It had been a year and 7 months since Ruthie and Martin started dating and now everybody was starting to believe that they were meant for each other. Ruthie was moving to Florida for school and she was graduating today.
She woke up excited and nervous. She was excited because in 2 months time she would be with Martin in Florida with no parents around and Mac who was single and loving it. But she was nervous and afraid about graduating; she would probably never see most of her friends again. But starting college was also a scary thing. She would only have Martin and Mac and they were juniors with baseball so she was all alone.
As Ruthie got up and dressed to go to graduation rehearsal she was excited. Hopefully Martin's flight got in so he wouldn't miss her graduation because they had a last practice before him and Mac could come home and then they were going back for practice and then in July she would be joining them.
Ruthie drove to school and saw all her friends pulling in after her and before her and they were all excited and sad. Ruthie knew there would be tears shed today mostly from the girls but some guys. As they lined up Ruthie saw some of her friends already crying which made her eyes water.
They got a break and the girls were sitting around in a circle with the guys. They were all laughing and reliving old high school memories and sad times.
"Where are you headed after graduation?"
"Florida State on a journalism scholarship."
"I'm going to Florida State too." Both girls screamed in delight and hugged. "This is gonna be so cool."
"Yeah at least now Mac will have someone to hang out with."
"That's right Mac goes there too."
"I'm gonna miss you guys."
"I know, but hey we still have summers."
"And winter break."
"Yep, so no matter what, we'll still have each other."
"Yep." They went back to rehearsal and then headed to the diner for one last meal together as a group before everybody goes off and gets ready for school. They were all sitting their and laughing when someone tapped Ruthie's shoulder. She turned and Martin was standing over her.
"I told you I would be here, didn't I? And I brought you a present but I couldn't wrap it. Oh present, could you come here?" Mac came out and Ruthie was so excited.
"Ruthie!" Mac wrapped his arms around her. "I missed you."
"I missed both of you. Oh guess what? Monica's going to Florida State too."
"Yeah I'm excited that I have Ruthie."
"And I'm excited too." Mac winked laying the charm on thick.
"We should go, we have to get ready."
"Oh yeah. Monica we have to get ready together."
"Duh!" They ran to the car and Martin and Mac laughed the whole way home.
"Dude Monica's hot."
"Found a new girlfriend?"
"Yeah I think so."
"Dude just slow this time, don't scare her off."
"I don't plan on it."
Graduation was beautiful; the sun was setting and the graduates were sitting in their nice red robes. They started handing out diplomas and it felt forever until they called Ruthie's name. "Ruthie Camden." She accepted her diploma and Martin and Mac started cheering like cheerleaders on speed. They were obviously making a joke and Mrs. Camden found it very funny.
After graduation Martin and Mac wanted to leave but there were millions of pictures to be taken; first with Ruthie and her family, then Ruthie and Martin, then Ruthie and Mac, then the millions more of Ruthie and just her friends, with some with Martin and Mac thrown in here or there.
When they were all out of film they all headed back to house to have dinner and Ruthie and Martin hung back standing in the yard while everyone else piled in the house.
"So you're finally a high school graduate."
"Yeah and I'm excited. I get to see you now and don't have to wait 2 months at a time."
"Yeah I'm excited too, plus no parents."
"That'll be great." Martin wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer.
"I love you."
"I love you too." They kissed and Mac opened the door scaring Ruthie.
"Come on you guys, there's cake!"
"Mac do you only think about food?"
"Only if there's cake involved. Come on."
"Here's to Ruthie, our little girl becoming a woman. We're very proud of you sweetheart and it helps to have a great guy like Martin around when things get tough. Cheers to Ruthie." Everyone raised their glasses and Ruthie started crying.
"I can't believe I made it through, I mean I don't think I could've done it without Martin."
"Okay my turn. At first Ruthie and I were only friends until the fateful day we had our first fight and it was nasty but it made both of us realize that there was something more. And on Thanksgiving I came clean and told her and boy I'm glad that I did because I don't think I could picture my life without you. I love you." Martin walked over to Ruthie and kissed her cheek and put his arm behind her back.
"Now on to college where Ruthie will make many friends and become another Camden kid to finish college." The party lasted into the wee hours of the morning dwindling down at around 1 in the morning. Ruthie and Monica soon fell asleep on the couch and Mac was lying on the floor in front of the piano and Martin was sitting in the chair sound asleep. Mrs. Camden looked at them smiling. She was happy that Ruthie had such a support system when going to college.
It was a little sad that Mrs. Camden was losing her baby girl and only had the twins to take care of and soon they wouldn't need her either. But she was proud of all her kids, Matt and Sarah were expecting a baby in late December, Mary and Carlos were back together and Charlie, Lucy and Kevin were expecting a baby and little Savannah, Simon and Sandy were getting married late August next year, Ruthie was on her way to college on a journalism scholarship, and Sam and David were doing very well in school.
She left the kids alone feeling tired from all the crying she did and all the work she put into the party. She was happy that she still had Eric as her support system and Lucy. Ruthie was going to be fine but she couldn't help but worry about her because Ruthie was her last girl and that meant no more boys problems. It was all Erik's territory now.