Oh, wow, last chapter, so much to say, so much to say… You all know I'm going to miss this story ever so much! And you guys, my lovely, lovely reviewers. Jeez, there aren't enough words in the English language for me to express how much I appreciate you guys being there for me, encouraging me, and of course reading! After all, where would an author be if no one read what she wrote? So, here goes: (In no particular order…)
A Catholic Girl
Do you guys have any idea how many people that is? 31 people reviewed this story!! And this is the most reviews I've ever had for a story!! You're all fantastic!!
And of course, I love you alllllll!! But one person actually reviewed every chapter, and that was Heather aka Rocki, the girl who's even dubbed herself 'my avid reviewer'. And that made me giggle. XP
Also, my poll concerning a third story is still open and will remain open until the end of October. Please do vote!! I can't say much about the planned plot of #3, because I don't want to ruin any of the surprise value to it. However, I will say it will be quite different than this story, and no treasure is involved.
Well, I suppose that's it then. My love to you all!! Enjoy the last chapter!
-Michelle/ Angelic Prophecy
The days passed all too soon, and before I knew it, it was the day we would leave. I knew it that very morning when I saw the clothes Riley had chosen to wear that morning, and I winced seeing him in them. It made leaving all too real for me, like it was officially over. I couldn't help but wonder how much time would pass in this universe before I would see him again. Two years? Three? Five?
We were all staying with Ben and Abigail, trying to enjoy the few days we all had left together. I was surprised at how well Ben and Nicole got along, in spite of their recent break-up. Even Nicole and Abigail didn't seem to be holding any grudges, and it was a little weird to see the two of them acting at least mildly friendly towards each other. I hadn't expected Nicole to have a grudge, though; she's just not that kind of person.
We all sat at the breakfast table on the final morning. Nicole and I had anxious looks that we exchanged, knowing it was possibly the last time we'd see each other again. Apparently the other three could read our faces, because they seemed to allow the breakfast to move extremely slow, letting the time pass. After everyone was finished, we all sat there for a moment, crushed by the silence. Finally we all stood up, bidding each other farewell, hoping everything would work well for all of us, hugging each other good-bye. It was odd to me, because Nicole hardly hugged anyone, and here she was, hugging everyone. We had to face it; this had become a big part of our lives, and we had all become a close-knit group of friends.
Nicole graciously chose to remain behind at Ben and Abigail's house while Riley and I walked to this apartment, where the Ferrari would be waiting to finish everything for us.
We set off, trying to take slow, tiny steps to avoid getting there too quickly. We walked hand-in-hand, talking, laughing, and reminiscing all the way. We reached the apartment, and Riley was so engrossed in the conversation that he didn't even notice what awaited him in front of his house.
"Riley." I nudged him gently, pointing. He turned around, gasping.
"My car!" He ran over to it, snatching up the envelope from the windshield with almost child-like excitement. He opened it anxiously, smiling to himself as he read the words 'Tax-free' written in bold letters on the envelope. However, the smile slowly faded as he carefully tucked the paper inside the envelope, looking off at something in the distance. "Somehow, it's… It's not as good as it could be."
"I know." I stepped closer, touching his shoulder. Then I gave him a playful smile. "Go on, get in."
He grinned and jumped over the door, sliding gracefully into the seat. I laughed, shaking my head.
"Did you practice that or something?"
"Everyday." He smirked back. "You try it."
I did, only I didn't slide in as gracefully as he had. I landed hard on the seat, my cheeks flushing with embarrassment as I repositioned myself. He laughed, shaking his head.
"It takes practice." He shrugged, his smile fading again. We stared at each other for a long moment, my eyes suddenly filling with unwarranted tears that threatened to spill over onto my cheeks.
"You know," he spoke up, "I know what I was staying behind for in Cibola. I wanted to save Ben, Patrick, Emily, Abby, Nicole… But that never even occurred to me until later. Because in that tunnel, I could only see one thing. It was the only thing I could even think about saving." He cupped my face in his hands gently. "This. This thing that fell through a hole in the sky and changed everything. This beautiful thing that showed me what I was here for, this thing that made me feel something, something I'd never..."
That did it. The tears flowed past my eyelids, trickling down my cheeks. "God-damn-it, Riley, you're making this harder for me than it already is." I cried and laughed at the same time, shaking my head. He didn't respond, but pressed his lips to mine tenderly, his hands still holding my face. He released me, brushing the moisture from my cheek.
"Don't cry, you'll be back again someday, I know you will."
"But how long will it be before I can see you again? How much is going to change when we're apart?" I choked slightly on the words, barely able to spit them out.
"Stop, you'll ruin your make-up." Riley laughed quietly, kissing me again. "Don't worry, I won't forget you. That would be impossible."
I tried to calm myself, taking a deep breath and rubbing my eyes. I finally forced a tiny smile onto my face. "OK, I'm ready. Start her up."
He nodded, turning the key and started the car. He took a deep breath, rubbing his hands on the steering wheel. "I love this car." He murmured to himself. Then he turned to me, kissing my cheek. "And I love you, remember that." He was about to hit the gas, when I remembered something.
"Wait!" I put a hand on his arm, and he gave me a confused look. I looked down at my hand, remembering how all this had started. I carefully slid the ring off my finger, holding it up to show him. "What was this supposed to mean?"
"Oh…" His cheeks turned pink. "I…I dunno, I just wanted to get something for you to…to remember me by. It…It belonged to my mom when she was my age, but it didn't fit her anymore, so she gave it to me and told me that I was supposed to use it as a… sort of like a p-promise ring. For the girl who I…The girl that would be mine someday." He looked at me seriously. "And I want you to be mine. One day, you will be."
The awkwardness and stuttering in the sentence made me giggle. I had to admit, it was just too cute. Then the last sentence sunk in.
'I'll be his someday.'
I blinked, then threw my arms around his neck. "You mean that?"
"Yeah, of course. I don't say things I don't mean. Not to you, anyways. Well, I don't think it was meant that way at the time, but now that I've had time to think about it, that's what I want it to mean."
"But how?" I asked doubtfully.
"We'll figure out something, Katy." He spoke with confidence. "We all do, right?"
I fell back into my seat, giggling. "So, what does that mean exactly? Are we engaged or something now?"
His face turned red. "Uh, well, I wouldn't say that, but, uh…"
"Aww, relax, Riley, I'm just teasing." I sat back in my seat, taking a deep breath. "I think I ought to be going now. Before I lose it again."
"Right." He said slowly, hitting the gas pedal. I squeezed my eye's shut, hearing the tires squeal and metal crash against other metal. Then the familiar dissolving sensation began, the static blasting in my ears. It stopped, and I opened my eyes.
However, I was most definitely not in Nicole's room.
It was just utter blackness. I didn't even think we were standing on anything. It reminded me of some kind of dream-world, like you'd see in a cartoon or something. Nicole stood next to me, looking as confused as I felt.
"Where are we?" She asked, blinking.
"That's a very good question, one I'd love to answer if I could."
We both jumped and let out shouts of surprise, whirling around to face the person who'd spoken to us. He jumped back a foot, letting out his own shout.
"Oh," he laughed, putting a hand to his heart. "Sorry, didn't mean to scare you. I'm new at this."
I blinked, looking at him closely. He looked…familiar. Finally, something clicked in my head. "Do I know you? Because you like exactly like…Like Jon Turteltaub."
"The guy who directed National Treasure?!" Nicole sounded incredulous. "But how…"
The guy gave me a funny look, and then looked down at himself, starting to laugh again.
"Oh, right, I forgot this part. Sorry, like I said, I'm new. We just show up as different people depending on what we're assigned to, which is why I look like this, I guess."
"Who are you?" Nicole asked loudly, appearing slightly annoyed. I was too; annoyed with this guy who
"Oh, I'm not sure what I am really. I suppose I'm a guardian angel or something like that, I don't really know, nobody explained it to me." He pursed his lips, pacing around a little as he spoke. "My bosses sent me; I can't say who they are either, but they're in charge of all this stuff."
"What stuff?" Now I was totally lost. This guy had to be insane.
"You know, time, space, the universe, that stuff." He shrugged. "It's a whole system that they take care of. And, well, you see, there was a bit of a… glitch in our system that allowed the two of you to fall through that portal into that alternate dimension, blah, blah, blah, and they couldn't fix it before you discovered it."
He paused, as if not sure where else to go with this story. "See, it takes very… special people to go through these glitches without being ripped to shreds…" All of us winced when he said that. "So, I guess there must be something special about you guys, and my bosses sent me to give you your… reward."
"Reward?" Nicole asked skeptically. "What kind of reward?"
"You get the chance to stay in one universe or the other." He shrugged simply. "We'll give you a one-year test-run in the alternate universe; let you hang around in between for a year. If you don't like it, you can come back home, and no time passed in your universe, so you'll go right back to the day you left. It's quite simple, really. Well, for us it is."
Of course, I was ready to shout out "YES!" at the top of my lungs, but Nicole was obviously a bit more reluctant. She grabbed me by the arm, pulling me away so we could discuss it in private.
"I don't know, Kathleen." She said slowly. "What if something goes wrong? I mean, I don't want to play dice with the universe here. I'm not sure we should do this."
"Nothing will go wrong." I reassured her gently. "We'll be extra careful and nothing will happen. We'll be fine."
She sighed, closing her eyes. "Oh, alright, but you should know I'm only doing this for you." She paused. "Well, that and I like Abigail's cooking."
"Thank you!" I threw my arms around her neck. "Oh, you won't regret this! I promise!"
"Yeah, yeah, you're welcome. Now let go of me."
I quickly released her, and she went to give our consent. The angel-guy smiled, nodding enthusiastically. He seemed to enjoy this job.
"Great. There's just one last thing you need to know." He snapped his fingers, and two boxes appeared out of thin air in our hands. Nicole and I exchanged confused looks.
"Well, mirrors are getting kind of clichéd." He shrugged. "Anyways, if you open both boxes at a time in the same room, it'll serve as an early portal back home. In case something happens where you can't stay anymore. It's like an emergency door out."
"OK…" Nicole said slowly. "That's really it? No conditions, nothing?"
"That's really it. Now excuse me, I must be off. I have a lunch date that I cannot afford to miss. Good luck!" He snapped his fingers again, disappearing. We both dissolved in another burst of static, and the next thing I knew I was sitting in the front seat of the Ferrari again.
I heard Riley in the back, trying to figure out the damage to his car.
"Why was this guy parked so close to my car, I mean, for God's sake, how was I supposed to…" He trailed off, shaking his head. He looked up for a fleeting second, then looked back down again. Then it seemed to click, and his head snapped back up, his eyes growing. "K-Kathleen? You…"
"In the flesh." I grinned happily, opening the car door to run around and jump up onto him, my arms wrapping around his neck. "For a whole year too. I'll explain later."
"A year, really?" He looked shocked and elated at the same time. "That's incredible!" He kissed me enthusiastically. I pulled away, my mouth falling open.
"Wow, a girl's gone for three minutes and that's the welcome you give her?" I smirked. "I should go away more often, then."
"No way!" He protested, pulling me by the hand up the stairs to his apartment. He unlocked the door and threw it open. He ignored my squeaks of protest as he scooped me up. "You're not going anywhere!"
"Riley!" I giggled. "Sweeping me off my feet, that's so cliché."
"Hey, didn't you say this was a Disney movie?" He pointed out, unceremoniously dropping me onto his couch. "I can be clichéd if I want to."
"Yeah, Prince Charming." I rolled my eyes, sitting up to kiss him. It felt fitting. After all, he had a point; it was Disney. And what kind of Disney movie would it be if I didn't have my prince to carry me off to what I could only assume would be my very own happily ever after?
Well, I actually like the ending of a story for once! Yay!
Umm, one last review, please?