Evan shut off the engine of his car, taking a deep breath and checking out what he could see of the parking lot, which really wasn't a lot. There were quite a few cars, certainly, but not many people seemed to be trickling in anymore (not that that was a surprise, given the hour). Evan grabbed his jacket and invitation, giving it one last look before getting out of the car and heading into the hotel.
It was fairly nice, as hotels went, and really easy to figure out where he was supposed to go (the huge sign proclaiming '10 Year Reunion - CRU Class of 2010' was difficult to miss). He shrugged into his jacket and made his way to the sign-in table, pasting a smile on his face for the woman handing out name badges. Her eyes went wide as soon as Evan told her his name, and he was abruptly reminded why he'd broken away from his parents. Ten years later, and people were still impressed by his last name.
Walking into the room was...a bit nerve-wracking, really. He hadn't wanted to come in the first place, since there wasn't anyone he was dying to see or anything. But naturally, life was never that easy, and a week before the reunion, he'd gotten a call from none other than Casey Cartwright. Barrington. No, Cartwright; he was pretty sure she'd changed it back after the divorce.
They'd talked off and on over the years and seen each other on the rare occasion when Evan had made it out to Chicago or when Casey had come to Detroit on vacation, despite the fact that she'd been married to Cappie for the eight of those years. And yes, Evan had liked seeing her and missed her frequently enough, but that in no way meant that he should have been susceptible to her pleas for him to come to the reunion.
Unfortunately, though, he'd never been able to get rid of the soft spot he had for her, and of course he'd ended up agreeing, especially once she'd assured him that Cappie wouldn't be there. Because really, anyone else he could deal with, but after that catastrophe during senior year...well, Evan had never thought that he and Cappie would completely stop talking to each other, but go figure, that's what happened. Needless to say, that was one reunion he wasn't sure he ever wanted to have (not that he was angry or unwilling to apologize, but after so long, it seemed sure to be an unpleasant experience all around).
But none of that mattered since Cappie wasn't going to be there. Casey, should already be inside, though, and Evan started circling the edges of the room, looking around for her. Which is when, of course, he ran into Cappie. Just his luck, naturally. And Cappie looked almost exactly the same as the last time Evan saw him, barring a few more pronounced laugh lines at the corners of his eyes. Eyes that widened in surprise at seeing Evan in front of him.
For a moment, Evan was sure that Cappie would walk away from him, not even giving him a chance to say anything. Instead, though, they stared at each other for a minute before Cappie spoke in a cool voice. "Chambers."
Evan gave an inward sigh of relief; even that little bit was more than he thought to expect after all these years. "Cappie."
There was a long silence, in which Evan tried to figure out how best to apologize, because as often as he'd thought about it, actually being faced with the chance to do so made all thoughts fly out of his head. Eventually, he couldn't take the silence anymore and gestured over to the bar. "I'm gonna go get a drink."
Cappie just nodded, and when Evan looked back over from the bar, Cappie was gone. As soon as Evan turned back to face the barman, he felt a tap on his shoulder. Instead of Cappie, as he'd been expecting, it was Casey, ready with a smile and a hug. Evan couldn't help the smile that crossed his face as well; Casey's happiness had always been infectious.
"Evan," she said affectionately, pulling back. "You look good."
"So do you. Life's treating you well, then?"
"Absolutely. The new job's going well, and so are things with the new boyfriend. How about you?"
"No complaints. The store's been doing even better than the last time we talked."
"And have you met anybody yet?" she asked, bumping her shoulder against his lightly.
Evan rolled his eyes. "Nah, you know you're the only girl for me."
They shared a smile, knowing that that time had passed long ago.
"Oh, but hey, guess who I saw a few minutes ago."
Casey's smile slipped slightly, and Evan knew that he'd been set up. After only a second, she put on an innocent expression. "Who?"
"Don't give me that innocent act, Case. I know you better than that."
"I know. I just thought that maybe it was time you and Cappie patched things up. It's been ten years, after all, and you used to be such good friends."
That was so like Casey, still trying to get them to work out their problems even though she'd had her share of problems with both of them. Evan opened his mouth before realizing he didn't know what to say and shutting it again. Finally he managed, "You're not going to let us get away from this reunion without talking, are you?"
Casey smiled brightly as she shook her head. "Alright, I'll work on it. But later. Now, I want to hear about how things are at the law firm."
It was late by the time the initial mixer ended, and Evan surprised himself by staying the entire time. He and Casey had talked for awhile, catching up on new things and discussing old times (well, the good ones, anyway). And then he'd seen some of his frat brothers, most of them people he hadn't managed to keep in touch with over the years, which led to a bunch of drinking and laughter, and it was more fun than Evan had expected it to be.
Eventually, though, after making plans to visit the Omega Chi house with his brothers the next afternoon, he headed to the front desk of the hotel to check in (which he probably should have done earlier, but if he had, he wasn't sure he'd have actually come down for the reunion at all), out to the car for his bags, and up to his hotel room.
As luck would have it, Evan was grappling with his bags and room key when the room two doors down opened and none other than Cappie stepped into the hallway. Evan very nearly let his head thunk into the wall, but instead just kept trying to get his room key to work properly. Just as he was about to drop his laptop bag while turning the door handle (and wouldn't that have been great) its weight was abruptly lifted.
Of course it was Cappie, and there was an awkward second in which they just looked at each other before Evan was pushing the door open and tossing his bags on the bed. Cappie followed him in and set the laptop bag on the bed, turning to leave immediately. He was almost out the door before Evan blurted out, "I'm sorry."
Cappie stopped just before the door and turned slowly back, his face giving away none of his thoughts. He didn't say anything, but he didn't walk away either, so Evan figured he was at least willing to listen and continued on.
"I'm sorry about what happened that night. I'm sorry I chose my house over you, and I'm sorry I left you to the dogs. And I'm definitely sorry it took this long to apologize." There was no finesse to his words, but they were honest. He'd thought of excuses and explanations, but none of them were good enough, none of them made it right. So he waited, and waited, but Cappie didn't say anything and he didn't leave. "Don't you have anything to say to me at all?"
"What should I say? Oh, it's fine that you sold me out, got some of my brothers in trouble just to look good in front of your brothers? Because I can't!" Cappie sighed and continued more softly. "I'm not even really angry anymore, but it's not that easy to forgive."
"I know, and I'm not asking for it right now, but at least think about it, alright?"
"Yeah, I'll think about it. Good night, Evan."
"Night," Evan said to the closing door.
The next morning, Evan took the opportunity to sleep in, a rare occurrence now that he had to run his own business. As he wasn't supposed to meet Casey until noon, he took his time getting dressed and checking his email, taking care of a few work things that really shouldn't wait until he got back.
By noon, he was on his way down to Casey's room, and then they were off to get some lunch. It was an enjoyable time, and he was glad that she didn't ask him about Cappie since he wouldn't have known what to say, anyway. 'I apologized and he's thinking about it' didn't sound like much progress at all.
And then in what seemed like no time, he was meeting his brothers at Omega Chi, talking with the current brothers (and didn't they seem young) and checking out the house to see how much it'd changed (a surprising amount). They did things a bit differently now than they used to, and Evan was actually glad for the change. They'd loosened up on their elitism, it seemed, and not only had that widened the variety of members, but they were actually friendly with the Kappa Taus. It was a bit of a relief, really; he would have hated his legacy to the house to be an ongoing feud with another fraternity.
After they had all dispersed, he wandered around campus by himself for awhile before making his way back to the hotel for that evening's reunion dinner. And honestly, he didn't especially feel like going in the first place, having been around everyone he'd see for most of the day already. On the other hand, food. He ended up compromising because he did go down, but when he saw that it was a buffet, he took as much food as he could pile on his plate and snuck it back to his room.
The only snag was that apparently Cappie had had the same idea (and they really needed to stop running into each other, any time now). Somehow, they came to an unspoken agreement, and Cappie followed Evan back to his room where they settled on the bed, turning the TV on to some mindless reality show. They ate in relative silence, and Evan was struck by just how like their freshman year - before Casey started coming around all the time, anyway - this was.
Once they were done and had set their plates aside, Cappie finally spoke. "So, I hear that Wade's working for you now. Manager of your bookstore."
Evan shrugged, not entirely surprised to have the subject come up (obviously Cappie and Casey would have talked to each other), but not entirely comfortable with it, either. "Yeah, I hired him a few years ago when the store got big enough for me to need the extra help. He's been great."
"And I suppose this had nothing to do with feeling guilty." Cappie looked skeptical.
There was no point in denying that, and Evan didn't even try. "Of course it did, but it's not as if he wasn't qualified. I had the chance to make up for being a douche, and I took it."
Cappie didn't say anything for awhile, looking thoughtful. "You know why I was so angry?"
"You mean there's a reason other than the fact that I was an ass who betrayed your trust?"
Cappie smiled, just slightly, and leaned over to press his lips to Evan's. Evan didn't move away, mostly because he was so shocked that it didn't occur to him to do so. And a second later, it didn't matter anyway, because Cappie pulled away and stood up. "You meant a lot to me, even when we were fighting."
"But you can't, you didn't...are you saying that you had feelings for me?" That just wasn't possible. They'd known each other for so long, and there had never been any indication...but he supposed that didn't necessarily mean anything. Cappie had always been good at playing things close to his chest when he wanted to.
"Maybe I am. And I figured, in the spirit of clearing the air..."
"And that's it? Now I'm just supposed to forget about it? What was the point?"
"Despite everything, maybe I still do."
It wasn't until Cappie was gone that Evan really registered what he'd said. Evan flopped back on the bed, sure he was in for a sleepless night.
Evan woke early in the morning, despite not getting as much sleep as he should have. He spent most of the morning with work-related things again in an effort to keep his nerves in check. He'd have one last chance to see Cappie that day at the farewell brunch, and he didn't know whether to look forward to it or not, given that he really didn't know what to say. When he got there, though, all his worrying over it was rendered pointless because Cappie was nowhere to be seen.
Evan ended up spending the last of the time there with Casey, which would have been a lot nicer if he hadn't been looking over his shoulder every few minutes, expecting Cappie to be there, waiting for him to say something. Casey asked him about it once but didn't push when Evan didn't have an answer for her. In no time, though, the meal was over, and it was time to leave because Evan really needed to get back home so he'd have enough time to make it in to the store for an hour or two to make up for the weekend away.
It took nearly ten minutes to say goodbye to Casey, but with one last hug, she was driving away and Evan was climbing into his own car. Just as he was about to start the car, there was a tap on his window, and sure enough, it was Cappie. Evan rolled the window down, and Cappie handed him a slip of paper, quirking his lips into a small smile before walking away without a word. Evan unfolded it and saw a phone number scrawled in familiar hand-writing. His opportunity to talk to Cappie, should he decide to take it.
A week later, Evan punched the number into his cell phone and hit send.