Chapter 14 - This is it, the Final Chapter!

Zack sat on the couch playing his video games, but his heart wasn't really in it at the moment. Mikki had locked herself in her room for hours. He knew that she enjoyed her alone time, but usually she'd have come out by now and snuggled with him for awhile. Sometimes she'd even play the games with him. He began to get a bit lonely and wondered whether or not he should go and check on her.

He had just shut his game off, making up his mind to go get her, when she suddenly appeared. To his surprise, she was all dressed up. She wore a bright pink, purple and yellow spaghetti strapped dress that flared out to her knees and a pair of purple sandals. She'd even used a pink barrette to pin back that one longer piece of hair that was always falling into her eyes.

"Mikki, you look lovely," Zack commented.

"Thanks. Zack, take me out tonight."

Zack nodded, "Sure, Mik! Where to?" They hadn't actually gone on a proper date before and Zack had been looking forward to the day when he could show her off in public. He wanted everyone to know that she'd picked him.

Mikki, however, wasn't in the mood for anywhere busy at the moment. "I dunno: somewhere we can just enjoy each other's company without a bunch of distractions."

Zack frowned, "We could do that here, Mik."

"Yeah, but I want to go out. Please, Zackary?"

As if he'd ever say no to that! "Alright, let me go get changed and I'll think of some place, okay?"

Mikki flashed him a huge grin, "Thanks Zack!"

Zack kissed her cheek quickly before dashing up the stairs to find something appropriate to wear to… well, to wherever it was they were going. He paused as he tried to think of somewhere they could go. He couldn't take her to dinner, because they'd already eaten, and he was pretty sure that a movie would count as a distraction. Suddenly he had another idea.

"Mikki?" He called over the railing to where she was waiting below, "What about the beach? It's warm out and there won't be many people at night."

He watched as Mikki hesitated and then shook her head, "It's too far away, Zackary, but that'd have been lovely."

"It's the weekend, Mik. We could stay the night at an inn and drive back tomorrow. Just think how nice it'd be to walk along the sand holding hands beneath the stars."

He had her, and he knew it. Mikki pulled her mobile out of her pocket. "Can you pack me an overnight bag, Zack? I'm gonna get someone to come feed the dog in the morning."

They talked casually about work as Zack drove, but Mikki only half paid attention. She was thinking about the letter in her purse. Probably after their walk they could sit down somewhere and she'd let him read it. She was a bit nervous about seeing his reaction to it, but it was all stuff that Zack should know.

"Who did you find to feed the animals, Mikki?" Zack asked suddenly.

"Thatcher, who else?" Mikki grinned.

Zack burst out laughing but then suddenly stopped and looked at her, "That was a joke, right?"

Mikki smiled, "Nope. He's a bit softie at heart, Zackary."

Zack laughed as he pulled up at their destination, "Yeah, so you've said before, but I daresay you bribed him somehow."

Mikki giggled, "I told him we'd be on time to work all next week."

"Both of us?! Now you're asking a lot from me, Mik!" Zack protested as he pulled up at ocean.

"You can do it!" Mikki cheered him on encouragingly and teasingly as she play-punched his shoulder and then climbed out of the car, "but let's not spend our night out talking about work now eh?"

Zack took the hint as he climbed out the other door and hurried over to take her hand.

Zack and Mikki went over to the beach side inn to check their stuff in before heading outside for their starlit walk by the water. For most of the walk, they didn't speak, but every once in a while they'd point out a shooting star to each other or ask if the other was cold. They walked for over an hour when Zack finally said they'd probably better head back. As it was, it'd be gone one' o'clock before they got back to the hotel unless they ran, and neither was in the mood for that.

Mikki stopped walking, but didn't turn around. Instead she looked at him and smiled. "Can we sit for a bit first? I want to show you something."

Zack looked back at her curiously as he nodded his agreement. "Sure, Mik. What is it?"

Mikki didn't answer; she just tugged on his hand to lead him over to a log that lay fallen in the sand. She was rather nervous about letting him read the letter still, though she didn't know why. It was too late to change her mind though now as he was looking at her so expectantly.

They sat down in the sand with their backs against the log. Zack waited for a bit, but Mikki didn't seem to be showing him anything and he got a little bit confused, wondering he he'd heard her right. "Mikki?" he questioned her.

"I'll show you Zack, but first you have to kiss me."

Zack grinned and happily complied. Kissing Mikki was one thing he'd never tire of. As soon as his lips met hers, he sensed her nervousness and instantly his kiss became both protective and tender at once. He felt Mikki relax and sigh happily before she pulled away.

"Thanks, Zackary, I needed that."

Zack laughed, "Trust me, Mikki, it was my pleasure. Now, what did you want to show me?"

Mikki pulled her purse into her lap and reached inside it, handing him the letter. This time it was in a plain white envelope. Zack's eyes lit up as he reached for it eagerly, but Mikki grabbed onto his wrist to stop him. "Before you look at this one Zack, you should know it's the first letter you've been asking about."

"I know," Zack grinned at her.

Mikki stared at him, puzzled, "But… how?"

Zack shrugged, "Because you're all nervous about it and because I've been hoping you'd let me read it. Wishful thinking can work you know, that's how I knew the Secret Admirer notes were from you after all. Can I open it now, Mik? Please?"

Mikki laughed and let go of his wrist, nodding her permission. As Zack carefully opened the envelope, she rambled to him nervously, "Keep in mind though that I wrote it before the other ones and before we were going out, yeah? So some of the stuff that's in there you already know, okay?"

"Shhh!" Zack said to her, placing his index finger on her lips, "I'm reading." Then he turned his full attention to her words on the page.

Dear Zack,

It's me, Mikki. I guess you'll find it a bit weird that I am writing you a letter even though we live together, but I have my reasons. The first reason is that I like to write. And yes, I know this letter is long, but yes, you do have to read it all and no, I will not read it to you while you play video games. The second reason I am writing is because there are a few things that I want to tell you, but I'm a little bit scared to do so. You know me, I hate being scared, so I'm gonna make this as easy as possible for myself and for me that means, writing a letter.

You've probably guessed that I don't do so well when it comes to emotional topics. In fact, I tend to express a lot of emotions the same way, making them all look like sarcasm and anger even if I'm feeling just sad or lonely or frightened or even pleased. I am sorry that you have to put up with that side of me so very often. To be honest, it amazes me sometimes that you do, that you haven't moved out ages ago. I think you're the only person who has stuck with me long enough to notice that sometimes when I yell or snap, I'm more scared than mad.

Zack, the next part of this letter might come across as really, really random, but it's just some stuff that I want you to know about me and never quite knew how to broach in normal conversation. It's not important now, it's all in the past, but I feel like I want you to know it anyway. I've always wanted to have someone who knew all the little things I keep secret about myself, but only you, okay? Whatever I say here is a secret, yeah?

To be honest, I don't even know how to broach the subjects in a letter they are so random, so I'm just going to write them down in point form.

My parents divorced when I was six. My mum left us and moved to America and I've never heard from her since.

My dad told my sister Olivia and me that it was our fault she left because we weren't well-behaved enough and caused her too much stress.

My dad drank a lot, and sometimes he hit me.

I've dated very, very few guys and they were never who I thought they were when I first met them. Relationships scare me. I've never had any good ones.

I had to pretty much raise my Olivia on my own. Olivia is three years younger than me. I did a lousy job, I guess, because she's always getting into trouble with the law and I keep bailing her out, giving her money when she asks for it. Maybe I should let her learn the hard way, tough love kind of thing, but I do it because I blame myself for how she turned out. I should've done a better job at looking after her.

Okay, that's all I can think of just now from my past, so let's get on to the important stuff, the present day stuff, and the third and the main reason for me writing you this letter.

I'm sure you've noticed that I don't have a lot of friends. I guess it's because I push everyone away so often. Everyone has always let me down in the past, and I discovered it hurt more the closer I was to them, so I stopped letting people get close to me. Usually it works when I push people away. Except, with you, it was different. Every time I pushed you away, you pushed yourself back into my life twice as hard. I don't know how you ended up talking your way into moving in with me while I was trying to push you away, but you did, and I'm glad you did. See, now I've finally come to realise that you are loyal. That you really aren't going to hurt me. Sometimes I still wonder in amazement how it came to be that I, Mikki Bradner, ended up with a best friend.

I've never had a best friend before, so if I do the whole best friend thing horribly wrong, please let me know. I've heard though, that best friends tell each other secrets. Do you want to know my biggest secret of all? I'll tell you.

I, Abigail Bradner, am in love with you, Zack Churchill.

There, I dared to admit it. I first knew that I liked you when you made me breakfast your first morning in my home. Feel free to do that again sometime by the way. Of course, I pushed the feeling away then. I even convinced myself that I preferred Zane. See, Zane was a lot like the few guys that I had dated in the past. He would have hurt me eventually, left me for some chick he met in a foreign country on one of his flights or something, we both know that, but that was familiar territory for me and I figured it would be a small hurt because I'd be expecting it. You, however, were a risk. I knew I'd be crushed if I got close to you and you hurt me. So I stayed clear. At least, I tried, but like I said, you didn't really let me get away and I am so grateful.

So there you have it, I love you madly, Zack and I hope it's not too late for us because I want to be your girlfriend, but what's more important than that is that I don't lose you as my best friend. I don't want anything to be weird between us now, regardless of what you choose. Please, give me a sign either way, or better yet, tell me up front where I stand, and then we can go from there because I need you in my life in some form or another.

Of course, I still have to work up the courage to give you this letter, and I usually fail drastically in that department, so chances are you'll never read this, but who knows, maybe this time it'll be different.

Love Your Mikki.

Zack finished reading and pulled Mikki close to him. She was looking at him anxiously and he quickly kissed her forehead. "Mikki, you already know I love you, yeah? Like you said, you wrote this before. So why are you so nervous now?"

Mikki smiled and shrugged, "I thought you might be a bit upset that I've been pushing you away on purpose for so long."

Zack chuckled, "I understand Mikki. Thank-you, for trusting me with all the stuff here."

She nodded and reached up to kiss him. They sat there for a bit, lips locked to each others gently, until they were interrupted by a sudden thunder clasp and downpour in a surprise summer storm.

They both leapt to their feet. "Did I say I didn't feel like running back?" Mikki called as they took off, "I think I changed me mind."

"Wait up!" Zack called after her as they sprinted down the beach, laughing the entire way.


(Hope you all enjoyed!)