One Year Later

Things were finally back to normally after Jude and Tommy returned to Toronto. E.J. had been none to pleased with Jude for taking off like that, especially considering how close the album was to completion stage. The final stretch of mixing and producing was always the most hectic and she lectured Jude for a good hour once she got a hold of her.

Darius had been back to the studio before the mess with Angie happened to offer Tommy a chance to renew his contract. Tommy turned it down and said he wanted to stay on with G-Major and work for Georgia. And with Jude, of course. They've been working together solidly for the last two years. Plus he was resuming work on his own album.

And speaking of Tommy, Jude lost the pass. It wasn't for her lack of trying, though. But the man had a lot more experience than she ever would have imagined and he'd played all of her weakness to his advantage. Angie had pointed out later, though, that there were really no losers in a situation like that.

Johnny moved back to Toronto after his contract ran out and Angie followed shortly after. Jude had been a little skeptical at how everything was going to work out, but when Angie had shown up in the studio one day and Tommy had simply nodded at her, she had a feeling things would work themselves out eventually.

Tommy never went to go see his son. He said maybe he would one day, but now just wasn't the right time. Isaac was just too young and he didn't want to confuse him and uproot his life like that. She could still remember him saying that this was his chance to be the kind of father that his never was and it was then that she knew he was going to make a great dad some day, despite his worries.

They never heard anything else about Tony Abbot—the man from Ace Records that had shown up to Jude's party. It was a little unsettling to her that they never heard from him again, but she stopped worrying about it. It was like he just disappeared one day and Jude had a feeling that Tommy knew what was going on, but he never mentioned the name to her again.

Her nightmares stopped, too. She couldn't remember the last time she had one and she never saw the faceless man again. And she wasn't going to complain about it, either, especially now that things were starting to settle down.

During the next anniversary of their car crash, Jamie spent the entire day with Jude and didn't drink a single drop of alcohol. Instead, they spent the entire day, just the two of them, telling stories about Kat, looking through all of their old pictures. And when the day was winding down and the sun was setting, they went to Kat's grave together and just talked. It'd been therapeutic for both of them and she felt like they were both ready to truly move on from it all.

Apparently they weren't the only ones ready to move on, though. One thing that had confused the hell out of Jude was when Johnny and Sadie suddenly announced they were dating! Jude had been devastated when Sadie and Kwest called things off, but he seemed to be okay with everything. Johnny had told her that he and Sadie had dated a long time ago and the feelings just never really went away. Apparently when he'd come back to Toronto, Sadie hadn't realized how much she'd missed having him in her life until she saw him again. Of course, seeing him with another woman probably helped light a fire under Sadie's butt.

She'd been stunned at first, but she was surprisingly okay with everything. And the prospect of having Johnny as a future brother-in-law didn't exactly suck, either. The only one she was really worried about was Kwest. She'd come to care about him like a brother and she knew how much he cared about her sister. But he was evidently fine with everything, especially since Kwest and Angie seemed to be getting closer every day . . .

Now, she was currently in Studio B, trying to work out some kinks in her new batch of songs.

"Hey Big Eyes," Tommy said from the doorway. She looked up from her writing journal and smiled at him, feeling the familiar flutter that he always enticed. "What are you working on?"

She shrugged and tossed him the notebook. "Just working on editing some stuff from the last tour I went on."

He raised a brow after he tore his eyes away from one of the pages. "I thought you showed me all the stuff after you got back. You holding out on me?"

"There were just some songs that I wasn't ready to unleash yet," she admitted. "They were a little personal."

"Even too personal for me?" he asked quietly.

She smiled at his pouting eyes. "I just wanted to work on them on my own, Tommy. That's all. They were really rough around the edges and needed fixing."

He huffed and Jude resisted the urge to laugh. "I could have helped, you know. That's kind of my job."

"It is," she agreed. "That's actually kind of something I wanted to talk to you about."

Tommy groaned and his head fell in his hands. "Oh God, you're not firing me again are you? You know it never sticks and it's really just a big waste of time—"

Then she did laugh. Over the last year, she must have fired him more times than she could count on both hands. They always made up a day later. Two at the most. And making up was always the best part. "No, I'm not firing you."

He breathed an audible sigh of relief and sank back into his chair. "Good. So then what's up?"

"Well, for my next album, I was thinking maybe we could . . . share responsibilities?"

There was complete silence before he cleared his throat. "Share responsibilities? Okay, I'm not exactly sure I understand what you mean."

"Well, I wanted to do a collaborative effort for the next set of tracks. Like you, me, and Johnny."

His brows rose up to his forehead. "All three of us?"

She lifted a shoulder in response. The idea was truly appealing to her and she'd been thinking about it for a long time. Plus, she missed working with Johnny. "Yeah, why not? The three of us make a great team. We all worked on that one song together a while back and it went really well. It flew to the top of the charts, if I recall correctly. And I may have let it slip to Georgia and she's absolutely in love with the idea."

He sighed, but when he looked up, he was grinning. "That's going to mean a lot more work for you, babe. You realize, that, right?"

"I'm up for it. It's not like I have school or college or anything like to worry about. I could stand the challenge."

"That means early mornings," he teased.

She scowled. "I can handle it."

"Some days it means early mornings and late nights with minimal breaks."

"I know the drill, Tommy," she practically growled out.

Then he laughed and his eyes crinkled at the sides. She forced herself not to sigh out loud at the sight. She was getting irritated with him. He wasn't allowed to be cute. "You're going to hate this part of the job, babe. You won't last a month."

Then she was grinning like a Cheshire cat. Oh, this was the perfect opportunity to get her chance at that pass again. "Care to make a wager on that?"

He seemed to realize what she was thinking because he rolled his eyes, still chuckling. "Let me guess. Winner gets a free pass?"

"But of course," she said with a nod.

"Babe, you're still sore about that? That happened like a year ago. Just let it go," he said, smile still in place. Well, it was more of a smirk now. Jude could only imagine he was remembering what he did with that pass and the memory caused her to blush cherry red.

"What's the matter? You chicken shit?" she goaded.

He snickered and tried covering it up with a cough. "Of course not. I'm just remembering the result of the last bet we made. You couldn't walk properly for two days."

Once more, her face flushed like a tomato. "Shut up," she mumbled. "And while your concern is touching," she said sarcastically, "it's unnecessary because I won't lose this time. I'll pull my weight just fine."

He cocked his head to the side and shrugged in a surrendering gesture. "All right. Winner gets a free pass. If that's what you want. Partner?"

He stuck out his hand and Jude grinned widely, feeling the excitement of starting a new phase of her career. She placed her small hand in his much larger one and gripped it. "Partner."


Okay, so I know this was probably kind of like, "What? Huh? The epilogue?! What the heck?!" I realize that and I must apologize. I feel horrible, but I really wanted to wrap this story up. I just felt like it was time to end and I'm ready to say goodbye to the Instant Star fandom. You might see some more one-shots in the future from me, but I'm not sure. I think it's really just time to move on from it all.

Plus, I've ben working on original writing recently and I'm trying to really focus on that now.

I hope this epilogue brought it to a close all right. I'm really interested in hearing what you all think about it.

Now I need to go on to some other things. Final stats for TABA if anyone's interested.

Pages: 352
Words: 151,351
Hits: 30,776
Favorites: 44
Alerts: 72
C2s: 1

Thank you all for sticking with me over the course of the last two years and leaving your comments and thoughts! It means more than you'll know and I really and truly appreciate it. Seriously, thank you to all of those who have alerted/favorite and to those who happen to continue to do so. And also to silent readers as well. Just everyone who's supported this in general and to everyone who liked Johnny! Lol. I've grown attached to him and am a bit sad to see him go.

If you check out my profile soonish, I will be posting a link to the banner that was created for this story back when it was first created. You'll get to see who I had in my head for Johnny and Angie.

Okay, so I think that about does it! I can't believe this is finally ended. Wow! 'Bout time, huh? lol.

Peace out, Instant Star fans! It's been a blast!