Graduation rolled around before Rae knew what was happening. Her class of thirty eight dressed proudly in their robes, each demigod wearing a cord colored to represent their godly heritage. Rae’s was ice blue, of course. The ceremony was disappointingly similar to any other high school graduation, though there was a striking lack of parents in the audience. Everyone had grown up in at least a one parent home, but then there were some who were even less fortunate. Rae, for example, didn’t have any guardian there to represent her, but she was more than happy to see her sister, Everett, and Austin in the front row cheering for her.

She wondered why they were so overjoyed. Did they really doubt she could do it?

“We all knew you could do it, and we’re happy for you. Wait. Upon checking with Austin, he didn’t think you could do it, but me and Avery knew,” Everett said in her thoughts.

It made Rae laugh, which in turn got her suspicious glances from the kids around her who had no idea what she was laughing at.

Following the ceremony, Rae was the first person to shed her robes and sprint for the reception held in the Mess Hall. Tables had been pushed aside to form a perimeter around the center of the room which was decorated as a dance floor. The round tables had been immaculately set and prepared, the food already on warm plates waiting for them. Rae sat herself down and began to eat just as her friends joined her.

“See, I told you she’d already be here. And you boys thought we should wait,” Avery said with an eye roll.

The meal was divine, in Rae’s opinion anyways. She never tired or slowed even after the fourth course. It wasn’t until she had polished off her dessert that she began to feel the lethargy setting in, her eyelids starting to droop as she leaned back in the chair.

The music started up and a few demigods ushered their mothers and girlfriends out. Out of the corner of her eye, Rae caught Everett throwing her glances.

“What?” she asked, though she had the vague idea that Everett wanted to ask her to dance. She was going to enjoy making him ask it out loud.

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Everett was antsy for no sensible reason. When he saw people dancing, he got very excited and wanted to show what he learned from the weekend dance class he took the year before.

“Hey Rae,” he finally stuttered out after a few minutes. “Do you, uh, do you wanna dance?” he asked, a hopeful look in his eye.

“Only if it’s nothing fast. I’m kind of full.”

Everett nodded, and stood. “Okay, so I guess that means Tango and Salsa are out. How about a Waltz?” he asked, bouncing on his feet a little.

“Does that require much effort? I really think you overestimate my gracefulness.”

Everett chuckled and grabbed her hand. “All you need is a good lead,” he said cheerily, but inside he was suddenly nervous that he wouldn’t be able to waltz. Pushing his insecurities aside, he grabbed Rae’s hand and set it on his shoulder, then grabbed her other hand, but he hesitated about putting his hand on Rae’s waist. With a shake of his head, he put his hand on her waist. ‘I’ve made out with this girl on multiple occasions. I highly doubt she’ll be appalled if I touch her side,’ he thought to himself as he began trying to explain to Rae how to Waltz.

“How about we take it slow. I’m tired,” Rae suggested.

Everett sighed, mildly disappointed, but he released Rae’s hand and moved his own so that both hands were on Rae’s waist. They swayed back and forth to the slower music for quite some time. Everett, despite not being able to impress Rae with his waltzing skills, was thoroughly enjoying himself. As the evening slowed, Rae laid her head on his shoulder, and a thought came to Everett.

“Hey Rae?” he asked, as they continued to sway.

“Yeah?” she mumbled against his shoulder.

“Are you gonna take that monster hunting job?”

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Rae felt suddenly more alert. She wanted to hide her thoughts from him, but after so many months of getting used to and actually liking him in her head, she couldn’t do it. She let him in. Yes, she was taking the job. In fact she had sent a response just that morning. If it wasn’t too late, she expected to leave directly from the Institute to go wherever they told her. Avery would remain on campus but maybe stay at Austin’s house for a while too over the summer. She would invite Avery to come along and stay in the apartment of whatever city she resided in for the summer, but she had a feeling her sister would only visit once or twice since she’d want to be with Austin. Rae was okay with that though, because it meant she didn’t have to worry about Avery being in any kind of danger while she did her job.

“You should come and visit me once I’m settled,” Rae said to Everett after she let him hear her thoughts. “It won’t be a permanent job. Just temporary until I find something better. Something closer.”

Everett nodded dejectedly. “I understand.”

“And it’s only one more year for you then. After that... Well…” Rae had been about to say they could work somewhere together or maybe even live together, but who was she to predict the future? Their relationship felt so natural and like it would last forever, but did she really know that?

Stuttering, Rae tried to backtrack. “Well, if this relationships is going to last, then a little time apart won’t kill us.” She smiled, trying to appear confident even though she knew full well he could read her worried emotions better than she could.

Before he could read in too deep, she stood on her tiptoes, kissing him on the lips affectionately. “I may travel somewhere else in the country, but I’m not leaving this relationship, do you get that?”