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15-year-old Hayley copes with the loss of her mom as well as the pressures of her high school studies. Brent becomes her friend, takes her flying and mentors her. They come to care a great deal for each other. Hayley also attends night school at a community college to earn her welding certification. With Brent’s encouragement she decides to study nursing and apply for a military scholarship. He goes away to college. His whininess causes Hayley to stop calling him.
Gabe and Hayley work at the same welding shop during the summer. He captures her attention as she completes high school. Brent does the unthinkable. Hayley receives a military scholarship which enables her to begin her nursing program and to join the Air Force ROTC detachment at the University of Iowa. She discovers how me-centric her world is. She vows to change that and becomes friends with an older couple her grandma knew back in Germany. She develops a friendship with Jacob, a fellow nursing student, and romantic relationships with Clay, an ROTC cadet, and Grady.
A few years pass. Hayley completes her BSN and becomes certified as an RN. She loves both Clay and Grady. Life flings Grady into a Peace Corps assignment and Clay into pilot training in Texas. Hayley is assigned to Elmendorf AFB as a 2nd lieutenant. Before moving to her base, she returns home. A surprise, a note and decisions await her.