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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
All Nick Brennan wanted was a night at home, good book and peace and quiet. When he gets a call to attend a reunion with his old high school class, little does he know what is in store for him.

Submitted: August 09, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 09, 2016



When the idea of going to a bonfire was brought to my attention, My immediate reaction was one of shock and dismay. Just the fact that someone actually said those words to me brought out the incredible urge to just throw up and scream at the world with righteous rage and anger.

The person who mentioned this to me, was the last guy I really thought would even think of doing such a thing. It was none other than my closest and dearest friend, Chris Messner.

I was at my house, thumbing through an old copy of Ernest Hemingway's classic novel “The Sun Also Rises”. It was the book that first got me hooked on the genius that is Ernest Hemingway, later inspiring me to become a writer of Journalism, Books, and Magazine articles. I was getting to the part where Jake encounters Lady Brett when I heard my phone ring.

Glaring at my caller ID, I saw who it was and picked it up:

“Hello,” I said.

“Nicholas, I have a proposition for you and an idea that will make for a great story for you,” Chris said.

Chris was a handsome man. 6 ft tall and built like a competitive swimmer. He had the blonde hair blue eyed look that made people immediately think of Steve McQueen or Brad Pitt. He had a gift for gab and selling, which worked wonders for his career as a Regional VP for the Railroad company. He traveled all over the country with a frequency like me and we like to swap stories when we both were in the same places. The only problem I had with Chris was when he first uttered a sentence after you answer the phone, he usually would set in motion a plan that could only end in one way. Complete disaster.

“Chris, the last time you suggested something, we ended up getting banned from all the Denny's in America. Words I never truly thought I'd ever have said to me in my life,” I said.

“First of all, everyone knows that IHOP is better, We just needed that reminder,” Chris said. “But regardless of that, I have something that could bring that extra spark of fun that we are looking for.”

“No no no,” I said. 

Chris started to laugh. “Hey wait a minute,” Chris said. “I was gonna tell you that I got an invitation to go to the 10 year reunion at the Willow Grove Bonfire.”

“Oh that is just a classic, Messner,” I said. “Why in God's name would we go to the Willow Grove Bonfire?”

“Because dear Brennan,” Chris said. “We need to have fun and this would be great. Catching up with old friends and bragging about how successful we have become. All the guys are gonna go. Jake and Casey finished a show in Tacoma last week and are on the way to town. Lucas wants to go, I guess that all our classmates really are some of his biggest fans. I wanna go cause I'm gonna see Jimmy Peterson and tell him that I ended up with the better career than him. It will be great, come on and join us will you?”

Willow Grove was what went for a lake in our town. It was a wide body of water that lead directly into the river. Surrounded by nice homes and a couple of farms. This was the place that people went to for either boating, or underage drinking with that eternal symbol of youth, A bonfire.

The bonfires out at Willow Grove were the stuff of legends for the most part. The higher the flames, the higher the people were. Cops usually would take unmarked cars out and watch for drunken teenagers and would meet their monthly quota in one nights., Fights would break out and blood would spill, beer would spill and tears would spill. Nothing good ever came out of those bonfires. We would go and usually ended up involved in a fight with someone. I always tried to limit my time and visits there as often as possible. The last time I was there, with the boys of course, was a night that lived in infamy for our group. 

“I can't go Chris,” I said. “Not after the last time.” 

“For God's Sake!!!” Chris said. “That was 11 years ago, it won't happen again. I don't know that they will even be there. Please Nick, I'll even beg if you want me too.”

“So, the rest of the guys will be there?” I asked. “I don't want you to beg. But if the two people I'm thinking of are there, I will take your dignity from you in a heartbeat.”

“Fair enough,” Chris said. “People are already there, we can meet up with the guys and have a good time.”

I took a deep breath. I was doing just fine with Hemingway and visiting the gang in the book, but Messner stirred up that writer instinct in me of finding a story. As much as I hated my high school class, And I really did. I wanted to go see how they were, what kind of a story could be told after ten years not anywhere close to these people. Messner already sensed what my answer was.

“OK, I will be there,” I said. “But I swear Chris, if anything goes wrong I'll beat you like a bitch!” 

“Great buddy, I will see you there.” Chris said.

With that we hung up and I put my bookmark back in the page I was trying to read when this interruption occurred. I went to my closet and grabbed my coat and my keys. I reached for my khaki hat and went to my truck. Walking out of my house I suddenly got the feeling that nothing good was gonna come from this encounter, reunion, what ever the proper term for it was called. 

I didn't know how right I was gonna be.

Driving down to Willow Grove, I turned on a station that played a song that summed up my High School life. “Already Gone” by The Eagles. I smiled at the opening guitar riff, I was at perfect comfort level when Glen Frey started singing. Chris and I would drive his truck around town listening to this song, speeding up as the chorus would start and make playlists that always started with this song. 

The song lasted about 4 minutes, which left 20 more minutes of the drive that could have been made much better by listening to that song on repeat. After the song ended I was having flashbacks in my mind of High School and events in school involving all the guys. I had to give credit where credit was due, there were a lot of good times for us. But usually it happened after school.

As I pulled up to the parking lot, I saw something that I always thought was the definition of hell. Or at least my definition of it. 

My High School class was all back together in one spot at the same time!!

My Spidey Senses immediately picked up bad vibes from this.

Seeing Chris talking to Jake Portman and Casey Freeman, I walked over towards them. As I made it over towards them. I saw Jake with his arms around a woman who could best be described as a queen of the trailer park. 

“NICK!!!!!!!!” The guys said at the same time. “You remember August?” Jake said.

August Bateman was a girl in our drama class. She was a girl that reached puberty early and was well developed in all the right areas. She had blonde hair and green eyes. She always had the hots for Jake and Lucas. In particular Lucas. They went out on and off during High School. 

“Of course I do,” I said. “How have you been August?” I asked.

August was wearing a sleeveless Lynard Skynard T shirt, jean shorts and a lot of weight around her stomach. “Oh just fine Nicky baby,” August said. Her voice has clearly soaked in Whiskey and Marlboro Cigarettes. “I just got a new opportunity to be in a movie.”

All of the guy's eyes widened at the thought of a trailer park queen in a movie. Nothing good could come from that in the very least. As I started to open my mouth to say, Casey elbowed me. 

“Oh oh good,” Casey said. “They will sure be able to capture all of that, uh, beauty.”

“Yeah and the best part is,” August said. “I get to be naked the whole time in this movie.” She was smiling heavily, revealing missing teeth and what teeth were left covered in yellow staining. 

Jake started to make a dry heaving sound and Casey spit out his drink. Chris was trying to corral all of us and move us to a different area. I started to chuckle and said to August, “You were always the beauty of drama class, August. I'm just glad that the producers of this movie could see that too.”

August started to laugh. With that, the four of us walked to a picnic table. Lucas happened to be sitting and staring at the water. The lake was a different shade of green and brown. Their was a stench that smelled like wet sulfur and vomit. Yep, we were back at Willow Grove.

“How's it going?” Lucas asked.

“I now realize that 10 years later, I still hate our class.” Casey said. 

“Yeah, why the fuck did we come back here?” Jake asked. 

“I wanted to have a quiet night at home, before I had to go on assignment,” I said. “Chris called me, begging to come here. 

“Yeah that bastard called me too,” Jake said.

“Same here,” Casey said.

“He called me, asking if I'd go and help him find,” Lucas said.

“Son of a bitch,” I said. “Jimmy Peterson, damnit I should have know that the competition is still going on.”

“Ah man, why damnit?” Casey said. “This is a bigger waste of time then going to the library for movies.”

“What's wrong with the library?” I asked. 

“Not now Nick,” Jake said. “Look right over at the parking lot, right near my van.”

We all turned over towards the van and saw two people that I thought would never show up, at the very least together. The two people that made it official for me to never come back to this place. The two people Chris promised me would not be here what so ever and that would be the reason for me to take his dignity.

Katherine Taylor and Matt Carlton.

Katherine was what some would say “My First Love”. She was a black haired beauty, with blue eyes and a body that would best be described as a goddess. She was an aspiring singer, in that old school style of Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald. She had beauty coming out of her. I fell for her pretty hard. We both liked each other and wanted to be together. But, there was always one problem with that plan.

Matt Carlton.

Matt was a cocky pretty boy who tried to model his life as a poor man's Matt Dillon. He had brown hair with blue eyes and a well put together body. When ever Katherine and Matt were together, he would just treat her so horribly, yelling and swearing. Calling her a whore and a slut. Just an awful bastard of a man. Matt and I got into a lot of fights throughout High School over her. The most memorable fight we had was at my parents house. He came over and confronted me about trying to steal his girlfriend. I told him to go away, my dad told me to kick his ass. I listened to my parents like a good kid and we had a nasty brawl. The neighbors came out and watched and cheered me on. After that Matt swore revenge on me. I wondered in that moment, if this was in fact, the revenge.

I saw Chris come by with two girls. He was smiling as any person under the influence of alcohol, eyes opened incredibly wide and the biggest opened mouth grin. All of us turned towards him with matching glares. 

“Fellas, what is the good word?” Chris asked.

Lucas grabbed him by the collar of his polo. He pulled him in close as beer was spilling from Chris's plastic cup. 

“You son of a bitch!” Lucas said. “Not only did you lie to us about why you wanted us to come here, You made Nick's night incredibly worse with Katherine and Matt showing up. Damn you Messner, I swear I will beat you with in an inch of your life for this.”

“Wait a minute,” Chris said. The words were stammering. “They are here? Oh shit, where is Nick?”

“Right behind you, dickhead.” I said. 

Chris turned towards me. “Hey buddy,” Chris said.

“Don't even try it,” I said. “You wanted us here when Jimmy Peterson came by and you could brag about your career to him. To make it worse the two people I didn't want to see for the rest of my life show up. I had an 11 year streak going, but now that is shot to hell. You are a piece of work Chris.”

Chris's expressions were changing with the blink of an eye. It appeared that he was trying to sober up really fast. When ever we caught him in a lie, Chris would try to find the energy to sober up and set us straight. It never worked in his favor.

“Fellas look at it like this,” Chris said. “I want to brag to Jimmy, yes that is very true. Jake and Casey, the rest of the drama class is here and they want you guys to help stage a variety show for the reunion tomorrow at school. Lucas, they want you to host it. You would be absolutely perfect for it. Nick, Nicholas my handsome writer friend, the Alumni association was hoping you could cover it.”

“The only thing that needs to be covered is your ass, before I put my foot up it.” I said. 

I started to walk over towards him, Chris was putting his arms up in a calming motion, trying to get me to stop. What ultimately got me to stop was a voice I tried like hell to forget. 

“Hello Nicholas.”

I turned around to face Katherine. She was wearing her hair down, with a blue t shirt and jeans. She was wearing a leather jacket and had a big smile on her face. I took a deep breath and turned around. 

“Hello Katherine.”

Katherine smiled and looked around at the group of guys and waved.  

“Hi guys,” Katherine said. “How have you all been?”

“OK I guess,” Lucas said. Jake and Casey had their arms around Chris and the three of them smiled. Jake and Casey then carried Chris away, I assume, to beat him senselessly. Which left Katherine and I all by ourselves.

“It's been a long time,” I said. “You look as beautiful as I remember.”

“Thank you,” Katherine said. “You look just as handsome as ever.” 

“I'm 50 LBS heavier and bald, I'm not as studly as I used to be.” I said. 

Katherine laughed. One of my favorite things was to make her laugh. She would break out into the widest smile I have ever seen, The kind of smile that would wipe a way any problems and just make anyone's day better. 10 years of bitter, angry feelings were wiped away with that smile. 

“Just means you developed character and got older,” Katherine said. “It's really good to see you. I have thought about you often over the past 10 years. Wondering and dreaming about what might have been. What really should have been. These feelings I have been meaning to resolve, in one way or another.”

I stood there, with the blink of an eye, went back ten years to the last night we were all at Willow Grove. The night that my heart was broken and our group was changed forever.

It was a Friday night, I drove over to Katherine's house and picked her up in my Dad's old Ford Pickup. We went to Nickel's Burgers for a meal and drove to Willow Grove. She was wearing a black dress with red polka dots, her black hair was down and straightened, she was wearing dark cherry lipstick and my old varsity track jacket. I was just so in love with her. We were going to meet up with our friends, my group and her friends from the choir. It was the weekend before Spring Break started. Senior Year of High School. 

She was leaning up against me as we were pulling in to the parking lot. I turned and kissed her on the cheek. She leaned her self closer to me. I wrapped my arm around her. I was looking forward to what the night had in store. 

“Nick, I wanna ask you something,” Katherine said. 

“What's that, baby?” I asked. 

“Let's go for a walk,” Katherine said. “We really need to talk..”

Looking back, It should have been clear to me that I was walking towards the end of my relationship with her. I was young and naive, like any 18 year old guy in my shoes. As we made it to the bench she told me in no uncertain details that her heart didn't belong to me, but in fact, it was and would always be Matt Carlton's. 

I blinked my eyes again and I was back in the present, most likely gonna to be reassured that her heart in fact, belonged to the biggest scumbag I had ever met in my life. Matt Carlton.

“Let's walk over towards that bench over near the fire.” I said. 

We both walked together, our paces matching each other. Walking through the crowds of old classmates. The occasional high fives, shoulder grabs and greetings were a break in the recent tension that the both of us had. It was weird that a high school reunion could make you relieve every single part of your child hood. 

We made it to the bench and sat down, the bench was facing the water. I sat down on the left side of the bench, she sat on the right. I had my hands in my pockets, waiting for her to say what she needed to say in order to make herself feel better.

“What a night, huh?” Katherine said. 

“Yeah, it is quite a night,” I said. 

Katherine took a deep breath. She turned towards me and tried as best as she could to lock her eyes directly with mine. In all the years I've been in Journalism and a Writer, I have had people do their best to show me their intensity and try to convince me of their way of thinking. It didn't really work for them. I had the feeling of just indulging someone and not really caring of what the outcome may or may not be. 

“Nick, I don't know where to start,” Katherine said. “I've been planning this for 10 years, I had the speech written down, I've rehearsed it and knew how I was gonna do this. In 5 minutes that has all been wiped away. You still have that effect on me. I guess what I am trying to say is that, well I still.”

“Where is lover boy?” I said. “Why isn't he here trying to kill me like he said he would. Why isn't he here to brag about the fact that, 10 years later, he got the girl and I didn't. I mean 10 years, my god Katherine, I have done my best to get you out of my mind. Not that I wanna brag, but I have done a damn good job of it. I'm a successful Reporter, I have written 5 novels that have been huge successes and I won a Pulitzer Prize for my work. I've been all over the world and thought I have truly seen it all. But in one moment, one lousy goddamned moment, I'm reliving Senior Year in High School. So if you wanna remind me that Matt won and I lost, Fine. Go ahead and say it already, just say it so I can go home and drink and prepare to leave for my next assignment.”

“Wow, that was quite a mouthful there,” Katherine said. “I just wanna say that, I wanna be with you. I always wanted to be with you. I was young and foolish, Matt was just a good looking guy that wanted me to be in his bed. It was so wrong, I didn't know what I wanted at the time. I had never been with a man that was so determined and set in his ways as you. A guy that knew what he wanted to do, and set out and did it. I was scared, OK? Scared that I wouldn't be what you wanted after High School. I didn't know what to do.”

I took a deep breath. I could feel my gut and my heart and brain battling for position as far as how I would respond to what was said. As much fun as it would be to argue with her and tell her off once and for all, I knew that it wasn't the right thing to do. In Journalism, your always taught to push for the answer, to make the person admit to what you want them to. I could have pulled any and every trick that I could have to make her fully admit she was wrong and broke my heart. But something amazing had just happened. 

She freely admitted that she was wrong!

I was taking aback by what Katherine had just said. 10 years of forgetting and putting that part of my life in a box and never opening it again. Now it was opened with a pry bar and everything was out on the surface. This was not what I had ever envisioned for a reunion with Katherine, much less even thinking about her. 

“So, just to understand this,” I said. “You went with Matt cause he was carefree and didn't really have plans for his life. You left me cause I was, too strong and stubborn?”

“You always were a take charge kind of a guy,” Katherine said. “I remember when I was sick, you would come over and take care of me. Basically tell my parents to take a hike, You were in charge. I remember how you would sit by my bed side and tell me how things were gonna be just fine. You were gonna take care of me and make sure that I never had to worry about anything for the rest of our lives. That romantic notion was just something I always sought, but when I found it I didn't know what to do. I'm sorry Nick. I really truly am so sorry for what I did to you. I wish I could take it back.”

I moved in closer to her, wrapping my arm around her just like I did back in High School. I smiled at her. 

“It is what it is, Katherine.” I said. “We did what we did and can't take it back. As much fun as it was fighting with Matt, and it sure as hell was a blast, I don't hate you. I'm not mad or angry. You were a beautiful woman and he was a decent looking guy. It was gonna happen sooner or later. You just played the hand you were dealt. If it's any consolation to you, I never married and never really dated after High School. Let's change the subject. What have you been up to since High School?”

“I went to Portland and tried to become a singer,” Katherine said. “I found success in Portland and around the Northwest as an Independent Artist. I had some local hits in Seattle and Boise, it was fun. The traveling, the fans, I almost felt like Bruce Campbell in a way. Matt came on and was my tour manager for the first two years. I fired him cause he was incredibly bad at his job. But he was quite the lover. I just, no matter what I did, could never really get rid of him. He was just in my blood and mind, it was intense.”

“You know I have one of your Albums in my office?” I said.

Her eyes widened. “Really?” Katherine said.

“Yep, your first one as a matter of fact. It was my favorite one. There was a song that made me think that it was about you and I. “The Way Of You and Me”. It was my favorite song.” I said. 

“It was about us,” Katherine said.” “I wrote it in 10th grade, right around the time when we first started dating and how I was so in love with you. You were just this perfect hunk, on the track team. A perfect specimen of man.”

“I was anything but that,” I said. “You know my parents still think of you and ask about you?” 

“Really?” Katherine asked.

“Yes, really.” I said.

We sat in silence for approximately 5 minutes. Staring out at the water, reliving High School. Katherine in my arms, enjoying a summer night, the wind a slight breeze showing light ripples on the water. It was as if nothing could ruin this moment. But, knowing that life isn't like it is in the movies, something or rather, someone did interrupt the magical moment I was having. 

The guys walked back over towards us. Lucas was leading the pack, all the guys were wearing matching suits. Lucas spoke in his Radio DJ voice:

“This just in, Nick and Kathy, Your presence is required over by the bonfire. I repeat, you both need to be at the bonfire right now.” Lucas said.

“And just what direction, do you need us to be heading Lucas?” Katherine said. 

“We need to be right over there,” Lucas said. He pointed over at the fire. We could feel the heat from it. The heavy presence of it was felt all over the beach. When we made it over to where the fire, and the crowd were, it was a sight that I would truly never forget. It was also the inspiration for one of the best stories I had ever written. 

The fire was in the middle of a well built stack of logs. The logs were put together like a teepee with the flame coming out of it, the length of the flame had to be about two feet high. Around the fire were a mass assortment of my old classmates. People who I had dreaded seeing now, people who I had no interest in seeing and knowing in High School, and just being around them now brought back those feelings in very strong doses. 

Katherine and I walked with Lucas and Chris towards the table with the alcohol and food on it. As we were grabbing our drinks and food, I turned to watch the fire and the crowd around it. Everyone was yelling and screaming and enjoying themselves, reliving their youths and letting their troubles go away for one night. Off in the distance you could here the distance trace of Steve Miller Band's “Take the Money and Run”. I had to admit, that this reunion was really fun. I was with my friends and enjoying the moment with Katherine. Everything was going fine until I saw the one person I swore I never wanted to see again. 

Matt Carlton.

Matt was standing with a group of people, yelling and laughing about something that I couldn't quite make out. He was still the handsome guy like he was in High School. He was wearing a black T shirt, with blue jeans and a crew cut hair style. My insides were twisting, I could feel the rage building inside me. I started to shift my feet into a fighting position, out of instinct. Chris and Jake saw me and what I was doing, so they ran over to come either help me, or stop me from doing something completely foolish. 

“Oh no,” Jake said. “Nick, don't do it. I know what you are thinking and don't do it.”

“Damnit Nicholas, this is not what we want. Don't do it, you have the girl, Don't make it worse.” Chris said.

I turned towards Chris. “If he comes near me, Messner. I'm not gonna stop what ever might happen. You knew this was a possibility. Damn you.” I said.

“Nick, please don't do it.” Katherine said. “It's not worth it, please don't.” 

I looked at Katherine. I could see the sadness in her eyes, and the way her body sagged with the sad look. I hated seeing her sad, I did everything to make sure she wasn't sad. Even though I hadn't seen her in 10 years, I remembered like it was yesterday when she was sad, and I damn sure didn't like it.

“OK, I won't on one condition.” I said.

“What is that?” Katherine said.

“Let's all go get a drink.” I said.

We all walked to the table and grabbed drinks. As we turned around to head towards the fire Matt Carlton stood right in front of me. 

“Hello Brennan,” Matt said.

I took a deep breath and started to shift my feet, but I stopped and just left them as they were. There was no way I wanted Katherine mad or sad because of what may or may not transpire in this confrontation. I knew I had to play my hand very carefully. 

“Hello Matt,” I said. “It's been a long time,” 

“Not long enough, I hear your some big writer. Well isn't that special.” Matt said. 

“Yeah, I've done OK, not to shabby.” I said.

“I've done alright too, better than you ever have or ever will do, Fuckhead. I recently bought my own Burger King franchise.” Matt said.

Of course he bought that. He always was a Burger King kind of guy.

“Wow Matt, Congrats to you.” I said. “I'm happy for your success.” 

“Don't think your better than me, Fuckhead.” Matt said. “I got the money and I got the girl. Come here baby.”

“No way,” Katherine said. “We are through, it's over.” 

“Listen to me,” Matt said. “It's over when I say it's over. Now come here and I mean now.”

I turned to Chris and the guys. Lucas was shaking his head while he had his arm around a girl I didn't recognize. Jake was holding on to August Bateman, which I was gonna have to talk to him about after this. Casey and Chris were with two girls each, Chris looked at me and gave me a look that essentially meant go after him in any way you can. 

I looked at Katherine and took a deep breath. “Sorry baby,” I said. “One more time I have to do this. You know I hate bullies.”

Katherine looked at me and I saw her smile. With that smile I knew what I had to do.

“Listen dickhead,” I said. “This isn't High School anymore, and you are still the same asshole you were then and just as worse, maybe even more worse now. I am a successful writer, my books are published all over the world, I have a very popular column and they have made my books into movies. I've traveled the world and have done things and seen things that would make your dick just fall off with one blink of the eye. So you own a Burger King? Wow, that is just swell. Tell me something though, do you still live with your parents or are you the same pathetic man whore you were in High School?”

“You know what's hilarious, Brennan?” Matt said. “You come back here, trying to pretend your still a teenager, trying like hell to make Katherine your own. But the fact remains the same as it has always been. She was mine, I won her and I will always have her. So big shot, try and take her from me. I dare you.”

“I dare you?” I said. Shaking my head and laughing out loud. “What are you, a six year old? Grow up Carlton, some of us have moved on from this shitty town and the ways of being a teenager. You haven't and judging by how stupid you have always been, You never ever will. This is over and done, grow up Matt. You'll find that being an adult is fun, but the catch is is that you need to have at least 3 braincells and they can't be in your pants.”

“Fuck you Brennan,” Matt said. With those words he swung at me with a leading Roundhouse right which clipped me on the jaw. I fell down and ended up in a sitting position. The guys and Katherine ran over towards me. As they made it by my side, the rest of our class was starting to make their way over towards us. Lucas and Casey helped me up. I started to laugh.

“What is so fucking funny?” Matt said.

I stopped laughing and smiled. “It's been 11 years since I was punched in the face. It was by you as I remember it. In the same spot with the same group of people. This is just too freaky, the deja vu.”

“You really want another ass kicking to commemorate the anniversary?” Matt said. 

Lucas walked over towards him. With his curly hair and baggy shorts and tank top, you would not take him as a physical confrontation kind of a guy, but being a radio DJ he had a booming voice and knew how to use it.

“Ladies and Gentleman,” Lucas said. “The Class of 2007 would like to welcome you to the show of shows. One man, compensating for a tiny penis and the owner of the local Burger King, I present to you. In his pathetic glory, Matt Carlton. Matt take a bow for the crowd would you. Casey and Jake, guys deliver some jokes if you could.

“We would love to,” Jake said.

“But there is one problem,” Casey said. “This idiot is truly the gift that keeps on giving.” 

Matt stood there, turning rapidly at the three of those guys, watching the insults fly rapidly and striking harshly. He still had his fist doubled and was looking for the one person to hit. He was still standing there when he turned to face Chris. 

“Oh for crying out loud,” Matt said.

“Carlton, your shoe is untied.” Chris said. 

Matt stood there with a blank look on his face, letting the statement sink in. I stood and their and was shaking my head, cause I knew what was gonna be coming up next. Sure enough, I wasn't disappointed.

Matt looked down at his shoes for about 10 seconds. As he lifted his head, Chris hit him with the nastiest uppercut I had ever seen in my life. He put every ounce of strength into it, lifting Matt off the ground and dropping him like a sack of potatoes. When he fell to the ground, everyone started to cheer.

“My mistake,” Chris said. “I wasn't wearing my glasses.”

Everyone started to laugh. Katherine walked over towards Chris and shook her head. “You gotta make sure you have them with you,” Katherine said.

“Thanks buddy,” I said.

“Hey, fair is fair.” Chris said. “Oh I gotta go. I saw Jimmy Peterson and I wanna chat with him”.

We all walked back to our vehicles. Katherine was right by my side the whole time, her arm wrapped around me. I returned the gesture. As we made it to my truck, I heard Katherine tap on my shoulder. 

“Nicholas, I need to ask you something.” Katherine said.

“What is that?” I asked.

“Where do we go from here? I mean, what happens now?” Katherine said.

I paused for a moment. As much as I had moved on and tried to forget her, Part of my heart wanted her in my life and thought that there could be room for her. One of the things about being a writer is that I am usually in control of the story and can always plan a head and keep an eye on the plot. But, the one thing I hated and in a way, it was occurring right now. I had a form of Writer's Block. 

“Let me tell you this,” I said. “I'll give you my card, you call me tomorrow and we will go from there.”

Katherine tilted her head. “Really?” Katherine said.

“It's up to you,” I said. “I lost you 10 years ago, and I have accepted that. If you really wanna be with me, then we have to take this one day at a time. We aren't 17 anymore.”

Katherine took my card and smiled. “I do wanna ask you one more thing though,” Katherine said.

“What is that?” I said.

“Can I get a ride home?” Katherine asked.

I smiled. 

“Of course,” I said.

We both got into my pickup truck. I turned the radio on to the classic rock station. Bob Seger was singing “Even Now”. Kind of a nice way to end the night. 

As we were pulling out of the parking lot, I felt Katherine lean up real close to me.

“Nick you know what I was wondering about?” Katherine said.

“What's that sweetie?” I said.

“How August Bateman got so fat,” Katherine said. 

“You know, I was wondering about that too. We are gonna have to talk to Jake about her.  See how the queen of the trailer park is these days.” I said.

“Why waste words on her, let's use the rest of them for what's important. Like us.” Katherine said.

“Like Smokey Robinson sang, You Really Got a Hold on Me” Katherine said.

I couldn't argue with her or Smokey. 

© Copyright 2018 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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