Hello everyone! And SO SO SO SORRY for the delay! It's just that endings are hard for me and it took me forever to get this end to where I wanted it be.

Thank you so much for reading this story! You're all awesome in my book. Hope you enjoy.

Love,

Clavie


My Life in Black & Blue

Chapter Seventeen: The Best Thing

The following weeks were quite busy for me. I worked and spent all my spare time shopping. Since Dean had bought the house I insisted on buying most of the furniture with my own money, much as Dean protested and insisted to pay some of it. I refused, I had my savings and the paintings had sold really well (plus I had some commissions lined up already, people willing to pay a pretty penny for custom paintings).

He was supposed to come to Baltimore very other week, but he showed up almost every weekend to help me with the house. We spent one weekend picking up paint for the rooms of the house and we went the following week and we painted our bedroom together. Other than hiring a contractor to put in my dream kitchen and a carpenter to put in closets and shelving, Dean and I were doing everything else together.

Once the kitchen and master bedroom were finished, I moved into the house, figuring I could get more work done that way. Dean surprised by showing up early on the day of the move to help me.

When Dean had helped me move my clothes into the walk-in closet, we ordered pizza and sat in the kitchen counter just eating and talking. There were some papers that I had dropped there and Dean was leafing distractedly through them while I talked to my parents on the phone.

"Hey! We are in here!" Dean said startled, shaking out the paper.

I hung up and asked, "What?"

"Here," He said, clearing his throat. "If your were wondering why Dean Hale – lead singer of Black Hawk- has been keeping a low profile lately, here we have you answer! The hottie rocker has been seen in the D.C. and Baltimore areas, shopping for furniture with an unidentified woman. Rumor in the fan clubs says the woman is none other than Hale's former P.A. Tess Mercer. It has always been hard to tell with these two but based on photographic evidence, whatever there is between them is anything but professional." Dean finished reading and added, "There is also a picture of us holding hands and kissing."

"Do I look cute?" I asked, unconcerned.

There had always been rumors about the two of us, and since he almost always took me to award shows, there had been plenty of pictures of the two of us in magazines and papers – he grew mad whenever a photographer asked me to step aside and photographers quickly realized it was either me in the picture or no picture at all.

"You always look cute," Dean said.

"Right answer." I said with a smile. "Does it say anything else?"

"Not really, just some stuff about the band's new record." Dean answered with a shrug. "I so want to finish this record. Then I can help you with the wedding."

I grinned, "We have everything well in hand, Dean." I said with a weary sigh, thinking we had it as well in hand as anyone could have a wedding.

"I still want to help. Don't want you to feel like you are doing everything yourself."

"That's sweet of you," I said smiling. Ever since we had gotten back together, Dean had been trying to be there for me more. And I was being more open about my feelings and the things I needed from him, instead of waiting for him to guess. But he surprised me – as he always had – sometimes guessing just what I needed before I managed to form the thought in my head to ask him for help, like right now.

I had always sworn I wouldn't be a bridezilla trying to control everything about my wedding, and I truly didn't want to but because we wanted to keep everything low key, we hadn't hired a wedding planner but rather handled things ourselves – Nana, Jess, Robin and me – and there was a lot to do even though our wedding was to be super small.

"I do need the help." I said because I did. "Like right now I would really love your help… with my shower."

"You ask and I obey," Dean said eagerly, even lifting me up and carrying me up the stairs to our newly finished bathroom.

.

Much later, tired but clean, we curled up in bed together, watching some old movies on TV. I was too tired to actually follow the movie but Dean was still in L.A. time and it would be a while before sleep got to him. So I just cuddled up to him and let him warm me up so I could fall asleep.

Much as I loved having sex with Dean, it was this part – the intimacy of sleeping in the same bed, of him seeing what I looked like first thing in the morning – what I loved best. Not that I was ready to give up on having my wicked way with him, but it was this peaceful aftermath that warmed my heart even when he was away.

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Our wedding took place the first warm morning of spring, the weather a co-conspirator of our happiness.

We were married in a small, at home ceremony, with only about 15 guests total – my parents and Nana, the band and Mark, and my sister and Bastian (I think that last one was because Dean wanted to rub it in). We had a breakfast brunch because it was the meal I liked best, and we just hanged out with our friends because we could.

My dress was rather simple but I loved the fabric and I got a killer pair of shoes to set off my outfit.

I sat on Dean's lap for most of the reception; it was as if he didn't want to let go of me, not even for a minute. I felt the same way, and I also understood what drove some of those feelings. This was a new beginning for him. His parents had died when he was so young but that day was the day he officially started his own family and something about making our relationship formal seemed to make him happy.

And, if one thing would never change between us was that his happiness made me happy, especially when it was me that had made him happy in the first place. IT was a weird, twisty circle – how our happiness was so tuned into each other but it was the only way we knew how to be.

Weeks later, I presented Dean with a large painting of our Wedding Day. I hadn't used any photograph for base but rather just my memories of how I had felt that day; so the painting was blurry and mussed like only a the best memories are.

Dean framed the picture and hung it on the family room, facing the wall where he had hung the painting of us at 16 – a present from Bastian, of all people, who had secretly bought it during the opening night of the art exhibit and had given it to us as a wedding present.

In a way, everything made sense in that moment. The journey that had taken us to that moment, everything of the paintings and pictures I wanted to create; of the songs Dean would sing to me and I would never forget. Of Black and Blue, the song Dean had written - titled that way because he said that's how his moods have been when we had been apart – to tell the story of how he had fallen in love with me.

And we stood together in the brightness of the room, looking at the paintings of our history, past and present and the whole of our future stretching ahead of us.

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End of Chapter 17

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End of My Life in Black & Blue