Hi everyone! Wow, has it been a long time since I've updated this story. For anyone who still remembers it and is willing to bother reading the final installment, thank you for your patience, I hope you enjoy it.

Before you move on to the chapter though, I'd just like to let you all know that it's probably different from what you're expecting and definitely different than the original direction in which I was taking this fic. I appreciate everyone who liked the first two chapters, and I understand why they were appealing. But on a personal level, and at this point in my development as a writer…I'm just not a big fan myself of how this story started or where it was going. It's just not me. The writing's not as strong as I'd like it, I feel like the plot was getting out of control, and it's just not me. I've developed my own style for deeper intimacy in stories I've written for other fandoms, and this story clashes too much with that style for me to work anything out without entirely starting over from scratch, which I don't want to do. But I don't like abandoning things, so I wrote this little ending, and I hope you'll all find it enjoyable in some way. This probably would have been what an epilogue would have been like anyway for this fic.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The Wedding Night

Chapter 3:

Afterglow (Epilogue)

It was dark now. Only a little moonlight shone in through the white gauzy curtains of the large window adjacent to the bed set at the center of the honeymoon suite. Within that cozy bed resided our familiar hero and heroine.

The room was quiet and they were close, nearing sleep yet still awake. Their clothes were on the floor, folded in neat piles. There hadn't been any need to be messy about the whole thing.

After such a thrilling day, such a rousing party, and such a slapstick encounter with each other upon coming up here, there was nothing more peaceful to either Arnold or Helga than just lying together in beautiful, private quiet while time didn't seem to pass and all stood still for just one night and they just shared warmth together under the covers.

"I know that was a little different than we expected," Arnold cooed in a voice like a whisper, some of his fingers gently going through a few loose curls of her blond hair. "Are you okay?" They didn't need to say much—they had never had to say much to be close. But there was no harm in saying a few things as long as they had the time.

Helga sighed softly. "I like that it was different. I wouldn't have wanted it to be like how I had always imagined it would be. That would have been boring. We actually had to try together, and the trying felt good, even if there was a little pain with the pleasure. And I loved sharing the whole experience with you more than I can put into words." She was facing the window while he faced her with an arm over her side above the covers, and she moved back a little to nestle into his bare chest.

Arnold sighed and settled his head against her hair. He had loved that hair ever since they had been children—so soft and the color of dark sunshine, smelling faintly of sugar and vanilla and that perfume she always wore. "Are you still annoyed we didn't share it sooner?" he asked sincerely.

Helga smiled a little in the moonlight. "Not annoyed, no. I think we could have made just as lovely a time if we'd gone for it earlier than tonight, of course, but all my heart's ever wanted is to be near you, Arnold, whether we're just holding hands or at each other's throats or wrapped up in a sensual embrace together in our marriage bed. I just want to share my life with you and to get to share in yours. That's what's most important." She turned toward him, closing her eyes, giving a small yawn as she cuddled against him. "Don't get me wrong, sex is very nice," she smirked just a little, "But it's not the grand purpose of being together when you're in love. I just feel closer to you in a special way now, is all. Though I do appreciate and like that special way very, very, very much." She grinned then yawned again, nestling her head into the pillow. "Arnold, I don't care what time breakfast ends downstairs in the morning, let me sleep late, hmm? I'm so tired…"

Arnold smiled and nodded, closing his eyes and resting against a pillow as well. "We'll both sleep late. No one'll miss us. Hmm, they'll probably think we're up here still going at each other or something ridiculous." He blushed a little and shook his head, a yawn escaping him.

"Hey, who says we aren't trying again in the morning? You don't get off the hook that easy, Football Head." With a smirk-worthy chuckle, Helga nudged him in the shoulder, her eyes still closed. "You're undressed and in bed with me—you don't get out of this after just one go, pal, even if I'm too exhausted for another attempt right now."

Arnold just sighed very deeply and blushed mercilessly, but smiled nonetheless. "Whatever you say, Mrs. Pataki-Shortman, whatever you say…"

They shared a small, warm laugh together.

Then they fell asleep among luxurious blankets and wrapped in each other's bare embrace, filled with thoughts of love and intimacy promising a most satisfying adventure for their new wedded life together.


Again, I'm sure I'm going to get at least some feedback wishing for something a little different and a little more like the first two chapters, and I appreciate that opinion and completely understand. It's just that, like I said, this fic isn't really me, so to try and write another three to five chapters of it would have just been an act of frustration for me, and no good writing would have come from something like that. But I do hope this chapter did things some justice just the same.

Thank you all, and, as always, Happy Reading!

~Azure129 aka Jenna