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Alexis’s POV

“Valentina  Ronland.”

A girl two seats down from me stood up. She had a massive grin across her face. I knew why she was so happy. It is graduation day! Who couldn’t be happy? The girl, Valentina, took quick steps in her three-inch high heels and pretty much danced onto the small stage where Principal McKennedy stood. Tia shook Mr McKennedy’s hand and took the diploma out of his hands. She turned to face the small crowd and she smiled, showing off perfect pearly whites. The audience clapped and half of the school cheered. Lucky girl.

“Alexis, you ready?” said a voice next to me whispered. I smiled and looked at my best friend, Sasha Ross.

“You bet!” I said in a very positive voice.

“Once this is over, we’re free! Yay!”

“Free?” I stopped. “What am I going to do with my life???”

Sasha laughed, “Nothing!”

I chuckled, thinking about my future. Except, I couldn’t really see one for me.  I glanced at Sasha. She was my definition of perfection. She has long straight black hair and sparking brown eyes. And her coffee coloured skin is always looking the best. Sasha is pretty much a model; I don’t see why she isn’t one already! She would be right next to all the supermodels, strutting their stuff down the runway. Then there is me; I have dull brown hair and tanned skin. My blue eyes are turning grey and I’m not the skinniest girl out there. I’ve never had a boyfriend and I don’t really plan to have one. My Mum is what means most to me.

“Sasha Ross,” the principal announced. I hadn’t noticed Tia walk off the stage.

“Wish me luck!” Sasha said in an excited voice.

“God luck!” I said smiling. I watched Sasha walk up the small set of stairs towards the Mr McKennedy.  Sasha shook his hand, just as Tia did, and Mr McKennedy actually handed the diploma to Sasha, unlike Tia who pretty much just snatched it away from him. Sasha looked at the audience, her eye’s searching for something. Her eyes caught mine, she was looking for me. She smiled and everyone began to clap. I stood up, never taking my eyes off Sasha, and put my fingers to my mouth. I then let out a loud whistle that put all the claps to shame. Sasha’s eye’s shone and she stepped down from the stage, the audience going silent.

She quickly walked back to me, ginning like crazy. I threw my arms around her and gave her a hug.

“Congrats girl!” I said in her ear.

“Thanks Lex!”

We sat back down on our chairs and the principal scanned the sheet of paper.

“Alexis Rowan,” Mr McKennedy finally said, sounding as bored as ever.

“Get up there girl,” Sasha quickly whispered.

I gave her a small nod and stood up. I began to slowly walk towards the stage. I could feel a hundred different pairs of eyes laid on me. I made it to the stairs when I heard someone wolf whistle and a guy chuckle. Al the guys a week ago never did that, why now? I blushed but I walked up the stairs and onto the stage where Mr McKennedy was holding my diploma. I looked at Mr McKennedy’s tired eyes and he actually forced a smile onto his face.

“Congratulations,” he simply said.

“Uhhh… Thanks?” I mumbled, unsure of what to say to him.

I looked out at the crowd and took in all the people. It looked like there were at least three hundred people there. I began to get nervous but, just as Mr McKennedy did, I forced a smile. Everyone began to clap and I saw Sasha stand up clapping. I continued to search the crowd, looking for a certain person. My eyes then met hers. Mum. I grinned with delight; it felt great to have her here. I then took a breath and walked down the stairs. They always say that there’s a staircase to heaven… Or is that hell?

I took light steps all the way back to my seat, pride glowing within me. Sasha ran up to me and it was her turn to give me a bear hug.

‘We’re free!” She said.

“We’re free...” I repeated. Something came over me… Free? Was that it? No more school? What am I going to do now? I don’t think I have ever been this nervous in my life.

“I’m so proud of you honey!” Mum said, taking her eyes off the road for a quick moment to see my reaction.

“Mum, everyone does this in their life,” I said, smiling. I wasn’t much of a fan of attention, it made me feel insecure.

“Not everyone,” Mum said in a stern-ish voice.

“What do you mean?” I say, turning to face her.

Mum clutched the steering wheel tighter, “Don’t you ever forget the less fortunate.”

Realisation hit me. Whoops. One silent minute passed and I decided to break to torture.

“Mum?”

“Hm?” She said with her lips pressed together.

“What do you we would be doing right now if Dad was still here?” I said quickly. I really wanted answers.

Mum breathed in sharply, “Let’s not talk about your father.”

I sighed but continued, “Would’ve ever left Dad for Terry?”

Terry was my step-dad. He’s the one who makes big bucks for our ‘family’ by owning some business.

“Leave your Dad for Terry? No, never.”

I smiled.

Mum continued, “I loved your father very much, I still do.”

I saw small tears form in her eyes.

“I didn’t mean to upset you,” I said, feeling bad.

“No, Lex. I’m fine,” she assured me. I obviously didn’t believe her.

Mum drove our rich and glamorous car into our street. The odd thing about living in London is that one minute; you could be in an old block of houses, turn the corner and see a whole street of modern and expensive houses.

Mum slowed the car down and pulled into our driveway. She parked the car safely and turned the key in the ignition, shutting down the car.

“Home sweet home,” Mum said and looked at me with hopeful eyes.

My idea of ‘home’ is a nice and safe place; right next to the beach. The front yard would be large with luscious green grass with traces of sand from the beach. The front of the house would be wooden, painted white. The whole house would always smell of the oceans crisp air and on fine nights, you could go out to the backyard, with a telescope, and spot the different constellations.

I came back to reality and grimaced at the house that stood before me: Two storeys high with a bare front door. The house was too… modern for my liking.

But, ignoring the house’s disgrace to humanity, I slipped out of the car and followed Mum inside. I was welcomed to the warm air that had been trapped inside the house. Mum and I walked into the kitchen where she placed her handbag and keys down, onto the counter. I walked around the counter to the refrigerator and opened the door wide. A gust of cold air brushed over me, cooling my body. I quickly ignored it and grabbed a can of coke. I shut the fridge’s door and turned to see Mum reading something on her phone with an excited face.

I suddenly felt curious, “What are you doing?”

Mum looked up from her phone and smiled wider, which I didn’t even think was possible.

“My old friend from college is coming over to London and she’s staying here with us!” Mum squealed.

My eyes widened, “How old is she???”

Mum laughed, “No sweetie! Look, she’s my age and she’s bringing her five sons over, her daughters are staying with their father. Isn’t that going to be exciting?”

My mouth dropped open, “Five sons!”

“Yeah, they all have business to do here in London so they’re coming here to stay,” Mum said casually.

How old were THEY? I thought.

“When are they coming?” I asked unconsciously.

Mum quickly checked he phone. “Sunday,” she finally said.

I groaned, they were coming in two days.

“Honey, don’t worry. You’ll still have your own room and bathroom.”

“Yeah, but no house,” I mumbled and ran upstairs to my room.

“I heard that!” Mum called.

What a great way to start freedom…

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