December 31, 2011
Ariella spent the morning in her room, researching and writing, unable to get her mind off of the faces of the people in all of those photos. Eventually, she napped, since that night would be long. After the performance and ball drop that would take place from nine to around twelve thirty, there was a party. Much like the Breaking Dawn after party, it was at a rented out venue, by invitation only. Mostly made up of various celebrities and their friends and families, it would be a chance to see her friends that she hadn't seen in ages.
She'd basically neglected to mention the after party to her parents, and her siblings had promised to keep quiet, and to letting Arielle do the talking when they left. She knew they would tell her not to go, but she had to. She wanted to be herself again, and have fun with her friends, her siblings, and her boyfriend. It would finally be a chance for them to have fun and be together in a place besides the hospital and the house.
She slept from noon to six, when she woke because the bed shifted as someone got on it, and then she felt a body against hers, arms wrap around her, lips against her cheek, his forehead resting against hers.
She smiled, slowly opening her eyes. "You're back," She said, "How was LA?"
"Alright. It was nice seeing the family and eating moms food," He smiled, "But I missed my girl a lot, it was tough not being able to be with her, I missed everything about her." he said, kissing her gently.
"Sounds like a lucky girl," She murmured, capturing his lips with hers again, kissing him with more intensity than they'd had in a while...since before she went into the hospital. "I missed you so much," She said truthfully. While she hated that he felt obligated to stay with her every day in the hospital, she grew accustomed to having him there all the time. He was stability, he made her feel safe, she needed him. She knew, they both knew, that their relationship was different than that of most people their age, famous or not. Neither of them really knew whether to think of their attachment and dependency as good or bad, but it was their life. They were in love, despite everything.
"I missed you, too," He murmured when they stopped for air.
"I've been feeling better, stronger," She said softly, their eyes on each other.
"Good, I'm glad," He said, kissing her chastely again.
"I think we should stay in the guest room tonight," She said softly, intertwining her fingers through his.
"Baby-" He began in a voice that told her he'd try to protest, so she didn't let him.
"I'm feeling better, I've gotten some strength back, and it's been two months since we've made love," She whispered. "I miss being with you that way. Don't you? I mean it's been a long time."
"Of course I miss being with you that way," He said gently, "But I'm more concerned with your health right now. I went nineteen years without having sex and I got by."
"I'm fine, though." She said, "I am. I want to be with you."
"You are with me," He smirked, and when she gave him a look, he said, "We'll see. After performing and all you have to do tonight, you could be exhausted."
"But you'll consider it?" She asked, and smiled when he nodded. "Good." She said, before cuddling closer to him, resting her head on his chest, saying, "I'm glad you're back."
"Me too," He said, "I love you."
"I love you too," She said back, just before there was a knock on the door. "Come in!"
Elizabeth opened the door and came in, greeting them, dropping her overnight bag on her bed, having just got back from Kathy's.
"Mary and Brooke got back the same time we did," Lizzie informed them, "Mary asked me to tell you to shower and everything, John Paul and Anika will be here soon. And she said to pack an overnight bag, they got hotel rooms because getting out of Times Square will be a bitch, and it'll be late."
"Ok, sounds good," Ariella said, thinking that was even better than her original plan: now she wouldn't have to lie to her parents about the party and what time they'd be back, since they'd be at the hotel anyway. She didn't say this to Lizzie, because Taylor was still in the dark of her intentions to go to the party. She knew he'd pull the 'you need to rest' card, so she'd just wait, and convince him later. She sighed, reluctantly sitting up. "I'm gunna get in the shower. I haven't in a few days." She laughed. "That's so bad."
"When Kathleen and Maureen had boyfriends they were obsessive about hygiene. So was I, when I was with Kyle," Lizzie laughed.
Ariella shrugged. "That wears off, you get lazy again. After we hit six months, when I was on break and didn't have performances or appearances for a while I stopped shaving my legs. It's so much work, so I figured if he really loves me, he'll love me regardless of whether or not my legs are hairy."
"I find it repulsive actually. I just don't want a song written about me breaking up with you cause of your hairy legs. It would make me look bad." He said, smiling up at her from his spot, laying down on the bed, arms around her waist still.
Laughing, she leaned down to kiss him. "Yea, ok. Now, I gotta shower. Be back soon." She said, getting up and heading into the bathroom.
In her absence, Taylor sighed and rolled over in bed, yawning.
"Jet lag?" Lizzie asked, as she unpacked the bag from Kathy's so she could repack if for tonight.
"A little. And I'm just tired, I didn't sleep well when I was away." He sighed.
"Cause she wasn't there?" Lizzie guessed, and smiled when he nodded. "You guys are so sickeningly cute."
"Thank you?" Taylor said, laughing slightly. "Tell her to wake me up in a little while, I'm gunna try and sleep." He said, shutting his eyes. An hour and a half later, he was shaken awake gently.
"Babe, come on, you gotta wake up," Ariella was saying softly. "You gotta pack some clothes and change."
Groaning at having to wake up, he stretched, slowly sitting up. When he opened his eyes, he was greeted by the sight of Ariella, dressed and made up for the first time in months.
She'd lost a lot of weight from the chemo, and so Anika had needed to take in her clothes a lot more than normal. Even made up and dressed nice, you could tell that she needed to put some weight on, but she still looked beautiful.
She had on dark wash skinny jeans with knee high, black leather, heeled boots over the jeans. She wore a soft pink colored, off the shoulder top with a black tank top underneath, and a black belt over it. She had a coat on over it for the trip, and for when the ball dropped, but part of Linda's conditions was that she had to perform inside instead of outside, and that she only go outside for the actual ball dropping. She had a dress and heels to change into for the party, but that was safely tucked away in her bag.
John Paul had curled the wig into a near perfect replica of her signature blonde curls, and had carefully secured the wig so well, that it wouldn't go anywhere during the next several hours. They'd done her makeup like normal, thought it felt kind of weird to wear makeup after not wearing it for so long. But, the makeup, clothes and finally looking like normal made her feel even better. She'd missed this, and she was beyond excited to perform.
He smiled at her. "You look beautiful, as always."
She smiled back. "Thanks. It feels good to be dressed and doing something again. I missed this."
"I'm glad you're happy," He said, kissing her cheek. "I'll be ready soon, give me ten minutes."
While Taylor went off to get ready, Lizzie and Ariella grabbed their bags and headed downstairs to wait. The others, with the exception of Mary, were all done and ready, and Phil had put everyone's bags into the car, and took the girls when they got there.
"You call me once you get to the hotel, ok?" Olivia said to Ariella. "This is nerve wracking, Times Square on New Years eve," She sighed.
"Don't worry, mom, I'll be fine. We all will be. We have my security, and there's cops and security everywhere. Literally, like every five feet." Ariella assured her.
"How do you feel?" Elliot asked, partly hoping he could find some reason to make her stay home.
"Perfect." She said. "I mean, a little tired, but that's normal. Besides that, everything's great. I feel great. I want to get back out there and do my thing, get things back to normal."
"But you're not completely normal yet, Rellie, you need to be careful." Olivia pleaded, "Don't hurt yourself."
"Mom," Ariella said gently, taking Olivia's hands. "I'll be fine, I promise. I'll call you as soon as we get to the hotel, and before that you can watch me on TV. Linda said it was ok as long as I know my limits, and I do. I need to do this. I'll be ok."
"Oh good," Mary said, rushing in just as Taylor came downstairs. He, too, was wearing dark wash jeans, and he had on a white button up shirt with tiny pink stripes, matching the color or Ariella's shirt. "We're all here," Mary said. "We have to get going."
"Nice shirt, man," Dickie commented, amused at the pink.
"She made me wear it." Taylor said, pointing to Anika.
"Hey, they're going to have pictures taken together, so they should match!" She defended.
"I think it looks great," Ariella said, "It's not even that pink, babe."
"Car, now!" Mary reminded them.
"Be careful," Olivia said, enveloping Ariella in a hug first, Elliot saying goodbye to the others first. "Remember to call. I love you, and goodluck."
"I will remember, I will be careful, I love you too, and thank you." Ariella said, hugging her tightly, before moving over, accepting the same words and a hug from her father as Olivia hugged her sisters and brother goodbye.
Minutes later, they were all in the car, headed for Times Square. It took a while to get through traffic, but eventually they made it to the studio, and Phil and Dan escorted them all in.
Walking hand in hand with Taylor, her siblings beside them, she finally felt normal again. This was where she belonged.
"So where are we going?" Dickie asked as they walked through the halls of NBC studios.
"To the lounge, it's where all the people performing and appearing can hang out before and during the show. No one is really outside in the cold for the whole thing, and there's still an hour before the show goes live, so people will be in there." Ariella told them as they reached the doors, and entered.
To her surprised and shock, when they entered, the talk silenced, and everyone clapped for her as she came in, calling out well wishes and happiness to have her there and well.
"Ariella Snow!" Ryan Seacrest exclaimed, close by, coming over and hugging her. "Welcome back my dear, we're so glad you were able to come out tonight." He said, shaking Taylor's hand.
"Hey Ryan, so am I!" She smiled. "It's nice to be back in the game. Hey, you know Brooke and Mary, but these are my sisters and brother, Lizzie, Maureen, Kathleen, and Dickie." she introduced. "Guys, this is Ryan."
"Ah yes, I've been dying to meet your long lost family!" Ryan exclaimed, "Are the parents here? Are they working? Their cops, right?"
"They're not here, and they are cops, but no they're not working tonight. My mom's on maternity leave, and my dad was injured in the line of duty, so he's off for a month. They're at home, they're gunna watch on TV."
"I'd love to meet them sometime. Maybe have all you on the radio show?" He said, fishing for guests.
"Maybe," Ariella smiled.
"Ms. Snow, welcome it's wonderful to have you here again this year," One of the coordinators said, approaching. "We have you scheduled as the last performance before the ball drops, you'll go on at about 11:30 PM. We have a stage set up in a room in here, and fans lined up yesterday to get wristbands to admit them inside during that. Your dressing room is all set up down the hall if you need to rest or to freshen up, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask." She smiled.
"Ok, thank you very much," Ariella said, before the coordinator handed Mary some papers, and hurried off.
"We're gonna go bring your stuff to the dressing room, be there by 10:45 but until then..have some fun," Mary said, smiling, before she and Brooke headed off.
"Rellie!" Two people called out at the same time, and they all turned to see Demi and Miley running over, two extra people in tow.
"Hey!" Ariella exclaimed, hugging both of them tight when they reached her. "How are you guys!"
"Better now! I'm so glad you came, we've missed you so much!" Demi exclaimed. She'd kept in contact with her friends via texting, but her energy levels had made it difficult at times.
"Yea, how're you feeling?" Miley asked, "If we didn't see you here, we were going to visit you tomorrow!"
"You should come hang out anyways!" Rellie said, "Do you have time?"
"I'm in town for a few days," Demi nodded, smiling.
"I'm leaving at noon tomorrow," Miley frowned. "Will you be back in LA soon?"
"Probably not, I'm not sure yet. I'm not allowed on a plane until I have doctor's approval. I'm shocked I was allowed here." She laughed. "Hey Liam!" She added, noticing Miley's boyfriend as one of the people that had come over with her two friends. "It's good to see you," She said, hugging him.
It was then that she came face to face with the other person that had approached with them: Selena Gomez.
Over the years, she'd done her best to avoid running into her, and had mainly succeeded. Demi, one of her best friends, was friends with her, and Ariella was accepting of that. They never had to interact, and as long as Demi didn't try to defend Selena's actions, Ariella had no problem.
Her siblings and boyfriend had been greeting Demi, Miley, and Liam, but eventually all realized that she was now staring down Selena.
"Hey Ariella," Selena said, friendly, hopeful. During the few times that they had run into each other, Selena had apologized countless times, tried to make nice, but Ariella had either ignored her every single time, or made some comment. But the past few days had gotten Rellie thinking a lot. She'd decided that when the clock struck midnight tonight, when the ball dropped and it became 2012, it would be a new beginning. She would let go of her grudges and fears (besides her feelings of hatred and contempt for Tom, because he fully deserved them), and start fresh. That way, whatever happened with her cancer, she wouldn't have any unresolved issues. New year, new life.
So, to the surprise of everyone, Ariella smiled nicely and said, "Hey, Selena. How are you?"
She looked shocked, but grateful, and she smiled with relief. "Alright, thanks. How are you? I was so happy to hear about finding your family, you deserve it, that's awesome." She said.
"Thanks, it's been a great experience, it's given me a whole new life almost. And I've been alright, too." Ariella said, and then further shocked everyone. "Maybe you and I could get coffee or something sometime."
"Really?" Selena asked, shocked.
"You hurt me, Selena." Ariella said plainly, "But I've been hurt much worse, and that wasn't by you. People change, people make mistakes and do awful things, but that doesn't always make them an awful person. I've forgiven Nick, and so I can forgive you, and we can try to move on." She said. "Besides," She added, "Nick was never meant to be my one and only, and by realizing he wasn't the one, I found the one." She smiled, looking up at Taylor as he put an arm around her shoulders. "So really," She nodded, looking at the girl she had once called her friend, "Let's get coffee sometime."
"Sure," Selena smiled, nodding, just as her stepdad/manager called her over. "I have to go but I'll see you later and...thank you." She said softly, sincerely.
Ariella smiled and nodded, waving as Selena walked off, while everyone else looked at her, surprised.
"What?" She asked, shrugging. "It's time for change." She smiled, "Come on, let's have fun!"
At eleven thirty-five that night, Elliot and Olivia had the television tuned into NBC, the network that aired the New Years Eve Special. They weren't paying close attention and instead were making out, that is, until Olivia heard Ryan Seacrest.
"And now, from inside the studio, in her first performance and public appearance since going into treatment for her cancer, please give it up for Ariella Snow!"
"It's her," She said, pulling away, and they both put their attention on the TV. The camera switched from Ryan, bundled up outside, to inside the studio. The stage had been set up just for Ariella, her band's equipment and her band right in place to the sides and back of her, and she was standing at the microphone, guitar hanging from her body thanks to a strap across her shoulders, looking happier than she had in a long time.
Taylor, Dickie, and the girls, along with Demi, Miley, and Selena (to the audience's surprise) who had already performed, were off to the side, not in view of the camera, and the room was full of fans that had stood in line to get wristbands.
The band went right into the first of the two songs she was scheduled to perform, Long Live.
Playing guitar right along with her band, Ariella was smiling as she began to sing. "I said remember this moment, in the back of my mind. The time we stood with our shaking hands, the crowds in stands went wild. We were the kings and the queens, and they read off our names...the night you danced like you knew our lives would never be the same. You held your head like a hero, on a history book page. It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age." She sang beautifully, like nothing had ever been wrong. Grinning as she sang, she went into the chorus, tossing her guitar off to a stage hand, and dancing to the music.
"Long live the walls we crashed through, while the kingdom lights shined just for me and you! I was screaming long live, all the magic we made, and bring on all the pretenders, one day, we will be remembered."
"Who would've though our kid would feel at home on a stage," Olivia smiled, seeing how happy she was, how amazing she was, listening to her and watching how she commanded the stage.
"I said, remember this feeling, I passed the pictures around, of all the years that we stood there on the sidelines, wishing for right now!" Ariella sang out, gesturing out to the audience, who cheered louder. "We were the kings and the queens, you traded your baseball cap for a crown. When they gave us our trophies, and we held them up for our town! And the cynics were outraged, screaming, this is absurd...'cause for a moment a band of thieves, in ripped-up jeans got to rule the world!" She was enjoying being back, singing and dancing with her band, grateful she was able to do this for her fans, for herself.
"Long live the walls we crashed through, while the kingdom lights shined just for me and you. I was screaming, long live all the magic we made, and bring on all the pretenders, I'm not afraid! Long live all the mountains we moved, I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you," She sang, pointing out to the camera, gesturing to the audience, her band, and her friends and family off to the side. "I was screaming, long live the look on your face, and bring on all the pretenders, one day we will be remembered."
Her body was aching slightly, not used to all the movement and the work it was taking, but no one would guess it as she went into the bridge, voice as strong as ever. "Hold on to spinning around, confetti falls to the ground, may these memories break or fall...And you take a moment, promise me this...that you'll stand by me forever, but if God forbid fate should step in, and force us into a goodbye, if you have children someday...when they point to the pictures, please tell them my name! Tell them how the crowds went wild, tell them how I hope they shine!"
She was slightly worried at how she felt so tired already, but was determined not to let it ruin her night, and finished strong. "Long live the walls we crashed through, I had the time of my life with you. Long, long live the walls we crashed through! All the kingdom lights shined just for me and you, and I was screaming, long live all the magic we made, and bring on all the pretenders, I'm not afraid! Singing, long live all the mountains we moved, I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you! And long, long live the look on your face, and bring on all the pretenders, one day...we will be remembered."
The crowds, both in and outside of the building erupted into cheers, and nothing could wipe the big smiled off of her face. "Thank you so much," She said into the microphone, "I'm so glad I could get out here and share my New Years Eve with all of you! Now, for my last song of the night, it's one important to me. Many of you know the life I had before this, and you also know what my life is like now. Not only do I have the best job, and best fans in the world, but I've been blessed with an amazing boyfriend, and friends, and most recently, the best family I could ever ask for. So, I want to bring my amazing friends and family that are here with me tonight to dance and sing with me, because I want to remind you all as we go into 2012, that things change." She smiled, waving Lizzie, Dickie, Maureen, Kathleen, Taylor, Miley, and Demi up onto the stage.
Selena stayed off to the side, but Ariella waved her up too, and so, shocked, she stepped up the stairs onto the stage, and accepted a microphone from the stage hand that handed one to her, Miley, and Demi.
They hadn't rehearsed the song with the four of them singing, but Ariella didn't care, she just began to sing. "Well it's a sad picture, the final blow hits you, somebody else gets what you wanted again. You know it's all the same, another time and place, repeating history and you're getting sick of it. But I believe in whatever you do, and I'll do anything to see it through!"
Demi, Miley, and Selena, smiling and clapping their hands, dancing along with her siblings and boyfriend, and the crowd, joined her for the chorus. "Because these things will change, can you feel it now? These walls that they put up to hold us back will fall down, this revolution, the time will come, for us to finally win! And we sing hallelujah, we sing hallelujah!"
To anyone out the outside, it would seem as though they'd rehearsed it, because without any confusion, Miley sand the next verse with Ariella. "So we've been outnumbered, raided and now cornered. It's hard to fight when the fight ain't fair. We're getting stronger now, find things they never found, they might be bigger, but we're faster and never scared!" Miley faded out, and Selena took over for the next line with her.
"You can walk away, say we don't need this! But there's something in your eyes, says we can beat this."
They all joined in for the chorus, even her sisters were singing, though they didn't have mics. "Cause these things will change, can you feel it now? These walls that the put up to hold us back will fall down, this a revolution, the time will come, for us to finally win. And we sing hallelujah, we sing hallelujah."
Ariella and Demi took over the second to last verse of the song, sounding great together, happy. "Tonight we'll stand, get off our knees, fight for what we've worked for all these years. And the battle was long, it's the fight of our lives, but we'll stand up champions tonight!"
The four girls shared the microphones with everyone, and her sisters sang with them while Dickie and Taylor just chose to stand back. "It was the night things changed, do you see it now? These walls that they put out to hold us back fell down. It's a revolution, throw your hands up, cause we never gave in! And we'll sing hallelujah, we sang hallelujah, hallelujah."
The crowd erupted into cheers, and Ariella smiled, hugging everyone on stage with her, blowing kisses to the audience, waving before it cut back outside, to Ryan, who was smiling. "And that was Ariella Snow, coming up after the break she'll join us outside for a few questions, and of course the main event! See you in a few!"
The show cut to commercial, and Olivia smiled, letting her head rest against Elliot's chest.
"Can Dickie, Eli, or any of the girls sing?" Olivia asked.
"Not that I'm aware of. Well, not well enough for them to want to do it in front of other people normally. I hear Lizzie singing in the shower when I walk by the bathroom sometimes."
"Well that means that Ariella's talent totally comes from me." She smiles, laughing. "I'm glad we let her go." She adds softly. "You can tell how happy she was."
"Me too," He sighed. "It was good for her. That's her normal, as strange as it is. Performing for thousands, singing on stage. That's part of who she is."
"She's so many things," Olivia smiles. "So many amazing things. Every day, she amazes me."
"It never stops." Elliot tells her. "It will keep happening for forever. Same with this one," He smiles, letting his hands slide over her tummy.
"I was sixteen weeks yesterday," She murmurs, smiling. The tiny baby bump was getting more defined. Though it could still be seen as just Olivia putting on some extra weight, it was becoming clearer that it was a baby, not just food.
"One more month and you'll be halfway there." He smiles. "Are you excited?"
Smiling, she nods. "Yea. Very."
"When do you want to get married?" He asks then, lacing his hand through hers, the diamond glittering in the light.
"Not until after the baby is here, and Ariella's gotten the transplant and is all set. I don't want to be pregnant at my first and only wedding, and she needs to be there. Both of them do, it wouldn't be right otherwise." She says, looking up at him, kissing him, just before the show came back.
In Times Square, now bundled up in coats and scarves, Ariella and Taylor were out with Ryan, along with Miley, Liam, Demi, Selena, and the few other stars that had appeared to perform. Only the celebrities brought in by the network were allowed in that area, so Ariella's siblings were watching from a different, off camera area still close by.
"We're back, only seven minutes away from two thousand twelve, with all of our lovely stars. I just want to ask Ms. Ariella some questions. How did it feel to be back?" He asked.
Grinning, holding the microphone in her mitten covered hand, she says, "Amazing! I've missed performing and being out there with the fans so much, so it was great to be able to come out here tonight."
"Everyone's wondering, are you out of the woods completely now?"
"Not completely. I'm in remission again, and by the end of next year I should be completely out of the woods, well, as much as possible. It's going to be a long road, but I'm not going to stop fighting. And right now, I'm all good, so that's what matters," She smiles.
"So are you going to be getting back out there until you go back to treatment?" Ryan questions.
"Oh of course!" Ariella exclaims, "I want to get into the studio and get started on my album, get as much of that done as possible, I'll probably get some work done for Gotta Give, my TV show, and I have a new project I'm very passionate about and want to get up and running as soon as I can to share with everyone."
"And what might that be?" Ryan inquired.
"That is a secret!" Ariella exclaimed, and Elliot and Olivia glanced at each other, weary. "But just know that I'm going to be back out there, 2012 is going to be a great year!"
"Great, thanks Ariella," Ryan smiles, "Now, as always before we hit midnight and it's 2012, let's take it inside to Dick Clark!"
The man behind the new years eve show began to speak, as Olivia asked, "Should we be worried about what she's plotting?"
"I have no idea," Elliot says, "I hope not."
"Maybe she'll tell us," Olivia said, just as the countdown began. "New year." Olivia said, looking up at him. "Look at how much has changed in a year." She remarked.
"So much," He said, "But I wouldn't change it for anything. We'll be right here next year. Or, at least, we'll be together, counting down." He promises. "Forever, Liv. I promise."
"Me too," She says softly, and then they both count down with everyone from TV.
"10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!" The scream in Times Square is deafening as the ball drops and confetti starts to fly, everywhere couples are kissing, including up near the ball. Ariella, grinning, had turned to Taylor, wrapping her arms around his neck as they kissed, promising each other another year.
Olivia and Elliot were doing the same thing.
Lizzie, Dickie, Maureen, and Kathleen weren't kissing anyone, but they hugged each other, happy. All of them, though, were all thinking the same thing. That it was crazy how much had changed that year, that the next year would be different, and that hopefully, 365 days from now, they would be celebrating with the family bigger by one person, and the curing of Ariella's cancer fueling the celebration.
Whew! That was a long chapter, the second longest of the whole story! Hope you all got through it, and enjoyed it! I didn't get to fit in Ariella's plans, but I thought the new year chapter was important. The new year's going to bring a lot for everyone, so I thought I should ring it in nicely :) The next chapter will involve her plan though! Do you think we can get to 300 reviews this chapter? So close! I love you all, and I hope you enjoyed!