Making His Baby(2)

By: Lulu Pratt

“We had bets on whether or not you were going to make it,” Clark slurs. His arm drapes around my neck as he leads me through the masses. Some I recognize, some I don’t. I’m not the only one who has changed since high school.

“Oh yeah?” I say, raising an eyebrow. “How much was I going for?”

Clark throws his head back in an exaggerated laugh. “Not as much as you would like.”

With his arm still hanging on me, he leads me to a large table in the corner of the room. Sitting around the table are eight faces that I recognize all too well.

Five men and three women, they are my collective “friends from high school.” The ones I used to hang out with during the day and drink with at night. When we could find someone willing to buy us alcohol, that is.

A pleasant wave of nostalgia hits me as I look at them. Like most people’s high school experience, mine had its ups and downs, but these were the people who got me through it. We grew up together. A lot of my formative experiences were with these people right here.

Judging from their body language, I guess that most of them, like me, have fallen out of contact with each other, and they are using this night as a means to catch up and trade old war stories. It makes me feel a little less guilty about not having spoken to any of them for the past fifteen years.

“Look who I found,” Clark says as he pushes me onto the seat by his own. “Lurking in the bushes. Classic Blake!”

“Hey,” I say to no one in particular, not knowing who to address. I opt for a group chat instead.

“Blake,” the woman next to me beams.

“Hey, Sally,” I nod.

She has bushy red hair and white, porcelain skin. She was my first kiss, and I’m pretty sure I was hers. “It’s been so long. What have you been up to, Blake? Doing well by the looks of it?”

“Oh, you know, this and that,” I say, keeping it vague.

I was poor when I went here. Dirt poor. I come from a broken home that had more problems than money. It’s something that I don’t like to talk about, and I hate being reminded of it. But now that I’m successful and more than a little rich, I realize that I don’t really want to talk about that either.

I don’t want them fawning over me or grilling me about the specifics of my job. People always find my work a little too interesting, and it grates on a person after a while.

But then it hits me. I don’t have anything else to talk about. All I do is work. Whereas they’re all laughing and talking about their kids.

“Sounds interesting,” Sally continues, holding her smile on me as she does.

“Oh, it’s not,” I say, giving my head a shake. “Trust me. It’s just business crap. Suits, too much coffee and a lot of missed weekends. Nothing to tell really.”

I’m a film producer and getting to be a pretty successful one, too. I made my fortune through a few smart investments in college, and I used that money to open a production company. Ten years later, I’m worth more than I’ll ever admit to anyone.

“My son’s two now, the little bugger,” Clark says to everyone in earshot. “So cute that sometimes I just want to eat him up.”

I sip on my drink and listen.

“My oldest daughter starts school next year. So you never settled down, Blake?” Sally asks with a smile.

“No. No kids, no wife.”

I do my best to smile and nod along, but deep down, my stomach churns. Despite my money and success, the one thing my life is missing is a family of my own. I made a choice when I was younger to pursue a career over family. Lately, I’ve been questioning that decision more and more. I want to be a father, but I’m hardly about to enter into a serious relationship with someone. No fucking way.

“Oh damn, I wasn’t looking forward to this,” Clark says a little too loudly.

I look across the gym to see what caught him off guard. The moment I see it, I feel my heart sink.

A giant screen stands behind the makeshift stage. Projected onto that screen is a video, made specifically for the reunion          . We were asked to send in clips of our own for a series of videos that would feature. The one playing right now is to commemorate the people who couldn’t be here tonight. Specifically, those who have passed away.

The reason my heart feels the way it does is that I know one face in particular who would be appearing on that screen. Her name is Lyndsey, and she was my high-school sweetheart. And sure enough, as I watch the few names and faces flash on the screen, Lyndsey suddenly appears.

“Hey, didn’t you used to date her?” Clark asks me. He is slurring even more than he was earlier. I guess the alcohol is really kicking in now.

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