A/N: It's funny how many people don't pick up on this, but Jason Talbot is the same Jason Talbot from Along for the Ride and from The Truth About Forever. I always found Jason slightly irritating in The Truth About Forever and even more so in Along for the Ride. At the end of Along for the Ride Jason is an obnoxiously annoying guy who puts school/opportunities to excel before anything else- especially girls. So what changed? This is my take on things and it all started with this simple quote:
It's about getting to the top and having nowhere to go but down. It's about the price you pay to follow your dreams. –Tim McIlrath
I grabbed the last box and carefully placed it into the backseat of the taxi, before closing the door. I got in the passenger seat, without once glancing at the tall building looming behind me. But as the taxi pulled away from the curb and towards the airport, I couldn't help but glance in the rear-view mirror. I wasn't just leaving behind my dorm; I was leaving a way of life.
"You did what," Dad shouted at me.
I don't think I'd ever seen him so mad. Not even that one time when I'd gotten a B+ on my physics test. I was prepared for this though, his anger and disappointment, and I didn't blame him. Not really. "I dropped out," I repeated, trying to convey with that one simple sentence that this was my decision and it was final.
Dad closed his eyes and dropped down heavily onto the couch next to Mom. "You dropped out," he repeated, taking off his glasses and running a tired hand across his face. All of a sudden he looked old and tired. No one said anything for a few minutes. Finally, Dad spoke up again, "And what are you planning on doing now?" He put his glasses back on and glared at me some more.
I swallowed. I knew the question was inevitable but I had still hoped they wouldn't ask it. "I was planning on getting a job."
"A job?" Dad spat at me. "Who would hire you—a dropout."
"Lots of people go straight into the work force after high school," I said more sharply than I had intended. There was a pause as I realized this had been the wrong thing to say.
"And are you like other people?" Dad asked, his voice dangerously quiet. I didn't say anything. "Your mom and I, we didn't raise you to be like other people."
"This is my decision," I said, quietly.
"And you're making the wrong one," Mom finally spoke up.
"No. I'm not. You know me, I've thought about this long and hard and I am not making the wrong decision. I know what I am doing."
"You've thought about this long and hard?" Dad asked. "And yet you don't know what you're going to do now."
"I told you," I said. "I'll get a job. I'll go and apply for a job at the library again."
"You dropped out of Harvard to work at the library?" Dad's voice was full of rage. "This is how you're going to repay us? After all we did for you? You—."
But Mom cut him off. "Listen, Jason," she said, her voice soft, compromising. "You have so much potential; you can't waste it like this. There's a reason we sent you to Kiffney-Brown. A reason why you took U classes while you were still in high school. Not to mention the recycling initiative you did during your junior year. You can't just drop out of Harvard on a mere whim. Getting into Harvard has been your goal since you were still a child. Honey, we want what's best for you."
I didn't say anything.
"Honey, please rethink this," Mom pleaded.
I still didn't say anything.
"Okay," Dad said, after a few minutes of silence. "Okay, go." I just looked at him, confused. "Get out," he clarified. "If you don't want to go back to Harvard—if you want to embarrass your mother and I like this in front of everyone—then go.
I stared at him, shocked. Had I heard him right? I had known that Mom and Dad would be disappointed—furious, even—but I had never thought for a second that they would kick me out of the house.
"Get out," Dad shouted when I still hadn't moved. "Grab your things and go!"
I stared at him for a few moments before turning on my heel and heading into the front foyer where my boxes and suitcases were still scattered about. I grabbed one of the suitcases with one hand and with the other I grabbed my car keys which were in the dish by the door. My car was still in the garage where I'd left it at the end of the summer when I'd first gone to Harvard. I threw my suitcase in the back and got into the driver seat. Behind me, in the house, I could hear Mom and Dad arguing.
"You can't kick him out of the house! He's your son!"
"I can do as I please, Martha! And he's no son of mine. My son wouldn't embarrass me in front of my colleagues. My son wouldn't drop out of Harvard to go work at the library!"
As I pulled out of the driveway I saw Mom run out the front door. "Jason!" she called out to me, tears sliding down her face. "Jason, come back!"
I ignored her, choosing to concentrate on the road instead. This time though, as I drove away, I didn't look back. I was glad to leave my past behind and start a new chapter of my life. No regrets.
A/N: Read and review. Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you. - UrgeToDance.