Chapter Six, Graduation Day!, of A Love From Above, Free Christian E-Novel


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Chapter 6

A bright flash of light, followed by a loud crash, pierced the dark stillness. Denise awakened, momentarily disoriented, with her heart pounding heavily in her chest, and her breath coming too rapidly. What had awakened her, she wondered fearfully.

There it was again! Denise looked at the clock by her bedside to determine the time. And again, the lightening flashed, quickly followed by a low. loud rumble of thunder.

She crept out of bed, listening for sounds that would indicate another member of the family was awake. No, just the sounds of the wind ravaging against the house, a continual cracking, popping, and a few large drops of rain. playing music on the window panes, was all she could hear.

A feeling of panic was growing inside Denise, as streaks of light penetrated her room through her closed curtains. Thunderstorms were prevalent in West Texas this time of year. She should be used to it. she thought. But. fear wasn't to be rationalized away.

Trying desperately to calm her pounding heart, and cause her breathlessness to subside, she reminded herself that she had lived through a thousand of these storms without harm. But. still, she remembered occasions in which she had seen the damage done by tornadoes, and had heard the accounts given by the victims, all of which survived, luckily!

She had learned the precautions one should take when the weather was bad, like this. at school, but Dad always just laughed at her. This fear. which affected no one else in the family, made her feel like such a child, wanting to run to Mommy to be protected!

Glancing again at the clock, Denise decided she might as well get ready for school. This was the last day of the school year, and graduation services were set for tonight! Jon's graduation! She was so happy for him. And so proud of him!

Denise began to wonder how she would make it through school next year, without Jon being there. She had only known him for three months, but he had become such an intricate part of her life. She and Todd had been riding to school with him. and home again, the last few weeks. And she always met with Jon at noon for lunch. How lonely it would be when he was away at college!

Oh, this weather really was depressing! And it should be a day of excitement! She and Jon planned to really celebrate after the service, and she was looking forward to it.

As Denise looked into her closet to choose an outfit for the day, she jumped nervously at a loud clap of thunder. Would it never end? She chose a dress, pink pinstripes on a white background, made from a linen-type fabric, with a dropped waistline, and mid-calf length which accented her slenderness and height. It always made her feel like a lady, mature and feminine. She wanted to look special today for Jon. It was his special day!

She continued applying her makeup, and realized the storm was quieter now. The flashes of lightening were becoming hardly noticeable, and the claps of thunder less frequent, just a low rumble, the wind seemed to have subsided, but the rain continued.

Denise took a deep breath. She had made it through another one! She brushed her shoulder length hair until it glistened in the light, it's natural curls falling softly into place. Her first graduation party, Denise thought. And she could hardly wait. She knew many of the other girls in High School were envious since she was wearing Jon's ring. And now that she was allowed to date him freely, (with a curfew, of course), she felt sort of accepted by even the older girls in school, the 'in crowd'. It was such a cool feeling! Completing her preparations, Denise gathered her raincoat, umbrella, and purse, setting them on the sofa in the living room, and started toward the heavenly smell of bacon frying in the kitchen.

Denise hurried through breakfast, and warning Todd to hurry, checked herself over one more time. Jon would be here any minute.

She heard Jon's car honk and she and Todd, carefully choosing their path to avoid walking in the standing water, made their way to his car. Jon was visibly inpressed as he watched Denise approach the car.

"Babe. you sure look fine. today!" His eyes lingered on her briefly. She read the look of admiration, and pride in his eyes. the look she had wanted to capture. This day was going to be good. after all, Denise decided happily.


Finally! The day was almost over! The rain had stopped and started, several times. It continued to be a cloudy, dreary day.

Only one more class to go, then she would be with Jon, again. But, on her way to class, she decided to make a quick visit to the restroom. It was not unusual for the restrooms to be packed between classes. Today was no exception. After finally getting into the stall, she thought she heard someone mention Jon's name.

Denise did not mean to eavesdrop, but how could she help it? Who was doing the talking? She didn't recognize the voice. But they must be standing near her stall door, she decided, because even though they were talking in hushed voices, she could hear every word clearly.

"You know who he is. that guy that just moved here a few months ago! Dark hair, olive skin, big, beautiful brown eyes. Remember? Well. it was pretty late when I ran into him at the convenience store, but we talked a while, then we went on the drag, together. He drives that gorgeous black sportscar. you know the one! Anyway, we had a great time. and man, does he ever know how to kiss! Not like most of the amateurs around here, that's for sure! I didn't get home until two o'clock in the morning. I heard he's gonna be at the party tonight, and I can't wait. He's gonna take me home tonight, if I have anything to do with it!"

Denise saw only a bit of a girl's leg, and her beige, flat pumps as the girl walked past the stall door, still rattling on, then heard the stillness in the room as the large door sqeaked open, and closed. She winced with pain at the things she had overheard. Could that really have been Jon they were talking about?

Yet, the description sure fit. And she described his car! But, how? When? Why? And what could she do? Should she just ignore it? Or confront Jon with what she had overheard? Or hunt down the girl wearing the beige slippers? Denise had no idea who it was! Surely, this couldn't have happened since they had been going steady, Denise thought. They had been together almost constantly. But, she always had to be in early. The girl said it had been late when they met. No! It couldn't have been Jon! She had to be wrong. Maybe someone else who resembled him, although she couldn't think of anyone like that in this town!

But, what if it were true? Denise had never doubted Jon's loyalty to her before.

Oh, what an awful day this has been. all day long! And the cloud that hung over her now was far darker than the ones that hung over the small West Texas town!


The small auditorium was packed to capacity. The Whitakers and the Rivers sat together, awaiting the climax of all the years of public education for Jon, and the eighty-one other graduating seniors. There was an almost continual hum in the building generated by the whispers and quiet conversation of the visitors. as final details were completed behind the stage, readying for the service.

Just then. three-year-old Amanda, who was sitting on Denise's lap. whispered in Denise's ear. "I gotta go, 'Neece."

"Where do you want to go, Amanda?" Denise questioned patiently.

"I gotta go to the bathroom. Will you take me?" Amanda looked at Denise, pleadingly. Denise looked at Amanda's big, brown eyes. Exact replicas of her big brother's, Denise thought. And they seemed to have the same power to melt her, too. Denise looked at her watch. It was just about time for the service to start, and Denise didn't want to miss a single minute of it.

Amanda, sensing Denise's hesitation, put her arm around Denise's neck. saying, "Please, 'Neece. I gotta go now!"

"O.K., Dumplin', but we'll have to hurry! The service is gonna start right away."

Denise leaned over to tell Doris they would be right back, and hand in hand, Denise and Amanda walked to the back of the auditorium to the restroom. Unintentionally, Denise kept noticing the shoes of every girl she met. But, to no avail. No beige slippers!

At Denise's insistance, Amanda hurried. Amanda was always trying to please her, Denise thought, happy to be regarded highly, affectionately, by Jon's little sister. It made her feel just that much closer to Jon!

Straightening Amanda's dress, then lifting her to the sink to wash her hands, she thought how she would love to be a mother to a little girl like this. A warm feeling came over her. until she remembered her mother, her biological mother, and wondered if she had ever felt this way, before giving her away to strangers.

If she just knew why!

Of course, Denise loved her adopted parents, and thought no mother could have been better to her. But, still, she couldn't help but wonder. And there was always a sharp pain with the thought of being rejected by her own mother.

Then she heard the music start in the auditorium, and she and Amanda hurriedly made their way back to their seats, which were as near to the front as possible.

James, Jon's dad, had brought his movie camera, with plenty of cartridges, and Tom was prepared with his camera and flashbulbs, as they waited for Jon to march down the aisle.

Just as they sat down, with Amanda again in Denise's lap, the procession of graduating students began, as the students marched single-file to the reserved seats in the very front, each looking very distinguished in the black robes, and caps with dangling gold tassels.

Amanda was the first to spy Jon among the students. "Look, 'Neese! There he is! There's Bubba!" she cried excitedly, pointing toward him.

The flashes from all the cameras were lighting up the aisles, as the honorees proceeded along.

The service was brief, considering all the speakers that each had a turn at relating a humorous, sentimental, or important moment in the lives of one, or all of this graduating class.

Then, time came for each to ascend to the stage to receive their diploma.

Many tears were shed, as mothers and fathers watched their offspring receive the recognition each had worked so hard for. There were tears in Denise's eyes. too, but she didn't stop to analyse why. She just felt so proud for Jon, her Jon!

As the class marched single-file from the auditorium to the reception hall, holding their awards, the entire audience came to their feet, and as soon as possible, made their way to congratulate their special graduate.

Much to Amanda's disappointment, it was soon over, and Denise rode off with Jon.

After a few drags around town, Jon headed toward home for a change of clothes. When they arrived at Jon's house, there were relatives' cars parked all around, and the house was aglow with lights.

There was quite a celebration right there at Jon's house, before they left to go to the party. The house was decorated inside with streamers, and balloons. A large cake, decorated just for Jon, was centered on the table, with the punch bowl filled, and the nearby buffet was loaded with graduation gifts for him.

Jon insisted Denise help with opening the gifts, and there was much laughter, and joy. He received many gifts, some for use in the college dorm, clothes, money, and a few gag gifts! But the most special gift of the evening was from Denise! It was an expensive gold I.D. bracelet, with her name engraved on it. It had been placed on lay-away over a month ago. Originally, Jon's name was to have been engraved, but after committing to 'steadies', she had changed the order. Denise had paid on the gift weekly with her allowance, leaving very little to spend elsewhere, but she didn't mind. He was worth it! She wanted so much to please Jon!

He held out his arm for her to fasten it on him, as 'ooh's and aahs' came from all over the room. Then right in front of everybody, he leaned over and kissed her sweetly, briefly.

Everyone laughed and teased Denise about blushing! But she was happy. So happy! The day had finally brightened, she thought.

Jon changed from his white shirt, tie, and dress pants, to black jeans, and a red and black striped sports shirt. And with his black and silver trimmed belt and black boots, Denise thought he could not have looked more handsome. And like a native Texan!

Denise was going next door to change, but Jon insisted she looked perfect in her new white jumpsuit. So, as soon as was courteously possible, they said goodbye, and left for the party, with a gentle reminder from Doris that Denise was to be home by midnight. And that was being lenient, Denise thought!

Denise felt so close to Jon tonight. She chided herself for even thinking Jon might have been unfaithful to her! Not her Jon! It had to have been someone else. or perhaps, the girl had just been fantasizing out loud. She knew lots of girls would like to have been in her place!

Rose Petals