Home > 10 Years Later

10 Years Later
Author: J. Sterling

Prologue

Cammie

You would think since the invention of the Internet that most people wouldn’t even be interested in having a high school reunion. Social media has all but taken away the mystery that used to be the most fun and appealing part of going to one in the first place. Nowadays, we no longer have to wonder how people from our class are doing; we see their mundane updates on the Internet every hour. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure my last status update went something like, “Taco Bell for lunch. So wrong, I don’t wanna be right.”

Yes, I realize I’m part of the problem.

Online interaction means that I know exactly what everyone from my high school has been up to for the last ten years. I know where everyone works, who they’re married to, what they look like now, how many kids they have, everything. The very idea of a reunion seems anticlimactic, to say the least.

Yet, I still want to be there. And so does everyone else, apparently, because it’s happening. Even though we already know about each other’s lives, I guess we still want to see our classmates in person, to have face-to-face conversations instead of cyber ones. To be honest, for me it’s mostly about seeing one particular someone in person. And I have no idea if he’ll be there or not.

For whatever reason, Dalton Thomas doesn’t have any social media pages, and I’d be lying if I told you it hasn’t driven me absolutely bat-shit crazy at times over the last ten years. I have no idea where he is, what he’s been doing, if he’s married (please don’t be married), or what he looks like now. And trust me, it’s not for lack of trying. Because I tried . . . I tried to find him all over Cyber Land. Mostly I convinced myself that it was to satisfy my perfectly natural curiosity, but I know the truth lay somewhere deeper than I cared to admit. The more I tried to find him and failed, the more obsessed I became. But none of it mattered, because I always came up empty-handed.

Dalton Thomas refused to be found.

Day Job

Cammie

I swiped my employee badge at the building entrance before hearing the lock unclick. It tended to be chilly at this time of the morning, even in LA, and I didn’t like standing out in the dark all alone for too long so I hurried inside, taking a quick glance behind me to make sure no one else tried to sneak in. Taking a sip from my gas station coffee—even Starbucks wasn’t open at this ungodly hour—I walked toward the bank of elevators. Sliding my badge again, I was greeted by the sound of the motor whirring to life before a set of doors opened with a loud ding that echoed in the otherwise empty lobby.

Once upstairs on the eighth floor, I pulled out an actual key and slipped it into the back door lock. The hallway lights turned on as I neared, creating a lighted pathway in front of me. Once I reached my desk, I tossed my belongings inside one of the filing cabinet drawers and heard my name being shouted from an office down the hall. We had one hour before the guys were scheduled to start their morning radio show, and this was when we always went over the material and made sure we had everything we needed for the day’s guests, if we had any coming in.

I was usually tasked with researching the latest celebrity gossip to find interesting headlines from around the world for the DJs to report on, chat about, and/or engage the listeners by making a contest out of it. Grabbing my notepad and a pen, I walked down the hall, peeking into various offices until I found them.

I first started working at the radio station right after college, interning for a full year before getting a paid position in the promotions department. Since then, I’d spent the last six years working my way through different divisions until I was finally hired on with the morning show after a coveted opening became available. My goal had always been to produce either a morning or an evening radio show, since those were the two most popular time slots at any station.

I’d been the assistant producer for the last eight months, and aside from waking up at freaking dawn, an hour no one in their right mind should ever be awake for, I loved pretty much everything about this job. John and Tom were the DJs, both in their midforties, married with kids, and had been waking up Los Angeles since I was in junior high school. A fact I enjoyed reminding them of because it made them feel old, and it was one of the few things I could actually tease them about and get away with. While John was the one who tended to push the envelope and asked the tough questions, Tom tended to wait cautiously in the background, either laughing or jumping in to smooth over any wrinkles John created.

“Morning, Cammie,” the guys said in unison as I entered John’s office. Tom, John, and my direct boss, Scott, all looked up at me as I walked in.

“Hi. So, what have we got today?” I sat down and jumped right in, readying my pen over my notepad.

“We have Bronson coming in for the commute.” Scott stared down at a printed checklist as he asked, “Cammie, did you order the fruit plate, the special juices, and the bagels?”

Bronson was an up-and-coming singer, and teenage girls who sneaked out of school would be lining up around the building just to catch a glimpse of him.

“I did. Everything should arrive by seven thirty, and I’ll set it up in the green room.”

We called our holding room the green room because it was literally painted green and looked like something out of The Jungle Book, with more plants than any one room should ever hold. It was furnished simply with a sage-green L-shaped couch, an oversized table, and a bookshelf overflowing with compact discs, something we didn’t even use anymore. All the compact disc players were kept in storage since everything was converted electronically and run via computers. We couldn’t even give them away to listeners because they didn’t have a way to play the damn things.

   
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