END OF MAY
Finn prodded a piece of glass, watching as it turned with a fascinated expression. Thousands of tiny shards of glass hung from translucent wires attached to the entrance hall of the school, in a swirling mass of color and light and movement. Roughly half of them were pure, vibrant shades of blue in every hue of the deep ocean, and the rest were covered in absolutely miniscule photographs, tiny snapshots of ocean life that when pieced together with the glass, formed larger fish and coral and made up a giant picture of a living ocean.
Light shimmered around the entrance hall as I watched him rove around and through the middle of the CAP I had helped create. It reminded me of being in an aquarium, in a glass room completely surrounded by water. It was always my favorite part of any aquarium, because then I could imagine myself as a sea creature, living in such a beautiful place.
"This really is fantastic, Sloane," Finn said to me, tugging on my deep purple graduation gown. The Valedictorian's cords swayed a little and I glanced at them with a smile.
"Thanks," I said softly, looking around at the school. "I wanted to leave an impression. It feels weird to think that I'm never going to be back here."
"Never say never," Finn said. "You might come back to visit your teachers. I'm here, aren't I?"
"You're here because I graduated today," I teased, shoving him a little. He stumbled backwards into the ocean glass, and a tinkling noise echoed through the room as the rippling shards collided. It was beautiful.
Someone made a noise in the back of their throat and I turned to see Logan watching with a smile on his face. Daphne poked her head around the corner behind him, and they started circling just as Finn had done. Nic wasn't too far behind, and Blake leaned against the doorway with a grin as he watched all of us. I felt a strange contentment, having my family around me like this. The awkwardness had dissipated, at least for the time being, and I loved every minute of it.
I was pretty sure most of the school had gone by then; my family had a knack for sneaking off and exploring when they got bored, and graduation ceremonies? Not the most exciting things in the world. They'd disappeared after they watched me walk across the stage, and I was not surprised to find Finn analyzing the collaboration Xavier and I had worked so hard on.
Speak of the devil, I thought with a smile as Xavier huffed into the room.
"Good of you to join us," I said smoothly, as he straightened his graduation gown, looking annoyed.
"I had to tear myself away from all my admirers," he said, adjusting his expression to one of extreme arrogant satisfaction.
"Of course," I said drily. "It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that your sister wanted five million pictures and wouldn't stop hugging you."
"Oh shut up."
"And is that ruffled hair I see?"
He shot me a playful glare.
I heard a snort and a giggle from Daphne and a muttered comment from my father, and turned to see what all the fuss was about. Blake and Nic had started a bizarre ballet, mocking dancers and gracefully pirouetting their way through the glass. I shook my head as they took each other by the arms and pretended to bow to each other, and even Logan cracked a grin at my goofball brothers. Finn was pretending to conduct an orchestra at the edge of this ruckus, and Sinclair pulled me to the side and laced his fingers through mine.
"You come from a strange family, Lexington," he said, making his tone seem deep and wise-sounding. He threw in a sage nod and it was all I could do to not roll my eyes and laugh.
"Indeed, Sinclair. Do you think you have what it takes to stick around, and put up with all this madness?" I raised one eyebrow and smiled, eyeing him out of the corner of my eye. Daphne laughed in delight and clapped her hands as my brothers whooped and twirled and acted like idiots.
He grabbed my other hand, so both our hands were laced together, and rested his forehead against mine. My heartbeat picked up in a rapid drumbeat against my chest, and I couldn't help the soft smile that spread across my face as he looked at me.
"Yeah," he said softly, "I think I do."