When Brielle arrived at the nearby grocery store, Ruby’s Mad Dash Market, to pick up three packs of soft drinks, she noticed a woman who seemed familiar and looked exactly her age. Then suddenly, it hit her!
“Oh, my goodness! Raina?” Brielle called.
The strange lady turned around and sure enough, it was Raina, who had, luckily, been one of Brielle’s two trusted friends during high school. Like Brielle, Raina had also been bullied in school. The woman looked at Brielle.
“Well, you look familiar, but I can’t remember who you are,” Raina told her.
“I’m Brielle, from high school,” Brielle reminded her.
Raina’s eyes widened with shock at first, then she smiled.
“Brielle! Oh, my goodness! When did you get back!” she burst in excitement.
“About three weeks ago,” Brielle answered.
Raina and Brielle hugged.
“My God! It’s so good to see you again! How’ve you been?” Raina gushed.
“Now, you do know the class has got a 20-year reunion coming up. Right?”
“I didn’t know.”
“Yes. Actually, it’s going to be more of a multi-class reunion. The classes of 1999 to 2003. Are you coming?”
Reuniting with Her Best Friend from High School
“Nah! I don’t think so. It’ll probably be packed with people I’d rather not ever see again.”
“Oh, come on, Brielle. I’ll go if you go. I think most of them have grown up a little, I think. And if not, it’ll give you and me some time to catch up. There’s no law that says we have to hang with any of them.”
“Mmmm. Give me some time to think about it.”
After much cajoling, Raina managed to get Brielle to agree to go to the reunion with her.
When Brielle arrived back home with the drinks, Grandma Bennett had also arrived to have a look at Brielle’s new house.
“It’s absolutely adorable! You have a wonderful home, Brielle. Now, you and the kids can have a real home and live in peace for a change,” Grandma Bennett gushed.
Brielle hugged her grandma.
“I know, Grandma! And I’m so excited!”
Brielle passed out the drinks and the family visited until late. The night turned into a huge celebration as Brielle turned on her old Pioneer stereo, which was still working after thirty years.
Grandma Bennett had brought a platter of her to-die-for spicy fried chicken and homemade sour cream-flavored mashed potatoes with chives. She also had brought a pan of her scrumptious homemade buttermilk biscuits.
Upcoming Twentieth Class Reunion
Brielle’s mother and father brought a pot of greens, corn on the cob, and a cooked ham. As they all sat at the tables on the patio and ate, Brielle’s mother, Marcelle, spoke up.
“So, do you have any job prospects, Brielle?” she asked.
“I have a few,” Brielle answered, “I have an interview at the Boot Factory Tuesday morning. And they pay pretty good. They start out at eighteen dollars per hour. It’s not what I’m used to making in California, but the cost of living is a lot cheaper here, so, that’s a good thing,” Brielle said.
“Brielle, it’s about time you got a real job instead of dancing around half-naked in some club,” Grandma Bennett chimed in.
“Aaaa-MEN!” Brielle’s father agreed.
“Oh, come on, ya’ll. Not that again,” Brielle groaned.
“Sweetie, we love you and we know that you’re better than that. You’re smart, you’re creative- you got a good head on your shoulders,” Marcelle assured her daughter with a smile.
“Well, don’t worry. It’s not something I plan to do again. Believe me, dancing in gentleman’s clubs isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. And to be honest, you all, I never liked having to dance for a living. That job can be downright dangerous! I know one woman who was raped and murdered when a deranged customer followed her home one night. After that, I started planning my exit and my return home to my family.” Brielle admitted, “Before, I had been under the false belief that my looks were the only thing I had going for me, but after the murder and, as I’ve gotten older, I realize that there’s more to me than that and that I’m good for so much more,” Brielle admitted.
Turning Over a New Leaf
Although Brielle was optimistic about the future of herself and her children back home in Tennessee, she’d never worked in a factory before and the thought of it made her a little nervous. It was fear of the unknown. How would she fare working in a stifling factory as opposed to a strip club? She knew that the stage in those clubs could get pretty hot some nights due to all the lights and the exertion while dancing. However, the heat in a factory was much worse, so she’d been told.