#52weeks52stories: Week 28
Word prompt: reunion
Word count – 813;
Reading time – 2 min, 10 sec.
Moira exited I-94 and rolled to a stop at the traffic signal at the end of the off-ramp.
She drummed her fingers against the steering wheel, indecision tugging at her.
Turning left would take her back to the highway, her hotel, and home in two hours.
Turning right would lead her to the Marriott Hotel… and her thirtieth high school class reunion.
The last thing Moira Lambert wanted to do was attend her class reunion.
She turned right anyway.
High school hadn’t been unpleasant for the homecoming queen and class valedictorian, it just didn’t have the same meaning for her as it did her classmates.
Moira was proud of her accomplishments and honored to be so well-thought of, but everything changed near the end of her senior year and then the only thing that mattered was graduating and leaving Flanders, Indiana.
It’s not too late, Lambert. You could grab your things from the hotel and be home before midnight.
Before she could respond to her own heeding, Moira heard Alexander’s quips.
“Don’t focus on the pain, honey-bunny. God knows we’d never smile if we only remembered the bad times.”
Her pursed lips relaxed into a bittersweet smile. She continued on as though Alexander Lambert was right there guiding her.
She pulled up to valet park in front of the Marriott Hotel and stepped out of her Qx50 accepting her claim stub from the young Latino man who’d opened her door. She thanked him with a smile and headed for the entrance, pretending not to notice the look her valet exchanged with two other young men standing at the valet stand.
She wasn’t angry or offended. Moira knew far too women in her age group who thought nothing of bedding young men half their age and it didn’t matter if they were valets, wait staff or occupied an office across the hall. Moira Lambert didn’t judge. She just wasn’t in that group.
As she entered the hotel, large metallic green signs with yellow glitter text directed members of the Taft High School Class of 1988 to the Grand Ballroom on the lower level.
Moira smirked while walking past the sign.
Kat Volker still had an obsession with glitter.
Approaching the escalator bay, Moira’s steps slowed.
This was the first reunion she’d attended without Alex.
This was the first time she’d done anything other than work since losing her husband of twenty-five years. She knew he’d be disappointed in her.
Like Moira, Alexander Lambert was going through the motions of living when they met on the Purdue University campus.
Tragedy touched his senior year of high also when his mother lost her battle with breast cancer. His misery deepened when he had to move in with his father and stepmother.
Catina Lambert hated him for being a constant reminder Gil Lambert was ever involved with a woman other than her. Her lies and scheming kept the Lambert men at odds so much, Alexander applied for early enrollment to Purdue to get away from the Lambert home.
Melancholy washed over her as the escalator carried her down.
Moira knew she’d met a kindred soul and told Alexander about her parents’ reaction when her older brother, Kevin, came out to them after his college graduation.
Big Abraham Jennings had balked at his only son being a fairy, and Genova Jefferson Jennings knew the Flanders African Methodist Church would shun them all.
Moira stayed at her brother’s side, holding his hand, ashamed of her parents for the first time in her life.
But it wouldn’t be the last.
Moira could see the reception area outside the Grand Ballroom was filling up and took stock of her appearance in the mirrored wall as the escalator took her to the lower level of the Marriott Hotel.
She looked good.
The streaks of gray on the left side of her head gave her a mature look without being matronly. They ran through her soft, brown curls from her temple to her shoulder.
The knee-length, purple silk wrap-dress complimented her hour-glass figure and Moira didn’t even lament the illusive twelve pounds that considered her hips a permanent home.
She stepped off the escalator and approached the registration table to the left of the ballroom entrance, and her first smile of the evening was genuine.
A tall, thin woman with snow white hair leaped up from the table and ran to greet Moira, pulling her into a tight hug.
“Oh. I’m sorry, I keep forgetting. It’s Moira Lambert.”
Moira pulled back wearing a big grin. “Mrs. Petry, you know I’ll always answer to whatever you call me.”
The retired history teacher beamed. “Still my best… and favorite student.”
Gayla Petry pulled her former student close for another tight hug.
“It is good to see you, my dear. I’m so glad you decided to come.”
Moira chuckled. “I am too, I think.”
Thanks for reading! Stop in next week for the conclusion to The Sweetest Days.
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