Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crescent Bay

Chapter 1: Graduation


After arriving at the high school, I left my parents and began to head to the graduate staging area.


It hasn't been easy on me or my brother, Axel. Coming from a family that practices in business dealings that are not completely above board, I have not actively sought out friendships. Knowing what has happened to some of the "business colleagues" in the past, has made me shy away from relationships of any sort. Axel seemed to be less wary, falling in with some of the shadier characters about school.

I am very fond of my family, although my parents have flaring tempers that seem to go off on a moment's notice, sometimes about such petty things. I joined many clubs that offered me an outlet for my passions, but did not actively seek out friendships until the later years of high school.

Wow. I can't believe I'm graduating today. It's hard to believe that four years has gone by already. It seems like only yesterday, I stepped through the doors of this school for the first time. I'm going to miss this place, and yet, I'm glad it's over.

It was a good experience. I liked most of my classes. My favorites were Math and Science. I had Mr. Gregory for math all four years. He's a brother to my classmate, Molly. He encouraged me to join the chess club. I made some new friends in the club. I would have to say Martin Dozier was my best friend in geekdom, although I'd not gotten too close to anyone. He was always being put down because he wore a Start Trek uniform to school without hesitation. I had to admire his moxy! I would not have had the guts to wear it myself.

My science teacher, Mr. Granger, got me interested in Astronomy. I soon joined the Astronomy Club. As an avid member of the club, I helped organize many outings, to include the observatory in Riverview. I spent much of my spare time at home gazing through my telescope. I discovered a new galaxy and received recognition from the Landgraab Science Labs. Of course, I named the galaxy Boris One.

Mr. Granger assisted me in writing a grant to study the new galaxy. This project increased my writing skills immensely. We were awarded several thousand simoleans from a private donor through the Landgraab Foundation for the Sciences. I discovered two stars in the new galaxy as my part of the research. The bigger one I named Castle One. Both the Chess and Astronomy clubs helped hone my logical thinking skills.

Each year the school would hold a science fair. I was always stoked. One year, I was approached by Molly Gregory, asking if I could help her with a project for the fair. I suggested studying gems and she decided to do a study on tiberium. We had spent enough time together to get to like one another.

I am a world class computer geek. From the first time is was introduced to them in my early school days, I was captivated. I was fascinated by every facet of the machines, from hardware to software. I was elected President of the Computing Club as a freshman. I could be found in the school's computer lab long after the building was empty. I plan to continue on in a computing career of some sort, although I plan to get training or perhaps seek out a degree in computer programming. Regardless, I am guaranteed a position for the foreseeable future.

I helped out with the lighting and ran the computerized scoreboard during the home games. I got to know some of the athletes. Tony Stark was the one I got along with the best. He turned out to be a really nice guy and we became friends.

I was the target of the hoodlums in school. They always seemed to prey on the geeks and nerds of the school. Axel fell in with that crowd. He and I are very close, so eventually the harassment towards me subsided. It was through Axel that I met Ruby Lewis. He started dating her at Summer Camp. He came to me and said she needed some "help" with her grades. I feel very fortunate that I was never caught for hacking her grades.

I dated a few of the girls from the Chess, computer, and Astronomy Clubs, but it never lasted long. The girls would get around to talking about family, and that was always an awkward topic for me. They would eventually dump me because I wouldn't open up to them. They would not understand my beginnings, would they? It's all good, though. I have not felt an attraction to any of them, either!

My father, had taken my brother, Axel, our cousin, Kale, and I to Shang Simla, China to learn martial arts! He thought we were weak and needed to be able to protect myself. I became proficient in the arts rather quickly, having a natural aptitude in the discipline. Axel became a well-matched sparring partner. Upon my return, I decided to keep up my Sim Fu training and would spar after school in the local gym.

During the summer break between my junior and senior years, I was tasked by my father to design an underground facility for him to operate his "Business" from. While walking around the yard thinking, I came upon this weird girl digging in my trash. It turned out to be Stormy Riddle. She was the last of the five Peer Leaders at Summer Camp. I approached her and we began chatting. She wasn't as weird as all the other kids made out to be, albeit , she was digging in our trash. She and I have become friends.

As an avid computer programmer, I was sought out several times for my "services."

During spring vacation of my senior year, my father and I travelled to Al Simhara, Egypt. While there, We were approached by the local MorcuCorp Resistance Cell to assist in retrieving some local relics. I was to hack into MorcuCorp's Headquarters, locate their computer room, leave a package of mummitomium to bribe MorcuCorp agents, then hack into their computer system to find the location of one of the relics.

Getting in to their headquarters was an easy feat. My father's adeptness at burglary and thievery proved invaluable in gaining entry. I would not be surprised if the head of the crime syndicate back home hadn't had a hand in our being approached by the local resistance. Whatever the case, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I hope to be able to engage in similar activities in the future.

I found that travelling agreed with me. I also accompanied my father to France, where we learned the basics of nectar making. He has set up a nectar making process in our new home, which has an expansive storage cellar.

I went to Senior Prom with Ranna Akmar. I was shocked when she said yes. I was sure any girl I asked would say no. We had worked on several projects throughout high school and were also in the same clubs. I was drawn to her intellect as we have many of the same interests. Originally from Egypt, her family moved her just over four years ago. I first met her at Summer Camp.

Some of the Seniors were so pumped after prom, they organized a protest of the ever-rising criminal activity in town. My friend Martin showed up, but did not participate. He had called and asked if I was going to join in. I shrugged and told him I was headed to the cyber cafe to play Space Witch Trials online and managed to convince him to join me. Their efforts, no matter how noble and just, were fruitless.


And here I am now, in this room, with four of the least likely friends: Molly Gregory, Ruby Lewis, Stormy Riddle and Tony Stark. We have had to keep our friendships low-key so as not to upset the apple cart. Perhaps we got along so well, because we were able to understand that we each had our "place" while in school.


The Gregory clan arrived early and in force to graduation. All my brothers were there - all were Crescent Bay alum. I watched my family go into the seating area and caught a glimpse of Jacob sitting with the school faculty. I waved to him and went back to the staging area to meet up with my friends.


For most of junior high school, I had the biggest crush on Tony Stark. Epic really. I doodled his name in my notebooks and wrote Molly Stark so many times I almost filled out a test that way once. Even though I was a cheerleader, I was sure he didn't know I existed. Of course the fact that my voice stopped working every time he passed by me probably didn't help. I think the most I ever said to him was "mmhmm...". For three years it was like that! For three years every time I went for a jog, I would jog up to the waterfall - which was much farther than I should have been jogging just to pass his house. Of course by the time I got there I was tired and still had a long jog back but it was worth it, it was so worth it! Then the summer before high school we were peer counselors together! He had to know who I was then! We got really close that summer, fact is he had seen me jog by his house a few times. It wasn't long before we were a couple. I made sure all the "Molly Stark" notebooks disappeared before he came to my house the first time. Tony has probably been one of the best things about high school for me.

Cheerleading was pretty awesome too, not because of the other cheerleaders but because I loved it. I had to give up hard core gymnastics due to injuries but cheerleading was a decent replacement for it. I tried out for the cheer leading squad the summer before my freshman year and made it. My first friends at Crescent Bay High School were the cheerleaders - even before I went to summer camp, I'd spent half the summer at cheer camps. They were supposed to be my peers and my "BFFs" but truth was most of them were snotty and rude. Kellie and Bella were the only ones who seemed to have the potential to be genuine friends so because of them I sat with the girls at lunch most days. By my junior year, I was the cheer captain - the first junior in at least a decade to earn the spot!

The other great thing that came out of that one fateful summer - and eventually high school - were my friends. My real friends! Stormy, Ruby, Boris, Tony and I are probably the most unlikely group of friends you could find in Crescent Bay. Like all high schools, this place is full of cliques and expectations. Boris has helped me with more than one science experiment for science fair including my ill-fated Tiberium project. It didn't go as expected but I got points for effort and for reporting my failure. Ruby and I had been competitors as kids and still try to one up each other by design but we've also shared a few laughs. Mostly she keeps me on my toes. And Stormy and I have spent many nights camped out in the field behind both our houses just talking like when we were kids. We stopped knocking on each others' doors long ago and simply walk in usually. In hindsight that probably wasn't always the best idea. I remember once walking into her house and having to walk right back out. We laughed about it for days after the embarrassment wore off.

The one thing I wasn't expecting in high school was a baby brother! I had been the youngest in the family for 15 years when my parents told me they were having another baby. Three of my older brothers had already moved out so it was just Garrett and I looking at them like they'd both grown three heads. When Eric was born I was prepared with nine months of bottled teen angst to despise the little creature invading my life. But he was too cute and too sweet. When Garrett left for the military a few months later, I turned to Eric to fill the void Garrett had left as a brother. Eric and I are best buds now - even if he does like to color on my homework and steal my shoes.

I've always been a daddy's girl being the princess of the family. So the summer after my sophomore year, my dad's company sent him to Egypt for business. It didn't take much to persuade him to let me come along. I could tell that my mom didn't approve but she didn't say anything. Dad was so busy with work stuff, I barely saw him. He did hand me a gift as we stepped off the plane - a new camera and a set of rental keys for a scooter. As soon as he was inside a meeting I was off!

I got some pointers from a few locals on what to see and where I could dig and most likely find more than just sand. The adventure of the whole thing took over and I found an excavation site pretty far from the town. I snapped pictures the whole time. Another tourist, one with a much cooler looking camera, saw me taking a picture and gave me a few tips. Looking at the tiny LCD screen on my camera I was excited to see the difference. It was not much more than angles and positioning but it made the pictures seem different to me. I thanked him and tucked my camera away to start digging.

Mostly I ended up with sand and a few broken dishes but I found one stone shaped like a star. I puzzled over it for awhile and finally took it to a museum. I was curious about what it could be - other than a star shaped stone of course. The museum curator was puzzled by my find as well. He admitted it was an unusual find and referred me to a colleague of his. He was not puzzled though - in fact he was down right thrilled. He told me a long story about some treasure in a pyramid and handed me a map and supplies expecting me to go adventuring since it was my find I guess. I checked in with dad who was still busy with meetings and set off with my camera and new supplies. What good adventurer could resist a trip INTO the Pyramids?!

I found a lot of interesting things in the Pyramid and more than one sarcophagus but no ancient treasure. I did, however find more odd shaped stones which appeared to be keys. I returned to my new scholar friend who was fascinated by the array in front of him. After puzzling over the new keystones, he pointed to one in particular with the symbol of the Sphinx on it and pointed me toward the Great Sphinx. THE Sphinx. With camera still in hand, I headed off on another adventure. My dad assumed I was out taking pictures mostly - true enough I suppose. I didn't tell him about the traps...

I still didn't find the so called ancient treasure and didn't see any mummies. There were traps but my gymnastics paid off their and kept me in one piece. I probably should have stopped with taking pictures of the outsides but once I was there I wanted to see inside as well. I took a lot of pictures with the little digital camera, many of which my parents have never seen. I took my little camera everywhere and bugged my friends to no end. It broke eventually but my dad replaced it with a newer Hikon - having seen my love of photography. Just in time too, because he had another business trip. This time I convinced him to let me bring a friend along to keep my company while Dad was busy - Tony.

Dad was swamped with business meetings again so Tony and I had France at our fingertips. We went exploring much like I'd done in Egypt. We were hours from Paris so we couldn't just pop over there for a visit but we did find a quiet hillside from which we could see the Eiffel Tower.

The day before we were scheduled to fly home I stumbled upon a castle. Or it seemed like a castle at first glance. Tony had heard about a visiting Martial Arts master and was off doing his own thing so I walked up the stair alone, prepared for a new adventure. I had no idea I was walking into the grand court yard....of a university. It was filled with students lounging and walking and talking. I found a bulletin board to see where I was and discovered it was an arts university.

I was in love as I wandered the halls. No one stopped me from poking around and I took several brochures from the main information desk. This is where I wanted to be as I looked at the canvases and photographs adorning the walls - all done by students and faculty. I ran back to the hotel to track down Tony and my dad. I had to convince my dad to visit with me tomorrow before we left.

Thankfully he was done with his meetings and Tony was willing to follow me so the next morning I dragged them back to the university. It was a Saturday so the courtyard was quiet but a few faculty and students were about.

I led them through the halls to the massive library filled with books about art and music and dance. Everything about this place felt perfect to me. While we were looking around, an older gentleman spied us and offered us assistance. He introduced himself as one of the faculty and when my dad mentioned my interest in the university he offered to show us around. Eventually my dad and I ended in his office where he told us all about the programs offered, financial aid, housing. My head was full of excitement and I hoped my dad was taking it all in.

"I think you'd be very happy here Ms. Gregory." the man said as we shook hands. He was bemused by the twinkle in my eye and the look on my face.

"I think I would too." I said grinning. When we walked back into the lounge where Tony was flipping through a magazine, I frowned a little. Tony wouldn't be here - but then he wouldn't be anywhere I went because he was already planning to join the military. There weren't any U.S. Military bases around here. I sighed but couldn't stay sad long as we left the place. I was about to embark on my senior year, I still had plenty of time with Tony and who knew what the future might hold.


Glancing over at my friends and specifically at Tony, my heart was full of joy and sadness. How could one day feel so conflicting. I would make new friends but they wouldn't be the same. Who would push me like Ruby did? Who would teach me like Boris did? Who would laugh with me like Stormy? And who would love me like Tony? Looking straight ahead I blinked back my tears - tears of happiness, tears of pain.


Wow, it’s hard to believe I am really here, ready to graduate. If anyone asked me what I would be doing at this time it certainly wouldn’t have been graduating .The crowd is starting to freak me out, but I just remember my friends will be there with me, so it won’t be so bad.

I can see Mom, Dad and the boys sitting in the audience with the rest of the eager parents, my parents look so proud…the boys look bored.

As we start filing in to our places, I am reminded of what has occurred in my short life and what lies ahead. I am excited to see what the future may bring, yet I am saddened that some may be gone for a short while, forever, who can say?


Throughout my high school years I have always felt like the odd girl out. I didn’t get along with all the preppy girls. There was no way I’d hang out with the geeks and still the stoners weren’t exactly my scene either. It felt like I had no place in the big picture. I did have a group I hung out with; some of them were kind of mean to the other kids at school, so I wouldn’t really consider them friends. I guess that’s one reason school seemed like a waste of time to me. Why go to school, when all I wanted to do was play music.

Life at home was just peachy. Mom and Dad were very loving to each other and to us kids. We didn’t have to worry about much. Dad always made sure we had clothes and food, plus Mom was always at home to greet us after school.

She couldn’t understand why I was so unhappy all the time. They encouraged me to continue my love of music. So much so, they bought me a new guitar for my 16th birthday. It was a beautiful thing. I play it whenever I am feeling down (which is a lot). I am amazed at how music can evoke such feelings you didn’t know existed. It’s always been a great way for me to release any pent up aggression, fear or anxieties I am facing.

On a happier note, I remember a trip we took as a family. Mom had always wanted to visit China, so as a surprise Dad arranged for us to stay for a week. I had never been out of the country so this was such an exciting time for us all. I’ll never forget it; we got to learn about the history of Sim La. We tried a lot of their cuisine (um I was really aching for a Big Mac after that week, let me tell you). Dad even enrolled us in some lessons in Sim Fu.

Can you imagine a girl like me learning to kick some tail?

It was the best time ever! I learned to sing some songs in Chinese and also to play them on the guitar. I think this trip only strengthened my desire to pursue a career in music. *

Another fond memory I have is when Mom forced me to go on this trip with the school. Some summer camp. I wasn’t very call thrilled about it. But, you know moms; they are travel agents for guilt trips. So, of course I was on that bus. It turned out to be one of the best trips ever. I met a great bunch of kids.

These are people I would never in my wildest dreams think of hanging out with and yet I wonder why I never have. Molly, I had known as a child. We weren’t very friendly then so I didn’t expect that we would be here either, but my how the times change us, huh? She was very nice to me even when I am sure I hadn’t been back then. Stormy we had spent some time in detention together. She seemed a nice enough girl. I don’t think she is a strange as a lot of the kids make her out to be. Tony is one of the star athletes, I always just assumed he was a stuck up jock. Being that he was the best at what he did. Boy was I wrong. He turned out to be very nice to me and all the other kids on that trip. I met Axel on this blessed day. He was everything I could want in a man. Of course, I am sure Mom freaked out. Still, I fell for him during that week.

It was through him that I met his brother Boris. Axel knew I was having some issues with my grades and asked Boris if he could “help” me. I was shocked at his level of expertise on the computer and the fact that he was willing to help me, a complete stranger even though he could get caught. Make a long story short this unlikely group of teenagers came together and became the best friends they ever had. It is a memory I’ll hold dear to me forever. **

What will we do after high school is over? The future is scary. Am I ready to grow up and become the woman I am meant to be? What will my future with Axel hold? These are questions that are in need of answers, and the possibilities are truly frightening.


My senses took in the sounds of clanging dishes, chatter from my father, but mostly my sister and the delicious aroma of breakfast being prepared downstairs after waking to the distant call of my name. I laid there in bed a minute, drifting slowly back to sleep, but also thinking of Graduation Day, today. I didn't fully fall back to sleep because dad called me again to get up for breakfast. I yawned and sighed while sitting up at the side of my bed. I slipped on my house slippers and dragged my butt to the kitchen. When I got there, there was a spread of pancakes, orange juice, ham, and eggs. As I stacked my plate high full of fluffy pancakes, a sliver of ham and some eggs, Dad asked to my surprise, what will I "miss" about high school after today. I was taken aback because he doesn't usually ask me those types of questions.... much....

I took my first bite of yummy pancakes after pouring a generous amount of maple syrup, thinking of where to start, how to answer. The first thing that came to mind were the things I "won't" miss, but happy they've happened. Like the many times I had detention after school because of showing up to class a minute or two after the bell rang, or not turning in an assignment. Yeah, sure I'd take my time going from class to class. What was the rush? Seven minutes to haul ass was the least of my worries. I sipped a bit of my orange juice, still having not answered dad's question yet, but, I smiled to myself about some of the people that frequented detention with me. It was always the same kids. They were in my opinion, more weird than everyone said I was. But, who am I to judge, when I really don't know them at all. The person I whispered to the most was my good friend Ruby along with her boyfriend Axel, whom I met and really got to know from summer camp. Over the course of time we spent in detention together, she asked me questions, about some of the things people would say and or wondered about me.

I, for the most part, let people think what they want about me. I've never felt the need to explain myself to anyone. But because Ruby is my friend, I didn't mind telling her anything she was curious about. Actually, as I giggle about this in my mind, all my friends, not so much Molly, because we grew up together, but Tony would ask me questions as well. Boris, didn't so much. He says he has his own personal issues at home that most likely would surpass anything people thought was strange about me. I didn't ask him to explain himself either. If he ever wants to share, he knows he could. So basically when we are all together we may reveal something personal about ourselves.

One of the many questions were, why does my family live in such a "creepy, weed infested" house. Well, that's easy, it's because dad was either too lazy to fix things himself, or too much of a tightwad to hire someone to landscape and or do anything else to the house. Some people wondered about my mom's mental status. That's no one's beeswax. I did tell my friends what little I knew about her abuse as a child though. Their reactions were mostly a quiet shake of their head and perhaps a few murmurs of how awful she had it. Also, last but not least, my peers would ask me, with a frown, what's with the fishing? Because it's relaxing. No need for details there.

Dad cleared his throat, pulling me from my thoughts as I absently forked the eggs. He was still waiting for me to answer the what will I "miss" question. I told him truthfully I won't really miss anything. I moved on to the ham. I then thought about how on some days during the month, I would take mom's car out to Hidden Lake for special fish to sell at the market. I love to fish...plain and simple. The environment and atmosphere...awesome. People can think it's weird all they want. I'd love to have the opportunity to travel to other countries to fish for cash and experience life outside Crescent Bay.

But the thought of leaving Crescent Bay made my heart heavy with immediate thoughts of mom. In the last two years I have visited her at Hope Center on the weekends. Dad visited more often, usually after work. Hope Center is a place for women with mental instability and the staff here helps to get them back on their feet. But, looking around this joint, i'd have to say, good luck with that! Anyway, I brought Sunny along with me because I want her to see mom, chat with her, and to know her....if possible. Honestly, mom never spoke much to us while we were there, but we did tell her everything we did during the week. Every so often, she would smile or giggle, because Sunny was so animated and funny when she yakked about what she did all week. But the one thing that touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye happened recently when Sunny and I was leaving Hope Center, her hand in mine, heading towards the exit. All of a sudden I heard a faint whispered "I love you" from behind us. I turned around to look at mom since it came in that general direction, but she was staring at the t.v. I then looked around at everyone else, but they were all preoccupied with their own activities. I searched mom's face once again to see if she would look at me....she didn't. But I smiled to myself, knowingly..

Dad was about to get up from the kitchen table when I looked up at him and told him with a sad smile that I will miss my four best friends. He looked down at me with a hint of a smile and told me, if they are truly my best friends, we will all find a way to keep in touch. My dad made me so happy with those beautiful words.He then told me to hurry up with breakfast so we can all get ready to go to my graduation. As I gobbled down the rest of my breakfast, I continued to think about my friends and how I came to appreciate the differences in our personalities and how each of us gives one another something we are missing from ourselves. And just like how dad says we will stay in touch if we are truly friends....I desire that very much......


High School..

How time flies when you are young, it seem like yesterday when I started high school, now four years later and I don’t know where they went or what I’ve done in the last four years.

Although winning the state championship was sweet, I think it’s the friends I’m made that I will remember most. And without Boris it could not be possible.
I remember my coach telling me that he would have to drop me from the team in my junior year because of my grades, that’s when Boris helped me and Ruby Ace our test.
Because Boris tutored both Ruby and I; sometimes we would study at my house and sometimes Ruby’s house.

Sometimes Molly would come by with Stormy, and would visit while Ruby and I were being tutored by Boris.

After studying we would sit around and talk for hours.

Out of the four friends I made Molly, Ruby, Stormy and Boris its Molly that I will miss most of all. I remember us spending time together after practice, Molly would always end a few minutes early and we would sit holding each other talking the night away.

Where you found me you found Molly most of the time.

When I went France with Molly, we had a great time, until she dragged me back to the university one Saturday morning; one of the faculty members I forgot what his name was showed us around and then talked to Molly about the school; Molly was hooked. With Molly going to France and I, not knowing where I would be well, we both know it would end between us soon. We talked about it a bit when we returned from the trip we both supported the other.

When the day finally came for us to end our relationship; although I knew it was coming I was in disbelief, Molly was the brave one to end the relationship, I stood there as she talked.

However I could not hear a word she was saying, all I could see was Molly dating some French guy, I felt my heart pound inside my chest, my blood was racing through my vain.

The hurt was soon transformed into anger and anger was soon changed into rage.
I just wanted to hurt Molly just as I was hurting, deep inside I knew Molly was hurting, but I could not see that as I was blinded by rage.
I lashed out at Molly that she only wanted to end thing because she wanted to date French guys.

Molly was crushed that I would even think such a thing.

With all the shouting my dad rushed over he could hear me shouting and knew what it was about.

I can’t remember everything my father said but he reminded me that Molly and I knew things would end soon, and neither of us could give a 100% to our endeavors if we were always trying to see each other and always trying to think about what the other was doing.

I felt like crap at that moment, I asked Molly to forgive me; she said there was nothing to forgive. We embraced I did not want to let her go; for I know when I let go it was over.

Now that we are about to graduate I can’t help but to think; will we see each other again?
Will we keep in touch? I guess only time will tell.

Graduation and The Pact

The faculty was ushering the students into the gym and the families to the stands but Molly, Tony, Boris, Ruby and Stormy slipped out the side exit in the mist of the chaos. No one saw them leave and the most of the families were still mingling on the side of the school. Graduation was as trying for some of them as it was exciting for the students. There were a handful of people in the stands but no one bothered the group as they stood together looking across the football field which had been set up for the ceremony.

Regardless of their break up, Molly reached for Tony's hand. "I can't believe it's over." she said looking at the small stage.

A chorus of "I know"s and "Mhmms" followed her statement and the five of them look at each other. Their faces were a mix of excitement, panic, sadness and happiness. They heard more clatter of feet in the stands and Ruby nodded her head one way. "Come on." she said leading them away from the gathering crowd and away from the gym where they were supposed to be.

Molly and Tony shared a questioning look as she led them to the cafeteria - the locked cafeteria. She knew exactly which door to use because it was the only one that wouldn't lock. Boris started to ask how she knew this particular door was broken but just shook his head.

Once inside, Molly was the first to break. She was closest to Boris at the moment so she reached over and gave him a hug. "I'm going to miss you all so much!" she said still hugging him.

After that she hugged them all in turn and the others exchanged their own hugs or hand shakes. "I don't want you all to leave." Stormy said quietly. "You're the best friends I have." she added looking into Molly's eyes. Molly was already on the verge of tears and reached over to hug her as well sparking a new round.

"Enough!" Boris said finally before someone else started crying or hugging. "We'll all keep in touch."

"Of course we will!" Tony chimed in.

"Yeah." the girls echoed.

"We need a plan." Boris said. Being the smart, bookworm that he was, they all looked to him for said plan. He was quiet for a moment - considering what the most feasible plan would be. "Once a year....once a year we have to agree to meet up." he said finally.

"And we have to call each other." Stormy chimed in.

"And write or email." Ruby added.

"And pictures. I want pictures." Molly said with a grin. She had taken hundreds of pictures of them over the last four years so she hardly needed more to add to her collection but she wanted them anyway.

The others laughed at her request but nodded. "Where do we meet?" Tony spoke up. While he knew he was joining the service, he didn't know where he would end up because of it.

"Wherever we need to." Ruby said. "We can change it up every year if we have to. Depending on whatever is going on in our lives."

"I always wanted to see France." Stormy added with a smile in Molly's direction.

"I hear they have great snails there." Molly said with a chuckle - she knew if Stormy visited her in France she would go fishing.

"Okay." Tony said wanting to get away from the very idea of France or Molly in France. "So we're agreed?" he asked holding out his hand.

"Agreed." the others chimed in putting their own hands in the middle. From somewhere in the hall they heard voices and knew it was time to get back to the gym.


The stands were full of parents and relatives as the students filed out in their shiny red graduation gowns. They all settled in for what was sure to be a long speech from Principal Rob.

While Boris had had the grades to be the class Valedictorian, he had stepped aside and turned the speech giving duties to the next in line. Thankfully both he and Principal Rob kept their speeches short. Molly was the first of their little group to walk across the stage. Despite her dislike of most of the cheerleaders, they all gave a loud cheer as their captain crossed the stage with her diploma.

Ruby was next and was followed by her boyfriend Axel. Ms. Harrington who had seen them both in detention on more than one occasion handed them each their diploma happy to send them on their way. Ruby shot her a withering look as she crossed the stage. She was more than happy to be rid of Ms. Harrington and high school as a whole

Principal Rob called Kale's name when he was supposed to call Boris's. Boris was already up the stairs when it happened so it was up to Principal Rob to look embarrassed and correct it. Ms. Harrington laughed as she handed him his diploma.

Stormy - another of Ms. Harrington's detentioners - was next up from their group. Ms. Harrington was caught in a moment of self congratulation of surviving this year's band of miscreants as Stormy crossed the stage. From the crowd, a small child voice rang out in support of her sister. Molly turned back to watch Sunny and smiled at her.

The last of the five and probably one of the most popular graduates was Tony Stark. All the graduating football players and all the lower class men in the audience as well as the cheerleaders cheered loudly as Tony accepted his diploma. At the end of his walk before he went down the stairs he turned to audience and punched out a few times like a prized boxer. The crowd went wild with cheers and laughter again.

The last of the graduating class collected their diplomas and Principal Rob waited for the last one to return to his seat before hushing the crowd. "Ladies and Gentlemen! I give you the graduating class of 2009!"

The students bursts from their seats and threw up arms, hats and loud cheers at the same time the assembled family and friends did.

End Chapter

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