I apologize for the grotesquely long wait. I have been unbelievably busy. I still am busy. I should be reading for English and AP Gov't, or analyzing, or working on my thesis paper. But it's been, like, two months, and I thought you guys deserved some final concluding chapter of my story.
I doubt I'll start another story soon, but I might pop in every once in a while with a one-shot or whatever. So enjoy, and Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukah, or whatever you celebrate). (And Happy Birthday to me, who turned 17 yesterday!)
I grabbed the phone from the hook and hurried up the stairs to my room. I threw myself on my bed, and sighed happily.
It was so great to be back.
I dialed up Jesse quickly and he picked up after two rings. "Is everything alright, Querida?" he asked when he discovered it was me.
"Everything is great," I gushed. "Listen, when is your mom expecting you over tomorrow?" He sounded a bit confused.
"One. Susannah, what--"
"Come down here. To Carmel. Stay for Christmas, then head back up tomorrow morning."
"Susannah, what's going on?" he asked. I nearly giggled, I was so excited.
"Just come. It's okay. Take the bus, so you don't have to worry about driving. I'll meet you at the station."
"Okay, Susannah, but you are explaining everything as soon as I get there." He paused. "I love you, I'll see you soon."
"Love you too," I replied, and hung up.
I ran back down the stairs, to find my mom missing. Andy answered the unspoken question. "She went out for a walk. She needs to deal with some things, okay?" I nodded, and reached into the bowl of cookie dough and took a pinch and ate it. "Hey!" he reprimanded, snapping at my hands with a dishtowel. "At least help me put them on the baking sheet."
For the next twenty minutes, I helped get the chocolate chip cookies in the oven while I waited for Jesse and Andy's mom to arrive.
Vivi came first. Vivian is Andy's mother. When my mom married Andy, she instructed me to call her Vivi. Her telling me what to call her took the awkwardness out of everything.
She was a tall woman, who would have had David's red hair when she was younger, but age and gray hairs lightened and dulled it.
When she saw me, she looked at me in surprise. "I thought Helen said you wouldn't be here," she said as she kissed my cheek. I shook my head.
"I wasn't going to be, but I'm here now." She smiled.
My mom returned a few minutes later, and greeted Vivi. She seemed to have cheered up a bit, and I knew the time to think and the cool air did her some good.
We were all enjoying some of the cookies and hot chocolate with Christmas carols playing softly in the background when a doorbell sounded through the house. I jumped up to get it, and hurried into the hall.
Jesse was there with a bag, with an apprehensive look on his face which disappeared when he saw it was me. I opened the screen door and kissed him quickly but tenderly, and I ushered him inside.
"Susannah, what's going on? Is everything okay with you and your mom?" I nodded, taking his bag from him and setting it in a corner. I took his arm and led him into the living room.
"Things are okay. I'll explain everything later." He gave me a curious look, but nodded. When we went into the living room, everyone looked up.
"Vivi, this is my boyfriend Jesse." She smiled.
"Lovely to meet you," she greeted.
"You too, ma'am," Jesse said amiably, and shook her hand.
"Please, sit down," Vivi offered, and Jesse and I sat down next to her on the couch. My mom eyed Jesse warily, and I sensed him tense up, but I took his hand and squeezed it gently, and I felt him relax.
Vivi began interrogating Jesse. Not in a painful way, just asking him where he was going to school, what he was majoring in, about his family, etc. She seemed pleased with the answers, and after a while looked over to me and winked. "Good choice, Suze." I grinned. My mother looked slightly uncomfortable.
After the Ackerman family tradition of an hors d'oeuvre Christmas Eve dinner (this is slightly odd, since I have been used to having my mom's slightly burned roasted chicken every Christmas eve before my mom married Andy. But it's pretty good, and we got to just chill in the living room while we ate), Andy put a fire in the fire place, and we had the delicious cookies I helped Andy make that afternoon.
Soon after, Vivi, Andy, and my mom moved to the dining room to chat in private about adult things, and Brad and David had went up to their rooms to do whatever they did up there. I don't know, and I don't want to.
This left Jesse and I alone together in the living room, in front of the fire that was just beginning to die. I quickly moved closer to him, and we curled up together, me leaning against him with my arms around him and his arms around me.
"So, querida, tell me what happened." In hushed tones, I repeated the story that my mom had told me earlier that day. He frowned as the tale progressed. When I finally finished, he spoke. "So that's what Nicole meant." I nodded.
"I guess I can't really blame her. But it still sucks that we had to go through all that." Jesse kissed my temple.
"Your mother loves you, that's why she tried to protect you. She only had good intentions." I sighed, and snuggled closer to him.
"I know." My eyes drifted shut, and Jesse's hand slowly stroked my back, easing all the built-up tension out of it. I felt myself relax in his warm embrace, and I almost thought I fell asleep until I heard someone clear their throat. I opened my eyes to see my mom.
"Susie," she began, immediately indicating she wasn't mad for our entanglement, "can you go get the sheets from the hallway closet and start making the bed for Jesse?" I uncurled myself and stood up.
"Mrs. Ackerman, it's no problem, I can do it," Jesse offered, getting up after me. She shook her head.
"I'd like to speak to you for a moment, Jesse." Jesse and I looked at each other briefly, exchanging curious and perplexed glances, before I headed up the stairs. I felt wrong eavesdropping, so I did what she had asked.
I knocked on David's door, but found Jake in there as well, setting up the futon. "I'll sleep in here," he drawled. "Jesse can have my bed." I was stunned by this generosity.
"Thanks," I said, sort of awkwardly. I carried the sheets into Jake's room and stripped the bed and re-made it with clean linens. Jesse came up just as I was fluffing his pillows, suitcase in hand.
He looked out the hallway, to make sure no one was lurking, before he pulled me into his arms and laid a kiss on me.
"What was that about?" I asked when we came up for air. Jesse sat down on the freshly made bed and I sat down next to him.
"Your mother apologized for her behavior, and pretty much gave me her blessing to be with you." I smiled.
"I'm so glad," I said, squeezing him gently. He laughed.
"Me too, querida." He kissed my cheek, then pulled me up. "Now get out of here," he teased, "I don't want your mom coming up and catching you on my bed."
"Again," I added, and grinned. He returned my smile. On my way out the door, I turned. "Do you think I could persuade you to come and visit me tonight?" I asked in a hushed tone. Jesse merely threw his pillow at me. I laughed. "Okay, okay. Good night."
"Merry Christmas Eve, Susannah," he replied. I shut the door slowly, allowing myself a quick peek at his chest as he began undressing for bed.
What seemed like shortly after I had climbed into bed, I felt a weight depress the side of my mattress.
"Susannah," I heard someone whisper. I opened my eyes, to see Jesse's smiling face above me.
"I knew you'd come. Did anyone see you?" I asked groggily. He laughed quietly.
"Susannah, it's morning. Merry Christmas." I blinked a few times, then registered what he had said.
"Merry Christmas," I replied. I then slipped back under my comforter and snuggled against my pillow.
"Querida, get up. I have to give you your present," he teased. I shook my head.
"No need, Jesse," I said in half-asleep sentimentality. "I don't want anything more than what's right in front of me."
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Four years later
"Surprise!" I stopped short, resulting in Jesse walking into my back as I gazed open-mouthed at the crowd of friends and family before me.
"What's going on?" I asked stupidly. Jesse and I were just going over to Adam's for dinner with him and Cee Cee. What were all these other people doing here?
"We're throwing you guys an Engagement Party, genius," Cee Cee said as she ushered us into the crammed apartment.
I turned to Jesse accusingly. "Did you know about this?" I asked. He laughed.
Feeling sufficiently like an idiot, I gave Cee Cee my coat as Adam sat us down on the couch as the guests greeted us and congratulated us.
Jesse had formally proposed a little more than two years ago, but we wanted to wait until I was out of college before we got married. It was very sweet. It was his last day before he left for college (I was starting my sophomore year in a week), and even though I was going to a school twenty minutes away, it seemed a little bit final. He took me on a drive to a random parking lot and then we walked for about twenty minutes through some trees until we found ourselves at an observation point overlooking the ocean as the sun set. I was watching, then I turned around to face him to see him with a small, black velvet box in his hand as he pulled it out of his pocket.
It's safe to say that for a moment, my heart stopped beating.
Then he very nervously asked me to marry him, to which I replied by jumping into his arms and covering his face with kisses. He slipped the silver band on my finger (it had a square blue topaz with two small diamonds on each side—it was absolutely perfect), and then picked me up and twirled me around joyously.
Then we hurried back to his aunt's house (where she and her husband were conveniently absent) and celebrated our engagement in private. All night long.
It was my senior year now, and Jesse had gone on to grad school to get his medical degree. We were getting married at the end of May, a few weeks after my graduation.
Cee Cee, Adam, Jesse's parents and Marta, Mercedes (who was graduating high school in June), Elena, and Anna Maria, his Aunt Elena and Uncle Jose, Mom, Andy, Vivi, David, and several of my friends from school were there, along with Mark and Jenna and some of Jesse's friends.
There was a table of appetizers and snacks, and Cee Cee poured both Jesse and I a glass of wine. We chatted with people, updated everyone on our wedding plans, and I showed off my ring to those who haven't seen me in a while (Rachel ended up going to school in New York and staying there for an internship the following summer, so neither of us had seen her in ages). It was a great party, and after some time of just hanging out, Adam called for everyone's attention.
"Everyone come on, gather around the happy coupe. Time for them to open their gifts." I sat back down on the couch next to Jesse (I had previously gotten up), and Cee Cee and Adam transported the presents to the coffee table in front of us.
"Really, you guys," I protested. "Thank you, everyone." Together, we opened the presents. We got many lovely gifts from our families and friends, and then Cee Cee and Adam, grinning suspiciously, brought out two separate presents for each of us.
Mine was a box wrapped in shiny silver paper, and Jesse's was a pile of what appeared to be books or DVDs or something like that.
I was still fumbling with the precise wrapping job when Jesse had unwrapped the first thing. His face immediately turned bright red, and Adam started cackling. Jesse threw a piece of balled up wrapping paper at him.
"What is it?" I asked, and tore it from Jesse's hands maturely. I saw the cover, and started laughing hysterically.
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amazing Sex," I read out loud. I saw Mrs. De Silva's mouth tighten and her eyes narrow. I lowered my voice so that only Jesse could hear. "You don't need this, you're already amazing." His face got even redder.
The rest of the titles were similar; How to Give her Absolute Pleasure; Daily Sex: 365 Positions and Activities for a Year of Great Sex; and The Complete Illustrated Kama Sutra. Among others.
Both of our parents were pale and a bit angry, but I thought it was hilarious. I was teasing Jesse when Cee Cee reminded me about my own unopened package.
As soon as I saw the "Fredericks of Hollywood" insignia on the box, I knew I was in as much trouble as Jesse.
"Open it, Susannah, let's see," he teased. I glared, and opened the box.
Cee Cee did not disappoint. I pulled out a pair of crotchless panties, a bustier outfit complete with garters, a short mesh robe and a very short silk slip with a plunging neckline.
Jesse stopped laughing.
"You two are dead!" I laughed, punching Cee Cee in the arm and throwing another wad of wrapping paper at Adam, who had stationed himself on the opposite side of the room, too far for us to assault him physically.
I noticed our mothers having simultaneous heart attacks, so I quickly stuffed it all back in the box.
"Thanks everyone," I said loudly, to change the subject from our sex lives. "It was great of you guys to throw us this party," I said to Cee Cee and Adam.
"Our pleasure," Adam said, bowing majestically.
The rest of the evening was a bit more calm, and a little before ten it was just Cee, Adam, Jesse, and me left in the apartment. We stayed to help clean up, but Cee Cee kicked us out and refused to let us help, so we piled our gifts in the trunk of Jesse's car and drove off to our new apartment. His mom finally relented and allowed us to move in together about a month ago. Even she accepted that the majority of relationship experts recommend couples living together before they get married. With four months until our wedding, she finally gave Jesse her blessing.
We got a small one bedroom apartment about 10 minutes from our respective schools, about half an hour from where Adam was living. Jesse held my hand as we drove in silence, and I found myself dozing off.
I woke up when I felt myself being moved. I started, and found myself in Jesse's arms as he picked me up from my seat.
I struggled to get down, still half asleep, but he held fast. "It's okay, querida, go back to sleep." I sighed, and it turned into a yawn, so I decided to just acquiesce, and I wrapped my arms around his neck and drifted off again.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Four Months Later
Jesse's hand held mine, and his other gripped my waist gently as we swayed to the music. I thought my heart was bursting.
I was finally Mrs. Susannah de Silva. This was incredibly exciting to me.
In, uh, more way than one. You see, Jesse came up with an idea about a month and a half ago, that we wouldn't sleep together until we got married. Something he thought would make it all better. Or maybe it was some attempt at chastity.
Whatever. I wasn't going to be like, "No, we are going to have sex EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, got it?" So I went along with it.
But that also means I haven't boffed in over a month. And this is with Jesse, who is practically an Adonis, sleeping next to me in the same bed.
The song ended, and I squeezed, Jesse's hand, gave him a significant glance, then excused myself from Cee Cee and my friend Kali.
Our reception was on the front lawn and terrace of an old, beautiful stone mansion overlooking the valley and the ocean. I slipped around the side of the building, up some stone steps, to a large patio that was surrounded by vine-covered lattices, dripping with the grapes Northern California was famous for. In the center was a long reflecting pool.
This place was absolutely gorgeous. Major, major props to Jesse for finding it and convincing the association who maintains it to let us rent it out for the day.
I brushed the loose dirt off a stone bench, and when I was satisfied I sat down and waited. Only a moment later, I heard shoes on the slate, and Jesse came around the corner and sat down beside me.
"What are you doing up here, Querida?" he asked. "Cee Cee wants you to toss the--" He cut off as my lips pressed against his.
Though surprised, he quickly began kissing me back. His hand on my lower back urged my toward him, and my fingers gripped his face gently.
I could tell from the way his fingers kept brushing past my hidden zipper that he wanted to unzip my dress—but he obviously couldn't. I'm glad I'm not the only one who is sexually deprived.
"Hey, you two lovebirds." We broke apart, and looked at Cee Cee sheepishly. "Let's go, this is your party. You can't go sneaking off to mack when we're all waiting for you." Jesse and I stood up and I smoothed out my smooth white skirt, and we started heading back down the stairs.
"Wait," Cee Cee said, and she dug into the little lavender purse that matched her maid-of-honor dress. She pulled out a tissue, and grabbed Jesse's arm and pulled him over to her. "Let's not make it too obvious you two were getting it on," she said, and wiped the smeared lipstick from Jesse's lips, as his cheeks flushed furiously.
The three of us returned to the reception. We cut the cake, I tossed the bouquet, and did all the normal traditions of a wedding reception. When the sun began to set, Jesse and I said our goodbyes and set off in our limousine, to the hotel we were staying at tonight before we left for our 10-day honeymoon in Puerto Rico.
In the limo, Jesse opened a bottle of champagne and we toasted ourselves. When we arrived at the hotel, Jesse and I got a few stares as we checked in at the lobby—after all, he was in a black tux and I had on my white satin wedding dress. The hotel was largely used as a beach resort, so most people hanging out in the lobby were wearing bathing suits under their shorts and tank tops.
I found myself pressed up against the empty elevator wall as we went up to the eighth floor, with Jesse's mouth pressed against mine tightly. However, at the fifth floor, we heard the telltale ding, and quickly separated as two teenagers got on the elevator and hit the button for the roof, where there was a patio that had a small restaurant and live music. One shyly offered their congratulations, while the other simply openly gaped at Jesse.
When we reached the 8th floor, we left the two girls who immediately began giggling as the doors began to shut. Jesse pulled me down the hall by my hand, until we reached our room. He unlocked it, then promptly picked me up. I shrieked, then started laughing, as he carried me into the suite.
The room had a small sitting area, with a couch, desk, and TV; through a doorway was the bedroom, with a large bed, a beautiful cabinet with another television inside, and a sliding glass door opening onto a small balcony that ran the length of the building.
We collapsed against the bed, kissing, for quite some time. However, through the folds of my skirt, I could feel Jesse's excitement. I gently pushed him off of me. "Just let me get out of the dress," I whispered, and he nodded with a hungry gleam in his eye.
Our luggage had been brought to the hotel earlier that day, so I found our suitcases in the sitting area. I dug through mine, until I found the gift from Cee Cee and Adam. I slipped into the bathroom, carefully removed my dress (no easy task, considering my bodice was slightly corseted.) I pulled the silk slip over my head, wrapped myself in the robe, and went back into the bedroom.
Jesse was lounging against the pillows. He smiled when he saw me, openly checking me out, and I smiled back. I walked over to the bed, climbed up, straddled his waist, and rested my hands on his shoulders. His hands slid over my body, feeling my curves and the silk that was wrapped around it. I leaned forward, and kissed his lips.
His arms immediately came around my waist, and he slid down on the bed, taking me with him. I took a break from kissing him while I undid the buttons on his shirt. He kicked off his shoes.
He then rolled over on top of me, kissing my face and neck. His intensity and passion made me realize how much he cared for me, and how much he wanted me. It made me feel pretty darn good.
His lips caressed my cleavage exposed by the revealing lingerie, and his fingers hooked around the tiny panties I was wearing underneath, and pulled them off. His mouth then trailed past the clothing, and onto my legs.
I felt my legs shake with pleasure. "Jesse," I panted as he worked his way up, "what are you doing?"
He gave a slightly breathy chuckle. "Susannah, do not think that those books have been collecting dust." I was momentarily shocked.
"You read them?" I asked. He gave a wry smile.
"Anything to help me make you happier," he said, and with that his face disappeared beneath the hem, and I felt his mouth directly between my legs.
"Oh!" I gasped, and began to moan his name. I found myself both unable to breathe and panting at the same time. Every inch of my skin was like ice on fire. It was incredible.
Soon after, his lips trailed back up to mine, and I reached down and undid his pants and pushed them down, with his help. I could feel his, erm, desire for me. He pulled off my slip, and pressed his lips to my chest, kissing and licking and making me go mad.
After a few moments, I pulled his face up to mine and kissed him square on the mouth. I wrapped my legs around his waist, and he got the message. Soon he was rocking back and forth on top of me, giving me incredible pleasure—and, judging by his sighs and moans, I was giving him the same.
It felt so good, so right to be back together this way after so long. The ecstasy and emotion built up inside me, until it exploded and left me short of breath and wrung out. Jesse collapsed on top of me moments later, and we both just held each other as we recovered.
"I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too."
I dug through my purse, looking for gum—the number one must have for plane flights (aside from identification, ticket, and boarding pass, of course). Jesse and I had about fifteen minutes before we boarded our flight to San Juan, and I realized I didn't have it with me.
Jesse looked up from his newspaper as I stood up. "I'm just running to get some gum," I said, and kissed him quickly. Okay, maybe not so quickly. But I was still high off the endorphins from last night, and am looking forward to our ten, uninterrupted days together very much.
I hurried over to the little duty-free shop, and grabbed myself a bottle of water, a pack of gum, and a copy of Cosmo (I figured it wouldn't hurt to do some reading myself). As I got into line, someone bumped into me and pushed me into the man in front of me.
"Excuse me," I said, but he turned around, and I gaped. "Paul?" He looked at me for a second with wide eyes.
"Suze?" I instinctively took a step back from him. He gaped at me for a second. He seemed to shocked to be snide or an ass, like he usually was.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, then rephrased myself. "Where are you going?"
"Boston," he said. "I'm going to an internship at a law firm there, before I start at Harvard Law in the fall. My flight was delayed, so I'm grabbing a snack." I nodded. I should have expected he was going to be a lawyer.
I wonder if he would ever have to defend someone like himself.
"What about you?" he asked. A small bubble of pride and happiness swelled in my chest.
"I'm leaving for my honeymoon," I said, with only a trace of a gloat. "I got married yesterday."
His eyes widened. "What are you, 22? What, are you pregnant?" I rolled my eyes.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence. But surprisingly, you were wrong all those years ago. Someone can love me." His cheeks flushed at the implications, and he seemed embarrassed about the past that I had just thrown in his face.
"Suze, listen, I--"
"Paul!" A girl a bit younger than us, probably about 20, came up to Paul. She was petite, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and big (fake) boobs. She immediately wrapped herself around him. "I was so worried, why didn't you tell me where you were going?"
"You were asleep, I didn't want to wake you up," he explained to her. "I'm getting you some pistachios." She smiled and batted her eyes at him. Then she noticed me.
"Paul, who's this?" she asked, mildly suspicious.
"A… an old friend," he said lamely. "Suze, this is Brittany Loweston."
"We're going to Boston for the summer," she gloated. "He's going to Harvard, and I'm going to be dancing with the ballet there." I wondered briefly how she could stay upright in her turns, being so top heavy. "Are you coming to Boston too? For school? My Paulie is going to Harvard," she repeated.
I was silent for a moment, wondering how naïve this girl really was. Should I tell her? About Paul? He caught my eye, and there was a pleading gaze in them. I looked away from him, and back to Brittany.
"So I hear," I said with a falsely warm smile. "No, my flight to Puerto Rico boards in a few minutes. I'm going on my honeymoon." Her eyes widened, then flitted to my finger.
"Congratulations," she said. "Where is your husband?" I was about to open my mouth when someone behind me spoke.
"Susannah, what is he doing here?" Jesse had come to check on me, and evidently recognized Paul—who, actually, was staring at him with wide eyes. So was Brittany.
"Him? You married him?" Paul exclaimed. I stuck my chin out defensively.
"Of course I married him." Brittany looked at us both confusedly.
Jesse eyed him suspiciously, but spoke gently to me. "Susannah, we're boarding soon." The line was up to Paul, but he stepped aside and let me pay before him.
"It was nice to meet you, Brittany," I said politely as Paul paid. She nodded, pressing her bosom against Paul—who was clearly brooding. Why, I don't know. He had his blonde bimbo, I had my husband. We both had what we wanted. "Have fun in Boston."
As we were walking away, Jesse put his arm around my waist protectively. I snuggled against him.
"What did he have to say?" he asked me, once we were out of earshot from them.
"He's going to Boston," I said. "He's going to Harvard in the fall." Jesse wrinkled his nose, and I laughed. "And his girlfriend is a ballerina." I paused. "I wasn't sure whether or not to tell her. About Paul."
"Did you?" he asked. I shook my head.
"I was about to, but then he just looked at me, like he was begging me not to. Maybe she's different… maybe I was the different one." Jesse tightened his arm on me, giving me a sort of hug. "He just…looked so sorry."
"Maybe he is. It's been a long time, Susannah. Maybe he's changed. When we get back, look her up. Even if he isn't like he used to be, she deserves to know what sort of skeletons he has in his closet." I nodded, and rested my head on his shoulder.
"Continental Airlines, Flight 2947, to San Juan, will be boarding passengers at this time." Jesse and I looked at each other with small smiles on our faces, before grabbing our carry-ons and getting into the line that was forming.
We boarded the plane, and Jesse stashed my (heavy) bag above us with ease, then settled down next to me and took my hand.
"Are you ready, Susannah?" And I knew he wasn't just asking about the flight, or our honeymoon, but rather the rest of our lives.
I smiled. "Absolutely."
Much thanks to all of those who reviewed throughout the course of the trilogy, and I ask that everyone who read this review now… just let me know what you thought, how I can improve, etc. Thanks so much!