AUTHOR'S NOTE: Well, I decided to write an Epilogue anyways, because it gave more closure to the story…in my opinion at least. More resolved this way. And I still might change it a bit. But whatever.
We parked in the shadow of my old high school. I looked around.
"I'd forgotten what it's like." I sighed. "And they've made so many changes to it. Wow." I shook my head.
Peter walked around the car, opened my door, and helped me out of the car. "What did you expect? It's been five years." He smiled. "You ready?"
"Yeah." We began walking towards the main entrance. "I wonder how many of my friends are going to be here?"
We showed our invitations to the usher at the door and then walked inside. The environment was friendly; It was dark; Music hits from our graduation year and previous years in high school played in the background; Laughter and chatter amongst friends greeted our ears.
I scanned the room and spotted Brittany and MJ in the right corner. "Pete, I see some of my friends over there," I nodded with my head. "Wanna come?"
"Actually, I'm going to get a drink and then I'll meet you over there, ok? You want anything?"
"Whatever. You know what I like."
I walked over to my friends. "Hey guys!"
"ALLY!" Brittany squealed. She gave me a huge hug.
"Allyson! How are you?" MJ greeted me.
"Yo gurl! What's up?" Steph said.
Brittany released me and I was swallowed in another embrace from my other friends.
"Wow! I'm so glad to see all of you! How have you all been? You all are out of college?" I asked the group.
"Actually," Steph said, "I'm in med school. I'm training to become a doctor." She giggled. "There are lots of cute guys."
"I'm sure," I said smiling. "And you didn't bring one with you?"
"O, I did." She smiled. "Kevon. He's over at the refreshment table. He has the BIGGEST appetite." She rolled her eyes.
"I'm working in a business," Brittany piped up. "I'm a computer technician."
"Really? Cool! Maybe you can fix mine! I've been having the worst problems with it," I said.
We all looked at MJ. "Spill it MJ," Brittany said, "Or I'll tickle you."
MJ laughed. "I'm a fashion designer! I work with other designers under the name brand…" She paused for dramatic effect, "NeonBlack."
We all gasped. "Are you serious? That's the most popular clothing brand right now!" Steph exclaimed.
They all turned their eyes on me. Brittany poked me. "What are YOU up to, Ms. Allyson?"
I smiled. "Right now, I'm working up in New York. I'm in the Broadway cast and it's so much fun! I also teach ballet and jazz up there at a studio!"
"I expect free Broadway tickets," Steph said, giving me 'the look'.
"What are you performing right now?" MJ asked me.
I laughed. "Cats."
Brittany hit me. "I knew you would do good!" She laughed evilly. "And I get the credit for it…I taught her everything she knows!"
I tried to look affronted. "Did not! Who taught you how to do a fuete? And a chainee?" I laughed. "You taught me how to laugh, Brit. I'll give you that one."
We all chuckled.
I felt a tap on my arm and Peter slid a drink into my hand. "Hey love."
Brit, Steph, and MJ all raised their eyebrows at me.
I rolled my eyes. "MJ, Steph, and Brit, this is my fiancé, Peter."
Peter waved at them. "Hey. I think I actually met you all at that one dance…and then at all the other dances…"
He turned to me. "You won't believe it, but Cory is here."
"Cory as in from church?"
"Yeah. I'm going to go catch up with him, ok?" He kissed my cheek and walked off.
Steph glared at me. "You didn't tell us there was a guy! And that your engaged! Holy crap, that would be like the first thing out of my mouth!"
I raised my hands in apology. "Sorry! But you didn't really give me a chance! Now Steph we already know, but what about you two?" I looked at Brit and MJ.
Brit sighed. "Well, if you insist." She grinned. "I"m dating a guy; His name is Micheal. We met at a coffee shop about 3 months ago. It's getting pretty serious."
"I've been dating this guy for probably about 6 months. We're about to meet each others parents, and after that, who knows?" MJ said. "His name is Jason."
"Speaking of guys…guess who's here, Allyson?" Brit said.
I glanced at her. "Who? O, wait, never mind I know already."
"Yup. And he's probably coming this way isn't he?"
Steph smiled. "You got it, babe. Do you want us to leave?"
"Could you? No offense to you people."
"Nah, it's good, Allyson," MJ said.
The three of them glided away.
I felt him stop behind me. "Hello Ben." I turned and faced him. He looked older, more mature, more settled and rational. "How are you?"
Ben looked at me. "Allyson, you look… wow." He smiled. "I had this whole speech worked up for you, and now that I'm standing here, I can't remember a word of it."
I smiled. "You could start with 'hello'."
Ben nodded. "I guess I could. You've been doing well? A broadway star I hear?"
I grimaced. "A bit of an exaggeration I fear. No star, just chorus. And I hear you've become a band director? Following in Mr. Boyd's footsteps?"
Ben nodded. "I guess you could say that. It was in marching band that I first decided that was what I wanted to do. And after being selected for drum major…I guess I felt that God wassaying that too."
"Wow. That's a first. A higher calling to be…a band director." I laughed and then stopped.
Ben broke the silence. "I like your ring."
I looked down at my hand. "Yes, it is nice."
"So who's the lucky man?"
"Peter. I think you met him, all those years ago. He's here, actually. Talking to an old friend of his that's here too." I paused, not knowing if I should change the subject.
"Allyson...I know this won't change things much, but, I want to apologize."
"For the way I acted… all those years ago. I was stupid and immature and selfish."
I nodded. "I accept your apology. And," I hesitated, " I want to apologize for being kind of rude and abrupt to you. It wasn't very mature of me."
Ben smiled and nodded. "I accept you apology."
Peter walked over and greeted me. "Are you free? I want you to meet some people."
I looked at Ben and he nodded. "Yeah, I'm free."
Peter pulled me over to the other side of the room.
The night passed swiftly and soon it was time to leave. I looked around the school, and thought of all the friends and memories I had there and I smiled.
Peter tapped my arm. "You ready to go?" He asked me softly.
"Yeah." I sighed. We walked down the hallway and out to the parking lot. As we were about to get in the car. I noticed Ben a few cars down, getting into his car.
I looked over at Peter. "Could you hold on a second?"
Peter nodded. "Sure."
"Thanks." I flashed him a smile and then walked over to Ben's car.
I tapped on his car top and he turned around, surprised. "Hey. I couldn't let you go with out saying goodbye."
Ben nodded. "Good luck to you, Allyson. Have a good life."
I smiled. "You too, Ben…goodbye."
I walked a few steps and then turned back. "Ben, you were wrong."
Ben turned and looked at me.
"It did change things…the apology that is."
He chuckled softly. "I know. And that's all it took… how much would our lives have changed if I had done it all those years ago? That's probably going to torment me for the rest of my life."
I smiled. "I guess it wouldn't do to invite you to our wedding?"
Ben shook his head. "It would hurt too much."
I nodded. "We can still be friends, though."
Ben laughed. "Ironic, isn't it? In a way that's what I told you by breaking up."
"But it's as true now as it was then."
Ben nodded slowly. "Goodbye, Allyson." He held out a hand.
I took his hand. "Goodbye, Ben."
Then I turned away and walked to my car. But I couldn't resist throwing that one last glance over my shoulder and I wondered…