Last Chapter! : ((((((( *bawling* Thank you to everyone who read, reviewed, anything to this fic. Good or bad, you kept me going to my finishing point which is right here so thanks for eveything, you guys : )
Me and Jamie moved to Phoenix with Jeb a week after the trial. We picked up our stuff at the hotel and then we went back to the house, with an officer to make sure my dad didn't do anything, and got the rest of our stuff. I'd never seen my bedroom so bare besides the day we moved in. It was a little bittersweet to say goodbye to it.
Jared went back home to Lowell two days later and packed his own stuff. He rented out his father's home to Kyle, who was definitely happy they didn't hate each other anymore. He even got a new girlfriend, one Jared had never met before so even that worked out. He also had a talk with the big boss of the company and handed his spot there over to Brandt. He's gonna start his own branch wherever I decide to go.
We got along great with Jeb. I realized how much I missed seeing him all those years and the three of us got to know each other as a family again. Jeb even kicked Jamie's ass at a few board games which always made the two of us laugh as Jamie pouted.
When my eighteenth birthday finally came around, I wanted a huge celebration that I made it. I settled for not a worldwide party but having Ian, Wanda, Wes, Aaron, Lily and a bunch of my other friends come down for the weekend. I even got to remeet Wanda's dad, Walter and her mother, Gladie.
Jared gave me a very special present that night - my application to NYU. Surprise to say I got in even with my GED after leaving school that early summer day.
My classes started in January so together we went back to Lowell. Kyle loaned us back the house for the few months waiting and for the holidays, we had everyone come down there and had a big dinner.
On Christmas, it was much quieter. Everyone didn't come down as they had for Thanksgiving. We already exchanged gifts when they came down and Christmas was more local. After Jeb, Jamie, Kyle, Sunny, and Wes went home, me and Jared just sat there thinking about this year.
I curled myself into him on the couch and his arm wrapped tight around me, bringing me closer. "Jared?"
I snuggled closer, making sure he could hear me. "What are we going to do in a few weeks when I go to school?"
He shrugged. "I'll come with you."
"You will?" I ask. "I know you don't exactly live here anymore but you could. You should."
"You trying to get rid of me?" he joked. There was little crinkles by his eyes just like when he smiles.
"Never," I answer seriously. But I have another question. "Jared?"
"Do you think anything's gonna change?" I asked. "Between us, I mean?"
"Change how exactly?" he says. His face tells me he really doesn't understand, that he's just not teasing me to make me say something embarrassing like he usually would.
"I'm going to college, Jared," I answer simply.
"Yes, you are," he laughs. "I already knew that, though."
I move myself toward the edge of the couch seat and turn back to look at him. "Nevermind. Forget I said anything."
"Melanie..." he said. "Is this because couples say college won't change them but then they meet someone or a lot of someones while there that the relationship doesn't last?"
I peek my eyes at him, squinting. "Maybe."
That just makes him laugh more. "Mel. I can't believe that's even your worry."
"I shouldn't worry some guy is come along?" I say. It sounds stupid even to me. I know no one is gonna compare to Jared for me but I never expected him in my life. What if that happens with someone else?
"That sounds like my line," he nudged me and sat closer.
"Jared," I close my eyes. "There's always stories how relationships don't last once one enters college. How do I know we won't be one of them?"
He wraps his arms around my waist and hugs me to him. "Because only you are enrolling. I, on the other hand, am done and finished with school. So it's up to you on whether you let it change and if you're worrying about it, means you probably don't want it to change."
"I don't," I whisper.
"Then we're good," he kisses my shoulder and leans back on the couch, much more relaxed than I would be in his position. But then again, he's out of my league in so many ways so him - yeah, I'd have to worry about.
He sighs and smiles, coming back but not fully next to me and rubs my back. "Yes?"
"What if while I'm in class," I start and take a deep breath. I want to be able to get my question out. "And you go out for coffee or something -"
"I don't know what that has to do with anything," he laughed.
I looked back at him, serious. "You meet someone on line at the coffee shop or you bump into some girl your age who is where you are in life and not sitting in a classroom, just out of high school. She has her whole life set out for her and you fall in love with her. What then?"
"You think I'm gonna meet someone now?" he asked.
I shook my head. "Forget I said anything. It's stupid."
"No, Mel," he was shaking his head too now. "Come here."
I scooched to the back of the couch again, right next to Jared. I was so close one inch more I'd be in his lap. I almost moved to it. "This is really bothering you? That we'll move on and meet somebody else all because you're gonna be in school?"
"Maybe," I said. "Yes."
"Melanie...I love you."
"I love you, too," I replied. "But that doesn't guarantee anything."
"It does," he tells me. "Listen, I never felt this way for anybody before. Not even Jodi and you know how long that relationship lasted. If you think I'm gonna give you up for anybody else...then maybe you need to rethink what we're doing here."
His words and the expression on his face clicked to me in an instant. "No. I don't need to do that."
He was staring right into my eyes. "Are you sure?"
I nod. "I'm very sure."
I'm no longer sitting next to him. Jared pulls me into his lap and hugs me tight, kissing my cheek, beside my ear, my neck to my shoulder. I close my eyes, feeling comforted already.
He holds me for what feels like hours but lets me go too soon. When we pull back, he moves a piece of hair from my face and tucks it behind my ear. "Do you feel better?"
"Yeah," I whisper. "I do."
He gives me a small smile but it doesn't reach his eyes. He notices me watching and the smile fades. "Why all the questions, Mel? If you're not having your doubts about us then what is it?"
"It's stupid," I repeat. He gives me a look that says tell him. "Okay, fine. It's just - you're older than me."
"I am?" he jokes and smiles again, a bright, booming smile. I hit him playfully on the arm and he pretends it hurt. "Sorry. Continue."
"You could have anyone your age," I sigh. "Around your age. I don't know why you chose me when you can have someone at the snap of a finger."
"I don't want someone who comes at the snap of a finger," Jared says. " I want you. That's not going to change, Mel."
"Good," I smile at him. "I guess I just needed to hear that."
"I'll tell you it everyday if you need," he says.
Before I can answer, he's kissing me. The fire is everywhere. His hands are, too. In my hair first then on my face, on my waist then on the hem of my shirt. The rush is hitting me too and I need him. After all my weird feelings and doubts, I need this.
My hands are on his back, pushing up his shirt from the back. He stops the kiss and pulls his shirt over his head, coming right back to me. I will never understand how boys can do that but I don't care. As long as Jared can.
His hand moves from their spot they just got back to on the hem of my shirt and starts unbuttoning my top from the bottom. I'm getting impatient, I just want him to get it off of me already. I just want his hands on me. We're still kissing and he takes his time but his time is actually pretty fast. I smile against his lips as he slides it off my shoulders.
My hands are on both sides of his face, holding him closer. I lean back to the couch cushions and take him down with me. His hands hold himself up but other than that, every part of him is very close to me. I tug him closer.
We kiss for a long while. Once we finally get all of our clothes off, it feels like a relief. Our hands go everywhere as each article falls onto the floor. It's like our first time all over again. Jared kisses me deeply and sweetly. He holds me like he loves me and touches me like it's only lust. I can't get enough of it.
We came together and lay back on the cushions, panting and barely able to breathe. I snuggle myself onto his chest and pull the blanket down from the back of the couch. Jared covers us both with it as I feel the December chill and it makes me shiver. I whisper a thanks to him and he smiles in return.
When I look out the window, I see snow has started falling. I tilt my face up and kiss his cheek. "Merry Christmas, Jared."
He lets out a chuckle and smiles at me. "Merry Christmas, Mel."
January comes and I have to start school. Instead of getting a dorm room, my Uncle Jeb helps me pay for an apartment while I start my assistant job at a law office down the street from the apartment. It's really expensive but with the help, I can make it. Jamie comes up to see me every two weeks. That time without him is too much but Jeb promises he'll move up there soon. I just wonder how soon.
Jared got his construction branch started in NYC. He has his own apartment not too far from mine. I wanted Jamie to be able to stay over so we thought it better not to live together here. But I gotta admit, I did miss his snoring at night. He started work on helping some buildings and condos and Brandt comes down to see him every so often about the Lowell branch.
Wanda and Ian called the two of us, telling us they had some news they wanted to tell us about. I didn't know what it could be but once we were at dinner, I noticed what the news was.
"Oh my God!" I screamed as I stared at her hand. "Ian proposed?"
"Yes!" Wanda exclaimed back. "Last night! I had to get right down here and tell you."
"Oh my God," I say again. She puts her hand out for me to get a better look and I hold her hand, staring at the giant rock on her finger. The blue diamond necklace Jared bought me is around my neck and it makes me smile, wondering if this is our future. "This is amazing news. Nothing else can top this right now."
"Well, I'm willing to not bet on that," Ian laughs as he comes back with Jared from hanging up our coats and sits down in our booth.
"What?" Jared asks. "More news than being engaged?"
I roll my eyes at him. Such a boy. "Are you pregnant?"
Wanda shakes her head and Ian laughs. "No, not yet."
Jared sits beside me and puts his arm around me. "Then what is it?"
"We're moving back here!" Wanda yells. I almost burst out of my seat. "I called my parents this morning. They want me have the wedding here like they did. So we decided together that maybe it'd be best if we came back here."
"So you're going to be living in the same city as us," I say out loud to try to contain my excitement. But it doesn't help, I'm still really happy.
"That's great," Jared smiles at the couple across from us.
"I know, right?" Ian says. "Let's just hope her mom doesn't hate the idea."
"My mom will not," Wanda says. "As long as my dad doesn't pay for every single thing besides the wedding."
The four of us laugh and the waiter comes to take our orders.
Four years later
When my rent is up after I graduate, Jared tells me to move in with him instead of update the the lease. I jumped right into his arms after. That definitely led to some kissing and some more than kissing.
I was all moved in the day we got the phone call from Wanda. She was screaming and excited, and also pregnant. I yelled to Jared, who was in the kitchen getting a beer when the phone rang. He came and talked to her too, we both congratulated her and Ian. They were keeping it low for now just in case since it was early. But I couldn't wait for the baby shower already.
In the last year at work, I got a promotion. I was actually more than assistant now. I was close to being a lawyer now, learning from the ones in the building and from what my dad had done. I had more years of school left but I figured it would be worth it if I could help someone like me.
One day I came home from work and fell right onto the couch. I was so exhausted but I smelled dinner and walked to the table. The food was covered and I heard water running in the shower. I went into the bedroom to the bathroom and walked right in. "Are you gonna feed me or are you gonna be in the shower all night?"
Jared's head peaked out of the curtain and smirked at me. "I don't know. Maybe I need someone to get me out of here."
I started taking my own clothes off and climbed into the shower with him. We were kissing as soon as I walked into the tub.
He definitely made me forget about being tired or hungry.
After dinner, he kept staring at me and asked me to go get his jacket for him. "Get it yourself."
He smirked at me. "Please?"
It was too irresistible. I stood up and picked up his jacket when a small object made a thump on the carpet. I was about to bend down and pick it up when Jared was suddenly in front of me. Kneeling with the object in his hand.
My breath hitched. It was a small velvet box. He opened it slowly and with just a smile on his face, waited. He didn't even need to ask. The word formed on my mouth so fast I was surprised he even heard me.
I laughed and crouched down to him. "Yes."