Even If.

"You'd love me? Even if it's not you who I choose?" I whispered to him.
"Even if," he swore.

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24. Twenty.

"Are you alright?" my dad asked me as I slipped into his car and shut the door behind me, with Zeus on my lap.

"Well hello to you too, dad," I chuckled and tried to lighten the mood.

"Beth, I'm serious. Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," I lied and he could tell. My eyes were puffy and red and I looked like a monster.

"No you're not. Was it a boy?"

"How did you know?" I asked.

"Well, I had to wait here for 10 minutes because he wouldn't leave your front door," he smiled slightly and offered his hand to me. I took it gladly and weakly smiled at the comfort. The car was idled and I knew he wouldn't leave until I started talking.

"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked. When he said that, it brought me back to all the times he'd say the same thing to me as a kid. I'd get teased or pushed down at school and he could always tell when I wasn't okay. He'd always ask if it was okay to talk about it before we ever talked, and I liked how I had the say on whether or not we'd talk.

"Yeah," I sniffled, "I do."

*-*

The flight wasn't too long. About an hour and a half was all it was, so I took advantage of the time and began telling my dad everything that had happened since I moved to London, including everything that happened with Jack and Finn. He didn't talk or interrupt much, he just listened intently and nodded and gasped in turn of what I was telling him.

Once I was finished, we sat in silence for a few moments, contemplating everything I'd just shared.

"I've gotten myself into quite a mess, haven't I," I sighed.

"But Beth, love is the most beautiful mess you can find yourself in," he replied easily and looked me in the eyes. 

I took this time to look at him. I studied his face for the first time since he'd reappeared. 

He still had his big old glasses on and it almost made me laugh. He had always hated his glasses because they were huge, but none of the other pairs looked quite right on him so he always wore the same old framed glasses. Now people wear them as a fashion statement and no one probably gives him weird looks anymore because they're so popular.

His hair had gotten slightly longer than it's usual shagginess, and it looked better taken care of, though it would always be hard for him to tame his unruly hair, no matter how healthy it was. His ears still pointed through his hair because they were so big. Donkey ears- he used to call them, though they weren't really that bad.

His eyes were still as piercing as ever, in their bright green shade. 

All in all, my father had gotten even more handsome than he was when he left me.

I looked back forward at the seat in front of me, deep in thought about what he'd just said.

"I guess so," I grinned as I remembered all the good things that came out of loving both Jack and Finn.

"But Beth, judging by these boy's actions, you are going to have to decide. Soon," he warned me.

"I know," I sighed.

"No Beth, I mean really soon. Like when we get back," he nodded and adjusted his glasses that had begun to fall off his nose.

"When we get back? Why so soon?" I panicked.

He put his hand on my shoulder to steady me. "Even with the little I've gathered, those guys are lovesick. The longer you wait-"

"-the harder it will be. I know," I sigh, "how did you know they felt like that for me? What have you seen?"

"I told you I watch your videos. I could see the way they look at you and you look at them. And when I showed up on your birthday, I saw through the window that one of the boys was looking for you. Finn, I think. And we can't forget that Jack episode from earlier today," he reminded me and my face flushed red.

"It's okay. I'm glad you're getting some attention. You really do deserve it," he smiled and I hit him on the arm lightly with a chuckle.

"Have I not told you that you're beautiful?" he told me, just like he used to when I was little.

"About a million times in my lifetime," I rolled my eyes.

"Well make that a million and one times because Beth, you are absolutely beautiful and I'm proud to call you my daughter," he smiled at me. At that moment, every doubt and bad feeling that I had felt towards him, disappear. He made some mistakes, but so have I, and at the end of the day, he's my dad and he's the only family I've got. I'm not letting him go.

"Thanks dad," I smiled, "you're looking better too, I see. How's that wife of yours?"

"Long gone. We never even got married. She left me for some other guy," he told me without a twinge of hurt or regret.

"I'd say I feel bad for you, but you had it coming," I laughed.

"I know I did. I just wished I could've convinced your mother to take me back," he sighed.

"Well, you probably would have to come and talk to her for that to happen."

"I did come back. She wouldn't even let me in the house and she certainly wouldn't let me near you," he admitted.

"You what?" I asked him breathlessly as the thought of that sunk in. He tried to see me. 

"What, you thought that I never tried to get you back? I fought so hard for you. Didn't you get any of my letters?" he asked me and my heart skipped a beat. He sent me letters too?

"You sent me letters?" I managed to breathe out.

"I sent you one almost every week, even when you didn't reply."

"I bet mom was the one who would take them. I never saw even one of them," I told him.

"Well your mother probably has them stashed somewhere, if you want them."

"Oh, I want them." I smiled.

*_*

"To my ex husband, William McKay Stark, I leave all of the money to my name." the lawyer read off of the crinkled notebook sheet my mother had written her will on. I bet she really did love him still, or she wouldn't have left him anything.

"To my daughter, Elizabeth Anne Stark, I leave all of my possessions and my home on 121 Wood's Crossing."

Not surprising. She had nobody else to leave her things to.

The lawyer laid down the sheet of paper and shuffled through his desks until his hand was clasped around a crisp white envelope. He handed it to my father.

"This was all the money we took out of her bank account," he explained as my father pulled out a pristine white check. He glanced at it and his eyes grew big.

"One hundred thousand pounds!" he exclaimed.

"What?!"

I craned my neck so I could look at the check. Written on the small line was indeed, 100,000 pounds.

We both had confided in each other that we thought she had almost no money. She sure didn't act like she did.

"Elizabeth, do you want to keep the house your mother left you?" the lawyer turned to me. I shook my head. Too many bad memories.

"As usual. I'll call up the Realtor and have the house cleaned up. First, you will be asked to go through the house and take everything you want, for it is now rightly yours," he explained and I nodded.

"In that case, I'd be betting that the house is worth approximately 270,000 pounds. It probably won't be for sale long. The house is placed in a neighborhood that is popular and hard to get into. You will get all the money after it gets cleared and taxed. It will probably take a month before it will all get downloaded into your bank account," he reported to me.

"I am sorry for your loss," he added and we nodded before getting up and leaving.

"What are you going to do with one hundred thousand pounds, dad?" I asked him with a laugh.

"You'll figure out soon enough," he smiled knowingly before folding the envelope and sticking it in his blazer pocket.

"Let's go home," he said once we were sat inside the rental car.

"I'm not sure where home is anymore," I chuckled.

"Then let's go where it all started."

*_*

Dad started the fire while I perused the house, searching for anything close to value. It was strange seeing the place cleaned. They must have sent maids in.

My eyes scanned all the pictures hanging on the wall, and I tried to determine which ones were worth taking back to my house. I couldn't take everything, that was all I knew. I didn't have the room.

I reached out to grab a picture that caught my eye. When I looked at it closely I saw that it was a picture of me with both my mom and dad, and we were playing in the snow. I was about 5 when the picture was taken and I didn't really remember the day that was captured. We were all laughing and you could tell we where all extremely happy at the time. 

I slipped that picture into the box labeled "Keep".

My eyes landed on another one and I instantly grabbed it. I remembered seeing this one all the time. It was my favorite picture. 

It was of my father and me. We were both sitting on the brown recliner by the fire and I was snuggled up against him and sleeping. He was looking down at me with a look of so much love that it almost brought tears to my eyes.

I also slipped that one into the box.

None of the other framed pictures meant that much to me, so I left them there. What did interest me was the box of unframed photos that my mother kept in a cabinet in her room. I knew there would be some good pictures in there, so I walked into her room to find it.

I was overwhelmed when the scent of her surrounded me. Before she always stank of alcohol, she smelled of warm vanilla. 

I brushed off the nostalgia I was feeling and walked towards her closet, thrusting the door open. 

Instantly, my eyes landed on the two small boxes filled with photographs, but it was buried beneath other boxes, so I began sifting through the boxes above it.

I lifted the lid of the box on top and squealed with delight. My father's letters were all stacked neatly in the box. I grabbed the box out of the closet and set it on her bed. 

I continued looking and I found a box that was full of notebooks.

Curious, I grabbed the one on top and opened it. Once I saw the writing, I knew exactly what these notebooks were. They were filled with the poems that she wrote and used to read to me every night.

I immediately grabbed all the notebooks and began stacking them on her bed. I was definitely taking these.

I finally reached the boxes of photos after looking through boxes of old clothes and things. In one of the boxes was her old camera, and it was really vintage and cool looking, so I decided to take that too.

One by one, I carried each of the items that I had recovered into the living room where my father stood by the fire, looking through the books she kept on a shaky old brown book case.

"Does she still have the old poetry books?" I asked him and he nodded and started pulling each of them out for me.

He handed me a stack of four books. I nodded and set them in the box of keeps.

"I found something else you might want to keep," he dug his hands through his pocket and held out a ring to me.

"It's the wedding ring of ours that she kept. You can probably get some good money out of it. I saved ages for it. It's Tiffany," he smiled at the memories of when their marriage was still healthy and happy.

"Thanks," I smiled and took the ring. I stuck it in my pocket. I didn't want it to get lost or crushed in the box.

"I think I'm done here," I sighed and he nodded.

"Me too," he agreed.

He helped me carry the box to the car. 

I looked back at the old house and finally said goodbye to my old life, before we drove away, never to return.

*_*

I sat up on the hotel bed and yawned as I looked at the time. 9:30 in the morning.

I glanced over at my dad, who was still sleeping in the bed next to mine. His glasses were askew and his mouth hung open. I chuckled. He always had slept weird.

I slipped into the shower and began to think of what I was going to do that day. The funeral wasn't until the day after and we had nowhere to be.

Then, a thought entered my mind and I knew where to go.

I hurried out of the shower and began to get ready. I didn't wear anything too special, just jeans and a maroon colored Jack Wills sweatshirt that the Crew had gotten me for my birthday. I dried my hair and decided to leave it wavy, and I put on a little bit of makeup. Not too much, just concealer, mascara, and a thin line of eyeliner.

I wrote my dad a note saying where I was going and slipped my converse and coat on before leaving the hotel. I was just going to walk, as my destination was only two blocks away.

I clutched my coat closer to me as the chill hit me. It did get rather cold in Cheshire.

I walked in a daze, not a thought entering my mind. It was like I'd temporarily forgotten how to think.

The back door was always unlocked, so I went through it before I strutted down the halls of my old high school.

It was just as I remembered, with rows of junky blue lockers lining the edges of the hallways. I stopped as I reached locker number 1190. My old locker.

I put my back against the locker and edged down to the floor. I just sat there, legs crossed, remembering all the horrid memories. 

Why I wanted to go back to my high school was a mystery to me, considering how bad the memories were from here where Luke bullied me. My guess was that I needed some sort of closure before I could really say goodbye to my old life.

Footsteps broke me out of my reverie, and I lifted my head, waiting to see a guard who would come and throw me out. But that's not what I saw. 

Instead, I saw him, running down the hall with a cheeky grin on his face that was contagious to anyone who set eyes on him. The smile spread on my face and I stood up to meet him.

He wrapped his arms around me and buried his head in the crook of my neck. That's when it all came together in my head.

I knew the answer all along, but I was just too stubborn to see it.

I let go from the hug and our lips met, and we kissed. It wasn't just any kiss; we kissed like we invented it. He held me and I held him and it just felt right, the way we fit together.

"I always knew it would be you," I whispered into the kiss, and I could feel him smile.

*_*

Author's note:

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA ANOTHER CLIFHANGER :) 

So now we all know that Beth has chosen....... BUT WHO DID SHE CHOOSE?

I made this chapter so fricken long, to make up for my crappy updating schedule. 

Also, this chapter is called Reading Wills while Wearing Wills and I would just like to clarify that she's READING HER MOM'S WILL and then later she WEARS A JACK WILLS SWEATSHIRT haha yeah I ran out of ideas.

Thank you SOOOO much for all the support you guys give me! This story has just reached 5.3K reads and more and more people are reading and ahhhh I just love you guys! Thanks for reading:)

Don't forget to vote and comment who you think Beth chose, Finn or Jack!

Love you guys!

-Hannalizzy

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

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