Last chapter of Strangers in the Night. I can't apologize enough for the atrociously long wait. Happy reading! Comments and constructive criticism are, as usual, welcome and appreciated.
Warning: Shamelessly cheesy fluff. And OoC-ness.
Strangers in the Night: Chapter 11
He'll get over her one day.
Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year. Maybe not in the next ten years, but an age will pass and someday his great love for her will fade, leaving only a memory; a fairy tale he'll tell his grandkids one day.
It was way before I met your grandmother, Richard imagined himself saying, a rueful smile dimpling his cheek. He glanced out the window into the dark sky, noting the swirling blackness that was splintered only by angry bolts of lightning. For once, the weather reflected his heart.
And the rain continued to pour.
The limo was much too small.
Kory Anders wanted nothing more than to pace. Her limbs ached with the desire, but she was much too tall and the limo was going as fast as it was able.
Which was, unfortunately, no more than a pathetic crawl that made her want to scream.
"Edmund, please, could we not move a bit more rapidly?" she pleaded for the millionth time, fidgeting anxiously in her seat. The skirt of her wedding dress was fisted in a white-knuckled grip on her lap, and it took all her willpower not to catapult herself out of that stiflingly slow-moving limousine.
Her driver glanced back at her through the rear-view mirror, and said, looking truly apologetic, "No, Miss. Traffic…and the roads are slick…"
She moaned and covered her face in her hands.
Oh, Richard. Wait for me.
"But Master Dick…"
"It's okay, Norman. I can take it from here."
"But sir, don't you want an umbrella, at least?"
"I'm fine. Get back to the Manor quick; the storm's getting worse. I won't be home for a while, so…I'll just be seeing you, I guess…"
Kory repressed a scream when they once again stopped at a red light at an intersection. She was fiddling with her fingers again, and her lower lip seemed permanently trapped between her teeth. Kory had begun to feel the need to hyperventilate when Edmund spoke suddenly, his tone almost incredulous.
"Miss, isn't that Master Dick's car?"
His passenger let out a squeak that sounded vaguely like "Where?!" and toppled right out of her seat.
"There, Miss, on the opposite side of the road. Parked on the curb."
Kory scrambled up to the window and pressed her nose to the rain-spattered glass. Lo and behold, there, indeed, was Richard's Rolls Royce, parked forlornly against the sidewalk. The rain bounced off its sleek exterior in a fine spray, making it seem surrounded by mist…
And it was the most wonderful thing Kory had ever seen.
She saw him reflect her grin through the rearview mirror. "Yes, Miss," he piped enthusiastically. Once the light turned green, Ed gunned the accelerator and they shot forward; Kory clapped her hands and laughed, her spirits higher than they've been in hours. Ed made such a swift U-Turn that the limo's back wheels skidded on the wet asphalt, and more than a few anxious drivers sounded their horns. In almost no time at all the limo screeched to a halt against the opposite sidewalk, the vehicle tipping perilously to the side for a heart-stopping moment.
Kory leapt out of the car from the backseat, hardly acknowledging the fact that she was drenched in mere seconds. Ed struggled to get out of the limo with an umbrella to shield his mistress, but even before he could step out into the rain, Kory had already wrenched open the passenger door to the Rolls and stuck her head inside.
The backseat was empty.
Kory stared around in confusion. "What?"
"He is not here, Miss Kory," Norman said kindly from the driver's seat, as if the leather seats were screamed at regularly by wet maidens in wedding clothes.
Not here? Kory's heart stopped. "But where--he is not…?" She sat, winded, her hand rising to place itself over her heart. "I am too late?"
"No, Miss, not late at all. His flight was cancelled because of the storm."
Norman's visage took on a slightly horrified look as Kory gave a heart-wrenching sob and threw herself down onto the backseat, gown and all.
"Miss Kory…?" he said cautiously, mistaking her relieved tears for despair.
"X'hal, cancelled!"Kory repeated laughingly. "Oh, I am most happy," she murmured into the leather, her voice muffled. After one last sniffle, she lifted her head from her arms and asked, confusedly, "But if he has not gone to Jump, then where..?"
"He has gone to the pier, Miss."
"The pier? But why?"
Norman's forehead creased in a frown. "He said he wanted to walk there, alone. He told me to go back to the Manor, but I waited here instead, so perhaps I could catch him on his way back home…" The faithful butler trailed off, torn between having to obey an order and desiring to see his master safe.
Kory sent him a wavering smile, her eyes glistening.
"Norman, would you take me to him?"
Richard should have been freezing.
He was, after all, standing motionlessly at the end of the Gotham pier, watching the sea and sky rage on the horizon. The icy waters of the Atlantic splashed against the dock, occasionally flowing over the planks and onto Richard's expensive shoes. The wind sent his dark hair and the hem of his black coat whipping behind him like a cape, and the raindrops were needles on his face.
He, however, seemed to feel none of these discomforts.
Richard smiled ironically into the storm and shook his head. "I can't even run away properly," he said to himself, a black feeling washing over him as seawater ran over his ankles.
The back of his neck prickled. Almost instinctively he turned, and caught his breath when he saw Kory standing several feet away, her green eyes large and bright with unshed tears. She almost looked airborne, her red hair flying about her head and her ruined white dress catching violently in the wind. She was beautiful even in her grief, and Richard found himself wondering whether she was an apparition; a ghost of his lost hopes. They stared and stared and stared at each other, wordlessly, immovably, despairingly…
Until finally she spoke.
"Why do you love me?" she said, shouting over the sounds of the storm.
He gaped at her, confused.
"Is it because I am pretty? Is it because I am tall, or 'hot'? Is it because I am wealthy, and my sister is famous? Why do you love me?"
"I love you," he shouted, choking, "because of all of that. Because of all that, and everything else about you. You make me feel like…like nothing could ever replace you."
Lightning lit up his face, and his expression stole Kory's breath from her lips.
"I want to protect you. I want to care for you, to keep you safe. I want you to be happy, always, all the time…I've never felt that way towards anyone before!" he continued, still shouting, a clap of thunder threatening to overpower his voice. He fell silent, gasping, almost drowning in the downpour now, waiting.
For a moment all that could be heard was the storm, raging and angry, surrounding them, working the sea, howling into eternity.
"My feelings are the same!" Kory screamed, but the wind tore her words away and into the night sky.
"What? What?" Richard yelled, his heart pounding in his ears. Did she just…?
"I love you, Dick Grayson." This time he heard her perfectly, and her fervency made him reel. "I have just realized: it is you for whom I feel these violent sentiments! Not Roy, Richard. You."
And then she was in his arms, and he was kissing her, and she was kissing back, and for a long moment all Richard could feel were her lips on his.
EPILOGUE – Almost one year later.
The bride's smile was as bright as the sun that streamed through the stained-glass windows. There was a shyness in her gaze as she stared at the tuxedoed man in front of her, and the congregation was breathless at the sight of it.
"You may kiss the bride," said the holy man at his altar, and even he could not resist a grin when the groom laughed and sealed his mouth to his bride's. The church was suddenly filled with sound; the crowd cheered and whistled, and the bells in the steeple began to ring.
Kory glanced over the couple's heads and grinned playfully at Richard, who had been staring at her with an unreadable expression that made her breath catch.
"Hi," she mouthed, suddenly feeling shy.
But by then the storm in his eyes had calmed. His mouth quirked and rolled his eyes the couple in front of them, who seemed to have been permanently attached at the mouth. He and Kory looked out over the crowd and caught the eye of Roy, who was sitting next to Vic Stone and Karen Beecher a few rows away. On his other side sat an adorable Asian woman named Jade Nguyen, with whom he has been in a happy relationship for several months. The redheaded man waggled his eyebrows at the kissing couple, then mimed vomiting with a finger pointed at the back of his throat. Richard snorted back a laugh, and grinned when Vic threw a wink in his direction. Kory, Jade, and Karen shared a brief expression of half-amused horror, and gave their respective boyfriends mild glares. The boys swallowed their silent giggles and behaved, somewhat.
Finally, Raven ended the kiss, reddening as Gar gave a loud whoop that was echoed enthusiastically by the rest of the onlookers in the church. His green hair seemed out of place with his pristine black suit and the crystal in the bouquets, but none of that seemed to matter when he crushed Raven to him in a bear hug that made her throw back her head in a laugh.
Then, as Gar led her back down the isle amidst flower petals and hoots of friends, she turned and caught Richard's eye; something in her gaze softened his expression, and he raised a hand in a slow salute.
"Love you," Raven said without sound. She glanced at Kory and back at Richard, then gave him a mischievous grin before she let Gar sweep her into his arms with a shout and a bark of laughter.
Kory tilted her head in slight bemusement as she caught the end of Raven's teasing glance, and started when Richard suddenly appeared at her side with his arm outstretched.
"Ready?" he said, taking her hand with a playful glint in his eye.
Kory nodded, smiling sheepishly, and allowed him to lead her down the isle behind their friends and the still-cheering crowd.
"Daydreaming, were you?"
"Not at all," she huffed, reddening slightly.
Her lover chuckled softly, then leaned down to whisper, "That grey dress is amazing on Rae. And these violet bridesmaids' dresses – how did you finish them on time?" He fingered the purple material of her dress, and let his hand linger on her waist.
"With no help from you, Mr. Grayson," she giggled impishly, reaching up to steal a kiss. "Such a…distraction you are."
"You should talk. So," he said conversationally, his casual tone taking on an edge of apprehension, "how would you like to finally walk down this isle properly one day?" He turned to her, stopping her in her tracks with the look in his eyes. "With me?"
Kory pulled away almost roughly and stood with her hands on her hips, gaping at him with mock-offended surprise. "Mr. Grayson! Was that a proposal?" she exclaimed, a tell-tale blush forming on the apples of her cheeks.
"If it was?" he challenged, grinning as butted his forehead against hers gently.
Kory stood there a moment, her expression akin to a goldfish's, then suddenly broke into the brightest smile he's ever seen. She launched herself at him, squealing, her arms tightening around his neck. He caught her laughingly, lifted her up, and swung her in a wide circle.
"Was that a 'yes'?" Richard asked, grinning.
Kory leaned down and kissed him senseless, ignoring the crowd that milled around them towards the door, before pulling away to whisper in his ear.
"Yes," she said breathlessly. "It most certainly was."
Strangers in the
Two lonely people,
We were strangers in the night
Up to the moment
When we said our first hello.
Little did we know
Love was just a glance away,
A warm embracing dance away and
Ever since that night we've been together.
Lovers at first sight, in love forever.
It turned out so right,
For strangers in the night.
WOW. I can't believe it's over. After more than two and a half years of erratic updating and almost 300 wonderfully kind reviews, Strangers in the Night, my very first multichapter fic, has officially come to an end. I would like to thank everyone who has read and reviewed this story, especially those who have stuck by it despite the shamefully long hiatuses. You are all so wonderful, and I wish I could just personally give all of you a giant hug. Thanks so much for allowing me to share this fic with you.
– That was supposed to be 7/18 of 2007, could you believe that? I
am just so awful at updating. I'm so happy you stumbled onto my
story, and that you like it!
MicWhite10 – Thanks so much for your review! I hope the ending wasn't disappointing. D
linkinparkh2over – Thank you! Let me know if you liked this chapter as well.
hollly – Haha, torturing Richard is always fun. And the scenes between Bruce and Richard are my favorite, so thanks for liking them too!
BerryDrops – I'm sorry this update took so long! But I hope you liked this chapter.
Puckyblack – LOL I'm sorry for the cliffhanger, AND the delay! Thanks for the funny review.
starrobin4eva – Hi! How are you again? Thanks for your always-lovely reviews!
AsylleClaire – Yay, thanks for reviewing! I'm glad you thought Kory was in character…I tried really hard to keep them all believable.
DOJ – So nice to hear from you again! Glad you liked it You're grrrreat!
Cartoonstar – Yay! Thanks for loving this story!
Somekindafreaky – Wow, I've been a fan of yours for a long time! Thanks so much for reviewing again. I'm still awaiting an update to that amazing, amazing fic of yours, Christmasing with You!
Jumpstarter – Thanks so much! I loved your review…you've really understood the message I was trying to portray. You're awesome!
Spread-My-Wingz-And-Soar – Haha, you got some of it right. Nice predictions ; Thanks for the review!
Rochelleteentitan – Roy had a happy ending too. Thanks for your review!
chittychittybangbang16– Yay, I'm glad you do! Hope you liked the ending!
Tahitiliz – I can't help myself, I just have to end with cliffhangers, haha! And I love Bruce, I couldn't help but stick him in here one last time. Great to hear from you, tahitiliz!
ThexRealXStarfire – Thanks so much for your sweet review! I hope this chapter was fluffy enough.
Until next time,