I'm so inexpressibly sorry for not updating sooner. This last chapter is my favorite, but unfortunately the version of the chapter I had worked so long and hard on before was deleted on my computer by a virus, and I had it just the way I wanted. To say devastated would not do the feeling justice. So, I had to rewrite from scratch, and uh it is a little different from my original. Also, this story has been more than just a 'little hard' to say goodbye to and let go. It deserved a proper ending. I love this story so much and it consumed so much of my time, it's like saying goodbye to a piece of myself, who knows maybe a sequel or follow up is in order. But for now the story is happy, unless I find it needs more editing.
Now I can't leave this story alone before once again, thanking all of you beyond supportive readers and reviewers of this story. If it has come this far it is because of you. You've stuck with me, with the story. I've appreciated the support more than you know. And any of you as I've said before, are always more than welcome to talk to me, I don't forget my friends. I never will.
"She's good to talk to, she really listens... I can only hope she'll understand...
She'll just have to understand."
"You 'only hope she'll understand' what Ray?" Lily hears his movements as he rises off the couch. The blanket drops
from around his shoulders; she hears 'that' too as it falls to the ground, while he takes steps in her direction.
He's behind her now, she doesn't know what to make of 'this'…
And she can't seem to will her heart to slow…
She feels his hands on the top of her arms, as they gently force her to
turn around and face him.
"Well, I hope Grace will understand that... I belong to you."
Lily stammered gasping, "What'd you say? You…. What?"
Ray didn't back down as he explained again, "Lily you heard me… you know what I said. But I'll say it again if you need me to. I belong to you."
"That's what I thought you said." Lily replied softly.
She paused, searching his eyes, taking her time before asking,
"Do you really mean it Ray?"
Ray smiled big, "Really, really. This is as real as it gets. I belong to you, if you'll have me…"
"Ray…" Lily hesitated as she slowly placed a hand on his chest over his heart.
In response, Ray hugged her to him, as if to stop her doubt and convince her. He was real, here in this moment, this was all really happening. His feelings were real.
Lily softly asks, murmuring into his chest, "Am I dreaming Ray?"
Ray released her then cupped her chin to make her look at him, "Lily pinch yourself if you have to, I'm just happy it's said.
I couldn't live the rest of my life without you knowing."
Lily felt his pull, they were close again, and she felt herself moving towards his lips…
Lily shook her head as she said, "No we can't, what about Grace?"
"Lily, it's not going to work between her and me. I hope we can be friends,
maybe we all can… but she's not my soul mate. She's just not you."
"Oh Ray…" Lily said his name softly and tenderly.
Ray's eyes twinkled as he said, "She doesn't even say my name like you do."
He questioned, "Do you really think I belonged with anyone else? Tell me the truth. Or did you always know it was meant to be like this."
Lily felt soft tears falling down as she replied, "I hoped Ray."
"So did I, Lil. I hoped beyond hope."
Ray wipes her tears away, before taking both of her hands in his,
Ray states, "I really hope those were happy tears Lily."
Lily answers, "Oh those, they were beyond amazed tears, and yes they were happy too."
Ray smiles at her, "Good, I'm glad. Believe me when I say I belong to no one else but you."
"Tell me something Ray, when was it exactly that you realized that you belonged to me?"
Lily questions suspiciously.
"Humm," Ray responds, "We could just say a little black and orange birdie reminded me of what I already knew."
Lily smirks looking at her guitar, her Stanley and mouths a not quite so silent, "traitor" in its direction.
Ray explains further, "Remember when I said I liked your song, I never mentioned which version, so that explains the soaked through shirt,
I was outside listening. And I'm glad I did, because it gave me the courage I needed to come in here; to keep believing that it wasn't all over."
Lily smiles, "Then, I'm glad you were listening too, since that version of the song was the one really meant for you."
"I know it was." Ray says in affirmation.
"Lil, can I ask you something now?"
"What kind of name is Stanley for a guitar anyway?"
Lily giggles and says in reply, "Give the name a chance, it kind of grows on you after a while."
Ray shakes his head, "Whatever you say," he continues with a smile, "Because I love you Lilyan Katelyn Randall."
"I love you too, Raymond Stanley Brennan." Lily replies with a big knowing grin.
Ray leans into kiss her, but stops short as he starts to put the pieces together, "Wait, you named your guitar after me?"
Lily laughs, "Took you long enough. Of course I did silly. Who else would I name it after?"
Ray smirks, "And to think I was jealous of that thing for meaning so much to you."
"Ray, there's no need, I trust you both, I share my deepest feelings and thoughts with you both, you two inspire me to be better
and to not be afraid of living my life, and expressing my dreams." Lily assures him.
Ray states, "I'm so in love with you right now."
Lily replies, "You couldn't possibly be any more in love with me than I am with you.
I mean, come on, after all I said it in front of a whole large group of people."
"Yeah, just don't forget who said it and did so to the public first, you're just a copy cat." Ray teasingly states before finally catching her lips with his.
Their kiss answered any lingering questions between them. They knew the kiss was an homage to their past and promise of their future together.
Everything was right; this is where they were always meant to be.
They had always belonged to each other and they always would.