Back Together

Rick looked over the half dozen friends sitting around the table, laughing, sharing stories, like not a moment had passed. “How long has it been since we were all together?” he asked.

“I dunno,” Jenny replied. “Ten, maybe eleven years? Whenever it was that Eric and Suresh got married.” She sipped at her frilly umbrella drink. A major step forward since they last talked, when she wouldn’t touch anything but water.

“Geez. I had no idea,” Rick said. “I can’t believe how much time passes as an adult. I mean, how fast it happens. I mean -” His stammering was cut off by a punch on the shoulder. Winnie was back, apparently.

“Still nursing that crush, eh, boy?” Winnie asked as she plopped onto a stool. Rick flushed immediately, giving a quick sidelong glance at Jenny. He was relieved to see she’d gotten distracted into another conversation. Well, relieved and a little annoyed that she’d ignored him so quickly. He wasn’t that boring, was he?

“I don’t wanna talk about it,” Rick said. He threw back the remaining few drops of his G&T and contemplated what to get next. Something stronger, preferably.

“I still think she’s got something for you,” Winnie continued, unabashed. “I mean, it’s been fifteen years and neither of you has stuck with anyone else for more than a few months. Yet every time we get back together, I find the two of you freshing it up. Hell, two of you have seen each other more than the rest of us have combined.”

“We’re only a state apart,” Rick defended. “Not like the rest of us, sprawled all over the world. It’s an easy visit to make.”

Winnie laughed, an alcohol-tinged roar completely at odds with the quiet talk around the table. Everyone immediately turned to look, deepening Rick’s flush further. “You keep thinking that, Rick,” she said. “Rest of us will just sit back and wait.”

The knowing smirks surrounding him did not make him feel any more comfortable. They decorated all his friends, save Jenny, who just looked confused.

But maybe she was flushing, too?