Graham had looked down to check the time on his watch. 8 p.m. exactly. He had never known Billie to be late, but before another second could pass he spotted Billie at the front entrance, bypassing the long line of people waiting to be seated, and speaking to the waiter in front. He recognized her honey brown skin and those shiny luscious curls had always been specific to Billie alone. She wore a red pantsuit that complimented every curve of her body and opened up to reveal her smooth and flawless back. Graham had gazed upon her a million times in the past, but this present moment topped the rest. He was stunned and it seemed like the entire room had stopped to admire her goddess-like presence, but he didn’t care about the rest of the room. She was coming to see him. The waiter pointed Billie in the direction of his table and the moment she saw him she cracked a smile and waved. He waved back and stood from his seat ready to welcome her. 

Billie almost didn’t recognize Graham when she saw him. He wore a dark blue shirt with his sleeves rolled up along his forearms -- God she remembered how much she loved seeing that -- and a pair of black slacks that were somehow almost as cunning as the new curly faded undercut he was rocking. Oh, the glasses. How could she ever forget the glasses? But seeing him wear them now, he looked a little more sexier than she had remembered. Who was this man she was walking towards? 

         The two embraced longer than expected to and sat down so the night could truly begin.

"Oh my god Graham! I haven't seen you in ages! You look amazing!" Billie still couldn't believe her eyes.

"Me? Look at you! You're still the commanding presence wherever you go," Graham gestured to all of Billie. 

"Still? You make it sound like I was always this way." 

"You may have evolved but you always stole the spotlight even when you didn't want to." 

"Oh my god," Billie gushed. "How long has it been?" 

"I think it's been 12 years." 

"Holy shit! That long?" 

"Yeah. I think the last time we saw each other was graduation."

Billie covered her mouth in disbelief. “We really let time get away from us, didn’t we?”

“Yeah. We should probably try to keep more in touch this time before another ten years pass by.” Graham raised a seductive eyebrow and Billie could only laugh. 

“Yeah, probably.” 

“So catch me up. What have you been up to? Did you become that rock star that you always aspired to be?" 

Billie chuckled in embarrassment. 

"Oh wait, excuse me, I remember that you wanted to be the best poet in the world," Graham continued. 

"Oh my god. Shut up," Billie flushed with embarrassment. "You know that my poetry was trash. It was absolute garbage. Worst decision I ever made." 

"I wouldn't say that. You were extremely passionate though."

"Well, I don't think that part of me has really changed, but I'm a lawyer now." 

"What?" Graham gave a look of surprise. 

"Yeah. I didn't become interested until college and now, here I am." 

"That's great. Seriously, that's amazing." 

"Oh, not really. It's more boring than you think. I'm not one of those badass lawyers that you see in all those TV shows." 

"I bet you are a badass. I don't think you’re giving yourself enough credit." 

Billie looked down at the table and smiled to herself. "Thank you. Well, what about you? What did you get yourself into?" 

"I'm a pediatrician." 

"What? Wow. I bet all the kids love you." 

"Nahh," Graham waved dismissively. "They all just come for the lollipops at the end of their appointments."

Billie shook her head. "I don't believe that. You were always good with kids." 

         Graham smiled back at Billie. How in the world did he let twelve years pass by without seeing her again? Maybe if he had reached out instead of being a coward then maybe, just maybe, he would feel a little better about the choices that he had made in his life. 

       Suddenly, one of the singers on stage thanked the audience for listening to his most recent creation. Billie and Graham clapped in approval for the jazz band even though neither one of them was paying much attention. They were too focused on each other and the jazz in the background became a beautiful side note in the atmosphere. Billie studied the instruments on the stage for a moment before she leaned over the table stealing all of Graham's attention once again. 

"You still play the drums?" She asked with a smile spread from ear to ear. 

"Yeah. Every now and then." He was a little caught off guard with how close she was. 

"You gonna play for me?"

Graham chuckled. "It's my night off." 

"You're going to invite me to your favorite jazz club, where I've heard that you're astounding, and you're going to tell me that this is your night off?" Billie raised both eyebrows and gave a face saying that wasn't a smart plan

"I see that you still have your 'persuasive' edge." 

"Please," she begged and placed a hand on his arm. "I haven't seen you play in so long and I always loved watching you play while we were dating." 

         Her touch was like electricity spiking through his veins. That part about the two of them hadn't changed and Graham forgot how much he missed that feeling. He remembered how electrifying it felt to be in her presence and he thought it would fade over time, but the reverse  was happening instead...and it hasn't even been a full night.

"Fine," Graham conceded. "You win as always." 

         Graham walked over to the stage where he whispered a recommendation to the pianist while sneaking a glance at Billie who was sitting at the edge of her seat. He was clapped on the shoulder by the bass player  and one of the trumpet players before he sat behind the drum set and lightly tapped the drums with his drumsticks. 

         The band was great, the music was authentic, and Graham was amazing as always. Billie never remembered him to be a disappointment when it came to playing the drums. He took so much pride in it and loved to show off. She did miss the feeling of being able to brag about how good he was and forcing her parents to come and watch him play. Reminiscing about the past so much made her think about how she ever let him slip through her fingers so easily. 

        The music had finished and Graham came back to the table where they conversed over one, two, maybe three drinks. They were having such a good time catching up that the amount of drinks soon became irrelevant. 

"Does your grandmother still call you her little Graham cracker?" Billie chuckled. 

"Unfortunately, yes. She says it so much that my kids have adopted it now." 

Billie almost choked on her drink. "Excuse me? Kids?" 

"Oh yeah, I have two girls. They're three and seven years old. Their names are Kaia and Gigi." 

"Are you married too?" 

"Going on eight years." 

         Billie did her best to mask her shock by smiling as hard as she could and finishing her drink in one huge gulp. 

"I'm so happy for you. Eight years and two kids?! Damn Graham you really managed to pull everything together!" Billie hoped her voice wasn’t too high or her expression too fake. 

        Graham gave a sheepish smile trying to hide the obvious pain that the past eight years have brought. They had been the toughest years that he had ever had to endure, but he didn't regret his kids. He loved them to death, but when your wife tends to be a narcissist and gaslights often things can get a little rocky. 

"What about you? I noticed the wedding ring when you first walked in," Graham lied. 

"Oh yeah. I just recently got married for the second time. It's been eight months now so everything is going smoothly so far." 

         Graham's stomach dropped. She’s been married twice already?! But what he didn't know is that Billie's last husband had a child with another woman while they were still married. Billie jumped at her second chance of love immediately  without fully examining the pain of her last relationship. She couldn't deal with the pain of being alone, even though her new partner wasn't nearly as loving or supporting as he should be. 

"Congratulations. I'm really happy for you," Graham forced a smile. 

"Thank you." 

         An awkward silence hung over the two of them. Graham knew he should say something but held his tongue and Billie didn't know how to properly convey her emotions. After all, it had been so long and so many things had been held in and unsaid. How can all of that possibly be made up for now?

"What happened to us?" Billie asked, unable to deal with the silence any longer. 

Her eyes were begging for an answer and Graham felt guilt surge through his chest while he replayed the events of the christmas of his senior year. 

“Remember my best friend Miles?” Graham asked. 

“Yeah, I think I do. Didn’t he take his life before...” Billie caught herself but it was already too late. She saw a stroke of sadness pass over Graham’s face and regretted bringing up the subject. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to bring back those memories for you. I know how much he meant to you.” 

“It’s okay Billie, but to answer your question I went silent. I shut people out and you--”

“I was more focused on traveling with my team at the time. I’m so sorry. I’ve thought a lot about that and I wish I could go back and fix it.” 

“Billie, there isn’t anything you need to apologize for. I was the one who stopped talking to everybody. I was processing a lot of things in the wrong way and it was a while before I got the help I needed.” 

“Yeah, but I didn’t support you enough or at all. I did my own thing when I should’ve been with you.” 

“It’s okay. Really.” 

“It’s really not.” 

“How could we know?” Graham shrugged. “We were young.” 

“And stupid.” 

Graham snorted. “Very stupid. How many times did we almost get caught making out?” 

“Or how many times did we sneak out of the house at night just to see each other?” 

“Jesus, my parents almost buried me alive when they found out.” 

“Mine almost disowned me. Oh, does your grandma still think that we’ll have cute babies together?” 

Graham closed his eyes and shook his head. “Too far.”  

Billie laughed and caught her breath a few seconds after. “I did love that old woman. But in all seriousness, I am happy for you Graham. Congrats on all of your achievements.” 

“I’m happy for you too. I always wanted you to be happy.”

For Billie, that struck harder than a punch to the gut knowing that if she had been there...if she had stayed instead of thinking about herself maybe...just maybe…

“So, what’s left to do here?” Billie exhaled trying to relieve herself of the tension. 


Billie wasn’t sure if Graham was sure at first but when he offered her his hand she found herself speechless. When was the last time they danced together? Homecoming? She knew that they didn’t go to Prom together, but she would’ve preferred Graham in the Prom photo with her instead of the asshole she went with that night. Well, it’s too late for that, but maybe there’s another memory that they can paint together if it is only for tonight. She smiled as she took his hand and Graham did the favor of escorting her to the dance floor with the other couples. Billie wrapped her arms around Graham’s neck and he took the pleasure in placing his around her waist. When was the last time they were this close together? Neither one could remember how long ago it was, but they both missed it so much. No, that was an understatement. Being this close together was almost like a hunger, a desire, that hadn’t been satisfied in what seemed like forever. 

“Do you have anywhere that you need to be soon?” Graham asked, staring into Billie’s eyes. 

“Yeah, probably. Do you?” she replied. 

“Maybe. Should we stop?” 

Billie knew she should yes. Her husband is most likely home by now, but it’s not like he’s waiting for her. 

“What about your girls? Shouldn’t we stop for them?” She asked. 

“They should be asleep by now and my wife doesn’t care what time I get back home.” 

Billie smiled. “Let’s just stay like this for as long as we can.” 

“You read my mind,” Graham smiled back. 

Billie and Graham leaned into each other while the trumpets, piano, and bass played in the background, carrying the past and lifting the heavy weight from both of their shoulders even though it was only temporary. Was it enough to hope that this night would never end or would that be selfish? As long as they were holding each other, the world seemed to melt away and the jazz club seemed like the best place to harbor this unsaid secret.

August 14, 2020 06:46

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05:11 Sep 01, 2020

Such a cute story!


Anaya Dennis
18:03 Sep 01, 2020

Thabk you! I'm glad you think so.


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Lynn Penny
03:31 Aug 18, 2020

This was beautiful! I loved how you paced it, and the dialogue for the two characters felt very real. Awesome job!


Anaya Dennis
16:09 Aug 18, 2020

Thank you so much! I wanted the story to hit a different way so it means so much to me that you said that. Thank you!


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