A/N: Thanks so much to everyone who read the last chapter and to everyone who reviewed! I really appreciate it! Sorry again it was such a long wait, it gave me a lot of problems and I've had SO much homework. I hope you all like this chapter. (:
Also, I stumbled upon a Tumblr post (two, actually) about my fic, and I am beyond flattered. I'm glad you like it enough to blog about it.
Stacie didn't want to go to Donald's graduation. It wasn't because she thought it was going to be boring (it was) or because she didn't care that he was graduating (she did), but because she wasn't sure if she could handle it. The fact of the matter was, Donald was leaving. Graduation meant that a person was done with school and would be moving on with their life, but Stacie wasn't at that point yet. Donald would be moving on without her, and she definitely didn't like that idea. The whole thing made her sad beyond belief, but she hadn't said anything about it to Donald. She was afraid of what he would say to her. Would he suggest that they end it? Stacie didn't think she could bear that at the moment.
She had taken to avoiding him over the past week, claiming to be busy with other things. To fill her time, she starting spending more time with her friends. It didn't take long for the girls to notice that something was wrong. Beca was the first to approach her about it, pulling her aside the Monday before Donald's graduation. "Is something wrong?" she asked, concerned for Stacie's mental health. If she had been feeling better, Stacie would have been flattered that Beca cared so much.
Normally, Stacie kept her problems to herself. She preferred to carry the weight of her problems on her own shoulders, though she often poured her heart out to Donald before she knew what she was doing. This time, she blurted out her fears before she could stop herself. Beca listened patiently while Stacie spilled her guts. "I don't want him to leave," she admitted.
"Have you talked to him?" Beca asked, always logical.
"No," Stacie said. "I'm afraid of what he'll say."
"You need to talk to him," Beca said. "Right now. This is important. Do you really want this to fall apart because you're afraid of the unknown?"
Stacie sighed and pulled her hair off her neck, rolling it up and holding it against the top of her hair. "Can I wait until tomorrow?" she asked.
"No," Beca said, her face serious. "Go."
Stacie sighed again and let her hair fall. "Okay," she said, getting off Beca's bed. She dropped the pillow she had been holding on her lap and headed for the door. She paused when she reached it, her hand resting on the door handle. "Are you sure I can't wait until tomorrow?"
"Go!" Beca said firmly.
"Okay!" Stacie said, holding her hands up. "I'm going."
Donald looked surprised when he opened the door. "Hey," he said. "I wasn't expecting you tonight. I thought you had a sleepover."
"I did," Stacie said, "But it got canceled."
"Lucky me," Donald joked, taking her hand and pulling her into the room. Out of habit, she kicked the door shut as she entered, but she was so full of nerves that she wanted nothing more than to turn and leave as quickly as she could. In her mind, she was about to get dumped, and she wasn't ready for it. Donald tried to put his arms around her, but she pulled away. "Is something wrong?" he asked.
Stacie nodded, but she didn't say anything. She didn't know what to say.
"Are we going to break up?" she blurted. It annoyed her how she couldn't help blurting out the first thing that came to mind lately, but there was no way for her to take back what she had just said. She didn't want to look at him, but she couldn't stand not knowing. She raised her head to look at him, and saw a mixture of surprise and confusion on his face.
Donald seemed to be struggling for words. "Why would we break up?" he asked, clearly trying to understand what was going through Stacie's mind.
"You're graduating," Stacie said, trying to stay calm.
"What does that have to do with us?" Donald asked, more confused than ever.
"You're leaving," Stacie said, her voice wavering slightly. She was on the verge of tears, but it wasn't just because she scared that her relationship was going to end. It was also because she was too frustrated for words that she was acting like such a wimp. "You're not going to live here anymore," she added, motioning to his room.
Stacie watched as Donald's expression changed. The look he wore now was almost amused. "Stacie," he said in a soothing tone, stepping forward to take her hands in his. "Didn't I tell you? I'm not going anywhere."
It was Stacie's turn to be confused. "But you're graduating," she repeated, her unshed tears vanishing as hope rose in her chest.
"I'm staying in Atlanta," Donald explained, smiling slightly.
"Really?" Stacie asked, hardly daring to believe it. "Wait, you're not staying because of me, are you?"
"No," Donald answered, shaking his head. "I decided to stay here last year. I liked it here, a lot more than I ever liked Savannah."
"Oh," Stacie said, feeling relieved. As Donald's words sunk in, Stacie's emotions did a one-eighty. The corners of her mouth slowly turned up in a smile, and she threw her arms around Donald. "I love you, more than anything."
"I love you too," Donald said, his arms tightening around her. Stacie buried her face in his neck, only to pull back in shock as he spoke again. "Forever."
Lately, Stacie had been feeling the same way. More than anything, she wanted to have a future with Donald, but she hadn't said the words out loud. In all honesty, she had felt silly. She and Donald had only been dating for a few months, and she was only nineteen (her birthday had been in January). She was too young to be getting so attached to a boy, wasn't she? But hearing Donald say what she had been thinking made her wonder if she had just been overthinking her feelings. This was natural, right? Plenty of people wanted serious relationships. The only problem was, serious relationships had never been her thing.
Despite her misgivings about whether or not this was the right thing to do (it felt right), Stacie took her seat at the back of the audience and watched silently as Donald, Bumper, Aubrey, and Chloe graduated. She was going to miss all of them next year, even Bumper. Maybe not quite as much as she would miss everyone else, but she had come to like him over the past several weeks. Still feeling conflicted, Stacie didn't jump to her feet and join the screaming crowd when the graduation was over. Instead, she got slowly and carefully to her feet and exited the gym. She would see Donald later. Right now, he was busy celebrating with his family.
Donald, however, had other plans. He showed up at her dorm a few minutes after she had returned, knocking loudly on her door. "Stacie!" he called.
Confused, Stacie got up from where she had collapsed face-first on her bed and opened the door. "What are you doing here?" she asked.
"I'm here to drag you out of your room," he said, grinning. "You're coming to dinner with us."
"You know, my family. You didn't think you were going to get out of it, did you?"
"Oh, no," Stacie said, "Of course not."
"Well, come on," he said. "Let's go."
Donald held out his hand, and she didn't hesitate to take it.
Dinner was amazing. Donald's family, which included most of his extended family this time, had been nothing but nice to her. It seemed like they really liked her, and Stacie really liked them. They were nothing like her small family, and she loved the way they behaved with one another. They were always laughing and joking, and clearly loved one another a lot.
When dinner was over, Donald hugged family members and said goodbyes for the night. Then, for the first time in over a week, he and Stacie returned to his dorm to spend one last night together. The next day, Donald would be moving his stuff to an apartment about twenty minutes from campus, and Stacie would be going home to Tallahassee for the summer. Everything in Donald's room was packed up, except for his bed. It was still neatly made, with mint green sheets and a blue comforter spread across it. Everything Stacie had been leaving in his room was in its own box, with her name scribbled across the top in Sharpie.
Rummaging through one of the boxes marked 'clothes', Stacie pulled out one of his neatly folded t-shirts and changed into it. She slid into bed and snuggled up under the comforter. Donald, after changing, followed suit. For a while, they lay silently with their arms around each other, Stacie's face buried against his neck. Her cheek rested against the warm cotton of his shirt, and she felt more relaxed than she had all week. She was going to miss this over the summer.
"Stacie?" Donald asked softly after about an hour.
"Hmm?" she answered sleepily.
"Look," he said, talking quickly now, "I don't know what's going to happen in the next few months or years, but the one thing that I know is that I want you to be part of my future."
Sitting up carefully, Stacie looked at him in the dim light of his bedside lamp, now sitting on the floor in the corner. "That's what I want too," she admitted, looking down at the comforter.
"I'm so in love with you," Donald continued. "I don't know what I would do without you."
"Neither do I," Stacie replied, still surprised that she could feel this way about a person. It was so different from any other relationship she had ever had before.
"So let's talk?"
"About what?" Stacie asked.
"You and me."
A/N: THE END!
I know, it's short. I'm really sorry. :C After all that waiting, this is a short final chapter. I hope you like it, though! I'm really sorry it took so long, and I'm sorry it's over. It was fun to write. But don't worry, I'm planning on doing some more one-shots (maybe not until summer, though). Please leave a review and let me know what you think! I love you all, thanks so much for sticking with my story.