Note: This is my new story, I probably shouldn't be writing this during exams but I couldn't help myself! The backstory of the main characters is loosely based off one of my own experiences in high school, but that's all I'm gonna say for now! I hope you all enjoy the story and sorry for the huge first chapter.
I curled my hand around the warm cup of coffee as Kiren placed another plate of cupcakes on the table. Sarah squeaked in excitement and her eyes were all over those chocolate chips.
"Calm down, calm down!" I laughed at her silly face as she tried one.
"Tis soh gud!" she said while trying to chew at the same time. I tried one too, it was indeed great.
"Kiren, will you open up a bakery with me? I mean...we could make a lot of money." I said, and she giggled.
"What about my dream of becoming a princess?" she asked. I shrugged. As far as I knew, there was no prince anywhere around.
Sarah shook her head, "Why would you even want that? People would force rules on you, stuff like that. Maybe...you might not even get to eat cupcakes like these." her forehead creased as she looked at us across the table.
I nodded in agreement, but my eyes wandered off towards the window. The afternoon sun was already starting to retreat behind the trees. Another day bringing us closer to winter was almost gone.
I wonder how many summers we spent together, how many autumns we greeted together. Sarah and Kiren have been my friends for a long time, probably ever since high school started, and Kiren has been since even before that. The three of us would hang out a lot, every summer, every autumn, every season, until we graduated. Then, each of us took a separate road in life. I moved out of town to study physics, Sarah decided to become a hairdresser, Kiren took over her family's business. We kept in touch, but really it was never the same.
"Erin?" Kiren's voice echoed near my head. I looked at her, and she pointed at my empty cup. "Want a refill?"
"Uh, yeah. Thanks." I smiled and she took my cup to the kitchen.
Sarah started telling me about how she wanted to cut my hair short, and I protested against it, while nervously glancing at my long brown hair.
But here we are, four years later, hanging out in Kiren's house as if a day has not gone by. I laughed at Sarah's attempt to turn my hair into a faux bob, desperately trying to convince me that a short bob would be great on me. No, I had grown out of that bob a long time ago, but she probably didn't remember.
Kiren returned with more coffee and we started talking about classmates and old teachers again, when Sarah stopped mid-sentence and grinned from ear to ear.
"You guys!" she gasped.
"What?" Kiren asked in anticipation, baffled by her sudden change of mood.
"You guys, you will not believe this." Sarah said and pulled her phone out, then started scrolling through pages and pages until she finally stopped.
"Here it is." she said and tilted her phone so that we could see.
It was a picture of a poster, that someone had stapled on a tree. The background featured some pattern made up from bricks, and the huge yellow lettering said "2017 Bertram High School Reunion PARTY", right underneath it there was a smaller text reading "Class of 2013 is back and ready to party! If you were a Bertram student in 2013, join us on Saturday 9th of September 12am in Bertram High."
I exchanged a look with Kiren, she seemed to be as baffled as I was. "What the hell?" I exhaled.
"This is THE thing you guys. I saw it the other day stapled on the tree but it's actually everywhere." Sarah explained. I had seen this poster for the first time, and it had already been a month since I moved back in town.
"Is this even legit?" Kiren let out a small laugh. "It looks like a prank."
"It is. Look down here." Sarah pointed at some even smaller text. It read in green color "Sean Richie wants you there!"
I couldn't help but sense Kiren's eyeroll from miles away.
"Sean Richie, is that guy still trying to be high school king or something? We are like 22 years old!" she laughed.
"Maybe he just wants to...reconnect." I shrugged.
"That's why this is legit. Richie may have been a pretentious rich kid but he always did what he said. Even when he didn't really think about something before saying it." Sarah smiled and grabbed another muffin. She took a bite and pointed at us, "We should go." she said.
"Wow there darling!" Kiren raised a hand, "We are not the kind of people they want in that party. Besides, it sounds...dumb."
"It's true. They won't even remember who we are." I agreed. Not being popular was one thing, but we had crossed that line and were probably borderline invisible during all of high school. With the exception of Kiren, who was slightly more outgoing.
"But imagine all the fun we'll have, and you know what? We never crashed their parties. We should have. This is our chance!" Sarah threw her fist in the air.
I secretly admitted to myself that even though I kinda hated high school, I was at least a bit curious about how my classmates did in life.
On the day of the party, I was woken up by Sarah's call, who wanted to remind me that we had plans that night. She knew that I was very likely to bail, so she had to take her precautions. I assured her that I would be there (although not for how long) and my sleepy brain nagged for extra 5 minutes of sleep. Nevertheless, I stood up and decided to have some breakfast. Mom was already downstairs, making herself some coffee, when I shuffled in there and started making my own cup.
"Good morning, hon." she smiled at me.
"Good morning mom." I replied drowsily and sat myself down.
"What are your plans for today?" she asked as she pulled out some groceries and glared at them.
"I will read a bit...walk the dog, and at night there's this party Sarah made us go to so...I'm doing that."
Mom just nodded, and continued staring at the food, probably trying to decide what to make for lunch. Maybe she thought I should go find a job instead of reading or taking the dog out. It was true. I had graduated from university over a month ago and all I did was stay at home and do nothing. She never said anything but something in her eyes said otherwise.
After I was done with coffee, I went back upstairs, made my bed and opened the windows. I picked a book by Agatha Christie, one of the few I still hadn't read, and lost myself in it until I heard light patting outside my room. Queen, our female corgi was looking at me and taking small steps towards me, her little paws hitting the wood softly.
"Aww come here, girl!" I said and she broke into a full sprint to cover the distance to my bed. I gave her a hug and a few rubs on the head. "You wanna go out, don't you?"
I decided I should take her out on a walk before lunch. So, I got dressed and went down to find her leash. Soon, we were outside enjoying the morning sun and chasing bugs. Well, at least she did.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, I spent most of it in my room trying to organize my drawers and clean out the bookcase. It was only about 11 pm that I remembered the party. I stopped whatever it is that I was doing, and tried to decide on an outfit.
What was I supposed to wear on a high school reunion party? I had no idea. I texted Kiren, asking what she was wearing. She replied with "sweater and skirt". I sighed and pulled out a pair of black pants, a white t-shirt, and my ankle boots. I would probably wear my hair down, as I did most of the time.
Two hours later, I was ready to go. We had decided that it would be better to go around 1.00 am, so that we could sneak in easier. I took one last look of myself in the mirror before leaving. Those ankle boots looked really nice with the pair of tight pants, my hair was naturally wavy and reached right under my chest. I had decided to wear a denim blue jacket just in case it got cold. My makeup was my signature look, brown smoky eyes and some rosy tinted lip balm. Finally, I wore my favorite black choker to finish the look.
I grabbed my bag and shoved my phone in it, before leaving the room. I tried to go down the stairs as silently as I could, so that I wouldn't wake mom up. Luckily, Queen seemed to sleep soundly in her doggy bed right under the staircase, so she didn't make a fuss. I stepped out into the night and locked the door behind me.
When I arrived at my old school, I noticed a bunch of cars parked around the road and a lot of people hanging out at the entrance. The closer I got, the more I wanted to turn around and go home, but that was when I spotted Kiren and Sarah. Sarah was holding her phone in one hand, probably about to call me. I walked up to them and greeted them with a grin. Kiren was wearing a dark blue skirt and a red sweater, just as she had told me. Her long hair in the shade of copper was straight and flowing on her shoulders. Sarah had styled her black hair in double buns on top of her head, and she was wearing jeans and biker boots.
We chatted a bit and then decided to go inside. I looked around, slightly nervous, as I was scouring for anyone that possibly knew me. The music was getting louder and louder the further we walked, making me assume that they had set the speakers up inside the main hall. Surprisingly, a whole lot of people had come. I recognized only a couple faces, but I assumed that a lot of the others couldn't possibly be Bertram students in 2013. They seemed to be too young.
"Let's get some drinks!" Sarah shouted in my ear and the three of us made it to the tables in the main hall. We grabbed a can of beer each and explored some more.
"Erin!" I heard someone shout my name behind my head. I turned around, and a familiar face greeted me.
"Hey, Tia. Long time no see." I said to her as loudly as my weak voice allowed.
Tia, a girl that used to be in my class, beamed at me. "Are you doing ok?" she asked.
"Yeah, well I just graduated. I studied physics."
"Wow...I knew you would go for physics." she said, "You were the best in class."
Her comment made me feel slightly self-conscious, but a bit happy at the same time. At least someone remembered my greatest high school achievement.
"Hey, it's been nice seeing you! I gotta go find Sarah and Kiren." I told her, and she nodded while she refilled her cup.
I turned around, trying to look through the crowd for the girls, but they were nowhere to be found. I pushed through a group of people and got to the other side of the room, but it seemed as if they had just disappeared. The poorly lit space wasn't making things easier either. After I spent a few minutes trying to find them, I realized that they might have gone upstairs, to our old classroom. I navigated through the hall and walked up the stairs. There was nobody in the second floor hallway, except for a couple making out on a bench.
As I walked away from the source of the music, I realized just how well I knew this place. Everything was just the way it used to be, nothing had changed. I stopped to stare at the rows of doors that made up half the classrooms, as I drank some beer. The lighting was very different sure, and there was a constant noise coming from under my feet, but I could just be there waiting for the ring of the bell once again. I started walking to my old classroom as something that almost felt like nostalgia hit me.
I stood in front of the door, a door identical to all the rest, but I knew. It was the second to the right. I grabbed the knob and pulled, but nothing happened. The door was still shut. I tried again, harder, but I guessed that it was simply locked, just like all of the others. I sighed, defeated. I thought I should go back down to look for the girls but I convinced myself to stay a bit longer, as if I wanted to taste more of that nostalgic tingling. I walked further down the hall, a couple of people stared at me as I walked by. And then, I spotted an open door.
I was pretty sure it didn't lead to any classroom, but I got closer, out of curiosity. That door used to be locked at all times when I was a student. Apparently, it lead to a pretty spacious balcony at the back of the building. Paved in stone, with a marble handrail, and a shitload of plants. The amount of ivies wrapped around the stone pillars made the place look like a small jungle.
I walked up to the handrail, and propped my elbows on it, staring at the night sky. A small breeze rustled the leaves behind me, and the cold can in my hands sent a chill down my spine. When the rustling stopped, I heard a clanking sound behind me. Turning around, I noticed that there was someone else there, sitting with his back against one of the pillars. He tried to get up and knocked over a few empty beer cans next to his feet.
I didn't know if I should say anything, as the tall guy walked closer and leaned against the handrail. He gave me a small smile and extended his left arm towards me, holding yet another can of beer.
"Want some?" he asked, his voice sounding awfully familiar to my ears.
I opened my mouth but didn't speak, as something pinched my chest from inside. He didn't recognize me. But I knew him, the moonlight showering his features made it pretty undeniable that it was Ren. And he reeked of booze.
"Uh...no, thanks." I said weakly, and slightly lifted my beer, "I already have one."
His forehead creased and he took a step closer, almost staggering.
"Have we met before?" he asked, probably being too drunk to remember.
We sure had, that's what I thought. His hair wasn't as long and messy, his features were slightly softer. But he had the same green eyes, the same lips and the same voice that always sounded like he was secretly mocking everyone.
"I don't think so." I answered and tried to look away, my cheeks were starting to burn and I could hear my heart racing. It had been 6 years since I had last seen him. Maybe, with a bit of luck, the booze would convince him that he didn't know me.
Ren leaned in and took a closer look at my face.
"Are you sure?" he asked, his voice sounding slightly deeper.
Just when I was about to come up with an excuse and run off, someone walked up to us. Another guy with black hair that I had never seen before.
"So this is where you are, Archer. I was sure I heard your pretty voice!" he said and patted Ren's shoulder.
Then the black-haired guy turned to me, and smiled apologetically.
"I'm sorry, did he say anything weird? He's been dead drunk tonight and I have been looking all over for him." he said to me.
"Don't worry about it." I said.
Then he helped Ren stand up straight a bit better, and he practically dragged him back inside. Ren looked behind his back and examined me one last time. I smiled awkwardly and promptly turned around towards the sky again.
It took quite a few moments to process that the person I wanted to see the least, turned up to be at the party. I tried to compose myself by gulping down the rest of my beer, and when I went back downstairs and found the girls, Sarah looked at me and raised one eyebrow.
"What the hell happened to you? You look like you've seen a ghost." she told me.
I tilted my head slightly, "Well...maybe I have."