That Old Feeling by: Jade
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"Greg, I really don't want to make a big deal out of this."
"My parents insisted and you know what they're like."
"Yes," she said, as she took the laundry out of the washing machine and transferred it into the dryer. "Stubborn as mules."
He turned her toward him and held her by her shoulders.
"Please? Just this once."
"No woman wants to be reminded that she's turning thirty," she grumbled. "Why would I be an exception?"
Greg knew that it wasn't really the reminder of her age that was bothering her. She was more concerned about being thrust into the limelight.
"They just want to introduce their daughter-in-law-to-be to the rest of the family and their friends."
"But a birthday party with one hundred guests?"
He twitched his nose. "It's more like a hundred and fifty."
She groaned at the mere thought of it.
He started rubbing her arms to calm her down. "Sweetie," he pleaded. She glared at him but he could tell that her resolve was about to break. He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. "I promise I'll make it up to you."
She sighed and smacked his hands away. "Go on, I've got work to do."
She had to smile so much, she felt like her mouth was permanently affixed to that position. It hurt even to do it in the inverse when she caught Greg's eye from afar. All she could give him was a weird half-smile, half-frown that freaked him a little.
She turned to the voice and gasped slightly in surprise. "Mr. Brandan."
"I guess I wasn't paying too much attention when Agnes kept talking about the party the Davenports were throwing for their daughter-in-law Josephine."
"Greg's grandmother doesn't like Joey," she admitted. "So they call me Josephine when she's around."
"Well, happy birthday." He gave her a quick hug and she thanked him.
"You know, I never quite told you how grateful I am for such a great opportunity. I'm looking forward to the job."
"I couldn't think of anyone more fitted for it." His cellular phone started to sound. "Would you excuse me?"
Brandan stepped aside and she was pulled gently from behind by Greg.
"Don't hate me." He scrunched his face into his best imitation of a little boy's pout.
She rolled her eyes but she was smiling. "I've got to hand it to your Mom. The place looks wonderful."
"And you look beautiful," he commented as his eyes roamed appreciatively up and down her body. She was clad in a baby blue flowing dress that showed off her curves in all the right places and yet wasn't overly body hugging.
"Hmm," she said, wrapping her arms around his waist.
She buried her face deep in his tux and groaned. "Don't move. Maybe she won't see me."
"Too late," he replied as he spotted his mother finding her way toward them.
"He wants me to drop the papers off at some fancy party he's at," he told Jameson, who had come to his office to be updated on the progress of the project. "I've got to make a stop at my place to change first."
"Very good work, Pacey."
"It's a little too early to rejoice," he said, clearing the mass of papers off the surface of his worktable into neater stacks. "He hasn't approved of the plans."
"You'll do fine." Jameson's voice trailed off as he caught sight of a mounted and framed painting on the wall. He moved closer for a more precise look. "Where is this place?"
Pacey looked up to see what he had meant. His expression changed slightly as he answered the question. "The suburbs in Boston."
"Beautiful." The former noted the small initials of the artist in the bottom right corner. "J.P. Anyone famous?"
"Just an old friend," he said quietly.
It took him less than an hour to get changed and find his way to the address that he had been given. When he arrived, the only indication he gave that he noticed the size of the house and what seemed to be a million cars, was a slightly inclined brow and a twitch of his mouth.
"What sort of a party is this?" he asked one of the valets.
"Mr. Davenport's fiancée is celebrating her birthday."
"Must be some birthday. Could you tell Mr. Gary Brandan that Pacey Witter is here to see him?"
"Certainly." He picked up a phone and pressed for a line to the house. Pacey wandered off closer to the garden and caught a glimpse of the merriment that was going on indoors.
"Mr. Brandan will be out in a second."
"Thanks," he said.
He returned to his car and got out the blueprints just as Brandan sauntered his way with a glass in his hand.
"Hey, Gary," he greeted. "I've got the prints-"
"I'll take a look at them later. Come join us for a drink."
"I don't think I should. I'd better be getting-"
"Nonsense. David isn't going to mind."
Pacey reluctantly agreed and followed him into the house. The customer is always right, he thought. Besides Jameson wasn't going to be too pleased if Brandan was annoyed.
"I have some business to discuss with friends but I'll be right back. You go mingle." Brandan was gone in a flash.
He sighed and grabbed a glass off a passing tray. He downed its contents in no time at all while glancing around. The place was full of perspective clients but personally it wasn't really his sort of crowd. He was about to go look for Brandan and lie to him that a pressing matter at work required his presence when a voice boomed over a microphone. His attention, as everyone else's, spun toward the makeshift stage where the band had been playing.
"Bernard and I would like to thank you all for attending the party this evening. As you would have heard, our son Gregory has recently got engaged to a wonderful girl-" There were loud sighs from the majority of the female population. Linda Davenport laughed as she continued, "-who's celebrating her birthday today. We'll leave it to him to introduce his fiancée." There was a round of applause as her son took his place beside her.
Pacey kept his face half-hidden behind another glass as he watched the stage disinterestedly.
"Thank you, Mother," he said, taking the microphone from her. "My heart was stolen the moment I saw her for the first time in an oversized sweatshirt and wrinkled jeans." The crowd laughed. "Her hair was on ends but she was still the most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present my fiancée and the birthday girl tonight - Miss Josephine Potter!"
There were cheers and enthusiastic applause from many of the guests who had already met and liked her. Around him, people were clapping but he was too stunned to move. The glass in his hand squeaked as his grip tightened around it. It couldn't be her. But it was as she hoisted herself into his clear view.
Joey didn't want to go up on stage but she knew that it would seem impolite not to say a few words. Taking Greg's hand, she lifted herself up the platform, careful not to trip over the length of her dress.
She smiled appreciatively and waited for the applause to die down. "Greg wasn't looking his best either when we first met."
Chuckles filled the room.
"But we got to talking and I realized that there wasn't anyone else I'd rather be with for the rest of my life," she said. Greg took her hand and kissed it.
"Aww," the lady beside him commented to her husband.
She was more beautiful than he'd remembered. Age hadn't diminished her qualities in the least. Years ago, she was a sweet sixteen-year-old girl and years later, she was an enchanting woman. She still looked like a goddess to him. Why did she have to appear again? He took a deep breath and tried to clear his head.
Brandan walked up to him. "Wonderful, isn't she? She's the interior designer I was talking to you about."
This can't get any worse.
In the background, the band had started playing slow jazz and the singer was crooning to the romantic tune.
"Those happy hours I spent with you
That lovely afterglow
"Come on, I want to introduce you."
"Your sweet caresses, each rendezvous
"No." He stopped the man by putting a hand on his arm. "Gary, something's come up at the office. I really have to get back."
"Most of all, I miss you so
People were pairing up on the dance floor, wrapped up in each other's arms as they swayed to the music. From a brief glance sideways, he saw her dancing, her head resting on her fiancé's shoulder. Fiancé. She was getting married, for god's sake.
"Are you sure?" Brandan asked.
"You once filled my heart with
No regrets, no fears"
"Now you'll find my heart
Filled to the top with tears"
"All right then, I'll walk with you to the car and get the prints." As Brandan put his Scotch on the rocks down and indicated to his wife that he was going outside for awhile, Pacey made a move for the exit. He couldn't get out of there fast enough. When they reached his car, he wasted no time in handing his client what he wanted and hurriedly got into the driver's seat, ready to drive off.
"Boy, you're in some hurry."
"I'm sorry, Gary. Give me a call when you're done with them, will you?"
Pacey started the ignition and his headlights were glaring as they stood out in the night. He geared the car into reverse.
"I'll always love you and want you, too
How much you'll never know"
When the lights and music from the house was but a flicker in the night and he felt that he was far enough to be safe, he stopped the car by the side of the road. His head fell to the steering wheel as he tried to control his breathing.
"Most of all, I miss you so"
She felt her heart jump the way it always did when she found her mind drifting back to her past. She shivered slightly.
She shook her head and cuddled closer to him. Her eyes were squeezed shut as she tried to black out what she had been thinking of
whom she had been thinking of.
"I'll always love you
Most of all, I miss you so"
To be continued…
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