It was hot and the sun was beating down on the back of my neck. I was glad I had applied generous amounts of sun block to protect my fair skin. I had hoped the ceremony would be held indoors but no such luck.
I wiggled around on the uncomfortable metal chair and received a mild admonishment from my mother to 'sit still'.
I sighed and tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear. Jack's mother, sitting to the left of me, gave me a conspiratorial smile at my mother's rebuke. There was nothing more boring than a high school graduation. Except for that one all too brief moment when your friend's or family's name was called and they walked up to collect their diploma while you cheered them on loudly much to the displeasure of the school administrators.
Luckily, I got to applaud and cheer wildly several times throughout the ceremony, including when my brother Jamey walked up on the stage. All of my brothers were there and all of Jack's family, including his grandparents.
My heart fluttered a bit when I realized that my life wouldn't be the same after this day's events. Jamey would be going away shortly and although we'd all come to terms with his decision it didn't make me feel any happier about it.
Annie and Jamey had been a couple since Christmas. While I was away with Jack's family she'd finally broken my brother down and made him admit his feelings for her. They were both extremely happy but I could tell they were also worried what would happen to their relationship when Jamey went away. Annie, as usual, was optimistic.
Jack took a while deciding what he wanted to do after graduation, finally deciding on enrolling in classes at the local community college. He said if he liked it he'd consider transferring to a regular university later. He told me he was interested in studying music, which I have to admit was not much of a surprise to me. I was happy he would be close by for at least another year.
And, with the final speech the recent grads flung their caps in the air and I cheered, not only for Jamey, Jack and Ben, but because I was happy that the ceremony was finally over and we could get home soon and into the air-conditioning. After milling through the crowd Jack made his way over to me, shucking his graduation robes and handing them to his mother in a large ball of fabric.
'Hey there, freckle face,' he said to me. The summer was not good for my skin and while Jack claimed to be extremely fond of my freckles, he was aware that they were a source of annoyance for me and he brought up their existence as much as possible just to tease me.
I rolled my eyes and hugged him anyway. Despite the heat and the sweat we were both covered in, it was nice to be in his arms. 'Today is the first day of the rest of your life,' I told him. 'So you better make it a good one.'
He grinned down at me. 'It's looking up,' he replied leaning down to kiss me.
So, this is it for MacKenzie and Jack's story. I had a lot of fun writing this and I'm glad it seemed like a lot of people enjoyed reading it as well.
Thanks to everyone that read and continued reading, and a special thanks to those that reviewed. Realizing that people really were reading this helped me continue writing and encouraged me along the way, so I really can't thank you enough.