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Home > Tell Me Your Dreams(10)

Tell Me Your Dreams(10)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

He studied her a moment. "Who would want to kill you?"

"I - I have no idea."

"Have you seen anyone following you?"

"No."

"You live alone, don't you?"

"Yes."

"Are you seeing anyone? I mean romantically?"

"No. Not right now."

"So it's been a while since you - I mean sometimes when a woman doesn't have a man in her life - well, a kind of physical tension can build up...."

What he's trying to tell me is that I need a good -  She could not bring herself to say the word. She could hear her father yelling at her, "Don't ever say that word again. People will think you're a little slut. Nice people don't say flick. Where do you pick up that kind of language?"

"I think you've just been working too hard, Ashley. I don't believe you have anything to worry about. It's probably just tension. Take it a little easier for a while. Get more rest."

"I'll try."

Shane Miller was waiting for her. "What did Dr. Speakman say?"

Ashley managed a smile. "He says I'm fine. I've just been working too hard."

"Well, we'll have to do something about that," Shane said. "For openers, why don't you take the rest of the day off?" His voice was filled with concern.

"Thanks." She looked at him and smiled. He was a dear man. A good friend. He can't be the one, Ashley thought. He can't.

During the following week, Ashley could think of nothing but the reunion. I wonder if my going is a mistake? What if Jim Cleary does show up? Does he have any a how much he hurt me? Does he care? Will he even remember me?

The night before Ashley was to leave for Bedford, she was unable to sleep. She was tempted to cancel her flight. I'm being silly, she thought. The past is the past.

When Ashley picked up her ticket at the airport, she examined it and said, "I'm afraid there's been some mistake. I'm flying tourist. This is a first-class ticket."

"Yes. You changed it."

She stared at the clerk. "I what?"

"You telephoned and said to change it to a first-class ticket." He showed Ashley a slip of paper. "Is this your 'Credit card number?"

She looked at it and said slowly, "Yes..."

She had not made that phone call.

Ashley arrived in Bedford early and checked in at the Bedford Springs Resort. The reunion festivities did not start until six o'clock that evening, so she decided to explore the town. She hailed a taxi in front of the hotel.

"Where to, miss?"

"Let's just drive around."

Hometowns were supposed to look smaller when a native returned years later, but to Ashley, Bedford looked larger than she had remembered. The taxi drove up and down familiar streets, passing the offices of the Bedford Gazette and television station WKYE and a dozen familiar restaurants and art galleries. The Baker's Loaf of Bedford was still there and Clara's Place, the Fort Bedford Museum and Old Bedford Village. They passed the Memorial Hospital, a graceful three-story brick building with a portico. It was there that her father had become famous.

She recalled again the terrible, screaming fights between her mother and father. They had always been about the same thing. About what? She could not remember.

At five o'clock, Ashley returned to her hotel room. She changed clothes three times before finally deciding on what she was going to wear. She settled on a simple, flattering black dress.

When Ashley entered the festively decorated gymnasium of Bedford Area High School, she found herself surrounded by 120 vaguely familiar-looking strangers. Some of her former classmates were completely unrecognizable, others had changed little. Ashley was looking for one person: Jim Cleary. Would he have changed much? Would he have his wife with him? People were approaching Ashley.

"Ashley, it's Trent Waterson. You look great!"

"Thanks. So do you, Trent."

"I want you to meet my wife...."

"Ashley, it is you, isn't it?"

"Yes. Er - "

"Art. Art Davies. Remember me?"

"Of course." He was badly dressed and looked ill at ease.

"How is everything going, Art?"

"Well, you know I wanted to become an engineer, but it didn't work out."

"I'm sorry."

"Yeah. Anyway, I became a mechanic."

"Ashley! It's Lenny Holland. For God's sake, you look beautiful!"

"Thank you, Lenny." He had gained weight and was wearing a large diamond ring on his little finger.

"I'm in real estate now, doing great. Did you ever get married?"

Ashley hesitated. "No."

"Remember Nicki Brandt? We got married. We have twins."

"Congratulations."

It was amazing how much people could change in ten years. They were fatter and thinner... prosperous and downtrodden. They were married and divorced... parents and parentless....

As the evening wore on, there was dining and music and dancing. Ashley made conversation with her former classmates and caught up on their lives, but her mind was on Jim Cleary. There was still no sign of him. He won't come, she decided. He knows I might be here and he's afraid to face me.

An attractive-looking woman was approaching. "Ashley! I was hoping I'd see you." It was Florence Schiffer. Ashley was genuinely glad to see her. Florence had been one of her closest friends. The two of them found a table in the corner, where they could talk.

"You look great, Florence," Ashley said.

"So do you. Sorry I'm so late. The baby wasn't feeling well. Since I last saw you, I've gotten married and divorced. I'm going out with Mr. Wonderful now. What about you? After the graduation party, you disappeared. I tried to find you, but you'd left town."

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