Ally carried the last of her boxes down the stairs.

"Don't drop this box." Ally said sternly as she handed the box to her dad. He walked out the door without saying a word. Debra was holding back tears when she hugged Ally.

"I'll miss you, but I know you will do wonderful at Yale." Ally put her arms around her mom and hugged her back.

"I'll miss you too. We all knew this was going to come." Ally pulled away and walked to the front door with a smile. She turned to face her mom at the end of the couch. "I love you." The door flew open and a hysterical Marie ran in and grabbed Ally and hugged her.

"Don't go! You can't go!" Marie exclaimed. Debra stifled a laugh by putting her hand to her mouth and her shoulders shook. Ally glared at her mom. Ally pulled out of her grandmother's grip.

"Grandma, I have to go to college. I'll be back for Christmas." Ally started to walk away from Marie when Frank and Robert walk in the door. Robert patted her shoulder.

"I know you're leaving soon. We just wanted to stop by and say good luck Ally." Robert said and nodded at her.

"Thanks Uncle Robert." Ally smiled. Michael and Jeffrey came bounding down the stairs.

"Bye Ally." Michael said and then hugged her.

"Bye." Jeffrey hugged her.

"Bye boys." Ally said. Then she looked back at her mom, grandparents, and her uncle. "I really should be going. It's going to be a long drive to Connecticut." Ally walked past her grandma and hugged her grandpa. "Bye Grandpa."

"Bye Ally." Ally walked past her grandpa and through the front door. She walked over to the car where her dad was still loading boxes. He looked at her and hugged her. She hugged him back.

"Bye dad." Ally pulled away and Ray handed her the keys. He didn't speak, probably to keep from tearing up. Ally stood outside the house and took one more look at the home she spent all of her life in. She couldn't remember anything other than this house and now she was leaving. A tear escaped onto her cheek but she wiped it away. She was headed to Yale and couldn't cry. She was an adult; headed for the real world. Ally got into the car and waved at her dad as she pulled out of the driveway and headed towards Connecticut.

[

It was a long drive, but Ally finally made it to Yale with about one hundred and thirty other students. She walked into her room and saw a few boxes from where her roommate had been bringing stuff in. She made trip after trip to get her boxes into her dorm room. Finally, after about an hour she was done unloading the boxes. Then she started unpacking and putting thing on the shelves. There was a bookshelf on each side of the room for the girls, as well as two beds, two dressers, and two desks. Ally opened one of the boxes and saw an old picture that Michael and Jeffrey drew for her. She pressed the picture to her chest. Oh how she missed her brothers. She loved the way they could make her laugh even in the midst of pain. For instance, when her date stood her up for the junior prom, Michael and Jeffrey put on their own prom at home for her. The boys took turns dancing her around the room. Their mom and dad watched them from the kitchen.

Ally put the picture on the desk and took the picture frames out of the box. One had a picture of the whole family; including both sets of her grandparents, Robert, her parents, and the boys. The other one had a picture of Amy and Ally at the wedding. Ally put them both on the desk and continued unpacking. Just then there was a rustle and Ally turned around. There was a girl with shoulder length curly red hair walked in and brushed past her.

"Hi." She said to Ally.

"Hi." Ally replied.

"I'm Mel." The girl said to Ally. Ally nodded.

"I'm Ally." Ally stated and stuck her hand out. The girl stuck her nose up at the handshake.

"Where are you from?" She asked looking at Ally's hand. Ally pulled it back.

"Long Island." Ally replied.

"I'm from L.A." Mel said. "And in L.A. we don't shake hands."

"Oh, I'm sorry." Ally went back to unpacking her boxes.

"What are you here for?" Mel questioned. Ally looked at her.

"I'm not sure yet." Ally paused. "I think I want to be an economist." Mel smiled.

"That's a good field." Mel replied. "Well, I'm going to go for dinner. Wanna come with me?" Ally shook her head no. She looked over at the phone.

"I think I'll stay here and do a few things." Ally stated.

"Alright." Mel replied. She smiled. "I'll be downstairs if you change your mind." She walked out of the room. Ally walked over and sat on the bed. There was a nightstand between the two beds that had the phone on it. She picked it up and dialed. It rang twice before Debra answered it.

"Hello?" Debra asked.

"Hi mom. I just wanted to tell you I got here okay." Ally said.

"Oh alright Ally. Thanks for calling." Debra replied in her calm, easy going way. Ally sighed. "Was that all you wanted?" Ally sunk into the bed.

"Yeah, I think so for now. I'll call back if I need anything later." Ally hung up the phone. She stood up and leaned against the wall. She thought she was ready to be independent. She wanted to do this, to be her own person. But there was something that was keeping her from cutting the apron strings back in Long Island. Ally took one more look at the picture of her family before walking out of the room and heading downstairs.