First of all, thank you guys so much for reading! Your reviews really brighten my day! This is, of course, just an author's note, not a real chapter and it's WAY TOO LONG. (Sorry)
Probably most of it won't interest most of you, so feel free to skim it.
I've broken it into sections for your convenience:
1) basic explanation of my process in writing this
2) sequel info (probably the one the most people will be interested in)
3) my thoughts on Jude/Tommy/Alex
I worked really hard on this story, and it means a lot that you read and reviewed it. I've said this before, I think, but I started it in either late July or early August of 2008, which means that this story has been in progress in one way or another for almost four years. It's kind of my baby. Obviously I didn't spend all of that writing (a few times I went months at a time without even looking at the story) and, as for the time I did spend working on it, most of that time was spent editing the parts that I already had written rather than writing new scenes (which is a really good thing, because my writing ability changed rather drastically from age 14 to age 18, as you might expect.)
I also jumped around a lot in the timeline of the story. I believe I wrote the beginning up to before the birthday party all as one, but then I got stuck and started writing some scenes set in the middle (some of which didn't make it into the final cut. I also have some scenes and things that I wrote purely for character development, though some of them made it into this story as flashbacks, and more might make it into the sequel). Because of that, the only way it really made sense to post was to wait until all of it was finished and then post it, and that goes for any chaptered fan fiction of mine, since that's just the way I write. The posting as you write thing doesn't work for me at all.
EDIT: sequel is posted as of January 8, 2013. It's called Lost and Found and I really hope you all enjoy it!
Some people have asked about a sequel, and I'll say right now that I have started one (I actually started the first scenes of it right as I was writing the last scenes of this back around Christmas). It's nowhere near finished, obviously, and I'm not entirely confident that it will end up working, which means there's still a chance (though a fairly small one) that I'll end up scrapping it completely and not writing a sequel at all.
If I do get it to work, I'm going to have to spend quite a bit of time editing it, since that's what I do. That said, it's shaping up to be much shorter than this (probably around a third of the length, maybe a little longer) so there's very little chance it will take me as long as this did. Right now I'd say that the best case scenario is that I finish it this summer (I go to university in early September, and I have a really full schedule, as well as some significant medical issues I'm dealing with, so I can hopefully have a good portion done by then) and worst case (except for if I don't finish it at all) it takes me a about a year, so you get it by next summer.
If/when I do post the sequel (or if I decide it isn't working and give up on it) I'll add another note-chapter to the end of this story to let all of you who've put this on story alert know that I've started posting the sequel, or you can always put me on author alert to get an alert whenever I post any new stories.
Review or message me any time with comments, questions, suggestions, beta requests, pretty much anything except harassment :P and feel free to read my other stories!
3: the unnecessarily long (though hopefully interesting?) section
Okay, first off, I love the character of Alexander to death. He's sweet, and smart, and devoted, and he does stuff like make Jude breakfast in bed, and just... a bunch of other stuff that makes him a great guy. He really, really, loves Jude. That's why, even though deep down he knew what was going on, he was in denial for so long about Jude and Tommy. Someone (RomeoLimaDos, I believe) complained in comments that he didn't fight for Jude enough, but I think that he did, in his way. But he's this sort of bookish, sort of shy, somewhat awkward guy, and he didn't know what to do besides just try to make a point of trusting her, of being sweet... he basically just tried to be the best boyfriend he possibly could, and hoped that it was enough, even while he knew deep down that he was losing her. Alex is great, but Jude kind of ruins him.
Jude I like considerably less, and I especially dislike Jude+Alex (Jalex?). I dislike it for the same reason I've always disliked Jumie (Jade?), and that's because Jude always seemed so bored with it. Here she has this great guy that is completely and totally in love with her, and wants nothing more than to make her happy, and she isn't ever satisfied with it. In the beginning of the story you can already see that Jude is forcing herself to be happy with the guy she knows she should be happy with, but it isn't working. She doesn't need someone who will bend over backwards for her, who's safe and nice, and smart, she needs someone who drives her crazy, and fights with her, and challenges her. And who do we know who does that, hm? She's never going to make the "right" choice. She's going to keep choosing passion over safety, no matter how much she tries to fight her desire to do so.
When Jude is with Alexander, he holds her back, and she makes him get all annoying and clingy and lost-puppy. But in the end she's the one that's too scared to let him go. She's too terrified to make the choice she knows is technically "wrong." She's afraid of getting hurt, which is what has always and will always happen with Tommy, and she tries too hard to hold onto her safe, comfortable, "right" engagement to Alex, when what she actually wants is what will make her truly happy (even when it hurts) rather than what should make her happy, but instead just bores her.
But poor Alex has mommy issues, and is therefore attracted to that passionate, fiery, rockstar-type of woman, rather than the sweet, smart Zeppelin-type girls he should be attracted to (side note: lol at how Jamie's type went from Jude and Patsy to Zeppelin. That is the opposite of sense-making. I don't care, though. I love Jamie/Zep) You even see it in Maren a little bit. I mean, I know you don't know her as well as I do, since she was only in two scenes, but trust me, that girl is pretty feisty. She's just also smarter than Jude, and she always cared more about Alex, because he was her best friend as well as her boyfriend.
I've rambled on for too long. Basically, if I were in Jude's position, I would choose Alex every time, but Jude will always choose Tommy. Always. It's not the smart choice, because man their relationship had been messed up (Tommy's a pretty messed up guy in general), but it's the one she'll make, when it counts. And who knows, maybe Jude and Tommy will eventually grow up, and get to the point where they can be in a happy, committed relationship without destroying each other every few months or so.
Thank you to all of you that read the story. You're why I write.
Thank you to everyone that reviewed, especially your long reviews. You have some very interesting things to say about the story, and I enjoy reading those. Also, thank you for all of the compliments you've given me and the story. Such high praise, even if I sometimes feel it's undeserved, makes me feel really good about myself, and that makes me want to write more!
Thank you especially to anyone that read and reviewed back when I first posted the sucky initial draft in 2009 (I don't actually think any of them read it now, but if you did, let me know! It'd make my day.) because those reviews helped me fix SO many things, like, oh, I don't know, the entire format of the story (I used to have these weird and sometimes even unrelated "flashback chapters" in between every chapter... It was bad :P)
Also, of course, an extra special thank you to Chloe, the Watson to my Sherlock.