They walked into school holding hands looking closer than ever. His arm around her showed she was his and he supported and protected her. Her hand in his that hung over her shoulder, her leaning into him showed that she trusted him despite what they'd been through he loved her and she loved him that was more than enough.
As usual people stared and whispered, and as had become the usual they paid them no mind. He walked her to her locker and got her books out for her. He handed her the book she needed for first and slid the rest of them in his backpack.
"Austin." She said it's the first word she'd spoken to him since the car ride.
"Why do you look like that?"
"How do I look?"
"Like something is up." Sam looked into his eyes. "What are you up to Aj?"
"Right now I'm trying to walk my girlfriend to class, you think you can help me with that miss inquisitive?" Austin teased and leaned forward to kiss her forehead.
"Maybe, what's in it for me?"
At that Austin laughed out loud.
"Two kisses and a book carrying boyfriend."
At this Sam smiled but then scrunched up her forehead in confusion.
"Ok, I know I get kissed at the door so where is the other one coming fro—" Before Sam could finished her question, she was gently pushed back against the lockers and her lips locked in a breathtaking kiss.
"Now can I walk my girlfriend to class?" Austin asked breathlessly.
For the life of Sam she couldn't speak, all she could squeak out was "mm-hmm."
Austin chuckled and took her hand and led her to her first period.
"So what do you want for lunch?" Toby asked Sam. The two couples were finally back together.
"A bacon cheeseburger."
"You're supposed to say: A bacon cheeseburger please big brother Toby."
Madison rolled her eyes and scoffed, Austin only chuckled.
Sam looked at them as if to say ' Can you believe him?' Then she looked Toby right in his eyes and said with a smirk. "Oh I'm sorry. A barbeque bacon cheeseburger. Yep that's what I want."
Toby's mouth dropped and he gasped in fake astonishment.
Sam and the other two laughed as Toby gathered up his things.
"Where are you going babe?" Madison called out as he began walking away.
"Didn't you hear my little brat of sister say she wanted to go to the diner?"
"Hey I am not a brat." Sam interjected.
"Yeah, yeah whatever brat. Let's go eat. I am starving."
This time is was Sam who gasped in fake astonishment and huffed out loud; which caused Austin and Madison to laugh even harder.
Madison got up and said while still giggling "he will leave us so we better hurry up." Then she started walking after Toby.
" Come on brat." Austin said. Sam gave him a look. And it was all Austin could do to not laugh in her face. Then her look turned serious. " Babe it was just a joke."
"You'd better run, Aimes."
And run he did. The whole school watched as the captain of the football team was chased out the school smiling and laughing at his girlfriend, the chaser, who smile and laughter was just as big.
Lunch at the diner was always fun. Always had been for Sam always would be. But today it just felt extra special.
"What are you thinking about Samarie?" Austin asked.
Sam shivered. Austin's baritone in her ear would always be a great distraction and bring her great pleasure.
"I am just thinking about how lucky I am to have you, and my best friend and my brother." Sam answered back looking up into his eyes.
"We're the lucky ones." Madison said. "Without you, my relationship would still be strained, I wouldn't have the big brother I've come to adore and love, and I wouldn't have a true friend in the world."
"Aw, I love you Madi."
"Double time Sami."
"Aww, that's so sweet , but where's mom with my chocolate cake."
"When did you order chocolate cake brother?" Sam asked with an eye brow raised, trying to recall the diners chain of events.
"Uh, some point between walking in the door and now."
"But I didn't hear you"
Toby cut her off "you know mom is telepathic."
Just as Sam said ok, a huge piece of chocolate cake was set in the middle of the table.
"Got Milk?" Sam asked staring at the cake as if it was intimidating her.
Everyone but Sam laughed.
"Dig in guys." Rhonda looked at Sam. "Chew carefully, ok?"
"Rhonda." Sam blushed. "I was five for pete's sake."
"So what chew carefully." And with that she walked away.
"Do I even want to know?" Austin said scratching his head.
"Look at this cake babe, doesn't it look great? Have some." Sam said handing Austin a fork.
Madison and Toby cracked up.
"Alright." Austin said. "Here's the game plane take a corner and we'll meet in the middle, ready? Break."
Sam just smiled but rolled her eyes. You could take the captain out of the game but not the game out of the captain. She dug in her corner of the cake fully enjoying its taste but she was mindful to chew.
Toby, sat across from Sam making love faces at the pieces of cake, moaning and groaning every now and again.
Sam, being the little sister she is, was just about to open her mouth and say something when she bit down on something hard.
"Ouch." She managed to get out.
She noticed Austin look her way, Toby did as well but he didn't say anything he just kept right on eating.
"What's wrong ?" Madison asked putting her hand over her mouth because it was filled with chocolate cake.
Sam didn't answer right away. Instead she reached for a napkin and spit out whatever the culprit to her pain was.
"I bit into something that was rock hard."
Sam looked down into the napkin and noticed a gleam.
"Oh my gosh." She said.
She picked up a ring with a petite golden A in the middle and two heart cut diamond on either side of it.
"Oh. My. Gosh." Sam said staring at it.
"Oh my God." Madison said and her eyes shot straight to Austin's.
Sam's eyes followed Madison's lead .
Austin sat facing Sam peering into her looking for any signs of negativity. His hand was holding a necklace that was around his neck. And in the middle of that necklace was a matching ring except his was a S.
"Oh my gosh Austin."
"I promise to love you Sam, and be the guy you need. No more trip ups with Shelby. I promise to defend you. To defend us. You are who I want. More importantly you are who I need. I love you. I am in love with you. And with this ring I promise to love you more and more day by day and to remind you why you love me every day. You're my girl. And I'm all yours. Please make me the happiest boyfriend on planet earth and say you'll wear my promise ring?"
Sam had tears rolling down her face.
And of course Austin dried them.
"On one condition, Aj."
"And that is?"
" As long as you stay true to who you are, I would love to wear your promise ring."
Austin then took the ring from her and cleaned it off, when he was done he put the ring on her right ring finger.
"I love you." He said.
"I love you too." Sam said as she put his forehead to his.
Austin and Sam look up and across the table and find a teary eyed Madison with her camera out.
"I'm sorry. It was just…so… beau…ti..ful."
Toby turned and looked at his girl.
"Pull yourself together baby. It was beautiful but you're crying ,I don't like to see my baby girl cry."
Madison dabbed her eyes.
"Wait a second, you knew about this didn't you? And you didn't tell me?" Madison said turning back to Toby.
"Uh, here babes have some more cake."
"I don't want any cake Toby, I want an answer."
"Don't be so mad at him, he only kept it to himself because I asked him to." Austin tried to help him.
Toby looked helplessly at him.
"Ohhh, so that's how we're doing it now?"
"Sadi." Sam tried to help.
"Sammy, give me a second here."
Sam shrugged her shoulders and gave Toby the 'I tried' look.
Toby threw his head back and exhaled as Madison gave him an earful.
Sam and Austin cuddled up and waited it out, chuckling every now and then.
Things weren't back to normal, they were better than normal. Stronger relationships. Stronger bonds. True friendships. And true love.
Sam looked from across the table at her favorite couple to her Aj. It was in that moment she realized, true love and happiness is a real as you will let it be.
She leaned up and pecked Austin's cheek.
"What was that for?" He said in low tones, knowing not to speak to loud while his sister ranted.
"For helping me realize reality baby, I really doubt I would have without you."
"Anytime Samarie, anytime."
Its been a long run guys. I want to thank you for encouraging me to keep writing, I truly enjoyed this experience, I've got a place in my heart for my true readers and critics. God bless you all.