No fooling, Kelsie is single, Jeff and I are officially a couple, my mother was sentenced to 45 days in jail, and I received my first college acceptance letter. I’m nearly caught up on my homework too. I’m only going to school half a day right now until I get the okay from my doctor to go back full-time. Sometimes I need a nap, but I’ve been feeling better and stronger every day. Aunt Candice’s dinners are nice too. She cooks very well. It’s nice to have hot food every night that isn’t a microwave entree.
Chase came up to me at my locker this morning. I thought it was an April Fool’s joke, but he was serious.
“Was it mine?” he looked around nervously, the question under his breath.
“Does it matter?”
He handed me an envelope. There was cash inside. “Don’t tell anybody,” he whispered.
“Too late for that. I don’t want your guilt money!” I said, but not in the same whisper.
“Take it!” he yelled and stormed off. Confused students looked from me to Chase. I pretended to look angry. Later I counted it. It nearly doubled the rent.
“Jeff, what am I going to do with this?”
“Clearly, he thinks this settles accounts, clears his conscience. He did one good deed to make up for the bad one,” Jeff reasoned.
“Yeah, but I don’t want it.”
“Turn it into something good. Buy your prom dress with it.”
“That would signify a change, and put the past behind me,” I thought aloud.
“See? It’s now a gift for your future happiness and future happy memories.”
“Thanks Chase.” I grinned.
Jeff held his milk carton aloft. “To making happy memories!”
I held mine up and repeated the phrase, we tapped them together and drank. I laughed.
What a way to end the year.
My birthday. Today I turn 18. I am a free adult. Also, Jeff and I could technically have consentual sex and he’d not be considered a rapist, but we aren’t anywhere near that milestone.
I had my follow up doctor’s appointment. They gave me birth control. I am going to take it anyway. I start back to school full-time Monday.
He left a rose in my locker with a note that said “Ralston, 6:00” which meant he had dinner reservations.
“So could we go to a movie and actually sit through the whole thing?!” He feigned enthusiasm, but it was layered with sarcasm and truth. I laughed. “Maybe.”
That’s what we did. And I leaned my head on his shoulder until my neck hurt and I was forced to move. They need to make theater seats for two, like little loveseats. That would probably invite trouble, but make a million bucks. The armrest up doesn’t help, the seats are still separated and molded metal. Doesn’t feel good on the butt.
I am so tired, I am sure this is completely illegible and makes no sense whatsoever.
More college acceptances. I have a real job choosing now. But it’s right after midterms, which I aced, and time to really let down my hair and relax. Most of my teachers declared that if we got A’s on our midterms, we’d not have to take the final. Add to that the fact that it’s 3 weeks to prom and you have seniors in complete chaos.
Many are also getting college letters and have finally realized that these are the last few weeks we have to be together. There is a mass movement to forgive and forget and love everyone. Alyssa rallied the cheerleaders into a note writing frenzy. I received notes from people I never even knew asking for forgiveness for thoughts I never knew they had, nor really cared about.
The money Chase gave me must have cleared his conscience, like Jeff said, because I did not receive a note from him.
I bought my prom dress. It is absolutely gorgeous. Aunt Candice said she’d get lots of pictures for Mom. Digital cameras are great for that. Mom swears when she gets out she is never going to sell herself again.
Jeff’s Grandma was moved from intensive care to a basic room. It is amazing how long it takes old people to heal. I am going to visit her soon.
I went to see Jeff’s Grandma. She smiled very big when we entered. She looked so frail, like she’d blow away in a strong breeze. Her white hair framed her head in crazy wisps like when you first learn to draw a sunshine.
“I am so glad you came today. Open the drawer there.”
Confused, I pulled the drawer open to reveal a little plastic box you take soap in when you travel.
“Get that box.” I pulled it out. “Open it.”
Inside was a velvety jewelry box, well concealed. I looked at her in shock. “Open it,” she repeated. I lifted the velvety cover. Laying inside was a golden locket.
“Jeff’s father bought that locket for his mother on their prom night. I want you to have it.”
“Oh, it’s beautiful!”
“Grandma..” Jeff began, but he was shushed.
“Shh, Jeff put it on her.” He took out the locket and opened the clasp, draping the golden chain over my clavicles and securing it in back.
“Beautiful,” declared Grandma as she closed her eyes and smiled again. She looked so peaceful. We let her rest. I wasn’t sure if we would see her that blissful again.