MARS Fan Fiction ❯ Rise of a Fallen Angel (Part II of the Angels Series) ❯ Epilogue ( Epilogue )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Okay, I started this story when I was fourteen.
I celebrated my eighteenth birthday three months ago.
What does that tell you people?
But hey, let it henceforth be known that I leave nothing unfinished. …Everyone has forgotten that this story exists, but it's done. So HA! -triumph-
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They had done it.
The journey had been long, frustrating, and damn near impossible to survive at times, and it was still going on. But for all intents and purpose, the mission had been a success, and proof of that lay in Rei, Kira, and Akemi's presence at Emily's high school graduation.
Emily was valedictorian, of course—no surprise there. The surprise was that she showed next to no fear in giving a public speech. Her quiet days were not over; she still preferred to play her piano rather than talk to anyone. But that didn't mean she was afraid to speak anymore.
So she spoke, and they listened.
And few forgot what they heard.
“Family, friends, faculty, and fellow students, welcome. It is an honor to stand in front of all of you today. This day marks the end of one life and the beginning of many more, and as I stand before you today, I look back at my life with a mixture of regret, anger, sadness, and strangely enough, joy.
“All my life, I have immersed myself in a magical world, untainted by human population. It is a world of music, where everything is peaceful and my destiny is of my own choosing. I had always believed that such a place could exist only in the deepest realms of my imagination, but then three new people came into my life, and that imaginary world became the ultimate and perfect reality that I now live in.
“To truly understand how blessed I am, you must first know what my past life has been like. To give you a full account would take more time than myself and the rest of you have, so I will say only that from the time I was five to the time I was twelve, I lived a life that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I even considered suicide for a time. In fact, I was still considering it when Rei and Kira Kashino came to the orphanage where I was living. I went home with them a month after they came, and I have never once regretted it.
“My years with the Kashinos have been the best of my life since my parents died. I really can't remember ever being happier. And things only got better when I met a certain special someone.” Here, Emily paused to catch Akemi's eye for a moment before continuing. “He was the first person ever to fall in love with me, no strings attached. And between the three of them, I finally managed to take a turn in the right direction.
“You're probably all wondering why I have turned this speech into `My Life in a Nutshell' instead of the standard welcome-thank-you-for-coming-I'm-sorry-to-see-high-school-go-I'm-off-to-col lege-I-hope-to-keep-in-touch-with-my-fellow-students-thank-you-goodbye-have -a-nice-life speech that the valedictorian usually gives. The only explanation I can give is this: The three people I have mentioned are kind, gentle, caring, generous, unfailingly honest people who took me into their lives without question and treated me as though I belonged with them and always had. I wanted them to be recognized for that. They deserve it, and so, so much more than I or anybody else can give them.
“I know I am going to miss my years as a teenage schoolgirl. But that part of my life is over. That chapter is finished, and as far as I'm concerned, things can only get better from here. I have traveled a long and difficult road, and along the way I met people who shaped my life into something I never could have imagined, in ways I never could have imagined. As I look back at the memories, I realize that as bad as things get, they could always be worse. My short but sobering life truly proves that there is a truth to that proverb, `Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.'
“And now, as I prepare to accept my diploma and leave this part of my life behind, I would like to leave you all with a bit of advice. Count your blessings, not your curses. Curses amount to nothing, but blessings make all the difference in the world.
“I'm living proof of that.”