Once upon a time, the original title for Within was Buried. This title makes a lot more sense with this ending. I changed it because there was a movie of the same name released a few months before I published this book, and I didn’t want there to be any confusion (although hey, any publicity is good publicity, right?). Anyway, as the manuscript went through editing, my editor suggested that the ending be re-written for the purposes of tone. The ending below is (POTENTIAL SPOILER!)a lot happier than the ending in the book. (/END SPOILER!)
I suggest you read Within before you read this alternate ending. Unless you’re one of those people who likes to read the end of the book first. This won’t tell you much about the book as a whole I suppose, but the ending in the book is pretty much the opposite of what transpires below.
Okay, you’re on your own.
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Zack fiddled with the rose pinned to his suit jacket. It wouldn’t stay up straight. Sweat started to bead at the base of his forehead as the rock music played in the Citadel High gymnasium. He stood in the hallway near the entrance to the school. He drew a handkerchief from his pants pocket and dabbed away the sweat on his forehead.
“Why are you so nervous?” Ellie asked.
She looked radiant in her purple strapless dress. The cuts and bruises from last week’s experiences had almost faded and were unnoticeable under her facial makeup. She adorned long white gloves that went up to her elbows, and her chin-length bangs were pinned back to show more of her face.
“I…I hope she’ll make it,” Zack said.
Ellie smiled. “She’ll come.”
He gazed at her. “You look beautiful.”
She blushed. “Thank you.”
“I think I have room on my dance card. I’ll save one for you, if you want it.”
“I think only girls had dance cards back in the day,” Ellie corrected him.
“Darn, and I forgot my dress.”
“Look, here she comes.”
Trinity walked slowly around the corner of the hallway, holding Stephanie’s hand tightly. Her dress was just like Ellie had described: gold, with flakes of gems dotting the chest. It poofed out at the waist, like Belle’s dress from Beauty and the Beast. Her hair was done in a gorgeous up-do with a tiara nestled in the front, gleaming in the lighting as if she were wearing real diamonds.
Zack grinned and kissed Trinity on the cheek. “You look like a princess.”
Stephanie awed and Trinity gave him a small smile. “Prince.”
He dug into his pocket and pulled out a black box. “I got you a little something. I didn’t know if you’d like it, but…”
Trinity accepted the box and spent a few seconds figuring it out. After finding out that the opposite side of the hinge was the one that opened, she found the treasure inside.
“Wow, look at that bracelet,” Stephanie commented.
Trinity lifted it out, allowing the box to drop to the floor. The bracelet was a series of small, sapphire hearts. She slipped it on her wrist and admired it.
“You know what you say when someone gives you a gift?” Stephanie prompted.
“Pretty,” she said. She looked up at Zack. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he replied.
Ellie turned to Stephanie. “Were the votes tallied yet?”
“The polls just closed an hour ago. We should know the tally soon,” Stephanie replied. Her cell phone rang, and she reached into her pocket to answer it. “Excuse me.”
While Stephanie took the call, Ellie imparted her exciting news. “They used the names mentioned in Trinity’s manuscript and from our statements to find some of the guys who were in the Order,” Ellie said. “Apparently a few of them confessed to everything.”
“Great,” Zack said. “And Edmund?”
“I read this morning that he was recovering, but he’s totally blind for life.” Ellie winked at Trinity. “I guess I know not to make you angry.”
Stephanie rejoined them, stuffing her cell phone back into her pants pocket. “I just got off the phone with the senior editor from Nimbus Publishing,” Stephanie said excitedly. “They want to take a look at Trinity’s manuscript!”
“Wow Trin. Look at you. A published writer!” Zack beamed.
“Because of the sensitive timeline”-Stephanie wrapped one of Trinity’s stray hairs around her ear-“they are willing to move production up. We do have a finished manuscript, don’t we?”
“All done,” Trinity confirmed.
“But no title,” Ellie added.
Trinity shook her head. “Buried.”
“That’s the title?” Zack asked.
She nodded. “Like buried treasure.”
Zack gazed at her, and saw Trinity flicker beneath her eyes.