When Lightning Strikes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 31 (v.1)

Submitted: August 09, 2012

Reads: 380

Comments: 8

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 09, 2012

A A A

A A A

“WOOH, GRACIE!”

My cheeks flushed as the whistles from and cheers from my family filled the cramped hall. Inviting my cousins to an event was never a good idea if you wanted to be embarrassed, especially since their family unit was made up of three rather loud boys.

The hall was filled with various tapestries of Mercer’s logo and motto. Large emerald and white ribbons had been strung around the ceiling and hundreds of seats had been set into rows to occupy the graduate’s families.

“Gracie Elwood, bachelor of elementary education.”

The headmaster shook my hand and congratulated me, before I stopped by the side of the stage to take my graduate’s portrait and move back down the stage steps.

Growing up, I had always yearned to be a teacher. When Ruby and I would have play dates, one of us would pretend to be the overachieving student, whilst the other would play the role of the teacher. Then we’d swap.

I remembered thinking how mature it was to carry around a colourful folder full of important documents and how authoritative it’d feel to be able to have your own desk. When senior year came around, I was forced to visit career days and by my dad, I was talked out of taking teaching. One of my friends had told me that she had gone through the ‘teacher phase’ as well. And so, I had given up until the last minute, where I realised that it wasn’t just a phase.

A smile curved on my lips and I mentally patted myself on the back for picking something I loved, even if some people did point out you didn’t receive a high salary. Working with kids made me happy.

By the time the ceremony ended, my excitement and shock had died down. I had been in awe, as I stared down hard at my certificate, that I was qualified to be a teacher. Now I was beginning to feel more relaxed.

My family rushed up to me with huge, silly grins. I found myself doing the same.

“You’re finally a teacher!” mom exclaimed, hugging me tightly.

“Congrats Lady Grace!” I heard one of my cousins’ exclaim. Yes, that was what they liked to call me.

I smiled. “Thanks guys.”

Their enthusiasm made me smile. It was so nice to spend time with them. The youngest boy of the Sparks, Nathaniel, looked up and smiled at me. “Can you be my teacher? It’d be awesome if I could get away with hiding my teacher’s stuff!”

I raised an eyebrow. “You hide your teacher’s stuff? That’s bad, Nathaniel.”

Catalina, the only girl in the family, let out an irritated sigh. “That’s what I keep telling him!”

My father had heard what we were talking about and ruffled his young nephew’s hair. “So you’ve already gotten a rebellious streak, eh?”

Nathaniel made a face. “What’s that mean?”

Before we could come up with a definition, mom announced that we were going to celebrate the day at the diner. Everyone cheered and we walked there, as it was only a few blocks away.

The diner was full of rowdy laughter and excited chatter, and the jukebox was playing 70’s music. As expected, it was crowded. Other graduates had come here to celebrate too.

The afternoon was a lazy, but enjoyable one. Stuffing hot chips and munching on an extra-large burger had made me drowsy, though I tried my best to stay awake as we parted ways with my cousins. Other than my graduation, today was another important day. Compared to a graduation, this event was rather gloomy.

My phone buzzed and I took it out from my bag to check who had texted me. My heart fluttered when I read his name on top the little envelope.

Jason: I’ve just arrived back in town - heading to the florist now. I’ll be there soon.

It had been a year exactly since Aubrey’s death. For five months, I didn’t talk to Jason. Although I regretted shouting at him that time, I didn’t dare call him. Sometimes I had seen him around town and I had wished with all my heart that he’d turn around and strike a conversation with me. It never happened.

Slowly, my guilt for Aubrey’s death had faded away and the notion of living without Jason forever seemed more ridiculous. We slowly started talking a bit after that, when we had bumped into each other in the grocery store.

I remembered he’d been loading his cart full of dessert supplies, and I had asked him what he was baking.

“A carrot cake for Delilah’s birthday,” he had replied, scratching the back of his neck. “Unfortunately, I left the house without thinking it through. Now that I’m here, I don’t really know how much of what I should buy.”

It had been like a stroke of luck for me that time. It took all my courage to offer him help, since I knew how to bake one.

However, from time to time, I’d still feel guilty about spending time with him. Those nagging thoughts about what Aubrey would be thinking would poison my mind, and I’d turn my back on him.

However, the turning point was last month, where Jason had told me that he was travelling to Australia with his family to visit his sick Great Aunt. I panicked. Hard.

Although it was a trip to visit a sick relative, I couldn’t help but imagine him coming home with a beautiful, tanned blonde beauty. What if he moved on? – that the question I had asked myself every night of his absence.

It was only that month where I really opened my eyes. I wanted to be with Jason. There was no denying the sparks.

It just felt completely right to be with Jason – natural. I couldn’t lose something as precious like that, even if he once was my sister’s fiancé, as evil as that sounded. Not everything was about reputation. Life should be about happiness, not wondering ‘what if’. I think this time; the revelation was backed up with the fact that my guilt was gone.

“We’re here, Cee.”

I snapped out of my reverie and slowly came out of the car. My mom was holding the bouquet of flowers, something to decorate Aubrey’s grave with.

I remembered exactly where it was – by the pine tree, third from the edge. I walked ahead of my parents and came to a final stop in front of the elegant pearly marble grave.

Here lies Aubrey Lucia Elwood, a cherished daughter, sister, fiancée and friend.

The simple message we had picked nearly a year ago seemed fitting. We laid the flowers on her grave and my parents smiled at me, letting me know that I could talk to her first. They backed off a bit and went to stand by the pine tree.

“Hey Aubrey,” I murmured, kneeling down on the cold ground. “It’s been a year now. Sometimes I still wake up and think to myself if everything’s real. It still seems so surreal that you’d just disappear on me.” A breeze picked up and I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. “So today, I graduated from college. I hope you’re proud of me. I remember your graduation. I was clapping like a madwoman.”

My eyes became watery as I thought about those good times. “I will forever treasure our memories together, Aubs. I’ll always hold you here-” I put a palm to the centre of my chest. “And I know you’ll always be watching over me. I love you so much Aubrey and I hope you can see how happy I am when Jason’s around. I really have been trying to get over him. Oh, I’ve tried. But it’s so hard. He’s one of the most wonderful things that’s ever happened in my life. I hope you know that. I hope you’ll give me your blessing to be happy.”

Although my sister couldn’t talk to me, it was as if she was. I wasn’t sure what it was – the clouds slowly parting to some rays of sunshine to peek through, the harmonious music coming from the direction of the local church, or the inner peace I felt.

It was as if she was saying yes.

“Thank you Aubrey,” I whispered, feeling tears running down my cheeks. I wiped it away and closed my eyes softly. “I’ll always love you.”

The shuffling of shoes alerted me of my parent’s presence. I slowly pushed myself back up from the ground and let myself be enveloped by their hug.

“You guys can talk to her now,” I told them.

Mom’s eyes had a mischievous glint in them. It slightly scared me. “And you’ll be having a little talk too.”

I frowned and followed her eyes. “What …?”

A man was strolling towards us in simple denim jeans and a dark brown leather jacket. I would recognise him anywhere. The sun radiated off his bronze hair and his sea-blue eyes sparkled with something which looked acute to love. My heart thundered as the intensity of his gaze.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my parents share a knowing look.

“If he’s special, don’t push him away, Cee.”

Mom nodded, agreeing. “Not many people have these types of love. Take the leap, sweetheart. You’ve been given a second chance for a reason.”

A little breathlessly, Jason greeted me. “Hey Gracie.”

“Hey Jason. How was your trip?”

He grinned ruefully. “It was good, I guess, but I missed you a lot.”

Dimly, I was aware of the grins and snickers of my parents. All I could focus on was him. “I’m glad you did, because I missed you too.”

He beamed.

My parents were right. I would still cherish and remember my sister always, but now, in my heart I knew she wanted me to be happy. She would want me to move on from her death. With a small smile, I knew that I was free. I’d just have to see where the future would lead me …


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