Return to You

By: Samantha Chase

Chapter 1


“I don’t understand. I thought this was a done deal. There wasn’t enough interest or funds to make it happen, so I just thought we were through,” Selena Ainsley said over the phone.

“So did all of us,” Jen continued, “but it seems like someone has stepped forward and is providing the funds to cover the cost of the entire reunion      . All we need now is a person who is able to pull together an event of this magnitude on short notice. You know, the kind of woman who is super organized, great with delegating and numbers, and who maybe, perhaps, does this for a living. Sound familiar?”

“You can’t be serious,” Selena said with more humor than disbelief.

“As a heart attack.”

“Jen, as much as I would love to help out, there is no way that I can get away for the length of time it would take to put together something like this reunion      . You need to find someone local who can handle all the particulars. It’s too much to manage from six hundred miles away.” She could have added that Jen should probably look for someone who actually wanted the job and the chance to go to the reunion      , because that certainly wasn’t her.

“Oh, please,” Jen said with a snort of mock derision. “You know as well as I do that you can delegate a lot of the particulars. We have a venue, and you can speak to the catering staff anytime you need to, even from six hundred miles away. I’m sure with all of your connections you can organize the invitations and activities and whatever else is needed for this reunion      . C’mon, say yes.”

Selena was torn. Ordinarily, this was the type of job she loved: big venue, short notice, and a bit of challenge. The problem wasn’t the job, per se; it was the location. It had been years since she had gone back to the small Long Island town where she had grown up, and just the thought of returning there now made Selena break out in a cold sweat.

If it were anybody else calling, she would have had no problem telling them no. But this was Jen. Her best friend. Her confidante. Her conscience.

Dammit.

“Don’t do this to me, Jen,” she began.

“Do what? Offer you a fabulous challenge? I know you thrive on this sort of thing. Everything is essentially paid for; the donor wrote us a huge check. It’s a no-brainer. Basically, all you have to do is talk to a few people and show up. You can do this kind of thing in your sleep.”

“Then I’m sure you or someone else can handle it. Seriously, I don’t have that kind of time—”

“Okay, look,” Jen interrupted. “I think I’ve been more than understanding. You moved away and never came back, and I never pushed you to. I come and visit you, and I love seeing you, but I’m beginning to feel like this friendship is a bit one-sided.”

“That’s not fair—”

“Not finished!” Jen snapped and instantly felt bad about her tone. “I’m not saying you weren’t within your rights; however, it’s been like…forever. Enough is enough. The thought of our ten-year reunion       without you is just not even within my realm of comprehension. You were student body president, Selena. Everyone will expect to see you there. And on top of that, I’m your best friend and…well, to be honest with you, things haven’t been going so great for me lately, and I could really use a little time with you.” Jen knew it was hitting below the belt using her private issues to flush Selena out, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

“What’s going on?” Selena asked, concern lacing her voice.

“Remember that guy I told you about? Todd?”

“Vaguely.”

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