After the dust settles

Submitted into Contest #202 in response to: Write a story about lifelong best friends.... view prompt


Drama Friendship Romance

The fan blew the dust off the old photo album down in the basement.  Chad sat next to Brittany, they were reliving memories of high school, as they looked through the photo album. Those pictures seem like so long ago, as the dust settles on the old worn-out beige loveseat.  Chad and Brittany found it a real treasure to relieve those old memories.  And high school seems so long ago. But in that moment, down in the basement.  Time stood still as two friends walk down memory lane.  Each hoped they would find common ground now as adults. It was a time of reflection, to see how much both had grown.  Brittany brushed away the dust from her face and her long eyelashes batted to keep the dust away.   Chad cough a few times inhaling some of the dust. But neither of them let it stop them from reconnecting..

Brittany Sparks was not only kind but beautiful as well.  Chad thought of her as a truly awesome person.   Chad, like most kids, hated high school and living in a small subdivision, everyone knew everyone else.  If you were popular everyone knew it, but if you were not popular they knew that also.  And Chad was one of those boys who was not popular.  High School had a way of reminding him of that fact, every single day.   However, there was one bright spot, living next door to Brittany. But now sitting down in the basement it didn’t seem that important.   

Chad could not believe that Brittany was back in town, back in his life?  Chad felt hopeful, he took a peak at Brittany looking through the album, with that smile on her face.  Chad couldn’t help but to feel hopeful, like maybe, just maybe it was time for something more than friends. 

Brittany Sparks was your typical pretty and popular girl, of course, she was head cheerleader.  Brittany looked like her name, beautiful and timeless.  Her long auburn hair had curls that bounced back and forth down the middle of her back.  And pouty lips they seem to call people mostly the boys.

  Brittany still had that same cheerleader spirit and a body to match.  All Chad could think about was how much he had changed.   Living next door Brittany was good and bad.  He got to see her every day, and yet he couldn’t get up enough nerve to really talk to her.  She was like a goddess to him.  In spite of the fact that Brittany was pretty and popular, she was a good person.  She would befriend anybody.  She never made anyone feel left out or unwanted. She wasn’t a snob like other cheerleaders, Brittany was someone special.

Brittany and Chad were friends, just friends.  Chad knew that and accepted that fact,  Brittany belonged to the world, a world Chad didn’t live in.  The classic story of a popular girl and nobody boy, the same old story nothing ever changes.  But now, maybe this time Brittany could be more, so much more, Chad hoped. Chad had changed so much from high school.  

Brittany was just as timeless as ever.  Her little pointed nose and ice-pink lips were calling to Chad.  Her beautiful hazel eyes had specks of gold in them, they made her eyes sparkle. Chad wondered if Brittany had gotten married?    But he could not bring himself to ask that question, it seem too personal.  And he didn’t want to ruin the moment.  Besides, If she said yes, he couldn't stand it.  Chad had loved Brittany for so long. So for now, they just enjoyed memories and catching up on old times. 

Chad was always the hot guy, he just didn’t know it, Brittany thought to herself.  She was watching him look through the old photo album with that same smirk on his face.  He was kind of goofy but in a cute way.  They were friends, but maybe Chad would finally ask her out.  

Being a Cheerleader in High school, Brittany had so many obligation and she was going in so many different directions.  All she really wanted was to just live her life.  And so she knew her chance would be after graduation,  and she took it.   Brittany had dreams of her own, she had hopes and desires, and it was far away from where she grew up.

Brittany’s status as a cheerleader tried to take her down the fast track.  She needed help to navigate through, and Chad would always help her out.  They were study buddies, and Chad was a good friend.    When there was a party and the parents weren’t at home.  Chad called her for a tutoring session.  They would hang out in her basement watching old westerns. The thought of Chad and Brittany watching Western, made her smile.    Brittany depended on Chad more than she realized.    And now the two of them sitting close, and reminsencing about the good old days.  Maybe some things never change, even after the dust settles.

After Brittany graduated, she moved away, and she ended up working full-time and going to school part-time, at a community college.   When she received her certification to be an Elementary school teacher.  She decided to move back home, to give back to her old school.  Brittany found out that life outside of a small town wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  There were too many ways to drag you down a road that leads nowhere.   Life in Brittany’s hometown was not that bad, there were some really good things back home, and Chad was one of them. 

Back In high school, Brittany had so many social obligations, especially from being a Cheerleader,  it was crazy. And to make matters worse, Brittany’s mom encouraged her daughter's cheerleading activities.  She said it will be good for extra-curricular activities for college applications.  And on top of that Brittany’s friends told her she should date the captain of the football team.  All this was expected because of who she was and how popular she was. All this wasn’t such a bad idea, because of Jason.  Jason was the most popular boy in school, but most importantly, he was a really good guy.   

  Jason wasn’t a bad guy, but he was no Chad.  Brittany carried out her social obligations and went on to do what was expected.  But  that was then, and now it was time for her life dreams.   Now it was time for Brittany to make her own life choices. 

As Brittany sat there reliving high school memories, she wonder about Chad.  She was no longer in high school.  She no longer had to answer to social obligations.  But what about Chad, had he moved on? Brittany notice there was no ring on his finger.   But nowadays lots of men don’t wear their rings.  Brittany wasn’t sure what to think anymore.  Maybe she was just scared.  Maybe she was looking for something that wasn’t there or never was.  Her mind was racing to understand.    Just then Chad looked at her, and he look into her hazel eyes. Brittany looked into Chad’s deep brown eyes.  Then she noticed his short wavy black hair.  Chad had the most beautiful, deep brown eyes.  His eyes held a certain kind of mystery and peacefulness.  

Chad would look at Brittany as if he knew her every thought.  He just stared at her with a kind of mystery and amazement.  Chad always seem to know when Brittany’s mind ran off in other directions.  Chad knew Brittany better than anyone else in the world, that made Brittany blush.   A rosy red color highlighted her cheekbones, better than any makeup could ever do.                                                     

Chad takes Brittany’s hand away  from holding on to the black dusty photo album.  And he said to her in a very deep and confident voice,  “I think it’s time we give a little attention to us, something beyond the pictures.”  Brittany held her breath for what seemed like an eternity. 

She had waited all through school for Chad to step up and say what he felt.  She’d given up after they graduated when Chad just said, “goodbye’ and left.   Brittany thought maybe she was wrong, maybe there was never anything real between them.  Maybe she didn’t really care for Chad, maybe it was just a way to get out of the popular crowd.  But now, was it really happening?   Was Chad finally going to speak up?  To confess his love for Brittany?

Chad leans in closer, and he takes the old photo album.  Places it on the dusty glass coffee table.   Chad scoots in closer to Brittany, she can feel his hot breath on her lips.  Brittany blinks her eyes twice and gets ready to be kissed.  Just as she’s about to close her eyes for the kiss, Chad says out loud, “Jason?”  Brittany open up her eyes with a confused look on her face.  Then she repeats what she heard, “Jason”?  She shakes her head and her curls bounce up and down.  Then she turns around and sees Jason standing behind her.  They both say his name out loud, “Jason.”

Jason Bale, Brittany’s ex-boyfriend from high school.  Captain of the Football team, who went semi-pro in college.  Jason graduated from college with a degree in Business Administration.  Jason had arrived back in town a year ago, he was hired at the high school as Gym teacher and Football coach.  

Jason Bale was a really good guy, he never tried to push Brittany to do anything.  Jason was also bound to his social protocol as a football player.  He really enjoyed spending time with Brittany.  Jason really liked Brittany, but he knew she had feeling for someone else, he just didn’t know who that was.  But he was bound and determined to win her over.  

In high school, Jason didn’t want to be one of those guys who thought the world revolved around him, just because he was good at Football.  So, Jason made a pack with Brittany, so that they would keep each other accountable.   Neither one would be led down the fast track.  And so, Jason and Brittany were together everywhere, dancing, watching TV, McDonald’s anywhere couples were.   If Brittany wasn’t with Chad she was with Jason.  

 In the beginning, it was easy to fake it, but down the line it became real.  Jason wasn’t a bad guy, he was really sweet.  Not to mention he was a ‘hottie’.  Every girl told Brittany so, Jason knew it too.  He had offers from many girls that he could have been the first. Brittany wasn’t surprised that the girls told Jason he could be the first.  Brittany was surprised Jason didn’t take them up on their offer.  But then Jason really was a good guy.   He was truly loyal to Brittany, she just didn’t know why.

Chad thought to himself, ‘Of all the people to come down into the basement, Jason Bale, 6’0’ all muscles and a smile every girl in school fell in love with.  And to make matters worse Brittany always told Chad that Jason was a real nice guy.   Chad thought to himself, ‘It was easy to hate players or the guys who think they are everything, but Jason wasn’t like that.  How could Chad ever hate a guy that treated Brittany so good and even treated him like he mattered? 

Back in high school when no one looks twice at you unless you are popular, rich, pretty, athletic, gifted, or something. Chad was none of those things and yet Jason treated him nice every time he saw him.  There was even one time Jason tried to get Chad to go to the movies with him and Brittany   And another time when Jason had invited Chad out to McDonald’s for burgers and fries.  It was truly hard to dislike Jason, if Brittany had to be with any guy, Jason was the one Chad pick every time.   Chad remembered that Jason had left to go to college, with a football scholarship, of course.  

Jason went away to college, and he returned back home about a year ago.  Back at the same High school where Jason used to be the Quarterback.   After graduation, Jason was given a full scholarship to college.  And when he graduated from college he came back home, to coach football.   

For Jason, there was something special about their little small town.  He enjoyed being back home. Jason came back and began teaching at their old high school, he was also a coach.  Jason talked the school board into adding a weight room for the player.  Jason spent a lot of time working out, you could tell that by looking at him.  Jason was always the guy other guys wanted to be, he excelled at whatever he tried.  Even Chad had to respect that about him.

“Hey Jason, I haven’t heard from you since you got back in town.  Let’s see that was about a year ago, right?” Chad spoke up with sarcasm in my voice.  He wanted it to be known that he had not seen Jason since he graduated.  But as ususal Jason had his bases covered, “No, you got it all wrong.  Remember I see you every so often at the bookstore downtown.  I tried to catch up with you, but you always have something to do.  Remember?”  Was Jason really such a smooth talker,  or was he just friendly?  Truth be told Chad had seen Jason several times.  Every time Chad saw Jason. Jason wanted them to go out and catch up on old times.  But Chad had moved on, he was no longer a nobody.  Chad thought to himself, ‘They had nothing to catch up on.   Same old Jason, always being a good guy.  I guess some things never change, even as the dust settles.

Jason looks over and sees Brittany sitting close to Chad, then he sees the dusty photo album they both were holding onto. Jason asks, “So what are we doing?  Checking up on old photos?”  Jason sits on the armrest next to Brittany.   Brittany looks up at Jason, but Chad couldn’t read her facial expression, not this time.  ‘Was she happy to see him?  Did she even know Jason was back in town?’ Chad wasn’t sure what was going on.  Then Jason said something Chad could not forget, “So Chad, are you going to come to our wedding?  I gave Britanny a ring but she refuses to wear it.  You know these modern-day women and all.”  Jason said smiling and winking at Brittany.  But the worse part was that Brittany didn’t even deny it.  She just sat there looking at Jason.   Then Jason kissed Brittany on the forehead then he made his way down to her ice pink lips.  There was no hesitation from Brittany not at all, Chad felt like he was back in high school.  Chad thought to himself, ‘Some things never change.’  Chad left out of the basement and slowly walked up the stairs leading to the kitchen.  Then he closed the kitchen door as he walked outside.   The cold wind reminded him that it was the end of September and the wind was doing its best to stir things up.  Chad realized he had not put on a jacket so he stuck my hands in his jean pockets and walked on down the street.  

Before Britanny came over to Chad’s house she had met up with Jason.  Jason gave her a ring and they talked about the future.  Neither one of them was sure what would happen,  then Brittany told Jason she wanted to see Chad and see what was new.   Brittany was hoping Chad would declare his love for her.   That time would have made a way for the future.   Jason said he understood, he always knew there was someone else, and Chad was a good guy.  Not too friendly, but still a good guy.  

 After Chad walked out and left, Brittany just sat there.  She said softly, “I guess some things never changed.  After the dust settles things fall back to the way they were.

When Chad walked out of the basement, Jason took Chad’s spot, and moved closer to Brittany.  They sat there for a few minutes waiting for Chad to come back, but in the meantime, they enjoyed treasured memories.  When Brittany came back to town, she didn’t know Jason would be there.  Now while sitting on the dusty loveseat, she realized Jason was a great catch.  And he really cared for her. Brittany and Jason found a common ground between yesterday and maybe the future.  

Brittany and Chad’s memories were the same as in high school.  After the dust settles things fall back in their same place, just like the dust. 

June 09, 2023 21:31

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