Something wonderful and terrifying stirs in the dark...
In the next few weeks I got letters from all the rest of the high school cheerleading squad, plus a letter from the Class President and a couple of my old teachers. Suddenly I was a very popular fellow and I started suspecting what it was all about. I knew for sure when I got a letter from a school friend, one of my real friends, and he included a clipping from the newspaper stating that there would be an exclusive concert by Bobby Wise and the Malcontents at the upcoming tenth year reunion.
I was hurt and angered. It wasn't the old days anymore. In the old days Laura, or anyone of the cheerleaders probably, could have snapped their fingers and I would have come running. I was not some insecure nerdy boy anymore and I wasn't at their beck and call.
For the next few months we left the road and recorded a new album, which also went platinum. We started making the rounds of the late night talk shows and a comedy show, and we were riding the wave of success. I didn't expect it to last forever and I was enjoying it while I could. At the very least, when the popularity waned, I would be left with enough money to live out my life comfortably. I couldn't ask for anything more.
On the first of May, two months before the reunion, one of the cheerleaders came to see me in person. I was resting in the small room back stage after the show when Elmo, my drummer, popped in his head in the door.
"There's a chick to see you, Bobby," he said.
"I'm tired." I said.
"Not the usual type at all. She says she knows you."
"Let's see her then," I said.
I knew her immediately when Elmo let her into the room and shut the door behind her. Her name was Alexis Bishop and she was one of the Dawson Cheerleaders. She had never been one of the prettiest. She had long black hair and blue eyes but she had also been a bit plump, and she fought a constant battle with weight. What made her popular was her vitality, her love of life. Standing before me, looking nervous, she lacked that old spark of vitality. She was still fighting the battle for weight but she would have looked more attractive if she'd picked out her clothes more carefully. The form fitting mini dress she wore, the stockings and high heels emphasized her heavier figure.
"Hello, Bobby," she said.
"Alex," I said. Maybe it was mean of me but I knew Alex was a name she hated. To call her Alex one had to be high up in the social strata. Her fellow cheerleaders and the boys on the football team called her Alex. Nobody else dared.
She knew what I was doing and she looked down at the floor and then up at me again. Her face was red and there was something in her eyes that looked almost desperate. I had seen that look before, in the faces of the groupies who came back stage after a show. It was a look that said they were willing to do anything to be with one of the band members. I wondered why Alex had such a look in her eyes.
She swallowed nervously and said, "You haven't said you're coming to the reunion."
"That's because I'm not," I said.
"But you must, Bobby," she said. "I mean, everybody is dying to see you."
"I'm not interested," I said. "I'm busy, and honestly, I didn't have that many friends in the high school."
"That's not true," she said. "You had lots and lots of friends. I was your friend."
"Come on, Alex," I said harshly. "You didn't even know my name. I think you once told someone that you hated having to sit next to that awkward, skinny nerd in Mrs. Watson's class."
Her face flushed. She hadn't realized I had heard about her comments. We had once taken a class together and the entire class she had ignored me. I also remembered something else. On Fridays she had come to class in her brief cheerleading outfit and she had deliberately teased me. She knew her short skirt was giving me hard-ons and she had enjoyed the effect on me, knowing I would never have the chance to touch her.
"Please, Bobby," she said. "We would all like for you to come?"
"No," I said.
For a moment her eyes shu