"Are you sure?" Nala asks as Sean holds out the pamphlet to her.
"Why not? You were the one who wanted me to become a model in the first place," he reminds her.
"Yes, but I always thought you'd end up going to college like my brother and…"
"I'm not your brother. I have a real shot at this. Duane is calling in a favor from a more professional modeling agency."
"Wow, it's really sinking in, isn't it; graduation?" Nala sighs to herself. It has been almost a year since her brother's wedding and Sean is now a senior, along with Madison. "Are you going to move away?"
"Not exactly." Sean looks down at his feet. They are standing at the gate to the school, waiting for Asia and Madison. "I'll have to travel for different events but I'll always come back for you, I promise."
"I can't wait until I graduate," Nala sighs again. "Then I could come with you."
"Wow, now that I think about it, that's an extremely serious step, isn't it?" Sean starts to worry. "Are you sure you want to stop everything you are doing just to follow me around?"
"What exactly am I doing?" Nala asks.
"You're pretty good at softball now. I hear they're making you captain next year."
"That won't matter once I graduate," Nala argues.
"You could seek an athletic scholarship," he suggests.
"I'd rather follow you around," she admits.
"Again, we're only teenagers. A decision like that is far away and not to be taken lightly." Sean is obviously doubting that they will remain together after high school.
"Are you bored of me?" Nala asks sternly.
"No, of course not. I just…"
"You don't want to make plans and be disappointed," she can guess what he is thinking.
"I've been disappointed before," he mopes.
"I'm not Nina. Realize that already. I'm not going to let you go no matter what."
"Wow, we're interrupting something embarrassing." Asia appears behind them, followed closely by Madison.
"Hey dude, what's up?" Sean waves to his friend. "Have you thought about what I suggested?"
"What? What did you suggest?" Asia is immediately interested.
"It's nothing." Madison looks away.
"You better tell me or…" Asia makes a threatening fist.
"Or what? How long is this supposed to last, Asia? Sean and I are graduating. Are we really going to continue this past high school?" Madison asks a serious question.
"I… don't know." Asia lowers her fist. "I guess I was avoiding thinking about it. It would be nice to have a guy like you forever. I forgot we were simply sticking it out for the short term."
"Short term? You two have been together for over a year now," Nala reminds them.
"Yeah, I kinda let things get out of hand. I was planning on dating more girls throughout high school but Asia pretty much did whatever I wanted so there was no need to shop around," Madison admits.
"Once I graduate I'll meet guys who don't know my past and won't avoid me," Asia adds.
"So that's it then? You two are just calling it quits?" Nala is disappointed.
"Asia is an easy going girl; great in bed with plenty of perks, but she's not long term material," Madison explains.
"She's got to be someone's long term choice," Nala argues.
"Once she's been tamed a little bit more or she finds someone with a lot of fetishes." Madison shrugs.
"What about you?" Nala points at him accusingly. "You've got lots of messed up kinks. Why can't you be the one to domesticate her? You already taught her how to cook properly, right?"
"Nala, it's okay." Asia places her hands on her friend's shoulders to calm her down. "I'm more than grateful for the time I've already spent with Madison. I don't want to inconvenience him."
"Why would it be an inconvenience?" Sean asks. "He's just going to keep modeling with me."
Madison and Asia share a concerned glance. "I think we need to talk." Madison touches Sean's shoulder. "I'm not going to continue on with the agency. I don't have the same straight looks you do."
"But, but… we're supposed to be a team. Duane said…."
"Duane wants you to become a professional model. He says I might be able to pursue a career in acting," Madison informs him.
"Huh? Acting? Why?" Sean does not understand.
"His boyish looks will make it easier to play the role of a teenager for a long time," Asia explains. "He's already got an interview for a role on a high school drama. They are looking to expand their cast and he is perfect for a comedy relief part."
"That sounds like Maddie," Nala agrees.
"But where is this thing filmed?" Sean asks. "Are you going to move away?"
"I'm flying out to the location for the interview," Madison answers. "If I get the part I'll have to move there. I don't want to drag Asia around so our relationship will end before I go."
"This is so weird," Sean groans. "I didn't think things would change this much after high school."
"I forgot you two were only making a go of it out of convenience," Nala admits. "I thought you were perfect together."
"Thanks, Nala." Asia drapes her arms over her friend's shoulders and closes her eyes while resting her chin on Nala's head. "I really appreciate your concern."
"You make it sound so hopeless." Nala frowns.
"It is hopeless," Asia whispers with a smile.
"Why do I feel like a bad guy now?" Madison shudders. "Do you really enjoy being with me that much, Asia?"
"I wouldn't have stayed if I didn't," she responds honestly. "Do you think I'd let anyone else do half the things you do to me? I'm sorry I'm not long term material."
"Well, it's true," he insists. "You're so out there. I always thought my eventual partner would be a sweet innocent girl."
"What good is innocence to a guy like you?" Asia practically insults him. "You won't be able to bend her legs behind her head or put it in the wrong hole whenever you want."
"What are you saying? If you don't want to break up with me then just say so," Madison shouts at her.
"Of course I don't want to break up with you!" she shouts back. "What kind of idiot are you?"
"Well then, what are we going to do? You can't just drop out of high school to follow me," Madison argues.
"We can work it out long distance if you even manage to get the part. Once I graduate, I'll move to where you are. Just try to wait for me, okay?"
"I make no promises," he remains pessimistic as always. Asia is smiling though. This is already better than what she thought was going to happen. Nala claps for the both of them but stops when her phone begins to vibrate in her pocket.
"Who is it?" Sean is curious.
"It's my brother. He sent me this random address. He wants us to meet him there as soon as possible."
"I'll drive." Sean pulls out the keys to his car, a gift from his parents for his impending graduation. Madison and Asia quickly follow their friends to the parking lot of the school. It is still strange to think about Sean owning a car and all of the other things that have changed due to becoming a senior. It hasn't quite sunk in but some things will never be the same.
Corbin is waiting on the sidewalk in front of a small lot with a rather new looking two story house. He waves Sean into the driveway before opening the door to the backseat to help Nala out. "What is this place?" she is intrigued.
"This is our new home." Corbin makes a presenting motion with his arms.
"You're renting this place now?" Sean asks as he steps out of the car.
"No, I bought it," Corbin corrects him.
"You're joking, right?" Nala gawks at him.
"Now that our family is about to get a little bigger, we need a proper home." Corbin leads Nala into the house.
Celli is already inside, opening and closing several empty cabinets in the kitchen. Asia and Nala both run up to her from either side and start to rub her slightly protruding stomach. "Hey, stop that," she moans. "It tickles."
"Too bad, your belly is public property for the next five months," Asia spouts. "We get to touch it whenever we want."
"Jeez, honey, can you control them?" Celli begs her husband.
"Hey, you're the one who went off the pill without telling me," he refuses to help.
"Awe, I wish I could have a baby," Nala coos. "Maybe I should stop taking my pills too."
"Do that and I'll dump you," Sean warns her.
"Is Nala still in charge of the baby shower?" Asia asks.
"Yeah, Courtney can't make it back here at all. She's still spending her semester of college abroad in Paris."
"Why do I feel like I was an after thought," Nala grumbles.
"You're my sister-in-law and I love you, sweetie, but Courtney is my best friend. You have to learn to take turns."
"I gave her the maid of honor position, didn't I?" Nala reminds her. "What more do you want?"
"Well, unfortunately we've already picked out who the godparents are going to be," Corbin admits apologetically.
"Awe, I wanted one of those," Asia whines.
"No offense, but I don't know you that well," Celli argues.
"She was joking." Madison places an arm around Asia's shoulder. "How about a tour of this place?"
"I'm glad you asked." Corbin beams proudly. "This is the very spacious kitchen as you can see. The living room actually has a window this time and there are four rooms on the second floor and two baths." Corbin continues to brag as he leads them up and down the hallways of the unfurnished house. All of the walls are white as the building is practically brand new.
"How are you going to afford this?" Nala is extremely worried.
"I took out a loan after putting ten percent down," Corbin explains.
"Where did you get the money?" she is suspicious.
"I borrowed it from Mom," he admits. "She felt bad about what she said at the wedding and wanted to make it up to me. I'll still have to pay her back but not any time soon. Dad has no idea. The money came from her private account."
"By the way, isn't it time for your parents to decide if Nala is staying with you for her final year of high school or not?" Asia reminds them.
"I'm assuming this loan was Mom's way of saying she could stay," Corbin is confident. "I mentioned needing enough room for both Nala and the baby."
"So I get to live here too?" Nala is excited. "Which room is mine?"
"The one closest to the stairs, sweetie," Celli answers. "It'll be easier for you to sneak your boyfriend in and out that way." Nala and Sean avert their eyes while Madison and Asia laugh. Corbin tries as hard as he can not to look upset. He still has mixed feelings about letting Sean and Nala do whatever they want. It is his own fault though so he can't complain.
"You don't have to worry about that, Mr. Peters," Sean tries to put Corbin's mind at ease. "I'll be traveling a lot for my job soon." Nala's expression sinks quickly.
"So?" Celli scoffs. "You'll need a place to come home to, won't you? Why don't you stay over whenever you need to? I'm sure it would make Nala extremely happy. Besides, when she graduates, won't she start traveling with you? You'll both have a home here to come back to."
"Really?" Nala's face lights up.
"I don't want to drag her around though," Sean is reluctant.
"Would you rather leave her here where boys like Polanski can get at her?" Asia taunts him.
Sean's anger shows. "You wouldn't do that again… would you?" he asks Nala.
"The fact that you had to say again is more than enough reason to be worried, man," Madison warns him. "If you care about her so much, just take the girl with you. What's so hard about that?"
Nala stares at Sean with pleading eyes. She does not want to say anything to sway his decision. She will let their friends do all the talking. "Fine, alright," Sean gives in. "God, I can never say no to those eyes. I feel like I'm going to drown in an ocean every time I look at them."
"They are quite blue, aren't they?" Celli tilts Nala's head back so she can look at her face. "I'm hoping it's an inherited trait." She rubs her belly.
"Now I really want to get pregnant," Nala sighs. "Then there's no way Sean could leave me."
"Unless he's a deadbeat like my dad," Celli reminds her.
"You're not like that, are you man?" Madison pretends to be suspicious of his friend.
"You know, I bet you'd look cute with a round belly." Sean rubs Nala's stomach. As it is almost summer she is wearing a thin pink tank top and a pair of extremely short cargo shorts. "Let me think about it," Sean mutters. Corbin immediately bursts into a fit of coughing, having been completely caught off guard. Celli starts to rub his back to help him as he glares at Sean.
"Are you seriously going to stop taking your pills?" Asia clasps Nala's hands. "I thought we agreed we'd do it at the same time so our kids would be the same age. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they grew up together?"
"You're getting ahead of yourself," Corbin manages to stop coughing. "Both of these boys just told you their career plans, didn't they? Neither one is going to sit still long enough to raise a family. Think about that before you…"
"Calm down, honey," Celli interrupts him. "They're just intrigued by the example we have set. It's our own fault. Whatever they do is their decision. Nala knows better than to jeopardize her parents' trust before she turns eighteen. We can leave this conversation to a later time I'm sure."
Corbin finally manages to relax for a moment. It is short lived though as Asia quickly destroys his confidence once more. "In a year, we're going to be the best mothers ever!" she shouts. Nala joins in cheering while Madison and Sean share concerned looks. Slowly they start to back towards the door together.
"Where do you think you're going?" Asia spouts while the two girls grab their respective boyfriends by the arms. "Don't you want to practice?" Asia asks while wiggling her eyebrows suggestively. Celli grips Corbin's hand before he can say anything.
Again Sean and Madison look to each other for support. Neither one is willing to turn down the opportunity though. Reluctantly they lead their girlfriends back out to the car with the intention of finding some place private. Nala and Asia are both giggling happily while Madison and Sean trade punches, daring each other to speak up first. Of course neither one does.