Clarissa Archer and her friends Xander, Tony and Juliet had made a promise when they were sixteen. Regardless of whether they graduated or not, all four of them would attend the 10 year reunion at Meadowvale High. The years may have passed, but their friendship was alive and well. Each had in their own way, found something that they loved to do. They were lucky enough to turn their passions into careers.
Clarissa sold her first paintings at a local gallery and commissions suddenly came flying in. She eventually made enough money to live on and gave up her day job. Juliet always had a thing for acting. She starred in various plays. Her talent shone through. Somebody noticed and picked her up for an independent movie role.
Xander's knowledge of computers and technology led him to a software company. He began working his way up the ladder. Tony fell in love with skateboarding when he was younger, winning all kinds of competitions. He worked two jobs while he waited for his breakthrough.
His chance took a longer time to come than the rest of his friends, but they supported him all the way. By the age of twenty, Tony was earning big money. Now they could really afford the expensive things. Clarissa was the one who most often reminded them to keep an eye on their cash flow. It might be all good at the moment, but that could change in a flash.
Clarissa stood in front of her full length mirror. The reflection showed a girl wearing a grey tunic and denim leggings, with boots and a jacket. She had white blonde hair, hazel eyes and suntanned skin. She was slim, almost to the point of being skinny. Battling with an eating disorder for most of her teenage life, sometimes she still struggled.
Brianna Archer was no fool. She put her foot down and basically saved her daughter's life. Clarissa would never not be grateful to her for that. These days, a few extra kilos here and there didn't bother her as much as it used to. She turned away from her image in the mirror, as she heard the doorbell to her studio apartment ring.
She hurried downstairs, knowing her friends would be waiting. Tony had hired a limousine for this special occasion. He already looked like he'd had a couple of drinks. Juliet and Xander were holding hands and whispering to each other. The penny dropped for Clarissa. "You guys have at last admitted the truth. I'm happy for you."
Juliet blushed. "About a week ago, he came by to congratulate me on another great show and then we were kissing." Xander couldn't wipe the smile off his face. "I never gave up hope that one day you would see me differently." Tony pretended to gag, although he was secretly pleased for them. "The two of you are such romantic saps." He wiggled his eyebrows at Clarissa. "It's our turn next." "Highly unlikely." "Yeah, I know."
Meadowvale High School had been updated with a fresh coat of paint and a new sign. Some of the classrooms had been swapped around too. The gym was still in the same spot and the only building large enough to host this kind of party. Clarissa was the first to exit the car, but she hesitated slightly. Her friends at once surrounded her and she felt better.
She wondered if they would recognize anyone. A lot can happen in ten years after all. Walking in, the friends couldn't believe their eyes. For a moment it was like nothing had really changed. Then the illusion was shattered. A few curious glances came their way. Clarissa could see remnants of the kids she once knew.
Emily and her sister Kayla were gorgeous as always. No surprise they still had guys falling all over themselves. Darryl, Greg and Keith, who used to belong to the popular sports mad crew, seemed like they'd held together alright. One was a little overweight, but he obviously didn't care.
The 'nerdy bunch' had mostly outgrown their big glasses and thin underdeveloped bodies. They no longer carried masses of books or their laptops. Some of them even had girlfriends and wives. There had never been a huge LGBT community in the town of Meadowvale. Maybe six girls and three guys in total, had attended this school when she and her friends did.
It didn't stop Frank and his long term partner Warren, from making a dramatic entrance. They came dressed up to the nines in drag. The girls admired the sparkly heels and colorful makeup. Tony was impressed with the boys' confidence. Xander just shook his head, smiling at their over the top antics. It was all in good fun.
While pouring herself a glass of wine, she sensed someone behind her. "Hi Clarissa." Suddenly she was face to face with her ex-boyfriend Maxwell Lambert. At fifteen she'd summoned up the courage to ask him out. He said yes. They lasted almost two years. Then she saw him making out with another girl. They broke up. He managed to convince her that it wouldn't happen again. But it did. This time she dumped him for good.
He backed off. From then on, she tried her best to move forward. Her broken heart began to mend. She dated, but nothing got too serious. However, recently she'd said yes to a fourth date with a guy she met several weeks ago. That rarely ever happened to her. His name was Christopher Pierce. He showed some promise. Definite sparks.
Clarissa was curious enough to take a chance again. Maybe her luck in love was finally going to change. Looking at Maxwell tonight, it still hurt, but the sharp pain in her heart had dulled over time. "Hello." She had no idea what else she could say. He instantly filled the awkward silence with an apology. The words just came pouring out of him.
"I am really sorry that I treated you so bad. Can you forgive me? The truth is, we had something special. It scared me, so I went ahead and screwed it up. Once we were really over, I noticed that any girls who came along afterwards just couldn't fill the empty space you left. Until I met my wife Amelia. We have two children together. Imagine that, me being a dad."
Clarissa laughed, feeling much more at ease. This was what she needed to hear. "I can't picture it myself. I probably will forgive you one of these days. I wont ever forget of course, that's just how I am. I don't hate you anymore either. We were young and mistakes do happen." "That's a relief. Thank you." "Life's way too short to hold grudges." "Fair point." "Don't go assuming this makes us bosom buddies." "I wouldn't dream of it." "Good answer." "Well, enjoy your evening. Take care." They shook hands. "Same to you."
She kept her eyes on Maxwell as he walked away. Tony came up to her. "Are you okay?" "Fine." "I did consider stepping in, but you looked like you had it covered." She nodded, smiling. " It's occurred to me that I have now officially put the past to rest. I can start truly living, perhaps for the first time in ages." "Excellent! Let's go rejoin the others and you can tell us more about this new guy who's taken your fancy..."
Thinking it over as she lay in bed that night, Clarissa was genuinely happy that she had shown up at her old high-school reunion. It made her wonder exactly what the next 10 years might have in store for them. It would be very intriguing to find out!
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