Devon Buchanan looked out across the Starbucks and saw an old friend; a boy named Michael Sullivan. Devon had been out of town for some time. Michael was sitting alone at a table nursing a coffee. Thinking about him and what he’d heard Devon decided to drift over and see what was up. They’d been good friends once; maybe, he figured he could offer some advice. Devon dropped a couple dollars on the counter, picked up his brew and walked over.
As he crossed he took in the appearance of his old friend. He certainly looked different from what he remembered; the skinny, almost frail boy had filled out. He wasn’t fat; just well built. It looked like he spent time in the gym. He was wearing what was clearly not a Walmart tie, his slacks and white shirt shouted ‘upscale’ and money. The sport coat hanging on the back of his chair probably cost a little bit of change. He saw Michael was fiddling with what he recognized as one of those ‘state of the art’ portable computers. Devon wondered if it was true; had Michael made it?
As he got to Michael’s, it had been Mike when they were in school he saw him look up.
Michael exclaimed, “Devon! Jesus I haven’t seen you in like it seems forever. Where’ve you been?”
Devon kept his coat on. He sat down, “Oh here and there. How’ve you been?”
Michael said, “Oh pretty good I guess; been in school, married, got a kid.”
Devon took a sip of coffee, “I heard. They say you married the Campanaris girl. Celine was her name. Right?”
“Yeah, that’s right, Celine Campanaris. Say did you ever get married?”
Devon took another sip, “No I’ve been around though, he shifted in his seat, “Heard it hasn’t been all sunshine and light for you. Had some ups and downs. What happened?”
“Oh you know. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, get married, have a kid, another guy shows up, things get screwed up.”
Devon didn’t smile. He took another slug of his java, “What’re you drinking there. Looks like a Latte. Want another?”
“Sure,” Michael replied, “as long as you’re buying.”
Devon smiled, “I’ll buy, but if I do, I’d like you to fill me in.”
Michael eyed his old friend. Devon had always been one of the good guys. He’d been gone for some time; he’d probably leave again, maybe for good. What the hell? Mike said, “It’s not real pretty. I mean not all hearts and flowers, some that’s pretty good though.”
Devon waved at the waitress and pointed toward their coffees, “Go ahead Mike. I’d like to hear it.”
And so Michael began...
“Devon I did marry the Campanaris girl. I’d always liked her, and when my brother moved out to join the navy I took my shot.”
“That’s right,” said Devon, “Celine and your brother, David wasn’t it, they were an item back in the day.”
“Yeah they were. First love and all, you know. She and My brother dated off and on in high school. David’s two years older than me, and three years older than Celine. She was crazy about him; it tore her up when he took off.”
“So you stepped in?”
“Not right away. Oh I’d always had a thing for her, but she was David’s girl. I guess you’d say I had a crush on her, but to her I was ‘the kid brother’.”
Devon commented, “But you did get married?”
“Celine was lonely. She kept coming by the house. You know she’d stop in and see my mom and dad to find out if they’d heard anything, but David never wrote or called or anything. He was off seeing the world, or at least that’s what we all thought.”
“What David wasn’t seeing the world?”
“Couldn’t say Devon. Still not sure. I only know he was gone. We never heard, but Celine kept coming around. I was a senior, she was a junior. She had her junior prom and I had my senior prom. Now you know I never had a lot of luck with girls, not like David.”
“Yeah, I remember your brother.”
“Doesn’t everybody? He told me once dating girls and getting in their pants was like looking for a job. You just kept asking till someone said yes.”
“Celine said yes to your brother.”
“No exactly. Celine said yes she loved him. She said yes she’d marry him, and she’d go with him, but Celine was a good Catholic girl. You’re Catholic; know what that means.”
“Oh yeah,” responded Devon, “no premarital sex.”
“Yeah to the say least, I was pretty sure Celine held my brother to it. I suppose he got tired of it. I know he was dating her, even gave her his class ring, but he was cutting out on her too. He was eighteen, and he’d found himself a bored housewife. Sometimes I think that’s why he skipped out.”
“You mean the husband found something out?”
“Maybe I don’t know. All I know is David split and left poor Celine with a broken heart.”
“So you helped her out.”
“I hadn’t planned on it, but I guess that’s how it worked, off and on anyway.”
Devon took a sip of coffee, “I see.”
“I didn’t. Wished I had, then again. I don’t know. It’s tough you know? Me being a worrier and all.”
“So what happened? I mean what really happened?”
Michael sat back in his chair, “Get me another coffee and one of those scones Devon and I’ll tell you the whole story.”
Devon waved at the waitress, went over, got the stuff and came back ... Michael began.
Well David took off, joined the navy, or so he said, and that was the last anybody saw or heard from him for years.
Celine was devastated. She was crazy about my brother. Hell most girls were, but Celine was different. She was sort of delicate; an exemplary student she shied away from sports or the sports kids. Celine spent more time in the library and in church than anything. Other kids wore provocative clothes. Tight jeans, short skirts, the ‘come see me’ blouses. Not Celine, she was always prim and proper.
Well right after David disappeared she started coming around to see my mom and dad. She’d hang around and talk. Pretty soon she and I were talking. I was a nerd like her; we had a lot in common. I thought so anyway.
It was funny how she’d act. Whenever she saw me her face would light up; she’d get real excited, and she’d giggle and run around like she was a squirrel. I might have been mistaken but it was like whenever I saw her out someplace on her own she’d be wearing what I’d call frumpy stuff, like too large sweat shirts and sloppy looking sweat pants, but whenever she came over or whenever she knew she’d be seeing me she’d have on something real pretty. By pretty don’t mean necessarily sexy; I mean cute and perky. She have on a cute miniskirt and some kind of soft looking button up blouse. The blouses were all casual, but they were kind of what I’d call innocently alluring. I mean they looked, they made her breasts, well, you know...
Celine had the longest, blackest, thickest, and waviest hair I’d ever seen. I’d see her out and it’d be up in some functional toppy thing, but around me it was either down and combed out or in some long braid that showed off her long neck and pretty ears.
All men are egoists, but I really think she dressed to impress me. I know I liked being around her. She could be so funny and cheerful. That cheeriness was almost all the time. The only times I ever saw her get morose or sad looking was when someone mentioned my brother; then she’d get quiet, her eyes would get extra-large, and she’d act like someone just ran over her dog. I know I really liked her. I wished I’d have met her first. Anyone could she was carrying a torch for David.
Oh and I loved the way she smelled. She had these odors. I k now I’m not good at this. She wore some kind of perfume; Chanel or something, and her hair was always washed and it smelled so ... I can’t say, like fresh, and then her breath. I think she had one of those squirt things that people use to spray their mouths. I know she did because I saw her turn around and squirt her mouth. I know when we started dating and I kissed her she always tasted good. She had the softest lips.
It was wintertime. I was in my senior year. I’d always liked Celine. Hell I admit it; I’d been day dreaming about her from day one. I was crazy about her, but I was the little brother; older than her, but still definitely second string if I was on the team at all.
Like I said it was wintertime. Celine had plenty of opportunities to date, but she kept hanging around my house. What the hell, I asked her out. She agreed.
That’s how it began. I was madly in love. She saw me as her window into my family, and maybe a playmate.
We dated all spring. Nothing happened; maybe some light petting, a few furtive gropes over the blouse, a casual rub on the outside of her panties, but nothing serious.
We went to her junior prom, and then my senior. To the casual observer we looked like we were deeply in love, but a closer look might have revealed a slightly different picture. For me it was Celine, Celine, Celine, but for her it was more ‘down boy’, ‘watch it’, and ‘keep your distance’. I wasn’t discouraged because that’s the way she been with David. Celine was a good girl.
.... There is more of this story ...