by Amanda Brittany
We used to race into the bar by the river as if we were afraid to miss a moment. Not
caring that we could barely move inside, as long as the gang were all there.
But now, hovering on the pavement outside on a cold winter evening, twelve years later, I could barely find the courage to go in.
To be honest, I rarely went out any more. Being married with two lovely children had put paid to all of that. And the thought of meeting up with the crowd I attended college with was making me nervous.
“Janie!” I turned to see his wide smile.
“Phil! I didn’t think you were coming.”
Phil and I had been best friends at college. He would make me laugh until I cried.
“Well, do I get a hug?” he said, and I moved closer, allowing his arms to wrap around me as I breathed in his aftershave.
“Shall we risk it then?” he went on, pointing
towards the door, and I nodded.
I searched for the old gang
As we pushed open the door and stepped inside, the music and chatter hit me like a warm wave. I searched the menagerie of faces for the old gang: Crazy Carrie, Gorgeous Gavin and Brainy Beth.
“Hi!” It was Brainy Beth, on her feet and waving. She didn’t look any different from the old days. Her hair was still a neat, dark bob and her glasses round. It was she
who had arranged the evening, tracking everyone down on Facebook.
We sat and I scanned the faces at the table. Gorgeous Gavin had lost a bit of hair and gained weight, but he still had those twinkly blue eyes that had melted so many hearts. And Crazy Carrie looked as crazy as ever, with a mass of unruly red hair.
Was it really right to bring up old times?
We’d all played such a huge part in each other’s lives all those years ago, but we now led completely different lives to the ones we’d lived back then.
In fact I wondered if it was really right to bring up old times and lay them bare on the table amongst the puddles of booze and discarded peanuts.
“Do you remember when Janie refused to go out with you, Phil?” Crazy Carrie blurted, after a couple of wines.
Phil took a gulp of his drink.
“I remember,” he said, catching my eye.
Carrie wiggled her index finger at me. “And you told Phil you loved him, but not in a romantic way,” she went on, locking me in a stare.
“That was a long time ago, Carrie. I was young and foolish, back then.”
After laughing at her revelation, she clearly decided we were all far too boring, and headed for the attractive barman.
Gorgeous Gavin left some moments later, as his wife needed help with the twins, and Brainy Beth, after yawning for the umpteenth time, announced she ought to go home as she has an early shift in the morning.
Phil had grown more attractive over the years
“Just me and you, then,” said Phil, picking up my glass.
“Why not?” I said, and watched him head through the throng towards the bar, observing how he’d grown more attractive over the years.
“You look great, Janie,” he said, returning and handing me my drink, his smile making his green eyes crinkle at the corners.
“You don’t look so bad yourself, Phil,” I said, glancing at my watch and wondering if it was time to call it a night.
Suddenly an old tune we both recognised sounded from the jukebox. Phil smiled, took my hand and dragged me, slightly reluctantly, onto the small dance floor.
It felt good in his arms, and my body tingled as he held me close.
“I’ll always love you, Janie,” he whispered, and my heart skipped.
As the song came to a close, he kissed me softly.
“I’m so glad you came,” I said.
“Me too,” he said, as we headed back to the table.
“So how did you get out of work?” I asked once we’d sat down.
“I told my boss I had an important meeting I didn’t want to miss.” He smiled. “I couldn’t bear the thought of you coping with the old gang alone.”
“I love you, Phil,” I said, recalling the day we’d met quite by chance in the supermarket five years after we’d left college, and how quickly I’d realised he was the one for me after all.
“I love you too, Janie.” ❤
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