“Congrats, Mia,” President Jacobbe said to me, shaking my hand on stage and handing me my diploma. I grasped his hand in mine and smiled widely, feeling so damn proud of myself. This entire summer I had been working my ass off to finish school, and while I wished I had finished on time, I wouldn’t trade this for the world.
After walking off stage, I caught Michael sitting with Mom and my friends, and I blushed. I did it. I freaking did it. I made it through without Mason, without Dad, without an angry ex-wife after me.
I sat back down in my seat and watched the rest of the students receive their diplomas. Since it was summer psychology graduation, the ceremony was smaller than the spring ceremony and finished much quicker. I picked out Dr. Xiao, sitting with some of the other students from her lab in the audience.
Though I wasn’t officially a grad student yet, I started working in her lab about a week ago—just to get set up and understand how things worked around there. And it was a hell of a lot better than sitting in the house all day, horny as hell and waiting for Michael to come home from work.
I stared at President Jacobbe and placed a hand over my stomach, listening to him finish one of his speeches. A sweet craving for oranges hit me, and my stomach growled. Pregnancy had been harder these past few weeks. Besides these cravings, I had been getting hornier than I ever had. All I could think about was Michael bending me over the bed later on and fucking me senseless in this damn cap and gown.
Fucking weird, I know.
But, god, it made me press my knees together.
“Congratulations to our graduates. Please join us for some refreshments at the University Club,” Jacobbe said. Everyone started to disperse out of the auditorium and into the hallways, heading toward the University Club a few doors down.
Graduates stood for pictures at the entrance with their parents as I walked farther into the room. Dr. Xiao had a glass of wine in her hand, and when she saw me, she hurried over. “Congrats, Mia!” Dr. Xiao said, throwing her arms around me and pulling me into a tight hug. Behind her stood a few students from the grad program who were chatting with each other.
At our university and this psych program, it was sort of tradition to attend graduation for the undergrads. The psychology department always threw a grad party afterwards. I had been to one in April when they graduated, and it was definitely worth attending for chatting and making connections with others in the field. That’s how I found Dr. Xiao.
I held my diploma close and thanked her. She ushered me toward the other students, and I excused myself to find Michael and get some water at the bar. My mouth was dry from sitting in that auditorium for the past two hours.
One of the lab assistants and grad students, Cameron, who was also in Mason’s frat last year, smiled at me. “Congrats, Mia. Officially a grad student.” Cam nodded to the bar. “You want anything? The psych department saved up all year to get grads drunk off shitty wine.”
After laughing, I shook my head and rested a hand on my stomach. “I’m good, thanks.”
“I, uh…” He scratched the back of his head. “I heard you and Mason broke up.”
Just at the sound of his name, I scrunched up my nose. I didn’t even want to think about that man. He had his trial in court the other day, and I had avoided news about him at all costs, deep down knowing what his sentence would be.
“Yeah,” I said, awkwardly standing beside him. Michael caught my eye from across the room where he stood chatting up Dr. Xiao about something. He raised a brow, and I shook my head and turned my gaze back to Cam. “We broke up a while ago.”
Cam looked as if he wanted to say something but stopped himself. “I heard about what happened at the courthouse and wanted to apologize for what he did to you,” he said just as awkwardly as I felt. “Brothers from any frat should act better than how he treated you. He should’ve gotten more than just a slap on the wrist.”
My heart dropped in my chest, and I stared up at him with wide eyes—promising myself that I wouldn’t cry on the night of my graduation. “He didn’t get any punishment?” I whispered, letting it sink in.
From the moment I pressed charges, I knew that nothing would happen to him because his parents had enough money to bribe anyone to look the other way. But knowing that there was no justice broke my heart.
It felt like my whole entire world came crashing down. If Mason didn’t get any repercussions, what if he tried to do something like that again to me or to someone else? I’d know to stay as far away from him as I could, but another girl might fall for him like I did, get trapped in a relationship with him, and let him hurt her over and over.
Sometimes abuse like that was hard to get out of. People didn’t understand how shitty an abuser could make you feel, like what he was saying was your fault, like you were the bad guy and deserved all the pain and suffering that he was giving you.
Cam gently grasped my shoulder. “It sucks that guys like him can flaunt their money and get out of anything. If you need anything, you know where to find me,” he said. “See you in the lab bright and early Monday morning.” He threw me a smile and headed toward another group of grad students.
I grabbed a glass of water from the bar and hurried over to Michael, wrapping an arm around his waist and kissing him on the lips, trying to forget about Mason until a bit later when I knew I wouldn’t burst out in tears. Michael glanced over at the grad students, eyes lingering on Cam, then returned my kiss and pulled me closer to him. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Thank God that’s over,” I said. “Because I’m about two seconds away from tearing off this gown and letting you give it to me right here. I didn’t think I’d make it.”
He placed his lips just below my ear and chuckled. “Wet for me again?” he asked into my ear, fingers curling around my waist.
“Always,” I whispered to him, throwing him a smile and turning to Mom and my friends, waiting for the thousand and one pictures she’d want to take to remember this special day. And while I usually hated pictures, I wouldn’t mind these ones. Today was a day I’d remember forever.
A/N This is the final book in the Excite Me series! Chapters will be released more frequently for the next month!