The BSC Legacy - Book 4: Adolescence Passing

By: CNJ

PG-13

14: Countdown To Graduation, Part 4

Claudia:

It was a huge relief to get my last final exam finished and turned in.

We could leave as soon as we were done and I finished my Spanish final which was my last one, turned it in and left quietly.

Once I was outside, I let out a big "WHOOOOOOOP!" I did a little hop-dance, then waited for Kristy and Mona to come out.

They were also taking their Spanish exams. I couldn't believe we were done with high school.

No more homework, tests, or sitting in classes until the fall and by then, we'd all be in college.

I really was looking forward to heading to Minnesota. I had only been by there once the summer after we graduated from eighth grade and the BSC took the cross-country trip in the RV.

I'm sooo glad colleges are beginning to recognize artistic achievements, since I've always been a mediocre student and sitting still doing homework hour after hour is one of my least favorite things to do.

When Kristy and Mona came out, we whooped some, then headed home.

"Ready for the big night tomorrow?" Kristy asked.

"Yep," I nodded. I was wearing a bright red sequined dress. I'd asked Jim Masley and he'd accepted.

Kristy was going with David Amesworth. All of us BSC were riding down to the prom in two cars. Boy, I couldn't wait!

"I'm going down to the Dress Barn to pick up my dress this afternoon," Mona told us as we headed home. "It's bright green."

"Mine's red," I put in. "So what are you wearing, Kristy?"

"Actually, a skirt," Kristy grinned.

"You, Kristy Thomas, will actually be seen in a dress?" Mona feigned shock and we all laughed.

"Yep, but it's not the standard fare dress," Kristy told us. "It's a sequined leather skirt and white loose top."

"Alll right, Kristy!" I whooped.

I knew from talking to Abby that she was also wearing red and that Stacey was wearing a cobalt blue dress while Mary Anne was wearing a marble-design blue and black dress.

Anna was wearing a lavender dress and Dawn said she was wearing a lime-green dress.

I was glad that Mary Anne was still coming with us to the prom despite the fact that she'd just broken up with Tim Hastings.

I knew her heart was still healing over that.

Mary Anne:

Dawn and I both slept in late on the morning of the prom.

Kristy called us around ten with exciting news. She made sure Dawn and I were both on the phone.

"SINGER HAD THE BABY! IT'S HEALTHY; IT'S SIX POUNDS, FOUR OUNCES and IIIT'S A GIIIRL!" she screamed, practically breaking my eardrum.

The three of us laughed. I'd been half-awake, but now I came completely awake.

"How's Singer?"

"She's doing great also!"

"Tell her congratulations!" Dawn said.

"So...Silma's going to adopt Singer's daughter?"

"She is," Kristy babbled. "Oh, I'm so happy it's going to be an open adoption, especially since Silma is a good friend of my mom's and Singer can keep in touch and the baby's going to have a great home."

"It's so great...it's like the kid's going to have two moms," I sighed.

We made plans to visit Singer and her baby early in the afternoon, so Dawn and I booked to get ready, taking showers and all, then headed to the hospital at around eleven.

The rest of the senior BSC met us there in the maternity ward.

"Ohhhh..." all of us gasped when we saw that adorable baby!

She was sooo cute and her sweet tiny face peered out from the blanket. She was sleeping and once in a while, her hands would reach out, feeling around, reminding me of tiny little starfish.

My eyes welled with tears and Singer laughed a little and handed me tissues.

"Silma's naming her Vera," Singer told us once she wheeled the baby into the nursery and led us back to her room. "Silma lives in Stamford and I'll be in Hartford for college, so we'll be close. It'll be so much better for her, since my job is not nearly enough to support a kid. She'll have a stable home with a loving mom...did I tell you Silma's a lawyer? I'm toying with the idea of being a lawyer myself...or maybe a psychologist."

"What a wise decision," Stacey nodded.

I myself admired Singer's courage. Even though I knew Singer would be seeing her kid sometimes, it must be so hard to give your kid to someone else to raise.

"All of us will be better off," Singer continued, laying back on her bed. "Silma's been waiting three years for a baby...she didn't want to do it...you know, Murphy Brown-style with a one-night stand, but hadn't found anyone she wants to marry either." We all laughed softly.

"What's it like to be in labor?" Anna asked.

"The truth...it's like shitting a watermelon," Singer told us and laughed. "The early labor feels like menstrual cramps, then you feel the baby moving down your body toward your birth canal and that's when it feels like a watermelon coming out of you. I don't know if this is true of all women, but afterward, after I'd heard her cry and all, I just wanted to sleep and was soaked with sweat. I think a lot of that nonsensical biz you see on TV and movies about the woman screaming and howling and thrashing in this huge agony is just that...nonsensical hyped-up biz."

"Wow, that's a relief," Stacey let out her breath.

I was relieved too, since I hope to have kids when I'm older once I get my career going and all.

As we were getting ready to leave, Singer called, "Have fun at your prom, you all. Thanks for stopping by."

"Hey, you remembered," Kristy grinned.

"Yep. Have a good time."

Mona:

"Are you going to be all right tonight?" I asked Mary Anne as she, Dawn and I got dressed for the prom. Mary Anne was in the bathroom.

"I should be..." Mary Anne dabbed a last bit of purple lipstick on, then slowly walked out of the bathroom in her blue and black dress. It was long and the material was a very pretty silk.

"Ohhh, your dress is sooo pretty." I had on my bright green dress. It was the first real dress-up occasion we'd been to in ages.

I noticed we had on the same shoes and I laughed. Mary Anne managed a smile. We both had on flats, only hers were black and mine were green like my dress.

Once Dawn came back, we were ready to roll.

"Wow, don't you girls look gorgeous!" Sharon whooped.

"Hey, let's get a picture," Mary Anne's dad grinned.

"Ohhh..." Mary Anne blushed.

Sure enough, Richard had his camera and snapped several pics of us.

"This brings back memories of our high school prom," Sharon sighed. I knew that Mary Anne's dad and Dawn's mom had dated in high school.

"It sure does," Richard smiled at Sharon and gave her a kiss.

"Remember how we stood outside SHS and swore to meet again, no matter what our parents thought?"

"Ohh, yes." Richard and Sharon's parents also hadn't liked each other back then and didn't approve of them dating each other.

"We're going..." Dawn called.

"Have a good time, girls," Sharon called. "And call us if you're going to spend the night away."

"We will," Mary Anne told her.

Sharon had loaned us her car, so we headed on over to Kristy's place where we would meet the others.

When we got there, some of the 'rents were there. Ms. Stevenson and Kristy's mom and stepdad were there and they took even more pictures of all of us.

David was there too and he and Kristy hammed it up for the camera, making goofy faces.

"Have fun, kids," Kristy's mom called as we headed out.

It looked like it was going to be a beautiful evening. It hadn't gotten dark yet, but the sun was getting low and turning orange.

"Abby and I have almost the same color!" Claudia quipped and she and Abby laughed on the way there.

They were both wearing bright red dresses, only Claudia's was sequined. Stacey had on an incredibly cobalt-blue dress and to top it off, she had on the same color earrings and a hairpiece the same color.

Kristy really did pull it off with the leather skirt and white top.

I was glad we'd picked Fairview Gardens. The flowers were in full bloom and the whole place smelled sweet.

On top of that, there was a ton of food to add to the fragrance.

A lot of kids were already there by the time we arrived. We grabbed plates of food, then sat.

"Hiiii!" Caitlin Giotti called.

"Hey..." we waved back.

Caitlin had a guy with dark wavy hair with her, whom she introduced as Russell Innes.

"He goes to Stamford High," Caitlin told us.

They sat with us a few minutes, then once the music really started getting rolling, they got up and danced.

So did most of the other kids, including Kristy, David, Claudia, and Jim. Bit by bit, almost all the other BSC members were off dancing by the time the sun set in a gorgeous haze and it started to get dark.

The lamps, which were Caribbean lanterns, went on. Then it was just Mary Anne and me at the table. We didn't mind, since neither one of us likes dancing in front of others.

"I hope it's this nice on graduation night," Mary Anne sighed.

"Me too."

I knew that SHS was having its graduation ceremony around sunset.

"I hope Singer's going to be all right," Mary Anne said softly. "Did you ever think about that...I mean, what it's like to have a kid of your own? We baby-sit for a few hours a week, but we know once our job is done, our clients take over the responsibility again."

"Sometimes," I nodded. "I'm not sure if I'll do mine biologically or like Silma by adopting."

It was last year that I'd come out of the closet, sort of.

At least to my friends in the BSC and my mom and sister.

Mary Anne was the first person I'd told that I was gay. That had been around March of our junior year.

Thank the stars they accepted me the way I was.

It was odd, because I didn't really start feeling different until I was a teenager, maybe around eighth or ninth grade.

I'd even dated a Matt Zeboski back in seventh grade when I used to live and Bridgeport.

But in eighth grade, we'd drifted apart and broken up.

It wasn't anything major, just feelings gone flat. I really think I had been attracted to Matt.

Then in high school and especially once we were juniors, I was realizing that I wasn't attracted to guys, at least not the way most other girls were.

By then I was at SHS and had joined the BSC. Even now, in non-dating situations, I don't feel that different.

"I've kind of thought about it briefly, but also think about how expensive kids are."

Mary Anne sipped her soda. "I know I'm not having kids until I have my career really going. I haven't even considered how, physically I'd do it...by birth or adoption. I guess it would depend on my circumstances when I'm around thirty."

"Me too." I nodded. "I really do hope Singer can really have kids of her own once she gets her career going."

As we watched others dance to a slow beat, my mind wandered to the days when I used to go to Burkeview High.

I wondered how the Five R Us were doing and how they were getting ready for their graduation.

I wondered if they'd had their prom yet. The Five R Us are a group of friends, five girls that I knew, Christie Winchell, Liza Barry, Dekeisha Adams, Katie Shannon and Whitney Larkin.

It was funny, because Katie, Liza, and Christie used to hang out with two other girls Jana Morgan and Melanie Edwards and they used to call themselves the Fabulous Five.

But in tenth grade they started drifting apart.

Jana started spending more and more time with her boyfriend, Randy Kirwan and she and Melanie started drifting toward the BIG clique that had ruled Burkeview at the time.

Liza almost was pulled into that group also.

She and Jana used to be best friends, but then that spring of tenth grade, Liza and Jana had a huge falling out and that was it for their friendship.

Poor Liza had been so devastated! Then Katie and Christie, who'd grown apart from Jana and Melanie and were befriending Whitney and Dekeisha, came to Liza's support and that's basically how the Five R Us came about in the fall of eleventh grade.

I'd seen Katie briefly when the two schools took a trip to Washington, DC over spring break.

I also wondered how some of the other kids were doing also and if I'd see any of them in college.

Wouldn't it be something if one of them wound up at Staten U!

During another slow song, I saw Abby and Tom Ribinski leaning close and stifled a giggle.

They insist they're not in love or anything, but I've seen them lean close and once I saw them French-kissing.

The song was really beautiful. At first, neither Mary Anne or I planned on dancing, but we were both moved by the sweetness of the song and the wonderful spring dusk that Mary Anne asked me softly, "Want to dance...you and me?"

Her deep soft voice sounded a bit husky. I looked around and did see one other dancing pair with two girls, so I nodded and we stood up and started to dance.

"Awright, Mary Anne and Mona..." I heard Kristy call.

We grinned and got into the song. We even did the next one, which was a faster beat. We laughed when Kristy and David bounced past, gyrating wildly.

All in all, it was a neat prom. It didn't end until a little after midnight.

As it wound down, the rest of the BSC sat back down and we scrounged around for the few leftover desserts that were left.

Caitlin came over and took pictures of us.

"Prom niiiiight!" We all said as the camera snapped.

Stacey:

I was still sleepy the early afternoon after the prom.

I'd slept late, then slowly gotten up and had a peanut butter toast and orange juice.

It was another hot day outside and I stood by the kitchen door a while and looked at the purple tulips Mom had planted bordering the porch.

I sure was going to miss them in the fall...thinking about leaving Stoneybrook made the juice slosh around in my stomach.

"Hiii, sleepyhead!" Mom came in and ruffled my honey-colored hair.

"Hii..." I managed a tired wave.

"Have a good time last night?"

"Yeah..." I came back into the kitchen and put my dishes in the dishwasher.

If only I could just find away to go away to college, yet be close by here. I was wavering between Aberdine and Hartford U.

"What's wrong, honey?" Mom asked.

She's very good at reading my face, just another thing to miss about next year.

"I just...I'm still not sure I want to go so far from here. I'm not sure about Aberdine, being way in Vermont."

"I'd take a chance if I were you," Mom told me. "You need to be out on your own...away from Stoneybrook."

"Oh..." I caught my breath in disappointment. "So you want me to go?" I asked in a small voice.

"Yes." She patted my hand. "I'd like to see you more independent."

"Mom...I worry about you," I told her. "You'll be on your own here...alone. I thought of living in Stamford so I could see you every week."

"What..." Mom gasped. "Stacey...that's ridiculous! You can't re-arrange your life on account of me."

"I haven't." I was near tears. "I just...am scared at the thought of you being alone..."

"If you're worried about me being alone, yes, I'll miss you often, but you need this...you've got a brilliant mind and I know you haven't worked yourself on getting a scholarship to the northeastern college of your choice, not to mention being up for valedictorian just to shelve it and let it go to waste. I love you and want you to live life to the fullest...even if it means going far away for a while."

"Oh, Mom..." Tears streamed down my face. "You...don't understand," I finished weakly.

I ran upstairs. Mom and I are so close...what if something happens...I cried into my pillow for a long time.

"Stacey...it's the phone," Mom called softly a while later.

I nodded, then went out into the hall and picked up the cordless phone and headed downstairs.

It was Mary Anne. I told her about the argument with Mom.

"Oh, Stace..." Mary Anne said softly, then was quiet a minute, then muttered something about Tim.

I hoped my mentioning this hadn't reminded her of her painful breakup with Tim.

"Maybe...she has a point," she continued.

"Did you ever hear the quote to love something enough to let it go?"

"Yeah, I think so..." I started to cry again.

"It's not that she wants to distance from you," Mary Anne told me. "Don't you remember when Dawn moved out to California for three years?"

"Yeah." I remembered. "You were really crushed."

"I was afraid we'd grow apart. That Dawn didn't really want to stay close, but had to do what was right for her...even if it meant being away for a while. And we managed to stay close even though we didn't see each other often."

"I remember." I sat back against the wall, beginning to understand what she was saying. "I guess...I just worry about Mom alone here."

"I worry about Dad and Sharon too once Dawn and me are gone," Mary Anne told me. "But I've learned that if you give up your own dream to keep someone else from being lonely, both you and that person could end up resentful and regretful. I think your Mom wants to stay close, but doesn't want a dependent relationship."

"It's making sense." I nodded, feeling calmer.

And it really was. If two people end up dependent on each other and resentment grows out of that, they could end up growing apart anyway!

I certainly didn't want that to happen with Mom and me.

"Don't forget about e-mail," Mary Anne added. "Thank the stars it's so much easier to keep in touch."

"True." I think back a hundred years ago, when there was only snail mail for contact and not always reliable mail at that, people who moved away often lost touch.

I joined Mom for breakfast the next morning and we decided to eat at IHOP.

It's right down the street from the Rosebud Cafe, which I hear is going out of business in late June. The BSC used to go there sometimes.

Maybe I can suggest to my friends that we go there one last time for old times' sake.

"I talked to Mary Anne..." I told Mom. "...about my future."

"Oh?" Mom took a sip of coffee.

"I thought about Aberdine again. Even though it'll be hard, I think it is better if I'm...really on my own. So I'm going to Aberdine after all. I think ever since the divorce, we've become so close and I was afraid we'd grow apart once I was away."

"Mary Anne makes a lot of sense," Mom told me. We held hands. "I really am going to miss you in the fall when you go, but there's always e-mail, which you taught me to use."

"That's what Mary Anne said," I said and we both laughed softly.

"And of course one thing is constant...the holidays...sure as death and taxes."

"That too." I felt much more secure now.

I was still kind of scared about leaving Stoneybrook and everything I know behind, but I began to look forward to starting a new life, and new era in my life as an adult in Vermont.

Kristy:

I just knew Stacey hadn't worked her butt off for four years, not to mention getting the valedictorian for nothing.

We all whooped at this Friday's BSC meeting when Stacey told us that she was going to Aberdine after all.

And on a full scholarship, room and board totally paid! You can't beat that.

All us passed around the BSC notebook congratulating Stacey on being valedictorian.

She got the notice just this morning and it would be officially announced at the awards ceremony next week.

"Just one more week before the BIG night," Mona added.

"I know, I can't believe it," Mary Anne's eyes welled with tears.

"And the Krushers are having the last softball game of the year on Sunday night," I put in.

Even I, who couldn't wait to get out of Stoneybrook, felt a pang of sadness.

There are some things I will miss about Stoneybrook once I head to Fellowdean.

I was glad though that Mona and Mary Anne would be in the Big Apple with me.

We'd sure do a lot of great stuff together, the three of us.

And of course we'd be back here for holidays and some vacations.

"We're going to miss you guys when you leave," Vanessa told us.

"It's hard to believe we're in middle school," Karen added.

We were quiet a long minute, thinking about all these changes in our lives. Just then the phone rang and it was a client.

Once the meeting ended, I suggested we go to the Macarena Cellar tonight.

"What's that?" Claudia asked.

"A kind of restaurant, bar type of thing near the lighthouse," I told them.

"I've heard of that place," Mary Anne put in. "Dad and Sharon used to go there a lot when they were our age...only back then, it was called the Far-Out Bar."

"I remember they told us some funny incidents about that place," Dawn put in. "Actually, I work tonight, so I'm out."

"I'm free," Claudia and Mary Anne chimed in.

"Me too," Stacey added. "I've heard of it and was always curious about what they have there."

Mary Anne:

I picked up David, Kristy, Stacey, and Claudia, then we headed to the Macarena Cellar.

Kristy and David kissed in a loud smooch as I parked.

The sun was setting in a fiery orange haze and I felt a weird mixture of pleasure and sadness thinking about how our time in Stoneybrook was almost over.

The sunset of our being kids, I thought. By the time we got to the bar, I had tears in my eyes.

"Aaaaaoooaaawww, don't cry, Mary Anne," David crooned.

"High school memories," Kristy crowed. "I have a solution to that..." she pulled out her driver's license. "How 'bout a little scotch?"

"Yeah..." we all laughed, pulled out our licenses, and ordered chips along with scotch.

I made a mental not to only have a half of a small glass since I was driving.

Thinking of that reminded me of Amelia Freeman, a girl in our eighth-grade class who'd died in a drunk driving accident and I almost cried again.

"You all..." I held up my hand. "I'm driving...so I have to be careful."

I sniffled and wiped my eyes again. We took sips, me only a few sips.

Beer tastes and smells awful, but scotch isn't that bad. It's more watery than anything else.

I guess Kristy, David, and Claudia thought scotch was great, because they drank it in a few gulps, then ordered more while I ordered a Sprite.

We talked over high school memories and chanted SHS mantras and songs. I cried on and off.

"Remember the trip to the Planetarium?" Stacey asked. "Freshman year?"

"Ohhh, how could I FORGET!" Claudia laughed. "Cokie Mason and Alan Gray got in neck-deep TROUBLE!"

"Hey, didn't Cokie drop out after last year?"

"Yeah I think she did," Claudia told her, giggling.

"I wonder what she's doing now?" I pondered.

"That was after the Operation Today's Good Youth," Kristy added. "We really kicked ass with that snobby IN clique."

"They were history," David chimed in.

By this time, Kristy, David, and Claudia were getting tipsy and giggly.

I just hoped Stacey and I would be able to get them into the car.

We talked for a long time until Claudia, Kristy, and David were too incoherent to talk and ended up pouring scotch all over each other.

"C'mon, let's get out of here," I muttered nervously.

Stacey and I had stayed sober, so we helped the other three get into the car.

Once we got in, David passed out with an oooonck and fell into Kristy's lap.

Stacey sat in the back with them while Claudia sat in front with me.

"Why don't we go back to my place," Stacey suggested. "They are going to have hangovers tomorrow."

I nodded and drove over to Stacey's. On the way, Claudia passed out and fell in my lap.

Stacey:

Did I tell you that I have one of the greatest moms around? Well...I do.

Many parents would have thrown a fit if their kid brought home their friends drunk, but not my mom.

Mom offered to let us all sleep over at my house and call everyone's parents to let them know where they were.

By that time, all three of them had passed out. Mom, Mary Anne, and I got them into cots and David on the basement couch.

"Are you two feeling all right?" Mom asked us softly. We nodded. "Want some fruit punch?"

We sat in the kitchen and had punch. Mom asked us a few questions, but she understood what we were going through with high school ending and us worrying about our futures.

Later when we went up to bed, Mary Anne closed the door, covered her eyes and let out a whimper.

"Are you...?" I looked over at her anxiously from the bed.

Mary Anne came over to the bed, her brows slanted and she started to cry.

I hugged her, then started crying too. We flopped on the bed and bawled and bawled until we were exhausted and fell asleep.

Mary Anne:

I woke up around two-thirty and heard a pattering of feet in the hall, then the bathroom door closing.

Then I heard heaving and gasping. I quietly got up and headed to the bathroom and sure enough, Kristy was over the toilet, throwing up.

"I am NEVER..." she gasped, coughed, then heaved another mouthful into the toilet. "...drinking scotch again..."

She struggled to stand and I saw that her eyes were bloodshot.

I ran into the kitchen and filled an icepack, then brought it to Kristy, then led her back to bed.

"Were you drunk too?" she asked. "Your eyes are all red."

"Oh..." I smiled sheepishly. "No...I had some crying...you know me...feeling sentimental."

"Oh, yes," Kristy nodded. "Mary Anne the sentimental and sensitive. Thanks." She closed her eyes.

"If you'll excuse the old cliche...that's what friends are for," I said softly.

We smiled weakly, then I held her hand until she fell back asleep.

Then I dug around the storage closet until I found buckets and put one each beside Claudia, Kristy, and David before going back to sleep.