Lindsey’s booming voice echoed through the house as she tried to hurry the family along: “Come on! We’re going to be late! I don’t want to get shitty seats!”
“Shit!” repeated Bandit gleefully. The girl was sitting on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, playing with the red buttons on her dress. Her black hair was up in neat pigtails decorated with a small red bow, and she was wearing her new dress which she had picked herself. It was black. Hardly appropriate for the occasion, but with parents like Gerard and Lindsey, I suppose she can hardly be blamed.
“No, Bandit, that’s a bad word,” Lindsey told her daughter and then shouted again: “If you lot don’t come down RIGHT AT THIS INSTANT, WE WILL LEAVE WITHOUT YOU!”
“Relax, I’m here,” Gerard said calmly, fixing the cuffs of the button-up shirt Lindsey had laid out for him.
“Oh, Gerard! I wish you would wear a tie,” Lindsey sighed longingly, also managing to sound extremely annoyed at the same time.
“Please just let it go,” Gerard pleaded. The tie-battle had been going on ever since Gia’s final exams ended and Lindsey began to plan their outfits for the graduation.
“Fine. We’ll wait in the car, you can manage with Gia, can’t you?” she asked, picking up Bandit from the floor. “And Gerard, when she comes down, you will behave yourself. No negative comments about what she’s wearing. If there is even one snarky word, I will rip off your balls and feed them to you. Got it?”
Gerard really was beginning to understand why Bandit had turned out so rowdy and violent. It made all the sense in the world. “What’s wrong with her clothes, then?”
But his question wasn’t replied to, and Lindsey carried Bandit out to the car while Gerard remained in the house, waiting for his daughter so he could see what horrendously slutty lingerie she was trying to pass as a dress this time.
But when she came down, he didn’t feel like screaming at her to go change at all. She was wearing a light yellow dress that admittedly was a bit too short at the skirt and a bit too tight and revealing at the top, the makeup on her face was far too extensive, and yeah, the side-swept hairstyle and high heels made him want to ruffle her hair and throw her some work-out sneakers, but...
Hell, he had to admit that she looked more adult than he had ever seen her. And not necessarily in a bad way.
“Well?” she asked him when she got to the bottom of the stairs (with much difficulty, might I add, since high heels weren’t exactly her everyday choice in shoe wear). “Comments? Better yell now when I still have time to wipe all the spit off my face.”
Gerard simply smiled and pulled her into a hug. He would’ve kissed her forehead if he wasn’t scared all the makeup would cling to his lips, giving him the appearance of wearing nude lipstick and making him look like Snooki.
“Come on,” he told her, walking her to the door. “We don’t want to be late.”
It was a bright, sunny day, so it was only natural to have the graduation ceremony outside. A large stage had been set up on the football field, and in front of it were rows of chairs for all the family and friends. The weather reflected the mood of the people perfectly, and the chatter and laughter were only broken by one man’s uncontrollable howling.
“Oh, my little girl!” Frank sobbed and then proceeded to blow his nose into a tissue. Jamia had done wisely when she prepared a box of tissues for her husband. “She’s all grown up! With my bare hands I raised her!”
“Honey, cool down,” Jamia hushed him. It was a good thing they had managed to get Jamia’s parents to babysit the twins, otherwise she would have three crybabies to deal with. She could barely manage her husband.
“How can I cool down when my baby is leaving me forever?!” Frank demanded. He very suddenly grabbed Gia by the arm, pulling her into one of his famous bone-crushing, eye-popping, blood-stopping hugs.
“Okay, I think that’s enough,” Ray said, trying to pry the guitarist off of the dying girl. “We don’t want to kill her on her graduation day. Especially when we were wondering if this day would ever even come.”
“Are you saying I’m dumb?” Gia gasped after Frank had freed her.
“No, I’m saying we thought Gerard would manage to kill you,” Ray explained.
Mikey continued: “Or screw you up so bad that you’d end up on the pole before you even finish high school.”
Gerard overheard this comment, and got really offended. “Are you criticising my parenting skills?!”
“Well... For starters, Bandit has been eating grass and mooing for the past five minutes and you haven’t noticed.”
“She’s going through a phase, alright?” Gerard said and went to attend to the little girl (who Lindsey had so foolishly placed in his care for a short moment), while Gia stayed with her uncles.
“Honestly, though,” Gia said. “You thought I wouldn’t even graduate?”
“It’s okay,” Mikey laughed. “We got you good presents.”
“Oh, what did you get me?! A car?!”
“NO!” all three of them shouted at the same time.
Gia sulked, which made Frank burst out in tears again. “It’s okay babe! You can have MY car!”
Jamia dragged her husband away, which hardly mattered; Gia already had new company. Lucas had managed to escape from his own parents. Ray and Mikey exchanged meaningful looks and scattered also, mainly to give the two some privacy, but also to distract Gerard.
“Hey sexy,” Lucas greeted with a grin. His hands on her hips, he pulled her closer and kissed her. Gia briefly considered pushing him off in order to save what was left of her lipstick, but she quickly decided against it. Oh, she did love this stupid boy.
“You two make me sick,” Danny announced, appearing next to them. At his side he had Hazel, who was dressed in the particular way that would give Gerard a heart attack if he ever saw those garments on Gia. Now that Hazel no longer was hauling around a baby inside of her stomach, she was free to dress as she wanted, and instead she was holding her tiny son in her arms. Mason was born only a few weeks before the graduation, and now he was snoozing peacefully, wrapped tightly like an adorable little burrito.
“Oh, let the kids mingle,” Hazel laughed, though with a somewhat mocking tone. “It’s cute.”
“Shut up,” Lucas snapped, his cheeks assuming a crimson shade.
“Lucas? Where is your tie?” Gia suddenly asked. He was wearing a light blue button up shirt but his tie, which Gia had specifically made him buy for this occasion, was nowhere to be seen.
“Um... In the closet at home?” he admitted, feeling a bit ashamed.
“Oh I wish you would wear a tie,” she sighed.
They had no more time to chat, as they were being gathered like herd by the teachers. Danny snatched the baby from his girlfriend and left, and quickly Gia, Lucas and Hazel slipped on their graduation gowns and hats, which most of the students just carried around until they really had to put them on, because let’s face it, they did look kind of embarrassing to wear. The family and friends headed to find seats before all the good ones were taken. Before she could get too far, Gerard stopped his daughter and held her behind.
“Dad I have to go,” Gia told him and tried to run off, but he grabbed her arm.
“I know,” he said. Something in the way he looked at her made her stand still even after he let go of her arm. “I just want to say that I’m really proud of you.”
“You’ve never said that before,” she replied after a moment of silence.
“You sound like you’re saying goodbye. Dad, it’s not like I’m moving out right after I graduate. We still have a few months.”
He knew all that; but he also knew time was running out. Quickly she kissed his cheek (which he wiped off because of all the Lucas-germs from when she was sucking face with him earlier), and ran off to her friends and sat down into the midst of the other graduates. Gerard went to find the seat Lindsey had reserved for him, but as he went, he couldn’t help but be overcome with the sense of loss.
It was ridiculous, he wasn’t losing his daughter. She was only moving away to go to college. But it was the end of an era. Not a particularly happy era, what with all the fighting and disagreements, but it was still painful to watch his daughter fly away from him. Ah, maybe it was for the best. Gerard smiled sadly when he thought that they might deal better with each other if there are a few miles between them.
Gia felt very restless while waiting for her name to be called. She had to sit on her hands to stop them from shaking, and she looked around the football field in order to get something else to think about. She ended up shutting out the speech coming from the side, and turning her head to look at the crowd.
Her father, sitting next to his wife and youngest daughter, looked surprisingly peaceful. Perhaps the only reason Gerard wasn’t a nervous wreck was that Lindsey had her hand covering his, comfortingly stroking it with her thumb.
Gia looked at her step-mother, feeling nothing but fondness towards the woman. Lindsey and her may not have had a very good start when they first met, but not to Lindsey’s fault. In the end Gia was very glad her dad had this woman. It wasn’t good for him to be alone, and Lindsey was perfect for him. Bandit was being strangely quiet as well. Usually that girl couldn’t shut up even while sleeping, so this was a rare moment. Bandit sat quietly on the other side of Lindsey, her knees covered in grass-stains, and if her dress hadn’t been black, it probably would’ve shown a map of all the things the girl had put in her mouth and rolled around in that day.
Frank still silently wept on the other side of Gerard, blotting his red eyes with a tissue while Jamia did her best to comfort the man. Mikey and Ray, the calm, rational ones of her extended family, practically radiated peace and love all around the field. At least that’s the feeling Gia got from them when they smiled to her calmingly when she glanced at them.
From her family, Gia’s eyes went to Lucas who was just being called to the stage. The audience clapped and his family cheered when he stood next to the principal, shook the man’s hand and took the scroll. Before leaving the stage, Lucas thrust his arms in the air victoriously, and the principal had to push him off the stage because he wouldn’t leave. Even though he was being a massive idiot as usual, Gia laughed along the other students and half the audience. Lucas went to stand on the other side of the stage, and from there he gave Gia a large, cheeky grin, and made a few very suggestive motions at her. Gia couldn’t help but smile back to him shyly.
Sure, most of the time the boy was a huge jackass but she owed a lot to him. Not only did he save her life, he was the one who really made her live. He was the one who brought her out of her shell. He had contributed a lot to who she became. Before she met him, she was really shy and quiet, and preferred to not be touched or spoken to, hardly even went out. Never could she have imagined that she’d have a boyfriend like this. In fact, she hadn’t thought she’d get a boyfriend at all. They had been through a lot together, and sure, she sometimes got very annoyed with him, but that didn’t even matter. She’d rather deal with all that than not be with him at all. She was just glad he was willing to deal with her crazy, too.
Gia was broken out of her thoughts when her name was called. She was the second to last person to be called on stage, since the order was alphabetical. As soon as she stood up, Frank bounced up in the audience, whipped out a vuvuzela and started to blow on it, making such a noise that an old lady sitting behind him covered her ears and nearly cried. Gerard and Lindsey stood up, too, as did the rest of her family, but the incredibly loud ruckus they made hardly even bothered Gia. She smiled, a bit embarrassed by her family, and walked to the principal. She shook his hand, and accepted the scroll. Her family didn’t stop screaming and clapping and thumping their feet to the ground until she took her place on the row on the other side of the stage.
Her family finally calmed down, but Gia’s heart didn’t. It kept hitting hard on her throat, and her fingers wrapped tightly around the scroll. She was still nervous, and for a reason.
It was the end of an era.
But somehow, she felt calmer, and this ending didn’t matter so much when she glanced at Lucas, and met his eyes.
It didn’t matter, because something even better was just about to start.
A/N: THAT'S IT. THAT'S THE STORY. 129 CHAPTERS. WAY TOO MANY HOURS. JUST. YEAH.
So yes, I doubt there are still THAT many readers left, but those who read the whole thing, congratulations to you for this incredible achievement. And thank you for putting up with my dreadful laziness and slow pace of updating. I hope you've enjoyed the story, though!
I'd like to thank my mommy and my daddy because without them I wouldn't be here and I'd also like to thank everybody who has ever rated and reviewed, it's really made me feel good. Sexually. And extra special mentions go to Haven aka PartyPoisen here on Ficwad who created the character Hazel and who helped me a ton with this story thing, Victoria aka BabiesBakedInCakes (I hope I got that username right...) who has helped a lot as well, to ReddyDevil (again, hoping I got that right) who beta-ed (beta'd?) this story for a while for me, aaaaaaannnnddd just about everybody who had given up their precious time on this earth to help me and read this story.
It's been fun. Sometimes. Other times it was sort of a drag. Actually mostly it sucked. But sure there were some fun times as well. Thank you! Stay in school! Don't do drugs!