The four-some now seated in chairs around the large oval oak table as the waiter retrieves the menus.
“I will get your orders in.” And the short black man walks away.
Julie’s brown eyes carefully study the faces around the table as she slowly sips at her wine. “So, Brad,” and turns them solely to the man sitting to her right, “What on earth have you been up to since I last saw you?”
Brad grins as he leans back. “Nothing exciting. Just work.”
“Marketing, huh?” She purses her lips, “For whom?”
“Altvision Communications.” He replies as he bit into a breadstick.
“Wow, one of the four media giants.” Her smile widen as she fingers her glass. “You must be one of the lowly assistants working his way up the career rung by now.”
He chuckles, “Hardly. Try the Director of the Marketing Department.”
“Di-rec-tor…my heavens, that’s a far cry from being a lab rat with Dalton Co-Op.”
“A lab rat?” Eddie’s hazel-green eyes sparkle as he stares at Brad across the table.
Brad lets out a laugh, “That’s Julie’s way of calling any desk clerk who worked for Dalton back in the day.”
“They were directly responsible for polluting all the lakes upstate which cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars.”
“And you don’t feel the least bit guilty for forcing them out of business and driving hundreds of people out of work?” Brad asks, the smile now gone.
“What they were doing was criminal, and it was my job to expose them.” Julie’s eyes now slits.
“Yeah, well, the timing couldn’t have been worse.” Brad grabs another breadstick. “You could have at least waited until after Christmas to break the story.”
“Are you a reporter?” Eddie’s interest now piqued as he focuses on the curly red head between Brad and Laura.
Julie shrugs, “Yeah, a crime beat reporter,” and takes another sip of the red wine.
“You don’t sound very enthused.” He says.
“It’s a job.”
“Don’t let her fool you, Ed.” Brad points a half-eaten breadstick at his friend. “Journalism’s in her blood just like her father, and her grandfather.”
“I see.” Eddie drinks from a bottle of beer. “A generational legacy that you don’t seem to relish much of.”
“It comes natural, and it made sense at the time.” She says.
“Writing comes natural to Julie all right. Did you know she’s also a published author?” Laura smiles at Julie who frowns back.
“Oh, really?” Brad says, “What do you write?”
“Guilty pleasure. Let’s not make a big deal out of it.” Julie replies.
“She writes horror.” Laura answers for her friend.
“A crime beat reporter slash horror writer. Wow, never saw that one coming.” Brad sneers.
“Whatever.” Julie flicks her long hair off her shoulders and turns to face Eddie. “What of you? Let me guess, an international spy?” She asks in a leering tone.
“You’re not too far off the mark.” Eddie replies. “I’m a freelance Threat Analyst.”
“What the heck is that?” Julie’s nose crinkles at him.
“Mainly I hunt the web for any malicious activities, and put a stop to them.”
“That sounds–interesting I suppose.” Julie says.
It was Eddie’s turn to laugh as he drinks more of the beer. “Oh, it can get very interesting.”
“What about you, Laura?” Brad asks.
Laura leans forward as she studies the flickering candle at the table’s center which casts shadows across her fair face. “I’m currently doing my Forensic Pathology Residency at North Peak’s Regional Medical Center.”
“Fascinating. We have a budding doctor with us.” Brad smiles at her.
“You did it.” Eddie says. “You’ve accomplished one of your dreams.” His warm smile causes Laura’s cheeks to color.
“It’s still a work in progress, but yeah, I’m getting there.” She returns his smile.
His expression then grows more somber. “I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch. I never meant to leave like that.”
Laura shrugs, “You had a family emergency that required you to leave the country. Besides, it was for the best. For us, anyway.”
Eddie nods. “You’ve always been so understanding, Laurie. You deserve someone to be equally so.” His accent now more pronounced.
“Oh my, here’s our dinner!” Julie blurts out as the waiter came to their table with a tray full of food. “I’m starving!”
End of Chapter Two
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