from “Eternally & Evermore”
In this Excerpt from Eternally & Evermore, Will meets Amy at the school reunion.
“William! Oh my, God! It’s really you!”
Will turned towards the voice just in time to be crushed in a bear hug. Amy held him so tightly he could hardly breathe. He gasped for air when she finally let go.
“Sorry,” she said as she ran her hands down his arms to take hold of his. She stepped back, pulling his hands away from his sides and looking him up and down. “It’s just… It is so good to see you.”
“It’s good to be seen.”
“I’ve missed you.” She hugged him again. “Missed you so much. I wish we…” She stepped back, and held his hands again. “No. No. I promised myself I wouldn’t do that.”
“Dwell on the past. You’re here now and that’s what counts. So what if we lost twenty years.”
“It’s no time at all really.”
She smiled the smile he remembered from his youth that could light up a sports stadium. It spread from her lips to her eyes and her face flushed as she swung his hands gently and shook her head. “Well. Look at you. All grown up and sexy.”
“And nearly bald.”
“Bald is sexy. I like bald. Sign of virility.”
“So I’ve heard. But look who’s talking about sexy.”
“Me? No. I’m old, fat and ugly.”
“You’re a woman in her prime. And I’ve seen more fat on catwalk model.”
“Liar. Look at me. I need to lose at least a stone. And I look ancient.”
“You look wonderful. Can I get you a drink?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
“What would you like?”
“I’ll have a Champagne Supernova.”
Will nodded to the barman.
Her voice was subtly different from what he remembered. She still had the melodic tempo that Walminsterals were famous for but her rich tone was deeper, more coloured. Will leaned against the bar and drank her in. Her golden hair was folded up high on the back of her head except for two thick strands which hung down to frame her face. She wore an elegant long dress of dark blue velvet that matched her eyes and clung to the gentle curves of her slender hourglass figure.
“You’re staring,” she said.
“I can’t help it. You’re even more beautiful than I remember. More elegant. More like a lady.”
The barman placed Amy’s drink on the counter. Will picked it up and handed to her than paid the barman. He held up his own glass of Scotch. “Cheers.”
“Cheers.” She sipped her drink then stepped forward and put the glass back on the bar. She placed a manicured hand on the lapel of his suit, brushed away some imaginary dust and then straightened them. “Nice suit.”
“How did you know?”
“Good guess. I had a feeling you’d choose designer and you never struck me as the Gucci type.”
“You always knew me better than I knew myself.”
She half-smiled. A sad smile which hinted at regret. “Maybe I did.” She sighed. “You’ve certainly done well for yourself from what I’ve heard.”
“In some ways. My career, I guess.”
“I’d hardly call a thirty-eight year old divorcee a success in love.”
“How long were you married?”
“Seven years.” He shrugged. “Not long is it?”
“It can’t have been all bad.”
“It wasn’t. We had some good times. And, of course, if I hadn’t been married, I wouldn’t have Sophie.”
He nodded. “She’s amazing. She was just five when Lynn and I split up and a parental divorce is supposed to screw kids up. But she’s the most unbelievably down to earth girl. I don’t know anyone who’s got their head screwed on quite as tightly as she has.”
They had wandered away from the bar as they talked and arrived back at the table Will had been sitting at with Bobby earlier. Amy sat and crossed one leg over the other. This opened the slit in the side of her dress, revealing her black nylon covered leg. Will sat next to her and tried hard not to stare.
“Enough about me,” he said. “What have you been up to all these years?”
“Oh, you know. This and that.”
“Did you ever graduate?” The last he’d heard, she’d been struggling with her course at Westmouth University and considering dropping out.
She shook her head. “It wasn’t for me. I tried. I really did. But, honestly, after we… After us, I lost motivation.”
“So you went back home?”
“Yeah. I have a small unit in the Parkway Centre.”
“Nice. Business good?”
She cocked her head. “So so.”
“You found him then?” It was Lizzie. She sat next to Amy and placed her half full glass on the table.
“He was propping up the bar, looking lonely.” Amy grinned.
“So you thought you’d keep him company. You are such a saint.”
“Heaven sent,” said Will.
Lizzie rolled her eyes. “Listen to him. Was he this much of a smooth talker when we were at school. I don’t think he was.”
“No,” said Amy. “He was a nerd. But he was my nerd.”
“Should I leave you two alone to talk about me?”
“No need,” said Lizzie. “We can talk about you just as well when you’re here.”
The music faded out and the DJ announced that the band was about to take the stage.
“These guys are great.” Lizzie said. “Local boys. I was lucky to get them—they were booked up but had a cancellation.”
Amy picked up her glass and drained it. “Come on.” She stood and held her hand out to Will.
“I want to dance.”
“Should you?” Lizzie asked. She sounded worried.
“It’ll be fine,” Amy replied. “It’s only a dance.”
Will drained his glass too and allowed Amy to lead him to the dance floor. During the hour long set, the band played a mixture of fast and slow songs, allowing Will and Amy to hold each other close for a few dances. They went to sit back at the table when the band took a break. Bobby and Julie were sitting there with Lizzie.
“Hi, Will,” Julie said. “Looking good.”
“Thanks, even though I know you don’t mean it.”
Will opened his mouth to say he really did mean it, even though he didn’t but Bobby piped up instead.
“You were busting some funky-arse moves out there, mate.”
“Yeah, right. I was dancing like my dad. It was embarrassing.”
“At least you were dancing,” Julie said with a pointed look at her husband. “Some people won’t dance at all.”
“Hey,” said Bobby, holding his hands up in defence, “I just didn’t want to show any of you up. You know, with me being such a great mover and all.”
“Didn’t want to show yourself up as a freaky dancer,” said Lizzie.
“Whatever,” said Bobby. “Who wants another drink?”
Bobby took the drinks order and Will decided to take the chance visit the lavatory. He was standing at the urinal when a voice from behind him said, “Well, well, well. I really didn’t think you’d have the bollocks to show up.”