Bonus epilogue—Dylan & Kama
Thanks so much reading Dylan and Kama’s rivals to lovers story. This couple were a lot of fun to write since I could totally imagine myself in both of their situations. In a parallel universe, I would be Kama.
As my thanks for supporting this crazy job of writing happily ever afters, here’s an exclusive bonus epilogue that’s are only available to newsletter subscribers.
The karaoke bar was packed, and between Dylan and I, we knew every single person here.
We’d been out mingling with our friends and family for over an hour, easing our nerves with a little liquid courage. No matter how many times I told Mom that Dylan was not going to surprise me tonight by proposing, she refused to believe it.
Neither of us argued. It made her happy to think that. We’d talked about marriage and decided we were just as happy to be common-law, that we didn’t need a judge or minister to bless our relationship. And this party had all the people we’d have invited to a wedding, without the stress of a wedding. Well, it was a totally different kind of stress. Performance anxiety. I had written, and Dylan and I were about to perform, our very own love story, our own Moulin Rouge, but with a happy ending.
This was a blended celebration. Among our friends and family were a dozen of my peers and all of the professors from my master’s program. With Dylan’s brilliant question approach to brainstorming, I’d figured out that the study and career that would bring me the most joy was a blend of my love of musical theater and films and my desire to work with kids at risk in a counseling environment.
I’d been accepted in the first cohort of a joint master’s program between the Department of Drama and the Department of Psychology to earn an MA in performance arts and mental health.
This event was my thesis defense.
And, as a stroke of perfect timing, just a week earlier Dylan won a six-figure settlement against his former boss and firm for conduct unbecoming a barrister or solicitor as well as conflict of interest. The settlement was awarded to me, for the actual costs of my extended education, as well as for pain and suffering. Dylan had taken a huge risk in arguing this case since he’d been complicit and knew he could face fines and reprimand himself.
“But,” he told me, “if I don’t do this, then my apology to you is just words without action. And I need you to know, with every cell of your being, that I know what I did was wrong.”
The settlement came with a caveat: Dylan had to provide one hundred hours of pro bono counsel to a legal aid charity. Since his new job was with the charity the judge named, he negotiated twelve days without pay and everyone was happy.
So tonight, with all the people we knew and loved, we were also celebrating with and for Dylan.
We slipped away from our well-wishers and went backstage to get ready. This wasn’t just a singing and acting performance with some random script. This performance was, without doubt, going to be the most vulnerable either of us had ever been in our entire lives. My script was based on the process we each went through to figure out why we had hurt each other, and then how to forgive.
My thesis was a dancing, singing case study of how performance can heal the holes in our hearts. Holes we all have but that only the lucky few ever fully address. I could have done it alone, but when I mentioned to Dylan how much more powerful it would be to have his side of the story, he didn’t hesitate for a minute. “Let me go through the process with you, then,” he said, knowing he’d have to publicly expose his deepest insecurities alongside my own.
And here we were, minutes from stepping on the stage.
“Are you nervous?” I asked him.
“No more so than that first duet we sang together. In fact, I was more nervous then.”
I laughed. “How could that make you more nervous than this? That was just a random song in front of random, drunk strangers.”
“Are you kidding me? Is that what you think? That’s not at all how I saw it.” Dylan faced me squarely and put his hands on my shoulders. “If I hadn’t killed that performance, I knew it would be my last date with you. That performance had everything riding on it. I wasn’t singing for the random strangers. I was singing only for you. That was stressful. This? Meh. Like a day in court. If I win, I win. If I lose, I lose. As long as you get your degree, which we already know is a no-brainer, there’s zero stress for me.”
I breathed in as much air as I could to keep from hyperventilating or crying.
“You have no idea how much I love you,” I said.
“I think I have a pretty good idea. But if you feel like showing me again after you kick ass with this thesis defense, I’d be happy to be reminded.” He kissed me.
“Ready to do this?” I said.
The next of the brothers to be tamed is Josh in Third Party: Merry with the Millionaire. This is a second chance romance that takes place at Christmas-time but has a wedding worthy of any month in the year!