39: Evolution

Quinn could not believe it as her royal purple gown flowed around her legs as she crossed the stage with her faux-diploma in hand. She looked out into the audience, hoping to spot her family. The crowd was too massive, though, and she hurried off stage. She was about to retreat to where she had last seen everybody, but was suddenly ambushed as someone grabbed her hand to shake.

"Thomas!" she yelped, facing her former boyfriend.

"Hey, Quinn. Congratulations. I was waiting for you. You look good," Thomas commented with a smile lighting up his brown face.

"Uh … thanks," she replied. She had not seen much of him in the past two years considering how big the campus was and they had two completely different majors, thus took totally different classes. She was fine with that. She had been busy, after all.

"There she is!" Quinn did not have much time to figure who "she" was as she was hit in the legs by an overly enthusiastic five-year-old. She grunted as Diana, now taller, climbed on her to get her to pick her up.

"We got tons of pictures!" The twins proclaimed together, holding up a camera and a cell phone. At fifteen, they had somehow gotten into the habit of speaking at the same time and saying the same thing, but looked very different now. Venus had grown her hair out and liked having it in curls while Aphrodite had cut most of her hair off to have a cute spiky style. Venus' clothing choice was a cross between alternative and preppy while Aphrodite had gone full skater punk on them. They both still played softball and spent every waking moment together, but seemed to have so little in common.

"Of course you did," Quinn grinned at them.

"We need more pictures, though. Where's the other lady of the hour?" Tori asked. Her husband pointed behind them.

"I'm coming, Nana! Just had to get a few things!" Artie declared as she bounded over with roses and a balloon. She was wearing a golden cap and gown.

"I already got balloons, Art," Tia huffed, clearly upset that Artie had copied her gift. She had gotten a little hostile recently, perhaps starting to feel overshadowed by her older siblings and underappreciated.

"It's all right, Tia. I like yours better because they all have my favorite color. Besides, you got me three and Artie only got me one." Quinn leaned down to give the twelve-year-old a kiss on the cheek, which definitely pepped her up. Tia had the nerve to smirk at Artie and Quinn could not help laughing. She had taken to giving Tia a little extra attention, which always seemed to be just the thing Tia needed.

Artie only laughed; she liked the way Quinn handled her sisters. She then noticed Thomas and stepped over to Quinn. Quinn smiled and gathered Artie's arm in her hand.

"Artie, meet Thomas. He was just over here to congratulate me," Quinn said with a sickeningly sweet smile.

"Thanks, Thomas, but the congratulations are a little early. We're not getting married until the end of the month," Artie stated with a saccharine smile of her own.

"Ma-ma-married?" he sputtered with wide eyes and stepped back.

"Yeah, they're getting married and we get to be bridesmaids!" Juno reported while excitement. She bounced on her heels.

"But-but-but," Thomas could not get out what he wanted to say.

"I'll try to remember to send you an invitation. It's going to be so beautiful," Quinn said to her former boyfriend.

"Wha?" he muttered. "You're getting married? To her?" He pointed to Artie.

"Yeah, I'm still shocked that she said yes. I hope she doesn't change her mind," Artie commented with a smile.

"Uh … congratulations," Thomas mumbled, but it was not clear who he was talking to or what he was talking about because he was eyeing his feet. He looked past them, as if he saw someone he knew, and muttered a farewell. He backed away from the scene and Artie chuckled a little.

"Speaking of bridesmaids, has anyone seen my maid of honor?" Quinn wondered aloud.

"She's with my 'best man' and groomswoman, plotting or something," Artie replied, pointing to a tree not too far at the edge of the quad. There stood Morgan with Vega and Yvonne. Morgan had on a gown identical to Quinn's while Vega had on a gown like Artie. Yvonne was in regular clothes.

Quinn shook her head. "That can only mean trouble."

Artie waved it off. "Let them have their fun."

"Let them have their fun? They're planning to ruin my resort with their antics, like when they had your birthday party there," a familiar voice said from behind them. They turned to find Vega's father, Mahmoud Nasri, behind them with Anna.

"I told you don't let them use the resort for the bachelorette parties," Anna scolded him.

He smiled and it lit up his golden brown eyes. "You want me to refuse my one and only daughter while she's making her puppy eyes and she's got Yvonne over her shoulder doing the exact same thing?" He scoffed.

"You're lucky you only have one," Anna laughed.

"More would've bankrupted him," Artie remarked.

"Or hospitalized him," Anna added on.

He waved it off. "Just try to make sure Vega or Yvonne catches the bouquet, so they can get the hint. I've been outright telling Vega to propose and she looks at me as if I've gone mad. They've been friends for eight years, together for four. What more does she want before she finally makes an honest woman out of Yvonne and gives her papa some grandchildren?" He threw his hands up in exasperation, which Vega was good for when it came to her father.

There was laughter and the conspiring trio joined the group. Congratulations were given to all of the graduates. Quinn would be back to school in the fall for her master's degree. Tori had made it clear that she needed to go at least that far. She hoped that she could complete her master's in a year like Artie and Vega had done. Vega was going to work for her father with a business masters under her belt while Yvonne was in law school. Morgan was going to medical school and Artie was working while also going for her PhD in psychology.

Over breaks, the couple stayed with Anna. She had gotten better, as promised. Actually, much of the time now, she sided with Quinn on things or helped Quinn prod Artie into things. Artie took it all in stride, knowing her mother was mostly doing that because she wanted to like Quinn. Life was good as far as they were both concerned.

But, best of all, Quinn and Artie were together, officially in a relationship and totally in love. They had an apartment on campus. They were getting married. They were planning for the future. Quinn held Artie's hand and Artie squeezed back.

"Come on, celebration family lunch," Artie announced and they all left the ceremony. Quinn grinned; this was her family. Artie was her family.


The end.

A/N: so, readers, when do you think it went from being about sex to being love? When did it go from friendship to relationship?