Chapter 11: If You Can't Beat 'Em...

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Last chapter you guys! Thanks so much for reading and for the stars and comments. I'm so glad you've enjoyed it!

PS - I am sorry to say that i won't be writing the planned sequels to Coming Home to You or No One Ever Looks Up. I'm not really in the Vampire Academy fandom anymore, much as I love Vampire Academy, and I have too many demands on my time just now to do them justice.

If any of you are interested in writing a sequel / follow-up to either or both of these, PM me. I would be happy to chat about it and/or beta. Please also send me a link when you publish, and I'll link to it here and on the other sites this is crossposted on.

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"Man, I can't believe you almost fainted." Mason and Eddie were laughing so hard they could barely speak.

Christian scowled at the ground, but looked up, grinning, when Sergei clapped him on the back. "Never mind them. It's always gratifying to meet a true fan."

"...girl," Eddie coughed.

Christian's ears turned bright red. I was about to step in to rescue him – rescue, Christian, of all people. Mercy. What is the world coming to – when someone gasped. I looked up, puzzled.

Sergei was staring at me – no, my hand. I looked down. Right. The ring. I'd nearly forgotten. "Is that..."

It was my turn to blush. "Yeah." I turned my hand slowly, watching the diamond spark fire as the light hit it. We all stared at it, captivated.

Sergei was silent for a moment, then he turned to clap Dimitri on the back. "I knew you were serious about her, after that phone call, but..." He shook his head. "Congratulations, man." He gave me a slow once-over. "She's a looker, that's for sure. But, Dimitri, are you sure... I mean, she's so young..."

Dimitri moved closer to me, draping an arm protectively around my shoulders. I could feel the delicious heat that radiated from him, warming my side. We were standing so close we were touching – ankles to shoulder. Well, My shoulder. His ribs. His voice, when he spoke, rumbled with assurance, steadying me more even than his rock-solid presence and possessive touch. "I'm sure." He turned, tipping my chin up with the touch of his finger, to stare into my eyes. His eyes were dark; I felt myself drowning in them. His voice sounded faint in my ears, drowned out by the sudden rush of blood. "She's my life – my everything." Then he leant in and kissed me, and the world faded away.

When Dimitri pulled back – seconds or hours later, I wasn't sure – everyone was cheering. I blushed and ducked behind him. I wasn't usually embarrassed, but... that kiss was private. It promised things I didn't want anyone else to see.

Sergei wolf-whistled, and then slung an arm around each of our shoulders. "Well. I reckon you are, at that. Come on – we need to get set up for the concert. Although," he waggled his eyebrows, "I'm afraid anything we do is going to seem rather pale, compared to that."

Dimitri and I blushed further, and then simultaneously leaned in to swat him across the back of the head. It was completely unplanned, but very effective. I caught Dimitri's eye as Sergei howled indignantly, grinning wider than I'd ever grinned in my life. His answering grin mirrored mine, and he leaned towards me again and mouthed "I love you."

Then we all trooped inside. Dimitri's friends ended up enlisting all of us to help them set up – apparently they'd used up most of the set-up time joking around with us – and then we were in the audience – front-row, of course – and the lights dimmed, and the Slayerz bounced onto the stage, and the music started.

As the first notes washed over us, Dimitri pulled me against his chest and into another toe-curling kiss, and I lost track of everything but his body pressed against mine, his hands sliding through my hair, caressing my skin. His lips, devouring mine. His breath, hot against my ear. His everything, freely given.

And then Lissa was tugging on my arm, shouting something, gesturing to her left, where Christian, Eddie, and Mason were jumping around in time with the music. All I caught was "Dance now, kiss later." I looked back longingly at Dimitri, not wanting to leave his side. He started to wave me on, then thought better of it, and grabbed my other arm, instead. I looked up, surprised, as he started docilely following along in Lissa's wake. He shrugged and leaned in to whisper in my ear. "If you can't beat 'em..."

Then he threw his head back and laughed, deep and rich and free, and I fell in love all over again. For a second, I felt the music falter, and I glanced at the stage to see Sergei staring at us as if he'd seen a ghost. But then the look was gone, the music was back, and then we were dancing, all of us, and it. Was. Amazing.

~The End~

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