A/N: Well, hello there! I'm so sorry for taking such a long time but I just couldn't... think, I guess. Anyway, last chapter you guys! I hope you liked it even though I put you through quite some torture. Thanks to every single person who read, double thanks to everyone who read and reviewed. And well... this is the end. Hope you enjoy!


There was a kind of feeling in the air, something indescribable, something Jade couldn't figure out if it was a bad or a good thing. Tori had been quiet for almost a whole minute now and while Jade was sure it was just the initial shock the brunette was experiencing, she couldn't help but feel her bravery slipping as all eyes were suddenly trained on them. She bit her lip as she looked at the crazy man with the coconut, straw abandoned while his mouth stood open. The man with the fluffy hair was smirking while he leaned against the printer. A redheaded woman in the corner of the room was perched on the edge of her seat, eyes wide and lips parted as she waited for a reaction from Tori, almost as if she was watching a movie.

Jade cleared her throat and blinked a couple of times before she turned back to Tori. "You know, it would be incredibly nice of you if you wouldn't just stand there like a dumb wax figure."

That seemed to bring the tan woman out of her reverie. She shook her head, mouth funnily opening and closing before a squeaky "What?" escaped her lips.

"Okay, do I really need to repeat it? I mean, if I really have to then I do it but-"

"No. No, you don't have to repeat it. I was just… you know." She let out an awkward laugh, nodding her head at Jade. Her eyes widened however when she realized that they weren't alone in the room. She turned her head, slowly, as if that would help make the people around them disappear, and took a look at everyone who was staring at them. A light blush rushed up her neck as a tan man with tight, black curls on top of his head grinned and rapidly nodded at her. "Um, we should- I mean… come on."

Cold fingers interlaced with Jade's as Tori began to pull her out of the room. Tori's steps were quick as she maneuvered them through the halls before they finally stopped in front of a… closet. Jade raised her eyebrows at Tori's attempt to pull her into the small room and kept her feet firmly placed on the ground. "It's the janitor's," Tori explained, still tugging on Jade's arm, "Come on, it's the only place where we can be uninterrupted."

"Well, the janitor could interrupt us," Jade mumbled but caved in and let Tori tug her into the closet. A heavy smell of cleanser brought Jade's throat to tingle, a deep cough leaving her mouth. After she took a look around the tiny space, Jade's eyes fell on Tori, nervous as ever with her lip tucked between her teeth and eyes worriedly staring back at her.

"Did you really… mean it?"

"Of course I meant it. Why would I have said it if I didn't mean it?"

"I- I don't know… I just, it's so… so sudden, I guess."

"It's… it's not," Jade reluctantly said with a sigh, ran her hand through her hair and looked away for a moment before hesitantly meeting Tori's eyes. "You were wrong when you said… that I would forget about you if Lia would somehow come back. I could never… forget the way you make me feel, or how much I love it when you blush. How much I love… watching movies with you because you don't care that I interrupt it every few seconds. I just… Do you understand what I mean? You've grown to be one of the most important persons in my life, Tori. I mean it. I love you."

There was a grin that was fighting to break out on Tori's face but for whatever reason, Tori didn't want to let it out yet. "Well… that must have been some kind of dream, huh?"

Jade chuckled and shook her head. "You have no idea, really."

Still seeming a little shaken by everything that had left Jade's mouth in the last ten minutes or so, Tori nodded her head, eyes flicking all over the room before she finally locked them with Jade's. "Okay, so… I have to get to class soon and I still need to… do a couple of other stuff so… maybe I could come by your place after work and-"

"Oh yeah, sure. That's fine."

"Good." And there it was, that grin, this time succeeding in fighting Tori's resistance and managing to make her whole face light up, eyes sparkling happily. She walked backwards, not tearing her eyes away from Jade as she fumbled with the doorknob, managing to open it after only a few failed attempts. "I'll see you later then."

Jade only nodded and sent her a smile but before the door closed, Tori hesitated, bit her lip while staring at Jade. In only a matter of seconds Tori launched herself back into the room, threw her arms around Jade's neck and connected their lips in a kiss that reminded them both of their first one, back in the hallway outside of Jade's apartment. It was blazing, electrifying, completely unacceptable. Even the way it should be.

"I'll see you later," Tori breathed against Jade's mouth, her smiling lips pressing one last peck to Jade's before Tori was gone, leaving Jade alone in the janitor's closet with not only the smell of the cleanser fogging up her brain.

Saturday,

July 26th, 2014

"Blowing out candles is good exercise for your lungs."

Jade shot her brother a look, her eyes slightly narrowed, to which Aiden's eyebrows shot up. "What? You're twenty eight already. Twenty eight! In two years you'll be thirty. That's pretty old."

"Well, I'll still be younger than you," Jade shot back with a smug smirk but eventually turned her attention to the cake in front of her where, lo and behold, twenty eight candles were waiting to be blown out. Rolling her eyes and taking in a deep breath, she blew out the small flames, again rolling her eyes at the cheers that broke out around her. "I hate you all," she mumbled while a smile threatened to take a hold of her lips.

"Aww, don't be such a grunch. You get delicious cake and awesome presents. What more could you want?"

Turning to her right, Jade met the soft gaze of her girlfriend, eyebrows slightly raised and lips forming a smile. Smirking, Jade leaned forward and gently placed a kiss on Tori's lips. A pale hand found a tan one, finally cast-less after so many weeks with that stupid thing, fingers intertwining with each other in a way that was utterly familiar. A loud squeal brought the two women to part, both heads snapping toward a grinning redhead who had her clasped hands tucked under her chin. "You two are so cute!"

"So cute," Robbie agreed only halfheartedly as his eyes hungrily stared down at the cake, "But can someone cut the cake now? I'm starving!"

"It's my cake," Jade said, tilting her head to the side, "Who says you'll get to eat any of it?"

Robbie's eyebrows dug down and his mouth fell open in indignation. "Don't be so mean!"

"I'm the birthday girl, Aiden bought it for me."

"I didn't buy it, I baked it myself," Aiden boasted but looked down with a sheepish smile on his lips when Jade said,

"Oh sure. Who do you think believes that?" Jade smirked, then sighed and stood up from the sofa. "But you know what, Rob? I'm feeling really nice today. So you'll get a piece."

"Yes!" As if getting a piece of the cake was a victory to him, the curly-haired man pumped his fist into the air before he sat up straight, placed his hands on his knees and drummed his fingers. "Hurry! I'll wait here."

Jade rolled her eyes but smiled at his dorky behavior as she made her way into the kitchen of Tori's apartment. Before the door could close behind her, Tori slid into the room and leaned her back against the closed door. "This is okay, isn't it? Having them over?"

Placing the five plates she just took out of the cabinet on the counter, Jade turned around. "Yeah. If it wasn't you'd know it already."

"True," Tori agreed with a smirk and advanced toward the pale woman, wrapping her arms around her neck. "You would have already thrown them out."

"Yeah. And I would have thrown you out."

Tori let out an incredulous laugh. "I live here!"

"So?"

"You can't throw me out!"

Jade scoffed. "You don't know what I can."

Tori giggled, stepped away from Jade and began to take out the needed cutlery out of a drawer. Jade watched her for a moment before she glanced down at her left hand and took a deep breath. She had been thinking about it for a while now. Ever since she told Tori how she really felt two months ago, actually. But something had always held her back, something Jade couldn't quite put a finger on. Maybe she just needed the time to really think about it. Whatever it was, now was the right time.

"Tori?"

"Hm?"

She was looking at a fork, eyebrows furrowed as she tried to polish away a water stain. "I have something for you… kind of."

Tori looked up, lips pulling into a confused smile. "For me? But it's your birthday."

"I know. But there's just something… I need to give to you." Jade sighed and looked at the ring on her left hand. Tori watched her slide the sparkling band off of her finger with furrowed eyebrows, staying quiet when Jade took her hand in hers, turned her palm up, placed the ring in the middle of it and closed her hand.

When she finally realized what it was that Jade was doing, her face relaxed. "Jade, no," Tori weakly argued but Jade wrapped both of her hands around Tori's closed palm.

"It's you and me now."

"But it's your… only connection to her. You shouldn't feel forced to give that up."

"I don't feel forced. I'm doing it for you. It's not the only connection, I have so many memories of her. But she isn't here. You are."

Tori swallowed when Jade's hands fell away and opened her palm, looking down at the ring that lay there. It wasn't just a ring. It wasn't just the fact that Jade took it off. It was a promise that she'd stay, that she had made her decision and that she chose Tori.

"I want you to keep it somewhere," Jade quietly muttered but Tori's eyes didn't lift from the gleaming object in her hand, "It's just… I don't know, maybe you think it's weird that I give you my engagement ring but I know it's time to take it off and… you know."

Brown eyes, glittering with a thin layer of unshed tears, met hopeful blue ones. "I don't even… Yeah, yeah, I'll keep it somewhere… Somewhere safe." Tori grinned and looked down at the ring, sniffling and wiping at her eyes with her other hand to make sure no tears would escape, before she looked back up at Jade. "Thank you."

Jade shrugged, a smile on her face and eyes adopting a happy sparkle. It was the most beautiful she could look; so happy, a smile instead of a frown, a laugh instead of a whimper.

"Jade! Tori! Stop making out and come cut the cake!"

Tori laughed and Jade quietly chuckled at Aiden's voice, taking the plates into her hands. But before they could leave the kitchen and would be surrounded by their friends again, Jade leaned forward and captured Tori's lips in a long kiss, only parting when another warning of Jade's brother came filtering through the door. "You know, I could still throw them out," Jade mumbled against Tori's lips after kissing the corner of her mouth. A chuckle escaped Tori at Jade's offering but before she could get weak and really consider Jade's words, she took a large step back, all the while taking the plates out of Jade's hands.

"Let's go, before they'll starve."

"Oh, don't tempt me."

Everyone expects a happy ending.

Yeah, don't deny it. In the deepest and darkest place of every heart, of every human being, no matter how pessimistic and unbelieving they may be, everyone secretly wishes there to be a happy ending to their own story. And really, I find nothing wrong with that. Why wouldn't we want to believe that everything is going to be okay? Why wouldn't we want to hope and wish and even expect there to be a light at the end of the tunnel? There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, believe me, because as I tell you this, I will have encountered that there is hope, and there is always… always a little fleck of brightness in the dark. You just have to open your eyes and look for it.

They say everything happens for a reason. God, I don't even know how I can say that stupid sentence without vomiting my guts out. I have heard it a gazillion times, again and again, from almost every person I've met in my entire life probably twice. And not once did I ever believe it. Yeah, I get it. God moves in mysterious ways. But seriously, what was the reason I had to grow up without a dad? I mean, what could the reason be, for a grown man to leave his family all alone, just because he couldn't handle his wife being sick? What's the reason for when a mother is taken from their two children much too soon? And what the hell is God's reasoning for letting an already damaged girl meet someone she falls hopelessly in love with, letting her be happy for a couple of years, just to damage her even more by taking said love away from her again?

It just didn't make any sense to me, and it still doesn't, to some extent. But everything that happens in your life, no matter if good or bad, is linked to each other. One thing leads to the other and you realize that, without a specific thing that happened in your life, you would have missed out on so much. Who knows if my brother and I would have had such a strong bond if our father hadn't left us? Who knows if my mother would have gotten better? Maybe death was the only way out for her, the only way for her to feel good again. And who knows if Amelia had transferred schools and we would have fallen in love, if all of that didn't happen?

Yeah, maybe it would have happened the same way. But maybe everything does happen for a reason.

Even Lia's death.

Would I have met Tori if Amelia had still been alive? I'm 100 % sure I would have. But I would never have fallen in love with her.

As much as I loved Amelia, as much as I wanted her to be with me forever, I knew there had to be a reason that she was taken away from me – even if I didn't want to believe that for a long, long time. And I think… that reason went by the name of Tori Vega.

When I first met her, in Cat and Robbie's apartment in front of the bathroom door, with her wearing these glasses that made her look insanely attractive and with her lip tightly captured by her teeth, I would have never thought that this… brunette ball of nervousness would ever become such an important person in my life.

But she did.

She became this… this bright streak of searing light that just… jumped into my world, and lit up every shadow there ever was. I wondered for the longest time, after Tori and I got together, if maybe I had been dead too, in some weird emotional way, and Tori was the one who brought me back. Ugh. This was so corny. But still, I like to believe it's kind of the truth.

It's still hard at times, I can tell you that. We fight, a whole lot actually, mostly about little, unimportant things. There are times where I still need time for myself, just an hour or two. Trina, although she came to terms with me dating her sister, is still hot on my tail at times. But I don't really blame her, to be honest. As long as she protects Tori, she can dislike me all she wants.

But those are just tiny bumps in the road. What relationship didn't have them? Being with Tori is perfect, in every way imaginable. Tori showed me how to love again. She gave me hope. Made me realize that life can go on. She restored the relationship with my friends.

It was simple, really. Tori understood me when no one else did, made me smile when no one else could and fought for me even when everyone was ready to give up on me. The darkness is long gone now, instead every little nook is filled with bright colors.

I guess you could say… that I have found my light.