16 - 4 Years Later
Chasity and her roommate Sadie feel tired from staying up all night partying from celebrating their graduation. The ceremony is today at 2:00 p.m. and she is expecting her parents to arrive any moment. They wanted to take her out for lunch before the ceremony. She wishes she had waited to party after her parents left or a few nights ago because she is sure they will notice her hangover.
She is watching from her window at the cars drive along the street below. She adjusts her dress she is wearing knowing it matters to her mom what she is wearing for the ceremony under her gown but she honestly does not care because whatever she wears will be hidden. Finally, she sees a taxi car pull up next to the sidewalk just below her. She slides on her shoes as she sees her mom exiting the taxi waving up to her. She smiles excitedly and waves back.
She had not seen her parents since Christmas. She grabs her purse and gown before checking her makeup. She still cannot believe she wears makeup every day. Her mom loves it. And she fixed her hair this morning too so that it is ready for her cap. She wants to look good in her pictures for sure.
She moves down the stairs quicker than she wants with her pounding headache. As she exits the apartment building, her mom wraps her arms around her. “You look beautiful! I cannot believe how much you have grown up and changed over the past four years. We are so proud of you for finishing your business degree!”
“Thanks mom! Hi daddy!” She leaves her mom’s hug to wrap her arms around him.
“Sweetie. How are you?”
“I am good but really hungry.”
“Then let’s go eat. Where should we go?” Her mom guides them back to the waiting taxi.
“You pick Chasity. Anywhere you want. I don’t care if it cost me five hundred dollars. It is your big day.”
She laughs at her dad’s proud tone. “I know the perfect place but it should only cost around eighty dollars so, we will save you four hundred and twenty, dad.”
“Then I will take you out for dinner too.”
The auditorium is so loud and busy. She sees her parents up in the balcony. She smiles at them being here and wants to wave at them but they seem distracted. Her smile fades as she feels shock noticing a familiar face begin to hug her mom and shake her dads’ hand. The man slides into the seat next to her mom. He looks amazing. “Tucker.” His name escapes her lips. She did not know it was possible for him to get better looking. But oh! Was he better looking! Her breathing does not seem to be working as she stares at him wondering what he could be doing here. Or if she is just dreaming right now.
“Chasity! Congrats on your job offer!” She barely hears her name as Tucker’s eyes meet hers and she sees his hand wave to her. “Chasity?” She feels a hand on her arm trying to break her eye contact with him but she is afraid if she even blinks, he will disappear. “Are you okay?” The voice finally succeeds in breaking her eyes with Tucker’s.
It is her friend Jay. He was in a few of her classes over the past four years. “Yeah.” She is not sure why she shakes her head as if she is saying no.
“Okay. Well, I just wanted to tell you congrats on your job offer. When do you start?”
She looks back up at Tucker and expects him to not be there, thinking she is dreaming. She sees his eyes still on her and her heart skips a beat. She looks back at Jay. “I haven’t accepted it yet.”
“What? Why not? It is the opportunity of a life time. Not everyone gets offered a lead marketing position right after graduation.”
“I know.” She looks back up at Tucker. Her mom is saying something to him and he is not looking at her anymore. “I just haven’t really decided what I am going to do. I don’t want to take a job I would regret or be unhappy with.”
“Wow. You are always full of surprises.” He hugs her tightly. “Well good luck. Whatever you find to do.”
She forces a smile to him only thinking about Tucker and how much she wants to run over to hug him. “Thanks. And good luck to you.”
Tucker cannot believe how beautiful she looks. She has changed so much since the last time he saw her. The look she gave him when she first saw him was unreadable but she seemed confused to see him. He had not spoken to her in four years. He wonders if she was not happy to see him as much as he was to see her.
The ceremony is long and he just watches the back of Chasity’s head in the crowd of graduates the entire time. He feels so proud of her as she finally moves across the stage and he hears her name called. He cannot help but wonder what all she has done, learned, and seen over the past four years.
He sees her eyes shoot up to him as she walks back to her seat and her face is just like he remembered. He had held on to the memory of every inch of her body all this time. It is what got him through the last four years. Now she is so close and he cannot even touch her. He does not know if she has a boyfriend or has moved on. He does not care though, seeing her in person after seeing so much pain and suffering around the world gives his heart peace. He missed her. He notices she has not smiled at him once as she sits down with her back to him again. It bothers him because he feels it means she is not excited to see him. He begins to think he should not have come.
As the ceremony ends, he hugs Chasity’s mom again. “I am going to sneak out.”
“You don’t want to see Chasity? She will be so upset if she doesn’t even get the chance to talk to you.”
He looks back down at Chasity, who is talking to another graduate and hugging him. “I just have somewhere else to be. Tell her congrats for me though.” He feels his heart ache looking back to her parents and taking her dad’s hand for a hand shake. “Thanks for letting me know when her big day was. It was great to see you both. And her.”
“It was good to see you too Tucker. We are glad you made it home safely.” Her dad nods in respect to him.
“Thank you, sir.” He says to them before he quickly moves through the crowd.
He walks out of the auditorium to find his rental car feeling the pain of not going to talk to her. He just could not bear the thought of her still being mad at him after all this time or finding out she was in love with someone new. He wanted to keep their last night together all those years ago fresh in his mind. He could not let a new memory of her change that image.
“Tucker!” He can hear her voice yelling his name and it causes his heart to jump. He stops wondering if he just imagined her voice. “Tucker?” She sounds so close and his name sounding from her makes him close his eyes. He had heard his name come from her mouth so many times in his dreams the past four years but this time she sounded clearer. He slowly turns around and those big brown eyes melt his heart. He is not sure what to do or say. He just stands there in front of her. “Is this real?” He sees the pain in her face as she asks and he does not feel like it is real either but he knows it is.
“Hey Chas.” His words cause her to move closer to him as she looks down his body quickly and back up into his eyes again. He cannot figure out what her face is saying.
Her hand reaches up touching his spiky chin. She is so close to him that he could reach out and hold her. Oh, how he wants to hold her. Every night for the past four years it is all he thought about. He resists though searching her eyes and then noticing her lips are so red and beautiful. Just like the first night he realized he loved her.
“You’re really here.” Her hand falls to his chest as a smile finally sweeps across her face. “You’re here!” She wraps her arms around his neck and it feels so good to be touched by her. He moves his arms around her body in response. This is what he lived for. This is what kept him alive the past few years. Knowing that one day he would get the chance to hold her between his arms one more time. She smells amazing. And her soft cheek against his makes him never want to let go. “Were you going to leave without talking to me?” She pushes him away from her suddenly and her mad familiar face makes him smile.
“Seriously? Where you?” She looks more hurt than mad and he knows he needs to be honest.
“I didn’t know if you would want to see me.”
“Why would I not want to see you?” She looks oddly at him.
“I wasn’t sure if you were still mad at me.” Her odd expression fades away as their eyes stay connected. He wonders what she is thinking.
“That was a long time ago. I am not mad at you.”
“Good.” He feels his face relax some as he looks away briefly.
“You and I both did what was best for each of us. You were right. We were just 18 and we needed to go out into the world and figure out who we were.”
Tucker is not sure where she is going with this. Was she about to tell him she moved on and no longer loved him? The thought hurts. “I just wanted to be here for you on your big day. And to say congrats.” He smiles at her. “I am really proud of you.”
She smiles back at him. “Thank you. I am really glad you came.”
“Me too.” Her red lips are perfect and he yearns to kiss them.
“You look different.” She squints a little at him. “I almost didn’t recognize you.”
“You look beautiful.”
She blushes looking down at her feet. He loves how unknowing she is of how pretty she is. “Thanks.”
He sees her parents walking towards them and he knows they are just in town for this too. He does not want to interfere with their time. “I should go.” She looks back up at him in surprise.
“No.” He sees anxiety sweep over her face. “You should stay.”
“Your parents came to see you. I don’t want to be in the way.”
“How long are you here?”
“Just the night.” He was hoping to spend time with her but he does not want to tell her that. “I haven’t even been to see my parents yet. They will freak that I am back in the states.”
She looks over at her parents that have almost reached them. “Please don’t leave town without spending some time with me?” Her words sound as if she is begging him. She wraps her arms around him again. “Promise me?”
He whispers softly in her ear. “I promise.” He sees tears building in her eyes as she moves away from their hug. He wants to kiss her but is not sure it would be okay with her. Suddenly, she kisses him on the cheek and it makes the need for her grow inside him.
Her hand falls perfectly into his as she briefly turns toward her parents. “I just have to have dinner with them then I am free. I will text you my address when I get home.”
Tucker nods his head as he squeezes her hand. “Okay.”
She smiles at him. He missed that smile so much. “I will see you in a little while then?”
He cannot manage to get any words out so he just nods his head yes. He reluctantly releases her hand as she turns to leave him.