They arranged to meet for lunch. Rebecca couldn't quell the warm glow that kept her smiling throughout the day. After all these years, after what happened, she'd never heard from J.D. again.
Rebecca had not gone back to high school, after what happened. Those times were a grateful blank, fuzzed by daily doses of prescription tranquilizers and anti-depressants until Dorothy put her foot down. Then it was a measured regimen of whole food, beer and half a sleeping pill that pulled Rebecca through her twenties, a GED, and then the awakening that began in junior college. Now, she felt, she was a successful career woman, a key employee in an Internet game start-up, and
lunching with J.D. was something she could do. Normal people caught up with old high school friends all the time.
They met at the Sandy Turtle, a steakhouse hoping to cater to the sudden business, tourist and retirement interest in Bears River. J.D. was as handsome as she remembered, though more contained and carefully groomed. He placed his hand on the small of her back as the hostess led them to their table. She could smell his aftershave and the warmth of his hand sent her time traveling, for a moment, to their young love-making.
"Rebecca," he grinned, "You look awesome!"
"Why thank you, J.D." she replied, feeling as suave and flirtatious as an actress on tv.
Rebecca took small bites throughout the meal, afraid she might choke or cough with nervousness. J.D., luckily, talked and talked about his new mega church The Star of the Nazarene under construction in Orange County, south of Los Angeles. He'd come to Bears River as part of a fund-raising circuit and was eager to talk to any businesses or well-heeled individuals who might feel the calling to support his venture. He asked Rebecca if she'd consider selling some of her land.
"I know a real estate developer in L.A. who'd die to get his hands on..."
"No thanks J.D., Dad always said it's no good letting go of good land." Rebecca felt a surge of protective love for her spooky home and lovely river woodlands. How could she ever sell such a marvel? They ate quietly for a moment.
"Now what did you say your boss' name was again...Turk?"
"Tark," Rebecca corrected, uncomfortable now and suspicious. She was practiced in protecting Tark and zDepth from carpetbaggers and faux investors who called constantly, wanting a piece of the exciting growth in Internet development. "Have you heard from Cindy?" she blurted, eager to change the conversation. "Cindy Slater, from high school?" she prompted.
J.D. sensed he'd overstepped and mollified "Cindy, oh yeah, hot Cindy. She went to school up north, Idaho. She was on tv there for awhile, sports. Looked great on screen. Now she's mayor of her city. Gunning for Washington, I bet. Has a bunch of kids, husband's rich. No holding her back!"
In the parking lot, as J.D. made noises about a dinner date soon, Rebecca asked "Do you ever think about what happened? About that night?" He looked at her blankly, then his eyes shifted quickly to the left and back. "About Angie and Jeff, how they died," she pushed on "About the fire?"
"Oh yeah, that confused kid. We were just teens 'Becca," chided J.D., "Who doesn't do stupid things in high school? You gotta move on." He took Rebecca's hands between his own and comforted "The Lord loves you Rebecca. Jesus loves you!"
Back in the office, Rebecca developed a frightening headache. For the first time in over a year with zDepth, she made her excuses and went home early.