Here it is - the final chapter! Thanks to everyone that's stuck with this story and reviewed... it means a lot. This chapter is pretty much just Kari's thoughts, so there's not a whole lot of dialogue, but I think it works out nicely.
Disclaimer on profile.
The time for a final decision was upon Kari, and she still didn't know what the ultimate outcome would be. Her three choices sat across from her in the café and stared her down silently as she wished for lightning to zap her to death at that very instant. Their pleading eyes and hopeful expressions and eager faces nearly broke her quailing heart. No matter what happened, two thirds of the party would go home unsatisfied and disappointed. She, of course, would just be relieved to have all over and done with. This situation reminded her greatly of the game show that had brought all this on her. She felt just as nervous, pressured and terrified as then. Except this time, it was far more difficult to choose between the anxious men in front of her, because now, she had a better grasp on their point of views, on their beliefs, backgrounds and personalities. They had become etched in her heart and she knew she wouldn't be able to get through this without shedding enormous amounts of tears.
To her right sat TK, the athletic and charming guy every girl dreamed of having. He was, however, essentially a wallflower compared to the other two. Not to say that he was ordinary and boring in any way, but he just wasn't as eye-catching as Ken, or as passionate as Davis. He had a certain amount of sexy, and stood up for what he thought was right, but when it came down to it, he was right in the middle of the other two with nothing extraordinary to offer. He had his moments to shine, but that's all they were – moments. Ken commandeered the attention of a room with his elegance and refinery. Once you got to know Davis, it was hard to let go of his incredible way of making someone smile and laugh uncontrollably. Kari knew TK had more to him than she originally suspected, but was she willing to give him that opportunity?
Kari sipped her tea as she contemplated the man that sat directly in front of her, bounding restlessly in his confined chair. Davis was her release to a life that she didn't think could have existed. A life without stress and pressure to do her best. He had immediately accepted her as she was and he hadn't judged her whatsoever. That was a rare thing that she found very appealing, but how long could that life of carelessness last? What if she chose Davis, and they got serious? Would he be able to handle that kind of responsibility? And what about children? Kari wanted to eventually have some little brats of her own, but she wasn't prepared to do it if the father backed out at the first sign of duty. She knew she was being irrational, thinking that far ahead into the future, but she needed to look at this seriously. She didn't think the others would give her a second chance if she changed her mind in a couple of weeks. Kari refused to use people like that. She had to make the right choice.
Ken's intense gaze made her swoon uncontrollably. He was the sexiest out of her three choices and she knew it (along with the entire female population). She was lucky to have found him, snagged him, and gotten to be in his mere presence. Although she didn't know him as well as she knew TK and Davis, Kari got the feeling that if she were to choose Ken today, she wouldn't regret it majorly. He was sweet in a way, but she knew TK scored slightly higher for that one. However, he was so uptight at times that it led her to believe that he did not trust her completely. During those periods in time, she felt scared and nervous, thinking that it was obviously something she had said or done to make him so aloof and emotionless. Kari therefore felt the need to filter everything she said, to make sure she used proper manners, and above all, to make sure she didn't become too attached. She sensed there was a darker side to Ken and she was wary to encounter it. Everyone had their problems, but with Ken… she gathered it was a bit more serious, and he wasn't willing to share or trust anyone with that secret. Kari needed someone that could open up to her – relationships went nowhere if there was no communication and dependence on each other.
Contestant #1, 2, and 3… they had come a long way from that petty game show. And yet, despite that trivial fact, Kari found herself thinking of their comical, sweet, and raunchy answers to her unorthodox questions. Now that she knew a bit about them, their responses were so evidently a reflection of their personalities. Ken told nothing but the truth (even if he didn't want to), TK said the most brilliant things, and Davis blurted out the first thing that came to mind. She had a major dilemma on her shaking hands, and was without an answer.
Kari downed the rest of her tea, scalding her sensitive tongue during the process and said, "Okay… I've made my decision. But first, I want each of you to promise me that you WILL NOT be angry with me no matter who I choose. I want to remain friends with all of you, and I can't do that if you're ignoring me. So, before I give you my decision, I want your word."
She thought this was genius. There was no way they would agree to her terms, so she didn't have to pick. It would make things a lot easier if she could just walk away from all this without hurting someone, but her pestering and bloody annoying conscience refused to coincide.
"Sure." TK stated. "I haven't got a problem with that."
"Yeah, me neither." Davis agreed heartily, beaming at her.
Ken received the expectant glares of the other two men and reluctantly said, "Yeah, I guess."
Well, there went her plan. She smiled to cover up for the rising terror and panic she was experiencing and pretended to tie her shoelace in order to buy herself a few more seconds. Going through her mental lists and memories, she shut her eyes tight and concentrated. It was now or later. She could make a run for the door, but eventually someone would catch up to her and force her to come to a decision. Okay, I've got it.
Smile and focus.
"Well, gentlemen, my final decision is… TK."
A doubly-loud THUD was heard as TK fell off his chair and Davis smacked his head against the table. Ken sat there, dazed and looking a bit confused.
Kari winced at the thought of all the demands for explanations that would soon torrent her. But she refused to give into their pleading. Maybe some other day she would explain her decision to Ken and Davis, but for today, she was keeping that information to herself.
The reason she chose TK was actually pretty stupid. Whilst tying her shoelace, Kari had glimpsed a couple eating two very large sandwiches, both piled high, stuffed with edible goodness that made her mouth water. That entire hunk of food was surrounded by two slices of bread – very thin and insignificant. Without those pieces of bread, the sandwich would not be complete, but it was the middle that made the meal. The more she thought about it, the more she realised that it was positively true. Without the middle, what was the point in eating the sandwich? The middle was the best, and that was when she finally realised that TK was her choice. TK was her middle man, and the guy she chose. She could only hope he was up to the challenge.
So, now you know who she ends up choosing! The results were:
TK - 4
Ken - 2
Davis - 0
Poor Davis, right? I kinda feel sorry for him. Let me know what you think. Thanks.