posted on 19-Apr-2002 10:24:56 PM
Here we go! Enjoy! Kim *happy*

Part 47
April 19, 2006

“Number one.”
“Fibula.”
“Number two.”
“Clavicle.”
“Number seventeen.”
“Cartilage.”
“Number twenty five.”
“Phalange number three.”
“Sweets, I think you got it,” Zan smiles at me and I sigh.

We’re sitting in the apartment, and Zan is helping me study for one of my last finals. It’s actually a midterm, but since it’s weighted heavier than any test the class has taken this semester, it’s more like a final than anything else. Zan has been here for one and a half days, and has two more to go. I’m pretty sure he never saw himself helping me study on this trip.

“I want to try it again,” I declare as I jump up from my spot on the floor and begin to pace around the living room.
“Babe, we’ve gone over this about twenty times now. If you’re not careful, it’s going to up and fly away,” he jokes.
“How dare you say something like that! This is my future we’re talking about!” I gasp horrified. “This test pretty much determines whether I’m going to pass this class or not. If I don’t pass this class, then I won’t graduate. If I don’t graduate, then I won’t be able to get a job. If I don’t get a job, then I will be homeless and living in the subway station.”
“Liz, I was just playing. Calm down,” he tells me as he stands up and walks over to me.
“I can’t calm down, I need to study. If I don’t study then I won’t be prepared. I have to be prepared, Zan, don’t you understand that?”

By now my arms are flailing wildly back and forth, and my pacing has picked up a notch. Zan is looking at me and shaking his head. Here’s the thing: when it’s test time, I become the study freak in all senses of the phrase. I’m not proud of it, but there have been instances where I have gone days without so much as a nibble on a cracker or 15 minutes of sleep. I have popped No Doze and Vivarin like they were candy. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s quite simple: I need as much time as I can get to study. The more time I minimize doing other stuff, the more time I will have to concentrate on passing these classes. Is it healthy? By all means, no. Does it get the job done? Hell yes, it does.

“Sweets, how about we go get something to eat?” he gently suggests.
“Eat? I don’t have time to eat, Zan. The only thing I have time to do is study.”
“No,” he says firmly as he steps in front of me and places his hands on my shoulders to stop my pacing. “Now look, I’ve held my peace long enough. You ain’t ate all day long, and at the rate you’re going, you either gonna make yourself sick or pass out. I ain’t havin’ that shit,” he finishes, slipping into that trademark accent that I fell in love with.
“Zan, I have eaten today,” I whine.
“Bullshit. That grape I fed you earlier don’t count for shit.”
“But Zan—“
“Save it, sweets. I ain’t havin’ it.” Just then my stomach rumbles. “Look at that shit, pitiful.”
“I need to study.”
“You need to eat.”
“Zan.”
“Liz.”

I sigh and just stare at Zan. His tattooed arms are folded across his chest, and the expression on his face is letting me know that I’m not going to win this battle. He unfolds his arms and begins to pick at the invisible lint on his wife beater and khaki shorts.

“We can stand here an’ argue all day if you want. I got time,” Zan challenges me.
“Look, I don’t want to fight you.”
“I don’t want you to fight me, either. You ain’t gonna win and I would hate to see you get your feelings hurt,” he smirks at me.
“Damn it, Zan!“
“All I’m saying is I want you to eat. I ain’t sayin’ you gotta spend all night eatin’ or nothin’, just take 15 minutes to get something in ya stomach. Is that so hard for you?”
“Why are you so worried whether I eat or not?” I ask with my hands on my hips.
“Because worryin’ about you is my job, don’t you understand that yet?” Zan smiles at me and extends his arms to me. “Come ‘ere.”

I take a step forward in an attempt to go to him, but suddenly the room begins to spin and darkness begins to come into play. Quicker than I know it, I am in Zan’s embrace, only we’re sitting on the floor.

“Babe? Liz? Liz!” he shouts in a panic.
“Zan, why are we on the floor?” I ask in a small voice.
“Sweets, you passed out for a minute. When is the last time you ate?”
“I don’t know, Zan.”
“Try to remember, please try for me.”
“I think…it’s was about two hours before I picked you up from the airport.”
“You ain’t ate in almost two days? Fuck!” he bellows and I flinch in his embrace. Zan must notice my fear, because he quickly begins to rub my back and kiss my forehead.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper. “I just needed to study and do so much other stuff.”
“Is study worth killin’ ya self? Is it?” he asks quietly.
“No.”
“Then why you doin’ this? Why you killin’ ya self?”
“I just want to graduate, Zan.” I let my body melt into his, and let his caress give me instant peace. We sit in silence for a while and then he speaks.

“I know this school shit is important to you so I’ll make you a deal. I’mma order us some food from the deli down the street, and you will eat it. After we eat, you’re gonna take a nap, and I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout no 20 minute bullshit nap either. Yo ass is gonna sleep.”
“How the hell is that a deal? What am I gaining from this?”
“Besides the obvious?” he asks with his pierced eyebrow cocked in the air, and I look away from him. Zan tilts my chin towards his face, and continues to speak. “When you wake up, I will help you study. I will quiz yo ass ‘til I’m blue in the face and we will stay until you got yo shit together. We will take breaks and eat, but I will help you for as long as you want. Got it?”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Doin’ what?”
“Helping me like this. You don’t have to do this. If you want to go visit Michael and Maria, then you can go. You don’t have to help me study,” I tell him, but he just shakes his head at me and sighs.
“I know I ain’t gotta help you, but I want to. This is important to you, so it’s important to me. Besides, the sooner we finish studying the sooner…” He whispers the rest in my ear, and immediately I begin to blush and giggle.
“See, you don’t even want to help me so I can further my education, you have ulterior motives,” I continue to giggle.
“Yeah, I do, but who says that you won’t be benefiting from them?” he asks with a smirk on his face. “How you feelin’ now?”
“My head is hurting a little bit, but other than that I’m fine,” I answer.
“You sure?”
“Yeah.” With my self proclaimed declaration of good health, Zan helps me stand up and then holds me in his arms. A thought occurs to me and I begin to giggle again.

“What? Whatcha laughin’ at?”
“A thought.”
“Which would be?”
“Are you going to slip back into your accent every time you get mad at me? Not that I would mind or anything,” I add quickly as I continue to giggle.
“Oh, so you think my accent is funny,” he drawls.
“Uh uh,” I reply shaking my head.
“Yeah, I’ll remember that shit, Liz,” he chuckles as he walks to the phone and dials the number to the deli. While he’s ordering, I walk back to the spot on the floor where I was studying before, and pick up one of my textbooks.

“And ‘xactly what do you think you doin’?” Zan suddenly whispers in my ear.
“I’m just reviewing over this material until the food comes.”
“Drop that shit, sweets.”
“But Zan—“
“You need to rest.”
“I am resting, Za—“

Zan wastes no time as he hoists me over his shoulder and carries me to the bedroom. He keeps waving his hands over various body parts, and clothes are disappearing faster than I can breathe. When he deposits me on the bed, I notice that both of us are stark naked.

“I thought you said you wanted me to rest,” I say breathily.
“I do want you to rest. Just not right now.”
“Well if that’s the case, what do you have in mind?”
“I was thinkin’ more along the lines of some stress relief since school got you trippin’.”
“Really, what kind of stress relief?” I ask coyly even though I fully know what’s about to happen…and can’t wait.
“How ‘bout I show ya?” Zan answers with a smile on his face and a devilish gleam in his eyes….



[ edited 2 time(s), last at 24-Apr-2002 9:30:44 PM ]
posted on 22-Apr-2002 9:59:41 PM
Enjoy it! *happy* Kim

Part 48
May 17, 2006

“Oh my God, can you believe that tomorrow all this will be finally over?” I squeal as Maria and I stand in line waiting to get our food. We’re at the Senior Barbecue and tomorrow we graduate we from college.
“Yes!” she squeals just as excited. “Four years of drama finally coming to a close. Girlfriend, tomorrow we will officially be educated women.”

She looks at me and I look back at her. Three seconds later, we’re jumping up and down, screaming in the line. I don’t even try to be cool and pull away from Maria, because this is just…so awesome. We did it, we actually did it. All the late nights camped out in the library cramming for tests on material that we will probably never use again, it was all worth it. We’ve more than earned the right to jump up and down, and even streak through the picnic area if we wanted to. We’ve come through, we are educated women.

“You remember that night during sophomore year that I said I was just gonna drop out of school, because my Spanish teacher was dead set on failing me?” Maria asks when we finally calm down a bit.
“Oh God, yes,” I say fanning my face. “I thought I was gonna have to kill you over verb conjugation. What ever happened to that old bat?”
“She’s actually standing right there,” she says as she points through the crowd. An evil smile spreads across her lips as the wheels begin to turn in her head. “Excuse me for a second,” she says all the while smiling that demented smile.
“Maria, what are you about to do?” I inquire as I shake my head.
“I’m just gonna go over and say hello,” she chuckles and jumps out of line. Knowing Maria, she’ll probably say hello and a whole lot more.

Maria crosses the quad, and grabs Ms. Fagundo by the arm to get her attention. The professor’s face lights up somewhat at Maria’s touch, but soon clouds over at recognition of her former student. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall during that conversation. I’d be willing to bet that Maria just told her where she and her verb conjugation could go at this point in time. I giggle as the old woman turns five shades of red all the while Maria speaks with a sweet smile on her face. By the time Maria skips back towards me, I’m almost on the ground in tears. It looks as if Ms. Fagundo has been reduced to tears as well.

“What did you tell her? Spill it, woman,” I demand as I giggle.
“I just told her thank you for be a pain in my side that whole semester, because not only am I graduating, but I’m doing it with a minor in Spanish.” When I raise my eyebrow at her, she begins to giggle deviously. “I also told her that I hoped her old wrinkled up behind burned in hell for the torment she put me through, and that if there is a such things as reincarnation, that she come back as a piece of shit.”
“Maria!” I gasp and then laugh out loud.
“All in Spanish, too,” she laughs with me.

We’re still laughing when Michael, Max, and Roxanne walk over to us and join us in the line. Soon we have them laughing over Maria’s antics as well. Now I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking the same thing, too: what the hell are Max and his new girlfriend doing hanging out with the rest of us? It might be hard to believe, but after this past year, I think all of us decided that the easiest thing for us to do is just put the past behind us and try to move on. At the very least, we can at least try to put up with each other for just one more day since it’s not promised that we will ever see each other again after graduation. Believe you me, I am counting on the fact that we will never see each other again.

“So are you excited about graduation?” Max asks Maria.
“Hell yes!” she screams and we all burst out laughing.
“What about you, Liz?” he asks me.
“I am definitely ready to blow this Popsicle stand,” I reply shaking my head.
“So I’m the only one who’s actually going to miss this place then?”
“Looks like it, Maxwell,” Michael answers. “Please tell me you aren’t getting nostalgic on us.”
“No, but there are some things that I will definitely miss about this place.”
“Like what?” Roxanne inquires.
“Like the water fights,” Max states and we all sigh in remembrance. “You guys can’t tell me that you didn’t have fun with the water fights.”
“I totally forgot about that,” Maria gasps and then starts to giggle. “You remember that night Jenny Walsh came out the room while we were throwing water balloons and Max nailed her in her forehead?”
“And then she had that big red mark across her face for like, almost a week?” Michael laughs.
“And then she kept threatening to get her brother to come from Ohio to beat Max up?” I chuckle along with them.

God, how could I forget about Jenny Walsh. The chick was head over heels in love with Max, and even went as far as wearing makeup with her pajamas so if she ever had to step out of her dorm room late at night Max would always see her with a pretty face. That night she got caught in the crossfire, foundation, mascara, and eyeliner were running everywhere. It was like watching the Wicked Witch of the East melt right before your eyes.

“I swear to God, I didn’t even see her come out her room, I thought she was Liz or Maria,” he smiles sheepishly.
“You did not! I remember you saying you wanted to get her back for stealing Mr. Blankie out your room and putting it on display for the whole dorm to see!” I exclaim.
“Mr. Blankie?” Roxanne asks looking confused. At the look on her face, we all fall out laughing, so hard in fact that I almost pee on myself.

“Mr. Blankie—“ I begin, but Max cuts me off.
“Hey, hey, hey! I do believe that’s my secret to tell,” he chuckles.
“Whatever, man. Roxanne, just make sure to have him tell you about it,” Maria sighs contentedly.

The line finally moves and we get our food. As we seat ourselves around a picnic table, we continue to reminisce.

“Okay, now who remembers the Sophomore Talent Show?” I ask and immediately Michael’s head hits the table.
“Please can we not talk about that,” he mumbles with his face hidden in his arms.
”Oh no, we have to talk about it!” Maria shrieks and begins to laugh. “I never could understand this: what possessed you to go as N*SYNC?”
“Oh my God! Which one were you, please tell me you weren’t Justin,” Roxanne replies shaking her head.
“No, I was J.C.; Max was Justin.” At his words, Roxanne falls off her bench and rolls around in the grass with tears in her eyes. I can’t blame her; it was pretty damn funny.
“All I remember is Max with blonde hair, and them trying to mimic the steps from ‘Bye, Bye, Bye’,” Maria chuckles. “Who did you guys get to be the rest of the band?”
“Blake, Matt, and Josh from the third floor. For some reason they were more than happy to help us,” Max remembers.
“They thought that lame ass skit was going to get them chicks,” Michael supplies.
“Didn’t Matt get Justine pregnant that year?” I inquire.
“There you go, it worked,” Max says and we all start laughing again.

“God, we had fun when we first got here,” I sigh. “All and all, I can say that I enjoyed my college experience. It got kinda bumpy towards the end, but I can’t say I regret it for one minute.”
“I know what you mean,” Michael replies and hugs Maria closer to him.

We all sit in silence for a minute, and then begin to eat again. When we finish our food, we are about to part ways when Maria stops me.

“We’re about to go over to our old dorm and have one more water fight for old times sake. Are you in?” she inquires.
“Nah, I think I’ll take a walk and try to work some of this food off. I’ll see you guys later tonight at the Luau though.”

I wave and walk away from them towards the quad. As I pass the library and the bookstore, the past four years bombard my mind and before I know it, tears are running down my face. This is it. This is my final day here, and I…I’m just overwhelmed. I have prayed for graduation ever since the first day I got here and now…well, I guess I am going to miss it. I have met so many people, learned so much about life and myself since I got here, and now it’s all coming to an end. How many times did Maria and I stay up all night long watching movies and just being crazy? How many nights did our RA threaten to kick us out the dorm for harassing the other students and being too noisy? God, how I’m going to miss this, just being able to be free and do whatever I want when I want. I’ll never forget the feeling of just being able to sit on the lawn with a frappachino in my hand at three in the morning and talk about life. I hate to admit it, but life was good as a student.

I’m about to breakdown and begin to bawl when a thought occurs to me: I am a grown woman, a college educated woman. After tomorrow I will be freer to do anything than I ever have been in my life. My new life begins tomorrow, and with my new life will come the man of my dreams, the man I’ve been waiting for the past seven months. After tomorrow afternoon, Zan and I will be free to do whatever the hell we want whenever we want, and really, that’s all that matters. I’ve overcome school and Max and just life in general. A smile grows across my face as I realize that tomorrow is the day that I will finally be able to cash in on my reward: a degree and a spiky haired man that loves me with his whole heart. After tomorrow, nobody will be able to take those things away from me. Ever.

posted on 24-Apr-2002 9:29:11 PM
Part 49
May 18, 2006

“Can somebody tell me what the hell he’s talking about?” someone on my row whispers.
“I don’t know, and I really don’t care,” another voice chimes in.
“Can he sit his ass down so I can walk across the stage and get my degree? I did not wait four years to hear his ass ramble on about nothing,” the person behind me whispers.

The day is finally here, and I made it. I turn around and look up into the stands, where I find my parents, Amy DeLuca, a couple of my cousins, and…no Zan. I want to utilize our mental connection to ask him where the hell he’s at, but my nerves are pretty bad right now. Honestly, the only thing I can think about is not tripping up the steps when I go to get my degree.

“Liz, what’s the matter?” Maria whispers suddenly cutting into my thoughts.
“Zan’s not here.”
“Chill, girlfriend. His flight was probably just late or something.”
“Maybe you’re right.” I begin to slouch in my seat and a pout settles over my face when Maria nudges me again. “What?”
“You do notice that we’re missing someone today, right?” she giggles with a wicked grin lighting her eyes.

I glance around the area where all the soon to be graduates are seated. Okay, I see Max and Roxanne, giggling at the guy who fell asleep on the front row…Michael is sitting a few rows behind us, chewing on his tassel no less…there’s that strange guy from Organic Chemistry who wore the same socks everyday as an experiment…I see Pia, the smelly exchange student…a smile lights my eyes when I figure out who I don’t see.

“Isabel,” I whisper and almost laugh out loud. “Where is she?”
“Oh, word has it that she caught a nasty case of syphilis, had to drop all her classes this quarter, will be attending summer school, and won’t be graduating until Winter of 2007.”
“Are you serious?”
“Well that’s what her file says,” she says craftily.
“Maria, you didn’t!”
“I told you there were perks to working in the Registrar’s office,” she sings to me. We’re laughing so hard that we don’t even notice that our guest speaker has sat down, and the Chancellor is now calling names so we can receive our degrees.

As we stand and begin to file out of our row, I take another glance into the crowd and see that Zan is…not here. There has got to be some logical explanation for this. Hell, there better be. This is one of the most important moments of my life, he knows this. I swear before holy God that if he doesn’t show up, it’s over. Okay, it won’t be over, but I will beat his ass and never let him forget it.

“Graduating with a Bachelor of the Arts in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Visual Arts, Michael Guerrin,” the Chancellor announces.

We all begin to hoop and holler and scream for Michael as he walks across the stage. Once he reaches the Chancellor to receive his degree, he turns his head towards us and does something that totally shocks our entire graduating class: he smiles, and when I say smile I don’t mean smirk, I mean a full-blown, teeth exposed smile. I look at Maria in total shock, and she gives me a look in the same regard.

“I LOVE YOU, MICHAEL GUERRIN!” she screams at the top of her lungs, and most the student body begins to laugh.
“I LOVE YOU, TOO, MARIA DELUCA!” he shouts back at her.

Wow, the power of graduation.

“What are we going to do after graduation, Liz?” Maria whispers.
“I don’t know. Our families will probably take us to dinner, you know the usual.”
“No, Liz. I mean, after graduation.”

I turn and face my best friend, and see her eyes about to overflow with tears. Her bottom lip is trembling, and she looks like a rabbit caught in headlines.

“Oh, come here,” I say and pull her into my embrace. “We are going to be successful women who are going to have lots of babies by the men we love. We are going to be rich and famous, and the envy of everyone. We’re going to be happy, Maria, that’s what it all boils down to.”
“Are you sure?” she asked frightened.
“I don’t know about you, but I know that’s what’s going to happen for me,” I giggle and after a second she begins to giggle with me. We turn back to our places in line, and soon it’s Maria’s turn to walk the stage.
“Here goes nothing,” she whispers and tightens her clasp on my hand briefly before letting go.

“Graduating with a Bachelor of the Arts in Fine Arts with an double emphasis in Theater and Psychology and a minor in Spanish, Maria DeLuca,” the Chancellor bellows.

Maria picks up her gown as not to trip on it, and begins to walk across the stage. Words will never express how proud I am of my best friend. Not just about graduation, either. Maria has overcome so many issues in her life, and managed to help me figure out my own as well. She makes me proud to be called her best friend. I look out into the crowd once again and this time I see…Amy DeLuca crying and throwing green alien shaped confetti. I would laugh at her, but knowing my mother, I am under the distinct impression that her celebratory techniques may be far worse.

“Graduating with a Bachelor of Science with a double emphasis in Molecular Biology and Physiology, Magna Cum Laude, Elizabeth Nicole Parker.”

I gather my robe in my hands and am about to walk across the stage when I hear something ringing. Make that jingling. I turn to my left and there’s Zan, waving a bracelet of sleigh bells and smiling at me like he’s won a million dollars. People are looking around clearly confused, and even the musicians stop playing their instruments for a brief moment. I don’t even try to contain my laughter as I walk across the stage and grab my degree. I love that man.

********

“Congratulations!” my parents shout at me simultaneously and grab me in their embrace. As much as I want to tell them to let me go and stop embarrassing me I don’t, because I know that this is their moment just as much as it is mine.

“Thank you,” I smile once they release me and I can breathe again.
“Honey, we are so proud of you!” my mother exclaims and hugs me again, but this time she starts to cry. “My little girl is all grown up. Grown up and educated,” she bawls.
“Now Nancy—“ my father starts but she cuts him off.
“Jeff, it’s true. She’s all grown up, and she doesn’t need us anymore! She’s going to go off and leave us, the only time we’ll see her now is during the holidays, if that!” she cries.
“Mom, that’s not true. I’ll visit, I swear,” I promise her. “We’ll talk on the phone.”
“You promise?”
“Yes, mom.”
“Okay,” she sniffles. She begins to dab her eyes and just when I think she’s recovered, Amy DeLuca happens over to my parents, still crying mind you, and throwing confetti. My mother takes one look at her and begins crying all over again. I throw my father a look and he just nods at me.
“Go,” he whispers. I don’t need to be told twice.

“Well, well, well. Look who’s the big graduate now,” Alex smiles at me and I fling myself into his arms.
“Oh my God, I am so glad that you made it! Thank you so much for coming,” I exclaim.
“Are you serious? I wouldn’t miss this for the world. You are my number one girl, you know,” he smiles at me.
“Hey, I thought that was me,” Maria teases as she walks over to us with Michael in tow.
“See Maria, I’m really confused now, because I thought I was Alex’s number one,” Lisa jokes with us and then pulls both Maria and me into a hug. “Congratulations! I am so happy for you guys!”

We idle around for a few seconds, and then I feel someone tap me on my shoulder. I turn and a small smile spreads across my face.

“Mr. Evans.”
“Ms. Parker.”
“Congratulations,” we shout simultaneously at each other and then fall out laughing. I pull Max into a hug and then take a step back. “So I guess this is it.”
“It is indeed.”
“It’s been a bumpy ride, hasn’t it?”
“Yes, it has,” he smiles and shakes his head. “But it’s been worth it.”
“Most definitely. Plans?”
“Staying here in New York with Roxanne. You?”
“Going to L.A. with Zan.”
“I would wish you all the luck in the world with that, but I don’t think you’ll need it. You got love,” Max states and smiles.
“The same goes for you,” I grin back. “So this is goodbye.”
“That it is.” With one final embrace, Max steps back and looks at me for the very last time. “Goodbye Elizabeth Parker.”
“Goodbye Maxwell Evans.” He smiles one last time and then walks away from me towards his family, his girlfriend, his new life.

There’s one person I haven’t seen just yet, but I know he’s around here somewhere, I can feel him. I look around and spot him sitting on the bleachers, smiling at me.

“So I see you made it, and with bells nonetheless,” I giggle.
“I’m a man of my word, sweets, you should know that by now,” Zan winks at me.
“Are you going to just sit there or can I get some love? I mean, I did just graduate from college you know,” I tease and before I can even take another breath, Zan has jumped out the bleachers and is holding me close to him. His lips swoop down on mine and for a moment I forget where I am.
“You have no idea how proud and happy you made me today by walking across that stage,” he whispers in my ear. “My girl is a graduate.”
“That I am.” A thought occurs to me and a frown creases my forehead.
“What’s wrong, sweets?”
“Why didn’t you come over and greet me when I got off the stage? Why were you sitting over here alone in the bleachers?”
“Babe, today is about you. There are so many people here to see you and shower you with attention, I should know because I’m one of them,” he smiles at me. “I know that some of these people you haven’t seen in forever and some of these people you’ll never see again. I just wanted to give you some time to do your thing. Besides, you are mine now, I’ll have you all the time,” he finishes with a cocky grin on his face.
“Is that so?”
“Uh huh.”
“Hey, Zan?”
“Yes?”
“Where’s my graduation present?’
“At home.”
“You left it at home?”
“Had to.”
“Why?”
“It involves the bed,” he smirks at me and I laugh.

“Liz, picture time!” my mother shouts at me. I grab Zan’s hand.
“Shall we?” he inquires of me. He grabs my hand and kisses it.
“We shall,” I smile at him.