How to Build a Better Princess

The Best "The End"

Riley's POV.

"And that was the bell! You can go." My dad said, ending the class. He nodded to us all, then turned around to clean up his desk. People filed out one by one, until I was the only one left in class, so I sat back, head lost in the clouds. Where's Lucas…. I thought, taking another look at his desk, which sat empty. Maybe he's sick?...

"Hey Riley, why aren't you gone?" my dad asked, and I exhaled slowly.

"Have you seen Lucas?" I asked, and he shrugged.

"Not today, no." he said, a parent's tone slipping in. "Why? What happened?"

"Nothing! Nothing's wrong! I just haven't seen him at all today." I said quietly, and my dad looked at me, a look on his face.

"Oooooo… Friar is going to have it." my dad chuckled darkly, placing his hand on the doorknob.

"Friar?" he said, surprised, and leaned against the door, but Mrs. Friar pushed the door casually despite his weight.

"Oh, sorry Mr. Matthews." Mrs. Friar said apologetically, and my dad mock saluted her from behind the door.

"It's fine. What brings you to my classroom?" he asked, climbing out from behind the door, and she pulled something from her purse. Wait, isn't that Lucas's textbook? I thought curiously as she handed it to my dad, and the block letters on the back proved my point.

"I'm here to return Lucas's textbook." she said sadly, and I tilted my head, listening intently. But doesn't Lucas go to this school? He wouldn't need to return his textbook unless… "I'm afraid Lucas won't be able to come to this school anymore. I can't support the both of us financially, and I had to send him back to Texas with his grandparents. I'm terribly sorry Riley." she said, looking right at me, and I felt all the air escape from my body. moving? "I know you two were so close..."

"Wait, what do you mean close?" my dad said accusingly, glaring at me, but I waved him off, my heart shattering slowly.

"Does.. does this mean we won't be able to start high school together?" I asked, barely able to form the words, and she nodded.

"I told him he was going to have to stay at Texas indefinitely, a few months maximum, before he left. But… I don't think I'll ever be able to bring him back to New York ever at the rate I'm going." she said, hurt in her voice, and sniffled. "Oh, I'm sorry. I promised I wouldn't cry when I was going to explain this to you two. But… oh dear. Oh, he wanted you to have this." she said, handing me Lucas's coat, the one that he lent me, before he fell off the roof. The coat I've slept with so many nights… I thought glumly, putting it on slowly, and she mumbled another apology, pulling out a handkerchief and wiping her nose with it.

"Oh, that's… that's hard. Well, Riley and I will be thinking about you and we'll try to help any way we can, right?" my dad said, looking at me, but the words seemed to fly over my head, as I walked numbly out the door, trying to process it all. Lucas… Lucas is really gone? Well, he's not dead, so I guess this is better… but… why does he have to go now? The graduation is in a few months, and then… High school… I thought, when I ran into someone, and backed away, keeping my head bowed.

"Sorry, sorry…" I mumbled, when the person grabbed my arm.

"Riley?" Ethan asked, and I snapped my head up, mind suddenly corrupted with rage.

"Don't. Touch Me." I hissed, and he grinned nonchalantly.

"Awww...Don't be that way. I heard that Ranger Rick is leaving the school, so I was wondering if you wanted to go out with me?" he inquired, and I clenched my fist with anger. Who does he think he is, king?

"YOU ALMOST MURDERED HIM!" I screamed, and he raised his arms in surrender.

"He deserved it in all honesty. And besides, wouldn't you want to go out with me?" he winked, when he suddenly pulled me closer and tilted my head up forcefully, staring right at me. DIE! I thought furiously, and I quickly kneed him in the gut.

"Burn! In! HELL!" I said, standing over his curled up body, arms trembling. I raced out of the building, and practically flew down the stairs to the subway, barely making it into a subway car, as I sped home on it's wheels. What… what am I supposed to do now?... I climbed out of my car, to see Evelyn, sitting in her usual spot.

"Doll! How are you? Take a seat with me, tell me howya been!" she said excitedly, after spotting me, and I took a hesitant seat after she had scooted over. "Now! What's been going on in that amazing mind of yours?" she asked, and I felt an overwhelming urge to tell her everything that had happened. So I did.

"So. You finally hook up with the guy, and now he's leaving for Texas. Sounds rough Doll, but you can do this. I know you can." she said confidently, despite my tears. He's going to come back, I promise. Just like he did when he fell. I'm sure."

"But… he's moving away!"

"So? It's going to hurt, but it'll only prove whether he loves you. You'll eventually meet up again, and when you do, he is going to still love you." she concluded, before taking a good look at everyone else. I buried my head in my hands, taking a deep breath and letting my fresh tears fall onto the concrete floor.

*flashback to two days ago*

"Lucas…" I murmured sadly, leaning my head on his shoulder as we sat in our little forest sanctuary, the river bubbling as it flowed gently.

"Hey, what's up?" he smiled back at me, and I looked down at our entwined fingers, his rough hand still warm and inviting. I curled up closer to him, his coat warming me up despite the faint wind. The sun was beginning to set, and it cast an orange hue all over the forest, lighting up the water so it sparkled brilliantly.

"Missy… Missy said I was a horrible person for letting you fall, and that… that I didn't deserve you." I sniffled, and he stared at me, eyes calculating as he pulled me closer into a warm hug.

"Well, here's the thing. Seems like there's always someone who disapproves. They'll judge it like they know about me and you, and the verdict comes from those with nothing else to do. The jury's out, but my choice is you. I love you no matter what." he said firmly, and I looked at his face, my eyes blurring up with tears.

"So don't you worry your pretty little mind,people throw rocks at things that shine. And life makes love look hard. The stakes are high, the water's rough, but this love is ours." he finished, and before he could react, I pulled his head close, and planted a soft and quick kiss on his lips.

"I love you…" I babbled, burying my head on his shoulder, and squeezed me protectively, letting the sounds of the forest take over the awkward silence. The sun's rays flitted toward me, lighting up my face, and I could've sworn I saw a small smile creep out onto his face, before I closed my eyes, contentment filling me once more. I squeezed his hand, and let his warmth carry me away.

*flashback ends*

"Dolly, I think you've been crying too much." Evelyn said, as I looked up at her. "Wipe those tears off. Get your act together. You know that he loves you right?" She reasoned, and I nodded. "If he does, then he's coming back. Don't worry about it. Just keep your head high, and keep going. It's what he would've wanted you to do. Isn't that right honey?" she asked, and another voice responded.

"Oh, you bet." Maya said, taking a seat next to me, and I surprised her by wrapping her in a big hug.

“Oh Maya! I'm so sorry…. I totally ignored you these past few days." I croaked, my throat going raw from so much crying.

"Yeah, no kidding. I had to spend most of my time with Farkle. Just a friendly suggestion: DON'T ever bring up frogs. Ever." she said seriously, and I giggled, hiccuping.

"Man, I've missed you." I murmured, and she nodded.

"Me too…" she said quietly, and we both stood up.

"Thanks Evelyn, that really helped." I said thankfully, and she winked.

"Anything for my two dolls." she laughed, and together, Maya in arm, we walked off up the stairs, ready to face the world together. And I know, that Lucas will still love me. I smiled, the sun shining down on my pale face.

*Seven months later*

I swept my hair aside from my face, and stood at the line where the subway would be stopping. I tapped my foot impatiently, and sighed. Today was the first day of high school, and Maya just had to be sick.

"Of course, it had to be today to not be with me…" I groaned, and shoved my hands in my coat pocket, when I felt paper crinkling, and I pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. Haha… this is probably just junk Lucas had… I thought sadly, about to throw it away, when the handwriting on it caught my eye, and I unfolded it slowly, as a picture fell out. I bent over to pick it up when I gasped. It was Lucas. And he seemed to be holding someone, but he had cut out that part of the picture. What… what is this? I flipped the picture over, and looked at the words that were quickly scribbled onto the back.

"I love you… Princess?" I said curiously, a nagging feeling on the back of my head tempting me to open the paper, and I stopped, barely able to breathe.

"What?... He… he kept it?" I whispered, and looked back at the picture, taking a closer look. The person he was holding seemed to be wearing his coat, and I searched every corner for clues. What… what is this supposed to be? Me? I thought frantically, already sensing tears that were beginning to pool up and slide slowly on my face. Wow… good job Riley. You said you wouldn't cry half a year ago. And look at you, already crying just at the thought of him. I sobbed quietly, hugging myself as I stared at the photo, when the subway pulled up. Just in time. I-I need to distract myself. I thought to myself, firmly holding the photo, before stepping forward. I got about two feet forward, when l crashed into someone, and raised my head to scowl at them, but the person only smiled down at me, and I froze.

"Hey Princess." Lucas said, holding half a picture up at me, and after a split second, I realized it was me.

"What-" I began to say, but he pulled me in before the door closed, and I ran into him again, his arms around me.

"You still remember this?" he said, taking my hand, and connected the picture.

"I-" I gasped, realization hitting me, and I covered my mouth in surprise, tears beginning to roll down silently

"Yeah. It was at our hideout. I think you remember this pretty well." he said quietly, brushing a stray hair out of my face, and before I could respond, he had pulled me close, and kissed me, his lips rough, but inviting and warm. "I… I love you." he said quietly, and I nodded, sniffling.

"I love you too." I wrapped my arms around him, and he held me there for a few minutes, none of us moving. I took a deep breath, and laid my head gently on his shoulder, my broken heart melding and mending.

The end.

Thank you to those who inspired me, all these amazing musical artist that have inspired me and have a small part in this fanfiction. Their lyrics will continue to inspire me and this story for as long as it's alive. And thank you to my princess. This story wouldn't be possible without you.
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