The Goal(Off-Campus #4)(129)

By: Elle Kennedy

Mama Tucker and I have gotten along splendidly ever since she accepted that I love her son and that I’m not going anywhere. I’m not sure if it’ll still be the case when she moves to Boston next spring. I’m a bit nervous about having her close by, but after Jamie’s first birthday, which Mrs. Tucker wasn’t there for, Tuck’s mom decided that she simply cannot stand to be so far away from her precious granddaughter. She’s saving up some more money first, and then she’s moving east to open her own hair salon. Tucker, of course, is insisting on providing the capital for it.

My soon-to-be husband is a saint. When he proposed after the small birthday party we threw for Jamie, I almost said no. Sometimes it scares me how incredible this man is. I’m terrified that I’m somehow going to screw this up, but Tucker constantly reminds me that this is it. He and I are it. Forever.

“Where’s Dean?” I ask, searching the room for his blond head.

“He couldn’t have made it in time,” Hannah explains. “He coaches the girls’ hockey team at his school and they practice Tuesday and Thursday evenings.”

I nod. I had to bail on a study session to be able to attend this Tuesday night game. But it’s harder for Dean and Allie to drop everything when they’re living in Manhattan. They made it to Jamie’s party, though. Dean bought her a stuffed unicorn that she carts around everywhere.

Hannah, Carin, Hope, Grace and I get together once a month, no matter what, to commiserate over school, life, and love. Carin’s moved on from her TA and is madly in love with a guest lecturer from London. She says that everything’s sexier with a British accent. I can’t disagree. I love Tucker’s southern drawl and hope he never loses it.

Hope told me she and D’Andre are talking about marriage and a family. They’re jealous over Jamie and talk about how they want to be young parents.

All in all, we’re a happy group.

Sometimes I worry that we’re too happy, but then a visit to Nana’s house brings things into focus. We’re happy because we want to be, because we’re pouring our energy and emotion into each other in the best possible way.

My goal, once upon a time, was to succeed. I didn’t realize that success wasn’t grades or scholarships or achievements, but the people I was lucky enough to have in my life.

As I look around the room, I want to give everyone a hug and a thank-you. A hug to express how much I love them and a thank-you for loving me back.

Because love is the ultimate goal. It’s not the one I had strived for, but I was lucky enough, so damn lucky, to achieve it.

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