The Reunion

By: Kimberley K. Comeaux  1998

The "invitation" lay untouched on her kitchen counter top where she'd dropped it. She wasn't going to go, she thought for the twentieth or so time. Why should she go? All that was behind her now. The past.

She wasn't going to go. That was that.

But it wasn't "that". Camryn Donovan, one of Nashville's most popular songwriters, could not get the invitation to her high school reunion out of her mind.

Texas was a long way from Nashville, and she'd never been back, once she left. She didn't want to go back now. She wouldn't mind seeing Janey, her best friend, or the others, she'd grown up with. It would be exciting to see how they'd changed, and what they were doing now.

She just didn't want to see "him".

She should be over him. She "was" over him she assured herself. It had been 10 years. Water under the bridge and all that. He was probably married with a houseful of kids. And if she'd never married, well, it wasn't because she'd been pining for him all these years! No way! She'd just concentrated on her career and had not had time for serious relationships. That was all.

No. She did not give Colton Sumner the least bit of thought anymore. She didn't even dream about him! Okay...maybe she dream about him once or twice in a blue moon, but that was IT!

The phone rang while she sat staring at the "invitation". She picked it up and said hello.

"You're coming aren't you?" Janey Smith said without so much as a How are you?'

"No." Camryn didn't pretend to not understand.

A heavy sigh sounded through the phone line. "You are so stubborn, Camryn! Everyone wants to see you. And Colt...."

"You know that I don't talk about him," Camryn interrupted, tersely.

"I know you don't. But, today, I am and you're going to listen. He.."

"If you're going to tell me how well he's doing and who he married and where he works I don't want to know."

"He's not," Janey said.

Camryn leaned wearily on the counter and rubbed her forehead with her free hand. "He's not what?"

"He's not married, Cam. He's never been married. All he does is work. After you left town, he went to college at Baylor and immediately started working at his fathers bank when he graduated. Then, he took over the bank presidents job after his father retired about two years ago."

Camryn found herself listening with more interest than she cared to admit. "I didn't know," she said almost to herself. Colt had never married? It seem so strange that such a handsome, well connected man would not take a wife. Isn't that what his parents harped on when Colt had told them he wanted to marry her? That he needed to marry one of the girls in their "circle" and not a factory workers daughter? In the end, it was apparent that Colt had given in to them, because he practically left her at the alter.

"You don't know, because you would never let me tell you!" she said with exasperation. "Anyway, I doubt that he'll come. He never comes out to the homecoming games or anything like that so why should this be any different. But I want to see you, Cam. I know that you always fly your parents up to see you, but I'm also sure that they would want you to visit them, just for once!"

Camryn found herself actually considering it. She did want to see her old hometown again. It had been just too painful to ever think of going back. To painful if she ran into Colt.

But he's not married...... That irritating voice in her head kept reminding her over and over.

That was NOT the reason that she wanted to go back home. It wasn't!!

"I'll come," she said. Oh lord! Did she really say that?

"Great! Oh, Cam, well have so much fun!"

Camryn smiled wistfully into the phone. "Sure. Fun."

What had she gotten herself into?

********

 

Camryn stood for a moment outside Rylan High School gym and just let the memories wash over her. Nothing much had changed here. Except for a few portable buildings added for extra class space, everything was pretty much as it had been ten years ago. She'd played basketball in this gym, and then cheered Colt on as he lead his team to victory.

They'd been so much in love. At the time, it had seem so precious, they seem to share something so rare and beautiful. But it all must have been one sided. Because the night they'd planned to elope, Colt hadn't shown up. They'd plan to meet at a covered school bus stop off Thornbird Street. She'd waiting there for 2 hours and he never came.

She did have to admit that they'd made a pact with one another. If one of them changed their minds about getting married, the other would have to go on with their life, and forget about their relationship.

And she'd done just that. She went to Nashville to pursue her dream of becoming a songwriter. She'd worked day and night, and pushed her way into the "inner core" of the country music industry. She did just what they'd promised to do. Got on with her life and forgot about him.

Well...she got the honored the first promise anyway. The second was impossible.

Taking a deep breath, she opened the gym door and walked inside.

 

An hour later, she was glad she'd came. She'd missed her childhood friends more than she realized. Some still lived in town, others had moved away, but nearly all her small graduating class was in attendance.

Except for one.

Colt wasn't there. And she was relieved. And she was disappointed. Camryn hated the mixed emotions that kept swirling threw her. She now knew that, once and for all, she had to see him. She'd smile, be polite, ask him how he'd been and that it was great to see him. Then she'd leave and he'd be laid to rest in her heart forever.

That was going to be the key to this whole mess. She had to see him one more time.

Then suddenly there he was.

Colten Sumner stood at the entrance of the gym and quickly scanned the festive decorated room. He didn't know why he'd let himself be talked into coming. Janey had been so insistent that his presence was important. And the fact that she'd been mysterious about the whole thing, just made him the more curious, so he'd come.

As he looked about the room, he saw many of his friends and business colleagues. They were all laughing and having a good time. He felt a strange detachment as he watched them, just as he always did. Sure he could get right in with them and laugh and pretend to be having the time of his life, but his heart would not be in it.

His heart had been stolen from him years ago. There was nothing left to feel with.

He felt someone's eyes on him and he turned to the corner of the gym. He looked away, then quickly looked back again.

Ever muscle in his body froze. For a moment he did not even take a breath.

Camryn. His Camryn. But...no. Not his anymore.

It was like having a dream and a nightmare at the same time. Part of him wanted to run to her. The other wanted to run away.

He did neither, because the choice had been taken from him.

She was coming towards him.

 

He was still just as handsome as he'd ever been. Dark silky hair that still refused to lay down tamely in the front. Instead, a lock falling on his forehead. His face, though older, still had the strong jaw and the piercing sea-green eyes. His body...well you could tell that he was no couch potato.

She stood in front of him and couldn't find the will to pull her gaze from his. "Hello, Colton," she said, her voice slightly strained. She didn't feel like being polite, though. She wanted to yell at him and demand that he tell her why he didn't show that night. Why had he destroyed something so beautiful as their love?

Colt's jaw clenched and then after a great deal of efforts, he forced it to unclench. "Hello, Cam."

For a long, strained moment, they stood their and stared at one another as if waiting for the other to say something that would make them more comfortable.

Camryn was the first to look away. "Umm, I was hoping that I would run into you while I was here."

Colt studied her anxious features and wondered what she was trying to say. He'd gone over their relationship and the night they were supposed to meet, so many times that he wasn't in the mood for guessing games. He was blunt. "Why?"

Her eyes flew to his and she was momentarily taken aback at his grim face. "I...I thought we could talk." She stopped and took a deep breath. "I need to talk to you."

What did she want? Did she want to reminisce? Did she want to remind him of what he'd had to do without for ten years since she'd left? He wanted to tell her no and then leave as fast as he could. The protective wall that he'd built around his heart was practically crumbling with just a few words from her lovely lips.

But he could not say no. He never could, to her. He nodded briefly, grabbed her hand , then headed towards the door.

"What....what are you doing?" she whispered frantically, trying to keep up with him to prevent him from dragging her across the floor. He opened the door and waited for her to go through it. "You want to talk. I'm taking you to my house."

 

 

******************

Colt watched Camryn as she looked about his living room. He found himself hungry for her approval. After all, he'd built the house that they'd dreamed about.

Camryn, with her back to Colt, blinked back tears as her gaze lovingly touched on each object in the room. She'd recognize this house anywhere. It was their house.

She had to know. His answer seemed very important.

Slowly she turned to him, not bothering to wipe the tears that streaked down her pale cheeks. "Why, Colt? Why would you leave me at that bus stop, and then turn around and built OUR house?"

He frowned in confusion, momentarily forgetting his concern for her tears. "Why did I leave you? If memory serves correctly, it was I who was left waiting at the bus stop. I waited there for three hours!"

Camryn's head felt as though it was spinning. She shook it to clear it. "Colton Sumner, I know what I did and where I was. I got there at ten o'clock, just as we said. I waited their till midnight! I remember distinctly that YOU were not there!"

"Honey, you are living in a dream world!" he practically yelled at her. "You did not come to that bus stop on Mockingbird Street! I was there till ONE!"

"Don't yell at me!" she shot back. "You.." She paused, where his words penetrated her ire. "Mockingbird?" she asked

His brow creased. "Yes, Mockingbird. What..."

"Oh God!" she cried, putting her hand on her forehead in disbelief. She stumbled towards his sofa and sank down into it. "I can't believe this," she murmured.

Colt stared at her, not understanding. Slowly her walked over to her and sat beside her. Gently he pulled her hand away and brought her face up so that he could see it. "What is wrong, Cam?"

New tears begin to fall down her face. "Oh, Colt. We've been such fools." He looked so confused that she smiled at him and reached out to touch his face. "Remember when we made plans for that night?" He nodded. "You couldn't remember the name of the street? You could only remember it being something-bird? A name of a movie, you said?" He nodded again. "What are you trying to tell me, Cam?" Anxiousness mingled with hope began to blossom in his chest.

"The only movie with "bird" I could think of was The Thornbirds. So that's where I went. To Thornbird Street."

"Thorn... Oh no! You mean... All these years..." He shook his head helplessly. It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. All those years!!! Unbelievable!

Gently he placed his hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes. "You came."

She nodded. "I wanted to be your wife more than anything. But I though you didn't want me."

"Not want you?" he said hoarsely as tears begin to clog his throat. "Cam, when you didn't show up, I thought my life was over. I didn't want to go on. I dated now and then after a couple of years, but my heart wasn't in it. I the kind of man who loves only once. I love you, still."

"Oh, Colt," she sighed with tearful joy. "I never stopped loving you either. To think of all the time..."

"Shhh..." he soothed, and leaned over and placed a sweet kiss on her mouth. "We here now and that's all that matters. We've got ten years to make up for!"

Passionately they embraced. His mouth covered hers, each greedy for the taste and feel that they'd craved for for ten years.

When they finally broke apart, he placed his hands on either side of her face and smiled. "You know what else we have to make up?"

She grinned, dizzy with happiness. "What?"

"A wedding. Will you marry me, Camryn? I mean, I know that we need to get to know one another again, and you have a career to think of and..."

She stopped his nervous prattle with a soft touch of her hand on his lips. "Colt, I'll enjoy getting to know you all over again, and I'm a songwriter. I can write anywhere. And Colt?" She paused for dramatic effect. "Yes."

"Yes?" he repeated, his grin a mile wide.

"YES!" she yelled and squealed when he jumped up and yanked her up with him, spinning her round and round.

Their laughter came to a halt when the phone rang. Quickly Colt yanked it up and said hello.

He listened a minute, then laughed. "Okay," he said. "I'll tell her." Then he hung up.

Camyrn arched her eyebrow. "What was that all about?"

"That was Janey. She wanted to tell us congratulations."

Laughing they embraced again.

They'd loved and they'd suffered, but love had once again found them, and they were going to take care that it never left them again.

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