She picked up the worn box and brushed the thin line of dust off it.
She opened it carefully as though it would crumble at any moment.
Picking up a tattered photograph, her eyes seemed to smile as she looked upon it, recalling the distant memory.
There she was around eleven years old sitting in the booth at the local CandyBar. She had a scowl on her face as she sat next to a big headed boy who looked rather annoyed.
Oh yes, she clearly remembered that day.
"Neutron!" Cindy yelled pounding on his lab door furiously
He opened the door glaring at her "What do you want? I was in the middle of finishing my molecular prototype!"
"I don't care, You're coming with me" she barked back yanking his arm and leading him down the street
"Alright, alright.. Let go already"
Cindy then released her tight grip
"Geez Vortex, where's the fire?" He stated sarcastically, rubbing his arm
"Look at what Goddard did!" She seethed pointing down
On her green lawn there laid a small pile of lug nuts
"Nope don't wanna hear what you gotta say Neutron"
"No, I don't care if your dog is mechanical or whatever he can't just do that on people's lawns"
"Like really, if he's such a smart dog, why can't he even clean up after himself?"
She stopped talking and looked at him curiously
"Goddard has been in my lab all day because I'm giving him an upgrade. I was almost finished with my molecular prototype for him too, before I was rudely interrupted."
"If you wanted to hang out with me, all you had to do was ask" He smirked
"What? Pfft.. What makes you think I wanna hang out with you Nerdtron?"
"Well you tried to frame my dog for something he didn't do by putting lug nuts on your lawn so"
Cindy's face flushed with embarrassment. She looked down at her shoes nervously, desperate to avoid Jimmy's gaze.
"Hey, how about we meet at the CandyBar later today around seven? my treat" He mentioned softly
She lifted up her eyes and met his, doing her best to keep her composure all she could do was simply nod
"Alright, see ya then" He waved as he headed back to his house
When she saw that he was out of sight, she let out a squeal while she ran inside her home with the hugest smile plastered on her face.
"Girl what's with the new outfit?" questioned Libby
"I'm not sure what you're talking about" Cindy said as she examined herself in the mirror
"Well you're not wearing your usual green tank top and you're actually wearing a skirt"
"Oh heh.. yeah, I'm just trying something different, This looks good right?"
Libby crossed her arms not buying into her act
"Spill" She replied giving her friend a suspicious glare
"Okay.." Cindy said, nervously looking around as if she was scared someone would overhear them
"Jimmy might have.. kind of.. invited me to hang with him at the CandyBar later"
"I knew something was up, so what time is your date?"
"It's not a date, we're just going as friends to hang out and get some ice cream" Cindy blushed
"Is he paying?"
"Well.. yeah but-"
"Then it's a date" Libby smiled "but here let me help you out with something"
She then pulled the hair tie slowly out of Cindy's hair causing her long blonde hair to swiftly fall down her back
Libby gleamed confidently
She walked into the CandyBar nervously holding her arm. She looked around before catching a glimpse of the boy genius. Once she saw him she turned around beginning to walk out
"Hold it right there" Libby said stopping her
"I-I-I just need to go outside to get some fresh air" Cindy stuttered
"I don't think so missy" She commented pushing her along
Before Cindy knew it they were already at the table where Jimmy was seated
His eyes lit up once he saw her
"Wow Cindy You look grea-"
"Hey Guys!" Sheen and Carl said in unison sliding into the booth
Jimmy looked at them aggravated
"What are you doing here?"
"Getting ice cream duh Jim" said Carl
"And he calls himself a genius" Sheen laughed
"Cindy you look different, did you do something to your hair?"
"Your right Carl, her hair is all flowy now"
"Oh Sheen.." Libby said grabbing him by the shirt
"Yes my queen?"
She whispered in his ear "Maybe you and Carl should go get ice cream somewhere else"
He stared blankly, not understanding
"But why would we go somewhere else? When we're already at the CandyBar" he blurted loudly
"Because Cindy and Jimmy want to be alone"
"Why would they want to be alone?"
"Because.." she went on to explain to him
Sheen then turned to whisper telling Carl what he was told
"That's adorable" He giggled
The boys then got up out of the booth
"Wait, Wait, I gotta get a picture" Carl said enthusiastically
"A picture? What no!" Jimmy remarked
"No way llama freak" Cindy replied pushing the camera away
"Come on guys, I think it would be cute" Libby interjected motioning Cindy to sit in the booth with Jimmy
They sat together sharing the same nervous expression
Carl held up the camera
"Alright guys say cheese in"
"Aww their first date, they grow up so fast" Sheen added
"This isn't a date!" Jimmy and Cindy both yelled
She chuckled softly to herself as she put the photo back in the box.
She was always such a headstrong and a loud mouth kid. Why anyone put up with her she'd always wonder but she was so thankful they had.
She picked up another photo and reveled in it. The sweet memory now making its way back from the hidden corners of her mind.
She must've been fifteen at the time. She had cake all over her face while laughing at a boy who was in the same predicament.
"When does Neutron get back home from Washington?"
"I'm not sure Cindy, I think he comes back a couple days from now" Carl shrugged
"Ugh, He's gonna miss my birthday party"
He gave her a sincere look
"But it's not like it matters or anything.. He can stay there for all I care!" she retorted marching off
"What's wrong Cind?" Libby mentioned while tying up some balloons
After years of friendship, Libby was able to see right through her
"I think you miss a certain someone"
"Miss him? No! So what if he's been gone almost two weeks at some dumb NASA convention and will miss my birthday, doesn't bother me"
"Girl, just admit it"
"Okay fine, maybe I miss him a little.."
"More like a lot, since all you've been doing these past couple of weeks is moping around."
"I haven't been moping!" Cindy countered
"Mhmm.. You better not mope today. It's your fifteenth birthday and as your best friend it's my job to make sure you have an amazing time!"
Cindy gave her a half-smile "I guess you're right.."
"Of course, I'm right. Now go get ready for your party"
The house was lined with streamers and filled with balloons.
Guests then starting piling in her house one by one greeting her with birthday wishes and gifts.
"Happy Birthday Cindy" said Sheen and Carl
"Ooooh balloons" Sheen replied walking away
Cindy just rolled her eyes
"Let's get this partyyy starteddd!" Libby yelled in a microphone turning up the music
As the music played everyone started dancing. Well almost everyone. Carl was busy eating chips and dip while Sheen was busy sucking the helium out of the balloons. Regardless,
Cindy was actually having a great time herself. She danced along, her dress twirling around as she swayed to the beat.
"Time to bring out the cake!" Mrs. Vortex called
The teens then gathered around anxiously
"Cut me a big slice Mrs. V!" Sheen squeaked
"Sheen.. Why do you sound like a chipmunk?" Libby remarked eyeing her boyfriend
"Um. No reason"
She shook her head "There's something wrong with you boy"
"But ya love me" He simpered
Everyone then belted out the happy birthday song
"Cindy make a wish!" Carl chimed
"Um.. don't you think I'm a little too old to be making some dumb wish?"
"Haha come on girl, just do it for old times sake" Libby replied
"Alright whatever" Cindy said closing her eyes and blowing out her candles.
"So, what did you wish for?"
She looked behind her to see a pair of familiar blue eyes
"Jimmy?! You're here? but how?!" She exclaimed giving him a hug
"Well I couldn't miss your birthday" He smiled "Libby also helped me get a plane ticket back so I could make it here"
"I told you, as your best friend it's my job to make sure you have an amazing time" Libby beamed
"Thank you" Cindy mouthed
"Hey, Neutron, want some cake?"
"Yeah" He answered eagerly
"Here ya go" She said pushing it in his face "Next time don't be late for my party"
"So that's how you wanna play huh?" He said wiping icing off his face "Carl, pass me that slice"
"Don't you dare"
"Too late" He said smushing the cake against her
"Hey Libby" Sheen said holding some cake
"You better put that down if you know what's good for you, I spent all of yesterday getting my hair done!" She snapped
He stuck the cake in his mouth instead
"Mmhmm that's what I thought"
"Alright everyone group picture!" Mrs. Vortex shouted
"Ugh Cynthia you look an absolute mess! Oh well, I didn't buy this new camera for nothing"
Cindy and Jimmy looked at each other and couldn't help but laugh. They looked hilarious with chocolate icing all over their faces.
She was genuinely happy because her wish did come true.
There he was standing right beside her.
The camera flashed
She stared at the picture in her hand, wanting once more to go back to that time.
Times were more simple and more carefree in her youth.
She placed the photo back and picked up yet another.
In this one she was eighteen and it was at her graduation. She was wearing her cap and gown, blushing as a handsome blue eyed boy was kissing her on the cheek.
She recalled it just like it was yesterday
"I'll never understand why you stayed here and completed high school with us when you probably could've finished college by now" Cindy stated as she sat down next to him
"And it's not like you weren't already invited to almost every college in the country, Don't think I didn't notice those college recruits talking to you during ninth and tenth grade"
"I have my reason Vortex" he smiled
"And what is this reas-"
She was then cut off by Sheen
"Aw yeah! I can't believe in one hour we'll officially graduate and be done with high school forever!"
"I can't believe you even managed to make it this far" Cindy shot sarcastically
"Yeah me either but Libby helped me by making sure I studied and stuff"
"You got that right" Libby added joining the others
"Hey babe! You look awesome! did you get a new outfit or something?"
"Sheen.. I'm wearing the same cap and gown as everyone else"
"Well, it looks better on you" He replied flirtatiously
"Aw thanks" she grinned
"Guys! Guys! Guess what!" Carl shouted waving his hands excitedly
"I got an internship to work on a llama farm this summer!"
"Aw that's awesome, congrats Carl" Jimmy said patting his friend on the shoulder
The others also took their turns congratulating him.
"Well Mr. Valedictorian, you better get a move on.. probably should prepare for that speech" Cindy winked
"Oh great gas planets! You're right!" Jimmy uttered glancing at his watch before running off
As a kid she would have been angered that she came in second place to Jimmy Neutron, having only received the salutatorian status. However, as she grew up with him she began to embrace his accomplishments as her own. Instead of constantly competing against one another they instead encouraged and challenged each other to reach their full potential.
Libby looked at her best friend "You ready girl?"
"Ready as I'll ever be, Let's go!" She yelled running off with her friend to find their seats before the commencement
The graduation ceremony went by like a blur and before she knew it she was finally called up to the stage to receive her diploma.
Once she was on stage she took one final look at her class before walking off.
She looked out, slowly taking it all in.
The faces would soon be gone and all her high school adventures would be just a memory
This chapter was closing as her life was preparing her for a new one,
As the ceremony ended, many graduates suddenly left to be with their friends and family
Cindy just sat there, still deep in thought while she played with the tassel on her cap
"Is everything okay?" Jimmy mentioned placing his hand lightly on her arm
"It's just… this is it."
He looked at her confused
"This is just all ending so soon. Before I know it I'll be in college and pursuing my own career and so will everyone else. You know how they say people grow distant after high school? Well that's what I'm worried about. What if things aren't the same? What if they aren't the same between our friends? our families? or... between us.." she muttered, a single tear escaping
Jimmy held her face in his hands, wiping off the tear from her cheek with his thumb
"Look at me Cindy" He said staring into her eyes
"I know embarking on a new journey is kind of scary but we'll get through it. Heck, we battled aliens, survived crazy experiments, and made it through high school. So I know we'll be able to handle whatever else life throws our way and don't worry we'll handle it together"
A sudden warmness overcame her as she could feel his face getting closer to hers
"Want to know my reason for not leaving for college earlier?"
"Yeah, why didn't you?" she asked inquisitively
"You're my reason.." He said, kissing her gently
The kiss was soft and slow, yet perfect. Her world stood still and all of her stress seemed to erase as his lips pressed upon hers.
She melted completely and deepened the kiss, not wanting their moment to end.
"Ahem.." Carl coughed
They both broke apart from each other and stared at the boy, their faces flushed with red
"Sorry. Didn't mean to interrupt you two but Libby wants everyone together so we can all take a picture"
"Okay, we'll be there in a minute Carl"
"Maybe now? I don't mean to rush but I kinda gotta get going soon. My parent's are taking me to cheese world to celebrate!"
They both sighed in unison "Fine, we're coming"
The group of five took several pictures together some serious, some silly, and some just being their overall normal selves
Which consisted of.. Sheen putting on his old Ultralord mask, Carl puffing on his inhaler, Libby rolling her eyes, Cindy glaring at Sheen, and Jimmy just scratching his head, kinda lost
But Libby noticed something.
She noticed a new sense of joy took over her friend as she caught Cindy looking at Jimmy several times.
"Okay lover girl go stand over there with Jimmy, I wanna get a picture of you two together"
Cindy walked over and stood next to him as he put his arm around her
"Aww you two are the cutest!" Libby commented holding up the camera
"So I noticed you haven't been able to keep your eyes off of me since our last kiss Vortex" He whispered
"Haha uhh.." she laughed nervously
"It's okay, we'll finish where we left off later" he replied kissing her cheek
The camera shutter sounded
She rubbed the photo gently between her fingers.
Oh how she had once worried about life after high school and now high school itself was just a lovely recollection.
She placed the picture down carefully, admiring it one last time.
Another picture then caught her attention.
She looked at it and was immediately flooded with nostalgia.
She was about twenty, wearing a beautiful flower in her hair as she was embracing a young man who seemed completely enraptured by her.
"Ugh, You're just so frustrating Neutron!"
"You don't understand!"
"Understand what? That you forgot about the dinner we have been planning for weeks.. yet again?" Cindy glared
"I didn't forget, I just got caught up with-"
"Yeah, Yeah, got caught up with research for your new gene expression modulator, I know I've heard it before.."
"That modulator could potentially cure cancer!"
"I know Jimmy, and I'm proud of you, I really am but this dinner was really important to me"
"How about we reschedule then?"
"This is about the third time we rescheduled and you didn't come through, No we're not rescheduling again!" she yelled, briskly walking to her car
"Come on, we can work something out" he pleaded grabbing her arm
She pulled away and unlocked her car
As she looked back at him her anger became extinguished by sadness
"I know you love science, I just wish I didn't come in second place to it"
Before he could say anything though she had driven off
Later that day she met up with her long time best friend at the local coffee shop
"Libs, I just don't know any more.." Cindy spoke, rubbing her temples
"Men are difficult.."
"So does Sheen do that to you?"
"Well not any more.. But I remember a few instances back as kids when I felt Ultralord was way more important than I was"
"Yeah he was like obsessed, it was pretty creepy" Cindy noted
"He has mellowed out some thankfully, but anyways I believe Jimmy is just trying to sort out everything. He did graduate from college early and now I guess he's just trying to balance his career with his girlfriend"
"Which he's kind of doing a bad job at, but I understand what you mean" she replied sipping her coffee
"He cares about you a lot Cind, maybe you should just go talk to him"
"Yeah, you're right, thanks" Cindy smiled
"Of course I'm right, now go get yo man!" Libby laughed
She knocked on the door of his apartment
"Cindy!" he yelled his face lighting up
"Look Jimmy.. I think we should talk.. Wait, why are you so dressed up?" she eyed him suspiciously
"Because I was actually on my way to see you"
"I don't understand.."
He grabbed her by the hand "Come on, I want to show you something"
As they we're flying in the hover car she looked down to see the ocean beneath them
"Um.. where are we going?"
"You'll see" he smiled slyly
"Okay.. well I just wanted to talk to -"
"Look over there" he pointed
Cindy's eyes grew wide "Is that? It can't be! No way!"
"It is" Jimmy replied confidently
As the hovercraft landed she stepped out,
looking up into the trees she reminisced as the breeze of the ocean blew through her hair
"Wow, how did you find our island again?"
"I've actually been trying to find it for three years now, but since it's uncharted it took a lot of precise calculations to pinpoint the exact area"
He then grabbed her by the hand leading her towards the ocean
There on the sand he had a table set up with two chairs on each side.
He pulled out the chair for her
Cindy looked at him and blushed
"But Jimmy.. I'm not even dressed properly for a date"
He put a tropical flower in her hair "It's okay.. You still look beautiful to me"
She smiled radiantly but then suddenly remembered why she wanted to see him in the first place
Her smile fell as she looked at him with concern
"We need to talk"
"I know, that's why I brought you out here" he said twiddling his thumbs
"I'm sorry.. I'm sorry that I missed out on our dinners but most importantly, I'm sorry that I made you feel as though you were second best"
"I know you're just starting on your new career and everything, maybe I was just being unfair" Cindy uttered softly
"No, you were right. I was focusing too much on other things when I should've been focusing on you. I had my priorities out of order. You know.. science will always be there and there always will be some new theory or formula but times like these, just being with you I find to be the most precious"
Her heart did flips inside of her chest and she felt just like she had when they first started dating, completely head over heels for the man sitting across from her.
"Oh and one more thing"
He pulled out a gorgeous pearl necklace and went over to Cindy putting it around her neck
"I might have kind of took your pearl so I could regenerate more for this necklace"
"So that's where it went! I went crazy looking for that thing, I thought I lost it! But.. this.. well this definitely makes up for it" she commented admiring the pearls
"I'm glad you like it"
Jimmy then whistled off into the distance and a monkey emerged
"Is that our monkey friend!?" Cindy shouted excitedly
"Yeah! Hey there buddy" Jimmy said giving him a high five "Can you do me a little favor?"
The monkey chirped in delight
"You remember that pretty lady over there? He winked "Well I kinda owe her.. So can you take a picture of us?"
The monkey nodded in agreement
"Thanks bud" he replied handing him a camera
"Come here you" Jimmy grabbed Cindy by the waist
"haha do you remember this?" he asked pointing to the tree next to them
The tree was engraved with a heart that said J+C Forever
She smiled as she held him closer "You know something Neutron?"
"I love you" she whispered wrapping her arms around him
"I love you too, Vortex"
The camera clicked
She clutched the photo close to her it was like she was filled with the same emotions from that day.
As she closed her eyes, she swore she could faintly hear the sound of the waves from the ocean.
She smiled at the remembrance of that moment while she slipped the photo back into the old box and began to close it shut.
She put the box back on the shelf as she made her way slowly up the stairs.
Once she reached the top, she looked up at a picture that was hanging on the wall
Cindy walked down the aisle gracefully, holding her father's arm
She looked to her right and there she saw Libby giving her two thumbs up along with a giant grin. She was seated next to Sheen and Carl who also looked happy for her.
On her left she saw her mother wiping tears from her eyes as she smiled approvingly.
And there in front of her was the man of her dreams.
She couldn't believe the boy she rivaled against and made fun of as a child had grown to mean so much to her.
Over the years they spent together, he became her crush, her first kiss, her high school sweetheart, her first love, and soon he'd become her husband.
They had spent the majority of their lives together and she honestly couldn't wait to spend the rest of it with him.
Jimmy Neutron completed her.
He was her better half after all, her soul mate.
She made her way to the front of the church and stood across from him wearing the most beautiful white dress she could imagine.
They exchanged vows and he gave her a heartfelt smile as he placed the wedding ring on her finger.
After they said their I do's the church erupted in applause
"I always knew they would end up together" Libby told Sheen
"Yeah someone would have to be blind not to see that coming"
Later on at the wedding reception,
"So you're officially Mrs. Neutron" Libby commented, playfully nudging her friend
"Yeah and I owe it all to you"
"What do you mean?" Libby questioned
"You pushed me to embrace my feelings for him as kids, when he was away and I didn't really have anyone to talk to well you were there and you also helped us resolve the little issues in our relationship so we could be where we are today"
"It's no big deal girl, that's what friends are for"
"Well thanks for being the best friend I could ever have" She said hugging Libby
"Aww stop it, you're gonna make me cry and ruin my mascara"
"Time for the newly weds to take their first dance!" announced the DJ as he played a slow song
"You better get on out there, your hubby is waiting on ya" she smirked
Cindy walked to the middle of the dance floor as everyone else watched from the sidelines
"There you are" Jimmy stated, holding out his hand
Cindy took it and drew into him, wrapping her arms around his neck
He put his hands on her waist as they swayed in sync to the music
He looked down at her with a huge grin on his face
"What is it?" she asked getting lost in his blue eyes
"It's just that..
I'm so lucky, I get to spend all my days with you"
A camera went off
Her reminiscence was suddenly interrupted as small girl tugged on her shirt
"Mommy, I can't sleep I had a bad dream"
She grabbed the child's hand and took her to her room
"It was just a dream sweetie, try to get some sleep" she said tucking her in and kissing her forehead
"I know what could help"
"A story!" the little girl chimed
"What story do you wanna hear? The one about the princess at the castle?
"Then which one honey?"
"Could you tell me the story about you and daddy? that one's my favorite"
She looked down at her daughter and smiled
"That one's my favorite too"
I spent the past two days working on this instead of finishing up my previous story. Haha something is wrong with me but I hope you really enjoyed this as much as I did writing it.
Thanks everyone and you don't have to but a review would kinda be pretty cool ya know (: