We have come to the end of this story. I have loved writing these chapters and seeing everyone's support and love for it and will always cherish this story as one of the first stories I wrote after returning from my hiatus. Of course, do not worry, I still have stories that will be out biggest thank you to my wonderful, wonderful readers once more. Enjoy the final chapter of Never Gonna Love Again.
And thank you for all of the reviews. I may not always include them, but I've seen them and they always make me smile.
No One's POV
The party was in full-swing.
After everyone had been assured that Maleficent had been defeated, they had gone to the after-party celebration to dance and eat food. Fairy Godmother and Aurora and Phillip had told Ben to worry about any punishments for Audrey tomorrow.
"Go and spend time with your lovely girlfriend, King Ben." Fairy Godmother had teased. And now here was Ben, watching by the buffet tables as Mal was dragged onto the dancefloor by Evie and Lonnie. Carlos bounced Dude up and down in his arms as he and Jay talked to Jane.
It had been a long day. He was king. Maleficent was a talking lizard. His girlfriend unloaded one of the most guarded memories of her life in front of everyone in the cathedral.
But it felt like they could breathe now.
Mal's admission made him feel a bit proud. He had been able to help her open her heart. She was able to learn to love him again.
And he couldn't wait for more of it, all of it with her, in the future.
"Hey, King Ben." Mal said, a bit out-of-breath as she bounced up next to him, a smile plastered on her face. Her purple hair was stuck to her forehead from sweat.
Evie had given her an extra dress to change into after her coronation one had been ripped in the ordeal with Maleficent. It was beautiful, a dark purple knee-length dress with dragon-like sleeves. It fitted Mal perfectly. She wore a silver headband that looked almost exactly like a little tiara and Ben was certain Evie didn't make that as a coincidence.
"That sounds so weird coming from you, Miss I-am-too-cool-to-call-royals-by-their-titles."
Mal huffed. "I was going to come give you a kiss, but I guess you don't-"
She was cut off when Ben grabbed her arm, twisting her back around and pressing his lips to hers, dipping her lightly. She squealed into the kiss, grabbing his arm with one hand then looping her other around his neck. The cameras from the paparazzi started flashing insistently and Ben pulled her back upright, both of them laughing. He pulled her into his embrace, leaning his head against hers.
"I love you," he whispered, cupping her cheek. Mal's laugh was suddenly brighter than all of the lights at the venue. "I think I fell in even more love when you gave your mother that speech."
"Well, it was true," Mal leaned into his touch. "It's weird to see her as… A, um, lizard. But I'll be able to live my life without her breathing down my neck, you know?"
"And I love you. It feels good to be able to say it without my weird overthinking-it thoughts."
"Say it again."
"I love you."
"One more time."
She reached up on her tippy toes to kiss his cheek. "I love you."
Ben grinned. "I still can't believe that."
"That I love you? I've said that a million times now," Mal grabbed a strawberry from the banquet table they were standing near and popped it into her mouth, savoring the taste.
"I'll never get tired of hearing it."
"Wanna get out of here?"
Ben's eyes widened. "Won't everyone be looking for us?"
"Don't be scandalized, Ben, I'm not stealing you away to make out," Mal paused, the gears in her brain turning. "Well, actually, maybe I'll sneak a few kisses here and there. No, I wanna show you the stars."
"I can see them here." Ben said, pointing upwards. Mal rolled her eyes as she grabbed his hand and dragged him away, pulling him through a side entrance of the castle.
"How do you know…"
Mal grinned as she led him up a spiral staircase, glancing back at him with her shiny green eyes. "I had Carlos get a blueprint of the castle and studied it for a few nights."
"You'll love it! This way, we can sneak around."
"Why, Miss Mal, are you insinuating that you're going to kidnap me?"
Mal laughed. "Maybe. You'd let me, wouldn't you?" She nudged open a door and they ended up sitting on the windowsill in the tower, her head leaning on his shoulder as their bare feet tangled off the edge. From their perch they could see the party still happening, the colorful dots that were their friends and peers dancing.
"Constellations. Harry knew all of them," Mal murmured as she stared at the sky. The arm that was looped around her squeezed her tighter. "His mum taught them to him, before she died. You couldn't see stars on the Isle, so he'd draw them for me."
"I love constellations, too," Ben smiled gently at Mal. "I think they're a sign."
"That everyone has a story. And everyone has their own constellation to show their story."
"What would our story be?"
"Look at that star. You see that one?" Ben pointed and Mal nodded her head. "It kinda looks like a crown to me."
"It does," Mal agreed, squinting. She saw a lone star, sparkling brightly, almost outshining the others. "That one is the tip of a dragon wing."
"That's us." Ben whispered.
Mal smiled as Ben leaned in and their eyes closed as they kissed, his hand coming up to cup her cheek.
The star shone even more.