**This week’s prompt is a high school reunion. Enjoy!**
He couldn’t believe it had been so long.
Twenty goddamn years.
Setting foot back in his old high school was a mind trip. Justin had loved high school. Four years of unfailing popularity. He’d been Senior class president, prom king, and captain of the lacrosse team. He’d had boys and girls hanging off his every word, following him around, desperate for his attention. He liked to think he’d bestowed it gracefully. It would have been so easy to let that power go to his head. To be an asshole and a bully. Sometimes, he thought that would have been easier.
It would have made it a hell of a lot easier to hide the things about himself he didn’t understand, anyway.
Justin took a deep breath and grinned. The hallways even smelled the same. Books and metal and the cleaning supplies they used on the floors. He could hear the noise from the gym, where music from their years was playing and loud voices chattered over the sound. The black and gold streamers and balloons, and the banner proclaiming “Welcome Class of 1997” made it look kitschy, but there was even a charm in that.
He knew if he pushed through the doors, he’d be assailed with classmates. A few he still talked to occasionally on social media, but most he didn’t. They’d want his attention again. Or maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe they wouldn’t care about who he’d been all those years ago, their own lives and troubles and joys gaining a more important place in the intervening years. He wasn’t sure which one was worse.
“Why are you worried?”
Justin didn’t turn at the sound of the voice. He knew it as well as his own. Had spent the past fifteen years living with and loving that voice.
He shrugged one shoulder. “You know why.”
Dorian stepped up beside him, and his big hand enclosed Justin’s. The warmth and strength was immediately comforting. He squeezed Dorian’s fingers, but he kept his gaze fixed on the doors.
“What’s the worst that could happen?” Dorian asked, his voice low and close to Justin’s ear.
“That they think I lied to them, and they hate me on sight?” Justin tried for amused, but his tone didn’t quite make it. Dorian pressed their shoulders together.
“I highly doubt that will happen. I’m sure the truth about you has already spread like wildfire through them all.” Dorian stepped in front of him, then used a hand to lift Justin’s chin. Their gazes met, and the love and affection Justin saw there eased his heart. “And you weren’t lying. You were still figuring yourself out. But at your core, you’re the same person.” Dorian let go of Justin’s face to press his palm to Justin’s heart. “But if the worst happens, we hold our heads high and walk out.”
Justin released a slow breath, forced himself to smile, and nodded. Dorian leaned in and kissed his forehead, then stepped to the side. He didn’t let go of Justin’s hand, and Justin was grateful. he took another breath, and with his chin up, he pushed through the doors.
The lights and sounds were overwhelming for a moment, and Justin had barely adjusted before he heard his name screeched in a loud voice. A second later, he was enveloped in a hug and got a mouthful of bleach blonde hair.
“Cassie,” Justin murmured, returning the hug. Head cheerleader and his prom queen. They’d been good friends, though she’d always dated football players and never looked twice at Justin. That had been fine with him. He adored her, but he hadn’t wanted to date her.
She stepped back and her blue gaze roved all over his face. She looked older–they all did, he supposed–but still good. He wasn’t surprised she’d taken care of herself. He smiled, and it felt tremulous, but he didn’t look away. She broke first, her gaze sliding to Dorian, and then back to him. Justin saw the surprise there.
“Who have you brought with you?”
Justin didn’t miss the slight confusion in her tone, but she didn’t sound derisive or apprehensive. It was now or never.
“Cassie, this is my husband, Dorian. Dor, meet Cassie.”
“It’s a pleasure,” Dorian rumbled, his smile wide.
Cassie blinked, and then a blinding grin took over her face. She grabbed Justin’s hand and started to tug.
“Come on. Let me introduce you to my husband.”
Justin let himself be led, his mind whirling. He’d been expecting the worst, because his mind often went there, and Cassie had taken it in stride. He wasn’t so naive as to think everyone would, but Cassie’s welcoming demeanor did wonders to assuage his worry.
He grabbed Dorian’s hand, pulling him along too, and when they stopped in front of a huge group of people, Cassie started introductions with her familiar perky attitude. With each one, he was warmly welcomed, and within a few minutes, they were reminiscing about old teachers and pranks and high school shenanigans Justin hadn’t thought of in years. Dorian was a solid presence beside him, laughing at all the right places. Justin leaned against him, just a little, and Dorian put his arm around Justin’s waist.
And Justin remembered why he loved high school.