The following Saturday was a sunny day with a cool breeze. A severe thunderstorm, followed by a cool front had blown through the night before, so the high was expected to be in the mid-eighties, which was perfect during late July in Tennessee. It was a huge break from the high humidity, which was the norm during a mid-southern summer.
The reunion was held at the old boat ramp on the Mississippi River and Brielle had picked up Raina. They pulled into the huge picnic area next to the boat dock to see a huge crowd of people among several parked cars. Brielle hardly recognized any of her schoolmates.
Many of them were now fat and bald. Many more looked much older than their ages due to years of drugs, alcohol, and hard partying. Only about five out of over a hundred people who attended the reunion kept their youthful looks. Brielle and Raina were two of them. They had managed to grow in beauty since high school due to the self-care they’d both practiced.
Brielle parked her SUV. She and Raina climbed out of the vehicle and the old high school clique looked up to see them. They sneered when they saw Raina.
The More Things Change, the More They Stay The Same
“Oh, God! Not that bitch, Raina! And who is the other bitch who’s with her? I don’t believe I recognize her,” Misty said, sitting up in her chair to get a good look at the mystery woman beside Raina.
“I don’t recognize her, either. Did she even attend school with us? And if not, what is she doing here?” Rita asked in a scornful tone.
Stan looked up.
“Wait, that’s the woman from California, who brought the old Hancock House from us just last month. Brielle Markowitz, I believe is her name,” he said.
“Brielle, Markowitz? From California? Oh, wait a minute! That can’t be! Brielle Bennett, that nerdy bitch in high school, didn’t she also move to California?” Rita cried.
“Well, she looks totally different! Damn, she looks pretty good now,” Grant blurted out before Misty, who sat beside him, gave him a hard smack across the shoulder.
“Don’t you ever let me hear you compliment that trash again!” Misty growled, warning her husband.
Petunia, jumped with shock. She nudged Stan with her elbow.
“Hey, Stan! Look who it is! It’s Brielle Markowitz- AKA Brielle Bennett! God! If only we’d known which Brielle we were talking to! And we let that bitch talk us down tens of thousands of dollars by tempting us with cash and buy that house outright! God! I feel like such a damned idiot! If we’d known she was Brielle Bennett instead of just another person named Brielle from California, do you think we’d have let her talk us down? Hell to the no!”
Bullies Don’t Change, They Only Grow Bigger
Stan nearly spat out his drink.
Rita walked over to Misty, who was also in attendance. Bobby, the new Sheriff, joined them.
“I can’t believe she’s here.”
“Look, let’s just play nice, find out a little info on her. Make her think that we’ve let bygones be bygones. Okay?” Rita advised, “Let’s just keep our thoughts to ourselves for now.”
“I won’t make you any promises, Rita. But I’ll do my best,” Misty growled, glaring at Brielle and Raina.
Brielle shook hands with a few classmates she’d gotten along with and a few of them hugged her and welcomed her back. They also shook hands with Raina, asking how her husband, Paul and her children were doing. Rita, Jada, Sarah, Misty, and Connye craned their necks and watched Brielle closely, seeming to study her every move and expression.
“Damn, she seems so confident and upbeat- so sure of herself,” Sarah remarked, “She’s definitely not the mousy, little wallflower she was in high school, that’s for sure. I mean, look at her, she seems so- so happy and cheerful! So calm, cool, and collected! So suave!”
The New and Improved Brielle
“Alright, Sarah, we get the point!” Rita said with disdain dripping from her voice.
“All I have to say is that she had better not get too uppity and full of herself here! She’s not in California anymore and people around here don’t like that shit!” Misty said in a threatening tone.
“Allow me to go break up that little party over there,” Rita sneered as she got up.
As Brielle and Raina continued to laugh and shoot the breeze with the less-popular classmates, Brielle, heard someone walk up behind her. She spun around to see a late-thirties, average sized, blonde woman sporting a short, asymmetric, Karen-style haircut.
“So, when did you get back?” Misty Allen Lindsay asked Brielle.
“Almost four weeks ago. And your name is?” Brielle replied.
“I can’t believe you don’t remember me. I’m one you should remember. It’s Misty,” Misty said in a tone of indignation.
“Nice to see you again,” Brielle said with a half-hearted smile.
“Likewise,” Misty said with a hint of sarcasm.