Life was almost back to normal.
Charles pressed her hands between his and smiled at her. "Are you ready to go?" he asked.
Nodding, Martiza felt her stomach flutter. In lieu of a honeymoon, they would be going straight to Isla Paradiso so that Charles could begin his practice. He would be overseeing a health wellness center for the islanders. She was going to study natural habitat of minor wildlife.
But she was leaving Sunset Valley...
Haley laughed. "That's because I was the only one in the room!" she protested. "You practically handed it to me!"
Maritza gave Haley another hug. "I just want you to be as happy as I am with Charles!" she told her friend. "Don't be afraid to take a chance on love!"
"I won't," Haley promised, then watched Maritza hurry towards the car, heading off to a new adventure.
Haley gazed past him as her friend's car rounded the corner. She took a deep, shuddery breath. "I'm gonna miss her so much!" she said with tears threatening to fall again. Everything was changing so fast and it was so hard to keep up with the changes!
Haley sighed and stepped into his embrace, resting her hands on his hips. "Mmmhmmm," she murmured, resting her head on Johnny's shoulder. Maritza had glowed with happiness, she thought. I'm going to miss her so much.
Johnny shifted, stepping away from her. She caught herself letting out a small breath of protest. "Haley," he said, a strange note to his voice. "You know I didn't plan to stay in Sunset Valley long..." he said, trailing off.
Haley reacted instinctively, stiffening in his arms. Was he finished with their relationship so soon?
Johnny stroked his hands up and down her arms, trying to calm her. "What I meant was, I still have my flat in Bridgeport."
Still unsure of what he was trying to tell her, Haley nodded. "Oh, I hadn't realized," she said slowly. He said he'd come back to Sunset Valley after a long, emotionally-draining case. She should have realized he couldn't stay forever. "So what do you want to do?" she asked, determined to be strong, no matter what he said.
He rubbed the back of his neck. "I was thinking if I was going to stay, I should probably head back to town and close up shop." He paused, feeling self-conscious. "If that's okay with you?"
Haley let out the breath she'd been holding in. "Yes!" she told him. "I'd love to have you stay! I'm in need of some roommates after all!" she teased gently.
Haley gasped, in tears again for the second time this morning. "Yes!" she cried, holding out her hand. She wanted to be with him more than anything in life!
The class bell rang and he jumped up from his seat.
Rio felt his heart swell. "I love you Nadine. The second I'm old enough, I'm going to marry you," he promised. "Then no one can keep us apart again!"
She allowed herself to be led away, hoping that Ms. Becksworth wouldn't tell her father...
Jason leaned over with a smirk to whisper in his ear. "Vita's gonna bring Nadine," he told him. "She said that her uncle lets her go places if she's with her."
Rio straightened. He would take back every rude thing he'd ever said about Vita if she pulled through tonight. "When?" he asked.
"Jason? When?" Rio asked desperately.
She lifted her chin a smidge and leaned closer.
Oh yeah, she'd let him kiss her, she thought, leaning closer.
"Last call for the hot-dog eating contest... we need one more contestant..." the speaker overhead crackled.
Jason beamed under her attention. "Thanks!" he gushed. "My mom always says I have a hollow leg..."
"So? Have you done any competitive eating contests before?" the hottie asked him.
Jason's gaze immediately shot up from the hottie's chest. "Vita!" he exclaimed nervously, swallowing thickly.
"No, yeah! We are! Guess what, I won the hot dog contest!" he told her excitedly.
Vita cringed. "Is that Austin in throwing up in the bushes?"
Jason nodded, laughing, "Isn't that awesome?"
What was so awesome about shoving 20 hot dogs down your throat and throwing up? Vita thought with annoyance. High school guys were so immature!
He tasted like hot dogs, she thought, pulling back. "We should go find Nadine. It's getting late," she told him.
Jason groaned. Denied.
Nadine protested. "No, I'm not ready to go yet!" she said, reaching out to clutch Rio.
Rio sighed, reluctantly moving to stand. "No, she's right. I don't want you to get in trouble. I don't want your Dad to suspect anything." He gave her a last kiss goodbye.