Author's Note: The moment you've all been waiting for! The last chapter of Tainted Promise is up right now. It's rather short, but I hope you enjoy it anyways. Thank you so much for all my consistent reviewers and I hope you love this chapter.

Chapter 11:

Troy's POV+

I haven't been able to think. I haven't been able to sleep. I haven't been able to eat.

Everytime I try to take my mind off Ryan—to try and do something else—like community service, I keep thinking about how sweet the babies are, like Ryan. How perfect and beautiful their eyes are—like Ryan's. At night, in the empty hotel room by myself, there's a huge space next to me—a hole that matches the one in my heart. I couldn't stand it, so now I'm rooming with Chad and Zeke. Everytime I eat I think about how perfectly Ryan's fingers moved in front of him, so I can't eat and I'm constantly hungry and dizzy.

It's been going on for a week.

Sharpay's talking to me again, if that's any help. She hates me still, hates me for not being able to do what was right, give myself up, but I think she understands more. She understands that I'm weak, that I'm scared.

That I'm not Ryan. I'll never be as perfect as Ryan. I just don't have the person it takes to be him in me…

I'm weak and I know it.

That's why I'm scared right now.


The doctor just called.

Ryan's awake.

Ryan's POV+

Sharpay leaves the room, and I smile faintly. It's good to have a sister like her—someone who loves you like that.

There's a small scuffle at the door and Troy enters. I freeze.

He shuffles in, his eyes on the floor, like he's ashamed of himself. I guess he should feel bad, taking advantage of me like that.

"Hey Ryan," he mumbles, and when he looks up, I see he's gone through a lot. His eyes have dark circles under them, and he looks like he hasn't been eating much. His eyes are sort of red and he looks really bad. Of course he's still beautiful though—beautiful in a now lost way and not the energetic way he's been looking for awhile.

"Hey," I whisper quietly. What am I supposed to say? This is the guy who broke my heart, who led me to cut myself and almost die. Now I'm facing him and I wish I was dead so I wouldn't have to go through the pain of knowing that he was the one who used me and I was the one who believed it was love.

"Ryan, I didn't mean it with Gabriella, I…"

So he knows I know. I should be angry. I should hate him. I should want to kill him, but the problem is I don't and instead I just want to sit there and cry. Of course he doesn't love me—he can have any girl he wants, why does he want a guy too? I'm so stupid. I can't believe myself. I know I shouldn't believe him yet I want to so badly. It just seems like everything's going downhill from here…

Troy's POV+

Ryan looks scared. No, that's not right. Ryan looks downright terrified.

His blue eyes are full of haunted fear, his lip's quivering as if he's about to cry.

And I want to kill myself.

I want him to be angry, to hate me, to kick me like I deserve. But he doesn't and instead he just sits there, looking at me with this betrayed look on his face.

I give him such a pathetic excuse. I didn't mean it.

You can't kiss somebody and then just shrug it off. No matter how much you pretend it's not a big deal, it is, because it leaves a mark on you forever. I hate myself.

"Ryan," I try again, but he gives me this flash of pain in his blue eyes that say Don't.

He doesn't believe me, and he has a right to. I wouldn't believe myself if I was him. If I was him I'd want to kill me. He thinks I was cheating on him, that's obvious, but…

"Please Ryan," I say, and take the risk of putting my hand over his. He pulls it away almost instinctively, leaving my hand feeling empty. I've waited for Ryan to wake up for so long, but now that he's awake, I wish I had more time to fix what I've messed up.

"It's ok," I try to say again, looking anywhere but those betrayed blue eyes. He looks so scared and it hurts me more than anything I've ever felt before. I've really messed up bad this time…

Ryan's POV+

"How can you say it's ok?" my voice escapes in a hiss. I'm so scared, so sad, but I have to hide it with anger. "It's not ok, Troy. You lied to me. You promised me that you only loved me and then…" my voice breaks and I sound so pathetic. Tears are coming to my eyes and I want more than anything to just hurt Troy, to hit him, but I can't. I've always been so weak, so vulnerable and I don't know why I even wonder why so many people take advantage of me. "I… can't believe you Troy."

Troy moves closer to me and I flinch. For a second I'm afraid he's going to slap me. I almost want him to slap me, to assure me that I'm stupid for believing such a thing and of course he loves me…

But he doesn't.

He just tries to hold my hand instead and I jerk away again. I see the pain in his eyes and somehow, I'm glad that I hurt him because he deserves it. He deserves it so much and I hate how I want to forgive him so badly.

"Ryan, I messed up really bad," he tries again, his voice a raw call of misery. Tears are in his eyes now and they slowly run down his face as he leans forward. "I'm sorry, Ryan. You should know I love you. I love you Ryan. I gave everything to you—God, I gave my virginity to you. I love you and I'm sorry I messed up, Ryan. You don't know how lost I've been without you… I've been so scared, so messed up, so hurt."

"Ryan, I can't eat without you. I can't breathe. I can't live without you Ryan. Everything seems so messed up, I messed things up so bad and everything… I don't know Ryan. I can't do anything without thinking about you. Every time I wake up I wonder how you're doing. Everything's just spinning around me and it seems like I was just living in a dream until you came along," his voice breaks with pain as he tries to make me understand. "I… I don't know anymore Ryan. I don't know anymore. All I know it that I love you and please, you need to take me back. I don't deserve you, Ryan. I don't deserve it either. I know I should just get rid of myself and die but I have to tell you that I'm sorry. Please, please take me back. I feel so broken and so lost without you and…" he stops, tears flooding his eyes, his body racked with sobs. "I'm so scared because I don't know what's going to happen to me if you don't forgive me. I don't think I can go on without you…"

Now there's just silence.

Troy's POV+

I lower my eyes, ashamed of myself. I hurt Ryan, badly, and I know it. I shouldn't be begging but somehow I can't help it. I need him. I need him.

I need him to forgive me so I can live with myself. This guilt has been haunting me, breaking my soul inside.

It seems like I'm sitting here for hours and then I feel a slight touch on my hand. I look up, and it's Ryan.

"Do you promise?" he asks me in a hollow voice. "Do you promise that all you say is true?"

I nod, tears still flowing from my eyes, choking slightly on the lump in my throat.

"You promise never to hurt me like that again?" His fragile blue eyes are searching deep within my soul. "You promise?"

I nod again, sniffing and pushing my head against his chest.

Ryan pulls me close to him as we pull together and hug. I hold him close against my chest and kiss his head over and over again. I bring his face close to mine and kiss those perfect lips that I've been missing for so long. The emptiness inside me is eaten away, destroyed because I know that I have him back with me, the absolute perfection.

I know things will be hard. I know things will hurt but I've taken the first step in that new chapter.

Life's a tainted promise but now I have him back. I have Ryan back and I love him. Life drowns you in regrets, hurting you, pulling you in, but I'm lucky.

Because now I have someone to go through it with me.

Author's Note: Well, that's it. It didn't turn out as well as I wanted, but it's the best I can do. Keep your eyes open for a sequel. I'm thinking about calling it Falling Grace but I had another story up here with that same title. Oh well, the next story will be about Ryan and Troy facing the prejudice together at East High. I know there are some stories like it, but mine—I assure you—will be different. Check out my other stories for the time being. Quiet Eloquence is actually a better work than this piece in my opinion and I started a story titled Distorted Elegance in The Suite Life section. Read and review them, please. Review and let me know how you liked it.

-Falling With Grace