I scanned the bar area. There was a comfortable amount of space between me and the next drunk. I could speak with a little comfort.
“So, there is no other way than to just ask it. Charlie didn’t lose his virginity to you, did he?”
Lacy laughed, didn’t seem bothered by my question.
“You really weren’t kidding. And, I like how you answered the question already, but, you’re right. He didn’t.”
Lacy’s bubbly demeanor seemed to melt quite a bit. She took some time to grab my Diet Coke and then avoided eye contact with me when she slid it over.
“Sorry,” I muttered into my fizzing drinking.
“It’s just. He was in here the other day and it got weird and that specific topic is not a good one.”
My intrigue meter tilted to the right along with my rare confidence meter. I’m not above admitting that having the upper hand in a conversation with the town girl next door didn’t feel good.
“I heard he was in town. Haven’t seen him yet though. But why is it a bad topic? If you don’t mind me asking.”
Lacy kept her eyes down, ignoring me and a leer from a dirty man down the bar.
“I don’t think most people know about Charlie and Jessica and I don’t love talking about it, because even I don’t really think I know what happened. I just have what I was told.”
“Jessica who?” I stopped Lacy with a question.
Lacy nodded a somber confirmation.
The reason Jessica Wedington was said in such a hushed tone was she died under mysterious circumstances when Charlie and Lacy were in high school. The paper said she died of alcohol poisoning – 105-pound freshman girl, first party, too much to drink, you know the drill. But people around town always had their questions for a lot of reasons….
Reason #1 – Everyone who was at that party swore they never actually saw Jessica drink.
Reason #2 – She was found on the edge of a creek at the bottom of a ravine more than two miles from the party in the dead of winter. She would have had to walk a very, very long way and then fall down a hill to end up where she was.
Reason #3 – One of Jessica’s closest friends came forward to the police a month after they declared her as an alcohol poisoning victim saying that Jessica told her that night that she was meeting up with a guy to have sex, but she wouldn’t say who because it wasn’t her boyfriend (Steven Marbury – quickly cleared as a suspect. He was out of town at a basketball camp that night).
Reason #4 – Her parents maintained to this day that the police would never release her toxicology reports to show if there was any kind of date rape drug in her system. Though, her parent’s were non-respected members of the community who were kicked out of church for drinking during a service.
Reason #5 – One of the sheriffs in the department quit shortly after the whole ordeal because he was so upset about how the investigation went down.
Now Lacy was standing there telling me Charlie lost his virginity to Jessica under sketchy circumstances.
I was cataloging a big Reason #6 which was Jessica may have been hanging out with my growing very suspicious oldest brother when Lacy spoke up again.
“He told me he never told anyone else. I didn’t even know if I believed him, but he told me he hung out with her that night before she went missing. He said they had sex in his truck and then he lost track of her and felt really bad and had to tell someone. He made me swear to never tell anyone and since I was like young and in love and thought he was probably making it up.”
Lacy used her tongue to flick a piece of hair into her mouth and started chewing on it.
“I don’t think he had anything to do with it though,” Lacy insisted and returned eye contact. “He actually told me a couple years later that he made that all up.”
“Well,” I had to stop myself and take a deep breath. “That was a lot, wasn’t it?”
Lacy and I stared at each other awkwardly for a few moments.
“Well, have a good one,” I broke the silence and wheeled away.