queenlulu, Digi-Girl101, Blondie121147, JyouraKoumi, onlyaname:Thank you all for your support in this story. It means a lot to me. I hope you do enjoy the next and last chapter of this story.
BanditPonyta: Thank you for your review. I have to point out that Sora was an adult and her mom was only letting her go. It was something I remember my mother doing with my oldest sister. You can only treat them like children before you left your hands up and let them go.
Aki Midoshi: Humour was my escape from a sticky situation. The chapter before was most difficult to write. I am glad it came out the way everyone viewed it.
Stained In Negativity: Thank you for your advice through out this story. It means a lot to me. I believed I made some improvement and hopefully I will continue to make more. As your story, it could not be compared with mine. It was a very emotional story that was so believable. The story idea, the emotions were so true. The ending was exactly as it should be a taste of life. It was a wonderful story and I cannot wait to read your next one.
Broken Angel01: Out of everyone, I need to thank you the most. If you had not written your story, I would never have thought of this story. Thank you for letting me use Ryoko. I hope you enjoyed the story and Ryoko stayed in character that matches your story.
To all: This is it. I am very nervous about posting this last and final chapter in this story. Be warned, it is long.
When I sat down to write it was not to end as it did. The new ending will come after Sora continues to speak with her mother. It all just fell into place. I hope everyone enjoys the story and thank you all for supporting me with this story. Best of luck to you all.
"Down again?" Tk looked over at Kari and Davis.
Davis bowed down to the small stroller to peer inside at the infant. "He looks out."
"Oh he is very out of it." Tk nodded. "But he is Matt's kid and if learned anything today we learned that he is a very evil child."
Both of his friends nodded in agreement. Tk pulled his hat back, revealing a few strains of honey wheat hair to show across his forehead. "Once we push him up to the door…BAM, he's awake screaming his head off."
"He does have your brother's lung, that's for sure." Kari crossed her arms.
"I don't want to go for another ride." Davis pouted. "I'm starting to get Claustrophobic! The walls are shrinking! We are going to be sardines in a few minutes! We can't stay here any longer!"
"Get a hold of yourself!" Kari took Davis by the shoulders, giving him a few hard shakes. "Now listen to me Davis. We are not going to let an infant get the better of us!"
Davis looked down at the small boy sleeping peacefully in his stroller. "Tk can keep my thirteen dollars and thirty-three cents."
"What are you talking about?" Kari paled.
Davis shook his head, "The next time that doors open, I'm making a break for it."
"Are you ditching me?" Tk mouth fell open. "My friend, my best friends is going to leave me when I need him the most!"
"You have Kari."
"I don't want Kari!" Tk started to panic. "I need you! Your stupid outburst keeps me sane! Kari does not make stupid outburst! She just stands there and yells!"
"I feel so loved." Kari rolled her eyes.
"I can't take it! Up and down and up and down and up and down, down, down….my head is pounding and I can't come up with any more excuses of why we were seen on the same floor eight times and what about Mr. Bentley who keeps trying to give us prunes, it ain't normal, it ain't worth the money, I…"
"Breath!" Tk and Kari chimed together.
"You're going to hyperventilate if you don't calm down." Kari warned the bushy hair boy.
"Do you want my brown bag?" Tk held up a brown bag he had used on the fifth floor when he found himself in Davis' situation.
Kari took the bag from Tk and rolled it into a ball. "We are not going to do this at every floor. Get a back-bone boys!"
"What's going on?" A voice came from behind them.
The trio turned to looks at the newcomer then back at each other. None noticed the door to the elevator opening up behind him. A nice little audience stood watching while Tk's brother held the door open.
"Matt!" Tk threw himself at his brother, Kari and Davis followed his lead. Kari wrapped her arms around Matt's neck while Davis threw his arms around Matt's stomach. "I love you! Don't ever leave us again!"
"Get. Away. From. Me." Matt hissed.
The small group released their hold on the taller blond. Matt smoothed his clothes back in place, glanced over his shoulder at the strangers that stopped to listen to the babysitters complain before he stepped into the elevator.
Tk followed suit with Kari at his heels. Davis tried to make his escape but Matt was quicker and the quick sharp yank at Davis' shirt collar was enough to get the boy through the steel doors.
Matt stared forward; ignore the crowed at the door shut before him. He pressed the button to his mother's floor. "May I ask what that little theatrics scene was about?
"I'd rather you didn't." Davis said softly.
"Nothing." Kari and Tk said in union. Davis turned a scornful look their way, shaking his head in disgust.
Matt nodded his head. "Did you have any difficulties?"
"Yes." Davis nodded his head but caught a glimpse of Kari and Tk shaking their heads. "Err…I mean no."
"Yes or no?" Matt shot a brow up at he turned to look at Davis.
"At first no but after awhile…." Davis shrugged.
"He cried." Tk sighed, attempting to scratch his head with out taking his hat off. It had a comical effect and Matt had to press his lips together in order to not grin.
"He really wasn't bad. I mean he's an infant and can't help himself." Kari bit her bottom lip. "We were over our heads. We thought it would be easier then…"
"What we thought." Davis grinned until Matt glared at him.
"But now that you're here it doesn't seem that bad." Tk sighed.
"Then I apologies. I didn't think he would be too difficult for you three." Matt pushed the stroller out of the elevator.
"He wasn't." Tk rushed, "We were just not expecting babysitting to be that much work!"
"Yeah, he really is a great kid, just like his dad!" Davis tried to butter things up.
"Don't, Davis. Grovelling isn't flattering." Matt warned the younger boy. He stopped before his mother's door, waiting for Tk to open it for them.
Tk gave his friends a quick glance. "You okay, Matt?"
"Yeah, just a long night." Matt said softly. At seeing his mother, he placed the best fake smile he could onto his face. "Hello."
"Matt." His mother rushed over to give him a hug, which he allowed. Their visits were getting easier and more comfortable. Rocks still laved in their paths but their mother and son relationship was getting better. "Oh, you look tired."
"I am." Matt pulled away from her. "I hope you don't mind, I really want to go home."
"I understand." Nancy watched her oldest son gather Ryoko's belongings. "Here let me help." She started stuffing the diaper bag with toys and empty bottles.
"Thank you." Matt said quietly. He bent down to place a blanket tight against Ryoko so he would not take a chill from the night's air.
"Call me when you get home." Nancy touched Matt's back, rubbing it as she done when he was a child. "Let me know you made it home alright."
"Sure." He bent down, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek but did not linger any longer. The only thing he wanted was to be home.
Matt placed his son in the crib beside his bed and dimmed the light so it would softly glow in the corner of his room. Although Tk was happy to give up his room for Ryoko, Matt felt better with his son in the same room.
Sitting on his bed, he watched his son sleep. "I guess it's just you and me, kid." Matt said softly. "How can anyone not want to take a chance with us? We're two good looking guys, right?"
Matt grinned as Ryoko stretched his arm in his sleep. He slowly strolled up the crib to place one more good night kiss on his son's head. "Well I love you. You're no bother in my life."
"Then you think that I should…"
"I think you should consider all of the possibilities." Toshiko watched her daughter place her head against the tabletop with a loud moan. She rose from her own place at the table, squeezing her daughter's shoulder gently. "It isn't that hard, Sora. Just close your eyes."
Sora rolled her eyes, "Mother…"
"Humour me, my darling. Now close your eyes." Toshiko began to rub the tension from her daughter's shoulders. "Clear your mind, take a few minutes and take a few deep breaths and try to picture yourself ten years from now."
Sora sighed once again but she did close her eyes and she did take several deep breathes. It felt good, great actually. To feel her mother so close, rubbing her shoulders as if releasing the burden she had placed upon herself. She watched the colour of darkness change from behind her eyelids. As her breathing became normal and the aches associated with tension disappeared under the slight comfortable pressure of her mother's hands, Sora's vision became clear allowing her to see. It was now all clear.
"What do you see?" Toshiko asked.
"I'm old. Very old…" Sora smiled.
"Well then I think you went too far, Sweetie. Only ten years."
"I'm in a large building surrounded by pencil stick girls wearing painted faces and my latest creation." Sora smirked. "Mother, I am famous."
"Great, I have an eye on this little cottage in the country…" Her mother teased. "But Sora, honey is that all you see? Just fame?"
"No I see….."
He found Sora bent down pinning a hem on a young girl's dress. He watched as a thick lock of red hair slipped out of the twist. With out thought, the woman brushed it from her eyes and tucked it behind her ear. He had done the very same thing for years. Touching her hair, brushing it from her face, feeling the thick soft strains of hair slid through his hands like silk.
Ten years and she still made his heart skip.
Today was her big day. A day where she was the centre of attention. Models wore her designs and pranced around on the catwalk. Her career started slow but the last three years, everything happened so quickly.
Matt's own career was a huge success but he also went through some tough years. A few years after high school his band signed a contract from a huge label company, but suddenly they took a turn for the worse. They did not like what they had become and who they were suppose to be. It was not long after the contract that the band called "Teenage Wolves" fell apart during the groups' college stage. Rumour has it that the cause was a due to the haircut Matt received. Matt however reassured everyone that he took the cut to fit his career choice as an astronaut and it had nothing to do with his band mates.
The break up only lasted two years when a fuzzy brown haired man brought the band back together and renamed them "The Wolves" - because they fought like a pack of wild dogs, the new manger claimed. Along with the new name came new fans, but the old fans caught on quickly.
"How are you holding up?" He asked as he walked closer to her.
Upon hearing the deep voice from above her, Sora pulled her eyes from her work and smiled at her husband. His hair might be shorter then it was during their high school years but he still looked the same. Golden hair, dark stormy eyes, and a smile that made her go weak. Ten years together and he still took left her breathless.
"Scared." Sora replied softly, taking the hand Matt offered as she rose from her kneeling position. Her hand went to the ache at the small of her back.
Matt grinned and kissed the top of her head. The back of his left hand softly slide over Sora's well-rounded belly causing the child within to shift it's position. "You should be proud, not scared. You worked hard for this day."
"I'm about to stand before a large crowed and in front of news reporters, magazine publishers and…well the world, it scares me."
"You're beautiful and you have nothing to fear. They'll love you." Matt licked his lower lip. "I of course always thought your creations were great and so have others. You'll be fine and it will be over quicker then you think."
"That's easy for you to say. You have been standing before a crowed for fifteen years now!" Sora pouted.
"Now it's your turn to share the spot light. Everyone gets to see this lovely lady behind this famous man." Matt sighed heavily before adding, "Of course now everyone will know that my wife dresses me."
Sora slid her hand up the dark blue dress jacket and over his shoulder to link her fingers together behind his neck. "If I didn't you would still be wearing faded jeans and black shirts."
"I look good in black." Matt held up his hand in protest.
"You look good in anything." Sora raised her eyebrows and grinned seductively at her husband of eight years. "Or nothing at all."
"Hmm?" Matt bent down to kiss her.
"Uncle Tai, there's mom!" A little boy with bright blue eyes bounced up and down. His golden half-turned locks bounced around his face.
Sora turned her head as the little boy raced towards her. She laughed aloud and bent low to receive the hug he hurled into her. Ryoko was a tall boy and Sora did not have to bend too low. She wrapped her arms about the boy's thin frame as tight as she could with out him complaining.
"Can't breathe!" Ryoko groaned.
"I am so happy to see you guys here!" Sora beamed.
"Me too? Are you happy to see me too, mommy?" A small red headed girl asked from Matt's side.
"Oh of course darling!" Sora bent down, "Mommy is always happy to see her little girl!"
"But you said 'guys' and I am a 'girl'." The girl stated.
"It's a figure of speech, Talia." Ryoko rolled his eyes at his sister.
Talia retaliated by sticking out her tongue.
"Enough." Matt's warning was a whisper, but his offsprings understood the tone clearly and let their small bickering end.
"This is…" Tai held out his hand at the huge crowed. "Huge Sora. No, correction. This is colossal!"
"Colossal?" Sora laughed.
"Yes you see 'colossal' is Tai's new word. After three colossal size coffee, he finds the word to be very amusing and very large."
"Oh." Sora eyed her friend.
"Yeah, mom! You should have seen him! Remember when Talia ate all of my Halloween candy? Uncle Tai acted just like she did!"
"I wasn't that bad." Tai rolled his eyes. "But let me tell you something, there aren't enough bathrooms in this town."
With in ten years, Tai had not changed much of his appearance. Like Matt, his hair has tamed down and not as wild as it once was in his younger days. His goggles are no longer with him but passed down to a friend that needed someone to look up too. His plans after high school fell apart due to an accident. A child ran into a path of an on coming car and Tai, the forever hero, was there to save the day but the broken leg and shatter hip left him rethink his career. During that time, he went through a lot of hardship but not alone. He was never alone. His friends remain and stuck by him even after he lost his tempter with them or with life. It was not long after his depression that he talked Matt into going back to his band.
"I am so scared. I can't believe I'm finally here." Sora squeezed Tai's arm as she looked around as the models rushed on stage to show off Sora's latest design.
"You shouldn't be. This is amazing. You're amazing." Matt bent down to kiss his wife softly on the lips.
It had taken Sora's father time to get custom to Matt being a part of her life but thanks to Ryoko and his dimpled smile, they won him over.
On her wedding night, he made a comment Sora would never forget:
"He must have stolen stars from the sky for you to place in your eyes. You look good being in love."
And it was true. Her eyes sparkled with love and being loved. They sparked when she talked about her family. She admired her husband and he thought she hung the moon.
Although Matt's last trip took him away from earth as well as his family for half the year, he managed to make it home for her big day. To be at her side as she always was for him. For better or for worse.
"Dad?" Ryoko tugged on his father's sleeve. "Are they…" He pointed at a young woman who just came off stage and started to shed her clothing.
"I think we better go." Matt quickly turned Ryoko around and gave his wife another kiss before steering his son back to their awaited seats. "Talia?"
"Can I stay with Mommy?" The little girl asked in a whisper so much like her father. She looked up at her mother with hopes of an approval.
Matt arched an eyebrow and Sora smiled. Years ago, she would have never known what he was thinking. Now, she could read him like an open book. Things were not always easy and there were times that she thought about giving up on their marriage but Matt would not have it. He fought to keep Sora by his side and time after time, he won her over. They did not give up and they worked through their problems.
Sora waved him to go with out their daughter and lead her daughter to the corner of the stage so she could peek over the crowed. Sora's eyes misted upon seeing her parents, her friends, and her own family there to support her.
"Dad! That girl was…"
"Yes I saw." Matt cut Ryoko off.
"His first naked girl was a model. You must be proud." Tai joked, smacking his long time friend on the back.
Ryoko blushed and rushed forward to his seat next to his other uncle.
Tk glanced at his nephew and laughed at Ryoko's words before glancing over at his older brother. Tk and Kari were currently engaged. They had an off again, on again relationship and everyone just wished they would get hitched before they had time to think it over. Davis had even given them a pamphlet about a drive thru wedding service.
Matt's brother was a writer who wrote books about his own childhood and mishaps. It soon became the teenage hand guide to survival. A producer had stepped forward wishing to produce Tk's material into a television series. It took Tk by surprise but he never did just jump into things and although he would love to see his writing on television, he was not sure if he was just quite ready for someone changing his story line.
Even though Kari's first experience with baby-sitting did not go very well, Kari turned out to be a daycare teacher and she loved her job. From the little arguments to the over reactions to someone using the red crayon. She loved the children and they attached themselves to her very quickly.
"She'll make me have a talk with him." Matt mumbled.
"Yeah, she will."
"What the hell do I say?"
"Well.. What did you're father tell you?"
"Just to use a condom every time."
"Well we all know you were a terrible listener." Tai sighed.
"I'm no good at this father and son stuff."
"Sure you are."
"He is only ten!"
"And how old were you when you caught on?"
"Oi!" Matt closed his eyes.
"Do you want me to talk to him?" Tai asked. "I think as godfather goes, I could speak to him of this matter."
Matt looked over at the other man, "What did your father tell you?"
"Go get em tiger." Tai smiled, a twinkle shone his eyes.
"Ah…I don't want you to speak to him." Matt shook his head.
"Okay but I know how easy you get tongued tied. If you need me, you know my number." Tai again patted Matt on the back before heading to his own seat.
Matt turned to walk towards Tk and his son when someone bumped into him. He reached out to steady the stumbling woman.
"Oh, sorry. It's crowed and I…" Her voice trailed off.
"Serene?" Matt whispered.
"Matt." The woman smiled and reached out, giving Matt a brief hug. "I can't believe I'm seeing you here!"
"It's been awhile." Matt nodded.
"You know each other?" A man step beside the red headed woman.
"Yes. Aaron, this is Matt. I meant him while I was on a study course in college. " She paused looking into Matt's eyes. "Matt, my husband Aaron."
"Pleasure to meet you." Aaron held out his hand and Matt accepted it quickly, giving him a firm but brief shake. "You look exactly like the guy that sings in the Wolves."
"So I've been told." Matt turned to look at the lady at the man's side.
"Aaron." Serene slapped him playfully on the arm. "This is the singer. You'll have to forgive my husband, he loves the classical music."
"What brings you to this function?" Matt asked, curiosity getting the best of him.
"Aaron is a top photographer." Serene smiled.
"I am highly sought after. Right now, I have three magazines fighting over me." Aaron puffed out his chest, clearly proud of his work.
"That's great." Matt nodded.
"You know, maybe later I can get a shot of you and your band? It would look great in my portfolio." Aaron hazel eyes grew large with the possibility.
"I would love to but this whole event is the cause of my wife and her designer work. It's her big day and I promised myself to stay out of the spot light this evening."
"That's sweet." Serene blink quickly. "So you're married then? I've heard rumours that you were but nothing concrete."
"Yes, we've been married for eight years."
"Happy?" Serene asked and Matt frowned as a glint shone in her eyes.
"Very much." Matt stated firmly.
"Good for you!" Aaron grinned, watching a young woman walk pass in a short skirt. "Nothing like a happy marriage."
Serene cast her eyes down.
"Why we've been married for…" Aaron quickly looked over at his wife, snapping his fingers.
"Going on twelve years now." She answered him.
"There, twelve wonderful years." Aaron squeezed his wife closer to him.
"Twelve years?" Matt stuck his tongue in the side of his cheek. "That's a long time."
"Sure is." Aaron continued speaking; missing the look Matt gave Serene. "But you'll find out that they go fast."
Matt only nodded his head.
"It was a pleasure to meet you Matt." Serene placed a hand on his shoulder and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "We must find our seats. Although it seems he has forgotten, Aaron is working tonight. He needs some shots from the stage." She slid her hand down Matt's arm to his hand, which she gave a quick squeeze.
"Again, it was a pleasure to meet you." Aaron nodded his head, taking his wife's arm and steering her to their seats.
"Was that who I thought it was?" Tai asked once Matt found his own seat.
Matt nodded his head.
"What did she want?" Tai asked bitterly.
Matt held up his hand and held a piece of paper between his fingers.
Tai took it, giving Tk a quick glance. "Her number? She gave you her number. Did you tell her that you're married?"
"Yes and she told me that she was. That she has been for twelve years." Matt mumbled.
"Twelve? Ry…he's only ten." Tk gave a quick glance at his nephew.
"What?" Ryoko asked. "Who was that lady?"
"An old acquaintance." Matt gave his son a smile.
"What are you going to do?" Tk asked.
Tk and Tai both nodded their heads.
"She didn't even ask about him." Matt looked over at Tai. "Not once."
"Never did like her…"
"Mom always asked about me. Right?" He shifts his eyes over to his brother.
"Every day she found out I saw you." Tk meant his brother's stare. "Every time."
Matt only nodded his head and put his arm over Ryoko's shoulder.
Normally, Ryoko would push his parents' public affection away. At ten years old, he did not want to be labelled a baby but tonight he sensed this father needed the closeness. He leaned into his father's arms, looking up with a smile that said, 'It'll be okay Dad.'
"I can't believe that's over!" Sora laughed into Matt's chest. Her high heel shoes wore strapped across one of his shoulders. "I just want to go to bed and sleep for three weeks!" She gave into a sleepy yawn, " I love our kids but darling, I am so glad your mother took them for this night."
Matt led her down to the hall to their apartment they had reserved for this night. "They were getting pretty tired."
"I know. Poor Talia fell asleep and drooled on Tk."
Matt smiled down at her, "I hope you don't expect to go to bed right away."
"Mmm?" Sora slinked her arms around Matt's neck as he unlocked the door behind her back. "What did you have in mind?"
"As much as I love what you're thinking…" Matt pushed the door open.
"Surprise!" A group of people swarmed the couple.
"Our dear friends had a different idea." Matt whispered in her ear.
He watched his wife from afar as she mingled with their friends, reliving the nightmares she had ran across while behind the scenes. Life was not always a bed of roses but if it was not for the thorns, one may never truly understand the beauty for something so wonderful.
Davis' laughter caught Matt's attention, averting his eyes to the other side of the room where a small crowd stood.
Davis had become an actor. At first, he was only starring in commercials, then a soap opera before he hit the big screen. Many producers wanted him for action or fantasy movies. Most stunts he was able to do himself and found the loved it more then acting.
Mimi also made an appearance on Television. Every Tuesday at four o'clock, a person could channel into the beautiful celebrity chef. Her recipes, although odd, were placed into a books and sold millions. The sad twisted fact was that her husband was always the guinea pig. After years of his mother's poor cooking skills, Tai still could not get a break.
Izzy became a computer analyzer as well as Video game developer. Davis and Tai are his biggest buyers.
Ken became an undercover police officer and Yolie stayed home with their many children.
Cody represented Ken in most court cases and became a well-known lawyer for placing hard criminals behind lock and key.
After years of hard, nose in the book, studying, Joe became a paediatrician and cared for his friends' children when they became ill or in Davis' case, broken a bone.
Matt felt eyes on him and turned to meet the jade colour eyes. With a silent raise of his glass, Akira saluted Matt.
Matt nodded his head and smiled. Akira has been secretly dating the sister of the drummer of the Wolves. In time, Takashi will find out and send his dear sister to therapy after he kills Akira.
Yutaka married a girl he only knew for two days. In three weeks, they will celebrate their fourth anniversary. They were made for each other.
Matt found a chair beside Akira and glanced over the crowed in his apartment.
"We've came a long way since your um…baby shower." Akira grinned over at Matt.
"Yes we have." Matt smiled. "Yes indeed."