I did it. I finished this story almost two years after starting it. I started with less than one page this morning, listened to Alexz and Tyler all day, and wrote the last nine. I don't know where the motivation came from but I just couldn't stop. I'm quite proud of how it ends. And for the first time in a very long time, no epilogue. I think it ends well and doesn't need one. I wanted to go out with a bang and I hope that I did. Let me know how you like it. I've had a lot of fun writing for you all over the last four years and I'll miss it but it's time to move on. Instant Star isn't coming back and my ideas are just sort of drained. To everyone who has reviewed over the years, you're absolutely wonderful people, all of you. Thanks a million because if it weren't for you, I certainly wouldn't have made it here. Te amo todos.
Disclaimer: For the last time, I don't own this stuff, so don't sue me.
"Good morning," Jude greeted Sadie early Saturday when the eldest Harrison girl made her way to the kitchen. "Big day."
"The biggest," Sadie confirmed, pouring herself a cup of coffee. "And really, I'm so much less nervous today than I was yesterday. It's like I got all my nerves out at the rehearsal dinner." She sat down at the table. "You still leaving tomorrow?"
"I am," Jude nodded. "My flight leaves at ten-fifteen so Jamie agreed to take me to the airport at nine."
Sadie sighed. "I really wish you'd reconsider, Jude. Do you know how great it's been for me to have you home these last two weeks?"
"Aw, Sade, you know I love hanging out with you, too, but things have changed," Jude shrugged. "I'm sorry."
"I know," Sadie murmured. "I can't say I blame you. Tommy's being a total jerk and you don't deserve that." She paused.
"Go on," Jude urged. "I know you have more to say."
"It's just, don't you want to be with your friends and family?" Sadie asked. "I know, I know, you have friends in London and that's great but come on, Jude. Regardless of everything that's been going on with Tom, I know you're happy here. As your sister, I can sense it."
Jude was quiet. "Sadie, I can't be happy here unless I'm with Tommy and I've finally realized that I don't think it's going to happen."
"All right," Sadie conceded. "I'm not going to harass you about this anymore then. If you won't want to stay, I won't try to make you."
"Good," Jude declared. "Let's get you married."
Sadie squealed lightly. "Yay!"
At four-thirty, Jude stood in the bride's preparation room at St. Patrick's. Sadie was pacing in a corner while Leila and Morgan tried to calm her down.
"Why should my marriage work?" Sadie demanded as she walked back and forth. "My parents got divorced because my dad cheated on my mom. And what about kids? Our mother bailed on us. How am I supposed to be a good mom when my example was so horrible?"
"Sade, Mom wasn't bad," Jude spoke up. "She just got a little selfish once we were old enough to take care of ourselves. You're going to be a great mother."
"Am I?" Sadie asked nervously. "Do you think so?"
Jude walked over and hugged her sister tightly. "I know so."
"Okay," Sadie breathed. "What time is it?"
"About quarter to five," Leila answered. "Phillipe should be here at five and he's bringing two assistants. They'll work on us three while he fixes your hair. Everything is going to be perfect, Sade."
Sadie nodded. "You're right. I'm just overreacting."
"It happens," Morgan assured her. "Don't you remember when I got married? I was ready to jump off the roof because I was so freaked out."
"So to make up for it, she got really drunk at the reception," Leila added. "Jude, you certainly missed a good time."
"Sounds like it," Jude muttered. "I'm sorry I missed your wedding, Morgan."
Morgan grinned. "Its fine, Jude. You like being in Europe and I can't say I blame you; it's much more glamorous there."
Sadie glared at her friend. "Toronto is just fine, I think."
"Oh, of course!" Morgan agreed quickly. "I mean, Europe is glamorous but for how long? You need something to come home to."
Jude rolled her eyes. "Subtle, guys."
"Hey, we only have a few more hours," Leila joked. "Gotta get our last attempts in now."
Before any of the other girls could respond, there was a sharp knock at the door.
"That will be Phillipe," Sadie stated, opening the door. "Or not." She pulled it back to reveal Nic. "What's up?"
"Well, I was curious as to whether you had your something old, new, borrowed, and blue?" Nic wondered.
"My shoes are new, my bracelet is old, and my garter is blue," Sadie reported. "I guess I didn't think about the 'something borrowed' until now."
Nic reached into her Balenciaga bag. "My mother wore these earrings on her wedding day, as did my grandmother and my mother's grandmother." She opened the velvet box to reveal a pair of diamond-and-sapphire chandelier earrings. "I know you're not really wearing any blue to show but they match your eyes."
Sadie gasped. "Oh, my God, Nic. Not that I'm ungrateful, because they're beautiful, but why are you loaning these to me?"
"For as long as I can remember, Kwest has been like family to me," Nic explained. "He's been there every time I've ever needed him, especially after my parents died, so you deserve to wear the earrings."
"Wow," Sadie whispered, accepting the jewelry. "Nic, that's so nice of you."
"I have my moments," Nic smirked. "Um, have fun getting ready and I'll see you girls in a little while. If you need me, I'll be downstairs helping the boys look their best."
Sadie turned to her sister as soon as Nic was gone. "I hope Spiederman marries her."
"When I first came to town, all you could talk about was how sneaky and manipulative she could be," Jude scoffed.
"She is," Sadie confirmed. "But I still like her, just so long as she's not manipulating me."
Moments later, Phillipe and his crew arrived and started dictating the preparations. Jude sat quietly in her seat while Jocelyn, Phillipe's first assistant, worked on her hair.
"So short," Jocelyn muttered in her Eastern European accent.
"Sorry," Jude apologized.
"So, Jude, Sadie tells me you leave tomorrow morning?" Phillipe called over to her.
"Yeah," Jude told him. "Spied is taking me to the airport real early.
Leila laughed. "That just gives him incentive to stay up all night."
"Probably," Jude agreed. "But it's not like he's never done that before so I'm not too worried about it."
Phillipe yanked his brush through Sadie's hair. "Why are you not staying?"
"I'm going to stay permanently in London," Jude declared. "I like it there."
"Why?" he demanded.
Jude sighed. "I don't know. The music scene is great and I like the people and it's a great city."
"So much rain," Pippa, Phillipe's second assistant, spoke up in a quaint British accent. "And dirty. I hated living there. And most of the people involved in the music industry are horrible snobs. And before you ask how I know, I was married to Tim Gabbard."
"Tim Gabbard?" Jude repeated. "The producer?"
"Yes," Pippa said as she curled Morgan's hair. "He works for RCA and everyone there is a heinous prick."
Jude frowned. "That's the label Jamie is recommending me to."
"Good luck," Pippa muttered. "You'll be lucky to make it through one album before you quit or they get rid of your contract."
Jude was quiet while Phillipe and his girls finished their hair and makeup. By the time they left, it was six-thirty and Sadie only had thirty minutes to get dressed and ready. Jude hurried into her Cavalli dress and then helped her sister into her own.
"You look beautiful, Sade," Jude murmured once Sadie was ready. "Kwest is going to die."
"Hopefully not," Leila chuckled, smoothing out her Monique Lhuillier dress.
There was a quick knock at the door and Stuart stuck his head in. "It's time, girls."
The four of them followed him out to the foyer and met up with the groomsmen.
"Spied!" Jude cried. "You got a haircut!"
He beamed and ran his hand over his short hair. "You like it? Nic hasn't seen it."
"I thought she helped you guys get ready?" Sadie asked.
"He decided not to show up until about forty-five minutes ago and she'd already left to get ready herself," Tommy told them, trying not to look at Jude. "Sadie, you're gorgeous."
"Thank you," she smiled, taking a deep breath. "Okay, let's do this."
Inside the church, two of Kwest's cousins pulled back the doors to allow Spiederman and Morgan to start down the aisle. Nic, who was seated with Kyle, Wally, Lee, Jamie, and Zeppelin, raised an eyebrow when he passed her in reference to his hair.
"Nice," she mouthed.
"Man, he must really love you if he cut his hair," Kyle whispered in her ear.
"It suits him," Nic mused.
When it was time for Jude and Tommy to walk, she wrapped her arm through his and they slowly made their way down the aisle. She smiled for the photographer and winked at her friends before she and Tommy separated to their opposite sides. Everyone then stood to watch Sadie and Stuart make their entrance. Jude watched Kwest's face as her sister approached him. In all her life, she'd never seen two people more happy than Kwest and Sadie in that moment.
Forty minutes later, the preacher smiled broadly. "Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Kevin West Taylor!"
Everyone erupted with applause as Kwest kissed his bride and then raised her hand in victory. Jude wiped away the stray tears that had trickled down her cheeks and then followed the newlyweds down the aisle and back to the bride's dressing room to wait for everyone to leave so they could take pictures.
"Congratulations!" Jude squealed, hugging Sadie tightly. "You're married!"
"I know," Sadie gushed. "And he's perfect."
"For you, he certainly is," Jude agreed. "Kwest, way to go, man."
He hugged his sister-in-law. "Thanks, Jude. This wouldn't have been the same without you here."
"I wouldn't have missed it for the world," Jude assured them.
She backed away to let them revel in their moment privately and made her way to Spiederman and Leila.
"It seems as though your lady likes your hair," Jude stated. "What made you decide to chop it all off? You loved your hair."
He shrugged. "It felt right. And I guess I'm hoping that if I grow up just a little, she'll see how serious I am about her and she'll move here."
"Oh," Jude said. "Well, good for you, Vin. I hope she does."
Forty-five minutes later, their limo pulled up to the reception hall and they climbed out in order of how they'd walked down the aisle because that was how the DJ was going to present them to the crowd.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the Maid of Honor and Best Man, Jude Harrison and Tom Quincy!" the DJ exclaimed as Jude and Tommy walked inside together.
Jude grinned and made her way through the crowd and to the wedding party table while Sadie and Kwest walked in together as man and wife for the first time.
"Jude, you look fantastic," Nic complimented her as she joined her at the bar moments later. "That color is certainly flattering on you."
Jude took in Nic's black dress. It was long-sleeved, backless, sequined, and thigh-high. She was wearing her dark hair long and wavy and had completed her look with four-inch stilettos. "You're practically begging Spiederman to rip that off of you here in front of everyone, aren't you?"
"This is Marc Jacobs," Nic stated. "I would kill him. And I'm not much for public displays of affection." She smiled. "But I suppose I am hoping to get a certain reaction."
Jude looked over her friend's shoulder at her former guitarist's face, as he'd just spotted his girlfriend's ensemble for the first time. "I think you're about to get it."
"Um, can I borrow you for a minute?" Spiederman requested as he stood behind Nic. "It's uhh, important."
Jude just laughed as he led his girlfriend off to the coat check. She accepted her glass of white wine from the bartender and made her way back to the wedding party table.
"Wine?" Tommy chuckled when she sat down in her empty seat. "Playing it safe tonight, Harrison?"
"Maybe," she replied. "I don't want a hangover because I'm leaving so early in the morning."
"Right," he whispered. "I guess everyone's efforts were in vain then, huh?"
She looked down at her glass. "I see where they're all coming from but it's just not right for me."
"I don't want you to go either," he reminded her.
"But you're not begging me to stay," she shot back. "You know, all I needed to hear in order for me to stay was that you wanted to be with me, Tommy; that's really all. But I can't be here and not be with you because two weeks is agonizing enough."
Tommy said nothing more as he turned his attention to where Sadie and Kwest were greeting their guests.
An hour later, after Sadie and Kwest's first dance, the floor opened up and people started dancing.
"Come on, dude," Spiederman demanded of Jude as the DJ played 'There's Us' through the speakers. "You can't not dance to your jam."
"My jam?" she scoffed as he dragged her out to the dance floor. "Please, don't call it that."
He took her left hand and wrapped his other around her waist. "Remember when you bailed on your release party to see Cowboy in Barrie?"
"You mean the night that creeper got me drunk and took those pictures?" Jude asked. "Yeah, I don't think I'll be forgetting that night anytime soon."
Spiederman smiled. "Do you wanna stay at 620 tonight? That'll give Sadie and Kwest their house to themselves and that way we can go straight to the airport in the morning."
"Okay," she nodded. "These last two weeks have been nice, Spied, and I give a lot of that credit to you. I know you wanted to convince me to stay."
"I gave it my best," he admitted. "If you're set on going back, there's really nothing I can do about it."
Across the floor, Nic was dancing with her brother, who couldn't take his eyes off Jude.
"Even if you're not sure about Jude, you at least know it's not Lauren now, right?" Nic wondered.
"Yes," he replied. "That was made quite clear when she went to Rome with no desire to work things out."
"Then why isn't it Jude?" Nic demanded angrily. "Tommy, I'm probably going out on a limb here but Jude's the best female friend I've got and I really don't want you to push her away because you're afraid."
"Afraid?" he repeated. "I'm not afraid."
Nic looked up at him. "You are so. God, I don't know why I didn't see it before. You broke her heart once and you're afraid that you're so fucked up that you'll do it again." She sighed. "If anyone knows love is scary, it's me, but you can't keep her at arm's length because you're afraid. That's not fair, Tom, to you or to her."
"Nic, stop thinking you know everything," Tommy snapped. "You're still just a kid. This thing with Jude and I is much more complicated than you think."
She pulled away from him. "Fine, Tommy, throw your life away for all I care." She stared at him for another moment before storming off.
"I wonder what that was all about," Spiederman murmured as he watched Nic head to the bar.
"You should go check on her," Jude advised.
Nic was just ordering her vodka and Sprite when Spiederman approached. "I'm fine."
"Liar," he grinned, rubbing her back. "You shouldn't let him get to you like that."
"He's going to push her away to London and then what?" Nic asked. "I never see her again? I know she's your best friend but at least you've got Wally and Kyle and even Jamie. I don't have many close friends but I really like Jude."
Spiederman pulled her to him. "Hey, it'll be fine. If she goes, we'll visit."
"I do have private jet access," she muttered. "That's not enough for me." She leaned away and looked at him. "I quit my job this morning, Spied."
"What?" he cried. "Why?"
"Growing up, I was taught that taking risks would only lead to making mistakes," she stated, "but I don't think that you can really have what you want unless you take risks. So, with that said, I'm going to move here."
"You are?" he smiled. "Nic, I'm not asking you to give up your life for me."
"I'm not," she shook her head. "This is for me, too. If you haven't noticed, I'm a little selfish."
"I don't care," he whispered, inching towards her face. "I'll take selfish any day if it gets you here."
Nic kissed him softly. "The magazine wasn't thrilled but I'll figure something out here. I heard Flare is in the market for a new fashion editor."
"Where are you going to live?" he wondered.
"Not sure," she answered. "I spoke with my realtor and he said he can have my place in Manhattan on the market by Monday and it should sell pretty quickly. It overlooks Central Park and has views of the whole city. I told him I won't negotiate the price but he thinks someone will be willing to pay what I'm asking for the location alone. Until then, I'll probably stay at the hotel."
"No," Spiederman shook his head, "you can stay with us."
Nic made a face. "620 is fine and dandy for you three but not so much me. It's not the ideal living situation for the four of us anyways. This way, you can stay with me whenever you want but have a home base to fall back on."
He couldn't keep the grin off his face. "I think you just made me the happiest guy in the room, and that includes Kwest." He eyed her up and down. "Can we get outta here soon? That dress is dying to be on my floor."
"You're disgusting," she laughed, looking at the clock. "I suppose we could go now and have a little fun before the boys come home."
"Jude's staying, too," he added as they walked to get their coats. "You guys can have a slumber party before she leaves in the morning."
"Don't remind me," she grumbled, handing over her ticket for her Prada coat.
Tommy looked up from his seat to see Jude standing over him, putting on her gray coat.
"Now?" he asked, standing to face her. "And you're not coming back?"
"I guess not," she shrugged. "Have a nice life, Tommy." She turned to go.
"Jude, wait!" He grabbed her arm and spun her around to place a lingering kiss on her forehead. "I'm sorry."
She said nothing as she backed away and walked out of his life, presumably for good.
"I can't believe this is it," Nic whimpered very early the next morning as she stood outside the airport with Jude, Spiederman, Wally, Kyle, and Jamie. She pulled her cashmere scarf tighter around her neck. "You really wanna leave?"
"No," Jude admitted honestly, "but I have to."
Nic hugged her tightly. "Well, the five of us are going to come visit soon."
"You better," Jude warned, turning to the band. "Take care of each other, boys." They shared a big group hug before Spiederman took her into his arms. "I'm sorry, Spied."
"It's not your fault," he told her. "He's an idiot."
"Yeah," she breathed, finally looking at Jamie. "No crying, Andrews."
"Oh, please," he muttered, taking his turn to hug her. "I don't cry."
She smirked. "Sure you don't." She looked down at her watch. "I should go."
"Call me when you land," Spiederman demanded. "I wanna know you made it safe."
Jude frowned sadly. "I'll see you guys soon."
As she walked through the airport, Jude tried not to cry. She knew, deep down, that leaving Toronto was the last thing she wanted but working at Sewer with Tommy would have been heartbreaking so having the Atlantic between them dulled some of the pain.
"Miss Harrison, we're landing soon," a flight attendant told her hours later. "You'll want to put your seat in its upright position."
"Oh, thanks," Jude said, sitting up.
When the plane landed, she exited with the rest of the passengers and pulled her phone from her pocket to call Olivia to figure out where to meet her. She got her voicemail. "Hi, Liv, it's me. I assume you're on the other line so call me back as soon as you get this. I just landed and need to know where to meet you." She hung up and tucked her phone back into her bag.
"She's not here."
Jude froze and turned slowly to find Tommy standing behind her. "What are you doing here?"
"Jude," he breathed, stepping towards her. "I couldn't let you go again. I know that it's not going to be easy and that we're going to have a lot of speed bumps along the way but they'll be worth it in the end. I can't explain my behavior over the last two weeks but I need you to know that I'm in love with you. I always have been. And I know that you deserv-,"
She cut him off by kissing him. "Just shut up, Quincy."
"Aren't you going to ask how I got a hold of your friend?" he wanted to know.
"I don't care," she murmured, pressing her to forehead to his. "I do have to ask why you couldn't tell me this last night. Could've saved a trip."
"I guess I needed to think I was going to lose you to really realize that thought just about paralyzed me," he explained, taking her carry-on from her. "Besides, I thought we could spend a little time here before going home."
Jude bit her lip. "I'd really rather go back. I already miss everyone."
"I figured you might," he chuckled, reaching into his back pocket to pull out two tickets. "Our flight leaves at seven."
She reached up and kissed him again. "I love you, Tom Quincy."
"I know," he murmured, kissing her forehead. "I love you, too."
At 620, Nic and Spiederman were just falling asleep after a Jackass movie marathon with the boys when they heard the door open downstairs.
"Stay here," Spiederman whispered, climbing out of bed to grab a baseball bat near his door.
"No," Nic denied. "I'm tougher than you are."
They quietly crept out of his room and made their way through the dark kitchen. Nic nervously reached over to turn on the light, only for them to find Jude and Tommy staring up at them.
"Jude!" Nic shrieked, ignoring the fact that she was only wearing one of Spiederman's old button-ups as she bounded down the stairs to hug her. "You're back?!"
"I had a little surprise waiting for me at Heathrow this afternoon," Jude explained, nudging Tommy. "And he finally convinced me that I need to be in Toronto."
"Well, I'm glad," Nic smiled brightly, taking Spiederman's hand as he joined them. "We can totally double date."
Tommy made eye contact with Spiederman. "I'm not so sure that would be a good idea."
"Why?" Nic wondered as the four of them sat down on the couches. "Spied and I are a lot of fun."
"True," Jude agreed, "but Tommy's a little boring." Before Tommy could protest, she continued. "Good thing I like boring every now and then."
"You better," Tommy murmured, pulling her towards him to lean on his chest. "I gave up an orthodontist for you."
Jude just smirked and closed her eyes. "You really don't want me to respond to that."
"Ha," Nic laughed once as she cuddled up next to her boyfriend. "Your comments would be so much nicer than mine."
"Both of you, shut up," Spiederman demanded, clapping twice to turn off the lights. "I've had a long day."
"Spied, shut the fuck up," Jude grinned. "I just spent the entire day on airplanes." She wrapped her arms around Tommy. "But it was so worth it."