And now, the third installment of the Are You Afraid? Triology... After Midnight. ENJOY!
Packing up everything in my room makes it clear to me that this is real. Tonight's the last time I will be sleeping in my room, because I move into a dorm tomorrow. My high school years went by so fast; faster than I ever imagined they would. But I think I'm ready to start a new chapter in my life, and I'm thankful that I'll have Austin by my side because; we're going to the same college. Austin is and always will be my rock, as I am his, that's why we've lasted this long.
I continue to take down all of the pictures that cover one side of my wall. It's pretty much all of my memories since I moved here, that accumulated through the years. I take down a picture of me, Susie and Austin; one of my favorites. I look at it every day, and smile while I think of all the memories. I set it in one of my boxes for college; I'm definitely bringing it, no doubt about that.
The rest of high school was hard without Susie, especially on Austin. But we had each other, and that helped a lot. I try not to think of everything that happened with her, and Lily. But the thoughts come back and haunt me sometimes. I even dream about it, causing me to wake up in a cold sweat every once in a while. When I wake up, I'm struck with some much relief that it's not actually happening again.
My father and Sally got married the beginning of my senior year, and they just found out that they are expecting a child. I'm really happy for them; Sally is good for my father. She's good for both of us actually. She really helped keep the family together. Even though she will never replace my mom, she has a special place in my heart.
I know that my father is having a hard time accepting that I'm growing up. But I know he's happy that I'm sticking around Vermont. The college is just a couple hours away, so I'll still be visiting quite often. I was accepted to other colleges far away, but I wanted to stick around so I could watch my niece or nephew grow up, and I wanted to be with Austin because he definitely feels like the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I know that's pretty serious for an eighteen year old to say, but after everything; I know its how I really feel.
I walk downstairs to have dinner with Sally and my dad. Sally went all out and made a fancy dinner for us. She calls it my 'going away' dinner, even though I know I won't be gone that long before my next visit. She thinks that I won't want to come home much when I get out there, that I'll enjoy my freedom. She never went to college so she says she doesn't know what to expect out of me. I just laugh it off and promise her that I'll be back very soon.
I sit down at the table, across from my dad. He smiles at me and takes a sip of wine from his glass. Sally set up all her best silver ware, which I told her she didn't have to do. I study the fine china and the beautiful blue flowered design on it. It's the first time we are actually aloud to eat on it. I remember one time I tried to use one of the tea cups for myself and she practically had a break down, so I never touched any of it again.
She walks out of the kitchen, apron covering her small baby bump, holding a pan that's displaying a beautiful baked whole chicken. The colors around it show me that there are carrots and potatoes around it also.
She sets it down on the middle of the table and smiles at me. She goes back into the kitchen and comes back out quickly with a gravy boat, and a plate full of crescents. The smell is an overpowering aroma of homemade food and it makes me sort of uneasy. How many home cooked meals am I going to get at college? Well I guess if you call microwave frozen dinners homemade, then I'll be having plenty of those.
"This looks amazing." My dad says. I nod in agreement with him as she pours me a glass of water.
"I hope it's as good as it looks! I've spent all day on it." She says and then sits down next to him.
"You really didn't have to do this." I tell her with a grateful smile.
"I know, but I wanted to. You deserve it." She says.
We then dig into the wonderful food. You can tell she worked hard on it, and it paid off. We each have seconds and talk about everything and anything. They both share stories about their high school days, and I love stories like that. My dad talks about how he was on the football team, and I find out that Sally was a cheerleader. It makes me laugh because I can see that. She is always peppy and happy, even now.
After our happy conversation dies down, my father turns serious, "So Austin is driving you two?" he asks.
I nod, "Yes. Freshmen are allowed to have cars on campus so we're going to bring his car."
"That's good. Do you guys know where you're going?" Sally asks.
"I think so. Austin and I remember most of it when we visited there with his parent's junior year. But we printed out instructions just in case." I say.
"I'm glad you guys are prepared." My dad says with a smile, "You really are grown up. I can't believe it." He says, his eyes starting to fill with tears.
"I know dad." I say, standing up and walking over to him. I bend down and give him a hug, rubbing his back soothingly. Before I know it, Sally is wrapping her arms around me from the other side, cramming us into a group hug.
The next morning…
I grab my last box from my room and look around once more, taking in reality. A flash of memories flood through me about this room, and I wipe away a stray tear from my cheek. I walk outside to Austin's pickup truck, shoving the box into the bed, barely enough room for it. He puts the cover on and leans against his truck, smiling at me.
"What?" I ask.
"We're going to college. We're starting a new chapter in our lives; together." He says; his grin wider than before. I return the smile and nod. He grabs me by the waist and pulls me into him, kissing my lips softly. I still feel the sparks that I felt the first time he kissed me, and that makes me the happiest girl alive.
"Ahem." We hear from behind us. We pull away awkwardly as my father and Sally are standing a few feet away. Austin and I both stand up straight, as my cheeks turn pink. Austin just smirks, shrugging it off because that's just how care free he is.
"This makes me feel wonderful about letting you two go off on your own." My dad says. I suddenly remember that morning that my father found Austin and me on the couch when he came back from out of town, how furious he was with Austin and that I wasn't allowed to see him. Oh how things have changed since then.
Sally rolls her eyes and laughs, "They are adults now Lester, leave them be." And that's why I love her.
After we say our goodbyes, Austin opens the door to his truck and I jump in, sliding to the middle seat. He gets in the driver's side and smiles at the small space between us. We pull out of my house and start the journey to the university. I grab the papers of directions that I printed out, out of my backpack from the passenger seat.
"Why are you getting those out already? Don't trust me?" He asks with me with a smile.
"I do, but I'm just making sure." I say.
"Are you nervous?" He asks, keeping his eyes on the road.
"A little, but who wouldn't be?" I say. But I almost think that he isn't nervous at all. Austin's so confident and easy going; I envy that part of him.
"That's true. Your father and Sally are really going to miss you. I wonder what they would have done if you decided to go to a college in California or something." He says with a laugh.
"I know right? I tried telling them that I would be visiting plenty of times." I say.
"They will figure it out." He says.
Two and a half hours later…
"Okay, we got a little lost but, we're here!" Austin says in an excited tone.
I lift my head off of his shoulder, my eyes heavy and sleepy. I yawn loudly, and stretch my arms out. I hear Austin giggle from beside me but I brush it off. "You are cute when you're sleepy." He says. I just roll my eyes and shove his shoulder playfully.
We pull into one of the huge parking lots and park, eyeing our surroundings. The place is a lot bigger than I remember, and I feel myself starting to panic a little, until I turn and look at Austin, who's giving me a warm smile, "Everything is going to be great. This is going to be awesome." He says.
We stay in the truck and go over our schedules, and some information like what dorm we are in, etc. We are luckily staying in the same dorm. He says he had nothing to do with it, and that that's just how it happened but I feel like he pulled some strings, because it's too big of a coincidence.
I can't help the nervous feeling of who my roommate is going to be. I really hate rooming with strangers. Once in the 6th grade, we went on this field trip and I had to room with one of the girls I've never even talked to and I hated it. And she wasn't really a stranger, but close enough.
"I'll help you move into your dorm first." He says.
"Okay, thank you." I say with a smile, "I wonder if my roommate is there already." I say and sigh.
Austin just smiles and looks at me. "What?" I ask him, confused.
"Nothing, don't worry about it. Let's get a move on." He says.
We grab as many boxes as we could each carry and I follow my map to the dorm room. I'm on the first floor, room number thirteen. The dorm is close to where we parked so we don't have to walk that far between trips. When I open the door to my room, my roommate's stuff is already on the left side, so I set my boxes on the right.
"Well it looks like she got here first." I say out loud. I assume it's a she, due to the pink mess of stuff. Or it could be a guy that likes pink; I'm not judging.
On what seems like our hundredth trip, we finally set down the last of my stuff. I set my backpack down on my bed and sigh; tired already. Austin plops down onto my bed, putting his hands behind his head. He smiles and closes his eyes, "Time for bed."
I laugh, "Actually, it's time for us to move you in." I say.
He groans loudly, "Don't remind me."
I hear the door open and freeze. I look at Austin's face and it lights up with a grin. I'm too afraid to turn around and meet the girl I'm going to be living with from now on. I take a deep breath and turn around. My jaw drops, almost to the floor…
Author's Note: I hope you guys are as excited about this as i am! Due to many requests i have decided to make a third and final story in this series. I am really pumped about the story line and i think you will be too! I won't be updating much because the month of February is really hectic for me because i am a cheerleader and we have competitions every saturday. I look forward to this new journey with you all! READ AND REVIEW! :) anyone going to see Warm Bodies this weekend? I'm going Friday, can't wait!