Chapter Thirty-Nine

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Anticipation ate at my stomach as I stood behind Austin in line. I took a deep breath and shook my hands to relieve some stress but it wasn't working that well. My cap slid to the side once again and I huffed before adjusting it.

The traditional graduation march song continued playing in the background as the line of students ahead of us walked out into the arena the ceremony was being held in. "You okay, Dallas?" Austin turned to me.

"Yeah, just anxious and excited." I admitted. "I just can't believe it's all over."

"Thank god." He rolled his eyes. "I'm ready to get outta this school." The administrator called for our line to get ready to walk. Soon enough we began marching. Before I could walk through Austin gave me one last comment, "try not to trip out there."

I rolled my eyes and finally walked through the curtain. It wasn't until I was nearly to my seat that I finally spotted mom, dad, and Antonio. I gave them a tiny wave before sitting down. I flipped my curled brown hair over my shoulder and allowed myself to relax.

Nearly thirty minutes later we were halfway done with the ceremony and our line was once again standing and waiting for our names to be called. "Ready to grab your exit papers?" Austin whispered as the girl in front of him was called.

"More than ready." I sighed.

Austin's name was called and the crowd erupted into cheers. The noise was deafening as Austin threw his hands up in the air as he traveled across the stage, basking in the cheers and whistles coming from the students.

Just as Austin's form disappeared on the other side of the stage my name was announced. Much like the crowd did with Austin cheers and whistles erupted in the venue. I quickly shook the administrators hands, posed for a picture with my diploma and headed down the stairs. I waved to mom and dad on the way to my seat, the big grin on my face not faltering once.

About twenty minutes later the moment every kid waited for finally arrived. We were instructed to move our tassel to the other side of our cap. Hoots and cheering immediately met my ears as every student stood up and tossed their caps in the air.

"Holy shit, Dallas!" Austin screamed as we stood up. "We did it!" He said and pulled me into a tight hug. I squeezed him back just as hard and felt tears spring forward.

"I knew you could do it." I said and pulled away with a smile.

The students settled down just enough for us to march back out the arena, leaving the cheering and happy families in the stands.

"Austin! Dallas!" We heard right as we got in the back. Evan was waving at us over the crowd and weaving his way through the students towards us.

"We did it, man!" He said and gave Austin one of those manly hugs I've yet to figure out how to do. "We survived high school."

"I know! Come on, I'm ready to go."

The three of us made it outside and spotted our parents near the parking lot.

"My babies!" Mom squealed and ran up to Austin and I. We gasped for air as mom yanked us around our necks into tight hugs. "I'm so proud of you guys!"

"Honey, you're choking them." Dad chuckled and pulled mom away with one hand.

"Sorry. Didn't mean to do that." She apologized and sniffed while wiping away her tears. "Evan!" She called as he walked up to us and pulled him into a death hug too. "I'm so proud of you too, sweetie."

"Thanks, Mrs. Keller." Evan blushed.

"You three get close. I wanna get a picture of you three in your caps and gowns."

We groaned and protested but got into position anyway with myself in the middle. Wide smiles graced our faces while mom took pictures of all three of us and eventually took some with just Austin and myself. Of course she made us take some with her and dad. I swear that woman would make such a good paparazzi.

"Alright mom, we gotta go." Austin stated and yanked his cap off.

"Okay. You guys please come home at a reasonable hour and keep an eye on your sister." Mom scolded him.

"Yes, mom." He groaned with a roll of his eyes.

The three of us took off before she could make more rules for us to follow. The senior class decided to meet at a lake 20 minutes from here and have a party to celebrate graduating. I opted out of drinking like always so Evan and Austin could enjoy themselves tonight.

We climbed into Austin's truck and pulled out of the parking lot. Soon we were at the lake where a large number of kids were already blasting music and drinking. Evan and Austin cheered as they flew out of the truck.

By the time I climbed out they were already out of their caps and gowns and kicking off their shoes. I tossed my cap and gown into the truck and took off my heels. Next I took off my dress, revealing the bikini that was hidden underneath.

xxx

Crickets chirped around us as the partying quieted down around the lake. It was midnight and most kids left while others were passed out. I was sitting on a log by the lake and watching the reflection of the moon on the calm and serene lake.

"Hey." I heard from behind me.

I looked behind me and saw Austin walking up to me with a beer in his hand. "Hey." I grinned and scooted over so he could sit.

He groaned as he sat down and stretched out his long legs. A comfortable silence fell over us and I sighed in content. Austin took a sip of beer before talking. "Are we really done with school? Did we actually survive our senior year?"

I chuckled. "Yup. We even survived mom and dads wrath after that little stunt we pulled." I laughed at the memory of my summer at football camp.

Austin threw his head back and laughed. "I can't believe we pulled that off."

"Me either. God that place was miserable at times."

He nodded with his beer to his mouth. "Yup. Now you know why I didn't wanna go there this summer."

"Can't blame you." I agreed.

A short time of silence fell upon us once again. "Thanks for everything, Dallas." Austin said. "Thanks for covering for me at camp, dealing with my mood swings, and getting me through school."

"No problem. I love you so of course I would do all of that." I shrugged.

He sighed. "I'm sorry for giving you and Jason such a hard time." I was shocked. He was sorry? "I shouldn't have gotten in between you guys and I regret it. If I knew how much it would hurt you I would have made more of an effort to tolerate Jason."

Sadness filled me as I thought of all of the arguments and hard times Jason and I went through with our relationship. "I don't know if we would have survived anyways."

Austin scoffed and I raised an eyebrow. "You guys would have made it. I could see the way you guys looked at each other. Pretty sickening at times if you ask me."

"How did Jason look at me?" I asked and hugged my knees to my chest.

"You already know that answer, Dallas." He said and stood up. "Come on. Evan is passed out and I need help getting him in the truck before we go home." He said and started walking away.

"Austin!" I called out to him.

"Yeah?" He answered.

"Sit with me a little longer. Please?"

I could see his smile in the dark. Without another word he sat next to me once more and I put my head on his shoulder. I closed my eyes and finally felt at peace with everything.

XXX

Ahhhhh!!! One more chapter to go before the sequel comes out! Vote and comment pleeeease! :)

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