The wind blew her long red tresses behind her back as she walked the ever so familiar trail around her old stomping ground.
The nostalgia hit her like a truck, and she was taken back to her university days and the evenings they had spent out getting wasted at the nearby pub.
So many fun nights and adventures. Everything was easier when your friends had been just a stones throw away.
And now she was back, five years since finishing her degree. She had been coming back home from an out of town work trip when she saw the exit on the motorway. Forgoing all rational thoughts she indicated left and turned off.
And now here she was.
She had a sudden flash back to their nights out clubbing, where they would all dance together and then he would grab her attention, standing out against all the masses of people. And it always ended up being just the two of them dancing at the end of the night.
She was thinking this as she walked into the old pub, her heeled black boots making the floor boards groan underfoot appearing to agree with her that yes, a lot of time had passed.
And yet it felt exactly the same.
What was she doing here though? She walked up to the bar and ordered a gin and tonic. She downed it all in one as she watched a young couple flirt and chat together in the corner. They twisted their hands together and as the music played they leaned in close to each other, whispering and laughing as they drank each other up.
Her life since then had been one of a divorcee, no children and with an empty void to fill. She wandered what it was like to feel that thrill of new love or even lust again…
“Aurora!” He yelled from across the bar. I wobbled over, feeling the alcohol having gone to my head. I was a light weight as per usual.
I tripped and fell into him, and grabbed his hand. I looked up into his deep hazel eyes and felt butterflies tumble around my stomach. His gaze was intense, and it felt like the most sober and dawning moment that either of us had ever experienced.
I brushed the event off and realised that I had been staring at the two teens for a little too long. The whole affair had been silly, he had lived in Scotland and I was down in Chelsea. And we had both been seeing different people, he had a long distance relationship going and I had gone to university with my childhood sweetheart.
The only time either of us had acted on the mutual feelings that we’d had for each other was at a club, alone and in a dark corner when with the adrenaline flowing through our bloodstreams mixing and mingling with the alcohol we had been consuming all night long, we leaned in and kissed.
I remembered the shadows dancing off of his pale and freckly face, as he smirked adoringly down at me. And in that instant everything had been perfect until a curt voice sliced through the silence and like a deafening screech drew our brief rendezvous to an end.
“Smile!” Off went a flash as one of the annoying club photographers snapped a picture. Our guilty faces were caught on camera, frozen in time.
“Can I get you another, lady?” I enquired from behind the bar as I wiped down the surfaces with a beer soaked cloth.
I only looked up when I heard a muffled gasp and had to stifle my own when I came face to face with the one girl I thought I would never see again after graduation.
“Raphael?” She asked hesitantly, her eyes were the same green they had been all those years ago. They were just as big and bright and although she had clearly matured, she was just as sultry and hopelessly tempting as before.
Her hair was still unruly and long, swishing around her hips like a fierce mane. And I felt myself transported to all the years we had spent together and the abrupt farewell that we had both felt obligated to have.
I realised that I still hadn’t replied and with a jolt I snapped back into the situation at hand.
“Hi! Long time no see!” I blurted out, and saw her eyebrows raise in surprise at my nervous manner. I had never been a shy guy but rather the opposite with a confident disposition and quite a loud mouth.
Oh shit, I thought to myself. Here I am behind a bar, still in the same city and town where we went university. I felt the need to explain myself rather than look as though I was hopelessly stuck in the past.
“So you’re a bartender now? I didn’t realise you worked here, I was just on the motor way and thought I’d drop by this place for old times sake,” She gulped down her second gin and tonic, and I too decided to pour myself one even if I was technically on the job.
There was an awkward silence, and then the unifying clink of our glasses as we set the down on the counter at the same time.
“Yeah, well it was more I went into becoming a lawyer and found it incredibly boring so came back here and bought this place. I’m my own boss now.” I replied and watched her eyes light up and that familiar half smile dance across her lips.
“I am so jealous of you, we had so many great memories here. I guess I really missed this place and just wanted to come back to it to be honest with you. Life’s been… tough…” She trailed off and fidgeted with her finger, where I noticed a tan line from where a wedding ring had obviously once been.
My heart jumped a little and all the things I had never said and done came flooding into my mind as her face blushed a deep red.
“Well, have a nice evening. I didn’t mean to bore you Raph I was just passing through. But I’m glad things are going well for you and that you’re all settled now.” She stood and walked towards the door. My mouth was fully agape and I got deja vu to the last time that she had walked out of my life.
Without thinking, I hopped over the counter and dashed out the door after her. She was standing in the street with shivering in the rain as she attempted to find her car.
I heard her grumbling under her breath.
“So… so stupid! You idiot! Of course he’s settled. Of course he’s doing well. I should have never walked in there.” She berated herself under her breath.
Silently, and in that joking way that I used to do to her at uni- I crept up behind her and wrapped my arms tight around her and shook as hard as I could.
She let out a little yelp, her body going rigid before relaxing into me. She giggled girlishly and twisting around they both melded into one.
It was like no time had passed, and as though the two most identifiable landmarks in their lives had merged into one perfect moment.
Hi guys, it’s me here and I was just leaving this little note to apologise for being absent for so long but that hopefully I’ll be spitting out more short stories in the run up to Christmas. So far I have completed two! I hope everyone’s having a lovely Christmas and just wanted to remind everyone to jump on every opportunity they can! :)xxx – picture credit : found from Wikihow online.