epilogue

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ONE MONTH LATER 



This feels like a dream.

I've watched the NBA draft every single year since I was a kid. It used to be one of my favorite days of the year because my dad would waive my bedtime and let me stay up with him to see it all play out live on our shitty old tv.

I would stuff my face with popcorn while we would down our beers - mine of the root variety - and watch as each player was drafted to a team. It was exciting, but admittedly, I was more excited about the fact that I was hanging out with my dad after my bedtime.

When I got older I learned to appreciate it a little more. 

My rootbeer turned into actual beer and I was able to understand the gravity of the situation as each name was called out. The players on the screen were living my dream. They were experiencing the one thing that I was working my ass off to achieve. And now that I'm sitting here, surrounded by an arena full of basketball fanatics, I can feel their energy pulsing through the huge arena as the producers with headsets and clipboards run around the arena floor, directing cameramen to kneel near specific tables as they yell into their headsets about sticking to the schedule.

I've glanced down at my watch every thirty seconds for the past fifteen minutes. The draft goes live in less than five minutes, and based on how the cameraman kneeling a few feet away from our table is adjusting the lens and giving a thumbs up to one of the producers behind me, I know that my face is about to be broadcasted all over national television soon.

I pull the sleeve of my suit jacket back to check the time again, but before I can read the watch on my wrist Abby's hand brushes over mine, interlocking her fingers with mine and pulling my hand into her lap. She's already rubbing calming circles on the back of my hand when I look down to see her smiling encouragingly up at me, and when she brings my hand up and presses a soft kiss to my palm I can feel some of the tension that's been building since we sat down at our table fifteen minutes ago start to ease away.

"Everything is going to be okay," I say, more to myself than to her, but her smile deepens at my words.

"Everything's going to be okay," she nods, "no matter what,"

No matter what.

The Raptors have the first pick, but to be completely honest, I don't think they're going to draft me. I've heard through a few different sources that Zayn's meeting with the head coach went extremely well - to the point where they almost extended an official offer - and I can tell by the way he's leaning over in his chair talking with his mom with a huge smile on his face that he feels it to. He's going to be the number one pick. He's going to go to Toronto.

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