Ten Years is too Short a Time

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"Please don't tell me you're trying to get yourself drunk before we leave."

I slammed the empty shot glass on the counter and turned to face Hadley standing in the doorway to the kitchen, arms crossed, eyes narrowed.

She looked like she wanted to hit me. I probably looked like I wanted to hit me. This most likely was an accurate depiction of our marriage.

"Of course not," I said unconvincingly.

Hadley let out a disgusted sigh, coming over to snatch the bottle of Jack Daniels out of my hand. "Honestly, Archer, you are so immature."

"Yeah, but you love that about me," I said, pulling a sarcastic smile.

"Only on February 29th."

"That only happens once every four years, though."

"Then there's your answer."

She slid the bottle of Jack Daniels back into the cupboard, still giving me that disapproving look I was sure she'd picked up from my mother at least some point over the past few years.

"It's a high school reunion, Archer, and you look like you're about to be put in front of a firing squad," Hadley said to me. "And besides, need I remind you that you're getting paid to go?"

"You don't need to remind me at all," I muttered, thunking my head against a cupboard door.

We'd gotten the notice of our ten-year high school reunion in the mail a few months ago, and I'd promptly chucked it right into the trash. Hadley pulled it out and stuck it to the fridge with a magnet, like a semi-permanent reminder of the worst four years of my life.

I didn't often like to be cliche, but in this case, I felt like it was appropriate - high school sucked ass. When I'd graduated I wanted to throw all my textbooks and old homework assignments into a dumpster and set it on fire to celebrate, but my mother told me that was taking it a bit too far.

It went without saying that I point blank refused to go to our high school reunion. I had no problem if Hadley went - she still kept in touch with some of her friends and got together to have lunch with them every now and then. She could have a fabulous time all on her own.

I fully intended to boycott the reunion...until I'd gotten the call from one of the school's administrators asking if I was available to photograph the evening's events. I wasn't sure how they'd even found out about my business or what they were trying to prove by hiring a photographer for a dumb high school reunion - like they weren't under-budgeted or anything.

I would have told them where to stick it if Hadley hadn't snatched the phone from my hand and told them that of course I was available for the evening and would like nothing more than to work with them.

I was furious by that point, but I couldn't exactly turn down a paycheck of that magnitude. It wasn't like we were hurting for money - not with Hadley's ridiculous trust fund or anything - but I felt like more than a failure if a steady stream of money wasn't being deposited in my bank account on a regular basis.

"I don't understand why you're so against going," Hadley continued, yanking me away from my muddled thoughts. "Won't it be nice to see - yeah, okay, I can't even finish that sentence since you hated everyone we went to school with. But you really don't need to be such a baby about it."

"Not hated," I said. "Hate, as in the present tense of the word."

Hadley rolled her eyes, heaving another sigh. "You haven't seen anybody from our graduating class in ten years, Archer. Ten years is a long time."

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