Holy cow. It seems like forever since I wrote MADversary, and it almost was (at least in this little writer brain of mine). I was writing it about this time four years ago! It was my second rock star romance book (and it was and always will be a standalone), but I’d wanted to write something light and fun. Some of my most faithful readers discovered me because of this book, but a lot of my newer readers don’t even know it exists! 🙂
Megan Walker doesn’t plan to attend her high school reunion, but her best friend Lisa begs her to come along. Megan doesn’t want to risk running into her old boyfriend Tyler Green, a man who has since become rich and famous as the frontman of a heavy metal band called Madversary. Lisa convinces her that Tyler would never show up for something like a reunion, so Megan gives in, only to regret it. Because when Tyler does show up, the spark reignites, and she doesn’t know that she can bear letting him go again.
Chapter Two from MADversary
LISA’S BLUE EYES sparkled as a raucous laugh poured out of her mouth. She and Megan sat at a picnic table in the park across from the library. Lisa had brought her specialty—mandarin orange salad—for the women to eat at lunch. Lisa was on a perpetual diet and, therefore, the girl ate more lettuce than rabbits, and she had dozens of delicious salad recipes. Megan stabbed an orange with the plastic fork and nibbled on it, afraid to put it in her mouth in case Lisa started making her giggle too. She didn’t want to inhale an orange, only to have it get stuck in her throat. Imagine how the obit would read….
“Oh, my God, Megan. Would you stop worrying so much?” Lisa tossed back a lock of blonde hair behind her shoulder to keep it from dipping in her salad.
“I can’t help it. I just know something will go wrong on this date.”
“That’s a shitty attitude, girlfriend. Of course something will go wrong if you expect it to. You have to have a positive attitude.”
Megan screwed up the corner of her mouth. “Easier said than done.” She chanced the orange, wrapping her lips around the fork and pulling it into her mouth.
“All right. I gotta know. Have you given the high school reunion any more thought?”
Megan swallowed the orange. “Yes.”
“I haven’t changed my mind. I’m not going.”
“Oh, come on, Meg. I don’t want to go by myself!”
“Sorry, Leese, I just can’t find any good reasons to go.”
“Are you kidding me? Seriously? I can think of thousands!”
Lisa used her fork to scoot pieces of lettuce glimmering with dressing and dotted with almond slivers around the paper bowl. She sighed. “Well, maybe it’s not a nice reason, but I’m dying to see what childbirth did to Summer and Monica.”
Megan swallowed the bite in her mouth. “That’s…unoriginal.” Summer and Monica had been co-captains of the cheerleading squad their senior year in high school. Both Megan and Lisa had thought the cheerleading girls would go on to do big things like most privileged daughters do, but instead both married their high school sweethearts. One girl’s said sweetheart was a year older and attending college in Boulder, while the other was a senior and did attend college…but in nearby Colorado Springs. The two of them “had” to get married so their bundle of joy could be considered legitimate. Summer and Matt Harper at last count had three children and he was now the manager of his father’s hardware store in downtown Winchester. Monica’s future husband had attended CU in Boulder, and she went to school there after graduation as well but never finished. Once her boyfriend John graduated, they married, but last Megan knew, they lived in the Denver Metro area. “You know, they probably look just like we do. I doubt they look any worse off.”
Lisa waved her fork back and forth, the tines pointing at Megan. “Oh, no. I saw Summer a few years ago, and she looked haggard.”
Megan shrugged. “So what are the other nine-hundred ninety-nine reasons?”
“Aren’t there guys you’re dying to see? I mean…I always imagine one of the computer nerds will come back all rich and sexy and remember I was nice to him.”
“Also unoriginal, Leese. You gotta stop watching stuff like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. That’s all total fantasy.” Megan picked up her napkin and wiped her lips. “That’s why you’re dying to go. You think you’re going to impress the hell out of everyone while laughing your ass off at the misfortunes of others.”
Lisa grinned. “Well, there is that…. But I also just want to see people I’ve fallen out of touch with.”
“I don’t. I’ve stayed in touch with the people I’ve wanted to.”
“Me, Megan. That would be me. You haven’t stayed in touch with anyone else.”
“My point exactly.”
Lisa sighed and stabbed another piece of lettuce with her fork. Megan felt a little guilty, especially seeing Lisa’s bottom lip begin to push out in a slight pout. But she didn’t feel guilty enough to give in. Lisa looked up. “Okay, fine. Give me some good reasons not to go.”
Like she hadn’t already outlined a solid case. “Well, I don’t want to see what ten years have done to everyone. I don’t care if Summer has big hips and stretch marks and doesn’t wear makeup anymore. I don’t care if every last computer and gaming geek I remember comes to the reunion loaded with dough. I just don’t care, Leese. There’s nothing there for me. And…” Oh, shit. She’d said too much.
Lisa wasn’t stupid. She pounced on it like a cat. “And what?”
“Oh, nothing.” Suddenly, Megan was interested in her salad again and piled a forkful in her mouth.
Lisa’s eyes narrowed down to slivers and she dropped her voice. Megan became aware of the cool April breeze on her arms, and she wanted to pull her sweater back on. She felt like a bug under a microscope, and Lisa wasn’t going to let her squirm free. “I don’t think so.”
She let all the air out of her lungs in a long exhale. Better to just get it over with now. She forced her eyes up to look in Lisa’s. “What if…Tyler’s there?”
Lisa’s chin dropped as did her hands and the flimsy plastic fork from her fingers. “Oh, my God. I should have known.”
Megan shook her head. “Oh, no. Don’t make a federal case out of this.”
“But it makes so much sense.”
“No, it doesn’t. I have no idea why I would be so worried about seeing him again.”
“Yes, you do.”
Okay. Yes, she did. Tyler Green had been her boyfriend her senior year in high school for all of three months, the last three months of school. When school let out, he and his heavy metal band had wandered off first to Denver and then to L.A. to make it big while Megan had been responsible and gone to college in nearby Pueblo, Colorado. He and his friends had left just days after graduation and, throughout the summer, he and Megan had maintained a long-distance relationship over the phone, but by the time she was knee-deep in school, both of them admitted it wasn’t working. Their phone calls had become sporadic anyway and they weren’t even exchanging emails anymore by that time. But Megan knew the truth. She knew he must have been enjoying the rock star life. She knew women were probably falling all over him and offering themselves up to him for whatever pleasure he could ever ask for. How could she compare? And, besides that, she was lonely. She missed having him around, and a long-distance boyfriend was like no boyfriend at all. She still didn’t date until her second year in college, just couldn’t bring herself to do it. “I guess maybe I do. I…think it would be awkward, don’t you? I mean, I’ve seen his picture and stuff, but in person…might be pretty weird.”
“You didn’t end it on bad terms. What’s the big deal?”
The big deal was Megan had thought Tyler was the guy. He had really rocked her world the short time they’d been together. He was sweet and sensitive but cute. And even though she’d tried to avoid following his career, it had been unavoidable. At least, that’s what she told herself. But Megan knew that if Tyler had asked her to come with him that summer, she would have. She would’ve abandoned the notion of school along with the scholarship and work study job, would’ve easily said goodbye to friends and family to follow him. She was pretty sure he’d known that too but he hadn’t asked. That was all she’d needed to know. So, no, she didn’t want to chance running into him. There were too many what ifs she didn’t even want to consider. “It’s no big deal. I just don’t want to see him.”
Lisa slapped her hands on the picnic table. “That’s just messed up. You really cared about Tyler, and I can’t believe you want to miss the chance to reconnect with him. And, besides…I really doubt he’d show up anyway. I know I wouldn’t want to attend a high school reunion if I was famous. What a cluster.”
“So why do you even care?”
“Because, Meg…I want some support there. What if everyone’s a bunch of jerks or they are all rich and just want to rub everyone’s noses in it? What if no one remembers me? I need a friend there, Meg. Come on. Please?”
There were those damned blue puppy dog eyes Lisa managed to play up when she wanted people to feel sympathy for her, and even though Megan had long been aware of their powers, she still fell victim to them. Lisa was probably right. Of course, Tyler wouldn’t be there. His first band might not have made it and he’d faltered in the beginning, but the last five years, he’d been a solid rock god. Why would someone with that level of fame attend a high school reunion? There would be no good reason. “All right. Fine. But…” Megan needed to cover her bases. She couldn’t take a chance. “…if, for some strange reason, Tyler does show, then all bets are off.”
Lisa took a deep breath and scrutinized her friend. Slowly, she offered her hand across the table for a handshake. “It’s a deal.”
And that’s how Megan Walker got suckered into attending her ten-year high school reunion.