Nah. You still got it, champ.
I give myself a smile and a wink before the floor rushes up towards me, barely enough time to put my hands out.
One… Two… Three…
I’ve done almost a hundred push-ups every morning since I was nine. That’s over a million push-ups.
Could I do more? Sure I could.
But like everything else in my life, I like the balance of just enough.
I’ve enjoyed a lot of success, had a lot of failures too. But I don’t see the point in breaking my balls to have more than my fair share.
How much is enough?
Well, at the moment I have more than enough for one. But I always counted on a queen coming along to help her king enjoy the spoils of success, and every good king needs a family too.
Still waiting on that one. But I know she’s out there. I just know she is.
Feeling a pleasing pump in most of my body, I do some burpees before jumping to my feet. Nothing puts a spring in the step more than some exercise.
The missed call is from Dean Chambers, old business associate as well as Dean from—
Ah, shit. I knew I forgot something.
Before I hit the showers, I return his call. Noting with some satisfaction the toned body and chiseled abs winking back at me in the reflection of my office window.
“Yeah, still got it,” I murmur to myself. The Dean picks up, interrupting my train of thought.
It’s as I suspected, business first and then the reminder about the reunion. He’s actually hoping I’ll still attend.
The Dean never let me forget his hand up back in college, my scholarships, and the shoo-in to the pro football team as well as his contacts helping set up my early sportscasting career.
I scratched his back with some ground floor stuff that really paid off. He’s not a bad guy, but I like to keep my distance.
“It’s a little presumptuous, Trent. But I was hoping you would make a little speech, say some good things about the college. We’re always looking for investors and you never know where people are at later in life… Plus I have some guests visiting from overseas.”
Always business with this guy.
I smile and nod, reminding myself if it wasn’t for Dean Chambers I wouldn’t have had more than one lucky break, early on and later in life.
“I’ll be there, Dean. Never fear. I wasn’t sure I’d still be invited though, heard through the grapevine that some folks still consider me the younger man I was. Not the mature, successful adult your college made me.”
Rumor has it I’m still an asshole after all these years, but the rumor mill will do that.
I’ve found it’s worked in my favor to have a bit of a reputation. Makes for less small talk and gets a lot more done.
“Oh, C’mon now!” he gushes. “Who’s been saying that?” he asks, almost nervously. His dry lips smack together as he tries to find his tongue again.
Well, you for one, Dean. But I’m not going there.
“I’ll be there, Chambers,” I repeat and it’s all I have to say before hanging up, frowning to myself.
My thoughts seem to echo through this big empty house as much as my voice does these days.
I’m not getting any younger either, as good as I might look and feel most of the time.
It’s starting to weigh on me, this being alone stuff.
“I’ll go,” I growl out loud. “But I don’t have to like it,” I tell myself, wondering why I’m so against going if I’m also trying to find the woman of my dreams.
You won’t find her moping around here.
The Dean was kind enough to send me an advance copy of the reprint of the yearbook from my last year at college.
I’d opened the package, but like so many things that aren’t pressing, I’d let it get buried under a pile of paperwork on my desk.
In my robe and waiting for my coffee, I sit down at my desk and open it to a random page.
The past is like a vacuum sometimes, drawing us right back to a particular moment. Or, it can be like amnesia.
Convincing us things must’ve been photoshopped or telling ourselves we couldn’t have really been that happy back then.
For me, seeing the photo I never remember being taken is a little bit of both.
I do remember the moment though, like the printed memory now. But who took the photograph?
Doesn’t really matter. But I do know it was the last time Mike Wheatley had anything nice to say to me.
It was before he accused me of breaking our pact. The promise we’d made each other as kids.
I remember the girl, too. She was another bone of contention between Mike and me. But I guess I was an asshole back then.
I let him believe I had eyes for her… What was her name?