A/N: So grateful for the feedback I've received on this fic! I think Debbie is definitely at least partially based on me wanting to go in there and bang PJ & Brando's heads together! Anywho, here is the end of the story - hope it doesn't disappoint! :-)
(For disclaimer, etc. - see chapter 1)
Chapter 5 - Batting A Thousand
"So, how are things going with you and Brando?" asked Stephanie in her sing-songy tone, a wide smile on her face as she and PJ took their coffee and sat down at a nearby table together.
"It's good" the blonde replied, almost embarrassed by the attention to her new relationship, evidenced by the way she ducked her head and pushed her hair behind her ear.
"Good?" her friend echoed, "It's been almost two weeks and all you can say is it's good?" she asked incredulously, "I want some details!" she urged her, "I turn my back, go out of town for a few days and I come back to find my two best friends not only hooked up but are boyfriend and girlfriend? It's time to dish the dirt, girl!"
PJ wasn't the type that embarrassed easily, but she could feel the blush rising in her cheeks now as she looked away, unable to meet her friends gaze. It still felt kind of weird, talking about Brando as a boyfriend rather than just a best friend.
"There's no dirt, Steph" she insisted, "I mean, it's going well... really well" she amended, unable to help it or shift the grin from her face, "It is so great that we finally took this chance, and... and I just cannot stop smiling" she admitted with a chuckle of laughter that sounded ridiculous to her own ears.
"I see that" agreed Stephanie, "and I love it!" she enthused, clapping her hands like an overexcited child just from hearing and seeing that her friend was so happy, "You guys are so in love, it's beautiful" she grinned, that expression fading a moment later when she spoke again, "Best friends to lovers, why couldn't that happen to me?" she asked, a pout taking over her lips as she picked up her coffee looking equal parts grumpy and thoughtful.
"Because we are your two best friends and we're already dating each other?" offered PJ as the simple answer to that easy question.
"Oh, yeah..." Steph nodded the penny dropping a moment later as she sipped her drink, and once again thoughT about how unfair it was that her love life couldn't be as happy as those of others, like PJ right now.
"I'm just so glad Debbie came to visit like she did" said the blonde, contemplating her own coffee that still seemed a little too hot, "If not for her giving us the push we needed, I don't know how long me and Brando would have gone on dancing around each other the way we were" she admitted with a shake of her head.
"God bless that girl!" agreed Stephanie, over-the-top as ever in her declaration, "Does she really have to leave tonight? I'm gonna miss the goodbyes, 'cause I have a date!"
"Yeah, she's already taken way more time away from work and everything than she should" said PJ with a sigh, clearly not happy about her cousin having to go away again so soon, "It's sad because I really got used to having her around, y'know?"
"You're not the only one" Steph reminded her, "How do you think Bobby will take it? I mean, those two seem pretty together whenever I see them"
"I know" her friend agreed.
It was so strange to think that when Bobby had first started hanging out with the group, PJ had thought perhaps she and him would make a pair. They had a couple of 'moments' if you could call them that, but at the end of the day, Bobby had one definite flaw in PJ's eyes - he wasn't Brando. No guy was ever going to be as right for her as her now-boyfriend was, of that she was certain.
As for Debbie and Bobby, they certainly seemed to get along really well, having been out almost every night they were both free to do so, and always returning from each date with smiles and laughter. PJ had worried she would spoil things by telling Debs what happened in the beginning with herself and Bobby but her cousin just laughed it off. The past was whatever to her, right now she was having a good time and that was what mattered. She just seemed so genuinely thrilled to have finally gotten PJ and Brendan together, and her cousin couldn't appreciate the help any more if she tried.
"Peej!" Steph called for her attention when she got too thoughtful (again) and floated off on her own cloud somehow.
"I'm sorry" she apologised as she snapped out of her trance, "I was just thinking... Y'know I think Bobby might be okay with Debbie leaving. He can't be more hurt than Mike and Kenny were by the rejection"
"Oh, those boys have to get over themselves already" said Stephanie definitely, "No woman wants a desperate man... especially one like Kenny" she all but spat, making PJ laugh.
Okay, so Debbie was leaving today, but she still had her best friends all around her and a new boyfriend that she loved so much she could hardly believe it. PJ was a lucky woman in so many ways, she wondered in this moment how she'd ever been anything but happy.
* * * * *
"So, I guess this is it" said Debbie as she stood outside the hotel with the gang all waiting to say goodbye.
The cab driver was putting her luggage in the back for her and in a few hours she'd be home. It would seem weird for a while, in just three weeks she'd settled in real well in Chicago with PJ, Brando, Bobby, and all the guys. Happy as she was, of course, this wasn't home, not anymore. She did have to leave, as tough as that was.
"I wish you weren't going" said PJ, as if she'd read her cousins mind.
"Me too" she agreed, "but they don't need me at Crowley's anymore, we got all caught up, and I did my sight-seeing, plus I'm gonna be in so much trouble at work if I take anymore time off" she rolled her eyes, "Time for me to go" she shrugged.
"We're all gonna miss you" said Mike, as if he were an over-emotional girl, rushing Debbie all of a sudden and hugging her tight.
"Okay" she chuckled at his dramatics, "Um, it was nice meeting you, Mike" she said, patting his back.
"And I just want you to know, it's not just your hotness I'm gonna miss, it's your sparkling personality too" he said definitely, after more than once being snapped at by both her and PJ for his chauvinistic comments during this visit.
"Y'know, that woulda meant so much more if you're hand wasn't on my ass!" she reprimanded him, but with a smile even when she was socking him in the arm.
"Dude!" Bobby complained, adding a matching bruise to the other arm, whilst Debbie received a much more tasteful hug and goodbye from Kenny, and then from her cousin, Andy.
"See ya, kid" he said, practically patting her on the head and making the poor woman feel about seven years old, before she moved on to PJ and Brando who stood together, holding hands.
"Guys, you gotta do me a solid and stick at this thing for good, okay?" Debbie told them with a look that proved she meant business, "I mean, I can't be here all the time to sort your lives out for you, you have to take care of each other from here on out" she said with a smile.
"You were always my favourite cousin" replied PJ with a smile as she moved to hug her close, "Thank you so much for making me see sense" she said more softly near the other girls ear.
"I didn't do anything" she shook her head as they parted, "Just pointed out something you already should've known is all" she said with a shrug, "Um, is it okay if I hug your boyfriend now, or are you gonna get jealous?" she asked with a playful look that made both PJ and Brendan laugh.
"Go ahead, I think I can trust you" her cousin said easily, watching two of her favourite people share a friendly goodbye.
"Take care of yourself, DeeDee" he told her, planting a quick kiss on her cheek, "and thanks"
"Don't thank me" she said as they parted, "Just take care of my cousin, because if you break her heart? Oh man, are you in trouble" she told him in such a way that Brando honestly wasn't sure whether she was serious or kidding.
Moving away towards her cab, PJ encouraged the guys to look away as Debbie said her goodbyes to Bobby which apparently involved one very long, deep kiss.
"Geez, come up for air" remarked Mike, until PJ forcefully turned his head away from the PDA before them.
"If you ever cross the border, find yourself in my neck of the woods" said Debbie as she and Bobby finally parted, their arms still around each other, "You call me, right?"
"Promise" he assured her, before she planted one last kiss on his lips and then pulled out of his arms.
Debbie slid into the back of the cab and instructed the driver she was ready to go.
"It's been a blast, guys" she assured them all from the open window, "I'll see you soon"
A flood of 'byes', 'take cares', and 'see ya soons' followed from the group of friends and family as the cab moved away from the kerb, with Debbie waving wildly from the back seat. As the guys started talking about heading to Crowleys or maybe going somewhere else to eat first, Brando put his hand on PJ's shoulder.
"You okay?" he asked, finally tearing her attention away from the retreating cab.
"Sure, yeah" she smiled, as she turned into his arms and they shared a brief kiss.
"Y'know, I kinda love your cousin Debbie" he told her, making her frown just a little, at least until he continued, "Only because she made us both see what idiots we were and finally got us to suck it up and be together like this"
PJ couldn't help but smile at that.
"Like I said, she's always been my favourite cousin" PJ shrugged, leaning in closer to kiss him again.
Debbie turned right around in the taxi cab, peering out through the back window and seeing the figures of her cousin and friend in the distance, wrapped in each others arms. She hadn't come here with the sole intention of hooking them up, it was kind of like a happy accident that occurred just from her telling people how things were from her point of view. It took an outsiders perspective sometimes to help people figure out what's right in front of their eyes. Bonus of the happy union of PJ and Brando was that Debbie had spent two thirds of her three-week vacay enjoying the company of one very cute, smart, and funny journalist by the name of Bobby Newman. It had all worked out pretty good.
"I guess you could say I batted a thousand" she said as she turned around to sit properly in her seat, laughing to herself as she realised how proud PJ would be to hear those words.
~ The End ~