Episode #20, Season Finale: Forever Young
Synopsis: It's graduation time for the CRU seniors, and Rusty and Ashleigh say goodbye to their friends as they start a new life together.
"Man, we've got our caps and gowns," Calvin said to Rusty and Dale, as the seniors were on campus picking up their caps and gowns for graduation. "They can't stop us from graduating now."
"Two days and that's it," Dale said. "Then the big bad world awaits us."
"What are you guys doing the rest of the day?" Rusty asked. "I don't know about you but I don't really want to pack up my room. We should do something instead."
"I don't want to pack either," Calvin said. "You know the new swimming pool at the athletic center is open. We should go there."
"Yeah, let's go," Dale said. "I'll make my parents pack my stuff tomorrow. They owe me for telling my sister about me and Laura."
"Awesome, seniors' day out it is then," Rusty said happily.
"Seniors' day out?" they heard Rebecca ask from behind them. They turned to see her and Laura walking toward them carrying their own graduation regalia. "Where to?"
"We're heading down to the pool at the athletic center," Calvin said. "Wanna come along?"
"I thought it would be a guys' thing," Dale said. "I'm just kidding. Of course I want my girlfriend and girl, pause, friend to join us."
"Do you realize you keep calling her your girlfriend and not what she really is to you now?" Rebecca asked Dale as the five of them began to make their way out of the crowd of other seniors.
"I still call him my boyfriend," Laura said.
"Yeah, it's like we're married but we're not, if that makes any sense," Dale said.
"Maybe it doesn't seem like you are because you didn't have an actual wedding," Rusty said.
"Yeah, you know a wedding would make it seem more real," Calvin said.
"Maybe it would," Dale said. "But we don't really want, or need a wedding right now. Maybe someday, we could make it an anniversary thing. But for now, after everything happened so fast, we're good for now."
"Yep, we are," Laura said.
"Whoa, did a bomb go off in here or what?" Kelsey asked Ashleigh, as she entered her apartment, seeing stuff all over the floor.
"I hate packing," Ashleigh said with a sigh. "I've got way more stuff than I can take with me, and Rusty and I have to fit everything of ours into his and his parents' cars, and then we can only take so much on an airplane."
"Yeah, with all of this here you could take up a whole airplane by yourself," Kelsey laughed. "When do you have to be moved out?"
"By the end of the day tomorrow," Ashleigh said, sitting down on the couch. "For now I'm just going to get everything over to the KT house and we'll both sort through our stuff there."
"How about I help you get it all over there later?" Kelsey asked. "Now we've got to go to Clarissa's end of the year picnic, remember?"
"Oh yeah you're right; I didn't realize it was that late," Ashleigh said, checking the time on her phone. "I can stand to get out of here for a while." Ashleigh abandoned her packing as the girls left her apartment.
"So you're not taking your car with you?" Kelsey asked.
"We really don't need two cars to drive up to Rusty's parents' place, and Rusty's is bigger," Ashleigh said. "I was going to ask you if you guys wanted to borrow it to use when I'm gone."
"Really?" Kelsey asked. "You'd just let us use it like that?"
"Yeah, my family doesn't need it," Ashleigh said. "And you've borrowed it before so I don't mind."
"That would be awesome; thanks so much," Kelsey smiled. "I can't believe the next time you come back I'll be halfway through my senior year."
"Yeah, I guess if things go well for you in California this summer," Ashleigh began. "You might find yourself back out there after graduation."
"I guess that could probably happen," Kelsey said. "As much as I'm looking forward to working there this summer, I'm not sure if I'd want to go back long-term right away after I graduate. I'll probably just apply to grad school here and stay another year."
"You've still got some time to think about it," Ashleigh said. "Just enjoy the next year and see where things take you. And I'll always be just a phone call away if you need any post-grad advice."
"Thanks, cause I'm sure I will," Kelsey said.
"Hey Cap, what are you doing here?" Casey asked, surprised but happy to see Cappie show up in her office at lunchtime.
"I got off early today and thought we could go to lunch," Cappie said.
"Yeah of course, let's go," Casey said, grabbing her purse and following Cappie out of her office. "So you get out early even when you're taking the day off tomorrow? I have to stay late tonight just so I'm able to take tomorrow off. I'm still trying to catch up after being off for our wedding and the honeymoon."
"Don't push yourself too hard," Cappie said. "They love you here; they know you're doing your job."
"Yeah I know," Casey said. "And I'll be fine; I just need to finish up a few extra things tonight. Then I'll be able to enjoy the weekend with you, Rusty, Ash, and everyone."
"Yeah we better enjoy it because it'll be our last vacation for a while," Cappie said. "Probably until homecoming."
"And our last time seeing Rusty and Ash until Christmas," Casey said. "It's going to be so weird not being able to drive to Cyprus and see them."
"Yeah it will be," Cappie said. "But Christmas will be here before you know it, and you know we can plan something awesome for New Years' with everyone again this year."
"Yeah you're right," Casey said. "I'm just really going to miss them."
"You've got me as a consolation though," Cappie said with a laugh, putting an arm around Casey.
"And I've got to say you're a very good consolation," Casey smiled at him as they continued on their way to get lunch. "As long as I have you I'll be okay."
"I really need your help with something," Rebecca said to Evan.
"What's that?" Evan asked.
"I need to make sure that my mom and dad don't see each other this weekend," Rebecca said. "I ended up inviting them both to graduation, but they only agreed to come if the other one wasn't coming."
"So you told your dad that your mom wasn't coming, and you told your mom that your dad wasn't coming," Evan said. "And they're both coming."
"Yeah," Rebecca said. "My dad got a hotel room and my mom's staying at ZBZ, so that's a start. But what would help is if you can keep one of them company at a time."
"I don't mind doing that," Evan said. "But what's going to happen at the family events the day before graduation? You obviously can't take both of them."
"I'll just go to a few with my mom and a few with my dad," Rebecca said. "I can come up with plenty of excuses."
"I just don't get why your parents can't put aside their differences just for one weekend for your graduation," Evan said.
"Because they can't stand each other," Rebecca said. "You've talked about all the faults your parents have. But at least they're still married and happy and can be in the same room together. Haven't you always been glad of that?"
"Yeah, I guess I have," Evan said. "I'm sorry it has to be this way with your parents. But I want you to enjoy your graduation, so I'll help you keep them under control."
"I thought you said you hadn't started packing yet," Ashleigh said, as she and Rusty walked into the KT house and saw lots of random stuff in the living room.
"I think some of the new actives were moving their things over here before they went home for the summer," Rusty said.
"Yeah they are," Spidey said, approaching them. "But we've got a bit of a space issue, so I've got some construction guys coming later to turn some of the singles into doubles, triples, and quads."
"I guess space does become an issue when you've got thirty new guys moving in," Rusty said. "At least this house is bigger than the old one."
"Yeah I don't think anyone's going to have to live in the shed," Spidey laughed.
"Spitter, good luck, man," Larry said as he came downstairs with Curly and Moe. "We'll miss ya around here."
"Believe me, I'll miss this place and all you guys too," Rusty said. "Heading out?"
"Yeah, our epic adventure in Florida awaits," Curly said.
"Yep, it's time for some sun, fun, and of course picking up some girls along the way," Moe said.
"You'll have to let me know how that goes," Rusty laughed. "Have fun; I'll see you guys in December." They said goodbye and the Three Stooges left the KT house. "Now it's time to tackle my room."
"Yeah, hurry up and move out so I can move in there," Spidey said jokingly. "Even I've already got some of my stuff ready to move."
"Geez I think we might be getting thrown out of here," Ashleigh said with a laugh to Rusty, knowing Spidey was kidding.
"Yeah, we might have to get a hotel room for the weekend," Rusty joked.
"Of course I wouldn't throw you guys out," Spidey laughed. "Just like when Cappie and Casey come back, there's always a place here for you. Want some help packing?"
"That would be awesome," Rusty said. "My parents are getting here in a couple of hours and I've got nothing done. Since we've all been either at Dobler's or the pool the past few days."
"Evan, hey," Calvin said as he saw Evan walk into the Omega Chi house. "What's up?"
"Just thought I'd drop by and hang a while before Rebecca's parents get in," Evan said. "She's meeting her mom at the airport and I'm supposed to meet her dad outside his hotel later."
"Are her parents really being that immature that they can't stand being around each other for their own daughter's graduation?" Calvin asked.
"Apparently so," Evan said. "Even after everything she's been through with her dad, she still wanted him at her graduation, meaning I'm the go-between to make sure him and her mom don't run into each other and start a fight."
"Since you're going to be on watch most of the weekend," Calvin began. "Want to grab lunch at Dobler's now?"
"Yeah," Evan said. "Cappie just texted me; he and Case are almost here; he said he'd come by for a drink in about an hour."
"Case, Cap," Rusty greeted them as they climbed in the backseat of Rusty's car at the bus station. "I'm so glad you guys are here."
"We're glad to be here," Casey smiled. "You ready for this?"
"I'm as ready as I'll ever be to graduate," Rusty said.
"We're going to miss you guys like crazy though," Ashleigh said. "This feels totally different than when I left for New York. I thought it felt real then, that I was leaving, but this is even more real, like it's really happening this time."
"Aw, you guys are going to have so much fun and you'll forget all about us little people," Cappie joked. "But really, have fun and enjoy yourselves, and I promise we'll all have a blast at Christmas and New Years'." They four of them chatted as Rusty drove back to KT, and they were all greeted by Rusty and Casey's parents as they walked in.
"Hey you two," Mrs. Cartwright greeted Casey and Cappie, hugging them both.
"Thanks for not calling us and telling us about the honeymoon by the way," Mr. Cartwright said with a laugh.
"Sorry, dad," Casey said. "It's been crazy this past week. With my car essentially dying, going back to work, and trying to get started on some post-wedding stuff. But I just told Rusty and Ash on the way here that the six of us are all going out to dinner tonight, Cappie's and my treat."
"Honey, you don't have to do that," Mrs. Cartwright said.
"We want to," Cappie spoke up. "You were all an awesome help with the wedding, and we couldn't be happier."
"Well today's the day," Rusty said to himself as he woke up in his almost empty room on graduation morning. He turned to Ashleigh who was next to him. "You awake?"
"Yeah," Ashleigh said. "Ready for your big day?"
"Ready as I'll ever be," Rusty smiled and got out of bed. "We better get downstairs; everyone should be coming over soon, if they're not already here."
"Morning, sleepyheads," Cappie greeted Rusty and Ashleigh as they came downstairs. "About time you showed up." Rusty and Ashleigh noticed that Rusty's parents, Cappie and Casey, Evan and Rebecca, Calvin and Heath, and Dale and Laura were already in the kitchen eating. It looked like Spidey and Kelsey were making food for everyone.
"It is about time you showed up," Kelsey said jokingly. "We got up and Rusty, your parents were already down here, then everyone else started coming over."
"Yeah, so we just whipped up some breakfast for everyone," Spidey said. "Come eat."
"Thanks guys," Rusty said, as he and Ashleigh sat down and began eating. Everyone began chatting amongst themselves as they ate.
"So you just missed mine and Laura's current dilemma," Dale said to Rusty.
"What's that?" Rusty asked.
"We had dinner with both of our parents last night, and they told us that they want us to have a wedding," Dale said. "An actual wedding with both of our families."
"I can see why they'd want you to have a wedding," Calvin said. "But they shouldn't try and make you do it."
"That's exactly what they're trying to do," Dale said. "They said they'd pay for everything; they just want to actually see us be married."
"Why are you so against having a wedding?" Rusty asked.
"We're not really against having a wedding," Dale said. "We just don't want one right now. Like I was saying to you guys the other day, we're fine where we are right now. We just need to get our parents to wait a few years, and then yeah, we might have a wedding."
"How's babysitting the parents going?" Cappie asked as he was talking with Evan.
"Hanging out with Rebecca's parents isn't bad," Evan said. "But I still wish they could stand being in the same place together for one day for her sake."
"You're right about that," Cappie said. "Even though April and Tobias aren't really together anymore, they can still stand each other enough to both be with me and Case, like at the wedding or on holidays."
"Doesn't it seem like it was just us getting ready to graduate?" Casey asked Ashleigh.
"I know, right," Ashleigh said. "Have two years really gone by already?"
"And even though I've been living in D.C. and you've been in Cyprus, I'm glad we've been just as close as we were in college."
"That's what I love about us," Ashleigh said. "We're still just as much a part of each other's lives now as we were in college. And that's not going to change one bit."
"Guess we should head over soon," Casey said at the KT house as everyone was getting ready to go to graduation a little while later. She called to her parents who were still upstairs. "Mom, dad, you ready?"
"Coming!" Mr. Cartwright called, then he soon came downstairs followed by Mrs. Cartwright. "We were just having a few difficulties with the video camera, but I think it works now."
"Hold on a minute," Cappie spoke up. "I've gotta pee before we leave."
"I asked ten minutes ago if anyone needed to go," Casey said.
"Yeah, the ceremony starts in fifteen minutes," Ashleigh said.
"Beaver's saving us seats though, so we're fine," Cappie said. Just then, the front door opened and Beaver walked into the house followed by Katherine.
"Hey guys, let's get this show on the road," Beaver said.
"Beaver!" Casey shouted. "What are you doing here? Cappie said you were saving us seats. Now we'll probably be stuck in the back somewhere."
"Oh, I thought Heath was saving seats," Beaver said.
"Was I?" Heath asked confused, as he was among the group in the KT living room. "Cause I thought it was Wade."
"Nope, I'm here, it wasn't me," Wade spoke up.
"Whatever, it doesn't matter," Casey said, and turned to call back upstairs. "Cap, let's go!" Just then they heard a crash coming from upstairs. "What the heck is he doing?"
"That's probably not Cappie," Spidey said. "The construction workers are still working in some of the rooms."
"That explains why I woke up to the sound of a buzzsaw this morning," Kelsey said.
"Okay I'm here, let's go," Cappie said, coming back downstairs. "Evan just texted and said he's already there with Rebecca's mom. He found enough seats to save for us."
"Rusty!" Calvin called as Rusty ran over to him and Dale dressed in graduation regalia just before the ceremony. "Where have you been? We're about to line up."
"I didn't mean to be late, but I had to take care of something first that took longer than expected," Rusty said. "Check this out." He pulled a small black box out of his pocket and showed Dale and Calvin what was in it.
"Oh my gosh!" Calvin exclaimed. "Is that…? Are you going to…?"
"Are you going to finish any of those sentences?" Dale asked Calvin, and then turned to Rusty. "You're proposing, aren't you?"
"I'm going to do it," Rusty said. "I'm going to propose to Ashleigh after graduation."
"That's awesome!" Calvin said. "There's no doubt she's going to say yes."
"You think so?" Rusty asked.
"Absolutely," Calvin said. "I think it's the perfect time to do it. And it'll sure be a surprise to everyone else. Assuming everyone else doesn't know?"
"No one else knows I'm going to do it today," Rusty said. "I didn't even know for sure that I was. I've been thinking about it for a while, but the decision to do it today was kind of split-second."
"That explains why you left after breakfast so quickly," Dale said. "Good for you though. So when's it going to be your turn, Calvin?"
"I think it's going to be a while for me and Heath," Calvin said. "For one, it's not like we can get married in many places. And two, we've still got a lot of traveling ahead of us."
"You guys are doing a good thing," Rusty said to Calvin. "And it's awesome that Ash and I get to come to India and visit you at Thanksgiving."
"Yeah, wish you could come too, Dale," Calvin said.
"Me too," Dale said. "You'll have to tell me all about it at Christmas."
"Here we go," Rusty said, as the line of graduates in front of them began filing into the quad for the ceremony.
"Well let's do this!" Calvin said, as he, Rusty, and Dale followed the line toward the quad.
"Where's Rusty?" Casey asked Ashleigh as they were sitting in the crowd at graduation, trying to spot him among the graduates. "It's hard to tell them apart in those stupid hats."
"Oh there he is," Ashleigh finally spotted him. "Next to Calvin and Dale. And there's Rebecca and Laura in the next row up."
"Fellow graduates," Dean Bowman greeted, stepping up to the podium to start the ceremony. "Graduating from college is an accomplishment that you should savor. Don't lose the significance of this day as you get ready to move on to the next chapter of your lives. I hope you've learned a lot and accomplished a lot during your time at CRU, and just remember, there are no refunds." As usual, the crowd was rather unresponsive to Dean Bowman's joke and there was silence for a moment.
"Anyway," Dean Bowman continued. "Now it's time to take what you've learned here out into the real world and continue to make a difference just as you have here. Your education doesn't stop here, because while college may be over, there's still a lot to learn as you continue to live your lives. So go out there and make us proud!" The ceremony continued as the graduates were now getting called up to receive their diplomas one by one.
"Rusty says hi," Ashleigh said, as she checked her phone to find a text from him.
"What's he doing texting during the ceremony?" Mrs. Cartwright spoke up.
"Mom, even you've gotta admit it's not fun sitting and watching people you don't know getting called up," Casey said.
"Rebecca Logan," they heard Dean Bowman say.
"Finally it's getting to them," Kelsey spoke up. Casey, Ashleigh, Evan, and their whole group cheered for Rebecca as she walked across the stage to get her diploma. Laura was next up, and then came some more people that they didn't know.
"Rusty Cartwright," Dean Bowman finally said, and they all began cheering again; Ashleigh, Casey, and Rusty's parents cheering loudest of all.
"Go Spitter!" the KTs in their group shouted just as everyone became quiet again. Rusty smiled and looked back at his family and friends as he took his diploma from Dean Bowman.
"You know, after four years here we still don't understand the real reason you guys call him Spitter," Mr. Cartwright spoke up as Rusty walked off the stage and sat back down.
"I think it's best we don't know, honey," Mrs. Cartwright said, and the KTs laughed at that. Calvin and Dale were next to be called up, followed by another mass of random people, with some other KT, ZBZ, and Omega Chi graduates thrown in the mix. Finally, everyone had received their diplomas, all of the speeches were made, and it was time to conclude the ceremony.
"Family, friends, and community members, I'm proud to present to you the Cyprus Rhodes University Class of 2012," Dean Bowman said. The graduates and the crowd erupted into cheers as caps went flying and champagne bottles popped open.
"We did it!" Rusty shouted happily to Calvin and Dale as the graduates were celebrating amongst themselves after the ceremony.
"Yep, we survived!" Dale said proudly. "Summa Cum Laude, Russ, good for us! Even though I still beat you."
"One one-hundredth of a point," Rusty pointed out with a chuckle, knowing Dale was joking.
"Still, I always knew I could surpass you academically," Dale joked.
"I always pictured this since we were freshmen," Calvin said. "Us being here at our graduation. Come here you guys." He hugged Rusty and Dale as Rebecca and Laura came over to join them. "Come on in, group hug." Dale pulled Laura in and Calvin pulled Rebecca in.
"Okay, too much love," Rebecca said with a laugh after a moment, and they all broke away.
"Five years in the making and I couldn't be more glad for today," Laura said. "I'm a ZBZ alum now and all those bitches on Pan-Hellenic can go to hell!" Rebecca, Dale, Rusty, and Calvin laughed.
"We should go and find everyone," Rusty said, as the crowd was beginning to disperse some more.
"Congratulations Russ!" Rusty heard Ashleigh a moment later, and then saw her running toward him. She threw her arms around him when she reached him, and Rusty hugged her back tightly.
"Thanks, Ash!" Rusty said, smiling brightly. "This really does feel amazing!"
"I'm glad, because it feels amazing to me too," Ashleigh smiled as they pulled back, and then Rusty kissed her.
"Okay, get a room people," they heard Cappie say with a laugh. They broke apart and saw Cappie, Casey, and the others making their way toward them. Ashleigh saw Rebecca and Calvin and went to congratulate them. Before Casey, Cappie, or anyone else could congratulate Rusty, his mother attacked him first.
"My baby!" Mrs. Cartwright exclaimed, hugging him. "You did it! It seems like just yesterday I was telling you to stay out of your sister's dolls, and now you've graduated from college. My babies are all grown up."
"Mom," Rusty said shyly, as all his friends were seeing his mom babying him. But he just smiled and hugged his mom back.
"We're proud of you, son," Mr. Cartwright approached a moment later, and hugged Rusty.
"No more Cartwrights on campus, how will this place survive," Cappie joked, his arm around Casey as they approached Rusty after his parents stepped away.
"At least not for another twenty years or so," Rusty laughed.
"Yeah, someday it might be all of our kids ruling this place," Cappie chuckled. "Congrats little bro."
"Thanks Cap," Rusty smiled, hugging him, and then he turned to Casey. "Well Case, Cap's right. No more Cartwrights on campus, what is there to do?"
"Hopefully CRU will survive without them for another twenty years," Casey laughed. "I won't go all Mom on you, but I'm proud of you and I love you. Congratulations."
"Thanks, Case, love you too," Rusty smiled and hugged his sister.
"Spitter!" Beaver shouted. "I can't believe you're checking out of this place already. Geez, when did I get so old?" Rusty laughed as Beaver and some of the other KTs greeted him.
"Congrats big brother!" Spidey said happily, hugging Rusty. "Is this you passing the proverbial torch?"
"Yep it is," Rusty smiled. "Don't drop it."
"I promise I won't," Spidey smiled. "I'll make you and Cappie proud!"
"Just enjoy every minute of the next two years," Rusty said. "Because sooner than you think, it's going to be you in a cap and gown."
"Well, what do you say we all head over to Gentleman's Choice and party," Heath spoke up.
"Yep, second year in a row my establishment is hosting the graduation party," Wade said.
"Yeah, let's go," Calvin said.
"I'll meet you all there in a little bit," Rusty said. "I want to run back to the house and change. Ash, come with me would you?"
"Yeah of course," Ashleigh said.
"Okay, we'll see you guys over there soon," Casey said. Rusty and Ashleigh walked away from the group and started back toward the KT house.
"I really don't need to change," Rusty said to Ashleigh when they were away from everyone else. "I just wanted a bit of alone time with you before we spend the rest of the day and night with our friends. Thought we could take a walk around campus one last time."
"I'd love that," Ashleigh smiled, taking his hand. "I got you something as a happy graduation gift and just because I love you. Here." She took something out of her purse and handed it to him. It was a plaque that had the KT logo on it, and his name and the years he was an active member was engraved onto it.
"Ash, thanks I love it," Rusty smiled and kissed her. "I want to hang it up in our apartment."
"I want you to," Ashleigh said. "That way every day you'll be reminded of the great times you've had at KT and how many people will be waiting for you to come back in December."
"You want to know something?" Rusty asked as he stopped walking, causing Ashleigh to stop too.
"What is it?" Ashleigh asked, turning to face him.
"I knew there was something special about you right from the start," Rusty began, taking her hands. "When we went to the ZBZ formal together my freshman year, I had such a great time with you, but I thought things could never work between us because you were Casey's best friend. But then things changed, and we got closer as friends my sophomore year, and let me tell you I was ecstatic when I found out you came back to Cyprus from New York after you graduated."
"Really?" Ashleigh asked.
"Yeah," Rusty smiled. "I missed you a lot when you were gone, even considering I was still with Dana at the time. But looking back now, what I had with Dana or any of my other girlfriends didn't even come close to what I feel with you now. You are so amazing and being the one who's about to start a life with you now is the best feeling in the world to me."
"Rusty…" Ashleigh started to speak, but instead just smiled at him and let him continue.
"I love you so much and I couldn't imagine my life without you in it," Rusty said, and then got down on one knee and took the small box out of his pocket. "I can't be any more sure than I am right now that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"
"Oh my gosh yes!" Ashleigh said excitedly, smiling brightly at him. "Yes, yes, yes!" Rusty stood up, grinning from ear to ear as he slid the ring on her finger, and then she threw herself in his arms.
"I love you so much," she whispered in his ear. "This is perfect. Now we're starting our life together for real."
"I couldn't be happier," Rusty said, still smiling brightly. "I've got to be the luckiest guy in the world because I get to be with you forever." She just smiled and kissed him.
"Tonight's sure going to be an amazing last night in the KT house, isn't it?" Ashleigh said as they broke apart.
"It sure is," Rusty said, giving her one more peck on the lips, and then they continued walking.
"Has anyone seen Rusty and Ash?" Casey asked as everyone was now hanging out at Gentleman's Choice. "They've been gone for over an hour."
"Yeah, he said he was just going to change," Cappie said.
"I know where they are," Calvin said. "Well I don't know exactly where they are but I know what's up. But I can't tell you; it's a surprise."
"Yeah, they'll be here soon," Dale said.
"What kind of surprise?" Casey asked, very curious now.
"You'll see," Calvin said.
"So Case, I hope you're ready to see a lot more of me again," Rebecca said, walking over to Casey. "I'm moving back out to D.C. next weekend."
"It's going to be great having you there," Casey said. "Honestly. And Evan will be out with you for the summer. The four of us will have a blast."
"You better believe it," Rebecca said, and then looked over at the entrance to see a familiar face enter. "Crap, what is my dad doing here?! He said he was going back to his hotel after the ceremony. Evan and my mom are right over there."
"And I think your dad just saw them," Casey said, seeing Rebecca's dad had found her mom and Evan.
"And I can see an argument already starting," Rebecca said, and then proceeded to walk rather angrily over to where her parents were already raising their voices at each other. "All right!" she shouted, causing her parents to stop fighting and turn to her. "This is my graduation day. I wanted you both to be here, so yes I had Evan helping me try to keep you two apart. But honestly, he shouldn't have had to do that. Because your issues are not my fault. If you can't put your issues aside and be here with me, then fine, because I know I have friends in this room who actually support me. Now, you can either both stay here and celebrate with me, or you can both just leave right now." With that, Rebecca walked away from her parents, dragging Casey with her.
"Wow, you really stood up to them," Casey said. "That was great."
"I probably just pissed both of them off," Rebecca said. "But I couldn't help of it. I'm sick of being caught in the middle of their problems."
"And you shouldn't be," Casey said. "Obviously their divorce was rather messy, but if they're that mature, they should both be there for you during important times of your life, like today." Casey turned around to see both of Rebecca's parents making their way over to them. "And it looks like you might have gotten through to them." Casey left Rebecca to talk to her parents, and a moment later, she saw Rusty and Ashleigh finally walk in.
"Where in the world have you been?" Casey asked when she reached them.
"Something's up, I can tell," Cappie said as he joined them. "You didn't just go back to the KT house."
"Not exactly," Rusty said. "We do have something important to say."
"Get everyone's attention," Ashleigh said. "Let's just tell them all at once." Rusty proceeded to give a loud whistle, causing the room to become quiet.
"Hey guys," Rusty said, as everyone was looking at him now.
"Spitter, there you are," Beaver spoke up before Rusty could continue. "What took you so long?"
"We've got an important announcement," Rusty said, putting an arm around Ashleigh.
"We're engaged!" Ashleigh said excitedly. Casey, who was standing nearby with Cappie, had just taken a sip of her lemon drop, and as soon as the words left Ashleigh's mouth, she sputtered and slightly choked on the drink.
"You okay, Case?" Rusty asked her, seeing her coughing and Cappie patting her back.
"I'm good," Casey said.
"Mazel tov!" Cappie shouted once Casey stopped coughing, and then all of Rusty and Ashleigh's friends began cheering and surrounding them.
"Wow," was all Casey could say when she and Cappie reached Rusty and Ashleigh.
"I hope that's a good wow," Rusty said with a chuckle.
"Of course it's a good wow," Casey said. "You just took me by complete surprise; hence why I choked on my drink. But gosh, I really am so happy for you two, honestly. It's just a lot to take in, but you deserve each other and I can tell how happy you both are. And I am going to miss you so much when you're gone."
"Aw, Case!" Ashleigh gave her a big hug, seeing she was really tearing up now.
"Spitter, I'm proud of you," Cappie said, giving Rusty a pat on the back. "Unlike my wife who's in complete shock, I totally saw this coming. Congrats, and when's the wedding?"
"We've only been engaged for an hour, Cap," Rusty laughed. "But we'll figure it out."
"Congrats you guys!" Calvin said, grabbing Rusty and Ashleigh in a hug once Cappie and Casey stepped away. "You know you guys were my first two friends at CRU, and looking back I never would have guessed you would date each other, much less end up getting married. But sometimes great things happen that we don't expect."
"True that," Ashleigh said with a smile. Rusty and Ashleigh's friends continued giving them congratulations, and once the excitement died down a little, Casey pulled Rusty aside.
"You're not going to cry, are you?" Rusty asked jokingly.
"I'm going to try not to," Casey laughed. "Just when I thought I couldn't be more proud, you proved me wrong. Russ, we've come such a long way in the past four years. If someone would've told me back then that my best friend and little brother would end up married, I would have definitely thought that person had way too much to drink. But I've seen how you've grown up since you've been at CRU, and I grew up too, meaning I can give you both my blessing now. Not that you really need it, but…"
"Of course we want your blessing, Case," Rusty interrupted. "And we're glad we've got it. We weren't sure there for a minute when we thought you'd have to have CPR though." They both laughed.
"Like I said, I was surprised," Casey said. "I think the timing was right, though; you're both starting a new life, and well you've got a wedding to plan now. I've never been more proud of either of you than I am right now."
"Well that's the last of it," Rusty said, as he stuck his last bag into the already full trunk of his car and then closed it. It was the morning after graduation, Rusty and Ashleigh were getting ready to leave, and everyone was gathered to say goodbye to them where Rusty's car was parked on the street outside of the KT house.
"Can I just say that you look exhausted," Rebecca said to Rusty and Ashleigh.
"So do you, Bex," Ashleigh said. "I think most of us are, since we've all been up super late almost every night this week hanging out."
"I know I could use some sleep," Evan said, and then turned to Rusty and Ashleigh. "Good luck you guys, and don't be strangers. Keep in touch, and Rusty, let me know how working for my parents goes."
"Will do," Rusty said. "Good luck in the last semester of law school."
"Yeah, keep in touch and all that jazz," Rebecca said. "Or else I'll personally hunt you down."
"I don't think you'll have to do that," Ashleigh chuckled, and gave Rebecca a hug. "Bye Bex, I'll miss you."
"Well guys, I guess this CRU wedding train will still keep going after us," Beaver said. "Spitter, you came to Kappa Tau as a freshman completely hopeless when it came to women. And now you're graduated and engaged. I guess all children really do grow up."
"That's right, Beav," Rusty chuckled at Beaver's attempt at sentimentality. "I can't wait for your wedding though."
"I'll definitely be e-mailing you pictures of the dresses when they're picked out," Katherine said to Ashleigh.
"I'm excited too," Ashleigh said. "Keep us updated on the planning."
"You know I will," Katherine said. "And keep us updated on your lives."
"Don't be surprised if you get a wedding invite in the mail from us I guess," Dale said. "I don't think our parents are going to rest about it anytime soon."
"Don't sweat it," Rusty said. "I don't think they could make you have a wedding when you're right in the middle of grad school."
"Yeah, hopefully they'll get that," Dale said. "Call me when you get moved in, okay."
"Yep I will," Rusty said, hugging Dale.
"We can't wait for you guys to come at Thanksgiving," Calvin said, approaching them with Heath. "Try not to miss us much until then okay."
"We'll try not to," Ashleigh laughed, hugging Calvin and Heath.
"We definitely can't wait to visit," Rusty said, hugging them.
"Here's some Cheesaritos for the road," Spidey said, handing Rusty a bag of Cheesaritos.
"And some coffee, cause you look like you need it," Kelsey said, handing Rusty and Ashleigh each a cup of coffee.
"Thanks, guys," Ashleigh said, as she and Rusty sat their coffees and Cheesaritos on his car roof.
"Thanks for letting us use your car," Spidey said to Ashleigh. "That's so awesome of you."
"No problem; I figured somebody ought to use it," Ashleigh said.
"You two are our eyes and ears at this place now," Rusty said. "Keep us updated."
"We will," Spidey said. "And as for KT, I've got it. Although don't be surprised if I call you for advice a few times at first."
"I know you can do it on your own," Rusty said. "But yeah, I'm always just a phone call away whenever you want to talk."
"Thanks," Spidey said. "See ya Russ." He hugged Rusty and then turned to Ashleigh. "See ya future big sis in-law."
"See ya future little brother in-law," Ashleigh laughed and hugged him.
"It won't be the same here without you," Kelsey said, hugging Ashleigh and Rusty. "You've helped us both a lot and we won't forget that. We'll be in touch."
"Yeah, you'll have to tell us how it goes in California," Ashleigh said.
"This is it I guess," Casey said, walking up to Rusty and Ashleigh with Cappie following. "I'm sensing a bit of déjà vu here, remembering when it was you saying goodbye to Cappie and me."
"What day do you actually leave for Europe?" Cappie asked.
"Not til this coming Saturday," Rusty said. "After we go to Mom and Dad's for a few days, we've got to go see Ash's family, and then we'll be leaving."
"Well, work hard but not too hard," Cappie said. "Have tons of fun and make us all jealous. We'll be Facebook stalking you."
"We'll be Facebook stalking you too," Rusty laughed.
"We'll talk to you guys before we head out," Ashleigh said.
"Yeah, call us this week," Casey said. "Gosh, I'm going to miss you both." She threw her arms around her best friend and little brother. "Now go, before I start crying," she said with a small laugh.
"In just over six months, we'll all be welcoming you back," Cappie said. "Until then, bon voyage!" Cappie gave Rusty and Ashleigh a hug.
"We'll see you all at Christmas!" Ashleigh said to everyone.
"Bye guys," Rusty said. They waved one last goodbye as they grabbed their coffees and Cheesaritos and got into Rusty's car. Rusty started the engine and then turned to Ashleigh. "You ready?"
"I'm with you; of course I'm ready," Ashleigh smiled, reaching her hand out and placing it on his. "Onward we go." Rusty put the car in gear and then they headed off down Greek Row, with all of their friends waving to them from the distance.
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever forever
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever
A/N: OMG I'm finished! Wow, so bittersweet! This has been a work in process for the past year and a half of my life and now it's done. I really wanted to get the last chapter posted ASAP, one so it's no longer a distraction from studying for the exam I have to take, and two because I've made y'all wait far too long on some of the other chapters. I wish I could have spent more time preparing this chapter, but I hope it's still a good conclusion and send-off. :-)
So, what's next you ask? I've mentioned this in my past few chapters, but just to reiterate, one of my readers will be starting a Greek story that skips ahead some years, focusing on a whole new generation of Greek. I'm really excited about seeing that, and I'll let you all know when that's posted, so make sure you're following either my Twitter or Facebook pages, or both (links are in my profile). Hopefully it'll be up within the next month or less.
I might not be completely done writing yet, either. I'm currently studying for an important exam as I mentioned, but I've got to give myself free time every once in a while, right. xD So I might start a story that focuses on important events that happen after Rusty and Ashleigh leave. (such as Beaver/Katherine's wedding, Rusty/Ashleigh's wedding, maybe some babies being born, etc..) I'll probably wait a while before I do that, but again I'll keep y'all in the loop. I'm probably going to miss writing Greek fanfiction and I'm going to want to start again, haha.
Lastly, thanks to everyone who's been reading my stories. Between 'Greek: Senior Year' and 'Greek: The Following Semester', I've written 30 chapters and over 200,000 words. Basically, I've put a lot of time into this over the past year and a half, and I appreciate everyone who's read and given me feedback. :-) So please let me know what you think of the ending, and what you might like to see captured in a future story.