Hi Phil fans. Here's the last chapter. I hope you like where it ends. Thanks for reading and thanks for all of your kind words!
Keely didn't say a word, but she stared at him intensely. Phil tookher silenceas a sign that he needed to explain. His heart was racing, but he was desperate for her to know.
"I didn't expect this to happen, Keel. I really didn't. But when it happened I let it, and even though I thought it might be risky I wanted it more than anything. But, gosh, at the same time I just didn't want to do anything stupid. I didn't want you to think I was, you know, a doofus," Phil said.
Keely felt like this was all a dream. It was almost like she was watching someone else's life, not hers. She couldn't believe that he felt so strongly—she had thought for so long that she was the one with all the feelings. She wanted to reach across the space between them and melt in his arms. But Phil seemed to be on a roll, so she thought she should let him go on, get it off his chest. No one had ever said such wonderful things to her before. So she smiled at him, to let him know she was glad he felt the way he did. He was beginning to look nervous. "Well, duh, of course you're a doofus, Phil." Then she reached out and looped a finger around a button on his shirt, pulling him toward her a few inches.
Phil let out a breath. "Gosh I'm glad you finally said something," he said. "I was worried I had messed up big time and read everything the wrong way—"
"No, I, Phil—I'm just so happy," Keely said. "I guess I was just, I don't know, knocked out by this."
"Me too. It's crazy," Phil said. "For a while I didn't know how you felt. I mean, there were these little moments where you'd look at me and there would be something in your eyes or your smile and I kind of thought maybe just maybe there's a connection, but then I didn't know for sure. And I didn't want to mess up the regular stuff by blabbing about my feelings."
"Aw, Phil." Keely looked straight into his eyes. Phil's forehead was wrinkled up still. Like he was thinking hard about Algebra.
"I guess I was afraid you'd be like 'What the heck are you saying, Phil?'" and you'd feel funny about it and we couldn't be how we are now, you know, which is completely comfortable. And it was worth not telling you just so I could have you at least for a friend. Does that make any sense? 'Cause when I say it out loud it doesn't sound like it makes any sense. . . . You have no idea what you do to me, Keely. Really. You drive me nuts."
"Drive you nuts? How's that?" she said, jamming her index finger into a glob of cake icing and licking it off.
Phil put his hands on her shoulders, and turned her toward him. "Well, I can't concentrate when you're there for one thing." He laughed. "I want to do everything with you. I want to experience everything with you. I love the way you smell. How soft your hands are. How good it feels when you hug me like that. The way your hair falls in your eyes. When you're not there I miss you. We did this thing right. We got to know each other in a regular friends way. But I was prepared, if you didn't feel the same. I knew that I was still the luckiest guy in the world because I got to know you. And be your friend. Really, Keel. When I think of all the towns in the world where that time machine could have broken down and all the people I could have met . . . We landed here. And I found you."
"Golly," Keely said, her eyes like saucers.
"That's right. Golly. And so now I've got to do something because I've been agonizing over it for longer than you can imagine," he said. Phil's face was serious and vulnerable and happy at once. He hesitated for a second, staring into her eyes.
"What, Phil?" Keely said, a little anxiously.
And just as the words left her lips, Phil Diffy held his breath, shut his eyes, and kissed Keely Teslow. The kiss was timid at first—their noses bumped and Phil's hands didn't know where to go, but finally they slid down around her waist and pulled her close to him and he relaxed a little. At one point, Phil opened his eyes as if he had to see it to believe it. And Keely did too. But the whole time, Phil felt as if someone were pouring warm water over his head. Keely's lips tasted like the cake frosting. He grinned when he recognized it and their teeth bumped together. "You taste like birthday cake," he whispered.
"Phil!" Keely said, giggling. "Stop smiling! It's really hard to kiss you while you're smiling like that."
"Did you just say it? You're kissing me? Phil and Keely are kissing." Phil glanced around the deserted park and shouted, "Look everyone, Phil's kissing Keely!" He kissed her again. "Keely you have no idea what a thrill this is. I mean—there's just—nothing I can say, no words. I can't even tell you how I feel. I can't believe this is happening!" Phil shook his head and stood up, pacing in front of the picnic table, waving his arms. "I bet I really sound like a doofus now, don't I? Keel, did you know that you had this . . . something . . . that could make me feel so incredible? Did you know," Phil said, grinning again and turning toward her, "that I almost kissed you in our garage that night after the dance?"
"No . . . but I kind of wanted you to," she said, blushing.
"Well, I really did. But I lost my nerve big time. Not a lot of experience, Keel. Believe it or not, in the future, Phil Diffy's not much of a ladies' man. Something about you twenty-first-century girls, though, brings out the adorable in me—"
"Phil I wanted it to be you," Keely broke in, tears—happy ones—welling up inside her eyes."I wanted you to be the boy who fell in love with me as hard as I had fallen in love with you," she said. Phil smiled so big his face hurt, and he leaned toward her to wipe her tears with the sleeve of his shirt. "But I was afraid. I don't know why exactly…and I'd try to talk myself out of it because I never knew when you might leave and I knew it would make me so sad… but then I just couldn't deny it anymore. I would do the weirdest things like accidentally touch your hand on purpose or lean in a little closer than I needed to tell you something. I'd make up reasons to meet you at your locker or call you. Did you ever pick up on it?" She smiled, the tears sparkling.
"I thought so, but then I kept thinking, 'Diffy, it's just a coincidence . . . she's a girl, girls are like that and she's Keely. She could have any guy in the world,' and I just didn't see how I could be the one you wanted," Phil said.
"I didn't know what else to do," Keely said, shrugging.
"Why don't people just say it?" Phil asked no one in particular. "How come we danced around it like that?"
"I don't know, Phil." Then Keely stood and hugged him. One of her old bear hugs. But this one was different. Phil wouldn't let her go. He breathed in that scent he loved so much, that nearly intoxicated him. She giggled into his ear. "Phil can you believe this? It's us. It's you and me. Together."
He leaned his head back to look at her, smiling. "Come on. Let's book."
"Where?" Keely said.
"It's still my birthday. And I've got the Skyak," Phil said. "Anywhere you want."
"Actually, Phil, I have some other plans," Keely said, a little bit mysteriously.
"Really?" said Phil.
"What about we take a long walk back to your house and then watch scary movies all night?" Keely said, grinning.
An image of Keely in his arms, burying her face in his chest while a scary movie played, flashed through his mind, and his heart skipped a beat.
"Anything to be close you," Phil said.
"Ooh, great! I got the cake," Keely said, picking up the box. The candles had melted all the way down by now.
"And I got the girl," Phil said to himself. He took her free hand in his, brought it to his lips, and kissed it. Then they walked down the dark street toward the Diffys' house, hands entwined. A perfect match.