Rating: M, because of language, under-age drinking and drug use, plus teenagers having a little more sex than they should.

A/N: Hello again! It's been some time (four months, right) but here it is! The epilogue I've promised you. And it is especially dedicated to the reviewers and readers that have followed this until the end. You know who you are~

And finally; if you're having trouble composing a review on your own, an alternative review is at the bottom of this chapter.


Stray Cats Don't Sneak Showers

or Cole Jensen's Survival Guide for Temporarily Homeless Street Kids

-x-

Epilogue: Nine facts that probably won't make you the king of Trivial Pursuit, but are relevant anyway.

-x-

Fact #1: I'm not forgetful; I'm just inventive when finding places to put my things.

You gotta be kidding me. They're gone. They're fucking nowhere to be found, even though I know I put them right here, right inside the door like I always do. Where the hell are they? I use 'em almost every fucking day for fuck's sake!

And don't ask me if I've looked for them; you're just making yourself look stupider than you already are. I can tell you that they're not under my bed or in any other part of the living room. They're neither in the bathroom nor in the shower. And since Ma doesn't allow shoes in the kitchen, they're definitely not there either. 'Cause no matter how nice she is, that's a rule that she'll never stretch and I'll never break.

"Hey, Ma! Have you seen my shoes?" I shout as I take the single step that's necessary to get from the hall to the kitchen. Yeah. Never said that our apartment's big.

"What shoes?" comes her voice from the stove; loud enough for me to hear her over the music from the little radio on the table. She doesn't even look up when I enter. Probably 'cause she's too engrossed in her scrubbing. She doesn't really care how it looks in the rest of the apartment, but the kitchen is always clean and shiny.

I sigh and run a hand through my still wet hair. "The black ones 'course!"

"All of your shoes are black!" she retorts as she gets on the tip of her toes to reach for another sponge from the lowest shelf of the spice rack. To be honest I don't know how the hell I turned out to become 6'1". Ma is seriously standing at barely 5'1" – that's stretching it too – and I don't remember my father being particularly tall either.

"Oh, come on! You know which ones I'm talking about! The new ones?"

Her brows knot as she dips the new sponge in some water and add some dish soap. "The ones the Jonathan gave you?" she then asks, finally turning around to face me; her fringe's held back with a tacky bandana and pulled into two childish braids.

"Yes! Have you seen them since last night?" I demand, shoving my hands in my pockets.

"Aren't they in the lower drawer of your bedside table?"

I only deadpan her. "Seriously? Why would I put them there?"

"I don't know" she says, attacking the counter again as she shrugs; braids whipping against her shoulders as she does. "You did put them in the shower once."

I snort at the memory as she wiggles her eyebrows at me; lopsided smirk on her lips. She loves bringing that up for some reason. Just because I was a more than a little drunk and a bit disoriented one night, I ended up putting my shoes in the shower and passing out with my head in the kitchen and feet still in the bathroom. Must've been one hell of a sight, can't deny that.

She was kind enough to put me in bed when she found me, though.

Leaning against the door jamb, I just sigh. "That," I start as I shake my head, "that was a onetime thing and I was drunk. I usually don't drink on a school night."

"Of course; I know that, sweetie. I know you can take care of yourself perfectly fine" she says and continues to scrub with a shrug. "Even though that's my job."

"You are taking care of me" I cut her off before she gets the chance to start up. In that case, she's just like Jess. If you don't cut her off in an early stage, she'll go on forever. So I lean down and sling an arm around her narrow shoulders. She's my mother, but she could very well have been my little sister considering her height.

"Yeah, when I'm not all crazy depressed!"

"Don't dwell on it. Shit happens."

"Well, well," – she retracts herself from me with a sigh – "At least we're both independent women who need no man."

"You're not funny, Ma."

She pats me on the shoulder. "Look in the lower drawer; I'm pretty certain I saw you putting them there"

"I'll look" I tell her and am already halfway out of the kitchen when she yells again.

"Where are you going anyways? It's barely one and you're already out of your PJ's."

"Jon's gonna pick me up in a couple of minutes!"

She mumbles something incomprehensible – probably something about how I'm always out with him nowadays – as I walk out in the living room, which also works as my bedroom. The apartment is indeed really cramped, so don't give me that look. The size of Ma's bedroom is that of a closet, and the only thing that shuts me off from the rest of the room is a small bookcase.

Anyway, it's not that Ma doesn't approve of Jon or of our relationship – yes, I said it – but during the two months she's been home, I've spent almost every weekend with him.

I think she's just getting a bit jealous.

-x-

Fact #2: Ma loves everyone. And she's not ashamed to let it show.

As usual when Jon says that he's going to pick me up at two, he doesn't show up 'til at least half past. It's always like that and you'd think that I should've learnt by now, but to make a long story short, I haven't.

So, while waiting for him, I try to entertain myself. Easier said than done, but I end up sketching out some ideas for future graffiti projects. My inspiration has really hit a spike lately; since the wave I've been on a roll made more sketches than ever and covered about four walls in less than two months. Much to Dylan's disapproval.

He's always complaining about how I should take Jon with me instead; so that I can have some quality time with him. And it doesn't matter how many times I tell him that there's no way I'll bring someone I care about – and with no street savoir-faire whatsoever – into dark alleys late at night; that's just like asking for trouble. That's also when he usually asks me why I bring him along, and I tell him that being look-out is the only thing he's good for.

I don't think that I'll have to tell you that's usually where my painting sessions ends.

I'm on the verge of falling asleep, when there's finally a knock on the door. And it doesn't matter how quick I get onto my feet and run; Ma still is the one that gets to open the door and show a slightly perplexed Jon.

"Hello Ms. Jensen" he says; polite smile painted on his face. Typical.

"Oh, come on, I've told you before; I'm no stranger! Call me Rachel!" she greats him and pats him on the arm even before he's taken the step over the threshold. I make an apologetic face at him over her shoulder, but he just shrugs.

"Will do, Rachel."

"Always so cute!" Ma says happily and pulls him into an awkward hug, before she turns to me.

"You got a keeper in this one, Cole! He even dresses nicely," she whispers out of the corner of her mouth while nodding approvingly and pointing at Jon; today dressed in jeans and with a checkered shirt sticking out of the collar of his sweater. Even I gotta say he looks really good.

"Yeah, yeah, Ma! You can just, go – yeah, go back in here" I say, putting a hand on her shoulder, in an attempt to get her out of the way, in the same move as I drop my newly fetched shoes on the hallway carpet. The slight nervousness is probably prominent in my voice as I get funny look from Jon as I do this. "We'll be fine!"

"Oh no, young man! Don't you try to shoo me away. Give your mother a hug before you leave!" she demands just as I've slung my jacket over my arm. I try to get away, but instantly she grabs the collar of my flannel shirt. And for being so small, she's considerably stronger than you'd think.

I deadpan her. She raises her eyebrows. So give up and give my tiny Ma a good-bye hug.

But apparently it's not enough.

"Kiss on the cheek too!"

"Aw, come on!"

"Don't be a pussy just 'cause he's watching!"

"Fine…" I mutter and give her what she wants. Jon is just looking at me with this wide, shit-eating grin on his face and I almost stick out my tongue at him. In the end though, I settle for a simple "shut up!" which doesn't fail to make him laugh at all.

-x-

Fact #3: It's not that Jon doesn't like to drive; he just prefers to go by bike.

"What took you so fucking long anyway?" I mutter as we finally get out of my building and onto the street. It's the typical weather for early October, with strong winds and a promise of rain. I'm cold even before I've climbed onto the luggage carrier of Jon's bike.

"It was rush hour; I got caught in traffic" he says offhandedly as he bends down to unlock the old post bike. As he moves, the fabric of his jeans tightens over his ass and I can't help myself but to look. And don't you dare give me that look. It's kinda impossible to stare, 'cause with all the running he does, Jon's ass is real nice.

I let my eyes linger a little too long, 'cause when he looks up again – bike finally unlocked – it's with another grin stuck on his face as he catches me staring.

"Checking me out, are we?"

"Shut up. And by the way, there's no way you could've gotten caught in traffic; you take up as much space as a pedestrian with a bike" I tell him in attempt to keep my pride, before I blow on my hands to gain a bit of blood flow.

"You only go by bike when I give you a ride. You have no say in this matter. Plus, when we're two on this thing, people actually get out of the way" he retorts with a roll of his eyes. I just scoff.

Then he lays his eyes on me and my futile attempt to warm my hands.

"We've been outside for two minutes! Goddammit, Cole, c'mere."

"It's fine!" I try to tell him as he takes my hands and fold his small fingers over my own. His hands are really warm – unlike my own – and as he blows on mine, they actually start to warm up a bit. They're not hurting anymore at least. But then he begins to kiss my fingertips, so I untangle my hands and shove them in my pockets instead.

Jon doesn't say anything, but his face looks a bit disappointed. "Here, take my mittens, okay?" he then says and proceeds to take his polka-dotted mittens off.

"They won't fit. And you know that."

I hand them back before he's even given them to me, earning myself another disappointed look from him. Hence why I put my cold hands behind his neck and give him a light kiss. You know, to make sure he doesn't go all sulk-mode on me.

The kiss is one that starts out all PG – sealed lips, bodies barely touching, middle school all over it – but ends with me pressed up against the wall and Jon's upper-lip between my teeth. Not to mention my thigh that's lodged between his and his hand that is snaking up my back underneath my shirt.

We both come to a stop and breathlessly stare at each other; realizing what we're actually doing.

"We should really get going."

"Yeah."

We step away from each other and try to straighten up our appearances – Jon flattens his hair a bit, I get my shirt in order – before we climb onto the rattling, unsteady thing he calls a bike. We wobble when we first take off, but due the fact that I'm actually too tall to get a ride, I can easily steady us by just putting my feet down.

Jon has asked me several times if I don't want to sit on the handlebar instead, but I don't want to. Partly 'cause I'd be the first one to slam my face into the pavement if we were crash. But I also wouldn't be able to hold onto his waist for dear life when we speed down the downhill slope, both of us screaming and laughing when he just goes faster and faster despite all the nasty looks that we get.

And that's something I don't ever want to miss out on.

-x-

Fact #4: You can't hang out with the coolest kids on East Side without a trial.

When we finally make it to the skate pool, I'm so high on adrenaline that my legs are shaking. We barely got out alive when we crossed the last zebra crossing.

I don't get much time to dwell on it though, since Dylan – with a rearguard consisting of Greg and Lena – immediately emerges from the fast-food restaurant across the street upon seeing us.

"And last one to cross the finish line is Cole Finnegan Jensen; forty minutes after the winner, Dylan Morgan!"

"Middle names are just mean!" I yell back, waving as he and Lena try to cross the street at the same time without getting run over. Greg is the only one responsible enough to stay behind for a bit so he doesn't have to risk his life to get over.

"I could've been a commentator, and you know it!" Dylan shouts back, completely ignoring my input. "And what the fuck, man? It's not nice leaving people hanging like this."

He greets me with a one-armed hug and a back-slap that almost hurts. Grimacing, I whack him on the back of his head for his cheekiness. And the only thing that safes me from getting one myself is Lena, who casually slips in between us and to give me a hug.

"Hello, hello" she sings softly, and then she bumps my hip with her much softer one. She makes a face and looks up at me. "Ouch! You've gotten skinnier, haven't you?"

"With all the free food he gets at my place, that's nigh impossible" Jon finally says as he's done locking the bike – which no one would want to steal anyway – and comes up to stand beside me.

Lena whips her head around and gives him a quick once over as she exclaims: "You're Jon, right?"

He just nods.

"Oh God, you are so cute!"

She looks at Jon with her eyes wide and adoring, before she grabs him by the elbows and send him a toothy, almost predatory grin. I can see how he squirms under her gaze. Even though he knows that it's true, Jon doesn't like when people tell him he's cute. 'Cause let's face it; it's not all that flattering when you're already struggling to get a bit more manly.

But he's too polite to tell her that.

"So what's his maiden name?" she then asks me when she's done adoring Jon and has just started asking him awkward questions. So to save him, I untangle my hair from Greg's fingers – who always ruffles it as a greeting gesture nowadays, something he's picked up from Edith – and roll my eyes at her.

"Seriously? Ask him yourself."

Lena just snorts. "Don't fool yourself; you brought him, you're responsible for him. And his actions" she tells me, making Jon scoff, unaccustomed to her brazen ways.

"It's Reeves" Jon cuts her off.

"Huh?"

"Reeves. My name" he clarifies when she just stares at him. But by the time he has finished the sentence, Lena has her eyes fixed on me; her jaw's slack in pure shock. I make a gesture with my arms to make her explain what the big news is.

She looks at Jon, looks at me and then back to him. "Cole, you're fucking Reeves's son?"

"I always thought you had a crush on Mr. Reeves" Dylan wiggles his eyebrows at me, "but if it's Mr. Reeves the younger you want, it is just as good."

"Come on, Dylan, don't be a dick" I tell him, but he just puts on a shit-eating grin at me; not all unlike the one I got from Jon earlier.

Greg shrugs and grins as well. This is not looking good. "Well, at least he looks nothing like him. We should just be happy that Cole can keep it in his own league – by not fucking old dudes – and move on."

"Guess you're right about that. Though knowing Cole, I'm certain he could bag both if he wanted."

I'm tongue-tied. They're unbelievable. Sure, teasing is to be expected, but to this extent?

It's clear that Jon's starting to get a bit frustrated too; obviously not seeing that they're only testing him; seeing how far they can go before he explodes. You can't hang out with the coolest kids on East Side without going through a trial, that's a fact. I really want to leave it to him; let him get through it on his own. But as they step up the teasing, aka when Dylan joins in, I decide to help him out.

"They're always like this at first; you're not getting special treatment. Lena had a rough time too" I whisper to him as sling my arm over his shoulders. "You're actually quite lucky; you've had me as a warm-up."

"Shut up. You're a handful" he mumbles back, but the angry tension in his shoulders does fall away for a bit.

"I'm not."

"You are" he says; fixing his eyes on me for a moment. "But that's fine."

-x-

Fact #5: Jon hasn't seen any of my sketches.

We spend the three following hours there; hiding out under the bike rack when the occasional rain comes, only to disappear just as quickly. But for most part we sit on the grass; lazily devouring fries and coke while we just are. It's really nice, actually. Especially when Jon finally relaxes enough around my friends to lay his head on my lap like it's the most natural thing in the world.

Around the same time I kinda forget that there's anything wrong with this day whatsoever.

But then, when we're starting to get bored, Lena comes up with the fantastic – insert sarcasm here – idea that I should show Jon some of my graffiti.

"No. No way" I say before she's even finished the question, earning myself an abundance of "why not's?" and puzzled looks. I don't cast a glance downwards at Jon's.

"We've already seen it! All of them!" Lena claims; emphasizing it by throwing her arms out.

"Doesn't matter" I clip her off and stuff another pair of fries in my mouth to mark that the conversation's over; still not looking at Jon.

You should know, though, that it's not 'cause I think they're bad or anything like that. No, it has to do with that I don't want him to see what I'm doing when he's not around; that the only thing I'm really, really good at, is illegal. And although I may have the brains – read: the ability to stuff my head full enough with facts, numbers and methods to get me B's and C's – I'm not really smart on my own.

I mean, not like Jon at least. Jon's clever. Like, bright as hell; he's got straight A's, and he's taking math and science and all that shit. One time, he did the mistake to have me over when he still had a bit of homework to do. And well, he got so annoyed with me making him explain things, that he almost threw me out. I did manage to coax him into a two-hour long make out-session when he was done though, but that's another story.

Anyhow, I don't want him to see it, 'cause it'd just show… well, I want to keep my artistic integrity.

Jon stirs in my lap and then he sits up, green eyes pointed at me and filled with a stern determination.

"I want to see them."

I sigh. "Well, you can't."

"Show me your sketchbook then."

I stiffen before I – suddenly very weary – locate my bag and press it to my chest. "No."

"Why not?" he asks; leaning in as our conversation is getting a bit too private.

I hiss back at him. "'Cause it's my business!"

Plus, I have some stuff in there I bet he'd not be too pleased about. Like the one I made of him at Starbucks last week. Yeah, how 'bout that?

"Well, you're my business, meaning your sketches are as well."

I snarl at him. "Fuck you."

"Bet you'd wanna" is his only answer as he shoots me lopsided smirk; probably thinking that he's won the argument.

"Actually, I do."

It's true. I have wanted it for a long time, but I always end up under him. Not that it matters all that much; it's great as it is, but hey, I have a dick too, you know? I haven't told him that I want to, though. But when he's being a jerk like this, I can't help but want to throw him off for a bit.

And I actually manage to do so. Throw him off, I mean. He looks startled for a moment, but then his god dammed brain lights up, and in the matter of one point two seconds, the same smile is back.

Here I thought I could put him off a little, but no. 'Course not.

"So it's a deal then?"

What?

"What?"

"You'll let me see one of those walls, and I'll let you be on top tonight."

"Are you serious?"

'Cause that's… that's way too tempting.

He chuckles at my disbelieving expression and bumps his forehead against mine; almost purring when he adds:

"Promise."

And that is a convincing argument, you have to admit.

-x-

Fact #6: Ma works two jobs when she's healthy. She also collects seahorses.

"I really don't understand why you haven't shown that to me before" Jon tells me as I once again climb off the luggage carrier; legs stiff after having to hold them up for so long. "'Cause you're good. Like, if you wanted, you could definitely go post-secondary with that; become a mural artist or whatever. No doubt."

He bends down to lock his bike as he sends me a bright smile. You know, one of those which make me wonder how his face is still in one piece.

Shaking rain-soaked bangs out of my face, I just shrug in response. "We'll see."

"Always so modest" he mumbles sarcastically and encircles his arms around my waist.

"I know I'm good, smarty-pants."

"Yeah, yeah. You could use hearing it from someone other than my dad, though" he tells me against my shoulder and I just let out a snorting laugh.

"Let's head inside before we get all soaked."

We trudge up the stairs to the top floor where Ma and I's apartment is, and I slide my key into the key hole.

I'm so goddamned happy to have my key chain back, I tell you. While I've never been one to have a lot of junk attached to my keys, I've stopped carrying it without nothing; nowadays I always have one of Ma's seahorses with it at all times.

Yeah. Ma collects seahorses. Key chains, charms and God knows what else.

Once inside, we shrug out of our damp jackets and throw them over the radiator in the bathroom – or at least I do – before we step into the kitchen to get something to drink. I find a little note on the refrigerator saying that Ma's taken a double shift at the hospital and is not going to get home until late. Probably not until morning.

It's not something new. And tonight I'm actually glad for it.

"I want something warm" Jon grumbles from somewhere behind me as he puts his arms around himself, shivering slightly. Since I agree with him, I look into the coffee machine to see if we're lucky on that matter, and it turns out that we are. The pot is half-full. I pour two cups to the both of us; run them a few laps in the microwave before we head into my "bedroom" – meaning the living room.

My bed is pressed up against the corner and we have put a bookcase and an armchair around it to give me some sort of privacy. It has worked pretty well 'til now, so it's fine. Jon doesn't mind either; he just tells me how cozy it is as slumps down on my bed.

Just as he always does.

"I love your bed" he says when he with a sigh puts his finished cup on one of the shelves "you don't sink into it as much."

I smile at him and lay down beside him. "You're saying your bed is too soft?"

"Yeah."

"That's not possible. A bed can't be too soft" I snort and jab him playfully in the ribs. He squeaks and squirms away, but I grab his ankle; an action that becomes that start signal for a wrestling match that makes my old bed creak.

"Yes it can!" he pants, when he's finally trapped underneath me.

"No."

"Fuck you."

"Yes, please."

Jon stiffens slightly and he swallows when my grip around his wrists loosen. I sit back on my knees as he props himself up on his elbows.

"So. Are we doing this?" he then asks me. "I mean, I'm okay with it, but y'know, you've never stuck it in so –"

"I've slept with girls, Jon" I tell him, laughing slightly at his haste to explain.

But instead of laughing, he sits up abruptly. "What?"

"What?"

He just stares at me; hands over his ears as if he can't believe them. "Girls? When?"

"A year ago, what about it?" I say offhandedly as I lean in to give him a kiss and slip my hands under his shirt. Don't look at me like that; I've waited long enough as it is.

Still looking shocked, he looks away, hands behind his neck. "Girls. Girls! You've fucked girls…"

I pull back, highly amused. "So that's what this is about? You think I'm defiled now?"

Somehow relaxing a bit, he shakes his head. "No. It's just… I thought I was…you were..."

"Well," I say, pressing myself up against him "it doesn't matter now, does it?"

My hands stroke along his ribs, and as I press my mouth to his clavicle, I earn myself a shiver from him. You know, one of those full-body shivers that are quite rare to witness? Yeah. So don't blame me when I say that it turns me on a great deal.

"Guess not" he sighs, when I finally reach his lips and laces my fingers in his hair. His arms have – probably unconsciously – reached behind me, and he's now holding me in a rather tight grip. Not that I'm complaining. Especially not when I finally get him to open his mouth and let me the fuck in.

Usually, I'm the one who's reluctant.

I bet I taste as much of coffee as he does when I let my tongue press against his. And as I do that, Jon – who usually starts to take control by now – begin sucking gently at my tongue. However, this time I won't let him. So I put my hands on his chest, push him back into my mattress, lay down in between his legs and make sure that there's practically no space at all between us as well.

"My god, you're like a cat in heat" he just sighs, making me laugh as I lie down on top of him and reach a hand down between us. The buttons of his jeans pops open easily enough.

"But that's fine, right?"

"Shut up."

-x-

Fact #7: I'll never fuck a girl again. Not ever.

Sex with Jon is good. It has always been good, but I guess you could say that is 'cause we're less hasty now. We've come a long way from that frenetic and rushed fuck we engaged in back in August, as we now know what to expect from the territory beyond "making out". But even so, it doesn't mean that things always go smoothly.

It never does, actually.

"I'm not going to do you like this!"

"Every time I make you face me, you moan a hell of a lot more. And I don't think it is out of pain."

"Shut up."

"If you quit your whining!" Jon says and props himself onto his elbows; face flushed and eyes hard with frustration and annoyance. "I fucking know it's new to you, thank you very much! But – fuck – you are not stopping again, okay? 'Cause I will hit you if you tease me again."

I clench my teeth as I avert my gaze, but his hand grab my chin and then give me a surprisingly hard slap on the cheek.

"Ow! That –"

"That didn't hurt, and you know it" he just says, condescendingly and brushes a strand of my hair behind my ear like I'm a princess. If anyone wants to be treated like a princess, it's Jon himself. Spoiled brat.

"Stop that."

"Get to work, then."

"Okay, okay" I grumble, beaten in the end, as I push the lubed tip of my condom-clad fingers inside of him for the third time. And once again he does something that I'm still not able to do; he just relaxes into it as I feel up the amazing tightness of him.

Don't get me wrong, I like it as much as him, but while my body locks up in a seizure-like state when he does it to me, Jon just relaxes and sinks into my mattress with content, sighing moans.

"But gotta tell me if –"

"I. Know" he says impatiently. But he does smile as he slings his left leg over my shoulder. "Just get to work now, alright?"

So I do. I pull my fingers out, throw the used condom in the trash, fetch a new one from Jon's jeans' pocket – they're still dangling from his leg – and while he rips it open, I grab the lube I have underneath my bed.

It's safer there than in my bedside drawer.

When I finally push in to him, I don't know if it's the impossibly amazing stimulation on my dick, the simple fact that I'm inside him or the hitched, panting groan the escapes Jon's lips that almost makes me come right then and there.

I'd bet my money on the last one, but it's probably the sum of all of it.

Jon's arms are shaking slightly as he encircles my back; hands splayed flat between my shoulder blades. I bury my face in the crook of his neck and thrust a little further into him. It feels so much better – much more right than it ever did with those girls – and as Jon catches my mouth with a kiss, I know that I'm never going to give this up.

I thought it the first time as well, but now it's really final; I'm as gay as it gets.

Sliding my eyes shut, I hear Jon telling me something, but I'm too focused on the sensations to really find it comprehensible.

-x-

Fact #8: I'm not awake enough to bite back at nine am.

Afterwards, Jon's too exhausted to do anything else, so we just end up going to sleep. My bed is actually a bit too small, but since he has this habit of curling up really, really close to me when cuddling, it works out in the end. Although with the slight disadvantage that it gets so fucking hot; I'm always sweaty when I wake up the next morning.

Sunday morning is no exception, so I do as always. Meaning that I carefully untangle myself from his tight hold – his morning mood is awful, so I kind of want to avoid waking him up – and go to wash my face off. I like the smell of him, don't get me wrong, but I've never been a fan of being sweaty.

I really got enough of that this past summer.

A bit groggy – since nine o'clock is a bit too early for me – I saunter out in the hallway, almost stubbing my toe on the bookcase as I stumble my way through the apartment. And not being really awake is also the reason I get a slight shock as I pass by the kitchen – and see Ma sitting there in a robe and a newspaper already spread out in front of her.

She's usually fast asleep by now.

Noon; that's when she gets up on Sundays.

"Morning, honey" she smiles tiredly as I slump down on the chair beside her; propping my chin up on one of my knees. "Slept well?"

I nod my head, not really having the energy to answer.

"Good, good" she mumbles and then takes a swig out of her cup; making a face as she forces the presumably too hot coffee down her throat. "It looked like it."

"What?" I just say, too tired to even act surprised.

She shrugs and rolls her eyes. "Passed by on the way to my bed, mister. He really likes clinging to you, doesn't he?"

You can't blame me for blushing, okay? It's like a natural reaction when your parents start to comment on things like that. If you also add the fact that I'm way too tired to defend myself, then you have absolutely no reason at all to blame me.

I look away as the warmth just spreads onto my neck and the top of my ears. I don't even bother hiding it; I already know that my face look like a stop light, all thanks to this stupid complexion.

Ma just gives me a warm smile and slings her too thin arm around my shoulders.

"You know, I like how he looks at you. How he watches you. 'Cause I'm pretty sure that I look like him when I watch you too" she tells me and lightheartedly kisses my cheek – one that actually has started to stubble a bit.

I lean away from her, crossing my arms over my chest as a question I really don't mean to ask just falls out of my mouth. "How do I look at him, then?"

"The same way."

And of course, that's when Jon – dressed in a pair of my PJ's and a t-shirt – decides to show up in the doorway. He's holding his mug from yesterday in his left hand and is scratching his hair with the other. But upon seeing us, the hand falls from his hair and he looks surprised, before he puts on a tired smile.

It doesn't seem like he heard us.

"Good morning Ms. Jen – I mean, Rachel" he just hastily corrects himself and then domestically goes over to the counter to put his cup in the sink.

"Good morning, Jon. Feel free to take some coffee; I made too much as it is" Ma says over her shoulder.

"Oh. Thank you" he says, hiding a yawn behind his hand as he proceeds pouring coffee into his mug. And you know, if it's something that I've learned about Jon during these last few months, it's that he can't function without a good cup of coffee in the morning.

He's wearing this expression of pure bliss on his face as he takes the first swig; hair the biggest mess I've ever seen and he looks so good just standing there – too big PJ's almost falling off his hips.

You'd probably think that he wasn't something special, but seeing him like this really makes me think that maybe, maybe there' something more than just some cheap teenage fling between us. 'Cause just as much as I – grudgingly – can say that he makes me all giddy with his smiles, I can also tell you that him being an annoying jerk is almost just as appealing. Well not really, but you catch my drift.

I just… really like him.

I continue to watch him carefully – he catches me, of course, sending me a small smile – 'til Ma jabs me in the ribs with her elbow and tell me to go and take a shower, 'cause I fucking stink.

I tell her she hasn't felt anything; when it's so bad that it wakes her up, then we can talk.

Cole – Ma: 701 – 930

Fact #9: Yeah. She's always been my worst opponent.

THE END. FOR REAL THIS TIME.


A/N: …and that's it. The end. Finite. It actually surprised me how hard it was to get it done, but I'm guessing it was just laziness and lack of inspiration~ Anyway, hope you enjoyed and well, as you can see, the story's gone through some revising. There aren't any major changes, but I think it's worth a re-read!

I'm very grateful to everyone that has read and reviewed this story; this epilogue is dedicated to you!

And if you're having trouble composing a review, just copy this little text below, fill in the blank spaces and sign with your name! (Thanks, the milk bottle, for the idea)

Dear Jill,

Are you really sure that you want to end things like this? I mean, it's (…) as it is, but I was really (…) for a more (…) ending. Anyway, seeing them (…) like this was nice though, Cole's Ma is (…) even if I (…) Edith. About that, what the hell happened to her?! I am so (…) you!

Your name