Ralph arrived at McDonald's and saw Rodney sitting in the corner. Ralph ordered his breakfast and went to sit down after being handed the tray.
"Thanks for having breakfast with me," Rodney said. "I've been really wanting to get a good McDonald's breakfast before school but I didn't want to do it alone."
"Why didn't you ask Cat or that other girl you seem to talk to a lot--Cassandra?"
"cat didn't want to get up so early and Cassandra is just a friend just like you are friend," Rodney said.
"But I love you with all my heart," Ralph joked.
"I would almost take you seriously if you weren't so fond of Laurie," Rodney said.
"I am not fond of Laurie. She's just a friend," Ralph said.
"Mm-hmm, sure. So you put in a good word for a friend?"
"My mom does own the only grocery store in town and maybe this will help get rid of Alicia. She's the worst employee we have," Ralph complained.
"Do those Russians still work at the store?" asked someone sitting behind Ralph.
Both Ralph and Rodney looked as the girl who spoke turned around. "Hi, Ralph. Long time, no see." The girl was a fair-skinned, green-eyed beauty with short red hair and glasses.
"Lillian? They let you out?" Ralph asked.
"Of course not. I escaped," she smiled.
"And yes Lillian, those Russians do still work there. Ludmilya and Anna are our best employees."
"That's great. Who's your friend?" Lillian asked.
"This is Rodney Barton. His family just moved here. Rodney, this is Lillian Floresch," Ralph introduced.
"Floresch? Is she...?" Rodney began.
"The mayor's daughter," Lillian said as she scooted into the booth next to Ralph. "I've been away for awhile. Until a few years ago, Ralph and I were the best of friends."
"As much as I hate to admit it..." Ralph sighed.
"You've been away? Away where?" Rodney asked.
"Depends on who you ask. Some say my dad's house, some say a hospital, others say a mental institution and a few have said I was in a special school for knocked up girls getting an abortion," Lillian said.
"So which one is it?" Rodney was confused and faked a smile.
Lillian scoffed. "Like I'd really say. The only people who know the truth are me, my therapist and my mom and you know she ain't saying anything," Lillian smiled and winked.
"She didn't disappear," Ralph corrected Rodney as they were standing at their lockers. "She went away."
"All right, where did she go away to?"
"No one knows the actual reason or where she went to," Ralph said. "Most people are in agreement that it was a hospital but are unsure if it was medical or mental."
Cat came up behind Rodney and hugged him. "What are we talking about?" she asked.
"Lillian is back," Ralph sighed.
"Oh, my. Did she escape?"
"Apparently she was let out on her own recognizance," Ralph said.
"Okay, wait. Since no one knows the full story, what do you two think?" asked Rodney, becoming aggravated.
"Well, it all starts the same. Lillian was part of our clique until something happened," Cat began. "She started hanging out with the depressing goths more and dressing more like them."
"Shortly after she became goth, she lost her virginity to our Mexican goth, Miquel," Ralph said.
"She didn't lose her virginity to him, he raped her!" Cat corrected.
"We don't know that for certain and even so I don't consider it rape if the victim then has consensual sex with her rapist," argued Ralph.
"But it's still rape, right Rodney?"
"I don't care," Rodney said. "I just want to know what happened."
"Well, after Miquel, she started acting weird but that didn't stop her from slutting it up with many different guys then one day, she stopped showing up for school," Ralph said.
"Since she was sleeping around so much," Cat continued, "people thought that is was STDs or a pregnancy."
"I think she just couldn't handle being sexually active. If she was raped I think that's what started it. Why she slept with her rapist and why she slept with a good portion of the rest of the school," Ralph commented. "But again, no one knows the exact story."
"Are we talking about Lillian?" Laurie asked, coming up to her friends. "Because I just saw her skipping past the office."
"Laurie? Where do you think she's been the last two years?" Rodney asked.
"I would say with her dad," Laurie said. "It makes the most sense."
"Where does her dad live?" he asked.
"New Mexico. I'm not exactly sure what he does there. Her dad's kind of wacky."
"Like father, like daughter," Ralph shrugged. "By the way, Laurie? You start work at the grocery store on Saturday."
"Oh, thank you. I can't wait to get to work!" she sounded ecstatic. "Thank you for helping me," and she hugged Ralph.
"That's the most action Ralph gotten since...ever," Cat said.
"They make such a cute couple," Rodney smiled.
"Guys, shut up," Ralph said.
"Hey, Cat," Lillian said as she sat down next to her in science class.
"Hey, Lil, you have science this hour?" she asked.
"Yeah. I need, like, half a credit to earn so here I am. Why are you here?"
"I like science," Cat said.
"How long have you and Rodney been dating?" Lillian asked, biting her tongue and smiling wide-eyed.
"Only about a month or so. We actually met the day he moved here but we only started our relationship at the beginning of October," Cat said.
"Is he okay? Is he a good boyfriend?" Lillian asked.
"He is a very good boyfriend. Best I've had," said Cat.
"That's really good to know..." Lillian said quietly.
"I don't know Holly," Mitch was unsure about Holly's want to go to New York for a weekend. "I don't really know this guy and I just don't think New York is the kind of place for two small town kids to be."
"Daddy, I understand but I really would like to go. How about just for a day. We can leave early and be back that night?" Holly compromised.
Mitch thought for a moment. "I'll say yes on two conditions. First, I set the hours. Leave at seven in the morning, return home by ten at night. Second, you and Adam have to double date with Rodney and Cat so they can tell me what kind of person he is. If they give me a bad review, it's off," Mitch said.
"What? Why can't he just come over for dinner one night?" Holly asked, sounding irritated.
"Because I'm going to be biased and Rodney and Cat will be able to see Adam more vulnerable than he would be around me. Do you accept?"
Holly thought and nodded her head. "Yes, I accept. I'll go tell Adam."
Holly left the doctor's office and Mitch grabbed the phone on his desk and dialed a number. "Hey, Rodney? Glad I caught you at home. Don't make any plans for this weekend because you and Cat will be double dating with Holly and Adam. So you can tell me what he's like. Well, I could just have him over for dinner but it's more fun pissing my children off."
The double date and Laurie works her first shift at the grocery store.