Molly sat among her classmates in identical black gowns and square-topped hats that every traditional graduation would require a student to wear. She wasn't so much interested in the boring speeches about how the adults and teachers were proud of their accomplishments and how they are the future of Castanet Island. All she wanted to do was look at the watching audience, which was full of parents and family members of the students in her class. She scanned the seated audience and, knowing that she would only be disappointed if she did, looked for her parents. Of course, she frowned slightly when she didn't find them. She shouldn't have got her hopes up. She and her fraternal twin sister, Angela, hadn't spoken with or seen their parents since they moved to Castanet Island - not even a phone call. Though she didn't find her parents, she saw her older brother, Kasey, and his wife, Anissa, sitting together watching the ceremony. Kasey saw her and waved eccentrically while Anissa smiled, rubbing her bulging stomach affectionately. Molly waved back discreetly, and turned back around to where the stage was. The mayor was now handing over the podium spotlight to the class' valedictorian, Gill. This was the only speech that she actually wanted to listen to.
She remembered watching Gill sit at his desk in his room writing the speech while she kept herself busy by trying to read one of the thick books on his bookshelf.
Without taking his blue eyes away from his desk, Gill said, "What are you doing? You never read."
"I've read your diary," she simply said, squinting her eyes to read the small text.
Gill looked up and couldn't quite tell if she was lying or not, which secretly worried him. "Like when?" he challenged her bluff.
"Yesterday," she answered with a smirk. "I didn't know my laugh was 'cute'."
Gill turned back around when he felt his face heat up. "Shut up."
Molly grinned in mirth when recalling that memory, receiving a weird look from Kathy, who was sitting next to her.
After Gill gave his profoundly professional speech, and the students received their diplomas, it was time to do what Molly had been waiting for the entire time. As soon as Mayor Hamilton finished giving the last "Congratulations" to be said of the ceremony, Molly and Luke tied on being the first ones to throw their hat up in the air. Luke was so happy that he even pulled off his black gown and threw it in the air too, making everyone look twice when they saw a gown mixed in with a crowd of hats. When the ceremony had come to an end, everyone headed for the exit at once, which was unwise due to the congestion it caused in front of the church's double doors.
Yes, the high school's graduation ceremony was held in Harmonica Town's very own Celesta Church. Where else would they hold it? The church was the most formal place to hold a public celebration, and Harmonica Town's population was much too small to need a giant gymnasium or auditorium in the school.
After squeezing through the crowd and out of the church and into the courtyard, Molly searched for any of her friends or family. She quickly found her best friend, Chase. He was standing by himself, running his fingers through his peachy blond hair to get rid of the hat-hair. Molly laughed and made her way to him. "Need a hand, there?" she offered.
"No, thanks," he said, irate. "I hate hats. They only make your hair messy."
"Chase, your hair is always messy," she pointed out.
He gave a low grunt. "I still hate hats," he said stubbornly. "So, where's Gill? I thought he would have found you before I would."
"He said he and Mayor Hamilton were going to Town Hall right after the ceremony to talk about mayor stuff."
"He's finally going to be mayor?"
She shrugged. "Maybe. Hamilton did tell him that he'd begin considering it once he graduates."
"Chase!" they heard a high-pitched voice call. It was soon followed by Maya suddenly leaping on Chase's back and wrapping her arms around his neck. "Congratulations! Now that you're outta school, all that's left is for me to graduate next year, and then we can get married!"
Chase pried her off his back in annoyance. "Who ever said I'd marry you?"
She stomped her right foot and crossed her arms in a pout. "You're such a meanie!"
"Yeah, Chase, don't be a meanie," Molly instigated, receiving narrow-eyed glares from Chase. "C'mon, take this lovely lady and make her dinner. You know you want to!"
Chase growled as his face flushed to a rosy red color. "I don't understand why I even deal with people like you two," he snapped. He then turned around and stalked away, knowing it was the best thing to do to escape the conversation.
Maya stepped forward to go after him, but Molly stopped her with a simple shake of the head. Maya looked up at her with a tearful expression, which silently questioned her on why she shouldn't go after him. Molly gave her a small reassuring smile.
"Just him some time. He'll come around," Molly said knowingly.
Maya reluctantly listened and sighed. She knew Molly was right. She trusted her.
Angela went to the carpentry with Luke after the ceremony. Dale had invited her to dinner to cerebrate their graduation. "Congrats, kiddos!" Dale said to Luke and Angela with a triumphant roar. "And to think that Luke didn't fail more than four classes this year!"
"It would have been five if Angela didn't step in and teach you how to do math," Bo added with a laugh. "Right, Luke?"
Luke nervously chuckled. "Thanks, Ang…"
Angela smiled. "Dale, what you going to make tonight?"
Dale then faked an overly dramatic gasp and placed his hand over his forehead. "Oh, no. I was going to make vegetable curry, but I forgot to get some curry powder to make it," he said unconvincingly, throwing a wink Luke's way. Luke's gold eyes widened. "Looks like Bo and I will have to go get some more!" Dale said, already making his way hastily towards the door with Bo.
"W-Wait!" Luke called out in panic. "We have curry powder already!"
"Oh, but that's not nearly enough! We'll back soon," Bo said before shutting the door quickly behind them, leaving Luke and Angela at the carpentry to wait.
Luke buried his face and groaned quietly to himself. "Why did they have to leave?"
Angela stood in front of the kitchen counter, literately counting the number of curry powder containers they already had on it. "Yeah. You guys definitely have enough curry powder," she said innocently. She turned around and frowned seeing Luke scowl. She had noticed that he would easily get flustered lately, and it made her uneasy. Luke wasn't the type of person to just hold on to a problem; it just didn't fit his optimistic attitude. "Is something wrong, Luke? You're a little off lately," Angela observed.
Luke took his face from out of his hands to look at her. He didn't answer right away, for he was still trying to think of what to say. "Ang? Do you…like coming over here and eating dinner and stuff with us?" he asked, his cheeks burning the more he spoke.
Angela blinked, puzzled. What does that have to do with anything? "Of course I do, Luke," she said, her tone giving away her slight confusion despite the confident smile she put on to cover it up. "I always feel at home when I'm here."
Luke couldn't help but crack a grin when she said that. "At home… So, you have no problem seeing this place as your home?"
Angela raised her brows, still not sure what any of this had to do with his nervousness, but she went along with it when she saw that his spirits were gradually lifting the more they talked about it. "Well, I see Dale as father and Bo as a little brother, so I already see this place as a kind of home. Why do you ask?"
"Oh, w-well…" Luke began hesitantly, avoiding eye contact with her by staring at his hands. "I was…just wondering…"
Angela's eyebrows shot up even higher in disbelief. "Just wondering?"
Luke continued to watch his hands as he wrung them."Yeah…"
Angela sighed. "If you say so, I guess…"
** So, that was an introduction to this sequel! I gave this story a kinda crappy summary, but, hey, it works.
I'm predicting that this will be a somewhat short story, but hopefully not too short. I liked that "The Harmonica Junior High School Bet" title idea that someone suggested, by the way. I'd really love to make this a trilogy and use it for the next generation. Speaking of which, thank you to those that left ideas, titles, etc. for me to use!
Anyways, I hope you like it so far, and let me know what you're thinking so far. The next chapter will be up soon! :) **