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Thirty One - Three Falls

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It's settled -- I'm going to Rice University, which is just within driving radius for me.

As for Xavier, we've been driving around, dropping applications at colleges close enough too. Even though he doesn't seem too confident, I'm sure he'll get accepted into at least one of them.

Dad has never looked happier, and though he says I can go wherever I want, even Cambridge, I can see the happiness bubbling in his eyes.

He -- like Xavier -- thinks I'm doing this because I don't want to be away from Xavier. They're both right, to an extent, but I'm never admitting it.

So, instead of being labeled the crazy girl who's giving up her future for her crush, I'm the good girl who's putting other people first.

Xavier isn't hopeful about getting into a college. Even though his overall academic record isn't totally bad -- aside from his senior year -- and his English scores are pretty good because he's got a very literary mind, he's just happy I'm not totally throwing my life in the trash. But when he writes a bomb essay for his application and some original poems that dad even fowards to a magazine editor, I'm sure he's going to get into a great university.

It takes a while but Xavier finally gets accepted into The Art Institute of Houston, which is both amazing and miraculous. He can hardly believe it, but I'm dancing and bouncing on the balls of my feet all day. It's not the best university for English Lit but at least it's not too far and has a recognized degree.

"You can go to an even better place for post-grad," dad tells Xavier, beaming. He takes us out for dinner and I have never seen him laugh this much.

Even through the uncertainty and disbelief, Xavier, too, seems happier. He's smiling more, talking to dad and me, and even eating his entire meal. Under the table, he doesn't let go of my hand the entire time we're at the restaurant, and when dad asks if he wants to drive us back, Xavier glows like a lightbulb.

I don't know who I love more, Xavier or my dad.

Pretty sure it's dad.

The next morning is brighter than one I expect, and it radiates the same kind of happiness I feel, waking up with Xavier's arms around me.

It still gets me all weak in the knees, causing me to smile like the joker.

I wonder why Xavier doesn't find me creepy. I'm pretty sure I am.

"I have to go home," he says all of a sudden.

Glancing up from my paperwork, I look towards Xavier, who is sitting beside me on the couch, leaning back with his arm around me.

"For what?" I ask, already anxious due to the serious look on his face.

I don't like his serious look. It's unpredictable. It means he's going to say something he knows I won't like.

"I have some money saved up." He sighs, looking at me with those swirling grey eyes. "I need it for tuition."

I open my mouth to answer and stop, frowning to myself. I'd love to tell him not to go, as I doubt dad would refuse to pay Xavier's tuition. Dad loves Xavier more than he loves me, and I'm pretty sure he'll ask me to get scholarship so Xavier can study without one.

I love my dad for this.

"Can't we --"

Xavier kisses me to silence me, and -- even after three hundred times -- his kiss still wipes my mind blank. He leans back and looks into my eyes, and I'm almost sure I'm drooling.

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by Daisy
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