Apparently I'm a cuddler now; that's another Post-Soulfinder development. I don't like her being outside of my arms for long.
We'd stopped at a gas station and Rory was currently wearing some of her brother's clothes. They dwarfed her completely. I mean the guy was no Benedict but he was still tall.
'Hey, Xav,' Rory says sleepily.
I tighten my arms around her, just thrilled I can.
'Yes, my wonderfully amazing, beautiful, talented soulfinder?'
Rory snorts and rolls her eyes at me, 'Can I get my scarf back now? Or do you need to hold it at night to sleep?'
Eric cracks up in the front seat. She told him. Lovely.
'What are the chances of your brother never mentioning that to my brothers?'
'Nonexistent,' declares Eric all too cheerfully.
'Dude, I thought you had my back! We crashed a wedding together! Doesn't that make us besties for life or something?' I say throwing a mock-hurt look at Rory's brother, before turning and whispering to her, 'I may be willing to negotiate if I can hold you instead.'
She pretends to think about it before grinning at me and telling me we have a deal. She shakes my hand and everything. Next, she'll ask me to put it in writing.
'Break it up, you two,' Eric protests, rolling his eyes at us, 'We still need to figure out our game-plan.'
'We live happily ever after,' Rory says confused, displaying her innocent side, 'End of.'
'What about Andrew, Rory? We humiliated him in front of everyone he knows. Don't you think he'll want revenge?'
Rory arms tighten protectively round me as she glowers. I want to hit Eric for bursting her bubble.
'Listen, let's go to my house. My family will know what to do; we've dealt with worst threats than that wannabe-gangster,' I suggest.
Both Rory and Eric hesitate.
'You want me to meet you're family?' Rory asks, looking at me like I said something completely ridiculous, 'That's because it is completely ridiculous. They'd never like me - I was engaged to someone else.'
'That didn't stop Will from liking you,' I point out as she stares incredulously at me.
'Okay, Xav,' Rory says, finally after a little while.
At her agreement, Eric nods and heads back in the direction of Wrickenridge.
It's time for Rory to meet the family.
Rory stares at the door, 'You know what, Xav? I'll stay out here, make sure no one steals the car.'
'Coward,' I tease, pulling her ponytail, 'Anyway, who would ever steal that hunk of junk?'
'Hey, don't hate on the car! It will forever be the car that got you to Rory on time, therefore it deserves your respect, Xavier Benedict!' Eric defends his prized possession
'Yeah, don't comment on the car if you want to escape a lecture,' mutters Rory in my ear, 'Come on, Xav. We'd better go inside.'
I take Rory's hand and open the door.
My entire family - minus Dad and Trace for some reason - appears to have gathered on the other side of the door.
'Xav!' My mother cries, rushing forward to hug both me and Rory, 'This must be your Rory. It's lovely to finally meet you, sweetie.'
'It's nice to meet you too, Mrs Benedict.'
'Karla, dear. And these are my sons: Uriel, Victor, Will, Yves and Zed,' Mum indicates each of them in turn, they all wave and mutter a 'hi, Rory.'
'I'm Phoenix, Yves' wife and soulfinder,' Phee grins at Rory, 'Zed's soulfinder, Sky, isn't here but as soon as she hears you are she'll be right over here. We're so glad you're here, at last Xav won't be moping around, sulking.'
Rory and Phee start talking. Well, I say talking - more like Phoenix is telling every embarrassing story she knows about me. Great, thanks Phee. She couldn't let Rory think I was cool for at least one day?
Eric introduces himself and almost immediately Uri draws him in to conversation about something nerdy.
I don't think I've ever been this happy. My soulfinder is safe in my arms, currently playing some videogame with Zed and loosing badly. Eventually Rory scowls and throws the controller at his head, much to Sky's amusement.
That's one of the things I love about Rory. By all rights she should be closed-off and defensive but she's not. She's only been here for a couple of hours and already she's completely comfortable with everyone. Dad and Trace aren't here yet though, which is good because they are the most likely to tell me off. For going alone, without the family as back-up. When I ask Mum she just smiled at me and told me to be patient.
Because that's not suspicious or anything.
My happiness is put on hold when my Dad and Trace walk in looking pale and drawn. Zed shuts off the TV.
'I take it you're Aurora then?' My Dad says smiling tiredly at Rory.
'I prefer Rory, Mr Benedict,' Rory smiles shyly at my Dad.
'And I prefer Saul, Rory.' They smile at each other and shake hands.
'Where have you two been, then?' I ask, pulling Rory in to my arms, 'Mum wouldn't say.'
Trace steps forward and holds his hand out to Rory, 'Hi Rory, I'm Trace - Xav's oldest brother. While Xav was rescuing you, Dad and I were attempting to keep Andrew out of you're hair, permanently.'
'What do you mean?' I ask as Rory furrows her brow in confusion.
'Xav, did you honestly think we would sit back and let you loose your soulfinder?' Trace asks me, astonished that I could ever even entertain the idea for a second.
'We just arrested Mr Andrew Johnson for possession of illegal firearms. We raided his house while he was at the church. Rory, you won't have to worry about him again for a very long time. Hell, I'll even bet he dies before he's released from prison.'
'Although,' My Dad say seriously, giving me his Dad-Look, 'it would have been nice to know you planned to crash the wedding. You shouldn't have put yourself in danger, Xav. You're lucky Victor called before I had time to fear the worst. Still, you should have brought your brothers.'
'Sorry, Dad,' I tone dutifully.
Rory's eyes brimmed with tears, 'You guys did that for me? You didn't even know me, that…that's so nice.'
'You're family, Rory,' Dad states, smiling welcomingly at her, 'Family looks after it's own.'
'Thank you all so much,' she whispers, her voice filled with awed gratitude.
She seems overwhelmed by my family and I realise, with a struggling family like hers, this is almost implausibly caring in comparison. Rory smiles through her tears and buries her head against my chest.
'Hey, Xav! I'm not engaged anymore!'
I beam at her, before lifting her up and spinning her slight frame around, whooping in joy. She giggles and my smile widens. I love the sound of her carefree laugh. Silently, I vow to make her laugh as least once a day for the rest of my life. We're lost in each other's eyes, memorising the other's joy. When we finally look up our family has filed out the room, giving us some privacy.
My eyes catch her brilliant green ones once again and we scare at each other with an intensity I've never felt before.
'I love you, Aurora Stone,' I murmur softly, gazing at my gorgeous soulfinder.
'I love you too, Xavier Benedict.'
And then, for the very first time, we kiss. And it's perfect. Just like her.
AN - That's the last chapter. I'm really grateful to you all for reading this, reviewing, following and favourite - you're all awesome.
Vote are Trace - 2, Uriel - 3, Victor - 2 and Will - 1. The votes not closed until I post the first chapter of my new story, which will probably be a couple of weeks. Also, unless I get a concrete suggestion for doing one of the books in someone else's POV I probably won't bother just yet. So if you want Finding Sky in Zed's POV or whatever just review or shot me a PM with which book and who.
Anyway, thank you all so much for reading my story!