Third (And Final – I mean it this time) Epilogue – The Proposal
After my wife came loudly in my arms, my mind has been in a complete haze. The only things I have been able to concentrate on are her shallow breaths and her naked chest. I pull her to my side and she curls up next to me.
"Why has it been so long since we've done that…" Ana murmurs into my neck.
"You've been working too much."
"HA," she scoffs, "That sure is the pot calling the kettle black."
"Fine, fine…. WE HAVE been working too much," I change my tune, "And we've been focusing way too much on Henry's graduation."
Our youngest son Henry is weeks away from graduating high school and my wife is a complete mess over it. As a parent, I understand how huge this is. Our last child is leaving the nest and we'll have raised three grown and slightly well-adjusted children. We may have done our job as parents, but I am still going to miss my boy. As a man who wants his wife to himself, I am thrilled that Henry is graduating. I get my wife all to myself; we've never had a relationship that is just us and I am ecstatic over the possibilities. The last time it was just us, we were in high school.
"Don't remind me that my baby is leaving me," she says as my phone beeps. I reach over and grab my phone. I quickly reply back to Phoebe's text and put my phone back down on the night stand.
"Look at it this way," I tell her, "I can have you on every available surface in this house…."
She snorts and runs her hand up and down my chest. "You would think like that…."
"I'm going to miss our boy," I tell her as I kiss the top of her head, "But it hasn't been just you and me since we were seventeen."
She looks up at me with a smile. "I didn't think of it like that…. I'm excited too."
My phone beeps again and I quickly respond to Phoebe's next question. I put my phone back down and roll Ana to her back. I kiss her neck and work my way up to her lips.
"Can you we do that again?" she asks with hope in her eyes.
I laugh loudly at her ludicrous question. "Do you even have to ask?"
My eyes crack open and I realize that my phone is ringing. Mother fucker… who is calling me at this mother fucking hour? It better not be Ros or any other mother fucker who works for me. I pick up my phone and practically growl when I see Jason Warren's name on my caller ID. I throw my phone across the room and break a lamp in the process.
"What the hell?" Ana hisses as she sits up.
"You didn't hear my fucking phone ringing…. Mother fucking Warren."
She sits up and shakes her head with exasperation. She turns to the clock and begins frantically searching for her phone. "He lives with our daughter in New York…. Something could be wrong."
"What are you talking about?" I groan.
"Mr. Overprotective is obviously still asleep," she says, still searching through our bedroom, "Something could be wrong with our child and just because you don't like her boyfriend doesn't mean we shouldn't answer his phone call."
Fuck, she has a point. Ana turns on a light and I sit up, my eyes adjusting to the change. "It's 7 AM in New York; it could be Warren being an ass."
Ana's phone starts ringing, and I suddenly feel the panic that my wife is currently experiencing. Ana finds her phone and answers, putting Warren on speakerphone. "What's going on Jason?" Ana asks, "I'm with Christian."
"What the hell did you text to Phoebe?" Warren snaps angrily.
"What do you mean?" I ask, all of us knowing Jace's ire is meant for me.
"She knew I went to Seattle and so I told her that I bought us a house, which is only half true because I want to get us a house but I don't have anything tangible yet, but she knows that I came to see you because apparently nobody at your damn firm can keep a secret," he yells, "So I told her that we talked about the house…. Apparently, she texted you, asking for confirmation and you SCREWED THE FUCK UP."
"What is he talking about?" Ana asks softly, turning to me.
I walk across the room and look for my phone. When I find it, I turn it on and pray that it will work so I can see the text messages I sent. I really have no clue what Phoebe asked me or what text messages I sent to her. The screen is cracked, but I am still able to open my text messages. I search through my conversation with Phoebe and suddenly everything becomes clear.
Dad - I want to decorate a house… since when did you get so prudish?
What are you talking about?
Jason said that you and him talked about us moving in together in Seattle. He said he bought a house.
We didn't talk about that.
"Fuck," I hiss, "Is she upset?"
"She thinks I have a mistress in Seattle," he scoffs, "And she packed a bag and ran off to stay with her model friend Josie."
"Why would she think Jason has a mistress in Seattle?" Ana asks confused, "Jason was here…. Why has no one explained anything to me?"
Ignore Ana's questions and jump to action. I feel like a douchebag right now, and I need to fix this. I don't want my daughter upset over something I did.
"I'll call her…. I'll get this straightened out."
"Do not tell her anything about my surprise," Warren warns, "I am already pissed at you…."
"Just call it even for taking my daughter to Paris for three weeks…."
"Can somebody tell me what the hell is going on?" Ana snaps at both of us.
"Don't tell her," Warren responds.
I laugh, pleasantly surprised that he already understands Grey women. "I'll fix this…. I promise."
"Why did you have to explain it like that?" Phoebe groans over the phone.
I laugh, relieved that I found a way to fix this. "Don't text me at 2 AM AFTER I've just had wild, hot sex with your mother…. It puts me in a loop."
"What did I just say to you?" she barks.
I laugh louder, "Jason and I did talk about the house…. Along with other things. I got confused because I was in such a sexual haze."
"EW!" she groans, "… and what other things?"
"You are your mother, quit it. You don't need to know everything."
She takes in a deep resounding sigh. "Thank you… I just worry…."
I don't want to reveal Warren's secret, but I want to assuage her worry. "Honey…. I don't want you to worry about him. Even I'll admit that he loves you…"
I hear the smile in her voice, "Telling me not to worry is like telling me not to breathe."
"You are your mother's daughter…."
She chuckles, "Oh please, don't blame Mom for that. You're the king of worrying."
Ana walks out of the bathroom and leans against the door frame. She still is wearing her satin nightgown and her hair is pulled up into a messy bun, she looks unbelievably beautiful. After I finish this, I am going to take her again. We gaze at each other as I wrap up my call with Phoebe. The intensity in her stare makes me slightly nervous, and I have a strong feeling she has put every piece of the puzzle together.
"So should I leave Josie's?" She asks.
"I've said from day one that you should stay at Josie's forever…. You don't need to be living with your boyfriend…."
She cackles, "Ok I've gotta go back to Jason's. Love you."
I grumble and she cackles even louder. "Love you too baby girl…."
We say our goodbyes and Ana moves across the room. She sits down next to me and grabs my hand. I know what is about to come out of her mouth before she even speaks.
"Our daughter is getting engaged….."
Her voice is so small and so raw, I want to hold her in my arms and pretend like our kids aren't getting older. "That's why he was in Seattle…." I tell her.
"Our daughter is getting engaged…. Our oldest has three kids…. And our baby is going off to college."
I pull her to my side and she melts into me. "And we're so close to having this big house ALL to ourselves..."
She snickers, "Still hung up on that?"
"Oh, I'll be hung up on that for a while," I tell her confidently.
She sighs, "Gah lee…. When I was a seventeen year old kid, holding a pregnancy test and a 4.0 GPA, I never expected to be here with you thirty years later."
"That's why," I whisper in her ear as I move us backward on the bed, "We have earned to have an empty house. It's our reward for making it through all that shit in between."
She smiles, "I'm going to miss them when they're all gone and making a ruckus in the big bad world…."
"You love so deeply and that's why I chose you to be the mother of my children…." I say, kissing her several more times, "And that's why you need me…. I can remind you of how great this will be when we get rid of all of them."
"Our baby is getting married." She obviously doesn't care about my big plans.
"You get to plan a wedding….."
"I think you like Jason…." She says with a cocky smirk.
I scoff, "I don't like that idiot."
"You fixed his issues with Phoebe," she points out.
"Yeah because I screwed it up to begin with," I tell her as she kisses my jaw, "I don't like him."
"You gave him your blessing…." She says, trying to prove me wrong again. I shake my head, annoyed that I have to continue to discuss my future Son-in-law. Of course, Ana loves the idiot and has done nothing but force me to accept him as Phoebe's boyfriend. Now that I've actually accepted him, I know I won't hear the end of it.
"Just be ready," I tell her, smacking her delicious behind, "We're going to New York in the morning."
My nerves shake through me as the makeup artist finishes up her masterpiece on my face. We're so close to show time, and I am not handling this well. There was a reason print modeling worked for me, I didn't have to do anything live.
Josie comes up behind me and smiles in the mirror. "Don't be nervous Grey…."
"I can't help It," I tell her, "I'm nervous…. This is my first show!"
She laughs, "You'll be fine….. but let's change the subject, how have you and Jace been since I sent you back home?"
I groan, annoyed with the fact that I got so mad over nothing. I went straight to Josie's house after our fight, and she saw every emotion and anger that I felt after mine and Jason's confrontation. "We're fine…. But he keeps acting like he's trying to make up for something."
"Well it's always good to have a man like that," Josie jokes, "Keep him on his toes. You look sweet, but you're a firecracker when need be and he needs to remember that."
"Yeah, I guess," I say with a chuckle.
"Speak of the devil," Josie laughs as Jason appears behind me.
He nods at Josie and I notice a piece of paper and a box in his hands. "Hey Josie…. Can you give us a minute?" She nods and Jason takes the seat next to me. "I have a few things for you," he says to me softly.
Jason has a look on his face that concerns me, a look that is pensive and nervous. I don't know what to think right now, and I am nervous about what he has to say. I hope he hasn't decided that I am too much trouble. I did just raise hell over nothing, and he could decide that he is finally done with my drama. Jason hands me the paper before I can say anything else. I take the paper and he opens the small box in his hand. Without speaking, he pulls out a silver necklace and puts it around my neck. I admire the small heart charm on the end of the necklace, and am relieved that this necklace is small enough not to be noticed when I'm on the runway. I can wear his beautiful gift everywhere.
"This was my mother's," he finally tells me, "She wore it all the time. She said it gave her courage…. And I thought you might need that today."
I feel a lump in my throat and tears start to form. I love when Jason talks about his mother. She died from cancer when he was six, and he talks about her with such reverence, such adoration and love. When he was in rehab, just the thought of her being disappointed and sad from him suffering through a drug addiction was enough for him to want to get better.
"Thank you baby…. I love it. I am so honored that you're giving this to me," I choke out.
He leans over to kiss me on the lips. He nods to the paper in my hand. "Read this…."
He walks away and I open the envelope without thinking too much of what I'll find. When I see the elegant penmanship, I know exactly who wrote this letter. My heart drops and I am suddenly glad the makeup artist gave me waterproof mascara today.
To the sweet girl that has my sweet baby head over heels,
I know this is clique, but when I received my cancer diagnosis, I knew I needed to do this. I needed to communicate the only way I knew how to the woman who would soon be replacing me in my son's eyes. Right now, I am sitting next to a sweet, five year old version of Jason Warren. I know he won't always be like this. I know that when I leave this world, it will affect him immensely. I know he'll struggle and fight and lose part of himself in the process, and that's why I am so relieved that he has you. If he'll turn out anything like his father, he'll be a pain in the butt and you'll get so frustrated with him. But at the center of that frustrating male is a sweet and loving man who needs you desperately.
I am so thankful for you, and I am so beyond devastated that I can't meet you. I am devastated that I can't see my son in love. He is so special and so precious, and I want so much for him. Thank you for loving him. Thank you for taking care of him. Please, continue to love him for the rest of his life…. For me. I need to know that when I am gone, someone who loves him will continue to care for my boy.
I am able to pull myself together by the time my parents and Henry show up backstage. That letter from his mother gutted me, and my mind is going in circles trying to figure out why Jason gave it to me now. Either way, the note from his mother strengthens my love for him and makes me want to make Collette Warren proud.
My Mom brings me into her arms and squeezes me tight. "I'm so proud of you," she sighs, "I can't wait to see you work that runway."
"I'm nervous," I tell her honestly, "I've never done this."
"You'll be fine," Henry interrupts, "All you gotta do is walk in a line… even I can do that."
My little brother has turned into such a man, and such a smart ass, and he looks a lot like my father. He is going to be a heartbreaker just like Ted. "In heels Hen… I'd like to see you walk in heels."
He smirks and shrugs, "Still doesn't sound so hard."
Jason makes an appearance and my Mom lights up. "Jason…. You're looking well."
He smirks and hugs my mother. "Thank you Mrs. Grey…. Thanks for making the trip." He shakes my Dad's hand and gives Henry a bro hug.
"I'm stoked," Henry tells him, "Good music and half naked women…. That's the dream."
Jason laughs as I smack him, "One of those half naked women is your sister by the way…."
"Well of course I won't be looking at you…." He grumbles.
"Alright," my Dad interrupts, "We have to take our seats." He leans over and kisses my forehead. "Can't they find anything longer for you to wear?" Dad comments as he takes a look at my outfit. No "break a leg" or "good luck sweetheart"... My Dad's first comments are about the modesty of my outfit.
Mom smirks and smacks Dad's shoulder. "Get used to it…. We made a hottie."
Dad rolls his eyes as Mom ushers my brother and my Dad away. I wish Amber and Ted could be here too, but I know they have their hands full with my nieces. Getting on a plane and flying to New York is not an option for them, and that kind of makes me sad.
Jason slips next to me, successfully distracting myself from missing my brother and sister-in-law. "Good luck baby," he whispers in my ear, "If Levine tries to touch you…. I'll kill him."
I stand on my tip toes and kiss him as softly as I can. "Thank you for my necklace…. I'll wear it with pride."
He smiles sweetly, "I'm glad…"
"And that letter…." I sigh, "Jason…. I…."
"I wanted you to meet her, but that can't happen so I wanted to give you the next best thing," Jason says softly as the world moves hectically around us, "I love you Phoebe Grey."
After the last twenty four hours, after how I over reacted, after only being together a year and a half…. This beautiful, complicated, in demand rock star still loves me. He has been with half the world, and half the world still wants him, and he picks me every single day. I don't even know how to begin to respond.
"I love you too, Jason Warren…." I squeak out.
"Knock em dead baby," he whispers in my ear before I am swept away into the madness of the show.
There are four bands invited to perform with several different designers showing off their work. I will be walking during Maroon 5 and Venus Fate's sets and modeling for two very different designers. Maroon 5's set will involve evening wear with a rock edge, and the clothing for Venus Fate is all rock and leather. Somehow, Maroon 5 will go on before Venus Fate even though they are much more popular.
As I stand in line and wait to show my first gown, I feel a tap on the back. "You and Jason are cute together…."
I roll my eyes. One of Jason's ex "flings" is also walking the runway today. In fact, I have run into a lot of Jason's "exes" over our short time together. My man has been around the block and the insecurity I felt over our misunderstanding from Jason's trip to Seattle stems from that. I am not an insecure person by any means, but Jason has a past that can rival any rock star/athlete/playboy. It hasn't been easy.
"Thank you," I say, honestly trying to remember her name, "I'm sorry…. Remind me of your name?"
She scowls, throwing her blonde hair behind her. "It's Collette…." She huffs, "I am sure he has mentioned me…. We were together for a while."
I want to laugh at the poor whore. This is ridiculous. I am supposed to be focusing on the job I am about to do, and not this bitch. Suddenly, I get a stroke of genius.
"He has mentioned another Colette, but she certainly wasn't you," I say, smiling to myself. He doesn't talk about his mother to just anyone so of course she'll have no idea who I am really talking about.
"Oh," she says, trying to hide her shock, "Well… I was the best Colette. He kept coming back to me, he obviously wanted more."
"Doubt it," I say, smiling to myself. I have no doubts that there is only one Colette in Jason Warren's world that he would consider to be the "Best Colette".
It's in this moment that I realize that I don't need to worry about these whores or my standing with Jason. He gave me his Mom's necklace and he had me read her letter. He wouldn't do that for just anyone. It all makes sense now. I was insecure about us and he wanted to knock away any doubt in my mind. He has a past and there is no erasing that, but I am his future and today he tried to remind me of that very important fact.
The show begins and I move to make my entrance on the runway. "Here goes nothing," I breathe as I take my first steps and turn my first corner.
"When is it going to happen?" I whisper in Christian's ear.
"Soon, that other fucker band just finished…." Christian growls.
I shake my head and laugh. Adam Levine got a little handsy with Phoebe, and Christian did not like that one bit. I honestly thought it was funny, and I even was a tad bit jealous. While no one beats Christian, Levine is still sexy. The bands are changing so Venus Fate is next.
"I'm just so nervous…. But damn, she is so…. perfect. Modeling is her calling. I'm so proud of her. "
He nods with a reverent smile, "Even I can't deny that… but I really wish they didn't put her in such short dresses."
I roll my eyes, "We can't help it that we made a hottie…."
He rolls his eyes right back at me, "Stop that. You know how I feel about eye rolling…"
I hear Jason's voice come through the speakers, and I can't help but smile when I see him take the stage. He really is amazing, and very talented. He has a voice that melts the room when he sings, and everyone is captivated by him when he performs. No wonder my daughter is so in love with him, who wouldn't be?
Their first song is "Hard to Handle" originally sung by the Black Crowes, and Jason explodes with sex as he croons the feisty rock song. Can I say that my future-son-in law explodes with sex? Geez…. I need to keep that to myself.
After several models walk out, Phoebe finally makes her grand appearance. She is wearing another short dress, but on her tall frame I think she looks fantastic. Her short leather dress is perfect for the song, and when Jason sees her, the reverence in his eyes moves me to tears. She walks toward Jason and he meets her halfway. He brings her close to his body and grabs her butt and kisses her forehead. She shakes her head in exasperation and in a break in the song; Jason yells "Mine, Levine." She walks off the stage and Jason is staring after her, completely entranced.
"Do they have to keep doing that?" Christian growls in my ear.
"Just to piss you off," I joke with him.
He shakes his head, "I'm about to tell that fucker he can't marry my daughter… I'll send her to a nunnery."
"Oh please…." I laugh at him.
Their first song ends, and Jason's eyes search the audience. When his eyes lock on ours, he simply nods. My heart stops and I prepare myself for what we're about to witness.
"Thank you everyone for coming out tonight…. These designers are talented and I've enjoyed being able to add something to their hard work…." He says, pacing across the stage, "And I want to thank them for allowing me to do what I am about to do…"
Christian squeezes my hand and I try to hold back my tears. Henry turns to us in confusion. "What's going on?"
"You'll see," I whisper.
"A year and a half ago…. I met a girl. I met a girl at a night club, and for the first time in a long time, I found someone who saw right through me. A girl that was a complete game changer…. So tonight, I want to dedicate this song to her." The music begins and he croons out the first words.
I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you're far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure
"What is he doing?" I ask, trying to find a TV screen in the back, "Why isn't he singing their new single?"
The stage director laughs as he hands me my loubitins. "My work here is done," he says, admiring me, "You need to thank Francesca and Francesca after all this is done…. Now let's go, you need to go to your prince." He is right, my dress is beautiful. My dress is tan and covered in sparkles and I am wearing a matching pair of loubitins on my feet.
"What is going on?" I ask as I walk to the front.
"I want to see the ring as soon as you get back."
I walk across the stage and I am sure my jaw is on the floor. I walk toward Jason and he meets me halfway, still singing the Aerosmith song that I love so much. He grabs my hand, and I forget that we have a rather large audience.
I don't wanna miss one smile
I don't wanna miss one kiss
Well, I just wanna be with you
Right here with you, just like this
I just wanna hold you close
I feel your heart so close to mine
And just stay here in this moment
For the rest of time
He drops to his knee, and I lose it. He finishes the song and pulls out the ring box. "Phoebe Grey," he chokes out, "I love you so much…. Will you marry me?"
He opens the box and the diamond shines brightly against the light on the stage. "Yes," I tell him with tears falling down my face, "I'll marry you…"
He wraps his arms around me, and the room cheers loudly. We kiss and hold each other, and I have never felt more happy and content.
"This is why you went to Seattle?" I ask, suddenly understanding our fight from the other day.
He nods, tears also falling down his face, "Yeah, sorry about that baby…."
I wrap myself around him and he walks us off the stage, me hanging off him like a monkey.
"Hey Warren," Davis, Venus Fate's drummer yells, "We still have one song left to sing…."
A/N – Alright everyone! That's it! Thanks again for following me through this fun adventure! Next up – I am working on getting Young Messed up and Romantically Confused Book 2 off the ground. I am still trying to figure out what to do with it, so don't expect it any time soon! LOL
Everything goes to FSOG and Aerosmith for this chapter!