Henry was the bassist in Hanover?s jazz band. He was tall and cute with dark curls that fell into his eyes, and a mischievous smile. Serena?s dorm room had been right under his, and late at night she?d throw her textbooks at the ceiling, waiting for him to drop something loud and heavy on the floor in response. Sometimes?actually, a lot?they?d hang out on the roof and drink whiskey and smoke cigars. They?d been good friends, and then the year had ended and they?d wound up in Ridgefield together?his family lived there year round, and she summered there. The night before her seventeenth birthday she and Henry had stayed up late, drinking and talking, and had wound up on their backs on the tennis court, waiting for shooting stars, and eventually kissing. Then, Henry said it: ?I love you.? Instead of saying it back, Serena fled into the house, booked a plane to Paris to join her brother, Erik, in his travels, and never spoke to Henry again. It wasn?t that she didn?t like him. Honestly, she did. But love was unmistakable, and at that time, there was only one boy she could ever truly love.Then, and maybe now, too . . .
Hey. Remember me??
Henry?s voice gave her a little start. ?I was wondering when you were going to come over and say hello.
?I could say the same thing.? The chair?s legs scraped noisily on the concrete as he pulled it out and took a seat. ?You look great.?
?Thank you.? Sh
What happened to you anyway?
I mean ...you justleft. ?
Serena looked away.
?I e-mailed you a few times,? Henry continued. ?I never heard back from you.... And when I tried again, your school account had been closed.?
?I guess I needed to be alone for a little while to sort some things out. And then I went back to the city.? She pulled a strand of hair out from behind her ear and played with it distractedly, smiling sadly. ?It?s a long story.? One even she didn?t understand, and one she?d never told anyone. Is that a fact?
Serena stared over Henry?s shoulder at the crowd of revelers: some of them half-naked and soaking up the sun, others dancing at speeds not altogether appropriate to the music. And then there was Blair, sipping yet another Bloody Mary and smiling up shyly at Nate, who gripped a beer, grinning stupidly. Serena glanced back at Henry. It was like a time warp: Blair and Nate completely oblivious to her, and Henry staring devotedly at her from the other side of the table like nothing had changed.
?This is my birthday party, you know,? she said at last.
You think I don?t know that?? Henry reached over and grasped her hand with his slightly callused musician?s fingers. ?That?s why I came. It?s our anniversary.? Serena swallowed.