FOUR YEARS LATER.
Four years later, and everything has come into perspective for me.
I used to question how it is that, I, the rational Samara Johnson, fell in love with someone as bad ass as Gabriel James.
After high school, Gabriel and I headed off to the Tisch School of Arts, and there, we were met with new challenges. To say that we were together for four years exactly would be a lie, because the summer after our freshman year at the University, Gabriel and I took a break. We decided that we were too different for one another, and that our relationship would never work. It wasn't until I had lived three weeks without him that I realized I didn't want to be without him in my life. Gabriel, of course, was reluctant to tell me that he felt the same. It wasn't until a week after I had confronted him that Gabriel came crawling back to me. I knew I shouldn't have, but I forgave him instantly. It's simple really, I loved him - I love him - and that's why I took him back.
That wasn't our only setback, either. We had a few, actually, which honestly, shouldn't be too complicated to believe. Most high school relationships never last, and at the end of our sophomore year of college, I was under the impression that Gabriel and I's relationship had been doomed from the start. For months while we were together, we never saw each other. We may have talked on the phone a few times, but that was it. We were always too busy for one another, and eventually, it became too much for the both of us to handle... especially me, so I broke off our relationship a second time.
At the beginning of my third year as a college student, I wasn't myself. I was distant and lazy. I turned in a few of my assignments late and always made up excuses as to why I got Cs and Ds on my tests. Brennan and Jayden - the two that had noticed my sudden change in behavior - set me down one night after a few months of me and Gabriel being broken up and asked me what was wrong. I told them the whole story and they told me that I should just tell Gabriel that I wasn't over him. I, of course, didn't think it would be that simple. Much to my surprise, though, it was that simple.
In fact, I didn't even have to go to Gabriel. Gabriel came to me and fessed up to still loving me and still wanting to be with me. We vowed that next time we argued or went a couple days without talking to one another, we would talk about our problems instead of breaking off our relationship. I think that was when we became stronger as a couple, and for that, I was thankful.
We didn't break up anymore after that.
So, now, four years later, as a college graduate and a soon-to-be journalist, I am heading to my boyfriend's concert, which is being held at the Trevi Fountain, in Rome, Italy.
The band he told me about nearly four years ago, Zero Gravity, is, in fact, still together, and seeing as how my boyfriend is the lead singer, I have to be the loyal girlfriend, and be there for him at his concert. Just as promised, though, they're not some uber-famous band that makes tons of money. He merely plays music for fun, and well, I'm happy about that. Still, they got an awesome gig in Rome and he invited me to come along with him. I, of course, simply couldn't refuse an offer to visit Rome for the second time in my life.
It's just ironic, because well, this is the place where I fell for Gabriel, or at least, the place where I admitted my feelings for him.
"Samara!" a familiar female voice sing-songed. "Let's get going, girlfriend! The boys will be upset if we don't show up on time, and you know what happened last time we showed up late."
I snickered at Mingmei's over-exaggeration. Yes, I am referring to Mingmei Wu, who I am still friends with - well, actually, she goes by Mingmei Sanders now. She and Liam, who plays the drums in Zero Gravity and writes lyrics with Gabriel, tied the knot about a month ago - July 4th, to be exact.
"Jayden and Brennan flew over from Los Angeles, so they're meeting us there as well," Mingmei announced once she entered Gabriel and I's couple's suite. Gabriel and I had moved in with each other halfway through our junior year at the Tisch School of Arts, so there really is no problem when it comes to staying with him in a hotel suite. Living with him is interesting, and we argue half the time, but it's never about anything serious.
Back to Jayden and Brennan, though. Brennan and Jayden had also attended the Tisch School of Arts, but once they graduated, the two of them headed to Los Angeles to pursue their careers in acting. That's not to say that we haven't kept in touch, because we have. Brennan and Jayden are still going strong, and the two of them have been legally married for six months.
Satisfied with my appearance, I slipped on a pair of flips flops, grabbed my white leather jacket(courtesy of Mingmei, who still insists on wearing a ton of red and dressing like a rock star), and followed Mingmei out of Gabriel and I's hotel suite at Hotel Artemide(yes, the same one we stayed in during high school) and into the fresh Italian air.
We arrived at the Trevi Fountain minutes later and made our way into the crowd of people that had gathered to see the show. Having a show out in the open is quite sketchy for Gabriel and Liam's band, but I can't say I'm surprised. Gabriel would jump off a bridge if it meant playing music. His passion for music is just one of the millions of reasons that I fell head over heels in love with him. It's one of the things we have in common.
"Mingmei, Samara!" a vaguely familiar male voice shouted. I turned my head to see Jayden and Brennan waving us over. Mingmei snorted silently and the two of us joined Jayden and Brennan at the front of the crowd. Much to my surprise, and to my utter delight, they were not alone. Faith, Zev, and Link were with them as well. Faith, just as she had informed me a week or so before The Knox School's 2010 graduation, attended Julliard and majored in dance. She now owns her own dance studio, courtesy of her parents, otherwise known as my aunt and uncle. Link and Zev, being the theatre/screenwriting lovers that they are, and have always been, attended CalArts in California and are now working on their very first play, which should be finished by New Year's - at least, that's the set date for their play to be finished, anyway.
"What are you three doing here?" I squeaked as I pulled the three of them into a hug.
Once they backed out of my death grip, the three of them chuckled.
"We were invited, of course," Faith stated matter-of-factly, flashing me her brilliant smile. I immediately returned said smile. Up until now, I hadn't realized how much I'd missed my friends. It literally feels as though it's been forever since the nine of us have been in the same vicinity together. Well, two of the people out of our little group are preparing for a concert at the moment, but we're still in the same vicinity.
"We wouldn't miss this for the world," Link remarked gaily, earning a smack on the head by his boyfriend. Okay, so that's a little suspicious...
"Is there something you aren't telling me?" I questioned, and that's when I noticed that all of my friends were wearing suspicious expressions. "Okay, there is definitely something you guys aren't telling me, and I demand to know what it is."
"We're not hiding anything," Mingmei snapped, her tone defensive. All that defensiveness was doing nothing to help their case. The stupid traitors.
"You should probably pay attention, though, because your boyfriend is on stage," Brennan interjected, grinning like a mad man as he turned towards the 'stage.'
I scoffed and rolled my eyes, but obliged my friends by turning towards the 'stage', despite my desperate want to know what they were hiding from me. I absolutely despise being kept in the dark, especially if it is my friends that are the ones keeping me in the dark, so to speak.
"Whoa, it's amazing that so many damn people have showed up to this thing," Gabriel said, speaking into the microphone so that each and every one of Zero Gravity's fans could hear him.
I grinned upon seeing Gabriel, but for some reason, he avoided my gaze, which made me suspicious of him, as well. What the hell is up with everyone? Come to think of it, Gabriel has been acting strangely ever since we arrived in Italy. He was even acting strange when we were on the plane - he was acting jittery, almost as though he were carrying a gigantic weight on his shoulders.
Gabriel is still as striking and handsome as he was back in high school - maybe more so than that.
Because he spent most of his time outdoors, his skin was tanned and his body had gotten more attractive. He still wears wife-beaters, but instead of wearing ripped jeans, he wears khakis, and he almost always wears that leather jacket I bought him for Christmas senior year at The Knox School. His eyes are still that magnificent sapphire color that pierce my soul every single time I look into them, and he still has that sexy half-smirk, half-smile that just so happened to be one of the many reasons he captured my attention in high school.
Seeing as how Zero Gravity is well known back in New York, and a few other states and countries, girls fawn over Gabriel almost everywhere we go. I don't ever get jealous of the girls, namely because I know I'm the only one for him, but I do scowl at them and order them to stay the fuck away from my man.
Basically, I'm still that aggressive Ice Bitch I was four years ago. I just happen to have a boyfriend that loves me and friends that are always there for me no matter what.
"Yeah, well, they obviously show up for my good looks, not your lack of talent," Liam teased as he spoke into his microphone. Everyone in the crowd laughed and 'oohed', going along with his joke, even though it wasn't that hilarious. Then, being the talented drummer he is, Liam tapped his snare twice, paused, and crashed.
Gabriel rolled his eyes. "All right, all right, if we're all done with jokes, we're going to start singing our songs. But first, I'd like to dedicate our first song to my lovely girlfriend of nearly five years, Samara Rayleigh Johnson. Samara, get your cute ass up front!"
I didn't have time to protest as Mingmei, Brennan, Faith, Jayden, Link, and Zev grabbed onto some part of my body and dragged me to the front of the crowd, pushing past other people so that we were standing all the way in the front. I shoved them off of me and smiled up at Gabriel, flashing him a confused look. I honestly had no fucking clue why he wanted me to stand in the front, but I guess I was about to find out.
And boy, how right I was.
"This song is titled Bleed Myself Dry," Liam whispered huskily before opening the song for Gabriel.
"Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and everything you do," Gabriel sang, making sure to stare directly in my direction. I felt like an ant under his intense gaze, and for the first time since high school, his gaze was making me feel extremely uncomfortable. "Yeah, they were yellow. I came along, I wrote a song for you, and all the things you do, and it was called 'Yellow.' "
I recognized the song as the one Gabriel had been writing on our flight to Italy. Though he hadn't exactly been aware of this, I had caught a glimpse of the words of the song and thought it was one of the most beautiful songs I had ever heard from their band, and any other band, thus far.
"For you, I'd bleed myself dry," he sang, edging near the end of the song. "For you, I'd bleed myself dry. It's true. Look how they shine for you. Look how they shine for you. Look how they shine for... Look, how they shine for you. Look, how they shine for you. Look how they shine for you. Look how they shine... Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and all the things that you do," he finished.
The second the song came to a close, Gabriel grabbed his microphone and said, "Samara, I want you to come stand in front of me."
My heart beat almost painfully against my ribcage as I stepped closer to Gabriel, coming to a halt the minute I was standing merely inches from him.
"As most of you know, Samara's been my girlfriend for about five years now," Gabriel started, averting his gaze from mine as he directed his attention toward the crowd standing before him. "Getting her to agree to be my girlfriend was no easy feat. Hell, getting her to like me had been no easy feat." I snorted unattractively in response to his words. Getting me to talk to him had been quite a challenge for Gabriel our senior year of high school. Huh, back then, he seemed to feed off the fact that he could tick me off and get under my skin like no other guy had ever been able to. Boys and their fucking egos. "We hit a ton of obstacles before getting to where we are now.
"The first time I lost Samara, I was devastated," Gabriel admitted, sounding all the more like a vulnerable child. I frowned as I thought about the first time we separated. It hadn't exactly been easy for either of us. I didn't eat nor sleep for days. "It was the summer before our sophomore year at New York University's Tisch School of Arts and we were learning new things about ourselves, things that somehow led the both of us to believe that our relationship was going nowhere. Three weeks into our break-up, Samara came looking for me and confessed that breaking up with me had been a huge mistake on her part, and that she missed me and still wanted me in her life. I, being the stubborn asshole I was, wasn't exactly quick to forgive her.
"A week later, I realized how much of an idiot I had been and immediately went after Samara and apologized for being such an ass. Samara forgave me instantly, and for some time after that, we didn't have any problems whatsoever." I think I know where Gabriel is heading with this speech, and if I'm correct, there's no doubt in my mind that I will faint. "Near the end of our sophomore year, Samara and I started communicating less and less, and we spent way too much time away from one another. We both were so fed up with the lack of communication that it didn't surprise me when Samara said we should end things... for good. I thought I had lost her forever, and at first, I was okay with that... or so, I thought.
"Truthfully, I was a mess," Gabriel admitted, not looking ashamed in the least bit. Huh, he had never told me that he had been a mess after our break up. I was under the impression that he took it like a 'man' and pretended that everything was all right with him. I guess I had been wrong. "I started eating less, and my grades started slipping. I couldn't turn on the radio or the television without something reminding me of the lovely girl I had lost." Okay, I hate how he's talking about me as though I'm not even here, but whatever. "Three months passed by and I had decided that I'd had enough. If Samara wasn't going to come to me, I was just going to have to go to her, and that's exactly what I did. I fessed up to still being in love with her and much to my surprise, she took me back. We had a much needed talk that night, and decided that next time we were having problems, we'd talk them through instead of breaking up, because it was obvious that we weren't willing to stay apart for long."
I smiled at the truthfulness of his words. Gabriel and I are meant for one another, and I absolutely hate it when we're apart, because I always miss him, and I always feel as though a piece of me is missing. If I believed in fate and all that jazz, I'd say Gabriel and I are soul mates. And for all intensive purposes, we may as well be.
"I don't want that to happen anymore." I gaped at Gabriel as those words escaped his mouth. What the hell? I could hear my heart beating loudly inside my chest. Be still, my heart. Be still. "So, I only have one solution." As he said that, Gabriel turned his sapphire eyes on me, staring at me so intensely that I was sure I would faint. I didn't, obviously, but that's only because I exaggerate a lot. "Samara has to become my wife."
Tears pricked in my eyes as warmth and joy coursed throughout my body, his words making me feel whole and warm and loved.
I opened my mouth to answer, but Gabriel cut me off by saying, "Don't say anything just yet, okay?"
I nodded meekly and allowed him to continue, even though I desperately wanted him to know my answer.
"I know we argue more than we should, and sometimes I just want to rip off your pretty little head, but those things don't change the fact that I love you." I smiled in response to his words, knowing very well that he wants to rip my head off most of the time - I want to do the same to him at times. "I wracked my brain for the right way to ask you to be my wife, and so I went to our awesome friends and asked them for a way to do it. Truth be told, they're the ones who suggested proposing to you after singing to you. Totally cliché, I know, but I knew you'd love it." Oh, did I. "I knew that, because I know you, and I live for you. I live to wake up beside you in the morning and take in the aroma of the smell that is you. I live to argue with you, and to set you off, because it's totally sexy when you're angry. I live to watch those annoying chick flicks that you always have me watching, because I love knowing that I can comfort you when one of those movies makes you cry."
I laughed through the tears that had began falling from my eyes. I do make him watch a ton of movies.
"I live to make you happy, because it makes me feel so good to know that I can return the favor when you make me happy, and you're always making me happy. Words can't explain how much I love you, and how much I need and want you in my life. Always and forever.
"So, today, in front of however many people are here, I'm asking you, Samara Johnson, to not be just my girlfriend anymore, and to join my hand in marriage," he finished, grinning cheekily in my direction. "Will you be my wife?" Gabriel asked as he took my hand and knelt down in front of me on one knee, pulling out a square, velvet box and opening it, only to reveal the most beautiful ring I had ever layed eyes on. The band was made of white gold and there were three sparkling diamonds in the center, just beckoning for me to accept the proposal and wear it.
What I did next was simple...
I tackled him.
Gabriel stumbled back a few steps as I flung myself at him and wrapped my arms around his neck whilst screaming, "Of course, you fucking asshole!" Gabriel placed kisses all over my face as he slipped the ring on my finger, grinning like a fool as I said, "I love you, I love you, I love you."
"I love you so damn much," Gabriel whispered as he planted my feet on the ground, still holding me close to him. Close enough that I could smell the mint and coffee emanating off him - the smell that I had grown so used to over the years. I would grow old with that smell, and I would wake up to his face forever, and I was perfectly fine with that.
Hell, I was more than perfectly fine with that.
I smiled through my tears as I flashed each and every one of my friends my 100 mega-watt smile. Mingmei, Brennan, Jayden, Faith, Link, and Zev smiled back at me, grinning knowing grins. Obviously, they had known about the proposal all along - Gabriel had said so himself, after all.
Gosh, them hiding this from me was most definitely worth it in the end.
"I can't believe you remembered," I breathed, knowing that Gabriel would know what I was referring to.
Gabriel grinned as he rested his forehead against my own. "Of course I remembered. I remember everything you say. When I decided that I wanted to propose to you, I knew exactly where to do it. Here, at the Trevi Fountain, because on Monday, November 23, 2009, you told me that you're dream proposal was to be proposed to in front of the Trevi Fountain. Since I couldn't be your ideal Prince Charming, I decided to at least make that dream come true for you."
I rolled my eyes, sniffling as more tears fell from my eyes.
"You douche bag, you are my Prince Charming," I drawled, causing Gabriel to attach his lips to mine instantly.
So, you see, Prince Charming doesn't have to wear fancy suits, and shower you with compliments, or ride into town on a White Stallion. Prince Charming doesn't have to find a shoe that fits you, or kiss you just to wake you up(although that is nice - I love when I wake up to Gabriel watching me with his eyes, only to have him kiss me tenderly a moment or so later). Prince Charming doesn't have to be the most well-mannered, sophisticated boy you've ever met. Prince Charming doesn't have to be the guy you always dreamed about as a little girl. He doesn't even have to be the guy your mother or father always told you that you deserved.
Gabriel is none of those things, and he doesn't do any of those things.
He's stubborn, hardheaded, a bit of a douche bag, arrogant, and tends to think he's right about everything. He doesn't shower me with compliments every chance he gets, and he doesn't talk all sophisticated, and he most certainly doesn't ride a White Stallion.
Truth is, each and every one of us girls are delusional when we think up our own ideas of what Prince Charming should be like, and what our Mr. Right should be. In the end, we find someone better - someone that we probably never would have found had it not been for others in our lives telling us that we were delusional. Mingmei, Liam, Faith, Zev, Link, Brennan, and Jayden proved to me that I had been delusional, and that I should give Gabriel a chance. I gave him a chance, and in return, I got my Prince Charming.
For all the little girls out there who are dreaming of their Prince Charming, keep your eyes open, because he does exist, and one day, he will find you. Just be patient...
... and remember, good things come to those who wait.
"Babe, let's go, we have plans to make!" Gabriel shouted, placing a kiss on the side of my cheek before exiting our house.
I got my good thing - so, let go of your delusional, though appealing, childhood ideas of Prince Charming and get yours.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The ending was different... purposely so. I don't know... I thought it'd be nice to end it that way, aha, no matter how strange it is. He proposed to her, so yay, and it was in front of the Trevi Fountain. That's why, when everyone was telling me that I should have him ask her to be his girlfriend in front of the Trevi Fountain, I was like... ugh, I can't do that. I had the idea for him to propose to her in Rome like, right before I even started writing the story.
I don't do well with sad endings, which is why all my stories so far have had happy endings. I am thinking about writing a story with a sad ending soon, though, so, look forward to that... I can't say which one it'll be, though, b/c, I wouldn't want to ruin the suspense of the actually story.
Samara and Gabriel have been through a hell of a lot in this story, so I thought they deserved their happy, happy ending. Prince Charmings do exist in one form or another - at least, that's what I believe. I just don't think the one we fall in love with ever turns out the way we thought they would. Besides, who wants the guy they always dreamed of? I see it this way, if you meet a guy that is everything you wanted, doesn't the interest disappear eventually? I dunno... maybe that's just me. I like suspense, and mystery, and I don't know... I want the one I fall in love with to be himself around me. I don't want him to act any differently to please me, or anything.
But yeah, I'm rambling, aren't I?
I've had many loyal readers/reviewers for this story, so as far as dedications go, I can't just dedicate this story to just one of you... That would be wrong of me.
So, as a thanks to everyone who has read this and reviewed, I'm dedicating this story to you. I'm dedicating it to the ones that gave me constructive criticism and pushed me to continue this story even when I didn't want to. I'm dedicating this story to the ones that corrected me when I switched the last name's up constantly(Honestly, I never even noticed I did that... a girl can only fix so much, lolz). I'm dedicating this story to each and every one of you.
I don't own anything mentioned in this chapter that you recognize, and some things you don't.
I don't own the song Yellow by Coldplay - which is the song disguised as Bleed Myself Dry by Zero Gravity.
You guys rock. I appreciate the support you've given me, and I'm just glad this story is over with(it was torture, and fun to write, aha - it made me bipolar, no lie), but part of me is going to miss it. Ilooveeyouuaaallll, hehe, but not in a creepy way, honest.
Stick around for Tied Together With A Smileeeeee.
-Peace, love, and happiness.
(I lied about the LONGEST AUTHOR'S NOTE EVER thing - or at least, I exaggerated, lmfao.)