May, 2012

Bennington, Vermont

18 year old Reagan Malory switched the tassel on her mortarboard from one side to the other. Beside her, her lone classmate, Josh, did the same. The crowd burst into applause as she and Josh walked back down the aisle.

It was their night to shine.

Later, as the duo slipped out of their creepy-crawly-feeling graduation gowns, Josh said, "School's out, let's shout!"

"You can shout. I'm going to go eat cake." Reagan replied merrily, stepping out of the side room and into the auditorium.

"Race ya'." Josh challenged.

"You need to grow up, this is a church house. I can't anyway, since Mom made me wear these stupid heels. I'd break an ankle."

"Shall we make a grand entrance then, Lady Heels?" Josh asked comically, offering Reagan his arm.

Reagan laughed aloud, saying, "Come on, show-off, before they steal all of our cake."

The two hurried down one flight of stairs to the "old fellowship hall" where two dozen children were playing. They passed quickly though, going down another, shorter, flight of stairs to the "new fellowship hall" where the adults were mulling about, talking and eating.

Reagan looked around at the hundred-something people, searching for one face in particular. Almost as soon as she had spotted and started toward her target, which was across the room, she was stopped by a well-wisher. And then another. And another. It was a long fifteen minutes before she finally reached her goal.

Reagan slid up behind Jerry Morina, who was the editor of her books, and her boyfriend, and tapped him on his shoulder.

"Reagan!" the 24 year old exclaimed warmly, whirling around. "Congratulations!"

"Thanks."

She hugged him, and as she did, she saw Stefan Barry looking at Jerry's pocket, a small smile on his face. He turned to his wife, Nancy, and whispered something in her ear, pointing to Jerry's pocket. Nancy nodded knowingly as Reagan released jerry.

"Stefan says you have something in your pocket." Reagan told Jerry.

"My p-pocket? No. Well, yes. I-It's a – present."

"You didn't have to get me anything."

"I-I wanted to."

"The graduation gifts go over there." Reagan pointed to a table already laden with gifts. "Josh and I'll open them later."

"Well, it-it's not a grad-graduation gift."

Reagan's heart flew to her throat, though she told herself that she was letting wishful thinking get the better of her. She forced her tone to be normal when she asked, "What is it then?"

Jerry swallowed hard. "I know you told me that you won't get married right out of high school. I won't ask you to," Here he paused to take a deep breath. "But I do want to marry you and I want to know that you'll marry me. I'll wait as long as I have to, but, Reagan, I have to ask:" He took a ring box from his pocket and opened it to reveal a shining silver diamond ring in it. "Will you marry me?"

Once again, Reagan laughed out loud. "Yes! Of course I will!"

Jerry beamed and slid the ring out of the box and onto Reagan's finger. He then surprised Reagan by requesting, "Excuse me."

He darted out the nearest exit, and a moment later a loud whoop could be heard by all. Reagan burst out laughing as Jerry reentered and caught her around the waist, pulling her close until her back was against his chest.

"You," she said, her eyes shining. "Are incorrigible."

Jerry kissed the top of her head. "Thank you."


I know, I know, another piece of hopeless fluff. Please review! Thanks!:)