling it a night. We had packed all day today and still had another full day of packing ahead of us.
"No, not tonight," Carly shrugged, "This stupid antibiotic that I'm on recommends that I not drink while I'm taking it."
"You're still on it?" I asked a bit surprised since she'd started it a week before we left.
"Yeah, I feel a crap load better now, but it's one of those that says to finish it all the way out instead of just stopping it once you feel better," she explained.
"Bummer for you," I laughed.
"Tell me about it," she sighed taking another drink of her water.
"Ugh, I can't believe that we have another full day of packing tomorrow," I groaned sliding down into the booth.
"I know, I'm so wiped," Carly agreed, "was it this bad last time when we packed up your crap?"
"No, but I had been organizing my stuff for awhile too," I reminded her.
"That's true," she agreed.
"I just don't understand how we're going to get the apartment cleaned," I mused, "We're packing all day tomorrow, you're heading to your parents at six and I'm heading to Jake's; then we fly out early on Sunday."
"How did you get out of seeing your family while you're here?" Carly asked.
"I promised to stay for at least a week when I bring Carter home in August," I informed her.
"Ah," she nodded in understanding.
"Well, the cleaners are coming after the movers do on Sunday," Carly informed me speaking quickly.
"Cleaners?" I asked with a raised eyebrow, this was the first I'd heard about cleaners.
"Yeah," she sighed somewhat defeated as the waitress brought our rolls, "Keaton insisted on hiring cleaners so we wouldn't have to worry about it."
"Well that was nice of him," I acknowledged taking a bite of my roll.
"Is it weird?" Carly asked scrunching up her face.
"Iss wat werd?" I asked with my mouth full of rice.
"Using Thomas' money," she clarified.
"Oh," I said as I swallowed. "Yes, it's very weird," I acknowledged, "going from taking care of myself for so long to having so much money I don't know what to do with is very odd. Then there's the fact that I didn't really earn any of it so I have a really hard time using it," I sighed thinking of all the conversations Thomas and I had had about this subject. "Thomas wants me to think of it as our money though, so I've been really trying to do so. Sometimes it's easier for when I go shopping with his sisters and stuff, but even then I try to error on the conservative side," I informed her.
"I'm not sure I'd be able to get used to that," Carly said taking a bite of her roll.
"I don't know that I ever will either, but it makes Thomas feel better to know that he's providing for me and I figure that as long as I act in way that makes me feel okay with it, there's nothing wrong with trying to make him happy as well," I said. "Plus, he wants me to be able to travel with him at various times, so I can't really get a job," I pointed out, "at least for the first two years anyways."
"I didn't think about it like that," Carly acknowledged.
"What about you?" I asked taking a sip of my drink.
"What about me?" Carly looked confused.
"Well, you're moving to London," I pointed out accentuating my point with my eyes, "Have you and Keaton talked about whether you're going to work or not? You'd have to take different tests before you could teach in London, wouldn't you?"
"I'm going to try to go back to school a bit," she said taking another bite of her roll.
"That makes sense, try to get the courses that will allow you to teach there," I nodded in understanding.
"Yeah, I just don't know how it's going to work with him traveling or even how often he'll be gone," she said.
"Does he have any projects coming up?" I asked.
"He's heading out to LA on Wednesday, that's the only reason I'm flying back so early," she informed me, "and he'll be gone for about a month, but other than that, I'm not sure."
"What about you and Tom?" she asked.
"He's got a bit of time off right now," I informed her, "He's been perusing the scripts his agent has been sending him, but he hasn't been too pleased with any of them, so I'm not sure what the future will hold."
"I know it sounds odd, especially coming from me, but I'm kind of looking forward to just chillin for awhile," I said with a bit of a shrug.
"I think you've finally found the one," she smiled and I had to agree that she was right.
I picked up and examined the various objects strewn across Jake's dresser when I heard the shower turn off. It always amazed me at how messy his dresser was considering the immaculateness of the rest of his room.
"There is a such thing as privacy you know," Jake announced and I looked up to see him in nothing but a towel.
"Please," I scoffed with a roll of my eyes and a toss of my head as I turned my attention back to the dresser, "like I haven't seen you in way less."
"Not since becoming a married woman," he shot back as I threw a pair of boxers and an undershirt at him.
"That's mattering now?" I asked with a raised eyebrow at him in the mirror. Jake shook his head at me before continuing into his closet.
I began opening random drawers and rifling through their contents. "What exactly are you looking for anyways?" Jake asked coming out and pulling his shirt on over his head.
"Checking to see if you've gotten laid recently," I replied nonchalantly, "and you haven't," I answered as I opened the last drawer.
"What makes you say that?" he asked reaching around me to grab his watch.
"Only one condom missing from the box," I replied waving the box at him.
"Well then wouldn't the correct assumption be that I've gotten laid at least once? For all you know that could be my second or third box," he tried acting smug.
"First of all, wipe that stupid look off your face, you and I both know you're not a player," I rolled my eyes at him. "And second of all," I said reaching into his back pocket and pulling out his wallet quickly, produced the missing condom from the pack, "here's the other one." Jake snagged his wallet back from me and shoved it in his pocket while I now looked smug.
"Come on princess let's get out of here," he said swinging his arm around my shoulders and dragging me out the door.
"Where are we going anyways?" I asked as we descended the stairs.
"You are taking me to Pier 39 as thanks for helping you move all your massive amounts of crap into the living room for the movers today," he announced as we entered the garage.
"Oh, am I?" I asked feigning shock at his presumption.
"I guess, that's what Mase told me," he shrugged, "he said pick any place I felt like going as thanks for helping you out."
"Mase?" I asked rolling my eyes, "You too?"
"When in Rome," he shrugged, "or London rather."
"What the hell are you doing in my bed?!" I heard Brady's voice ring out. I had been awake reading for about the last fifteen minutes waiting until I absolutely had to get up to get ready to head to the airport.
"Would you shut up?!" Jake answered him in a loud whisper, "Courtney's in my room and I'd prefer it if you didn't wake her."
"Courtney's here?" Brady asked and I couldn't miss the wistful tone in his voice.
"Yes, she is and you will not talk to her," Jake told him sternly.
"Since when do you decide who I do and do not talk to?" Brady asked indignantly, "Pretty sure this is still half my house."
"Whatever, you don't need to be an ass and I told her you wouldn't be here, otherwise she wouldn't be," Jake returned and I could hear the covers rustle so I guessed he was getting up.
I took a page out of his book and decided I should get up too. I began making the bed but continued listening to them as well. "Why's she here anyways?" Brady asked doing his best to sound as if he couldn't care less. "Thought she married Hollywood boy and took off across the ocean," Brady added.
"She did move, but Carly's moving now too so they came back to finish packing up the apartment," Jake explained as he moved around the kitchen.
"And you just gallantly offered to let her stay here," Brady sneered, "I bet you're even taking her to the airport."
"What do you care?" Jake returned.
"I don't," I could just imagine Brady shrugging indifferently, "You just seem to be a little too invested in her in my opinion."
"The next time I want your opinion, I'll ask for it," Jake replied.
It was quiet for a minute so I decided to gather my things and head for the shower. "You fucked her," Brady's voice carried to me stopping me in my tracks.
"You're full of shit," Jake returned annoyed.
"You want to," Brady continued.
"You have no clue what you're talking about," Jake said and I could hear the anger lacing his tone.
"No," Brady said drawing the word out awe lacing his tone now. "It's more than that," Brady said and I could feel every muscle in my body tense, "You're in love with her."
"She's my best friend," Jake said and I had to smile at the tone his voice had taken on. He didn't sound like Thomas did when he talked about me, he sounded more like Carly.
"I'm sorry that you've never been able to have a genuine friendship with someone of the opposite sex, but you don't need to be an asshole and try to tarnish my relationship with her," Jake declared slamming close a cupboard. I smiled at him even though he couldn't see me and disappeared into the bathroom.
I opened the front door and was immediately accosted with the sweet smell of peaches. "It smells delicious in here Marla," I noted as Carly and I walked into the kitchen.
"Peach cobbler," she answered with a grin on her face. "Welcome home ladies," she greeted, "how was the trip?"
"Done and that's the important part," Carly replied in a somewhat clipped tone. She had been in an odd mood all day that I couldn't quite place. I tried to chalk her irritation up to lack of energy and shrugged at Marla when she glanced my way.
"Where are the guys?" I asked anxious to see Thomas. I'd thought that he'd be waiting for me downstairs, so I was a bit surprised that he wasn't.
"Master Thomas is in your room. He's been in an odd mood all day, fair warning," Marla said with pursed lips, "and I think Master Keaton is in the gym," she nodded with her head.
"Can you tell Keaton that I went up to take a bath please?" Carly requested her tone softened from how she'd spoken prior.
"Of course," Marla nodded as Carly had already turned to leave.
We made our way back to the foyer and picked up our bags before heading up the stairs. I nodded a goodbye to her at my door before pushing it open with my hip and shutting it with my foot. The room was silent and I wondered if Thomas was sleeping.
"Thomas?" I called out in a soft voice just in case he was. I dropped my stuff in the sitting room before continuing into the main part of the room to continue looking for him.
"No, these are completely unacceptable," I heard Thomas' voice carry in from the balcony. "Yeah, I'll be there on Friday," he told whoever he was speaking to before hanging up. He sighed and dropped his head into his hands that were resting on the railing.
"Hey, is everything okay?" I asked in a soft tone placing a comforting hand on his back. Thomas jumped slightly before pulling me into his arms.
"You're home!" he exclaimed pressing his lips passionately to mine.
"Yeah," I answered when he'd finally released my mouth, "I was surprised you weren't downstairs."
"I'm sorry Court, this day has just been so ridiculously strained," he apologized.
"What's going on?" I asked running my hand over his cheek. Thomas took a deep breath and let it out slowly as his eyes wandered over the London skyline.
"You know how all those scripts I had were a bunch if rubbish?" he asked and I nodded in confirmation. "Well, all the new ones he sent were the same. Same bloody premise, sane bloody character," he rolled his eyes just thinking about them. "How many bloody times can you make the same movie? I am not going to play the bloody broody bad boy!"
I wanted to make a joke about how many times could you say 'bloody broody bad boy' in a row, but doubted he would find the humor in it at the moment.
"You've been typecast," I murmured softly as I pulled him to me. I felt him nod in confirmation and I held him a little tighter. "Are you going out to LA?" I asked after a little while.
"Yeah, I'm going to meet with my agent and see what else is out there and what else we can look into," he informed me.
"When do you leave?" I asked trying to hide how upset I was that he was already having to leave me.
"I fly out on Thursday," he said tilting his forehead against mine.
"You don't have to keep doing this you know," I told him softly.
"Do what?" he asked not moving away from me.
"Act," I replied. Thomas looked up at me his eyes curious but his face held an extremely confused expression.
"You don't want me to act anymore?" he asked.
"No, that's not what I meant," I amended quickly, "I meant that if nothing is looking appealing to you right now, you can always take a break."
"Take a break?" he asked skeptically.
"Do other things you're interested in; work on your music, take a cooking class, I don't know," I shrugged.
"Take a cooking class?" he asked with a smirk playing on his lips.
"Or something," I shrugged. "I'm just saying that you don't have to rush into a role you don't really want," I attempted to explain further, "and I know you," I paused touching his cheek softly, "you're not going to be happy with a role you don't really want."
"You do know me," he smiled slightly his face still slightly sad.
I knew the conversation was far from over and that it was still weighing heavily on him, so it was no surprise when I woke up alone in the middle of the night. I stretched and rubbed my eyes allowing them to adjust to the darkness before I tried to figure out where Thomas had gone. I tossed back the covers and grabbed his shirt that was lying on the end of the bed using it to cover my naked form. A slight breeze blew across my face from the open balcony door and I turned to find Thomas' form silhouetted against the dark night sky. I walked out the door making sure to keep the shirt closed around me before wrapping my arms around Thomas' waist.
"I couldn't sleep," he whispered quietly.
"I know it's still bothering you," I told him placing a kiss on his back between his shoulder blades.
"I'm not ready to give it up Court," he said as he pulled me around in front of him.
"No one's saying you have to," I told him gently. "I just don't want you to take on roles you'll regret," I said as I stared deep into his eyes.
"I still want to perform," he said looking at me intently, "I'm still very much full of that desire."
"Have you thought about looking into Indie films again?" I asked as I hopped up onto the cement railing; Thomas' shirt covering my rear end from the roughness of the cement.
"I've thought about it a bit," he nodded, "it's one of the things I'm going to look into while I'm out there."
"I hate that you're having to go so soon," I said leaning forward and kissing his neck.
"I know, I don't like it either," he agreed using the back of his hand to open his shirt that I was wearing.
"I understand why you need to go though," I assured him as his hand trailed down the valley between my breasts.
"I missed you while you were gone," he said his lips pressing against my neck. "The bed felt so empty without you," he said as his fingertips ghosted over my nipple. I let out a quiet moan against his skin as he ran his thumb over my hardening peak. "Your scent was gone from the pillows," he whispered as his free hand slid around to my back steadying me on the edge.
He dipped his lips low and captured my nipple in his mouth while his hand trailed down and cupped my sex. He circled his tongue over my peak as he slowly slid one long finger into me.
"Oh," I moaned out into the darkness.
"I missed touching you," he said his lips moving to my other beast while his finger circled deliciously inside me. "I missed hearing you moan my name," he said as he added a second finger to me and began circling my clit with his thumb. "I missed the way you feel when your orgasm starts to build," he groaned pushing his fingers into me faster; his thumb picking up the pace as well.
"But most of all," he paused curling his fingers against my g-spot and lightly nipping at me causing me to explode around his fingers. "I miss," I was breathing heavily as I came down from my high, "the way you taste," he finished withdrawing his fingers from me and putting them in his mouth.
My hand that has been softly caressing his neck slid into his hair and pulled him roughly towards me. My hungry mouth captured his as I let my other hand drop down between us and slip inside his pants. I palmed his long smooth shaft running my fingers up and down it in quick succession enjoying him growing harder in my hand before I gently cupped his balls eliciting a soft moan from him.
"I missed your amazingly delicious cock," I whispered into his ear before biting him gently. I flicked my fingers over his head spreading around the precum that had gathered there before I pulled him completely out of his pants. Thomas gripped my back more securely before positioning himself at my entrance and pushing fully into me.
"Ungh," I groaned letting my head fall back.
Thomas' strokes were long and slow not wanting to move us too much on the edge of the railing. His mouth trailed kisses from my lips to my neck before finally landing on my breasts again as he continued to rock into me. His free hand dropped between us and began flicking my clit as he continued to fill me again and again.
I squeezed my thighs around his waist letting him know that I was close. And with a couple more deep thrusts I was coming undone and screaming out his name into the silent darkness. He ground into me twice more before letting out a guttural groan and letting his head fall back as his hips stilled and he found his release. I hugged him tightly to me as we both came back down from the incredible high.
"Thank you," he whispered into my hair.
"Seems to me I should be thanking you," I replied in a hushed tone.
"No, thank you for understanding me the way you do and for being here for me," he corrected.
"I'm always here for you," I told him honestly as placed a kiss on his slightly sweaty forehead.
"I am so glad I married you," he whispered before lifting me off the railing and carrying me back to our bed.
The next couple weeks passed by with extreme slowness. I missed Thomas greatly and even though we talked as frequently as possible, it still didn't feel like it was enough, plus the hours that I was keeping in order to talk to him more had me sleeping through the majority of the morning; it was odd for me to awake before noon. On the brighter side I got to spend a lot of time with Carly which I had been missing even though we had spent the entire month before the wedding together, but we were so focused on planning the wedding that it really didn't seem like quality time to either of us.
Carly and I spent our days shopping and exploring London and sometimes we would go out in evenings; "tearing up London town," as Carly had put it. After a particularly late night of partying we found ourselves vegged out in front of the TV in the game room.
"Why aren't any of your movies up here?" Carly asked as she perused the selection around the entertainment center.
"Thomas decreed that all chick flicks were to remain downstairs," I laughed remembering his face when he'd said this.
"So what happens if I go down and get one?" she asked with a mischievous smirk.
"Then we watch it up here," I shrugged. "He only said they had to be stored downstairs, not that they couldn't be watched up here," I added.
"I think you should go get the movie," Carly announced all of a sudden as she dropped on the couch a sick look on her face.
"Whatever lazy ass," I scoffed in return as I continued flipping through the channels.
"No, seriously," she turned to me with an odd look on her face, "I feel icky all of a sudden, like I'm going to puke."
"Did you drink too much last night?" I asked her as I got to my feet.
"I guess," she said rubbing her stomach and dropping her head into the soft cushions behind her.
"And you drank less than I did," I recalled to which she simply shrugged in response.
I went downstairs and grabbed the movie only to come back to Carly curled in the fetal position. "You sure you're okay Car?" I asked slightly worried.
"Yeah, I just don't feel so great," she replied. "Let's just watch the movie, I'm sure I'll be fine," she insisted. I looked at her skeptically, but she just waved her hand at me indicating that I should sit and we could just watch the movie. I glanced over at her several times throughout it, but she never seemed to look any worse, so I finally let it go.
After the movie ended I got up and stretched before removing it from the DVD player. "How are you feeling?" I asked as she moved to sit up.
"Alright, I guess," she shrugged, "I think I just need to get the alcohol out of my system. You feel like working out?"
"I think I could get some exercise in," I nodded in agreement.
"Meet me downstairs in ten?" she asked as she got up and refolded the blanket she'd been using before draping it back over the back of the couch.
"I'll meet ya there," I confirmed before shutting off the TV and heading to my room.
Carly and I worked out side by side on the Stairmasters chatting about various things. After climbing for about half an hour I decided I needed a switch and we decided some jogging was in order. Carly was looking a lot better and had her natural color back. As I was completing my first mile I noticed her turn and bolt all of a sudden heading for the bathroom in the gym. I turned the machine to pause before stepping off to go make sure she was alright. I knocked lightly on the door and she quickly opened it.
"Are you okay?" I asked taking in her appearance which oddly enough looked completely normal.
"Yeah, I don't know where that came from," she said looking honestly perplexed, "One minute I was fine and then the next minute; bleh," she mimicked throwing up.
"You sure you're okay?" I asked cautiously.
"Yeah, I think I'm going to call it a work out though," she said nodding to the machines.
"I've got another mile left, do you mind if I finish it or do you want me to come in with you?" I asked still studying her for signs that she was going to get sick again.
"No, no, that's fine," she assured me waving her hands at me. "I think I'm just going to get some water and sit for a couple minutes," Carly said as she picked up her towel that was hanging on the treadmill she'd been using and wiped her face with it.
"There's some citrus water in the fridge, that might help, or the 7up, because of the bubbles," I offered.
"Yeah, I'll meet you in the kitchen," she said before making her way out of the gym. I climbed back onto the treadmill still watching her as she left and started the machine back up.
I wiped my face clean of the sweat that had been dripping down it before stepping off the treadmill and heading towards the door. I made my way into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge before making heading over to Carly who was now sitting on the sofa flipping through random channels on the TV.
Once I'd sat down next to her I noticed the huge bag of Doritos sitting in her lap. The chips began to disappear quickly into her mouth and I was surprised she could eat after getting so sick.
"You sure that's a good idea?" I asked making an odd face as I nodded to the chips.
"I don't know," she said shrugging, "but I came in here and got some water and then I felt so hungry and Doritos just sounded perfect," she said as several more disappeared into her mouth. I eyed her curiously, but she looked fine and had I not heard her throwing up less than twenty minutes ago, I never would have known it by the way she looked now.
"If you're sure," I mumbled still not convinced it was a good idea. Carly just smiled chessily at me before turning back to the program she had finally settled on.
One of the other nice things about having a lot of free time was that I was able to spend a large amount of it scrap booking. I was greatly pleased with how much time I'd had to work on Jamie's book and it was coming along nicely. I was just gluing down some letters that I had cut out using the amazing Cricut when my cell started ringing. I smiled as Thomas' picture flashed across the screen and clicked it open to answer it.
"Hey you," I smiled into the phone.
"How is my beautiful wife?" he asked and I could tell his lips were curled into a smile too.
"She is doing okay. I'm just finishing up another page in Jamie's book," I informed him as I continued to glue down the letters.
"Ah, you're scrap booking," he said in a knowing tone, "explains why you sound so awake at two thirty in the morning."
"Is it really two thirty?" I asked glancing up at the clock on the wall across from me for confirmation.
"Actually it's only six thirty for me, which means it's dinner time," he laughed. My stomach growled suddenly letting me know that the small dinner I'd eaten around seven that evening was now long gone.
"I think my stomach thinks it's time to eat again too," I laughed quietly not wanting to wake Carly who was sleeping right across the hall.
"I wish you were here to join me for dinner," Thomas said.
"Me too," I assured him, "but only a little over a week and you'll be back home and we can have dinner together."
"Actually, that's one of the reasons I called," Thomas said sounding somewhat anxious.
"What?" I asked as I slumped back against the chair I was sitting in, my stomach churning uneasily.
"I'm not going to be coming home next Thursday," Thomas said and my heart plummeted.
"I miss you Thomas," I said doing my best not to sound whiney, "Why are you needing to stay longer?"
"Who said I was staying longer?" he teased playfully.
"So you're coming home sooner then?" I asked sitting bolt upright excitement taking over my features.
"I'll be flying home to you in two days," he revealed his excitement matching mine.
I traipsed down the stairs feeling light and full of excitement knowing that I would be seeing Thomas sooner than I'd thought. I about jumped out of my skin though when I noticed Carly sitting on a stool in the middle of the kitchen stuffing bagel bites into her mouth.
"Geez, you scared the crap out of me!" I accused with a strained laugh.
"Sorry," she mumbled covering her full mouth.
"What're you doing up anyways?" I asked as I opened the fridge and pulled out a fruit tray that Marla had thrown together earlier. "I thought you went to bed hours ago," I added pouring myself a glass of juice as well.
"I did," Carly replied after swallowing her mouthful. "I woke up about half an hour ago just craving bagel bites though," she explained as she waved her hand over the plate in front of her. "At first I tried to just go back to sleep, but it got worse and worse until finally I came downstairs and cooked some," she finished.
I shrugged my shoulders in a noncommittal way; there were times when I woke in the middle of the night craving stuff too, although it was normally Thomas.
"What're you doing up?" Carly asked as her eyes began raking over the fruit on my plate.
"I was scrap booking and Thomas called," I explained. "You can have some if you want," I told her and she immediately picked up a couple grapes and popped them into her mouth. "I have good news," I told her my eyes still shining brightly.
"What's that?" she asked as she continued to pick at my tray.
"Thomas is heading home about a week early!" I told her excitedly.
"Lucky bitch," she murmured looking slightly sullen.
"Hey, Keats will be home soon enough," I tried to console her.
"No, not soon enough," she shook her head looking very annoyed. "He needs to not be gone so long," Carly said picking up another bagel bite. "Court, I can't tell you how horny I've been for the last two weeks, it's ridiculous!" she exclaimed and I had to stifle the laugh at the change the conversation had suddenly taken.
"And phone sex is just not cutting it," she informed me tipping her head back with a large gulp of orange juice.
"Well, that's why we have the naughty drawer," I reminded her with a devious smirk.
"Yeah, well, the naughty drawer ain't cutting it these days either," she said.
"Maybe you just need some new toys," I offered still trying to hold back a laugh.
"Yeah, maybe," she agreed as she picked up a couple more grapes.
Carly placed the three grapes on top of the bagel bite she was holding before popping it into her mouth. I eyed her curiously for a moment before shrugging; I certainly had strange eating habits sometimes too, who was I to judge?
I stood at the base of the escalators holding a card board sign that showed 'Gale' on it waiting for Thomas to descend. I caught sight of his navy baseball cap that we'd gotten at Disneyland right before his eyes landed on me causing his entire face to light up. I rushed into his arms as soon as he was clear of the escalator and kissed him furiously.
"You adorably silly girl," he laughed as he took the sign from me.
"I'm sorry sir, my husband wouldn't like it if he knew how you'd just greeted me," I teased him.
"He's a lucky man," he answered back with a grin.
"Did you take a taxi here?" Thomas asked as we made our way through the airport.
"No, I rented a car," I told him as we exited through the automatic doors.
"I missed you so much," he whispered into my ear as his fingers ran over the smooth material of the sundress I had on. His fingers seemed to be running over me lightly, but the pressure behind them told me how much he wanted me right then. We slid into the back of the car and Thomas quickly fused his lips to mine.
"Tell me about your trip," I requested when he'd finally released me.
"It was long and you weren't there," he spoke quickly before pulling me onto his lap and attacking my mouth again.
"You're not going to tell me anything?" I asked breathless as his lips moved down along my neck.
"Babe, I love you and I missed you like crazy," Thomas stopped looking meaningfully at me, "And I promise to tell you every detail of my trip later, but right now I just really need to be with you." I took in the longing in his eyes and could see how much he really did need to just be with me right now.
Several hours later Thomas and I lied naked in each other's arms simply reveling in the small touches we exchanged. Thomas smiled at me as he twirled my hair around his fingers and I grinned back just happy to have him home again.
"Do you still want to hear about the trip?" he asked his voice quiet not wanting to disturb the peacefulness around us.
"Of course," I replied placing a small kiss on his chest.
"Well, I told my agent how I felt about all the scripts I'd been getting lately and he agreed that it might be a good time for me to take a break from some things," Thomas told me and I studied his face carefully to see how he'd taken this news.
"So what are you going to do instead?" I asked treading carefully.
"Oddly enough, I'm going to do as you suggested," he told me smirking at me.
"You're going to take a cooking class?" I asked with a chuckle.
"Ha ha, no," Thomas rolled his eyes at me. "I'm going to work on my music," Thomas informed me.
"That's great babe," I told him as I ran my fingers softly over his shoulder.
"I haven't told you the best part," he said as he moved his other arm behind his head.
"Tell me the best part," I requested eagerly.
"I'm going to make an album," he said unable to keep the grin from spreading across his face.
"An album? Like a real album?!" I asked excitedly.
"Yes, like a real album," he laughed at me.
"Are you going to do your piano music or guitar?" I asked feeling extremely excited for him.
"Mainly guitar, but probably some of both, there's a lot to discuss still," Thomas said.
"Are you worried that people will buy it just because your name is on it?" I asked tentatively.
"Yes, that's one of my main concerns," he admitted as I continued to stroke my fingers over his smooth skin. "I'm going to do my music under a pseudonym," Thomas informed me.
"Will you ever to be able to really perform then?" I asked with raised eyebrows.
"No, but I'll still be able to perform in the studio and I'll still be entertaining, even if it is in a different way," he explained.
"If you're happy, I'm happy," I told him as I placed my lips against his.
"So he's actually going to be recording?" Carly asked a couple days later as we had lunch.
"Yup," I nodded in confirmation taking a sip of my wine, "and the better part is that he's going to be able to work on almost all of it from home. He'll only need to head state side to do the actual recording."
"And I take it you'll be heading there with him this time?" Carly asked with a smirk.
"That's a definite!" I laughed in agreement.
"I wondered if you and Tom were ever going to emerge from the bedroom!" she laughed joyfully as I blushed crimson.
"Whatever," I mumbled into my water glass. "I know once Keaton gets back you'll be twice as bad as we were," I accused with a faux snotty look.
"Yeah, I'm sure," she laughed in agreement, but it sounded somewhat forced and the smile didn't quite reach her eyes.
We ate our appetizer in silence for the next several moments before Carly excused herself to go to the restroom. After the appetizer was cleared away I decided to check my iPhone for any new emails I'd gotten while Carly was still in the restroom. I was expecting an email from Jamie letting me know when she was leaving for college but nothing had come through yet.
"Excuse me," a girl with slightly curled dirty blonde hair tapped me on the shoulder. I took a deep breath really hoping that she hadn't recognized me from some magazine photo as I turned back to her.
"Yes?" I asked setting my phone on the table.
"I don't mean to intrude," she said looking truly apologetic, "but your friend that was sitting with you, I think she may be very ill."
"Huh?" I asked uncertain, "What makes you think that?"
"I was just in the restroom and it sounded like she was getting violently sick," the girl explained.
"Thank you so much for letting me know," I nodded to her as I set my napkin down on the table and made my way towards the restrooms.
"Car?" I called as I entered the posh ladies room.
"In here," I heard Carly's voice carry to me from the lounge type area.
"Hey, are you okay?" I asked taking in her green skin as I sat down next to her.
"Not feelin so hot," she explained the obvious.
"What's going on with you?" I asked brushing the hair out of her face and pulling it up off her neck.
"Oh Court," she sobbed dropping her head into her hands.
"Hey," I said pulling her to me, "it's okay, we'll get you home and to a doctor tomorrow."
"I've already been to the doctor," she mumbled behind her hands.
"You have?" I asked surprised.
"Court," she sighed looking up at me, "I'm pregnant."
"Car, that's great!" I smiled at her and she tried to smile back. "I know it's a lot sooner than you were planning, but you and Keaton were planning on having kids right?" I said trying to calm her down by rubbing circles on her back.
"He's going to be thrilled," I told her trying to soothe her fears. "Have you told him yet?" I asked hoping she would feel better about this once she talked to Keaton. Carly dropped her head back into her hands and began sobbing uncontrollably tears streaming down her face.
"That's just it Court," she said when she could breathe again, "It's not Keaton's." My movements on her back stopped and I stared back at her not understanding.
"Who else's would it be?" I asked trying to figure out who else she could have slept with.
"I slept with James," she admitted staring into my face waiting for my reaction.
"The last night we were there," I said in understanding; her odd mood the day we'd returned made a lot more sense now and she nodded in confirmation.
"Why?" I asked trying to figure out why she'd done it.
"A last hurrah type thing?" she stated as more of a question than anything else. "I don't know, he called during dinner with my parents and wanted to see me and I thought one last time," she paused taking a very long shaky breath, "So I met with him at his house and we had sex; I regretted it immediately afterward, but I couldn't go back and change it."
"I thought you were on the pill," I said as I began rubbing her back again.
"I was," she confirmed.
"The antibiotics," I said remembering and she nodded in confirmation.
"Are you sure it's not Keaton's?" I asked hoping she was wrong.
"Yeah, we used condoms because I was taking that antibiotic," she explained.
"What are you going to do?" I asked softly.
"I don't know," she whispered back her eyes filling with tears again.
"Are you going to tell Keaton?" I asked still treading lightly, "Or James?"
"Not until I know what I'm going to do," she said meeting my gaze.
"Well I'm here for you whatever you decide, you know that right?" I asked hugging her to me.
"I do," she assured me hugging me back.
The sound of the piano music coming from my room was like a balm to my fried nerves after hearing Carly's announcement. I sighed opening the door and Thomas looked up at me with that beautiful smile of his which I could only barely offer back.
"Lunch not go well?" he asked his fingers coming to a rest on the keys in front of him.
"Lunch itself was fine," I told him as I dropped my purse onto one chair and quickly dropped myself into the other.
"Did something else go wrong?" he asked turning towards me.
I stared at him for a moment before realizing that I needed to tell him what happened; I was ready to share all of it with him even if this was something that could devastate his friend, I knew Thomas would be here for me first.
"Carly's pregnant," I revealed dropping my head into my hand that was balanced on the back of the chair.
"Well that's good news then, isn't it?" Thomas asked not understanding. "I know it's a little quick, but Keaton said they were planning on having kids eventually anyways," Thomas continued on. "Is she worried about telling him?" he asked.
"You could say that," I let out a deep breath nodding in agreement.
"She shouldn't be," Thomas disagreed, "he'll be thrilled."
"Not when he finds out it's not his," I blurted out with less tact than I'd ever thought possible. Thomas' face dropped immediately before clouding over.
"What do you mean it's not his?" he asked cautiously.
"Apparently the last night we were in California she had sex with James," I shared watching his face carefully. "She's not sure what she's going to do and I know this is an awful situation, but I'm asking you not to say anything to Keaton," I pleaded with my eyes. Thomas' arm made a loud thud as it dropped onto the keys on the piano quickly followed by his head dropping into his hand. "I know I'm asking a lot," I began as I got up and made my way over to him, "but this isn't my secret and I need you to keep it."
I placed my hand on Thomas' shoulder and he quickly looked up meeting my gaze. "I know you had a hard time telling me this," he noted knowing how I was when it came to Carly. "Thank you for finally trusting me," he said his eyes betraying how much it had really meant to him.
He placed his hand over mine before pulling me down next to him and holding me close to his chest. "Is there anything I can do?" he asked into my hair. I ran my fingers over the ivory keys lightly before looking up at him. I didn't know what the future would bring for me or for Carly, but I felt confident that I could face it with Thomas by my side
"Play for me?" I asked my eyes searching his. He nodded in assent before playing the opening notes of my song.
AN: I would love to know what you all think! I hope you enjoyed the ending. There is good news and there is bad news. The good news is that, as some of you have been hoping for, there will be a sequel done for Carly! The bad news is that it will be quiet sometime before I start on it. I have a basic outline of it, but nothing concrete.
It will probably be a little over a month before I start posting Leave Out All the Rest, but I will be posting a little one-shot I have and the AWA outtakes between now and then. I hope you all will continue to join me on my future journeys. The outtakes will be under a new story name called "Other Worlds," so make sure you have me on author alert so you know when they're posted.
Take care all and thank you again for reading my story.