Chapter 14

* Friday afternoon. Graduation Day *

The day that every Senior in high school had hoped for had finally came. The day everyone was waiting for had finally arrived. Graduation. The last day of being in high school, the last day with all your friends. The last day of school, the last day of being a teenager, and the start of a new life.

The music began playing loudly, as Principal Carter began to speak into the mic. "Ladies and gentlemen. May I have the honor of presenting to you, the Senior class of 2004!!"

The audience cheered loudly, as the Senior class of Orlando High School walked out from behind the stage. The students smiling proudly, as they walked to their assigned seats. Principal Carter smiled brightly, as he watched the students walk. Proud that they did their routine without a single mistake. It was done with absolute perfection. The music began to hush down, once the entire class was seated. The School Board Director, stood as he began his speech.

"Welcome to the Senior class of 2004 Graduation ceremony. I would just like to say, that I am proud of the accomplishments that these students have made this past year. The total amount of scholarships awarded was a sum of three million two hundred and fifty-six thousand dollars." Everyone cheered, as they sat and listened to the rest of his speech.

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"And now, we'll hear the speech from the number one student in the entire Senior class. Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a round of applause to your Valedictorian, Miss Jessica Briggs."

The entire senior class and audience cheered, as Jessica made her way up the stage. Her white gown shining brightly. She smiled slightly, as her eyes flew upon all the smiling faces in the arena.

"Good evening." She began warmly.

"WE LOVE YOU JESSICA!!!"

Jessica's eyes brimmed with tears, as she listened to her classmates cheer her on. She smiled warmly, as she began her speech.

"It's times like these when we all sit and realize what we are going to do once we walk out of this room. Will we continue with our education, persuing on the career that we have chosen for ourselves? Or will we just wait and see what the future has in store for us?" She looked out in the crowd, amazed to see that everyone was listening to her intently. She sighed deeply, as she continued. "I remember sitting in my bedroom last night, trying to figure out what I was going to say to all of you wonderful people today. And I thought of something, that most of you would not have realized. Alittle something about life." She looked up again, her eyes traveling towards the back rows. Her eyes meeting Justin's. "I was never the type to go out and enjoy life the way most of you did. Going out to the awesome house parties, the football games, nor the dances. School was the top priority on my list of achievements. But it all changed when I met someone." Everyone looked at eachother, their eyes looking back at Justin.

"He showed me so many wonderful and amazing things. He showed me how to enjoy life, how to appreciate it. How to live it. But most importantly, he showed me how to love.. A deeper love than I could ever hope for." She said, her eyes brimming with tears, but she continued to speak. "For the first time in my life, I was happy. Happy that I had finally got to experience what I was missing. I thank him for introducing me to all of you. For letting me experience what life had to offer. Even though, he is no longer a part of my life, I just want him to know that he will always have a special place inside my heart." A tear had managed to escape, as her speech was coming to an end. "I want to thank those who have helped me through the years. My mother and father. You're the greatest parents a daughter could ever have. To my teachers, who always believed I could make it far in life. To Sylvia and Steve, thank you guys for treating me as a human being and letting me be your friend. I love you guys more than anything. And finally, I would like to thank the person who stoled my heart. The person who helped me and saved my life. Justin... I know there may be some times, when you usually never do the right thing and you act like a fool. But I just want you to know that even though we've had our misunderstandings, we've made our mistakes, we'll learn from them. And maybe one day, we can rekindle what we once had. I love you. To the class of 2004... I just want to say one thing before I end... SENIORS LET ME HEAR YOU SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Everyone cheered and whistled, as Jessica made her way off the stage, everyone bombarding her with hugs, hand shakes, and congratulations.

She took a seat, as Principal Carter and the director began to get the diplomas ready. She sighed deeply, her eyes brimming with tears as she looked back towards the end. Surprised to find Justin looking back at her, with tears in his eyes.

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"And now, a few of our Seniors would like to put on alittle show for all of you. Let's hear it for them."

The lights dimmed, as the Seniors took their place on the stage. Music began to play, as the show started. Some of the students began singing and acting. They were doing a show on their high school years. The classes, the tests, the games, the parties, the heartbreaks, and... the make ups?

Believe it or not, the play had been going on for almost two hours. The end was coming near. The last part, was a duet by Justin and Jessica. Everyone in the arena, grew excited. Through the entire play, they were mesmerized as they listened to Justin and Jessica sing. A duet would be even more delightful. But no one knew, the plan that Justin had planned for the end.

The lights dimmed alittle more, as the spotlight shined on Justin sitting on a stool. "Good evening everyone. My name is Justin Timberlake. And I have alittle something I would like to say to all of you. At the beginning of my Senior year, one of my friends made a bet that I could change the least popular girl at school, into the campus Queen. The terms ended in, I'd make her Homecoming Queen or Prom Queen. I'd sleep with her and then I'd dump her." Everyone gasped loudly, as they began talking frantically. "But the bet seemed to back fire on me." Everyone grew quiet again as they listened. Justin sighed deeply, "I fell in love." He said quietly. "And I'm sorry that I hurt her. And now, I just want to be where she is."

The instrumental music to "Where You Are" by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey began playing softly, as the spot light shined on Jessica and Justin. Everyone in the arena sat quietly, as they watched Jessica slowly walk towards Justin. She had tears in her eyes, as she started singing.

Jessica:
There are times,
I swear I know you're here
When I forget about my fears
Feeling you my dear
Watching over me
And my hope seeks
What the future will bring
When you wrap me in your wings
And take me

Where you are
Where you and I will breathe together
Once again

We'll be dancing in the moon light
Just like we used to do
And you'll be smilin back at me

Only then will I bring free
When I can be
Where you are


Justin stood as he took his side by Jessica, reaching his hand as he caressed her face. The lyrics of the song flowing smoothly from his lips.

Justin:
And I can see your face
Your kiss I still can taste
Not a memory erased

Jessica:
Oh I see your star
Shining down on me
And I'd do anything

Both:
If I could just
Be right there
Where you are

Jessica:
Where you and I will breathe together once again

Both:
We'll be dancing in the moon light
Just like we used to do

Jessica:
And you'll be smiling back at me

Justin:
And you'll be smiling back at me

Jessica:
Only then will I be free
Then I will be free
So take me where you are

Justin:
Now baby there are times
When selfishly I'm wishing that you are here with me
So I can wipe the tears from your eyes
And make you see
That every night while you are dreamin
I'm here to guard you from a far

Both:
And any time I feel alone
I close my eyes and dream of
Where you are

Justin:
And we will be together baby

Jessica:
Oh and we'll be dancing in the moon light
And you'll be smiling back at me

Justin:
Only then will I be free
Then I will be free

Both:
Baby I still believe

Jessica:
Oh I got to believe

Justin:
I still believe

Both:
I will touch you that sweet day
That you take me there

Jessica:
Where you are

Both:
I still believe

Justin:
Oh I got to believe

Jessica:
I will touch you that sweet day
That you take me there

Justin:
Where you are
Oh oh where you are

Jessica:
Oh I got to believe

Justin:
I'll always be waiting here....


The music faded, as the song came to an end. Everyone in the arena started cheering as they rose from their seats. The performance was outstanding. Not a single dry eye was in the house. Justin cleared is thoart, to get their attention once more.

"Everyone, I have something to say..." He looked at Jessica, as he held her hand in his. "Jessica... There were times when I debated on whether or not to accept the bet that my friend had offered me. I didn't want to, but now that I think about it. I'm glad that I did. Even though I ended up screwing myself over, it made me realize something. It made realize the real person inside of you. It gave me a chance to get to know you better. And I just want you to know, that you are the most beautiful person I've ever met. I love you Jessica Briggs."

He took a deep breath, as he slowly got down on one knee. Everyone in the audience gasped, as they recognized the gesture. "Jessica Briggs..." He said, his eyes looking back into hers. "Will you marry me?"

Jessica's eyes instently brimmed with tears, as she looked at the ring inside the velvet box. She couldn't understand it. She was just a bet. He didn't really want anything to do with her. And know, here he was proposing marrige to her. But, then it all seemed to finally click. They had both fallen in love. The bet of love. And it happened. A single tear slipped down her cheek, as a smile flew upon her beautiful face. "Yes." She said, as the diamond ring was slipped onto her finger.

They fell into eachother's arms, their lips meeting as the Senior class cheered, throwing their graduation caps up into the air. The music played loudly, beach balls, silly string, and confedity flying everywhere. Graduation had ended with a happy ending and a lesson to be learned. If you make a bet, be aware of the consequences. You just might end up falling in love.....


THE END <%=title%>

Chapter 13
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