Epilogue

Five years later…

Tiffani stood at the entrance to Sharkey's and closed her eyes. Today was her five year wedding anniversary. Everything about that magical day was perfect, all her friends were there and her father walked her down the aisle. Then there was Jake, who never looked better. Tiffani even suggested that he wore his patent leather jacket if he wanted to, but he decided to go all out and insisted on a traditional tuxedo. God, he never looked more handsome that day. She pressed her eyes tightly together but it didn't stop a few tears from making it down her cheeks. Taking a minute to wipe her face with her sleeve, Tiffani let out a slow breath. Her wedding day was a bittersweet memory now. It was the last time the entire band was together and today will the last time that they ever will.

The reunion seemed like a lifetime ago. Tiffani was standing in the exact same place before the whirlwind of events that happened. She wasn't sure where the time had gone, but somehow another five years had passed. After Tony and Sam's formal wedding, almost a year and half after their impromptu nuptials, they permanently moved to Hong Kong. Sam finished her Master's in physics and was conducting research for a company developing clean nuclear energy while Tony had become a huge movie star. When she spoke with Matt, he mentioned that he and Jenny were touring together across America, but assured Tiffani that he hadn't quit his day job as the head engineer for a software company in Boston. Mark, Cate and his sons were still living in New York. After her wedding, Tiffani remembered visiting the family and noting how much the boys have grown. The now eight year old twins were looking more and more like miniature versions of Mark with every passing day. The last Tiffani heard from Lorena was that she had returned to Madrid and began opening a chain of Costa con Amor clothing stores with her husband all over Spain. Then there was Sly, who she had just visited a few short days ago with baby Kellie is tow. Closing her eyes, Tiffani could vividly see his face light up when she had placed her daughter in his arms. She remembered asking about Lorena but Sly said that he hadn't spoken to her in years. They talked about Jake, who had been working closely with Sly on his fourth album. Her husband scaled back on the big concerts opting to do small gigs in local venues, back to who he was with just his guitar and intimate with his fans. Hugging herself, Tiffani sighed as she struggled to keep the tears clouding her vision from escaping her eyes.

Taking a few minutes to make sure she was somewhat presentable, Tiffani walked through the doors. Jenny was the first one she spotted. She wore a sharp charcoal gray suit with her wavy red hair neatly clipped back. Immediately seeing Tiffani, Jenny walked towards her and gave her best friend a hug.

"I'm sorry," Tiffani apologized. "We haven't even started yet and I'm already a mess."

"It's okay, you're not the only one," replied Jenny.

Letting go of Jenny, Tiffani embraced a teary Sam.

"Hey, don't you cry too or I'll get started again," Tiffani warned with a shaky smile.

"I'm trying not to."

"How's mom and baby?" she asked, trying to change the subject.

"We're doing okay," replied Sam, subconsciously touching her swelled abdomen.

The conversation stalled when the doors opened again. Tiffani was the first to react as she threw her arms around Lorena. Soon the four of them were all clinging onto each other. Surprisingly, Lorena was fairly composed, donning a black sleeveless dress, her hair in a French braid.

"How're you doing?" Jenny asked, placing a comforting hand on Lorena's shoulder.

"Been better," she replied unsteadily. "How about all of you?"

"We'll be okay," said Tiffani reassuringly.

Lorena simply nodded her head.

"Where are the guys?"

As if on cue, the back door swung open. Mark came in followed by Cate and his two boys. Behind the young family came Matt and Tony, each holding instruments. The girls went over to help and they wordlessly set everything up on the stage. When Mark finished setting down his keyboard, he enveloped Lorena in a hug.

"How are you holding up?" he asked.

"Okay," she said unsteadily. "You?"

"About the same."

An uncomfortable silence befell the group.

"This feels weird," Sam commented.

Tony rested his arm around Sam's waist and kissed her on the top of her head.

"I know. It's just not the same without…"

Shaking his head, he shut his mouth, unable to say the words. Jenny leaned into Matt's shoulder, trying to keep her emotions in check while Tiffani reached out and held onto Lorena's hand. Everyone was lost in their own thoughts that no one noticed someone else had joined them.

"Hey, Mark."

Mark looked up at the sound of his name and offered the guest a small smile as the two men exchanged a hug.

"I'm really sorry."

"Thanks, Jake."

Hearing his voice, Tiffani slowly left Lorena's side and wrapped her arms around her husband.

"Hey, it's okay," he said softly, rocking her back and forth.

She buried her head into his neck, taking comfort in his embrace. Sensing Lorena's distress, Mark draped an arm around her shoulders.

"I miss him," she sobbed softly. "I miss him so much."

Pulling Lorena closer, Mark let her rest her head on his shoulder. His two sons followed their father and each gave Lorena a hug.

"We miss Uncle Sly too," said Michael.

"He wouldn't want us to be sad," added Aaron.

Lorena smiled through her tears and gave them each a kiss on the cheek.

"Of course, he wouldn't want us to be sad," she replied, putting on a brave smile.

"Uh guys, we better get going, we don't want to be late," Tony interrupted as he checked his watch.

Silently, everyone filed out of Sharkey's.


The ceremony was thankfully brief. Mr. and Mrs. Winkle were both present and although they had been divorced for nearly a decade, they were sitting side by side comforting one another. The gang sat in the two rows behind Sly's family. Surprisingly, the church was nearly full. Many old friends from high school came, including Allison who flew in the night before. Jake said a few words as did Matt and Mark, who had everyone in tears after he spoke. When the service was over, Mark invited everyone to Sharkey's for the reception.

Tiffani was chatting with Allison, catching up on each other's lives. The conversation was relatively upbeat until they turned to the topic of Sly.

"God, I can't believe he's gone," Allison said softly.

"I know."

"I was supposed to be in town later this month for a conference and I was going to visit him," she admitted.

Lifting her hand, Tiffani gently clasped it over Allison's.

"It's not going to do you any good, thinking about the could have's. Sly wouldn't want that."

"You're right. I'm just really going to miss him."

"Me too."

"Tiff?"

Tiffani felt a hand on her shoulder and when she looked up she came face to face with Mark.

"You ready?" he asked.

"Yeah."

He nodded his head and turned to Allison, reaching out to touch her hand.

"Thanks for coming. I know Sly would have wanted you here."

"It's the least I could do."

Getting up, Tiffani followed Mark onto the stage as those who had gathered, returned to their seats.

"Hi everybody," he greeted into the microphone. "I just want to thank all of you for coming out here today."

Clearing his throat, Mark paused a moment before continuing.

"I know that Sly hasn't always been the easiest person to get along with. I should know, I'm related to him."

A few laughs emanated from the crowd.

"But, he was a true friend when I needed him and more than that, he was the brother that I never had. For that reason alone, I am forever grateful that he was a part of my life and the lives of the people closest to him."

Mark looked at each of his friends standing behind him.

"So, this is our tribute to Sly, our manager and devoted friend," Mark looked up before adding in a whisper. "Cos, wherever you are, this one's for you. Goo ga moo forever."

Jake clapped Mark on the shoulder as he took his place at the microphone. He made eye contact with each of the people on the stage with him. Strumming a simple melody with Matt, Jake started to sing as the rest of the band joined in.

There are places to go
I haven't been yet
And faces they tell me
I still haven't met
And times in my life
I would never forget
I'll always remember you
As the very best

And when I think about you now
And all we shared
I'll smile and know
I'm just glad I was there
I'm so glad
I was there

There can never be another time or place
That will ever be, quite the same
If I could I'd take you everywhere I go
This dream is the one thing I will always know

Moving closer to Jake's microphone, Tiffani faced him as they sang to each other.

And when I think about you now
And all we shared
I'll smile and know
I'm just glad I was there
I'm so glad
I was there

Jake stepped down from the stage and stood in front of Lorena as he played his solo. Tears glistened in her eyes as she watched him and when he returned to his place, she blew him a kiss.

And when I think about you now
And all we shared
I'll smile and know
I'm just glad I was there
I'm so glad
I was there

I'm so glad
I was there

Before the final note faded away, Lorena rose from her seat. The rest of the band gathered around her in a group hug, clinging to each other for support.


"Thank you for coming," Mark said to the last of the guests who were leaving.

He walked down the steps and joined his friends who were waiting silently on the stage. Lorena was sitting in between Tiffani and Jenny with Matt and Jake right behind them and Tony had Sam seated on his lap. Everyone was deep in their own thoughts and no one was willing to disturb the peacefulness. After a few minutes, Sam approached Mark.

"Tony and I have to get going," she said quietly.

"Yeah, sure."

"If you ever need anything, just give us a call," Tony offered.

"Thanks. Have a safe trip home."

The three shared a hug and after a few goodbyes with the rest of the band, the couple left.

"We need to leave too," Jenny said turning to Matt.

"Yeah, we're going to visit our parents this weekend," he added.

"Thanks for being here," said Mark.

"Don't mention it."

Smiling, Mark exchanged a handshake with Matt and a hug from Jenny, before the siblings followed Sam and Tony's way out.

"You guys leaving too?" Mark asked as Tiffani stood up.

"I need to pick Kellie up from my dad's. She's probably hungry now," she explained.

Tiffani embraced Mark and the two held each other for a moment.

"I'll visit you as often as I can," she promised, her eyes shining with fresh tears.

"I'll let Cate and the twins know."

Letting go of him, Tiffani backed away as Jake tackled Mark in a hug.

"I appreciate what you said at the funeral," Mark said gratefully.

Jake shrugged his shoulders.

"I owed it to Sly. He really was there when I needed him. The same goes with you."

"Thanks Jake."

Tiffani had her hands in Lorena's when Jake joined them, bringing his arms around the two women.

"We're just a phone call away," Tiffani reminded.

"Anytime," added Jake.

Lorena smiled as Jake led Tiffani out the front door.

"Need a ride?" Mark asked after a moment of silence.

Shaking her head, Lorena sighed.

"There's somewhere I need to be."

"Okay."

Mark pulled Lorena into his arms.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you."

"It's not your fault, Mark. It's nobody's fault. If he wanted to tell me he would have."

"He loved you, Lorena."

"I know."

Letting go, Mark swiped the tears in his eyes with the back of his sleeve.

"I'll see you tonight for dinner?"

"Sure," she replied.

Mark gave her hands a squeeze before leaving. Now that she was alone, Lorena took in her surroundings one last time.


Getting out of her convertible, Lorena walked to the edge of the pier. The wind had picked up, blowing her flowing brown locks into her face. She reached into her purse and pulled out an envelope. Carefully unfolding the pink sheet of paper from within, she read the words that she had kept all these years.

Lorena,

Your beauty overwhelms me. The strength of your spirit weakens the walls of my heart. Now I find my deepest feelings emerging and setting sail to you.

She closed her eyes as a single tear snaked down her cheek.

"That's it, I'm never taking another risk as long as I live."

"I hope that's not true."

Whipping his head around, Sly spotted Lorena standing at the door.

"Uh, Lorena, hey. I was just, uh, calling my horoscope, it's a bad month for love bye…" he blurted out.

Lorena placed a hand on his shoulder before he could bolt.

"No more games, Sly."

"I'm not playing games."

"Then why the 'mystery man' routine?" she demanded.

"Because you would have said no," he admitted. "I know I've tried to go out with you before and I haven't always done it in the most unswarmiest way."

He paused a moment.

"But even though I feel this way, why would you believe me this time? But just so I can get out of here with no regrets, uh, I just want to say this. I love you, Lorena."

Blinking, Lorena felt like she had to pinch herself. She was praying that her ears were playing tricks on her because she could hear her heart pounding louder.

"Whoa," she managed to utter before sinking down onto the couch.

"Double whoa," echoed Sly, falling down beside her.

"Well," Lorena started uncertainly. "If you could take a risk like that, then, I guess I can to."

She felt more confident as she slid closer to Sly. But as he closed the gap between them, a pesky little voice in her head piped up. Lorena pulled back slightly.

"Are you sure you wrote those letters?"

The vulnerable expression on Sly's face melted any negative thoughts she had towards him.

"From my heart to yours."

Opening her eyes, Lorena let out a shaky breath. She held the treasured note to her heart and she could almost hear Sly's voice.

"From my heart to yours," she whispered before letting go of the letter as it fluttered into the breeze.

And when I think about you now
And all we shared
I'll smile and know
I'm just glad I was there
I'm so glad
I was there

I'm so glad
I was there…


Fin for now