Once on the plane, Cade took out the folder that Rory had given to him last week. May as well get started, he told himself, opening Julie’s file and deciding to start with her letters to Rory.
January 26, 2001
I suppose I ought to tell you that I’m dating the guy your mother was so hell-bent on you marrying. Daddy invited him over for dinner last month and the sparks flew. He loves my body, loves my sense of humor. He probably loves my stepfather’s political connections, too. I’m not stupid.
Anyway, I admit that I thought he was a babe long before I officially met him, though I never told you because your mother was coming down so hard on you that I didn’t want to add to your stress. Alexander and I have been seeing each other since that dinner, and I think things are going pretty well. He told me he’d just broken up with his last girlfriend right before we started dating. He said he wanted something serious, something permanent, and all she wanted to do was party. When I look at him, I can’t imagine not being with him forever. When I’m with him, life is perfect. Everyone has a soul mate out there, and Alexander has to be mine. It’s almost like we can read each other’s minds sometimes…
Cade wondered how much he could stomach as he read Julie’s description of Alex, her rhapsodies about his sandy brown hair and his lovely hazel eyes, and her reasons for why he was her soul mate. Then again, he reminded himself, Julie was only nineteen or twenty at the time and – apparently – in love for the first time.
There’s something else. When he was a junior, he was dating this other girl, and she killed herself. I don’t know if you ever heard because he kept it pretty quiet. When I asked him why, he said it was because she was depressed but never told anyone, not even him. He said that she didn’t love him enough to trust him with that information and that, had he known, he would have done everything to help her. Do you suppose that’s why he’s so attentive? He said he’s terrified of losing me…
Cade frowned as he turned back to his reading. Frankly, the last thing he cared about was Alex’s courtship of a vulnerable girl. It was obvious that Julie had been screaming for love and attention. If Alex’s college girlfriend had hurt him that deeply, then Julie was a perfect match for him.
He flipped through the other papers, pulling out the photographs. Julie had gotten ready for the date at home, and since it was expected that Alex would propose that night, Laura has snapped a number of pictures of Julie and Alex.
What am I missing? He studied another photo of Alex and Julie. He couldn’t see anything amiss. Julie was standing to the right of Alex, and they had their arms around each other. Julie’s left hand was holding her purse, and her other was out of sight around his waist. Both of them were smiling for the camera. She was wearing the red dress and the necklace that had been found with her body. Her purse and all if its contents, except for the cell phone, had been found with her as well. Nothing jumped out at him, nothing appeared out of place.
I’m exhausted. He closed the folder and put it into his briefcase. It was a short flight, he might as well get a few minutes of shuteye. I’ll look again once I get some rest.