AN: Hello to all my readers. Happy Creddie Friday and welcome to the final part of this little story. A huge thank you to all of you who have contributed through your reviews; they are very much appreciated. Also please note I've upped the rating to T for a slightly more mature theme towards the end of this chapter.
Anonymous and Guest – thank you for your kind words.
Unknown – I appreciate your comments and I'm glad you didn't feel the pace detracted from it.
Mix – thank you; I'm glad you found everyone to be in character. And here is the conclusion :)
"And she hasn't left her room at all?" Sam asked; the blonde's voice was full of concern. She had been at the Shay's apartment every day (as usual) but her friend had refused to open her bedroom door and see or even speak to her; she had withdrawn herself entirely from the world since returning from her futile, fruitless race to Seattle-Tacoma Airport.
"No, not in three days" Spencer said sadly before brightening a little. "At least she's eating. I leave food there and the plate's always been empty later."
"Umm" Sam began guiltily.
"No way" the lanky artist was flabbergasted as he comprehended the girl's confession.
"It would have gone to waste otherwise" she protested.
Spencer shook his head, unsure if he was feeling more amazement or disgust, and made his way back to the kitchen to prepare something else for his little sister; he hoped that this time the brunette would be the one to actually eat it.
The artist was to get his wish over the next couple of days; Sam had promised the sculptor that she wouldn't eat his latest offerings, in fact the blonde trouble-maker additionally pledged that, if her co-hostess didn't start eating soon, that she would pick the lock on her room and force something down her throat if necessary. When she repeated that threat to Carly she smiled to herself, once she reached the foot of the stairs, as she heard the brunette's bedroom door open and her pick up the plate. The blonde returned shortly after to find the plate devoid of food; she smiled again and made a point of letting Spencer know to make sure there was plenty of food prepared for dinner.
Despite the fact that she was eating again, Carly refused to end her self-imposed exile from other people's company (beyond occasionally shouting through the door at Sam and Spencer that she wasn't coming out). Instead the girl remained in her room for a full week after Freddie had gone, ignoring any attempts that Spencer or Sam made to coax her out. The brunette had spent the time brooding, replaying her life with Freddie, the recently completed summer, the chances she had, and didn't take, to tell Freddie how she had come to feel. She missed him, really and truly missed the brown-haired boy – and she had missed her chance. The question she was now asking herself was is it too late for me to change things? She smiled wryly and wondered Is it too late for YOU to love ME Freddie? Other memories to flood her mind included their dance at the Groovy Smoothie, the taco truck incident, kissing Freddie for that glorious half-hour while they lay on his bed. If only I could turn back the clock she thought miserably I'd never have let him break up with me that day. Things would have been so different. The brunette shrugged the thought off as she realised that she couldn't turn back time, she couldn't change the past. All she could do was look to the future – and make the most of what the future could be. The pretty web star looked over to her bedroom door and sighed; it was almost time to re-join civilisation, she mused, but before that she had a couple of things that she needed to do…
Freddie was just finishing settling into his room; he had secured accommodation close to the building in MIT where he had the bulk of his classes. His mother had left for Seattle that morning and the young tech producer was busy organising the last of his boxes when he came across some of the photographs he had brought with him, particularly one of him and Carly in their outfits from the prom. He smiled a little as he eyed the picture, particularly the happy looks on both their faces. He placed the photo on his dresser and his eyes were drawn to the smiling brunette. His own smile dropped a fraction as he felt a pang in his stomach; he missed her (and, if he was honest, Sam and Spencer as well) but he felt that he was finally ready to accept that he needed to move on, that she was back in Seattle, she was going to college there for the next few years and he was on the other coast. He knew deep down that she would find someone else and that he had these four years to do the same, to build a new life for himself in Boston and then see where the world took him. He turned away from the picture and focussed on putting the final finishing touches to his room. He was almost done when he heard a knock on the door. His jaw dropped as he opened it.
Carly stood there, a bashful but determined look on her face. She stared deep into his eyes and never broke eye contact as she took a step forward, wrapped her arms around him and pulled him, unresisting, into a passionate kiss.
A couple of hours later the pair lay in his bed, cuddling. Freddie's arm was gently and idly rubbing Carly's bare shoulder; her hand was splayed across his chest. He gently brushed away a few stray hairs from her forehead and tucked them behind her ear, almost caressing her face as he did. He then proceeded to bend his neck sufficiently to give her a peck on the temple; this caused the brunette to giggle in response.
"So… North Eastern?" he prompted after a few seconds of comfortable silence.
"Hey, it's a good school" she countered, turning to face him. "In a good location" the brunette purred as she reached up and pulled him down to her; they shared a long, lingering kiss before relaxing again into one another's arms.
The brown-haired couple were at peace with the world – and one another.
AN: And we're done. As said at the start this was just a short little story but I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I liked writing it. If so, or even if you didn't, please let me know.
Many thanks for reading my work. PD31.