A/N: I dedictate this to Jesse, for inspiring me to write this.
"Congratulations everybody; we've made it!" The valedictorian of the year concluded her speech with the fanfare of trumpets from the school band. Every newly graduated senior tossed their graduation caps into the air.
Melissa watched all of her classmates celebrating, but she felt somehow separate from them. This was different from other school years; they weren't coming back, so they wouldn't see each other for who knows how long, and all they could think about were the parties that they would attend. The screaming and cheering died down as they were instructed by the staff members to walk outside, double-file. Melissa clutched her diploma as a lump rose in her throat; the strains of Pomp and Circumstance had begun. She spotted Alex just ahead of her, and though she was happy to see him, the sight of him caused the lump in her throat to grow larger.
Tell him, or else it'll be too late, her conscience scolded her.
It took all her self-control to keep from running up to Alex and throwing her arms around his neck. No, she told herself, there would be nothing worse than leaving high school with Alex hating you.
Melissa felt like kicking herself—hard; she had promised herself one hundred fold that she would tell him when the time was right. And now…now it would never get done.
She finally made it outside, and she was nearly blinded by relatives taking pictures left and right. She gave goodbye hugs to Trisha, to Stephanie, to Megan, to Annelise, to Joseph, to Michael, and, finally, Alex came into her view.
"See you when I see you," he said easily. He wrapped his arms around her in a quick hug. When he pulled back, Melissa stared at him for a moment, contemplating whether this was the moment. But before she could get her tongue unstuck, some of Alex's friends called him over. He looked at her with his baby blue eyes, gave her one last hug, and said,
"Best of luck to you, Melissa. I hope you get everything you ever wanted."
Melissa watched the spot where Alex had disappeared into the crowd, even though he was no longer there. Finally, Melissa's older sister, Emily, put her hand on Melissa's shoulder.
"It's time to leave now," she said gently, "It's been almost an hour since you came out."
Had it really been that long? Melissa had lost track of time completely. But she just nodded silently and followed her sister and her parents to the car. She watched the school until they turned the corner and it disappeared, just like Alex had.
"Goodbye," she whispered.
Three years later
Melissa sat at a table in the café, wringing her hands.
Calm down. It's only Alex, remember?
Yes, she remembered him well. Their final day together kept flashing through her mind; the grins he kept shooting her during rehearsal, how proud she felt as she watched him receive his diploma, that last moment…
She quickly shook off the nostalgia that had momentarily taken over her mind.
Melissa glanced over at the door. A tall young man with brown hair and brilliantly blue eyes had just come in. Melissa practically melted: it was Alex. Alex spotted her and smiled his easy smile. He walked over to her and hugged her; the hug was the same as it had been three years ago.
"It's good to see you again," he said. He must have seen how nervous she was, because he asked, "Is something wrong? Are you okay?"
Melissa sighed to relax herself, and sat down. Alex followed suit just as the waitress brought two mugs of hot cocoa. Melissa looked out the window and saw that it had begun to snow lightly, and somehow that gave her courage. She took a deep breath and looked at Alex.
"There's something I never got to tell you…"
A/N: See that little button down there... I'd really appreciate it if you could just click on it and leave mea little note. It would make my day if you would.