Election Week

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokémon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokémon USA/The Pokémon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this. Please do not flame.

NOTE: This is the final chapter of 'Election Week', excluding any potential epilogue or epilogues (yes, that was plural). What's my final word of advice? Enjoy!

(Chapter 31- The Truth in the Moment)

Here they all sit and wait. All of the houseguests during this most eventful week have gathered in the living room for the final time, most of them with their bags next to them, awaiting the person responsible for this week's vacation.

May told her fourteen guests, including Kelly and Ash sitting together on one of the couches, that she wanted everyone to take a seat here before she got started and finally made good on her promise to make a final decision between the two people very interested in her affection. No one objected to this at all and at around ten in the morning, everyone has sat down.

The tension on the faces of the two who wish to earn the privilege of calling May their girlfriend is not as obvious upon first glance, but looking deep in their hearts, neither is 100 percent certain that May has chosen themselves or their opposition for the week. Neither Kelly nor Ash feel it is to their advantage to think or get ahead of themselves this morning, so they just sit down by each other on the couch and wait for May some more.

The two don't have to wait that much longer, though, because with a glass of some beverage in her hand, May enters the room with all of the houseguests watching her every move and waiting for what she has to say. Setting her drink down, she takes a seat in the one empty recliner in the large room that faces both Ash and Kelly.

She knows that the room is tense, even for those who don't have anything riding on her decision, so she decides to end the anticipation and open the final meeting with the words, "Okay, let's get started. I want to, first off, thank all of you for coming to Porta Vista this week to have fun and take part in one of the beach weeks. Second, I'd like to thank you for your participation and cooperation during this week. No one ever said 'no' to me when I asked them to do something to help me in my plan or anything like that, and you had every right to tell me no, so thanks for standing by me when I came up with this idea to make a choice."

Continuing, May directs her words towards the two people vying for her affection, saying to them, "Now, for Kelly and Ash, I have this to say to you two. I apologize if there was any time that I might have seemed very crass, acted out of character or anything of the sort. I only did it so that my plan wouldn't slip out of my control. So…"

"It's okay, May," Kelly suddenly interjects. "I understand, really. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably do something similar."

"Me too, honestly," Ash adds. "I mean, I would have to care for my baby if I knew this was the way to get the truth out of someone and get down to the bottom of who I want to be with. Parts of it made sense and other parts of it didn't, but I'd gather that that was the idea and not everything was supposed to make sense to us. If it did, we would run the risk of manipulating the setup and…that's to no one's advantage whatsoever."

May would've chastised both of them for speaking out of order, but given that both of them took their time to accept her apology, she allowed it to slide and said, "Thanks, you two. Also, I should say that I really appreciate the fact that you all respected my rules and I heard of no problem with either of you two following them.

"But that leads me to another person whom I gave a specific rule to that he apparently could not follow that one rule," May says, turning the conversation to a new subject on her mind. Slowly repositioning herself in her seat, she turns to her right and sees the relevant individual she just talked about a few seconds ago. "Drew, when I specifically told you not to say anything about what we did early Monday morning, I meant it. I didn't necessarily do that for my health, but as you can probably tell now, it would've done you a world of good if you'd had just listened to what I said from the very beginning."

"Okay, I agree with that. Not a problem," Drew admits, now standing up straight in his seat to speak with his ex-girlfriend. "I should've listened to you, and that's not something I dispute, but the fact that I didn't shouldn't excuse anyone that might not have taken the news so well from any of the actions they did."


"Kelly, hold that thought," May interrupts, putting a hand in her direction. "I'll let Drew finish and then you can speak." Kelly says nothing, only opting to put a hand in the face of the young woman and telling Drew that he may continue.

"I'm not saying that Kelly attacking me with Sandra's crutch should be the only basis for you making your decision," Drew continues, "but I think it's too big for anyone to ignore."

"You're right," May tells the young man. "Again, I'm not ignoring it and I feel that it's important that I get Kelly's side of the story." Turning back over to the couch that's right across from her chair, May looks in Kelly's direction, asking, "I'm not really here to judge and that's not the role I envy here today, but I do have to make a decision and I feel it only necessary that you explain your actions on Thursday towards Drew. You have the floor, Kelly."

She holds nothing back when she explains, "I flew off the handle and screwed up. I've got a temper, that's nothing that anyone doesn't know is the truth, but that's no excuse either. So…with that said, I've already apologized to Drew for what I did and we've put this behind us…so if the two of us were willing to do that, then I think we all should move on. It only makes sense because…well, we're adults, holding grudges isn't the way to go and no matter what, life has to go on, and I'd just like to keep moving."

Nodding, it would seem that May is very impressed with the answer given to her by Kelly. It was a reflection of her, especially in the chilling but true words that she had for Dawn after her actions last night, and she appreciated the thought that went into the answer instead of her saying that she really screwed up with what she did. That much is obvious and May didn't want to hear what was obvious in this; the last opportunity that either of them has to impress before May makes a decision. "Thanks for that answer, Kelly. Now, before I make my decision, there are about two more issues that I need to hear about and one of them has to do with Ash."


"Yes, you," May answers, turning to his direction. "I just want to know a couple of things, so I'll ask you these questions and ask you to be honest with me. Now…this might be personal—how do I say this?" For a few seconds, May approaches this question carefully as she is unsure of how to ask it the right way. "Was there a…rift between you and Professor Oak recently?"

"A…a rift?" Ash questions.

"Either that, or did you notice any change in his behavior over the past three or four months? That was around the time that he made that appearance on the radio show, so I'm just curious if something like that took place at all."

Ash really has to think about this because he isn't that sure about the answer to the question and lets May know this. "You know, I couldn't tell you with absolute certainty. I know that we weren't speaking that much at all since the start of the year."

"You weren't talking?"

"It wasn't any kind of argument or anything of the sort," Ash clarifies. "We both were pretty busy with our various projects at the time. Gary told me one day that he was spending about twenty hours a day working on some research with his grandfather and saw it as a luxury just to be able to get in touch with the outside world given all the work they were doing with Pokémon evolutions as a larger sign of their connection to their genetic codes. Anyway, I think stress might have been a factor given that Gary, Professor Oak and all of his colleagues were working for about six months straight, but I refuse to speak on his behalf. I just know that the two of us were busy and couldn't get in touch with one another. In fact, whenever I was catching more Pokémon, they were being handled by Kenny, Professor Oak's assistant."

May is stuck in a bit of a bind as it seems like she will not be able to get much more information on Professor Oak without speaking to him in person. "Okay. While I'm not gonna blame anyone for what happened, Professor Oak did make those comments about me and Max, Solana and I didn't appreciate that and let him know this, so that's about done."

"Look, May," Ash interjects, "if there were a good line of communication between the two of us at the time, I doubt that there would be much of an issue and I could've easily gotten to him about the remarks or heard about them from someone, but you're right. I'm beyond putting blame on anyone's shoulders right now, especially with the professor's story he told us. I think, strangely enough, that he was looking out for us…in the only way he knew how. His life story left him bitter and while I'll never mark it as an excuse, we can't help the hard hands we're dealt."

"Well said," Kelly speaks to Ash, quietly taking in all of those words while sitting in a meditative stance.

"I agree," May adds. Then, for what seems like a while but is only for a few seconds, there is silence. No one dares to object to the lack of noise in the room. Their flights and ways out of Porta Vista aren't due to come in until the afternoon hours and it's still the morning.

"Okay, you know what? We're almost done here," May tells Ash and Kelly, but also everyone else looking on and wondering what choice they'll make. "There's no need to keep either of you waiting, so I want both of you to just tell me in a minute or less why I should choose you and because Kelly got to have the first date, Ash, you get the first…speech. Why should I pick you today?"

Ash somewhat expected May to get down to this point in her plan. He can never be absolutely ready, but he has given the answer some thought and he says, "May, you should choose me because I will treat you how you deserve to be treated. I can't say what a normal day with me would be like because there's not much normal or static about me. All I can say is that you should expect the unexpected. For me to guarantee or give you all that you want or need would be quite arrogant, so…I won't do that. There's no need to do that when the one thing I can give you that amounts to more than just my love and feelings for you is myself. I can give you that and hope that you can understand that all of this is new and exciting for me and that I wish to have a lot more times with you like we did on Thursday. We can have even more fun together, if you just say yes to me."

"Okay, then," May says, neutrally. Not wanting to show her emotions at all, she quickly asks Kelly to say her peace so her attention may be focused upon her longtime friend.

"May, the reason why you should choose me," Kelly begins, "is because there is still a lot of growing that I need to do and I'd love it if we could do that growing together. I humbly accept that fact that I have flaws and will also say that so does everyone else in this room. I am not alone in that…I just think that we could better help ourselves when we're together. Like I said, I got in the mind of Dawn because I've been where she can only imagine someone could go. But…I've gotten over that as best as I can, for now, and I just want to spend my time making sure that you're happy. I feel that I can do a better job of that, even better now, than if we were just friends. We're familiar with one another, we've been close since before we've been teens and each time that we might've been together, something was always in the way. That's not the case right now and the only thing between us is your decision, which…I really hope is yes for me."

Katie can only cover her face with her hand. Waiting for May's decision is an absolutely excruciating exercise and she doesn't know how long she can take it before she feels as if she'll eventually go insane. Whatever May's decision is, Katie will support her. That much she knows she'll do.

Then, it happens. "Okay," May speaks. "Thanks to both of you for saying what you just did. Both of your words really helped me out here with this choice. So, let's begin."

Everyone gets ready to listen to what May has to say and the reasons for her decision. They all know that the moment of truth is imminent. "Ash, I'll start with you. I thought that our date, though interrupted through reasons that all of us would excuse, was great. I'm glad that you went through the different hoops to make sure that things between Professor Oak and our family did not have this…cloud hanging over us. If my folks ever get word of the clip, I'll let them know everything Professor Oak told us and if they want to go further, that's up to them.

"Personally, I find you to be quite a gentleman but at the same time, you make me feel a sense of me not being put into a box or feeling constricted because we're together. I never got that feeling with Dawn, now that I think about it. She always wanted me to take our relationship seriously, which I did, but I think a lot of that had to do with her mother thinking that I just wanted to have fun. Like I'm gonna get engaged and married to her at age eighteen like it's the goddamn Puritan days. We were teens! What the fu—what do you expect us to do? I mean, for heaven's sake, this was what I loved to do. I had fun so I wouldn't end up a stick in the mud like your mother, Dawn!"

"May!" Max interjects. "You went off on a tangent. Come on, bring it back. Bring it back."

"Oh, man," she responds. "That was my mistake. I just…can't believe I put up with some of her nonsense for so long. Well, hindsight being what it is…you're a great guy, Ash. I'm still a bit put off that you didn't get in contact with Professor Oak or vice versa, but there's not much that can be done about that now, so…thank you for being there and for making this week memorable."

"It was my pleasure," Ash responds to May, smiling back at her and getting a semi-good feeling in the pit of his stomach to go along with the butterflies.

"Now it's about time I turn my attention over to you, Kelly," May says, regaining the conversation and turning into her first date's direction. "I find you to be a very passionate person who is willing to fight for whatever you believe in at the drop of a hat. I'm not speaking any form of conjecture when I say that that is a beautiful trait to have. You did a beautiful thing bringing my mom and dad here on Wednesday. We were having our difficulties, but I really get the sense that it will be fine, though, and you have a lot to do with that. Because they were here, they factored into my ultimate decision, too.

"You have a real gift, Kelly, and anyone would be blessed to be with you because you reach out and you care. You don't just do it with your words, but your actions, as well. I know that a lot of that has to do with your background, so I think you'd agree with me when I think it's both a blessing and a curse. There are two things that I see from you, though, that had me wondering." Now Kelly is quite scared as she feels the speech from May turning towards Ash's favor as May will probably list off her negatives and possibly leave her having to hear about the 'crutch' incident once again.

"For a while, and I mean long before my whole master scheme came into play, I've always gotten the sense that you have had the biggest…monkey on your back. I wasn't there for much of the time in which you had the disagreement and falling out with your folks, but it's still clearly a traumatic experience for you. I think that that door in your life…never got closed. That doesn't leave you incapable of love at all, though, because I should be honest; I love you, Kelly. I love your personality, the fact that you'll speak up when others won't, your trustworthiness and loyalty to your friends. Both of you have handled this week with class and I respect that fully.

"But that leaves me to this other issue that keeps coming up in the back of my head. That issue is the fact that there is someone out there for you. It may not be me, but someone out there truly does value you and your love even more than I do. There's someone that hasn't taken advantage of you or said mean or cross things towards you at all for many years. This person…like all of us, this person makes mistakes. She has made mistakes that she still pays for to this day. I feel that a lot of your anger comes from your relationship with your parents, or lack thereof, and the bad feeling of being cheated on by someone you trust. That's a bad feeling, Kelly, but it shouldn't keep you from someone who's contrite about their wrongdoings…"

"No, May," Kelly says, shaking and with tears beginning to form on her face.

"Listen to me, Kelly," May responds, getting up to her seat and towards the aforementioned young lady. "Listen. You are a wonderful person and I am better for knowing you as a friend, but as much as it pains us to do it, we can't hold grudges for the rest of our lives. You may not like your parents or Katie for her affair, but you can still do something about it so you don't end up bitter in your late twenties. Write a letter; call them until it hurts, and talk. Just talk! You're not the one to take the easy way out, Kelly, so why should this be any different? You have someone who speaks with your parents all the time, is there, and she wants to get back into your life. I know it's hard to forgive, but I think you have to do that and make peace before the two of us can even talk about a relationship."

"Please, May," she cries back to her.

"Shh," May quiets the girl, kissing her on the cheek and assuring her, "It will be better this way, Kelly. You cannot be content with leaving this alone, especially if it's likely causing outbursts, leading you to attack Drew and snapping at people who question your methodology. While I love you, Kelly, all the love in the world can't fix you and mend your broken heart. Plus, though I detest thinking the worst of you, I wonder what might happen if…I said something out of line in your head. Where would that leave me?"

"Nowhere, because it won't happen!" she whispers back to May.

Shaking her head for just a second while sitting in between Ash and Kelly, May admits, "The thought is still not leaving my head. You may be very convincing, but the bottom line is I refuse to be held up on a pedestal in your mind when I know that someone can do a much more effective job looking after you. That's what it comes down to, I'm afraid. I have to say it, though; Kelly, I'm very sorry but I will not be choosing you."

Turning around while in the couch, May then asks a clearly giddy yet respectfully reserved Ash, "Ash Ketchum, I know no one has ever said these words to you, but…I choose you!"

There is still a measured amount of silence before Kelly gets up, shakes her head while still crying and shakes Ash's hand, saying "You just be sure to treat her the right way. Okay, Ash?"

"I'd do nothing but, Kelly," Ash responds and the two, despite Kelly's misgivings, come to an even greater understanding and respect for one another than what they had when the week began.

From here, she decides not to spoil the moment that Ash and May are having. With that mindset, Kelly excuses herself before running upstairs. She didn't really want to see May and Ash making it official, though she just did, and no one could really blame her for it.

May, somewhat expecting that something like this might happen given Kelly's pride, turns to Katie and smiles, telling her, "Go get her, Katie. She needs you."

Nodding back to May, Katie doesn't say a word. Instead, she follows the path that Kelly ran through just a minute ago, disappearing up the stairs and out of sight.

Now turning their attention back to one another, May makes a point to Ash, "I do feel that it's time for something new and different. I don't know how long this will last, I don't know what's gonna come next, but if I don't do something different here, the question will always haunt me and I don't want that. So, Ash…you have me, but you've also got all of my imperfections. For one, I still consider myself bisexual, so you might have to deal with me ogling pretty girls now and then."

"That's fine," Ash answers. "Just as long as you save some of that ogling for me, I won't stress. We'll have that much in common, at least," to which everyone in the room laughs their socks off for about fifteen seconds.

"Oh, man!" Jackie remarks. "That—oh, wow! I just got an image in my head of Ash and May taking up girl watching as a hobby."

"So you don't mind that?" May questions.

"No, I don't," he says again. "I mean, it's no worse than me continuing my journey and wanting to be a champion for the last sixteen years. I just have to recognize my end of the commitment and not squander it for anything. That's what it comes down to if I'm to believe a certain married man. If I can put up with nothing changing in who you find attractive, then you can certainly deal with…my shortcomings like my ego or impulsiveness. We'll just…live and learn, you know?"

From there, the two seem to hit a speed bump until a small chant of 'kiss, kiss, kiss,' from Reggie and Zoey begins. From there, most of the other houseguests join in on the chant, imploring the new couple to seal the deal with a smooch. The two of them get affirmation from just about everyone in the living room that it's all right, but none of it was needed as they were gonna do it anyway.

So while May is in the couch, she ends up kissing Ash twice; once on his right cheek and a second time on the lips for no more than a couple of seconds. "You know, I really liked that," May admits.

"Me too!" Ash agrees. "Wanna do it again?"

Shrugging her shoulders, she replies, "Why not? Besides, you already asked it. If I didn't do anything, our gallery would not be particularly pleased."

"Who cares? Besides, this isn't for them," he whispers as the two kiss a few more times reveling in this moment and enjoying the company as well.

Heading up the steps, Katie sees her ex-girlfriend on her knees. She can't really hear Kelly crying, though she gets the sense that she's still shedding tears. Carefully, she charges herself to not take this situation lightly as Kelly is very much in a shambles, so it seems. "Uh, Kelly," Katie begins.

"What is it now, Katie?"

"I'm sorry," she simply retorts. "It turns out that May wants Ash…she saw something in him that she didn't see in you. It's over, Kelly."

"You just want to rub it in some more, huh?" she questions while getting up from the floor and facing the older woman.

"It's not like that at all."

"May is behind you and tells me that I should be, too," she says while looking right into Katie's eyes. "I think that…she made some great points, to be honest. I've had some strong feelings for her for a long time, Katie, but I think that if my crush is saying these things, then…I need to really open my eyes and heed her words. Clearly, she's looking out for my best interests when she tells me no like that. I just wish…I didn't feel so off doing this. For so long, I've held back even though I love you very much and that's never changed."

"Kelly," Katie says, attempting to reason with the girl while moving closer to her and wrapping her in a light embrace. "The reason you held back had to do with me being a damn fool almost a decade ago! Now we've beaten the fact that I had an affair over the head like it's a dead Rapidash. You keep it as a talking point, but I've moved on! Hell, I can't even remember why I had the affair. It really makes no difference, now! The point is that I stuck by you because I knew that this time would eventually come and you'd know that I was serious and all the years I put up with your shit were real, just like me! Get over May and get over Ash getting May. You lost, so…"

"So that means that I'm gonna have to find the person who May was talking about…or at least get to know her again."

"Is that so hard, Kelly?" she inquires. "I screwed up my first shot and it's not often we ever get a second."

"Then let's change it and call May out on her bluff," Kelly speaks.

"I do have a few warnings, though," Katie thoughtfully continues as she brings Kelly closer to her. "While I do speak to your mom and dad, I can't guarantee that I can get them to speak with you, but we can try. Their opinion on you can be quite erratic, for sure, but if I catch them in a good mood and get them to at least open up about the thought of you guys talking, I feel that I've done that job well. Also, and this is clear, I'm not perfect."

"You know what?"

"What's that?"

"That's okay," Kelly admits. "The people downstairs aren't perfect, but they seem to keep things going well for them. Why not us with all our various quirks and flaws?"

Katie says that the other girl has made a fine point and repeats the question and saying afterwards, "I can't give you the world, but I can at least try and make things better for you. I'm sorry that I'm not a knockout like May, but…I'm Katie Bouchard and…"

"You shouldn't apologize," Kelly interjects, while her head is down.


"Katie, you shouldn't apologize for anything; not with the ass backwards way I've acted towards you. There's just no excuse for it. If anyone doesn't deserve you it's me, really."

"Well, we'll have time to talk about that later, I believe," Katie admits. "We'll have a lot more time. That's all we've got, Kelly, is time," she says softly as she keeps up the embrace and kisses her ex on the top of her head, having to deal with her hair tickling her lips.

Bags are packed, and people from all walks of life are ready to make their way out of the beach house, signaling the end of their week-long getaway. Friendships were formed and tested along the way with feelings put to the forefront and past secrets brought to light through the cold reality of dishonesty in romance.

Now, just like the vacation, all of that is about to be put behind them as the lot of fifteen have their bags and suitcases next to them as they prepare to go back to their lives as usual after a getaway the likes of which they haven't witnessed before and aren't likely to do again.

There are differences in what will leave the house compared to what came inside the house, though. May and Ash are hand in hand and have already spoken of a change in their plans with May considering going home and Ash tagging along to let their folks know all the good news that came out of the week. Max and Solana have already said that her parents and the Valdez-Moreno family will be their next stop to announce Solana's pregnancy.

Reggie and Zoey have already swapped numbers with Richie and Sandra for any potential double dates they should have at some point during an off period for either of them training and whenever she can get that leg healed. Jack has also done the same for Grace informing her to let him know of her progress as she gets into the communications business.

"Just call me because I do know many connections in my home region as I'll often field media questions from many people. Maybe I can get you screen tested for a few stations."

"Thanks," she responds. "I'll certainly keep that in mind."

As Drew, Brianna, Misty and Brock share a few words May, at the front door, calls for everyone's attention and gets it by whistling one time. Solana and Max stand by her and to her left. "Guys, I just want to, again, thank you for coming and making this quite a week to remember. And…with that, I think I'll just give my brother and sister-in-law the floor."

"Thanks, May," Solana answers, giddy that she gets to share this good news with everyone at once. "I'd just like to first take this opportunity to thank you all for the concern you showed for me when I got hospitalized."

Everyone in the house says that it was no problem and they talk about how the ranger is their friend. "Well, dehydration can be a real bummer," Max adds. Finding the right words for this is difficult, so he decides to be straightforward with this, saying, "but it can also be a wonderful surprise, especially when you learn your wife is having our first child!"

No one could believe it. First Paul leaves for Cynthia and now this news? It was amazing and while Reggie makes a somewhat loose comment about how all good things come in threes, everyone asks how much longer will it be before Solana can add the title of 'mom' to her record.

"About seven and a half more months," she answers adding that they aren't sure of the sex of the baby at this point. Everyone offers the expecting mother their congratulations and soon after, they all begin to file out of the house and to their respective modes of arriving transportation, saying their final goodbyes and talking about when a few of them can meet up once again.

Katie and Kelly are the first to leave, together, in a cab and everyone wishes them good luck as the driver takes off and heads for the airport and to Lilycove. From there, the people deplete in terms of the size of this present crowd as Jack leaves afterwards for the Fiore region, followed by Sandra and Richie in a taxi van heading for a boat to take them to the Orange Islands. From there, Misty leaves and shares a taxi with Brock to take them to their respective homes in Cerulean and Pewter with Misty leaving Ash a final hug and kiss before wishing him nothing but the best with May.

Reggie and Zoey bid farewell to the dwindling group next making their way to Johto, followed by Drew, Grace, Max and Solana all going by cab to Hoenn with May and Ash both wishing nothing but the best for their arrival scheduled for next March.

This leaves only May and Ash there, just outside of the house awaiting the renter whom she contacted months earlier for the house. She couldn't have known, though, that upon leaving she would go on a journey, which could only be equated to a roller coaster ride.

Despite it all, though, she feels that her choice was the right one and that Ash was the right person at the right time for her. While Kelly would've also been a great choice in her mind, she just wasn't sure if that choice would've been for the right reasons. With that in mind, she knew that Ash would be a fine choice for a partner. Sure, as he mentioned, he had an ego, but who didn't at times? Yes, he could be a bit hotheaded, but so was Kelly.

So what was the difference? To put it simply, Ash was the right person at the right time. He came along and announced himself and his intentions with no one giving him a chance due to May's past loves, but he still held on, kept his nose clean, kept calm and decided to run his own race and focus on making May happy and have her realize that through him, there was nothing to be afraid of and that trying someone new was a good idea. He avoided trouble as best as he could and when situations arose that were beyond his control, he went beyond the call of duty to settle them before it was too late.

As far as Ash is concerned, he considered himself on cloud nine after just deciding to throw his name in the hat not even two weeks ago. Seeing the woman that May has become and the plan she formulated to make this mere thought a reality for him gives him the thought that sitting here next to May, he is right where he needs to be.

Just minutes later, the renter comes back to claim his keys and the two can finally make their way back to Petalburg City to meet up with May's folks again and likely field more questions about plans as they go from her hometown and beyond. They do this using yet another cab that arrives right after the renter reclaims his keys and enter the cab with May going first.

Sighing as she gets comfortable in her seat, May makes the point as they drive off, "Wait until mom and dad hear about all of this."

"My mom is gonna love having you around," Ash remarks. "If we come across a videophone in our travels, I'll let her know what good thing happened to me in Porta Vista."

"That'll be a surprise," May replies.

"Yeah; it's a welcome change, too," Ash adds, holding his girlfriend's hand and saying, "I've never brought a girl home for mom, you know?"

"Really?" she asks, surprisingly. "Well…what can I say? Change is good."

"Agreed," May responds, giving Ash a kiss as the ride to the airport continues and leaning forward for a few more. "We'll give your mom something to talk about really soon."

"Well," he admits, "if you keep your hands on me like this, you certainly will. You might even cause her to faint over the phone."

"Don't worry about that, Ash. I'll keep it together for her sake…and ours," she promises. While she vows to keep things going at a slow pace for now, the anticipation for what lies ahead in Petalburg and then Pallet Town has her about as giddy as she was as a young girl.

The feeling was a free one and she wanted to keep it going as much as she could. If that meant keeping close to Ash, asking as many questions as she can and taking more time out from her schedule to make it work out between the two, she'll do it.

This moment and the truth of the matter that she loves Ash Ketchum enough to choose him over a friend she's had feelings for over a long time is enough to get her committed like no one's business to making this work. Some might argue that she's on the rebound and trying to bounce back from so many years of putting up with the nonsense of the Berlitz family, but it doesn't matter at all to her what others may think.

It's her life, she will live it as she sees fit, and right now, with Ash Ketchum in the picture, life ebbs a feeling of completeness that she hasn't felt in a very long time. Between her and Ash, she'll keep it up as long as she can and hope for the best in these changing times in her young life.

There are many more miles yet to travel and she's more than ready for the ride.

A/N: Folks…that's it! Well, not quite. The story proper is done as all of the chapters were held to this particular week in mid-July. Now, there are a few more plot holes left to fill and they will be done with some epilogues (probably four in all). The first one might come in mid-September.

Until then, this is Rave! I thank you for sticking with the story and hope that it was all truly worth it. Come back for the epilogues, now! Ya hear?