June 11th, 2012: Graduation Day~Ezra's POV

Thirty minutes ago, the girl I love graduated from high school. And thirty minutes ago I watched her burst into tears as the boy she loved, my younger brother Paul, kissed her best friend Hanna Marin. Most importantly, thirty minutes ago I realized that I'd never have a shot with the woman of my dreams.

I was congratulating her when it happened. As both her former English teacher and a lifelong friend, I couldn't have been prouder. She was telling me of her plans to go to NYU in the fall; about how excited she was that Hanna and Paul were heading to New York too, and how she'd miss me. Although she prattled on and on about the things we were going to do over the summer and how much time she wanted to spend with me, her eyes kept straying over my shoulder towards Hanna–towards Paul.

I didn't know what I hated more–Paul's obliviousness to her feelings, or my inability to capture her affections. So in a desperate attempt to divert her away from heartbreak, I threw in my wild card.

"I took a job at a private school in New York."

Her eyes snapped back to mine, and just for a moment I could've sworn I saw relief in her gaze. "Really? Congratulations! It's crazy, isn't it, a coincidence like that?" She seemed generally stunned and for the first time all afternoon, and a genuine grin curved on her lips.

"Yeah, crazy." It wasn't coincidence–in fact, it was far from it. My motives were purely selfish, and in a twisted way, quite desperate really. The thought of not seeing her on a daily basis, not hearing her laughter, terrified me–or rather, the thought that she held so much power over me was terrifying.

I'd reasoned it all out–mainly so that I didn't feel like some sort of lovesick stalker. It was my duty as her older and therefore much wiser best friend to protect her from New York. I'd gone to college there too; I knew how rough the city could be. And some small part of me, the irrational part, the part that allowed me to develop feelings for a girl four years my junior, to fall head first for my childhood friend and former student–rationalized that maybe, just maybe leaving Rosewood and it's judgmental attitude behind would give me the chance to pursue a relationship with her.

My hope was crushed moments later when her gaze flicked over towards Paul and Hanna once more. Almost instantaneously, her eyes filled with tears and she fled the gymnasium–her heels echoing loudly on the wooden floor.