Confession Number Eighteen: I Just Love a Happy Ending
I ran the brush through my hair, my blond locks falling into order beneath the bristles, and smiled at my reflection. Once satisfied, I set the brush down and flicked my hair over my shoulder before exiting the bathroom.
"Oh, hey Rach," Ren said as I nearly plowed him over in the hallway. "Are you ready? Nathan will be here any second and it's an hour drive to Pine Ridge."
"I know," I said. "And I'm ready."
"Good," Ren said with a smile.
I followed him down the stairs and we endured a lecture from my parents, warning us to behave and avoid alcohol, and the newest lecture about refraining from any inappropriate behavior. Translation: Don't drink, do drugs, or act idiotically and do not have sex or allow your twin sibling to have sex.
"We promise," Ren and I said in unison.
"Mother," I said through gritted teeth, flashing an embarrassed look at my father. "Remember our talk?" I nonchalantly attempted to remind her of the recent discussion we'd had about how I was a virgin and planned to stay that way for quite some time – at least until I was married or in my twenties.
"Yes, dear," she said with a proud smile.
"Okay, then," I said as I rolled my eyes. I heard the door open and a second later Nathan entered the room. My heart pattered at the sight of him.
"Hey, Mr. and Mrs. B," he said.
"Hi, Nathan," Mom said as she pecked his cheek. She beamed at him brighter than she had ever in the past. She'd been ecstatic – totally beside herself with joy – when Nathan and I told her that we'd decided to start dating.
Dad, on the other hand, was less than excited. Oh, he still like Nathan well enough, but he was a little less tolerant of the time he spent at our house – especially the overnight visits.
"Are you guys ready?" Nathan asked.
"Yes," Ren said as he picked up both of our overnight bags. Nathan hurried forward to help and they carried them out the door.
I turned toward my parents, a need to assure them that my virginity would remain intact that night. "I promise we'll behave – you know that. Ren will be there and we all intend to sleep in our own rooms. Just because I'm dating Nathan doesn't mean I'm going to turn into some sort of sex fiend."
"I know, honey," Mom said as she hugged me. Dad winced and turned an unusual shade of green. "We trust you."
Dad hugged me, too, but I don't think he was as convinced as my mother. I think he wanted to forget for the moment that he had a teenage daughter on the verge of discovering her sexuality. "Have a good time, honey, and be safe."
I escaped as quickly as possible.
The rec room in our Pine Ridge house was almost unidentifiable. Streamers hung from the ceiling and helium balloons floated freely through the room. All the furniture had been moved aside to make room for dancing and the tables shoved against the walls were groaning with the weight of party foods and snacks – tubs full of ice and soft drinks nearby.
"Cool," I said as I inspected everything with Ren and Nate. "It looks great."
"Yeah, it will do," Ren said dispassionately.
"Dude," Nate laughed. "We agreed to keep it toned down so as not to scare anyone."
"I know," Ren pouted. His eyes grew thoughtfully as the bell rang. "I bet that's Bones. He agreed to DJ you know."
"We know," Nate murmured as he linked his hand with mine and tugged me closer. "Why don't you go let him in?"
Ren rolled his eyes and jogged up the stairs.
"Smooth," I said with a snort.
"It worked," Nathan said as his lips locked with mine. I stepped into him as my body instantly sprang to life and I began to rethink my virginity vow. But Nathan never let things get too out of hand, much to my chagrin. "Are you ready for this?"
"It's just a few people," I said as I sighed into his chest. "Who cares, right?"
"But it's your first appearance here as Roxy/Rachel," he reminded me.
"No," I said shaking my head. "I'm Rachel always – even when on stage. People just like to call me Roxy sometimes."
He smiled, pride lurking in his eyes. "I know. But you invited people who weren't totally clear on the whole Roxy/Rachel thing."
"Tiffany and Brady sorted them out," I said.
After the charity show and the ensuing fiasco with the whole 'this is who I really am' confrontation, I did try to go back to school – Ren and Nathan, too. I was extremely tense Monday the entire day, waiting for someone to say something, but the only thing that happened was Chantal totally snubbed me while Brady and Tiffany remained steadfast by my side. I managed to get through that day and the next but on Wednesday, whispering started. I'm still not sure who started the rumor – the boys are convinced to this day that Chloe did it – but it spread throughout the school quicker than a sprinter at a race. I, personally, think that Chantal had a hand in it, although the rumor only speculated that I could be Roxy or involved with her crew somehow. No one knew for sure and I endured many second looks, and it freaked me out so badly that Ren and Nathan insisted I quit and go back to the tutors and if I didn't, they threatened to go to my parents. I relented and said goodbye to typical high school education.
Nathan's lips curled in the corners in that annoying way he had of smirking as he butted his forehead to mine. "We're about to see how sorted they are."
"I suppose," I said as a nervous tremor shot through my body – partly because of his words and partly because of his nearness. In the weeks that we'd been together, I still shivered at his touch and my heart still fluttered at his kiss. It was heavenly.
"Oh, Ren was right about you two," Tiffany laughed as she bounded into the room to hug us both. "Always connected at the lips but just so in love." She sighed as she drew back to smile a sappier smile than I could ever muster. "It's so adorable."
"Oh, whatever," Nathan groaned as he stepped away to greet Brady.
"Don't worry about things," Tiffany said as she wrapped her arm around my shoulders. "I just invited the cheer squad a few people from class. Brady invited his friends – you know, John, Todd, and Carter."
"That's fine," I said as my eyes wandered to Nathan. He was in deep conversation with Ren and Brady, probably discussing safety procedures in case someone got a little too excited. "Um, what about Chantal?"
Tiffany snorted and drew my full attention. "She won't talk to me at all anymore."
"I'm so sorry, Tiff," I said as I hugged her.
"Don't worry about it," she scoffed. "She's like that but I was too stupid to ever really see it until now. She was supposedly my best friend but whenever someone 'better' came along, she'd push me to the side and I always forgave her. This time I'm not."
"I don't see how anyone could be better than you," I said in all honesty. She'd been a super friend to me – supportive of my decision to try school and supportive of my decision to quit. And she hadn't let the Roxy thing get in the way of our friendship at all.
She blushed, hugged me again, and opened her mouth to say something but stopped as Bones plodded down the stairs with Sasha and three of the other dancers in tow. I introduced her to the others as people from school began to arrive. My tension skyrocketed but Nathan managed to appear at my side and kept me from combusting.
People remained calm for the most part – especially after they got over the initial shock at seeing me look like plain Rachel and not my rock star persona. I began to relax and enjoy myself and took a second to survey the room to see if others were enjoying themselves as well. That was when I noticed Tiffany and Brady standing close to each other, their hands linked.
"Nate," I whispered as I grabbed his arm and yanked him closer.
"What?" he asked as he discreetly placed a kiss close to my lips.
I pointed at Tiffany and Brady and he laughed, drawing me into his arm.
"Brady told me about it when they first got here," Nathan explained. "He said Tiffany was going to tell you – that she wanted to tell you in person and not over the phone, but I take it she hasn't yet."
"No, she didn't," I said as I eyed them. A soft smile slipped across my face.
"You okay with it?" he asked.
I nodded as I lifted my eyes to his face. "They're perfect for each other – it couldn't have worked out better."
He kissed me then, tenderly, and drew back to smile. "I know the New Year is still hours away but I really want to start it off by telling you something."
"What?" I asked as my heart started to thunder. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," he said. He kissed me quickly. "I just wanted to let you know that I love you, Rach, that's all."
"I…I…" I stuttered like an idiot. "You do?"
He smiled and nodded. "Yep."
I wrapped my arms tightly around his neck. "I love you, too, Nate. Really."
He kissed me then, holding me close to his body, until Ren cleared his throat loudly – and quite rudely. "Save the smut for later," Ren said.
I reluctantly peeled my body from Nathan's to glare murderously at my brother. "What?"
"Nothing," Ren said grinning like a fool. "I'd just like to see your faces tonight instead of the backs of your heads."
I looked at Nathan. "Find him a girlfriend."
"I'm on it," Nate said as he shoved Ren away and kissed me again.
But Nathan pulled away from me to grab hold of Ren's shirt and drag him back. "Hang on a second."
"What?" Ren and I asked in unison.
"Rachel lost the bet," Nate said as he shot me a wink.
"So," Ren said.
"So," Nathan repeated. "She needs to pay up."
"No she doesn't," Ren said. "It's not fun now."
"Oh, yeah," I said as realization hit me and made my stomach flutter. "That's right. I have to go on a date with Nathan and you, my dearest brother, are going to fund it."
Nathan draped an arm around my shoulders. "That was the terms of the bet."
Ren jabbed his finger at Nathan. "But you were supposed to take her out somewhere very public – her as Roxy so the tabloids would get wind of it and write it up like you two were a couple."
"We are," Nate said.
"I know," Ren said with a frown. "You two ruined it all."
"You still have to fund our date," I said as I slipped out from under Nathan's arm and hugged my brother. "That's so generous of you."
"Yeah, yeah," he chuckled. "Guess it's McDonald's, a video rental, and dancing in the basement for you two."
"You're so cheap," I declared.
He hugged me again and then shoved me toward Nathan. "You know, Nate, you were right."
"About what?" he asked.
"You said she always gets her way," Ren said with a tiny smirk. "You said she always wins."
Nate glanced at me, a touch of panic in his eyes. I wrapped my arms around his waist and smiled at him. "Yeah, he is right."
Ren rolled his eyes but Nate grinned before he kissed. Even though I lost the bet, I still won. And that is what I would call a happy ending.
A/N: Sorry it took so long but my computer crashed taking this chapter with it. It took me forever to rewrite it and I think the original was better but here it is anyway.
Thanks to all of you who read this and reviewed or added it to your alerts/favorites. I don't think I'll do a next part because I don't know what it would be about. I'm hoping to work on Ava now if I can get that story going again.