"I guess this is goodbye," Coby says, his hands holding her face.
"Coby, I'm sorry," Stina answers, her lower trip trembling.
"You have to what you have to do," he answers, "I understand."
"I feel like I've driven you out of your own town," she says.
"You know it's not like that," he answers her gently, "I've just been too lazy, comfortable and stoned to go out and surf the world. I just needed a kick in the ass."
"And I'm the one that kicked you," Stina giggles, "That shouldn't make me feel better."
"Well, you aren't leaving me, exactly," Coby says, "You're going out to live your life. And I'm going to go out and live mine."
"Have fun in Paris," he says, "Maybe we'll hook up again, someday."
"I'd like that," she whispers, and they kiss one last time before she heads into the airport.
Coby's flight doesn't leave until tomorrow, so he spends the evening at Heather's place, to say goodbye.
"Australia is so far away," Heather says, "Are you sure about this?"
"I have my ticket," Coby says, "I'll be there for awhile then I'm moving on to Bali. I've always wanted to surf Bali. Then, who knows, I haven't been to Oahu in ages."
"When will you becoming back?" Ulises asks.
Coby shrugs, "I can't say. I guess when I'm done."
"You're sure you don't need a ride to the airport," Ulises asks one more time as Coby gets up to get home for shut eye before his long flight tomorrow.
"Nope, I'm covered. I'll keep in touch, I promise," he says to his sister before going.
"No. Absolutely not," Justin says, "No. I don't want to be on TV."
"I don't like being on TV, either," Jeannette sympathizes, "But my agent is all over this. My last book was all about my search for you. And now, in real life, I actually found you. Oprah wants to have us both on her show."
"Yeah, but I got executed in your book," Justin says with a frown. Eleanor told him what his sister had written.
"It was fiction," Jeannette says, "It made a better story."
"So, why can't you tell Oprah that I'm dead, just like you wrote?"
Jeannette sighs, "Because my agent already leaked the real story to the press. And it made my sales skyrocket. Oprah wants us both. I don't like the publicity crap any more than you do, Justin. But this would be a huge boost for my career. Can you do this is as a personal favor to me?"
Justin mulls it over for a minute. "Maybe," he says, and refuses to listen to another word about it for the rest of the evening.
"That went pretty well," Zach says cheerfully as he and Jeannette leave together.
"Are you kidding?" she asks, "He wants nothing to do with it."
"He said 'maybe'," Zach reminds her, "If he really, absolutely meant 'no', you'd never get a maybe from him."
Jeannette stops him before they get into the car, to throw her arms around him, "He's my brother, but you know him so much better than I do," she says.
"Living with him, I kind of picked up on his moods, figured when you could get somewhere with him and when to just leave him alone."
"You could have just kicked him out," she says.
"Finding good roommates is actually a lot harder than you'd think," Zach says, "Justin was neat, obsessively neat, actually. He'd clean up my messes without complaint. He's amazing cook, and actually a really good friend, in his way. I'd never be able to replace him."
Jeannette laughs, "Well, I can't cook at all, and I'm kind of mess."
"You have other qualities," Zach smiles.
Eleanor wraps her arms around him, and he returns the embrace auromatically, buthis mind is elsewhere.
"You're considering Jeannette's proposal," Eleanor says.
Justin turns his attention to her, lifting her onto the bed. "Should I do it?" he asks.
"Well, it would be a huge favor to her. And it would be a boost for your career as well, if you could talk a little about your art."
Justin groans, "I hate talking about art."
"You wouldn't have to talk about it," Eleanor reasons.
"You want me to do this?"
"It's not about what I want, Tiger. I'm just telling you what you could get out of it. But, it's your decision."
"I know it's my decision," Justin says, "I want to know what you want before I decide."
"What I want has nothing to do with you being on Oprah, Tiger."
The best thing about owning a house in Malibu is the private beach. Though Andrea has moved out with Debbie, the couple are frequent guests on Nico and Jacklyn's backyard beach.
"So, Andrea and I are getting married," Debbie says hesitantly when they are back on the patio, "Andrea will be asking Nico to be his best man, and I was thinking it would nice if you were my maid of honor."
"I appreciate that, Debbie. But I'm sure you must have sisters or close friends you'd really prefer. My feelings won't be hurt at all if you ask someone else," Jacklyn says, hoping to get out of bridesmaid duty altogether.
Debbie sighs with obvious relief, "Thank you, Jack. My sister will be crushed if I don't ask her. But, you will be a bridesmaid, won't you?"
Jacklyn tries very hard to smile like it's the gretest honor in the world, "Of course I will," she says. At least Nico will be in the same noose with her, she thinks.
"You're marrying her because she's pregnant," Nico says, not even trying to hide his displeasure.
"I'm marrying her because I love her," Andrea answers, "We have to hurry it up because she wants to look good in her dress."
"She's been after you since the first time she saw you," Nico says, "Now she's got you where she wants you..."
"You know you sound like Mama, now, right?" Andrea says.
"I'm just trying to look out for you," Nico insists.
"Well, you can stop. For one because I'm handling my relationship better than you ever handled yours. I'm a grown man, and I'm about to become a father. Are you going to be my best man or not?"
"Of course I will."
"Okay, then. Now, congratulate me so I can take Debbie home to plan our wedding.
"Congratulations, Andrea," Nico gives in, "I do want you to be happy."
"I am happy, brother. I don't know what you have against Debbie, but you need to get over it. She's going to be your sister."
"Did she tell you she's pregnant?" Nico asks, pacing across their bedroom floor.
"No, she didn't," Jacklyn says, "But it explains the rush. She said they want to have the wedding in less than a month from now."
"I don't like it," Nico growls.
"Don't be such a hypocrite," Jack laughs.
"What? You don't like Debbie, either."
"I like Debbie!" Jacklyn protests.
"You make fun of her all the time and complain whenever Andrea brings her over," Nico says, finally giving up his pacing to lay with head on her stomach.
"Well, yeah," Jacklyn admits, "I can't deal with girls like her. But I'm not marrying her, your brother is. And for what it's worth, I can't deal with jocks like him, either. They belong together."
"You think?" Nico asks.
"I do. And anyway, what we think isn't important. It's his life, Nico, you have to let him go."
"I guess," Nico admits, "I just hate the thought of him being taken in my some model."
"I think you're seeing something that isn't there. Debbie's not a schemer," Jacklyn says, "Besides, she's got more money than he has, it's not like she can ruin him or anything."
"You're right, of course," Nico says, "I am being like my mother, aren't I?"
"You know, you haven't dropped a single hint about how we're still not married," Jacklyn observes.
"My brother's shotgun wedding doesn't seem like the best occasion to bring that up," Nico says with a laugh, "We missed our chance for that; Trillare's already walking. Unless I get you pregnant again, then we'll have another chance to rush a wedding of our own."
"You've been quiet about it for the past few months, though," Jacklyn says, her voice growing soft and serious, ignoring his joking tone.
Nico rolls over to face her, "Is this something you really want to talk about?" he asks, "Or are you setting me up to turn me down?"
"You don't think I'd really do that?"
"I stopped bringing it up because you always tell me you aren't ready. So, now you're bringing it up. Do you want to get married? Or do just want to go down your list of reasons for why you don't want to marry me again?"
"Do I really do that?" Jacklyn asks, a bit surprised by his reaction.
"Every. Single. Time. I get it, Jack," Nico says, "And, you know, it doesn't really matter all that much, does it? We live like we're married. You and Trill are my family. I've got everything I wanted. So I've stopped pestering you for more."
"I kind of miss being pestered," Jacklyn says, putting on a fake pout.
Nico laughs, "I don't miss being turned down."
"Maybe I'll say yes next time," she teases, "You'll never know unless you try."
"I just wanted to thank you, personally, for everything you've done for me, since Dwayne died. You've gone far and above what anyone could expect from a record company."
"I know what it's like, Libby," Bill says. To have an out of control, a failing marriage, a mess of a home only, and then the strange guilt feelings that come with the sudden death of the spouse you just couldn't save. "I'm happy to do whatever I can to help."
"I don't suppose you could Jacklyn to open up to me," Libby says with a wry half smile.
"I can't work miracles," Bill says, "Jackie is more like her father than she can admit to herself. But, she's in good hands, I can promise you that."
"Carey?" Alison calls. Her voice echoes through the house, and dies out in the silence. "The film is back from editing. It's ready to go." The Sandman movie wrapped a month ago, the actors have all moved on to their next project, and Alison is busy as ever, taking care of post-production before the movie can premiere. "Carey?" she calls again, and again, gets no response. Not even from the dog.
She goes upstairs to his office. Well, her office if you count who puts the most hours of work in here. On the center of the desktop she finds a folder labeled 'For Alison', so she clicks, and reads.
I have been called, and I must follow. I don't know how long I may be gone. I don't know if I will ever return. Hollywood can go on with out me. And so can you. I know you can finish the Sandman project. You've done so much for it already. Your name has been added to the director credits for this one. You more than deserve it.
And when it's done, pitch your own ideas to the studio. You're ready to do your own projects, Alison. I've taught you all I had to teach, and now I pas that baton onto you. Make your own movies. Somewhere, out in this world. I will be watching.
"Well, fuck me," Alison whispers to herself after staring at the screen for a few minutes. Accepting any of what he wrote will take some time, and right now, that's wasting time. She has a film to finish.
"Did you finish your paper?" Rainier asks.
"No, I still have three pages to go," Portia says, caressing his face, "But you have to get going if you want to get Coby to the airport in time for is flight."
"Oh, shit," Rainier says. He'd been so absorbed in his work, he'd completely forgotten. "Thanks for reminding me."
"I won't be long," he promises, drawing her close for a long kiss before he leaves.
"Long enough for me to get these last three pages done," she says, "Maybe you could pick up some dinner on the way back?"
"Anything you want," Rainier says.
"Surprise me. I'm starving, I'll eat anything."
"That's very romantic," Rainier teases.
"Why do you always go there?"
"Because you're adorable when you're uncomfortable," Rainier says, grinning, "Good luck out there, and keep in touch. I'll need to know where to send your checks."
"You got it," Coby promises, and picks up his bags, "I would hug you, bro, but you creeped me out."
Rainier laughs. "See you in a few years."
So, this is the last regular chapter. After this, I will be posting an epilogue that catches up with everyone 5 years later. The epilogue might be one chapter or a couple, depending on how much material it is.
I was actually going to have Rainier and Coby bro hug for the last picture, but my game froze up right after I took the pic I did use. Los Aniegos has become insanely freezy and laggy lately, so I'll be honest, I'm relived to not have to shoot there much more.