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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Brooke admired herself in the mirror. She smiled, the lavender dress draping nicely down her figure. For once in her life, she felt accomplished. Not just for graduating as valedictorian, but because everything around her finally was falling into place. She graduated top of her class, she fell in love, and she found herself strong, healthy and alive. After everything her and Sam had been through in the last three years, she finally felt as though being alive mattered. She was going somewhere, and that was the thesis of her commencement address. If ever in a time she wanted to one-up Sam, today was the day, and she planned to do it all out.
Sam, meanwhile, fluttered about her room in a panic. She misplaced her red spiral bound notebook that held the contents to the most important moment in her high school career. She was chosen to stand side-by-side with Brooke and deliver a commencement address. She never quite figured out why the student body picked her, but nonetheless, her goal for the day was to make sure she upstaged Brooke. Not that she wanted to strike out, but more so, because Brooke wasn't necessarily the word smith, and she wanted to be remembered for something.
"Ah, there it is!" she grinned, clutching the notebook tightly to her chest.
"You... ready?" Brooke entered her room without knocking. Brooke eyed the brunette up and down and realized she was still in jeans and a t-shirt. "You aren't seriously wearing that to graduation are you?"
"Why not?" Sam looked down at herself. "What's wrong with this?"
"It's supposed to be... fancy," Brooke said, crossing her arms and leaning against the door frame with a smile. "Not that you don't look adorable."
"Thanks," Sam smiled back, "I think." She set the notebook on her bed, on top of a stack of books and next to her cap and gown. "And I didn't really think it mattered what you wore under your gown, because nobody sees it until you get to the after party anyways."
"And what after party are you going to?" Brooke asked.
"Sugar Daddy's, of course. You're still going, right?" Sam gathered her cap, gown and notebook into her arms and now stood face-to-face with the blonde in her doorway.
"Yeah," Brooke grinned, "With you, silly. That's why I'm going at all. I was perfectly content coming home to cake and presents." Sam smiled again, kissing Brooke on the cheek before they both made their way downstairs to their waiting parents.
"Sam, you can't go to graduation in that," Jane rolled her eyes, seeing her daughter's choice of formal wear.
"Yes, I can. I dressed up for prom, this is where I cash in on that deal," she said triumphantly. Jane just shook her head, Mike smiled and gave Brooke a small hug. "I think everybody's missing the point that I'm wearing a gown over this. And, well, Brooke's wearing a gown over an even shorter gown," she pointed at the blonde with a mischievous grin.
"At least people will be looking at my heels instead of sneakers," Brooke shot back, smirking.
"Well, at least when your heels get stuck in the grass on the field you can always fall on top of me during the processional," Sam said.
"You look beautiful, honey," Mike interjected, laughing a bit. "You both look beautiful." Sam nodded, heading to the fridge for a bottle of water.
"Thanks, dad." Brooke and Sam stood around the kitchen for a few minutes while Mike and Jane gathered up their coats, a few disposable cameras and their tickets. Mac clapped her hands as they headed out the door to the car.
"All right, all set," Mike said once everyone was settled, "Let's go." The two girls gathered their caps and gowns and headed to Kennedy High one last time.
Once there, Brooke and Sam posed for what seemed like a million photos in various combinations. Brooke eventually set-up her tripod so they could take several photos as a family, and then of course, her and Sam took a few pictures together. Some silly, others sweet and one where Brooke kissed Sam on the cheek that caught her off guard that was the best in the bunch.
They broke off to find their respective groups in the auditorium before things settled down and they were given the final instructions on the goings-on of the day. Mike, Jane and Mac in tow found their seats in the stadium and reflected on the last few years in the Palace, happy to find themselves a family after all the good and the bad thrown in for good measure.
"Ms. McPherson, you'll give your speech first," Principal Crupps said, "Then, Ms. McQueen, you'll give yours. I trust I don't need to look over anything, that everything is in order, and you won't bring any shame down upon the name of Kennedy."
"No, of course not," Brooke piped in. "My speech is all right here." She tapped her right temple.
"Don't lose anymore brain cells there, princess," Sam elbowed her, and they chuckled. Principal Crupps noticed Mary Cherry getting into what appeared to be a bright yellow gown, decidedly more colorful than the gown she was supposed to be wearing. Nicole, meanwhile, was boycotting wearing a gown at all especially after she started the rumor last week that they were purchasing used gowns instead of new ones.
"That wisecrack was very funny," Brooke responded when he was gone. "I hope you saved your best for that speech of yours. Luckily, I go after you, so, people will forget your speech when I'm done." She smiled, triumphantly.
"They won't even be listening to your speech when I'm done," Sam replied, "Besides, you'll be so glued to me giving my speech, you won't even be listening."
"That's not true!"
"Yes, it is."
"Okay, maybe a little, but you'll be tuning out during mine, too." She was right. Both would most likely be tuned out for most of the ceremony, especially when their respective girlfriend was giving their speech.
"Yeah, yours and the eighteen others before ours," Sam replied, "But at least I get to look at someone beautiful when you give your speech."
"I was thinking the same thing about yours," Brooke grinned, before heading off to meet up with Mary Cheery, Poppy and Nicole. Sam saw Lily and Carmen towards the back of the auditorium and headed in their direction before being confronted by Harrison.
"Hi," he said curtly.
"Hi," Sam replied in the same tone. "What do I owe the pleasure?" 'Or should I say, displeasure?' she thought. Things hadn't been the same since junior prom, Harrison isolated himself and found a new group of friends after losing both the love of his life and best friend to well, the other.
"I just wanted to say good luck today."
"Oh." Sam was expecting something more cold. "Thanks." Harrison began to walk away and Sam let him before calling out his name. "Hey, Harrison," he turned to face her, "Keep in touch." He smiled softly, nodded and went on his way.
"It gives me great pleasure to give you Samantha McPherson," Principal Crupps introduced Sam as the class' pick for speaker. She smiled during the applause, as butterflies came over her stomach, and she opened her notebook to her speech.
"Thank-you, Principal Crupps." She smiled quickly at Brooke who was seated behind her; Brooke gave her a small nod to go on, and she turned to face the audience to begin. "It's an honor to have been chosen to give this speech today. To be honest, the last couple of years have shown me that days like today aren't as important as the people who are with you today. No matter where we all go from here, the friendships we've made over the years is what helped us through the good and the bad times. Most of our lives, we're told that our happiness is measured by the accomplishments we hang on our walls. Plaques, trophies and medals hang in homes all across America as signs that we, as people, have done something that's made others proud. But for me, in these last couple years, it's meant more to me to have the people surrounding me, supporting me, than it's meant to get perfect grades or be the perfect reporter. These people, friends, family and my girlfriend, have shown me that love is the only happiness our hearts measure by. I didn't mean for this to be so sappy, but that's what high school has taught me, and that's what I hope each of us can carry off into the world as we begin this new adventure in our lives. Thank-you." Sam took her seat next to Brooke as the applause died down, and she whispered good luck to the blonde. Brooke squeezed her hand gently as April Tuna took the podium to introduce her. 'Oh, great,' she thought.
"And, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your class valedictorian, the smoking hot, blonde-bombshell-Marilyn-Monroe-please-step-aside for the most amazingly-wonderful-stop-traffic-in-its-spot Brooke McQueen," April Tuna introduced her. Brooke blushed, Sam stifled a chuckle and the members of her class just shook their heads and laughed as she took the podium. 'Well, that could've been... worse,' Sam shook her head some more, watching as Brooke took the stage.
"Um, thank-you April Tuna for that... introduction," Brooke began. She smiled at her classmates, taking a deep breath before beginning, "To be honest, the last couple of years has shown me that days like today aren't as important as the people who are with you today. No matter where we all go from here, the friendships we've made over the years is what helped us through the good and the bad times. Most of our lives, we're told that our happiness is measured by the accomplishments we hang on our walls. Plaques, trophies and medals hang in homes all across America as signs that we, as people, have done something that's made others proud. But for me, in these last couple years, it's meant more to me to have the people surrounding me, supporting me, than it's meant to get perfect hair or be the perfect cheer. These people, friends, family and my girlfriend, have shown me that love is the only happiness our hearts measure by. I didn't mean for this to be so sappy, but that's what high school has taught me, and that's what I hope each of us can carry off into the world as we begin this new adventure in our lives. Thank-you, everyone, for your time."
"OH. MY. GAWD, y'all!" Merry Cherry explained, throwing her hands in the air and waving wildly for the whole graduation crowd to see. Brooke turned before sitting, confused as to why the class of 2002 looked like the most astonished bunch of people she'd ever seen.
"Merry Cherry! Get down from there. You're making a scene!" Nicole hissed, crossing her arms and turning her head in the opposite direction as the rest of the class watched her in horror.
"But, Nic, they just gave the same ole speech-"
"-Oh. My. God," Brooke and Sam said in unison, looking at each other, jaws dropped, as the blonde sat. "We did, didn't we?"
"I left my notes up there..." Sam said, forgetting her notebook lay open.
"I'm so used to reading notes instead of memorizing that I just read what was in front of me..." Brooke trailed off as Sam brought her hands to her face. A shade of red overcoming both their cheeks as the whole crowd sat there, stunned.
"So much for outdoing one another one more time," Mike chuckled. Jane just shook her head.
"They both still have four more years of college," she grinned with a bouncy Mac breaking the silence with a clap and giggle.
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