Graduation Night, continued....
While he was preparing for his date with Brynne, Adam found himself more nervous than he had felt in a long time. Brynne was so stunningly beautiful and nearly ten years younger than Adam, really out of his league if he had to be honest with himself, even with all his manipulations and tricks. Yet it had been Brynne who pushed him to go out with her.
Adam agonized over what to wear for the date. For his shirt, he just wore one of his button-up work shirts. The pants were a trickier issue. He separated his pants into two categories: pants where you could see how thin his legs were and pants that hid his legs somewhat. He owned a couple of pairs of pants that concealed his legs completely, but it took two-inch thick fabric to do that. He finally settled on pants that were somewhat concealing.
Getting ready for a date was a two-hour affair for Adam. Before anything else, he had to do his bowel regimen—there was no way he was going to risk having an accident on his date with Brynne. Adam’s daily bowel regimen consisted of him inserting a suppository in his rectum and transferring to the toilet. For about twenty minutes or so, he intermittently stimulated his rectum until he had a bowel movement.
Adam found it hard to believe he had been doing this regimen every day for ten years now. It was one of the reasons he avoided a relationship with a woman. He knew that even if they weren’t turned off by his wheelchair, they would eventually get turned off by the mechanics of his bodily functions. This regimen was one that he now felt comfortable with and it had helped him to avoid an accident for over six years now.
This was the only time he used the toilet over the course of the day, since he used a catheter to relieve his bladder. The toilet was modified like everything else the apartment so that there were bars he could hold on to. He had managed to build up his remaining stomach muscles a little bit, but still not enough that he could sit up without any support.
The next step in the process was bathing. Showers were impossible, of course, and Adam’s bathtub was modified to be accessible. He undressed himself in his room and then transferred into the tub.
Inside the bathtub, Adam spent a minute examining his legs for any cuts or sores. He was very careful about his legs because he knew how easy it was to get an infection. After so many years, Adam had become used to the sight of his painfully skinny legs. The muscles were completely atrophied with the skin hanging loosely and he could see the outline of his bones. His knees looked like huge knobs compared to his thighs. When he let his legs lie flat, his feet tended to turn in and knock against each other.
Carefully, Adam reached over and picked up one of his legs and started soaping it up. It used to be so strange washing body parts that he couldn’t feel, but now he took it for granted. The hardest part was washing his feet. They were hard to reach and he was terrified of cracking one of his brittle bones when he manipulated his legs. His feet themselves were very soft, considering they had not been walked on for over ten years.
Adam let the water drain while he was in the tub, then dried himself off a bit within the tub before lifting himself out. He vaguely remembered how difficult it used to be to do simple things like transferring from his bathtub to his wheelchair when he first came home from rehab. He had slipped and fallen about a dozen times, and as he had called his mother to come help him, he had thought tearfully that he would never be able to live on his own. How wrong he had been.
He dressed himself in khaki slacks and one of his shirts from work. He wished he had clothes that were a little more “fun”, but Adam knew he wasn’t a partier, so it seemed like a lie to wear some kind of clubbing outfit. Besides, it didn’t really go with the chair.
Once he was dressed, Adam examined himself in a mirror, mostly to make sure his legs didn’t look funny or that his catheter or legbag weren’t showing. He ran a hand quickly through his short dark hair to comb it. As he looked at his own reflection, he contemplated what the hell Brynne had been thinking when she asked him out. Okay, he had a good looking face, fair enough. And his chest was pretty decent too—very well-toned, although too slim to really be called muscular.
But then there was the chair, and he really couldn’t get past that. It was one thing when he was manipulating women into going to bed with him, but he had been pretty straightforward with Brynne so far. And she wasn’t some aging beauty or a woman running from an abusive relationship—this was a girl who could have had any man she wanted. So what did she want with him? It was driving him crazy.
Adam wondered what it was Brynne saw in him. He leaned forward in his chair so that he could look into his own brown eyes. The eyes were supposed to be the window to the soul. Adam wasn’t really sure what the soul was, but he knew all the things he had done in the last ten years, and if there was a soul, his was surely in trouble.
Brynne was already at the restaurant when Adam arrived. She was wearing a low-cut blouse and a high-cut skirt that had every man in sight staring at her. Adam once again felt completely amazed that this was his date.
“Adam,” Brynne said with a smile. “I got us a table already.”
The waiter led them across the restaurant to a table in the back. Adam was a little annoyed that he had to maneuver his chair through the whole restaurant, but he wasn’t about to start complaining, especially since the table they got was nice and secluded. The waiter pulled away the seat so that Adam could park his chair at the table. Brynne quickly excused herself to go to the ladies room.
The waiter smiled down at Adam. “While you’re waiting, sir, could I bring a bottle of wine for you and your sister?”
Adam nearly burst out laughing. “Sorry to disappoint you,” he said with a wink, “but she’s not my sister.”
The waiter’s eyes widened and he blushed. “I’m so sorry, sir... there’s a resemblance...”
Adam knew damn well there was no resemblance between himself and that tall blonde beauty, but he didn’t really blame the waiter. “It’s okay. And we’ll hold off on the wine until she gets back.”
Brynne returned a few minutes later, turning heads as she walked. She sat down and beamed at Adam. “Did you order any wine?” she asked.
“Brynne, I have to ask you,” Adam said, “what the hell are you doing here with me?”
Brynne stared at him. “What?”
“Oh, come on,” he said. “You could have any man on the planet that you want. Why me? I mean, as unbelievable as it sounds, you asked me out.”
“What makes you think this is a date?” Brynne asked flatly.
Adam’s face flushed. “Oh. I guess I...”
Brynne smiled and touched his cheek. “Just teasing you, sweetie. I wanted you to take me out from the moment I first met you.”
“I’ve been out with a lot of guys, especially for someone my age,” Brynne said. “I’ve met a lot of charmers, believe me. And I’ve had a lot of bad luck. I’ve gone out with a lot of jerks, you know?”
“I find that very hard to believe,” Adam said.
“Well, it’s true,” Brynne said. “And I’m sick of it. I look at you and I know you’re not like those other guys. You’re a good person, I can tell. You’re not just out there to manipulate me and get me into bed.”
Oh, Brynne. Brynne, you poor girl, you have absolutely no idea. As she said the words, Adam felt his sincerity melting away. Brynne didn’t want to date him. She wanted to date that same pathetic cripple character he played for all the others. For a few moments, he was hoping this might be something different. “You could do a lot better than me,” he said, gesturing down at his legs.
“The wheelchair doesn’t bother me,” Brynne said. She was so blunt, it was kind of refreshing. “Although I am curious.”
Brynne smiled slyly at him. “I’ve been playing footsie with you under the table now for the last five minutes, but you had no idea, did you?”
Adam shook his head. “I can’t feel them at all.”
“Not at all?”
“Nothing from the mid-chest down,” Adam told her. He held his hand to the level where he still had feeling.
Brynne slid down in her seat slightly and Adam knew she was moving her foot up his leg toward his dick. “Not even this?” she whispered.
Adam reached under the table and felt her foot pressed against his crotch. His penis was still soft, with no sign of an erection. Hot as Brynne was, it took more than that to get him hard these days. He gently moved her foot before his dick had a chance to betray him. “I told you, I can’t feel anything,” he said quietly.
Brynne moved her foot, but her eyes were determined. She gave most of the men at work an erection on a daily basis, so she wasn’t about to give up so easily. Brynne was a woman used to defying medical science.
Adam felt surprised by his own weariness. Here he was on a date with a gorgeous woman and all he could think about was how sick he was of repeating the same goddamn lines. He had really believed somehow that Brynne would be different, although he didn’t know why. Maybe because she seemed so young and innocent and beautiful. Kind of like Maggie used to be.
God, Maggie. It seemed like he was thinking about her a lot lately, especially since Roger brought her up the other day. What was she doing now? Would he ever see her face again?
Brynne was still shifting under the table and Adam was slightly worried what she was doing with her foot. “So are you saying you’ve never made love to a woman?” she asked.
“I can’t,” Adam replied.
She leaned forward so that her face was inches away from his. “Even if I shove your dick down my throat?”
“Whoa,” Adam said, before he could stop the words from leaving his mouth. He couldn’t help it. No girl had ever been so overtly sexual on a first date with him before. Maybe Brynne was different than the others.
“Would you have any objections?” she asked sweetly.
“I... no, I mean, I definitely wouldn’t object, but I... I, uh, don’t think it will do much good.” Adam was surprised to find himself stammering. It had been a while since he had been this nervous around a woman.
“I don’t take no for an answer,” Brynne assured him. “Not from you, not from anyone.”
Adam swallowed hard and picked up his menu from the table, even though his appetite was the much less pressing of two needs right now.
Dinner was a quick affair, since neither Brynne nor Adam wanted to dwell in the restaurant. Adam had no idea what Brynne was doing under the table through the meal, but he was relieved to find that he didn’t have an erection.
Brynne seemed unable to keep her hands off him. She touched his face, ran her hands through his hair, stroked his chest, and he was pretty sure she put her hand on his knee at some point. “You were right, you are a challenge,” Brynne said at one point. Adam had looked down and saw her fingers toying with his zipper.
They caught a cab back to his apartment, since Brynne said that hers was up three flights of stairs. When they were inside the cab, Brynne pinned him against the door and hungrily descended her lips and body onto his, completely oblivious to the driver.
“Brynne,” Adam breathed, disentangling himself from her for half a second to steal some air, “I really think we should slow down a bit. I mean, this is further than I’ve been with a girl in... ten years.”
“Then you need to make up for lost time,” Brynne said.
Back in his apartment, she made a beeline for the bathroom. “Get comfortable,” she told him. “I’ll be back in just a second.”
Adam stared after her, trying to catch his breath. God, this girl was going to give him a heart attack. He wheeled into his bedroom and carefully transferred into his bed. He reached down and felt his dick and saw that it was still pretty soft... maybe he needed some insurance. He pulled open the drawer in his nightstand and got out his bottle of Viagra. He swallowed the pill without water.
The phone rang and Adam considered turning the machine on. But Brynne was taking longer than he thought in the bathroom, so he picked it up. “Hello?”
“Adam? It’s Roger.”
“Roger.” Adam gripped the phone tighter. Great. “What do you want?”
“Listen, is this a bad time?”
“Sort of. What is it?”
Roger paused. “I ran into Maggie today.”
Adam nearly dropped the phone. He tried to say something, but his throat felt too dry.
“Adam? You there?”
“Yeah, I... Maggie?”
“I thought you’d like to know, since you asked about her and all.”
Adam closed his eyes. He wasn’t sure he did want to know. But he didn’t have the willpower to keep from asking. “Yeah... how... how is she doing?”
“She’s doing great, Adam,” Roger said.
“She must be... you know, married and all, right?” For a moment, Adam wished Roger would say yes, so he could just forget Maggie and be done with it. Please let Maggie be happily married with three kids in the suburbs.
“No, she’s actually still single.” Roger paused again. “Do you want her number? I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.”
“Maggie would love to hear from me?” Adam almost laughed. “Somehow I find it hard to believe she’s changed that much.”
“Come on, Adam, you guys used to be friends. She was crazy about you.”
“She rejected me every other week,” Adam pointed out. “Why do you think she was crazy about me?”
“She told me so.”
Adam swallowed hard. This wasn’t what he needed right now. He didn’t need Maggie McConnelly to come back into his life. “Roger, you’re a fucking asshole,” Adam said. “You think I don’t know why you’re doing this? You think I’m dumb enough to believe you just ‘ran into’ Maggie on the street?”
“Do you want the number or not?”
“Yeah, I want it,” Adam said. His voice softened. “Thanks, Rog.”
Brynne emerged from the bathroom as he was hanging up the phone. “Who called?” she asked.
“My... mother,” Adam replied.
“That’s a mood killer,” Brynne laughed. “Now I have to start over again...”
And Brynne pounced. She descended on top of him, straddling him with her long, shapely legs as she continued to kiss him hungrily and run her hands through his hair. She didn’t even bother with the buttons on his shirt, simply ripping it open in one impressive motion. “Wow,” Adam breathed. “You’re unbelievable.”
She ran her hands over his chest and his nipples hardened. “Nice chest,” she commented.
“Comes from wheeling myself around all day.”
Below his rib cage, the muscles began to fade. By the time she got to his belly button, it was all gut and no muscle at all. She massaged this area and looked at him questioningly. He shook his head.
Brynne began unbuttoning his pants and Adam put his hand over hers like he always did. “Listen, Brynne, I’m telling you, there’s nothing there. You’re wasting your time. I won’t feel it.”
“You will feel it, damn it,” Brynne declared, brushing his hand away. She pulled down his pants, then his boxers. Adam lifted his head and saw his own crumpled penis and the catheter coming out of it. To his surprise, he wasn’t hard at all, even with the viagra. He expected Brynne to comment on his catheter, but she didn’t, and he didn’t offer an explanation.
Adam quickly pulled off the catheter so that she would have access to his penis. She took his dick into her mouth without a trace of hesitation. Ordinarily, Adam would have been floored by even the sight of a girl like Brynne sucking him off, but today he was feeling nothing. He was completely numb. He knew without even looking that he wasn’t getting hard.
“I told you,” Adam said quietly, although the frustration in his voice was real this time. What the hell was wrong with him today?
But Brynne wasn’t giving up so easily. She continued to massage his dick with her tongue as he watched her. The more she licked him, the more he wanted to fuck her, but he still wasn’t getting hard. If there was ever a time for his drugs to fail him, this was the worst time.
“Brynne, I don’t think it’s working,” Adam said finally.
“No, I think it is,” she said. She pulled away and sure enough, his penis was a little bit erect. Adam felt encouraged for a split second before he saw the urine squirt out, barely missing Brynne.
“Shit!” Adam cried, grabbing for his penis and the catheter simultaneously. This hadn’t happened in a very very long time. It hadn’t happened in so long, Adam had believed it would never happen again. He thought he had control of himself, at least to the point where he could take off his catheter for a little while without wetting himself. Adam felt all his confidence going out the window.
“I’m really sorry, Brynne,” Adam said, after he reinserted the catheter. He pulled himself up on the bed, away from the mess he had made.
“It’s all right,” Brynne said with a tiny smile. “Believe me, it’s not the first time I’ve been pissed on.”
Despite everything, Adam had to laugh a little at that. Sometimes things were just so bad, all you could do was laugh. “This doesn’t usually happen to me,” Adam said. “I mean, I don’t usually... you know, wet myself...” He felt his face getting hot. In the year after his accident, he used to wet himself constantly. He had thought he’d never gain any level of continence, but now he finally felt secure about going out without worrying about having an accident. He didn’t want to start all that again now.
“It’s really all right, Adam,” Brynne said again, more firmly this time. “The truth is, I’m the one who should be sorry. I came on too strong, I think. It’s just that... every man I’ve dated has been all about sex. I feel weird if we don’t have sex the first night. But I can see you’re not ready and I shouldn’t have pushed you. I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry?” Adam repeated. “Brynne, I’m the luckiest guy in the world just to get a date with you. Don’t be sorry.”
To his surprise, Brynne’s eyes filled with tears. “Adam, you’re so sweet. You’ve been nicer to me tonight than anybody’s been to me in a long time. You really have no idea. I can’t believe I screwed things up tonight.”
Adam suddenly felt like a heel for trying to manipulate Brynne before. No more of that. From now on, he was going to try his best to be sincere. “You didn’t screw things up. I like you, Brynne.”
“I like you too,” she said.
Adam smiled wryly. “I hope you’re still saying that after you help me change these sheets.”
After they changed the sheets, Adam and Brynne stayed up talking together until late in the night. Brynne wasn’t the blonde ditz Adam had taken her for and she wasn’t as naïve as he had thought either. She had a hard life, with abusive parents and equally abusive boyfriends. She was a sweet girl and she deserved a lot better.
Adam carefully edited his version of his own life story. He gave her the PG-13 version, same as the one his parents got. He hated lying to her, but if he told her the truth, she’d think he was just like all those other bums she went out with. And maybe he was, but he at least wanted a shot at reforming himself.
He was still disturbed by his sudden loss of continence when Brynne went down on him. He chalked it up to nervousness and Brynne’s aggressiveness, but if it happened again, he was going straight to his doctor. He hoped to god it didn’t happen again.
Adam’s longest relationship to that point was one month. He had never had someone he could call a girlfriend. As he talked to Brynne, this sweet and beautiful girl nearly ten years his junior, he sort of doubted she’d be able to fill that role. She simply wasn’t the sort of girl he pictured having a longterm relationship with.
Who would you picture? a voice in his head asked. Maggie McConnelly?
Maggie’s number was scribbled on a piece of paper, tucked away in his nightstand. He wondered if he’d be able to work up the nerve to call her.
Maggie went back to work after talking to Roger, but it was hard to focus. She felt distracted and there was a fluttering in her chest that made her feel faint. After the third time she gave out incorrect change, she was forced to go to her boss George and tell him she was sick. George gave her a dirty look and told her she could go home.
On the way home, Maggie made a stop in the grocery store. She purchased a big bag of cheese doodles, a cherry pie, a box of chocolates, and a tub of ice cream. As she paid for the food, she knew exactly what the clerk was thinking: look at the fat lady buying all the junk food.
Maggie was about to go on one of her binges. The binges started when she was thirteen years old, usually in times of stress. If there was a big test coming up or she found out some boy she liked didn’t like her back, Maggie headed straight for the refrigerator and ate until there was nothing left. She did it joylessly and sometimes barely remembered it afterwards.
Back in high school, she binged rarely. Once a month, if that much. And usually, after it was over, she’d vomit up most of what she ate, sometimes involuntarily. She remembered the first time Adam had told her he loved her, she had gone on her biggest binge yet.
In college, the problem got much worse. She was depressed a lot, which caused her to binge more. Initially, she was throwing up, but it began to irritate her throat, so she stopped doing it. Instead she just ate. She binged at least once a week, and ate heartily the rest of the time. After gaining the first ten pounds, her pants stopped fitting her and Maggie felt moderately distressed. But after that, it was easier and she barely even noticed the weight she gained. By the time she dropped out of college two years later, she had gained eighty pounds and was almost unrecognizable from the photo in her freshman facebook.
In many ways, Maggie had become a different person at that point. She thought about boys and her own appearance constantly in high school, but now she never gave a second thought to her own sexuality. She became a loner, shunning other people’s attempts at friendship with her, and the rare advances from men. She got enjoyment from books, random hobbies she picked up, television, the menial jobs she found, and most of all, food. Her parents were horrified by the new Maggie and she was forced to move out just to avoid their nagging.
Living on her own, Maggie isolated herself almost completely. She cropped her hair very short to make it easier to take care of and ate whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. That meant that she binged less, but ate more in general. She bought very loose clothing to prepare for the inevitable weight gain. Eventually, her weight settled around 360 pounds, and seemed to stay at that number, regardless of what she ate or didn’t eat.
As Maggie traveled up in the elevator to her apartment, she felt a sense of dread about the binge she was about to have. She liked eating, but she didn’t enjoy binging. She only binged when something bad happened. Seeing Roger Jacobson again after all these years qualified, unfortunately.
Roger, that bastard. He was doing so well, it was written all over his face. Roger didn’t deserve to do well. He was the one driving that night. He was the one who wrecked Maggie’s life and probably Adam’s and definitely Shannon Richards’. Roger shouldn’t be happy.
Maggie entered her apartment and dropped all the food on the kitchen table. Her roommate Audrey’s door was closed and the light was out, so Audrey was probably still at work. Good. Maggie didn’t want anyone to see her like this.
Maggie sat down at the table and reached deep into her pocket. She pulled out the gold bracelet Adam had bought her eleven years earlier. She remembered the love in his eyes when he gave it to her and how hard it had been for her to tell him no. Maybe if she hadn’t said no, everything would be different now.
Maggie dug into the pie with both hands. She had to reject Adam, she didn’t have a choice. He idolized her and she didn’t want him to know what a wreck she really was inside. Through all the years of their friendship, she had managed to hide her eating disorder and her insecurities. She thought if he knew the truth, he wouldn’t love her anymore. In retrospect, maybe she had underestimated him. But in her screwed up teenage brain, that was what she believed.
Maggie met Adam during their sophomore year of high school. Maggie’s friend Chelsea had a crush on him and insisted on filling Maggie in on every detail of their brief flirtation. The two week affair culminated in a kiss behind the gymnasium which apparently made Chelsea’s heart “stop for a full minute”.
One day, Maggie was meeting Chelsea by the library for study period and she saw her talking to a boy Maggie didn’t know. From the look on Chelsea’s face, she knew this must be the famous Adam Harding. Maggie was fairly unimpressed. He was very cute, that was undeniable, but she didn’t understand the reason for extent of Chelsea’s obsession with him.
Maggie walked over to the couple as Adam was in the middle of telling Chelsea some story. He turned his head slightly to look at Maggie, and he stopped speaking in mid-sentence. His jaw fell open.
“Hi, Chelsea,” Maggie said. She was slightly amused by Adam’s reaction to her.
“Hi, Maggie,” Chelsea said. “Maggie, this is—”
“I’m Adam,” he said, holding out his hand to her. She took it, unable to suppress a giggle. She had to admit, there was something about him that was very attractive. “Are you a sophomore? I haven’t seen you around.”
“Yeah, I am,” Maggie said. “You’ve probably even had a class with me and you just don’t remember.”
Adam shook his head. “No, I’d definitely remember.”
Maggie saw the flash of jealousy on Chelsea’s face, but Chelsea got over her obsession with Adam just as fast as it set in, but Adam didn’t get over Maggie quite as fast. Two days later, she found him in the library during her study period and he mumbled some story about how he had “switched his schedule so that he could take a different shop”. Maggie knew he had changed his schedule just to be close to her. He sat with her every day in study hall and began inviting her to his house to study in the evenings.
It didn’t come as much of a surprise when he finally kissed her later that year. If Maggie was honest with herself, she knew she was just as much in love with him as he was with her. It took all her willpower to tell him no. Her heart almost broke when he looked at her sadly and said, “Maggie, at least let’s still be best friends.”
They both dated, Adam even more so than Maggie. It seemed like every month, there was a different girl that he was taking out on Saturday nights. But he didn’t seem to care much about any of them. In fact, he ritually called Maggie on Saturday afternoons and asked her if she wanted to do something that night, even though they both knew he had a date. It was his way of letting her know she was more important to him than the girl he had made plans with that night.
Maggie remembered the first time Adam called her up to hang out and she had to tell him she had a date that night. “You do?” he asked in a hurt voice. “But... with who?” To her relief, he didn’t make a big fuss about it, but she knew he wasn’t happy.
He became almost impossible when she was dating her boyfriend Derek, which was her only steady through high school. More than once, Adam sat her down and told her he didn’t think Derek was treating her right. In fact, Adam had been absolutely correct about Derek, who she broke up with after she caught him cheating on her. The night of the break-up, Maggie had a moment of weakness and called Adam, who spent the night handing her tissues and telling her how wonderful she was and what a jerk Derek was, keeping her from going on the binge of a lifetime. And true to his words, Adam walked up to Derek the next day at school and punched him square in the belly, resulting in a two-day suspension that Adam declared was “worth it”.
As Maggie now stared at the empty pie tin in front of her, she was filled with regrets about the way she had treated Adam. When he was first injured, he had needed her and she was too scared to be with him. She didn’t want him to see her crying over him, so she just cried alone.
And now Roger wanted Maggie to call Adam and start everything all over again. Of course, Roger with his fancy job and his fiance didn’t understand what Maggie was going through. How could she possibly let Adam see her like this? He had loved her and maybe he still did, but the second he laid eyes on her, everything would change. Adam used to claim that even though her looks drew him to her initially, that wasn’t what he loved about her. But still, the girl he had been dreaming about all these years sure as hell didn’t weigh 360 pounds.
It would have been nice to see Adam again, it really would have. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Maggie polished off nearly all the food by the time her roommate got back. Usually Maggie hid the evidence of her binges, but this time Audrey caught her redhanded. Audrey was a peppy dancer who was struggling to make a living through her art and struggling just as hard to befriend her elusive roommate.
“Maggie!” Audrey exclaimed when she walked in. “What are you doing?”
Maggie’s face flushed. She hated it when people made her feel guilty about the food she ate. “Uh...”
“What about your diet?” Audrey said. “I thought we agreed...”
“I’m not really in the mood right now, Audrey,” Maggie said quietly.
Audrey sat down at the table next to Maggie. “Mags, what’s wrong?”
Before Maggie had a chance to hide it, Audrey spied the gold bracelet lying on the tabletop. “What’s this?”
Audrey read the inscription. “To my dearest Maggie, love Adam. Who’s Adam?”
“Nobody,” Maggie mumbled.
“It doesn’t sound like nobody.”
Maggie squirmed. Audrey didn’t know about her past. She didn’t know that way back when, Maggie was the hottest girl in high school. Audrey thought Maggie had always been this way, and Maggie felt it was just as well. In many ways, Maggie believed the way she was now was her natural state and the way she used to be was a lie. She felt comfortable the way she was and she was actually pretty happy. At least, she was happy until Roger reappeared in her life.
“Maggie, tell me,” Audrey urged.
“He was... just this guy I knew in high school,” Maggie said, yanking the bracelet away from Audrey before she could see how small it was.
“Your boyfriend?” Audrey asked slyly.
“No,” Maggie replied sharply.
“Well, he obviously liked you a lot, whoever he was.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Maggie admitted.
“So you saw him today?” Audrey asked eagerly.
“No, it’s not like that,” Maggie said quickly. She decided to tell Audrey at least part of the truth. “I just... I saw a mutual friend of ours who thought we should get back in touch.”
“Sounds like a great idea,” Audrey said enthusiastically. She was always encouraging Maggie to go out and try to meet guys. Maggie hadn’t been on a date since college. She felt like she had completely lost interest in the opposite sex and it seemed to be mutual.
Maggie shook her head. “I just... I don’t see it happening.”
“What’s the problem? Is he cute?”
“I... I guess so.”
Audrey shrugged. “You should give him a call. What have you got to lose?”
I’m afraid he’ll see me and blow the fantasy forever. There was something nice about knowing that Adam still had a little crush on her after all these years. Maggie wanted him to keep remembering her the way she used to be.
“Maggie, I think you’ve got real natural beauty,” Audrey said. “I mean, you have such a pretty face. And I think if you lost some weight, you’d have a lot more self-confidence. Any guy would be lucky to have you.”
“I don’t think so,” Maggie mumbled. She didn’t want to talk about this anymore. It was a moot point anyway, because there was no way in hell she was calling Adam.
to be continued...