Two years later...

"...Happy birthday, dear Jakeeeeey! Happy birthday to youuuu!" I laughed as I belted out my last out of tune note, amidst the applause and whistles, as Jake blew out all six candles on his gigantic double chocolate cake.

"Mommy! Can I open my presents now??" he asked enthusiastically, with his eyes wide open. Everyone around the picnic table laughed.

"In a few minutes, hun," my mom replied, smiling. Mom. I called her that now, with more ease than ever before. I had two sets of parents now -- one no more important in my life than the other.

Dad walked up behind me and kissed my cheek. "Nice of you to finally show up," he teased. My flight had been delayed two hours and had just got there in time for the cake ceremony.

"You know I'd never miss such a fine shindig as this," I winked, turning to give him a tight hug. "That thing is biologically attached to you, isn't it?" I then smirked, pointing to the camera hanging around his neck.

"Only in his wildest dreams, sweetie," my mom spoke up, laughing as she walked towards us, with Pete at her side. I gave him a small kiss as he handed me a glass of punch and started to play with the engagement ring on my finger, still not quite used to it yet.

"I guess a 'congratulations' is at hand?" my dad asked, looking at both of us proudly. I smiled as Pete shook my dad's hand and hugged my mom.

Dad ushered us to stand a few steps away, as he proceeded to take a picture of both me and Pete. He then handed the camera over to Pete with the slightest bit of hesitation, muttering directions, and then walked over to pose with me and my mom. With their arms around me, they leaned their heads closer to mine.


My smile had never been brighter.

Over the years, after millions of miles travelled, hundreds of long distance phone calls and dozens of written letters, we strengthened that bond that we knew would last forever and we hoped would never separate us again.

The emptiness I once felt disappeared. I was accepted. I was loved.

...And that was more than I could've ever hoped for.

A/N: sniff.. i can't believe it's actually over! i really hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as i enjoyed writing it. i'm looking forward to the new season of Degrassi – heck, maybe i'll get some more story ideas from there, so keep an eye out for further works. thanks again for all your encouraging words and positive comments... this honestly couldn't have been done without all your support. 'til next time! =)