A/N: Thank you all for taking this journey with me.
The Last Chapter.
Graduation day had finally come around.
Suddenly, the whole school was awash with social activity. Even the first years, who, unless they had an older sibling, didn't even know anyone who was leaving, were getting into it.
There were, banners balloons, drink stands and silly string that the leavers were spraying everywhere. It was also colourful and such a happy atmosphere, it became hard not to have a good time.
And somewhere amongst it all, I was there. The cheerleaders and I had somehow all ended up together. It was mostly just Elizaveta, Feliks (who was stuck to Toris like glue) and Femke who had all gathered us up.
Alfred and I had shown up together, we spent about an hour looking around side by side but soon enough the cheerleaders told me to come with them for a while and Alfred's friends from the football team had shown up, making noise and generally being obnoxious people, so we split up so Alfred could go and be obnoxious with them.
So here I was, another two hours later. We weren't doing anything in particular, just looking around chatting. Lots of the third years were buying the merchandise that the school were selling and lots of us were flicking through the yearbooks and laughing.
"You know," Feliks had at some point crept up behind me and had thrown his arm around my shoulders, his free hand still tightly gripping Toris, "I think I might even miss, like, you!"
I laughed dryly, "What do you mean 'even'?"
"Well, I mean, like, you caused a whole lot of drama this year. Like you and Alfred were such a long time coming and then there was like, you leaving and ugh!" He threw his hands up in the air, "Crazy! No wonder nothing got done!"
"Feliks!" Toris elbowed him, "Don't be mean!"
"Yeah, yeah, but like, you were cool too! Kinda."
I just chuckled and patted him on the head, "I'll just wish you all the best for the future."
He flattened his hair, "Jeeze, I've heard that phrase way too much today! Can't you, like, find a way that Toris can just come with me instead? I don't give a crap about that 'all the best stuff!"
"Oh come on..." I smiled, "You're acting like you'll never see him again! You can't be going all that far away."
"Umm... Actually, I'm going to New Haven so, kinda the other side of the country."
My eyes widened in surprise, "Really?! What are you going all the way over there for?"
"Oh, didn't you hear?" Elizaveta joined us, "Feliks got into Yale~!"
"What?" Now this was something I had not expected.
"Wait," He looked at Elizaveta, "You mean he doesn't know? I told all of you guys!"
"Ohh... That was when he had quit for two weeks..." She patted me on the back in her boyish manner, "Sorry, Arthur! You missed the Yale party we had! We thought of you while we were having it though~"
"That's alright," I smiled sheepishly, "I was probably trying to teach Gilbert some proper grammar, though I doubt he was listening."
She shrugged, "What did I tell you? That guy is a jerk~"
"A rich one though," I reminded her before turning back to Feliks, "Congratulations on getting into Yale, I can't say I was expecting it but I'm pleased for you."
"Hey." Feliks stopped in front of me and crossed his arms, "Are you, like, trying to say I look too dumb for the Ivy League?"
"No! No not at all! I had just never heard that you were such a good student..." To be honest though, at first glance Feliks didn't exactly look like Yale material, with his forever bored expression, the short skirts he wore into school and the way he spoke like a fourteen year old girl. Though as Feliks stopped pouting I decided that I was going to stop making so many assumptions about people.
"But, like, I can't believe no one even told you!" He obviously had more to get out, "Like, Femke, you were all 'Omigod I can't believe this I'm gonna tell Arthur' but like, you didn't! What the heck?!"
"Sorry!" Femke looked genuinely distressed, "I meant to but I never did! I was out with Abel, Antonio and Lovino!"
Feliks dropped the act of scolding Femke for a moment, "You were out with those three all at the same time? Like, how did you survive?"
She giggled lightly, "We're all friends really~"
He made an unbelieving face, "Whatever... Anyway, you still should have said something!"
Toris tapped him on the shoulder, "Actually, Feliks, I said the same thing and didn't remember to do it..."
Feliks suddenly smiled, "Yeah but you're hot so I can't, like, get mad~ Besides we were too bust having lots of sex~!"
"Don't tell them that!"
"Yeah," Femke and a few others pretended to gag while Elizaveta and Michelle giggled and nudged each other, "Too much information, Feliks... Anyway I gotta go, Toris isn't the only one with a boyfriend leaving for collage~" She tossed her hair behind her shoulder proudly.
Feliks stuck his tongue out at her, both his arms were now around his boyfriends waist, "I bet he's not going to Yale though~"
Elizaveta hit him on the arm, "Seriously, do you feel the need to one-up everyone?"
"Ow!" Feliks released Toris' waist to clutch his bruised arm, "Lizzie I am, like, leaving today!"
"No excuse to be a dick~" She spoke to him in a sing-song voice.
"Come on," Toris had gotten a hold of his hand and pulling him away before any conflict could actually start, "Let's go and find Madison and the rest, we haven't said hi to them yet."
"Yeah! Like, I'm gonna go meet my other friends! And probably make out with Toris behind the bleachers. Feliks out!"
And with that he disappeared with Toris into the crowd and the rest of us turned to one another.
"So now what do we do?" Michelle asked, "Now that the number one diva queen has gone."
Elizaveta laughed, "Ah young one, you're only bored as you are a first year and yet to understand how great graduation day can be!" She patted the shorter Michelle on the head who then wrinkled her nose.
"I'm not bored! I'm having plenty fun here! But my feet hurt, it's noisy and crowed. What do you say we all get one of those flavoured ice things and sit on the bleachers before Feliks can make it his love nest?"
I nodded, I couldn't deny that a sit down and something cold would be welcome, "I think that that's a fair enough plan."
Elizaveta smiled, "Sure, Femke, you in?"
She shook her head quickly, "Can't! There's Jackson!" She smiled broadly as she hurried over to the boy that I met at Gilbert's house a while ago. He kissed her cheek and she giggled doing the same to him.
I remembered Jackson telling us about how he quite fancied Femke so as I saw them together I couldn't help feeling relieved and happy.
"Hey, Femi~" He smiled at her as he came over to say hello to us.
He and I nodded at each other and Elizaveta started to talk to him, "So you're Jackson huh?"
"That's me." He held out a hand for her to shake, this was obviously the first meeting of these two.
"This one isn't gay!" Femke told her excitedly.
Elizaveta took his hand and shook it, "Well at least he's hot~" She looked him up and down and he shot a confused look at Femke who just smiled.
"Uhh... Hey?" He tried but she wasn't finished.
"Okay, you're cute, but just one thing, sweetie," She smiled at him, "If you break this girl's heart I will wreck you face so much that she wouldn't want you back, got it?"
"It's true!" Femke chimed in, "She will, I've seen it with other girl's boyfriends!"
He laughed nervously, "Yeah, sure, don't worry about it..."
"I'm glad we're at an understanding!" Elizaveta patted his shoulder cheerfully.
"Right, uhh..." He looked over to me, "Can I talk to Arthur one sec?"
I looked up suddenly, "Me?"
"Yeah," He beckoned me, "I'll be real quick."
I made my way over and he pulled me off to one side, we had met once, what could he possibly want me for?
"Yes?" I almost sounded nervous.
"Thanks." He said patting me on the back.
"What for?" I couldn't remember doing anything for him lately.
"I already told 'Toni, but you and him kinda got me to ask her out and I'm glad I did... Remember? At Gilbert's house?"
"Did we?" I could vaguely remember something like that...
"Yeah! Yeah, I was nervous but you two told me just to go for it so I did, and she said yes!"
I shook my head, "I think I remember something along those lines, but anyway," I smiled, "I'm very pleased that you did. Do look after her well, alright?"
"Don't worry about it. She's a sweet girl," He started to head back over to her, "Maybe see you around." He waved as he took her hand and she smiled happily as together they left, her leaning into him.
I was happy to see them together, I really was. Femke had had rubbish luck with men so after all this time, it was good to see her with someone who felt the same way as her.
After Femke had disappeared into the crowd we decided to follow Michelle's plan and went to get flavoured ice before heading over to the bleachers to enjoy them.
The block of ice that was drenched in cherry flavoured syrup was sickly sweet and was a strange bright pink colour but still strangely refreshing. There weren't as many sitting down as I thought there would be, allowing some of the girls to lie down and try and get a tan.
"This is the life..." Michelle said beside me, "Even though I go to see my relatives in Seychelles sometimes, this is even better..."
I was about to agree, this was a pretty nice and relaxed atmosphere.
But suddenly it was ruined,
"Ah, mon amis! It was terrifying!" Francis sat down amongst us, he was breathing heavily and his hair was a mess.
"What do you want?" Elizaveta didn't sit up as she asked him.
I nodded in agreement with her, "I've seen enough of you, what is it?"
Francis frowned and sighed, "Ah, Englishman... Acting so cruel again after our beautiful date..."
Michelle sat up then, looking over the dark glasses that she wore, "You two went on a date?!"
"Absolutely not!" A date was the opposite of what I would have described it, "He followed Matthew, Alfred and I as we went out for dinner.
Francis leaned back, "You have to be gentle, I was just chased by two small boys with water pistols! I'm in a fragile state~"
"Why were they chasing you?" Elizaveta still hadn't sat up.
"There was no good reason!"
"I doubt that."
"I was merely helping them with their aim as they tried to shoot at someone else... Perhaps I frightened them."
"Well you can't just randomly talk to little boys!" She laughed, "They probably thought you were a creep!"
"The world no longer has any room for passion and love..." He sighed sadly, "I was showing kindness! See? Kindness!"
I was just about to think of a witty comment when suddenly there was a loud yell behind us,
It was Gilbert, and he wasn't alone. There was lots of woops and cheers as suddenly the whole football team were on us, getting rid of any sense of peace we had. The boys of the team swarmed around us, suddenly there was a frenzy of laughter, play fighting and flirting as they invaded our space. I was laughing with them as the girls swatted the boys away like flies and fended for each other when I was tackled from the side, making me fall onto the bench. I squirmed in my attackers arms and saw that it was Alfred who had grabbed me.
"Come one, Artie, I'm meant to be gettin' your underwear~!" He grinned, pinning me down.
"No chance, you thief!" I laughed, "Hello again, you silly fool."
I leaned up and he leaned down and we kissed, I cupped his neck as he smiled against my lips. This was Alfred, I thought, and he's mine. I trust him with my life and heart and kissing him like this has just become so natural and easy, and he's all mine.
That's when I heard the whistles from behind us we parted and looked up to see all the others looking at us,
"See, Alfred's getting this!" Gilbert told them all, waving over to us.
"I guess I'm just too smooth~!" Alfred replied sitting up.
"I can kiss Lovi too, whenever I want!" Antonio jumped up; he had refrained from going after the girls but did cheer everyone on.
"Like hell you can, bastard." Lovino joined us with Gilbert's younger brother, Ludwig and Lovino's own bother Feliciano in tow.
Antonio's eyes lit up, "Oh Lovi you're here! I thought you weren't coming!"
Lovino rolled his eyes, "Bastard, as if I'd miss this..."
Antonio looked like he could burst into tears of happiness at any given moment, "Come here my sweet tomato sunshine~!" He opened his arms wide.
How was this person ever a delinquent?
Lovino reluctantly leaned into Antonio's chest and allowed himself to be pulled into a sort of one sided hug.
"Okay, now get off." Lovino's voice was muffled as he started to struggle out of the Spaniard's arms, but Antonio wasn't showing any signs of letting go.
"Where have you been? I've been looking around for you everywhere!"
He finally wriggled free, "Looking after these two brats." He jerked a thumb over his shoulder to Ludwig and Feliciano, "Feli wanted to stop and look at every single fucking thing there was."
Feliciano jumped forward and laughed, "You didn't have to take me and Luddy around!"
Lovino shot him a cold look, "Yes I did! Otherwise that freaky bastard," He thrust a finger in Ludwig's direction, "would have been all over you!"
Gilbert laughed behind us and moved over to his brother, putting his arm around his younger brother, though by looking at them it was hard to tell that they were related at all,
"That's my little bro! Always on the prowl for the booty!"
Ludwig looked ashamed of Gilbert, "Please stop saying that. You have told five people that I am 'on the prowl', it is getting embarrassing."
Gilbert just laughed and pulled at his cheek, Lovino however was now red with rage, "He isn't going to go on the prowl for anything that includes my little brother! Go fuck yourself with a potato!"
He was pretty much screeching at this point, making so many Italian hand gestures that even Antonio had to take a step back that he wasn't hit in the face.
"Come on now, Lovi, I think we can trust them alone for a little while..." Antonio put his hands on the angry Italian's shoulders and started giving him, what looked like, a massage.
"Yeah~!" Feliciano nodded and grabbed Ludwig's arm, pressing up to him, "Let's go find Kiku!"
"Feli, Kiku won't be here, he does not go here, nor does he have a sibling here..."
Feliciano simply pouted, and put his head on Ludwig's shoulder, making him blush a little. For someone as 'innocent' as Lovino made him out to be, Feliciano certainly seemed quite promiscuous. Though, strangely enough, I don't believe that he was actually trying to be. Also Lovino didn't even notice as his brother ran his hand up Ludwig's arm.
"Let's go look anyway, 'kay~?" He stood up straight again, speaking in his chirpy voice as he grabbed Ludwig's hand, "We're going now, bye bye brother!"
Lovino looked like he was about to shout after the pair but Antonio stopped him, "You can trust your brother to be sensible, right?"
He just sighed and leaned back into Antonio, "Don't you dare fucking tough him!" He settled for shouting after the pair, "I'll be checking!"
All of us gave Lovino a confused disturbed look as he crossed his arms and sat down scowling.
"Hey guys!" It was Gilbert who suddenly got our attention again, "Who wants to get out of this dump and go do something fun?!"
"Like what?" Francis asked, who had been lingering beside us.
Gilbert clapped his hands together, "My dad got me a minivan since I passed my driver's test and it's in the parking lot. Let's take it for a spin, go out to the beach!"
Alfred smiled widely next to me, "Yeah! I'm down for that! I love the beach!"
Gilbert's excitement seemed to grow at the interest he sparked, "Come on, it'll be great! I stole beer!"
"You coming, Artie?" Alfred asked me, taking my hand.
"Well why not? It'll be a good time I suppose."
"Yes!" He slapped me on the back, "That's the spirit, let's go~!"
"Lizzie?" Gilbert held out his hand to help up Elizaveta who was checking herself in a hand mirror.
"Nope~ While you all get drunk on a beach I'm going to Roderich's piano recital!" She jumped to her feet, "I'm meant to be meeting him soon!"
"Ugh!" Gilbert wrinkled his nose, "Still dating that loser?"
She laughed, "Loser? That's rich coming from you, the number one freak show!"
He just held up his middle finger, "At least I don't look like people should treat me like a flower petal!"
She just sighed, "Bye bye, Gil'. Have fun waking up on your first day of adulthood with a hangover~"
She waved to me with a smile, "Text you maybe~" She said to me with a smile before she headed off.
"Well then, now that we have separated the men from the boys let's go!"
There weren't many of the girls still left around but we all followed Gilbert's lead as he started to head towards the car park.
"Oh, wait a sec!" Alfred suddenly stopped in his tracks, "I totally need to tell Mattie what I'm doing!"
"Isn't that him there?" Someone nodded over to Matthew who was standing with some of his friends.
"Yeah! Give me a minute, guys!" Alfred called out, and he and I went over to Matthew.
"Alfred?" Matthew noticed him jogging over, "What is it?"
"Tell Elise that I'm not gonna be back until late tonight, or I won't be back until morning~"
"Moring!?" I spluttered I never realised that this would go on until morning.
"Sure! Never been out with the guys before?" Alfred kissed my cheek, "I'll make certain you have a great time~"
"Alright I'll tell her..." Matthew sighed, pushing up his glasses, "She's shocked by you by the way."
"Shocked?" He laughed lightly, "Why?"
"Because you go out all the time! She thinks you're barely home!"
"What? Just because I party a little?"
"It's a big change for her. I never usually go out. Anyway, I'll let her know, I have to-"
"Hey, it's Mattie!"
Gilbert was running over, smiling widely and waving, Matthew grimaced and waved back,
"How's it going?" Gilbert asked enthusiastically, "Did you get my email?" He laughed, "It was picture of a cat with a cheeseburger~!"
Matthew smiled politely, "I saw it."
"Funny, right?" He patted Matthew on the shoulder, "I'm heading to the beach with some pals now, you wanna come along?"
Alfred and I exchanged looks; there was no way that Matthew would agree to this, and sure enough,
"No thanks, I'm going out to the movies with my mom tonight. Sorry!"
"We have beer!"
He sighed, "I'm not into that, you knew that already..."
Gilbert looked a little disheartened, "Right! Right, you're like that, well uh... Next time maybe?"
"Maybe, but you have fun with your friends, okay?"
He nodded, "I will! And we'll catch a movie soon together, won't we?"
He smiled, but he was already leaving, "You just concentrate on college!"
And with that Matthew was gone.
Alfred and I looked to Gilbert who was still grinning after Matthew, "I'm sure he'll come around~" Alfred told him, smiling encouragingly.
"I know~"Gilbert headed back to the others and started running towards a black minivan that was parked crooked in the car park.
"Wow man, nice wheels." Someone said, but I wasn't sure if they were being sarcastic or not.
"Yeah!" Clearly, Gilbert didn't think so, "I'm gonna get flames on it once I get my next allowance!"
"That's great," The first boy patted Gilbert on the shoulder, "I'm real psyched for you, man."
Gilbert just started running towards it, "I call shotgun!"
"Well duh, nimwad! You're driving!" Lovino glared at the vehicle, "And fuck you, Antonio, if you think I'm sitting next to that ass."
"You can sit wherever you like, Lovi~!" Sometimes I felt that Antonio was spoiling Lovino.
"Sit next to me?" I asked Alfred who was watching on, his hand holding mine and swinging between us. I didn't know that many people here, there was only one other cheerleader but she was with someone else that she clearly knew better than me. I refused to sit near Francis, Gilbert, Antonio and Lovino were alright, though all very loud but they all had their own people to talk to. Alfred was possibly the loudest dimmest person of the group, but he was perfect to me.
"Of course! That's what I had planned!" Alfred opened the door for me once Gilbert had unlocked, "You can even have the window seat!"
"Oh you're too kind." I laughed and kissed his nose before getting in and fastening the seat belt.
"Mon dieu! I heard Francis in the seat in front of me, "A new automobile and already I find gum on the seats!"
"There's no where to put it, okay?" I heard Gilbert slapping Francis' hand away from the dried gum that was on the seat.
"Look in his glove compartment!" Alfred called forward, "there's always something good in those."
Francis did so and the same person who sounded sarcastic about Gilbert getting flames on the minivan leaned forward from his position of kneeling on the console box in front of Alfred right in between the two front of us and plucked something from the open glove compartment.
"Condoms, huh?" He laughed and pulled out the long strip of condoms that he had found.
"Hoping to get lucky, Gil'?" The person on the other side of Alfred laughed.
"Hey!" Gilbert snatched them back, "And maybe I will! See, I'm a safety guy! Might get a girl back here and get it on!"
"That's why you wanted Matthew to come..." Alfred mused.
"Don't you dare eve in think about doing such a beautiful act in here!" Francis said sharply, "On the gum covered seats... Oh I feel ill just thinking of it!"
"Shut the fuck up, if I was a chick, I'd love to get screwed in here."
Alfred laughed, "Listen pal, if you were a girl, I don't think you would get screwed, period."
"I would be hot!" Gilbert finally started the engine.
"Then ruin it by picking your nose while flirting." Someone else said and there was noise of agreement amongst all.
"Whatever." Gilbert said huffily and finally got the minivan on the road.
There were a few minutes of light chattering before the boy standing in front of Alfred looked up and exclaimed,
"Holy shit! This sunroof opens!" He looked up into the sky that was starting to go pink with the sun going down, "Open it!"
"Alright, duck." Gilbert pressed a button and the boy stooped over as the sun roof slowly started to open.
As he did this he turned around and looked right at me,
"Hey you're Arthur right?" He smiled at me.
"That's right; I'm one of the cheerleaders."
"Joe." He held out his hand and I shook it, "And I know that! Alfred tells me about you all the time! You're his boyfriend right?"
I nodded, "You know Alfred well?" I had heard of someone named Joe often, but had never gotten to meet him.
"Yeah he's one of my best buddies!" Alfred said from beside me, putting his head on my shoulder.
"I swear to god though, I would have never thought he was gay." Joe told me, "He did a great job of hiding it."
"Yeah, but it's not like I'm now into every guy I see! I'm only attracted to one guy~"
"Dude," Joe chuckled, "You're only into one person."
Alfred grinned, "You got me there."
"Now Madison doesn't get to say I'm being homophobic when I tell her I don't like that Feliks guy! I have no problem with homosexuals, just with him."
"You know Feliks?" I looked up at him.
"How could I not!? My little sister of four minutes absolutely refuses to stop talking about how 'precious' he is."
"I think Feliks is a great guy!" Alfred argued, "His hair is nice~"
"Yeah and that's it... Anyway, Arthur seems cool; we should all hang out some time!"
"Great idea! What do you think, Artie?"
"I would be happy to do that." I smiled, and meant it. Alfred already knew all my friends when I had come to know him so I never go to introduce him to anyone and we hadn't really ever gone out with many of Alfred's friends. I felt like I was becoming part of his life now more than ever and that made me feel a lovely kind of warmth in my chest. Because I loved him, and this was how he showed that he loved me back. By making me a part of his life.
"I love you, Artie~" He murmured into my ear as Joe put his head through the now open sunroof and whooped for joy as he stretched out to enjoy a perfect summer afternoon that was full of happiness as the black minivan rolled it's way to the beach.
"I love you too." I told him and kissed his cheek.
And then I felt how every teenager should feel at some point in their lives. I felt the freedom of youth and excitement of first love. I hugged him tight as for what felt like the first time in forever I looked towards Alfred's camera phone and smiled for a photograph.
So I was happy. And I made him happy. That's why I was so pleased with my progress as a person, so glad that I could sit here now, looking back to the prudent boy who lived back in England and say that was no longer me. I had accepted life, I had accepted Alfred and by doing so distanced myself from the negatives and only became stronger. That was why as Alfred and the person he was sitting next to high fived at another bad joke and cheered as Taylor Swift came on the radio, I could lean into him, smile, and say with all honestly,
I was proud to be his cheerleader boyfriend.