A/N: So this story technically would have been over with by yesterday, but then all of the sudden my computer decided to shut down :( I was so upset because I was already writing the end of the last chapter, but now it gives me an opportunity to put in some more detail, because I feel like the last chapter I wrote yesterday was a little rushed. So anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this! Also, I know that the ages between Mary and her cousin, and Zechariah and Joseph are completely off, but I had to do that in order to make this story work. Anyway, I'll just stop writing this author's note and let you guys read.

The End Is Only The Beginning: Chapter 18

Behind the curtains, the graduating class were getting ready. Some were going through their speeches to present to all of the parents, and others were pacing back in forth do to nervousness. Others were crying as they huddled up with friends and some were waiting patiently. In the far right corner, Elizabeth and Zechariah were giggling and kissing, "This is it! We're finally done with high-school!" Elizabeth squealed. Mary laughed as she adjusted Joseph's cap and gown, "This is it for you Joseph, for you, Elizabeth, and Zechariah." She said, giving a half smile, but Joseph could tell that there was something wrong.

"Yeah...I guess it is. I never thought the years at Temple High would go by so fast." He smiled, "Is something wrong?"

Mary shook her head as she adjusted the last part of his cap, "No...I'm fine it's just, I'm really going to miss you guys. I don't know who I'm going to have at Temple High next year."

Joseph pulled her into a hug, then kissed her long hair, "You'll be fine Mary. You'll have Bethany and...Peter." He said, trying to come to grips that her and Peter would always be friends, "And you'll have Grace." He joked, forcing Mary to let out a small laugh, "Yeah."

"Alright, I need all the students to line up and get ready. The music will play in a few minutes, and everyone who is speaking in front of the parents today, I would like you guys to be in the front!" The teacher called, and everyone shuffled to figure out where they needed to be.

"That's my cue to leave. I'll see you later Joseph." She smiled, and he gave her a kiss. She made her way out the back door and as she went to take a seat she found her parents, and Joseph's parents sitting together. She played with Joseph's little brother until the ceremony began.

The sound of trumpets filled the air, and Mary knew that it was the work of the amazing band at Temple High. She smiled proudly as she watched the graduating class make their way onto the stage and find a seat. There weren't many things that could make Mary tear up, but seeing how beautiful everything was, was just enough to.

When the music came to a stop, the teacher stood in front of the stage and smiled at the audience, "Welcome parents, and congratulations my graduating class. Before we begin with the students talk about the world unknown, we're going to have our band play a few songs, as well as a guest singer. She came all the way from Bethlehem. Please welcome, St. Josephine."

The audience cheered for St. Josephine. She started off her song, it was a soft melody, and beautiful. Her voice was soft, like an angel. She had white wrinkly skin, and snow white hair. When she was done, the audience cheered again, and the principal talked for a while as well as gave out awards to everyone who had a 4.0 GPA. Then the valedictorian gave her speech.

The trumpets began to play again, and this time the principal began to call out the names of the graduating class. It seemed as if everything was going by in slow motion as she watched people accept their diplomas. She would definitely miss having her three best friends at school, and her boyfriend too, but she was happy to see them getting their diploma.

"Joseph Carpenter!" The principal shouted, snapping everything back into regular time. Mary shouted for him, as well as the rest of his family. He looked at her and laughed, then grabbed his diploma.

The rest of the graduation went on like a blur, and finally it came to an end. When it did Mary ran to her friends who pulled her into a hug, "I'm so proud of you guys!" She smiled.

Elizabeth giggled, "This won't be the end though Mary. You know my house isn't too far away."

"Actually, our new house might be closer than you think." Zechariah said, holding up her hand to indicate that she was wearing a fancy ring made by some silversmith. Mary's eyes widened, "You guys are married?"

Zechariah let out a laugh, "No, not yet. But we plan to get married in a few weeks and start our life together."

"Yeah, life is too short you know?" Elizabeth smiled through her watery eyes. She was beyond happy.



It seemed crazy that it had only a few days since the graduation, but Mary knew that that day had changed everything. Mary smiled as she opened up her windows and saw the sun shinning through. It was such a nice reminder that God was always there, shinning light through everyone's heart. She still had a few hours before her sermon, so she decided to take a walk. She told her parents that she would be back soon, and she found her walking trail which was in a pretty forest. She admired the different colored flowers, and the bright green bushes. She took a seat on a rock and thought about everything that happened to her in just one school year.

She found confidence through Peter, and she was glad that they were still friends. She also learned how strong her love for Joseph really is, and she realized that she couldn't live without him anymore. She was happy that Elizabeth and Zechariah grew stronger and stronger everyday, and she was thankful to have met Melissa and been able to help her. She wished that she was still there, to see the graduation, to hang out with them at the Lions Den, but she had received frequent letters that ensured that she was doing well in Palestine with her new husband. All in all, this year had turned out to be the best. Even the teachers taught her something new everyday.

Suddenly she saw a bright light, maybe even brighter than the sun. She threw an arm over her face and squinted her eyes. What was this light?

"Greetings Mary!" The angel spoke, his voice as gentle as a calm wind, "The Lord is with you."

Mary was confused as her eyes adjusted to the light. She pushed herself further back on the rock and looked the angel in the eye. When she didn't say anything, the angel smiled at her.

"Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God." He told her.

"What does this mean?" She questioned the angel.

"You will conceive a son and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end." He told her.

Mary felt her heart beating faster than usual. She was...with child? How could this be? She looked to the angel, "How can this be? For I have been with no man."

"Behold, the Holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Lord will overshadow you." He said.

Mary didn't know what to do at this point. She didn't want to be pregnant. What would people say if she were to be pregnant and not married? Nevertheless she trusted in the Lord, that he would protect her, and she would be safe, "I am the Lords servant, may your word to me be fulfilled."