*A/N - Hello all! Phew, we've finally made it to the end! So this chapter is by far the longest chapter of the bunch and I really didn't want to split it into two (or couldn't really find a good place to anyway), so I said whatever and left it as is. Thank you all for sticking with me. I never expected my first story to be quite this long, but I've enjoyed writing it and hope you all enjoyed reading.

Warnings - Ok so, I wrestled all weekend long on whether or not to add a particular spicy scene. Welp, I added it so here is your warning: there is sexual content in this chapter and it's a fairly long scene! I know there are people who do not enjoy that sort of thing, so I did *** it in case people want to skip over it.

Alright so without delaying any longer - here is the final chapter! Enjoy!*

Chapter 29 – A Glimpse of Things to Come

After a few more weeks of our hospital stay, we were finally heading home. Our calendars were filled with physical and mental therapy appointments for weeks to come, but at least we could sleep in our own beds again. Mom and Dad spent the majority of the car ride arguing while Lei and I discussed the coming memorial being held in California.

It was nearing August and my twenty-first birthday was right around the corner. The memorial happened to be that same weekend and Lei was all too excited. "You're going to buy me some drinks right?" She whispered.

"Sush! I'll think about it." I scolded.

"Come on! I'm freaking eighteen. Besides we used to drink in the Veil all the damn time."

"That was just an illusion." I argued.

"Lu! Please!" Her voice rose slightly higher than a whisper, but was still ignored by our arguing parents.

We pulled up to the house with blue shudders and a white picket fence. Leilani and I ran out with fevered excitement inside the foyer and up the staircase on the left. I took the steps two at a time, racing Leilani to our rooms. As I opened the door, my heart was instantly crushed.

"Where is my computer?" I shouted down the stairs to my parents who were making their way inside.

"I told you, no more video games in this house." My dad scolded up the stairs. I could have screamed.

"Where is it!?" I shouted.

"In the dump somewhere." He scoffed.

"Oh my God, oh my God…" I whispered under my breath as I ran to Leilani's room.

"Mine's gone too, Lu." She looked at me sympathetically.

"Seriously!? Dad, that cost me like three grand to build!"

"Well your fucking hospital stay is costing me a hundred grand that you will pay back." He scolded in a raised tone of voice. He was stomping up the stairs, puffing out his chest to make himself look frightening. I cowered. I always cowered.

"I know." I whispered in defeat.

"Knock off the shit. I'm fucking tired of it. I'll throw you out on the streets and you can find out what the real world is like." He shouted at the top of his lungs.

I cowered further, feeling Leilani behind me as I took a step back. I was cringing at his statement. "I understand." I swallowed hard, trying to think of a way out of this damn house. I was a year behind on my degree now. I'd have to reapply to school. I lost my job so I had no income, no way to pay for classes. I was stuck here until I at least found a job and a cheap apartment to rent.

"What brought you here, girlie?" I felt my eyes go wide as he stomped back down the stairs. I looked at the railing that blocked the drop to the lower floor. I could see her, with her legs dangling over the side of the loft and her arms pressed against the railing.

"You think everyone plays in order to escape their reality?" I heard my own voice echo in my ears as I walked towards the railing.

"Everyone has at least one thing they want to forget." The image of her sat up straight, inspecting her palm and then chuckled.

"You find this all funny?" I said the words out loud this time, echoing what I heard in my own head. Leilani was calling out my name, but I could barely hear it as this memory clouded my senses.

"It's easier to laugh." She looked up at me, those striking green eyes piercing into my soul.

I turned and bumped into Leilani as I ran towards the bathroom. I made it to the toilet just in time as my crappy hospital breakfast found its way back up. I blinked away the tears that formed as I emptied my stomach, frantically pulling at the little metal lever several times over.

"Lu! Are you alright?" She dropped to her knees as she held my hair back.

I nodded. "Yea." I shook my head and let out a strained chuckle. Leilani looked at me with a questioning expression. "It's easier to laugh." I replied. She looked at me with the saddest eyes and embraced me from behind.

It was a chilly morning for the beginning of August as Leilani and I carried our bags out to the car. Our knee-high summer dresses allowed the chill of the morning to creep on our skin. The leaves danced through the air as the wind blew gently. The lush green of summer saturated our view as all the trees had fully bloomed at this point.

Sera's mom was driving us all to the airport. We all sat quietly in the back seat. The drive felt agonizingly slow whereas it was only about an hour that had passed when we were finally pulling up to the terminals.

"You girls be careful now. If you need anything at all, I'm just a phone call away." Sera's mom said sweetly as she hugged each one of us.

"We'll be ok, Mom." Sera smiled. Sera's mom cupped her face lovingly and kissed her cheek.

"Thank you for the ride, Mrs. Strommer." I said as we walked into the airport.

We all checked in and waited at our gate for the flight to start boarding. "It's sad I'm more nervous about this memorial than flying on a plane all the way across the country to a place I've never been." I said to break the silence.

"It's because we will be seeing a certain someone there." Sera purred.

"Both of you will be." Leilani poked Sera in the side as she blushed.

I couldn't help but let out a chuckle. "Yea, yea."

Soon we heard the announcement for our flight and began boarding. It wasn't long before we were on our way to California.

"Ugh, I never want to fly again." Leilani moaned.

"Sorry, kid, but I'm not driving home." Sera said.

"Come on. Let's go find the guys." I said while Leilani glared back at Sera for the pet name.

We walked together through the exit terminal. It wasn't long before we heard a familiar voice shouting our names. We turned to see Willoughby waving wildly at us.

"Will!" Sera yelled as she dropped her bag and ran towards him. She jumped into his arms and he twirled her around, kissing her eagerly. I smiled happily for the two.

"Where is our other knight in shining armor?" I heard Leilani's tease playfully from beside me.

"Right here." Sesshan's low tone of voice made both Leilani and I jump.

"You scared the shit out of me, asshole!" Leilani scolded while holding her hand over her chest. I stifled a laugh while blushing.

"Hey you." He smirked as he made his approach to me, smirking in response to Leilani's reaction.

"Hi." I felt my heart begin to race as everything around me turned into a blur. All I could see was him in this crowded airport. He lowered his head towards me, planting his lips against mine lovingly. I completely melted against him, reveling in the tingling sensations that flew through me. I heard Leilani pretend gag beside us, causing me to smirk into the kiss. Her gag obviously gave Sesshan motivation to deepen the kiss as he pressed against me more firmly and traced my bottom lip with his tongue.

"Alright, Mr. Romantic. You're attracting stares." Leilani prodded and I pulled away from him, becoming aware of the attention we were getting from other bystanders.

"Boo!" Remy's playful tone called out from behind Leilani, causing her to screech quite loudly.

"You jerk!" She pushed against his chest as he laughed hysterically.

"You deserved it." He continued his laughing as Leilani chased him around.

"Lu and Lei!" Willoughby and Sera approached us.

"Willoughby." Leilani said.

"Hey Willoughby." I greeted him with a hug.

"Come on, the car is out front. We'll take you to your hotel and get you guys settled. The memorial is at 9am tomorrow."

When he said car, I figured they'd taken two vehicles or something, so when they were putting our bags in the back of a limo, I was taken a bit off guard. "A limo!? Yes! Are there drinks?" Leilani cheered.

"I know you're not twenty-one." Sesshan interjected.

"But it's Lu's twenty-first birthday tomorrow! I get to drink to the occasion!" She argued. The group turned to me.

"Yea, lucky me. A memorial on my birthday." I shrugged while trying to give Leilani a death stare.

"Why didn't you tell me it was your birthday?" Sesshan asked, looking almost hurt.

"It's not a big deal." I tried to shrug it off. Birthdays weren't a big deal. I wasn't a partier and I didn't have many friends to celebrate with so they weren't really exciting events.

"Your twenty-first birthday is no big deal?" Willoughby chuckled in disbelief.

"No it isn't." I sneered as he had touched a nerve.

"Anyway! This limo is awesome! Let's go!" Leilani jumped in the back seat trying to avoid anymore confrontation. I sighed while following the others in. Sera and Willoughby sat next to each other at the back while Remy and Leilani took the right side seats and Sesshan and I sat across from them. I felt his arm wrap around me and pull me closer to him. He kissed the top of my head before placing his forehead in the same spots shortly after.

His lips nearly brushed against my ear as he spoke. "You should have told me." He whispered in that cool, yet commanding tone.

I smirked up at him playfully. "Again with those convincing arguments of yours."

He released a low chuckle that vibrated from his chest and out along my skin. "Don't tempt me." He purred, his tone becoming laced with lustful promises. I boosted my confidence and slipped a free hand along his pant leg. He responded by nuzzling into my neck, sending shivers down my spine.

"I like tempting you. It's payback for all the teasing you did to me." Months of teasing in the Veil plus some heated phone conversations since getting back, had left a constant aching that would rarely leave me. It was a wonderful distraction from the other crap that was going on around me, but it did cause reckless frustration. Not that we had an opportunity to ease some of this sexual tension back at my hospital stay, but even if we did I don't think I could have gone through with it. I was a jumbled mess of constant stuttering and blushing at every gesture of his. I still was a little bit, but it had eased considerable.

"We aren't in the virtual world anymore, you know. I don't have to hold back." He teased in my ear as his hand slipped to my dress-covered outer thigh. I took a sharp inhale of breath and I could hear my heart thudding at an increased pace in my ear. He was winning, and he knew it.

"Cheater!" Leilani shrieked, causing me to jump and Sesshan to sigh. We both looked over to a cackling Remy and a flushed Leilani. "You cheated!"

"Ok, ok. I promise I'll play fair this time." Remy held out his hand to her. She stared at it skeptically before locking her fingers with his. Both their thumbs stuck straight up before they chanted together. "One, two, three, four, let's have a thumb war!" Leilani's high pitched squeaks followed as she frantically tried to pin Remy's thumb down to their joined hands. After twenty seconds or so of this, she took her other hand and pinned it on top of his thumb and attempted to hold it down.

"Argh! Now who's the cheater!?" Remy laughed out as he pulled her hand away with his free hand. Leilani giggled as she struggled against him.

Sesshan sighed. "He never did grow up." I snorted while leaning against him, mood effectively sobered. "One of these days I'll get you all to myself."

"Promise?" I joked.

"Hey get a room you two!" Leilani was a bit too upbeat for this heartfelt reunion. I thought she was talking to me and Sesshan, but saw her stare fixated on two tangled bodies at the back of the limo, tongue dancing with tongue and totally disregarding us. "No sex in the limo, Sera."

That got her attention as she quickly pulled away from Willoughby, who was looking sorely disappointed. "Sorry." She said sheepishly.

The limo drove on with little distractions. The guys helped us get settled in our room before we all went to lunch together. Afterwords, Willoughby spent the rest of the day showing us around while the two Dreamers went to a super secret meeting, again! This is just like the Veil. They met up with us in the evening and took us all to dinner. We walked back to the hotel together after dinner, Leilani sporting a slight buzz as she had convinced troublemaking Remy to sneak her a few sips. I walked alongside Sesshan, my fingers intertwined with his as I listened to the bustling sounds of city nightlife.

The hotel was comfortable and we all settled in nicely. Sera went and spent quite a bit of alone time with Willoughby after we got back from dinner. Sesshan and Remy said their goodbyes, saying they had to prepare for tomorrow. That was fine with me. I just wanted to lie in bed and settle my nerves. Leilani hung out in the bedroom with me and watched TV until we both eventually just went to sleep. I never heard Sera come back in.

The next morning Sera was asleep in bed next to me. I opened my eyes, fixated at the top left corner of my view, and wondering where the clock was. Once I remembered I wasn't in the Veil anymore, I turned to the hologram clock on the bedside table. It was about 7:30am and the sun had settled right in front of our window, beaming in.

"Ugh, someone shut the lights off." Sera moaned.

"Sounds like someone had a little too much fun last night." Leilani joked from the bed on the other side of the room. "Did you at least get lucky?"

"Lei!" I scolded.

"You're damn right I did." Sera said proudly. I shook my head.

"Well at least one of us did." Leilani said. "Why the hell didn't you, Lu? God if I were you I'd eat that man candy alive!"

Sera burst out laughing. "I have to say, I'm with Leilani on this one. What's taking you so long?"

"Don't rush these things Sera! Besides we have a very solemn event coming up in about an hour and a half. That's keeping my mind busy enough as it is." I replied quietly.

We sat in silence for a few moments before gathering ourselves together to get ready for the memorial. I did my makeup with the assistance of Leilani as I had never took the time to learn what shades would look good with my skin tone or eye color, nor how to even really apply it. Thankfully Lei was at least a little bit of a girlie girl. After she finished helping me, I slipped on a black, knee-high dress with spaghetti straps and a brown rope-like belt. I borrowed Sera's round brush and used the blow drier to add subtle curls to my shoulder-length hair. Lei had to help me with that as well.

Sera's dress was deep purple in color and had thick straps that tied around her neck, showing a slight amount of cleavage, or at least enough to get attention. It fell down to her two inch black heels and she was certainly looking elegant. Leilani's outfit left little to the imagination and after a slight argument, I convinced her to wear a pair of black leggings underneath her thigh high red dress. She looked like she was ready to hit the clubs, not attend a memorial, but she simply argued that she was an eighteen year old single woman that like to show off her assets. Yea…

We were ready about a half hour before it started. Right on cue, we heard a knock on the door. The three guys were standing there all dressed up, but their faces were no longer filled with the joy that we had seen yesterday. No one was looking forward to this. Maybe it was because the memory of it all was so fresh, or maybe it would have never been something to look forward to, but we all knew it had to be done.

"Happy birthday. You look beautiful." Sesshan whispered to me as we started leaving the hotel. I blushed.

"Thanks. You're not so bad looking yourself." I said playfully. He slipped his hand to mine and I felt an object being placed there. I discretely looked down and saw a silver chain necklace with a round pendant and round sapphire stone in the center. It looked oddly familiar to the Seer's stone I gave him back in the Veil. We stopped at the doors leaving the hotel. "Seb." I began to scold but he held up his hand.

"It's just something small. I figured out a long time ago that you don't like attention so I figured I'd give it to you discretely. Happy birthday." He replied.

I smiled despite my original hesitation. That must have been where he went yesterday. "Thank you. You didn't have to." He gave me that knowing look that answered for him.

We stopped at the main lobby doors and I took the opportunity to put on the necklace. "Before we go out," He began to our group, "the news has been all over this. They like to pay special attention to Remy, Rooma, and I. Rooma managed to distract them for us on our way here, but they will most likely find us again when we get to the park. Just stay close to us and don't answer their questions." Well nodded in understanding. "And you, stay close to me." He directed his now hushed tone to me.

"Shouldn't be a problem." I smirked playfully.

Willoughby led the way as we walked to a local park where the memorial was being held. It had been built specifically for those that were lost in this whole mess. There were politicians and news crews and the works there. There was a fountain in the center of the park where the names of those who died had been engraved. It was eerily familiar to the set up in Elnora. That was also where the service was taking place.

I grabbed a hold of Sesshan's hand, and he no doubt felt my trembling. "You ok?" He whispered.

I nodded, but then shook my head. The memories of standing in front of that wall in Elnora, searching and searching and searching…

"I'm right here, Lu." He reassured. I took a deep breath and refocused my attention on the ever increasing crowd. We were standing in the center, hiding among the swarm, when I heard a familiar voice call my name. "Lulu! Up here!"

I looked up and saw Nightshade's familiar facial features. I excused myself to the front, along with the others close behind me and Sesshan's hand still permanently attached to mine. "Nightshade." I said as I hugged him, losing my hold on Sesshan.

"You look good, Lu." He said, observing my attire.

"You too." I replied. "How have you been holding up?"

"I'm ok. Took a bat to my Mind's Eye console. Therapist said it would help seeing as I have anger issues, apparently." He shrugged.

I smiled. "That's one way to get out your frustrations."

He grinned and nodded. Then his face changed. "Seriously, though. I watched a lot of good people die from that stupid thing. It felt really good to smash it to pieces."

"I hear you." Willoughby butted in.

"Well well, if it isn't Willoughby; and Sera and little Lei, too. Nice to see you all." Nightshade said. "Looks like you found your Dreamers."

I smirked. "Yea, well where is your GM Protector?"

"Oh she's here somewhere." He smiled warmly as he took several steps forward, his eyes scanning the crowd.

"And how are you holding up?" That smooth velvety voice asked from behind me.

"Not bad, considering." I replied while looking up at a tall, bronze-skinned woman. She smiled down at me, long black curls strewn about her shoulders. She looked to be in her late thirties or so, with a few wrinkles forming at the corners of her eyes and beautiful little laugh lines at the corners of her mouth. She was as striking and confident as I'd ever imagine she'd be. "And you?"

"Surviving. I'm sure you know how that is. It's much easier with friends." She nodded her head towards Nightshade.

"Yea, it is."

"Roo! There you are." Nightshade called out as he turned to the two of us.

"I'm sure we'll chat some more later, Seer."

"See ya, Rooma." I smirked.

I stood in the quiet hum of the crowd, enjoying the sensation of just getting lost to the noise. All the familiar faces, all the memories of the Veil, tried to envelop me. I closed my eyes and took long deep breaths, pushing away any panic that threatened to take hold.


My eyes flew open as I heard the whisper from beside me. I whipped my head around the crowd, trying to find those familiar features. My ears strained to hear that familiar voice. Panic was threatening to take hold as I continued to look around. I took one last turn and jumped in shock at the short brunette in front of me. She had a pixie cut and striking forest green eyes.

"Lu?" That quiet meek voice asked.

"Vivi?" I gasped.

"Are you ok?" She smiled wide. "You look a little disheveled."

"Yea, just…I thought I saw someone who shouldn't be here." I admitted.

"How have you been? I haven't heard from you since you left the hospital." She mentioned as she fell in next to me. I was suddenly cursing Sesshan for letting go of my hand. I couldn't find him now in the sea of bodies.

"I'm ok. It's been a little rough, but nothing I can't handle." I smiled to reassure her.

"Yes, I know what you mean." She nodded in agreement. A booming voice over the loud speaker interrupted our conversation and we turned our attention to the podium.

"Thank you all for coming today to honor those that were lost due to this terrible tragedy." The voice bellowed out. "Beyond Technical Industries especially wants to extend their condolences to the families that have lost loved ones and to the survivors of the horrible tragedy that took place in fifty thousand homes across the country. In honor and remembrance of those lost, we have erected this memorial fountain with the names of the fallen engraved in it. May our memories of them live on forever here. Beyond Technical Industries has donated one tree per person lost and has began a program for the families and survivors. We hope that this can soon be a closed chapter in our history that never repeats itself and that the lessons learned here will transcend time." The BTI CEO began. I phased out of the rest of what he was blabbering about out.

It wasn't until they started listing the dead that I started paying attention. I waited to hear the familiar names being read. I had made my way up next to Leilani and Sera, with Vivi on my heels. I wrapped my hand around Leilani's, knowing full well what she was waiting for. Sure enough, I heard an audible sob from her when the girl at the podium read "Joseph 'Micah' Greer." I felt her lean into me for support and I gladly held her through it.

"Tonya 'Kari' Littleton" The girl bellowed out.

"You don't see. I make you see." Her voice was as clear as day. I felt my heart aching as I embraced Leilani further. "One day you see. You wait and see, Lulu. One day you be hurt."

The names continued despite the unbearable ache they formed. "Richard 'Thagrin' Matthews" had managed to coax an audible sob from my throat as I continued to cling to Leilani for support.

"Go, lass! This place is coming apart!" My body trembled as his voice sounded clear as day in my head. I forced myself to keep my eyes open so I wouldn't see him falling into the pit below.

"I don't like seein' ye hurt lass. Back at the dungeon I saw how broken inside ye were and how deep your despair went, and I knew right then that I was goin' to do what I could to fix that." This was heart breaking. Everything inside me felt raw all over again. This stupid memorial was going to force me to relive every moment I spent at that damn fountain wall looking for people I knew.

"Lu? Lu, you're shaking." Leilani whispered. I felt her head frantically turn about as I clung to her.


"No, no, no…" I whispered. Finally another pair of familiar hands pulled me from Lei's grasp. "I can't do this, Seb."

"Ok, come on." He began guiding me out of the crowd of people and to the benches at the back of the park. I wasn't the only one who was losing it and quickly understood where Sesshan had disappeared to. Remy was sitting on the bench, his eyes swollen and puffy. Rooma had also escaped with Nightshade close to her side. I was ashamed to forget all of the coworkers and friends they had lost. Seven GMs had been murdered, all of whom they worked with closely.

"Just take some deep breaths." He sat me down next to Remy who wrapped an arm around my shoulders.

"I just keep hearing their voices. It's like they're standing right next to me." I explained.

"It's a side effect." Rooma replied. Her voice was solemn and ragged. "A lot of players are experiencing it. The professionals are saying it's PTSD, but I think it's different. It's triggered by reminders."

"Lovely." I groaned. "You are all experiencing it too?" They all nodded.

"It's been worse for those involved in the fight to get out for obvious reasons." Remy murmured.

"We'll get through it. We always do." I replied while placing my hand on Remy's knee. He nodded while forcing a smile.

We all sat together quietly while waiting for the ceremony to end. Our other friends eventually made their way to us, their eyes puffy with their mourning. We all breathed a sigh of relief when people began to clear out.

When it was finally clear, I walked to where the fountain was. I couldn't help but approach it. Sesshan joined me while the others stayed back and gave me my space. Lei was comfortably wrapped in Sera's arms, trying to regain her composure. I took a seat on the ledge of the fountain and dipped my hand in, moving it in circles to feel the resistance. How very real it felt.

"Time for a new beginning." He said quietly.

I nodded while shifting my gaze to the shooting mist in the center of the fountain, dusting my skin in a light coat of moisture.

"I was going to wait to make this offer to you because things are still up in the air and hectic, but I wanted to offer you to move here with me." He said suddenly.

I turned my head to lock my eyes on his. My mouth fell open slightly as I stuttered out a response. "Move here? Move in with you?"

He smirked as I made a stuttering mess of myself. "Yea. I know you don't like the situation you're in right now and I want nothing more to be near you. I'm working on transferring jobs right now and if it all works out, I'll be able to work from home. I was thinking Remy and I would move to a log cabin somewhere in Wyoming or Montana. Maybe somewhere near the Rockies even. I could use the quiet." He explained. "Don't make your decision now. If you decide you're not ready for it, I completely understand. I'm more than happy to make trips to see you."

"Well I have no more commitments at home. I have to reapply to school to finish my degree and I lost my job. I'm just not sure I can leave Leilani behind." I replied.

"Bring her with you." He said nonchalantly.

"You sure about that?" I giggled.

"It would keep Remy out of my hair." He winked. "Like I said, don't make your decision now, but say the word and I'll be there helping you pack your stuff up. After living with you for six or so months in the Veil, it feels really empty all by myself."

I laughed. "And here I thought you'd love having a bed all to yourself again."

"I have a really big bed. There is plenty of room for you."

I blushed as my mind wandered to some not so innocent thoughts. He saw my blush and grinned wickedly. "Too easy, Seer."

"Sush up Dreamer." I scolded playfully as I began leading him back to the group to avoid my thoughts moving to even darker places.

"So is everyone going to that brunch that BTI is hosting?" Nightshade asked our group as we approached.

"Yea, might as well get what we can from them while we can. Once that lawsuit goes through, they won't want to see any of us ever again." Willoughby said.

"Lawsuit?" I asked.

"Yea, all the survivors and the families of those who died were given the opportunity to be a part of lawsuit for all the pain and suffering BTI caused. I imagine it will end in a settlement, but either way, BTI is going to be out a lot of money." Willoughby explained. "They already are taking care of the survivors' medical expenses.

"Wait, they are!?" I asked in complete shock.

"You didn't know?" Remy raised an eyebrow. My face fell as I got lost in thought.

"Maybe he doesn't know yet, Lu." Leilani reassured.

"I hope your right. Otherwise he owes me three grand." I seethed.

"Who?" Sera couldn't resist.

"Our asshole dad threw out our computers. Mine was nothing special, but Lu built hers with money she saved. It cost her tons of money after liquid cooling and everything." Leilani explained.

"Not to mention all the pictures and writings I'll never get back." I sighed.

"Then when we called him out on it he threatened us with the medical bills. He said we had to pay him back the hundred grand he was spending. The man doesn't have a hundred grand, he's full of shit." Leilani continued to rant our personal issues. I preferred to keep my mouth shut about the whole thing.

"Well at least that makes it easy to figure out what to get you for your birthday." Sesshan interjected. I opened my mouth to note he already got me something, but was interrupted by Vivi's voice.

"It's your birthday!?" Vivi exclaimed.

That tricky tricky Dreamer. "I know what you did." I pointed a finger at him as the swarm of our friends flooded me with 'happy birthdays' and whining that they didn't get me anything and that we had to go out, blah blah blah. All the while preventing me from telling Sesshan no, he could not spend three thousand dollars on me for a new computer. He smirked victoriously as we continued on our way. So much for keeping my birthday on the down low. Liar…

"Sebastian Wheatley!" A voice called out from the street as we exited the park.

"Shit." He cursed under his breath.

"Sebastian Wheatley, Jeremy Wheatley! What did you think of the memorial? Did you find it insulting that BTI tried to mimic the fountain memorial from the game's capital city?" The news crews began swarming as soon as our feet hit the side walk.

"Just keep moving towards the restaurant. Once we get close, security will take care of this." Sesshan explained while we pushed through the crowd of reporters.

"Are these people survivors? What is BTI's opinion of their surviving GMs mingling with regular players?"

"Are they serious?" Sera laughed.

We pushed through the annoying reporters, thankfully being relieved when we reached the restaurant where BTI was hosting a complimentary brunch. My phone rang as we entered the restaurant. I looked at the screen, Miri's name flashing brightly. I swiped my finger across the screen. "Hey Miri."

"Hey there, love! How was the ceremony?" She asked.

"Sad." I replied honestly. "How's Demin?"

"As grumpy as ever." She chuckled. "Say hi, love." I heard the moving of the phone.

"Hey, Lu."

"Hey Demin, they letting you move around yet?" I joked.

"Here and there. Apparently it takes a long time for ribs to heal."

"I'm sure Miri is taking good care of you."

"She's the best." I could hear the smile in his voice.

"Stop it, flatterer." I heard her giggle in the background.

"Talk to you soon, I'm sure."

"Bye, Demin."

"You there, love?"

"Yes, I'm here. How's everything going for you?" I was following the group around the restaurant while speaking to Miri. I took my seat at the table in between Sesshan and Leilani.

"Not bad considering all the muck we've had to walk through the past year. What about you? Demin told me what happened. Are you ok, Lulu?"

"Don't worry, Miri. I'm ok." I replied.

"I'll believe you, for now." She said playfully. "I'll let you go. It sounds like quite the noisy festivities over there. Say hi to everyone for me and take care of yourself. One of these days I'll get to visit you guys."

"Take your time, Miri. We know there are more important things on your mind right now." I reassured. "I'll talk to you soon."

After hanging up with Miri I turned my attention to our group of friends. It was incredibly nostalgic to all be sitting together, joking, talking, and stuffing our faces.

"It feels strange walking around in the world without a sword on my waste." I caught Nightshade's statement as I reentered the conversation.

"You have to wonder what kind of desensitizing all that killing has done to us." Willoughby wondered.

"What, you think because we stabbed a bunch of virtual reality things to death, we are suddenly killers?" Rooma chuckled. "Pass me your knife, Nick, I want to try it out." She joked as she held her hand out to Nightshade.

The clanging of my fork hitting my plate silenced everyone. I had dropped it by accident when my thoughts wandered to that awful experience. Ripping flesh… I tried to breathe through it. Hard, cold handle… I swallowed hard and tried to think about something else, anything else. Blood, so much blood…

"It is easier." I finally said. Everyone was silent, some of them from understanding and the others from confusion. I had left my part in Codwell's demise out of the retelling of my kidnapping when I finally told Sera and Lei about it.

"What do you mean, Lu?" Nightshade and Willoughby both looked at me with worried expressions.

"It's scary how easy it is to hurt someone." I replied. "When I was kidnapped, I had to stab the guy in the back in order to get away. It was like second nature."

"You were protecting yourself and Demin." Rooma said quickly while sipping on her coffee. "You did what you had to do. That doesn't make you a killer."

"No, but it makes us susceptible to it." I returned.

"And what of those that already kill for a living? People in the army do it all the time."

"Yea, and a lot of them suffer for it."

"Lulu, you have a good head on your shoulders. Don't think because you stabbed a mad man once in the back that you are some crazed lunatic. You have strong morals. We may have an easier time doing the unthinkable, but it doesn't mean we are different people. If I'm anyone to judge, you saved Demin that day. You're a damn hero." Rooma locked her gaze on me as she spoke with her usual certainty.

I allowed the slight upturn of my lips that followed while nodding my head. "Yea yea. Keep your hero talk for someone who wants to hear it." I joked.

Rooma bellowed out an appreciative laugh. "That's what I thought."

The rest of the conversation lightened as we continued through our brunch. After eating, we filtered onto the street with the rest of the survivors. "Let's go shopping!" Leilani cheered. Sera gushed with her.

"If it's alright, I'd like to spend the afternoon with Sebastian." I mentioned.

The group broke out in cooing noises, but eventually agreed that we needed alone time. Leilani practically pushed me into Sesshan's arms as they all ventured off into the city. "So," He began.

"So…" I rocked back and forth idly as I lifted my eyes to his.

"What would the birthday girl like to do?" He looked to me, a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

"If you want we could, I don't know, head back to the hotel maybe…" I replied shyly.

"Are you inviting me back to your room?" He smirked with wicked anticipation, determined to turn my whole body flaming red.

"No, I was just suggesting, well maybe I was, but…" He leaned in and pressed his lips against mine, quieting my stuttering. I was so thankful for that. When he finally broke away, I had calmed myself a bit.

"Lead the way, my trouble-making Seer."

*By the time we reached the hotel room, I was a giant bundle of heat and nervousness, so much so that I wouldn't be able to comprehend any small talk. The entire walk he had teased me with discrete brushes along my bare skin whenever he saw the opportunity. At one point he had found an opening on the elevator to burn a trail of kisses down my neck and to my shoulder. My whole body ended up one giant flame of need.

So when that door finally shut behind us, I was pinning my body against him and eagerly pressing my lips to his. I had put enough force and surprise into it that he was leaning against the wall for leverage. Once he had composed himself enough, he was switching our positions and pinning my wrists above my head and gently pressing my body against the wall with his own. His lips upturned into that playful little smile that told me I was so in over my head.

He moved his lips to my ear, "Slow down, Lu. I want to enjoy every second of this." I could hear the evil laugh he was suppressing. I knew exactly what he was planning. My entire body was already on fire with the endless wait and every prolonged minute of this was absolute torture.

He took my ear lobe into between his teeth, sucking gently for moment before biting down just enough to elicit a sharp intake of breath from me. This time a satisfied chuckle did escape him as he began kissing and nipping his way down my neck. Each kiss added to the aching need. Each nip threw an electrifying pleasure to each nerve in my body. A breathy sigh escaped my lips as my hips arched against him. He continued holding my wrists with one hand while using his other hand to hold my hips against the wall and continuing his assault on the nape of my neck.

"Sebastian please." I whimpered.

"Please what, Lu?" He whispered in that husky tone of voice, egging me on. I groaned in frustration, too embarrassed to voice my wants. He chuckled as he pressed his body firmly against me, allowing the warmth of our forms to intermingle and my breath to hitch. "Tell me what you want." That controlled tone of voice was quickly deteriorating into something more feral. The commanding connotations had my body trembling with excitement, but it wasn't enough to coax out my longing desires. I cursed my shyness in that moment, blushing as the words I wanted to say flashed in the forefront of my mind and I quickly dismissed them.

He released my wrists, and I found myself slightly disappointed at the loss of the sensation. Instead he used that hand to cup my cheek as he lowered his lips to mine, capturing them in a wave of heated passion. His tongue brushed against my bottom lip, urging for compliance and I readily gave it. I raised my hands, planting them on the back of his head and scraping my nails gently through his hair. He groaned while pressing me full force against the wall, his left leg slipping between mine and riding my dress up to my hip. His hands slipped down to my now exposed thighs, sliding up along them until his fingers came in contact with the lacy undergarment. He grabbed a firm hold and lifted me up so that my legs could wrap around his waist.

As his control slipped further, we moved to the bed where he followed me down atop the covers. I raised my hips to meet his as he pushed me further onto the bed. He pressed back, allowing me to feel his arousal against my aching core. A moan spilled from my lips at the intense sensation. The haze of lust filled any rational part of my brain and all I could think about was having him, all of him. All of this and our clothes were still on.

In one sudden movement he had my hands pinned up above me again and his body raised up off of me. I growled out my frustration from the loss of sensations that fed into my aching pleasure. "Sebastian!" Oh he was so evil.

"Yes, Lu?" He smirked, but I could tell he was feigning control. His breath was slightly labored and his eyes were darkened with lust.

"I hate your self control." I snarled.

"I'll make this easy on you then." He lowered his lips so I could feel the breath of his words on my skin. "Tell me what you want and I'll do exactly that."

"You know what I want!" I said with frustration as I bucked my hips upward. He moved just enough so I could feel the brush of his pants against the fabric of my panties.

"Do I? Last I checked I couldn't read minds." He continued to tease me with that low husky tone.

"You're evil."

"Mmm, maybe, but I do very much enjoy seeing you like this." He growled as his lips began tracing my collar bone. I released a sigh, relieved to at least be getting some contact. He released my wrists again and I took it upon myself to move this a little faster. I pulled at his suit jacket first, easily removing that. Next I worked at getting his tie off. That took me a little longer, but soon enough it was on the floor. I started unbuttoning his shirt, sliding my hands along the bare expanse of his chest as soon as I was able.

He slipped his shirt off with a smirk, allowing it to fall to the ground in a crumpled heap. I ran my hands along the exposed skin, wanting nothing more to feel it against my own. Fine, if he wants me to talk, then I'll talk. I relented. I caught his gaze forcefully. "Take my damn clothes off already." I grumbled.

He openly laughed, causing a blush to heat my cheeks. I sat up and crossed my arms in a huff, growing more frustrated by the second. "Don't get frustrated, Lu. I promise I'm not going to make fun of you. You can say whatever the hell you want to in front of me. I won't bat an eye lash."

"Bullshit, you make fun of me all the time. AND you just laughed at me."

"Oh stop. I tease you because it's fun and you tease me right back so you know I'm right." He argued while moving in close again. "And I laughed at you because you are so damn cute when you're frustrated."

"Wonderful. I'm cute. That's exactly what a girl wants to hear when they are dying to get laid."

"You desperately need to relax, babe." He moved around to behind my pouting position and began rubbing my shoulders. I released my cross armed pose and let him massage my tense muscles. Slowly the tension began to fade and quiet moans slipped from my lips as I relaxed into him. "That better?"

"Mmmhmm." I sighed.

"What else would you like?" He kept his tone hushed in an attempt to ease me into it.

I hesitated slightly, and I'm sure he felt me tense as he kneaded my muscles a bit harder. "Kiss my neck." I breathed. My eyes were closed and I gasped slightly as he brushed his lips ever so slightly against the left side of my neck. "Slide the straps of my dress off my shoulders." I commanded and he did just that, sliding his hands underneath the spaghetti straps and pushing them down my shoulders. Then his mouth followed a trail down to where the strap just was. I slipped my arms out of the straps and his hands wandered to my sides.

"Pull my dress down." My voice quivered with anticipation as he slowly slid the dress down, revealing the naked flesh beneath it. He kept his hands on my sides, his touch electrifying my skin. I felt his bare chest press against my naked back, the contact causing a needy sigh to echo into the room. His hand slipped around my waist and pulled me back against him so that we were flush with one another. My confidence flared as I felt his hard length press against my back and a subtle groan brush passed my ear.

"Please touch me." I whimpered in absolute agony.

"I am touching you." He continued to tease. So I grabbed his hands with mine and moved them up to my breasts that I so badly needed touched. He didn't fight me and instead took one in each hand, gently kneaded the firm flesh. He swiped his thumb across each sensitive bud, eliciting moans from me as a new heat began pooling between my thighs. It seems I pushed him over his edge of control as he moved himself around to my front, no longer needing my words to motivate him. He pushed me back down onto the bed and his mouth trailed a new line of kisses until his tongue was flicking across one of those aching points, taking one into his mouth and gently sucking. His teeth grazed against it creating an electrifying sensation. He mimicked the actions on the opposite breast, causing my body to shiver with delight.

My half lidded eyes stared down as he worked his precise movements. As his mouth was fully preoccupied, his hands pulled my dress the rest of the way down until it was passed my knees. My body was now fully exposed except for that last piece of frilly fabric, which he quickly disposed of. I didn't have time to feel the embarrassment of being fully bare to him as his expert hands brushed delicately along my folds, teasing that aching nub at the center of my core. My lids fell as I arched my hips up into his touch. I needed this so bad.

His agile fingers continued to explore as one slipped easily into my folds. His thumb rubbed my clit in small circles, sending waves of unending pleasure through me, one building on top of the other. I hadn't even noticed the lack of attention on my breasts and when I finally opened my eyes again, I immediately flushed with embarrassment as he was watching me with heady excitement. He caught my gaze and immediately dropped his lips to mine, fueling my passion and wiping away any inhibitions.

"You are so sexy, Lu." He whispered against my lips as I felt a second finger join the first. I rocked my hips while adjusting to the new sensation as he moved them in and out. His thumb rubbed a little harder against my core and I felt the waves of pleasure building to their crescendo.

"Sebastian..." I moaned out his name. "I'm getting close." Each dip of his fingers, every press against that tiny nub, the sounds of his labored breathing in my ear, all were pushing me nearer to that edge I desperately wanted to fall over.

"Mmm, close to what?" His voice was heady and oh so erotic, that feral ragged lust dripping from each word. "Please tell me."

He slowed his pace, no doubt to coax the words that were at the tip of my tongue. My lip quivered as I threw all my rational thoughts out the window. "I'm going to cum."

He moaned while picking up his pace yet again, pushing me to the edge and sending me over it in a few simple strokes of his thumb. I cried out as my hips bucked against his touch. My legs tightened in a quiver as the waves of pleasure crashed over me. He waited until the last pulsing sensation subsided before unbuckling his pants and pulling out that little latex barrier from his pocket. An overwhelming pool of wetness had formed at the apex of thighs as he slipped his pants off, revealing the bulge that was barely being contained by his briefs.

He slowly crawled back over top of me as his briefs hit the floor and he situated our contraception. He reigned in his need and he kissed me in a more patient, delicate way. His lips brushed against mine tenderly, sending a different sort of desire through me, one that wasn't directly tied to lust. His chest pressed against mine as he used his one elbow to prop himself up and the other hand went exploring, forming a blazing trail of feathery light touches as it went. It was then I felt the hardness of his length pressing against my folds. He broke our tender kiss and locked his eyes on me, his face going serious in the most heated moments of our entire encounter.

"If you need to stop, make sure you tell me." His voice was ragged with longing.

I merely smirked. "I don't think we are going to have that issue." I teased. He gave an incredulous look before planting his lips against my neck, biting hard enough to mingle pain with the intense pleasure I was feeling. He pressed forward slowly. The sensation was a bit uncomfortable at first, but a quick adjustment of my hips had my head swimming. His breathing became heavier as he fought the overwhelming desire. He continued his ministrations along my neck, which became a thankful distraction as he reached that ever so feared 'barrier.'

I cried out slightly as a jolt of pain shot through me. "You ready?" He whispered in my ear. I nodded frantically, eager to get this part over with. In one swift motion, he pushed the remainder of his length into my folds, eliciting a groan from him and a teary cry of pain from me. It burned at first, but as he remained still, the pleasure began replacing it. I rocked my hips against this intense sensation of being filled and felt a dizzying wave of pleasure at even the slightest movement. I moaned as I pressed my hips against him yet again, urging him to continue. He returned my moan with a low growl, pulling out and pressing back in slowly, the friction enveloping me in delightful sensations that I couldn't get enough of.

His pace increased as my arms wrapped around his neck, pulling his lips to mine in a burning, needy kiss. My moans muffled against his mouth as each thrust brought me closer and closer to that edge I so desperately desired. The room echoed our needy sounds of groans and moans. I let each one push me further, my mind hazy and lost to this pleasure. Only one thought encompassed my mind and that was falling over that wonderful edge and taking him with me.

I could see he was lost to his own longing to fulfill both our desired need. Each thrust was just a little more forceful than the last, my hips rising to meet each one. His hands eagerly explored my breast, pinching the delicate bud and eliciting whimpers from my throat. His rhythmic movements plunged deeper and harder, causing my mind to get lost in a blissful haze. Each wave of pleasure pushed me closer and closer. "Lu…" He groaned in my ear. I was so close. I was practically whimpering as I could feel I was lingering right on that edge and he knew it.

"Cum for me." That did it. I was a quivering moaning mess as my entire body tightened with waves of pleasure engulfing me. My legs squeezed around his hips as I tightened around his length. He groaned, stifling a curse at the unbearable sensation my orgasm provoked and then soon followed me over the edge. His length hardened as he gave one last deep thrust and then collapsing on top of me. I reveled in the feeling of his weight on top of me, our bodies a mess of intertwined limbs slowly falling back to earth.

"That…was worth waiting for." I sighed as he laughed into the pillow that both our heads rested on.

"Glad you enjoyed yourself." He smirked, pushing off of me to clean up our mess. As my mind regained its rational side of thought, I suddenly became self-conscious again, and pulled the sheet over my naked form as soon as he wandered out of sight into the bathroom.

He yawned as he came back from the bathroom. I saw the drowsiness falling over him as he curled back up on the bed, sliding under my sheet, and pulling me into him.

"Why don't you get some rest? You still look exhausted." I accused, while trying to act like this was a total normal thing we did, laying naked under a sheet. Just breathe, it's perfectly fine. Sleeping cuddled up next to a naked man has been done by countless women for centuries.

He nodded. "I could go for a nap as long as you're here."

"I didn't have any other plans." I gave him a warm smile while snuggling into his chest, knowing full well it would be very difficult to sleep like this.

"Love you, Lu." He whispered, fatigue lacing his voice.

"I love you too, Seb." *

You know those times when it should have been obvious for you to do something, but you didn't? That old saying that hindsight is 20/20? Yea well I had that realization when I was abruptly awakened by Leilani's shrilling laughter. As much as I had thought I would never fall asleep next to the handsome hunk of man flesh, his rhythmic breathing and gentle thudding heartbeat had lulled me off to darkness next to him. It was a perfect, dreamless sleep that I would have loved to enjoy for another hour or so if I wasn't so rudely interrupted.

Now the realization that I should have at least put some clothes on as we slept in the shared hotel room hit me like a ton of bricks.

"Oh my God, it's about damn time!" Leilani cackled. I groaned in absolute horror as I buried my face into Sesshan's chest. He sighed while rubbing the sleep from his face.

"Thanks for waking us up." He grumbled. I felt him lift up to a sitting position, carefully maneuvering around me. I clung to the sheet, ensuring I was completely covered as I thought I had caught the image of Remy, Willoughby, Sera, and Leilani at the door. My horror increased as I caught Vivi's meek little gasp and Nightshade's chuckle. I'm sure Rooma was there somewhere as well.

"This isn't happening." I chanted to myself. I felt Sesshan's warm hand on my back in an offer of comfort.

"Can we help you?" He glared at the group still standing at the open doorway.

"Well since you two weren't answering your phones, we decided to do a little search. Let's just say we didn't have to look too hard." Leilani's tone was dripping with satisfaction at catching us in a compromising fashion.

"And?" Sesshan continued.

"Well we gave you two the entire afternoon. We wanted to see if you'd like to go to dinner." Remy interjected.

"Dinner?" I perked up and looked over to the bedside clock. "Seb! We've been asleep all afternoon!"

He shrugged. "It was the best afternoon I've had in a while." He replied as I blushed furiously. The girls all giggled in their evil conniving ways. Even Vivi was in on it.

"Go! We'll meet you at the restaurant." I whined.

"We're going to the sky view restaurant at the top floor. We'll see you up there." Remy gave a smirk before adding, "Don't take too long." He winked while pushing the group back out the door.

I sighed as the door shut and the hum of the group made its way down the hall. "I should have known better." I grumbled as he got up from the bed to begin dressing.

"They knew what we were doing. Trust me it was no surprise to any of them." He replied. "They would have grilled you about it whether they got their evidence or not."

"Yea, you're probably right." I relented. I dragged the sheet with me as I searched for my clothes.

"I know I'm right." He smirked while approaching me, tugging on the sheet. I clung to it as I blushed. "You'll get over this real fast." He teased.

"I'm not used to…being exposed." I argued.

"Like I said, you'll get over it real fast." He handed me back some of my clothing as I tripped over the sheet.

"Oh, and why is that?" I pressed my hands on my hips and raised my brow. A grin formed on his face as the sheet fell lose from the knot I had tied and exposed my bare chest. I quickly grabbed it and pulled it back up with a sigh before working on getting dressed.

"You're cute when you're flustered."

"Yea yea. Cute. Pfft." I playfully grumbled as I finished getting dressed.

We left the room and began making our way down the hallway towards the elevator. I felt his hand clasp in mine, our fingers intertwining. "So what are we going to first when I visit next month?" He broke our silence. I glanced up at him in surprise.

"Next month?" I whispered.

"Yea. I've got to finish up some work with BTI that is going to keep my attention for a couple of weeks at least or else I'd come sooner." He began.

"No, I mean, I guess I didn't think…" I stuttered.

"You thought I was going to just send you on your way for six months?" He teased. "Personally I don't think I could go that long without seeing you. I'm hoping by the time I come visit, you might have a decision for me."

I smiled down at my shoes as I composed myself. "Well you still owe me a game of chess, though I'm not sure I want to embarrass myself by being destroyed by you. So maybe some popcorn and a few movies would work. I haven't watched the Matrix in a while. Or we could watch the Fifth Element?" I fell into the playful banter as we rode the elevator to the top floor. "Something we've seen a lot of before so I won't really miss anything if we, you know, get distracted."

"I like the chess idea. I bet we could come up with something more risky. Strip chess could be workable."

"No way. I am not going to be the only one sitting naked at a chess board. What? Every time you take a pawn I have to take off an article of clothing. No, no, no." The elevator door dinged as it reached our floor and then opened.

"Maybe pawns for top layer and the higher pieces for underwear." He teased. "A rook for a bra?"

"Ha, nice try."

"It would make things interesting."

"Well I could use my assets to distract you and corner your king. I'll think about it." I gave him a teasing smile before moving ahead of him and to the rest of our group.

As I predicted, the ladies of the group had me fully enveloped in their whispering gossip. They wanted all the juicy specifics and before we could even order drinks. When they didn't get the answers they wanted, they filled in their own blanks with much more appalling details, forcing me to right the developing rumors. Rooma was the only one that didn't partake and instead fell into conversation with the others.

Our last dinner together was bitter-sweet. We exchanged every form of contact possible, going as far to plan our next non-virtual reality online gaming experience together. We polished off our dinner and sat around the table, sipping coffees while looking out at the orange horizon. The setting sun bathed the city in the last of its light.

"I'm going to miss you guys." Nightshade murmured.

"Anytime you want to get together, I'm there." Willoughby mentioned.

"Perhaps we should make this an annual thing?" Rooma suggested. "As long as Lulu is ok with spending her birthday with a bunch of goofballs."

"I'm perfectly fine with that." I laughed while take a sip of coffee.

"To friendship." Nightshade said as he raised his coffee cup.

"To life." Rooma said heartedly as she raised her glass. The others followed.

"To Thagrin." I said as I raised mine last.

The group looked to me and echoed my response. "To Thagrin."

"How was your trip?" Mom asked as we entered the house.

"Fine." I replied nonchalantly as I began dragging my things up the stairs.

"How's everything here?" Leilani interjected before Mom could start grilling us about the details. She always loved talking about herself.

"Oh you know, the usual…" She began ranting about her weekend as Leilani yes'd her to death. I ignored the conversation. "Oh you both got some mail. I left it on your desks."

"Thanks, mom."

I entered my room and dropped the bags with a thud. I meandered over to my desk idly, not really interested in getting back to the thick of things. I began thumbing through the different letters. "Bill, bill, junk, bill, junk…" I stopped at one hand written envelope. The name on the corner had nearly stopped my heart. 'Rachel Baross.'

I dropped the pile back on the desk after plucking the hand written envelope out. I collapsed onto my bed while slowly ripping the paper open. I carefully pulled the letter out and unfolded it.

'Dear Girlie,

Kind of strange writing to you like this, but this psycho-therapist, or whatever this guy is called, is allowing me to send something to you. He says it would be good for my healing process. Yea, you read that right, I'm in a mental institution for the criminally insane. It was part of my police deal or what not. I hear they still haven't caught Flynn. I'm sorry about that, girlie. I wish I had been able to kill him right there, but the cops should get him or at least keep him cowering for the rest of his life. Hopefully they charge the others that they caught at the airport with everything they deserve. I'll do what I can to see to that. Especially for Rena, she was a fucking bitch.

I know you don't want to hear another apology. I've already been there and done that. Instead I just want to tell you that you need to take the reins in your life. When you see an opportunity to be happy, you need to take it. Trust me, I had a chance many years ago to better myself and my life and I didn't take it. Instead I fell into this shit. Don't be like me, girlie. Don't fall into complacency because you think you can't do better or you think you can't be better. I know you pretty damn well for watching you for nine months and you're strong. You deserve a happy life. Damn if that didn't sound so stalker-ish…never mind.

You taught me quite a bit in the short time we knew each other and I just wanted you to know I'm working to do things right. They let me do some volunteer work for certain things. They actually have me helping with some of the less mentally sane people here who just need a friend more than anything else. They just need someone to understand them. It's helping, I think.

Anyway, Lulu, I wanted you to know that I'm okay. Part of me is hoping that you've forgotten about me at this point and I know I don't deserve any of your attention, but the other big part of me is hoping I still have a place in your thoughts somewhere. Feel free to write me anytime, though I don't expect it. I'll probably be stuck in here for the rest of my life and I'm okay with that. Take care of yourself and don't forget to just live.

Your Friend,


I laid there for a long time with the letter resting on my chest. A mix of feelings bubbled in my stomach. On the one hand this woman was responsible for the deaths of countless innocents. She murdered Thagrin's wife. She murdered Kari. Could I just sweep that all under the rug like it was nothing?

On the other hand she had watched out for me the best way she could while I was trapped in the Veil. She was the one who pushed me to leave Willoughby's shop. She guided me through leveling and through the constant struggles we faced. She forced me to come to terms with my reality. And she also saved my and Demin's lives. She could be seen as a victim to Codwell's brainwashing nightmare.

Despite my internal struggle with this, she brought up a very valid point, as she usually did. I gently placed the letter back on the desk while getting up from my bed. I walked down two doors and knocked. "Enter at your own risk." Leilani's voice called from the other side. I snorted while pushing open the door.

"Hey Lei." I said as I opened the door, revealing Leilani in a tank top and underwear.

"What's up?" She looked up from a tablet Remy had bought her while shopping on our weekend getaway.

"How would you like to go to college in California?" I asked casually.

A grin formed on her lips. "When should I pack?"


*Thank you all for reading! I'd love to hear what you think. What parts did you love? What parts did you hate? What did you overall think? Is there anything you would have liked to see done differently? Things you wanted to see more of?

I have thoughts knocking around in my head for my next story, but it's still in the baby stages so it will probably be a couple weeks before I begin my next one, but thank you again so much for joining me in this one! I really enjoyed writing Lu's story and hoped you enjoyed reading it! ~VeiledElegance