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Theo held up his glass and flashed a grin at the people sitting at the table around him. “And here’s to Patsy,” he paused to swallow, “the biggest surprise from this whole reunion!” The other classmates all lifted their glasses and saluted Patsy, who ducked her head and chuckled self-consciously. “Oh, cut it out, guys. I haven’t changed that much.” Theo sputtered a laugh and nudged the skinny man on his left. The movement caused the man’s glasses to slide down his nose. He blew out an impatient breath and pushed them back into place, his movements automatic and precise. “What are you kidding me?” Theo said with a grin. “If you looked HALF this hot in high school, I would have totally hit on you.” Patsy’s face turned a pleasant shade of rose and she smiled at the woman on her right. “Actually, he did hit on me in high school.” The dark-haired woman, whose hair was pulled back so tight her eyes were the shape of a tear-drop on its side, choked and coughed on her drink before succumbing to a fully developed laugh. “AND,” Theo continued, obviously not hearing Patsy’s comment, his words slurred and thick with moisture, “to show my token of appreciation for your new, hot body, I’m going to ask you out. Dinner, tomorrow night, my place.” He winked to the table at large as if sharing a big, fat joke. He was too drunk to notice the various expressions of those around him. The skinny man on Theo’s left was Stanford Brown. He had always been the class genius, the guy to bribe to do your algebra homework. For a measly $5.00, students could purchase the day’s problems. Even though teachers tried their best to catch students in the act of buying homework from Theo, he had never been caught. It was rumored he had earned enough money to go to space camp after high school. Theo was currently working for Microsoft and the word was he was on the verge of breaking ground on a revolutionary gaming system. He pushed his glasses more firmly onto his face and dutifully ignored Theo’s crass behavior. The woman next to Stanford was the woman with the tightly bound hair, Fran Clark. Fran had been the tortured soul in class. She had worn dark clothing all the time, and a long charcoal gray leather trench coat with a hole in the elbow, even at the beginning of the school year when it had still been 90 degrees outside. She had dyed her hair so black that she had blended with the shadows and would have disappeared entirely if it hadn’t been for her milky white skin. She was now the CFO of a fashionable clothing chain. She simply stared at Theo – her face entirely devoid of expression.
The man sitting next to Fran was Vance, Fran’s husband. He hadn’t said much since the party began and kept a suspicious eye trained on both Fran and Theo. He was a large man with biceps so big they strained against his suit jacket. There was just a hint of a tattoo, a spider web perhaps, peeking just over the collar of his black silk shirt. His small, hard, brown eyes remained fixed on Fran as he studied her every movement. Next to Vance was Patsy. She was a petite brunette with small breasts and big hair. Kids used to make fun of her because she was about three sizes larger in high school, had a face full of ugly pimples and so many braces in her mouth her lips never really fully closed. She wasn’t overly bright, but not terribly stupid either and could always been seen popping jelly beans into her mouth. She was now the owner of a popular beauty salon and it was rumored that she was on the hunt for husband number three. She sat up a little straighter and seemed to bloom under Theo’s attention. Sitting next to Patsy was Carmen, Theo’s girlfriend. She was a tall, skinny, yet delicate looking woman with long, curly blonde hair. She smacked her gum loudly and had a habit of tossing her hair back every three point five seconds. She also had the annoying habit of looking just to the right of your face whenever she talked to anyone. She continued to chew her gum and examine her nails, neither bothered, nor interested, in Theo’s blatant flirtation with Patsy. And then there was Theo Walker. The class clown, jock, brain and rich kid, the guy who everyone had dubbed, Mr. Perfect. Nearly every girl in high school had been in love with him, which he knew, and took advantage of at every turn. He made a game out of breaking up friendships and relationships just because he could. Many a fight had broken out because of Theo’s meddling antics. “Sure Theo,” stammered Patsy. “I’d love to go out with you.” “One problem,” Carmen said without glancing up from her bright purple nails. “He’s got a girlfriend.” “Whoa.” Theo said, now ignoring his table mates and staring at a beautiful woman crossing the room, her long reddish/blonde hair swaying gently. “Is that who I think it is?” Fran turned around in her chair to see who he was talking about. She snorted in disgust and faced her tablemates with a scowl. “Megan.” “Megan Adams,” Theo echoed, his voice sounding wistful. “Oh my God, tell me you don’t STILL have the hots for Ms. Rah Rah,” snarled Fran while rolling her eyes at her husband.
Theo didn’t answer her and instead, stumbled out of his chair and walked over to her. Various conversations began to dissipate as he approached Parkview High’s class of ’88’s most popular girl. Theo tapped Megan on the shoulder and flashed his charming grin, the same grin that had melted so many girls’ hearts back in high school. “Hey Megan.” Megan stopped in her tracks and the tablemates could see, even from their distance from the pair, Megan’s shoulders tense. She lifted her head and slowly turned to look Theo in the face. “Well, if it isn’t Theodore Walker.” She studied him for long moments, her faded blue eyes bold and confident. Her direct look threw Theo off stride and he stuttered his discomfort. “I…in the … flesh. Wh… where have you been all …my l…life?” Megan wrinkled up her nose and waved her hand in front of her face. “Good lord Theodore, have you been drinking? Or is that your natural breath I smell? I always remember your breath smelling like boiled cabbage.” A smattering of chuckles littered the vast room at her statement and Theo went into defensive mode. His eyes narrowed and his back went ramrod straight. Patsy could see his jaw working from clear across the room. “So Megan, I have a question …” “Save it pal.” All eyes turned to the balding man with a sharp goatee that materialized next to Megan. Theo’s eyes remained fixed on Megan and he ignored the man. “Theo, this is Rod, my husband,” Megan began, but Theo interrupted her. “Why was I the ONLY guy you didn’t sleep with in high school?” “Listen punk …” “Theo,” Megan interrupted her husband, her voice as sharp as a piece of sheared metal. “You’re drunk. I refuse to stand here and take this crap from somebody I could care less about.” She sniffed, turned away from Theo and began to walk away. Theo grabbed her arm, only his hand got tangled in her long hair. “Hey! I’m not through talking to you, yet.” “Oh yes you are,” Rod said gruffly and jerked Theo away from Megan. The action pulled Megan’s head sharply and before anyone could blink an eye, a cascade of reddish/blonde hair floated gently to the floor. A shocked gasp reverberated across the conference room.
Theo stumbled back and began to laugh, the sound nervous and uncertain. “My God, Megan. You’ve lost your hair. Shit girl,” he stared at her, his eyes wide and glazed over with shock. “You’re freaking bald!” Megan snatched her hair off the floor and clutching the wig in her fist leaned in close to Theo, but said loudly enough for the entire room to hear, “I have cancer, asshole!” She frantically pushed Theo out of her way and quickly exited the room. Theo tripped over the back of a chair and landed flat on his back. Rod shot him a death glance before calmly stepping over Theo’s body. He followed his wife out of the room looking neither left, nor right. No one bothered to help Theo up. Karen M. Writefromkaren.com
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