Tag Archives: mystery

The Class of 1993 – Chapter Two

15 Jan

CHAPTER TWO

By D.M. Wright

As I came out of the lady’s room from powdering my nose, I bumped into “THEM”. “THEM” is the quadrant consisting of Alicia Medina, Tammy Talbot, Samantha Jones and Felicia Laurens.

“Hey!” I exclaimed.

“Hey, Belle! How are you?!” They all screeched in unison.

I winced. “So, what’s going on? Tell me what has happened to you all in the last ten years,” I grinned.

“Come with us to the washroom. We’ll give you the gory details there.” Alicia smiled her own little smile that no one could copy.

“All right,” I waved to Charles to let him know I’d be another minute. He nodded with a raising of his eyebrows. I blew him a kiss and joined THEM in the bathroom.

“OK, we’ll give you a quick run down. Jeez, this is, like, the eightieth time I’ve said this tonight.” Alicia said and started fiddling with her hair. “I married Ryan about four years after high school and we’re still hanging on, but we have no kids, thank God.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m a radiologist and I work for this huge place; you’ve probably never heard of it. Ryan owns a pool company.” She smiled, “We have the best one, of course.”

Tammy then took the floor. “I am married to this gorgeous lawyer who is currently in New York heading up a big mob case or something. I don’t know the details, of course. But that is why he’s not here. His name is Mark Frederickson.” She grinned, “So that’s my new last name.”

“Well, I am not married and I just got my graduate’s degree!” Felicia yelled and then they all did this thing with their fingers and squealed. I vaguely remember them doing the same thing in high school when they got excited. “I also have a boyfriend, but I don’t want to make any commitments yet. I want to become filthy rich first, and then, maybe.” She laughed.

I looked to Sam who took that as her cue to tell her story. “OK, well my new last name is Conners and I am married to a professional basketball player, as you all know. Thank you, thank you.” She bowed.

I smiled. Yes, I had seen Matt on TV as they won their way to fame and victory. I’ve even seen Matt in a couple of commercials for Fruit of the Loom or something.

“I’m a stay-at-home mom. I have four kids and I am working my way to ten.” She giggled, “Their names are Joey, Karen, Michelle and Robin – six, four, two and almost a year.” Whoa.

“I’ve been busy,” She nodded.

“I have one son. His name is Richard and he’s almost five.” Tammy informed us.

“That’s great, you guys! I’m glad you’re all doing well. I should go now – see you!” I waved and they called out good-bye. I walked out the door. They haven’t changed much at all. I shook my head and walked over to good ol Charles.

“It’s about time. I was beginning to wonder if you had fallen in.” Charles grinned and led me to our table.

“You know how it is. Once a woman gets started talking to other women…” I shook my head.

“All right, I’ll grant you that.” We both sat down at the table.

Another couple walked up to us just then.

“Hi!” I exclaimed. It was Jenny and her husband Josh. I stood up and hugged them. “Oh, Jeez, it’s been sooo long.” I grinned. We actually keep in touch and just saw them last week.

Jenny laughed, “Hi, guys.” She smiled, “How are you, Charles?”

“Good, thank you. Hello, Josh.” They shook hands.

“Hey, Chuck.”

Charles winced. Josh always called him that at the most inappropriate times. Charles hates it. And Josh does it just to rub him the wrong way. Jenny nudged Josh a little bit and he looked contrite.

“So, are you guys enjoying this evening? Have you seen everyone?” I asked.

“Only some. And not Karen. Is she here?” Jenny looked around and I shrugged.

“I haven’t seen her.”

“Hmmmm,” she fingered her chin. “Oh, my goodness, have you seen Tiffany? She’s huge!” She gasped.

“I know! Isn’t that hilarious?” I laughed.

“Is anyone else expecting?” She wiggled her eyebrows up and down.

“Not that I know of, ” I shook my head.

“Oh.” She looked disappointed. She keeps hoping that I will be someday soon. This is so our kids can grow up together. She’s at the end of her first trimester herself, but it doesn’t show yet. Josh is the happiest man alive right now. He can’t wait to be a daddy. I glanced over at him and Charles talking about the structure of the building. Josh is a carpenter so he has some of the same interests as Charles.

I looked around, too, and admired the chandeliers. The room was very elegant, just as the people were who were dancing under the high ceiling. There were a few fans going to circulate the air in the room as well.

I looked back to Charles, who, I knew would be discussing the sturdiness of the foundation. I grinned and saw Josh nod in complete understanding.

Jenny does have good taste in men. I am glad she didn’t accept Howard’s proposal because Josh is perfect for her. He is tall with blonde hair, a muscular build and he’s one or two years younger than Jenny. I forget which. They don’t mind it, though.

Just then, who should come zooming up to us but Karen, and was she ever big! Almost as big as Tiffany! Almost…

“Greetings and salutory hallucinations!” She smiled and wrinkled her nose like one of her pet rabbits.

“Hello, Karen,” Jenny said, smiling.

“Hey, Carrots.” I grinned.

She rolled her eyes and exclaimed, “You haven’t changed a bit! You’re still immature and below me.” She gave me a snotty look.

“And you’re just as kind and polite as you always were.” I smiled sweetly.

She grinned back showing that there were no hard feelings. We could get in some pretty nasty verbal scuffles, but we always forgave each other. It was (and still is, apparently) our thing.

“So, when’s Goliath due?” I asked, staring at her large, protruding stomach.

“Very funny. It’s due next month.” She smiled.

“Where’s the rest of your clan?” Jenny asked, looking for Karen’s husband, Adrian and her other numerous amounts of children.

“Adrian is parking the car and the other twerps are at home with granny.”

Jenny and I exchanged looks, thinking the same thing.

We always did that in school. Think each other’s thoughts and finish each other’s sentences. We’ve known each other since second grade and have been good friends ever since. We were separated from Fourth to Ninth grades; however, but were then reunited.

I looked at Karen, “How is old granny anyway? I haven’t seen her in the longest time.”

“She’s good. Good and fine.”

“How about Muffy and Pepper and Reginold?” Jenny asked, hiding a smile. Well, you couldn’t help but smile when you realized that she named her kids after old pets. She didn’t really, but it kind of sounds like it. It’s our joke anyways.

“Oh, they’re still going. Running about and making our lives miserable as always.” She said with a sigh.

“Karen, they’re your children! How can you say that?” I gasped, incredulously.

“I’m only kidding. You know that. Hello, have you met me?” She said, rolling her eyes again. “You always did take me too seriously.”

“I remember some times you weren’t kidding. It is hard to tell when you are and when you aren’t.” I reminded her.

She just shook her head and then looked up, “Oh, there’s Adrian. Over here, muffin head!” She waved.

I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing, as did Jenny. “Muffin head” came over, nodded at us and walked straight to Charles and Josh to chat.

“Oh, my goodness!” Jenny gasped, out of breath. “Karen, I can’t believe you just did that. How embarrassing!” But she collapsed with laughter again.

“What?” She exclaimed.

I couldn’t even breathe, let alone answer her. I fell into a chair and put my head onto my arms, still laughing uncontrollably.

“You two are weird.” She walked away and joined Mary and Chris.

“Right. We’re weird.” I managed to get out.

“Yeah, and she’s perfectly normal.” Jenny held her stomach and groaned. “I can’t stop laughing!”

But finally we settled down and just sat at the table, sighing.

“Oh, look! There’s Victoria! Oh, she is so beautiful!” Jenny pointed out.

I looked and saw her with Danielle.

“There’s Dannie, too!” I smiled, “Notice how no one ever calls her that? In high school, too. At first they called her Dannie, but when you got to know her, it seemed easier to call her Danielle.” I remembered. I hardly ever called her Dannie.

“They look so elegant, don’t they? I think they both married doctors or something. Victoria opened up her own beauty shop, didn’t she?”

I nodded. “Yeah, I worked for her for a while.” That was the absolute best. The shop was called Victoria’s. I quit when my books started to sell and I had to do some tours. Victoria went to beauty school during Junior and Senior years of high school. She always did our nails and hair if we asked.

I went to beauty school after high school and had various jobs at salons here and there until I found Victoria’s. Then she took me in and I became one of the head hair stylists. It was a fun and exciting time for me.

She still has the shop, but now, of course, she has a chain of them!

“Let’s mingle, shall we, Jenny?” I asked her.

“Why, yes, let’s! What an excellent and behooving idea! We wouldn’t want anyone to think we are still stuck up.”

We laughed. Jenny and I hang out together so much that we enjoy each other’s company without having others around. I guess in high school it gave off the impression of being conceited and too good for anyone else, but we didn’t see ourselves that way. We thought we were nice!

We worked our way around the room, saying hello to people we knew here and there. There were so many people we didn’t know; however, and this was supposed to be the senior class and their companions. Jeez, Louise, who were all these people?

“Why, hello, dear, and how are you?” I heard Jenny ask. Then we kept moving through the crowd until we bumped into a group of Romanians. They consisted of Sarah Boch, Olivia White and their husbands.

“Hi, you guys! This is Pierce and you know Sarah, of course! That is her husband, Dan.” Olivia squealed. “Hellos” went all around and then all of a sudden, Sarah peeled off into a string of Romanian sentences held together by a few English words. I don’t know what she said, but it made the men, and Olivia, laugh and sneak glances at me. I looked at Jenny, who shrugged and smiled politely at them all, but I knew she was secretly trying to convey how rude it was to speak in another language while you are talking with others. And to speak about them, no less! I was not as kind. I demanded to know what they were laughing about.

“Oh! Ha-ha-ha!” Laughed Sarah, “We were remembering back in high school when you liked my brother, Nick.” She covered her mouth and giggled.

“I did not!” I denied vehemently.

“Yes!” She nodded.

I shook my head and turned to Olivia. “Your brother, Jeff, started all that. I never said I liked him and you know it, Sarah!” I turned back to her.

She shook her head and spouted off in Romanian again. They all laughed again and so I shrugged.

“Fine. Have it your way. I just want you to know that I am happily married now and your little heart breaker brother can eat my dust.” I smiled and walked away.

Jenny and I continued on our way and were just about to go back to our table when someone got on stage and started speaking.

“We’re real glad you all were able to come tonight! It’s been a long ten years and some of us haven’t changed a bit!” He laughed and also received a few other chuckles.

“Who is he?” I whispered to Jenny.

She shrugged and shook her head.

“Now, I’d like to welcome to the stage a member of the class of ’93. He is going to play a little song for us and he brought along his band. Please welcome, Tony Duncan and Firestarter!” Everyone applauded as they came on stage. Firestarter is a very popular heavy metal band and Tony is the lead singer and guitar player. Tony’s wife, Julie, is the drummer. They got married young and started off slow, but their hard work soon paid off. They are now one of the leading heavy metal bands in the country. I heard that soon they are going on a European world tour. That sounds exciting. I just hoped that tonight they play one of their slower numbers.

“Thank you, thank you. It’s good to be here tonight and see all of those old familiar faces!” Then they went straight into their number one hit, coincidentally called, “Familiar Faces”. It wasn’t very heavy, but it was appropriate for the atmosphere.

People came out onto the dance floor; others stayed in their seats and tapped their feet. Jenny and I were still standing where we were so we once again tried to make it to our table. There was no way around the flailing bodies. Who were all these people?! We only had 28 people in our graduating class!!

Advertisements

The Class of 1993 – Chapter One

5 Dec

Preface

In June of 2013, it will be twenty years since I graduated high school. Wow. Old. I wrote this book in my senior year for fun. It wasn’t really a prediction of what would happen to people in ten years, but a fun story of our reunion. (Even though we don’t do reunions.) Someone from my class recently reminded me of the book, as I had forgotten all about it. I found it in my garage and thought I’d post it here, one chapter per week, in celebration of our twenty year anniversary. (Seriously..so old wise.)

CHAPTER ONE

By D.M. Wright

This was it. The reunion. Ten years later.

I took a deep breath and cleared my throat. I patted my short brown hair and checked my make-up in my compact mirror. Then, I entered the very same ballroom at Concorde Banquets where our Senior Banquet was held. Senior Banquet was our “prom” as our private high school did not promote or welcome the traditional proms that public high schools have.

I looked around and took in the sea of faces. Faces I had known for years. These people with whom I grew up and shared parts of my life. I smiled and remembered. Those times were good times. Well…mostly good.

“Belle, is that you?!” I heard a screech and turned to find Tiffany Adams hurrying towards me. I grinned and exclaimed,

“Look at you! What a cow!” She was way pregnant and her entire being filled my gaze. However, she was still the skinniest girl I have ever met, even with child.

“Shut-up!” She said and we hugged. “It’s great to see you again. How long has it been?” She put her fingers to her mouth and I saw her lower lip tremble. My eyes widened in surprise. I never took her for the sentimental type. It must be the pregnancy hormones.

“Too long.” I smiled gently and hugged her again. “When are you due?”

“Ugghhh, two weeks, can you believe it?! Although it feels like it will be any second.” She winced and put her hands on her back. “Why did our reunion have to be this year?” She rolled her eyes, “Figures!” She looked around at everyone and wiped her eyes. “Everyone has either changed so much, or not at all!” She waved to someone across the room. “Look, isn’t that Alicia Medina?”

I looked to where she pointed and nodded.

“Ugghh, she makes me sick. She hasn’t changed a bit and look at me,” Tiffany shook her head. “Oh, there’s Tom. Wait and I’ll introduce you.” She took off.

I wouldn’t have thought she’d be able to move that fast.I watched her walk up to a tall, dark-haired man. She put her hand on his arm and he smiled and kissed her forehead. He must be her husband, Tom. Tiffany really hasn’t changed either. She’s just pregnant, that’s all. She’s still the tall, skinny girl we knew and loved in high school. Light brown hair and blue eyes – she also suffered from an annoying nickname – Taffy. Tiffany and Tom walked over to me and I smiled.

“Belle, this is Tom, my husband. Tom, this is Belle. We were good friends senior year.” She smiled and wrinkled her nose.

“Hello, glad to meet you.” He smiled, too, and held out his hand.

I shook it, smiled and replied, “You, too!”

“Taffy, you chuckle-butt, I’ve been looking all over for you!”

We all turned and found Brenda Gonzales charging over. Brenda looked at me and gasped. “Hi, oh gosh, it’s good to see you!”

We hugged. “You, too, Bren!” I grinned, remembering the times when the three of us hung out at the mall.

“Bren, I left an hour ago, why did it take you that long to get out of the bathroom?” Tiffany exclaimed and hit her lightly on the arm.

“Shut-up, I wasn’t in there that long.” Brenda laughed and hit her back.

“Belle, remember whenever we went anywhere or did anything, Brenda always had to go to the bathroom? You never had to ask what time it was cause she went every five minutes!” Tiffany covered her mouth and started to laugh. We joined her.

~~~~~~~

We were going to see Encino Man and we had just sat down to eat at the Picnic in the mall. As we were silly girls, we made fun of everyone that walked by and each other.

“Tiffany, you have ketchup all over your nose!” Brenda exclaimed in a whisper.

I looked up and gasped. “Tiff, here, take my napkin!” I handed it to her and she wiped at her nose.

“Where? Where?”

We started to laugh and she groaned, “Oh, I hate you guys!” She rolled her eyes and shook her head. “You’re so immature.” Brenda and I just laughed at Tiffany’s gullibility.

“I’m going to go get some water.” She got up and headed down to McDonalds.

I looked at Brenda mischievously. “Let’s ditch her! We can watch her from the other side of the food court.” She agreed and we got our garbage and hurried down the stairs.

The mall was set up so that you could walk around in a big, multi-level square of shops and restaurants with bridges and stairways connecting in the middle. We went to the other side of the restaurants and watched as Tiffany got her water and headed back to our table. When she found that we weren’t there, she looked around for us, but obviously didn’t see us. The more she looked around, the more we moved around, too, so she wouldn’t see us. We were laughing so hard that it was difficult to keep an eye on where she was going. Finally, she gave up and sat down so we headed back to her. As we walked up to the table, she glanced up and gave us the finger. She was so mad, but that made us laugh even harder.

“I hate you guys so much!” She got up and hit both of us. We were kind of mean, but it was fun to tease her. And she always forgave us.

“I have to go to the bathroom!” Brenda exclaimed. We made our way through the crowd to the nearest restroom.

“Watch where you’re going!” An old man yelled at Tiffany. She must have bumped into him.

“What?! What did I do?!” She yelled back and turned around to follow him, asking him what he thought she did to him. By this time, Brenda was bent over by the railing, trying not to pee her pants as she was laughing so hard. Tiffany rejoined us and we helped get Brenda off of the floor. The night was so fun and the movie was great. I will never forget the fun times the three of us had together.

~~~~~~

“Belle, hey, Belle, come and meet my new boyfriend!” Brenda pulled my arm and I went with her, waving apologetically over my shoulder to Tiffany and Tom.

“OK, I’m coming, take it easy!” I laughed.

“He’s so sweet and cute. You’ll just die when you see him!” I rolled my eyes and laughed again. She pulled me over to a guy with a long pony tail and ripped jeans.

“Chett, this is Belle, I told you about her, remember?” She gazed up at him lovingly.

He smiled, “Sure. Hi, Belle, how are you?”

I shook his hand and nodded, “Pretty good, and yourself?” Brenda’s taste in boys hasn’t changed much either. She gave me a sock in the arm, as if she could read my thoughts.

“Chett works for an art gallery.” Bren put her arm through his and grinned smugly.

“Oh, really? How fun! What do you do there? Are you an artist?” I asked.

“I’m the head janitor,” he replied.

Brenda grinned even wider and I didn’t know if I should laugh or not. I just nodded my head with a smile. Now what am I supposed to say?

“That’s fantastic!” I smiled some more.

“Baby, I’m thirsty. You want something?” Chett gestured toward the refreshment table.

“Sure.”

He left and I looked at Bren. She had her dark brown, almost black hair pulled back in a barrette. Her big, brown eyes stared at me inquisitively.

“Are you two serious?” I asked.

“Well, yeah. Why else would I be going with him?” She frowned.

“Just wondering,” I shrugged. We looked at each other and laughed.

“It probably won’t last anyways. He’s too much of a free spirit. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to be tied down.” She nodded.

“That’s good.” I nodded, too. She hit me. I looked at her, startled. “What I meant to say was, that it’s good that you two aren’t rushing into anything.” I explained.

She just socked me again in the arm and laughed, “I am going to get my man and my drink. You think they spiked the punch yet?” Then she winked and headed towards Chett.

Suddenly, I heard a low voice in my ear. “Nice, black nylons.”

I rolled my eyes and then I turned around. “Hi, Larry,” I grinned at him. Back in high school, skirts or dresses were mandatory for girls as it was a private school and they could not be more than two inches above the knee. Clearly a lot of nylons and tights were worn with them. But Larry only liked black nylons on certain people in high school. I was not one of them.

I looked down at my legs and back up at him. “Thanks.”

“No, I’m serious. They look good. You have finally grown into them.” He nodded and pushed his glasses up onto his nose.

“So, what’s your story? What has happened to you in the last ten years?” I asked and looked at his hand. Ahhh, a ring!

“Well, I tied the knot about three years ago. I met her at my job. She’s the bosses’ daughter.” He laughed.

“You swine!” I snarled. He just laughed some more. I don’t know where that term started, but it was a popular thing to say in high school.

“Wanna dance?” He asked and pointed toward the dance floor.

“As long as no one will mind? We don’t need any drama tonight.”

“My wife isn’t here,” he shrugged.

“OK.” We walked out onto the floor. Then I remembered the last time we had danced together. It was at Lori Wilson’s Valentine’s Day party. That was a real blast.

“So what are you up to?” He asked as we spun around.

“About 5′ 7″ in these heels, I think. Yeah, that’s about right.” I nodded.

“Ha-ha. Very funny. You always did have lame things to say.”

“Couldn’t help it. Seeing you again just brought all the lame memories flooding back.” I cracked.

“You know, you should write a book on how to make people feel lame.”

“Now there’s an idea. I might just do that. Can I dedicate it to you?”

“Certainly. I wouldn’t have suggested it if it hadn’t been for that perk.”

“Excuse me. May I?” A tall, dark-haired man with rugged good looks and an English accent tapped Larry on the shoulder.

“Certainly. Catch you later, Belle.” He waved and walked off.

“Hello, my dear.” He put his arms around me.

I smiled gently up at him, “Eh-lo, dahling!” I mimicked his accent with a hint of cockney in my own. Then I lifted my face for a kiss.

He complied with a snort. “I hate it when you do that. Who was that fellow?” He glanced back towards Larry’s retreating figure.

“Larry Tanner. A guy from my class.” I shrugged.

“Oh, I see,” he nodded. “Have you seen a lot of people yet?”

“Only a few.” The music stopped, people applauded, and my dear husband, Charles, took me over to a table he had chosen. We sat down and he held my hands across the table.

“You are still the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Even after seeing some of the ladies from your class that you have raved about. None of them come close to your exquisite beauty.” He lifted my hands to his lips.

I snorted out a laugh. Charles winced. “It’s that right there, isn’t it? That’s the beauty there. I know it!” I puffed up with pride.

He just shook his head with a small smile. “Trust you to turn a romantic moment into a giggle fest.”

I met Charles in England and after a very, rough first impression, we fell in love. At first we hated each other but then we got acquainted and things sort of unraveled from there. I looked into his tender, brown eyes that no matter how hard he tries, could never be cold, and leaned over to kiss his cheek. Some women wouldn’t call him handsome or gorgeous, but women with sense and intelligence would see right away his noble features and rugged good looks. He has black hair and very tanned skin.

I met him while I was writing one of my murder mysteries. This one took place in an old English castle. So, of course, what better way to get the true experience than to go see one for myself. That is where I ran into this very rude and arrogant tyrant, Charles Hayward IV. His name sounds like he has loads of family money, but he actually came from a very poor family. It has been only out of hard work and smart business sense that Charles has come into his money. He is an architect and builds mansions all over the continent. That is how I ran into him; it was one of his English castles that I was visiting.

After I got to know him better, I found that behind his hard exterior was a very caring and romantic gentleman. When we were married, he took me to Crete for our honeymoon. We stayed in one of his mansions. It was the best time of my life.

I turned my hands over in his and squeezed his fingers.

“Would you like a glass of punch?” He smiled and kissed my hands again.

“Sure.”

“All right,”  he got up and went over to the refreshment table.

I was sitting there looking around at the decorations and finely dressed people, when I spotted someone I hadn’t seen in forever. (Well, at least in ten years!)

“Mary!” I cried and got up to greet her.

“Hi, Belle!” She smiled and I noticed that Kristy Kast was with her.

“Hi!” Kristy shrugged, waved and grinned all at the same time. We all hugged and started talking at once.

“How have you been?”

“Where’s Charles?”

“Are you married?”

These were asked at the same time and then we all laughed.

“OK, you go first, Mary,” I grinned.

She sighed and smiled. “OK, how have you been?”

“Wonderful! I couldn’t be happier. And you? Are you married?” I raised my eyebrows and awaited her answer.

“Not yet, but I am engaged!” She said excitedly.

“To whom?! When’s the big day?” I grabbed her hands.

“Well, his name is Christopher and we’ll be getting married on the twentieth!” Her eyes sparkled with excitement.

“Two weeks! That’s when Tiffany said she was due! June is such a popular month. How exciting, Mary!” I smiled warmly.

“OK, Kristy, your turn.” Mary laughed.

“Where’s Charles? You’ve told me about him in your letters – I’m so curious!” She exclaimed.

“Well….” I looked around for him and back towards our table. Sure enough, he was there, looking around for me. “There he is.” I gestured towards him.

“Oh, he is very handsome. You said he is British, right?” She looked him over.

“Mmm-hmmmm. What do you think of him, Mary?” I murmured.

“Delicious.” She nodded.

I laughed out loud, “Thank you. I am sure he would be delighted to know that he has been described as delicious. Let me get him and I’ll introduce you. Just one minute.” I hurried over to him.

“Oh, there you are.” He handed me a glass of punch.

“Come meet some friends.” I grabbed his free hand and dragged him over to them and quickly made introductions.

“How do you do?” Charles nodded slightly.

I grinned and held on to his arm. “Mary is getting married in two weeks, darling,” I informed him.

“That is wonderful! Marriage is quite uplifting and gratifying.” He smiled, “At least it is for me.” He kissed my head.

I leaned back against him and smiled indulgently, “Doesn’t he say the most wonderful things?!” I teased.

Charles laughed and I turned toward Kristy. “Is that a ring on your finger?” I wiggled my eyebrows. Ever since I got married, I have been completely obsessed with marriage and asking everyone I know about theirs.

“Yeah,” she shrugged and grinned again.

“Who’s the lucky fellow?”

“It’s Brian. He’s running around here somewhere.” She glanced around for him. “Probably flirting with all the girls and fooling around with Larry.”

“Wow, did you guys last that long or find each other again?”

“We lasted this long,” she smiled. “We got married last year.”

I whistled, “Wow.”

Mary exclaimed, “Here comes Christopher. Now you can meet him.” She waved and a very tall man with blonde hair joined us.

“Hello, everyone!” He grinned. He had a nice smile with dimples and laugh lines around his eyes.

Mary linked arms with him. “This is Christopher. Chris, this is Belle and her husband Charles. And this is Kristy.” Greetings went all around and then Kristy asked where they had met.

“Well, it’s quite something, actually. I was in a car accident and was on one of my last legs. I was taken to the hospital Mary works at.” He grinned at Mary and put his arms around her. “She was one of the nurses who assisted in my operation and when I woke up, there she was with a nice, big needle to stick in my -”

Mary interrupted him, “I took care of him those days he was laid up and he just grew an attachment for me. A lot of patients do to special nurses.” She smiled.

“Yes, but mine went beyond the attachment and straight into love.” He kissed her on the cheek and we all “awed”.

“So did you get to see his insides, Mary?” I asked with interest.

Charles cleared his throat, “Really, darling.” He looked away in embarrassment but I just grinned.

“Hey, not many people can say that they’ve seen their spouse’s insides.” I laughed.

“Well, not really, sorry, Belle,” Mary laughed, too.

“That would have been a memory,” Charles murmured.

“Hi, guys! How’s it going?”

We all turned and found Brian, Kristy’s husband, in a nice suit and his size 16 shoes. I laughed out loud and Kristy rolled her eyes.

“I couldn’t believe it when he came down the stairs.” She shook her head and covered her face with her hand.

“You know I had to wear ’em.” Brian held out his arms and took a little hop forward. “Ta-da!”

I looked at Charles as he watched Brian with wonder.

“Still the same, huh, Brian?” Mary asked with a laugh.

“Yep. Haven’t changed, and I won’t.” He glanced at Charles and then looked at him fully. “Hello, the name’s Brian Kanton.” He held out his hand.

Charles shook it. “Charles Hayward.” He nodded, “Belle’s husband.”

“Nice to meet you!” He looked at Christopher, “Hey, Mary, this your young fella, here?” He held out his hand to Chris.

“Yep, Brian, this is Chris Kringle.” Mary blushed as she aroused some laughter.

“No way!” Brian exclaimed.

“Afraid so. My mother had quite the sense of humor.” Chris said with a chuckle.

“Cool!” He looked at Kristy. “Come on, babe, I want to try their dip.” Brian waved and headed for the food.

“Brian is a cook,” Kristy explained, walking away. “Always after new recipes.”

I laughed in surprise. A cook? That took me back. It seems like it was just yesterday…..

~~~~~~

We all had speech class senior year, except for the fortunate people who had unique schedules. We had to do a demonstration speech. Brian did his on how to make cupcakes. He got up to the teacher’s desk and set out all his ingredients and a sign that said, “Baking With – the Man in the Apron”.

He explained how to mix everything together in a bowl, although he didn’t have real eggs. He had poked a hole in one end of them and blew out the yoke so as not to break them on the way to school. Then he poured the substance into cupcake wrappers in a tin, and stuck them into the desk which had a sign that said, “this is the oven”. He pulled out already made cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles and let everyone have some. He had everyone laughing hysterically, even our teacher, Mrs. Swanson, especially at the beginning when he put on a feminine apron.

Brian always had good speeches. I was always jealous that I couldn’t do mine like his.

~~~~~~

I shook my head back to the present in time to hear:

“Come on, Mary, let’s dance.” Chris grabbed her hand and yanked gently.

“OK, I guess we could do that.” Mary smiled at us and followed her fiance onto the dance floor.

“Interesting friends you have there,” Charles smiled and took my hand.

“They’re hilarious!” I shook my head. I wonder who I will run into next.

Mixed Signals – Chapter Two

8 Feb

CHAPTER TWO

IN THE COURTROOM . . .

“So you found that your brother Luke was forcing kids to stop using drugs?” Stevenson walked in front of the stand.

“Yes.”

“With a gun?”

“Yes.”

“And you tried to stop him, did you not?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Why didn’t you tell anyone when he wouldn’t listen to you? Your parents, the police?”

“Well, I really don’t know why I didn’t tell anyone. I guess I didn’t want him to get into any trouble.” I shrugged.

“So what did you do next?” he questioned, making a turn in front of the jury.

“I went on praying nothing would happen to him.”

“Tell us about Adam. What happened to him through all of this? How did he handle it?”

“Well, Lance was Adam’s favorite, so he took it very hard. He locked himself in his room for days. Adam never went to college like he planned. He just stayed home. Didn’t get a job or anything.”

“What did he do?”

“I don’t know. I went to school. I think he just sat at home around the house. He never did anything.”

“Your parents let him stay?”

“Yes. Well, eventually they would have told him to get a job or go to college, but . . . ” I trailed off.

“So, he was just there. All the time.”

“Yes.”


“I’m home!” I called, my voice carrying throughout the house. I threw my book bag onto the floor in the hallway and started looking for my mother. I walked into the living room.

“Where’s Mom?” I asked Adam, who was lying on the couch in front of the TV

“Out.”

“Out where?”

“Out.” He didn’t change his position or look at me when he talked to me.

“What did you do today?”

“Watched TV”

“All day?”

“Yeah.”

“Nothing else?”

“Nope.”

“Don’t you have any friends to go bother?” I sat down on the couch next to him.

“Nope.”

“Would you look at me when I’m talking to you?” I asked, frustrated. He looked at me dully.

“Thank you,” I said. Then he looked back at the TV

“I give up.” I threw my hands into the air and walked into the kitchen.

“Anybody home?!” I heard a familiar voice call.

“John!” I ran to him and hugged him.

“Hey, sweetie, how are you?” He kissed me on the forehead.

“OK.” We walked into the living room to sit down. As soon as we walked in there, Adam got up, threw John a dirty look, and ran up the stairs.

“He’s been a little moody these days.” I explained and pulled John down onto the couch with me.

“Where’s Luke?” he asked as he put his arm around me.

“Out drug busting, probably.”

“Oh. Where’s your folks?”

“Mom’s ‘out,’ and Dad’s at work.” I smiled.

“Oh.” He smiled back and came toward me for a kiss. Our time alone was short-lived.

“I’m home!” my brother Luke called out. He came into the living room, took one glance at John, and left the room. But not before giving him a somewhat dirty look.

“What is going on?” John asked, bewildered.

“I don’t know. I’ll find out, though. I’m sick of them behaving like morons.” I stood up and started pacing.

“Maybe Lance’s opinion of me rubbed off on them.”

“Who knows?” I was exasperated. “Neither one of them will talk straight with me anymore.”

“Well, maybe I should leave before I cause any trouble.” He got up and came over to me.

“I’m sorry.” I lowered my head, ashamed at my brother’s behavior.

“Hey, it’s not your fault. I love you anyway, even if your family hates me.” He lifted my chin and kissed me tenderly.

“What would I do without you, John?” I asked gratefully.

“I don’t know. You’d probably be lost, kid, lost.” He smiled and walked out the front door to his car.

After he left, I walked over to the stairway and looked up intently. I then prepared myself for verbal warfare with Adam and Luke. I narrowed my eyes and headed up the stairs toward Luke’s room.

“Come in,” Luke called when I knocked. I opened his door and walked over to him.

“Why don’t you like John?” I decided to be blunt.

“He gives me the creeps. I don’t know how you can be around him all the time.” He shuddered disgustedly.

“Why does he give you the creeps?” I asked, my hands on my hips.

“He just does. Lance never liked him and I trusted Lance’s opinion of people. He was right about them 99 percent of the time.”

“Well, John is the 1 percent he was wrong about. There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s very sweet and I love him,” I defended him.

“Excuse me while I gag,” he rolled his eyes. “I think you’re making a big mistake. Don’t you ever wonder about him? Where does he get all that money? And that snazzy car of his?” Luke sat down on his bed. It was no secret that John had money.

“He told me that his parents gave him the car. He gets the money from working for his father’s company. You’re just jealous, Luke.”

“Does he care about you? Or are you just another one of his showpieces? A cute blonde to drive around with him in his fire engine red convertible?” he asked me scornfully.

“He does care about me. Why did he come over all the time and bring us food when Lance died? Why would he do that if he didn’t care? You’re starting to sound like Lance. He was always suspicious of John like he was a thief or a murderer or something. He’s not! Get that through your thick skull!” I ran from his room to mine. I wish I could shake some sense into him sometimes. I wasn’t even going to try to talk to Adam. I’d probably only get one-syllable answers anyway.

I threw myself on my bed after turning on my stereo full blast. Oh good, it was music Luke and Adam both hate. I hoped they got an ear full.

A second later I heard a pounding on my door and I called, “Who is it?”

Luke threw open the door and burst into the room. “Turn that crap off now!” He yelled over the “crap.” I cupped my hand around my ear and gestured that I couldn’t hear him. That made him mad, so he went over to my stereo and turned it off himself.

“Keep it off, too,” he commanded.

“Why should I listen to you? You never listen to me!”

“Come off it, Alex, this is different!”

“How so?”

“When I tell you to do something, it’s for the benefit of mankind. You just tell me stuff because you think you can boss me around.” He clenched his jaw.

“I tell you to do stuff for your own good. You’re going to get yourself killed one of these days! But sorry I care!” I yelled as he left ans slammed the door.

I walked over to my stereo and turned it back on again.

“Alex!” I heard my so-lovable brother’s yell.


IN THE COURTROOM . . .

“What about John? Your brothers clearly do not like him – why do you?” Stevenson looked at me with narrowed eyes. “What has he done to get you on his side?”

“Well, I’ve always liked him. When Lance died, he tried to help in any way he could. He came over a lot to see how I was doing.”

“What was his reaction to Lance’s death?”

“I really didn’t notice how he reacted. He seemed sorry and regretful that he and Lance were never friends. He sympathized with me and helped me cope.”

John was really great during the period after Lance’s death. He knew how I was feeling and didn’t pressure me to do anything. He knew I needed time to adjust to my terrible loss. He was really there for me. And despite what Luke thought, he really cared.

Sometimes he would bring over food for us because he knew we didn’t make anything. Half the time we didn’t eat it anyway, but it was good to know he was there.

“Come on, Alex, you have to eat something. Please?”

“I’m just not hungry, John. I think if I ate it wouldn’t stay down. I don’t want anything, OK?” I had muttered.

“Want to talk about Lance? Maybe it will help,” he suggested gently.

“OK,” I whispered. He then put his arm around me and we talked for an hour about Lance. About how much I missed him.

“Did you know that his middle name was Lot? Lance Lot?” I smiled faintly. “Mom was into Tennyson when she had Luke and Lance. And her favorite movie was Star Wars. So that’s where she got Luke. Luke Sky, and Adam’s is just plain, old Michael, can you believe it? My mom was pretty wacked back then.” I snuggled in closer to John. “Lance always hated his name. He said he would never name his kids something like that.” I was quiet for a while. Lance would never name his kids at all. He would never get to have kids.

It’s funny, but I never really believed Lance killed himself. I always subconsciously thought that somehow, some way, his life was taken from him unfairly. He didn’t want to die.

“I miss him, John. It’s so unfair. Why did he do it? Why did he ruin his life? And ours?” I cried softly into his shoulder. He patted my back.

“Alex, you couldn’t help it. You didn’t know he had a problem.”

“But I should have! Luke should have. Luke would have known! Lance told him everything. He would have told him!”

“Maybe he was too ashamed to tell anyone. Maybe he didn’t want anyone to know.”

“Lance wasn’t like that. He could never keep secrets. He would have said something. It wasn’t beyond him to get help for a problem. He would have asked for help.” I paused. “He would have said something,” I insisted stubbornly.

“I don’t know, kid. No one knows why he did it.” He shook his head and ran his fingers through my hair absently.

“I should know,” I whispered.

Copyright 2009 by D.M. Wright