A/N: Thanks for glamour and scandals for giving me my first (and so far only) review! I hope people enjoy this chapter. I think I made it simple enough by the way they speak, but if you can't tell, whenever there is a section with italics, that's a flashback. There are a lot in the first few chapters, but gradually there will be less and less. Thanks!
"Congratulations to the class of 2006!" the principal of Grant High School, Mrs. Leinhart, exclaimed. The students cheered, throwing their hats into the air. Aubrianne opted not to because she knew that if she took it off, she'd have hat hair. She'd take it off once she safely reached the privacy of her home.
"Brent!" Aubrianne yelled, searching for her best friend. He had been sitting four rows behind her. She scanned the area, disappointment rising as she was unable to find him. She wanted to hug him before she hugged anyone else. After all, without him, she probably would have given up on school a long time ago.
"Annie!" Brent yelled, making his way toward her from her left. Her face immediately lightened.
"Brentie! I couldn't find you!" she exclaimed. He pulled her into his arms, embracing her in a long hug. Normally, Brent wasn't the hugging type, but this was a special circumstance. After all, she seemed to think that without him, she never would have graduated high school; what she failed to realized was that without her, he never would have cared enough to go to school and get his diploma.
"Congratulations Annie, I'm proud of you," Brent told her. The grin on her face seemed to be permanently stuck on as she pulled him to the field to find their families.
"What are you going to be when you grow up?" The two third-graders sat on the field by the playground.
"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it."
"Really? You never think about it?"
"Not really. Why? What do you want to be?" Brent questioned.
"An astronaut? Why an astronaut?"
"So I can touch the stars!" Aubrianne exclaimed, looking up at the sky. Instead of stars, her eyes met the bright sun. Brent covered her eyes with his hand. "Why are you doing that?!"
"My mom told me that it's not good to stare at the sun," he replied matter-of-factly.
"My mom never told me that!"
"Maybe she doesn't know."
"I'll tell her when I get home from school today!" Now Aubrianne felt excited; she'd be able to teach her mom something! Brent stared at his friend from the corner of his eye. Within a matter of seconds, she had forgotten all about the sun and had instead become distracted by a ladybug. This girl definitely did not have a problem creating excitement in her life.
"So where's Brent? Didn't he come?" Mandy Anderson asked Aubrianne. They stood by some of the other cheerleaders at their class' Grad Night. The gym had been completely decorated into a Treasure Island theme. Aubrianne liked it; it felt adventurous.
"He's having band practice tonight," she shrugged.
"Are you serious? Doesn't he realized that this is the last time we'll all be together? This may be the last chance he has to see all of his friends!" Mandy exclaimed, at a loss for why anyone wouldn't want to come to Grad Night.
"Oh he can see me anytime," Aubrianne replied. The thought of Brent having any other high school friends didn't even occur to her; she was the only person he ever hung out with at school.
"Doesn't he want to say goodbye to the rest of us?" Grace Winters, another cheerleader, questioned.
"Not really." Grace and Mandy looked at each other, outraged. But when they looked back to where Aubrianne had been standing to tell her how rude that way for her to say, they found that she was already gone, distracted by the juggling pirates performing ten feet away.
"We can't get mad, Mandy. I mean, it's Aubrianne we're talking about," Grace pointed out. "She doesn't know what she's saying half the time!"
"Right. And of course Brent really wants to say goodbye to us. I mean, he loves this class!"
Meanwhile, at band practice, Brent's band had just finished a five song set of their best songs. They all sat on the couches in their drummer's garage.
"Weren't you supposed to go to your grad party tonight?" Junior, the drummer, asked.
"It's a waste of time. There's no one worth saying goodbye to," Brent replied.
"I remember my class' party. Junior and I got high in the back," Tuck, their bass player, chimed in.
"Good times man," Junior laughed, remembering back to that night.
"Hey dude, where's Aubrianne? I want her to make us some of her cookies. That shit is bomb," the lead guitarist, Kyle, commented.
"Man, stop fucking asking her to bake you cookies all the time. She's too nice to say no," Brent replied. It pissed him off how the guys took advantage of her all the time.
"She doesn't mind!" Junior exclaimed. "She likes baking for us!"
"She has better things to do with her time than slave in the kitchen for you losers," Brent told them. "Now stop fucking around, and let's get back to practice."
"Yeah Kyle, stop fucking around, and get back to practice," Tuck repeated, throwing a pillow from the couch and hitting Kyle. Brent shook his head, knowing they'd never get back on task. He might as well call it a night. He started to stand up to leave, but before he could his cell phone began to ring.
"Ten bucks says it's Aubrianne!" Kyle yelled.
"Twenty bucks says she'll bake us cookies if we ask!"
"Thirty bucks says Brent's going to ditch us to hang out with her!"
"Fifty bucks says I'll hurt you all if you don't shut up," Brent said, picking up his phone to answer it. Sure enough, the caller ID said Annie. "Hey."
"Hi! What are you doing ?" Aubrianne asked.
"Not much. I think band practice is pretty much over," he replied, standing up to get away from the guys who were still making bets.
"Everyone's leaving to go to Josh Fitz's party. You should come with me!"
"Annie, you know I don't really talk to those people."
"But Brentie, everyone is going to get drunk, and I don't want to be the only sober one there."
"Then don't go."
"But it sounds fun!"
"I'm sure there will be some other people who aren't going to drink."
"Yeah, I guess," Aubrianne agreed, although she didn't sound convinced. Truthfully, she felt uncomfortable going to parties without Brent. She didn't like when drunk guys tried to hit on her, and if he was with her, they'd stay away. Brent sensed the disappointment in her voice.
"Are you sure you'll be okay?" he questioned.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I'm a big girl," she replied. She still didn't sound convincing.
"You really want me to go, don't you?"
"Okay. I'll pick you up in fifteen at your house."
"Really?!" Aubrianne's mood immediately changed. Brent smiled, knowing he just made his best friend's night.
"Yeah, really. But I'm not going to wait at your house for an hour so you can get ready."
"Don't worry, I'm almost finished already! I'll see you soon. I love you Brent!"
"You too, Annie." He hung up the phone. Brent never said the actual words "I love you" to anyone. It made him feel uncomfortable. The people he loved should know that he loved them; he shouldn't have to say the words just to confirm it.
"I brought music!" Aubrianne exclaimed, entering Brent's car. He wore his usual band t-shirt with a pair of jeans. She, of course, dressed up, wearing a black halter top, a jean miniskirt, her favorite pair of black pointy-toed heels, and hoop earrings.
"Backstreet Boys?" Brent guessed.
"Of course!" Aubrianne replied. She liked other music besides light pop, but it always helped her feel energized before going to a party.
"Man, I should have picked a best friend with a better taste in music," Brent joked.
"Silly, you can't pick your best friend. The person just comes to you. It's destiny," Aubrianne replied. Brent eyed her closely. He didn't believe in destiny, but she did. He decided to keep his mouth closed, not wanting to ruin something she truly believed.
Ten minutes later, they reached Josh's house. It was a huge two-story house with a swimming pool in the back. Many parties had been held there, from elementary birthday parties to high school keggers.
"Wow," Aubrianne said, seemingly amazed at something.
"Yeah, it is a big house."
"No, not that. Look at how bright the stars are tonight," she commented. Brent looked up, and sure enough, they did seem brighter than usual. He refocused his attention to Aubrianne, who was still staring up at the sky in awe. He smiled a little; she looked beautiful. Brent always thought his best friend looked beautiful, but there was something especially radiant about her whenever she looked at the stars. Nothing else in the world seemed to matter.
"Why do you keep looking up there?" Brent questioned. He and Aubrianne were at their favorite spot, the middle of a large abandoned baseball field. They had found the field a year ago in the sixth grade, and now they came every weekend, always bringing a blanket and a bag of gummy bears. Brent didn't especially like gummy bears, but they were Aubrianne's favorite.
"I was just thinking something," Aubrianne replied. Brent observed that even in the dark, Aubrianne's bright blue eyes seemed brighter whenever she stared up at the stars.
"What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking that maybe when people die, they each get to live on a star to look down at the earth from. That way, they get to be in a pretty place to watch the people on earth," she explained.
"You think so?"
"Yeah." Aubrianne was a dreamer. She knew her cynical friend probably didn't agree with her, but she didn't care. This was what she wanted to believe, and no one could make her think otherwise.
"I think that maybe you're right," Brent surprisingly agreed. Shocked, she took her eyes away from the stars for a few moments to see if he was being serious.
"Really?" Aubrianne whispered, still looking at her friend. He turned his head to look at her and smiled.
"Do you think my sister has her own star? Maybe she's watching me," she hoped. Aubrianne had a twin sister when she was born, but her sister died three months later of crib death. Brent was the only person who knew how often she thought about her twin sister.
"She's watching you," Brent said confidently. "In fact, I bet she's saving the star next to her for you to live next to her one day." Aubrianne's eyes began to sting with tears. She tried to blink them back, but a few fell out before she could stop them. It was such a beautiful idea to think that her sister was waiting for her in the stars. They stayed silent for several moments, each thinking about what was waiting for them in the stars.
"Brent?" Aubrianne whispered after the wave of comfortable silence.
"If you die before me, will you find a star near my sister to stay in so I can be close to both of you?"
"And if I die first, I'll save you the star on the other side of me. That way we'll always be with each other. Deal?" Aubrianne looked at her friend for confirmation. He gave her a small smile- one of the special smiles he reserved for only her in moments like this.