A/N: Okay, everybody cheer, I've FINALLY posted the end of The Bachelor! I hope you guys like it, but keep in mind, it's not supposed to feel like a definite ending, it won't be sad or anything, but you'll be wanting more...which will be saved for the next fic. I'm not sure when I'll be able to start posting the sequel, but I will let you know. If it's going to take longer than I thought I might post something letting you guys know, but I don't anticipate it being that long. But anyhoo, without further ado, here's the end of my first fan fic ever! Please Review!


Chapter Forty-Four

Jude stared into the floor-length mirror and took a deep breath.

"This is it," she muttered, smoothing out her black gown. It was strapless with various layers overlapping each other, and Jude had to admit she looked gorgeous. Her hair was pulled half-way back with wavy curls cascading down her shoulders. She just wished that she felt as good as she looked.

Jude glanced at the time, regretfully seeing that it was almost time for the finale to begin filming. Reluctantly, Jude tore her gaze from the mirror and made it to the door. Her hands were shaking heavily and her stomach felt like it was going to burst through her chest. Turning the door-knob slightly Jude entered the silent hallway, reminiscing for a second how it once was filled hallway to hallway with women. Now there were only four left: Rachel, Jude, Haley and Sadie. And only two were left in the competition.

Taking another few deep breaths Jude walked almost excruciatingly slow down the hall. She did not want to do this right now. She had no clue what was going to happen and the thought scared her.

Tommy and Jude barely got the chance to talk earlier, before cameras rushed into the room, ruining their conversation. However Jude got an eerie feeling in the pit of her stomach that it wouldn't have been a good idea anyway. The look on his face sent off a red flag for Jude. She knew he still cared, but she also knew there was more to it. Confusion was masked on his face the same as it had been racing through her mind the night before, now only heightening the feeling and making it a reality.

It's almost impossible to think that almost two months ago Jude despised the man she now loves. Even now she was having trouble remembering what that must've been like. She couldn't imagine her life without him in it, even if she didn't know him as well as she would've liked to. She still loved him, and nothing could change that.

Snapping out of her reverie, Jude continued down the hallway calming herself down along the way as best as she could. There were still so many unanswered questions and thoughts racing through her mind that were impossible to sift through. But before she could over analyze anything too much, a pair of arms quickly pulled her into a side room, causing her to yelp in surprise.

"What are you doing?" Jude asked in shock. Tommy turned to face her with a desperate look on his face.

"We need to talk. Really talk. Before the finale," he stated. Jude nodded solemnly in response. She didn't know where to start and waited for Tommy to speak.

"Jude," Tommy started, pausing as if he didn't know how to go on. His voice sounded tired and frustrated, and once again Jude could tell he was just as confused as she was. His gaze shifted away from hers as his voice dropped low. "I honestly don't know where to begin. I --" he cut short, looking up and away in thought. Shaking his head and in an attempt to smile weakly, "I guess I just don't know what to believe."

Jude brought her hands up to rest on his forearms, forcing him to look at her. She saw a sort of vulnerability there that was clearly causing him some trouble. He was torn in two, and both ways seemed to be the truth. The fact that he was in love with her made him more suspect to believe her, however when Jeff was presenting him with hard facts and evidence, that wasn't something you could just brush off either.

"Believe me," she whispered, never looking anywhere but him. Tommy's eyes lowered, a certain level of sadness filled him with the fact that he wasn't sure if he was able to.

"Jude, I want to, believe me. But…there's a signed contract, by you, stating that you knew otherwise. I can't just let that go." Jude nodded solemnly in understanding, her eyes protesting.

"Tommy, I know this may sound crazy, but I didn't know anything about what was there in that contract. When he explained everything that night, it was so cut and dry. If we win, we walk away a million dollars richer while you go with nothing."

"But how could you not know it was there? You're in the music business for crying out loud!" Tommy said exasperated, trying not to get too angry. The last thing they needed was a fight. Jude stepped away from Tommy and folded her arms across her chest.

"Who ever said that I didn't? There was a lot of fine print in that contract Tommy, and I thought I went over everything. Even Haley went over it as well. I'm telling you, I never saw that in there," Jude insisted.

"So who am I supposed to believe, huh?" Jude shrugged.

"I don't know Tommy, that's up to you. I'm not going to stand here and beg you to believe me if you don't even want to." Tommy rolled his eyes.

"See Jude, that is one of our problems! You, even from the beginning, never even wanted to fight for me, for us, any of it. You just threw us away without a thought. If you want to justify it as trying to 'protect' me I don't want to hear it. I'm an adult; I don't need to be protected. What I do need is to be able to trust that you are going to tell me everything, even if it hurts. Right now," he paused staring at her certainly, "I can't do that."

Jude averted her gaze from his uncomfortably. He was right, she knew it. But she also knew why she had behaved like that, and the reason made her ashamed.

"I deserve that, I guess," Jude stated picking her head up to meet his, "but when I came onto this show I never wanted to fall in love with you. And…even when I thought I was, I had already admitted somewhere in the back of my mind that we would never be able to stay together. That was my fault," Jude confessed.

"Tommy," Jude sighed, "you were – are – on a show to date girls. Many girls. I didn't want to set my self up for disappointment. You have to understand where I was coming from. When I saw you with those other girls, I got jealous. It was easy to rationalize into thinking we would never work out when I kept finding excuses to," she stated slowly.

"The fact of the matter is, I did fall in love with you. I couldn't stop that," she stepped forward, trying to show him how much she actually cared. "I just wished I could've stopped for a moment and actually enjoyed it, maybe I would've gotten to know you better," Jude gave a weak smile as Tommy brought a hand up to touch her face. She leaned into his hand as he brought they're heads together, foreheads touching.

"Maybe we both would've gotten to know each other better," Tommy corrected softly, wanting to include himself too. In reality he hadn't tried any harder than she had, now that he thought about it. Leaning back he stared at her, still one last thought occupying his mind.

"Did you really want me to choose Rachel?" he asked honestly, searching her eyes for a reaction and if she was being truthful with him.

"Honestly? No, not at all," Jude spoke on a sigh of what seemed to be relief, "I just - the money didn't matter to me, and I didn't want Jeff to win. Plus," she hesitated, almost unsure, "Tommy, Rachel loves you," she spoke seriously. Tommy blinked, not sure he understood what he just heard.

"Rachel?" he replied with surprise. Jude nodded her head slowly. Tommy gave a nervous laugh. "No, she told me that she didn't feel anything toward me and that she felt guilty for coming in between me and you," Tommy justified. Jude shook her head.

"She may have felt guilty, but she definitely has stronger feelings for you than she led you to believe."

"And how do you know this?" He asked a little defensively.

"She told me last night, on the spa retreat. I knew she was different, that's why I told you in the letter to pick her. She may have not been me, but I knew she cared for you, and I knew she wasn't looking for fame like the rest of them."

"I don't get it, why are you telling me this now?" Tommy asked. Jude shrugged.

"So that for once, you have the full story."

Tommy stood still for a moment, and ran a hand through his head. Rachel? Loved him? He didn't know what to think about that. Sure she was a nice girl, you could even call them friends. That one night at the studio date he even had thought that maybe it would turn into something more. It had made him feel guilty then, but it was there. However the one thing he did know, was that he didn't feel the same way about Rachel as he did for Jude.

"Thank you," he said quietly in appreciation, taking her hand in his.

Jude nodded slightly, not sure where to go from here. She had just told the man she loves that someone else loves him too, someone she had once thought he had feelings for. Uncomfortably she crossed her arms, not sure what he was thinking or how this would change his judgment. She hoped it wouldn't, but if it did she wouldn't blame him. They stood there silently watching each other, trying to gauge the other's next move. Soon Jude couldn't take it anymore and needed to voice her insecurities.

"So where does this leave me?" Jude asked quietly. "Can you forgive me?" she pleaded, eyes searching his. Tommy's blue pools softened at her question. He dropped her hand bringing both to cup her face as he brought his lips to hers.

"I love you. Nothing will ever able to change that, Jude. Nothing," he whispered lovingly. Jude felt tears well up in her eyes as she connected their lips again happily. Finally willing herself to pull back, she felt a million times lighter. He still loved her, and that was all that mattered.

Before she could say anything more, Tommy surprised her in a way she would never expect. He reached into his pocket, pulling out a velvet box about two inches wide, getting down on one knee in front of her he held it out to her. Jude's breathing started picking up as she realized what he was about to do. Now? She couldn't help but think.

The moment seemed to drag on in slow motion. Jude in her black gown, Tommy in his tuxedo down on one knee. He opened the box, revealing a custom-made ring. It was silver with a star cut out in tiny diamonds in the middle. Simple, but astonishingly beautiful. Jude gasped in shock, still trying to adjust to what might come from his mouth. Her heart was beating a mile a minute, and was sure that it might just pop out of her chest at any moment.

"Jude, I've only known you for two months. In those two months, we've had our good times, our bad times, and everything in between. Even if our start wasn't the smoothest, it's not the past that counts, it's how we can change our present to make a future together. This is a promise ring, because I promise that after this show is done with, we can have a real relationship. One that's not on camera for everyone to see, and one that we don't have to keep hidden. I love you, and one day eventually I want to marry you. This ring is to remind you that you're my star, and always will be, every day, for the rest of our lives," Tommy finished softly, not being able to hide the smile that crept through his lips.

Jude stared from the ring to Tommy and back again. To say she was dumb founded would be an understatement. There were absolutely no words to describe the euphoria she felt at knowing he chose her, even if it wasn't on camera. Actually, that was probably the best part. A tear of joy slid down her cheek as she nodded her head furiously.

Tommy took the ring out of the box and slid it on her finger. Jude grabbed his head and brought it to hers, capturing his lips in a heated kiss, bringing him to his feet.

~*~

Jeff watched the couple descend the stairs slowly, hands clasped together as they couldn't take their eyes off of each other. He also noticed the glint of a silver ring against the black of her dress; the silver lining in their dark cloud of a relationship. As their smiles grew larger, so did his. He really was a genius, he thought. And Quincy really is an idiot.

Stalking off in the other direction, he contemplated how quickly the look of love and happiness would be washed off of Tommy's face. After years of waiting, it was finally Jeff's turn at revenge, for him and for Hunter.

~*~

"Welcome to the very last episode of The Bachelor," the host spoke to the camera. "Tonight, after weeks of dating and eliminating, Tom Quincy will finally choose the 'one' for him."

The host, Jake, explained how the finale would go, while everyone else waited in separate rooms. Tommy was outside on the terrace scene they had set up in the backyard of the mansion. Candlelight and flowers surrounded the stone of the patio as Tommy stood with a single rose in the middle of the scene. Rachel was to wait in the study while Jude was prepping up one last time before joining Tommy on the terrace. She had to admit that her nerves were relatively calmer now that Tommy had already proposed to her, well technically. They weren't getting married, but they were promised to each other. And right now that was good enough for Jude.

Tommy was stunned at the sight of Jude walking toward him, her skin glowing against the black of her dress in the candle light. It was a sight he hoped to see for the rest of his life. His smile reached his eyes as she neared him. A silver glare caught his gaze as he glanced down at the ring placed on her finger. His smile was even broader as he knew that finally nothing would be able to stop them from being together. Not Jeff, not even themselves. It was inevitable.