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Standing there waiting, quiet, contemplating. He didn't really have a plan for this, he didn't really have a clue where he was going once he left this room. His confidence had soared out the window because he'd given himself too much time to think. A yawning chasm stretched before him, quietly beckoning him to the edge and he was afraid of what slept within. It had been years since he had last felt this cowardly. It was frightening to imagine facing it all again, to imagine wandering back among those familiar faces. He didn't have beef with any of them, not that he could remember, and still he was scared.
He faced his reflection warily, not entirely impressed or convinced by it. He looked fine, he cleaned up nice enough but he was terribly uncomfortable. He had never been one for suits, not in his goth days and certainly not now. He adjusted his blazer, he turned this way and then he turned that way. It was a fitted black suit with deep red accents, it emphasized the lean muscle of his arms and chest. He adjusted his hair, mused it to look just careless enough that it didn't look like he had fussed over it but just neat enough that he didn't look like he'd rolled out of bed.
It was a display of very careful pretention but not one he could bother to feel bad about. He was idling and he knew it, trying to waste time staring at his reflection instead of moving forward. Caden had always had a habit of avoiding the things that scared him and he had always been good at it. A part of him was excited because it was a party, a party full of old friends. A part of him was ready to show them that he had changed over the years and to rekindle old friendships. A part of him was scared that he wasn't really ready for this. A part of him was terribly apprehensive, alight with nerves over the idea of seeing Reina again.
It was with a quiet sigh that he finally shook himself out of it. He put on his brave face and he walked.
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The plan had been simple enough but it had immediately backfired but perhaps that's what he deserved for being so meticulous. He had planned to find the King's Men and reacquaint himself with the guys but they were looking a little scattered by the time he arrived. Conflict of interests, he mused, watching Jace stroll to join Amanda and Grayson. I'm certainly not going anywhere near that. He took a deep breath and scanned the room, caught sight of where the remainders of the King's Men seemed to have gathered and he made his way towards them.
He hadn't spoke with Brent, Alex or Dre in forever and for a moment he was back to being kind of excited. He wasn't sure who they might have become over the years or if he'd even get along with them now but the idea of reconnecting with them was a nice one. Not only was it a nice idea, it was an idea that was bound to keep him from loitering around the bar all night. He got maybe two steps in that direction before he saw her and he froze in place. He was a deer in the headlights of a fast-approaching vehicle, staring as the world turned very slowly around him.
It wasn't a bad feeling, no, but it took his breath away. She took his breath away. He hadn't expected he'd recognize her so quickly but there she was and after all this time, she was still Reina. Nostalgia washed over him in waves, it tore into his skin and drug him through the sand. His tongue was heavy with things left unsaid and his feet were suddenly leaden. She was extending her hand to Brent, distracted by whatever she was asking.
It gave him the moment he needed to blink out of his daze and come crashing back to the earth. The car struck the deer but kept rolling, the wave of emotions hit him hard but he kept walking. She was Reina, yeah, but they hadn't been together in years, he knew that pining and avoiding was unhealthy. He would talk to her, he was sure of that, but he'd let her and Brent have their dance first. No sense in interrupting friends.
He drew in another breath and he made his way to the table, offering a grin to the remaining guys. "Hey, it's been too fucking long."