A/N: OH MY GOSH YA'LL! I'm so sorry it took so long, but it's finally here! The dreaded chapter everyone's been waiting on! Please, please, please, for my sake, and because it took me like forever to write, cause I wanted it as accurate to character as possible, (while being overly dramatically romantic to feed my own inner cravings of Jemily that should have been in the dang show!) let me know how ya'll like this by reviewing! I admit, I kind of went overboard with feels, but hey! I was deprived from the show, and in the fandom, so sue me! I'm going to keep saying it, we need more Jemily stories! For the ones who took the time to write for the beloved (and endgame) couple, (I'm looking at you karvesprincess) I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Anyways guys, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. For those who think it's too over the top, just remember, they had a rose covered wedding, a puppy for a wedding present, and sailed off into the sunset, if that wasn't Disney worthy I don't know what is! So no judging lol. Just kidding. Ok let's get into this.
Amanda's smile continued to grow as Jack made his way over to her at the end of the dock. "Jack!" She greeted softly.
"Hey!" He greeted back.
"You made it." She smiled.
"Yeah. Yeah, Carl's babysitter finally showed. Sorry that I missed out on the big speech though…"
"Don't be. I was a wreck…" Amanda sighed.
"Oh stop it. I caught most of it on TV and from what I saw, you were great…" He put his hand on top of hers. "David would be so proud of you and of how you honored him like that…"
She looked down for a moment in silence, but then slowly nodded. "…Thank you. It…it was hard, but manageable since things aren't the way they were like the first time I thought he was gone…"
He nodded in agreement.
"It's just all so surreal; how everything started and ended…How I went from always wishing that I had the opportunity to say goodbye, only to have him back for a second chance and then wished I never had to say it again…But…fate had other ideas I guess…" She whispered as she felt herself choke up. She whispered a quick apology as she let out a shaky sigh. He put a hand on her shoulder before she could turn away.
"Don't…You've been holding back all day…You can let it out now. It's okay."
"Was I really that obvious?" She asked quietly as he embraced her from behind.
"Actually no. You weren't. But let's just say I've gotten better at reading you and knowing…how it feels when it comes to things like this."
Feeling her breath tremble once more, she turned into his arms and buried her face into his shirt, allowing herself to feel and express the inner burdens of her heart that she had been holding onto all that day. Jack said nothing as he simply held her and watched her shoulders shake silently. Normally it would be considered a cruel torture to watch her suffer with grief and pain, but seeing how she was allowing herself to let go, he couldn't help but feel a sense of relief; especially since things were different now.
Of course it did not make the loss any less painful, but at least she finally let herself feel.
Thank god, she was letting herself feel and express…
Jack closed his eyes as he thought about the events that happened not too long ago.
Flashback to a few months back.
The news of David's passing took quite a toll on the majority of the group, but none more so than Amanda Clarke. The troubling thing about that, however, was at the time, one could only imagine the impact it had on her, and yet at the same time, one could never tell because she never let it show.
She refused to let it show, as if she was running away from grief itself, defying the influence it threatened to leave on her once more.
But just because she demonstrated her flawless veneer of control and stability in the midst of the tragedy, it did not mean that grief was not evident.
In fact, to him and the others, mainly Nolan and Charlotte, it could not be any more obvious; especially since she was doing everything in her damn power to deny it.
It showed through her attitude, despite how well she carried herself. She was not ignorant to what had happened. She knew her father had died, that many were in shock despite knowing that it would happen at any time, that her sister needed to be comforted over losing the parent she barely got to know, that there were funeral arrangements that needed to be prepared, and legal documents and taxes that needed to be signed and paid. She knew all the works, and she completed them all, effortlessly, almost systematically. It was as if she was trying hard to steer clear of showing any emotional impact. She closed herself off, shut herself in, and embraced the numbness, thinking that it wouldn't be obvious or affect anyone else.
But it was and it did.
She acted distant; snapping frequently, barking orders and demands left and right, or she just took it on herself to get things done if it wasn't to her liking. She was also guarded. Although she outwardly showed the grace and beauty of a rose, if anyone got too close, she did not hesitate to show her thorns…
"The Throne bot is back in full force…" was what Nolan said to him at the time. Though he seemed to be joking, he was actually being completely honest as he sighed grimly. "She's in shut down mode…completely. I haven't seen her this bad since she first arrived in the Hamptons hell-bent on getting revenge as Emily Thorne. She's retreated back into that character. She once told me that Emily Thorne was a machine…that she created her as a means to teach herself not to feel…I know she's trying to play it off, but it's only building up inside of her like helium in a balloon. One way or another, it's going to be a nasty pop…"
Jack and Nolan both agreed that something had to be done. They just didn't know what. Like death, grief comes on its own. Rushing it might make things worse. It was best to let it all ride. She would come to terms eventually. But seeing as the emotional conflict had an effect on everyone, especially Jack, he decided that enough was enough and confronted her.
It was a few days before the funeral and she had many errands to run. So he was not shocked to find her dressed to impress in one of her expensive pantsuits as her heels clicked with haste to the door, only to find it suddenly open, shut, and lock as a serious and slightly annoyed Jack Porter stood in front of her with his arms crossed, blocking her escape.
"We need to talk." That was all he said, before she tried to brush him off. But Jack would not budge.
Not this time.
He was not surprised once she put up her defenses, but he was determined to make her face what she was running away from. He called her out on her behavior, though she tried to deny it. Tempers flared, painful words were exchanged, but he still refused to be moved. Finally, he got down to the nitty gritty.
"You're doing it again. You're so focused on the fight to the point where you can't see what's in front of you or the impact it's having-"
"-Are you saying that I'm not thinking about anyone else?! Have my actions and efforts meant nothing to-"
"-No! Quite the opposite! And that's the problem! You've been so focused on getting everything done for the funeral, and helping or comforting everyone else, but what about you? You haven't even had the chance to take a moment for yourself since David died and it's not only affecting me, Nolan, and everyone else, it's hurting you the most! You need to grieve Amanda. You acted similar when Daniel died, and you cannot deny it and say that this loss isn't taking an even bigger toll on you."
"And what the hell would you know about how I feel or what I'm going through Jack huh?!" She spat without thinking, making them both flinch for a second, but he still refused to back down.
"You know the answer to that." He answered grimly with slight bitterness. "But like you, I also know what it's like to not properly grieve and give into the darkness. And David did not go through hell and back, reunite with you, and save you just so you could waste away like this! And I be damned if I let you either!"
She was silent as she stared at him blankly, but felt herself tremble. He walked up to her and softened his tone. "You are not alone this time Amanda...You don't have to worry about ever being alone again I promise…I'm here for you. So is Nolan and Charlotte. We want to help you, but you can't hold this all inside..."
He tried to embrace her, but she flinched away from his touch. "And what makes you think THAT I want to grieve huh?! Ever think that maybe I'm better off not feeling anything?! For your information, I want this! The numbness I feel is a comfort compared to giving in! I won't do it! Not again! It's worst enough I've had my fair share of grieving from losing everyone I've ever loved for the sake of my father, but now that he's gone again I…I won't do it…I won't feel that hopelessness again…I refuse! DAMN IT I've felt it all these years, once in sorrow because I was brainwashed into thinking he never loved me! Then again when I realized that he did and he was taken from me! And now you expect me to give into that despair again?!" She exploded.
Jack was silent with a look of remorse in his eyes. He wanted to say something to comfort her as he now saw that her stony expression changed with a look of desperation and utter despair as she heaved heavy breaths and her body trembled. Before he could say anything, however, she felt the burning sensation of tears stinging her eyes and she cursed under her breath, demanding for Jack to back away from the door. When he shook his head and attempted to take the trembling woman into his arms once more, she froze momentarily, wanting to burry herself into the comfort of his embrace, but she suddenly felt a wetness on her cheeks. She then cursed once more as she abruptly broke away from his embrace, roughly shoved him off of her, and rushed out the door.
She ran fast and hard on the shore as she tried to stop the tears from pouring down. But all she could think about was her father.
"You know how much I love you Amanda?"
She ran faster.
"I won't risk losing you like that Amanda…"
"You are capable of so much…"
She didn't bother to take a breath as her heels continually kicked up sand as she ran harder…
"I'm so very proud of you…"
"How did you learn to fight so hard?"
One of her heels snapped as she felt herself stumble, completely off balance, knowing that she was going to plummet into the sand…
"You devoted your life to saving me…It's my turn…"
…Only to be caught by a pair of strong arms. She looked up to find a pair of striking blue eyes and was caught off guard at the compassion and empathy that they held as they glistened slightly with held back tears. She let the memories consume her…
"This chance to get to know you this year…The amazing woman that you've become has made me feel like my life is complete…I can die a happy man…"
"…Remember how much I love you…Is infinity times…"
"Infinity…" She whispered. She continued to gaze into the pair of ocean colored orbs as her chestnut brown ones watered. "I-I'm sorry…" She mouthed as her voice got caught in her throat. Jack only shook his head and pulled her closer to him, burying his face against her neck. "Jack…" She whimpered once more. He pulled away slightly to look at her in acknowledgment. "He…he's gone Jack…He's gone for good this time…" And with that, Amanda Clarke finally allowed herself to break down as she fell to her knees on the shore. Jack fell down with her as he rocked her back and forth, not caring that the waves were crashing and soaking them both as the tide rolled in.
Snapping out of his trip to memory lane, he turned his eyes to Amanda who was now standing right beside him, looking at him inquisitively.
"Are you okay?" She asked.
He gave a simple nod as he smiled mildly. "I'm pretty sure I should be asking you that question instead of the other way around."
She returned the little smile and shrugged lightly as she thought about how to respond. "I'm…managing everything better than I was before…" She went silent for a moment and continued. "…Thank you Jack…for being there for me all that time and putting up with…everything. I know that I wasn't the easiest person to be around but-"
She paused as she suddenly felt the comforting touch of his hand on her bare shoulder, stroking her skin lightly with his thumb. "Don't worry about it. I told you that I'd be there for you and that you weren't alone. Besides, putting up with your stubbornness is what I signed up for." He joked with chuckle as she rolled her eyes and lightly bumped up against his shoulder, chuckling softly along with him.
A little farther off the shore, Nolan Ross took a slow sip from his glass of chilled champagne as he walked calmly on the beach watching the waves crash and sparkle under the moonlight. Things were finally settling down at the beach house as Charlotte proved to surprisingly be one hell of a hostess, but it wasn't the same without his two best buds around to keep him company, so he decided to see what they were up to, only to become distracted at the spectacular beach view. Just before he could pull out his phone to take an impressive selfie, his eyes fell upon two figures standing on the beach house dock. Though they were a little far away from him, Nolan did not miss the tender smiles on their faces as they talked away. He smiled warmly, giving an inward cheer for the both of them, until his smile turned into a malicious smirk as his eyes sparkled mischievously. He pulled out his phone once more, swiping away, until he put the phone up to his ear and walked away from the scene.
"Cory! My man! Nolan Ross here…Remember that favor you owed me a while back when I hacked into your Harvard school account? Well I'm calling to collect…You wouldn't happen to still be in the pyro technician business would you?"
Once the couple got their laughs under control, Jack cleared his throat. "But in all seriousness Amanda, I'm just glad that you've found a way to cope better than before…I know how hard it's been for you, especially with tonight…So even if you had to have a moment of weakness, I completely understand…"
She went silent for a moment before turning to face him. "…That's the thing about it Jack, I didn't break down tonight just because I felt sorrow…I mean yeah, it still hurts to know that my dad is gone, but this time it was different…I cried because I felt an overwhelming relief…Like everything I ever wanted for him, for the world to know about who my father truly was, and what he was like…It actually happened. I finally completed my goal. I know my initial purpose was to clear his name, but after it had been degraded for so long, even in the time when I believed the lies along with the world, what I really wanted afterwards, was for everyone to know the truth of the man he really was…What he meant to me…Now that they do, I just feel like a huge burden's been lifted off of me. It's like I can breathe again…" She exhaled a breath. "I can live again…"
Jack couldn't help but smile warmly at his girlfriend. He knew that after all the years of thinking that her father was dead and the regret that she carried upon her like a curse as she tried to salvage what hope she had left, she found something that she never did in the past.
Along with the satisfaction of knowing that her father loved her and was proud that she was his daughter, as she was that he was her father, despite the hell they have caused and have been through.
As long as she held onto that infinite promise of love, he knew that she was going to be okay.
"It sure is nice out here tonight isn't it?" She breathed as she gazed up at the moon.
"Yeah…brings back memories…" Jack replied, as he directed his gaze up to the sky.
"It does…" Amanda replied wistfully with a hint of regret as she looked down. She hesitated a little, before taking a deep breath. "…You were never alone in how you felt Jack…" She uttered quietly yet firmly.
He looked at her with slight confusion.
"That time…when we were standing here in this very spot under the fireworks…and everything that you said to me…I wanted to tell you so badly that it made perfect sense…because I felt the same way. I always have…That's why you were never alone in how you felt. But…I couldn't…There was so much at risk and I-I-just wish I could have…I mean, I know I should have-"
"Hey…" He put his hand on top of hers as it rested on the dock. "We're here now…That's all that matters."
She looked into his piercing azure colored eyes, as she nodded confidently, intertwining their fingers. Though he almost lost himself in her eyes, he was mindful of the little box that was still weighing down his pocket. He figured that there couldn't be a better time, so he started off with a simple question.
"So…" Jack breathed deeply, hoping that it would hide the sudden nervousness that creeped upon him again. "I guess now the big question is…what do you think is next?" He wanted to kick himself for asking such a vague and complex question as he watched her eyebrows furrow in confusion, before she suddenly let out a tiny yet scoffing chuckle, looking straight out into the horizon.
"Believe it or not, I didn't exactly plan that far. To tell you the truth, I never even expected to have this moment where I actually have the ability to think about what comes after…Or what I'll do next. Or who I'll become…I had a few plans, but…they all backfired…in more ways than one. It was so much easier to predict things I could control; especially as Emily Thorne since I could make her into anything I wanted without limitations…But now that it's all over, I have no clue what to do next as Amanda Clarke…mainly because…after everything…I have no idea who she is anymore…" She whispered in a matter-of-fact tone.
"I do…" Jack responded.
She turned to look at him with a questioning expression.
"She's the daughter of David Clarke; a man who had a good heart, even though he put his trust in the wrong people and suffered hell for it and made mistakes, but was willing to do anything for his daughter in the end. She was the little girl who was happy and lived in a beach house with her father and puppy, Sammy, wishing that nothing would ever change, only for tragedy to change her forever. She was lost and alone, doomed to have the world against her until she found out the truth, then she became a woman with one sole purpose to payback the wrongs that were done to her and her family."
She blinked, but continued to listen.
"She's the woman that made lives better and worse at the same time; destroying lives, yet saving them at the same time. She befriended someone that had everything he could ever want, but just wanted friendship most of all, she was the only family that the real Emily Thorne ever had and allowed her to have her own, she changed the lives of the people she ended up loving and caring for a great deal, like Aiden, Daniel, and Ben…She ended up being the big sister of a young woman that no longer lives a cushy lie of a lifestyle, even though she helped dismantle it. She helped save a lot of people who couldn't save themselves, and punish them at the same time, but knew her limits. She's the woman who was willing to go above and beyond for the ones she cared about. She cleared her father's name and got that relationship she had always wanted with him again. She's got a dark side, and a light side. She can be bad, and she can be good."
"But…Jack…All that majority was Em-"
"-Emily Thorne. I know. You're right. But they're one in the same."
She thought about it deeply for a moment before she nodded in understanding and acceptance.
"…And…as for who Amanda Clarke is to me specifically…She was the best friend that I ever had…She was my first love, before I even knew it. She was the girl that filled my summer with adventure and who trusted me to take care of her dog when we were separated for a long time…She's the woman who took on a new identity that was mysterious, but always kept me guessing; always kept me feeling like there was something about her that was familiar, but that Sammy always knew from the start."
They both smiled sadly at the mention of their beloved Sammy.
"She's the woman that helped make my life a living hell…And yet, also like a dream come true, when I didn't even have much of a life to begin with…She's the woman that I named my boat after at the time, the woman who kept her promise as a little girl when she said she'd come back…Even if it was twisted in how she did it…She's the woman that kept me from making a grave mistake…She's the woman that I never thought I could forgive after everything she's done to me, but that I did eventually since I cared a lot about her, and kind of understood what she was doing in a way. She's my son's godmother, who I know will look up to her a great deal in the future…And like I said before, she's the toughest, most annoyingly bullheaded person on this planet, who's saved my ass a few times, like I've saved hers."
She nodded and smirked in agreement.
"And most of all…She's the woman I could never let go of, no matter how many times I wanted to, or was told to, or was convinced to because she's the woman that I've always loved ever since we met in Montauk, and even more so when Sammy found her that day in the park. And like I also said before, despite everything we've been through, and even though we both don't know what the hell the future will hold for us, the one thing that I know about Amanda Clarke is that, she's the woman I love and always will."
"Jack…" She smiled tearfully as she threw her arms around him, and closed her eyes in content not willing to ever let go, as the warmth, truth, and love of his words washed over her like an ocean tide.
He wanted to return her passionate embrace, but knew he needed to continue before he lost his nerve.
He took a shaky breath.
"…And….hopefully…she'll be the woman whom I'll spend the rest of my life with…if she says yes?"
Amanda froze suddenly as her eyes widened at his words. As if in a trance, she watched him kneel down before her on one knee.
"I know…that it's never been easy for us; and that's putting it lightly. And I have no doubt that there will be even more complicated messes down the road for us to deal with, but that's what life is sometimes. It's complicated and messy. But through the good times and bad times, I want to be with you. I want you by my side. I love you Amanda and I can't imagine my life without you. Not again. We've waited for each other over twenty something years…Now I believe that this is our moment…"
He reached for the little velvet box in his back pocket and popped the box open to reveal a stunning, simple, yet elegant gold ring encrusted with small diamonds on the sides and with a beautiful larger shaped diamond in the center.
She gasped as her hands flew over her mouth, and her eyes widened even more and filled to the brim with a new onslaught of fresh tears.
He gazed into her glistening eyes and felt his own burn with emotion. "Amanda Clarke…will you marry me?"
She was speechless.
She didn't know what to say, or think, or do.
It was as if she was frozen on the spot with only the tears that escaped her eyes and ran down her cheeks as the only thing moving, along with the rapid pounding of her heartbeat.
"If it helps, I already got your dad's okay." He chuckled nervously as if to lighten the mood and his nerves for the moment.
Tears continued to stream down as she continued to stare at him in wonder.
He inwardly gulped.
Finally, she opened her mouth, trembling all the while. "Oh my go-i-is this real? Is this really happening right now? D-did you j-just ask me to m-marry you? A-after everything I've done…Y-you want to marry me?" She stuttered and rushed in uneven breaths as she failed to overcome the shock.
"This is real. It is happening, and yes I do…More than anything." He replied sincerely.
For so long, ever since she was a child, she imagined and dreamed of this very moment...
Every time Nolan teased of it being a possibility, and despite her attitude of nonchalance, she had always hoped…
When she watched her fantasy unfold with the woman she considered to be like her sister at the time, she remembered how crushed she felt as her dreams were swept away like the oncoming tide that she stood nearby on the shore…
She never imagined that an opportunity would come around again…
A second chance…at true happiness…
Her mind flashbacked to Nolan's question that he asked a year ago…
"What's the first thing you think you'll do as Amanda Clarke?"
For the first time in what seems like forever…She finally had an answer.
"Yes!" She softly spoke in a voice that was just above a whisper, but was loud enough for him to hear as she nodded her head while sniffing lightly.
Jack did a double take.
"W-wait what? What did you say? Y-you said yes?"
She couldn't help the beaming smile that stretched across her face as she kneeled down to his level, cupped his face in her hands, and repeated her answer with confidence.
"Yes, Jack Porter, I will marry you!"
Jack's smile matched hers as he chuckled in pure happiness, not caring about the tears that were evident in his eyes. They both stood up together and Jack tenderly took her hand in his as he gently slid the ring onto her finger. Amanda marveled at its beauty as she held it up and watched it dazzle in the moonlight.
"My god…Jack's it's…I-I don't even know what to say…" She gasped breathlessly.
Jack shrugged lightly with a smile. "Well I think it's beauty lacks a bit in comparison to you but I'm glad that you like-
"-I love." She slid her arms from his chest to around his neck, bringing her face closer to his. "And I love you Jack Porter…"
"I love you too Amanda Clarke…" Jack replied lovingly as he felt her warm breath on his lips. Before they could seal the engagement with a searing kiss, they abruptly jumped apart at the sudden booming sound of a loud crackle and pop that sounded off from up above them.
They looked up to see the variety of dazzling spring theme colored fireworks bursting and sparkling throughout the night sky. They stared, mesmerized at the spectacular display before they shared a knowing look, shook their heads in disbelief and awe, but smirked as they muttered in unison.
They shared a brief laugh before they collided in each other's arms and kissed passionately like never before, silently thanking their best friend for recreating that fateful night that once, was filled with regret, but now was filled with a new infinite promise...
…And somehow, amidst the two graves, I've come to a realization…
… Life still awaits me…