Chapter Five: Reunion
I was standing in the hall of Roscoe High with Misty. Posters for a Costume ball and a lost iPod swarmed the bulletin board. It was dark, except for the light at the end of the hall from the gym. An old pop song lightly moved through the air. Laughter exploded. The screech of ex-cheerleaders, now knocked-up from frat boys, was deafening.
I wanted to run, but my feet were stuck to the ground. My hands were sweaty. I felt faint, like I was going to throw up.
My head twisted to Misty, her face made up with dark liner and teal eye shadow and light red lipstick.
"Misty, I can't. I can't do this." My voice shook.
Misty looked at me hard and touched my arm, slightly, gently. "Ray, yes you can. I'll be next to you the whole time. It'll be okay."
I opened my mouth to protest, but she glared at me. I shut up and let her drag me down the hall. It smelled like it used to; rusty water and used erasers mixed with failed Chemistry experiments. Before I knew it, we were in front of the door and Misty was opening the door, and I saw the gym, made up with balloons and signs of "Class of 2007". People were laughing, holding champagne.
"I guess nobody had to spike the punch." Misty whispered in my ear. I smiled.
I glanced around for people I knew. Some familiar faces, some people I had no clue about. Misty and I walked around slowly, saying hello, but not stopping for conversations. We headed over towards the food. Misty chose a mini brownie cake and ate it in one bite while I nibbled on mine.
I looked up and my eyes wandered through the room when I caught eyes with someone. I stared at the person until I finally realized I recognized them.
"Ray?" they said loudly.
"Lily," my throat felt like it was closing up.
"Ray! Oh, my God, Ray!" She started running towards me, but instead of it being graceful, she waddled like a penguin. That's when I saw a large bump on her stomach.
I was so shocked, when Lily threw her arms around me, I had to take a step back. But that might have been from her huge stomach almost knocking me down.
"Holy shit, holy SHIT," she said, pulling away from me. "How are you?"
"I'm good," I said, regaining my balance. "And you're, um...pregnant."
She laughed. "Thank you, Captain Obvious," she said through mid-laughs. She laughed for a few more seconds, then finally calmed down. She was acting a little more bubbly than usual.
"Oh, holy fuck, Lily, have you been fucking drinking?"
She stopped laughing and looked at me with her mouth open, in mock shock. "Ray, I can't believe you would even suggest that I would drink while I'm pregnant!"
"Lily," I started.
"Okay," she started a fit of giggles all over again. "I have been drinking a teensy bit. But it's okay, it's just a little..." She had to stop, she couldn't stop giggling.
I sighed, then looked over at Misty who was looking amused, taking the whole scene in.
"Aren't you going to introduce me, Ray?" she asked me with a twinkle in her eye.
"Um, right," I motioned to Lily. "Misty, this is Lily." Then I motioned to Misty. "Lily, this is Misty."
"Charmed," Misty said, holding out her hand to Lily. Lily clamped her hands around it and shook it enthusiastically.
"I've heard about you, Misty," she said, grinning.
"From who?" I questioned, surprised.
"From Parker. I was talking to her today." She turned to Misty. "So, you're going out with Ray? Man, how's that going for you?"
I cut her off. "Wait, you talked to Parker?"
"Well, duh," she said, like I was an idiot. "We are friends, Ray. We didn't like, stop talking to each other when we graduated high school. Like you did to all of us."
My hands started tingling. "That was a completely different story, Lily, and you know it."
"Yeah, whatever," she waved me away and then refocused her attention back to Misty. "So, how's the sex? Gonna push out a puppy anytime soon?"
Misty laughed, I was horrified.
"Lily, there you are," a man walked up to her and put his arm around her shoulders. "I was looking for you."
"Oh, sorry, sweetie," she seemed to instantly change into a polite and calm person when he was around. Giving him a quick peck, she said, "I didn't mean to worry you. I was just talking to an old friend, that's all." She gave me a quick glance. "Jake, this is Ray. Ray, this is Jake, my husband."
"Pleased to meet you," Jake held out his hand and I shook it. He looked a little older than Lily, maybe in his mid-30s. He was one of those guys that got more good-looking as they got older. And I could tell he was rich. He had one of those rich-guy type of confidences. As he pulled away from our handshake, he said to Lily, "I have to go make a call really quick."
"Ja-ake," Lily whined loudly. "This is my high school reunion. Can't you just not work for this one night?"
"I'm sorry, Lily," he said. "But, this is really important. It'll be just five minutes, okay?"
"Okay," Lily agreed as he started to walk away. Then she held up her hand and wiggled her five fingers. "Five minutes! And that's it!" She turned to us when he had left the room and sighed.
Misty nodded towards to where Jake was. "Does that happen a lot?"
Lily looked up and forced a smile. "Yeah, Jake's a workaholic," she laughed lightly. "But that's okay. I mean, I wish he was home more often, but well...you know how it is." She shrugged her shoulders and laughed again, softer this time.
No, I don't know how it is, I want to say, but I hated seeing Lily this way. I instead changed the subject. "So, have you seen Robbie or Travis yet?"
"Oh!" Lily said, snapping into the person she was five minutes ago. "Yeah, actually! Robbie's around here somewhere and Travis called me last night and said that he was going to meet me somewhere tomorrow afternoon, because he wasn't actually invited to the reunion. Cause, you know, he didn't actually graduate from here. But me and Robbie and Parker," I perked up at the sound of Parker's name, "and everyone else, we're all going to meet at this restaurant tomorrow. You should come."
"I'll think about it," I replied, then asked, "How's Robbie doing?"
"Great, actually. He has this job at the radio station in Chicago and seeing this adorable girl," she waggled her eyebrows at me, "who's name is none other than Kim Carlisle."
"No!" I yell louder than I thought I would. Some people looked over at me, curious, and I lowered my voice a little as I say, "I thought they broke up when she went to college!"
Lily nodded and said, "Well, they did. But their love was too strong and fate brought them back together a few years later!" She swooned at the word love in such a ridiculous way I started to laugh.
"Oh, and guess who I saw this morning? In my friend Hayden's bed?"
Lily's eyes went as wide as her stomach. "Ted!" she shouted.
"No!" I laughed again. "Audrey!"
"Oh, really?" she asked. "Man, I really thought it was Ted. I always thought that kid was gay."
"Yeah, Lily, I know," I said, "I was there when you went up to him and tried to get him to come out to you."
Lily erupted into giggles. "Oh, yeah. Remember, when he had no idea what I was talking about, I got so frustrated, I started shouting, 'It▓s okay, Ted, to be homosexual! It's perfectly natural, no matter what anyone says!' And then he like, ran out of Mickey's, totally embarrassed?"
Lily and I almost doubled over in laughter, until we finally composed ourselves.
"Well," Lily wiped a giggle-tear from her eye, "I'm going to go find Jake. I'll see you later."
"Okay, bye," I said as she waddled off.
I turned to Misty. Her eyebrows were raised in amusement. "Wow, well, that was interesting. You know, Ray, you always made it seem like it would be this awful thing to see your old friends, but you and Lily seemed to talk like you only graduated a few days ago."
"Yeah..." I replied. "I don't really know. It was like...Lily's craziness was contagious, you know?" Misty nodded like she understood. "But it's going to be awkward seeing Robbie because..." I struggled to find the words.
"Because Robbie made out with your ex-girlfriend?"
I laughed, and nodded, "Yeah, I guess. I mean, it was a long time ago, but..."
"The pain done to your heart is still as excruciating as it was ten years ago?"
I glared at Misty. "Okay, that's enough."
Misty grinned, big-cheese. "Oh, Brennan. You're so..."
"Hopeless? Stupid? Weird?" I took another brownie and stuffed into my mouth.
"Well, I was going to say, you're so adorable," she nodded and pretended to think over what I said with great thought, "but all those words work too."
I smiled at her and looked around the room. "You want to go sit down somewhere?"
"No, I've got a better idea," she looked at me, her eyes glowing. "Let's go dance."
I groaned. "Misty, I don't dance."
A sappy old slow song started to play. "C'mon, it's not like you dance to slow songs. You just stay there and sway and act like you're hot shit." I chuckled and she smiled, knowing she got me. "Now, c'mo-on."
"Alright," I said, giving up, letting her drag me to the dance floor. She wrapped her arms around my neck, I put my hands on her hips.
Corny lyrics started beating out of the speakers. "Sooo..." she joked, after a small silence, "How're the wife and kids?"
"Oh, we're divorced," I joked back, "The kids are with her this week."
"Ah," she said thoughtfully. "Probably for the best. The divorce, not the kids being with her. Though, you are pretty awful with kids."
"Me?" I said in mock-shock. "No, I'm wonderful with kids!"
"Riiight," she said, looking past my face at something else. "Hey, check it out. There's Parker."
I turned my head to look at her, and sure enough, she was right. Parker was standing by the door, looking at everyone in interest. Then she glanced my way, locked eyes with me and put up her hand and waved a little. I smiled a small half-smile back. Then I looked back at Misty.
"Oh, my God, she's here," My heartbeat started going a million miles a hour. "Fuck, Misty, what do I do?"
"Well, for starters, you stop acting like a fucking 16 year old girl and start acting like you have a penis," she commanded. "And then you let me go, like I want to go to the bathroom, then go over to her and have a conversation."
"But," I stammered. "I was such a dick the other night! What am I supposed to say?"
"Well, hopefully, English. Sentences would be nice. Maybe an 'I'm sorry for being such a dick the other the night' if you can manage it." She winked at me, whispered in my ear, "Good luck, hot shit," then slithered away from my grip and started walking towards the bathroom.
I took a deep breath and turned around and marched over to Parker. She smiled nervously when she saw me. "Hi, Ray."
"Hey, Parker," I choked out. "How are you?"
"Good, I'm good. Where's Misty?"
"Oh, she's...at the bathroom," I nodded into that direction.
"Oh," she stared over near the bathrooms, trying to avoid eye contact.
"Yeah," I said. There was a small silence. "Um, Parker, I'm sorry about how I acted before." Parker looked up at me. "I mean, it was really so long ago, and I've been acting so...stupid about the whole thing. I'm wondering...if we could start over. Like, as friends."
Her eyes were shining up at me, her face crinkling into a smile. "Yes," she gushed, "Yes, I'd like that."
"Great. So," I started to say.
"Ray!" I heard a voice screech. "Ray BRENNAN!?" I twirled around, and there was Robbie McGrath, standing before me.
"Robbie," I looked over him in amazement. He looked about the same, still a little taller than me and still had his curly hair. He had some stubble on his chin, though, and he looked...well, he just looked older. "Wow, hi."
"Holy shit, you actually came!" Robbie exclaimed. "Man, thought you'd still be all pissed off about the thing that happened. You know, with me and..." his eyes moved over to Parker. "Oh! Hey, Parker."
"Hi, Robbie," she smiled.
"And no, Robbie, I'm not pissed off anymore. I'm over that." I made a small smile, trying to act very adult about the whole thing.
"Oh, Ray," Parker started to laugh. "Stop trying to act so mature. You just forgave me like ten seconds ago."
My cheeks burned as Robbie whooped with laughter. "Man, you're still the same, Ray."
Lily popped up. "Oh, Robbie! There you are!" Then she noticed me and Parker and said, "Oh, man. If this was ten years ago this would be awk-waaaard."
Parker laughed. "No, but it's not. Ray's forgiven us."
"Oh, really?" Lily looked at me with a hint of amusement.
"Yes, he's become very mature," Parker continued, a small smirk on her face.
"Yeah, since five minutes ago." Robbie snorted. Then they started giggling like mad.
I felt embarrassed at first, but then I started to grin at the situation. Then I started to laugh. And then, we were all hooting like crazy people as old classmates looked on in curiosity.
Jesus Christ, I had missed these people.
Oh. My. God. I have written another chapter in this story. This fanfic. About Radio Free Roscoe. I am officially crazy.
But I really love writing this story. It's like, so effing funny. I LOVE the whole thing with Misty and Ray when they're slow dancing. I LOVE it. But, for some reason, I feel like I wanted the chapter to be different, like, Ray just plain forgives them and he ends up just laughing with them again? So not cool. But then I thought, well, he had been holding a grudge for like 10 years, time he forgave them and then I started thinking, dude, what kind of person DOES that? He prolly would have stopped caring but then I thought well, he's in love with Parker still and then the thought, FOR TEN YEARS?! It's crazy. I don't know. It didn't turn out the way I wanted to, but I still love it.
I think I'll end this story in like two more chapters. In the next chapter, it's the dinner thing with Travis (yayyy!) and then the other chapter...I don't know, but I still need to keep it going.
Hopefully SOMEONE is reading this, haha.