A/N: Excuse me for a moment. HOLY FUCKING JESUS CHRIST, it's done! I can't freaking believe it. This is only the second story I've ever finished that was significantly longer than 'short story' length. I feel overwhelmed by the fact that I managed to do it. It's thanks to you guys for being so great and reviewing which kept me motivated.
I just want to say thank you, once again, to everyone who has reviewed this story for your generous and kind comments. I'm going to take a short break for the holidays and then jump back in with maybe a few one-shot stories before I tackle something this big again. But I hope you'll stick around and see what else I do because I enjoy having an audience.
And now, without further ado, the ending, ladies and gents! I don't own Wizards of Waverly Place.
Alex held the phone in her lap once more, hands trembling as she tried to get herself to just do it already.
Finally, she picked up the phone and dialed.
"Hello?" she said. He answered and she smiled a little, still nervous. "Grady? It's Alex. I was wondering if you'd like to go out today...Great!"
*Troll the ancient Yule tide carol*
Justin felt deflated. He felt defeated. And worst of all he really thought his gesture would work. He thought it would sweep Alex off her feet and into his arms.
"Ragh," he put his head on his desk.
"Hey man," Zeke came into his office and sat on his couch. "You don't look so good."
"I know," Justin muttered, head still on his desk. "I tried to propose to Alex."
"Aw, did it not go well?"
"Wow, you're surprisingly blase about the fact that I proposed to my sister, dude."
"Man, I know you were in love with that chick in high school. I got over my issues real fast because you're my bro."
"That's nice and all only now she won't even talk to me. She's out with that horrible Adams dude and she rejected my proposal."
"At least you still have the Director job to look forward to?"
"I can't take it now; it was a sham that I got it in the first place."
"But you earned it," Zeke protested. "You're Justin Russo, Assistant Director. No one's worked harder than you in this department, no, in this company in the last ten years since you were hired here. C'mon, you don't need a fake fiance to get the job, you should have gotten it because you're the best this company has to offer and family or not you can do it way better than el douche-o from Overseas Accounts."
Justin sat up finally, looking at his friend.
"Wow, thanks for that Zeke. That was very nice of you to say."
"Hey, I'm here for you man. Now I've got to go call Harper so I'll talk to you later." Zeke left and Justin felt his spirits rise.
"Ah, there you are Russo!" Mr. Dawson appeared in his office after Zeke left. "How are the wedding plans coming? It's nearly here, isn't it?" He grinned and Justin mentally groaned again. The plans were still coming, apparently. They had finished planning everything a few days ago before Christmas, unable to figure out a single, viable way out of the situation. Especially once the deposit had been put down on everything.
"Just...great, sir," he said through clenched teeth. Now he was going to have to call and cancel all that work they did.
"Sounds good, Russo! I'm so happy to be leaving the reins to a man who not only knows what he's doing but is so family-oriented. I mean, after all, if you don't know what family is all about you can't really do a good job in Advertising for a major hotel chain, am I right?" he laughed, leaving him alone. Justin laughed as well but the laugh turned into a sort of groan with a little bit of crying.
*Fast away the old year passes*
The days before the 'wedding' flew by until it seemed that there was only a tiny buffer separating Justin from his doom. He still hadn't called to cancel everything, afraid that if he did, Marissa would find out and tell his boss and that would be bye-bye promotion.
Alex hadn't spoken to him since the Christmas debacle and he was pretty sure she wouldn't be going to Mr. Dawson's retirement party now. He would have to face the music alone.
He felt like an abysmal failure. Everything he had wanted for so long was out of reach now. His job was now officially dead-end, he had lost Alex, even Harper wasn't speaking to him for some reason. He just wanted the whole stupid party to be over.
The ride to the office felt like his death-march. He felt a dreadful, sick feeling in his stomach that only increased with each block. Justin wanted to fling the doors of the car open and furiously sprint away to somewhere far, far from Firestone Headquarters.
They reached the office and Justin put one hand on the door handle, willing himself to open it. Taking deep breaths to quell the nauseated feeling in his stomach, he left the car and walked into the building as one condemned.
"I can't do this," he whispered to himself in the elevator. His reflection in the cool metal looked grim and pale. He knew it was only a job but this was what he had worked so hard for in the last ten years and what he had lied, schemed, manipulated and conned for over the last six weeks.
The party was in Conference Room A and B, the paneled divider opening the rooms up to let in the Advertising department and spouses and anyone else who wanted to come.
"Hey man!" Mark Sandford clapped him on the back as he came into the hallway. "Mr. Dawson talked to me about the whole thing. I just want to say I concede to the better man. You just ask me if you have any questions, OK? The Sand-Man is here for you, man." Justin winced and tried to smile but it turned into more of a grimace.
Ah great, his boss was going to be the self-proclaimed "Sand-Man" now. Could life get any worse?
"And now, the man of the hour!" Mr. Dawson called out, holding up a glass of champagne. Everyone turned to stare at Justin as he entered. Apparently it could.
"I just want to raise a glass. I've worked at this company for forty-five years and I have never met anyone like Justin Russo. Justin is the brightest, most ambitious man I could have ever asked for. He rose from a lowly Junior Executive of Promotions to Assistant Director of this department in just ten years. Now he's going to take over the job I've held for the last fifteen years and he's going to do a damn fine job of it with his new bride at his side. Give it up for our man Justin who's getting married in two days!"
The room burst into applause for him and Justin slowly walked up to where Mr. Dawson was standing and faced the crowd.
"I have to tell you something," he said as the applause died down. "It's important." He took a deep, steadying breath. "I can't take the job." Mr. Dawson looked shocked.
"What's the meaning of this, Russo?" he demanded. Justin swallowed and tugged at his collar. It felt hot in the crowded room.
"I've got a confession to make."
"WAIT!" Justin felt his heart stop when he heard that voice. A brunette came rushing into the room, stopping a few feet in front of him.
"Don't do this, Justin, you're making a mistake!" Alex cried. "I have to say something."
"Go on," Mr. Dawson urged in confusion.
"Justin, I'm sorry I didn't say anything when you gave me that ring for Christmas. I'm sorry I didn't want to take it. At the time it didn't seem right." Justin wondered why Alex had come only to humiliate him. "I went on a date with Grady," she continued. Mr. Dawson looked scandalized.
"But I knew from the beginning of the date it was all wrong. Nothing about being with him made me feel one-tenth of what it felt like to be...with you." Justin felt the breath return to him and tried to remain calm.
"I realized what I had been denying to myself for so long now. That I loved you so deeply that it scared me. I was worried people wouldn't like us together but I was wrong. Because I like us together. I love us together because Justin, I love you. I think I've loved you for a lot longer than I would even care to admit but I have to say it now before you make a big mistake. I love you."
Everyone burst into applause and Justin felt like he'd just won the lottery. He tried to get to her but it felt like he was moving through molasses. It was only a few seconds before they were together, kissing like there was never going to be a tomorrow. They clung together, holding each other so tightly that Alex felt like she was going to break.
But she didn't care. After holding back for so long, nothing would stop her from being close to him now. She loved him and she would go on loving him no matter what anyone said.
Justin's world felt like it had been on the verge of collapse and now it had been rebuilt in a matter of seconds. He felt like jumping onto the table and screaming his love for her to the entire crowd. He settled for breaking away and looking deep into her chocolate brown eyes.
"I love you, too," he said with all the love he could muster.
"Ahem," Mr. Dawson cleared his throat and they looked up at him with identical guilty expressions. "So now if you're quite finished, maybe we can get back to the party?" He laughed, breaking his stern expression. They sighed in relief and nodded, joining hands together while Mr. Dawson gave his speech.
The next few days were a whirlwind of activity. They had a lot of work to do before the "once-fake, now-real" wedding. Alex had taken back the ring and told him that they might as well use what they already planned out.
Max had been told and of course he was completely overjoyed for them both. Zeke had taken to his best-man status with the fervor of a man possessed and had somehow managed to throw together an engagement party (small and only with people who didn't know the truth) and a bachelor party over two days. Justin suspected he'd been waiting to throw both parties for a long time.
Harper had turned out to be surprisingly supportive. The only reason she had been against things was because she wanted to make sure both parties were serious about their commitment. Alex had been her best friend for a very long time. She felt she earned the right to be protective.
The only people who didn't know and would never know the truth were their parents. No matter how great their closest friends had been about things they couldn't imagine their parents would be thrilled.
To solve all problems, Max had decided to give them a wedding gift that was absolutely priceless. He performed a spell that made Alex no longer a Russo. She was officially, on paper, who she had claimed to be, Alex Beakerman, Zeke's cousin.
The spell would wipe her true existence from the minds of all who knew the truth. She was now a cousin of Zeke's who had grown up with him after her parents died at a young age and she and Justin had been very close growing up. It hurt that her parents wouldn't remember her but when Justin took her home and introduced her as his 'fiance', they were extremely warm and kind to her, welcoming her into their 'family' for good.
The day of the wedding arrived and Alex was ready to walk down the aisle to Justin to be by his side forever after. She stood at the end of the makeshift aisle at Firestone Gardens Hotel and smiled, knowing that their happy-ever-after had finally arrived. With that, she took her first step towards him.
One last time, please review if you liked it!