A/N: Guys, guys—I told you at the top of Chapter 16 that the story would be done on Chapter 20! So this is the final chapter. I'm glad you guys liked it.
The day was here.
Lacey's bed was made, the little things I had acquired over the summer were taken off her dresser, and the bathroom was clean of all my little bottles and brushes. Everything was packed up in my suitcases and waiting at the bottom of the stairs. It was finally time to go. I hadn't cried, even after all bawling I had done over Tucker in the beginning of the summer, because I was ready. As for last night, sleep hadn't come easy.
"Are you ready?" Aunt Jenny called from the kitchen. She was packing up snacks for me to take on the plane. I shouted back yes and grabbed my cowboy hat from off the bed. It sat proudly over my auburn hair, which had lightened over the summer in the sun. Everything was loaded into the van, and we all headed to Tulsa. The ride was quiet with a few favors asked by Aunt Jenny every now and then. I was to tell my mother to call her and to not let her write any checks to send back. Kyle seemed just as nervous as when he came to pick me up. He fidgeted with his hat and squirmed in his seat. I was doing pretty well. I pulled out my iPod, which Tucker had filled with his favorite country music. He, unlike Kyle, knew what I was talking about as soon as I mentioned "iTunes". Lonestar's "Amazed" was the first one to play through my earpieces.
"So, what's going to happen when you get home?" Kyle asked. I turned down the volume and sighed, facing him.
"I'll probably get my new room set up, see the museum, and start school. How about you?"
"Tucker's registering for school today. I'm going to go as soon as…you're gone," his voice trailed. "We start pretty soon, too." Tucker and I had decided not to make a big scene at the airport. I pretty much knew I would if given the chance. I did not want him to be standing at the window as my plane rolled away. I wanted to remember him under our tree, carving that ugly "N" into the old wood.
"We sure did love having you here," Uncle Duke spoke up. "You're welcome back, anytime."
"Anytime," Aunt Jenny emphasized. I smiled; I hoped that I would get to return. Maybe I would bring Mom, like a vacation. She probably wouldn't find Clearwater as exciting as me, but as soon as we hit Tulsa, I was missing the place. We parked at the airport and went through all the usual points until I was at the gate. Suddenly, I regretted not having Tucker there. I wanted to hug him last time, see his smile, hear his voice, but I had to push those feelings away. It wouldn't be enough—nothing would. I sighed and hugged my family goodbye before getting on the plane.
"Have a safe trip back!"
"Thanks for having me!" I told them with a truly grateful smile before walking down the hall way and finding my seat on the plane. I could tell some of the people going to Chicago with me weren't from Tulsa. They eyed me in my new boots and cowboy hat like I was in some kind of costume. I only smiled and tipped my hat back to them. My seat was next to the aisle; I leaned back and closed my eyes, favorite scenes from my amazing summer playing over in my head to Kenny Chesney. I had changed over these three months, not just because of Tucker, but in realizing I loved something I had never seen before. However, it wasn't until I felt the stewardess knock against my elbow with the drink cart that I realized how much I was different.
"Hi, would you like a drink before take-off?" she asked with a big smile. I turned my head slightly so I could see her from under my hat.
"I'll take a Dr. Pepper."
(y'all come back now, ya hear?)