I've been having some computer problems but I finally get to get this chapter out there

Here we are…the final chapter of Just Like a Circus. It's been a fun time imagining myself in the land of Mallory and Jacob. I hope the ending ties up the story the way my readers would like it to. Or at least in a way they'd not hate.

So without any extra talking from me, here it is…

Seven months have passed. Seven months since I forgave Jacob and learned that he was a father. I tried not to think about him sleeping with another woman. Mostly I lied to myself and thought he'd given sperm and she happened to end up with his child. That was the thoughts I preferred.

But in those seven months, I matured. I've realized that Jacob became a father the usual way and embraced it. Simon is one of the cutest, most well-behaved babies in the world. I feel like a stepmom when I'm with that little boy.

Jacob tries to hide how happy it makes him to see me with his son but I know anyway. I catch him smiling or just watching sometimes. I have to admit it's a whole other look to have the man you love look at you with his child. And it's a whole new turn-on seeing what an amazing father he is. Now I know why men pick up women when they're with a baby.

Today I have this meeting at work. It's a sexual harassment meeting and if anyone knows about sexual harassment, it's me. I don't think I can tell them "I was a stripper before I got this job, so may I be excused?" That might be awkward.

Mostly, I'm looking forward to this weekend – the circus is coming to us for the first time since Marlena left seven months ago. That means little Simon will be in town and Walter and Camel, too. It feels like forever since I've seen them but it's only been three weeks.

Me and Jacob follow Marlena's schedule very thoroughly. We visit her as often as we can. In time, I've kind of fallen in love with her too so I understand why Jacob did. She's an extremely sweet person and the fact that she likes the ex-stripper girlfriend and lets me around her newborn son is amazing. I wouldn't know how to react in that situation.

The shower turns off and I look in the direction of the door. I'd been waiting for him to get out of there since he went in. After seconds of waiting, the door opens and the air of steam reaches my bedroom. I see Jacob lean over the sink and take his razor off the little shelf. I also notice his towel is very low.

Stretching first, I stand up and get out of bed. Squeaking the door open as quietly as possible, I wrap my arms around his bare chest and snuggle my face into his back, sighing happily. Lamer yet more relaxed than I'd ever been.

"Morning," Jacob said as his arms wrapped around mine, his hands finding mine. "Did you eat yet?"

"No," I shook my head. "I didn't feel up to it. I don't think I'm doing so good today. I kind of feel like shit."

Jacob turned around to face me. "Do you want me to take care of you?"

I gave a thoughtful look then gasped. "You'd be my naughty nurse?"

"Maybe naughty doctor," he laughed. "I don't think I'll fit into your nurse costume."

I laughed back. "Damn. I really wanted to see your chest fit into that. And – oh! Imagine the skirt!"

"Okay," he joking scolded. "I think you had enough teasing for the day."

"I think you're still teasing," I replied. He gave me a confused look and I pointed to the towel. "Do you think I haven't notice the lack of clothing you got going on?"

"No," he said back. "But I did notice the overdressed-ness that you got going on."

I looked down at myself. I was wearing his t-shirt and silk pajama pants. "I'm cold."

"Need me to warm you up?"

He wrapped his arms around me and I did the same. "Nah. I have all this man steam in here that maybe some of it will rub off on me."

"I can name something else to rub off on you," he leaned in and kissed me. I kissed him back instantly and it deepened really fast. I didn't know where to put my hands but I settled his back. His hands were untying my pajama pants.

I backed myself up until I hit the wall behind me. Jacob held my arms against the tile and started kissing my neck. I moaned lightly and decided screw it – I put my hands on both sides of his waist, causing the towel to fall to the floor.

He broke apart the kiss just to smile evil at me. Oh fuck. Isn't that his panty-dropping smile? And it's usually my panties that drop.

Jacob picked me up off of the ground, taking my mouth with his again and I wrapped my legs around his waist. It didn't even matter he was naked already. I just wanted him.

He let me down just to let my pajamas fall and I was standing there in my underwear and t-shirt. I was wet enough for a flood.

In an instant, my stomach cramped and I felt the need to crawl over the toilet. I unwrapped his arms around me and knelt in front of it.

"Are you okay?" Jacob questioned me. He was worried, definitely. "What's wrong?"

"I don't know," I shook my head. "I told you I feel like shit today. I guess my body doesn't want me to have sex today, that's all."

It didn't feel like anything was going to come up now so I moved to face him but still sitting beside the toilet bowl.

Jacob went and put a pair of clean boxers on. When he came back, he sat in front of me. "Do you want me to get you anything?"

"Like what?"

"Antiacids," he answered. "Anything that can make your stomach better."

"I'm fine," I replied, holding onto the sink to stand up. Jacob stood up faster and helped me up. "I should take my own shower, though. I can't go to work wearing this." I looked at myself and laughed. "Especially when you took my pants off."

He only half-smiled. "Are you sure you should be going to work?"

"I am fine," I reassured him then kissed him quick. I got my clothes ready for work and walked back towards the bathroom. Jacob was still in there. "Are you watching me shower this morning?"

"Maybe you should stay home," he whispered. I gave him a look. "If you're sick, it's not a bad idea to take off of work for one day."

"Fine," I reluctantly agreed. "I'll call in sick. But just so you know, I'm not gonna be happy about it."

He gave a mock scared look and smiled. I smiled back and turned the water on for my own shower. It was ice cold.

"Jacob!"

Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Around 12 o'clock, I got bored of sitting around the house. I went into the kitchen and started making a list of things to buy. I noticed the calendar and lost all my train of thought. It was the seventeenth. I was due the tenth. Since when was my period a week late?

I started panicking and thinking that maybe that was the explanation for this morning - why I felt so sick and like shit. Maybe this wasn't just a sick day after all.

I rushed to finish my shopping list and raced to the store. Quickly, I put the items needed into my cart. When I was done with the grocery shopping part of my list, I went to the 'feminine products' aisle and grabbed a few home pregnancy tests.

The line took what seemed like forever. I just wanted to get home and try one of those stupid tests already. I also wished Jacob was home with me for this.

Finally, the woman rang up my items. She looked at the little boxes with a judgemental eye but kept her words hidden. I was thankful for that because I knew I'd end up in a fight if someone questioned me about that.

People never learn to respect someone's privacy.

After getting out of there, I rushed home. Putting away each thing one by one was a pain in the ass when I had something I needed to do. Right when I was about to take the box with me into the bathroom, the front door opened. I looked to the door and saw Jacob.

I let out a huge sigh of relief and practically ran towards him, wrapping my arms around his neck.

"This is a nice welcome," he chuckled into my hair. "How do you feel?"

"Okay," I shrugged, trying to downplay what I thought could be happening. "What are you doing here?"

"I can't check on my girl when she's sick?"

"I didn't say that," I said as I pulled myself apart from him. "I was just surprised. Good surprised."

He unwrapped his arms around me and smiled brightly. "I have another surprise for you."

Jacob pulled a pair of keys out of his pocket. "You bought me a new car?"

"No," he laughed. "Last weekend, I went on a little exhibition. I went looking for a new place for us. We can't live here forever, right?"

"Right," I slowly agreed. "You got us a new house?"

"Well, apartment," he corrected. "But it's big, two bedrooms. It's really nice and…this really isn't the reaction I was hoping for, Mallory."

"I know," I whined. "I'm sorry. It's just I have something else on my mind and it's kind of taking over all my thoughts."

"What is it?" He looked concerned and worried. I didn't want to tell him I was late but if I was pregnant or anything, he'd have to know sooner or later.

"I'm missing this meeting at work," I lied. "It's supposed to be important and when I go in tomorrow, I'm gonna wonder if they think I took off just to miss that."

"Maybe we should send in the toilet from what happened this morning then?" Jacob smiled and took my hand in his. "Are you even taking medicine?"

"Yes," I shrugged, another lie. "Maybe not. But I just need some rest. It's nothing serious." I said the words out loud and repeated them in my head, hoping it was the truth.

"Is there anything I can help you with?"

I looked around, awkward. Taking a deep breath, I decided to tell him. "There is something I have to do and I don't want to do it alone."

"Okay," he agreed. "What is it?"

Instead of answering him, I dragged him by the hand into the bathroom with me. I held up the little pregnancy test box and he had a surprised look on his face.

"Say something," I urged him. I needed to know if there was a baby, he'd stay with me. I needed to know he didn't think it was a mistake and staying with me over his other newborn was all a part of it. Mostly, I needed to know his reaction.

"Jacob." I tugged on his arm with the hand that was still in mine. "Jacob, please say something. The silence is really fucking killing me."

"I'm trying to process," he answered me. "You're pregnant?"

"I'm not sure yet," I replied. "I never took the test yet."

"Mallory."

He gave me this look that said he needed to know the answer to this test, too. I knew he did because his need was just as much as mine was. I wasn't even sure he was ready for another child already, especially since he's young and his first son is only seven months old.

If it wasn't such a serious situation, I'd laugh at what a man-whore he seems like.

"I have to pee first, so…" I let the sentence drag on. I wasn't sure I wanted him in the room for that part or if he even wanted to be in here for it, either.

"Should I…?"

I nodded and he leaned forward, kissing the top of my head. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine I wasn't about to find out something big. He left the room quietly and I heard the bed squeak as he sat down on it.

Pushing the door a little shut, I got ready to do this. I took another deep breath and sat down, pretending I was just going to the bathroom. It was easier than I thought it would be.

My thoughts went to Jacob outside the bathroom. He was twenty-four years old and I was eighteen. We were in no way ready to be a family, that much was true. But I had to remind myself he was already a father. We have this amazing relationship that I never expected me to have. He even gets me to act like a girl when I used to be a girl who liked boys too much.

It made me laugh because I'd changed so much in the past ten months with Jacob Jankowski. But I wanted a future with him. I wanted to be by his side and make him happy, love him and even make love. I never used to use phrases like 'make love'. That's what he's done to me.

Soon my business was over, and I placed the long strip I just peed on some toilet paper, placing it on the sink. Flushing and washing my hands, I stared into the mirror. Jacob was at the door faster than I could look at my own reflection.

"How long?"

I didn't need to read his mind to know what he meant. "Three minutes."

He took a deep breath and sighed. "Whatever this test says, it doesn't change anything."

"It changes everything, Jacob."

"No, it doesn't," he confirmed. "Because I love you and want to be with you. That test isn't going to take either of those things from me. If anything, it'll make me love you more."

I smiled at him, walking towards him and wrapped my arms around him. His arms wrapped around me at the same time. One hand went through my hair.

"I love you," I smiled at him and kissed him gently.

Jacob smiled back at me then turned serious again. "Marry me."

"What?" I exploded, but still stayed in his arms. "You're insane."

"How am I insane?" He questioned me. "I love you. You love me. We're waiting on a pregnancy test. I think it's not that insane."

"We can't get married," I simply said.

"Why not?"

"Isn't it fast?"

He gave me a look that wanted to call me the insane one. "No." He just wrapped his arms tighter around me. "It's not fast when you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone."

I swallowed hard and got myself out of his arms, going to sit on the bed. Jacob followed me. "What if I'm not pregnant? Then we're gonna have this proposal hanging over us and it might ruin what we have."

Jacob looked me deep in the eye. "What if I still want to marry you, even if you're not pregnant?"

I laughed lightly. "I don't know what to say."

"Say yes."

I looked deep into his eyes with the same look he was giving me, hoping it'd give me some inside information on his way of thinking.

"Mallory, I love you," he said, taking my hands in his again. "Whether or not that test says we're having a baby, I want to spend the rest of my life with you." I looked down at our hands then back at his face. "Will you marry me, Mallory Carter?"

Another deep breath from me. "God, I love you so much. No one else can even get me to consider this. If you were any other person, I would have said no already."

"Is that a yes?"

"It means I'm thinking," I smiled. He smiled back at me and I realized what he said – I felt the same exact way, too. I just never wanted to admit it out loud, especially to him. After another second, I said another answer. "It means a yes."

Jacob screamed like a child that just got the greatest gift ever and was off the bed in excitement. He was jumping and laughing like a crazy person then picking me up and spinning me in his arms and off the ground.

I let myself laugh into his shoulder and be excited. Nothing made me happier than realizing I can be with him. I'd never had much of a family except for Doug and Lois so to think there was this amazing guy who loves me and wants to marry me, have a family with me made me feel like the luckiest girl alive.

"I love you so much," Jacob whispered into my ear when he stopped spinning me and just held me in his arms. "So much."

I smiled wider and wrapped my arms tighter around his neck. I felt safe in his arms even though my feet weren't even touching the ground. I felt loved.

I felt my eyes prick and realized I was starting to cry. There weren't many times I cried happy tears but this felt like the perfect time to. Jacob just held me.

"Is it time yet?" Jacob asked me, snapping me out of my perfect moment.

"I don't know," I whispered. "I didn't time it."

We both laughed and he let me down. I walked towards the bathroom slowly. I was scared of what the answer would be but somehow after what just happened between me and Jacob, I felt like I could face anything. Even a baby.

Hesitantly, I picked up the stick and looked at the screen. It was negative. I wasn't pregnant. I sighed a huge sigh of relief mixed with a new sadness.

Jacob was behind me, rubbing my arms up and down. "What does it say?"

"I'm not pregnant," I answered him in a low voice and turned to face him. I didn't know why I was so sad about something that had me so panicked an hour ago.

"Oh," Jacob said. It sounded like he wanted a baby, too.

I started to think maybe he only wanted to marry me for the baby. Maybe he didn't mean wanting to be with me. He could have just meant that when he thought there was a baby.

"Are you disappointed?"

He looked at me shocked. "Yeah. I mean, anyone would be."

"But are you disappointed?" I asked him again. "Did you want a baby with me or did you ask me to marry you because you thought there was a baby? Do you still want to get married?"

"Of course I do," he said to me like it was the most obvious thing ever. "Why would you think I wouldn't want to anymore? I just proposed."

"Because I thought you proposed only because of the idea of a baby," I admitted. "Am I wrong?"

"Very."

Jacob smiled at me and kissed me. I smiled back at him and hugged him. It was nice knowing he still wanted to be with me, no matter the outcome of that test. And I had to admit, it felt even better knowing I wasn't pregnant and he still wanted to marry me.

"I love you so fucking much, Jacob," I beamed at him.

"I love you, too," he replied back. "When do I get to call you Mrs. Jankowski?"

I pulled away and laughed. "Sorry to break it to you but I'm keeping my name."

He playfully put his arms on my hips. "Don't you want to be Mrs. Mallory Jankowski?"

"I want to be Mrs. Mallory Carter," I giggled.

"Huh," he teased. "I'll get you to agree."

"Oh, no, you won't."

"Yes, I will."

He walked me backwards into the bed until I fell down on my back. He towered over me on top and looked at me. I felt my heart pick up and somewhere else got a little damper. He just smirked and started tickling me.

I laughed as hard as I could and tried to get his hand away from my ticklish zone. It didn't work. He was more persistent than I thought.

"I'll move into the apartment!" I shouted, trying to get some form of surrender from him.

He paused and looked down on me. "One thing down." Jacob just smirked again and resumed his tickling.

His hands teased me more this time, aiming at places they shouldn't be when tickling. I stopped resisting and let him. He sensed I was giving up and stopped, too.

I closed my eyes and let myself relax. I was the happiest I'd ever been at this moment. I knew it was the same feeling for him, too.

Opening my eyes, I saw a smiling Jacob over my face. This time, he leaned down and kissed me. I deepened it and had my hands in his hair in seconds. His body was pressed against mine and it felt so right.

I would never be without that feeling again.

The night went on from there. We made love three times and again in the morning. Jacob and I talked about when the wedding should be and we both agreed not for a little while. At least a year, maybe. It killed me to wait that long for it to be official but we decided it would be better that way.

Lois was over-excited for us. She screamed so loud I had to hold the phone away from my ear. It was nice telling her and Doug and letting them in on how happy I am.

Marlena was even excited for us. She knew Jacob had moved on and accepted it. Little Simon even seemed happy for us.

And from there we began a happy little land. But I still said words like "fuck", "shit", "cock" and "pussy" so I don't know how much they'd write into the fairy tale books.

The End….

*cries* I can't believe it's over. I had so much fun writing this and an even more awesome time hearing responses. I loved the reviews, tweets and even words from my close friends about this story. I hope maybe you all will recommend it to others. Thank you so much for reading this and I hope there's more for you from me in the future!

xoxo Missy