A/N: Hello lovelies! This is the FINAL chapter of The Cinderella Deception. :) It's been tons of fun writing this, and I hope you enjoyed reading it too. I'd like the run through a list of special shout-outs now...here's to Katie Cruz and Maddie Grey for lending me their characters. Thank you two so much. To everyone who has supported and commented and read for the past six months, there's really too many of you, and I'm so grateful to each and every single one of you.
On another note...the character pictures for TCD is up, just CLICK. :) I hope they don't ruin whatever image you have of my characters thus far. :P And, I will start on Bringing Back Brielle next week! :) Be prepared for tons of drama and kisses coming up!
This also isn't the last you've seen of Grady and Juliette. :) Just saying. A sequel is currently being written, but it probably wouldn't be posted anytime soon.
Last but not least, I hope the final chapter is up to your expectations. It's not the perfect cliched ending, but I thought it was the right way to end it! Enjoy, and once again, I love all of you!
Entry #200: And they lived happily ever after. The End.
~ The Cinderella Deception by Juliette Harving
"Jules!" Jared yells, as soon as I pull into the driveway of my old house.
He and Josie run out of the house eagerly, and I open the back door for them. They clamber into the backseat eagerly, and I pull out of the driveway before Charlene can spot me.
Ever since Dad and I moved, we've both been very careful when visiting our old house.
For starters, Charlene will always give me the stink-eye whenever she sees me. And if she sees Dad - that's a whole different story altogether. She'll be all sugary-sweet to him, and speak in fake-nice tones, and doesn't he hate it!
"Hey guys!" I say, smiling at them through the rear-view mirror. "Where do you feel like going today?"
"The zoo!" Jared says, at the same time as Josie squeals, "See Grady!"
I feel my heart twinge at her words. Even though Principal Higgins wants Grady back at West High, none of us have been able to contact him. Not Shane, not Kieran, not me. It's like he's screening all our calls and wants nothing to do with us.
It's been two months and two weeks, and I miss him like hell. We've all missed him. Who knew that Grady Sullivan's presence meant so much to all of us?
The other day, I even heard my Chemistry teacher, Mr Richards, complain that even though it was nice that Grady Sullivan wasn't there to annoy and infuriate him like he usually did, he missed Grady's intellect and ability to answer every Chemistry question correctly.
"I'm sorry, Josie," I say, softly, "But I don't know where Grady is. And we can't possibly go to the zoo three times in three weeks, Jared. How about we go pick out some furniture for my bedroom?"
"Really?" Jared's eyes grow wide, and Josie nods happily. They love going to furniture shops - mostly because they can sit and bounce on the huge king-sized beds all they want.
"Sure! I'll let you pick out my cupboard and study-desk."
After an hour's drive, we get to the huge furniture shop. I park the car in the parking lot, and we head inside. It's pretty empty when we get there, and I realise that it's because we're pretty early. It's barely eleven.
Josie and Jared immediately run inside eagerly. They pick a double-deck bed that has an actual mini-slide going down one end, and start climbing up.
A dark-haired guy pushing a cart full of huge foldable tables comes up. I immediately run forward, worried that Josie and Jared might hinder the guy's movement, but then stop short as he speaks.
"Hey, kids, mind moving aside for a while?"
No. It can't be.
"Grady?" The word involuntarily escapes my lips, and I stare at him, completely stunned. Of all places in the wide, wide world, I never would've dreamed of finding him here.
The guy turns, and I feel my breath catch. It really is Grady. His dark eyes widen, and he looks equally stunned to see me. He still looks amazingly gorgeous - those smouldering eyes of his, the dark hair falling into his eyes and that firm jaw and broad shoulders.
I feel myself blush - an effect that only Grady Sullivan has on me - but I can't take my eyes off of him.
It really is him.
But then, Jared runs right into Grady's stomach, and Grady stumbles a little. Then Josie also starts hugging his leg, squealing "GRADY!" over and over again.
Grady looks down at them and smiles. For the first time in a long time, he smiles - that genuine, amazing smile he has only when I'm around him.
"Hey, guys!" He says, in that deep voice of his, and lifts Josie up on his shoulder. He fist-bumps Jared, and for that instant, it really seems like the three of them can't get enough of each other.
I walk up slowly, and Grady looks back at me. He stops smiling immediately, and I feel my heart sink. The words I said from two months and two weeks ago come back to mind.
Just go away, Grady. Go away.
At that moment, I had wanted nothing more than that to happen. And he granted my wish. He went away, and I had searched for him ever since, and I could never find him. He really went away.
"Hey, kids," Grady says, lifting Josie off his shoulder. "Go play on those double-deck beds for a while, alright?"
Josie and Jared obediently run off, and Grady turns to look at me. "What are you doing here?" He asks, softly.
"I-I came to get furniture," I say, my face flushing. Again. I feel so nervous in front of him, and I don't know why either. "What are you doing here?"
"I work here," He says, folding his arms across his broad chest.
My eyes immediately go to those biceps of his, and I force myself to look back up at him. Focus, Juliette.
"After I got expelled, my boss promoted me and told me to work here, instead," He continues. "The pay's really good. And I love this job."
I feel my heart sink even further. He doesn't seem to want to go back at all. How the hell am I supposed to convince him?
"O-Oh. Um, good for you, I guess," I stammer, biting my lip nervously.
Grady raises an eyebrow. "You guess?"
"Uhh…yeah. I mean, it's good, if you want to work in a furniture shop all your life…" I trail off, and flush as I realise that my words have all come out wrong.
Grady's eyes narrow. "What does that even mean?" He snaps, and I flinch.
"No! I meant…I meant that, you need to come back to school. We found out the truth and Principal Higgins wants you back. Everyone wants you back."
"Huh, really." He says, raising an eyebrow again. "And why is that?"
I sigh. "Everyone misses you, Grady," I admit. "Josie misses you, and so does Jared. I mean, you've seen it for yourself just now."
"Uh-huh." His face is expressionless.
"And Shane, Beverly and Kieran have been trying to call you. They miss you too."
It's not working? "Callie's real sorry about hitting out at you that day. And Isabelle wants to apologise." I try, again.
My heart sinks. Think, think, Juliette! "Even Mr Richards misses you!"
Well, here goes nothing. I take a deep breath. "And…I miss you, too. And I can't get over you. Not now. Not ever."
Grady's face remains expressionless.
I feel sudden tears pricking in my eyes. It's no use. I've tried, and he's obviously gotten over me. Already.
Not wanting him to see me cry, I turn to leave, but Grady reaches out and catches me by my elbow.
And just like that night after the soccer game, he spins me around and kisses me with the same amount of passion and fervour he once had. My knees automatically go weak, and I reach up to link my arms around his neck.
Grady reaches down to pull my legs around his waist, and he takes a couple of steps forward and leans down. My back hits the soft fabric of a bed, but he doesn't lift his lips from mine. He straddles me in between his legs, his chest pressing lightly against mine, and continues to kiss me deeply, his tongue pressing against mine.
It's all so familiar. The way he tastes, the way he smells, the way his body feels against mine.
But I just can't get enough. I can never get enough of him. And I think it goes the same way for him. We can't get over each other. Not now. Not ever.
At last, Grady drags his lips away from mine, and we're both breathing heavily, our breaths mingled with each other's.
His green eyes gleam, and he smiles. "Exactly."
"So?" Callie asks, on Monday when I go to my locker - which is next to hers. "Did you manage to get Grady to agree to come back?"
I had texted Callie, Shane, Beverly and Kieran over the weekend, telling them about my encounter with Grady. Obviously, I omitted the kissing part, but I guess that can be deduced. Their replies were all the same:
So, is he coming back?
The answer? I have no idea. I had asked him that question several times.
"We'll see," He had said, his eyes twinkling, flashing that signature smirk of his.
So the answer was indefinite. Uncertain. It always was with Grady Sullivan, anyway. Who knew what he might do next? No one could tell for sure, and certainly not me, but there's one thing for sure:
We can't get over each other. Not now, not ever, and that's all that really matters.
I shrug, in response to Callie's question. Callie sighs, and gives me a quick hug before disappearing for her next class.
I take my Arithmetic book out of my locker, and head to my Math class. First period of the day, and it has to be on a Monday. Great way to start the week.
"Alright," Mrs Decker is saying, as I enter the class. I'm not late, as there are still a few students streaming in. Mrs Decker simply likes to start five-minutes before lesson time.
"We're having a short quiz today. No calculators allowed." She continues, and ignores the groans from the class.
I settle down at my usual seat. The seat beside me is empty. I guess Heather Fisher decided to skip school to hook up with some random guy today. Well, that was certainly way more interesting than mental Maths.
I look at my question paper and uncap my black pen.
Differentiate 5ln[ln(cosec8x)³(2x)] with respect to x.***
I groan. Just kill me right now.
At this moment, I hear Mrs Decker say, "Nice of you to finally grace us with your presence, Sullivan."
Sullivan. Grady Sullivan?
I look up quickly. And right in front of me, wearing that signature smirk, is none other than Grady Sullivan.
A woosh of surprise goes through the class, and everyone stares at him in disbelief.
Grady, however, ignores everyone. He smirks at Mrs Decker and takes the question paper from her. "Thanks, Mrs D."
Mrs Decker smiles. Actually smiles. Wow. She never ever smiles! "Nice to have you back, Sullivan." She says, and waves him away.
Grady immediately heads for the seat next to mine and busies himself with taking out his pen.
I stare at him, my cheeks reddening with pleasure. There's a massive overwhelming sense of happiness inside me, and I simply can't push it down.
Actually, ever since Grady Sullivan came into my life, I've been feeling a lot happier. He cheered me up, he plagued me and made my life hell, he made me feel things I never felt before, but most importantly, he was the one person who truly understood.
I used to hate Cinderella. I always thought that she was just a fictional character with no feelings whatsoever.
Sometimes, when a person seems so perfect, we forget that there are also feelings involved. Feelings that sometimes may not be shown. Feelings that may not be understood by the rest of the world.
Few people truly understand how Cinderella actually felt.
How she felt when she had to wake up at seven in the morning just to prepare breakfast for three lazy bums who refused to get out of bed all day. How she felt when her only friends were the mice and birds. How she felt when she had absolutely no one to talk to.
All the world sees is an enchanting, lovely fairytale about a Fairy Godmother who could make dreams coming true and finding Prince Charmings in a pretty castle. It's no wonder Cinderella is, by far, the most popular and loved fairytale of all time.
But now I know how it felt.
I know how it felt like to have no one to reach out to, no hand to grab on to, no lifeline to hold on to as I was sinking in the flood that was my life. I know how it felt to be neglected - to yearn so much to be loved and to do things to make the people I loved love me back. I know how it felt like, waiting ages and ages for the Prince Charming who never appeared.
But he was out there all the time. Cinderella's Prince Charming was out there, finding that one maiden throughout his entire kingdom - searching and searching for the feet that fit the glass slipper.
My Prince Charming was out there all the time too. Well, he wasn't the exact mould and type, and was the complete opposite of a Prince Charming. But he was the right one for me, and that's what's important.
And then there's that bit about Fairy Godmothers - whom I never thought existed, until I realised that Fairy Godmothers can come in all different shapes and sizes too.
There was Callie Miller, who pointed out what I truly felt for Grady when I refused to see it for myself. There was Ryden Miller and Shane Corelli, who made Grady jealous and brought him one step closer to me. There was Kyra Fox, who understood how I felt when I was without Grady. There was Evan von Detten, who made me see the truth, and see Grady for who he really was.
Made me see Grady beyond his faults. Beyond his Bad-Boy ways, and beyond his insensitivities.
Cinderella and I both played a little game of Deception. We both pretended everything was okay, when it wasn't. We both just waited it out, waited for things to be okay. We both unknowingly made our guys fall for us, and fall hard, too. We were always trying to find an escape, and when our guys came, that was our escape route.
And when it all comes down to it, all you have to do is to look beyond. Minus all the differences, minus all my flaws and her perfections, minus all the things that prevent you from seeing the clearer picture.
In all honestly, Cinderella and I - despite how much I still hate that Fairytale - we aren't that much different.
At this moment, Grady reaches over and taps me on the shoulder. The class is silent, and we aren't supposed to be talking, but he doesn't care.
Once a bad-boy, always a bad-boy. He'll never be my Prince Charming, but who cares about that, anyway? He's just Grady, and that's good enough for me.
"Hey, Harving," He whispers, just loudly enough for me to hear, and gives his signature smirk. "How'd you like to go for detention this afternoon?"
~~~ END ~~~
*** Just in case you're wondering how to solve Juliette's mind-boggling Math question, here's the answer:
10ln[ln3cosec8x] - [(240(cot8xcosec8x))/(ln3cosec8x)]