Elle's Bachelorette Challenge - Day 6


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Elle's Bachelorette Challenge - Day 6

  1. 1. Smoothie Sims, Inc. proudly presents… Elle’s Bachelorette Challenge - Day 6
  2. 2. “You’ re WHAT?” “I’ m sorry! I di dn’ t mean to!” “How can you NOT mean to Try For Baby, Deanna? Generally that’ s done on PURPOSE.” “I di dn’ t even thi nk about i t! I’ ve been doi ng so much geneti c experi menti ng i t’ s habi t now --”
  3. 3. “Dammi t, De, you are NOT turni ng my game i nto your personal Rhys-baby-breedi ng grounds, okay? Do you hear me? NOT.” “Okay, God, I’ m sorry. I really di dn’ t mean to--” “Then learn the meani ng of contracepti ves!” “I KNOW w hat contracepti ves are for, Mari na.” “Then use them, dammi t!”
  4. 4. “Stop yelli ng at me!” “I’ ll stop yelli ng w hen I’ m darn good and ready! It’ s bad enough that you and Rhys can’ t keep your damn pants on for fi ve mi nutes put together, but the fact that--w here the hell do you thi nk you’ re goi ng?”
  5. 5. “Somew here less noi sy. You’ re upsetti ng the baby. ” “Get back here! I’ m not done yelli ng at you! ” “Well, I’ m done li steni ng! ” “DeANNA! ” “I love how Mari na’ s acti ng li ke the pregnant one,” Ursula observed, sli di ng i nto a vacant seat on the couch. She, Azula, and Domi ni c w ere the only ones left i n the room; Rhys had fled i n fear of Mari na’ s reacti on, and Spencer had ducked i nto the ki tchen so he could laugh w i thout rebuke. From the sounds of i t, he hadn’ t been able to stop.
  6. 6. “So w hat do you thi nk so far?” Azula asked. Now that she w as over the i ni ti al shock of havi ng some of her dead relati ves come to call, she w as actually ki nd of exci ted to meet Ursula. The previ ous generati on of Fi tzhughs had all know n her w ell and spoke of her w i th reverence. “Well, I mi ssed most of i t so I’ m not sure how much my opi ni on counts,” Ursula sai d. “I don’ t know your si ster, but I’ ve heard about how shy she i s, so I’ m surpri sed she’ s doi ng thi s w ell.” Azula smi led, proud of Elle. “Mostly she i s. You mi ssed the ki ssi ng dates yesterday, that w as the w orst freak-out she’ s had the w hole challenge. Otherw i se i t’ s been good.” “Glad to hear i t.” “So w ho do you thi nk she’ ll pi ck based on w hat you saw ?”
  7. 7. Ursula shrugged. “To be honest, I thi nk she should send them both home.” “…w hat.” “The Vi ctori an dude i s treati ng her w i th ki d gloves. He’ s w ay too careful.” “That’ s hi s upbri ngi ng,” Azula sai d qui ckly. “You should’ ve seen the ki ss date last ni ght, and w hat he di d after.” The other w oman li fted a shoulder. “The one she just sent home w as w orse. Ni ce enough, but too much of a chameleon. Too eager to do everythi ng she w anted to do.” “I li ked hi m. I thought he should’ ve stayed.” “No, I thi nk she made the ri ght deci si on. And as for the thi rd guy, he’ s got some seri ous baggage i ssues and I thi nk she’ s keepi ng hi m because she feels sorry for hi m.”
  8. 8. “Elli e w ouldn’ t do that!” “You sure about that? She seems li ke a very ni ce gi rl. Maybe a li ttle too sensi ti ve.” “I’ m sure. Domi ni c, help me out here?” “What? Don’ t drag me i nto thi s!” Domi ni c had been tryi ng hard not to get i nvolved and reali zed too late that i n order to do that, he should have left the room. “Dom!”
  9. 9. He si ghed. “Okay, look. Everybody calm dow n.” “I’ m perfectly calm,” Ursula poi nted out. “She w as the one w ho asked.” “Okay. Azula, calm dow n.” “Hey--” “Ulti mately, thi s i s betw een Elle and the guys,” Dom w ent on, i gnori ng her. “She’ s a smart gi rl. She know s w hat she needs. She’ ll pi ck the guy w ho can gi ve her that, and i f nei ther one can, she’ ll fi nd someone else. It’ s not li ke she has to get marri ed to the one she pi cks.” Azula bi t her li p. “I just w ant her to be happy.” “I know you do. But i t’ s up to her.” ***
  10. 10. Elle took her ti me setti ng up for tea that day. Instead of calli ng Stuart and Li am over to joi n her ri ght aw ay, she had one cup by herself and contemplated the upcomi ng deci si on she w as goi ng to have to make. Li ke all the others, i t w as a full day aw ay, but sendi ng Ham home had been one of the hardest thi ngs she had ever done, and she w as not looki ng forw ard to sayi ng goodbye to the last guy, w homever he w ould be. For all that, though, she w ould mi ss thi s. She fully enjoyed tea ti me and she li ked most of the guys she had met i n the past w eek, and w ould not mi nd pursui ng fri endshi ps w i th them. Except for the eli mi nati ons, i t really w asn’ t so bad and she w as glad she had agreed to do i t.
  11. 11. When she di dn’ t yell dow n for them to come up, they came i n search of her and found her deep i n thought. “Are you not ready for us yet?” Stuart asked. “No, go ahead and si t dow n,” she sai d, looki ng up and managi ng a smi le. “The tea’ s done. We mi ght as w ell start. How are you guys doi ng?” “I am w ell,” Stuart sai d. “Yeah, me too,” Li am agreed, eyei ng her. “You?” “I’ m okay,” she sai d di smi ssi vely. “Gi ve me a sec and I’ ll pour your tea.”
  12. 12. Once they each had a cup, she poured herself a new one. “So I’ ve been thi nki ng about w hat questi on I w ant to ask today,” she sai d, “and i t occurred to me w e haven’ t done much talki ng for a couple of days i n favor of, um, other thi ngs, so w hat I w ant to know today i s a li ttle more about the people you love. Speci fi cally, w ho your best fri end i s back home.” “Di d you w i sh to begi n?” Stuart asked. “Yeah, I’ ll start and w e’ ll go counter-clockw i se. Okay?” The tw o of them nodded i n agreement and she sat back to contemplate her answ er.
  13. 13. “I defi ni tely have to say that Azula i s my best fri end,” she sai d, after thoughtfully taki ng a si p from her cup. “We’ ve been close as long as I can remember and she can be really annoyi ng but she alw ays looks out for me. She makes me do a lot of thi ngs I don’ t w ant to because she know s i t’ ll be good for me. And w e can talk about anythi ng.” She smi led, although she felt a li ttle embarrassed know i ng her si ster w as li steni ng. “I love her so much.” “That i s obvi ous, from the w ay you talk about her,” Stuart sai d. “Good, i t should be. She’ s the best si ster ever. What about you?”
  14. 14. “Berti e,” he sai d, w i thout hesi tati on. “My elder brother. I beli eve I have menti oned hi m before. I do have lots of other fri ends, but Berti e alw ays has been and alw ays w i ll be my best fri end.” “That’ s really sw eet, Stuart. What’ s he li ke?” A fond smi le came to Stuart’ s face. “He’ s a li ttle reserved and someti mes fi nds i t hard to do thi ngs that scare hi m or are unfami li ar to hi m. But, he i s a good man and very loyal. He often says he could not do w i thout me, but frankly I need hi m just as much.” “He sounds li ke a great guy.” “He i s.”
  15. 15. “I thi nk i t’ s good for si bli ngs to be close,” Elle sai d. “My brother Bi lly and I aren’ t joi ned at the hi p li ke Zuzu and I are, and w e fi ght someti mes, but w e’ re sti ll good fri ends. Though I guess the busi nesses helped. Azula w as at college and w e di dn’ t have anyone else to commi serate w i th.” “Are the tw o of you very si mi lar?” “Not at all. He’ s a lot more li ke Zuzu. Di fferent at the same ti me, though.” “I should very much li ke to meet your si bli ngs someti me soon.” “Yeah, I’ d li ke to meet your brother, too.” She glanced up and caught Li am’ s eye only to have hi m turn aw ay sli ghtly. “Li am? Are you okay?”
  16. 16. “Nah, I’ m good. You tw o talki ng about your fami li es just got me thi nki ng.” “Oh, I’ m sorry,” Elle sai d, suddenly appalled at herself. “You never got a chance to answ er. I di dn’ t mean to monopoli ze the conversati on.” Li am frow ned sli ghtly. “I’ m really not sure w hat my answ er i s. I mean, I had a gi rlfri end w hen I w as a teenager. Her name w as Meadow and I li ked her a lot. I guess she could quali fy.” He shrugged. “My si sters and I had an okay relati onshi p. Cordy’ s dead though. And Buffy…w ell, i t’ s compli cated. So I don’ t know .” “You di dn’ t have anybody you w ere close to?” Heari ng thi s made Elle more than a li ttle sad. She had her di ffi culti es w i th people, but she couldn’ t i magi ne not bei ng close to anyone at all.
  17. 17. “It’ s a li ttle hard to develop close relati onshi ps w hen you’ ve got an angry ghost ki lli ng off your fami ly members and the phones are dow n so much i t’ s hard to stay i n touch w i th people.” He shook hi s head. “Speaki ng honestly, Elle, you’ re the best fri end I’ ve had i n a very long ti me.” A thought struck hi m and he smi led a li ttle. “Abe w as cool too, though. We got along pretty w ell.” “Yeah, he w as,” Elle sai d qui etly. The memory of Abe’ s departure w as sti ll a sore one.
  18. 18. “Do you w i sh to be close to your si ster?” Stuart asked. Li am spared hi m a gri mace. “There are a lot of thi ngs I w i sh w ere di fferent and w e’ d be here all day i f I li sted them all. And now I thi nk w e should change the subject.” “Fai r enough.”
  19. 19. There w as a long si lence, and then the boys put dow n thei r empty cups for Elle to refi ll. Glad to have somethi ng to do, she hurri ed to get them more tea. “So,” she sai d, “toni ght each of you get me to yourselves for an hour. We’ re goi ng to use the den dow nstai rs and formal w ear i s mandatory.” “For w hat exactly?” Li am asked, eyebrow s rai sed. “Danci ng.” “How deli ghtful!” Stuart exclai med. “I thi nk that w i ll be very ni ce i ndeed.” “I…yeah, okay, I could try that,” Li am agreed.
  20. 20. They agreed that they w ould each fi ni sh thei r current cup and then get up to get ready. Stuart and Li am w ould deci de betw een them w ho w ould have the fi rst date, and Elle w ould meet w homever i t w as i n the den at 8:00 pm.
  21. 21. At 7:45, Elle w as mostly ready, and stood i n front of the mi rror tucki ng the last stray hai rs i nto place and w orryi ng about the li ttle thi ngs, as w omen do. “I sti ll thi nk you should di tch the glasses,” Azula advi sed. “I can’ t see w i thout them and I don’ t have contacts,” Elle repli ed. “Do they look that bad?” “No, you should be okay,” Mari na sai d. “I w ore glasses to my Prom and only took them off for photos. And hey, they match your dress. ” “So I look okay?” “You look great. ” “Yeah, go knock ‘ em dead, Elli e. ”
  22. 22. Li am, w ho ended up getti ng the fi rst date on the grounds that Stuart had gone before hi m both that morni ng and the previ ous ni ght, w as dow nstai rs messi ng around w i th the baby grand w hen she made i t dow n there. He clearly had no more i dea how to play than she di d, but he w as havi ng fun and that made her smi le. “Hey, Li am. You’ re fi rst, huh?”
  23. 23. “Hi , Elle, I--oh my God, you’ re beauti ful.”
  24. 24. “Really?” she asked, feeli ng a smi le tug at her mouth. “Really. Just…w ow .” “Thank you. You look handsome too, I li ke your tux.” “Oh, thanks.”
  25. 25. He stepped up to her. “So, ah…may I have thi s dance?” She gi ggled. “I w ould be deli ghted.”
  26. 26. She rested her hand on hi s shoulder and gave the other to hi m as she had learned how to do from Azula. Li am seemed to get the general i dea of danci ng, but i t w as obvi ous he w as new at i t--or, as her si ster w ould term i t, he had tw o left feet. Elle di dn’ t w ant to be unki nd and jump to that conclusi on…
  27. 27. …but as the mi nutes passed i t seemed li kely that that w as the case. “Oh, dammi t. I am so sorry.” “It’ s okay,” she sai d qui ckly, tryi ng not to w i nce and make hi m feel even w orse. “Let me try that agai n,” he pleaded. “Only…maybe less w i th the movi ng thi s ti me?” “Yeah, w e can try that.” She smi led ruefully as he offered hi s arms to her agai n.
  28. 28. If I gi ve my heart to you Wi ll you handle i t w i th care? Wi ll you alw ays treat me tenderly? And i n every w ay be fai r?
  29. 29. If I gi ve my heart to you Wi ll you gi ve me all your love? Wi ll you sw ear that you’ ll be true to me By the li ght that shi nes above?
  30. 30. And w i ll you si gh w i th me w hen I’ m sad? Smi le w i th me w hen I’ m glad? And alw ays be as you are w i th me toni ght? Thi nk i t over and be sure Please don’ t answ er ti l you do When you promi se all these thi ngs to me Then I’ ll gi ve my heart to you
  31. 31. When thei r hour w as up, Li am stepped back slow ly. “Well, that w as fun,” he sai d li ghtly. “Yes, i t w as,” Elle agreed, w i th a smi le. “Maybe you’ ll get the hang of that ‘ movi ng your feet’ thi ng eventually.” He gri nned. “Maybe I w i ll. And w i th any luck at all, your toe w on’ t be brui sed.” “Oh, I don’ t thi nk you di d that much damage. I’ ll see you i n a bi t.” “Sure thi ng.”
  32. 32. She di dn’ t have to w ai t long for Stuart to arri ve, and he certai nly seemed very eager to get there, practi cally hoppi ng dow n the stai rs.
  33. 33. “Good eveni ng,” he greeted her. Elle gi ggled a li ttle. “Hi , you.” “You look absolutely stunni ng, Elli e. Gold i s a w onderful color for you.” “Really?” She w as very pleased by hi s compli ment, but couldn’ t resi st needli ng hi m a li ttle. “I thought you mi ght object to the sheer fabri c I’ ve got goi ng at the w ai stli ne.” Stuart colored a li ttle. “I noti ced.” “Well, w hy di dn’ t you say anythi ng?” “If I had commented, that w ould have i nformed you that I w as looki ng, and that w ould have been extremely rude.” “Well, thank you.” She smi led shyly. “You look great too. And hey, your ti e matches my dress.”
  34. 34. He gri nned. “So i t does. It i s almost as though w e planned i t.” “What a coi nci dence.” “Indeed.” He offered hi s hand. “Would you do me the honor of gi vi ng me a dance?” “I’ d love to.”
  35. 35. Stuart drew her i n closer than Li am had almost i mmedi ately, and her heart ski pped a beat. “Is thi s qui te proper, Mr. Legacy?” “Do you care, Mi ss Fi tzhugh?” “Not really, si nce you’ re aski ng.” He smi led and leaned to w hi sper agai nst her ear. “Nei ther do I.”
  36. 36. L i s for the w ay you look at me O i s for the only one I see V i s very, very extraordi nary E i s even more than anyone that you adore can Love i s all that I can gi ve to you Love i s more than just a game for tw o
  37. 37. Tw o i n love can make i t Take my heart and please don’ t break i t Love w as made for me and you
  38. 38. Elle caught a glance of the clock over Stuart’ s shoulder and groaned a li ttle. “What i s i t?” he asked. “It’ s ten. Past ten, actually.” Hi s arms ti ghtened. “That cannot be ri ght. I am certai n w e have another fi fteen mi nutes at least.” “Be fai r, Stuart,” she sai d, sternly, but w i th a smi le. “I suppose I must, i f you i nsi st.” “I do.”
  39. 39. He pressed hi s cheek agai nst hers for a long moment, leavi ng a ki ss on i t as he fi nally pulled aw ay. “I w i ll see you i n the morni ng,” he sai d softly. “Good ni ght, Stuart. Sleep w ell.” “And you, as w ell.”
  40. 40. Elle i ntended to go strai ght to bed, but w hen she got upstai rs she saw Li am si tti ng on the couch, seemi ngly deep i n thought, and deci ded to si t w i th hi m for a mi nute fi rst. “What are you thi nki ng so hard about?” she asked hi m. He started a li ttle, then shrugged. “Loads of thi ngs.” “Li fe, li berty, and the pursui t of happi ness?” she quoted. “Ha, that’ s pretty accurate actually.” Li am bi t hi s li p, as i f w onderi ng w hether he should say somethi ng he w anted to say, and then w ent on. “Elle, I w ant to apologi ze for bei ng so stony at tea earli er. Someti mes I feel li ke the thi ngs I hated about my old li fe are all I can talk about and I don’ t mean to be a dow ner.” “It’ s fi ne, Li am.”
  41. 41. “No, i t’ s not fi ne. Thi s i s about you, not me.” “It’ s about both of us, Li am. Maybe I’ m the one w ho makes the deci si on i n the end but I can’ t do i t i f I don’ t know you and i f I’ m goi ng to pursue a relati onshi p w i th the guy I choose, i t has to be a mutual agreement.” He seemed stumped by thi s, because he only nodded w i thout further comment.
  42. 42. Elle got up, moti oned Li am up as w ell, and gave hi m a hug. “I’ m goi ng to go to bed. I’ ll see you tomorrow .” “Okay. Good ni ght then.”
  43. 43. She thought she could feel hi s eyes on her back as she left, but she kept goi ng w i thout looki ng back. All of a sudden, she felt a di sti nct need to be alone.
  44. 44. Instead of posi ng i n front of the mi rror and admi ri ng herself as long as possi ble, as a gi rl mi ght do the fi rst ti me she dressed up formally, Elle hung up her dress ri ght aw ay and undi d her hai r, sli ppi ng i nto bed and hopi ng sleep w ould come soon. It w as several hours before she fi nally dropped off. ***
  45. 45. “Di d you get any sleep at all?” Elle smi led fai ntly and shook her head. “Not much. I kept w orryi ng about today and w ho I w as goi ng to choose and w hat I w ould say.” “Have you come to any conclusi ons as to ei ther of those thi ngs?” Mari na asked gently. She bi t her li p. “I know w ho I’ m goi ng to choose. The more I thought about i t, the surer I w as. I thi nk I’ ve know n for a few days now .” “Well, I’ m glad that part’ s not any harder than i t has to be. You don’ t have to tell me. ” “I can tell you w ant to know , though.” “…yes, w ell, that’ s because I’ m a greedy person and I love spoi lers. But I trust you to handle i t yourself. We’ ll fi nd out w hen you tell them. ”
  46. 46. “Is there anythi ng you w ant me to do before noon?” “Not i f you’ re already sure. Just get dressed, go have some breakfast, and then tell them. How you do that i s up to you. ” “Easy for you to say. I could really use someone telli ng me w hat to do ri ght now .” “Elli e, trust me. You’ ll be fi ne. You don’ t need anyone, especi ally not me, telli ng you how to li ve your ow n li fe. ” “Thanks. Wi sh me luck.” “Good luck, hon. Gi ve us a shout i f you need anythi ng. ”
  47. 47. Breakfast w as an unusually si lent event. Elle could tell that Li am and Stuart w ere just as agi tated as she felt. Li am w ouldn’ t look anyone i n the eye, choosi ng i nstead to glare at hi s plate, and Stuart seemed so out of i t that he hadn’ t even bothered to get dressed before stumbli ng i n and taki ng some food. Thi s w as not goi ng to be pleasant. When she w as done, she got up and took her plate. “I’ m goi ng to go out and si t on the porch i n a few mi nutes,” she sai d. “I need to see each of you alone. You tw o deci de the order.” ***
  48. 48. “You’ ve got to let me see her fi rst.” Stuart, sti ll a li ttle i ncoherent even after eati ng and show eri ng, bli nked i n surpri se. “I do not have to do any such thi ng,” he sai d, carefully. “Please,” Li am sai d. “There are some thi ngs I have to say to her before you see her.” “Mr.Whedon, I feel that allow i ng thi s w ould grant you the tacti cal advantage and I si mply cannot do such a thi ng. I love her. I w i ll not lose her to you w i thout a fi ght.”
  49. 49. “Stuart, I’ m not bli nd. I know . I just have to talk to her and then I’ m leavi ng. You w on’ t regret i t, I promi se.” Stuart studi ed hi m for a long moment, and fi nally nodded. “All ri ght.” “Thank you,” Li am sai d, reli eved.
  50. 50. Stuart merely w alked past hi m to the back door. “I w i ll be on the back porch,” he sai d. “I trust you w i ll let me know w hen you are fi ni shed speaki ng.”
  51. 51. “Hey, Elle.” “Hi , Li am.”
  52. 52. They sat i n si lence for a moment, and then Li am turned to Elle w i th a resolute expressi on on hi s face. “Before you say anythi ng, I w ant to tell you w hy I almost asked you to send me home yesterday.” “Li am--” “Just li sten. You’ ve already chosen Stuart and I know that and fully support that deci si on.” “You don’ t know --” “Elle, a person w ould have to be a complete i di ot, not to menti on bli nd, not to know that. I fi gured i t out the other ni ght and almost asked you to send me aw ay because I di dn’ t see the poi nt i n stayi ng i f I di dn’ t have a chance.” “So w hy di dn’ t you go through w i th i t?”
  53. 53. “I di dn’ t w ant to leave. I di dn’ t w ant to go back to The Hellmouth. I also meant i t w hen I sai d that you’ re the best fri end I’ ve had i n probably my enti re li fe. Why w ould I w ant to go somew here else w hen I’ ve got such a good si tuati on here?” “You could have just sai d that,” Elle chi ded. He smi led fai ntly. “I guess the w ay I w ent about i t w asn’ t very fai r or consi derate.” “You really scared me. I w as afrai d you di dn’ t w ant to be here anymore or that I’ d done somethi ng to make you w ant to leave.” “No, that w asn’ t i t at all. I sw ear.” “Okay, you’ re forgi ven, then.” “’ preci ate i t.”
  54. 54. “So w hat w i ll you do now ?” “I’ ll probably fi nd a job somew here. Save some money, maybe travel a li ttle. I’ m sti ll hopi ng to meet someone speci al someday.” “I’ m sure you w i ll.” “Well, I’ m not holdi ng my breath, but you never know . Maybe after I w ork off some of thi s latent anger.” “I thi nk you’ ll manage i t. You’ d better keep i n touch.” “I w i ll i f you i nvi te me to your w eddi ng.” “It’ s a deal.”
  55. 55. They embraced, and Li am ki ssed her qui ckly before pulli ng aw ay. “I’ ll see you.” “Yeah. Take care.” “You too.”
  56. 56. Stuart meandered out to the porch half an hour later and found her alone. “Has he gone, then?” “Yeah, he left a w hi le ago.”
  57. 57. “He w as supposed to tell me w hen you tw o w ere fi ni shed speaki ng.” A qui et laugh escaped hi s li ps. “Though I suppose I do not blame hi m for forgetti ng, under the ci rcumstances.” Elle smi led a li ttle. “Sorry to keep you w ai ti ng.” “I managed. How ever, I am thankful I do not have to w ai t any longer.” He hesi tated, then asked, “Wi ll you mi ss hi m?” “Sure I w i ll. He’ s my fri end and I love hi m.” “I see.”
  58. 58. Elle shook the last bi ts of melancholy off and turned to Stuart w i th a smi le. “Not the same w ay I love you, though.” He caught hi s breath. “Really?” “Really.” She scooted closer and sli pped hi s arm around her shoulders. “I love you, Stuart Legacy. You’ re the one I w ant.”
  59. 59. Heari ng thi s thri lled Stuart so much that he ki ssed her w i thout stoppi ng to thi nk about propri ety or any soci etal rules he mi ght break by doi ng so.
  60. 60. “I love you, too,” he sai d fervently. “Nothi ng w ould make me happi er than to be able to court you properly now that thi s i s all over.” “I w holeheartedly agree w i th that statement.”
  61. 61. At thi s, a cheer w ent up from the house next door so loud i t could be heard all the w ay i n Si erra Plai ns. “She di d i t!” “He w on!” “HOORAY!”
  62. 62. Elated, Mari na raced for the phone. “Di ! She chose Stuart. How soon can you get here?” ***
  63. 63. Hey Don’ t w ri te yourself off yet It’ s only i n your head you feel left out Or looked dow n on
  64. 64. Just try your best Try everythi ng you can And don’ t you w orry w hat they tell themselves When you’ re aw ay
  65. 65. It just takes some ti me Li ttle gi rl you’ re i n the mi ddle of the ri de Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be just fi ne Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be all ri ght, all ri ght
  66. 66. Hey You know they’ re all the same You know you’ re doi ng better on your ow n So don’ t buy i n
  67. 67. Li ve ri ght now Yeah just be yourself It doesn’ t matter i f i t’ s good enough For someone else
  68. 68. It just takes some ti me Li ttle gi rl you’ re i n the mi ddle of the ri de Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be just fi ne Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be all ri ght, all ri ght
  69. 69. It just takes some ti me Li ttle gi rl you’ re i n the mi ddle of the ri de Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be just fi ne Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be all ri ght, all ri ght
  70. 70. Hey Don’ t w ri te yourself off yet It’ s only i n your head you feel left out Or looked dow n on
  71. 71. Just do your best Do everythi ng you can And don’ t you w orry w hat thei r bi tter hearts Are gonna say
  72. 72. It just takes some ti me Li ttle gi rl you’ re i n the mi ddle of the ri de Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be just fi ne Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be all ri ght, all ri ght
  73. 73. It just takes some ti me Li ttle gi rl you’ re i n the mi ddle of the ri de Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be just fi ne Everythi ng, everythi ng w i ll be all ri ght, all ri ght ***
  74. 74. “Oof, that w as some party.” “I agree, w ow . Next ti me, maybe not so much champagne.” “Spencer w asn’ t complai ni ng.” “Spencer i s posi ti vely i ncorri gi ble.” “I w ouldn’ t w ant hi m to be any other w ay. So w hat do you thi nk?” “Well, obvi ously I’ m glad Stuart w on just on pri nci ple. He’ s my boy and I’ m fond of hi m. But they look happy, and that makes me even happi er. He deserves that. They both do.” “I couldn’ t agree more.”
  75. 75. Once she had caught her breath, Di turned to Mari na, expressi on seri ous. “So how , exactly, i s thi s goi ng to w ork?” “Well,” the redheaded Author sai d slow ly, “I’ ll be addi ng Stuart to my Apocalypse nei ghborhood, obvi ously. That’ s as much as I can do, though. I can’ t cheat thei r relati onshi p up to w hat i t i s here because that’ s i llegal, and doubly so because Elle i s the hei r.” “Wi ll they even remember thi s?” “No. None of them w i ll. Stuart and Elli e w i ll have to start from the begi nni ng, and Azula and Dom have to go back and w ork through thei r i ssues.” “I hate to see them go through all of thi s agai n.”
  76. 76. “I can’ t do i t any other w ay, Di . They’ ve both met Rhys and Ursula. Rhys made several i ncri mi nati ng remarks about me bei ng the Creator i n front of Azula and Domi ni c. Azula hasn’ t confronted me about i t yet because she’ s been concentrati ng on Elle, but she w i ll. It’ s better that they don’ t know .” She bi t her li p. “Especi ally Dom. He’ d never forgi ve me.” “I w ouldn’ t bet on that i f I w ere you.” “I told Rhys I w ould stay out of i t and let hi s fami ly take care of themselves, and I i ntend to keep that promi se. They don’ t need to know .”
  77. 77. “So no promi ses w here Elle and Stuart are concerned.” “I’ ll make sure they’ re i ntroduced. After that, i t’ s up to them.” Di chew ed her li p. “I’ m not sure I li ke the odds of that.” “Come on, you know w hat Stuart’ s li ke even better than I do. If they get half a chance to talk he’ ll draw her out of her shell li ke that.” Mari na snapped her fi ngers to i llustrate her poi nt. “And Elle, as she w as before thi s all started, w ould defi ni tely feel safe around someone she know s i s goi ng to respect her. Remember w hat happened on the very fi rst day?” “You’ re ri ght. If they can get thi s far once, they can do i t agai n.” “Exactly. Besi des…”
  78. 78. “…I have a gut feeli ng that everythi ng w i ll w ork out all ri ght i n the end. ” *** Aaaaaaand that’ s a w rap! Thank you all very much for readi ng! Fi nal Scores Stuart - 100/80 = 180 (best fri ends, mutual love) Li am - 100/74 = 174 (best fri ends, Elle i n love) -->
  79. 79. The Celebrati on Shot That Was Almost Perfect. Ursula: *scrubs si nks WITH HER MIND* *** Thank you very very much to Lark, Gi n, Katy, Lea, Cai t, Rose, and Di for lendi ng me thei r boys for Elle. I had fun w i th all of them and i t’ s really too bad they all couldn’ t w i n. (Havi ng sai d that, I am very pleased w i th Stuart as the w i nner and hope that everyone else i s too.) Thank you also for answ eri ng my many questi ons and helpi ng me to w ri te them to the best of my abi li ty. I hope I’ ve done a good job. I w i ll see you soon w i th a Behi nd The Scenes post at my Li veJournal, and hopefully soon after that w i th Epi sode 18. Unti l then, Happy Si mmi ng! ^_^ ~Mari na