Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Consolation Prize—Chapter 26


As it turns out, Scottie did find herself a dress…or something like it.

After having the most intimate sex of either of their lives—mind blowingly familiar yet ripe with discovery and admiration, where they took their time savoring each other with a kind of awed reverence—they finally dragged themselves out of bed, stumbling, stupefied, and glowing.

They took a long hot shower together where they gave into a little nonsense, but not too much to knock them off the track of finding themselves something to eat because they were nothing short of famished after all of the activity. Will had to hand it to the people who invented Viagra. He owed them a thank you note at the very least.

An hour later they ended up in the back corner of a little café halfway between their two apartments, barely able to stop smiling at each other. Scottie’s face ached but she just couldn’t adjust her mouth, even as she sipped her coffee and dug into a cream cheese bagel, her eyes were immovable—trained on him.

Will felt so light he thought he might just float away. Every hour he’d spent without her felt utterly forgettable and wasted, and he was trying not to beat himself up too badly for his delayed seeing of the light. He had to remind himself that if he had come to her earlier it might have been too soon—he could have lost her or never gotten her back at all. She was his future and she was right there, with a big fucking smile on her face to match his. They held hands across the sticky table and barely talked—they had their whole lives to talk. They just wanted to bask in each other’s company in quiet ease.

After breakfast, with a slight agenda, they wandered over to a vintage shop under a brownstone where Scottie had been successful in the past.

“I don’t know if they will have anything nice enough to get married in,” she’d giggled as they spotted the sign.

“You could wear a burlap sack, and I’d still marry you, Scott,” Will joked, except he wasn’t joking. She could literally show up in a dirty burlap sack and he’d pull her onto his lap and make her his wife. Scottie gave him a sideways glance and sharp smile, pressing forward down the street. Will followed as close as he could, but the sidewalk was anything but smooth and even. It rose and fell with peaks and valleys to make room for the trees, and their roots, that lined the block. He couldn’t deny the foliage paired with the lines of brownstones made it feel like a neighborhood you never wanted to leave, but he was frustrated with his inability to enjoy it. Even in his new chair, shit like this needled at him.

Scottie was aware that sidewalk wasn’t ideal, having difficulty over some spots with her two working legs, but Will hadn’t spoke up, so neither did she. Will’s relationship with asking for help or special accommodations was interesting and confusing, and Scottie knew would be a challenge in their relationship. But no challenge was insurmountable. Not for this man. She vowed to communicate. She vowed to listen. She vowed to give it everything she had. This was her shot at being really, actually happy with a true partner, not just a good fuck or an available checkbook.

Keeping this in mind, she turned to him as they came up to the threshold.

“It’s really small in there,” she offered shrugging, “and it’s all women’s clothes.”

“I’ll wait out here for you,” Will replied with a smile, appreciating her consideration but casual tone. Scottie leaned down to kiss him on the cheek and turned on her heel, stepping up into the shop.

With Scottie out of the way, Will made unintentional eye contact with the sales person. She gave Will a pained expression and Will waved it off, making the conscious decision not to get frustrated. This was just going to be their reality as a couple because it was his reality. And she knew that, and she wanted him anyway. No, not despite, not anyway. She just wanted him.

It was perfectly warm, especially in the sun, and Will leaned back and closed his eyes. Exhaling he let himself feel the weight of the last twenty-four hours. He wound through first seeing her holding Lise’s hand. Then he revisited their first kiss. Then pulling her on top of him in his living room. There was a contented cushion around him, as soft as cotton. He heard Scottie talking to the sales woman, but he couldn’t make out what they were talking about. It was all fuzzing away in a happy haze.

Just as his mind started to settle, after peeling apart the events of the previous and current day, he realized, quite abruptly, that he’d completely forgotten his car in the hospital parking lot. In all the excitement of the baby, seeing Scottie, and rediscovering her in that waiting room it had completely slipped his mind. He couldn’t help but laugh at his fuck up.

“What’s so funny out here?” Scottie asked, coming out of the shop, her voice flirty and light, like a dollop of whipped cream.

“Well,” Will chuckled, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms across his chest. “Seems I’ve left my car at the hospital.

“I had no idea you drove,” she gasped.

“Apparently, last night, neither did I,” he quipped shaking his head.

“More important things on your mind?” she asked, cocking her head in a way that made Will’s cheeks flush. The sun filtered through her wild hair and gave her a kind of radiant shimmering quality. She took his breath away—so much so that he couldn’t say a word as she sat down on his lap, draping her legs over his left wheel and dropping her bag on the ground next to his chair, and wrapped her arms around his neck. She didn’t kiss him, but she wanted to, hesitating and hovering, savoring the desire between them. Will smirked sideways and ran his hands up her taut back.

“You could definitely say that,” he whispered, leaning into kiss her delicately. She lingered there for a moment.

“Let’s do it,” she murmured.

“Do what?” Will replied dumbly.

“Get married, silly,” she laughed then pulled back and slipped off of him. He felt her absence acutely and reached quickly for her hand as she picked up the shopping bag on the ground with exaggerated veneration. Winking, an impish grin spread across her face. “I found a dress.”

<> 

The plan was only a few simple steps:
1.      Get a witness.
2.      Get changed into something worthy of getting married in, separately, because they didn’t live together quite yet, but had already started talking about fixing that particular situation.
3.      For Scottie only—do something—anything—with her hair.
4.      Meet a half hour later on the corner two blocks from Scottie’s apartment and one block from Will’s.
5.      Go to the City’s Clerk’s Office in lower Manhattan.
6.      Get married.
7.      Go to New York Presbyterian to pick up Will’s car.
8.      Drive back to Will’s and pick up a bottle of expensive champagne and a load of pasta from Frankie’s 457 on the way.
9.      Have plenty of sex now that they were no longer living in sin.
10.   Fall asleep in each other’s arms.
11.   Wake up and have plenty more sex.
12.   Go see Pete and Lise’s little baby boy.
13.   Spend the rest of their lives together.

Okay, Scottie thought wildly, smiling like a maniac to herself as her elevator doors opened onto her floor.

Just thirteen easy steps. Now, for step one.

The phone was ringing as Scottie thrust her key into her lock. Her hands were shaking with anticipation as she turned the knob. She was buzzing so hard that she skipped turning on the lights, her stomach insisting on doing little flips over and over again. She felt like she’d just done a few lines of cocaine, but was happy that she could feel this way without the help of an outside substance. Indeed, she’d come a long way. For a flickering moment she thought of her mom and of Sara, both of them prisoners to exactly those outside substances. She forced herself not to be sad that they didn’t even know she was getting married. They didn’t know Will. Perhaps Scottie would introduce them some day, but she doubted that they’d ever understand. She could just hear Sara’s distain and sharp tongue, “You’re dating a crippled guy? Why the fuck?” Scottie cringed at the imagined scenario, wondering what her mom would say in that slurred jibberish that she only understood half the time.

Instead of descending down that rabbit hole, she shuffled to her bedroom and placed the bag from the vintage store down, delicately pulling out her silky find and laying it out with amazement on top of the duvet. That’s when he picked up.

“Darling,” Max quipped. There was some shuffling in the background and he sounded like he was in the middle of something.

“What are you doing right now?” Scottie asked quickly, attempting and failing miserably at hiding the firecracker of excitement in her voice.

“What am I doing right now?” he bantered, voice rising at the end in wonder. “What are YOU doing right now?” Scottie laughed richly and scoffed at him.

“I’m serious, Max,” she argued.

“So am I,” he countered.

“Can you meet me at the City Clerk’s Office in an hour?” her voice was light but the meaning between the words was weighty and pointed. She heard Max inhaled sharply and curse under his breath.

“You’re not?” he asked quietly, seriously, in awe. It was always what Scottie said she’d do—even well before she met Will. She had grown up with a broken family and found a small group of close friends. Now her group of friends was even smaller because she’d so deftly proven she couldn’t handle the kind of selflessness it required to be a good one. But she was changing. She was learning. She was growing. The girl who came to New York last year was gone—swept away with the wind, infidelity, and the realization that she was able to love on a level she never thought possible. If she could do it all over again you bet your ass she would have done it differently. But that wasn’t an option, so, she’d move forward, one baby step at a time.

But Scottie always said she’d just go down to city hall one day and get married if she ever found the right man—and as fate would have it, she found him. Never in a million years would she have thought it possible. But there he was.

Scottie’s silence answered Max’s question and she could feel him smiling over the line.

“He came back to you?” he asked tenderly.

Looking down at the beautiful vintage white silk suit in her size that Scottie had stumbled across in that shop—by some fucking miracle of God—she could feel Will’s rough hand in hers, rubbing her back, pulling at her waist, brushing her hair behind her ears and she trembled, a shiver running through her. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath.

“We came back to each other.”

<> 

Will slid his dark navy suit pants over his legs, which were hanging off the side of the unmade bed. Rocking his hips back and forth he inhaled the smell of Scottie. It still lingered deliciously, and it was almost unbearable that she wasn’t there with him. She had run home to her apartment quickly before they went to the City Clerk’s Office to make everything official. He almost couldn’t believe they were doing it. He thought of how disappointed his parents would be not to be there, but he knew they would find the opportune moment to tell them. And in time they’d understand. Scottie and Will would make it right by throwing a big party at the house. Scottie had already suggested it and Will had never heard anything so perfect.

The marriage felt like theirs and theirs alone—where the celebration felt like it belonged to everyone.

It was theirs alone, except for the witness, which, because of the law, was a necessary accouterment. Will had wanted to call Pete, but thought better of it. He was still at the hospital with Lise. The baby had had some complications, and as Pete had told Will reassuringly that morning, it was really nothing to worry about—they just weren’t quite ready for visitors. And Will understood that completely. Pete promised they could come tomorrow with the rest of the family. Just like their marriage belonged to them, Pete and Lise’s precious first hours with their child belonged to them. Will would have plenty of time to be the kid’s favorite uncle.

Pulling himself up into a sitting position he threaded the saddle colored belt through the loops and maneuvered himself deftly back into his chair before tucking in his crisp white button down. Pulling his feet up one at a time he pulled on dark dress socks and slid his uncooperative feet into brand new dress shoes that matched his belt. He’d only worn them once—not that his shoes ever took much wear and tear—but they felt perfect for the occasion. He knew that like him, Scottie would probably marry a burlap sack on wheels, but he didn’t want to push his luck. He wanted to look good for her. He wanted to look and be good for her every day of his life. He’d never felt this kind of driving force before, and the momentum that was swirling around him was incredible.

He adjusted the pant legs as he lifted his feet onto the footplate, pulling the fabric down so it covered his ankles. The problem with sitting all the time—among other things—was that it made pants fit incredibly weirdly. He’d had this suit custom made a few years after he’d moved to New York for a design awards dinner where he had been honored for his work on an advertising campaign. He’d only been 28 and it had been an incredible honor. It stood out in his memory as a shining beacon—a time he reached back for when he was feeling down. He hadn’t felt that good in a long time, and it all started with a suit that actually fucking fit him. Never ever under estimate pants that cover your ankles and a suit jacket that doesn’t get bunched up at the backrest of your chair, he thought, laughing to himself as he grabbed the light blue tie his dad had given him on his college graduation—another totem of a shining moment with the power to lift spirits and dilute the oily lake of depression that he’d spent far too much time drowning in. This was a new beginning.

And as he shrugged his perfectly tailored suit jacket over his broad shoulders and ran his hands through his unruly hair, he was struck with the odd but poignant insight that he would give up his legs over and fucking over again to have had the opportunity to simply have met Scottie. The unbelievable fact that he was about to marry her made him one lucky bastard.

<> 

The wedding, on paper, was nothing special.

They were the fourth couple to wed in a pool of twelve couples. There were no rings—not just yet, anyway. There was one witness who, at one point, sobbed so loudly, the judge had to ask him to kindly be quiet. The chastened witness nodded and though he struggled, he did manage to keep it together for the remainder of the very succinct “ceremony.” The bride wore a low-cut white silk suit blazer over white silk pants that flared at the bottom over a pair of pointed black and white mules. It fit her like a glove, gliding along her curves like it had been made for her. She held a small bouquet of white hydrangeas and her hair, though it had been pulled back into a wild ponytail with a black ribbon when she entered the room, was now down and untamed, at the insistence of the groom. The groom, who was sitting in a wheelchair that didn’t seem transient, was also wearing an impeccable suit, though his was blue. And with his light blue tie, his eyes looked like precious jewels from across the room. The bride had requested a chair, so she could be eye level with the man she was marrying, and the judge granted her request, left for a moment, and returned, quite apologetically, with a brown metal folding chair which she simply shook off and took happily with effusive gratitude as if she’d been handed a gold brick.

They held hands the entire time, their eyes never wavering from each other. When they were pronounced man and wife, the bride muttered an expletive and shook her head before the groom pulled her toward him. She abandoned the folding chair and climbed right onto the grooms lap. A woman, also there to be married, gasped from the back of the room, but the now married couple either didn’t notice or didn’t care. Their witness whooped and hollered, much to the judge’s consternation, as the groom untangled himself from his bride and wheeled them both—her on his lap with arms wrapped around his neck—out of the room. The judge smiled to himself, despite the unruly witness and unexpectedly intimate kiss and shook his head with quiet laughter. Sometimes—he thought astutely to himself—“on paper” simply didn’t—couldn’t—do a moment justice. Then, with a William Nash and a Thea Scott still lingering on his mind, he bowed his head to call the next couple to be married.

<>

New York Presbyterian wasn’t far from the City Clerk’s Office, and they weren’t in any rush. Max pulled the newly wed coupled off the hot sidewalk and into a mostly empty bar. It was a Thursday afternoon, after all. He stood proud and tall, and announced gratingly to the few stragglers scattered about, that “these crazy kids just fucking up and got married.” A few people clapped, and the old bar tender was generous enough to offer them two shots of well tequila, which they took after Max insisted, arguing that “you only get married for the first time, once.” Scottie chuckled, noting begrudgingly, that he wasn’t wrong.

Max bought the three of them a glass of champagne and they clustered together around a small table in the window and drank. Happiness was even more intoxicating than the cheap shot and the glass of bubbly because Scottie felt truly drunk, her cheeks flushed pink and her head light. Will kept his hand on her thigh under the table and squeezed every few minutes.

“I’ll tell you, you guys are the real fucking deal,” Max spouted, downing the last sip. Will smirked and cocked his head, looking sideways at Scottie.

 “We sure are,” he answered, talking to Scottie, not Max.

“You promise there will be a proper celebration?” Max pressed, standing and shrugging on his jean jacket. He hadn’t had time to change into a suit before they met at the City Clerk’s. Scottie had pulled him out of work in the middle of the day. Max had used the excuse of a family emergency to bolt at a moment’s notice. But he didn’t think of it as a lie. Scottie was his family, and missing her wedding was a fucking emergency if he’d ever heard one. Kissing them each on the cheek and pulling Scottie into a tight hug he finally felt like she’d found her place. He didn’t have to worry about her anymore—though, inevitably, he always would. But now Will had her and, in his hands,, she would be safe and loved, and it was all he’d ever wanted for her.

<> 


Will had just pulled his car door open when he heard his name in an incredulous, snappy, and incredibly familiar voice.

"Will?” it came, echoing through the parking garage, Scottie was already situated in the passenger seat, but the sound of Will’s name made her lean forward to the dashboard to try and get a glimpse.

“Olivia.” Will said flatly, pivoting his chair to face his sister. She was wearing jeans, sneakers and an oversized t-shit. Scottie climbed out of the car and walked around the back. Upon seeing her in all white, and considering Will in a suit—added up with the bouquet of flowers still clutched in Scottie's hand. 

“Fuck no,” she said quietly, shaking her head. “Fuck, no!” Her voice was rising now, but not in alarm. It was in surprise, wonder, excitement. She couldn’t control herself. “Did you two just…” Scottie bit her lower lip. They were caught in a fucking parking lot. She looked sideways at Will who caught her eye and shrugged.

“We did,” he answered after a second, his tone matter of fact. He wouldn’t apologize. It happened so quickly, Scottie barely processed the blurr that was Olivia rushing at Will. She knocked into him with such force he had to grab his pushrims to keep from slamming into the car. Olivia was shouting and cheering and smiling as she hugged him over and over again.

“You little sneak,” she said finally, pulling herself together and standing up. “Mom and dad are going to lose their shit.” She walked over and grabbed Scottie as well, pulling her into a tight hug, dark hair swinging. 

"What are you guys even doing here?” Will asked, ignoring her comment about their parents.

“Seeing our new nephew, uh, duh,” she answered cavalierly.

“Right but, Pete asked us to come tomorrow instead,” Will replied, crossing his arms.

“You think Mom would listen to that?” she asked flatly. She was still living at home, trying to save as much as possible before moving to Boston. “She woke me up in a panic, wanting to drive down in the middle of the night last night. I had to calm her down enough to at least make her wait until morning.”

“Fuck,” Will muttered.

“They’re already inside. Wynn is there too. Not sure how you guys are going to get out of this one,” Olivia mocked, cocking her head with a smirk. Just as Will went to argue, his phone started ringing. It was Pete. Will picked up.

“Hey,” he said.

“Cat’s out of the bag. Everyone is here. You and Scottie better head over, too. Sorry I told you tomorrow.”

“How’s the baby?” Will asked, trying to keep his voice light.

“Jack is doing great now, so is Lise.”

“Jack?” Will asked, voice cracking slightly at hearing his nephew’s name for the first time.

“John “Jack” Scott Nash,” Pete replied, “John for dad, Scott for, well, you know…” his voice trailed off and Will felt tears welling up in the back of his eyes. His throat felt tight as he tried to hold them back.

“For Scottie,” he whispered. Scottie, who had been talking animatedly with Olivia, stopped suddenly and turned to Will with a curious look.

“She’s family,” Pete insisted, unaware of just how incredibly right he was.

“You have no idea,” Will snapped, smiling up at her. She smirked back and squeezed his shoulder.

“Yeah well, Lise insisted we name him after one of you since you were there for her. And I couldn’t let her name him after you. It would go right to your head,” he mocked, trying to contain his laughter. Will burst out into his own laughter, smiling so hard he felt like his face might burst with the strain of it all. He was laughing at Pete, but he was also laughing with relief that little baby Jack was okay, that Lise was okay, that Scottie was back in his life and had become his wife—his goddamn wife—only a few hours ago. He was laughing because he was so fucking happy he couldn’t believe it.

“Come on, get in here. We’re in the maternity ward, but on the other side of the waiting room,” Pete pressed through Will’s dwindling chuckles. He was fighting to get his breath back.

“We’re actually in the parking lot, so we’ll be right there,” Will assured him, hanging up and slipping the phone into the inside pocket of his jacket. He wheeled himself backward to make enough room to close the driver side door. He slammed it and began pushing himself toward the hospital entrance.   

“Well,” Will contended, turning to look at Olivia and Scottie. “Let’s break the news so we can go meet baby Jack.”

“Baby Jack?” Scottie asked, smiling, “I love it.”

“Baby Jack Scott Nash,” Will continued, watching her face change. He couldn’t tell if she was about to laugh, or cry, or both.

“Scott?” she questioned, raising an eyebrow.

“Scott,” Will answered, drawing his words out slowly and carefully, “after his aunt.” She took a shocked deep breath and exhaled, wrapping her arms around herself and looking up at the overhang. A siren wailed, lonely in the distance.

When she glanced back down at Will, her prefect husband with his perfectly situated feet and his perfectly mussed hair sitting in front of her in his perfect suit, she was overcome with an explosion of passion. And, doing just as Will had suspected, started to cry and laugh at the same time.

“You two,” Olivia mocked and laughed, stepping to walk in front of them through the automatic doors. “Let’s go see our family and tell them you eloped.” Will shook his head but his eyes never left Scottie’s. He held her gaze and cocked his head, concern etching itself through his features.

“Our family’s inside, Thea,” he pressed tenderly, giving his wheels one fluid push toward her. He slid to a stop just as their legs brushed. Scottie remembered sitting across from him on the porch at Nora and Cory’s wedding, the way his skin had felt under her fingers. It was as if she’d known even then. 

Tears rolled down her cheeks as a glittering smile spread across her flawless and beautiful face. Will reached his hand out to hers. She took it without hesitation, squeezing hard for a second before letting go to wipe her face.

"Hi," Will whispered, looking up at her sweetly, his eyes as blue as they'd ever been.  

"Hi," she whispered back, shivering slightly as he ran his hand down her side then took her hand back in his and kissed the back. She blushed, cheeks going rosy and hot. "Thanks." Her voice was almost unintelligible, but Will heard her. 

"Always," he replied. 

“Let’s go see our family, Mr. Nash,” she murmured, a knowing smirk replacing the sincere smile that had just held its place. Will committed her standing in the parking garage, tear streaked and exhausted with happiness, in her wedding “dress,” to memory. He would be revisiting this one every day for the rest of his life.  She was his rainbow, breaking through the clouds.

22 comments:

  1. You have 2 weeks to start working on a new one.

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    1. Ha!! I’ll definitely get started on something new soon, but two weeks might be cutting it a little close. I promise I’ll be back posting in the new year though :) thanks for sticking with me through this thing.

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  2. I love happy endings and this was perfect. I'm really going to miss Will & Scottie. You are very talented writer Anne. I loved your vivid settings & descriptive emotions throughout the story.

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    1. Oh man thanks so much for sticking with me through this whole journey. And I love that you loved the ending. I definitely wanted to do justice to will and Scottie and do right by all my readers.

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  3. Wow. Amazing story, you're giving Annabelle a run for her money. I've loved every chapter of this. You're a great writer.

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    1. Oh man, I love Annabelle and have read and bought everything of hers. But, to me this story was the next level of devviness and emotional writing. This story got inside my own thoughts and feelings and put them into words, it was crazy. Annabelle is a great writer but sometimes she stops just at the brink and I wish she'd push just a tiny bit further. Annie Grace gives me so many feels!! It's like "This is Us" paradevo edition!

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    2. Beth, first of all, thank you so much for your comment and for sticking with me!! I’ve been a huge fan of this blog and of annabelle’s for a long long time. I love her stuff so much. I think we just have very different styles of writing and we evoke different things from our readers. She’s such a powerhouse, so to be compared to her at all is amazing—so thank you. I tend to get super emotional, so I’m so so so happy that you both loved it. It’s what I respond to most so it’s the kind of work I want to put out in the world.

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  4. Wow. Such a perfect ending to this beautiful story. This has really been an important part of my life over the past 26 chapters, looking forward to the next chapter and staying up late Wednesday nights until it was published... Many sleepy Thursday mornings thinking about Will and Scottie. Thanks so much for giving us so much of yourself!! Your talent your devviness your time and hard work, for staying with the story to the end . This is a community. I'm so comfortable here .
    Thank you.
    I'm so excited for next week's epilogue to see happy Will and Scottie in the future!

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    1. Ps. - Aliese

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    2. Aliese—this comment. Wow. I just don’t even know what to say. I’m so humbled by your words. Thank you for being here all this time. It definitely is a community and I’m so happy I found it and that you’re part of it, too. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the epilogue.

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  5. Thanks so much for your long and so rewarding and fascinating story!!! Please relax and take your time, I can only imagine how much effort and time you put in this wonderful story, but it was so worth it, take my word. I hope that you will publish again soon, but not in 2 weeks, dont't worry... Have a nice christmas time and take care!

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    1. Thank you thank you thank you. I so appreciate your comment. Makes me feel so good and feel like all that I put into this piece worth it. I’m so happy you stuck with me. I’ll be back soon, don’t worry, but definitely not in 2 weeks :) have a great holiday, too. Xo

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  6. Absolutely wonderful ending. I'm looking forward to the epilogue - ridiculously much. As much as I adored the 'now and present', I would love to read the future couple, their love growing and evolving. . And thank you for posting regularly.

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    1. Thank you so much for sticking with me through this epic story. Excited to post the epilogue, too. I’m happy they’re happy. These characters have gotten under my skin too.

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  7. This one left me smiling ear to ear.

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    1. Ah Pepper. You’ve been such a good reader. I really appreciate you keeping up with me and commenting every week.

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  8. Nooo! Not the end!!! More!!!
    Tc

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  9. What a befitting ending! Is it Thursday yet?? :) Can't wait for the epilogue and thank you for bringing us Will and Scottie.

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  10. I haven't always commented but I've read faithfully every week. Your amazing story, real characters, and descriptive settings, made it feel like we were eavesdropping on real people instead of reading a blog. I'm sad to see it end but anxiously await your next story.

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  11. Annie Grace, I got so caught up in my emotions that I forgot to comment. I can't thank you enough for bringing us these amazing people to love. This story has gotten me through some tough times these past few months. It has become a big part of my life. I hate to see it end but I understand. Thank you for sticking with it and posting faithfully. I will miss anxiously waiting for Thursdays. Have a good break, get some rest, and I can't wait to read your next story!! <3<3

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