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Soon Debra and John were quietly looking for a place together. It had to do with vigilance and quick reflexes and the will to fight.They found a ,500-a-month house on the boardwalk on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. “The world ends,” she would say, “and those who are fit to survive will survive.” She was as nonconfrontational as her sister Jacquelyn was assertive.She went to bed thinking, “Jerk.” She thought, “Cross off another one.” The next day she was back at her office, a little sad, trying to lose herself in work.Over the 30 years that she had built Ambrosia Interior Design, it had been her refuge amid many romantic disappointments.Her four kids were grown, she ran a flourishing interior design firm, and she was looking for a man to share her success with.Her date was 55, 6 feet 2, with hard-jawed good looks and a gym-sculpted frame.
Candles flickered along the polished-mahogany bar; jazz drifted from speakers; conversation purred. Her cornsilk-blond hair fell in waves over her shoulders.If your eagerness or loneliness or desperation showed too soon, you were done. “Best thing that will ever happen to you,” he replied.He began spending the night regularly at her Irvine penthouse. She was convinced that her kids would understand how wonderful he was once they got to know him.She thought they’d find something bad to say about anyone she dated. Debra wasn’t about to tell her kids that John would be moving in with her. At 23, Terra watched and rewatched every episode of “The Walking Dead.” She spoke of the series less as entertainment than as a primer on how to survive apocalyptic calamity.Her friends sometimes joked about her being a “bad picker.” Where other people saw red flags, she saw a parade. She knew what they’d say — that she was moving too fast, acting with her heart, repeating old mistakes. She made careful note of why some characters lived and others perished.