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 The Start on an Interesting Year

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Miss Nile
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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:41 am

Yays for the new chapter. =D I really liked this one as the scene between Shuppin and Caitlin in this chapter was one of my favorites in the game and I loved how you pictured. Well done. ^^

Write more soon. <3

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phoenixgirl
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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:52 pm

Yup, I have the next chapter ready. lol I might be able to get one more posted for this week before work starts to become really hectic but we'll see. Enjoy. ^^

Chapter 21

The next couple of weeks flew by quickly. Everyone, including myself, was pretty busy. Alexia was preoccupied with play rehearsals so I hardly ever got to see her, even on the weekends. However, when I did notice her, I saw that she hung around Rhett a lot and they were becoming even friendlier. Then, during art class, I would notice the fleeting looks that Beck would give when he saw the two of them together. It was obvious that Alexia was avoiding Beck as much as possible and giving all of her attention to Rhett. I didn’t speak to her about it, though, as I had my own things going on.

Finally, I was receiving university acceptance letters from back in the US and I was excited by how many universities accepted me. I felt a little less stressed, as I knew that I still had options even if I didn’t get into a university here. Since the universities here would look at my final exam scores as the main determining factor for acceptance, I studied as hard as I could for them, all the while keeping up with my part-time job at the bakery, tutoring Shuppin, and continuing to be active in music club.

All the while, I was pretty busy, so busy that on the following Monday, I arrived at school early and was walking down one of the hallways when Shuppin called out to me,

“Ah, Caitlin, there you are. You’re not busy, are you?”

Shuppin looked at me tentatively, as though he might have interrupted something. Quickly shaking my head and snapping out of my thoughts, I replied, “Not at all. Did you want something?”

Shuppin blushed a bit and giving me a small beautifully wrapped gift, he said, “Ah, I just wanted to give you this. I’ve been holding on to it for a while. Happy Birthday!”

Feeling surprised, I replied, “Wow, thanks! You really didn’t need to buy me anything but I have to ask. How did you know that today’s my birthday? Gosh, I even forgot.”

Shuppin laughed a little and replied, “Heh, Alexia told me so I wanted to get you something. It’s nothing special. I just figured, y’know, maybe you didn’t already have a pair…”

Wondering what the gift was, I quickly unwrapped it and replied, “Headphones! And they’re so cute. Thanks, Shuppin!”

Shuppin looked happy with my reaction and replied, “Cool, you like them? I’ve heard the sound quality’s supposed to be pretty good, so…yeah. Hopefully, they’re decent. Anyway, I’d better going. Take care, Caitlin.”

After Shuppin left, I took another look at the headphones and had a great idea. Why not wear them on our next date? Shuppin would be sure to notice and I can get lots of use out of them.


The next week, I was at the bakery at my usual time, serving food and drinks to the customers and such. When it got quiet, I glanced at Demi who was talking to a female customer. It looked like he was offering free food samples to her and the woman looked flattered to be getting such attention. Shuppin saw me and watching Demi and the woman as well, he muttered,

“I never did understand how he manages to have women eating out of his hands like that-you can tell he’s putting it on from a mile off!”

The woman had left and approaching us, Demi said, “Ah, Milani, it is something you could never understand! If God sees fit to give one such charm and beauty as I possess, it is only right to take advantage of these gifts. That woman may not be the first-or even the third-demoiselle I have showered with affection today, but I assure you she will return home all the happier for it!”

Shuppin looked skeptically at Demi and replied, “If you say so. I still think throwing yourself at every skirt that comes in here is kind of sleazy…”

Demi replied, “Ah, but as I said, Milani, you and I are different breeds entirely!”

Looking curiously at Demi, I asked, “What do you mean?”

Demi looked at me and replied, “Let me put it this way, mademoiselle-he and I subscribe to, ah, different ideals of love.”

Shuppin replied, “That doesn’t sound creepy at all.”

I laughed a little to myself although I quickly recovered before Demi could notice my slip. Fortunately, Demi ignored my laugh as well as Shuppin’s sarcastic reply and said,

“I, for example, use my God-given talents to great effect and am well aware of my admirers’ affections. To me, this grace and beauty are not mine alone, but a gift I must share with the beautiful women of the world-to do otherwise would be selfish!”

I looked skeptically at Demi and replied, “I don’t know-isn’t it kind of unfair to the ladies? I mean, they think you only have eyes for them, right?”

Demi replied, “Ah, chou-fleur, you underestimate them-to them, I am only something to be admired from afar; the sweet dessert, one might say, that one eyes longingly through the window of a patisserie before returning to a more substantial meal at home.”

Shuppin replied, “So you’re putting it all out there for the married women to look at, basically.”

Demi smiled and replied, “In more vulgar times. One must think of his business, after all-my demoiselles come for the, ah-how you say-‘sweet talk’ and recommend that their friends do the same; my giving out a free sample every once in a while ensures that they return for more, and the tips are all the larger each time. It is win-win for myself and my customers.”

I nodded and replied, “I guess so…” However, I thought to myself that the way Demi put it, it made the bakery sound like some kind of sleazy night club or something. Then remembering what Demi had said about him and Shuppin subscribing to “different ideals of love,” I asked,

“What ideal of love does Shuppin subscribe to, then?”

Demi replied, “Ah, it is simple enough to tell, no? Milani here is young, naïve-no doubt he is searching for a purer love than I. Or perhaps he has already found it?”

I blushed and I could see that Shuppin was taken aback and replied, “What are you talking about?”

Demi replied, “I must confess, in hiring Milani I had planned to use his popularity with the demoiselles frequenting my bakery to my advantage-he would have been my ‘protégé’ of sorts, if you catch my meaning, using his talents to attract the customers. But alas! He was always a purer boy than I, barely noticing these young girls’ affections, though luckily this did not hurt my business-I feel rather that it is one young madame in particular, one girl in all the world who will capture Milani’s heart. Whether he will find her in this lifetime, I do not know…”

I felt a little relieved, as it seemed that Demi wasn’t hinting that he knew about me and Shuppin. I replied, “How romantic!”

Demi then replied, “But bah, who wants a lifetime for some dream woman who may not even exist? How about you and Milani get together instead, Caitlin?”

I blushed again and although it was clear that Demi didn’t know about Shuppin and me, here he was, directly saying that the two of us would make a good couple. I glanced at Shuppin and could see that he was as much taken aback as I was. Demi then continued,

“Ah, come now, Caitlin! He is easy enough on the eyes, no? You may be aiming below your station, but I assure you, you will find no better man within this fine establishment-myself excepted.”

Nodding, I replied, “I’ll think about it.”

Demi replied, “Make sure you do! That was my good deed for the day. My matchmaking skills astound even me! Now back to work, both of you-I think I spy another of my demoiselles, back for more…”

After Demi left, Shuppin and I looked at each other awkwardly and I said, “Well, um, that was weird.”

Shuppin nodded and replied, “It sure was. Well, um, I’m gonna go make some coffee.”

After Shuppin left to make more coffee, I was left with thoughts while keeping busy. I thought about what Demi said and although it seemed that Shuppin and I were a couple, it wasn’t official yet or anything. We didn’t make our relationship public and around work, we were professional and friendly to each other while doing our best not to show more than that. Then I thought about what Demi said about Shuppin and his “dream girl” and smiling to myself, I thought,

I could very well be this dream girl.


At the end of the week, I was finally done with all of my classes and not only did that mean the weekend to look forward to, I’d have about a month of no school. Well, all of the students would have the break so that they could prepare for final exams. It was quite different from final exam preparation back in the US, as we wouldn’t get any time off to prepare for them, unless one were to count spring break.

Anyway, Alexia and I were chatting and looking forward to having the break and as we were finishing up, I noticed Beck heading our way. Alexia saw him as well but doing her best to ignore him, she looked at me and said loudly,

“I’ll call you over break, Caitlin, but I have to get going now. Rhett’s waiting for me and I can’t be late.”

She then headed out of the school, not even glancing at Beck as she did so. I sighed to myself over the matter but had decided not to intervene, as this was a problem that Alexia would need to deal with herself. I gathered my things and was about to head out as well when Beck approached me and said,

“Hey, Caitlin, you have a minute? It won’t take long.”

I observed that Beck didn’t carry that usual air of confidence around him and I knew that something was up. Figuring that it couldn’t hurt to talk to him, I nodded and Beck led me to the art room where we could chat in private. Beck then looked at me and said,

“Look, I’ll go out and say it. I know that Alexia’s been avoiding me like I have some disease but when I try to talk to her, she runs out.”

I nodded and replied, “You mean like what she did just now.”

Beck nodded and replied, “Yeah. So figuring that you’re her best friend, you might know why and you can tell me so I can fix things with her.”

I looked at him skeptically and replied, “You really have no idea why Alexia’s avoiding you? I haven’t talked to her much lately because she has play rehearsals and everything but even I can figure out that answer quickly.”

Beck looked at me confused and sighing, I said, “Ok, I’ll give you a hint and hopefully, you’ll figure the rest out. When was the last time you actually talked to Alexia?”

Beck replied, “Valentine’s Day, of course. She wanted to drop by the tattoo place and hang out. I did see her but she didn’t stay long.”

I nodded and replied, “And can you guess why?”

Beck replied, “You mean those girls who were talking to me that day? But that’s not my fault and Alexia knows-.”

I put up my right hand to stop him from speaking further and replied, “Alexia knows that you’re a flirt and quite popular with a lot of ladies but she doesn’t want to be one of your ‘ladies.’ She has feelings, you know, and she didn’t want to wait forever for you to come around. And she’s certainly not the possessive type.”

Beck looked deep in thought and after a minute of quiet, he replied, “Is that why she’s been hanging around that redhead?”

I replied, “Oh you mean Rhett? Yeah, I guess although it’s pretty clear that he likes her.”

Beck looked a little annoyed at my reply but keeping his calm, he replied, “Ok, so what do I do to win her back?”

I looked at him skeptically and replied, “I think the answer to that is obvious, don’t you? If I have to spell it out for you, then maybe you don’t deserve her.”

Beck looked a little hurt by my reply and sighing, I said, “Look, I’m sorry. I know that sounded harsh but I was just honest. And I guess I’m looking out for Alexia a bit although on this matter, I’m doing my best to stay out of it as much as possible. Alexia has her life and I have mine to deal with, you know?”

Beck nodded and replied, “Yeah, I get it. Umm, thanks, Caitlin. I really mean it. I’ll think about what you said.”

He gave me a small smile and I returned it. In that moment, it seemed that perhaps Beck was a pretty good guy and perhaps if he changed his ways a bit, he could end up being a good match for Alexia although I didn’t voice my thoughts out loud. Seeing that there was nothing else to say, I waved goodbye and then headed out of the classroom and then outside, where I was looking forward to a month away from school.

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Thank you for making my new set, Love.  ^^
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Miss Nile
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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:44 am

I loved this new chapter as well, especially the part where Beck and Caitlin get to have their talk. I must admit I'm feeling for Alexia's situation. Both guys are pretty hot and all and both like her. XD

Write more soon. ^^

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phoenixgirl
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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:15 am

So it looks like I was able to write one more chapter so I'll post it here now. However, I probably won't be able to post another one for at least a couple of days, if not longer, because of work and all that. Anyway, enjoy. ^^

Chapter 22

The weekend came and flew by quickly, as I’d spent it taking a much deserved break from studying and such. However, when it was the beginning of next week, I knew that meant I needed to crack down and study, especially if I wanted to ace my final exams. Also, I heard that the final exams here would be extremely difficult and I wanted to do my best so that meant I couldn’t goof around.

So with that resolve on Monday morning, I figured that I’d do my chores first and then spend the rest of the day studying. However, my plans suddenly got changed when I heard my phone ring. Seeing that it was Shuppin, I picked it up and said,

“Hey, Shuppin. What’s up?”

Shuppin replied, “Oh, hey, Caitlin, sorry for ringing all of a sudden. Uh, you’re not busy, are you?”

I replied, “Ah, no, not at all. What’s going on?”

Shuppin nervously replied, “I was thinking about that time when we sang in choir and I had this idea…I’m going to the park to, y’know, find inspiration or whatever. Just wondering if you wanted to come along?”

I was surprised but happy at the same to hear Shuppin’s offer and I replied, “Sure, I’d love to! Just let me get my stuff and I’ll meet you there, if you’d like!”

Shuppin replied, “Ah, really? Thanks, Caitlin-I’ll see you later.”

After we both hung up, I quickly got changed into something a little more suitable for a date and since it was a beautiful spring day, I figured that wearing something light would be the order of the day. I took a purse, put my phone and wallet inside, and then left the house, heading to the station to meet Shuppin at the park.

Once I arrived at the park, I saw that Shuppin had just arrived as well and had an acoustic guitar with him. I waved over to him and said,

“That guitar really suits you, Shuppin!”

Shuppin smiled and replied, “Ah, thanks…I think it looks better than it sounds, though.”

I replied, “I see. How about we get started?”

After Shuppin and I sat down on an empty bench, he began to play the guitar to a funky beat and although I was supposed to be singing along, I couldn’t help but listen and watch Shuppin play and marveled at how talented and confident he was in doing so-more so than when he was speaking. However, he suddenly stopped playing and looked over at me, which prompted me to ask,

“Ah, what is it?”

Shuppin replied, “You’re not going to sing?”

Embarrassed that I had forgotten, I quickly replied, “Ah, yeah, sorry about that. I’ll just jump in whenever.”

Then the two of us began performing our duet and after we were done, Shuppin smiled and said,

“That was really great, Caitlin, thanks-we should definitely do it again sometime.”

I nodded and replied, “Sure! I’ve got to see you play again, after all-that really was amazing!”

Shuppin looked a little embarrassed and replied, “Ah…I’ll see you later, Caitlin!”

After he left, I felt a warm smile on my lips and thought that Shuppin and I had a wonderful date-one of our best ones yet. Sure, I didn’t get any studying done but I didn’t consider the day wasted. I continued to enjoy the day, walking around the park and eventually to other areas of downtown, before I realized that the sun was setting and that I needed to get home right away, for I still had chores that needed to be done at least.


The rest of the month passed quickly by. Although I was on break from school, that didn’t mean that I was bored. I spent a lot of it studying but at least once or twice a week, Shuppin and I would go out on a date and just hang out. Occasionally, I’d call Petime or Dys as well to see how they were doing, as I didn’t want to be completely out of contact with everyone. I tried to call Alexia as well but it was difficult to get hold of her, as she would either be studying herself or rehearsing with Rhett. It seemed that Alexia had been spending a lot of time with him over break which made me wonder what Beck was doing. From our talk that time, I had a feeling that Beck would try to win Alexia over but if he was, I hadn’t seen or heard of such efforts yet.

I returned to Northmain the first week of May and after quickly greeting everyone, I took a seat in the huge auditorium to take my final exams. I was nervous but I had studied a lot so I figured it was now or never. Each day, we had an exam and then we were allowed to go home afterwards and in that respect, final exams here weren’t too different from those back in the US.

After finishing my last exam on Friday, I sighed with relief. Although I wouldn’t get my results back until the summer, at least I felt a little better knowing that they were over and that I didn’t have to worry about them anymore. As I was getting my things and getting ready to leave, Alexia hurried over to me and said,

“Hey, you. I see that you’re all done, too. How about we hang out at the Arndale to celebrate? And yes, I’m making up for not hanging out with you over break.”

I smiled and replied, “Sure, that sounds good.”
Alexia and I left the building and took a train over to the Arndale. After we entered the mall, which was busy with lots of shoppers, Alexia and I headed over to the smoothie stand to buy ourselves some drinks. Once we got them, the two of us decided to walk around for a while and Alexia finally said,

“Hey, Caitlin. I’m sorry for not hanging out with you over break like I said I would. Things got so really hectic and I do feel bad.”

I shook my head and replied, “It’s ok. I figured you had a lot going on. Were you busy with both studying and rehearsals?”

Alexia nodded and replied, “Yeah but that wasn’t it.”

I looked confused and Alexia continued, “Umm, I thought I finally got over him but then he just does these things that confuse me and now I don’t know what to think.”

Alexia glanced at me and seeing that I wasn’t exactly understanding what she meant, she said, “It’s Beck. I thought I’d broken it off with him for good and I thought I was pretty clear that I was focusing my attention on Rhett. But over break, Beck started calling me. At first, it was just to talk although he did apologize about Valentine’s Day. I’m not as upset about it anymore as I was. And then he wanted to hang out with me and I didn’t want to be rude so I agreed and he was all nice and romantic. He was still flirty but only to me even when there were other girls around. I can’t help but remember all those old feelings I had for him, as though they suddenly resurfaced. But I’m with Rhett now and I don’t want to hurt him. Oh, what do I do?”

Alexia looked at me with such confusion in her eyes and I replied, “Yeah, you’re in quite a tough situation. I’m not sure I should tell you who you should be with although I guess I would have never found myself in such a situation in the first place.”

Alexia gave me a slightly annoyed look and quickly holding up my left hand, I replied, “Sorry, sorry. Just blurted out the first thought in my head. But I guess it depends on what you’re looking for in a guy. I get the feeling that you have stronger romantic feelings for Beck but when it seemed that he didn’t return them, you turned to Rhett because he started being friendlier towards you. Rhett is more stable if you want that kind of relationship but if you want a passionate one, then Beck’s the better option. It’s just what I think but you should decide on what’s best for yourself, not what anyone else thinks.”

She sighed and replied, “Yeah, that makes sense. I don’t know what to do but I should decide on something soon. The school year’s almost over and then there will be graduation and before you know it, we’ll all be going our separate ways. Hey, have you decided where you might go for university?”

Realizing the change in topic, I decided to go with the flow and the two of us talked about the possible schools we might go to in the fall and I mentioned about all the schools I had gotten accepted to back in the US as well as the ones that I’m hoping will accept me here. I was surprised to hear that Alexia might consider going to Northmain University. It wasn’t a bad school but Alexia was quite smart so I thought that she might try for a higher-tier university. The rest of the afternoon passed by like so before the two of us headed out of the mall and towards our homes, where we then went our separate way.


The next week, it was the last week of school which meant that there would be lots of activities to wrap up the year and that meant as well that it would be my last week working at the bakery. As I headed over to the bakery on Tuesday afternoon, I was amazed at how quickly the year flew by. Once I arrived, I noticed how quiet the bakery was and that Shuppin and Demi were nowhere to be seen. However, before I could say anything, Shuppin suddenly approached me and said,

“Hey, Caitlin. Quick question.”

I looked at Shuppin and replied, “Hey, Shuppin. What’s the problem?”

Shuppin looked confused and asked, “So…bicarbonate of soda and baking powder are the same thing, right?”

Unsure myself, I replied, “Yeah, I think so?”

Shuppin replied, “Well, it’s just that this recipe I found says to use self-rising flour, but I guess we don’t have any, and then I remembered something about adding baking powder to plain flour and it doing pretty much the same thing, but we don’t have any baking powder, either, so I’m kind of stuck.”

I replied, “Oh are you baking a cake or something? Cause you know I’ve never been good at the whole cooking thing.”

Shuppin smiled and replied, “Huh, me, neither, clearly. Actually, uh, you wouldn’t mind helping me out, would you? I mean, I’m sure you’re much better than I am, at least, and there hasn’t been anyone in the shop for a while…”

I nodded and replied, “Yeah, sure! Sounds more interesting than clock-watching out here, anyway!”

I followed Shuppin to the kitchen and once we got there, I could tell that Shuppin had been quite busy. There were bowls and utensils everywhere and things were in a bit of a mess. I commented,

“Looks like you’ve been pretty busy-how long have you been back here?”

Shuppin shrugged and replied, “A couple of hours, I guess. It seemed like a good idea at the time, I don’t know…”

Confused, I asked, “Why are you baking a cake, anyway?”

Shuppin smiled and replied, “Well, uh, I figured since it’s our last day, I’d try making something for Demi…since, y’know, I’ve been working here for a few years now and he’s been pretty good to me, all things considered.”

I replied, “Wow, that’s really nice of you, Shuppin. I feel kind of bad for not getting him anything now…”

Shuppin gave me a reassuring look and replied, “Heh, I wouldn’t worry-I mean, he’s a friend of the family, so if I didn’t do something for him, my dad’d probably kill me. And, uh, I guess I do kind of give him a hard time sometimes…But hey, if you help me out now, it can be from both of us, right?”

I replied a little hesitantly, “Well, I wouldn’t want to take credit for your hard work, but I’d be happy to help out.”

Shuppin replied, “Thanks a lot, Caitlin-you’re a lifesaver. Uh, you couldn’t help me out with this, could you? I’m trying to measure out the bicarbonate of soda, but this cup has only fl. oz, whatever that is, and I need grams, right?”

I thought to myself,

I guess it’s a good thing I’m helping, after all, or else who know what kind of monstrosity Shuppin might make.

After we finished baking the cake, Shuppin and I took it out of the kitchen and back to the front of the shop, placing it on a sturdy counter. While we were admiring it, Shuppin commented,

“I don’t think it turned out too badly. I mean, it looks mostly edible, right?”

I nodded happily and replied, “Sure, it looks delicious! I wasn’t sure putting all those strawberries and marshmallows on top of the icing would work out, but I’d eat it!”

Suddenly, I could hear Demi saying,

“And where ‘ave my little lovebirds been ‘iding all afternoon? Sharing lovers’ secrets, no doubt!”

I raised an eyebrow and thought,

Oh not this again!

Demi approached us and continued by saying, “Ah, to be young again-I too remember zee sweet nothings, ze secret rendezvous! I am tres jealous, Milani, tres jealous indeed!”

Shuppin sighed and replied, “Are you finished?”

Demi laughed and replied, “Ah, my young protégé is embarrassed, I see! But never mind that, what is this glorious gateau you ‘ave here? And to think, all this time I did not know my young chou-fleurs could bake! The things I would ‘ave had you make!”

I replied, “Shuppin did most of the work!”

Shuppin shook his head and replied, “No way-I mean, the only reason it even rose at all is because you were measuring everything-you practically made the whole thing! Anyway, Demi-this is for you. Since, y’know, this is our last day and all…and I guess you haven’t been the worst boss ever.”

I nodded and added, “Yeah, thanks so much for everything, Demi! It’s been really great working here.”

Demi suddenly looked like he was about to cry and said, “You are too much-and ‘ere I promised myself I would not cry! I shall miss you both terribly, of course-I cannot believe my little ‘atchlings are leaving ze nest! Zis must be ‘ow a mother feels!”

Shuppin looked uncomfortable and replied, “Let’s just cut the cake, okay?”

Demi took a whiff of the cake and commented, “It smells absolutely delicieux! Those three hours I spent skulking around the door to the kitchen were not in vain!”

Getting an idea, I said, “Before we start, I should get a picture of you guys and the cake! You know, for posterity. We need proof that we actually cooked something, after all!”

Demi smiled and replied, “An excellent idea as always, ma petite ‘demoiselle! Come now, Milani, don’t be shy! The only thing I shall bite is this delicious cake!”

Shuppin replied, “Please…stop talking.”

I couldn’t help but laugh quietly to myself, seeing how uncomfortable Demi was making Shuppin with his comments. I quickly recovered and then once Demi and Shuppin got into a good camera pose, I took the picture with the digital camera I had in my backpack. When I took a look at the picture soon after, I immediately saw that the cake was absent and commented,

“The cake’s not in it at all! You guys might need to bend down a little…”

Shuppin shook his head and replied, “No, that’s okay. I think one picture’s enough!”

Demi added, “What he means to say, chou-fleur, is that this picture, it is fantastique! Formidable!”

Demi and Shuppin had taken a look at the picture as well to see how they looked and they noticed as well that the cake was nowhere to be seen.

Demi then added, “My eyes are closed! Perhaps we should take another one, after all! What do you say, Caitlin-I am sure we could squeeze you in somewhere, too!”

Although Shuppin didn’t want to be in another picture, I agreed to have my picture taken with Demi and then we had a picture of the cake. After we finished taking pictures, we cut the cake and enjoyed it, spending the rest of the afternoon happily until the sun began to set and we had to close up and leave afterwards.

As you can see, this story is coming to an end. There will definitely be one more chapter or perhaps two. And once I'm done, I'll ask for feedback and all so I can figure out how to write future fanfics and all. ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:36 am

I loved this chapter as well and man, I do feel for Alexia's trouble. I can't wait to see who she chooses in the end. <3

And of course, I can't wait for Caitlin's and Shuppin's romantic ending. Write more soon. ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:54 am

It's been almost a week since I posted the last chapter but I guess that's not a surprise since I had work and such.  Fortunately, my prep work is all done now so I was able to write another chapter.  I thought this one would be the last chapter although because a certain scene got to be pretty long, there will be one more chapter and probably an epilogue.

Anyway, enjoy and I'd love feedback.  ^^

Chapter 23


The next afternoon, it was the final day of music club and it felt sad that soon, there would be no more school.  Sure, I was looking forward to graduation, the Leavers’ Ball, and what would lie ahead but I would miss Northmain and the memories I had here would stay with me forever.
 
As Petime had already left-although I would see her at the Leavers’ Ball-it was just Shuppin and me in the music room.  I watched as Shuppin practiced the violin, not realizing how late it was getting.  After he finished playing, I clapped happily and commented,
 
“Wow, you’re really sounding good there, Shuppin!  I mean, I’m not expert, but I think you’ve really improved!”
 
Shuppin smiled and replied, “Heh, thanks, Caitlin.  I’m just glad this’ll all be over soon, to be honest-there’s not long to go until my Glasgow audition now.  I probably won’t want to look at a violin ever again by the time I’m done with it, but eh, well…”
 
Realizing how late it was, I asked, “Aren’t you going home?  It’s getting pretty late…”
 
Shuppin shook his head and replied, “Nah, I figure it makes more sense to stay here-at least I’ll be able to practice without the neighbors threatening to bring the walls down…Uh, are you off home now, then?”
 
I nodded and replied, “Yeah, I should get changed.  I promised Alexia that I’d go see the play so I should wear something a little more appropriate, and then there’s the Leavers’ Ball on Friday.  I’ve never been to one but I heard it’s kind of like prom back home so I’m looking forward to it.”
 
Shuppin looked a little disappointed and replied, “Yeah…I’d kind of forgotten about it.”
 
Giving him a reassuring smile, I replied, “Well, you do kind of have more important things to worry about…Oh, you don’t need my help or anything before I leave, do you?  I wouldn’t want to run out on you at the last minute!”
 
Shuppin looked a little hesitant and didn’t reply right away but after a few seconds, he said, “You know, I never did get to hear you play the piano.  You’ve heard me play plenty of times, right?  The guitar, the violin…you’ve been really great, but I haven’t really supported you at all, you know, learning the piano from scratch and all…”
 
I shrugged and replied, “It’s just kind of a hobby for me-I mean, I’m nowhere near at your level…”
 
Shuppin replied, “I’m sure you’re great.  Actually, Miss Chahan wouldn’t shut up about your dedication.  It makes me look bad, you know…Anyway, I don’t want to keep you here, you know, since you have stuff to do…but I’d really like to hear you play just once.  And, I mean, this is pretty much the last chance we’re going to have.”
 
I replied, “I guess…You’re really setting yourself up for disappointment, though.  I’ve only been playing for a year…”
 
Shuppin looked like he suddenly got an idea and replied, “What do you say we play together?  I mean, I can’t play the piano, but I could always accompany you on the violin, and then it’s practice for me, too, right?”
 
 I felt a little hesitant to accept Shuppin’s offer and giving me a pleading look, Shuppin added, “Five minutes, please?  It’d really mean a lot.”
 
Smiling, I nodded and replied, “Well, since you asked so nicely…I’d be happy to.”
 
Then I approached the piano and sat down on the bench, positioning my fingers over the piano keys.  Shuppin picked up his violin and then turning to me, he said,
 
“Okay, when you’re ready.”
 
Surprised, I replied, “Oh, I’m starting?  Okay, here goes nothing…”
 
As I began to play the piano, I felt my fingers move with ease and Shuppin commented, “See?  I don’t know what you were so worried about.”
 
Hearing myself play, I had to acknowledge that Shuppin was right.  The music sounded beautiful and it looked like all that practice in music club really helped.  Then Shuppin began to play the violin and the two of us performed an amazing duet and the music room resonated beautifully with the musical tones coming from our instruments.  As I continued to play, I had no doubt that Shuppin would have no trouble getting into Glasgow but then something hit me.  I knew that school would soon be over but that fact made me realize that we would soon be going our separate ways and I had no idea when I would ever see Shuppin again.  The thought-and perhaps the music-overwhelmed me with sadness but I did my best to keep from weeping.  I wondered if Shuppin would ever want to see me again…But then I thought that it would be better just to enjoy the moment.  If anyone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would be playing alongside Shuppin, I would have found that incredible to believe.
 
After our duet ended, I smiled and said,
 
“I actually made it through the whole thing!”
 
Noticing how quiet Shuppin was, I looked at him with worry and asked, “Are you okay, Shuppin?”
 
Shuppin looked nervous but replied, “Uhh, yeah…Caitlin, I…”
 
Suddenly, without any kind of warning, Shuppin approached me and gave me a quick but sweet kiss on the lips.  For a moment, I was unsure of how to react but realizing what was happening, I gave in and returned the kiss, enjoying my first kiss with a guy whom I had grown to know and care for deeply.  Although it only lasted for a few moments, I wouldn’t have protested if the kiss had lasted for eternity.  As we parted, Shuppin then said,
 
“I…just wanted to say thank you.  For everything.”
 
I blushed and nodded, not sure of what to say.  My cheeks felt warm but I’d never felt happier than I did at that moment.  Noticing the blush on my cheeks, Shuppin looked a little apologetic and said,
 
“Heh, sorry-I didn’t mean to just…sneak up on you like that.  Uh, I was pretty nervous.”
 
Nodding, I could completely understand what Shuppin meant.  I had felt nervous as well as we kissed although that feeling was soon overshadowed by excitement and elation.
 
Shuppin looked a little sad all of a sudden and said, “I should let you get going.  You have to get ready, right?”  He sighed and then added,
 
“I’d hoped that I could be at the Leavers’ Ball tomorrow.  I really wanted to see what you’d look like, all dressed up.”
 
Taken by surprise, I replied, “You mean you’re not going?”
 
Shuppin shook his head and replied, “Can’t.  I’m getting the train to Glasgow Friday morning, and my audition’s in the evening, so I won’t be able to make it back in time.”
 
Getting an idea, I replied, “I-I’ll come up to Glasgow, then!  I said I’d be your moral support, didn’t I?  You can’t go all the way up there to audition and miss the Leavers’ Ball, too.”
 
Shuppin smiled a little and replied, “I…don’t think that’ll work out.  D’you know how expensive it is to get tickets on the day?”
 
I shook my head, having no idea how much a ticket to Glasgow would cost. 
 
Shuppin then said, “Thanks, Caitlin.  I…really feel like I can do this, thanks to you.  I can’t really explain it.  I’ll be back from Glasgow soon, and we’ll have all summer to see each other, right?”
 
I pouted a little and replied, “You can’t just kiss-and-run like that, you know.  You’ll give a girl the wrong idea!”
 
Shuppin smiled a little shyly and replied, “Heh, yeah…in hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best idea.  But I enjoyed it.  I’ll…see you later, Caitlin.”
 

I nodded and replied, “Good luck!”  Then I left the music room but gave Shuppin one last glance before doing so.  As I left the school and headed towards my house, all I could think about was Shuppin and that kiss we shared.  My heart beat fast and I knew then that Shuppin truly loved me, as I had gotten to know him and had fallen in love with him as well.  Although a part of me was sad that I wouldn’t get to see him on Friday, I hoped that I would get to see him again and Shuppin did want to see me over the summer so at least I had that piece of hope to hold on.


Later that evening, I was sitting in the school auditorium watching Alexia perform as Juliet in the play.  As I had promised to be there for her, I watched as she played her part, not surprised by how well she was performing.  However, I was surprised to see Rhett on the stage, wondering what happened to the actor who was supposed to be playing alongside Alexia.  Taking a sideways glance, I noticed Beck in the audience as well and he definitely didn’t look pleased as the audience watched Alexia and Rhett on the stage.
                                          
As Alexia and Rhett got to the most romantic part of the play, I watched as the two of them kissed passionately and it felt as though the two truly had feelings for one another.  Again, I observed Beck and he definitely looked like he was about to explode or storm off or something.  Fortunately, it looked like he was able to keep himself in control and after the play was over, everyone in the audience stood up and clapped loudly.  When I had my chance, I walked up to the stage holding a bouquet of fresh lilies in my hands and approaching Alexia as she and the other actors took their bows, I hugged her and said,
 
“Wow, you were fantastic out there!  The best Juliet ever, you know.”
 
Alexia grinned and replied, “Thanks, and the flowers are wonderful.”  She looked off a little behind me and then asked,
 
“Did Shuppin not come with you?”
 
I shook my head sadly and replied, “He’s busy preparing for his Glasgow audition and I didn’t want to distract him from that.”
 
Alexia nodded and gave me a sympathetic smile.  Once the curtain was down, Alexia and I headed to the dressing rooms so that she could get changed but before we could reach them, Rhett approached Alexia and said,
 
“You did a great job out there, Alexia.”
 
Alexia smiled and replied, “Thanks, Rhett.”
 
I noticed Beck had found his way and seeing Alexia, he approached her as well and said, “You were fantastic out there, cutie.”
 
It seemed as though Rhett and Beck were vying for Alexia’s attention and even though Alexia didn’t notice, I could see that those two were shooting evil glares at each other.  Thinking that I’d try to find a way to get Alexia out of a potentially uncomfortable situation, I turned to her and said,
 
“Let’s go out for a celebration.  Get changed and then come over to my place for a late dinner.”
 
Alexia nodded and replied, “Sure.  Just give me a few minutes.”
 
Alexia then went into her dressing room to change out of her costume and into a beautiful black dress.  Once she returned, she looked to Beck and said,
 
“Thanks for coming, Beck.  I appreciate the support.”
 
She then turned to Rhett and added, “And you were great, too, you know.  I would have been disappointed if the play had been canceled just because that one idiot didn’t show up.  I’ll see you both at the Leavers’ Ball?”
 
Rhett and Beck nodded although I could see that they were still shooting evil glares at each other.  I then lead the way out of the building and Dad was waiting outside in his car, as he offered to drive us. 
 
After we arrived back at my house and we said hi to Mom, the two of us headed to my room to chat while Dad would take care to order pizza and sodas.  Once we had privacy, I turned to Alexia and asked,
 
“Ok, why did Rhett have to step in?  He wasn’t supposed to since he’s the director, right?”
 
Alexia nodded and replied, “Yeah but the guy who was supposed to be Gunsel decided to go on this stupid road trip and the understudy wasn’t available so Rhett was the only one who could step in since he knew the lines.  And well, it helped that Rhett and I had practiced a lot.”
 
Alexia blushed as she said those last words and unable to help myself, I looked at her teasingly and said,
 
“And did you enjoy that kiss?”
 
Alexia blushed deeper and replied, “It was nice but it was just part of the play.  We had to kiss.”
 
I replied, “Uh huh, but it sure looked like Beck was about to explode or something.  It’s a good thing he kept his cool.”
 
Alexia sighed and replied, “Yeah, definitely.”
 
I looked at her seriously and then said, “You know you can’t keep seeing the two of them, right?  It is almost the end of the year and you’re going to have to decide.”
 
Alexia replied, “I know, I know…I just don’t know what I’m going to do but when it comes down to it, I should be able to decide.  I don’t want to lose them both…So how about we change the topic to you?  I want to know what’s been going on between you and Shuppin.”
 
I blushed and caught Alexia up on everything that had happened up to the kiss that Shuppin and I shared in music club.  Alexia looked so happy for me and hugged me as she kept telling me how she was so certain that I would win Shuppin’s heart and I couldn’t help but agree with her.  It was still unbelievable that Shuppin and I had reached a point in our relationship where we both knew that we loved each other but still, it was all worth it.  Alexia and I spent the rest of the evening chatting and eating until it got quite late and Alexia had to get home.

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:02 am

Loved the new chapter quite a lot. ^^ I think it's actually the best one so far. The kiss between Shuppin and Caitlin was beautifully depicted and I definitely loved the scene between Rhett, Beck and Alexia. It only made me more curious to as who she's going to choose. XD

Can't wait for the final chapter. Congratulations on making it this far. Great job. ^^ Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:57 am

Whew, I wasn't sure but somehow, I was able to write the final chapter and this one is pretty long, too.  XD  I changed something that happens in the game since a certain event always annoyed me (this is to give a heads up lol).  And there will be an epilogue although I won't explain until the end of this chapter.

Enjoy!  ^^

Chapter 24


On Friday evening, I was busy getting ready for the Leavers’ Ball.  I had taken a shower and after doing my hair and fixing my makeup, I took out a red gothic dress with a black rose.  As I put on the dress and the shoes to accompany it, I sighed to myself.  I had chosen this outfit specifically to impress Shuppin but knowing that he wouldn’t be there, it seemed like a waste.  Earlier, I had thought about not going at all but as soon as I even muttered one word to Alexia, she replied that I couldn’t miss out on the ball.  Shuppin wouldn’t want me to and all our friends would be there so we should be there to celebrate and such.  Alexia was right but I wasn’t in much of a mood for a celebrating, as the one person I really wished to see wouldn’t be there.
                                                                                   
As soon as I got dressed, I went downstairs and immediately, Mom took a candid picture of me.  She grinned and said,
 
“I had to take a picture of you, sweetie.  You look so beautiful.”
 
I smiled and replied, “Thanks, Mom.”
 
Dad then approached me and said, “I’ll drive you there and we’re picking up Alexia on the way, right?”
 
I nodded and after waving goodbye to Mom, I left with Dad in his car and we headed to Alexia’s house to pick her up.  As soon as we arrived, Alexia approached us and hopped in the backseat along with me.  I noticed that she was wearing a beautiful elegant black dress with silver high heels and her hair was arranged in soft waves.  As Dad drove us towards where the Leavers’ Ball would be held, I turned to Alexia and said,
 
“Wow, you look fantastic.  You’ll definitely turn heads.”
 
Alexia smiled and replied, “Thanks, Caitlin, and you’re looking pretty great yourself.”
 
The two of us continued to chat in the car until we arrived at our destination.  Alexia and I both got out of the car and Dad then looked at me and said,
 
“You two have a great time tonight and if you need a ride back, call me or if you’re making other arrangements, call me as well.  I don’t want to worry about you two.”
 
I nodded and replied, “Ok, Dad, and thanks for the ride.”
 
Dad then drove off and Alexia and I headed inside the building.  Once we entered the ballroom, I took my time looking around and was very impressed with how beautifully the place was decorated.  It looked like the school faculty had gone all out to make this Leavers’ Ball as festive and fun as possible.  However, I noticed that at one of the long tables, there were bowls of alcoholic punch and glasses of wine and champagne and I couldn’t help but silently question why alcohol would be allowed, as back in the US, it wasn’t legal to drink until a person was 21 years old.  Alexia glanced at me and then looked at what I was staring.  As though she knew what I was thinking, she shrugged and said,
 
“I don’t get it, either, but maybe it’s legal to drink once we’re 18 here.  I’m not touching the stuff, though.  I need a clear head tonight.”
 
I nodded in understanding and replied, “Because of the whole Beck and Rhett situation, right?  I won’t bug you about it anymore since I know you’ll come to a solution soon, if you haven’t already.”
 
Alexia gave me a grateful smile and then we went to find some of our friends and chat with them for a bit.  Some more students arrived and once it appeared that almost everyone was present, Dys and Rhett made a farewell graduation speech to the students and made sure to thank the staff for all of their hard work in helping us.  As I watched the pair, I observed that Dys seemed a little relaxed, perhaps a little too relaxed.  I’d noticed enough drunken people to know when someone has had a little too much to drink and it appeared that Dys had at least a little alcohol in her body although no one commented on it, if anyone else noticed.
 
After Dys and Rhett finished their speech, everyone broke off to mingle, drink, eat, or dance.  Alexia and I split up although we’d see each other later.  As I walked around, I’d hoped that Shuppin would somehow be able to make it here but seeing that he was absent, I sighed sadly to myself and wondered how his audition went.  I thought about calling him but since I had no idea if he already had his audition or was in the middle of it, I decided against doing so, not wanting to take the risk of disturbing him.
 
So I continued to walk around and seeing that Dys was by herself, I approached her and said, “That speech you guys gave was amazing-it must have taken forever to write!”
 
Dys gave me a sheepish smile and replied, “Well, it did take a while…but it’s all over now, I guess!  It’s hard to believe I’m not Head Girl anymore…that I’m not even a schoolgirl!  It feels like it’s all too soon…”
 
I nodded and replied, “I know what you mean-it seems like I just started at Northmain the other day and here I am leaving already…”
 
Dys replied, “Still, we had some good times, right?  It’s been so great hanging out together…You have to promise we’ll keep in touch after we leave, okay?!”
 
Surprised by Dys’ panicked demeanor but not opposed to the idea, I nodded and replied, “Sure, of course!”
 
Dys replied, “Heh, sorry, that was a little loud.  I think maybe I’ve had a little too much…But thank you so much, Caitlin.  I don’t think this year would’ve been anywhere near as bearable if it weren’t for you.  I’m really going to miss you, you know!”
 
I smiled and replied, “I’ll miss you, too.  Though obviously we’ll be in contact all the time, so we won’t really have time to miss on another, right?”
 
Dys nodded and replied, “That’s a nice way of looking at it.  I think I still have to make nice with the teachers-I’m not done being Head Girl yet, I guess.  But maybe I’ll see you later?”
 
I replied, “Ah, yeah, sure thing.”
 
As Dys headed off to talk to some of the teachers, I concluded that she had indeed been drinking but she didn’t seem the type to drink and that made me wonder if was talked into doing so.  However, I didn’t have long to ponder over that thought as Petime approached me and said,
 
“Hello, Caitlin.  You look so pretty tonight.”
 
I smiled and replied, “Thanks, Petime.  You, too.”
 
Petime replied, “I cannot believe we will not see each other in music club anymore.  Thank you so much for everything you’ve done and I wanted to tell you something…”
 
Petime looked nervous but I didn’t push her into telling me so I waited until she continued,
 
“I wanted to wish you the best of luck with Shuppin.  He is very lucky to have you.”
 
I blushed and replied, “Oh you know about him and me?”
 
Petime nodded and replied, “Yes, I did for a while now.  I could see how much he liked you and you are a wonderful person, Caitlin.  He could not have chosen better.”
 
I replied, “Thanks…So hey, let’s keep in touch, okay?  Let’s hang out over the summer at least.”
 
Petime replied, “Sure, I would like that…I do not wish to keep you from your other friends but perhaps we will see each other later?”
 
I nodded and replied, “Sure.”
 
After Petime left, I wondered about the ballroom, left to myself.  I wanted to approach one of my friends but it looked like everyone was busy or nowhere to be seen.  Wondering what to do, I stopped walking and looked around when suddenly, a dark-haired, very drunk girl bumped into me, spilling her drink all over my dress and staining it.  I was shocked at what she did but before I could say a word, she said,
 
“You should watch where you’re going, love.”
 
Getting over my shock, I angrily replied, “Me?!  What about you?  You spilled your drink all over me!  You should’ve watched where you’re going.”
 
The girl looked angrily at me and replied, “Oh?  Are you calling me a drunk?  But I’ll forgive you in the celebration of tonight.”
 
I felt myself about to explode although the next sound that came out of my mouth was a sob rather than a scream.  Alexia immediately ran over to me and looking over at the drunken girl, she pointed her right index finger at her and said,
 
“I saw what you did.  How dare you ruin my friend’s dress, you drunken bitch?  And then you go accusing Caitlin of it being her fault.”
 
I was crying at this point so I couldn’t say anything.  As I quickly glanced sideways, I noticed that we were getting some stares and Dys and Merle approached us, wondering what had happened.  I saw that a couple of teachers had approached us, too.  As I was too upset to say anything, Alexia explained the situation to the others and I could make out her words about how my parents would sue and such.  I knew that Alexia was exaggerating over how bad the situation was but I was grateful that she had come to my rescue.
 
After Alexia had finished her tirade, Miss Chahan said,
 
“Let’s calm down, okay?”
 
She turned to the girl and said, “I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.  It’s best to avoid any further incidents tonight.”
 
The girl looked annoyed but didn’t protest as the other teacher escorted her out of the room.  Miss Chahan then looked kindly at me and said,
 
“I’m sorry about your dress, Caitlin.  Let’s see if we can fix it, all right?”
 
She looked at Dys and Merle and said, “Dys, would you take Caitlin to the girls’ toilets?  And, Merle, would you see if there’s a spare dress backstage?  There’s usually one or two.”
 
Dys and Merle nodded and Merle then ran off towards the backstage area to see if there was a spare dress and as Dys was escorting me to the restroom, Alexia was about to follow when Rhett suddenly approached her and asked,
 
“Alexia, if you’re not too busy, can we talk?  There’s something I want to know.”
 
Alexia looked torn between following Rhett and helping me out but I gave her a small smile and said, “It’s ok.  You can go with Rhett.  Dys and Merle will help me out so I’m in good hands.”
 
Alexia nodded, giving me a grateful smile.  She then followed Rhett out of the ballroom while Dys and I went to the restroom to try to clean my dress.  Seeing that the restroom was empty except for us, I sighed with relief and said,
 
“At least there’s privacy in here.”
 
Dys nodded and replied, “I’m sorry about your dress, Caitlin.  I hope we can get that stain out or if not, Merle should be able to find another dress.”
 
I replied, “I guess but perhaps this was meant to be.  I only wore this dress because I wanted to impress Shuppin and he’s not even here…”
 
I trailed off and noticed that Dys got all quiet on me.  Realizing what I’d said, I looked on apologetically at Dys and continued,
 
“I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have brought up Shuppin.  I knew he wasn’t coming tonight because of his audition in Glasgow although I’d hoped that he’d be here somehow.”
 
Dys replied, “It’s okay.  I-I wanted Shuppin to be here, too, because I wanted to tell him that I’m sorry for being pushy on him, for wanting to be as close to him as I thought siblings should be.  But Shuppin wanted his space and I didn’t respect that and now I’ll never get to tell him.”
 
Dys looked off sadly and I replied, “Hey, that’s not true.  I mean-this isn’t the last time you can tell him that.  You two have all summer and I know Shuppin would never think badly of you.  And I want you two to get along-at least be friends or something.”
 
Dys gave me a small smile and replied, “Thanks, Caitlin.  You’ve been a wonderful friend and Shuppin is very lucky to have you.  I hope you two will be happy for a long time.”
 
I smiled gratefully at Dys and then the two of us tried to get rid of the stain on my dress although it seemed that it wouldn’t go away.  I sighed sadly to myself but before I could say anything, Merle came into the bathroom and proudly said,
 
“It took me a while but I found a dress for you, Caitlin!  Think of it as my way of making up for not asking your permission about the pancakes thing.”
 
I gave Merle a look and replied, “Umm, Miss Chahan asked you to find me a dress so it’s not like you had much of a choice.”
 
Merle shrugged and replied, “Whatever.  Anyway, here it is.”
 
As Merle showed me the dress, I noticed right away that it was the same dress that Alexia had worn when she was Juliet and performed that romantic scene with Rhett.  I gave Merle another look and asked,
 
“Was this the only dress you could find?  It’s a bit too much and I can’t go out in that.”
 
Merle replied, “Beggars can’t be choosers and all that, you know.  It was the only dress I could find.”
 
I sighed and taking the dress, I entered an empty stall and quickly changed out of my dress and into the Juliet dress.  Once I was dressed, I left the stall and asked,
 
“Ok, how bad do I look?”
 
Dys replied, “You don’t look bad at all.  At worst, you look a little overdressed but…”
 
Merle added, “Hey, at least you’ll stand out!”
 
I smiled a little and replied, “Yeah, I guess so.  If I’m lucky, not too many people will notice.”
 
The three of us left the restroom and returned to the ballroom.  Although I was worried that I’d get many weird stares, I was lucky that no one seemed to be paying attention to my dress.  There were couples dancing on the main floor and everyone else was either busy chatting or outside.  Dys and Merle had split off to chat with more friends and left to myself, I decided to head out to the balcony for some fresh air.
 
As I sat by myself on the balcony and looked up at the sky to see the numerous stars twinkling on such a clear night, I thought to myself,
 
I can’t believe I’m here and wearing the most ridiculous dress ever.  And Shuppin’s not here…What’s the point?  I might as well call Dad and ask him to pick me up now.  I can return the dress tomorrow.
 
As I was getting ready to leave, though, I heard a voice from below suddenly shout to me,
 
“Hey, down here!”
 
Realizing that it was Shuppin, I quickly returned to the ballroom and went downstairs and outside to meet Shuppin.  Surprised, I said,
 
“I-I can’t believe it…I thought you were in Glasgow.”
 
Shuppin replied, “It was pretty close, but I managed to get the train back.  I couldn’t go without seeing you dress now, could I?  Speaking of which…”
 
Blushing, I quickly replied, “W-well, you should know that this isn’t what I turned up in!  It’s a long story but…”
 
Shuppin quickly shook his head and shyly replied, “I was just going to say…You look really beautiful.  I’m glad I came back.”
 
I looked down at my feet, feeling my cheeks get warmer.  Remembering something, I asked,
 
“Oh, that’s right!  How’d your audition go?  I really wish I could’ve been there…”
 
Taking out his violin, Shuppin replied, “Well, y’know, if you wanted…I could always give it another go.”
 
Shuppin played his audition piece to me and I watched nearby as he did so, impressed with how well he played.  After he was done, he looked at me and said,
 
“So, ah, the main reason I came back was to tell you…I think I…I think I’m in love with you.  I think I’ve loved you for a long time.  I just wanted to tell you…I just need to know how you feel before I leave.  I just…couldn’t face not knowing…”
 
As Shuppin trailed off, I decided to be brave and leaned in to kiss him, showing him through my actions that I loved him, too, and that I had for a long time.  After the kiss was over, I looked at him warmly in his eyes and replied,
 
“I…I’m pretty sure I love you, too.”
 
Shuppin smiled and replied, “So then, you’ll come to Glasgow with me, right?”
 
Taken by surprise, I replied, “W-what?”
 
Shuppin quickly added, “Over the summer, at least!  I’ll play for you every day, I promise!”
 
I looked happily at him and replied, “Well, with an offer like that…how can I refuse?”
 

I wrapped my arms around Shuppin’s neck while he held me in his arms and the two of us enjoyed the quiet and peace of the night in each other’s company.  As I noticed others leaving the ballroom, I saw Alexia as well and it looked like she had finally chosen.  I smiled a little to myself, not at all surprised by her choice.  I only hoped that Beck would make her happy and if he made her half as happy as Shuppin made me feel, then Alexia would be quite lucky indeed.  Although I wanted to know more details on what had happened, my attention for the rest of the night was on Shuppin and looking happily into his eyes, I figured I could hold off on talking to Alexia.  Tonight may have started off badly but it turned out to be a pretty wonderful night in the end, with Shuppin having declared his love for me and I having done the same for him.  I couldn’t have had a happier ending, that’s for sure. 

So yup, this is the final chapter although as you can see, it doesn't address why Alexia chose Beck over Rhett.  That's one of the reasons I'm including an epilogue, and the epilogue will narrate what happens to Caitlin and Shuppin and everyone else, too.  ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:09 am

Aww I definitely loved this chapter and you know, I like how Caitlin got to see everyone in the ball and the twist in events when she got her dress stained. XD I am glad that drunk girl left the party. It really irked me when I played the game and couldn't get revenge on her for what she did. XD

And of course, the ending was quite romantic and lovely. ^_^ I can't wait for the epilogue since I am definitely curious as to why Alexia chose Beck over Rhett. XD

Great job once more and write more soon. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:12 am

Thanks.  As you can tell, the part where the drunk girl spills her wine all over the MC's dress annoyed me, too, so yeah, I definitely wanted to change the events on that.  XD

Hopefully, I'll be able to post the epilogue this week but if not, next week at the latest.  ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:27 pm

The epilogue is all ready so I'm posting it here now.  It's shorter than the usual chapters but I think it addresses everything and wraps the story up nicely.  I'd love feedback on this epilogue and the story overall and later, I'll ask for more general feedback regarding fanfics.

Thanks and enjoy.  ^^

Epilogue


A few days had passed since the Leavers’ Ball and I was busy making plans for the summer as well as deciding on which university I would attend.  I had received my test scores back and I aced them all, which gave me a wide range of choices.  I looked at some universities in Glasgow and Edinburgh and finally settled on a university in Edinburgh.  Although I wouldn’t be in the same city as Shuppin, at least I was within driving distance and we could see each other on the weekends.  As I promised Shuppin that I would spend the summer with him in Glasgow, that meant that I wouldn’t be able to spend the summer with my parents or friends for long so I had to make the best of the time that I had.
 
As I broke the news to my parents about my summer plans as well as my choice of university, they were happy but yet sad at the same time.  Mom said things about how I was finally “growing up” and Dad said that he had hoped that I’d be closer to them despite going to university but at least I wasn’t going back to the US.  I suppose if I hadn’t met Shuppin and fallen in love with him as I had, I might have decided just to go back to the US, as I had many friends back there that I wanted to reconnect.  As it was, though, I did find the love of my life and wanted to follow him wherever he went.
 
Finally, when I had some free time, I called Alexia to hang out like we used to during the summer and as Alexia didn’t have any plans, she agreed to meet me at the Arndale.  Once we got there about the same time, we bought smoothies and then walked around the mall, window shopping and talking all the while.  Alexia looked at me and said,
 
“I’m happy you called.  I would have called you soon but things have gotten so busy since the Leavers’ Ball.”
 
I nodded and replied, “Yeah, I noticed.”  Deciding not to beat around the bush, I asked, “So you chose Beck in the end, huh?”
 
Alexia nodded and replied, “Yeah.”  She looked down, a slight blush forming on her cheeks.  I asked,
 
“How did you decide?  I saw Rhett wanting to talk to you and I thought that he’d ask you to be his steady girlfriend or something.”
 
Alexia replied, “No, it was nothing like that.”  She looked off a bit thoughtfully before continuing,
 
“That night, while you were getting your dress situation under control, Rhett wanted to talk to me alone so we went to an empty room.  Then he confessed to me that he had known about me and Beck for some time and he was saddened.  I wished he’d gotten angry instead.  His anger would have been easier to take than his sadness.  Rhett hoped that we could still be friends although I could see in his eyes that just going back to being friends would have been difficult.  It was then that I had to decide.  I couldn’t keep stringing Rhett-and I guess Beck, too-like that so I went with my feelings and they told me that I had such a strong connection to Beck since we first met despite that Rhett was steadier.  I hugged Rhett, gave him a kiss on the cheek, and said that I’d hoped we could be friends even though I’d understand if that wouldn’t be easy.  Rhett admitted that it wouldn’t be but he would try.
 
After Rhett left, I knew that I had to find Beck.  I went back to the ballroom but didn’t see him there so I looked around and then I saw him outside.  It looked like he was about to leave so I had to run to catch up to him and once I did, I confessed to him that I’d fallen in love with him and wanted to be with him.  He found it hard to believe at first-said something about how he saw me leave with Rhett and thought that the two of us were ‘making out’ or something.  But I told him that wasn’t it-that Rhett only wanted to talk to me.  Beck then relaxed and smiled at me, saying how he finally understood what it felt like.  I guess he meant that it was hard when it wasn’t only him vying for my attention.”
 
Alexia giggled a little and then continued,
 
“After everything was said, Beck said about how he’d never want another guy vying for my attention again.  Usually, I wouldn’t like when a guy would be so possessive but I didn’t mind it with Beck.  I know he’s changed.  When we’re together, I don’t see him glancing at another girl and Lamb told me the other day about how Beck has become slightly more serious and how I was influencing him in a good way.  So yeah, that’s what happened.”
 
I smiled and replied, “It looks like you got your happily ever after.  I have a very good feeling about you two but if Beck ever does something to hurt you, you call me right away and I’ll beat him up for you or something.”
 
Alexia laughed and replied, “Sure, I can always count on you.  And hey, I saw you and Shuppin at the ball as well and it looked like you two were getting pretty cozy.”
 
I blushed and then told Alexia what had happened that night as well.  After I was done, Alexia replied,
 
“Gosh, I’m happy for you, Caitlin, and it’s about time Shuppin confessed his love for you but are you really going to Glasgow soon?  I’d hoped we’d have the entire summer together.”
 
I nodded and replied, “Yeah, I promised Shuppin.  His dad’s going to close up his shop here to make the move easier for Shuppin and the two of them offered to let me stay with them for the summer.  Then I’ll be going to Edinburgh in the fall for university and Shuppin and I will visit each other every weekend, if we can’t do so more than that.  But I’ll definitely come back for winter vacation and we can hang out then and there’s always the Internet and texting.”
 
Alexia replied, “Yeah, that’s true.  At least I’ll have friends here when I start school in the fall.  Merle’s going to Northmain University as well and I’ll get to see Beck as much as I want.”
 
Surprised, I replied, “Wait, you’re going to Northmain?  It’s an okay school and everything but I thought you’d want to go back to school in the US or maybe somewhere in London or Oxford?”
 
Alexia replied, “I thought about it but Northmain’s not so bad and I haven’t been here nearly long enough to get tired of it.  And besides, I don’t want to be one of those girls who try to make long-distance relationships work and I want the chance to make a steady relationship with Beck work.”
 
I nodded and replied, “Yeah, I guess I can understand that.  It looks like we’re truly going our separate ways soon.”
 
Alexia replied, “Yup but we’ll always remain friends, no matter what.  So let’s make the best of the time we have left.”
 
I smiled, not opposed to the idea one bit.  Alexia and I spent the rest of the day at the Arndale, window shopping and chatting and such.  The next few days were spent in the same way.  I did my best to spread my free time out with Dys, Petime, and Merle as well as a few other friends. 
 
Before I knew it, it was time for me to leave Northmain and head to Glasgow with Shuppin and his dad.  Mom and Dad gave me farewell hugs as Shuppin’s dad placed my suitcases in the trunk of his car.  Dad then talked to Shuppin’s dad regarding my stay and Mom told me that she and Dad would come get me at the end of summer so I could get settled in Edinburgh for university so I would definitely see them again before I knew it.
 
As I waved goodbye to Mom and Dad from the backseat of the car, I felt a little saddened but once they were out of view and I turned to Shuppin beside me, I smiled, feeling happy to start a bright future with him.  Shuppin looked at me shyly and said,
 
“I’m happy you chose to come with me.  I can’t imagine starting uni without you.”
 
I replied, “And I can’t imagine starting my future without you in it.”
 

The two of us kissed although it was only briefly since Shuppin’s dad was driving and could see everything that was going on from the rearview mirror.  I felt happy to be beside the one I loved with all of my heart and even though I didn’t know what the future would bring, I knew that I could face anything and be brave as long as I had him beside me to support me, as I had supported him.

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:38 am

Aww this was such a beautiful ending for a wonderful story. ^^ I really liked this one. Congrats. =))

I am happy that both Caitlin and Alexia got their happily ever after. ^^ And I am happy that Alexia chose Beck. I liked him more than Rhett although I loved both really. XD

It was definitely an interesting story overall and it always kept me looking forward to new chapters. ^^ Great job with it. ^^

Are you planning on writing a new story sometime soon? I am quite interested, you see, and yup, I love your stories. XD

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:02 am

Thankies.  ^^  I agree with you as well that Alexia is better off with Beck.  I had in mind from the beginning that the two of them would end up together in the end.  XD

Ahh and on future stories, let's see.  I might take a break from doing multiple chapter fanfics for a while.  I enjoyed writing this one although I feel a bit burned out.  But if you liked this fanfic and generally having me write this kind with many chapters, please let me know and I'll consider doing more in the future.  ^^  Currently, though, I have a couple of ideas for one-shot fanfics.  One is based on the aftermath of The Royal Trap by Hanako Games since I tend to like a certain pairing that the game lets the player make.  XD  The other might be based off of the true ending in Frozen Essence by Unbroken Hours.  I have vague ideas for stories for both of them so if there's interest in either one, please let me know and I'll work on them when I can.  ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:13 am

Oooh these sound very interesting. ^^ I am certainly looking forward to The Royal Trap fanfic since I played that game and really liked it. I don't really know about the other game but I am sure if it's written by you, it would be a great one. ^^


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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:18 am

Coolies.  I'll work on The Royal Trap fanfic next although I'll wait until at least this cold goes away.  It crept up about a couple of days ago and I have a migraine along with it but hopefully, it'll go away in a couple of days.

But anyway, I'll work on it when I have the chance and thanks for all the compliments for this LRR fanfic.  I found out that this one was even longer than my 5D's fanfic.  XD

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:35 am

Aww I hope you feel better soon, phoenix. ^^ And of course, take all your time. =)

And yup although I felt 5D's one was longer but perhaps because the time intervals between the chapters were longer. XD

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