Sorry about the wait! I just got so caught up in school and socializing with the peeps and whatnot. The good news is, you won't have to wait any longer--because this is the end! If only J.K. Rowling would've cashed in on the buzz and "updated" this very same night. If I were her, I'd get a better Cabinet, because this is one hell of an opportunity.

Aw, here it goes...

Besides the elements of surprise and independence, eloping with Michael included a kind of spontaneity that allowed me neither the time nor the opportunity to get a hold of a proper wedding gown.

Most people wear their mother's gowns. I guess it's a pretty safe bet that you'll have the right figure to fill out the dress. But the "like mother like daughter" theory goes awry when it comes to my circumstances. According to my mother, she was decked out in flip-flops and a frayed bikini when she and Mr. G tied the knot. Even if I did want to go the "tropical hobo" route, my mom couldn't exactly Fed-Ex her swimsuit over before my nuptials.

Feeling rather silly, I snuggled close to Michael under the covers whining, "What'll I wear?"


I gave him a look.

"Right. Tomorrow. Um, I say you stick with the tried and true tradition of assless chaps and a leather whip."

Giggling, I clamped a hand over his mouth. "You could even go put that on right now," he said through a crack in my fingers.

"You're not allowed to see me in my outfit before the ceremony!"

I felt something wet and slimy slither across my palm.

"EWWW!" I squealed, pulling my hand away and waving it rapidly. "Did you just lick my palm?"

Michael just laughed. "It's not like my tongue hasn't touched you before."

"You're lucky Olivia's asleep."

"Why?" he teased, his fingers inching up the back of my tank top. "Don't want her to see you blushing?"

"No," I said primly, throwing the sheets off of me. "I just don't think seven-year-olds are too stoked to see their dad get blue balls."

"Mi-a!" said Michael as I went into the bathroom. Who's the one whining now?

Before I shut the door, I stuck my head out to see him giving me the ole puppy dog eyes. "Tomorrow night," I promised.

But the problem is…what will Michael be eagerly taking off of me?

- - -

Daybreak found me sitting on the edge of the tub again, drumming my fingers and praying for a miracle. Don't things ever just…fall out of the sky? Besides safes and anvils.

What'll I do if I don't find something to wear? I mean, isn't that sort of essential to the wedding? Unless Michael plans to surprise me with an excursion to some sort of nudist trailer park.

But seriously, I can't marry Michael without the proper clothing! What a way to kick off our marriage. No! Things have to go perfectly. Maybe it would've just been better to stay back in Genovia and beg for Grandmere's approval. At least she would've handled all the preparations for us.

It's too late now, though. Unless I just went back out there and asked Michael to maybe wait for a few days. I'm sure he'd completely adore that suggestion.

A sharp rap came at the door. "Mia?" mumbled Michael. "Mia, I need the bathroom. Let me in."

I unlocked the door and he stumbled inside. Eyes half-shut and his hair going in every possible direction, he positioned himself in front of the toilet before I'd even excused myself from the bathroom.

"I'll just be outside," I said quickly. He just grunted, and I slipped back out into the bedroom.

Maybe I could tell him now. That way I could get him to agree and then hold it to him later!

After a minute, Michael reappeared, adjusting his boxers and not looking a bit more awake. "Come on. Bed."

"Wait, Michael!" I pressed my hands up against his chest, restraining him from slipping back into dreamland.

Whereas I would be bitchy and grumpy at this point, Michael just rested his hands on my hips and grinned. "You're too cute. Let's go back to sleep and then I'll marry you, mmmkay?"

I couldn't but melt under that warm gaze. "But…but what about my dress?"

"I don't have a tux. No need for dress. Just relax, okay? Fuck tradition."

Which, if you think about it, we'd kind of been doing all along. Unless you take it in the literal sense—and I don't think "Tradition" is in the top five of my pet names for Michael.

Michael. The way he just stood there, patiently smiling at me. The way he could handle all my zaniness. They say God shuts a door and opens a window, right? I think maybe he screwed up on this one—allowed lightning to strike the same spot twice.

Whatever it is, I know the odds for this are insanely against my favor. I don't think even Michael could handle the insanity that would cause me to ruin this opportunity.

"Okay," I said with a shaky smile. "Okay, I can do that."

"While you're at it, how about we fu—"

I pulled him back over to the bed, eliciting a boyish grin from him. "Sleep," I said firmly, pushing him down on the mattress.

"Sexy," he chuckled, but he was out within the minute.

I only wish I could say the same.

- - -

America has always prided itself on being a free nation. Even though we borrowed democracy from the ancient Greeks, and we wouldn't even BE here if it weren't for Great Britain and the Vikings, we kind of took everything they gave us and tweaked it until we had our own cool little thing going on. Granted, my homeland is nowhere near perfect, but it does offer people the right to free speech, and if a soldier turns up on my stoop in New York, I'm totally permitted to be like, "No way, buddy." But even though everyone is allowed to have their own opinion and all of that, there are some things that just can't be argued, no matter what our forefathers think.

For instance—Brian Bell is a total sassmaster. And…and Howie Dorough is totally underrated! Oh, and Freaks and Geeks should have never EVER been cancelled.

I'll add another to that list—one that has been a long time coming.

Mia Thermopolis, by any name, is a complete idiot.

All the evidence is in! Sandra Day O'Connor laid down the law, and the verdict is:

I'm totally guilty of not trusting Michael Moscovitz to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Because if I didn't have Michael, I wouldn't be laying in the grass behind some low-rent motel, in the midst of his idea of a honeymoon.

If it weren't for Michael, I wouldn't be scared to death that this flimsy tent would be caving in any second under this torrential downpour.

If not for him, I wouldn't have an adorable little girl that I was totally envying, because she's warm and dry, playing video games inside with her "Uncle Rene."

For lack of Michael, I wouldn't have anyone to cling to and laugh about how this is the craziest thing he's ever talked me into.

"It's kinda cozy," he whispered, pulling me even closer.

"Michael, that was lightning. We're gonna die."

"What a way to go," he laughed, probably referring to the fact that our only covering was this pup tent and a single sleeping bag.

"I guess roasting marshmallows is out."

He cracked up at that and, helpless, I joined him. The rain had long since passed when we finally quieted down, Michael wiping a tear out of my eye. "No regrets?"

"Are you kidding?"

He met my eyes carefully, as though unsure of what I would say next.

"I've never been better," I continued, linking my arms around his neck.

The tip of his nose touched mine, our foreheads inclined toward each other. "I think," said Michael, so softly that I could hardly hear him. "that the best is yet to come."

So this is probably the last thing schwartzibrow will write for a while, if not ever. I'd have to get into touch with my better half to give you a real answer on that one.

Um, for anyone that reads "Candle in the Wind," it may seem like the light is out and the wax all gone, but schwartzibrow has not forgotten! Truth be told...schwartzibrow just remembered about that gem.

This summer...SOON...

Until then, review! Maybe I'll post an epilogue.