Reunion Ch. 01byCollegicHeart©
Trudy Ford sighed as she absentmindedly scrolled through her list of favorite places online. She was bored. Utterly, completely, undeniably bored. All her roommates had gone home for the weekend, leaving her alone in the apartment trying to think of something to pass the time. Of course, there were many a party going on around the apartment complex that was only inhabited by fellow students of Trudy's school, some being thrown by acquaintances of hers, but Trudy was never one for the whole wild and crazy drunken fun kind of thing. She was more of a laid back, small gathering of friends kind of person, so of course, that just left her sitting in front of her computer, alone, on a Friday night. Trudy shifted her eyes and looked at the pictures tacked onto the wall behind her computer. There weren't many, just a few pictures she had put up to look at if she ever wanted to take a quick break from studying. There were pictures of her family, friends of the family, and some of her friends from high school. She smiled at the sight of one of the pictures that had herself and three of her good girl friends posing around one of her good guy friends. Then her eyes went to the picture right next to it which held the image of her best friend, then the one below it, and that was when she stopped. That particular picture held the image of Jay Washington. She sighed softly and tried to look away, but she couldn't. Jay was one of her friends, although she wouldn't consider him a 'good friend' seeing as they hadn't spoken to each other since the last day of senior year.
Trudy had been head over heels for Jay for the majority of their senior year. At times she wondered if it was love. She always told herself that their was no way a perfect male like himself would go for someone like herself-awkward, overweight, short-and she was right. When Jay found out how she felt about him, he was upset that he had to hurt her because he in fact did not feel the same. Trudy just put on a smile and did her best to move on. She never tried to make him feel uncomfortable, even if she herself felt awful-especially when he started dating someone and she'd see them together. After high school ended and she moved from New York to Pennsylvania for college, she did her best to forget about him and look for love interests in school, but no one caught her eye.
Trudy blinked and tore her eyes away from Jay's picture and forced herself to look at her computer screen. She sighed and put her hand on the computer mouse. She hovered the white arrow cursor over the X box and shut down her internet server program. Trudy stood up from her desk chair, slowly, feeling her muscles expand with joy of actual movement. She let out a soft yawned and reached for her pack of cigarettes that sat on the corner of her desk. She then put the small rectangular package in her pocket and found her lighter and keys. She shuffled out of her room and slipped on her shoes that were placed right by the door. Trudy exited her front door and pulled out a cigarette. She lit the cigarette and took the first puff. She watched as the smoke slowly danced with the wind as she exhaled. Watching the smoke curve and bend before it disappeared made her think about who she was and how she had allowed herself to change over the time she was in college. Once she arrived in college, she told herself she wanted a change. Thinking it would end the long stretch of lonely nights, she began to exercise and eat wisely to the point that when she last saw her mother during spring vacation, she needed a whole new wardrobe because of all the weight she lost. She was still the same shy, quiet and awkward girl, but she figured that was something that would forever be a part of her.
Trudy took another puff off her cigarette. She absentmindedly walked down the stairs that led down to the main sidewalk and began to slowly walk down the sidewalk, her mind wandering to different places and people. She walked to the end of the sidewalk then turned around and began walking the other way.
"Excuse me," came a voice. She stopped and turned around, seeing a tall African American male standing behind her. In the darkness she couldn't make out his facial features but she figured it was just some guy who lived in one of the apartments. "Can I bum a cigarette off of you?" He asked.
"Yeah, sure." Trudy said. She pulled out a cigarette and offered it to him.
"Thanks." He said. He graciously took the cigarette and placed the filtered tip between his lips. "Got a light?" He asked. Trudy reached into her pocket and produced her lighter. The guy took it and lit the cigarette. "Thanks again." He smiled. Trudy gave him a half smile and nodded. The guy took a drag off the cigarette and turned his face away as he blew out the smoke. He handed her back the lighter. "So, you live here?" He asked. Trudy inwardly sighed. She had intended to continue on with her walking, but it seemed like this guy wanted to engage in some sort of conversation.
"Yeah." She said, figuring the polite thing to do was reply. "You?" She asked. He shook his head.
"Nah." He said. "I go to Temple, my roommate actually has a girlfriend who lives here and he dragged me down here so he would have some company during the two hour drive." He chuckled. Trudy's ears perked up at the mention of the university in Philadelphia.
"You go to Temple?"
"I know someone who goes there."
"Do you? What's the person's name? Maybe I know them."
"Uh, doubtful, isn't Temple like a huge ass school?" She asked, chuckling slightly. The guy laughed.
"Hey, you never know."
"OK, fine, his name is Jay. Jay Washington." She said. She heard silence. "I figured you didn't know him." She said, shrugging.
"Uh……I'm Jay Washington." He said. Trudy's face paled. She blinked and turned to fully face him, realizing she hadn't really look too closely at his face. Sure enough, it was Jay. The very face she had been looking at on her wall mere moments before. He did look a little different, his hair was shorter and he had a little bit of stubble on his face in the shape of a goatee. "Who are you?" He asked. Trudy felt her heart racing at the speed of light. She had no idea what to say now that she was face to face with him.
"Uh…….No………..Sorry, the uh……Jay I know is…….Uh………White." She lied. "I guess it's a common name." She said. Jay looked at her with a furrowed brow. "What?"
"You do look familiar."
"I must have one of those faces." Trudy shrugged. "I've gotta go." She said. She went to turn around.
"Hang on." He said. Trudy sighed and looked at him. He gave her a smile. Trudy nearly melted. Even after not seeing him for a year, his smile still got to her. "Well, you know my name, so it's only fair that you tell me yours." He said.
"Tru." She blurted out.
"Glad you see it my way." Jay said. Trudy laughed.
"No, no. My name is Tru." She said.
"Okay, that's just weird." Jay said.
"Well, the person you remind me of, her name was Tru……Well, Trudy actually."
"I know." She blurted out without thinking. Jay blinked.
"Well……..I………I'm Trudy." She said. Jay looked at her. Trudy rolled her eyes. "Ford…….We went to High School together, we were in the same senior English class first semester, and I had you read one of the characters in the scene I wrote for that class…." She said as she stomped out her cigarette.
"Trudy?" Jay asked, astonished. He dropped his cigarette and went over to her. Before Trudy could respond, Jay grabbed her in a tight hug and lifted her off the ground. "Oh man, it's great to see you." He said. Trudy closed her eyes as she enjoyed the feel of his arms around her. Jay slowly put her back down and stepped back. Trudy opened her eyes. "What happened to you? You look so…….Different…." He said.
"I lost some weight." Trudy said, shrugging.
"Trudy, you look hot."
"………Wow, thanks for saying I looked like the back end of a horse in high school…" Trudy said. Jay laughed.
"You know that's not what I meant." He said. He gave her another hug. This time Trudy had time to respond as she hugged him back.
"I know, I know. Thanks. You look good too." She said. She paused and then smacked his shoulder. "And, hey! Since when do you smoke? Weren't you the one who said it's a bad habit that time you saw me smoking outside of school?" She asked. Jay sighed and shrugged.
"I just started a few months ago, stressed about mid-terms, you know." He said.
"Uh huh." Trudy said, crossing her arms. Jay simply gave her a grin, which caused Trudy to laugh.
"Hey, you want to go somewhere and talk or something? You know, catch up?" He asked.
"Sure." Trudy said. "My apartment's just down the block, we could go there." She offered.
"Sounds great. Let me just go tell my roommate." He said. Trudy nodded. Jay went and walked up to one of the apartments and disappeared inside. Trudy stood back and went over what just happened. Jay was there…….And she was about to take him to her apartment……….She cleared her throat in an attempt to remain calm. A few minutes later, Jay returned.
"Okay, let's go." He said. Trudy smiled and nodded. She led him down to her building and up the stairs to her apartment. She opened the door and slid off her shoes. "Take your shoes off," she said. "One of my roommates is a stickler about shoes on the carpet." She said. "Of course, none of them are here but-"
"Got it." Jay said with a smile. Trudy laughed and walked to the kitchen.
"You want anything to drink? I've got water and…….Well, water…" She said, giving him a sheepish look.
"Water's fine." He said. Trudy nodded and got two cups from the cabinet. She pulled a plastic pitcher from the refrigerator and filled the two cups with cold water. Jay came over and took one of the cups. After she put the pitcher back in the refrigerator, Trudy took the remaining cup and led him to her bedroom. Trudy sat at the edge of her bed as Jay took a seat at her desk chair.
"So, how have you been?" She asked him. Jay shrugged.
"All right I guess, you know, the year's has its ups and downs, the usual." He said. Trudy nodded thoughtfully.
"And how's……..uh………What's her name…….."
"Claire?" He asked, understanding she meant the girl he had started dating last they saw each other. "Uh, all right, I guess." He said. "We broke up a week ago." He said.
"Oh. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked." Trudy said.
"No, it's okay." He said. He sighed. "She had been complaining for a while about this whole long distance thing so last weekend I shelled out the Greyhound fare and wanted to surprise her but, well, she surprised me when I saw her walking down the street with some guy." Trudy gave him a sympathetic look.
"I'm sorry." She said. Jay gave her a smile. "Well, maybe it was her brother……..or cousin….."
"Tru," he said. "I doubt it. I mean, the way they were kissing……."
"Ok, ok, I got it……How about a subject change?" She said. Jay smiled and nodded. The two of them spent an hour talking about how things were going for them in the past year and then talked about old memories from high school.
"You know," Jay began, finishing the last of his water. "I still remember that notebook." He said. Trudy hid a wince and then feigned ignorance.
"Notebook? What notebook?" She asked.
"You know, the one Rachel gave to me, it was from you and it had all those poems in it…..About me…" He said, trying to jog her memory.
"Oh….That notebook." Trudy said. She drank some water. "Well, I'm going to get a refill, you want one?" She asked. Jay shook his head. He looked at her.
"I really did like them." He said, talking about the poems. Trudy looked down.
"Yeah, just not the person who wrote them." Trudy muttered. Jay looked at her. Trudy sighed and stood up. She made her way to the kitchen to refill her cup. She stood against the counter and downed the entire cup. She sighed and filled the cup again. She slowly walked back to the room to find Jay sitting on her bed looking through her yearbook. He looked up at her and set the book aside.
"Are you okay?" He asked. Trudy set her cup down and waved a dismissive hand.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine." She said. She went and sat beside him. "I just……" She took in a deep breath and slowly let it out. "That notebook…..The things I wrote in it……..It just………It was my feelings and I just felt so insecure and everything about it that I couldn't even give it to you myself. I just felt so vulnerable about it."
"No, Jay, don't. I never blamed you for your response to it. I mean, you couldn't control how you felt about me, just like I can't control how I feel about you." She paused as she heard what she said. "I mean like I COULDN'T control how I FELT about you." She amended quickly. She looked down as she fidgeted with her fingers and then looked back up to him. "I'm just glad you didn't feel weird about it, you know? Like, we were still able to be friends." Jay smiled. He reached over and pulled her into a tight hug. After a long while, he slowly pulled away. His arms were still around her, albeit loosely. He stared into her eyes. Trudy looked away, feeling nervous and self conscious. "Anyway…" She said, trying to clear some awkwardness from the air. She looked up and saw that Jay was still staring at her. His intense gaze made her shiver slightly, unsure what was going on. Her breath caught in her throat as Jay slowly leaned in and pressed his lips against hers. Trudy's eyes widened. Ok, she thought. What's going on here? It was like a dream come true, for such a long time all she wanted was for Jay to hold her and kiss her, and now it was actually happening. She slowly put her arms around his shoulders and kissed him back as her eyes drifted shut. Jay took this as an invitation and seconds later Trudy felt his soft velvety tongue sweep past her lips. She got the idea and parted her lips. His tongue slid into her mouth as hers just slowly swept past it.
Trudy slowly leaned backwards on her bed, pulling him on top of her, which he didn't seem to mind. Jay slowly slid a hand up the side of her shirt, his fingers brushing up against the back strap of her bra. Trudy moaned gently, reveling in the feeling of someone's hands on her skin. Jay's lips slowly traveled down to her pulse point and he began to suck on the tender flesh. This went on for a while as Trudy withered beneath him. She blinked and stared up at her ceiling, trying to make her head clear a bit. In all her dreams and fantasies of this moment, it didn't exactly seem like this. This felt too rushed, too desperate.
"Wait." She said softly. Jay didn't hear her. His lips found their way back to hers and he went to kiss her again. Trudy gently put her hands on his chest and pushed. "Hang on." She said. Jay kissed her. Trudy pushed him back. "Stop." She said. Jay looked at her.
"Is something wrong?" He asked. Trudy sat up; forcing Jay to slid off of her and sit beside her. Trudy pulled her shirt back down and fixed it. She then smoothed her hair down. She looked at Jay.
"No, I'm fine." She lied. Jay smiled. He leaned in and went to kiss her. Trudy quickly rose to her feet and moved to her desk.
"Have you been drinking?" She asked.
"Just water." Jay said. "What's the problem?"
"Did you take some sort of illegal substance or something?" She asked.
"No." He chuckled. Trudy paused.
"Oh." She said in a knowing tone.
"Oh? What 'oh'?" He asked.
"I'm the rebound." She said.
"What?" Jay asked.
"I'm the rebound. You just broke up with your girlfriend a week ago, you've gone through the mourning period and now you're ready for the rebound."
"I mean, why else would you-"
"What?" Jay asked. "What?" He slowly got up and walked over to her. "Why else would I what?"
"Forget it." She said. She stepped past him and walked out of the room. Jay followed.
"Forget what?" He asked, profoundly irritated. Trudy stopped by the door.
"I think you should go."
"Will you stop saying what!" Trudy groaned.
"I will as soon as you stop acting crazy." Jay said.
"I'm not acting crazy. That….What we just did, that was me being crazy, this, this is me being sane." She said. Jay's face fell.
"But what about-"
"It was a year ago, Jay." Trudy said.
"But you said-"
"It was a slip."
"Well, you know what Freud said about slips, right?" Jay said. Trudy rolled her eyes. She picked up his shoes and shoved them at him.
"Goodbye, Jay, it was nice seeing you, really. How about we save the rest for the ten year reunion?" She asked as she shoved him out the door. Jay stared at her wide eyed as she slammed the door in his face. Trudy sighed and leaned against the door. Jay blinked a couple of times and slowly put his shoes on. He sighed as he walked back over to his roommate's girlfriend's apartment. Trudy peaked out of the view hole and saw that he was gone. "…….What did I just do?" She wondered out loud. Trudy quickly ran and picked up the cordless phone as she dialed a number by heart. She placed the receiver by her ear as she heard rings. "Come on, pick up the phone." She muttered.
"Hello?" Came a voice.
"I think I just did something incredibly stupid." Trudy blurted out. There was silence on the other end of the line.
"Trudy?" Asked a voice. Trudy winced.
"Oh…Hi……Uh, Mrs. Cooke." She said, realizing Rachel's mother had answered. "Is….Uh…..Rachel home?" She asked. Mrs. Cooke laughed gently.
"Yes, hang on a second, dear." She said. Trudy tapped her foot gently as she waited.
"Rach?" Trudy asked, wanting to make sure.
"Yeah. Hey, Tru, what's up?"
"I just did something incredibly stupid."
"What? What's wrong?" Trudy sighed and told her best friend that she met up with Jay and they talked.
"Wait, wait…….You're saying that Jay……as in the love of your life, Jay, showed up and you two talked?" Rachel asked. "Wow, small world. Okay, then what?"
"Well…..We talked about that notebook…….And we kissed……."
"You WHAT!" Rachel exclaimed. "Oh my gosh, Trudy! That's great!" She paused. Trudy could sense the sneaky smile coming on her best friend's face. "Then what happened?" She asked.
"Not that!" Trudy yelled. "Geez."
"Oh come on, you've been obsessed with this guy-"
"I have not."
"-for over a year." Rachel said, continuing her sentence. "You're going to actually tell me that all you did was kiss?" Trudy sighed. "Oh boy, what happened?"
"What makes you think something happened?"
"That sigh, that's the 'something happened' sigh. So, if it wasn't sex, then what happened?"
"I threw him out."
"What? Why? Did he try something? Trudy, did he hurt you? I'll castrate him, I'll-"
"Down girl." Trudy said, trying to calm her best friend's protective murderous tone. "He didn't try anything……I just…….Sort of……Freaked."
"I just…..It felt…..Weird…"
"What felt weird? His-"
"Rachel!" Trudy groaned, rolling her eyes. "No sex or semi-sex things happened, can we move on?"
"Ok, ok, sorry, what felt weird?"
"It just felt like he was kissing me for the wrong reasons. I mean…..He and Claire broke up a week ago and he did say earlier I 'looked hot', so.." Trudy said, her voice trailing off.
"You're thinking that you're the rebound and also that all he's seeing in you is purely physical seeing as last time he said he didn't feel the same way about you as you did for him." Trudy was silent. "I'll take that as a 'Yes Rachel, you are correct'."
"Well, duh, you're my best friend and you're a psych major, what hope do I have from keeping anything from you?"
"True, true." Rachel said. "So, if you're so sure about this assessment, why do you think you just did something entirely stupid?"
"Well, I mean, like you said, he's the 'love of my life', maybe I shouldn't care about why he's kissing me, and just go with the flow."