So I felt bad kinda just cutting it short with that last chapter without warning, and I was asked for an epilogue. And you know I can't refuse you guys. I CAN'T STOP ENDING THEM ALL FLUFFY! I hope you guys enjoy it. The chapter title is a song by Sleeping with Sirens.
"No!" I yelled as I stormed into the Vega household, my girlfriend hot on my heels as I bounded up the stairs and into her room, slamming the door in her face and clicking the lock quickly.
"You can't lock me out of my own room!" Vega shouted through the door. Humor and irritation both clearly evident in her voice.
"Watch me!" I yelled back.
"What's the demon queen's problem?" I heard Trina say, and I could picture her standing in her own doorway, probably with some creepy avocado mask on her face with one hand cocked on her hip.
"Jade's problem," Vega said and I had to smile at her ability to defend me even when she was angry, "is that she's a huge hypocrite!" She finished with a small bang on her door.
I opened the door, "I am not a hypocrite."
Vega looked at me with wide eyes, "Oh, you aren't? Let me get this straight, then; you gave me so much shit for not wanting to come out to my family, though you refused to tell me that your own family has no clue about you. That doesn't make you a hypocrite?"
"Oh shit." Trina said through a chuckle as she continued to watch us argue. I casted her an evil glare over her younger sister's shoulder, though Vega threw up a hand, interfering me from getting a good look at Trina.
"Answer me." Vega said through clenched teeth.
"No, they don't know." I said obnoxiously as I walked back into her bedroom.
"Why not? If it's so important to have a family's support, why is it so pertinent that my family know but not yours?" Vega said mockingly as she followed me into the room.
"Because my family wouldn't give a shit, Tori! And not like the way your parents didn't. Your parents accepted it with open arms because they love you. My parents wouldn't care because they just don't care about what I do!" I shouted, my voice cracking and threatening the situation with a flood of tears. I took a deep breath to recompose myself as I watched how Tori retracted her irritation and anger. Her shoulders slumped in defeat and she looked at me with much softer eyes, "No, don't even give me your sympathy Vega. I don't need it."
"I'm not giving you any sympathy, Jade. I'm giving you the support you need. The support that's going to drive your ass to your house so you can tell them the truth. Or would you rather I blindside you with it like you did to me?" Vega asked with just the right about of bite in her voice.
"I apologized for that! At least a thousand times!" I said exasperated as I flopped down onto her bed. She instantly was standing in front of me, tugging me up by my hands back onto my feet.
"Oh no, you don't. We are marching right over there so you can finally get this off of that wonderful chest of yours." She said once she finally got me upright.
"How do you even know if my parents are home or not?" I asked snidely as I moped around the room dramatically.
"Because we're here." Vega said, looking at me like it was a stupid question. I looked at her with a raised brow, a silent question for a further explanation. She rolled her eyes and let out a sigh, "We always come here first when your parents are home."
"You caught on to that?" I asked feeling slightly discouraged. Vega nodded simply as she picked her purse back up and ushered me out of her room. I walked very sluggishly to her car, she practically had to drag me. Alas, she succeeded in buckling me into my seat and off we were.
"What's the worse that could happen, Jade?" Vega asked me, over the music blaring through the speakers.
"Oh, I don't know, they could completely disown me." I said dramatically.
"What? You weren't afraid of my parents reacting the same way?"
"No. I talked to Trina beforehand. She said everyone in your family already knew. If I had gotten a different answer from her, my plan of action would have been different. I wouldn't have been so ballsy if I didn't know you would be safe."
"That is...surprisingly sweet of you." Vega said, casting me a sideways glance and a tilted smile.
"Whatever." I grumbled as I slumped down into my seat.
The rest of the drive was void of any conversation, and when we finally pulled into my driveway, I could feel my pulse kick into overdrive as I let out a deep sigh.
"Well, here goes nothing." Vega said, obnoxiously cheerily as we walked through my front door.
"Mom. Dad." I called out.
"In here." I heard my mom's voice reply from the den. We kicked off our shoes and I lead us into what would possibly be the worst decision of my entire life.
"Hi." I said simply. My dad grunted from his laptop at his desk and my mom gave a slight wave of her hand, not even looking up from her legal pad.
I looked at Vega with an I-told-you-so glare and she nudged me with her shoulder, encouraging me to speak again.
"Mom, Dad, this is Tori. She's my girlfriend." I said loudly, hoping to convey that I was feeling much more confident about the situation than I really was.
"That's nice, honey," was all my mom had to say, her eyes never daring to leave her work. My dad didn't even acknowledge that he heard me.
Frustration started to brew deep in my gut as I took in another deep breath, "As in, I'm dating her."
My mother finally tore her eyes away from her own writing as she looked up and appraised Tori, "You're very pretty, dear." She said fondly.
My jaw damn near hit the floor as I heard Vega giggle slightly and politely thank my mother for the compliment.
"Wait, so are you guys telling me that you don't care that I'm gay?" I asked, flabbergasted that this was actually happening. Was I in the fucking twilight zone?
My father finally turned from his laptop to look at me, "Would you like a medal, Jade? Maybe a coming-out party?" He said. The thing that caught me off guard was the complete lack of mockery or condescension from his voice. He actually had the smallest trace of a smile, if I wasn't mistaken.
"Wha-No. I mean, I just...I guess I was expecting..." I stammered, unable to actually form a coherent sentence about my current predicament.
"Jade, your father and I are just glad that you are finally happy. We've been meaning to talk to you about this new person of interest," She paused, taking a moment to look fondly at Tori, "so we could finally meet the girl that got our daughter to stop hating everything about the world."
"I still hate most things." I grumbled, crossing my arms and looking at my parents skeptically.
My mother chuckled as she took her glasses off of her face and set them on the coffee table in front of her, "Of course you do, dear." She stood and walked towards me, and as if my life couldn't get any weirder right now, she embraced me in a hug. One of a handful that I had ever received from her in my entire life.
"You are happy, aren't you?" My father asked as he walked up behind my mother and resting a hand on her shoulder once she let me go.
I nodded, finally allowing the smile that had been fighting its way to my face throughout this entire encounter, "Yeah. I am, Dad."
"Then that's all that matters." He said as he looked at me with a smile.
"Who are you people and what have you done with my parents?" I asked.
They both shared a smile before moving back to the couch and ushering Tori and myself to sit in the loveseat across from them. We obliged.
"Your father and I have been doing a lot of talking. We were so afraid that we were going to lose you. That once you graduated from high school, you'd move out and we'd never hear from you again. I'll be the first to admit that we haven't been the most spectacular parents, and eighteen years into your daughter's life is one hell of a time to start parenting, but we're hoping that you'll see it as a better-late-than-never sort of thing." My mother said, looking at me hopefully.
"You have disapproved of everything I've ever done." I said softly, trying my hardest not to convey complete disregard to what my mother had just said.
My father let out a sigh, "Yes. And we were wrong to have been so harsh on you. Your mother and I just want what's best for you. It just took us a little longer to realize that you were going after what was best. We've agreed that Hollywood Arts has made you a better person. Better than you would have been had we sent you to that boarding school." My father chuckled as his poor attempt at a joke, "I just wish you'd take out that stupid piercing." He said, shaking his head.
I let out a laugh, "Now there's dear old Dad."
"We would like to be able to be in a room for longer than ten minutes without someone screaming at someone else and storming out of the house. Granted, that's going to take work on both sides. But we're willing to do what it takes. We want the three of us to be a family." My mother said with a smile, and I was beginning to really believe her.
"Four." My father said.
"Four?" She repeated, looking at him confused.
"Well, if Tori here is going to be sticking around, she might as well get the family treatment right off the bat." He said with a warm smile. I looked over to Tori, making sure that she didn't think all of this would be too much. I still had insecurities about her habit of bolting when things got thick. Though she wore a radiant smile that made her look even more beautiful and I couldn't help reaching out and holding her hand.
"Well. Would you two be interested in staying for dinner?" My mother asked.
"I am so sorry, Mrs. West, we already told my parents we would eat at my house." Vega said, incredibly apologetic.
"Tomorrow, then?" My father suggested.
"Yes, of course!" Tori agreed brightly, and then looked at me for reassurance. I nodded, a little smirk playing at my lips.
"Well, we should be going then." I said as I got to my feet and Tori did the same. We made our way out of the room and as we were putting our shoes back on, my father appeared in the hall.
"Jade? A minute, please?" He asked, waving me over. My heart sunk. This was it. Now they would tell me how disappointed they were in me and how I was kicked out of the house and that they never wanted to see me again. They were just too polite to say it in front of Tori.
I followed him into the kitchen where he surprised me even more than the last ten minutes of being in this house. He hugged me. He held me so close, I almost felt like a little girl again. Back when we all got along.
"You're not dying, are you?" I asked when he finally let me go.
He chuckled, "No. Just happy that you're my daughter. Don't let her go, Jade. I don't think I've seen anyone look at her the way you do. And same goes for her." He said, squeezing my shoulders gently.
I gave him a smile, "I have. It's the same way you and Mom used to look at each other when I was little."
I had just about enough of this hallmark moment, knowing I'd say something stupid if I didn't get out soon. I excused myself after another moment of silence and made my way back to see Tori and my mother talking. The smiles on their faces took me by surprise. I hadn't seen my mother smile so much in years.
Hell, if this was Tori's doing, I think she just gave me another reason to keep her close.
We said our goodbyes to my mother and walked out of the house. I let out a deep sigh and took in a giant breath of fresh air.
"That was just awful, Jade. How have you survived all these years?" Vega joked with me as we got back into her car.
I rolled my eyes, "I...I have no idea what happened in there, but I am seriously glad for whatever midlife crisis my parents are going through."
"I get that things used to suck for you. Trust me, I've met your dad before. But that man...that was like a completely different guy back there!" Tori exclaimed.
"I know." I agreed.
"You're happy though, right?" Vega asked, looking at me with concerned eyes as we pulled up to a red light.
"Happy doesn't even begin to describe what I'm feeling right now." I said with a smile as I shook my head, still slightly beside myself about what had just happened. Vega returned my smile as she continued to drive. "Hey, do you mind if we grab a coffee on our way back?" I asked.
Vega shrugged, "Why not?"
We pulled up to the cafe and I rushed in front of Vega to open the door for her. The little bell dinged and suddenly Mary appeared at the counter, giving me a wide grin.
"Jade." She said, looking at me knowingly.
"Mary. I'd like you to meet my girlfriend. Tori."
Tori looked at me, clearly shocked and confused as to why I was introducing her to the barista. Polite as she ever is, Tori took a step in front of me and shook Mary's hand.
"Glad to see things have finally worked in your favor, Jade." Mary said before looking back to Tori, "You know this girl was lovesick over you." She said dramatically.
Tori looked back at me, much like the way I had looked at her with Trina said the same thing about her, "I know the feeling."
Mary squealed and for a moment, I thought Cat was in our presence. She disappeared for a moment only to return with two large to-go cups of coffee, "On the house for the happy couple!" She said with a smile.
"With the amount of free coffee you give me, you'll go out of business." I said, looking at her gratefully.
She waved me off, "I'm not worried about it. I've got plenty of other paying customers."
I shook my head as I smiled and pulled a five out of my pocket and shoved it into the tip jar like I had so many times ago, "This is just the way things will always be, huh?"
"As long as I'm making coffee and as long as you're drinking it." Mary said with a laugh.
"Thanks." I said as Vega and I said our goodbyes.
"So...You go there a lot?" Vega asked once we were back in her car.
"Every day, pretty much. I took you here that day you wore my clothes." I said, giving her a look.
"Oh yeah. I remember now." Vega said.
"She's the one who convinced me to go after you when I thought I should just give up." I said offhandedly as I looked out the window.
"I have a lot to thank her for, then." Vega said, and suddenly her warm hand was gently rubbing my thigh. I covered her hand with my own and squeezed.
"You sure do, kid. Then again, so do I."
Vega laughed suddenly, and I looked at her confused, "We sure are a couple of saps now, aren't we?"
I scoffed, "Speak for yourself, Vega. Jade West is no sap."
She looked at me with mock disdain as she parked her car in the driveway, "No. Please don't refer to yourself in the third person. Ever again."
It was my turn to laugh now and I nodded, "Deal."
It seemed so strange. Only a few months ago, I couldn't even glance at this girl without feeling a slew of emotions that I didn't understand. And now here I am, looking at her with a radiant smile on my face, and she had one to match. I was happy. Who would have though that Jade West was capable of being genuinely happy? Er...Who would have thought I was capable of being genuinely happy?