Cody was in his home getting ready to go to bed. Sierra was on her real laptop, signing off her Tweeder account. It was New Years and still a few weeks till his and Sierra’s marriage. He couldn’t believe he had fallen in love with her. Unfortunately, neither could the media. Bloodthirsty reporters, Noco fans, and even Sierra’s bullies from school were giving them h*ll for their love. With merely an hour till 2011, he sat with her, putting his arms around her. He felt that her shirt was torn and had a small stain of blood and mud on it. He looked at her concerned and inquired curiously: “Sierra, what happened?” She moved away shyly. “Nothing, I just, umm, tripped on the way home. Yeah, no big deal. Hehe.” She stammered. Cody looked at her very anxious. He persisted. “I know you too well, Sierra. Tell me what really happened. It’s OK.” She looked away ashamed. “I got trampled by a bunch of angry reporters who called me a ***** for taking you from Gwen.” Cody was horrified. “Why didn’t you tell me Sierra?” he asked sympathetically. She weakly responded, “I didn’t want to upset you. It’s no big deal anyways.” He held her closer. “No, it is a big deal. Nobody should hurt you for ruining a relationship I never wanted.” She looked at him gratefully and then asked him, “But Cody, you never wanted our relationship, why are you now so obsessed with protecting me?” He looked her in the eyes and told her, “Because I came so close to losing you, and I want to make sure everyone knows I really am in love. And to let myself know that I’m for real.” She found this curious, so she probed, “What do you mean by letting yourself know you’re for real?” He snuggled up to her and explained, “At first I wasn’t sure if I was really in love. Falling in love with you was such an alien concept that I had to do a self-check to make sure I wasn’t just caught up in some emotional spike that would soon go away. I still am kinda unsure. I really want to be in love with you and quite frankly, I am.” Sierra nodded, and then asked, “So why are you so unsure of yourself?” He took a deep breath and confessed, “I don’t know. Hey look at the time. 12:55. Five minutes till New Years. You gonna make a resolution Sierra?” She smiled and said: “I won’t hide things from you so you can help.” He nodded and then responded, “I promise to not be so unsure of myself, and I promise to help you make it through this.” The clock read 12:57, and ‘The Final Countdown’ started to play on the stereo. They watched nervously, moving closer to each other, It didn’t matter. They tried anyways. Just as Joey Tempest blared the immortal words “It’s the final Countdown!”, the clock hit 1:00, January 1, 2011. Sierra smiled and put her face inches from Cody’s, then snickered, “Aren’t you going to give me a traditional first kiss of the year SugarBuns?” He chuckled at her and grinned, “There’s no tradition like that. You made it up.” “I still want my first kiss in 2011, so pucker up!” she playfully retorted. His only response was to smash his lips to hers. They stood there like that for a while, their bodies warmed by the fire in the hearth, their souls warmed by the flames in their souls.

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