Ryan made his way toward the check-in desk, trying to look casual in case he changed his mind at the last minute. He could still leave if he wanted to, turn around and walk back out the hotel's fancy front doors, get into his car and drive away and no one would be any wiser.
After all, it wasn't as if anyone would recognize Ryan as geeky little Ray Jay, favorite bullying and teasing object, Bernadette High School class of '99. He didn't look anything like the glasses-wearing, short, skinny computer nerd who'd never really fit in anywhere at Bernadette's. He'd gained some height during his first year of college; he'd had his eyes laser-surgeried when his dotcom company had taken off. He frequented the gym now, which gave him muscles, and his successes had given him some much needed self-confidence. He was a multi-millionaire, after all.
So how come all it took to make him weak in the knees and back in his seventeen year old self again was the sight of Mindy Rawlson, looking barely older than she had ten years ago, former--and current, by the looks of things--head cheerleader, manning the sign-in desk?
It was the lack of recognition in her eyes when she looked right at him--lack of recognition and not a little lust--that had him snapping back to the present and finding his much needed courage.
This was why he'd come. He'd wanted to show all those people who'd made his high school years an absolute misery just how well he'd made out for himself. Rich, successful, good-looking: he had it all and he'd bet a good portion of his riches that most of his former classmates did not.
He stepped right up to the desk and watched as Mindy absolutely preened and simpered at him. Too bad for her, he was immune.
"Hi there! Welcome to the Bernadette High School Class of '99 Tenth Reunion. I'm Mindy Rawlson, head cheerleader." She pointed to her name tag. It made him wonder what all those people who hadn't participated in sports or cheerleading were supposed to do. "And you must be somebody's husband."
"I must?" He tried to figure out why she thought that. Was he giving off taken vibes?
"You must indeed! I know I'd remember someone as handsome as you in our class."
Ah. She still didn't recognize him, even up close.
He gave her his best smile and dropped his bombshell. "Ryan Gardiner, Jr., computer and chess club."
Mindy's jaw dropped and she peered at him again. "Ray Jay? No way." She shook her head. "Ray Jay was a geeky little nerd with no social life. You aren't him."
"Oh, I had some social life. There were three others in the chess club and two in the computer club." He'd been the only senior, though. It was pretty close to no social life, he'd admit that. To himself, anyway. He pulled out his wallet and showed her his driver's license.
Mindy's cheeks went red and she started searching through the folders on the desk in front of her. Though, seeing as she went past his twice before coming up with it, Ryan had a feeling it was more to cover her embarrassment than a great need to get him his registration information. "There you go," she said as she shoved the folder at him, his name-tag, minus the chess and computer club information, attached on one side with a paper-clip. "You've changed so much. I never would have recognized you."