When Mikayla questioned Miley and Lily's whereabouts, Cody and many of the others remembered that the girls had failed to join them in the audience before the show.
"Maybe your friends had to leave suddenly," Lola said in an oddly false tone. Even though she had been disguising herself alongside Hannah for a few years now, she could still sometimes get flustered about keeping her secret.
"What if they got thrown out by security?" Cody asked. "One of us should have waited and walked them to the seats."
"Let's go ask if any of the stage crew saw them," Carey suggested.
"Wait," Hannah called out. Everyone stopped and turned to her. "Umm…one second." She then began a whispered conversation with Robbie Ray. After exchanging a few thoughtful looks, both of them turned back to face the others.
"Let's go find someplace private," Hannah said. "I've got something to tell you. But it has to stay a secret."
After the shock was over, Mikayla started laughing. Laughter that grew and grew until she had to lean against Cody to keep from collapsing.
"Dude, she's gone hysterical," Zack told his twin with a hint of concern.
"No…no," Mikayla finally managed to choke out. She composed herself, and stopped laughing (though she chose to keep leaning against Cody…she felt quite comfortable in that position.) She looked to Miley. "I'm just thinking about that day you and I went shopping…and I spent the whole time telling you how much I hated Hannah." She laughed again. "You just kept nodding and smiling."
Until that moment, Miley's memories of that day had been filled with annoyance, but now she could see the humor in it. She began to laugh too.
Everyone promised to keep Miley's secret. On the whole, Mikayla and all her friends were very impressed with the cleverness of Hannah Montana's double life. Cody in particular wished that he could slip back into a 'normal' life whenever he wanted.
But with Mikayla leaning against him, her musical laughter filling his ears, he couldn't help but think that some things were worth giving up 'normal' for.
Miley and Lily put their wigs back on before going out with Mikayla and the rest for dinner. Despite the fact that London took them all to an exclusive restaurant that catered to the rich and famous, the two pop stars and their friends still received an incredible amount of attention. Already the end of the Mikayla/Hannah feud was being discussed all over the media. Before the main course was even served, London, Hannah and Mikayla had taken out their cell phones and browsed the web to discover that the news coverage was universally positive. Commentators were praising both singers as outstanding role models and fans seemed excited about the newfound peace.
The entire group went back to the Tipton. When they arrived, Mr. Moseby was glad to see that Hannah was present. He apologized to the singer, Robbie Ray and Lola for throwing them out of the hotel during their last visit, and was pleased when they expressed no hard feelings over the incident.
Hannah was given a complimentary suite for the night. The next morning, a press conference was held at the hotel where both singers reiterated that their feud was over. With that taken care of, Hannah and company returned home to California.
There was an unexpected bonus to the end of the feud. With all the good publicity Mikayla was getting, Jim felt that there was no need for her to stick to such a demanding schedule of promotional appearances. He cut back on the number of interviews and media obligations to allow the girl to have more free time.
Mikayla was grateful for this. So was Cody.
Technically the teens were still not supposed to be together in Mikayla's suite past a certain time each night, but they had noticed that Carey no longer came checking when Cody was there late. They wondered if it was because she trusted their judgement or if it was simply because Carey was now occupied with other matters. (Her relationship with Jim was proving very…satisfying.) In truth, both those factors played a part.
One night while Cody and Mikayla were cuddling on the singer's couch they paused in their kissing and looked at one another. Both went to say something at the same time…and then chuckled when their words overlapped. Cody then let Mikayla speak first.
"I think you can stay as long as you want tonight."
"I think you're right," he replied. His tone was serious.
Mikayla wasn't sure what she should say. Or do for that matter. She certainly had urges…strong urges…pulling her in one direction. And she did think she was ready for the next step. Yet Cody never pushed things. She could appreciate him being a gentleman. It was part of what she adored about him, but it also made her wonder at times if his desire for her was perhaps a little less intense than her desire for him.
"You know, I've thought a lot about you and me…and what it would be like to make love to you," he said.
Just hearing those words made Mikayla quiver inside. Excitement, and a tiny bit of fear, coursed through her. "I've thought about it too. Obviously."
"You…I can't tell you how much you turn me on." Cody hoped he didn't sound foolish. It was hard to adequately put his feelings into words.
Mikayla decided that she wasn't going to question her urges. She reached her hands over to Cody and began unbuttoning his shirt.
"Wait," he said.
The girl froze. "Am I doing something wrong?"
Cody took hold of her hands but didn't push them away. "No. I just want to tell you something."
Mikayla nodded. "Okay."
"When I think about making love to you, I know I want it to be special. I keep wondering what would be best. Should we make a plan or should we just take the next opportunity we have and…go wild?"
Mikayla had to smile. While talking about this subject Cody's demeanor showed a slight awkwardness that served to enhance just how attractive he was.
"But as I thought about it, I thought about what taking this step means…what it means to me," he continued. "And I realized it's not about planning…or getting lost in the moment. To me, what would be special is knowing that I'm with…the right girl. The one I'm absolutely sure about. The one that means everything to me."
She studied his expression. He looked very serious, so much so that she wasn't sure if the conversation was going to go in a direction that she'd like.
"It's not easy to be that sure," he said. "But I figured out that I don't want my first time to happen until I really feel it. Until I know for certain that it's right. And then it'll be…perfect."
Mikayla considered his words. She waited to see if he had anything else to say, but he remained silent.
"I don't think most guys are like you Cody," she said. "But I don't want most guys." Her voice was little more than a whisper. "I want you. I want to be the one you're sure about."
Her heart began to pound when she saw the warm smile slowly appear on his face and heard him say, "You are."
He got up from the couch, pulling her to her feet as well. A second later he swept her up in his arms. If Mikayla had seen such a scene in a movie she would have groaned and called it a silly cliché, but there was nothing silly about how she felt when Cody carried her to her bedroom.
"I love you, Mikayla."
"I love you too."
And their night…was perfect.
On the day the two albums were finally released, previous sales records were obliterated. Mikayla's CD sold the most on the first day, but by the end of the week Hannah had racked up higher overall sales. Mikayla's singles were downloaded more often from iTunes though.
About a month later, Hannah's cancelled clothing line was un-cancelled. It went on to be hugely successful.
In early December, Carey Martin became Carey Lafayette. The lavish ceremony was held at the Tipton. London, Maddie Fitzpatrick, and Emma Tutweiller (who'd become one of Carey's best friends) were bridesmaids while Mikayla served as the maid of honor. Guests in attendance included the Stewart family, Lily Truscott, Oliver Oken and Jake Ryan.
The reception party was a joyous celebration that lasted long into the night. Before it ended, Marion Moseby proposed to Emma and she accepted. The hotel manager would later admit that his proposal hadn't been planned beforehand but had been inspired by the marvelous feeling of romance in the air…and by the fact that Emma looked absolutely breathtaking in her bridesmaid's dress. In any event, he never regretted his impulsive action.
Carey and Jim's honeymoon went as wonderfully as their wedding. The location was fantastic. After years of wanting to go there…Carey finally made it to Hawaii. Ironically enough, she didn't go out and see all the sights like she'd always dreamed of. But that was her choice.
She and Jim were having so much fun in their honeymoon suite that she decided to leave the sightseeing for their next trip to the islands.
The next summer Mikayla and Hannah co-headlined a very profitable concert tour. The popularity of both girls continued to grow, and this paid off at the box office when Mikayla was cast as the villain opposite Hannah in the next Indiana Joanie film. Mikayla proved to be a natural at acting, and she won two MTV Movie Awards for her film debut: Best Villain and Best Death Scene.
Hollywood, always looking to repeat success, next cast Mikayla as the heroine of a brand new film franchise: Tasha the Vampire Princess. Hannah was cast as the villain this time, a sadistic vampire hunter, and that role earned her the Best Death Scene prize the following year. In addition, Hannah and Mikayla won Best Onscreen Kiss for that film, which also claimed the unofficial prize of 'Zack Martin's Favorite Scene in a Movie…EVER!' But that award was kept secret, especially from London and Cody.
Though in truth, Cody was more than a little fond of that particular scene himself.
The twins and their girlfriends were all relaxing up in London's penthouse. They had nothing in particular planned for the day.
"Hey, you know what we haven't done for a long time?" London said. "A new episode of Yay Me!"
"That's true," Cody replied. "We've all been so busy." He paused. "Do you have anything in mind for a topic?"
The heiress shook her head and looked to her friends for ideas. Zack suggested that they look through the archives of past episodes and see if there were any topics that London might want to revisit. Cody went to London's computer and began scrolling through the list of previous episodes.
"Oh…wow," he said. A second later he looked up from the screen. "Do you guys know what today is?"
They all looked at him, waiting for the answer.
"It's two years to the day since this…" He turned the screen around so that they all could see. On the monitor was a replay of the Yay Me! episode where Mikayla was the special celebrity guest.
"That was the day we met," Mikayla said as she looked lovingly as Cody. Then she turned to London and Zack. "That was the day I met you all."
London glanced over to Zack, thinking again about the chain of events that had brought them together. After a moment she shifted her gaze back to Mikayla and Cody.
"That was the best episode we ever did," the heiress said softly as she leaned back into her boyfriend's arms.
Cody moved away from the computer and sat down next to his girl. "The best one ever," he whispered an instant before his lips met Mikayla's.
author's note: Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing. This is by far the biggest story I've ever attempted, much less finished. Several times I thought it was going to kick my butt...and it did.
Apologies to those who may have wanted more Zack and London in the finale. I love them both but I think I'd already answered the major questions about how they feel about one another.
I've stated before that I had not decided at the beginning of this tale how things would end up in regards to the couples, and that was true. That being said, I really thought early on that I was going to break up Cody and Mikayla and that things would turn into Cody/London and Zack/Mikayla. But once Mikayla and Cody were together...they just clicked for me so much that I couldn't do it. I'm glad it clicked for a lot of you as well. Of course, I then unexpectedly found myself having to really commit to making Zack and London work as a couple too.
Because of an email exchange with Elianna22, I was inspired to write a short one-shot sequel to this tale - Show Me that Smile. It's not focused on any of the main characters, but I had fun with it. Look for it in the Suite Life series/Hannah Montana crossover section.