Me: I would like to thank Vera, my Updating General, for the idea for this chapter...The final chapter...
Why is it the final chapter?
Because I can't come up with any more ideas!
Well, I probably could, but I've got so many other things to work on, I just...Can't...
Fang: What happened to your 'Christmas Theme' here, Saint?
Me: It's a Christmas Present to myself?
Me: Ok, well, read the chapter and I'll tell you more at the bottom...
Fang: I wonder if your fans hate you yet?
Me: W-why d-d-did you say th-that for?! -cries harder-
Fang: Saint! I'm sure they don't really- -sigh- Great....
How many indignities can one male truly survive?
In the course of a couple weeks, I'd already been subjected to learning more about the female reproductive system than I ever wanted to know, I'd found out that we may have to put Iggy in therapy in the next couple years if he kept the kind of thoughts he was having up, I'd helped Nudge through a part of her life that I never wanted to deal with again, I'd dealt with the dreaded monster that was simply known as 'PMS', I'd found a reason to never eat eggs again, I'd found out how not to flirt with girls, Angel had almost gotten me killed by Max, Gazzy started growing up way too fast, I'd had another run-in with the evil that is Valium, I had the one and only dream-sharing session I will ever have, and I'd made the last assumption I will ever make about someone's computer-searching habits.
But now, just when I thought thing couldn't get worse, they did.
"Come on, Fang, hurry up!" Max said, dragging me along by my arm. "Stop dragging your feet, and we'll be out of here a lot faster."
"I don't see why I have to come." I grumbled. "You, Ella, and Nudge are big girls, you can handle yourselves. Why couldn't I stay home?"
"Because Mom wanted you to come along, and now you're here, and that's that, so stop complaining and move!" She nearly ripped my arm out of my socket dragging me along. I had a feeling that she didn't really want to be here, either, and was sick of hearing me whine about something that she was forced to be doing, too. But the thing was, she was, well, 'better suited' for this kind of....Thing.
"So, which store should we go in first?" Ella called back to us, standing near a large water fountain next to Nudge, who was looking around in awe.
I just sighed. The mall. A girl's paradise, a guy's nightmare. Ella and Nudge were practically on Cloud Nine just being here. I was desperately looking for a Suicide 'R Us store to see if I could get a good deal on a noose. It had been Dr. Martinez's idea for me to come along, thinking the girls would be 'safer' with a big, strong, tough guy like me escorting them. Kind of a sexist assumption, if you ask me, and I think Max felt the same, but what could we do?
And if it wasn't bad enough that I had to be in the mall with three girls, I also had to consider what we were shopping for...
"Well, what kind of store do we have to go in to get...Those things?" Nudge asked Ella.
Ella stood there for a bit, staring thoughtfully into space. Suddenly, her eyes brightened and a grin spread across her face. "I know just the place to go! Come on!" She started to run off, motioning for us to follow her.
I sighed deeply, taking up the rear and following the three girls through the mall.
I had a feeling I wasn't going to like this. Not one bit...
"And what's this charming little store called?" Max asked sarcastically, crossing her arms and staring boredly at the store from across the hall.
Ella's grin widened. "Victoria's Secret..."
Ok, I may be a deprived and highly socially inept bird-kid, but even I'd heard of this place. I put my hands up and backed away. "Oh, no! I am so not going in there."
Ella looked back at me and put her hands on her hips. "Then what are you going to do, Fang? Stand outside and wait for us?"
I shrugged. "Sure. Why not? There's one of those pretzel places over there, not to mention that Cinnabon place smells pretty good. I'll be fine 'till you get back."
Max just shook her head at me and, once again, got a death grip on my upper arm. "I don't think so, Fangles. If I have to go in the place, you're coming with me." She started to drag me toward the store, Ella and Nudge going on ahead.
I struggled to break Max's iron grip, twisting and turning this way and that and making a scene there in the middle of the mall. I caught to old ladies staring at me and waved before continuing my struggle. "Why can't we go in some other store?" I asked them as I twisted in Max's grip. "What about Kohl's? Kohl's has nice stuff. Nudge, you like Kohl's. I'm sure they sell...Those things in Kohl's."
Ella looked back at me, rolling her eyes. "Really, Fang? Those things? Is it really all that hard to say 'bras'?"
I glared back at her. "Oh, shut up."
Inside the store, things didn't get much better.
"Check this out, Max!" Nudge said, holding up a small, skimpy piece of fabric.
Max squinted. "Yeah, I can barely see it. What is that, scrap fabric?"
"Nope, that's underwear." Ella said.
Max's eyes widened. "Underwear for who? A smurf?"
"Actually, I don't think that'd cover a smurf, even..." I muttered, trying to look anywhere but at the sorry excuse for a pair of panties. So awkward...
"How much does that thing cost, anyway?" Max asked.
Nudge checked the price tag, which was almost bigger than the panties. "It's on sale. Twenty-four dollars."
Max's eyes bugged out. My jaw dropped.
"That's a sale?!" Max exclaimed.
"I'd hate to see the retail price..." I muttered.
Max shook her head. "That's it, we're out of here."
"No, Max!" Ella called from where she was pawing through a pile of...Those things we were here for. I decided to go back to staring at the ceiling. "Don't worry, we'll find some stuff that's a bit cheaper. Plus, I have mom's credit card, and she doesn't mind."
"Are you sure-?" Max started to ask, but suddenly, Ella squealed and ran to the other side of the store.
"Nudge! Come see these! These are perfect!"
Nudge ran off after her, leaving Max and I to stand there, wondering how someone could be so excited about undergarments.
About fifteen minutes later, Max, Ella, and I were sitting outside a changing room, waiting for Nudge to come out. Ella had tried a couple times to get Max to come walk through the store with her, but Max had, thankfully, refused. If she ran off with Ella to look at skimpy clothing for fun, not only would I be worrying about Max's sanity, but then I would be left alone to wait for Nudge...
So now, we were sitting in front of the dressing rooms...Doing nothing.
And I was trying desperetely not to look at anything while trying to look like I wasn't trying not to look at anything. A very confusing and complicated situation to be in.
"Hey, you guys know what 'arm' is, in French?" Ella suddenly asked, breaking our awkward, bored silence.
"Sorry, haven't really brushed up on my French lately." Max said. "What is it?"
"Bra!" Ella exclaimed in answer. "You know what that means?"
"That the French have a sick sense of humor?" Max guessed.
"That's Fang's has two bras on his body right now!" Ella said, laughing.
I just sat there, staring at the ceiling, trying to ignore the awkward conversation going on at my side. I made a mental note to never go to France.
"Ok." Nudge said, coming out of the dressing room. She was carrying a pile of...Undergarments in each hand. "I like these." She said, holding up the pile in her right hand. "But these are uncomfortable." She added, holding up the pile in the other hand. "It's hard to find some that work around the, uh, wings." She added in a lower voice.
"Yeah, I could've told you that." Max said. "It's a real pain. But, of course, going without one can be a pain, too."
"I've had days where I was in such a hurry to get dressed, I forgot to put one on." Ella said. "Not a good idea..."
Max laughed. "You've never flown without one! Talk about awkward..."
"Hello!!" I finally exclaimed. "Male within hearing distance!"
"Sorry, Fang." Max said. Of course, her apology didn't minimize the fact that Ella and Nudge were now giggling uncontrollably. God, I hate giggling...
"Come on, we should get going." Ella said, getting up, still giggling away. Was there a giggle organ? Because I wanted to rip it out...
"Yeah, we should go before Fang's face gets any redder." Nudge said, following Ella. "Someone's already gonna think we're toting around an emo Oompa Loompa!"
Max and I got up to follow them, me ready to kill them both. "Hey! I'm not emo! And my face can't be that red!"
All three of them cracked up when I said that. Ok, so I guess it could be that red...
We were so close to getting out of the store. So close! But, of course, Ella would have to get detoured...
"Max! Oh my God! Check this out!" She said, running over to a display and laughing.
I made the mistake of looking over to the display that Ella was running and pointing to.
If my face hadn't been red before, it was now.
Up on top of a table stood a tall, blonde mannequin. A tall, blonde, winged mannequin. And she was modeling an outfit that I didn't think they'd be allowed to model in public.
"Max!" Nudge squealed. "It looks like you!"
"It does not!" Max exclaimed back. "Just 'cause it's blonde and has wings does not make it a Max look-alike."
"If you cut the hair a bit, it would look like you." Ella said.
"Would not!" Max shot back. "She looks nothing like me. Right, Fang?"
"Yeah, Fang!" Ella said. "You tell us! Does that look like Max?"
Up 'till this point, I had been trying to avoid looking in the general direction of the mannequin again. One quick glance had been enough.
"Come on, Fang, you have to look at it!" Nudge said, trying to physically turn me around to look.
"Girls, can't we just go?" I asked, trying to get away from Nudge.
"Not until you look!" Ella said, stomping her foot.
I finally gave in, hoping that we would be able to leave if I just complied. I took a quick glance over at the mannequin.
"Well, Fang?" Max asked.
"You're right, it doesn't look like you." I said, just wanting to make Max happy.
Suddenly, Max put her hands on her hips. "Oh, so I don't look like the mannequin?" She said angrily. "I could never look as good as that stupid piece of plastic, huh?"
I shook my head. "No, no, you look better than the mannequin!"
"Nice sucking up, Fang." Ella said, crossing her arms.
Max was glaring at me now. "First, you call me ugly, then you suck up to me."
"Max!" I exclaimed. "I thought you wanted me to agree with you!"
"Oh, so now everything you say is just to make me happy?!" She said angrily. "How can I trust anything you say anymore?!"
"No, Max, that's not what I-" I started to say.
"Fang, you're an insensitive jerk!" Ella said, kicking me in the shin.
"Ow! Ella, I-"
"Loser!" Nudge exclaimed, giving my other shin a bruise to match.
"Nudge! Stop! I-"
"What is wrong with you!" Max yelled, whacking me in the back of the head.
"What the Hell?!" I yelled out.
Suddenly, the whole store went quiet. I looked around to see everyone in the entire place staring at me.
Obviously, I yelled louder than I thought.
"Good job, Fang." Max muttered.
I could feel my face turning the darkest shade of red it had ever been.
"I'll...Wait outside." I muttered, then beat a hasty retreat towards the door.
Outside, I stood miserably against a wall, watching everyone walk by. Why do girls have to be such.....Girls?
"You look glum, man."
I looked up to see some blonde guy with glasses carrying four huge bags chock full of crap like clothes and toys. He, too, had stopped to lean up against the wall and wait.
"Yeah..." I said, not really wanting to talk to some weirdo.
He grinned, bobbing his head toward the Victoria's Secret store. "You got a girl in there?"
Ah, a guy who knew my pain. "Yeah, her and her two sisters."
The guy rolled his eyes, smiling. "Yeah, girls and their sisters. My wife has two sisters, too. And when they get together, it can get a bit crazy." He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. Then, just like in the movies, he pulled out a picture to show me. It was of a dark-haired woman holding a little baby.
"Those are my girls." The guy said, grinning. "Beautiful, aren't they?"
I nodded. "Yeah."
"Girls." He said, smiling and shaking his head. "They can be crazy, huh?"
I nodded, rolling my eyes. "You can say that again."
"Oh, yeah." he said. "My wife, she's in that store right now. She just can't understand why I refuse to go in with her. Well, I could tell her, besides the fact that I lose a small percentage of testosterone going in there, the last time I walked in there with her, she accused me of checking out the mannequins." We both laughed, I knew how he felt.
"Then, there's the times when she's with her sisters." He let out a sigh. "Those females. When they're alone, they're bad enough. But together? Pure Hades. My wife's sisters pick on me mercilessly. And then, they'll gang up on me on just about everything."
I nodded. "I know how that feels."
"Yeah." He said, smiling. He looked back down at his picture. "You know, though, it's all worth it. For moments like this." He said, pointing to the picture in his hand. "And even for moments like right now, waiting outside a Victoria's Secret just so I can carry another oversized bag. It's all worth it."
"Yeah?" I asked. I was wondering by now why the guy still had any hair. I would've pulled all of mine out by now due to frustration.
"Oh, yeah." He said, nodding. "Tell me, the girl you're waiting on, she let you stay out here, or did you get tossed out for some reason?"
"I kinda left, actually." I explained. "After she and her sisters beat me up for agreeing with her when I guess I shouldn't have."
"Ah, the female trick questions. Here's a tip for those, my friend. Sometimes, there just is no right answer." He winked at me. "Anyway, so, you're out here, you're pissed, you're embarrassed, you're testerone levels have dropped to dangerously low percentages. So, whatcha gonna do about it? Yell at her? Beat her up? Leave her?"
Ok, what kind of freak answers are those?! "No!"
He smiled. "So, you're gonna let it slide. And why is that?"
"Because it's no big deal..." I said.
"And it's no big deal because..." He said.
"Because she's...Well, because I..." I said, struggling for the answer.
"Because you love her." The guy said, finishing my sentence for me. "And in the end, it's that love that'll help you not only get through all the abuse you'll go through, but have you crawling back for more, just like every other guy on the planet."
"Hey!" a woman called, coming out of the store. She was pushing a stroller and carrying a large Victoria's Secret bag. She began motioning towards my new friend. "Come on, I'm done here! We gotta move if we're going to get to my sister's for dinner. Come get this bag! I've gotta push the stollers, you know!"
The guy smiled, laughing a bit. "That's my boss. Gotta run." He clapped me on the shoulder. "Good luck, man."
"Thanks." I said, as he started to walk away.
Suddenly, he stopped, leaning closer to me. "Another tip for you, my man." He said. "You'll find that, even though it's a pain to be around this store, what's in that bag makes it all worth it." He winked at me again and headed toward his wife and kid.
I watched them leave, the guy happily taking yet another bag and giving both his wife and their little baby a kiss.
Not long after, Max and the girls came out, carrying more disgustingly pink bags than I thought should exist.
Max walked over and took my hand. "Hey, sorry about driving you out there."
I shrugged. "Hey, it gave me a reason to leave."
"I think next time, I'll talk Mom into letting us come on our own." She said. "Don't want to torture you anymore than necessary."
"Hey, it's alright." I said. "I'll come with you, as long as I don't actually have to go in that store, that is. Cool?"
She smiled and nodded. "Yeah, cool. So...You're not pissed?"
I shook my head. "Nah, it's too much work to stay pissed."
We started walking after Ella and Nudge, who were gossiping and giggling away, checking out guys in the mall shamelessly.
That's when I noticed that Max was carrying one of those ridiculous pink bags. "What's in there, Maximum?"
She pulled the bag behind her. "None of your business."
I smiled. "Alright...I'll just have to use my imagination..."
"Fang!" She exclaimed, giving me a push jokingly.
I just smiled, shaking my head, and kept walking.
You know, I kinda liked going to the mall.
Me: Well, I hope this was a good last chapter. I like my stories to go out well, and for a story that I didn't know what to do with, I think this chapter's pretty good.
Fang: Saint ran out of ideas for this story about five chapters ago.
Me: I think I let it go on for too long. I know a lot of people love it, but I just can't do this one anymore...
I'll tell you what, though. I know a lot of people have had some good ideas for this story that, for one reason or another, I was never able to use. If you have one of those ideas, feel free to write yourself a Facts of Life sequel or something, really. Just let me know so I can read it! Heck, if I get enough of those, I may make a community or something for them...
Fang: She thought about doing a 'Facts of Life Sequel Competition', but not only does she not have the time or motivation, she didn't want to have to judge and pick favorites.
Me: Ok, I'm just gonna...End it....
Fang: You can tell we don't end stories very often.
Me: I might miss it...
Fang: Then, you'll write some kind of messed-up sequel and overwork yourself again.
Me: -sigh- Yeah...Basically, people, don't take the story of your alerts, because I may start it up again someday. Until then, adios! And remember, I've written other stuff for you people to read, too!
Fang: So, for the final time, for now...