A/N: Is anyone else kinda sad this story is over, or is that just me? Cuz I'm feeling half-down right now, and half-super-excited to see your guys' reactions to the end. So read on, and then you can tell me your reactions! And prepare for the long note at the end. :D Thanks to Swacfan8649 for asking for something that was like sorry. I know it isn't the exact word, but hey, I chose the first word. It's only logical that I chose the last one too. ;) And to TeddyLuver for adulation, which is a sort-of synonym for the second word that I eventually chose.
Contrite - (adj.) caused by or showing sincere remorse.
"Sonny!" Pound, pound.
Some names suited people.
"Sonny!" Pound, pound.
"Sonny!" Pound, pound.
At first, Sonny didn't really like her nickname.
"Sonny!" Pound, pound.
But then she thought that it suited her.
"Sonny!" Pound, pound.
Now, though, she's not so sure.
"Sonny!" Pound, pound.
After all, a girl who sat in her dressing room, both doors locked and staring at a piece of paper with vocabulary words on it isn't exactly someone whom you would consider sunny.
"Sonny!" Pound, pound.
Especially when they had tears sliding down their cheeks and were wiping them with the edge of a sleeve anxiously, as though trying to will them away.
"Sonny!" Pound, pound.
And especially when the sound of their own name is getting irritating. Sonny almost had a headache from all the yelling and rapping on the door that Chad was doing.
"Sonny!" Pound, pound.
"Shut up!" Sonny finally responded, shouting the words angrily for perhaps the first time in her life. She felt a certain sense of pride as she said them, especially when the raucous noise on the other side of the door ceased abruptly and became dead silence. Being rude was oddly empowering. It made her more authoritative, too.
"Sonny, will you please let me in?" Chad's voice was quiet and submissive, not at all Chad-like in the least. It disturbed Sonny a little, and she would have laughed at him if not for the mood she was in.
"Obviously not," she replied shortly to the door, her arms crossed in defiance, even though he couldn't see them.
"Sonny, I didn't mean it."
"You said you can't live without me. Why aren't you dead yet? Oh, wait, that's right. You didn't mean that either!" Her anger came out in frigid words, ones meant to wound.
"Sunshine, I'm sorry," Chad apologized, his voice still soft and heartfelt. Sonny had never heard him speak like this; it cut straight to her heart, his pain resonating with her. But it did not affect her as much as the ill-fated interview had.
"Are you, Chad? Are you really?" Sonny asked mockingly, intending to hurt him.
"Yes." There was a sudden loud bang after Chad spoke, and Sonny jumped up from her seat, startled. "Yes," Chad repeated a moment later, his voice louder in volume but also somehow echoing. "Yes, I really, truly am." His tone was less apologetic now, and somewhat more distracted, yet with no less emotion behind them.
Sonny glanced around the room suspiciously, searching for the source of the noise as she pondered his words, when she distinctly heard someone crash into something and yell, "Ow!" The sound came quite obviously from above her, most likely in the vents. Anxious, Sonny drew nearer to the opening and stood underneath, calling up to it.
"Zora! Everything okay up there?"
"Uh...yeah! Everything's fine!" a high-pitched voice replied, one that was clearly not Zora's. More bumping was soon heard emanating from the vent, and Sonny became a little worried, completely forgetting about her spurned ex-boyfriend outside the door.
"Zora?" Confused, Sonny stepped back to get a better look at the vent, when the cover suddenly flung open and a very flustered Chad Dylan Cooper fell out, landing with a deafening thump in a pile at Sonny's feet.
"Ugh," Chad moaned, unmoving and burying his face into the carpet. "I am never doing that again."
"Chad?" Sonny was astonished. "You - you crawled through the vents? Why would you do such a stupid thing? You know it's impossible for anyone but Zora!"
"Well, now I know that," Chad muttered, sitting up gingerly and rubbing the edge of his jaw in a painful sort of way. "And as for why, well, I had to. You wouldn't let me in."
"So you crawled through the vent?" Sonny asked incredulously, shocked. "You couldn't just wait for me to open the door?"
"Well, it didn't seem like you were going to open it, sunshine. And I needed to get in as soon as possible. Ow!" Chad flinched as he reached a particularly tender spot on the side of his face, just under his left eye.
"Oh my gosh, are you okay?" Sonny knelt to the ground immediately and leaned over him, automatically concerned.
"I - don't - think so," Chad managed to get out, carefully prodding the skin around his eye and cheek. "I think I might have fallen on this side of my face. It feels all sore and really sensitive."
"Let me see," Sonny took his hands away from his face and laid them at his side, gently placing the fingers of her left hand on his cheek and delicately pressing each one.
"Sonny, I - "
"Shh. Don't talk. Otherwise I might 'accidentally' poke you in the eye," Sonny cut Chad off, remembering the reason that he had had to crawl through the vents in the first place. Chad wisely heeded her advice and spoke no more, instead choosing to fix his eyes upon her with an expression that spoke volumes, though she averted her own from his gaze.
"Hey, Sonny, I heard something earlier, do you know what it - holy gnomes!" Sonny pushed herself up and scrambled to her feet, accidentally putting pressure on Chad's injured face as she did so. He winced in pain, but chose not to voice it at the moment.
"Hey, Zora," Sonny greeted, looking up at the huge-eyed girl. "What's up?"
"Uh - I was gonna ask you about the noise I heard, but now I think I'll just - go..." Zora trailed off, clearly disturbed.
"What's wrong?" Sonny frowned at Zora's early departure.
"Well, I wouldn't want to interrupt - you and Chad." Zora grimaced, her face twisting in disgust as she thought of it.
"What are you talking about? We were just - " Sonny broke off as she realized what Zora must have thought. From her vantage point in the vents, all she would see was Sonny's body, seemingly atop Chad's, with her head leaning over his. It didn't help that they were on the floor either, and Chad's hair was rather rumpled. "Oh my gosh! You didn't think - that we were - no!" Sonny shook her head vehemently.
"Well, what am I supposed to think?" Zora had an irritated expression, as though she didn't see what else she should have thought upon seeing them in such a position. "I mean, you guys are dating. What else would I - "
"We're not dating anymore," Sonny interrupted, shooting a glare at Chad, who looked fixedly at the floor.
"You're - not?" Zora sounded half-surprised and half-disappointed, strangely enough.
"No. Not anymore," Sonny said determinedly, a hand on her hip. "Wait, why?" she asked as she suddenly processed Zora's tone, her hand falling from her hip and down to her side.
"Well - I mean - " Zora was clearly struggling with herself as she answered. "He - gives pretty good presents. And - we get actual food now. And it's - kinda - nice - I guess - I mean, I didn't mind it as much as I thought I would - and - yeah," she finished lamely, not sounding at all like the ham-hurling girl whom Sonny had seen yesterday.
"I don't believe this!" Sonny threw her hands up in the air. "So after all that - after the cold cut catapult, and the me being a traitor, and making me feel guilty - you actually want me to date him?"
"...well, would you look at that?" Zora chuckled nervously. "I gotta go!" And she sped off quickly into the vent system, rolling along on her new skateboard. Sonny ground her teeth together, barely suppressing her annoyance.
"Well," Chad said after an awkward pause. "That was unexpected." Sonny immediately turned on him.
"You are so - so - so - "
"I'm so so-so?" Chad joked nervously, somewhat scared of his ex-girlfriend as she loomed over him.
"So unbelievably charming! You think you're so great because you're irresistible and you can turn any girl's head, and it's so unfair because you are! If you could change Zora's mind, you could change anyone's."
"I can't change yours," Chad muttered to himself.
"What was that?" Sonny had sharper ears than Chad had thought.
"I said I can't change yours," Chad repeated, only marginally louder than before. This was accompanied by such a downcast expression that Sonny sighed and sat down next to him, her naturally kind manner reappearing.
"But don't you see, Chad? You already did change my mind. Remember? With vocabulary? That's how we started dating. Of course you changed my mind. You just...changed it back."
"About that, Sonny, I - well, I don't really know what happened. I just somehow morphed when I was in front of the camera. I've done it for so long that it was my instinct. But I never wanted to hurt you, sunshine." Sonny sighed and took his hand in hers, playing with his fingers and looking down at them, avoiding Chad's pleading eyes once again.
"Chad, you're too good with words. You twist them and soften them and then you look at them, and that's all there is to it. Somehow everyone's on your side. And I love that." Chad's eyes widened as she spoke, his fingers freezing at the last sentence. Sonny noticed the sudden stiffness and looked up at him. "Yes. I actually do. But Chad, you can't just betray people afterwards. I'm sure you don't intend to do it sometimes, but you do. And it's cruel. You let people get close to you, and then you push them away. You betray their trust in you, and they're hurt, wondering what they did wrong and whether you were just using them. Wondering who you really are."
"Sonny..." Chad paused a moment to collect his thoughts and allow her words to sink in. "What if I told you that I know exactly what you're talking about? What if I told you that I used to do it on purpose? What if I told you that I'm sick of it? What if I told you that I'll never do it again? What if I told you that I want you to be the first person whom I don't push away? What if I asked you to believe me when I say I'm contrite beyond belief? What if I asked for your forgiveness? What if I asked for another chance?" Sonny gave a small smile, her chocolate eyes glowing.
"If you did all that," she said slowly, "then I would ask you what contrite means." Chad grinned, knowing that he had been forgiven.
"Why don't you look it up in that trusty dictionary that your ex-boyfriend gave you?" he smirked.
"Ex-boyfriend? What are you talking about? James Conroy never gave me anything but flowers," Sonny teased, standing up and fetching the dictionary from her dressing table.
"James Conroy was never your boyfriend," Chad was quick to correct. "You only went out on one date with him."
"If I remember correctly, I've only been on one date with my current 'boyfriend' as well," Sonny pointed out, settling back down on the floor next to Chad and flipping through the book's pages.
"No, no. We went out the day after you went out with James. And then we went to Lookout Mountain. And we had a date two days ago. That's three dates already. Not to mention all the times I taught you vocabulary words." Sonny shook her head, laughing.
"I have to admit defeat. Your logic is too..."
"Infallible?" her current boyfriend suggested, smirking. "Incontrovertible? Irrefutable?"
"Let's just stick with one word that I don't know for now," Sonny interrupted hastily, beginning to read from the page. "Contrite. Adjective. Caused by or showing sincere remorse."
"Mhm," Chad agreed, nodding. "I really am sorry, sunshine," he reiterated, all traces of his joking manner gone. "Really."
"I know," Sonny smiled. "But you're not getting off the hook that easily. You'll have to prove it." Chad groaned, afraid of what she would cook up.
"Wasn't falling out of a vent and ruining my perfect face with a sprawling bruise enough?"
"No. You have to go and tell Santiago the truth. And preferably mention how amazing and perfect your girlfriend is, and how much of a jerk you are for not saying so earlier." Chad sighed in acquiescence.
"Fine. But I'm never doing this again."
"Well, I hope not. If you have to do it again, it'll be because you've been a jerk again," Sonny smirked. Chad scowled at her briefly before rolling his eyes.
"Chad Dylan Cooper is never a jerk."
"Oh, really?" Sonny lifted her eyebrow, amused. "Are you sure about that?"
"Positive," Chad replied confidently. "He's Chad Dylan Cooper, the star of Mackenzie Falls, the heartthrob of Tween Weekly, the one whose poster is hanging in girls' bedrooms around the world, the perfect role model, and the greatest actor of his generation. He's a genius, especially when it comes to vocabulary. He's a fantastic boyfriend. He's the ultimate teenager. And he's never a jerk."
"Well, that's interesting. I always thought it was a little different. You must be talking about a different Chad Dylan Cooper." Sonny grinned, her smile stretching all the way across her face. "Because the one I know isn't like that at all. He's Chad Dylan Cooper, the lead of a lame tween soap opera, the one on the covers of Tween Weekly because he bribes them, the one whose need to recite all three of his names irritates everyone around the world, the worst role model ever, and the most conceited jerkface of his generation. He's an arrogant know-it-all, especially when it comes to vocabulary. He's an overbearing boyfriend. He's the ultimate jerk. And he's always a jerk."
"You forgot something," Chad reminded her, taking a stray strand of her hair and tucking it behind her ear, remaining close to Sonny's face. "He's smitten with Sonny Munroe."
"Chad," Sonny whispered, holding her breath, "I don't know what 'smitten with' means."
"Smitten. Adjective," Chad murmured, pressing his lips to Sonny's in a brief, chaste kiss. "Very much in love." Sonny gasped, an audible noise filling the room. Chad didn't move, only waiting for her reaction.
And when it came, he scarcely knew it was there. All he knew was that her lips were on his, moving feverishly as her hands caressed his face, both of them half sitting up on the floor.
All he knew was that his hands were tangled in her long hair, tumbling her wavy locks while he gently pushed her down onto the floor, both of them much more comfortable as they kissed again and again, each kiss more tender and yet more passionate than the last.
All he knew was that they suddenly stopped, breathing heavily, and her eyes sparkled at him with that inner light that only she had as they slowly sat up, much more tousled than before.
All he knew was that as she straightened him up and pushed him to the door, reminding him that he had to make amends for himself with Santiago, he scarcely comprehended any of it.
All he knew was that there wasn't a single word in the English language - and believe him, he would know - that could possibly come close to describing how he felt at that moment.
All he knew was that he was going to write Ms. Bitterman a letter, most likely longer than anything he'd ever written before, and extensively enhanced with highly advanced vocabulary words, detailing exactly how grateful he, Chad Dylan Cooper, was to her, of all people, for giving such an assignment to her class of Randoms.
It's only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away.
A/N: Are you all ready? XD Kay, here goes. First of all, I know I promised to reply to all of your reviews. But I personally decided I wasn't going to do that until I wrote this chapter, because then I would feel guilty that I hadn't written it yet. However, I finished this chapter late (really, really late) last night, and just had to post it as soon as possible because I'm really impatient like that. So right after I post this, I'll start replying to your review. If I already PM you, I kinda consider that my reply to your review, since I normally bring it up, so don't expect another one. :P
I do not own the last line of the story. It is from a song called Words (how appropriate, right?) by the Bee Gees. And the "You said you can't live without me. Why aren't you dead yet?" line is credited to HopelesslyLostinRomance. Thanks for suggesting it! :D
And now for the special reader acknowledgements! In no particular order, I, DancingRaindrops, recognize the following people for being awesome in many different ways:
TeddyLuver. You're amazing at coming up with words, and an awesome FF friend. Plus, you always somehow manage to be one of the first to review everything that I write. Love you :D
Channy4Ever343. You, my friend, deserve this for being the worst reviewer I had on this story. XD Haha. Sorry this isn't quite 20 pages long like you expected, and I still can't manage the blue ink – but this will have to do. Talk to you soon, buddy. :)
lifeisveryshortsoami. Yes, you deserve this. Stop lying. :P You're a fantastic writer, and I can scarcely believe that you even like this story. Your wonderful reviews always brought a smile to my face, especially since they were so detailed. And yes, I'm still expecting those reviews you promised me. XD Just kidding.
DmslilAngel103. One of the original people to whom this "one-shot" was dedicated to. You are one of my most faithful reviewers, and you never cease to make me laugh with your comments on my stories.
Zillionz. The other person whose reviews are as faithful as – I don't know, the sun rising? XD I love you and your reviews. They make me feel like I'm an awesome writer. ;)
lolz3. Girl, you seriously need to get an account. I always want to reply to your reviews so badly, and yet I can't! You, my friend, are my favorite anonymous reviewer. :D Send me a PM if you ever get an account. I want to talk to you so badly! Thank you for all of your awesome reviews and suggestions. Without your mentioning glib, this one-shot might never have turned into a multi-chapter.
Willow-Heidi Erickson. You are so sweet, and you always leave some of the nicest reviews. They make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. :D
Okay, I'm honestly going to stop now, simply because this list is getting too long. But as for the rest, thanks to all of you. :) Some off the top of my head: casual4, sweetsinger4321, Just-Call-Me-Jess, JumpUpAndDown, Swacfan8649, Marchlo101, and Dominique1234. Everyone who has reviewed is amazing. Seriously. I don't think I got one bad review (Channy4Ever343, you don't count :P). Hopefully no one leaves any after this chapter!
To my English teacher, who will never know that this story exists or that he/she is the cause of it, I thank you for giving the word juxtapose. I will never, ever forget what it means.
And now for some story stats! (Just because they're fun and I saw someone do them one time. I thought it was interesting. So here you go!)
Reviews: 362. So far. Wow. Shoutouts to Jonas x Knight for being the 100th, TrinityFlower of Memories for being the 200th, and sweetsinger4321 for being the 300th! If we get to 400, I'll edit this to include the person's name. So get reviewing! :D
Edit, 5/11/10: Wow, you guys! I can't believe you are so amazing - except I know that you are. :P 403 reviews at the moment. Wow. Shoutout, as promised, to Demi-Fan-Channy for being 400th. Love you, Carma!
The rest of this info is still un-updated, FYI. In case you were wondering. :)
Hits: 14,873. I'm pretty sure this number is going to change pretty soon. :P Hopefully. Unless no one decides to read this chapter. But seriously, you guys, that number is amazing. On another note, Guess Who's NOT Coming to Guest Star!, my first multi-chapter, recently passed 20,000 hits! :D I think that's pretty awesome.
Communities: 4. Thanks to PiperPaigePhoebe01, Demi-Fan-Channy, tmizzy2125, and OvertheRainbow84 for adding this to their communities!
Favorites: 133. I'm astonished by this number. I really am. Completely and utterly shocked and thrilled. You guys – just, wow. Shoutout to Tambug18 for being the 100th!
Alerts: 122. Again, I love you guys. This is astonishing. Shoutout to oOo VampireGirl oOo for being 100th!
After this story was published, the number of people who favorited and alerted me as an author went way up. So I'm going to send a shoutout to speaksis2 for being the 100th person to favorite me, and therefore giving me the honor that I aspired to when I first joined FF. Thank you so much. :D
And so this story is over! I'm going to miss it. As a final gift to you guys, here's Chad's "letter" to Ms. Bitterman. It was written for humorous purposes, but I figured you might want to read it just for laughs.
To Ms. Bitterman, an unrivaled teacher whose unparalleled greatness one can only aspire to equal, and certainly never to surpass:
Being as utterly superior as you are to the menial populace, such as my humble self, I shall assume that Your Esteemed Honor is not as yet aware of my identity, being so it is that I have never been bestowed upon with such fortune as to make your valued acquaintance.
I, Your Highness, am known, among the less educated and infinitely less significant in importance to yourself, as Chad Dylan Cooper.
Your Ladyship will easily comprehend my desire to be recognized by all three of my names, as inferior as they are to the two of yours, seeing as I myself am somewhat elevated in position to the other inhabitants of this planet that is second in beauty only to you, Your Majesty.
Yet this pales in significance when compared to the reason for which this missive is being written and shall henceforth be sent and presently looked upon by the keen eye of Your Benevolence.
The aforementioned reason, Your Worship, is the utter stroke of genius that prompted you to assign a task of such magnitude to your current gathering of pupils who are of the fortunate few able to be taught by Your Loveliness.
Vocabulary, I have often noted to myself, is one of the most singularly important aspects of education that one must find oneself fluent and trained in with much diligence, as Your Greatness is already aware of.
In short, I should like to offer my thanks to Your Perfection for bestowing upon your ignorant students the gift of knowledge in linguistics and the art thereof.
I remain, Ms. Bitterman, your most devoted servant,
Chad Dylan Cooper
P.S. Is anyone else glad that I didn't just leave this story as a one-shot? *Tentatively raises hand* Please, please, please review. It's your last opportunity to, so you might as well! I'm going to send you all virtual Chads if you do. And I mean the Chad Dylan Cooper kind, not the pieces of trash. XD Love you! No, wait, scratch that: I'm smitten with you. :D Please review!