Forever First Love
At seventeen, Parker Murphy's attending her first public school since her dad emerged from the cocoon of military life. She's headed for dating, dancing and falling in love at full speed. Yep, she's even planning to do a little smooching in the back seat of some cute boy's car. This time, it's minus the chaperones, decked out in full military gear. Seriously, how intimidating is that.
Ryan Blando is tall, dark, and very drool-worthy, so she bestows him her 'Parker Hearts You' t-shirt. Or she hunts him down, shoves her phone number beneath his nose and pretty much demands that he calls her. And with intelligence at the top, he calls. They start to date and the two are happy kids. Between her jobs, Ryan's three part-time jobs and AP classes, they manage to carve out a relationship. In fact, according to their friends, they spend more time together than Mark and Darla do, and neither of those two work.
Ryan has made plans on a day when he's promised to take Parker to the city to pick up her misplaced purse after a holiday performance. For the first time, Ryan never shows up for their date. Parker is steaming.
The truth is revealed the next day. Ryan's accidentally shot in the back by his cousin. The story of a unloaded gun is a dangers gun. Ryan's critically injured, severing Parker's world. The pellets have penetrated his organs throughout his back. He survives for a few days.
When all she wants to do in languish in her own private hell, Parker's gifted with a request. One that's going to require her to reinvest herself back into living in order for her to accomplish it. Ryan's mother has several of Ryan's pages of his valedictorian speech for the end of our school year at graduation. Enough pages in fact, that Parker could actually present the speech in his place.
At the end of their Christmas Holiday, a group of friends declares that it is time for Parker to come out of hiding. That its okay if she wants to remember Ryan but that she needs to live while grieving. She goes to a New Year's party and talks to the Student Body President about presenting Ryan's speech. He offers to approach the Principle and the Superintendent, and promises to help her.
She returns to school with a new attitude and a new crush. It seems that the SBP finally gets around to asking her to prom. He's always been a friend and sometimes they make the best type of support when that's all you're looking for. She ends up on the dance committee and the yearbook committee and gets closer to some of the cheerleaders. The same girls who had started the year hating her because of her relationship with Ryan when she first began dating him.
She is given permission to give Ryan's speech at the graduation ceremony but as a guest speaker. Before leaving for the ceremony, she takes a tassel and stops at the cemetery where she tells Ryan about her opportunity to present his words and farewell to his fellow students and that she knows that he'll be beside her as she speaks. She leaves the tassel draped across his headstone and tells him that she'll miss her trips to visit but she'll be leaving soon to college.
After the graduation ceremony and family pictures are completed, Parker feels a breeze of cold air and looks up to see a vague glimpse of Ryan. He throws her out a air kiss and waves. She smiles.
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