Author's Note: Here it is, Chapter Thirteen, the final chapter of 'CracKing: Third Times the Charm'.

Chapter Thirteen

I got there just when she was about to leave.

I think even if she hadn't had Lars right there by her side when I first saw her as I entered the hall, I would still have been able to pick her out through the sea of people, but then I've always been able to.

And when I saw her, she took my breath away.

Her hair was only slightly curled and I could see even from the distance that I still was from her, that she only wore a little make-up. The dress she wore was one I had never ever seen before; it was unique, just like her.

It was made out this dark green velvet, that instead of swamping her body, it actually showed it off to its full advantage, with the long, tight sleeves and square neckline. It was the best dress I have ever seen, even better than the blue one she wore to the Cultural Diversity dance.

I could hear her telling Lars that she wanted to go, that she had been at the dance long enough and that she wanted to get home, so that she could finish packing. Lars nodded and said ok and moved as if to leave, but then he saw me and the grin that crossed his face that would have been amusing if Mia hadn't looked around to see what he was looking at, at that very moment.

Her eyes sort of widen and she actually looked a little terrified to see me there, which hurt more than I'm going to admit.

"I didn't think you were coming." I said as I took a few more cautious steps towards her. I moved slowly, fearing that if I moved too fast, too suddenly she would bolt again.

Her face went bright red and she gave this tiny little shrug of her shoulders as she mumbled, "I almost didn't."

I felt my heart sink when she continued to refuse to look at me, even though now I was standing right in front of her.

"I called you a bunch of times." I told her lamely, "only you wouldn't come to the phone." Obviously.

"I know." She mumbled to her feet and now I felt even more lame or rather more hurt, though I wasn't sure what hurt me more. The fact that she knew I had been ringing her and still hadn't answered the phone or the fact that I had hurt her so badly that it had made her not want to answer the phone.

"Mia," I was close to begging now, "With that thing today. I didn't mean to make you cry." Honestly, I hadn't. Or to make you run, screaming, from the room.

"It didn't. I mean, it wasn't that. It was something Kenny said."

"Yeah. Well, I heard you two broke up." God, could I be any lamer?

"The thing is," I was rushing now; "I knew it was you. Who was leaving those cards."

Her shoulders gave this tiny tremble as she close to a whispered said, "You did?"

"Of course I did." I was getting impatient now. Not with her, but with myself, for not just getting to the point, for not just spitting this out. "Lilly told me."

And for the first time since I had arrived she actually looked up at my face, her eyes round and startled.

"Lilly told you?" She cried. "How did she know?"

I waved my hand desperately, trying to get the both of us back on track with this very roundabout conversation. Why couldn't we both just say, 'yeah, I like you. You like me too? Great, now that that's sorted, want to get some really bad tasting punch' or something like that?

"I don't know." Though duh, of course, I did, "your friend Tina told her, I guess. But that's not important." I added quickly because I had noticed that Mia was now looking rather murderously across the gym in the direction of Lil and Tina who had been previously watching us very closely, but were now hurriedly talking to their boyfriends.

"I'm going to kill them." And I was pretty sure that if I didn't distract her soon, she would very well fulfil that promise to herself.

To keep her from murdering her two best friends, I grabbed her shoulders, which definitely got her attention back on me.

"Mia," I was getting exasperated now and I gave her shoulders a tiny shake. "It doesn't matter." One look in her face told me to her, it did matter, but she could think about killing them after I finally said my piece. Heck, I might even help her kill Lil for all the hinting but not giving any actual facts for all these months! "What matters is that I meant what I wrote. And I thought you did too."

She gave me a weird sort of look before saying, a little tartly, "Of course I meant it."

I shook my head in mild despair.

"Then why did you freak out like that today at the carnival?" I asked and her eyes went wide again and she looked all shy and red in the face as she started to stammer.

"Well, because… because…I thought…" she gave a little sigh, before she finally muttered, "I thought you were making fun of me." She said it to my face with complete sincerity in her beautiful grey eyes.

I felt my lips twitch into a tiny smile as relief just washed over me with her words. So, that was all it was.

"Never." I replied, though I actually couldn't make any promises about never teasing her again, because she really is too much fun to mess with to simply give that up, but I could whole heartedly promise that I would never joke or tease her about anything like this.

And without even actually thinking about what I was doing, I simply leant down, not all that far because she is quite close to my height and kissed her, right on the mouth. And the best thing is, she was awake this time and she would definitely remember it.

And so will I.

Kissing Mia is like nothing I have ever done before. I haven't kiss many girls, but kissing Mia trumps all of them, as I kinda always figured that it would, but now I have proof.

Like with everything else, dancing with her, hugging her, just being with her; kissing her, much to my great delight, also feels like the most natural thing in the world to do.

When we broke apart for air she was grinning as widely and happily as I was which, of course, just made me want to kiss her more, which she was quite happy to reciprocate.

"Oh, God," we both heard a disguised voice near us, which we both ignored, "get a room, would you?"

I admit we didn't spend the whole night making out, though we did spend a huge chuck of it doing just that, you know making up for lost time and so on, but we did dance and kiss and talk and kiss and dance and kiss and talk and so on it went until Lil, who was grinning all smug-like, like this had been all her working, which I guess in her warped little mind she does think that, came up to us, saying, "Come on, you guys! It's snowing really hard! If we don't leave now we'll never get home."

I waved bye to Jude, Paul and Felix (and Felix's date, a girl from Trinity I think), who all (except Felix's date who had as much clue who I was as I did her) waved back, grinning madly.

They had seen, of course, as had all the rest of the school, Mai and me getting together and had been (well Felix and Paul) making loud hooting noise at us all night.

I knew I was going to get teased out of my mind because of this, but that was ok, I had ammunition that I could shoot back at them, or at least, back at Paul and Judith who had spent the whole night dancing together, so they can't talk. Neither can Felix, actually, but I'm not going to get into that one just yet.

Anyway, I felt good for the first time in a really, really long time. I had Mia by my side, her hand in mine.

Yeah, ok she was leaving for Genovia tomorrow, which is going to be a pain, but as I'm going to be in Florida with the grandparents, it wasn't like we were going to see much of each other this break anyway. But I would see her again, of course, once break was over and school had started up again and she would be my girlfriend and I would find away to make up for the lack of not seeing her over this break somehow.

"I'll miss you." I mumbled into her hair as I hugged her goodbye once we had reached her loft. She snuggled in closer to me and mumbled, "me too." Which had me grinning and tilting her head, so that I could kiss her again, though I admit, I did have something of an ulterior motive as well. Just something that I wanted to try before she got whisked away from me for x number of weeks.

I kissed her gently at first, before testing how responsive she was to first having my tongue pressed against her mouth and then, inside of her mouth.

I discovered, quite quickly, that she was very responsive indeed and before long her tongue was having a battle with mine and it didn't feel at all gross.

"Look, I know you two just figured out you both like each other, and we've very happy for you both, but it's bloody cold out here, so could you two please finish up already, so that I can go home?" Lars grumbled at us, his back was to us to give us some privacy.

With a little groan, Mia and I pulled apart. I ran my fingers gently threw her hair.

"It's late and you need to finish packing right?" she looked a little sheepish.

"More like start." She squeaked, but she was grinning widely up at me.

"Then I should probably let you go and start, right?" My arms stayed firmly around her waist. She grinned a little wider.


"Because that would be the right thing to do." I said lowering my head to hers.

"Definitely," our lips were just touching when my darling sister started to screamed at us too.

"Just kiss her already! Then get your stupid ass back into this limo! It's freaking freezing out there!" Mia giggled softly, while I groaned.

"Still want to murder her?" I asked.

"Too cold and late now, maybe when I get back." She offered and I grinned as I kissed her mouth again. She was very kissable, I was happy to find, though as Lil and Lars had pointed it was freezing and despite the fact that I held Mia as close to my body as I possibly could, I could still feel her shivering with cold against me.

"Ok," I kissed her mouth again, "get inside," kiss, "finish packing," kiss, "go to bed," kiss, "sleep well," kiss, "have a good trip," kiss, "and don't worry about your speech." Kiss.

"But what if my crown falls off during it? In front of EVERYONE!" She looked quite horrified by the idea that I threw my head back and laughed.

She thumped me lightly in the arm.

"It's not funny!" she grumbled, pouting up at me. To make amends I bent down and kissed her again, but stopped before either Lars or Lil died from exposure.

With a final kiss on her mouth before giving her forehead a fond peck, I let go of her waist so that she could go inside and pack and so I could go home and be deliriously happy for the whole of the break.

"You're not going to stop smiling that goofy smile all break are you?" Lil asked as Lars and I hopped back into the Limo.

I grinned at her.


"See what I'm going to have to put up with all break!" Lilly grumbled at Lars who looked mildly sympathetic.

"I would be more dreading what you'll have to put up with after the winter break, if I were you."

"And you too." Lil replied and they both proceeded to glare at me. I simply cracked my fingers and crossed my arms behind my head.

"Hey, don't go blaming me; it was you two after all who were giving me such a hard time about this."

"We know." They both replied with groans, while I just beamed back at them.

I guess the old saying is right, third time really is the charm.


Author's Note: So, 'CracKing: Third Times the Charm' is finished... finally! Was so scared that it wouldn't be, but YAY, look it is! I'm so happy and pleased and I admit, I am a little proud of myself. I'm not exactly reknown for finishing fics, especially not three fics, in such a short time, in a row. Hopefully, fingers crossed that I can keep this up for the next three books and possibly the three after that. I am, however, determined to write book ten from Mike's POV, no matter what, but that won't be for a while, obviously.
Right, so now on to book 4, 'Set Forth LinuxRulz'. I'll post the first chapter soon, either at the end of this week or the beginning of next, simply so that I can get some more chapters written up before I start posting.