I OWN NOTHING YOU RECOGNISE (AND SOME THINGS YOU DON'T.) If you steal my work, I will take legal action against you. I mean it. I worked really hard on this story and I don't want to read the exact same story on another site with the names changed. Not cool.
A/N: Fictionpress familia, it's been a long, long, long time coming, but I finally present to you the very last chapter of Good Girl Going Crazy 2: University Edition.
"We built sandcastles that washed away,
I made you cry when I walked away,
And although I promised that I couldn't stay, baby,
Every promise don't work out that way."
Epilogue- Never Too Late.
Zabriana's Point of View. 5 years later. Pasadena.
I wandered into the foyer of our new house, eyes searching for my handbag, which was somewhere amongst the innumerable boxes littering the entrance. Moving was the worst, especially when you were seven months pregnant with a 30-month old boy toddling around and getting into trouble.
Spotting my handbag sitting haphazardly on a box marked 'Bryan's Toys' in my neat writing, I retrieved it and rummaged through it to get my credit card. It seemed that pizza was the name of the game, since my ditzy beefcake husband had simply refused to label any of the boxes he packed. Unfortunately, he had packed the pots, pans, dishes and cutlery, which was a total oversight on my part. But he was cute, and I was heavily pregnant and in a surprisingly great mood, so I was going to let it slide.
Bryan toddled up to me, his usual carefree grin on his chubby face, stumbling because he was wearing his flip-flops and could barely walk in them.
"My big boy, you're going to play outside." I ran a hand over his close cropped black curls tenderly as he looked questioningly up into my eyes. "You need to wear your sneakers."
He spread his hands palm up, shrugging. "I don't know where."
"Did you ask daddy?" I asked him, laughing a little bit.
Bryan was always so innocently earnest when he was concentrating. I could almost see the cogs turning in his head before he asked, "Where daddy?"
Taking his little caramel brown hand in mine, I said, "Let's go find that man, what do you say?"
"Yes!" he exclaimed excitedly.
With difficulty, I bent to I pick him up, settling him awkwardly on my hip. "You know, I won't be able to do this for much longer," I mused, more to myself than to him.
"Coz of baby?" Bryan asked, patting my belly softly.
I nodded, a smile on my face as I walked from room to room, looking for the man who just might know where Bryan's sneakers were. "Yeah, big boy."
"Can I carry baby?"
Dropping a kiss onto the top of Bryan's head I said, "Sure, you'll be taller then."
"Like daddy?" Bryan wriggled excitedly in my arms.
Snickering, I replied, "Maybe not that tall, but someday, I hope."
Because if he grew at the same rate as my family members, he wasn't going to be more than 5'8.
We found his dad in the master bedroom, bent over an opened box. "Daddy! Where my sneaks?" Bryan exclaimed in that piercing voice that all kids under four have mastered.
"Your what, chief?" Straightening up, Bryan's dad turned to look at us.
Tossing my braids back, I said, "Bryan needs his sneakers, he can barely walk in his flip-flops, and he wants to try out the jungle gym in the back."
Laughing and showing off his straight, healthy teeth, he said, "So do I, to be honest."
"What are you looking for in here?" I asked, staring at the room. It was a mess, and guess who was going to have to clean up? I hated sleeping in the midst of untidiness.
Grinning sheepishly, he tugged at the brim of his baseball cap. "The box I packed the plates in."
"I told you to label the boxes you were packing, but you had to be stubborn and say you'd remember what was in each box, right?"
I handed Bryan to his dad, once again marveling at how alike they looked, apart from the soft brown eyes. Those were exclusively mine. "Yup. All I gotta do is tap on the box and I know what's inside."
"Ridiculous," I sniffed derisively. "One would think you've never moved house before."
Winking at me, he stepped in front of me, a smile curving up his lips. "But this time it's different, because it's our house, our very own house. You and me, Bryan and baby girl."
He leaned down to kiss me gently and I kissed him back as Bryan yanked his cap from his head.
"Can you two get a room?" Almost guiltily, we broke the kiss as Raegan, Mimi and Harry's 13-year-old daughter, walked into the room, her customary notebook stuffed into the front pocket of her denim dress. As soon as she said that, she shook her head, pointing to my belly. "Actually, no, because that's how this happened."
I covered my smile with my hand. "At least they're teaching you Sex Ed in school."
Raegan rolled her eyes and reached out for Bryan, who scrambled into her arms. "Scarring poor Bryan. Come here, baby, let's go to the back."
Sarcastically, I said, "If only his dad could find his sneakers by magically tapping on whichever box he packed-."
"Voila." My mouth dropped open in disbelief as Bryan's dad, who had been tapping on one of the many mystery boxes, unexpectedly tugged out Bryan's sneakers and gave them to Raegan with a flourish. "Daddy's the best, right, Bry?"
Nodding fervently, Bryan agreed, "Yeah! Daddy's best!" as the duo slapped palms.
Raegan snickered as she walked out of our room with Bryan in her arms. I turned to face my doofy husband through narrowed eyes. "That was a fluke."
"I'll take that." He drew me into a hug and I leaned into his warm, solid body as much as I could, wincing as I felt a sharp little pain in my lower stomach. "Oh, shit, she's kicking. We just woke our little soccer player up."
I stepped back, waggling a finger into his face as he grinned at me. "She is not going to be a soccer player."
"As soon as she can walk, I'm signing her up for classes." He grinned teasingly at me before bending down and talking directly to my round stomach. "I'll be the typical soccer dad, won't I, Alexis?"
Sighing, I patted his head, running my hand through his soft black hair. "She is going to be whatever she wants."
"Well, with you as a mom, I know she's going to be the best at everything she tries." Straightening up, he pinched my cheek playfully.
"You are filled with flattery," I said admiringly, a hand on my hip.
A wide grin. "Just being honest, Doctor Mitchell."
"It's Mrs. Taylor to you," I told him, a smirk on my face as I poked him in the chest. "And don't you forget it."
Laughing, Scott said, "How could I?"
Looking up into his handsome face, I found myself reminiscing over the events that had brought us here, happy and content.
It took us over a year to make any kind of move. We were comfortable being just friends, getting reacquainted with each other, and in Scott's case, regaining my trust. Just like Pauline had noted, once Scott and I started actually spending time in each other's company, his danger seeking activities diminished drastically.
"I'm pretty sure he was just acting out to get your attention, now that I come to think about it," she told me a few months after Hayley and Paul's wedding, over mimosa's. I honestly doubted that was the case, but I sure was glad when Scott canceled his plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
And he was there for me like he had never been when we were dating. When I was close to breaking down while working on my dissertation, he left a work dinner early to come over to my apartment and take me out for a burrito, because he claimed my brain was tired and I needed some mindless chatter. It worked, by the way, him simply being by my side reducing my stress levels considerably.
We saw each other about once a week, usually in the company of a few of our friends, but sometimes just the two of us goofing around or having heart to heart talks. It was easy to fall back in love with him because he had finally matured into the man I knew he could be, but the night we crossed the boundary from friends to whatever lay beyond was the night Mama Rae suffered a non-fatal heart attack.
Emotionally and physically exhausted after arriving home from the hospital after Mama Rae practically kicked me out so that she could get some sleep, I found Scott standing on my doorstep with a jug of juice in one hand and takeaway in the other.
He took a hesitant step towards me as I stared at him, sure that I was so tired that I had hallucinated him. "I was pretty sure you didn't eat and wouldn't want to cook, so I got you dinner."
I stood there, my eyes filling with grateful tears at the realization that he had driven five hours just to come and see me and make sure I was fed and okay.
Biting his lip worriedly, Scott gave me a one-armed hug, drawing me close. "Hey, she's going to be fine."
"Thank you for coming, Scott," I sniffed, stepping back to unlock my door and waving him in.
He scoffed, walking in behind me and setting the food and juice on my kitchen counter. "Like I'd be anywhere else." As I hovered around, reaching to open the cabinet and bring out some plates, Scott waved me away. "Go, sit down. You don't even have to worry about plates to wash up."
After dinner, Scott refused my help to clean up, even taking out my garbage. When he came back into the living room, I asked him, "Are you leaving tonight?" in a small, shy voice.
"Do you want me to?"
Immediately, I shook my head. "No." I looked up at him just in time to see relief flicker over his face. "I'd like you to stay."
"Okay." A smile as he sat next to me, wrapping his arm around my shoulder comfortingly. "Wanna watch a movie?"
We sat on the couch and I rested my head on his shoulder as he put on a gory horror movie. No accounting for taste, I guess. I caught myself dozing in and out of sleep, comfortably leaning against him, when I woke up suddenly to hear him whisper something that sounded suspiciously like-.
"Did you just say 'I love you'?"
Scott jerked with surprise, his heartbeat racing as he stared at me with wide, alarmed eyes. "Fuck, is that how you wake up?" He let out a shaky laugh, placing a hand over his heart. "Shit, Z, you scared the-."
"Did you just say you loved me?" I interrupted, my lips parting as I gazed at him, my own heart hammering in my chest with anticipation.
Scott snorted. "Like you don't know."
"I thought- we were just friends," I spluttered.
Scott's lips tightened and he nodded. "We are. I mean, what else can we be, right? That's all you want to be, and I'm fine with it."
"I thought that was what you wanted?" I frowned, crossing my arms over my chest as I stared at the guy who was the reason I hadn't gone on a date in six months.
Shifting till he was facing me, Scott exclaimed, "What?"
"Well, you haven't made a move on me since we started hanging out."
His mouth dropped open. "You wanted me to make a move on you?"
"It would have shown me you were interested!" I fired back.
Throwing his hands up, Scott said, "You're not interested! You just want to be friends, which I am perfectly fine with." He sighed, shooting me a miserable glance as I realized that, once again, our communication wires had been tangled. There was only one way to bring this to the logical conclusion. "Hun, listen-."
"No, you listen." As Scott's eyebrows rose till they almost disappeared into his hairline, I beckoned him with my finger. "Come here."
He leaned forward until there wasn't a gap between us, holding his breath as I pressed my lips fiercely against his.
He kissed me back, running his hands up and down my back as his tongue plundered my mouth eagerly. Like he had been waiting for the longest time for this to happen. The fire that was burning through me as his hands stroked, touched and squeezed along my body was all the evidence I needed to admit that I had been craving Scott's touch.
We ended up on my bed, both shirtless, and as I pulled back to stare into Scott's flushed face, I knew that the blazing heat in his eyes was mirrored in mine.
"Do you have a condom?" I whispered, as his fingers traced the line of my spine, making me gasp out a breath.
Eyes flashing with sudden wariness, Scott replied, "Hun, are you sure you want to do this?"
"Yeah." I smiled, knowing that I had never been so sure that it was the right time to do something in my life. "I am."
Brushing his lips against mine, Scott murmured, "No turning back."
"Why would I ever want to turn back, Taylor?"
What happened next was the stuff that dreams are made of.
When I woke up the next morning, tangled in the bedsheets, he was idly stroking my shoulder. "Morning," I yawned, stretching luxuriously. God, I was sore, but it was the good kind of sore.
"Morning, sleepyhead," Scott joked as I stuck my tongue out at him. "Mama Rae called, said don't worry about her, come see her later tonight and bring her a slice of pumpkin pie from the freezer." He laughed. "She didn't seem surprised that I was here, or answering your phone. Sorry, by the way."
I shrugged. After last night, that was the last thing I cared about. "No, that's fine." As Scott continued staring at me with a mixture of hesitation and love in his eyes, I had to ask, "Why are you looking at me like that for?"
"What happens now?" he asked, his voice serious, as I propped myself up on one elbow to look at him properly. "What does- this- make us?"
There was only one word I could use to fully describe us, and I did. Stroking his stubbly cheek, I said, "Together."
Nodding, I said, "Yeah," as a slow smile spread over his face.
"I love you, Zabriana Mitchell," he whispered as our eyes locked.
Smiling, because now maybe we would get things right, I replied, "I love you, Scott Taylor."
We were married a year later, and I got pregnant almost immediately, something that was completely unplanned. Scott and I hadn't really talked about children, and I had a full schedule at work for the next year. I dreaded telling Scott about the pregnancy, but as it turned out, I didn't have to.
Three pregnancy tests confirmed I was pregnant, plus the mild nausea I felt every morning solidified everything. I tossed the used tests in the bathroom wastebasket and, for an agonizing two days, wondered how to break the news to Scott. The main worrying thought in my mind was would he react the way Trent had reacted when I thought I was pregnant? I knew he was close to getting a promotion that meant longer working hours. Me being pregnant would derail everything.
On the day Scott found out, I dressed for work like normal, staring at my reflection in the bedroom mirror, knowing that soon, I would begin to show. A mixture of apprehension and excitement grew in me, excitement because I was bringing new life into the world, apprehension because I wasn't sure what Scott's reaction would be.
I walked into the kitchen to find Scott standing by the back door, the garbage bag by his feet. "Look at my big man, taking out the garbage-," I cooed jokingly, the words freezing in my throat as I saw what was in his hand.
The garbage bag had split open and one of my pregnancy tests had rolled out.
His hand shaking, Scott looked up at me, face pale. "Zabri."
I swallowed hard, my eyes already brimming with tears, even though I couldn't read Scott's expression. He hadn't called me Zabri in years. Actually, I wasn't sure if I could actually remember him ever calling me Zabri.
"Scott, I can explain-," I blurted, wringing my hands unconsciously.
Talking over me, Scott asked outright, "Are you pregnant, Z?" Mutely, I nodded, unable to say anything. "When did you find out?"
"A few days ago," I whispered, my eyes on his blank face.
"When were you going to tell me?"
Taking a step towards him, I stopped, hating that I couldn't tell what he was thinking. "I was waiting for the right time."
"Hun." In a voice choked with emotion, Scott croaked, "We're having a baby?"
I nodded slowly as he stared at me. "Yes, Scott, we're having a baby."
"Oh my God." He was still staring at me like I was a stranger as he murmured, "Fuck, fuck, fuck," to himself. "We're having a fucking baby, hun. A baby." I nodded, my tears overflowing as he dropped the test on the broken bag and enveloped me into a hug, whispering, "Oh, God, thank you" into my ear.
As my tears turned to tears of happiness, I sobbed, "I thought you'd be- I don't know."
"You thought I'd be pissed?" Breaking the hug, Scott placed a hand on my still flat stomach as he shook his head. "Never. I'm- ecstatic."
He stood in front of me with the biggest, goofiest smile on his face, and I loved him all the more for it.
Nine months later, Bryan Scott Taylor was born. And, three days ago, we closed the deal on a three-bedroom bungalow with a large yard and no swimming pool in Pasadena.
After dinner, we sat outside on comfortable deckchairs, watching the sun go down on the horizon. Bryan toddled around the big yard kicking his favorite ball and Raegan sat in front of us, a notebook in her hand. "So, I want to know how you two met," she said without preamble.
"Why?" Scott asked, lazily drawing patterns on my stomach.
Tapping her pen on her book, Raegan said, "Because I asked mom and she said it was funny." She paused, a curious look in her cat green eyes, exactly like her fathers. "Was it funny?"
Scott and I exchanged a knowing look as Alexis Michaela kicked softly in my stomach. Probably just to make sure I hadn't forgotten about her. "It was- interesting."
"Oh, yeah. That's the word I'd use too," Scott agreed.
Smiling inquisitively, Raegan sat up straighter, her Spidey senses firing up. "Can you tell me? Please?" She pleaded. "I'm writing about how the couples in my family met. Mom and dad's story was nice, but kinda boring." An eye roll. "And Grandma Lewis told me hers too, it was cute." She flipped though her book until she got to the page she wanted. "She met Grandpa in a restaurant. Spilled coffee on his shoes." Turning the page, she continued, "And Nana and Pops Mitchell told me how they met in university, when they wanted to borrow the only copy of some book that was in the library. Even Mama Rae told me how she met Great-Grandad- at a civil rights march." Raegan beamed up at us, her puffy ponytail bobbing. "Isn't that cool?"
Nodding, I asked, "What's this for?"
"History class. I'm getting an A for sure," Raegan said confidently. "So, how did you two meet?"
Snickering, Scott asked me, "Do you want to tell this, hun?"
"No, this is your story to tell, since you were the brains behind it," I said at once.
Gazing off into the horizon, Scott dreamily said, "You know I still have that skateboard?"
"Really?" I conjured up the image in my minds eye. My first (and only) detention, obtained with the help of that damned skateboard.
Nodding, Scott said, "Yeah, it's in my parent's garage. I'm keeping it there till Bryan gets more stable on his feet, then I'm teaching him all the sick tricks I used to do."
Before I could object (there was no way in hell I was letting him teach Bryan any skateboard tricks, especially considering how reckless Scott could be. Why do you think my conditions for our new house had included a bungalow and no pool? Scott couldn't be trusted around a two storey house and a swimming pool to dive bomb), Raegan drawled, "Any time you're ready with that story, Uncle Scott."
"Okay. As far as I can remember, it started with a strategically placed skateboard and a bossy hall monitor," Scott began, his eyes half-closed as he absently stroked my belly.
Raegan scribbled industriously in her purple notebook, the tip of her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth. She glanced up to look at Scott. "Do you remember who the hall monitor was?"
"Yeah, it was Harry," Scott said casually, his eyes slowly widening in the most cartoonish manner as I realized just what a small world it was.
Raegan frowned, gnawing on cap of her pen. "…My dad?" She giggled. "Dad, a bossy hall monitor?"
And, on our first night in our new home as a family, the backyard was alit with the sound of happy laughter as Scott started regaling Raegan with stories of her dad as a teen. Tired of his ball game, Bryan toddled towards me and clambered onto the deckchair, settling comfortably against my right side.
I relaxed, flanked on either side by my boys as I listened to the love of my life talk, and if I could describe how I felt at that moment, it would be a lot like coming home after a long, difficult day to find your favorite person at the door, favorite meal on the table, and the knowledge that no matter how bad things got, you would always have people who loved you to count on.
And in the end, that was all that mattered.
And they lived and loved, forever and always.
15th February 2010- 4th October 2016.
A/N: And breathe. Yo, we made it to the end, guys. We did it! Finishing GGGC2 feels like the end of an era, and although I'm sad that Zabri and Scott's story has come to an end (crying right now because I'm an emotional wreck who has invested eight years with these characters), I'm happy that I stuck with it (inconsistently as hell, but oh well) and wrote a fitting finale for them. And I wouldn't have- couldn't have- done it without you guys. When I started writing the first GGGC, I had been in Canada for a few months, barely had friends, and writing was my only outlet. Fictionpress helped me get my writing out there to people who actually read it, and helped a lonely immigrant girl from Africa realize that maybe there was a future for her in writing. For that, I thank everyone who's ever read any of my stories, left reviews or pm'd me. Your support is what makes me write, and I couldn't have done any of this (write 6 stories) without you.
I may be sad that Zabri and Scott's story has come to an end, but I'm happy it's done because there were some days I didn't think I would ever finish it. Yeah, it took 6 years, I lost loads of readers, but hopefully they will return to see me wrap up GGGC. It's been a long road, and I'm glad it's over and that Zabri and Scott finally got their happy ending.
So what's next for hotcheri? I'm finishing up my other fp story, Jealousy Best Served Devious, and starting on the sequel to Kissing Booth Princess. I'll be posting KBP 2 on fictionpress once it's done, and it will be my last official fictionpress story. Anything else I write will be posted exclusively to my website, hotcheriwrites dot com (and if you have enjoyed reading any of my stories and want to continue reading my stuff, feel free to join the site to receive updates when I post!) and access will be members only. Will I ever come back to fictionpress? Maybe, but probably not. It's not the same as it used to be, and wattpad ain't that great either unless you're hugely popular, which I am not. So my stuff is going to live exclusively on my website.
I'm putting The Pull of Destiny back on fictionpress. I'll be updating a chapter every two days. This is the original, non-edited version that used to be on fictionpress, and I hope you enjoy Luke and Celsi's story anew.
Once I'm finished writing JBSD, I'll be writing something else while I work on KBP. If you would like a say in what I write, visit my website, head over to the Fiction Corner and vote for one of the suggestions on the page.
I'm hoping that people who enjoyed reading this story will try out my other stuff, but if that isn't the case, all I have to say is thank you, so very much, for your constant support. It's been a long, bumpy road to get to the end, and I'm glad I got to do this with you all by my *virtual* side. I appreciate each and every one of you, and I'm so grateful. I hope you've had as much fun as I have.
*Don't cry, hotcheri, don't cry*
With all my love,