(In Virgil's point of view)
Who knew that a simple email would change everything? I know I certainly didn't, but when one landed in my inbox, inviting me and a guest to attend a high school reunion, I instantly felt myself get butterflies. My high school years were something I had kept fairly quiet about to the rest of the family. I was a different person back then, International Rescue had changed me. Not that I would swap it for anything, I loved my family, and my job. But going to this reunion would bring back precisely what I could have had. Things I had been so close to having until Dad had dropped the news he was starting up a rescue organisation. I wasn't sure if this was something I could face on my own, so after a lot of persuasion which involved nothing short of begging on my part, I managed to get Scott to come with me.
We were sitting have a drink in the bar, just the two of us, watching as people spilled into the room. Everyone had changed so much. There were faces I recognised, but no one that I particularly wanted to see. They were blurs in the corridor back in the day, and now they were just blurs in the room around me, faces with no names. Clutching onto my drink, I desperately tried to hide from my brother quite how nervous I was. The looks Scott kept giving me made me think I was failing, but I certainly wasn't going to try and be obvious about it. It was still early, the reunion not having officially started, but I still felt my eyes darting around the room almost frantically, searching for one face in particular. What is she didn't come? What if this was all for nothing?
"Know anybody yet? Scott's voice cut through my thoughts, making me jump in the process and almost spill my drink down myself. Was I really that nervous about seeing her? Of course I was. I still wasn't quite sure what we had had back then, but I knew what it could have been. And that was the problem, so had she. And then I had left.
"Not yet," I respond reluctantly, knowing Scott wanted an answer. Or more specifically, an explanation as to why I was so jumpy. With one eye on the door just in case she came in, I half turned to face my brother, knowing that I owed him an explanation. After all, it would be better coming from me than if she did turn up. Who knew how I would react then, and that wouldn't be fair on Scott. It wasn't like he had wanted to come; I owed the guy some sort of reasoning behind my behaviour. Taking a deep breath, I looked him in the eye.
"There is one person I am looking forward to seeing." Inwardly groaning at how dry my voice suddenly sounded, I took another swig of my drink. Not that I was going to admit it, but it was also partly to steady my nerves. No one, not even Scott, knew what I was about to reveal. I only hoped that he understood.
"Oh really?" He responded, the corners of his mouth turning up slightly as he raised an eyebrow. I knew what he was thinking. And he was both right and wrong at the same time. Yes, it was a girl, but it was so much more than I knew he thought.
"Scott, do you ever think about what our lives would have been like if Dad hadn't started the business." Knowing he immediately knew what I was talking about by the way his smile slipped off his face, Scott lowered his drink thoughtfully.
"Not really. Guess I'd still be with the Air Force. Not something I really considered. Why?"
"Do you think you'd have a family of your own?" I asked quietly, finding that I was suddenly no longer able to meet his gaze. I hadn't expected coming clean about this to hurt so much. Did I resent what my father had made me give up? No, I knew the answer to that. Dad had never pushed us into joining, any of us, knowing that we had lives of our own. I had chosen to go. But what sort of person did that make me?
"Virgil, what is this about?" Scott asked gently, leaning forward, concern etched into his face. He had clearly caught onto my tone, and in true big brother style, was getting close to guessing what this was about. He may have asked the question, but I could see in Scott's eyes he was figuring out the answer for himself.
"I was going to ask her to marry me," I muttered under my breath, my eyes far away. By Scott's sharp intake of breath, I knew he had heard me, and that I had shocked him. I had never mentioned anything like that before to him, to any of them. What would have been the point, I had made my decision. But now, knowing that I could be seeing her again, nothing felt so sure anymore.
"You mean, Dad stopped you? When he set up the business?"
"Yes. No. Oh I don't know." I responded, somewhat bitterly as I dropped my head into my hands. I had never really thought about it like that. Had Dad stopped me from marrying the girl I loved? Or had I stopped myself? Was International Rescue that important to me that I had given up any hope of a normal life? Shutting my eyes, I was instantly overwhelmed with the faces of the people we had saved between us. That certainly cleared up a few things. I knew that if time could be reversed, I would have made the same decision, people were relying on me now, I couldn't simply dismiss that. Feeling Scott's hand squeeze my shoulder, I knew that he was aware of my inner turmoil.
"We don't have to stay, Virg." He said softly, causing me to feel a rush of gratitude towards him. Only my biggest brother would know what to say in a situation like this.
"No, I have to see if she comes."
"Virgil? Virgil Tracy?" Jumping, I felt my breathing suddenly quicken. It may have been five years, but I knew that voice as if I had heard it only yesterday. Swallowing hard, I slowly turned in my seat to find her standing there, just as beautiful as I remembered.
"Jo?" Hating the way my voice came out as barely more than a croak, I felt a rush of emotions shoot through me. I couldn't describe how wonderful it was to see her again, but the joy was soon followed by a stab of guilt. I had just left her in the lurch. One moment, we were joking around about getting married, albeit with a hint of seriousness underlying the playful banter. The next, I had vanished with some feeble excuse about my dad needing me to work for him. What must she have thought?
"Hi. I'm Virgil's older brother, Scott." Hearing Scott's cheerful tone as he introduced himself, I shot him a grateful smile. His interruption had given me the few moments I needed to pull myself freeze of my whirlwind thoughts and actually think about what I wanted to happen here. I mean, why else had I really come, if it wasn't to see Jo?
"Pleasure to meet you, Scott. I heard a lot about you back in the day." This time, I couldn't stop the groan, even as a blush worked its way up my neck. It wasn't my fault that I had practically worshipped Scott back then. Heck, I still do, but it didn't have to be brought up, now. As Scott chuckled fondly, I finally managed to lift my head to look at her again. I wasn't sure how I should feel that she didn't seem to want to meet my gaze.
"Hey, Scott, is it okay if I borrow your brother for a few moments."
"Go ahead." Scott said, although I was sure that I was the only one that caught the guarded tone in his voice. He could sense my confusion about what I should be doing now, and clearly wasn't sure about whether he should be trying to support me, or simply letting me get on with it.
"Meet you back here in a bit, Virg?" Nodding mutely, I smiled at him again. That was Scott's way of saying that he was here whenever I needed him, that he had my back on this, no matter what happened. Taking a deep breath, I slowly stood up, following Jo across the room and out onto the small veranda.