Girl Abroad

: Part 9 – Epilogue
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Part 9 – April

OUR TIME IN SYDNEY ENDED TOO QUICKLY. I MEAN, I COULD definitely have done without the enormous bugs that look like they crawled out of some radiation experiment gone horribly wrong, but overall, the city was beautiful, and Jack’s family was wonderful. I had a very long flight to fret about what would happen if Jack’s mom hated me, but from the moment we walked in the door, Traci Campbell was warm and welcoming.

The only snag—once I confessed to being Gunner Bly’s daughter, the conversation took an awkward turn. Traci sent Oliver up to the attic for the box of vintage memorabilia from every single Australian concert or appearance my dad ever did. Turns out Jack’s mom was a superfan back in the day. Obsessed, actually. Charlie made a crack about their mom getting a shot at Gunner, and they proceeded to spend the week teasing us that Jack and I were going to end up stepsiblings if we let her near him.

Needless to say, Charlie isn’t my favorite brother.

It’s good to be back in London, though. For starters, it was nearly impossible to get a second alone while we were staying in a house with Jack’s mom, younger sister, and two of his three brothers. We found out real quick that the walls in the house were too thin to enjoy our new official status as a couple.novelbin

Now that we’re home, we can’t keep our hands off each other, much to Lee’s dismay.

Lee wasn’t quiet about his objections when we called a house meeting to lay it out for them. The words or else were thrown out quite a bit during his tirade. But we’ve assured him that this isn’t a fling counting down to a fiery expiration date. With everything we’ve been through already, I’d say we’ve both had ample time to figure out what we want. This is it.

Which means I’m now giving serious thought as to how I might permanently transfer to Pembridge to finish my degree. With summer fast approaching, I’m not ready to be an ocean away from Jack. I might need to call Dr. Wu for his advice on how to break the news to my poor dad. But hey, at the very least, that confrontation can’t possibly be as difficult as the one I had with Nate the other day.

He and I met up not long after I got back from Sydney. Swapped stories of our trips, talked about his plans for traveling this summer. He said he misses me. I think maybe he was testing the waters to make sure I’m not having second thoughts. I assured him I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and content with my decision. In the end, I think he’ll be happier on his travels going it solo. Nate’s a free spirit. He can’t be bound. I have a feeling that eventually we would have held each other back from our true paths.

Saying goodbye was hard, though. And literally a day later, there was another goodbye in store for me. After yet another house meeting, we agreed it was time to part ways with the tiny terror monster that prowls our house, his feline lordship Hugh. A week as the cat’s sole caretakers almost broke Lee and Jamie. Leading the charge, Jamie whined that he wants his sex life back and he’s tired of explaining all the scratches on his body to his bedmates.

Lee, in a rare moment of maturity, announced he was going to be honest with Lord Eric and confess that he does not—and never has or will—raise show cats. 𝓂𝓃𝓋.𝓂

So we took a vote and unanimously agreed to give Hugh to Mr. Baxley. I swear the stuffy, reserved man I’ve grown to adore almost shed a tear when he saw the murderous feline’s furry scowl. Something tells me there aren’t two more perfectly suited companions.

Almost as satisfying as Mr. Baxley’s new family member is the news I received from Sophie Brown at the beginning of April. My sleuthing proved fruitful: Sophie and her father are indeed blood-related to the Tulleys. The shocking part of it is Andrew Tulley, the duke himself, was overjoyed to learn his old friend Daniel Brown was actually a long-lost cousin. The duke assured Sophie that her dad, his cousin, would be taken care of for the rest of his life, no questions asked.

The cynical part of me thinks he extended the offer in order to stop Sophie and Daniel from going after his land and titles, but Sophie doesn’t want any of that nonsense anyway. All she ever cared about was ensuring her father was happy, healthy, and well looked after.

When I take stock of this last year, it still feels improbable that I arrived to where I am now. That a guy I was never supposed to meet would become such a vital part of my experience and the person I’m beginning to understand myself to be. Those are the happy accidents, I suppose. The twists of fate that conspire to trouble us, break us, and then fortify us. Make us stronger at the seams.

For so long, I thought what I wanted were stories of adventure and exploration, but what I needed was to find myself in the quiet moments. To find contentment in myself when I’m alone with my thoughts and there’s nowhere else to hide.

It was the only way I could truly understand my heart and bring myself around to where I was always meant to be.

This chapter is updated by 𝒻𝑤𝒷𝘯𝓋.𝓂