I looked on as the group happily welcomed his presence. Sam Hunt was once a member of our elite circle of friends. He was our beloved high school quarterback, our hometown star, among other things. More than all of that, he was the boy I had spent all six of my teenage years with and two years beyond that. Our relationship had ended rather abruptly but I can't say that it ended with any hostility. It didn't change the fact I was completely heartbroken, but I wasn't mad at him. I couldn't be. He had such a promising future for himself with a football career; I wasn't going to stand in the way of that. My life was still here in Cedartown but his dreams were bigger than this town really allowed.
Macy pointed over in my direction and Sam had turned to look. I was silently cursing her in my mind, I had hoped to stay unnoticed but clearly that wasn't going to happen. I felt my heart beat increase as Sam turned from the group, making his way in my direction. I could've sworn you could hear my heart beat clear across town, it became louder and faster the closer he got and I tried to contain the emotions that could possibly emerge from his presence.
"Holly Freeman." The pure sound of Sam's voice was enough to send a chill down my body. No matter how surprised I was at his sudden appearance, there was no denying that I was happy to see him. The last time I saw him was years ago and if you asked me then, I was sure I was never going to see him again. I think that's what hurt the most about having to let him go.
"Sam Hunt." A nervous laugh escaped my lips as I slid off the tailgate of Matt's truck. I gladly accepted Sam's embrace, his arms sliding around my waist the way they had for so many years. I allowed myself to slowly breathe in the smell of him, his cologne washing over my senses and sending a stream of memories through my mind. I could now prove it was true what they say, scent is the strongest sense tied to memory.
"How's my favorite girl in Cedartown?" Sam pulled back from our embrace and I couldn't help but to hate the sound of that. His favorite girl in Cedartown? Really? I used to be his favorite girl in the world, but I suppose that was years ago. I don't know why it bothered me so much, but it did. I guess I just never really let myself think about Sam with anyone else other than me. I never wanted to and had done a good job of avoiding the thought until now.
"I'm good. How are you?" I hopped back up onto the tailgate of Matt's truck, Sam following my lead and taking a seat beside me. We had spent so much time together in the bed of his old pickup; we'd pack up his camping air mattress and every blanket we could find in order to make a bed in the back of his truck when we went to the drive in on Saturday nights. Or, we'd pack up a picnic and lay in the bed of his truck, watching the stars dancing in the night sky. The time I spent in his arms was like I had been given a little piece of heaven.
"I'm great. What are you up to these days?" Sam looked over at me, I wasn't sure if I wanted to curse the dark night for hiding his face from me or thank it for hiding my face from him. He could read me like a book and I knew that my emotions had to be all over my face right now, how could they not be?
"Working for the most part, ya know. What about you? What brings you to Cedartown?" That was the one thing I wanted to know more than anything, why on earth he was in Cedartown. He obviously hadn't told anyone he was coming, as far as I can tell we were all equally surprised by his presence.
"I've just been writin music." Even though we were surrounded by darkness, I was able to see slightly more than a silhouette of him as he shrugged his shoulders. Writing music? Since when did Sam Hunt, quarterback extraordinaire, become a musician? I almost felt a sadness come over me, like I maybe I didn't know who he was anymore, "But, I moved back to Cedartown. I just got here on Monday."
His words hit me like a ton of bricks. He moved backed? I wasn't sure if that was good news or bad news at this point. I wasn't necessarily complaining but I was certainly curious at what had brought him back here. I talked to his mother, Joan, somewhat regularly she had never mentioned he'd be coming back and she certainly had never mentioned any reason he'd be coming back. His parents were healthy, his grandmother was healthy. There hadn't been any deaths or tragedies that would've brought him here.