“Not friends, just girls. If it’s a girl, he’s there. They come to him.”
Chris moved on, so it wouldn’t seem like an interrogation. “Tell me about Trevor. What’s he like? He seems so outgoing.”
“He is. He gets along with everybody. He’s a farm boy.”
“You mean he lives on a farm?” Chris didn’t understand. He had researched Trevor online and learned that the boy lived with his family in a development in Central Valley. Trevor’s social media was sparse except for the weight lifting videos.
“Oh, whoops, I guess I shouldn’t have said anything.” Jordan grimaced. “It’s, like, secret.”
“What’s secret about it? I won’t tell anybody.”
“Trevor doesn’t live at the address they have for him at school.” Jordan leaned over. “Like, it’s the wrong address in the Booster directory. His family has a farm but it’s outside the school district, near Rocky Springs. They told the school he lives at his uncle’s address in town so he could go to CVHS.”
“Is it a dairy farm or what?” Chris’s ears pricked up. If Trevor lived on a farm, he could have access to fertilizer and a place to store it. But he’d need fifty bags or so to make an IED powerful enough to blow up a building, which would explain why he’d be stealing more from Herb Vrasaya’s farm.
“I don’t know, I’ve never been to the farm. But that’s how he got so big. He can bench press, like, 250. He’s a monster.”
“What’s his personality like? You don’t think he would be the kind of guy to get depressed, do you know?”
“Nah. The only thing is he’s got a temper.”
“I saw, at the party. How about Dylan?” Chris was ticking off the names on his suspect list. He’d pump Jordan until he struck oil.
“Dylan’s a nice guy.”
“He seems it.” Chris was starting to see the shortcomings of his unwitting. Jordan liked everything and everybody, and Chris would have to pull teeth to get better information. “But he’s the quiet type, isn’t he?”
“Totally. He works so hard. He gets really good grades. Evan thinks he’s a total geek.”
“Do you know Dylan?”
“Yes, him, I know. He played JV with me, too. He’s not superhard-core into baseball. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great player and I don’t want to dis him to you—”
“No, I get that.”
“He plays because his parents make him, and he’s so tall, like the tallest on the team, and it helps him in the outfield. And he can hit. His mechanics are good.”
“Right. Where are they tonight, Dylan and Trevor? Do you know?”
“I don’t know.”
“Who do they hang with?”
Jordan shook his head. “Nobody I know. They’re both, like, loners. Trevor especially. He never goes anywhere because he has so many farm chores.”
“Where’s the farm?”
“On Skinny Lane Road. It’s called Skinny Lane Farm. I remember the name because Raz said it should be called Meathead Lane Farm, for him.” Jordan sipped his water, chuckling.
“How about Dylan? Who’s he friendly with?” Chris’s research on Dylan’s social media had shown that the boy had only six friends who were people and the other fifteen were scientific organizations like CERN, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and Curiosity Rover. Chris thought it didn’t get lonelier than having an inanimate object for a friend.
“Nobody, he studies all the time. Like on the bus to away games, he puts his headphones on and keeps studying. Once I asked him what he was listening to, and he said ‘nothing, I just want to block you guys out.’”
Chris had another thought. “I wonder why he’s not in our AP Government class. He must be on the AP track, right?”
“Yes, but he took Government last year. He takes everything ahead of everybody else. He’s on an independent study now. He took Physics last year, too.”
“How about Chemistry?” Chris asked, since Dylan’s interest in the sciences was a red flag.
“I don’t know.” Jordan shrugged. “Come to think of it, Dylan is kind of weird. Maybe you should be worried about him, with depression and all. He seemed weird this morning when we heard about Mr. Y. Everybody was upset, but he wasn’t. He told all of us about it like it was a news story.”
“Yeah, I noticed that,” Chris said, meaning it. Dylan showed a marked lack of empathy when he told everyone about the scene at the high school, with the crying teachers. In contrast, Raz had been holding back tears, his face mottled with emotion, not to cry in front of the team.
Jordan wheeled his head around. “Wonder what happened to the waitress? Maybe we should just go?”
“Okay, it’s getting late. Your mom’s probably wondering where you are.” Chris didn’t want to arouse Jordan’s suspicions and he was looking forward to seeing Heather again. Maybe they’d have another talk over water and cookies.
“No, not tonight.” Jordan stood up. “She’s out on a date.”
“Oh, good,” Chris forced himself to say, rising.
For Heather, the check couldn’t come fast enough. She hadn’t ordered dessert, but her date had, oblivious to the fact that she was having a horrible time. She sat across from him, muting him in her mind, like a commercial she couldn’t fast-forward. He was decent-looking and had a great job, but she didn’t want looks or even money. What she wanted was a man who was interested in her, and she knew that her date wasn’t interested in her by the appetizer, a mixed green salad.
It only went downhill from there, when, in response to her so what do you do for a living, he started mansplaining title insurance. They’d ordered entrees, and she’d listened to him drone on through her poached salmon with yogurt dill dressing. She could’ve put up with it if he had just asked one question about her. That was her test for first dates—whether he learned as much about her as she did about him.
But by the time the check came, he still had no idea whether she had children, a job, a dog, or preexisting illness. That didn’t stop him from pawing her in the parking lot on the way to her car and forcing his tongue into her mouth. She pushed him away, got in the car, and drove home, looking forward to taking off her bra, getting into her pajamas, and watching her DVRed shows, which were backing up like a Things To Do List for the unemployed.