Silvan Arrow: Well, the time has come to once again end another fic.
Eri, Tammy, Clara, and Amy: WHAT?
Eri: You can't be serious!
Tammy: What about us?
Clara: We'll be unemployed!
Amy: Such is the fate of an OC…
Silvan Arrow: Oh please, you'll be fine. Any other authors can use you in their stories as long as they ask permission from me first. Besides, I'm about to go to college. I need to end this story so it's not looming over my head along with piles of schoolwork. And, on another note, I HAVE OVER 100 REVIEWS! This is the first story I've written that's gotten that many! You readers are the best ever! Ms. Controversy submitted the 100th review, and she didn't even sign in when she did so that I could reply and tell her! ARGH! Oh well, it's all good. So, my soon-to-be-unemployed-OCs, make yourselves useful one last time and do the disclaimer!
Eri, Tammy, Clara, and Amy: Silvan Arrow does not own Beyblade or any of its characters. She owns us, and WE'RE OUT OF A JOB! WAAAAAAHHHHH!
Silvan Arrow: -sigh- While I arrange counseling for my distraught OCs, here's the last chapter! Argh...I can't do lines. Sorry, but I'll have to make do with dashes.
Chapter 13: And So It Ends…
Bit beast mind-chatting with master
People talking on cell phones
"WE'RE HOME!" Eri, Tammy, Clara, and Amy chorused as they walked through the door of their house. After word got around that Bryan and Tammy were officially together, the gang hung around the lodge for a couple more days before finally deciding to call it quits and head back home. After all, the main objectives of the trip had been accomplished: the match-making was a total success, tensions settled down with the Blitzkrieg Boys, and everyone got to have fun spending time with their friends.
Tala rolled his eyes. He, Bryan, Spencer, and Ian were right behind them. "It's not like there's anyone inside waiting for us," he pointed out.
Eri turned around and gave her boyfriend a fake pouty face. "Sheesh, you're no fun. It's been…how long since we left?"
"Way too long," Amy said as she walked inside and dropped her bags on floor, closely followed by her teammates.
"But still, I think that little getaway was just the thing we needed," Clara added. She walked into the living room, flopped down on the couch, and kicked her shoes off. "And now we can relax."
"No, we can break out the cleaning supplies. There's an inch of dust on everything!" Tammy cut in, wrinkling her nose in disgust.
Bryan wrapped his arms around her waist and begged, "You wouldn't really make us do all that work, would ya?"
Tammy pulled away and said, "Sweet-talking me isn't gonna work this time." She pointed a finger at the guys and said, "You ARE gonna help us clean and I WON'T tolerate any whining, understand?"
Ian looked up at Tala and asked, "Since when did she get the idea that she could boss us around? I thought that was Eri's job."
"Well, Tammy's so much better at it, so I thought I would give her that job," Eri replied with a smirk.
Spencer sighed in resignation, accepting his fate. "Where's the rubber gloves?"
Some days later…
"Hey, Tammy, come check this out!" Mariah called from a clothing rack in a store at the mall. She pulled out a pink sweater and held it up. "I think this would look great on you!"
Tammy paled and backed away. "There is no manner of torture you could devise that would make me wear THAT thing."
"Or how about this skirt?" Mariam asked, holding up the item in question.
"Are you guys trying to torture me to death? Cause it's working…" Tammy muttered. 'How did I get myself into this mess?' The Bladebreakers, along with Mariah, Mariam, Emily, and Hilary, had shown up this morning to "hang out," and the girls had suddenly decided to take her out shopping for the day. She was completely confused. 'Where are Eri, Amy, and Clara when I need them?'
Uh...back at the house? Umbra suggested.
I'm gonna kill them. Umbra cringed and retreated from his master's enraged mind.
"So…what do you want to do next, Tala?" Max asked eagerly.
'That kid had better keep an eye on his blood sugar unless he wants to die young,' Tala thought. Instead, he muttered in response, "Go home." At present, he was walking down the sidewalk in town with Tyson, Kenny, Max, and Rei. He was about ready to hurl himself off a cliff.
"But it's too early to go home yet, Tala!" Tyson exclaimed. "Your buddies come to visit, and all you can think about is leaving?" He wrapped an arm around the older teen's shoulders. "I don't know about you, but I'm hungry. What's say we all go get something to eat?" The others nodded in agreement.
Tala sighed miserably. 'Someone just shoot me now. Kai, I don't know how you put up with them all the time.'
But if someone shot you, I would be out of a job, Wolborg joked.
I'll ignore that...
Back at the house…
"Argh…I can't reach," Michelle muttered, trying and failing to tape a streamer across the top of the doorway. 'Curse my shortness.'
"Here, let me," Eri said with a smirk, coming up and taking the streamer from Michelle's hand and finishing the job. "Those extra six inches really come in handy for stuff like this."
"I hate you," Michelle muttered under her breath.
"Aw thanks, I'm so touched," Eri replied sarcastically. She and Michelle often picked on each other like that. "Anyway, I thought you were overseeing the food preparations. "
Michelle shrugged. "I had Clara cover for me for a few minutes so I could help finish decorating. Besides, Tyson's not here, so it's not like I have to stand guard over the food."
Eri chuckled. "I'm guessing you did that on purpose."
"Darn right I did!"
There conversation was interrupted when Kai poked his head in to get their attention. "We're almost done on the other end of the house. What about this side?"
"We're good to go," Michelle replied with a thumbs-up. "I just need to check on the food, and that's the last thing." She turned to Eri. "You might as well call and tell them to start heading back."
"Sure thing." Eri flipped open her cell phone and called Hilary first. After a moment, she picked up.
"Hey, Hilary, it's Eri. We're all set on this end."
Okay, thank goodness! Tammy's about to murder somebody over here!
WHOEVER THAT IS, TELL THEM THAT THEY ARE DEAD WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON THEM!
Uh…I'd better go. See you soon! Then she hung up.
Eri stared at her phone, blinked a couple of times, and thought, 'Maybe I should hire some bodyguards…' She called Rei next, hoping that the guys were faring somewhat better.
"Everything's ready over here. How are you guys doing?"
Well…Tyson's been getting on Tala's nerves, so he's been running away from Wolborg for about ten minutes now. CRASH. Oh crap…I'd better go. See ya! He hung up abruptly.
I don't know which one of them is worse: Tammy or Tala, Eri remarked to her bit beast.
It's pretty obvious that they're related, Pyrix added dryly.
Oh well. They'll get over it soon enough. Keep an eye out for the others.
As you wish.
Fifteen minutes later…
Eri, they're almost here.
Okay, great. I'll tell the others.
With Tammy and Tala…
Both groups had met up on the way back to the house, and now they could see it just around the corner. Tammy and Tala were both fuming over all they had to go through so far, and, as far as they could tell, they had no idea why. When they got to the front door, Tala unlocked it and went inside, followed closely by his sister and the others who had accompanied them. But the twins quickly noticed that something was…different.
"Hey, why is it so dark in here?" Tammy asked.
"Beats me," Tala replied. "I…"
At that moment, the lights clicked on, and the rest of their teammates jumped out of hiding. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" everyone exclaimed in unison.
Both twins stared wide-eyed at the scene before them. The whole house had been decorated with balloons, streamers, and other party stuff, the kitchen had been turned into an all-you-can-eat buffet of food, and a big pile of presents dominated the dining room table. Everyone who had come on the vacation was here now for the party. After a long silence, the twins finally asked, "…It's our birthday?"
"Wow, I can't believe you two actually forgot your 20th birthday," Eri stated in disbelief as she walked up to the two shocked redheads. "We had to get you out of the house for the day so the rest of us could decorate for a surprise party." She wrapped her arms around Tala's neck. "So…do you like it?"
Tala smiled warmly at Eri and replied, "I love it. Thank you." He kissed her softly on the lips.
Bryan wrapped his arms around Tammy and kissed her on the cheek. "What about you? Do you like it, or am I in trouble?" he teased.
"Oh, you're still in trouble, but I can let it slide this one time," Tammy replied with a smirk, giving him a peck on the lips.
"All right! Let's party!" Tyson cheered, pumping a fist in the air.
The festivities continued all day and long into the evening. By that time, things were starting to wind down as people dispersed to different sections of the house. Tala needed to get away from everyone for a few minutes, so he headed back to his bedroom for a little peace and quiet. Something had been weighing heavily on his mind for the past few days. He sagged down onto the edge of his bed and sighed heavily.
"For someone who's celebrating his 20th birthday, you sure don't look too happy." Tala jerked his head up to see who the intruder was.
"Oh, Kai. What do you want? Can't you see I wanna be alone?" Tala had forgotten to close his door and was now berating himself for his carelessness.
Kai leaned sideways against the doorframe and crossed his arms. "I wanted to find out what the heck was wrong with you."
Tala raised one eyebrow. "What made you think something was wrong?"
Kai shrugged. "You seemed a bit distracted during the party, and you kept sticking your hand in your pocket like you were afraid something inside it was gonna jump out. Don't think I didn't notice."
"Hmph. If you noticed that much, then surely you must at least have a guess."
Kai smirked. "As a matter of fact, I do." He pushed himself off the doorframe and took a couple of steps into the room. "You wanna propose to Eri, and you're getting cold feet."
Tala's hand subconsciously slipped into his pocket and closed around the small jewelry box inside. "Guess there's no fooling you. I think it would be easier to face Boris again than do this. And what's worse, I don't know how I can support her on my own. All my teammates and I know how to do is beyblade."
Kai said, "Then talk to Mr. Dickinson. Ever since Biovolt collapsed, he's been sponsoring your team. I'm sure the BBA will help you." He walked over to Tala and rested a hand on his shoulder. "Don't forget Tala: Eri loves you. She'll accept you no matter what. Now I'd suggest you grow a backbone and get this over with before it drives you crazy." Tala got up and walked out the door without another word. Kai smirked again. 'I had a feeling that would work.'
"Bye, guys! Thanks for coming!" Eri called from the front doorway as the rest of the Bladebreakers left. Michelle and Kai were spending the night and then leaving in the morning. She sagged against the doorframe. 'What a day. I'm wiped out.' She jumped slightly when she felt a hand on her shoulder but quickly relaxed when she realized it was just Tala. "Hey, where'd you go? Everyone just left."
Instead of answering the question, Tala said, "Sorry about that. Can I…talk to you for a minute?"
"Sure. What about?" Tala took her hand and led her upstairs and onto the balcony that was set in the middle of the hallway. There was something odd in his expression. "Is…something wrong?" she asked hesitantly.
Tala kept a hold of her hand and squeezed it gently. "Eri, I love you more than anyone or anything. You know that, right?"
"Of course I do," Eri replied with a soft smile. "And I love you with all my heart."
"Then…would you consider being the one person I spend the rest of my life with?" Eri's eyes widened as she caught onto what he was getting at. Tala went down on one knee, pulled out a small black jewelry box from his pocket, and opened it to reveal an engagement ring. A diamond sat in the middle of a gold band, framed by a small garnet, Eri's birthstone, on either side. "Eri Andrea Kovano, will you marry me?" (A/N: I just made up that middle name at the last minute. Sorry if it stinks.)
At first Eri didn't know how to respond. Her mouth went dry, and her voice refused to cooperate. Afraid he was being rejected, Tala added, "We don't have to rush into this. I know we're both young, so we can wait as long as necessary. I…"
"Tala," Eri cut him off. He looked up and met her eyes, which were brimming with tears—tears of joy. "Nothing would make me happier than being your wife. Of course I'll marry you." A single tear slipped down Tala's face as he slipped the ring onto the ring finger of Eri's left hand. He stood up and pulled her into a tight embrace, never wanting to let go. Eri wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him in for a passionate kiss that contained all the love she and Tala felt for each other while the full moon and an infinite number of stars smiled down upon the young couple. At last, after all these years, they could finally enjoy a happy ending.
Epilogue: Five Years Later
A twenty-five year old man with fiery red hair stood up from the couch and went to the front door. He opened it up to reveal his twin sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law.
"Hey, bro. Sorry we're late," Tammy greeted her twin. She hugged Tala and pulled away so he could clap Bryan fondly on the shoulder.
"It's no problem," Tala replied. "Spencer and Clara got here a few minutes before you. Come on in." He stepped aside and let them into his and Eri's new house. They had been married for three years. It had also been three years since the Blitzkrieg Boys had split up to go their separate ways and pursue their own lives. Of course, that hadn't meant that their friendship had to end. Spencer had married Clara a year ago, Ian and Amy's wedding was a month away, and Bryan had proposed to Tammy just two weeks ago. Today, however, the whole team was getting together for a reunion.
Eri came over to greet Tammy and Bryan as well. She turned to Tala and said, "Michelle just called me. She says her son is doing well, and she's already talking to Kai about a second." Michelle and Kai got married soon after Eri and Tala, and they were the proud parents of a two-year-old son. Rei and Mariah were getting ready to celebrate their one-year anniversary, while Tyson and Max were engaged to Hilary and Mariam, respectively. Kenny was still surfing internet web sites for how to propose to Emily. "Everyone's waiting in the living room." The four adults made their way into the living room, where Ian, Amy, Spencer, and Clara were sitting. Eri sat next to Tala on the couch and leaned against him as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Bryan and Tammy occupied the love seat. Ian and Amy sat on the other end of the couch, and Clara sat in Spencer's lap on a leather recliner. A comfortable silence settled around the small group.
"Ah, this is just like old times," Bryan finally said. Tala, Spencer, and Ian nodded in agreement.
"After growing up in the U.S. Abbey, I never would have imagined I'd end up here," Amy remarked.
"I'd say it's time we let the past stay in the past," Clara stated. "We can finally pursue our own lives without fear."
"I agree. It's time to let go and look to the future," Tammy added.
"Well, I'm no fortuneteller, but I do know one thing," Eri began. Everyone looked at her expectantly.
"We'll always have each other."
Author's Note: I'M DONE! I'M DONE! I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M DONE! Wow, it's hard to believe I finally finished this story. At last, my trilogy is FINALLY complete! Whoa, when I first started writing When the Ice Melts, I never imagined it would turn into a full-fledged trilogy. In fact, I never even would have considered the possibility if it weren't for you wonderful readers and reviewers! I couldn't have come this far without your constant support. YOU GUYS ROCK! I'm glad I finished this story before I left for college, or else it never would have gotten done. Unfortunately, I won't be able to write that much while in college, but I'll still be here as a faithful reader and reviewer! Who knows, I may come up with a one-shot now and then if time and inspiration permit.
And now…I would like to thank everyone who has ever supported me with their reviews during my writing of this trilogy. The names aren't in any particular order cuz you all have a place in my heart.
But first, I must give an extra big thanks to Ms. Controversy for sticking with me since the very first chapter of When the Ice Melts and faithfully reviewing every chapter of each story in the trilogy. And…she submitted the 100th review for this story. THANK YOU A MILLION ZILLION TIMES!
Here is everyone who has submitted reviews for my trilogy, including the anonymous ones: Ms. Controversy, wolf of the snow, Hiruka-Rei's-Kitty, chocolateriku, hobo bob, PureBlackRaven, Fire Pheonix2, sapphire dragon, Rika Uchida, JusticeDream, Innocent Skyangel73, Tala's Number 1 Lover, emily-the-elemental, Ice, Karina, ZorraVixen10187798, Nicole Woodring, Phoenix from the flame 1978, naioka1992, Audra Kaiba, Rene Miashi, whyamidoingthis01, she-devil-16, american farmer, jovanni, Beeku, WalkingDeathWish, angelic elemental rose, Mina the Mischevious, Amanita Virosa, The Bunnies Will Kill Us All, Tsyetirye Vyetra, XxMookinexX, Musee.Picasso, Yurii Savinov, drakeamberblake, and Jazzy-Chan. Whew, quite a long list!
Once again, thanks to all of you for supporting me in my writing. Good-bye for now!