It was the morning of graduation day and Amado was laying on his bedroom floor staring at all of the paintings he hung on his ceiling. At least seventy five percent of them were of Collin.
This is what he had been doing since prom last week, he hadn’t even bothered to show up to school. It was the last week and nobody really cared if any seniors showed up so he didn’t show up. He didn’t think there was a reason to.
In three hours Amado was supposed to be in a black robe marching on the stage to grab his diploma and be done with High School forever.
He did not want to go.
It’s not like he needed to go, it was just some stupid ceremony. He didn’t think it was worth it. He knew Collin would probably be there with Harriette and there family to show support for Tamarai and he did not want to see Collin and frankly he didn’t want Collin to see him.
Not after the disaster that was Prom.
It had started out fine, a little weird but fine.
Amado pulled up to Collins house, in the limo he saved up all of his money for since the start of the school year, and waited for Collin to appear after the honk of the horn. Collin had insisted that Amado did not go inside the house, which Amado had originally debated against but Collin was set on it and Amado could not change his mind. So Amado waited for him outside.
It didn’t take long for Collin to appear, looking ridiculously cute in his dapper blazer and bowtie.
“You look very cute!” Amado said.
Collin nodded, “thanks... uh, you too.”
Amado frowned, but ignored Collin’s not too enthusiastic response. Collin looked at the limo and bit his lip, frowning a bit. Amado worried maybe the limo was too much.
“Come on, we do not want to be late for the...” Amado paused, having forgotten the word reservations.
“Prom?” Collin tried to finish for him.
Amaod shook his head, “no, reserva. Dinner.”
“Oh,” Collin said. “I didn’t know...”
Amado smiled, “come on.”
Collin nodded and followed Amado into the limo. Amado watched Collin look around as they got moving, he was nervously playing with his thumb and he looked kind of pale. Amado wondered what was wrong, was it him? Was the limo and dinner too much? Did he look weird in his vest and leather pants?
He didn’t know, but everything seemed to go downhill from there.
DaeRi frowned at the dress her mom held up for her, it was a weird purple thing with sequins and a big bow. It was a disaster and her mom had picked it out for her specially for graduation and DaeRi wasn’t sure if she had it in her to break her mom’s heart and it surely would if she refused to wear it.
But she also knew she was not wearing that hideous dress.
“Mom...” Daeri said carefully, “thanks for going out of your way and finding a dress for me but I already have one.”
Her mom frowned, “do you not like this?”
DaeRi frowned, “It’s not hideous.”
But even that was a lie.
Her mom continued to frown then set down the dress on DaeRi’s bed, “I can’t believe all of my babies are leaving.”
“AeGuk’s been gone,” DaeRi said.
“But now both of you...” her mom said.
For once DaeRi was thankful her mom couldn’t speak good English because she could tell her mom had much more to say but didn’t know the words, and DaeRi had to get going. She was meeting up at Tamarai’s house to get ready together. She hadn’t told her mom yet, and now her mom suddenly wanted to spend all of their time together.
She didn’t hate her mom, she really didn’t, but she didn’t want to spend all this time with her. Plus she had plans and had to go. Thankfully AeGuk entered the room just then. He had finished his first year at college and was home for the summer already, also to see DaeRi graduate.
“Hey, uh, w-what time a-are we leaving,” AeGuk asked.
Their mom replied in Korean, something DaeRi didn’t understand. She knew her number and times but couldn’t understand when other people, fluent people, spoke them.
AeGuk nodded and glanced down at the dress on DaeRi’s bed and frowned. He looked at DaeRi and she tried to beg with her eyes to get him to take their mom away but she didn’t think he understood. He just shrugged and left the room.
“Mom, I had plans with my friends to get ready at their house,” DaeRi said, “can I go?”
Her mom frowned, looking over at the dress again then sighed, ”go, have fun.”
DaeRi grinned and gave her mom a quick hug before grabbing her bag and heading out the door, she ignored AeGuk as she passed. That’s what he gets for not reading her eyes.
She took the bus to the commons where she was scheduled to meet Tamarai for a pre grad milkshake at the deli. But as she stepped off the bus she noticed Bachelor was standing in front of the Deli with a milkshake in hand, by himself.
She almost went back onto the bus. She did not want him to see her, but she only had money left for the milkshake and nothing for a ride home. So she let the bus leave as she stood there feeling hopelessly conspicuous.
It’s not that prom went bad for DaeRi and Bachelor, it’s more that it went really well. The week leading up to prom DaeRi tried to avoid Bachelor as much as possible. She was starting to be aware that he might actually like her and the last thing she needed was someone liking her.
Her plan was to leave A.L. High with no attachments, which meant no boys. Including weird mildly dorky jocks who were also secretly poor like her. Even if they kept pursuing her.
But she couldn’t avoid him on Prom night.
He arrived in his cute run down car at fifteen minutes past seven o’clock, long enough for DaeRi to start to get annoyed. But she couldn’t stay annoyed for some reason, no matter how much she faked a scowl she couldn’t help but feel... something else. But she pushed that stupid unnecessary feeling back and continued to frown and act annoyed the whole way to Prom.
Bachelor was standing outside of the Deli sipping on a vanilla milkshake, the big hit at the deli every summer, or year round as it was southern California. He had been told by a little bird, Tamarai, that DaeRi would be here and if “he really wanted to see her before graduation then he would be there too”.
He was just gazing around absentmindedly when he caught her. There she was looking hopelessly conspicuous and kind of like a deer caught in headlights.
Gosh, she looked cute.
She seemed to give up and started heading over to him and Bachelor got a little nervous. He hadn’t been two seconds ago, or when he first arrived, or even when he got that call from Tamarai. But now he was nervous.
Things were not going good for Bachelor when he arrived fifteen minutes late on prom night, DaeRi scowled when she first saw him and only smiled for a second when he told her she looked beautiful in her dress. And she sure did, the dress looked like someone took the night sky and stitched it into a dress which was a bit too much of a poetic thought for Bachelor and after thinking it he mentally kicked himself for being so weird.
Things seemed to start to improve when they got to prom and DaeRi found Tamarai and her date and they all went to dance together, but DaeRi didn’t talk much to Bachelor and she mostly danced with Tamarai.
It was a little weird.
DaeRi had been ignoring him the whole week leading up to prom and he didn’t know why, things had been good with her and then suddenly they weren’t. He had started to really like her too. He enjoyed the little time they spent together more than he would have imagined and even if she could be cranky and a little unpredictable sometimes, it was cute and he thought they were kind of on the way to dating.
But then she cut him off randomly and then at prom she hardly spoke to him. It was unbearable.
Tamarai had seen how DaeRi had acted around Bachelor, plus the way she refused to talk about him and how whenever she heard his name her whole demeanor would change. She had really kind of liked him, but she was too stubborn
So Tamarai lead them in the right direction. It wasn’t sneaky. It was necessary if they wanted to graduate on good terms. And today was graduation and it was becoming very apparent that DaeRi was just gonna graduate and leave without ever talking to Bachelor again.
But enough about them, Tamarai was tired of everything being about someone else quite frankly. Everything had been going smooth up until prom, she was in a great relationship and had all of her friends again. But having a good life was apparently boring, and led all of the conversations to someone else.
But the truth was that Tamarai really had nothing going on.
Tamarai’s prom had gone perfectly, she was picked up by Kayne, her cute tall boyfriend, and stopped at a nice restaurant before prom to eat some some dinner. It was a nice indian place, he had chosen this place specially for her, and the food was perfect. She had invited DaeRi to come with them but she had refused to tag along on their “rich people soiree”, Tamarai resented her choice of words but let it go.
After dinner she got to prom and had expected to see DaeRi already there, but she wasn’t anywhere to be found. She thought maybe they had decided to grab something to eat anyway, by themselves.
So instead she found some of her other friends and hung out with them, dancing a bit and complementing each other on their dresses. Tamarai’s sari was a big hit.
Then Finally DaeRi arrived, looking annoyed.
“He was fifteen minutes late,” DaeRi whispered to Tamarai, rolling her eyes. Tamarai frowned sympathetically.
“Hey, but at least you’re here!” Tamarai said, trying to brighten up DaeRi’s mood.
DaeRi nodded but glanced back at Bachelor, who was standing a little ways away looking a bit awkward.
“Come on, let’s dance,” Tamarai said.
DaeRi nodded and waved Bachelor over.
And somewhere in the next hour they disappeared. They weren’t there when Tamarai and Kayne were crowned king and queen and had their special dance. But Tamarai looked through the crowd for her afterwards, wanting to share some of her excitement. But she was gone, and so was Bachelor.
But she didn’t have much time to worry as soon she was surrounded by girls with their congratulations and hugs, which Tamarai gladly accepted.
Tracy and Heather lay on Tracy’s plush carpet. They were talking about graduation, which was in a few hours. They should have been getting ready already, especially since that’s how long it usually took Tracy to get ready.
“Gosh, I am so ready to get out of here,” Tracy sighed.
“Right?” Heather agreed, “LA, here we come. I can already see it, me and you strolling the LA streets. Shopping at the weird boutiques and drinking iced lattes.”
“Uhm, yes,” Tracy said, closing her eyes and picturing the campus she would be living on starting this fall. They weren’t going to the same college, Tracy was going to an art college and Heather was going to a normal college. But they were both going to LA, they wanted to live together but decided living on campus was the best choice for their first year.
“And we’ll eat out at chic restaurants that serve those tiny plates,” Heather said.
Tracy mumbled an agreement.
Heather took Tracy’s hand and started absentmindedly playing with her finger, the nails painted a soft pink to match her graduation dress. Things in their relationship had changed a bit since prom, well maybe changed a lot.
Things had started to change for Tracy and Heather a bit before prom, even though they insisted they were just going as friends.
For Tracy it had started when they went dress shopping, with Heather trying so hard to cheer her up. When Heather had asked her who she wanted to go to prom with Tracy had realised the only person she wanted to go to prom with was Heather.
Heather started to realise she might have different feelings for Tracy a few days later when her and Tracy were sitting in her room one day just lazily watching some old reruns of Friends. Tracy looked so cute in her casual shorts and tank top, her hairs put in a not so sloppy high ponytail, since Tracy didn’t do sloppy anything.
Then Prom came up and they got ready together, both of them concealing these feeling they had building up. Tracy did Heather’s makeup, her more detailed mind did makeup better than Heather ever could, and Heather helped Tracy straighten her already pin straight hair.
And then they drove to prom in Heather’s small blue beetle. Even from outside the school you could hear the crowd of kids inside having a good time, the music was loud and every few minutes the crowd inside would scream for some reason.
“You ready?” Tracy asked, looking over at Heather.
“I was born ready,” Heather grinned.
Tracy noted in her head how pretty Heather’s smile was.
Honey did a little spin in front of Lexi. It was the morning of graduation and Lexi’s parents were out of town so she had been staying with Honey the past few days. Honey was showing of her graduation dress, it was flapper style dress covered in gold and silver tassels.
“Wow!” Lexi said, her eyes wide, “that is one hot dress!”
“Right?” Honey asked, “when I saw this beauty I knew it was mine, even if it was a bit costly. But my parent’s have been totally spoiling me, showering me with whatever I want because I told them I was probably never gonna visit home once I went to college.”
“Honey!” Lexi laughed.
“It was a total lie though!” Honey said, “I mean, someone has to do my laundry.”
“You are positively horrible, Honey Bell,” Lexi said, putting on a faux english accent.
“Gosh, I am gonna miss you, bae,” Honey sighed, collapsing dramatically onto her bed, almost pushing Lexi off.
“You’ll survive,” Lexi said.
“Will I?” Honey asked, ”Will I survive the blistering heat of Arizona? I don’t think I will, I don’t think I can.”
“You’ve lived in southern cali your whole life,” Lexi said.
“Your point?” Honey asked.
Lexi laughed. “You know who I bet you’re gonna miss more?”
“Ugh, nooo,” Honey laughed, knowing what Lexi was about to say.
“What, you mean you’re not gonna miss Leslie?” Lexi laughed.
“I think I’m gonna have to pass,” Honey laughed.
Leslie Bowman was Honey’s date to prom, and she was was an interesting one. Leslie’s favorite things were probably horses, orange trees, and those flowers that eat flies. Honey had asked Leslie to prom mostly because she was the only person she thought would say yes, they were science partners and Honey knew she liked girls.
But what she hadn’t expected was that Leslie was a devout vegetarian and environmentalist, spending their whole dinner conversation trying to convince Honey to change her sinful meat eating ways.
By the time they arrived to prom Honey just wanted to ditch the girl and have a good time, but she was nicer than that. She got them drinks and invited her to dance, which Leslie unfortunately accepted.
But the whole night wasn’t bad, until Leslie got herself into a argument with one of the advisors about global warming, then Honey finally made herself disappear.
The rest of the night wasn’t too bad.
Honey danced and had a good time, meanwhile Leslie finished that argument and moved on to hanging out with her enviromental crowd and having a lively conversation about planting trees.
Shafan sat on her front porch the morning of graduation. It was a gorgeous day, not a single cloud to be seen as she sipped her coffee. In just a few hours she would be crossing the stage, accepting her diploma and officially graduating.
She was nervous.
She kept telling herself all morning that she still had summer, she didn’t have to leave the next day. But she didn’t see how she could ever leave. How could she just leave her dad to fend for himself? She couldn’t imagine her dad being all alone, he’d be lonely. Sure she was going to the closest college, but she was still moving out. It was a big deal.
She told herself she could come home every weekend if she wanted. But she still just wasn’t sure she was ready to leave high school and go to college, she still felt like a child. It felt like just yesterday she was swimming in the gulf with her mom back in Florida.
But that was years ago.
She let out a sigh, everyone changes so fast...
Shafan’s dad stared in awe as she twirled in her sparkly dress, it was the night of Prom and she had just spent a ridiculous amount of time getting ready. But it was worth it, her curly hair was slightly more calm than usually, pulled up into something that resembled a bun. And her cheeks were perfectly rosy and she managed not to poke her eyes out when applying her mascara.
“You look beautiful,” her dad said.
“Thanks,” Shafan blushed, people didn’t call her beautiful much.
“Little Shafan, all grown up, huh?” her dad said.
Shafan shrugged, “am I? Don’t feel like it.”
“You never do,” her dad laughed.
“That’s not very helpful,” Shafan laughed.
Just then the doorbell rang, that must have been her date. Shafan managed to find a date, she didn’t really like the guy. She didn’t really like guys, but it wasn’t like she could go to prom with a girl so when Drake, her date, had asked she couldn’t think of a reason to say no.
Drake wasn’t bad, he was nice as a friend. He was an excellent artist who was mildly obsessed, okay totally obsessed, with Marvel super heroes. He lent Shafan a bunch of comics, insisting she had to learn about them. She had to admit they weren’t too bad, but not really her stuff. She prefered the movies.
Shafan answered the door and invited him in, she didn’t exactly care for Drake meeting her dad but no way would he let her just go off with some stranger.
“Hello,” Drake said, shaking hands with Shafan’s dad.
“Dad, this is Drake,” Shafan said.
“Nice to meet you, Drake,” her dad said, “I would love to sit and chat, but I bet you kids gotta get going.”
“We’re not kids,” Shafan teased.
“You’ll always be a kid to me,” her dad said, “Now get going, come straight home after the festivities.”
“Nice meeting you, Mrs Zajak,” Drake said.
And with that they were out the door and on there way to the school where Prom “festivities” were waiting for them.
There was a knock on Amado’s door, breaking him from his stupor. He couldn’t imagine why anyone would be knocking on his bedroom door though, even though for a split second he hoped it was Collin. But common sense got to him and he realised it was probably his aunt. But his aunt didn’t make much sense either, as she hadn’t said a word to him since he moved in.
“What do you want?” Amado asked, staying at his place on the floor.
“Do you plan to walk in graduation, or just continue hiding in your room?” his aunts annoyed voice replied
Amado didn’t say anything, talking to his aunt felt weird. He checked his phone for the time and noticed that he was supposed to gather in the gym in the cafeteria in fifteen minutes. He hadn’t even showered.
“You can’t just skip graduation,” his aunt said.
“Who says?” he muttered under his breath before saying out loud, “it’s not like anyone cares.”
He heard a heavy sigh through the door.
“Where did you get that idea?” his aunt said, “it’s a miracle you’re actually graduating, nobody saw that one coming. And you’re just gonna ditch?”
“Was that supposed to be inspiring?” Amado asked.
Another heavy sigh.
“Just go,” his aunt finally said, before the sounds of her footsteps faded away.
And Amado wondered what Collin was doing, probably waiting to leave to go support Tamarai. Amado wondered if he was curious about Amado was up to, if he wondered where he disappeared to this past week. And why hadn’t he called?
Was Prom that bad?
As Prom night progressed Amado realised that Collin seemed to get more... quiet. When they arrived they hung out with a couple of Collin’s friends, Tamarai, DaeRi and their dates. But Collin didn’t seem to be having much fun.
Amado pulled him away to dance, hoping it would cheer him up. But it didn’t do much, and Amado started to get worried. Everytime Amado looked at Collin he would put on a small smile as if to convince Amado he was fine. Amado was not buying it.
Later they sat with a group of popular kids who were talking about a afterparty at some guys house.
“He has a lake house, it’s gonna get crazy!” one of them said.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be a can’t miss party!” another one said.
Hearing all the raging about this party, Amado got excited. He hadn’t gone to many parties in his high school years but couldn’t think of a better way to end them. One last big rager!
“You guys are going, right?” one of them asked Amado and Collin.
“Yes!” Amado replied just as Collin said “No.”
Amado stared at Collin, who just shrugged.
The person who asked shrugged too, “too bad, it’s gonna be awesome. But you can still come Amado.”
Amado stared back at them and grinned, “sounds like fun.”
Collin stood up, “I’ll be right back.”
Amado frowned, “wait up!”
He followed Collin towards the exit wondering what was wrong even more now, and why he didn’t wanna go to the party. Amado knew Collin wasn’t big on parties, but this was Amado’s prom couldn’t he at least go for him?
Once they got outside Collin stopped and turned back towards Amado.
“Once wrong?” Amado asked.
Collin sighed, “Nothing. I’m just tired.”
“You should come to the party,” Amado said, “It won’t be fun without you.”
Collin shook his head, “sorry.”
Amado frowned, “why? It’s prom night!”
“It’s your prom night,” Collin said.
Amado stared at Collin, confused.
“I mean,” Collin started, “I don’t know. I promised Harriette I wouldn’t be out late”
“Oh,” Amado said, realising what this was all about. Harriette.
“I’m sorry,” Collin said.
“It’s my prom night and I want you to come with me,” Amado tried again.
“You can’t just text Harriette to tell her you will be late?” Amado said then laughed cynically, “it sounds like she’s your mom.”
Collin frowned, “look, I just don’t wanna go to the party.”
“Then why bring up Harriette?” Amado asked.
“Because I don’t wanna go because of her,” he said suddenly after a moment of silence
“Huh?” Amado asked.
“It’s stupid,” Collin just said.
“Nothing about you is stupid,” Amado said.
“She wants us to do all this senior stuff together,” Collin said quietly, “I know she’ll be upset if I go to this party, like I’m experiencing something without her.”
Amado thought about that for a while. Everything with Collin and Harriette was weird. They were so close and Collin was so loyal to her, it was admirable. But annoying when you were his boyfriend.
“You need to get over this... weird... relationship with Harriette if you want to have a good relationship with anyone else,” Amado said finally, annoyed.
Collin stared at him, looking a little shocked.
Collin looked down at the ground and sighed, “you’re right.”
“What?” Amado asked, confused.
“I wasn’t ready for a relationship,” Collin said, “I’m still not. But it’s not a weird relationship, Harriette is my sister. It’s not weird to be close with your sister.”
Amado shook his head, “I... I did not mean that...”
Collin frowned, “but that’s what you said.”
Amado shook his head frantically, “I meant that...”
He didn’t know what he had meant, but he didn’t mean that he was a bad boyfriend or anything. He said it more out of a spite then anything, now he was afraid this was going in a horrible direction.
Just then the door they were standing by flung open and a groups of people pours through.
“Hey!” One of them said, spotting Amado and Collin, “you guys going to the party? We could give you a ride.”
Collin shook his head. Amado just shrugged.
“Alright,” the girl said, “see you around then.”
They both nodded and watched as the group disappeared into the dark.
“I’m gonna go home, you should go to that party,” Collin said, “It’ll be fun.”
“I’m sorry,” Amado said, “I did not mean that!”
Collin nodded, “But you were right. I’m sorry for ruining your prom.”
“No,” Amado said, holding onto Collin’s hand, “please stay.”
Collin stared at him, a mix of sadness and sympathy crossing his face.
“I’m sorry,” Collin said.
“But... How are you going to get home?” Amado asked, trying anything to keep Collin there a bit longer.
“The bus?” Collin said. “Look, I just have to get home. I’m sorry, Amado, I really am.”
And with that Collin turned and walked away, Amado couldn’t think of anything else to say to keep him there so he just let him go.
Needless to say the rest of Prom didn’t go that well. Amado did go to the party, because some part of him was still determined to have a good time. He hung out with a bunch of strangers and played seven minutes in heaven, which he didn’t think people even played anymore. Then he walked home alone, feeling even worse.
“So, Tamarai set us up?” DaeRi asked.
“Uh, she did?” Bachelor asked.
DaeRi nodded, “Uhm duh. She told me to meet up with her here and you’re here instead. We were set up.”
“Well, uh, she told me you’d be here so I came,” Bachelor said.
“Oh,” DaeRi said. So she was the only one being set up here.
“So, how have you been?” Bachelor asked awkwardly.
DaeRi shrugged, “fine. You?”
“Not too great,” Bachelor replied honestly, “I mean, you’ve kind of been avoiding me...”
“Oh,” DaeRi frowned. So he noticed? She hadn’t been counting on him missing her or anything, the whole avoiding thing was so that they could graduate and move on. Didn’t he get that?
“So, you gonna tell me why?” Bachelor asked.
“We’re graduating,” DaeRi said, “No point in getting attached.”
Bachelor stared at DaeRi, obviously confused.
“I don’t wanna date anyone right now,” DaeRi said, “okay?”
“Oh, okay,” Bachelor said slowly, “But, I mean, you did have fun at prom, right?”
DaeRi bit her lip to stop herself from smiling at the memory of prom night. Prom sure was something.
“So, are you gonna ignore me all night?” Bachelor asked.
It was halfway through prom and Bachelor had dragged DaeRi out from her circle of friends looking a tad bit annoyed. Actually, completely annoyed.
“I’m just trying to have a good time,” DaeRi shrugged, looking everywhere but at Bachelor.
“And you won’t have a good time with me?” Bachelor asked.
DaeRi sighed, “No. It’s just...”
She couldn’t think of an excuse, at least not one that wouldn’t sound horrible.
“What is it?” Bachelor asked again.
Finally DaeRi looked up at Bachelor, he looked so confused and kind of angry. She felt bad suddenly, this was his prom too after all. And probably the last time they could hang out together, since Graduation was only a week away now.
Was she really gonna waste this night?
“Okay, sorry,” she said finally, reaching out and grabbing his hands. A small smile spread on Bachelors face.
“Let’s dance!” she said.
And they did. They danced. And danced. Then Bachelor mentioned being thirsty for one of the Deli’s shakes. So they found themselves sitting in the dark outside of the Deli, which was open 24/7, drinking shakes and laughing about nothing at all.
Bachelor could tell DaeRi was trying her best not to let any emotion show, but he saw the smile she tried to hide when he mentioned prom.
“So you did?” He asked again.
DaeRi shook her head, “Okay, fine. I did. I can’t lie about that.”
Bachelor grinned, “so why can’t we hang out over the summer?”
DaeRi sighed and looked over to the side.
“No,” DaeRi said, “That would make it way too complicated.”
Bachelor sighed, he didn’t understand DaeRi. It wasn’t that serious, he liked her and he thought she liked him so why couldn’t they hang out? He didn’t even say date, he just mentioned hanging out.
“No, you’re making it complicated,” Bachelor said.
DaeRi frowned, “no. I’m not.”
Bachelor shrugged, “you kind of are. It’s not that serious, let’s just hang out.”
DaeRi stared at him, he thought maybe she was starting to give in a little bit. Suddenly she shook her head and sighed, “Fine, whatever. We can hang out, maybe.”
Bachelor grinned then, “I won’t say anything more then, I’ll see you at graduation!”
He didn’t wanna say anything else that might make her change her mind so he quickly turned and kind of jogged away, also he had to get ready for Graduation and that was only in a couple hours now.
“You’re such a... meddler,” DaeRi said as soon as Tamarai opened the door.
Tamarai laughed, “so, how’d things go with Bachelor?”
DaeRi shook her head and stepped into the kitchen, “If you must know we decided to hang out sometime this summer. That’s all.”
Tamarai grinned, “That’s great!”
DaeRi shrugged, “well now that we have that bit over with, let’s get ready.”
Tamarai nodded, “let’s go up to my room, I have everything set up.”
DaeRi nodded and Tamarai led the way up to her room. Tamarai’s graduation dress was hanging on the mirror, it was a simple short hot pink dress. Tamarai loved that dress.
They spent the next hour or so pampering each other, Tamarai did DaeRi’s hair into a soft updo, DaeRi did Tamarai’s eye makeup, and they helped each other into there pretty graduation dresses.
“I can’t believe we’re really graduating,” Tamarai grinned at her reflection in the mirror.
“I can,” DaeRi said, “It’s about time too, I feel like I’ve been in high school forever.”
Tamarai frowned, “Well, I’m gonna miss this place.”
DaeRi frowned, “Wish I could say the same.”
Tamarai laughed and glanced at her phone to check the time, “ah, we better get going.”
Daeri nodded and gathered her stuff into her purse, “Where’s Harriette and Collin, anyway?”
Tamarai shrugged, “They went out to get something to eat, they said they’d be back in time to leave.”
“They better hurry,” Daeri said.
Just then Harriette’s voice called out, “We’re back!”
They heard Tamarai’s mom reply, “okay, we better get going.”
“Come on down girls!” she called up the stairs.
“Coming!” Tamarai called back.
Tamarai and DaeRi hurried down the stairs, as fast as they could in their heels.
“You girls look gorgeous!” Tamarai’s mom said as they entered the kitchen where the rest of them were waiting, including the restless twins pulling at each others hair.
“Stop that,” Tamarai said, crouching down in front of the twins, “you guys don’t wanna go bald, do you?”
The twins frowned but stopped.
“Alright, we gotta go,” their mom said, herding them all out the door and into the van. Tamarai sat in the back with the twins and Harriette and DaeRi sat in the middle. Collin got the front.
And then they were off to the school.
Prom for Tamarai ended so perfect, after prom her and Kayne went to this big after party at somebody’s lake house. They only stayed for a while because Tamarai got tired. Kayne drove her home and walked her up to her house, ending the night with a perfect kiss on the front porch.
She couldn’t think of a better way for the night to go.
“How do I look,” Tracy asked, looking at Heather almost nervously.
Heather reached out and tucked a stray piece of Tracy’s hair into the french braid that trailed down her head.
“You look gorgeous as usual,” Heather said, giving Tracy a peck on the cheek, “But we’re gonna be late, let’s go.”
Tracy sighed and followed Heather out the room, but not before she stopped in front of the mirror and smoothed down some invisible stray hairs.
Waiting in the livingroom was Heather’s parents and her pesky little brother who was breaking down a tower he probably just built out of building blocks.
“You guys finally ready?” her dad asked, glancing at his watch, “About time.”
“Alright, dad,” Heather sighed, annoyed, “let’s go.”
“You guys look beautiful,” her mom said.
“Thanks, mom,” Heather said glancing at Tracy who was standing awkwardly by her side. Heather squeezed her hand reassuringly.
“Let’s go,” Heather repeated. Tracy and Heather got into Heather’s car as her parents and brother got into their own car.
“You nervous?” Heather asked as they pulled into the school parking lot, busy with other cars and people milling about.
“A little,” Tracy said, “what if I trip?”
Heather laughed, “then you’ll be embarrassed forever and in the future people will tell your children all about the time you fell on you way to get your diploma, but don’t worry about it.”
Tracy glared at Heather, “not helping.”
“Come on,” Heather laughed, opening her door, “we gotta get in there and get our robes on. Time to graduate, darling.”
Tracy sighed, “alright, sweetie.”
Heather just laughed and shook her head, ignoring Tracy’s mocking tone.
By the time prom came around Heather was pretty sure she liked Tracy as more than a friend, it was weird but it was also kind to nice. But how was she supposed to tell Tracy, that would be too weird. Not to forget that it’ll probably change their relationship forever, maybe for good but also ayeb for bad.
It was too much of a risk.
By the time they were heading back to the car after prom, laughing about something stupid and absentmindedly holding hands, Tracy was sure she liked Heather. But how was she supposed to bring something like that up?
They got into the car and sat there for a second, contemplating their next move. Both of them wondering how to tell the other about their feelings and both of them not knowing.
“So, you wanna go to that party?” Tracy asked.
“Nah,” Heather said, “how about we just go back to my house and eat some junk food and watch mindless reality TV?”
“Anything with you sounds like a good time,” Tracy said before even thinking.
Heather was silent for a second, wondering if she maybe read too much into that sentence, they were friends after all and friends did like spending time with each other. It wasn’t weird.
Meanwhile Tracy was telling herself the same things, wondering if Heather thought it was weird, what she had just said.
Both of them were thinking way too much and had to just relax a bit.
“So, let’s do that,” Tracy said awkwardly.
“Yeah,” Heather said turning on the car but not going anywhere.
“What’s up?” Tracy asked cautiously.
“Nothin-” Heather cut herself off, figure now was as good as anytime, “Tracy.”
Tracy was silent waiting for he rot continue as she silently freaked out.
“I, uhm, see...” Heather trailed off.
“I like you,” Tracy interrupted. She couldn’t stand the silence anymore, and Heather’s stuttering. She had to let it out, and it felt amazing. Already she felt ten times lighter.
Heather stared at tracy, “you do? Like, like like?”
Tracy nodded, “Yeah.”
“Wow,” Heather said, a smile creeping onto her face, “I like you too. Like, like like.”
Tracy laughed, “Oh. Wow.”
They stared at each other, smiling like idiots and not sure what to do next.
“I guess we should go home, huh?” Heather said, not taking her eyes off of Tracy.
“I guess so,” Tracy said.
But they didn’t move. Finally Heather moved in and kissed Tracy softly before sitting upright and finally driving the car out of the parking lot. Leaving Tracy feeling the kiss on her lips the whole way back to her house, where they sat and watched reality Tv and ate junk food.
And kissed a little.
After a healthy breakfast of bacon and eggs, cooked by Shafan, she went up to her room to get ready. She hadn’t really cleaned up her bathroom since prom and her makeup sat in a mess on the counter.
She took a quick shower, or as quick as you can get with hair like her’s, and got dressed in one of her best dresses. It was a gorgeous blue and flowed perfectly on her hips.
She ruffled through her makeup and applied some blush and mascara, like prom night. She finished with a soft pink gloss.
She thought to herself that she had gotten all dolled up these past weeks more than she ever had in her life.
“Since when did you get all grown up?” her dad when she got downstairs.
“That’s what you said prom night, too,” Shafan teased.
“I just can’t believe my Little Shafan is growing up,” he said, “and graduating, too! It’s crazy.”
“I know,” Shafan said quietly.
“I wish your mom could see you right now,” he said.
Shafan smiled sadly, she did too.
“But, of course she can!,” he said, “She’s up there in heaven looking down on you, wondering how you got so old so fast. I know it.”
Shafan smiled, though she couldn’t say she herself believed in all that heaven stuff, it was comforting.
“Now, come on and let’s go,” her dad said, grabbing his car keys on the way out with Shafan following behind with thoughts of her mom floating around in the sky, smiling down at Shafan.
It wasn’t too bad of a picture.
Shafan was thinking of her mom Prom night too, as she followed Drake into the gym she thought of how her mom didn’t get to see her all dolled up for Prom. Didn’t get to see her first date, even if it was just with some boy Shafan could never like.
“You alright?” Drake asked, noticing that Shafan’s mood seemed to change.
Shafan nodded, “Yeah, let’s go dance.”
He looked a little surprised but shrugged and followed Shafan out to the dance floor. Once in the crowd Shafan got a little nervous, she had never really danced with anyone before. But after a while her nerves left and she started really dancing, and it was fun. And it didn’t hurt that Drake was an even worse dancer.
But one can only dance for long and it wasn’t too long before she didn’t to get a drink and rest. Drake offered to get her some punch so she went over to one of the tables that lined the sides, probably leftover from the dinner portion of the night that she hadn’t went to.
It wasn’t long before Drake arrived with their drinks. It was weird and so sugary, but after dancing Shafan would drink anything.
“So, uhm, you having a good time?” he asked after a minute.
Shafan nodded, staring out at the crowd. “you?”
“Sure,” Drake said, “But, uh, I wanted to ask something.”
Shafan frowned, his tone worrying her. She looked over at him and waited for him to ask.
“Do you, uh, like me?” he asked, obviously nervous.
Shafan didn’t know what to say, she didn’t “like him” like him. But she didn’t not like him, as a friend.
“I guess?” she said, “I mean, as a friend. That’s what this is right? We’re just friends.”
She winced, noticing how awkward she sounded. But she was nervous.
“Oh,” he said, obviously upset.
”I’m sorry,” Shafan said, embarrassment flooding her. This was not supposed to happen.
“No that’s fine,” he said, nodding.
“Let’s dance,” Shafan said suddenly, not wanting to sit and be awkward.
Drake stared at her, surprised again, “O-kay.”
Shafan grinned and led the way to the dancefloor.
And that basically describes the whole night. She got home on time, apologised to Drake a couple more times, then woke her dad up to let him know she was home safe. He had fallen asleep on the couch with the TV on some nature channel.
Then she went upstairs to get some sleep herself.
The crowd strained to watch the line of graduates filing into the auditorium as the sound of “that graduation song” filled the room. Everyone was hoping to. catch a glimpse of their son, daughter, sibling, or friend.
The graduate themselves were craning their necks to catch some of their family or friends too.
Some people were lucky enough to catch each others eyes.
Once everyone was seated, the ceremony began. Anyone who’s graduated, or been to a graduation, know hows this goes. The people talk, and talk, and talk. People try to keep focused, and not fall asleep.
Some people are not successful.
And then finally it was time for the graduates to walk up and get their diplomas, the only part a good chunk of these people cared about.
So up they went, in alphabetical order, the graduates of 2014:
DaeRi Baek. She had been counting down the days until she could finally grab her diploma, the ticket to the rest of her life, and move on from the disaster that was her senior year. Admittedly it wasn’t too bad in the end, after making up with Tamarai and learning to let go of all her expectations.
But still she was excited to get out of high school, even if that just meant going to the college that was a mere thirty minutes away. Yep, DaeRi was heading off to A.L.U, Broad Meadows own private university known for it’s large campus and being located in the middle of nowhere. Also the college that offered her a ridiculous scholarship, purely for her essay which was apparently amazing.
Honey Bell. She might not have had the most ambitious high school experience, slacking in most of her classes, skipping days, and forging doctor notes multiples time. But she had a good high school experience, the kind that you tell your children about. Calling them the best days of your life.
And she was gonna miss it, but don’t think for a second that she’s not bringing that attitude with her to Arizona, where she was heading off to college. She was going to major in psychology, hoping to learn some cool stuff and maybe make a job out of it.
Tamarai Brown. Tamarai had the classic high school experience, she was popular, aced most of her classes with some hard work, and went through the basic friendship troubles.
She would miss this place, she really would. She was off to college, only a few towns over, to major in early childhood education, hopefully leading to become a teacher.
Bachelor Carter. He hadn’t thought much into the future until this year, and still he had a hard time imagining himself anywhere but here. The past four years had been great, he had friends, was on the football team, and was kind of popular. Even this year hadn’t been bad, even with Preston and Darian graduating the year before. He was still mildly popular and still on the football team. And now he had DaeRi too, and he was gonna cherish this whole summer with her.
His future, for the most part, was planned for him since he was small. His dad had been a football player, and now coached, and had went to A.L.U. on a football scholarship. And so had Bachelor’s three older brothers. His older sister also went to A.L.U., but did gymnastics.
So of course Bachelor was off to A.L.U. on a football scholarship, a pretty good one too. Probably because his dad was an alumni.
Tracy Knight. If you asked her how had her high school years been she would probably answer with a noncommittal shrug. It wasn’t the greatest, not exactly what she wanted. But it wasn’t bad. She had Heather.
And she was so ready to leave this small town, go to the big city and leave behind her dad and the soon-to-be evil stepmother. Sure she had all summer to deal with, and the wedding, but she already made plans with Heather to roadtrip down to L.A multiple times and every second she was home she was planning on bunking with her.
So she didn’t expect to see her dad or the soon-to-be evil stepmother very much at all this summer and when fall rolls around she’ll be gone in L.A. studying fashion to achieve her dream of being a stylist along with her best friend, and girlfriend, Heather.
Heather Moore. She was surprised to feel a little sadness as she thought of leaving A.L. High, she had been waiting her life for this but at the same time high school felt like her whole life. And now she had to find a new life, in L.A, at college, while studying journalism. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life, but she did like blogging a lot. So why not major in journalism, which sounds kind of similar?
Amado Moralez. Yep, in the last minute he pulled himself off the floor and allowed himself to be dragged to the ceremony. His high school experience had been... weird. He only attended A.L. High for two years, and not in a row. He was never one for the actual schooling part of school, he just stuck around for the social aspect. He wasn’t even going off to college this fall, he was heading off to Mexico to room with some of his friends and help them with some ambitious business plan.
But here he was graduating. He looked out at the crowd as he walked off the stage after accepting his diploma and caught Collin’s eye. He was grinning and cheering loud. For him.
Amado grinned back. High school really hadn’t been that bad.
And last, but not least, Shafan Zajak. her legs felt heavy as she walked across the stage and accepted her diploma, every step took her farther away from high school and closer to being a grown up. She didn’t wanna grow up.
She might not have had the best high school experience, she never made any friends after moving and spent most of her time alone or with her dad. But being in high school meant relatively no responsibilities. Plus she didn’t mind being alone.
But as she took the diploma she heard the familiar sound of her dad’s whistling and felt comforted knowing that he was there and he probably always would be.
And she was just going to A.L.U. anyway, not too far. Her major? Undecided. To much of a big decision.
The crowd gathered in the parking lot afterwards, the constant sound of congratulations filled the air as people took pictures of the graduates all dressed up.
Amado’s aunt was waiting in the car as Amado searched the crowd for Collin, earlier that day he had desperately not wanted to see Collin but now he was worried he’d miss him.
He found him standing with his and DaeRi’s families.
Collin noticed him and walked towards him.
“Hey,” Collin said, “you weren’t at school all week.”
Amado shrugged, “what was the point? I graduate anyway.”
Collin laughed, “I guess so. I wanted to talk to you.”
Amado nodded, “me too.”
Collin made a face, “then why didn’t you come to school.”
Amado looked at the ground and shrugged, he had wanted to talk to him but he hadn’t wanted to see him.
“Well,” Collin said, “I’m sorry about Prom, I really am.”
Amado nodded, “I am too. But...”
Collin waited for him to go on.”
“Are we... not... uh... dating?” Amado said, “Anymore.”
Collin sighed, “Yeah, I’m sorry. I had a great time with you, and I still wanna be your friend. But I’m not ready for a relationship.”
Amado nodded, not saying anything because he was afraid he might cry if he did.
“What are you doing this fall?” Collin asked.
“I’m going to Mexico in two weeks,” Amado said, “School is over, which means I have to leave my aunt’s house.”
Collin nodded, “I’ll miss you.”
Amado laughed a little, “not nearly as much as I’ll miss you, amor.”
“Maybe,” Collin laughed, “but I will miss you.”
“I have to go,” Amado said, sure that his aunt was getting impatient now. He wondered if this would be the last time he saw Collin, but pushed that thought away.
“We should get together once before you leave,” Collin said, “Get some lunch or something.
Amado nodded, “Sí, we should.”
Collin nodded, “see you then.”
“You too.” Amado said turning to leave, but turned around quickly to say “te amo” before turning back around and heading off to his car.
He did not know how he was supposed to just get over Collin.
DaeRi stood with Tamarai’s family and her own. They were making dinner plans, apparently they were going out to dinner. Mrs. Brown was being so polite with DaeRi’s mom, since DaeRi’s mom understood little english. DaeRi thought it was annoying but Mrs. Brown just spoke slowly and very clear, and didn’t say anything about her butchered sentences.
DaeRi was paying very little attention though, she was looking around for Bachelor. She didn’t have to look for very long, she saw him surrounded by a rowdy group of people. He must have a big family, DaeRi though. He looked embarrassed as his mom, or what DaeRi assumed was his mom, took picture after picture.
One of the little kids said some something that made Bachelor blush and swat her head, then look around and immediately catch DaeRi’s eyes. He smiled and gestured her over. DaeRi shook her head, she was not prepared to meet his family just yet, or ever.
He shrugged and said something to his family then walked off somewhere. DaeRi was confused, was he just gonna give up like that? For some reason she had hoped he would try a little harder to get her to talk to him.
Then suddenly there he was, right next to her.
“Boo,” he whispered.
She glared at him, “ha ha.”
“Come on, that was funny,” Bachelor grinned.
“You can dream” DaeRi said, glancing at her mom who was still conversing with Mrs. Brown.
DaeRi took Bachelor’s hand and led him away, not wanting her mom to notice him and ask who he was.
“So, hey,” She said once they were a safe distance away.
“Hey,” he said, grinning.
“What’s the smile for?” DaeRi asked.
“Nothing,” Bachelor shrugged, then grinned more.
Daeri sighed and chose to ignore it, “so that was your family, huh?”
“Oh, yeah,” Bachelor nodded, “They’re annoying. They wanna meet you though.”
DaeRi wrinkled her nose, “how about never.”
“Why not?” Bachelor asked.
“Because that would make it look like we’re dating,” Daeri said.
“Uhm, first of all I thought we were,” Bachelor said, “second, friends meet each others’ families.”
“Well we’re not,” DaeRi said, “and I don’t care.”
Bachelor shrugged, “Whatever. You’ll meet them one day, that’s what I told them.”
“So you talk to your family about me?” DaeRi asked, pretending to be casual though the thought of him telling his family about her made her feel good. He did not need to know she cared.
“Yeah,” Bachelor said nodding, “why not? I thought we were dating.”
DaeRi frowned, “well, you say good things right?”
Bachelor laughed, “of course, can’t think of a bad thing to say about you.”
DaeRi laughed, just as a thought popped into her head of her past relationship. Not with Payton, but with Preston, who ironically was Bachelor’s friend. She remembered how it had ended, how he had said she was too controlling.
Now here was Bachelor saying he had nothing bad to say about her, even though he was surely lying it made DaeRi feeling all warm inside.
“So, where are you heading off to college anyway?” DaeRi asked, suddenly curious.
“Oh, A.L.U.,” Bachelor said casually, “football scholarship. Same as my dad.”
“No. Way,” DaeRi said, biting her lip to stop herself from grinning. She was not supposed to feel this happy about them going to the same college.
“What?” Bachelor asked, but he knew. He could tell just by the look on DaeRi’s face.
“I am too,” DaeRi said.
Bachelor grinned, “No way.”
DaeRi shrugged, trying not to grin.
“Guess it’s not just a summer romance, huh?” Bachelor asked.
“Shut up,” DaeRi said, but she was grinning now.
Guess it would be kind of hard to cut of all ties to high school now, but she wasn’t entirely too mad about that.
She might even use the word “happy”.
Not all the graduates could say they had the best years of their lives at A.L. High, but I’m pretty sure they could all say they were really gonna miss it.