Epilogue - A Twist of Fate

Years later

(Holly's point of view)

"So grandma...what happened to Artemis?" a preteen child with large hazel eyes asked curiously, a lopsided grin of interest locked on her face as she listened intently to her grandmother.

"If you hoping for any sort of miracle, I would have to disappoint you with a 'no'. Obviously whatever I did, or said, wasn't going to extract the poison from his bloodstream, so yes, death was inevitable," an older version of Holly Short said, her heart giving a slight twinge of melancholy as she answered her granddaughter's question. Her resemblance to her own daughter, Ophelia, was uncanny. It was probably why she loved the girl so much, as tenderly as she had loved Ophelia.

"You mean Artemis died?" Her granddaughter, so simply named Jill, spoke with the tone of immense disbelief.

"I'm afraid so, sweetheart," Holly said, allowing a moment of grievous pain to visibly distort her facial features, before she put on a brave smile on her slightly wrinkled face, just so she could show the world she was getting over it. But Holly Short would never get over it. The relationship with Artemis was something she would always keep as a part of her past; carefully buried, never mentioned, only serving as an incident to quietly reflect on, but nevertheless there.

"It must have hurt," Jill said softly, her eyes momentarily glistening with a kind of pain - for her grandmother.

Holly smiled, a wistful sort of smile, and contemplated the feelings she had when Artemis had passed on. There was no doubt in her mind that she had regretted being a fool and falling right into Trouble's trap, but if destiny had already written out records of their fates...who was she to stop it? There could be a thousand ways that she could be angry with the way things turned out...but in the end, the only thing left for you to do was to quietly accept the horrid things life threw at you. For how could you fight against something that was predestined, and unavoidable?

Holly then shook her head slowly, keeping her thoughts to herself. "Now it's time for bed, Jill, if your mother and father find out you were awake this late, let's just say you won't be seeing your grandmother tomorrow."

Smiling, Jill went up to her and kissed her cheek gently while stating, "Thank you for telling me that story, grandma. I'm never going to forget it." Since she was at that particular age, she had clamoured for her grandmother to tell her a romance story, to satisfy her curiosity about love itself. Holly, although reluctant to share something so personal to her with her own grandchild, had relented in the end...for a true story is always easier to relate to than a fictitious one.

I didn't divorce Trouble, like I should have. I suppose I had just given up on life's cruelty, and was tired of fighting back. Even though Trouble had completely destroyed that happiness that I could have experienced with Artemis, one thing came to my mind that I could never erase, no matter how much I wanted to. For it is love that drives people to obsession...and if Trouble hadn't loved me so much, he wouldn't have done the things he did.

So why did I love Artemis so much? No doubt, Trouble loved me more than I deserved to be loved, but in the end, my heart still belonged with Artemis, and the decision is something that is not to be contested.

Everything that passed between us was completely natural, and every word that flowed from my mouth was something that I meant deep down inside. We complimented each other perfectly, as shown in the way he would shoot a seemingly nasty remark at me and I would always be ready with a comeback.

While Trouble gave me a sense of stability, Artemis made me experience extreme emotions. With him, it was always an emotional roller-coaster. I could be severely angry with him at one moment and love him affectionately the next, so there was always that something unpredictable in our relationship. It was something that I missed having in my life when Artemis left. Even though I appreciated how stable my life became when I married Trouble, and how he would always be a steady rock to depend and hold on to in a storm, I could never love him the way I loved Artemis. Artemis gave me a reason to want to change...a reason to want to be different. He always held a part of my heart, no matter how much of that small fact I wanted to ignore.

I remember when Artemis said that he was put on Earth for a purpose, and because he had already fulfilled his purpose, it was time for him to go. Back then, he didn't know what that purpose was, but I think I should answer that for him. I think his purpose on Earth was to change my life for the better, no matter how short the bliss we shared was.

Every night, I still close my eyes and think of him. It's funny how he's everywhere to me, watching over me, reminding me of the love we shared and the emotions he made me feel. I know it's a sign.

I know it's a sign that I won't be alone, that even if there comes another unexpected twist of fate, he'll be there with me to overcome it, and that he's waiting for that one day where he and I will be reunited just like before.

The End

Author's Note: I can't believe it's the last chapter already. 133 pages on Microsoft Word, the longest story I've ever done and completed. But I guess there must always be a beginning and an end. You can't imagine how much soul I've poured into this, so much so that if Voldemort were to take over this piece, he would be able to take control of me. [All right, I'll stop the stupid Harry Potter jokes. :)] It may not have been enjoyable the whole story throughout, and even I began to grow doubtful towards the end, on whether I should complete it or not, but fortunately, the relentless side of me won out. Thank you all for being so patient, and supporting me throughout this. My first A.F. fic, completed! I'm also currently working on a new one which I will post when I get back from my vacation. Once again, thank you!