Authors Note: God willing, this chapter comes out the way I see it in my mind. This is the final chapter folks. Thank you for sticking with me for this three year ride and I hope this gives you a satisfying ending. I'm going to tie up any loose ends that I feel that I left throughout the story and bring it to a satisfying conclusion, not only for you the readers but for me the writer. So sit back, and enjoy.
The stage was set and everything was in its rightful place, including Randy. The only thing missing was her. Yes her. The love of his life. The woman he never should have let walk away years before and the woman he had been so thankful for since the day she walked back into his life almost 3 months before.
Megan had gone to the office to get her, leaving Randy with John, probably the last person he wanted to be left alone with but was handling in his own unique way. John really had come through since showing up on her doorstep hours beforehand and he was thankful for that. For a short period of time the sins of the past had been put aside and it was like they were the Randy and John of old again. It was a good feeling.
Randy had missed his best friend almost as much as he had missed being with Trish over the last few weeks. He now knew why John hadn't been as close as before and while he was having problems with forgiving him for it, there was also a part of him that felt more whole having him there right now. They still hadn't talked about what had happened that night other then the fact that John had drugged him and he knew the time would have to come where they would, but he wasn't sure when that time would be.
It was apparent though that the minute Megan was out the door, on the way to the studio to pick up her very much needed boss for this little surprise, that John didn't feel the same.
"Look man, about that night."
"Not now John."
"If not now then when Randy? I mean come on man, we can dance around it today and every day after it but until we actually talk about what happened then nothing is ever really going to change."
"What makes you think anything would change anyway?"
He knew he sounded cold but he also knew he had every right to feel that way. Best friends, brothers even just don't do what John did. They don't take their brothers out, get them loaded on booze and drugs and tear their lives apart. No matter how well intentioned John had thought he was that night he had taken it way too far off the reservation.
"I get that. I know that I may never be forgiven for what I did. I know that I've probably lost one of the best friends I've had forever. I can live with that but I still think we need to talk about it."
"Fine John, what do you want to talk about first? The fact that you drugged me so that I'd loosen up enough to fuck two women I don't even know, or the fact that in doing so I lost the love of my life? They're both so fucking captivating, I don't know where to begin."
"No shit bro. Yeah I'm fucking mad. I trusted you. With everything. You know how I felt about her, what being away from her was doing to me and your answer to all of that was to drug me? Make me forget for just a few hours. Or maybe I'm wrong and what you wanted was the girl."
It was a stretch, given that Randy knew how John felt about Amy and how much like him it hadn't faded over time, just gotten stronger but he was mad and once the words began to fall he was powerless to stop them.
"You know I don't want Trish!"
"I do? How do I know that? You did whatever you could to get me out of the way and then had a secret meeting here with her last night. You tell me brother, how does that look?"
"I came here to tell her what I'd done. I couldn't live with myself any more. This shit has been eating me alive for weeks now. I pulled away from you without a word because of it, but I couldn't escape it. I saw what happened to you after that night, you were becoming the man you were before you had Alanna. I couldn't live with that, knowing I'd caused it so I came here to talk to her. That's the god damned truth. I don't want your girlfriend Randy."
Of all of the things he expected John to say, most of which were excuses, he hadn't been expecting that. From the old John yes but the new copy, the one that drugged a guy he considered his brother, he didn't expect the truth from. He knew it was the truth though, because John was getting angry, something that if he was guilty of something else, he wouldn't be doing. He was transparent that way. Easy to read.
"You told her everything?"
"Yes man. I told her all of it. Well when she finally came downstairs and talked to me."
"When I got here, she ran up to the bathroom, said she had left something running in there and had to check on it and turn it off or some other nonsense. I might have been born in the morning but it hadn't been that morning, there was more to it but I let it slide. Anyway she came downstairs and I told her everything."
Randy wanted to focus on what John had said about her actions before he had told her but for the time being, what happened next was more paramount so he had to put it in the back of his mind to come back to later. Maybe if this worked with Trish the way he hoped, he could ask her himself.
"How'd she take it?"
"Visibly upset. I mean I fucked her in doing what I did just as much as I fucked you and you know how I feel about the both of you man. Surprisingly though she didn't kick me out."
"What else happened?"
"Nothing man. I told her that I'd do anything to get you two back together, that I didn't like the way everything had happened and that even though I knew it changed nothing in the long run in terms of our friendship that I would do anything to make sure you both got what you needed. Which was each other."
"What was the whole thing today about then?"
"Yeah, I mean I think that's what it was about. I can't help her with anything else at the moment."
John had made yet another good point. Trish and John hadn't been in contact after she had left the company, so there really was no other reason for them to have another meeting unless it pertained to Randy. It made him happy knowing this now though because it meant that if she wanted John's help that she was open to what she was about to walk in on in a few short minutes."
"I'm sorry Randy. If it hadn't been for me you wouldn't have slept with those skanks that night, you'd still be with Trish and who knows what else. I'm the reason you're standing there now in that monkey suit, waiting for her to show up."
As angry as he was, Randy knew that all of this, the last month of his life had not been entirely John's fault. John had not made him get drunk every night after the incident happened and go out on the town trolling for other random women to be with. John hadn't made him sleep with those women to force away the internal loneliness he felt. No, he had done that all on his own and he was entirely responsible for those actions and it was those that he most wanted her forgiveness for. In fact he wasn't sure he could entirely live right without it.
"I want to hate you John. Yeah a lot of the reason I'm here now is because of what you chose to do that night but I can't hate you, not entirely. If I hadn't been the way that I was, then it wouldn't have happened at all. I own this too."
"You think we can get past this man?"
"We're already past it. Am I happy you did it? No. Do I understand why you feel you had to do it? Yeah. I was a mess then, and I'm a mess now and I was a mess before that. I had just buried it all. The world got the parts of me that I wanted them to see. Truthfully though, I'm pretty weak. It was starting to change though and I want to make sure that it really does this time."
"I know it might not mean anything but I'll help any way I can."
"It does mean something John. Thanks."
The mood had gotten so serious in just a few minutes and Randy was beginning to tire of it. The walk down memory lane, especially when it was a not so good one had the ability to take a lot out of him and right now he needed every bit of strength he had left in him to fight for what he really wanted most. He had to fight for Trish. Something he had spent far too long not doing.
"You sure you wanna do this?"
"What do you mean am I sure? I've never been more sure in my life."
"No man, I don't mean overall. I mean what Megan came up with for you to do."
It clicked in then what John was getting at and Randy couldn't help but laugh. What he was about to do was something so unlike him and while he was pretty sure he was going to botch it up and ruin it, it hadn't changed his mind in the slightest. If this was what it would take just to get her to listen to him, to open herself up to him again then he was damn sure gonna do it.
"I'm gonna make a complete ass of myself and I know it but you know what John, I just don't care."
As the room fell silent it allowed them to hear the sound of a car pulling into the driveway knowing that it was their cue to head towards the backyard. As soon as he heard the tires on the asphalt, Randy's stomach tied up in knots. It was now do or die time.
As he made a break with John for the backyard, he found himself doing something he'd never done before. He found himself praying. Praying that this would work out in his favour, praying that he could right all of the wrongs he had done by this woman and that they could move on and move forward past all of it.
Not only for him, but for the family he had created for them in his mind. He had to do it for all of them even if it didn't exist quite yet. Nothing was more important to him.
"Megan, where's the fire?"
"Nowhere Trish I'm sorry but when your neighbour called and said something strange was going on in your backyard and that you'd be best served getting home to check on it, I mean, I thought you'd be concerned."
"Was it Mr. Montgomery from next door? That old man can't even see with his good eye. It's probably nothing and even if it is something, you rushing toward it like that would just get you killed. Don't you watch crime shows?"
John snickered as they listened to the conversation and Randy smacked him on the shoulder as hard as he could. As funny as the conversation was, they couldn't risk being found out until the time was right. Randy knew that if that happened then Megan would surely kill him and he wouldn't need to worry about getting back with Trish.
"I'm a black belt. I can handle anything."
"Right. Let me go tell the gun wielding mad man you said that. I'm sure he'll agree with you one hundred percent, that is before he shoots you."
She walked through the screen door then and as Randy looked at the sound, having planned their movements away from the door very well, they locked eyes for the first time in over a month and he instantly felt himself overcome with emotion.
There she was. His girl. His Trish. The love of his life, right there in the flesh, a sight he was sure he almost wouldn't see again but was now standing mere feet from. Dressed in her work clothes, her hair falling out of the ponytail she'd kept it in, he suddenly felt extremely overdressed. Megan had to have known that it would be this way, so just what was he doing in the suit again?
"What is all of this?" Trish asked as she walked out through the door and into the backyard that aside from a few spots where Randy and John were standing, was completely covered in flowers. She had never seen anything like it in her life and was almost at a loss for words as the sight before her.
"This is for you Trish."
"Megan, what are you talking about?"
"I know that it wasn't my place but I couldn't let it continue happening. This distance with you and Randy, not when he wanted so badly to talk to you, to make this right. So we met, and well here we are."
John hit the music then, being the closest to the stereo and the music flooded through. Music from a song that Trish had told Randy years beforehand that was one of her favourites. A song that no matter what she was doing would fill her with love. A song that she had hoped she'd get to use on her wedding day, and hadn't been able to. A song that Randy was now going to use to get her back.
How can I just let you walk away, just let you leave without a trace
When I stand here taking every breath with you, ooh
You're the only one who really knew me at all
How can you just walk away from me,
when all I can do is watch you leave
Cos we've shared the laughter and the pain and even shared the tears
You're the only one who really knew me at all
So take a look at me now, oh there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me,
just the memory of your face
Ooh take a look at me now, well there's just an empty space
And you coming back to me is against all odds and that's what I've got to face
He knew he should have just let the original song play, and not attempted singing it himself given that he didn't fancy himself much of a singer but deep down he knew that if he really wanted to get to the heart of the matter, her heart and feelings, then it was better coming from him so he continued singing, until the very last note, letting her know in unspoken terms with his body language that he loved her and he would do anything, including butchering an amazing song, for her.
I wish I could just make you turn around,
turn around and see me cry
There's so much I need to say to you,
so many reasons why
You're the only one who really knew me at all
So take a look at me now, well there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me, just the memory of your face
Now take a look at me now, cos there's just an empty spaceBut to wait for you, is all I can do and that's what I've got to face
Take a good look at me now, cos I'll still be standing here
And you coming back to me is against all odds
It's the chance I've gotta take
Take a look at me now...
As he finished and the music faded, he opened his eyes again, and found that Trish was now standing mere steps from him, having closed the distance while he had been singing to her and he instantly reached out his hands until they were interlocked with hers.
John and Megan had taken the time as well to make themselves disappear inside of the house, giving the two of them the much needed time alone that they needed.
It had been over a month in the making but now here they were, standing face to face, hand in hand, back where they belonged or at least that's how Randy saw it. With the song finished and her this close, he knew this was his chance. His last chance to change everything and make it all right.
"Randy, did you really plan all of this with Megan?"
"Yeah. She called me two days ago and asked me to come to town. She took the time off and we met here and while you were working, we put it together. For you."
"But why? After the way I've treated you, not taking your calls, ignoring your attempts to get me to talk here, hiding from you the way I did. Why would you do all of this?"
"I thought you knew that already Trish. I love you. I would do anything for you. You weren't letting me in, so I went to the next best person to gain entrance so I could do something, anything to show you how much you mean to me."
She was silent then and Randy began to worry. She hadn't moved away from him, she wasn't running anymore but he was still concerned. There was a lot of pain still separating them and he knew that one declaration of love wouldn't fix all of it. It was going to take a hell of a lot more time, effort and work but he really hoped that he had begun to earn an investment of her time.
"What happened a month ago should have never happened. I know that you know now what happened, the same as I know, but it doesn't change anything. I was not in the right place when we got together. I wanted to convince myself that I was, but I was still very much broken. I wasn't being real with myself or you, or anyone around me. John being able to orchestrate what happened that night is proof of it. I never would have done what I did if I had been right. I didn't realize exactly what I had in you when I had you."
"And now? How is any of that different now?"
"Because now, I've been without you. I know what it feels like to be entirely alone, without anyone, without that one person that changes you for the better. To be without my better half and it's a feeling I never want to have again. I was so persistent in trying to talk to you because I needed to tell you that. I can't live without you Trish, not when I love the man that I am every second that I'm around you."
She was stunned. She had been avoiding this talk, this moment for weeks and now that she was standing right in the middle of it, she was stunned into silence. He was putting his heart on the line for her, telling her that it wasn't entirely John's fault, that he had been the cause of all of it, but that he didn't want to be that way anymore. He wanted what he had when they had been together, even if he hadn't been entirely ready for it.
She had wanted to say something, anything to what he had just confessed to her but she couldn't find the words and before she knew it, she had let slip the very thing she had been keeping so desperately close to her for the past twenty four hours. Dropping it like a bomb in the middle of a declaration of feelings. Not her finest moment by far.
"I'm pregnant. About 8 weeks."
He had promised Megan that when they put the plan together that he wouldn't deviate from it. That he would follow it just the way she wanted him to so that he could better his chances at having Trish talk to him but there was something he had been planning on the side, that only John knew about, and seeing her standing there now, a paralysing fear beginning to develop on her beautiful face, he knew that he was going to take the risk and throw caution to the wind.
It might not be the right time but he couldn't think of any time that would be any better then now. So not letting go of her hand for a second, he got down on his knees, both of them and he looked up at her. It wasn't traditional and it might not be considered right but Randy no longer cared.
"Trish Stratus, with just two words you can make all of my dreams come true. You've changed me, from the man that I thought was the one I wanted to be, to the man I know I can be, as long as you're by my side through it all. I want nothing more then to be a family with you, in fact its the only dream I haven't gotten the chance to live and I've spent the last 7 years or more wanting nothing more then to live this dream. Will you marry me?"
Randy pulled the ring from his pocket then and with his one free hand held it out to her. When he had said earlier that it was do or die time, it hadn't been accurate, because it wasn't time to do or die, it was time to do and live.
"I know what I did a month ago and I know the damage it caused because I've been living that damage every single day since. I don't want to make light of any of it. I know its going to take work and a lot of learning for both of us to get back what we were building before I went and screwed it all up. I just don't want to go through any of this alone anymore. I want to be a family, the same way I always have with you and my daughter and our new addition, if you're willing to work with me."
Randy reached out and placed his hand on her lower abdomen then, knowing it would be too soon to feel anything, but just wanting to feel as close to it, and to her as he could. She was carrying a piece of them inside of her and knowing that now, even if it had just come out the way it had, didn't change the fact that his dreams were indeed coming true because of it.
"You think that because of what happened that night, and after it, that you're such a bad guy Randy when in reality we're exactly the same. So if you weren't right before then, I most definitely wasn't. Maybe we moved too soon and couldn't handle the seriousness of the situation, maybe it all had to happen like this but if there is one thing I've learned over the past few weeks its that much like you, I can't go through this alone anymore either. I like the way I felt being with you and I would give anything to get that back."
"So does that mean what I think it means?"
"Yes Randy. It means exactly what you think it means. Of course I'll marry you."
He pulled her to him then, and did the one thing he had been dying inside waiting to do. He wrapped his arms around her, pulled her into him as closely as he could and he placed his lips to hers. Pushing every feeling, every emotion and every thought he'd had about this woman into the kiss, the deeper it became. Filling it with love.
It might not be perfect, it might not have gone down the way that either of them had wanted but none of that mattered now. All that mattered was that they were together, right where they both wanted and deserved to be and one more thing.
They were going to be a family.
Authors Note: The Song used in this chapter was Phil Collins - Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)