The Reunion

an I/R monthly from Sylvia Hubbard

Part One

            Why had she come to this stupid reunion? What had she been trying to prove? That nerds are well off?

            Oh wow, Grae, that was smart!

            Taking off the three inch heels and rubbing the bottom of her feet, she called the airport to see if she could leave early. Damn! No flights out of Chicago tonight. A snowstorm had hit earlier today and no one was going anywhere.

            “Face it Grae, you’ll never be anything but a nerd,” Sheila Vance had sneered at dinner tonight.

            Sheila Vance had been the most popular girl at GreenLow’s Academy, a private school three hours outside of Chicago and now they were meeting for their first reunion ten years after graduation. The school was currently getting a large renovation over the winter holiday and most of the events were scheduled inside of the hotel, which was good except for tomorrow night when everyone would attend the ball and basket auction that was going to raise money for the school’s academic programs.

Grae had gone to high school sixty pounds overweight on a scholarship with a lawyer for a guardian, who swore she would be the smartest black woman on the face of the earth. Grae didn’t have time for being a teenager, much less participate in anything GreenLow offered because if she wasn’t in school there, she had college academics at the university nearby.

            So she missed being adventurous and daring. Even when her weight had diminished and she was now a very beautiful African American woman, Grae still couldn’t find time to address her personal life. She ran a very successful Internet and Marketing Solution company in Detroit, plus consulted on many business projects for lots of large companies.

            While Sheila Vance had married a millionaire, who went bankrupt in the Enron scandal, and was now trying to pretend they still had money while going deeper and deeper in debt.

            But very few of the classmates that had been present tonight cared about this, because Sheila still acted like the life of the party at the reunion, which she had orchestrated. Grae was disgusted by all of their shallowness and just wanted to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as possible, but with the airport closing because of a snow storm, Grae knew she wouldn’t be getting anywhere anytime soon.

            There was a knock on her hotel door, but Grae didn’t say anything.

            “I know you’re in there, Grae,” Lizzie Danner, Grae’s dorm roommate at GreenLow said through the door. Lizzie worked for Microsoft in their new product line division.

Grae and Lizzie had often kept in touch over the years, but not just because they had a lot in common because of their field of study, but just because they had really enjoyed being friends. Lizzie’s family was filthy rich though and white, but this didn’t matter because Grae felt Lizzie spoke like a black woman and was often mistaken for when if she was initially met over the phone.

            Lately, Lizzie was pestering Grae about her grade school crush on the untouchable Ezekiel Chambers aka Zeke.  And it was Lizzie who had convinced Grae to come to the reunion when Grae really had no intentions of coming.

            Lizzie knocked again harder. “If I break a nail knocking at this darn door, you’re in a lot of trouble, Missy. Don’t you think you’re hiding in your room, Grae.”

            Grae grabbed the reunion itinerary and slid it under the door at Lizzie’s feet. “According to the schedule there’s nothing left to do after dinner.”

            The paper was pushed right back. “Open the door Grae. I’m not talking through it.”

            Reluctantly Grae opened the door deliberately narrowing her exotic hazel almond grays at Lizzie to show her irritation. “Before you even suggest or ask, the answer is no, I’m not going.”

            “You bitch!” Lizzie said, pushing past her with her arms full of things. You have to come! There’s an after party in the penthouse like no other and I haven’t partied like that since high school.”

            “I haven’t partied at all, Lizzie.”

            “That’s because you were too fat, but now you look like Vanessa Williams’ little sister. You have got to show that body off, girl.” Lizzie pulled out a black low cut black dress. “When I get through they won’t recognize you.”

            “No!” Grae said. “Get out.”

            Lizzie looked at the yellow pages opened to the airports. “You weren’t thinking of leaving, were you, Grae?”

            Sitting on the bed, she said, “I don’t want to face Sheila Vance another day. It’s too exhausting trying to say I’m better than you without saying it.”

            “But you are, Grae. She’s been jealous of your brain forever and she now is jealous because you’re smart and beautiful. Don’t let her tear you down.”

            “She’ll be there, won’t she?” Grae didn’t want to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

            “Yes, most likely, but you’ll have this dress on and I’ll guarantee that no man will be able to stop looking at you. Come on Grae. This is where you can let you hair down.” Lizzie reached over and pulled the pins out of Grae’s French Roll. The mid-back length super thick hair cascaded down in a flurry of natural curls that Grae worked hard to straighten out by hand every day.

            “Plus,” Lizzie said leaning down to Grae’s ear. “I heard Zeke might make an appearance tonight. I heard he’s got his own plane and he’ll be arriving tonight for tomorrow’s festivities.”

            Grae blushed, her hazel eyes dancing to their pure gray hue. “Oh yeah, right.” She bit her lip nervously. “The schedule said he wouldn’t be arriving until tomorrow and that’s just for the banquet and most likely he’ll just hang around his old buddies who paid no attention to me other than to invite me to that horrible B.U.F.A.M. club.” She winced at the thought of the insult she had been dealt every year when she had received an invite every year she had been at the school.”

            The Black Unattractive Female and the Men Club had been clearly designed to be like an indecent fraternity that took advantage of girls, who felt they would never get the chance of being with a cute guy or pretend to offer unattractive or unpopular females a chance to lose their virginity to a popular or handsome guy at the school. During the time Grae had been at Greenlow’s, Leon Woodward was the president of B.U.F.A.M. Leon had been Ezekiel’s best friend during high school.

            “I heard evil ass Leon saying tonight at the buffet line B.U.F.A.M. the he was sending out invitations for women to meet them at their hotel rooms for old times. And can you believe some of those nasty ass women are going to it.”

“Well I won’t be going to that part of the reunion,” Grae said disgustedly.

“Leon was gawking at you from behind, so I know he doesn’t think you’re even apart of that stupid boy’s club anymore.” Lizzie brushed out Grae’s hair and started to style it whether Grae liked it or not leaving curly tendrils down the front to give Grae and exotic appearance. “I heard that back in the day, Zeke had a thing for black women and he used to make the chick do some weird ass shit, but none of them would ever tell what he did to them.”

Grae pretended like it didn’t matter. “Probably something weird and degrading no doubt.”

“Nah,” Lizzie said dreamily. “I’m not for white men, but he looks like a sweet and tender.”

“Now you’re going to tell me you can tell a man’s lovemaking style by the way he looks, Liz?”

Lizzie chuckled. “Nope, you can tell by the way he takes care of his feet. Any man with good feet knows how to take care of all the details on a woman.”

Grae laughed raucously. “You’re still loony Lizzie.”

Frowning, Lizzie asked, “What did B.U.F.A.M. stand for anyway? I forgot.”

            Embarrassed, Grae answered, “Black Unattractive Females and the Men.”

            Lizzie covered her mouth to hide the giggle.

            After so many years, it did sound so childish and hilarious. Soon they both were screaming with laughter over that idiot club of guys who thought they could treat women like nothing.  “I hated everyone of those boys!” Grae said.

            “Except Zeke,” Lizzie pointed out.

            “That was before I knew he was a part of that stupid club.” She wouldn’t admit to anyone that she had falling in love with Zeke on the first day of school when she had not been watching where she was going and she bumped into the most gorgeous white boy she had ever seen. He looked like he had just worked out wearing a wife beater and low hanging pants that showed the cut on his waist.

            He was about the reach down to help her up until Leon Woodward stepped in front of Zeke. Leon was tall, skinny, skin so dark he looked purple, with a chipped tooth, boy that lived to make people lives miserable.  “Damn, Zeke,” he cackled, jabbing Ezekiel in the ribs playfully. “I thought her fat ass was gonna just bounce back up.”

            Grae got up on her own and walked away not looking back. Later on she learned she’d lost her favorite earring with the pink heart and a real diamond hanging at the end. It had belonged to her mother and Grae cried all night after realizing she had lost it. When she had returned to school the next day, her eyes were still read and Sheila Vance had the opportunity to call her a pig-faced zombie in front of everyone. They all laughed at Grae and that had been her name for the next few months until Lizzie threatened to punch anyone in the mouth if she heard someone else called Grae that.

            “Once I knew he was part of that stupid club, I couldn’t stand to look at him. Who’d want a guy who only slept with ugly black girls?”

“I wouldn’t mind being ugly to get a chance to sleep with Ezekial Chambers. I heard he almost made Time’s most eligible bachelors last year.”

Grae snorted to show Lizzie was not helping her point.

“Oh come on Grae. Ezekial was a nice ass looking boy in high school and I bet he’s got mad skills. I heard the only reason he was apart of Leon’s stupid club was because his daddy wouldn’t approve of him dating a black girl and that was the only way Zeke could get black ass.”

“And that justifies encouraging that ridiculous club?”

“Okay, no, it doesn’t but didn’t you ever think about trying it out just for once?”

Lying, Grae said, “No, Lizzie. That was a degrading club for girls who wanted to sleep with cute guys and not feel shameful about losing their virginity. I would never lower myself to that behavior just to sleep with Zeke. I may have been fat and blotchy, but I was not an ugly black girl. I didn’t care for the club and I didn’t care about him. So it really doesn’t matter if he’ll be there or not.”

            “You’re still going,” Lizzie said, opening up her makeup case.

            Feeling her stomach lurch, her eyes well up with tears and her lips go dry, Grae was scared and nervous all at the same time. “I’ve never been to a party, Lizzie.”

            “Well tonight it the night that you’re going to forget that you were ever fat, ever ugly, ever poor and never cared about, Grae. Tonight you’re going to be carefree, beautiful and wanted.” She applied makeup to Grae’s face.

            When Lizzie was done, she packed up her make up case. “I’m going to change into my dress and I expect you to show your face in thirty minutes or I’ll have them drag you out of this room.”

            Grae resigned slumping her shoulders and her friend asked, “What floor will the party be on?”

            “The Penthouse.”

            Lizzie started out the door after handing Grae some open toe shoes to go with the dress.

            “Aren’t those a little skimpy for wintertime?” Grae questioned.

            “We’re in a hotel, crazy. You’re just going up the elevator. You can’t catch cold.”

            Grae took the shoes and sighed knowing she didn’t have any good stockings to go with this dress and would have to paint her toenails.

            Lizzie popped her head back in the door before it close. “Grae?”

            “Yes Lizzie?” Grae asked digging through her own case for some nail polish and being disappointed that all she found was a bright red polish that she really hadn’t planned to wear anyway. Yet, as she had packed two days ago, she had been having uncontrollable girlish fantasies of meeting Ezekiel, having some unbelievable romantic moment and then having him whisk her off in his private helicopter on the roof of the hotel to a hot island he owed. He’d make love to her on his beach and all over his private villa. ‘Fantasy, Grae! You don’t deal in fantasies,’ she scolded herself.

            Her friend broke her daydreaming by asking quietly, “Why didn’t you really ever pursue him?”

            “Him who?” Grae played dumb on purpose.

            “Ezekial Chambers,” Lizzie said exasperated. “Was it because he was white? And your guardian didn’t want you to date white men?”

            Grae pursed her lips together wondering how had Lizzie figured that out when Grae had never said anything, except when her guardian insisted on sending her to Howard University.

            “Naw,” Grae lied. “I knew there was no way my fat ass was going to get Ezekial Chambers.” She laughed it off and Lizzie laughed with her.

            When Lizzie was gone, Grae picked up the dress and gasped. The neckline was lower than she thought and although the hemline on the matching skirt came to the middle of her knees, there was a split up both sides of the skirt.

            She couldn’t believe that Lizzie wanted her to wear something like this, but since there was nothing in Grae’s closet, except business suits she had little choice. The dress fit her size twelve shape like a glove and when she walked she swore the slit opened up to show her black laced thong.”

            There was no where to put her key except the lace black bra, so she slipped it in there and left out noting the time was an hour into the after party.

In order to get to the penthouse, she was instructed by the bellman that she had to go around the hallway and take the second set of private elevators. There was an elevator attendant for the private penthouse elevators. “Are you here for the party or the guest suites?”

            “Party,” she said.

            He pointed to the first set of elevators. “That’s reserved for Penthouse one.”

            “Thank you.” She said and started for them, but then he called her, “Ma’am!” He looked nervous about it and flustered his words as he said, “Umm, I meant the second set of elevators are for you.”

            Grae frowned. “You mean for the party right?”

            “Y-Yeah! Those over there.” He pointed hard at the other elevators, which happened to open up, so she walked over to them and got in.

            “Thank you,” Grae said to the attendant, but just as the doors were closing she saw Leon walking up to the relieve attendant and passing him the some money. Misgivings started to build inside her when she saw people dressed for a party getting on the other elevator.

            The ride to the top of the hotel seemed too long and there was a funny queasy feeling of nervousness stirring in the pit of her stomach. When she stepped off the elevator, the lights were low in the hallway, nor could she hear any party music. Turning back to step back on the elevator, abruptly the doors closed and there were no buttons on the wall to get the elevator back up there. Cursing, she faced the door and pressed the doorbell.  She’d just have the person in there call the elevator back up.

            No one answered the door, so she knocked on the door hoping they weren’t asleep and hoping they didn’t curse her out for bothering them. These rich assholes could be mean fucks sometimes. She should know, she dealt with them all the time with her company.

            Just as she knocked for the third time the door opened automatically and she was looked at a candle lit room. The floor looked like a wet black pool, but in truth it was expensive marble.

            “Hello?” she called out.

            There was no sound at first, but then she heard some one walking around in another room where there was candlelight streaming, just off the main room.

            “Can you call back up the elevator?” Grae asked.

            Suddenly a large white man appeared at the doorway of the well-lit room. He only wore a towel around his thick waist. It looked as if he had just stepped out the shower.


September 25, 2006 Posted by | Part One, Uncategorized | 1 Comment