Hello! Here it is--the FINAL chapter! It took me all week to come up with it, so thank you for your patience. I actually read through The Blackout one more time for inspiration when I got back from vacation, which is referenced in one part, soI hope you like the ending...thank you's to come after the story ends...so here you go. ENJOY :-)
With their lips locked in a passionate kiss, Tommy and Jude stood in the midst of a stunned crowd. They continued until they were both completely breathless, parting lips but keeping their heads together. The crowd gawked at them, most people frozen on the dance floor watching their every move.
Finally feeling their minds come back, they slowly separated, their eyes still locked and grins on their faces.
All at once, from behind them, came a wave in unison of "awwwww." At the sound from the crowd, they both turned around to see all of the guests standing around watching them. They both instantly smiled wider, seeing the crowd's faces light up in happiness.
Suddenly, from the corner of the room, they heard EJ's voice rise above the others as she shouted, "Well, it's about freakin' time!"
Tommy and Jude laughed as a few people laughed along with them. Jude blushed nervously, turning towards Tommy to shield her reaction from the crowd. He pulled her in, holding her against him.
"So I guess it's official now…" he said quietly, just to Jude.
"There's no going back," she agreed, keeping her head buried in his chest but turning to look out at the room.
"This was your idea, you know," he reminded her. "So no complaining allowed."
"Okay, okay," she said, sighing and stepping out of his close embrace. She reached out and grabbed his hand, holding it tightly. "Ready to face them?"
He grinned back at her and brought her hand to his lips, kissing it lightly. "Let's go."
An hour later, the party was winding down and people were saying their goodbyes. Jude saw everyone on their way out, thanking them for coming. Each of her friends wished her well and congratulated her on her birthday and her relationship with Tommy. She had never been happier in her life. Everything had fallen neatly into place and though there were still a few details to work out, she genuinely felt at ease knowing that it would be alright eventually.
Before leaving, her mom stopped to tell Jude that she was heading home.
"I'm assuming you're not ready to go yet?" her mom asked.
Jude glanced over at Tommy, standing on the side of the room talking to Kwest. She looked back at her mom and shook her head. "Nope."
Victoria looked at Jude knowingly, then asked quietly, "Okay…so I'll see you tomorrow morning then?"
Jude looked at her mother in shock.
"Oh Jude, I'm not as old as you think I am. It's your birthday. Go have fun."
Jude's jaw dropped open at her mother's words. "Seriously?"
Victoria nodded, then added, "But be careful! You might technically be an adult now, but I refuse to be a grandmother anytime soon."
"Mom!" Jude exclaimed, blushing from her mom's remark.
"I'm just saying…"
"Mom, I know exactly what you're saying," Jude said, a little quieter. "But we're always careful."
"That's what I like to hear," Victoria said before kissing her daughter. "Good night, Jude."
"Good night, mom," Jude said, watching her mother walk through the doors to the parking lot.
Still flustered by her mom's reaction, Jude didn't hear Sadie approach. "You okay?"
Jude turned towards Sadie and asked, "Did you know Mom was so…so…."
"So not oblivious?" Sadie returned with a smile. "It's scary, isn't it?"
"Yeah, I'm starting to think that," Jude said. "I wonder what else she knows about me."
Sadie laughed lightly. "She knows everything, Jude. I'd give up trying to hide anything."
"Great," Jude muttered defeatedly.
"Anyway, I think it's time for me to take off," Sadie said, leaning in to hug her sister. "I'm glad everything worked out for you, Jude."
Jude smiled confidently. "Thanks. Are you heading back to school?"
"Nope, I'm actually going to Josh's. He's working on that movie downtown and has the rest of the night off. So…."
"Go," Jude instructed. "Thanks for coming, Sades."
"You think I'd miss this?" Sadie asked, looking around. "Happy birthday, Jude."
"Thanks," Jude returned, hugging her sister one more time before she took off.
As she watched her sister leave, Kwest and Tommy approached her.
"Well, kids," Kwest began, standing between them and wrapping his arms around both of them, "it's been quite the evening."
"That it has," Jude agreed, walking with them towards the door.
"Did your mom leave, Jude?" Tommy asked, from Kwest's other side.
"Yeah, she took off a few minutes ago. But she made sure to give me a quick lecture on the value of protection before leaving," Jude added.
Kwest immediately broke out in hysterics. "And I missed that? Did she explain where babies come from too?"
"Fortunately, no," Jude said quickly, following Kwest out the door and into the cool night air. "But she did say she doesn't want to be a grandmother anytime soon."
"She did not," Tommy replied quietly, from beside her.
"Oh yes, she did," Jude confirmed, hearing Kwest snicker.
"That is too classic…so I'll see you both tomorrow?" Kwest asked.
"You got it," Tommy said.
"Happy birthday, Jude!" Kwest yelled, approaching his car. "And make sure to use protection!"
"Kwest!" they both yelled at him, as he laughed and got into his car, driving away.
They watched him leave the parking lot and looked at each other before getting into the Viper.
"Well, Mr. Quincy…"
"Yes, Miss Harrison…"
She hugged him lightly and asked, "Have I told you how much I loved my party?"
He held her in his arms and replied, "Maybe, but it doesn't hurt to hear it again."
She looked up at him, his blue eyes radiating into hers. "I loved it," she said quietly, leaning in to kiss him. "And I love you."
"Good," he replied, kissing her gently on the lips. "I loved the party too."
She pulled back and looked at him expectantly. "And?"
"And…I loved Green Day's performance…" he continued, smiling at her oncoming frustration.
"And?" she prodded.
"And the birthday cake," he added. "I love chocolate."
"That's it? You loved Green Day and the birthday cake?" she questioned, knowing he was kidding but still getting annoyed.
"Oh wait, there is something else," he said, looking into the air.
'What?" she asked excitedly.
"I love…watching you dance, Harrison," he said with a smirk.
"Hey!" she said, lightly hitting his arm.
He started imitating her awkward dance moves in the parking lot. "Oh now go, walk out the door…"
"Quincy!" she yelled, grinning sheepishly at his attempt to mock her, clumsily stumbling around. She couldn't help but laugh, approaching him to get him to stop.
He stopped dancing and looking at her giggling from his impersonation, her face lit up by the moonlight. He quickly silenced her by bringing his lips to hers. Taken by surprise, she instinctively wrapped her arms around him and felt her whole body weaken at the sensation of his soft lips.
Breaking away, he gently smoothed out her hair and looked into her eyes, saying softly, "I love you, Jude."
She smiled widely and gave him a quick kiss. "I love you too."
He reached for her hand, leading her over towards the Viper.
She turned thoughtful as they walked towards the car. "Quincy?"
"Remember when we first got together? During the blizzard?"
"Of course," he replied.
"Do you remember saying that we needed to be a team? That these past five months wouldn't be easy but we needed to stick together?"
"I remember," he said with a grin, recalling that night in her bedroom at the end of the storm.
"Well, I remember not being scared about whatever was to come because I thought that we could handle anything. And we did."
"You're right," he agreed. "We made it through these five months with only minimal casualties."
"Exactly," she replied, pausing by the door to his car to turn to look at him. "It wasn't all easy, but we made it. And you know, we're still a great team."
He smiled lightly at her and leaned in to give her a gentle kiss. "We're the best team I know."
She beamed back at him warmly, holding his hands in hers. "Do you think for my next birthday we can really just go out for dinner?"
"But I thought you loved the party," he said, appearing disappointed.
"I did," she reassured him, "but all of this activity is exhausting."
"You are getting old," he commented with a smirk.
She playfully hit him, "Hey, Gramps, look who's talking…," she said, smiling. "I think I'd like a year off, that's all. Next year, let's just go out to dinner. Just the two of us."
"Next year, huh?" he questioned with a surprised grin. "Think we'll make it that long, Harrison?"
She smiled and leaned in close to him, her breath on his lips. "I know we will," she whispered, as he smiled affectionately. He quickly captured her lips, holding her close, showing his agreement with her prediction.
After a few moments, he opened the car door for her, before getting in himself. Pulling the car out of the G-Major parking lot, he reached over for her hand and held it tightly. She looked over at him and gazed into his eyes, meeting his content smile, before feeling the car turn onto the highway and drive off into the night.
Thank you all so very very much! I started to create a list of those reviewers who have consistently posted comments on every chapter from the beginning, but honestly, there were too many of you! So you know who you are--I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate all of your feedback and constant support.
To everyone out there reading this, thank you. Whether you submitted reviews or not, just knowing that people were actually reading this story and The Blackout has been incredibly moving. You made me want to create the best stories possible and I hope that you're all happy with the results. Since I'm a little older, this fanfic world has become my creative outlet and I'm so happy to see how you've all embraced these stories and made them your own.
This fanfic is dedicated to all of you, frequent reviewers or not, who continue to inspire me.
As mentioned previously, I have another fanfic coming out soon, so keep your eyes open for it. I think it'll be called "When Lightening Strikes." Very different from these two, but it'll be good, I promise.
Thanks again to all of you out there--you all rock! And here's to waiting for another great season of IS next year!