Today, I’m turning my pen over to Alana Lorens who has a fun guest post to share and an excerpt from her contemporary romance, BY ANY OTHER NAME. Welcome, Alana!
We’re not in high school any more—thank heaven!
It’s that time of the high school year when it’s winding down, and people wax nostalgic about “the good old days,” awards banquets, prom, graduation, all those milestones in the passage into adulthood. Summer comes along, home to so many high school reunions. Have you attended any of yours?
High school was a sort of hell for so many of us, unless we were the popular ones, and that was years ago. I imagine the current atmosphere with the immediacy of social media added to display everyones peccadilloes (and sometimes a lot more!) to the world make it even harder.
But high school ends—huge sigh of relief—and life goes on. What you do with it afterward, that’s what really counts in the scheme of things.
Seems to me that the reunion season can be pretty frightening for the former top-of-the-world types, the prom queens, football quarterbacks and so on, especially as the years pass. While they may have ruled the school, as they say, they may not have continued on that golden path into adult life. Without that strict social strata high school inevitably generates, perhaps they slip from those upper tiers down into “normal” life. Or a financial setback for the family can make the whole dynasty take a hit.
Those who travel around the middle layer, not particularly remarkable but yet not labeled as one of the “geeks and freaks,” they can blend in comfortably and enjoy their anonymity.
Those who weren’t so popular, though, the ones who people ignored for the most part, they can sometimes surprise the class with unexpected accomplishments. Maybe high school bored them and held them back—not till they hit the real world did they find something that really inspired them, or they learned in ways that didn’t teach to the state assessment test. For me, these are often the most interesting returnees at reunions.
What do you think? What was the most surprising revelation of a reunion you attended?
Up-and-coming mommyblogger and single mom Marisol Herrera Slade returns to her old hometown in western Pennsylvania for her 20th high school reunion, reluctant and yet compelled to see her high school sweetheart, Russell Asher, who dumped her for the homecoming queen.
Russell’s marriage to the golden girl, however, ended in a nasty divorce, and he has been systematically excluded from his sons’ lives. In his Internet wanderings, he’s found feminist blogger Jerrika Jones, who glorifies single motherhood, essentially putting a stamp of approval on what’s happened to him. He’s vowed to take this woman down if they ever should meet.
What he doesn’t know, when he thinks to rekindle what he had with Marisol, is that Marisol and Jerrika are one and the same. When he discovers the truth, will his drive for revenge derail any chance they have to reunite? Or will they find they have more in common than they ever expected?
“Russell Asher? Holy smokes, you haven’t hardly changed at all!” The man looked Russell up and down, then greeted Russell’s companions, James Thompson and Stuart Fry, adding, “Don’t you recognize me?”
Russell had to confess he didn’t. He debated suggesting the man was the high school janitor, but held his tongue.
“It’s me, Marty Drogan! From the basketball team. Man, are you blind?”
Astounded that one of his teammates could look like a sixty-year old guy, Russell set down his beer and offered his hand. “It’s been a long time, man. How you doing?” he asked, though he wasn’t really sure he wanted to know.
“Can’t complain, can’t complain.” Drogan reached into his worn suit pocket and slapped a business card into Russell’s outstretched hand. “Been in sales fifteen years. Working my way up to V.P. any day now.” A big cheesy grin. “Me and Carrie have a big house out on Lake Drive.”
“’Not my Cherry’ Carrie? How’s she doing?”
One of the guys Russell was playing with shook his head violently behind Drogan’s shoulder and made a face.
“Carrie’s the sweetest little thing ever, that good little woman who makes my day,” Drogan said. “She just sent me to pick up some pizza. We’ll see you at the reunion, right?”
“Ah…sure. Sure you will.”
Drogan bustled off, all puffed up with pride. Russell turned to James, who’d made the face. “What was that about?”
“Man, that Carrie put on about a ton with those kids of hers. No one in that house is starving, if you get my drift.”
“Too bad. She was pretty cute back in the day.”
“Coulda hit that.”
“Maybe I could.”
Russell let his thoughts wander along memory lane to the old days, when he, Marty, James and the others scored baskets on the gym floor, then scored more private points after the game with the cheerleaders. James had dated Cherise Lang, but it hadn’t lasted long. Marty and Carrie had hooked up early; Tiffy had come around a little later.
Maybe he should have taken that as a hint. An omen. Leave the girl alone and find someone less ostentatious and more solid… Other girls were interested in him. He’d been pretty steady with Marisol Herrera for the summer after junior year, till the basketball season had started in the fall of senior year. He’d just blown her off for a shot at the stars.
Alana Lorens (aka Barbara Mountjoy) has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and …A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009. Her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series (as Lyndi Alexander) is available from Dragonfly Publishing; THE ELF QUEEN, THE ELF CHILD, THE ELF MAGE and in 2013, THE ELF GUARDIAN.
Alana’s books include SECRETS IN THE SAND, and CONVICTION OF THE HEART (first book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series), in the Crimson Rose line, and THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, a short contemporary from The Wild Rose Press. She is also the author of a story in the book SIDEKICKS! from Alliteration Ink, and SECOND CHANCES, the second book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series from Zumaya Publications.
Alana also takes care of a husband and a bunch of kids and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at Awalkabout.