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Making His Baby
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We’re making this baby the old-fashioned way.
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High-school reunions. Fuck me. Mine is in my face, and it’s the last thing I want to face, no matter how much better I am now. Too many memories.
“Dude. You still there?” My closest friend Ben’s voice is in my ear, bringing me back from my reverie.
“Yeah, sorry,” I glance around my old stomping ground. “I’m just not looking forward to this shit in the slightest. Why did I let you talk me into doing this?”
“Because you’re the big shit now, man. Time to show those bitches up.”
“Right. ‘Cause that’s me.” I roll my eyes and try to keep myself from turning on my heel and walking the fuck back to my car.
“Just hang out with some old friends and have a good time, Blake. Find an old girlfriend and tap that ass, brother.”
“You sound like an idiot. I’ll call you later when I’m smashed.” I drop the call and take a deep breath. He’s right though. He usually is. Bastard.
Besides, it will be good to see some of my old friends. And it will be even better to hear about how they’re doing and what they’ve been up to. That is why I’m here, or at least it’s how Ben convinced me to come. With a bit of luck and some conversational leading, I might be able to avoid talking about myself entirely. We’ll see.
“Fifteen years. Damn, I’m fucking old,” I mumble to myself.
It was odd for our class president to decide to do it on the fifteen-year mark. Personal agenda for sure. Five years before, the fucker got busted on a drug charge that took my ex down as well. Now though, he can brag about the successful sporting goods store he opened. My ex wasn’t so lucky.
I walk through the entrance to my old high school, feeling a weird sense of traveling back in time. Almost immediately, someone calls out from behind me as I walk through the hall.
“There he is!” It’s a man’s voice. I am tempted to keep walking and pretend I don’t hear it, but the shout is followed by the sound of rushed footsteps. Whoever it is runs up behind me. “We didn’t know if you were coming, Mr. Doesn’t Reply To Our Messages!”
Turning around, I instantly spot the owner of the voice. It’s Clark, one of my good friends from high school. He was the class clown of our year. As he rushes to me, he wears that same big goofy smile that he was known for, although now, he is about forty pounds heavier.
“Hey,” I say with a forced smile. It’s not that I don’t like Clark. In fact, out of everyone at the reunion, Clark is the person I’ve been looking forward to seeing the most. It’s just that Clark, like everyone else, reminds me of a past I’ve been trying to forget, and once again I struggle to understand why I’m even here. “It’s good to see you, Clark.” I stick out my hand to shake his.
“Me?” He asks. “Dude, it’s good to see you, Blake! Hot damn, what’s it been? Don’t you dare tell me I haven’t seen you since graduation. Don’t you dare tell me that!” He still wears that big goofy grin. I can smell the beer on his breath. He’s got to be a few beers deep at this point.
“Okay,” I say with a grin. “I won’t tell you that.”
“You—!” He smirks, feigning a punch at my gut. “Come on, the whole crew is here! I’ll show you.”
He grabs me by the arm and leads me through the hall to the actual reunion itself. Flashing, multi-colored lights spill from the doors to the gymnasium. Music thumps loudly in my ears as we get closer.
The gym is decorated in typical fashion. Streamers and balloons cover the walls, all blue and white to match the school’s colors. A huge banner reading “Class of 2002” hangs from the ceiling, stretching across the entire length of the gym.
The crowd that has turned up is a mixture of people like Clark, overly excited at the prospect of catching up on old times, and people like me, apathetic to the idea, but still here out of some sort of moral obligation.
“We had bets on whether or not you were going to make it,” Clark slurs. His arm drapes around my neck as he leads me through the masses. Some I recognize, some I don’t. I’m not the only one who has changed since high school.
“Oh yeah?” I say, raising an eyebrow. “How much was I going for?”
Clark throws his head back in an exaggerated laugh. “Not as much as you would like.”
With his arm still hanging on me, he leads me to a large table in the corner of the room. Sitting around the table are eight faces that I recognize all too well.