A/N: Here it is! The longingly awaited final chapter of 'A Walk To Remember'! Yes, people, this is the last chappie (finally!). It took me a long time to type it because I really had no idea how to proceed, whether I should let Jade live or otherwise. But in the end, I finally came to a decision and you'll just have to read to find out!
Very special thanks to my reviewers who keeps pestering me to keep on writing this story. I thank you guys for the pressure you have applied on me or less this story would not have ended. Arigato!
Hugs & Kisses to…RoseOfSharon, Merffles, HeartlessDevil, Rhuinnes, Ms. Hiwatari, silent-lucidity, Moonlight Kitten, Myst Taylor, Phoenix from the Flames-2, brezzybrez, PureBlackRaven, star saphire, Crimsion-Cheetah, Blackdranzergurl, kay1fire, chibi Setsuna-chan, Lone Wolf a.k.a Loner, Black Cello, Silver89Wolf, lil' angelgrl, Kitara, glam-kitten, observant- not mean, Dradow19 and bluglow.
I can't thank you guys enough! Now on with the story!
Chapter 19 – Epilogue
Five years later…
Once a red Porsche now a blue Mercedes pulled to a lazy stop in front of the Summers' house. The engine was turned off and the driver's door opened, letting out a slate-haired young man in his early twenties dressed in a simple dark blazer and white collared shirt beneath. He paused for a moment to adjust his cuffs and reached up to remove his sunglasses from his face. A thin sliver ring on his fourth finger and the silver cross around his neck shone in the afternoon sunlight.
A soft smile lifted the corner of his lip when he spotted the slight flutter of the window curtains of one of the room above. He had a feeling he knew who it was that had been watching him.
Slipping the dark shades into the pocket of his blazer, he made his way up the familiar path that led to the front door and rang the bell. After a few seconds, Ivy Summers answered the door. Despite the years that has passed since he first met her, she has only aged very little. Over the years, she has taken to tie her hair up in a careless upswept style and as before, her smile was positively radiant. A trait her daughter inherited from her.
"Hello, Kai!" she greeted. "It's so good to see you. Come in."
"How are you, Ivy?" Kai asked in greeting, stepping into the warm interior of the cozy home. He leaned down a little to allow her to give him a quick peck on the cheek.
"I'm fine. Thank you for asking."
"And Phil? How is he?"
"Quite well if you must know."
Not quite the middle aged man he once was five years ago, Phillip walked slowly into the living room from the kitchen and help out a hand to Kai. "I trust you're well, my boy."
Kai accepted the hand and shook it firmly. "I'm. Thank you."
"Have a seat." Ivy instructed the men, clapping her hands once as though she was about to do a magic trick. "I'll make tea."
"Two lumps of sugar for me, Ivy." Phillip called after her as she disappeared into the kitchen.
"In your dreams, honey. The doctor said no sugar for two weeks." she sang back in reply.
Phil rolled his eyes and grumbled under his breath. "Darn…I'm telling you, sometimes women can be real tormentors. It should be a crime to deprive a man from his need for sweet things." shaking his head now, he turned to his son-in-law. "It's one thing to be deprived from sex in bed. It's another thing to keep a man from having his sugar."
Kai chuckled in amusement. Every time he came back to visit, it was always the same between the two. His gaze wandered the room and settled on a framed picture on the mantel above the fireplace. With her cradled in his arms, cheeks pressed against each other as they smiled for the camera, their wedding day was the happiest day of their lives. That day was still a fresh memory in his head.
"So, Kai, what's new?" Phil asked, leaning back in his seat. "How has your company been doing?"
"Quite well, I would say. Well, we recently just had a charity drive for the children's hospital. We managed to raise about a million dollars."
"It was actually Tala who pulled it altogether."
"I see. But was it not your company that sponsored the whole thing?"
"Yes but –."
"Then you deserve as much credit as he does. You both did a fine job. I read about it in the newspapers." ruffling a week-old newspaper article, Phillip handed it to Kai to see. It was written by none other than Hilary.
Sighing, Kai knew how stubborn the man could be. "Thank you, Phil for the compliment." he said.
"And your grandfather, how is he?"
Kai inclined his head thoughtfully. "He's well. Age holds no meaning to him."
"I envy him." Phil remarked. "That's how one should live life!"
"Honestly, Phil." Ivy chastised, returning with a tray of tea and cups. "Stop scaring the poor boy. I'm sure he's bored to death just listening to you."
Rolling his sleeves up to his elbows, Kai moved to help her and took the teapot from her to pour out the tea. "Not at all, Ivy." he said to the defense of his father-in-law. "Your husband certainly does have an interesting point of view."
"Kai, I – we – can't thank you enough for all that you have done for the last few years." Ivy began sincerely, accepting gratefully the cup he offered. "You have done so much for us and for Jade. Thank you."
"I'm sorry she never got her miracle." he said quietly, staring at the floor.
"But she did, Kai." Ivy touched his arm gently, her eyes harboring a motherly love for the young man sitting before her. This was the man her daughter saw something, hope, in him and never gave up on him. This was the man her daughter fell in love with. "It was you. You were her miracle."
Surprised and confused for a brief second, Kai looked at her and exhaled slowly. Now that he looked back on it all… she had changed him, made him a better person. She had…saved his soul. "She saved me."
"Yes. And together, you've created for her something as well. Something just as important as you are important to her." Ivy said.
Kai nodded in agreement just as he heard a set of thundering footsteps racing down the stairs. He was already on his feet when a very young girl burst into the living room.
"PAPA!" she cried out in joy and rushed over to hug him.
She was the something Ivy mentioned. She was the true testimonial that miracles do happen. Small and petite, she would have been a splitting image of her mother if not for the dark mahogany red that colored her eyes. Her dark raven shoulder-length hair was astray as she literally threw herself into Kai's arms. A wide grin lifted her chubby cheeks as she reached out with toddler's hands for her father.
With a warmth he would never portray with anyone else except the woman he loved and cherished and the little girl now in his arms, Kai embraced her and kissed her forehead.
"Papa, come see what I drew." she said, tugging on his hand. Even at four, she has proven herself exceptionally talented in many things. "See? See?"
"Now, Faith, your father must be very tired from work." a light voice scolded gently.
Kai looked up from his daughter to the slender form that stepped into the living room then. Without much thought, a genuine smile laced with love and softness lifted his lips. Just the sight of her alone could bring a smile to his face. If he had been a miracle to Jade, then to see her standing there was a miracle to him and he could not thank God enough for prolonging her life for so long.
The days that followed their wedding had not been easy yet those days had also been the best days of his life and hers as well. Despite of the heavy knowledge that burdened their shoulders, he had taken her to so many places on their honeymoon, the Niagara Falls being one of them. He had taken her to Russia where she played with snow for the first time and ate ice-cream in the middle of winter. The pictures that lined the shelves and walls of the Hiwatari mansion served as reminders of those days.
When they returned, the biggest surprise came for everyone when Jade announced that she was with child. Nine months later in the middle of July, a baby girl was born to them and they had named her Faith. To represent their own faith in God's miracles. After spending two months in recuperation, Jade then had under gone chemoprophylaxis treatment paid by the expense of Voltaire.
Faith was taken cared by Ivy and Phil and Ivy was thrilled to have a child to pamper and to spoil again. During their visits to the hospital, they often brought the child along to see her mother.
The doctors that were brought in to treat Jade were among the few world renowned experts in the field. After several months of exhausting treatments and in-and-out sessions at the hospital, the doctors had finally deemed her healthy. The infection was gone –at least for the moment and they advised her not to over tire herself and to get a check up once a week. And for the first time Jade dared to think she might be cured for good.
By then Kai had graduated from high school before taking a year off to take care of his daughter and Jade. When it seemed as she was recovering well, he had finally succumbed to her wishes for him to continue his studies. He had enrolled in the local college for degree course in business just so he could be with her without having to leave to further his education in Harvard or Yale's despite her insistence. After pulling some strings here and there, Jade started college two years after him. She was currently in her final year in her degree course of mass communications.
The very same smile that had drawn his attention to her and intrigued him was on her face right now as she tilted her head at him. "What's the matter, Kai? You have that unusual look on your face. Why, you're smiling." she jested lightly.
Kai patted his daughter on the head as he rose to greet the only other woman in his life that mattered. "Very funny." he murmured, taking her hand and leaning in to kiss her softly.
"Well, you didn't marry me for my sense of humor." she reminded him coyly as she returned the favor.
Playful as always. "True." he said, pulling back.
The sad-little girl pout that curled her lips at the comment made him want to laugh. Kai had to struggle with his composure to avoid chuckling openly at her. To end what would have possibly turn into a heated argument over something pointless, he changed the subject, taking on a warmer tone as he did. "How are you feeling today?"
An exasperated sigh escaped her lips as she rolled her eyes. Never once has he failed to ask her that question as though she was a child who always fell sick with the slightest flu. "I'm fine. Thanks for asking. In fact, I'm well enough to accept a tennis invitation from Emily. You remember Emily, right? She was the tennis star back in our school days."
Inwardly Kai cringed at the memory of the tennis star/science maniac who had taken an interest to studying his antisocial behavior back in their teen years. "How could I forget." he mumbled.
"It's good that you remember her because I also invited her for dinner tomorrow night at the mansion."
His eyes grew uncharacteristically wide. "You what?"
Looking at him with a smug look, she deliberately drew out her sentence. "I. Invited. Her. For. Dinner. At. The. Mansion."
Oh, crap. "Great. Now she knows where I live." he complained sarcastically.
"Get a grip on yourself, Kai." Jade chastised. "If you can't handle one guest, how on earth are you going to handle the get-together we are having this weekend?"
"You do know that Tyson, Hilary and the gang is having a whole day outing this weekend. Hilary called me this afternoon to inform me and I called the office but you weren't around so I spoke to Tala instead." she told him patiently. "I thought he would have told you."
"I guess it must have slipped his mind." Kai muttered through clenched teeth. That red-haired guy is so screw the next time I see him.
Jade tilted her head as she peered into his eyes curiously. She must have guessed what happened that caused their miscommunication. She was after all majoring in communication. Smirking slightly, she said, "Anyway you'll be there, right?"
"What about Faith?" with luck, she might not have gotten a babysitter yet and his in-laws might be busy.
Amused at his useless antics to get out of a social get-together, Jade turned her attention to her mother. "Mom, could you take care of Faith this weekend?"
"Sure, dear. I would love to."
"As you can see, honey, Faith is in good hands and you're now officially booked for this weekend." Jade informed her husband cheerily before flaunting into the living room to pick up her daughter.
Sighing in defeat, Kai mentally prepared himself to listen to Tyson's stupid jokes about how the Ice Prince has been melted and whipped –no puns intended- and to Tala and Tanya's ongoing argument about who should move into whose apartment. Boy, he could not wait for this weekend. Note the sarcasm.
"Come on, Faith. Mummy just made daddy succumb to her wishes again. To celebrate, mommy is gonna buy you ice-cream on the way home."
Jade was saying to their child.
Kai turned to watch them and without thinking, he was leaning against the door frame, watching fondly as Jade knelt on the floor in front of Faith to praise her drawing. Faith was beaming proudly. She really did remind him of Jade when she was younger when she was still innocent and naïve. Since then, she had grown to blossom into an intellectual female and with fatherly instinct, he knew Faith will grow up to be just like her mother and hopefully a little more manageable.
"Grandpa, grandma!" Faith squealed, jumping up to show them her picture. "Do you like it?"
"Why, the kid's a Leonardo Da Vince in the making." Phillip exclaimed.
Faith put on a quizzical face at the unfamiliar name. "What's that? Is that an ice cream name?"
Jade sighed and glanced up at Kai for help. He shrugged as if to say 'you're the one who promised her ice-cream' and eventually straightened himself to join the perfect scene in the living room.
Things have changed so much for the better. He had gone from angst antisocial teenaged boy to devoted husband and loving father. He had a beautiful, sweet and wonderful wife and an adorable and mischievous daughter; a family. Jade's parents were kind, loving and understanding to him and for the first time in many years, he and Voltaire were on good terms with each other.
Life could never be more perfect.
Of course, he still had to think of a way to survive that cursed get-together this weekend somehow…
A/N: A word of advice would be to not try figuring out the timeline of the last five year. I got a headache just thinking it out. So there! The last chappie for this story! And although I'm a little sad to see it end, I'm also glad to finish at least one story. So for the last time…R&R!