Moonlight Rendezvous - Part 1 by Begin Again
Artwork by bd shutterspeed at FanArtReview.com
After carefully snipping the chain, Jack let the lock fall to the ground. The metal gate whined when he shoved it open. Bowing at the waist, he extended his arm toward the opening.
"The sparkling waters of Whipton's town pool awaits you, my lady."
Katie glanced nervously through the opening and then back at Jack. "Are you sure this is okay?"
"Don't be silly, Katie. I'm the Mayor's son and soon to be candidate for the State Senator. Would I do anything to jeopardize my future?" His million dollar smile sparkled like diamonds as they stood beneath the street light. His smoky blue eyes devoured her, sending an unexpected, but familiar tingle through her body.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. Even though we aren't really hurting anything, it would be foolish of you to do anything that might be seen as illegal." A warm glow crept across her high cheek bones. They'd once been an item, the couple everyone in town thought were destined to marry, but that was long ago, before Professor Kendall's untimely death.
"Of course, it would."
His confidence reassured her jittery nerves. Taking a deep breath, she slipped through the gate into the pool area. Memories of happier times swamped her senses and she willingly let him slip his arms around her and eagerly claim her quivering lips. His familiar cologne was intoxicating, almost making her forget why she had returned to her home town.
Five years ago, only days after their college graduation and Professor Kendall's funeral, Katie abruptly left town without discussing it with anyone, including her best friend, Jack. Only after weeks of cajoling did her Mom finally relent and tell him where she was living.
By the time he was able to contact her, things had changed. She'd been fortunate to find a job with an advertising agency in Manhattan, shared a small loft with two fellow employees, and appeared to be content with her new life. Her only conversation with him had been stilted and abrupt.
Her unexpected return to Whipton stunned Jack, leaving him uneasy. He didn't like surprises, especially when he knew Katie Wilson was the only person alive capable of upsetting his well-laid plans for the future. He'd actually been relieved when she'd left town, something he kept hidden from everyone.
Part of her wanted to live in the moment, remembering the heated nights they'd shared, their hot, sweaty bodies meshing together until nothing else mattered. He skillfully let his hands slide across her shoulders and down her back. His lips playfully tugged on her ear lob before kissing her delicate jaw line. Teetering dangerously at the point of no-return, her conscience nagged relentlessly until she stepped away.
"It's been a long time, Katie. I missed you." Pulling one of the chairs from the table, he motioned for her to sit down before entering a nearby cabana. Without offering any explanation, he carefully placed two wine glasses on the table and opened a bottle of Merlot. "Brings back memories-"
"Don't go there, Jack. Those days are gone." A sad smile crossed her face and quickly disappeared.
"You can't say you don't remember. The Katie I knew and loved would never have forgotten." He reached for her hand, but she moved it away.
"Things aren't the same. Our lives have changed."
"I didn't want you to leave. I thought we would be together until death do us part. I never did quite understand why you left without any explanation. Did I do something wrong, Katie?"
"We did something wrong, Jack. You and I, together." She shivered as she remembered the night their lives had changed forever, the night they'd witnessed Professor Kendall's untimely death.
"I don't understand." His voice didn't sound as convincing as he wanted it to be. "We were young and in love. No way will you convince me that our love was wrong."
"Jack -" Unable to meet his puppy-dog eyes, she turned away, struggling to compose herself. She'd rehearsed this conversation time and time again, knowing what his reaction would be, but refusing to change her decision. Clearing her throat, she tried again, "Jack, we both know we should have spoken to the police about the Professor's death."
"We were scared, afraid of the consequences. Besides, what could we actually have told them. Nothing! Not anything that would have made a difference."
"No, she didn't have any family, no one even attended her funeral except a few professors from the college and the Dean."
"Someone should have been held responsible."
"Is that what's bugging you? The police investigation said she was drunk. Maybe the car was going to fast, but she stepped in front of it."
"Is that how you remember it, Jack?"
"It was a long time ago. I vaguely remember the night at all."
"Really, how odd. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it. I clearly remember the car jumping the curb, hitting the Professor, and dragging her down the street before speeding away."
"Forget it. She's dead and telling someone that some drunk college kid hit her with their car isn't going to bring her back. Besides, we didn't get a license or see the driver. It was too dark and we were kind of busy if you remember right."
"I always wondered what she was doing walking in the park alone, late at night. It wasn't like her to do something like that."
"Who knows. Would it make any difference?'
"It might. Maybe someone was going to meet her or maybe it was a set up."
Jack laughed, shaking his head. "Your imagination has gotten the best of you, sweetheart. Who or why would anyone want to harm the old girl?"
"That's exactly what has haunted me all these years. I think we should tell the police what we saw that night and let them decide if it would have made a difference."
"No!" The word exploded from his lips. Instantly regretting his reaction, he tried to smooth it over. "Listen, Katie, this kind of publicity would certainly hurt my chances to become Senator. If I honestly thought we might do any good, I'd be sitting in the Chief's Office right this minute, but we can't. All it will do is give my opponent something to sink his teeth into and spread lies about."
Running her finger tip around the edge of her glass, Katie stared into the darkness, mulling over everything Jack had said. Maybe he was right, and maybe they couldn't make a difference, but shouldn't they at least try? Her conscience told her what she didn't want to hear.
"Come on, Katie. Let's take a quick dip and clear our heads. Remember those moonlight dips down by the lake? You can't have forgotten those warm summer nights."
"No, I haven't forgotten." A smile brightened her face.
Grabbing her hand, he pulled her out of the chair. "Last one in is a skunk."
His contagious laughter rippled across the pool. Slipping out of her sundress, exposing her sultry body and string bikini, she raced spontaneously across the pool deck, diving deep into the dark water.
Moments later as she surfaced near the far end of the pool, she felt something bump against her. Assuming it was Jack, she playfully pushed him away. Her eyes adjusted to the night and a blood curdling scream filled the evening air.
"Oh my God ... it can't be!"
As darkness engulfed her, her body slowly disappeared beneath the water's surface.
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