David and Rachel rode in a car together. David drove. Rachel sat next to him She was a bit frightened because they were driving on a mountain, and it seemed one false turn could make them fall thousands of feet down. She tried to remind herself they couldn't die in the dreams...not even these magical dreams.
"Are you okay?" David asked.
"I can slow down," he said.
"Okay," she said. "I mean if you want."
"Well, I don't want you looking scared to death."
He smiled. "No need to apologize."
She tried to smile back, but couldn’t quite manage it.
"I went to the store," he said.
"The one where I got that little rock. The one that gave me the dreams?"
"Oh yeah." She had forgotten about the rock. Was it still under her bed?
"There is an Eddie who used to work there. But he died."
"The same Eddie?"
"I'm guessing," David said. Rachel must have looked pale again, because then he said. "Am I driving too fast again?"
"It doesn't matter," she said, trying to convince herself as well as him. "This is all just a dream."
He gave her an amused look.
She smiled. "You know what I mean."
Then suddenly he slammed on the brakes. Turned off the engine, took out the keys, and opened the door. Rachel just sat there, a bit too surprised to move.
"What are you doing?" She asked finally as he got out of the car.
"There's no reason we need to be driving. You obviously hate my driving."
She giggled. "I don't hate it."
"You look more scared now than you did in the theater," he said as she followed him out the car. "When we saw your nightmare on screen?"
"Plus, speaking of nightmares-I don't like driving much anyway. It's why I try to spend most of my time in New York. I can walk everywhere."
Rachel looked at him, wanting to know more. But she didn't want to seem overeager.
"Well, you know because of my brother? The car accident."
He shrugged his shoulders. "And that's that."
Should she say something? Something trite like “I'm here if you want to talk about it? You poor thing, come cry on my shoulder?”
She kept silent.
"I miss him," David said.
"How long ago did he--” she stopped herself because it was a stupid insensitive question. It sounded like she was trying to determine if he had been dead too long to be missed. It's not like Rachel meant it that way, but she knew it might sound like that.
"Five years ago."
"He was really great.
"Hey, let's walk," David said.
So, they walked. Down the mountain. Rachel noticed she had hiking boots on. She didn't even own hiking boots in real life. David also had hiking boots. She wondered if he owned some. She wondered why she even cared about it.
David talked and Rachel listened. "He was six when he died. I was sixteen. So if he was alive today, he'd be twelve."
In the movie he had been much older. Another adult. Rachel wondered if David noticed, but she decided it was best not to ask.
"Anyway, let's talk about something else," David said.
“If you want," Rachel said. She didn't want him to change the subject for her sake.
"I read your whole blog."
The whole thing? Rachel was shocked. She expected maybe he'd glance at it, perhaps read a few entries.
"I loved it."
She was too shocked to speak...couldn't even manage to thank him for the compliment.
"You are very obsessed with food." Just when she was about to be insulted, he smiled at her. It was the smile he used in movies to disarm the cold-hearted angry female protagonist. "I like food too. Who doesn't?"
"I don't know," Rachel said quietly.
"You're too shy," he said. He reached out and took her hand. "You really are." But that just made her feel more shy. She wondered if he could tell that her hand trembled.
He leaned over. For a second, Rachel thought he was going to kiss her. And instead of being excited about it, it terrified her. She had never kissed anyone before. She knew she would fail miserably and David would hate her.
But he didn't kiss her. He just whispered in her ear. "I think it's time for me to go. Good-bye."
And then he disappeared.