18 years old
It was graduation day. It was most definitely not what Claire had envisioned. She pictured her family in the front, beaming as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma. Instead, she saw Jamie’s family. She had spotted her mother out in the audience, but there was no sign of her father.
She stood in line, awaiting her turn to walk and rubbed her belly. Her center of balance had changed, so she often walked with her back arched to account for the shifting of the baby. Just standing in the line made her back ache.
She shifted back and forth on her feet.
Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp
Finally, it was her turn. She walked carefully up the stairs, accepted her diploma, moved her tassel from the right to the left and posed for a quick picture. She saw Jamie’s mother take several pictures and gave a small wave to the Fraser family, who cheered for her.
She carefully walked down the stage and returned gratefully back to her seat. As uncomfortable as the folding chair was, it was better than standing on her feet.
What she failed to notice in the back of the room was the person standing in the shadows, who exited before he was spotted.