A/N: Last Chapter! *Tear* I can't believe it! I've included a quote at the beginning of this chapter for reasons that will prove obvious in the end ;)
A HUGE thanks to Scarlet Dawn, BiggerThanLove, Into the Sunshine, That Weird Cat Lady, DonkeyAngstyLove, LLAAANNA, m, Simple Wish. , Garneau. , GirlWithTheDancingCherryTrees, rukz, cheesecake15, lydiavo, AWalkOfShame, SimoneSofieSurelPedersen, checkyesdana, Syahna Ilymaf, DoNotClick. , Sarcasm is the best thing, Xelsae, ebs12, lukas10, Renezzer97, Batman is exotic, Its. Not. Me. Its. You. , LeanneC13, Melaye, Holly Kay Platt, twilightjunkie99, AnnabelLloyd97, HelgaBertoni, chelchel8, GlimmerFall, xXBleedingPensXx, SweetBagel, PrincessCherokee01, CONVERSEically Obsessed, rituisawriter, TouchOfChaos, Storm Nelson, hehehaha94, and aby pwn u for reviewing the last chapter! You guys have all been wonderful!


Merciful Goodbye

"If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don't, they never were." -Kahlil Gibran

"Liz?"

I slowly opened one eye and then the other, a pair of familiar dark blue eyes staring down at me.

"Liz, c'mon. Get up. You're leaving tomorrow, remember?" Kristen said, taking my hands and attempting to pull me to my feet. I didn't move, though, instead allowing myself to sink back down to the ground.

I felt numb, cold, alone; as if I'd slipped into some sort of catatonic state.

"How did you find me here?" I asked hoarsely, realizing I was still on the side of the street . My dress was ripped, my arms and legs covered in dirt. This all seemed quite insignificant, however, compared to the sharp pain in my chest, a hollow emptiness I'd never felt before.

Kristen looked down at me, shifting uncomfortably.

"Reed…he, ah, he sent me after you. I guess he figured you wouldn't want him to be the one that followed you, seeing as you ran away from him and all…"

I looked up at her, my voice nothing more than a whisper. "I love him. Truly, I do."

Kristen shook her head, looking down at me. "I don't get it. If you love him, then why the hell did you do it? Why didn't you run away with him, Liz? Why didn't you tell him how you felt?"

"Because….because I was scared, and confused, and, and everything's just happened so fast."

Kristen snorted, shaking her head. "Whatever Liz…"

I blinked up at her, surprised by the bluntness in her words.

"What?"

Kristen looked down at me, putting her hands on her hips.

"Listen, Liz, you're a cool chick and all, but…the way you're just throwing away what you and him have is fucked up . Reed loves you, and he told you, put himself on the line, and you just ran away. You owe him more than that. I mean, Reed's an amazing guy. You know how many girls would jump at the chance to be with him, me included? But he loves you. I mean, seriously, what the hell are you thinking? I know you're not a bad person Liz, and I know you didn't do it to be mean or anything, but that was cold.

And, even after all the shit that went down between you two, he was still all concerned about you and stuff. I mean, he followed you here, made sure you were alright and watched over you till I got here. You know what I wouldn't fucking give for him to feel that way about me, for him to show that much concern? I mean, I've seen the way you look at each other, Liz, and I know he loves you. It's not just some stupid crush. It's real, true, head-over-heels love. You should hear the way he talks about you."

"But Kristen, the only reason he even told me that he loves me is because I was leaving."

"There's a god damn reason he told you to come to Tully's coffee house tonight!" Kristen yelled, her frustration finally boiling over. "He wrote you a song, you dumbass! He was going to be all romantic about telling you he loved you."

I drew in a sharp breath, feeling as if I'd just been stabbed in the chest. He'd been planning on telling me he loved me tonight anyways?

Taking a deep breath, Kristen took a second to compose herself, her voice much calmer when she spoke again. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you, alright. It's just, Reeds my best friend, and when I saw him tonight, he was just…I've never seen him like that before, Liz. You hurt him, bad."

Staring into the darkness of the night, I'd tried to remember the person I'd been before I met Reed. I'd had no friends, never been kissed, or held hands…or known what it felt like to be truly loved. I'd never gotten flowers from a boy, or gone on a date, or rode on the back of a motorcycle. I'd never lived. And that's what I was going to go back to without him. Simply existing. Not living.

That had been enough before, because I hadn't known what I was missing. I hadn't known someone like Reed existed, someone that would accept me, faults and all, that would love me unconditionally even when I gave them every reason not to.

Now, though, it wasn't. It wasn't enough to simply exist, to live my life just going through the motions.

Yes, I was scared of loving Reed. I was scared of the intensity and depth of the emotions he seemed to evoke from me. It occurred to me, in that moment, however, that the only thing more absolutely terrifying than loving Reed was not loving him.

In a matter of months, this boy had entered my life and turned it upside down. He'd made me question everything I'd ever known, given me the courage to do things I'd only dreamt about. Yet now, when it came down to it and I had to be brave and allow myself to be vulnerable, allow myself to love Reed, I'd failed him. Yet again.

Kristen was right. I owed Reed more than that. So much more. And if nothing else, I owed him the truth. He deserved to know that I loved him, that these past few months with him had been the best of my life.

"Where is he?" I whispered, forcing myself to my feet.

Kristen studied me carefully, hesitating for a moment. "Why?"

"Because, you're right. And he was right. It's simple. All of this is so simple. I love him. And he loves me. And that's all that matters."

"You swear you're not going to hurt him again?" Kristen asked, eyeing me warily.

I nodded, taking a deep breath. "I promise."

Kristen let out a relieved sigh, flashing me one of her usual carefree smiles. "Good. I'm glad you see things my way. Now I don't have to be all bitchy to you for breaking my best friend's heart."

I stared at her for a split second before letting out a weak laugh. "Yes, I suppose that is a good thing."

"C'mon." Kristen said, hopping in her car and waiting for me to get in. "Let's go put the poor boy out of his misery. I swear, he can be such a little pussy when it comes to you. "


Reaching the outskirts of town, Kristen brought the car to a stop at the edge of the cornfield.

"I'm pretty sure I don't have to tell you where to find him." Kristen said, staring through her window out into the cornfield.

I nodded, knowing the one place he would be at a time like this.

"I'm just gonna stay behind, if it's alright with you." Kristen said, winking at me. "I mean, It's kinda awkward when I'm there and you two get all mushy with each other and stuff."

I nodded, still horribly tense as I got out of the car and began walking into the cornfields.

It was terrifying, to say the least. It was still pitch black, and I wasn't sure if I would be able to find my way there. What if I got lost, or simply didn't see it? I couldn't wait, though, not till morning. I had to see him now.

I had only been walking about fifteen minutes when I spotted it. Thank god, I could barely make out the silhouette of the water tower, just barely illuminated by the moonlight. Reaching the ladder, I held my breath, forcing myself to ignore the creaking as I slowly scaled it. Finally reaching the end of the ladder, I paused, poking my head over the top.

Reed's back was to me, his body still as he looked out into the darkness. For a second, I just watched him, feeling at ease to simply be in his presence once more, before forcing myself to speak.

"Reed." I murmured, not wanting to startle him as I climbed the rest of the way onto the water tower.

Slowly, he turned towards me, remaining deathly silent. Even in the dim moonlight, I could still make out his face, see the tear stains he'd been trying so hard to conceal from me earlier. For a second, we both just stood there, our eyes locked in silence. Opening my mouth, I tried to say something, anything, but found that no words would come out. What could I say? How could I apologize for breaking the heart of the one boy that had loved me with all his heart?

Swallowing hard, Reed was the first one to speak, breaking the silence. "Liz…" he whispered breathlessly, the words catching in his throat. I felt my heart break all over again at the tenderness in his voice, the fact that, despite all that I had done to him, he still regarded me with such loving care.

"I –I love you too." I whispered hoarsely, throwing myself at him and wrapping my arms around him. For a second, I could feel his body tense up before relaxing, his own arms wrapping around me.

"I'm so sorry." I whispered, burying my face in his neck. "I know, I keep saying that, I just, I was just trying to do what was right and-"

"Shhh." Reed said, pulling away from me slightly so that he could look me in the eyes. "You came back." He whispered, swallowing hard. "That's all that matters. You came back to me."

"I want to run away with you." I murmured, needing to get the truth out. "I want to sleep with my on the beach, or under the stars, or wherever. As long as I'm in your arms, it doesn't matter. I want to chase after our dreams together, to laugh when you laugh, to cry when you cry. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Reed, rich or poor, good or bad. I'm not scared anymore, not of this, of us. "

Reed took a deep breath, relief mingling with bliss on his face as he looked down at me. "I would have waited forever, you know."

I stared up at Reed, confusion etched in my features. "What?"

"I would have waited forever for you to realize we were meant for each other. " he whispered, pressing a soft kiss to my forehead and drawing me closer.

Hearing Reed's words, I knew without a doubt that I had made the right choice. Even when I had turned my back on him, Reed had still believed in me, had faith in me. When most in his position would have moved on as fast as they could, he had instead resolved to wait patiently till I realized what he had known all along, no matter how much it hurt him to do so.

For a while, we stayed like that, wrapped in each other's arms. Words weren't necessary. We'd already said enough for one night. Sometimes, a smile, or a kiss, or a touch said more than any amount of words ever could.

Finally, though, the sun finally began to peek over the horizon. Pulling back hesitantly, I looked up at Reed, knowing that my parents had probably already realized I wasn't coming home.

"We've only got a few hours before they call the cops and report me as a runaway." I whispered, knowing without a doubt that that was exactly what my parents planned to do.

Reed nodded, stoking my hair affectionately before taking my hand in his own and leading me down the water tower.

"So, we're headed east then?" Reed asked, a wide grin on his face, one that I'd missed horribly these last few hours.

"Wherever you want." I whispered, lacing fingers with him.

Reaching the edge of the cornfield, Reed and I froze at the sight that welcomed us. Hayven was leaned up against the hood of Kristen's car, along with the rest of Reed's band. Kristen was in her car, talking on her phone, Reed's motorcycle parked nearby.

"It's about fucking time!" Hayven said, shaking his head and walking up to the two of us.

"What the hell are you guys doing here?" Reed asked, his gaze drifting past Hayven to the rest of the band members.

"Kristen called us, jackass. She told us about your little plan to leave town, and we figured, hey, the more the merrier. What better time for a road trip?"

For a split second, I saw something pass between the two boys, something I hadn't been aware of up until that point. I'd underestimated the strength of their friendship. This wasn't just some random trip Hayven and the rest of the band had volunteered for. He was doing this for Reed, for us. Most of the time, Hayven behaved uncivilized at best, and conducted himself with all the class of a chimpanzee. He had his moments, though, and this was definitely one of them.

Clearing his throat, Reed nodded, a crooked grin on his face.

"You sure about this-"

"What the fuck is our band going to do without our lead singer?" Hayven asked, raising an eyebrow at Reed. "If you're going, we're going too. And Kristen, well, she's coming along. I mean, Liz is gonna need a girl to talk to with all us guys hanging around."

Reed and I blinked, exchanging stunned glances.

"But-"

"Just say thank you." Kristen said, stepping out of her car and heading over to Reed and I. "I,um, I may have kind of let some shit slip about your dad, Reed, but it's only cause I had to, to explain all this to them."

Reed tensed, his jaw flexing as his grip on my hand tightened just slightly.

"Hey, don't sweat it." Hayven said, patting him on the shoulder. "You know what they say. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And we both know you need all the help you can get in that department, especially with a guy like me standing next to you."

Reed snorted, rolling his eyes.

"God, could you get any more conceited?"

Hayven shrugged. "I don't know, but I'm sure we'll find out when we make it big."

Intervening, Kristen interrupted before the boys could continue their jeering banter.

"C'mon, guys. We've gotta get going before the cops catch on to us."

"And your guys's parents are alright with this?" Reed asked, his eyes narrowing slightly.

Kristen shrugged, a mischievous smirk spreading across her face. "Most of them. But hey, we're like, what, pretty much almost adults. We've spent enough time doing what they want. This is our time, our future. And, I figure, Liz and I can be, like, the bands managers or something, so really, if you think about it, this is more of a career opportunity than anything else."

"You are so full of shit." Reed laughed, rolling his eyes.

"I know. But you love me for it." Kristen said, winking. "Hayven and the rest of the gang can ride in my car, and we'll follow you and Liz on your motorcycle. We've got all the instruments and shit in my trunk, so we're pretty much ready to go. That's the only thing of value any of us own anyways, and pretty much all we have room for."

Turning to me, Reed hesitated, glancing back towards town.

"Do you want to leave some sort of goodbye note for your parents, Liz?"

Slowly, I shook my head, my mother's last words echoing in my head.

Goodbye Liz.

The words had struck me as out of place at the time, but now, I realized what she'd meant. She'd known, she had to have, that I would choose to run away with Reed. She hadn't just been saying goodbye to me that night. She'd been saying goodbye to me forever.

My father would undoubtedly still pursue me, but my mother…perhaps a part of her, the part of her that had the potential to love me, had wanted me to be happy, had known that being with Reed would accomplish exactly that.

"No, I'm fine. " I whispered, smiling to myself as Reed took my hand and lead me over to his motorcycle, handing me his helmet. "I think I've said everything there is to say."

Climbing onto the back of Reed's motorcycle, I wrapped my arms around him as he started the bike and began to drive down the dirt road, Kristen's car following behind us.

If you had asked me a few months ago if I believed in happily ever afters, in riding off into the sunset, and living on nothing but love and a dream, I would have told you no, because such things were foolish. I had come to realize, however, that sometimes, it was necessary to risk playing the part of the fool, to allow yourself to follow your heart. For that was what love required, for one to truly bare themselves to another, to risk rejection and allow themselves to be vulnerable. Yes, I suppose some may believe what I had chosen to do was foolish at best, to run away with Reed and face an unsure future. I had learned, however, that the true fool is one that does not take the risk at all, that believes that it is better to simply remain on the sidelines to avoid the danger of being hurt altogether. Trust me, I speak from experience. Not so very long ago I was that girl, that unwitting fool, and would probably still be if it weren't for a certain boy.

To the rest of the world, maybe I was just another ignorant, love struck girl rebelling from her parents and Reed was nothing more than another kid with skinny jeans and an attitude problem, chasing a long shot dream, but to each other, we were everything. And, as long as it may have taken me to realize it, that was, without a doubt, all that truly mattered.

A/N: Yay!! Last chapter!! See, you guys don't have to hate me after all! I gave Reed and Liz a happy ending! And Liz kind of redeemed herself a bit in this last chapter, right? Hehe, I bet you guys thought it was going to end sad and everything 'cause of the chapter title. Well, maybe. Or maybe you guys saw right through it xD In any case, review, since this is , after all, the last chapter!

Now, keep in mind, if for some reason I feel inclined to do so, this last chapter/ ending is subject to change. The only reason I would really change this last chapter is if I received a substantial amount of negative feedback on it.

Oh, and I was just skimming through my iPod looking for a song that I felt like summed up the last chapter, and I swear, We The Kings "Check Yes Juliet" is like perfect for it xD Seriously, if you haven't heard it, go check it out.

Anywhoo, a few of you have asked if there will be a sequel to this story, so I figure I should address that now since this is the last chapter.

IMPORTANT! SEQUEL INFO:

I left the ending pretty open to interpretation/ possibilities, so there's definitely potential for a sequel. Whether or not I write a sequel to this story for Reed and Liz will depend upon how many people show interest in it. What I'm going to do is post a new story in my profile entitled ' Skinny Jeans and Love Drunk Dreams"(I might go back and change the title later. This will have to do for now, though). There won't actually be a chapter there. It will just be to see how many people story alert the sequel so that I can determine if enough people are interested.

So yeah. If you guys are interested in a sequel to this story, go and story alert "Skinny Jeans and Love Drunk Dreams"!

If I get enough story alerts to that one, then I will type up and start posting chapters to the sequel in 'Skinny Jeans and Love Drunk Dreams. It will include more cute cheesy romance, lots of drama, and hopefully touch on the physical aspect of their relationship more *hint hint* ;) I mean, in this one it was super innocent, 'cause they didn't even get to make out. It will also include the song Reed wrote for Liz, if anyone's interested in knowing exactly what he wrote :)

It seems there have also been requests for a love story between Kristen and Hayven. I just wanted to let you guys know that, as with "Skinny Jeans and Love Drunk Dreams" I will be posting a story in my profile entitled "Bright Band Tees and Neck Hickeys"(again, may go back and change the title later, but this will have to do for now) for Kristen and Hayven. There won't actually be a chapter there. It will just be to see how many people story alert it so that I can determine if enough people are interested. It will in fact take place at the same time as "Skinny Jeans and Love Drunk Dreams" if enough people show interest in the story. So yeah ;)

If you like the sound of a story for the two of them, check out my profile and story alert "Bright Band Tees and Neck Hickeys". If I get enough story alerts to that one, then I will type up and start posting chapters to this story as well.

Also, if you're looking for something else to read while I see if there's enough people interested to start a sequel to this story and hopefully begin to type of the first chapter, check out my other new romance "Tempting Fate" ;)

And, of course, I would like to thank everyone who's supported me throughout this story by reviewing, favoriting this story, or story altering it. Your support means so much to me, I'm sure I would have never gotten this far without you all! I'm really surprise how many people ended up actually taking an interest in this. Thrilled, without a doubt, but nevertheless surprised.

And if anyone has any suggestions for new stories/ plot ideas, questions about the story or just in general, or any suggestions for me period, I would love to hear them!

So, yeah, hopefully this isn't goodbye for a lot of you and I'll see you guys again if/when I start publishing chapters for "Skinny Jeans and Love Drunk Dreams"! But if it is, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to read this story! I sincerely hope you found it to your liking ;)

Yours truly,

Anonymous Soul.