Just joining us? You may want to start at the beginning.
JD checked the wires and connections for the umpteenth time, making sure everything was soundly hooked to its respective device. The camera posted sentinel at the back of the room showed he and Dillon sitting at the folding table set up just inside the parlor door, its sharp image providing detail that was somewhat grainy in the waning hours of sunlight. In the dark, the picture would be sharp and clear. It was directed toward the wall, adjacent to the door, that ended at the exterior wall across from the tables where the tall, narrow windows looked out over the side yard opposite the parlor door. The corner of the two was centered in the shot.
The lengthening shadows of the afternoon began to infringe on visibility in the room. It was dark, precisely, but only the strong sun made it bright and cheery. The dusty rose hues that dominated much of the decor and the soft, non-reflective surfaces like the velvet camel-back sofa and loveseat set, the deep and rich area rug that sprawled over the dark hardwood planks, and the high-back wing chair with its toile and throw pillows drank the light as it weakened toward dusk.
Dillon watched JD, his eyes glassy and his lids drooping.
"How many times you gonna check the tweety crap, dude? It works already."
"I just don't want to miss anything for a stupid reason like a shoddy connection," JD said distractedly, still following wires and cables behind the gear.
Dillon sighed with an exaggerated volume and length.
JD ignored him. He put his feet up on the table with an overly heavy thud, but the equipment was not disturbed. JD ignored him. He sighed again, louder. JD ignored him. He dropped his feet onto the floor with a loud FLAP! and leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees and dropping his forehead on the table with an audible "clunk". JD ignored him.
"Dude ... this is boring. When's Wen gonna get here, man? This sucks, and you're 'bout as much fun as a root canal, y'know?"
"She didn't say, and I didn't ask," JD said absently.
"Why didn't you ask?"
"Because it doesn't matter, that's why."
"Why don't it matter?"
"Because she's going to get here when she gets here, I guess," JD said, still not really paying much attention to Dillon.
"But don'cha wanna know when that's gonna be?"
"Not particularly, no."
"Pff. I'd wanna know, that's for sure."
"'Cause, if I was datin' Wendy, I'd want her by me all the dang time. Whenever she wasn't workin', I'd want her around me. 'Cause that's what cool BFs do. But ... she's got you."
JD stopped what he was doing. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, nothin'" Dillon said absently, pretending to be intensely interested in the images on the monitor suddenly.
"Nothing? You make a crack like that and then say it's nothing? What do you mean by that statement?"
"Well," Dillon said, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms over his body to tuck his hands in his armpits, "I guess it means ... you're a sucky BF."
"What's a 'BF'?"
"Y'don' even know what a BF is?? DUDE!"
"No ... is it ... well, what is it already?"
"Boy-Friend, dumbass. Where ya been for, like, ever? No wonder you're a sucky one."
"How do you know? I've never dated you."
"Like I'd go out with you? Puh-leeze!"
"You'd be lucky to date me. It's I who wouldn't stoop to go around with you."
"Dude, you'd so be all fallin' on yourself an' crap ta get ta me. An' I'd turn ya down flat, and walk away laughin' an' stuff."
"That's ridiculous. I'd never ask you out. You're not at all what I look for in a person."
"Why not? I'm cool."
"No you're not, you're an idiot."
"And you're verbose."
"I said I get checked twice a year, ass-pimple!"
"And, you're a man."
"Wull ... yeah, there's that, I guess."
"But that's all irrelevant, because I still say you don't know what you're talking about."
"Well, I ... waitaminnit. What was I talkin' about?"
"You were talking, again from your rectum as usual, about how I'm not a good boyfriend for Wendy. And as usual, you're wrong. I'm a very good boyfriend."
"Oh, tha's right ... no you ain't, ya stink."
"No, I don't."
"Yeah y'do, dude. Y'don't even care if she shows up or not. That so is lousy."
"I didn't say I didn't care if she showed up, I said I wasn't concerned about what time she did. Big difference."
"Still shows y'don' care."
"What the hell are you yammering about?? How??"
"'Cause if y'cared, you'd wanna know when she's gonna be here."
"'Cause then if she's late an' stuff, y'can call 'er and tell 'er you're worried."
"Why would I worry?"
"'Cause you'd be carin'. Since y'don', y'don'. Er ... yeah. Y'don' worry, 'cause y'don' care ... yeah. That."
"That's stupid. Of course I worry if there's a reason to."
"So how come y'didn't call an' ask 'er when she was gonna be here? See, that'd tell 'er you're worried and wanna make sure she's okay."
"If she needed help she'd call. She does have a cell phone, you know."
"But a good BF would so make sure she's okay, that's all I'm sayin'."
"I am a good boyfriend. I care about her very much and her well being, and when it's called for, I follow up to ensure she's all right. Thanks for your input."
"I'm jus' sayin' is all. You could show some love, y'know? Where's the love, JD?"
"I could euthanize you ... would that show love?"
"Dude ... hostile."
"Pff. You may not even know what that word means."
"Dude ... hostile."
"Whatever. I'm going to go get some things out of the car. Don't touch anything."
"Just see to it, please," JD said as he rounded out the door to the foyer. He opened the door, stepped out on the porch and took a few steps down the walk before turning to the right, away from the parlor side of the house. He stopped, looked carefully around, and took his cell phone out of his pocket, quickly dialing.
"Hi, Wen? It's me. Listen, when are you going to get here, do you know?"
"Well, HI, baby!" Wendy's voice was slightly distorted on the other end of the phone, but it still sent an electric thrill racing through him and he nearly shivered. "How sweet of you to check on me."
"I ... I wasn't trying to nag or anything. I just ..."
Wendy paused. "What? Missed me?"
JD blushed deeply, furiously. "Well ... yes, sort of, and I wanted to know when to expect you. So that I would ... you know, so I can plan ... just in case ..."
"Aw," Wendy cooed. "Are you worried I was going to mess up your investigation again, lover?"
"NO!" JD said, too quickly. "I mean, of course not, no. I was just ... you know, that way if ... for some reason if you run behind, I can ... I wanted to be able to ..."
Wendy giggled delightedly. "How cute! Are you worried about me, sweetie?"
JD blushed even further somehow. "I ... don't ... yes."
"You're too sweet, my love," she said, hearing him squirm. "But don't worry your gorgeous little head. I'll be there in about ten minutes, and let Dilly know I brought food. He's probably starving by now."
"How did you ... how did you know that?"
"Never mind. I can't ... wait to see you." He blushed again and quickly interjected. "I have a lot of information to share with you. My research was very productive."
"Ooh, I can't wait to hear all about it, and I love you too, sweetheart. Bye, now."
She disconnected the call before JD could respond. He stared at the phone for a few seconds, grinning stupidly at it with her image stamped firmly in his mind. Slowly he turned around and nearly knocked Dillon over.
JD yelped in start, but Dillon was just grinning like a Cheshire cat, shaking his head slowly.
"Dillon! Jeez! What are you doing out here??"
"I so heard all that, dude."
"Will you go inside and watch the equipment, please?"
"'Quipment's not goin' nowhere, dude," he said chuckling. "How's Wen? When's she gonna be here?"
JD blushed again. "Not that it's any of your business, but she's fine and will be here in about ten minutes. And she said to tell you she's bringing food."
"Aw, SWEEEEEEET!" Dillon said, jumping up and clapping his hands. "Did she say what?"
"You'd be lucky if it were road-kill. Come on, help me get a tripod from the car, butthead."
"So she didn't say what it was?"
"Will you come on, please?"
Dillon followed JD to the car parked beyond the tiny gates that opened between the hedges onto the sidewalk.
"Oh, dude. A good BF would have left this open for Wen."
"You didn't mention that when we parked."
"I'm so not the BF, dude, you are, 'member?"
"She'll be fine."
"What if she's carryin' drinks 'n stuff, dude? She's gonna hafta walk more with all that crap."
"No she won't. You're going to wait for her on the porch and help her carry the bags and drinks or whatever in."
"I am? But you're the BF, dude!"
"I'm also the paranormal investigator, and have to make sure we're ready if anything happens, so you will help Wendy ... this time."
"Naw, man, you should --"
"You will, Dillon."
The sun was a brilliant slick of orange liquid poured out over the horizon, spreading across the rolling, dense treetops of the hills surrounding the little town. The hills were darkened against the dimness, fading from a deep purple hue to pitch black as they slipped down away from the retreating sun. JD watched the azure sky for a moment as the last flattened disk of the sun blotted out behind a hilltop before returning to the task at hand, which he suddenly realized he'd manufactured to get away from Dillon and talk to Wendy. He checked his watch briefly, and wondered when -- or IF -- the events of last night would play themselves out again. And how.