The Mysterious Girl

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Chapter 21

Chris

“The next person to get her master’s degree with honors is not only tone of the top three graduates of this batch but also has become a role model to everyone here. She believes in fighting for her rights and due to it, we, as a college respect her and her courage and wish her well. Everyone Raven Rex,” the dean says as Raven walks on stage to collect her master’s degree as everyone cheered for her.

“Good evening everyone, I am Raven Rex, a fellow graduate and a fellow human being. This is my daughter, Hailey,” she says and Hailey smiles as Raven picks her up in her arms.

“Hello everyone. I am Hailey Rex, I am 5 years old,” she says into the microphone and the whole room fell in love with her. Raven decided to collect her master’s degree with Hailey because she wanted to show that she got a masters degree while raising her daughter.

“I would like to say congratulations to everyone because I have seen how hard my mommy and daddy have studied and worked on their work, till late night while taking care of me. If you didn’t know who my daddy and mommy are. This is my mommy and that is my daddy,” Hailey says softly and Raven looked at her. She points at me and I stand up so that everyone looks at me and I sit back down.

“I love my mommy and daddy for raising me as well as getting a masters degree with honors because it seemed hard. I want to be like them when I grow up and I hope all of you have a good future,” she says and Raven kisses Hailey’s head and puts her back on her feet and everyone claps for the little champion.

“I was undecided about speaking today for a while, especially considering all the changes the last few months have brought; but everything is always changing and that shouldn’t stop me from saying what I want to.
When I got to Chamberlain a little over 5 years ago, I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, or even what I wanted to do with it. I thought I’d hate it here. For a little while I did. I never had a home to go back to but I made a home here. But more than that, I became part of a family that I knew wasn’t going to give up on me. And while you get out of this college what you put into it, it’s really the people I’ve met that have made this place what it is to me, and made me want to succeed.
That being said, I have a few people to thank. First of all I’d like to thank my family here in California for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and for their never ending support and belief in me. I would even like to thank my parents because it is because of them that I am so independent and confident. I literally wouldn’t be here without them and for that, I’m grateful.

I would like to thank all of our professors who are so dedicated to their students well being. Since the beginning you’ve believed in us, you’ve advocated for us when we didn’t know how, you taught us that it’s not selfish to believe in yourself, and so much more, and those are lessons that we’ll remember for life, so thank you again.
I’d also like to thank everyone who has been a part of all of our lives for making everything seem possible.
I’d like to thank my friends for being such good friends to me, especially this past year.
It’s been a long 4 years but all in all I am so happy with where I am in my life now. And if I’ve learned anything it’s that it doesn’t matter what mistakes you make today, because you can still try again tomorrow.

Finally I’d like to thank Chris, the love of my life for everything he has done,” she says looking at me and I smile.

“Without him, maybe I would still be the “mysterious girl” as everyone called me,” she says and everyone laughs.

“On a serious note, thank you Chris for being an amazing dad to Hailey, for being an amazing partner to me and for being an amazing human being. I’d also like to thank Hailey for being an angel while we did work and I love you baby,” she says and Hailey hugs her legs.

“This college has taught me a lot. I am thankful for Trinity for making mine and many other’s life so special within these few years and I believe that everyone is sad about leaving but I bet you have made some great memories too,” Raven starts giving her speech and Hailey holds Raven’s hand the whole time and looks at her mom proudly.

“Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about your pathway to the future, but all there will ever be is what’s happening here, and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it.

Take action. Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing you’ve ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life,” she says and everyone in the auditorium stood up, even the dean, applauding for Raven.

She gets off the stage with Hailey holding her hand and everyone congratulated her as she walked towards us and she hugged me. I kissed Raven and took Hailey into my arms and kissed her cheek.

“I’m so proud of you both,” I say and Raven smiles.

“We are proud of you too,” she says and I smile since I did get my masters degree with honors too. Raven looked different now. She seemed happier and more beautiful than before because of her smile. Her hair was cut short till her collarbone and she had rose gold ombre in it because Hailey wanted Raven to have pink in her hair and it honestly suited her.

Raven now was an inspirational speaker too, where she gave speeches for large audiences about how to overcome their fears and she was popular among everyone. She wished to get her masters and attend seminars to help others like her.

Hailey looks exactly like Raven, but like a little version of her. She was very smart for her age and she was a happy child. Raven and I moved in together in a house here in California about a year ago with Hailey and we are happy with one another.

“Mum!” Raven says hugging Rosie Smith and Rosie beamed at her. Rosie and Raven looked more like a mom-daughter duo than her own mom and her.

“I am so proud of the both of you,” Rosie says hugging me too.

“And me meemaw?” Hailey asks pouting. Hailey called Rosie meemaw, and Raven’s mum as grandma.

“Oh my little ray of sunshine. You looked so natural up there. You were my favorite,” Rosie says and Hailey laughs hugging Rosie. Our family greeted us and we went out for dinner. Raven sat next to Hailey and I.

She helped Hailey eat and ate herself as everyone spoke. I looked at her and fell more in love with her. I didn’t even know that was even possible. She looked so mature, beautiful and breathtaking as she cared nothing about her appearance and smiled at our daughter as she had her dinner.

“Ray?” I say and she looks at me.

“I planned on doing this later, maybe tomorrow or next week or when we went back home but you look so perfect. Everything seems perfect right now and I have to do it now,” I say and she looked confused. Our families stopped eating and looked at us.

“Ray, you are the strongest woman I have ever met. You have all the power and courage in you, despite being so young, being only 24. You are literally my inspiration and I want our kids to be like you and I already see my little Hailey becoming a strong independent female like you and that makes me so proud of her,” I say and Hailey showed her teeth as she smiled with ice cream around her mouth.

“So Raven Elena Rex, will you marry me and make me the happiest and proudest man to be ever alive to be married to such a powerful woman?” I ask going on my knee and take out the ring box I had been holding onto until when I was ready and she was shocked.

“Chris, this is huge. Think about it,” she says and I smile.

“Ray, I have been waiting my whole life for a woman like you. I love you and I can’t and don’t want to see myself with someone else in my life,” I say honestly and she smiles.

“Mommy, say yes,” Hailey says and I look at her grinning widely.

“Yes Chris, I will marry you,” she says holding out her ring finger on her left hand and I slip in the cushion cut, double pavement white and pink diamond ring on her finger. I lied how nice the ring looked on her finger. She deserved the big rock.

“I love you Chris,” she says kissing me and everyone in the restaurant cheers for us.

“I love you too Ray,” I say and she hugs me.

“Yay! Mommy and daddy are going to get married,” Hailey exclaims and I smile kissing her. She knew that I wasn’t her biological dad but she cared nothing about it. She loved me just the same, despite her being a mommy’s girl.

Jared sometime had visitation times to see Hailey since he was legally her dad and Hailey knew that he was her biological dad but she called him by his name and he was fine with it. They didn’t meet too often though.

Raven held my hand throughout dinner and she was grinning. She kept glancing at her ring and I hoped she liked it because I had made sure it was made with outmost care and perfection for my lady. It was custom made for her.

“This is just perfect,” she says and she kisses me and Hailey giggled next to us. We finished out dinner and raven, Hailey and I drove back to our house. I parked my car in the garage as Raven carried Hailey in her arms as Hailey already fell asleep in the car.

By the time I went in, locked the doors and turned off all the lights, Hailey was already changed and in her bed, in her room, sleeping peacefully. Hailey had her own room in a violet themed according to her wish and her favorite stuffed toys surrounded her.

“Good night baby,” Raven says as she closes the door and walks to our room, the room right opposite and down the hallway to Hailey’s. We had five rooms in the house and others were for guests.

“Today was tiring,” I say removing my blazer and she smiles.

“But it was perfect,” she says and I nod as we share a kiss. She had chosen the interior design for our entire house and everything looked positive and perfect. Our room had white, grey and pink and I liked it to be honest.

“This ring, Chris,” Raven says from the washroom, drying her face with a towel as I put on my sweatpants.

“What about it?” I ask looking at her.

“It seems so big and expensive. I don’t think I deserve it,” she says walking out and I smile at her.

“The fact that you don’t think you deserve it, makes you worthy of it. And I wanted my lady to have the best ring for her beautiful self,” I say and she laughs as she applies her face cream.

“You are being very nice today. What is the matter? Have you messed up?” she asks and I laugh holding her in my arms.

“Why can’t I complement the gorgeous Raven without doing something wrong is it?” I ask kissing her cheek and she giggles. It took her a lot of courage and strength to let me even touch her and now, we trust one another so I am glad for her for overcoming her fears.

“Come on now. Let’s get some sleep,” she says but I don’t let her go. I pull her back and hold her from behind.

“It’s not like we have any class tomorrow,” I whisper into her ear and breathed in her warm vanilla scent from her hair as she moved away from me.

“Well, we have a daughter and she would be up in the morning and remember we promised her to take her to Disneyland?” Raven reminds me with a smirk and I sigh.

“Oh,” I say disappointed and she laughs kissing my cheek before getting into bed and I turn off the lights and get in with her.

“Good night Ray,” I say and she holds me.

“Good night Chris,” she says and I breathed in her warm scent as I fell asleep.

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