The Last One

Future Take III

Four years later

"Get off the phone, Jared," Edward grumbled from the passenger seat of Isabella's new Volvo. The safest car in its class, but his wife kind of hated it; she loved her sporty SUV.

"Hold on." Jared looked into the rearview mirror, listening to Claire's latest news. Her family was moving to the same neighborhood because of her father's latest promotion. Meaning she'd be attending the same high school next fall. "I can't wait until you're down the street. I'm going to kick your ass in Diablo."

They'd managed to maintain a healthy friendship somehow, but only as friends. Jared couldn't help be hopeful that it could change. Even if it didn't, he still wanted to be a part of Claire's life. He ended the call after Edward said they could wait for a driving lesson the next day.

It was rare when his mother had a spare moment to allow them to use her car for more than a quick trip to the grocery store. They had two hours before they had to get home and she had to leave campus to pick up Destiny and his brother Reece from school.

Jared silenced his phone, a stipulation his parents insisted on while he drove. He had to thank Sam, aka Sammy, for that; his first fender bender was due to texting while driving. For someone so smart, Sam was absentminded and often did things without thinking. Jared had no idea where Sam got it from.

Oh yeah, I'm the troublemaker.

He adjusted all the mirrors, earning Edward's approval. One look around, the parking lot was empty except for several traffic cones Edward placed to teach him how to parallel park and reverse.

Jared put on his sunglasses, pulling down the visor to check himself out in the mirror. His hair had darkened over the years, his freckles fading away to nothing. Thank you, God.

Edward cocked an eyebrow and placed a call to his wife. "Remind me again why I have to teach him how to drive?"

Isabella sighed. "Do I have to remind you of the incident shortly after getting his permit?"

Jared's hands lifted off the steering wheel in the universal sign of "what did I do?"

Edward shook his head. "He almost hit a telephone pole in the middle of nowhere, when he stepped on the gas too hard."

"Exactly. I warned him, but he didn't listen. In one ear and out the other."

"It bounced around in my head for a while." Jared shrugged, smiling at the memory of his mom trying her best to remain calm. She had to get out of the car and flail for several minutes until she was able to give it another go. It lasted five minutes before she said Jared's father and Edward had to teach him.

"Sure, it did," Isabella muttered. "I have to go; my class starts in a few minutes. Love you guys, and please be careful. I want my husband back in one piece, Jared." His mother went back to college and would soon earn a master's degree in Accounting.

"What am I chopped liver?"

"Stop stalling and learn to park!" His mother hung up.

"How did she know I was stalling?"

Edward grinned. "You tend to do the same thing every time we ask you to do your chores."

Jared grumbled as he started the car, doing one last check in his mirror to pinpoint where all the cones were around him. "How are we doing this?"

"Let's start with the parking spot there." Edward pointed to it, four cones in each corner. "Right between the white lines."

Jared slipped into the parking spot easily, Edward telling him to reverse and head four parking spots over, but to the left. "I heard you and Mom talking about getting me a car."

"Pay attention," Edward barked when Jared clipped a cone.

I barely hit it.

"You may have barely hit it, Jay, but imagine that being your little brother Reece."

Jared winced. "You have a point, sorry. I get distracted." Once he parked perfectly between the lines, he put the car in Park again. "So, about the discussion."

Edward shook his head. This kid was eager to grow up, too eager. It felt like it had only been last week when they were meeting at the airport. Jared dressed in a suit to make a good impression on his mother's new boyfriend.

"If you pass and retain your current GPA for six months, you can have the SUV." It was only five years old and in excellent condition.

"Hell yes!" Jared fist pumped and asked for more instructions. When he noticed that Edward had gone silent, he turned to find Edward watching him with watery eyes. "What is it?"

"You're growing up so fast."

Jared swallowed the lump in his throat.

"In two years, you'll be graduating and heading to college."

It was a well-known fact Jared intended to head to California for college. He wanted warmer winters and sunny weather. Bikinis and short shorts, sandy beaches, and golden skin. He couldn't wait.

"I'll come home often." As if he could stay away. Destiny had him wrapped around her finger. Reece, his baby brother, reminded Jared of himself so much. A part of him was afraid not being around would mean that Reece would forget him. Then there was his other younger brother, Michael, who was going through a health crisis at five years old. "Besides, Mom would kill me if I didn't."

Jared tried not to think about how much he'd miss his mother.

"The holidays wouldn't be the same without you, Son." Edward ruffled his hair, making Jared curse, but he stuffed it down when Edward pressed a kiss to his forehead. It had been a while since they were that affectionate.

Teenager, remember?

Jared slipped out of Edward's grip and smirked. He adjusted his sunglasses again. "Reigning champion, three years running. I've got to ensure my title."

Edward shook his head and chuckled. It always came back to Wrap My Balls in that family.

The End

AN: And that's all folks! I'd like to thank Midnight Cougar, your encouragement (enabling) always puts me back on track. Thanks for helping this story shine a little brighter. I'd like to thank all the readers, aka fic-pimps, that recommended this fic through their social media accounts and blogs. To the readers that make me banners that make me smile, so greatly appreciated. I'd like to thank the PAY IT FORWARD Fanfic Facebook Group for the prompt that started it all, thank you!

Finally to the readers, this was one of the stories that for some reason got a lot more hate than usual, but you all kept on reading and reviewing. I know I don't always respond to reviews, but I read each and every one. Thank you so much!