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Epilogue

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It is months before Shelby is able to even think calmly about talking to Smack again. After the news gets out that she is Shelby, the change is taken in so easily that for a while it scares her.

Even Gino doesn't argue with this change.

She sits and thinks. Her clothing hasn't changed much, the jacket will never go. It's too important to her. It comforts her when her mind is whirling too fast.

She makes Smack come back. And when he does, he does not talk. She glares daggers into him.

She sighs.

"I can't forgive you." She says after a long time. "What you did.. It. It wasn't okay. Even if you were doing it because you thought it was what was best for me... It wasn't okay."

Smack nods.

"I can't forget about it either." She says. "I can't forgive and forget. This, doesn't work like that."

Another nod.

"We were friends for a long time.. I don't want to let go of that." She pauses, fiddles with her jacket sleeve as she thinks of how to word this. "I want.. To still be friends with you." She says. "If you want to. But, you can't ever keep a secret like that from me again. Never ever."

"Never ever." Smack agrees.

"And.. It- it'll take a long time before we're like how we were again. If we ever get to that again."

"I know.."

"But I wanna try......?" And she very, very slowly holds out her hand. "No more secrets.."

Smack takes his glove off, and intertwines his pinkie with hers.

"No more secrets, pinkie promise."

They are quiet for a moment, untangling their hands. When Smack has to go, he turns toward her.

"Thank you, for giving me another chance... Shelby." And he is gone.

And Shelby finally, finally relaxes- and she feels warm.