Life’s been good for the Starr family ever since Matthew’s birthday. He’s been offered a job at City Hall.
And Roxie’s reached the peak of her career, receiving another gaudy outfit...
... and a pink limo as a prize.
Ella meanwhile has grown up as well. (Shown here in her alternate daily outfit). She looks exactly the same, just about a foot taller. Her uncle’s been pushing her into the business career, but she’s not convinced. Its just too boring.
She and Matthew are still dating, but neither has made a move to make it anything more.
That is until...
She’s starving, she’s dirty, and she looks as if she’s just spent a week running from the devil himself. Roxie invites her in to wait for Matthew to return from work, trying to keep an eye on her without making it look too suspicious.
Its obvious that something is up... but what exact- ... ooohhhh.
“Ella? What are you doing here? It’s almost midnight, your uncle never lets you-”
“I’m not letting my uncle control me anymore!”
“So then you... ran away?”
“Actually I... I was kicked out. I did something did not please my uncle, and he threw me out. I didn’t know where else to go... I don’t have any other friends.”
“What did you do?”
“... I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Ella, if you’ve done something wrong, I think I deserve to know.”
“Please, Matt, just trust me. I know I’ve held so much back from you, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet. I just need time... and maybe a place to stay until I can get back on my feet.”
“You can stay here for as long as you’d like, Bells, my mom adores you. And so do I.”
For the first time that night, Ella smiles. “And I adore you too.”
And with that Ella no longer hides the fact that she feels like the walking dead. “Can we head inside now, baby, you have no idea how exhausted I am.”
Matthew smiles at her and shakes his head. “Just one more minute. I was going to wait until I had a couple promotions under my belt before asking you this but...”
“Ella Slayer, will you marry me?”
“Oh my gosh! Matthew, I don’t know what to say!”
“Um... saying yes would be a good idea... if you want, that is.”
“Oh of COURSE I’m saying yes! Oh my gosh! Oh my GOSH!”
“Its so beautiful, Matthew! I can’t imagine how you managed to afford this!”
“Hey, mom and I may live in a shack, but we practically own the bank. I’ve been working hard so we can have that perfect life you wanted. You know, big house, big wedding, big family. Just like we planned.”
“I can’t believe how lucky I am to have met you. I love you.”
“Sweet dreams, Bells.”
“Sweet dreams, hunny.”
But Matthew’s not tired. So after Ella falls asleep he sneaks out of bed to grab her bag from the kitchen where she left it earlier. In it he finds a small black urn full of what looks like ashes.
He knows who it is.