The last installment in the "epic" story, The Next Step. Please sit back, realx, and turn off all cell phones and noise-making devices. Thank you for your cooperation. Enjoy the show!!!!!

Disclaimer: I don't own it. Ya get it?????

Chapter 3: Getting Used To….Well, Life

Maerad turned over, refreshed after a deep sleep. Sighing happily she opened her eyes, and nearly leaped out of her skin. A man was in the bed next to her. She almost screamed, but then everything came flooding back. Maerad and Cadvan had been wed merely 2 days before, and Maerad was still not used to finding Cadvan in the bed beside her each morning. Her heart was still racing from the shock. Wearily, she flung herself back upon the bed, causing Cadvan to wake.

"What's wrong?" he mumbled, yawning.

Maerad had to smile at his antics. "Nothing," she said. "It's just---I'm still not used to this, and everything else. I keep waking up, finding you there, and nearly die from shock."

At this, it was Cadvan's turn to smile. "You will eventually get used to it, I'm sure. To tell you the truth, I'M still not used to it. I think it will just take time."

He yawned again, and sank back into the pillows. Maerad, not tired but not wanting to get up, lay down next to him. He reached out and put his arm casually around her shoulders, and at this a slight shock went through her body, but she lay still, remembering what Silvia had told her on the night of the wedding, when Maerad had been sick with nerves: "You know Cadvan, you love Cadvan, and you will marry Cadvan, because both of you love each other. You've known each other for years, so nothing will change in the way you act around each other because you know each other. Marriage is just taking your relationship one step further. Don't let your fear get in the way of your life!"

Maerad knew she was right. Besides, Cadvan was the first who had made her feel loved, so she knew that she inevitably loved him back.

Abruptly, Cadvan's arm turned her to face him, and Cadvan looked at her, surprised.

"What?" she asked suspiciously.

He laughed and drew her close. "You look just like I feel, yet I know we can get through this," He held her body close to his, and he breathed in the smell of her perfume, a soft blend of roses and violets, like a garden at midnight. Maerad relaxed fully. Here in Cadvan's arms, she felt content, and she had a sudden knowing that they would get through whatever trials came their way. He drew her back and kissed her, and her pulse quickened madly. The sun rose on a new day, and there, with Cadvan, she knew that everything would be fine. All was well.

It's all over! sob Please Review. I want to know if it was horrid. Thanx!!!!!