Thirty-Four: The New Beginning

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"Not everybody has to love me. I can't force them to have good taste."



Finn smiles brightly and straightens. "Beverly! What on earth are you doing here? Did the girls get off alright?"

I saunter into the classroom, unashamed at how proud I am of myself. I tell him about how I quit Red Ribbons and got a job here at the school.

He seems thoroughly impressed, which makes me fluttery inside.

"So this is your new life, then?" he asks gently, brushing a stray hair from my flushed cheek.

I nod. "Yeah. Yeah, I think it is."

His eyes crinkle with his half-second grin that I can't help but mimick. "How are you with the girls gone?"

I gulp, feeling the familiar sting in my heart. "I...I'm really going to miss them." I firm my lips resolutely. "But I have to say you were wrong about one thing."

He tilts his head to the side. "Is that so?"

"They did make me happy," I say, "but they weren't the only source of my happiness. That can't come from anybody or anything, I've learned. Happiness is what you make it."

I loosely wrap my arms around his neck and shrug a shoulder. "And this is me making my own happiness."

I lift onto my toes and kiss him softly..

"I'm proud of you," he says.

I pull away to regard him seriously. "Thank you, Finn Watson. I used to think artists were weird guys in skinny jeans who probably lived in France. But you're the best person in the world, and I can't tell you how glad I am I met you."

We kiss again, but I'm interrupted by a buzzing on my phone.

I lean against Finn's shoulder and pull my phone from my pocket.

It's a text from Aimee. Well, more like a freaking letter.

Hey Bev. I don't know what to say. These girls have not stopped talking about how wonderful you are. I have to admit, I wouldn't approve of 98% of the things that happened, but you gave my girls the one thing I wanted them to have the most. Love.

So thank you.

I know I haven't been the best sister, and whenever Jemma and Dusty aren't screaming about how many bottles of milk on the wall there are, I've been thinking. I've judged you too harshly all of these years. Because we're so similar. We're both broken. We're both trying to rebuild. And maybe neither of us have handled it quite right all this time, but now we have a new beginning.

So I'm sorry for these past years. The truth is, I've been running from my past too.

I really hope you can forgive me, Bev.

And it's been mentioned about a million times that the girls want to spend the summer with you. I said you're probably tired of them by now, but still...what do you say?

Lots of love,


I smile quietly, squeezing Finn's hand.

"What is it?" he asks.

"Nothing," I sigh happily. "You know, all of this has been amazing, but you wanna know one thing I won't miss?"

"What's that?"

"Having to share my ice cream with Dusty. There are still some good things I'll never do again. Which reminds me of this one time Sacha and I took a huge pineapple floatie from the public pool in the middle of the night..."



Well, that's a wrap! I can't even express how grateful I am for all of the love this story has received. I'll be honest...I wasn't sure about posting it at all. Would anyone appreciate the weird humor? Or care about the story? But I am so happy to say that I was wrong.

It's been so much fun to read ALL of your comments and the excitement you guys displayed was infectious in my writing.

I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I did!

~What was your favorite part?

~Favorite character?

~Overall thoughts?



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