Alexis wore a dress. She often did, but for this day she had picked her favorite, a halter white dress with pink florals and a bow tying her curls back out of her face. She looked girly, so said Tiana. Which was perfect, because it was her ideal goal. She wanted to look feminine. She wanted to be girly. She liked being girly, and as much as she liked adventure and boating and hanging out with Tiana she did not want to put on the facade she was someone else for a minute. If Nate was going to like her, she wanted to make sure he liked her.
She could almost not keep her self from bouncing all over the house. She had music playing in the background of her room, something light and airy. Her mood was soaring. She was waiting by the downstairs window fifteen minutes before he said he’d arrive. He too was ten minutes early
He showed up in his early two-thousands sudan, silver, and freshly cleaned. She got in the car without him getting out to open the door, snapped the seatbelt across her waist, and commandeered the radio. He laughed.
“Where are you taking me, oh mysterious one?” She smiled to him hoping that her eyeliner had not smudged. She had rushed through it last minute and had not give her eyes the time they needed to dry before putting on her false lashes.
“Since you’ve already went to every place in town as it is, I figured I’d take you on a real date.”
“Dinner, movie, bowling after?” She asked thinking of the movies and how that always seemed to be the dates that people went on. When he laughed, she knew she was right. Relaxing into the seat she began to let her mind reflect and harmonize on his sound. He was pleasant, a bit mysterious with a deepness to his vibe that made her double check. She knew his intentions were true, but there was a long line of something unfathomable about him that she could not understand.
“So.” The small talk began with him. “What don’t you eat?”
“I eat all things.” She answered.
“Everyone has something they won’t eat.”
“Tomatoes.” She offered next. “Then pineapples, citrus foods that make my tongue sting. I shouldn’t eat them.” When he nodded and said that he understood she cut him off. “They’re also my favorite foods, so I love eating them.”
“Do you often do things that are bad for you?” He chuckled.
“Often enough that it is not an uncommon question.” She thought of Tiana scolding her for doing things that were dangerous just because Tiana did them. Tiana was never afraid of anything. She never worried about anything. She went through life living at the top of the world, confident in everything she did, willing to risk it all for what she believed in. She would follow Alexis anywhere. She would protect Alexis from anything. So Alexis often wanted to stand by her, at her side, with her, to support her. She was not nearly as powerful as Tiana was. “What is the point to life, without a little danger?”
“I suppose.” He nodded. Their banter continued. His parents had divorced at one point, remarried, divorced, and gotten back together. Nate had a few siblings that were half siblings, who he was not extremely close with due to age. From what it seemed, both parts of the family were close, despite the many break ups and often celebrated holidays together even after his father died two years back. Nate had grown up between the two homes, which was why he found Jordan and Jim so pleasing to be around. They were a stability for him when everything else was in constant flux.
“You miss New York?”
“I do. It’s not as sticky there.” Alexis said as she fanned herself, feeling the moisture on her skin and internally groaning at it. She hated the feeling of it. “But it’s quiet here.” When assholes were’t chasing her down.
“It is.” Nate said as they arrived. He opened the door for her and she stepped out. It was then that she realized that they matched, coincidentally. He wore a pink shirt with white shorts, the exact color that she wore. She had not noticed it on the drive but standing next to him made it apparent. Taking his hand, she let him lead them into the restaurant, to their reserved table. They ordered and continued chatting about things, her friends, his friends, life in general.
“Has Jordan talked to you since that day at the lake?”
“Briefly.” She did not sense jealousy off of him. “He goes and comes as he wishes.” He was like a river ebbing and flowing without a constant pull anywhere. Her mind went to him and his eyes and his smile. He was beautiful, and perplexing all at once. She thought of his smile as her eyes were drawn to the person who sat across from her.
Nate sipped his water and Alexis realized her mind had drifted.
“He bothers you. Doesn’t he.” Alexis hesitated. She did not want to bring him up, even when Nate brought him up first. She knew she should not think of another guy when she was with someone she should like.
“His lack of commitment bothers me.” Nate shook his head. It was then that Alexis realized that Nate and Jim may not feel as secure in their relationship with Jordan. Alexis had thought it was strange that Nate continued to talk about Jordan even now. He was searching for an answer regarding Jordan. Whatever it was, the way that Jordan treated her had to be different from the way he treated others and so Nate was fishing for answers. The idea of it kicked her, making her shift in her seat. She needed to change the conversation.
“I’m sure it’ll work out.” She smiled at him, hoping that she understood him. He seemed to snap out of it then, realizing what he had been doing. From that point on Jordan’s name was not mentioned again.
Dinner was excellent. The movie was an action film that Tiana had wanted to see. Alexis didn’t much care for it, but she was happy that she’d have a point of conversation later with Tiana and Tony. Bowling went on without a hitch. The night was filled with laughter and the creation of inside jokes, all before Alexis was dropped off at home, she kissed Nathan on the cheek and wished him a good night.
“How was it?” Were the first words out of Tiana’s mouth the moment Alexis called her.
“It was great.” Alexis swooned.
“Did he ask for a kiss?”
“Good that means he likes you.”
“Tiana, this could be the real thing.”
“Does he have any other girls?”
“His last relationship ended two years ago.”
“Any hang ups?”
Other than Jordan? “No.”
Tiana squealed and Alexis did with her. Alexis started gushing about the date and how kind and considerate Nate was, going over every single detail in specific. “We even wore matching clothes.”
“Yeah it was like magic. What a coincidence, you know?”
Tiana cackled at it. Tiana did not believe in magic at all. She didn’t believe in ghosts or heaven or hell. She believed in facts and what she could see. For her everything was bound by science, math, and principal. She thought Alexis’ gift to be a sort of synesthesia, despite the fact that Alexis was not so sure. Alexis believed in the mysterious to a degree, but she was certain that if magic existed she would have known.
She would have had to have known by now.
She thought of the strange door, and the loss of her memories. She thought of looking through mirrors and seeing nothing, and black eyes that had no iris, no pupil, only darkness within them. She thought of timing that was too accurate, and mist on breathe even in the heat of a summer afternoon.
Magic did not exist.
“When is the next date?” Tiana sang.
“I don’t know.” Alexis had to admit that she had not asked. Was she supposed to? Was she supposed to wait for him? Why did she want to go out with Jordan again? Why did those eyes in the darkness remind her of him?
“Figure it out. You need to stake that claim quickly before he loses interest.” Tiana’s voice was filled with taunting.
“Tiana!” Alexis laughed.
“What? I’m being honest. If you can not get him to ask you out in two weeks, what even is the point. You need to make him want you more…”
“Okay. Fine. I’ll ask him out for two days from now.” That as if he did not ask her first.
“Good.” Tiana agreed. The two began to plan the date and Alexis let her mind drift off to melodies that she never heard before. Alexis fell asleep to the image of lush green forests where dragons flew over head and billowing mists of silver lakes.