I know, I know. It's been over two years. And I am very sorry, if there's even anyone out there still reading this! But here is the final chapter, hope you like it. I wanted to write a full-blown version of the final scene, but I got shy.
Please review if you read! I want to know how I did with this last chapter, as I'm a little rusty writing-wise.
"This is your captain speaking; please fasten your seatbelts as we begin our descent to Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii."
I clicked my seatbelt into place obediently and gaped out of the window at the spectacular views that greeted me as we dipped below a cloud. Living in Lakeview, a real white-sand beach was about as common as a good slice of pizza, and the expanse of golden luxury in front of my eyes was breath-taking.
It also beat looking at any of my fellow passengers, who weren't happy their journey to paradise had been delayed by forty-five minutes as the plane had been called back to fit me on. If looks could kill, I would have been dead the moment I stepped onto the plane.
The girl back in the airport, however, was very happy. She'd be kitted out in Manolo Blahniks for at least a decade thanks to me.
As the plane dropped even lower in the sky, I raised a self-conscious hand to my hair. I hadn't looked in a mirror for hours – what if I was hideous? Travelling never did anyone any favours. And this was my big moment, my end-of-the-movie declaration. I had to look half-decent, surely.
"Here." I turned in my seat to see the girl next to me handing me a brush and a compact mirror. "Not that you need it, but you might as well see it for yourself." She smiled at me softly.
"Thanks," I replied, taking them from her. "And, um, I'm sorry about the delay." She laughed.
"It's O.K," she said, and she waved her phone at me. "My cousin was watching the R U 4 Real? finale, she's clued me in." Her fingers flew across the keypad in response to a beep. "You made the right choice, by the way. All three of those guys were total douchebags." I laughed. That was totally the right word for them. She leaned in conspiratorially. "But that Dexter guy was cute. Are you really going out with him like that newspaper said?"
I sank back in my seat, examining my reflection. My hair, to my relief, was still in the hairspray prison from back on the set. "We'll see," I answered. That was anyone's guess.
The airport was teeming with excited holidaymakers, so I was able to disappear into the crowd without anybody noticing me. Even in Hawaii they got the show, and I didn't want to risk any further delay to my romantic mission whilst I still had the courage.
I didn't have any luggage to pick up, so I headed straight to the exit and into the heat of the Hawaiian sun. My heart sank momentarily when I saw there were no available taxis, until one pulled up onto the kerb and a businessman got out.
"Wait!" I cried, and grabbed the door before anyone else could. Sliding inside, I gave the driver the name of Dexter's hotel (John Miller had filled me in) and crossed everything I had – fingers, toes, my heart – that he would be there. If he wasn't, I didn't know where the hell he'd be. I just hoped I wasn't too late.
It was only a fifteen-minute ride, but with my pulse echoing in my ears it felt like a lifetime. Even the glorious surroundings couldn't do much to distract me now, all I could focus on was the words I planned to say when I finally saw his face.
"Is it true that-?"
Crap. I was just going to have to wing it.
The taxi pulled up at the hotel, and I paid my fare quickly, heading to reception in a bit of a daze. Please let Dexter be here, please let Dexter be here…
"Dexter Jones, please?" I asked at the counter. The woman behind it consulted her computer, before glancing up to meet my gaze.
"I'm sorry," she said, as she double-clicked the screen. "But he checked out an hour ago." My heart slammed into my ribcage so hard I was convinced I would have a bruise across my chest within minutes. He was gone. My Dexter was gone, before I'd even had chance to tell him how I really felt.
"Oh." That was all I could manage. Part of my brain really should have been considering how the hell to get back home, but I was consumed with grief and heartbreak. I'd really messed up in thinking he could have betrayed me. Why couldn't I have seen what he was really trying to do, that he was trying to protect me?
"Miss," added the receptionist, in hushed tones once her supervisor had disappeared. "I happen to know for a fact that Mr. Dexter liked the beach just in front of the hotel. He could be still there..." My frozen heart came juddering back to life. The beach.
"Thank you!" I cried. I could have kissed her, but I didn't want to waste any more time. I sped out of the hotel lobby and came face to face with the beach, a beautiful stretch of sand before the idyllic blue ocean. But that sight didn't compare to the one I spotted only seconds after – that of a man with dark curls, sat watching the waves roll in. That of a man I loved.
"Dexter!" I yelled, staggering through the sand towards him. My entire hard-to-get ethos was suddenly thrown out of the window at the sight of him in front of me once again. "Dexter!" He turned slowly, a confused expression spreading across his handsome features, which quickly turned to surprise when he recognised me.
"Remy?" He got to his feet only seconds before I threw myself at him, wrapping my arms around him, holding him to me and never wanting to let go. The heat of his body soothed every emotional ache that had burdened me for the past few weeks, and I pressed my face against his chest, breathing him in to calm my thudding heart. "Dexter," I whispered. My Dexter. He was here.
"What the hell are you doing here?" he demanded, and his hands formed two manacles around my upper arms so that I was forced to look into his piercing eyes. "Why aren't you still in Lakeview? What happened to the show?"
"I quit," I said, simply, still aghast at seeing him so close after imagining him for so long. "I chose no-one." Well, that wasn't quite true. I added in a smaller voice, "I chose you."
The look of pure happiness that played across his face sent my heart soaring again. It was the expression I had prayed for, the one I dreaded would not appear. "I love you," he said, so determinedly that there was nothing to do but throw my arms around him again. "I love you, Remy Starr."
"Even if I'm poor?" I asked him, or rather, murmured into his chest. "I spent every last penny on that prize money on a ticket here." His laugh reverberated through his body and sent a tingle down my spine.
"You didn't," he said, disbelievingly, and he laid a kiss on top of my head. "Remy, Remy, Remy. What are we going to do with you?"
"Kiss me," I ordered, and he grinned.
"Of course, my jungle queen," he responded comically, before taking my face in his hands and bestowing the sweetest, softest kiss upon my lips. It was a kiss that tasted like salt air and happiness, and was beyond a doubt the best kiss I'd ever had in my entire life. He looked up in amusement. "If you didn't pick anyone, how did you end up with the money?"
I shifted my weight guiltily. "I kind of stole it," I admitted, and for the first time let my thoughts drift back to the set back at home. "With John Miller's help. I kind of figured they owed it to me after screwing me over so badly." Now I wasn't so sure that argument would hold up in court. "They're going to sue my ass off, aren't they?"
"It's possible," Dexter replied, but I knew his concentration wasn't fully in the conversation any longer. His thumbs were stroking my bottom lip and it was completely distracting. "But I have a plan."
"You can be my back-up dancer to pay off all the lawyer's bills."
I laughed out loud.
"I don't really think back-up dancing is my area of expertise," I replied doubtfully. He lifted an eyebrow.
"No?" Dexter replied. He ran a finger down my neck, and my body shivered in delight. "And what, Miss Remy, would you call your area of expertise?"
I held out my hand.
We were back at the hotel, where Dexter had promptly checked back in, standing before each other in his pristine white room. The bedding was white, the voile curtains were white, even the view that the window framed was white. It made the whole thing seem ethereal, like I had died and gone to Heaven.
Except no-one could be this nervous in Heaven. Whilst activities of the bedroom variety were generally my specialist subject, things were different this time. This was Dexter. This was love.
"Are you O.K?" Dexter whispered. The sound of his voice jerked me from my reverie.
"Of course," I replied automatically. There was no need for him to know I was suffering from stage fright. He placed a finger below my chin and tilted my face upwards so I was forced to meet his gaze. And then, at the moment my eyes met his, I wasn't nervous any more. Because of course this was Dexter. The boy who had shielded me from so much. He wouldn't hurt me now.
"I love you," I murmured, replying to his proclamation from earlier. My whole face was tingling slightly from where he had touched my chin. His hand moved to my shoulder.
"And I love you," he replied. He began stroking my shoulder through the material of my shirt. A sudden braveness filled me, and I moved his hand to the buttons of my shirt instead. "Are you sure?" he asked me. I nodded. I hadn't been any surer in my entire life.
His fingers dealt deftly with the buttons, caressing my collarbone as he did so. Even the most mundane of motions he made lovingly, reassuring me with every touch. He slipped the shirt off me, and then removed his own. This was it.
"You're beautiful," he said. And then he kissed me.
Afterwards, I lay in his arms with electricity flowing through my veins. I had done that before, so many times, but never had I felt like that. I was safe, I was secure. I was in love.
I smiled to myself, and sat up. Dexter swept an affectionate hand across my back, and I turned slightly to kiss his fingers, before pulling the bed sheets up to my chest and getting out of bed. Wrapped in white, I pulled the double doors back to the balcony and leant on the railing, examining the amazing view in front of me.
I wouldn't have believed it, all those months ago, when my mother had signed me up for that goddamn show. Her idea that it would restore my faith in love, that it would make me see that there was more to life than meaningless encounters, heartbreak and separation, seemed as ridiculous as it did futile. But somehow, and not in the way she had intended, it had worked. I knew that I had loved Dexter all along, as much as he had irritated me in the beginning. He had broken down my defences and now he had my heart. And what was more, I knew he wouldn't break it.
Whatever lay ahead when we returned back home, I would deal with. It wasn't the end of the world. But for now I decided to make the most of this paradise, this tiny piece of heaven in bed with Dexter.
This was for real.