So, unless this version of the Terminator universe has the cyborgs succeeding within the first few minutes, it appears we're opening with a dream sequence. Sarah screams, and runs over to cradle her son's dead body. The Terminator approaches, and Sarah yells for him to kill her, saying nothing matters anymore. He amiably agrees, saying "only the boy" mattered. "The future is ours, and it begins now," he says. With that, a bright light fills the sky, from a mushroom cloud in the distance. Behind the Terminator, the school disintegrates, and the blast burns the human right off his metal skeleton. John and Sarah are unburned. The grinning cyborg strides over to John and Sarah (looking a million times more realistic than in the first movie, thank god)...
...which is when Sarah wakes up.
She wakes up, not being strangled by a Terminator, but next to a shirtless Dean Winters. This is, clearly, much preferable to being strangled by a futuristic killing machine. Dean, er, "Charley Dixon," asks if she's okay, and accepts at face value her response that she is, ignoring her all-around shiftiness to say the "guy at the store" said any woman would be lucky to have the ring that Sarah is now apparently sporting, so they make out for a little bit, and then he spills the "secret" (she says she doesn't like secrets, so I assume he knows everything about her, right?) that John helped him pick out the ring, and she says she loves him, and then they kiss some more, and she sadly and totally suspiciously says, "Always remember that," and then he goes to get ready for his early shift at the Bye-Bye Fiancée Factory.
The on-screen graphic tells us it's Aug. 24, 1999, in West Fork, Nebraska (note to Sufjan Stevens -- you're cool and everything, but Springsteen already owns that state, so leave that one off your list). Sarah sits on her son's bed, and he jerks awake, startled to see her there, and gives her hell for it, saying it's freaky. He tells her she's going to be late for work, but she doesn't move, so he asks what's going on. "We can't stay here, John," she says. "It's not safe." He sits up in bed (behind him are era-appropriate, if a little dated, posters for Rage Against The Machine and the Dropkick Murphys' first record). He complains that they're safe, that it's been two years, and school starts in three weeks. "You're scared. He gave you a ring, and now you're freaking out." That's his theory, backing it up by reminding his mother that she loves Charley. "Listen, the cops will never find us. We're safe." She shoves him back on the bed and orders him to never say that: "No one is ever safe." He gives up, and she says, "Half an hour. One bag. Plus the guns. I'll make pancakes." Angry, paranoid pancakes.