It was strange to see her look this alive. Rebecca had never worn anything like this before. The little black dress hugged her curves as she strutted across the room. He had never seen her so confident, so self-assured. The clank of her little red heels fell like drumbeats across the floor. Her hips swayed in the distance. It was if he had been waiting there for hours, just sitting there in a small chair in the auditorium of Redwood Lake High.
It looked exactly like it had been a year ago, when it was set up for junior prom. Strangely, the dance floor was empty. He held a red cup of punch in his hands and blinked, trying to make out her outline in the darkness.
Where was everyone, anyway? Usually Rebecca sported her black hair in a bun and donned very little makeup. Now her lips were a bright shade of red, her wavy black hair sprawling beautifully past her shoulders and onto her waist.
Tonight, her head was held high. Her shoulders were no longer slumped as they usually were when she pored over a book. It was if she had undergone a personality transplant overnight. Her lips teasingly grazed the side of his neck and her hot breath left a chill down his spine.
He gulped as he suddenly realized why: For a passing moment, he wondered what it would be like to touch them, cup them in his hands. There was something different about them. He watched as she removed the straps of her dress and began to guide his hands over her neck. Looked like he was going to find out the answer to his question after all. Her short red hair bounced, shining in the sunlight as they stood around the parking lot.
Matthew was sitting on top of the hood of his car as she leaned over at him, grinning. She cupped his chin, planted a wet kiss on his cheek and pretended examine him with the gaze of an observant surgeon. Dark circles under the eyes…refusing to make eye contact with girlfriend.
Oh ho, maybe a wet dream or two? Matthew pretended to wipe the slobber off his cheek, swatting at her playfully. Behind her were some of her usual posse: Dogs wearing heels and dancing. Everyone in the crowd seemed to freeze a little and stared at each other awkwardly. Nobody met his gaze head-on. She laughed with a glimmer of contempt in her eyes. Her bottom lip quivered a bit. Then again, no girl probably enjoyed hearing her boyfriend having dreams about another woman — let alone a dead girl.
The rest of the crowd laughed along. Do we really need to relive the horror of that? But why was he so intent on defending a dead girl? She had nothing to do with him. Nothing, he reassured himself.
As if she was literally dying to tell him something. He had never looked at them before that closely when she was alive. Not straight into them, anyhow. They held deep pools of knowing — as if she had a feeling all along about what was about to happen. The parts where he would see her in that black lace dress — or the time where she wore that red nightie. The few dreams where she wore nothing at all. The weird, unsettling dreams where the blood ran down her wrists but he was too busy moaning while inside of her.
She had always been an irritating, all-too-happy morning person. What was it about Rebecca anyway? Was it seeing her pictures in the school halls? The quiet way Rebecca grimaced whenever she saw him in the halls before she scurried off, afraid he would know how much she liked him? The sorrow in the eyes of her parents as they spoke to the principal about the upcoming ceremony? The sound of his alarm clock disrupted his train of thought. But after bombing that test, he knew he could use a pick-me-up.
It made him nervous. There were only a few classmates present, sitting quietly in the back tables with their faces tucked behind books. The rest, he assumed, were in the library, getting prepared for midterms. Her gray, matted hair was tucked messily behind her ears and her big, toothy smile contained the same joy that he always remembered.
He stared down at his calloused hands, deep in thought. Yesterday night these same hands had done some rather unspeakable things. It was silly to feel guilty about a dream — yet why did it feel so real? The waitress was a girl with long black hair and dark eyes — and she looked very much like Rebecca.
It was her red lipstick that caught him off guard — it was the same shade of lipstick she had worn in the dream. She looked so much like her that he gazed at her with his mouth wide open. She sounded like her. She even appeared to move like her, swaying confidently as she reached forward to take his mug.
He had to shake himself. Get a fucking grip, Edwards. Long day at school, hon? He watched her walk away, her long hair drifting past her shoulders and onto her backside. Rebecca gave him a coquettish look as she slyly guided his hands over to her ass. He squeezed almost instinctively. He had to admit — her nice, round ass was properly spankable. God, how had he not seen how hot she was when she was alive?
He had always pinned her as the shy, nerdy type — and she always seemed so submissive when Bree and the girls made fun of her. But sitting with her legs wrapped around him, topless in a little mini-skirt with her lips painted a shade of pink — made her seem a tad more dominant this time around.
She was in control. I am not the one having dreams about a dead girl. He tried to cup her face to move her head back. He wanted to look into her eyes — to see what she meant — but he quickly recoiled and dropped his hands. Her dark and stormy eyes were no more. They were now bleeding and in their place were empty, gaping holes as if they had been freshly gouged out. Blood dripped over his shirt collar and he could feel his neck now wet with something other than sweat.
Her breath smelled rancid as she tried to get closer as he struggled anxiously to push her away. He closed his eyes, praying he would wake up soon. He breathed heavily into his pillow. It was just a nightmare, he told himself. A dream turned nightmare. He stared over at his clock. Today was the day of the ceremony. None of his friends were going. But he knew he had to attend. He knew he had to find out the truth. It was an impressive turnout — more motivated by regret moreso than memory, Matthew suspected.
Rebecca hung with a small group of friends and kept mostly to herself. He was looking around for a seat when he saw it — a flash of red hair in the midst of the students who were standing. What the hell was she doing here?
After all her talk about how unimportant Rebecca had been, Bree looked all too anxious as she stared around the auditorium, also looking for a seat. Then, without even saying hello, she turned away and marched out of the auditorium without a second glance.