All the girls walked into the dorm to find Sophie already there with dresses scattered across several different beds. Despite how much Juliet complained about the method they had for "dress shopping" last year, she squealed and darted forward to start going through dresses. Daisy casually walked forward and started to slowly sort through the darker dresses that were placed on her bed. Shelby, however, stood back and leaned against the wall furthest from the action of deciding a dress.
Sophie obviously noticed. She saw the look of apprehension dancing across her student's face and sighed softly. "Come on, Shelby, at least look. I'm sure one of these dresses are perfect for you."
Shelby locked her eyes on Sophie as she spoke. Once again, Shelby had that strong feeling of deja-vu. Had Sophie spoken those words to her before? She didn't know. Still, the feeling made her stop all other thoughts and focus on Sophie. She didn't make any attempt to move either, staying propped on the wall behind her.
"Are you okay?" Sophie asked.
"Yeah," Shelby answered automatically though she wasn't entirely sure it was the truth.
"Are you going to come look at the dresses?"
Shelby didn't answer with words. She did however pull herself off the wall and made her way towards Juliet's bed, which had the most dresses on it. She thought momentarily about looking at the dresses on her own bed but decided against it when she realized that the majority of those dresses were either white or varying shades of pink. She knew instantly who should be looking at those dresses, and it definitely wasn't her.
Shelby met Juliet by her bed and started sifting through dresses next to her. The pair looked in silence, each one claiming half of the dresses to look over. There were a couple that caught Shelby's eyes, but nothing that screamed at her: pick me, I'm the dress for you! Juliet seemed to be eyeing a baby blue dress when they both absent mindedly reached for the same dress.
Their hands touched for just a moment, but it made Shelby gasp as her eyes closed almost without her consent. Shelby had a familiar feeling build up inside of her, like deja-vu, but this one was stronger than anything she had felt before. With her eyes closed, it was like someone had turned a movie on inside her head. She saw herself and Juliet fighting over a dress. She saw a sort of game of tug-of-war with dress acting as the rope. The dress in her vision was nothing special, but the girls were fighting over it as if it was a diamond ring and the one who got the dress, got the prize.
"Why do you care what you look like anyway? He's not even going to be there," Juliet had said. Shelby knew it was only the Juliet in her head and the one standing before her didn't actually speak. It wasn't just that she saw that Juliet's lips moving either. It was that the voice sounded distant. It was clear that it was Juliet's voice, but it was far away, as if lost somewhere.
Shelby saw herself drop the dress then, and Juliet fell to floor, still having been pulling with all of her strength. The second Juliet fell to the floor, Shelby's eyes opened and the short movie inside her head ended. Shelby pulled her hands instantly away from Juliet and the dress they had both went to grab.
Juliet seemed to be the only one to notice Shelby's gasp and her reaction afterward. To Shelby's great delight, she made no move to touch her, or draw any more attention to her. She simply watched her for a moment before asking, "Shelby, are you okay?"
"Yeah," she replied, shaking her head a little as if to clear it. "Ya know, there's a lot of dresses I think you'd like over on my bed."
"Why would I like them?"
"They're pink," Shelby answered with a false smile that Juliet didn't pick up on.
Shelby got what she wanted out of mentioning the pink dresses. Juliet's eyes lit up at the prospect and walked to Shelby's bed in search of a dress. Shelby had never been so happy to be out of touching distance from anyone. It wasn't that she had anything personal against Juliet at that point. It was just that the incident was too strange, and she didn't want to risk it happening again with anyone. She knew she probably should tell someone about what happened, but she kept her mouth shut. She didn't want dwell on it. She didn't even want to think about it really so she kept sorting through dresses, hoping to find the right one.
Everyone got ready in near silence. Shelby barely spoke the entire time she was moving through the dorm getting ready. She ended up finding the perfect dress for herself after all. It was a cerulean blue halter dress. It wasn't revealing at all(like Peter would have allowed that!) but it was slightly form fitting. The dress hugged her body until it reached her hips and then it flared out just enough that it had a wave to it. The top wrapped around her neck but the V cut was barely low enough to show anything. The shoes she wore matched the color of the dress perfectly as if they were meant for each other. They had a small heel and were held onto her feet with straps. Shelby's hair was in a half up/half down do, and Juliet had helped her make her normally straight hair have a natural looking wave, giving it more volume. The make-up they were provided with was barely anything so the girls did the best they could. Shelby kept her look very basic. She added a little foundation, some eye liner, mascara and a simple gloss for her lips. Shelby over all looked natural, but beautiful at the same time.
Juliet took a different approach to the MORP, as if she did everything because she wanted to be noticed. Shelby was right in telling Juliet to look at the dresses on her bed earlier because Juliet had found the perfect one for her there. She ended up choosing a pink dress after all. Thankfully, it wasn't a screaming pink, it was a soft pink. The dress was princess style. It had a tight bodice with spaghetti straps and it poofed out at the hips. Her shoes were white. She complained initially that they wouldn't match, but they ended up matching well and they didn't show any under her dress anyway. Her hair was left down but they had curled it. Her make-up was also a little bit more showy. She had put foundation, eye liner, mascara, pale pink eye shadow and pink lipstick on. Everything about Juliet screamed Prom Queen.
Daisy was very mellow about getting ready. She had found a scarlet red dress that made her pale skin stand out. Her dress wasn't tight by any means. It hugged her a tiny bit on her chest and midsection and then flowed where it reached her waist, but Daisy was very determined that nothing would show on her. It had thick straps too so not even too much of her shoulders were bare. She had black shoes that surprisingly had the highest heels out of all the girls. She put her hair all the way up in a styled bun, but with a couple pieces of hair down framing her face where they fell. Daisy had wanted to go all out with make-up but was told she had to keep it gentle. She didn't need any foundation, but she did put on eye liner, soft black eye shadow, mascara, and a dark red lipstick that matched the dress.
The girls were officially ready and everyone was giddy at the idea of the MORP, even Shelby to her surprise. Juliet couldn't wait to see Auggie, and how wonderful he would look in his tux. Daisy was eager to spend time with her two favorite boys: her boyfriend, David, and her best friend, Ezra who have surprisingly enough learned to tolerate each other where Daisy was concerned because she would accept nothing less. Shelby was ecstatic at the idea of seeing Scott in a tux. True, they had their rough patches this year, but beneath that, they fell in love with each other, and they were going to have one normal high school moment together.
The trio of girls walked into the lodge to see it decorated beautifully, but before they would even really look over the decorations, they were met by the boys, some of them making noises about how attractive the girls looked. Scott only had eyes for Shelby though, and he didn't make a scene, he merely smiled at her, and her heart melted at the sight.
The couples separated then. Juliet and Auggie met each other and walked instantly to the dance floor, Juliet obviously not able to contain her excitement anymore. Daisy walked away with one boy on either arm. Instead of walking to the dance floor though, they walked to the drinks and started talking amongst themselves. Scott walked up to Shelby and took one of her hands in his. He raised her hand to his mouth and laid a gentle kiss on her knuckles. The scene would have been corny if it wasn't so cute. Shelby had what seemed like a permanent smile plastered on her face.
"You look gorgeous," Scott said.
Shelby blushed just a little at the words. "You look pretty damn good yourself."
Scott chuckled and shook his head. "Do you want to dance?"
"Do I dance?" Shelby asked cautiously.
"You told everyone you didn't last year, but I got you too."
"How did you manage that?"
He grinned. "I didn't really give you a choice."
"What do you mean?" Shelby asked.
Instantly after the words left her mouth, Scott's grin grew. He still had one of her hands in his, and he used that to his advantage, pulling her to the dance floor. That was how he got her to dance the year before. He didn't ask her, he didn't say anything, he simple acted and pulled her to the dance floor. She followed, knowing fighting would be pointless. Scott led her to the middle of the dance floor, a little bit away from Juliet and Auggie, and pulled her close to him, putting his hands around her waist. It was still a fast song, and Shelby was at a loss for what to do. She glanced at Juliet and saw how she was casually moving to the beat, but she knew there was no way she could do that.
"I don't know about this, Scott," she said, barely loud enough for him to hear her over the music.
"Don't think about it, Shel," he replied with a reassuring smile. "Just move."
Scott started moving with the music, more or less forcing Shelby to go along with him since he still had his hands on her waist. Dancing seemed to come naturally to Scott. He swayed in time with the song, just as Juliet and Auggie were. Shelby was nervous, but she slowly started moving along with Scott. They were quickly joined by Daisy, David and Ezra, and that made Shelby feel a little more relaxed. By the time the next song came on, she was actually enjoying herself. She didn't move like Scott, but she moved with him none-the-less.
Everyone was having a good time dancing together. The group of Cliffhangers, with Sophie's help, even managed to convince Peter to come on the dance floor. The girls danced around Peter, and the boys danced around the girls. They only managed to keep Peter there for the duration of one fast song, but it was definitely something to see. Peter was obviously not a natural dancer, but he was enjoying himself, whether he would ever admit it or not.
Even though Peter did allow dates this year, he was tried to make the MORP very un-couple like therefore there were very few slow songs. After about 10 or so fast songs where everyone partook in the dance floor, a slow song finally came on and everyone paired up. Juliet and Auggie stayed together, Daisy took her first slow dance with David, Peter and Sophie came back on the floor together, and Scott pulled Shelby to him even closer.
Scott and Shelby changed how they were holding each other enough that they could be closer to each other in a way where Peter wouldn't mind. Shelby leaned her head on Scott's chest as "I Shall Believe" by Sheryl Crow started playing. Shelby was much more comfortable dancing to a slow song than she was to a fast one. The pair moved slowly with the music with ease.
"I sometimes can't believe this," Scott mumbled softly.
"Believe what?" Shelby asked.
"This. Us. How far we've come. I don't even mean just the accident and what happened to you either. We never had it easy, Shel. The odds were always against. Hell, we were always against us." Scott kissed the top of head and smiled. "But we did it. Thank God, we did it."
Just after Scott kissed her head, Shelby had that peculiar feeling again. Her eyes flooding closed without her consent, and she was pulled into what seemed like a movie playing inside her head. It was the same sensation she had earlier in the dorm with Juliet, but the movie playing this time was completely different. Juliet wasn't the one starring opposite Shelby in this movie, it was Scott.
Inside her head, Shelby was leaning against a doorframe that she recognized as the door frame between the kitchen and the lodge. She was covered in mud, and she was wet from sweat. Scott was standing opposite her in the same doorway, just as wet and dirty for the same reason. Shelby was grinning up at him seductively, but Scott clearly wasn't thinking about that.
"I don't go for used cars," he told her and walked away.
By right, if she was following what happened earlier in the dorm, Shelby's internal movie should have ended there. One flash and that was it. But it didn't. Instead of ending, the scenery shifted into something else. Again the pair were standing in a doorway, and again they were soaking wet, but it wasn't from sweat that time. Shelby saw what it was from. It was raining out, storming actually. Scott stood just a step behind Shelby with a helpless expression covering his face.
"Don't go, Shel," he begged. "I'm scarred too."
Shelby's look softened then. Both Shelby's, the movie one and the real one dancing with Scott, knew there was no way they could say "no" to that face, to that voice that pleaded for her to stay with him. Shelby did the only thing she could do then, she walked back in the building with Scott right behind her.
Again the scenery changed abruptly. It was no longer night time, they were no longer standing in doorways, they actually weren't even standing. The pair were sitting on the ground in the woods, the sun shining softly through the trees on them. Shelby was trying to get leaves out of her hair while Scott watched her intently.
"You're beautiful," he said softly which caused Shelby to instantly stop fiddling with her hair and look at him.
The movie changed again then. The pair were back inside, just outside of the lodge, not 20 feet from where they really were standing. Shelby looked upset as she looked everywhere but at Scott. He kept his eyes locked on her, looking rather irritated. They were clearly arguing about something, though the real Shelby couldn't figure out what.
Shelby finally met Scott's eyes and said, "Needing always kind of required someone to care. That wasn't big in my world."
His expression softened. "It is now," he said softly as he raised his hand and cupped the side of Shelby's face, causing her to lean into the gentle embrace.
Shelby didn't like what she was going through. She didn't quite understand what was going on. She didn't like being pulled from place to place like she was. She had no control over it either. She couldn't bring herself to open her eyes, and she couldn't shut her internal movie off. She liked seeing these old memories of her and Scott, but she wanted to come back to reality already.
Instead of her wishes being granted, the movie changed. Shelby was half sitting, half laying on the floor in the lodge, and Scott was next to her. They were painting a sign. Shelby wasn't paying too much attention to what she was doing. It was clear that her mind wasn't on the task at hand. Scott was the same way. He wasn't even really painting. He was watching Shelby with a paint brush in his hand.
"It's almost like we'd have to start all over again," Shelby said.
"I'd do that for you," Scott replied and the pair locked eyes.
The scene changed again, but this one was a little different. It was a little more vivid to her. This one wasn't quite like she was watching, but wasn't quite like she was living it either. She was still an observer, but she was a very involved observer. Shelby watched as her and Scott sat on a bench at the docks. Both people were crying, tears streaming freely. Shelby felt like she should be crying too, almost like she knew what was going on. She felt a sense of loss, but couldn't quite explain it.
"Maybe this is really selfish but it's not just you I'm gonna miss," she said softly. "It's the way I feel when I'm with you that I'm gonna miss even more."
Scott shook his head. "It doesn't have to be over. It doesn't have to be the end."
More tears were falling down their cheeks as the movie changed again. This vision, if one could call it that, was by far the most powerful one. Shelby no longer felt like an observer at all. She wasn't just watching this scene as she had the previous ones, she was living it. She felt the breeze on her skin, heard the noises around her, saw what was going on before her, and knew exactly what was happening. It was almost as if she controlled this scene, but that was okay because she knew exactly what was suppose to happen.
Shelby watched the meteor shower in the sky for only a few moments before she heard a noise behind her. She turned around to see Scott walking towards the group of people wearing a tux. Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of him. He gave a smile and put his arms out in front of him momentarily as if to say 'what do you think?'. She walked to him, drawn to him like magnets were drawn to metal. When they finally met she just watched him for a few moments.
"Why'd you come back?" she asked softly.
"Because…'cause I love you," he replied with some only a little hesitation. After all, it was the first time he was saying it to her.
Shelby melted at the words. She smiled and the smile kept growing until she pulled him into a hug, wrapping her arms around his neck and back. Scott replied eagerly to the hug, wrapping his arms around her waist. He picked her up off the ground and spun in a circle with her in his arms. Scott gently put Shelby back on the ground, but he didn't let go of her just yet. She didn't let go either. She pulled away just enough to look him in those beautiful eyes of his that she loved. The pair watched each other for several long moments with smiles on their faces and in their eyes.
Suddenly, the movie ended. Shelby gasped harshly as her eyes finally opened. The girl from the movie inside her head was torn from the movie and brought back to real life. It was like the reality Shelby let the movie Shelby back in the drivers seat of her life. Shelby was back. She quickly glanced around the lodge and took in her surroundings as if they were foreign to her. A sharp sigh left her mouth as she pulled away from Scott. She looked down at her body and felt her hands and arms, making sure it was real and not a dream.
"Shelby, are you okay?" Scott asked.
"I'm fine," Shelby replied and looked as though she was surprised to hear her own voice. She blinked a couple of times, still trying to wrap her head around what happened. "I'm fine."
Shelby looked around the lodge for a few seconds more before stopping on Scott. Despite her claiming to be fine, he had a look of concern evident on his face. He didn't know what, but he knew something had happened. Something serious happened. Shelby was acting like she had just woken up from a bad dream and was incredibly relieved to find out it was just a dream. Scott was worried, so he was watching the girl before him with cautious eyes.
"Scott, it's me," Shelby said with a shocked smile.
Scott looked confused. "Okay, you're you."
"No, Scott. It's me." She had stressed the last word, hoping that would help Scott understand what she meant.
Scott stared at Shelby for a few moments before it seemed like comprehension was beginning to descend upon him. He looked into the girls eyes, and he saw Shelby looking back at him. Most importantly, he saw his Shelby looking back at him. He didn't know how, but he now understand what Shelby meant when she said she was herself. She was back, memory and all.
"But…" he stammered. "I don't…You…How?"
"I wanted it more," she replied simply.
She smiled at him. "Because I love you."
Scott looked like he just about wanted to pass out from joy. He pulled Shelby into a quick, tight embrace. She replied, wrapping her arms around him. They loved the feel of being in each other's arms. Scott squeezed her so tight, as if afraid he was going to lose her again if he let go. Shelby was on tip toe, which made her just tall enough to breath in his scent at his neck. She felt like she hadn't seen him in months and, in a way, she hadn't.
"You gonna pick me up and spin me this time too, cowboy?" she asked him softly with a grin dancing over her lips.
"I'll do anything you want me to," he breathed.
Shelby's smile grew at his reply. Instead of speaking, she grabbed his hand and pulled him out of the lodge quickly. No one noticed them leaving, thankfully, because Shelby wanted to have a few minutes alone, just her and Scott. She had missed him so much. The feeling was mutual. Now that his Shelby was back, Scott just wanted to hold her and kiss her without an audience.
The pair walked briskly down to the docks without speaking or looking back. They kept their hands clasped until the reached the docks. The instant Shelby's first foot stepped onto the wood, she turned around and pulled him into a passionate kiss. Their lips locked and they instantly forgot about everything save for each other and the feelings they felt by the sensation of their lips together. Their hands roamed each other freely as their mouths worked on each other. It was strange that a kiss could be so sensual and feisty at the same time. They finally pulled away when oxygen became an issue. They were both so involved in the kiss that breathing through their noses wasn't enough. The couple was breathing heavy as they both tried to catch their breath from their rather amazing kiss.
"I've been wanting to do that for a long time," Shelby said softly. "It wasn't the same kissing you while she was in control."
Scott looked at Shelby confused. "What do you mean?"
"I remember everything, Scott. The entire time you all thought I was gone, I was still here, under the surface. She was in control, true, but I was still here."
"You know everything that happened," Scott stated.
Shelby nodded slowly. She pulled away from Scott just enough to turn around and look out at the water. She watched the wind dance over the lake, causing small ripples in the water. She could still feel Scott right behind her. That was one difference between her being in control and the other Shelby being in control. When the other Shelby was in control, she couldn't feel Scott like that. She missed it.
"I remember it all, even things she didn't know. I remember you all coming to me when I was in the hospital right after the accident, before I even woke up. I remember how hurt you were that I didn't remember you. I remember how you finally came to terms with me not having a memory," Shelby mused. "I remember all the fights I got into with everyone. I remember apologizing to all of you. I remember what Peter told everyone at our last group about my memory. I remember everything, Scott."
"How?" he questioned.
"I don't know for sure."
Scott wrapped his arms around Shelby from behind. He breathed in the scent of her hair as she leaned back into the embrace. He had missed her so much. He had grown to love the new Shelby, true, but he still was always hoping that his Shelby would return. Now that she did, he didn't really know how to react.
"What made you finally come back, Shelby?" he asked, softly.
"I already told you," she answered softly.
"But how did that make you come back?"
"What you said while we were dancing reminded me of exactly what you were referring to. We haven't always had it easy. Hell, you used to hate me, but some how, miraculously, we made it through so many obstacles to get to where we were. I forced her see the things I was remembering. I'm not sure how exactly, but I did." Shelby sighed softly. "I don't know if she did it consciously or not, but with the last memory, she let go of the wheel and let me get back in the drivers seat."
"What was the last memory?" Scott asked softly, his mouth only inches from her ear.
"Last years MORP, when you came back for me."
"When I told you I loved you for the first time."
Shelby nodded slowly as a smile spread over her face again. That night, to that day, still went down as on the best nights of her life. Scott felt he same way. He had felt that way about her for a while but never had to courage to come out and say it. That night changed so many things for both of them. It made sense that that memory was the thing that changed things for them tonight too.
Scott pulled Shelby into a tighter embrace, kissed her on the head and said, "We've got to tell everyone else."
And idea perked up in Shelby mind right after Scott mentioned telling the others. Her normal smile turned into a wicked grin then. "Can I have some fun with that?"
"What'd you have in mind?"
"I wanna see if they can figure it out themselves."
"That's not very nice, honey," Scott replied, playfully scolding her.
Shelby looked at him and pouted a bit. "Please?"
Scott laughed. "Fine. But if they don't figure it out quickly, then you have to put them out of their misery. It's not fair to them."
"I know. I'll only mess with them for a little bit," she replied, suddenly very eager to play her practical joke.
"If they don't figure it out by the end of the dance then you tell them. Deal?"
Shelby grinned at the idea of playing her joke. She was going to act completely normal and see if any of them noticed. She might drop some subtle hints though. She realized that losing her memory, and being forced to be an observer of her own life had caused her to remember everything a little bit more clearly. She could think of exact instances that only she would remember. She wondered if maybe mentioning those would help the others figure it out.
Scott and Shelby stayed on the dock for only a few minutes longer. They knew that Peter would notice they were gone soon if he hadn't already. They didn't want to have the night ruined by getting yelled at or being put on shuns. They hadn't graduated yet; they could still get in trouble. They also both wanted to go back to the dance regardless of how much they loved spending time together just them.
Scott and Shelby made it back to the MORP before Peter noticed they had left. He did have a lot to think about that night after all. They instantly went back to the dance floor and joined the other Cliffhangers. Shelby still wasn't too keen on the idea of dancing, but Scott wasn't giving her a choice. He drug her there whether she wanted to be there or not.
Whenever they weren't dancing, and even sometimes when they were, Shelby attempted to drop hints to everyone else that she was really herself. She was being very subtle about it, but she still had thought someone would have noticed something. However, all of the Cliffhangers remained blissfully ignorant to the fact that their Shelby was back. She figured that they all thought what she was saying were things she had simply learned from being with them for so long.
The last song came on and it was a slow song. Peter at least kept that Prom tradition. Everyone coupled up and once again Sophie drug Peter to the dance floor. Shelby leaned into an embrace from Scott as "Everything" by Lifehouse started playing. Shelby still wasn't comfortable dancing, but she allowed herself to relax in Scott's arms. They moved to the music casually, and she smiled. This night could not have been more perfect to her.
After the dance ended, Peter announced that it was time for everyone, save the Cliffhangers, to go back to their dorms and get to bed. It was almost 11:00pm and that was already past what was normally lights out. Everyone groaned and protested, but they went none the less. The Cliffhangers stayed behind to help clean at least a little bit that night before everyone cleaned the next day.
"I think tonight went really well," Peter announced as they walked around the lodge picking up garbage and turning everything off.
"It was actually even better than last year," Juliet stated.
"Of course it was. I was here for it this year," Scott teased, which earned him a playful smack on the arm from Sophie.
"I'm serious," Juliet protested. "This year was better."
Shelby smiled to herself. She knew it was time to fess up. Not only had she promised Scott but it was perfect timing. "I agree. I mean, last year I had to deal with a fight with The Princess before, Auggie trying to get me dance all night, playing counselor to Ezra, and I had to watch Daisy and David fight their feelings for each other during the whole dance," she said casually with a shrug. "The only good things about last year was that Kat was still here, Scott came back, and Peter and Sophie got engaged."
Everyone's eyes were locked on Shelby as her grin grew. Even Scott, who already knew, was watching her with a smile. It had been hard for him to keep it a secret, and he was glad she said something. She didn't come right out and say that she got her memory back, but she might as well have. Everyone figured it out very easily after her little rant about the previous MORP.
Shelby wasn't entirely surprised when she was rushed by the group of people and everyone pulled her into a hug. There were outbursts of "of my God" and several of them said her name as she was crushed under the group of people. She hugged back obviously although it was difficult for her to hug everyone at once. She had missed them as much, if not more, than they had missed her.
"How did this happen?" Peter asked after everyone got over the shock.
"It just did," Shelby replied with a shrug. She risked a glance at a smirking Scott before continuing, "I was dancing with Scott earlier, I had a flood of memories, and then I was back. I can't explain it."
"Who cares?" Ezra asked." It doesn't matter how it happened. The important thing is that you're back."
"Just in time for graduation too," Sophie said, pulling Shelby into another quick hug.
"Yeah, because that's what we're all excited about, not having our friend back or anything," Daisy said with sarcasm.
Everyone chuckled softly at Daisy's words. Shelby walked over to Daisy then and pulled her into another hug. After Scott, Daisy was probably the person effected the most. She was also the person, after Scott, that Shelby missed the most. No one really understand how Daisy and Shelby ever became so close. Even they didn't really understand it at times, but they had formed a very strong friendship during their time together, and neither of them would trade that friendship for anything.
"We've missed you, Shel," Auggie said.
"I've missed you guys too, Aug," Shelby replied. "And if any of you ever tell anyone outside of this room that I admitted to that, I will deny it and hurt you."
Shelby probably should have laughed or something at her words to let them know she was joking, but she didn't; she just went back to cleaning the lodge. Some people scoffed, some shook their heads, some smiled, but they all left her words alone and went back to cleaning as well. The group walked around the lodge putting it back in order.
Shelby stopped after throwing another stack of plastic cups in the garbage and watched the scene for a few long moments. She couldn't believe how much she had missed everyone in that room. She knew, deep down, that she wasn't really gone that whole time, that she was there under the surface, but it felt like she wasn't there. She felt like she had been without her family. She got them back though, and it was just in time to finish out the year with them. They would still graduate together. They would still leave their sanctuary that was Horizon together.
Shelby reflected upon the last several months with a smile. The experience may not have been a good one, but it was sort of a blessing in disguise. It had brought them all closer, whether they noticed it or admitted to it or not. They were always going to be a part of each other's life, always going to be there for each other, always going to be a family, to the day they died.
All in all, it was a good year.
(A/N)- First off, thanks so much for the reviews from: Melms213, Snoopy22, Linkie, ScottandShelby4ever, SnowyOwl-17, nefftys, tracy, hdrox, keke1, bubbly, Mickey, AliciaClark, Ossie, rogue-angel07, Ishbugirl, 2008ccampbell, luthien telemnar, Delia, Mandy, tribaltaism, Jill, Kala, PaceyandJoey4everAndAlways, Gaia, Anna, Ghostwriter, Ashley, FrostySnake, PaceynJoey4Eva, HigherGroundfan4Ever, DracoxGinnyfirexIce, weylela, xXxNaleyIsLovexXx, Shelby, SLITH, and Ashley 0918.
I would also like to dedicate this chapter and story to Ghostwriter. You are by far my most loyal reader. I don't think there is a thing you haven't read by me that's Higher Ground. I could not ask for a better fan. You have no idea how much your support and kind words have meant to me. Thank you so much for following me through all of my stories! You truly are a wonderful fan.
So, Memories has come to an end. I know I had said previously that I didn't want this to have a typical happily-ever-after ending, but I changed my mind. When I thought about how I wanted to end this story I realized that I like the happily-ever-after endings. I know they don't exist all the time is real life, but fiction isn't real life. We can do whatever we want with fiction. It's one of the great parts about writing it. And, damn it, I wanted everyone happy. I think I made them suffer enough in this story.
I think I like the ending to this story. I'm not sure I did the memories/flashbacks well, so please let me know if you guys think I screwed them up. All in all though, I'm pleased with this chapter and story. It definitely helped me grow as a writer.
Thank you to everyone who read this story, reviewed this story, liked this story, and hell, thank you to those people who didn't like this story.
As always, please review and let me know how I did!