The Reunion (short read)

The Reunion

It had been a long time since he went to a party like this. He hated these things. He had accepted this invitation only because he knew she’d be there. Yet he second guessed himself all the way from the curb to the door. At the last minute he decided to stick with his plan.

Walking into the party, he was welcomed by the host. He hadn’t seen the guy in ten years and yet he was talking to him as best friends. He drowned out the host and concentrated on scanning the room. 

He didn’t see her…yet. He was disappointed for a brief second and then pushed past it. She could be late…hell, she was usually was late to these kind of things. But she would be there, she wouldn’t dare miss this opportunity to walk down memory lane. Plus, she had dared him to come, and he never backed down on a dare.

He walked away while the host was still talking and didn’t give a shit. He hadn’t seen the man in ten years and it would probably be ten more years before he saw him again. He walked across the room to the makeshift bar and helped himself to a drink. He usually avoided alcohol, but tonight seemed as good an occasion as any to indulge. Plus, it steadied his nerves. Just because he never backed down on a dare didn’t mean he wasn’t nervous about what was at stake.

The music was so loud, the bass shook glasses on the bar. He cursed himself when his glass shook in his hand. There were too many people they knew here from high school, she had been friends with them, but he hadn’t. There was a reason why he had avoided these people for the since graduation. God help them if one of these creeps actually tried to talk to him.

Why wasn’t she here yet? He didn’t have much time here before he had to get back. It had been hard to make an excuse stick to buy him this evening out. That was another reason why he hated being around these people that knew him. Too many witnesses and too many people that could talk.

Hopefully this gamble – this girl – will be worth it.  

He looked around the room at smug smiling faces around him. He would assume that to them (and probably to their host ), his reason for being here was clear. Perhaps even the exact reason for his invite. It had been a long time since he humbled himself so much to…care. He liked being the guy no one could read and no one could anticipate. And yet here he was, making himself vulnerable.

If it didn’t work out then later tonight, back in his apartment, he knew he’d be kicking himself for coming. He’d end up looking like some joke  — a loser who gave some old flame a second thought… But, what if his plan worked and he didn’t go home alone? That was the big question. He was risking his reputation to find out the answer.

He had taken extra care in dressing tonight. He hoped that he looked good. Either she would like what she saw or she wouldn’t. The passing years hadn’t been particularly kind on him, but he was still able, on a good night, to talk a lady in a bar into giving her his number.

But he didn’t want just any woman. Not anymore. Ever since she had called him out of the blue, he knew that he wanted her back. Letting her get away was his one regret. At the time it had seemed implausible that they would ever fall in love. They were two strong, but separate personalities. The only thing in common they had ever had was the desire and ability to get each other off. They had found that out one night years ago, both drunk and alone. Their tryst had carried on for some time. Until he had told her that he wasn’t interested in more from her.

He had lied then, and was about to tell a bigger lie to her now to get her back. He didn’t feel great about it, but it had to be done. He needed to taste her again.  

Then from across the room…her laugh…unmistakable. Fuck. He hated the way his body reacted. He tried to calm his raging blood. He calmly breathed in and out all the while he drank in the sound of her voice.He couldn’t let her see how much she moved him.

This was the exact moment he was waiting for, preparing for. Nothing else mattered to him besides the next ten minutes. The next ten minutes could change everything.

He turned slowly and put on a smile. Slowly, trying not to appear over-eager, he walked towards the sound of her. As he got closer, he finally saw her. The wisp of golden hair, the grey sweater, the delicate legs crossed at the knee. She was beautiful, she was amazing. He was motivated now more than ever.

She sat on a sofa surrounded by a horde of well wishers. Her friends hung on her every word. She was the center of attention and she loved it! and she loved it. Her confidence, her control. The way she played the crowd was a thing of wonder. Like the people around her now, she had him fully captivated. Always had. She was the thought he sometimes woke up to in the middle of the night. To say that he missed her wouldn’t quite be true because she was never his to have. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he fully longed for her. The softness of her hair, the way her skin smelt. She was beautiful to him, sure but that wasn’t the only thing that made her attractive to him. It was the way her lips curled up when she found something really funny and the cute sound she makes when she sneezes. All these qualities sound silly in part but together…well together, they make her.

God, he loved her. He had let her walk away before but not now.

How would he do it? Would he walk right up to her and announce his feelings? Should he instead ask her to walk with him out to the garden for some privacy? Once he told her of his affection, how would she react? Would she crush him by turning him down, or by some miracle, accept his advances.

He mentally rolled his eyes at himself. God, talk about some love sick teenager. You’re older than that now and you’re better than some romantic fantasy. He took a deep breath. He had to remember what kind of man he was now. She was confident and in control? He would be too. He would make the crowd and she herself fall on his every word. He could do it. He would do whatever he needed to do in order to become the perfect man for her. 

He slipped into the booth beside her. She was so enthusiastic about the story she was telling that she didn’t notice immediately that he had joined them. He waited a second more before he traced the palm of his hand against her leg. 

She stopped her story mid-sentence.

He didn’t take his hand away.

Slowly she turned to him.  “I was wondering if you’d dare to show up or not.”

He smiled. “I wouldn’t have missed this reunion for the world.”

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