A/N: I want to thank everyone who has read and/or reviewed this story. It's always been sort of a black sheep among my stories, what with the randomness and the characters, but I've always had a soft spot for it. I'm sad to end it, but it's time to start a new one, which I hope you will equally love. Anyways, thanks again.
I hope you enjoy, and please review for one last time. :)
1Stephanie found him in their secret hiding place. Ok, so it wasn't so much a secret hiding place as it was just a place they liked to visit. She sat down on the secluded bench next to him. He wasn't even in his tuxedo, instead in a pair of black jogging pants and a white tank top. She carefully sat down, loosening up her tie as she sat there.
"I don't know if you know this, maybe it slipped your mind or maybe you hadn't checked your calendar, but there's this wedding you were supposed to attend and you completely missed it."
"I know," he mumbled.
"Well at least you know, because if you hadn't, I would've thought you had amnesia and I would've had to play the Manhattan Melodies song on some glasses and then punch you in the head."
He didn't laugh, "No amnesia."
"Okay, I know something's wrong, I KNOW, because one, you're not answering me with anything remotely funny, and two, you didn't show up for your own wedding. Imagine my surprise when I'm the one that had to calm everyone down. I had to make a run for it, they all thought I had something to do with it, like I helped you make a quick escape down a laundry chute or something."
"I'm sorry, I didn't want you to get into trouble."
"I'm not, I'll live, but Snooks, there's a woman waiting at the altar for you."
"I can't marry her," Chris said, his gaze trained on the ground. "I know that's a terrible thing to do, but after you left last night, I just laid in bed and I thought about my life and myself and Trish and everything."
"And came to the conclusion that you couldn't get married?"
"Yeah," he answered, "I like my life how it is right now Stephers, and I don't want it to change."
"Snooks, did you ever think that maybe it would only get better and not worse? You may like your life now, but maybe it'll be even better when you marry Trish."
"I kissed you."
Stephanie looked down. She didn't want to think about that kiss again. It had been a complete mistake, and they both knew that. It had been a good kiss, if not a little bit awkward. But her and Chris, they could never be more than friends, it would be so weird that it would end badly. Or at least end weird.
"Yes, you did."
"I kissed you and I didn't regret it."
"Sure you did, I didn't have any chapstick on at the time."
"You know what I mean."
"You're not in love with me Snooks," Stephanie told him gently.
"I know, and you're not in love with me," Chris answered.
"Exactly, so the kiss was just nerves."
"But it wasn't Stephers, it was just me trying to find a way out."
"A way out from the wedding?"
"Yeah, I was just trying to find a reason, and I guess I thought that, hey, if I kiss my best friend, then you know, they'll be that hanging between me and Trish and I could use that as an excuse as to why I don't want to marry her."
Stephanie nodded, "You're lucky I'm not a guy then. Because I'd hate to see you have to explain why you were kissing a guy."
"I don't know what to do."
"Well, I think that you're going to have to go talk to Trish, and tell her what happened. Because quite frankly Snooks, she's heartbroken."
Out of all of this, he knew that Trish was going to suffer the most, because she had the most to lose. He loved her, that wasn't a problem, but he didn't love her in such a way that he thought he could spend the rest of his life with her. Why was it the only woman he could imagine spending the rest of his life with was Stephanie?
"I'll talk to her, and explain...Stephers, I don't think there's anyone out there for me."
"Sure there is, I subscribe to this theory that there is one perfect person out there for everyone. Now, I know what you're saying, I'm just being swindled by buying the subscription when I can just go pick it up at my local bookstore, but it came with this nifty-looking hat, and a football phone. The hat I could've resisted, but a football phone, no way."
Chris smiled, "A perfect person, man, you did get swindled."
"Ok, so you think you're going to die alone."
"I might...actually more like might as well."
"Who's your perfect person Snooks?"
"You are. You are my perfect person. I see girls everyday and all I can think about is you, whether you'll be spending the night, what we'll be eating, it's always you Stephers."
"We have a really unhealthy relationship is all," Stephanie laughed, "Because you just said you weren't in love with me."
"What if I am in love with you?"
"If you have to ask, then I don't really think you're all that in love with me. Here's what I know about the two of us. We're screwballs, we take nobody and nothing seriously, we make far too many pop culture references, we are hyper at almost all hours of the day, and we can't live without each other. Now all of this translates into a life-long friendship...and you know why? Because if you're ending up alone, you are wrong. If you're alone, you're going to have me right beside you."
"You'll find a guy."
"Nope, uh uh, I will rebuff any advances and simply state in my calmest voice that it doesn't matter, my best friend is not dying alone with five hundred cats. Did you not see that CSI where the cats ate the woman who died in her house? I want you looking immaculate at your funeral, so I won't let you die alone."
"You don't have to say that."
"I don't? Well now you tell me," she said, nudging him. "Snooks, I love you."
"I know you love me, and I love you too. God, what would I do without you?"
"You wouldn't open your mouth as much. I can guarantee you that."
He took her hand in his and she put her other hand on top of his, sandwiching his hand in between her hands. She knew that he needed someone right now, and that he really was nervous about everything. It had taken a lot for him to not show up at his wedding today. Sure, some people could say that it was the coward's way out, but Stephanie didn't see it that way. She saw it as a bold move. Why should he go if he didn't want to be there?
"I wore a suit for you," she whispered as she leaned her head against his shoulder. "I went and bought it because the other dress, well, I kissed you in that and it would've seemed weird. But I went to all the trouble to get this tailored and I got poked with pins and measured, I at least think that you should buy me dinner for this."
"I'll buy dinner. Do you want to go out?"
"Yeah, might as well. I would like to get out of this suit though. I want to wear that kick-ass outfit I bought the other day."
"I still need to go talk to Trish."
"I know, but let's not think about that right now. I'm sure that someone is consoling her right now, and...holy shit Snooks, you have GOT to get dibs on the wedding cake, you cannot let that go to waste!"
Chris laughed for the first time that day, "I'll get the cake, we'll pig out."
"Great, that's the most important thing."
"We're really self-absorbed, maybe that's our problem?" Chris said idly.
"Maybe, but I don't think that's the case, because I care about you."
"Yeah, you're right. Because I care about you too. But I think that we've kind of formed our own cocoon with each other, and that's why we never let anyone else in."
"Then we'll both be beautiful butterflies together...don't worry about Trish, she'll get over it. People often do get over things, you know. Besides, nobody knows about this kiss that we shared, and nobody has to know. If you weren't ready to get married, you weren't ready to get married."
"Will I ever be ready?"
"I think the day you mature is the day that you'll be ready to get married."
Chris stomped a few steps, "Great, now I'll never be married!"
"You will, I guarantee it. And guarantees are important. I'm making a lifetime guarantee, and those are the best kind. If I should ever get lost, stolen, or dull, you can just send me back to the company you got me from, and they'll send you a new me at NO extra charge," she answered.
"What about upgrades? Do I get those free?"
She shook her head, "No, those you have to pay for. That would just be taking money from the company. But the upgrades will come at a lower price since we so value your business."
Chris wrapped his arm around Stephanie's shoulders, pulling her into his body. She wrapped her arms around his waist, settling herself at his side, where she knew she'd always be. They knew, for certain, that it was them for the long haul. They couldn't co-exist without each other. They were each other's rocks, and you don't separate rocks (if you're in a rock garden that needs to be perfect).
"Thank you for coming into my life Stephers."
"Thank you for not suing me after I spilled hot liquid on you. I was half expecting you to get Jackie Chiles on the case, but then you'd get a balm and it would cure you, so all you would end up with is a lifetime supply of coffee."
"My life would be very boring without you."
"You could always sky-dive naked to get that thrill, of course, it would be more fun if I were there on the ground, and I could look up and yell, 'Full Moon!' and then I'd laugh, because essentially your ass would be hanging out there, and that would be pretty funny."
"I don't think I'll take up naked sky-diving. I do need a vacation though."
"Well, you do have time off."
"My parents are going to be so--"
"Mom and Dad want what's best for you, and trust me on this one, they don't think its Trish. I talked to them about it the other night. Dad kept harping about how he thought it would be me up there with you, but I set him straight, I said that I WOULD be there with you, standing to your right, you know, as your best woman, and Dad was like, 'No, as the bride,' and I told him no way would I be caught dead in the kind of dress that Trish got, and Dad put me in a headlock and said that I would look beautiful in whatever I wore, but you know he was just saying that. Mom confessed that after she met Trish, she wondered why you were saddling yourself with someone so prissy. I think that was her way of saying she wanted me to be the bride, but since there was no headlock, I can't be too sure on her opinion."
"They said that?"
"Yeah, but they thought you were happy, and you should've seen the looks they gave me when I said I was going to go find you. It was like these smiles, like they thought I was going to go find you and then let you have sex with me against a wall or something, definitely creepy."
"I don't think Mom and Dad want to think about us having sex."
"They do if they want grandkids."
"Us with kids? We're kids."
"I'm not a kid," she said, shaking her head. "I'm a mature adult who has adult conversations and does not own a trampoline."
"Except you do and I bought you the trampoline."
"On second thought, everyone would think we were the coolest parents ever!"
"All the more reason not to have sex against a wall."
"It can be on a chair…or even on the trampoline."
"Kinky…but I guess if my parents are ok with me skipping out on my wedding, I'll be ok."
"Everything will be okay, you aren't the first person to skip out on their wedding and you won't be the last. You do however realize that they will make a cheesy romantic comedy out of this situation right? And I'm thinking that…hmm…um…Brad Pitt is going to play you."
"You think that highly of me?"
"I think you're the Mount Everest of people," she said.
They walked down the walkway to the exit of the park. Together, like always, like they knew it was always going to be. With a laugh, Chris pulled her into a headlock, and she tried to shake free. The day was like any other day. Chris and Stephanie, Stephanie and Chris, together for the long haul.