The July heat had hit. Nate had warned her about it and she knew to take him seriously. The issue was that no amount of warnings could have prepared her for it to hit. The sweltering humidity made her skin sticky and she felt as if it were melting off of her each moment that she stepped out into the open air. She wanted nothing more than to stay in at all times. Nate, however, had invited her to a party that night. It was in another city and Alexis had assumed that Jordan and Jim were not going.
Alexis had gone into town to get something new to wear. She had clubbing clothes and party clothes, but after a brief internet search, she had come to the conclusion that none of her clothes would be appropritate. She dressed too much like an east coaster. Alexis did not want to stand out more than she already did, and thus she had taken the time to to get something new.
Alexis held up a few different options towards the mirror in the main show room, holding them against her self to make sure that the colors would work with her skin tone. Finding the right combination was always a bit more difficult than she would like. The two dresses she was between were not working with her at all. One was not her style and the other was too pink.
Alexis jumped when she heard her name. Glancing through the mirror, eyes darting to find who called her, Alexis spotted Jordan Brooks. He was on a date with some girl who seemed scandalized that Jordan had called out to another person. The woman held a dress similar to the one that Alexis carried, albeit in blue. Jordan was dressed in his standard black leather jacket and ripped jeans. His hair was swept back, in the way that she had grown to know he only used when putting on a show. He even had his sunglasses on indoors. How could he wear a leather jacket and jeans in the middle of summer? Alexis was dying just looking at him.
Jordan approached Alexis. The girl with him, clung to him as they moved their way over. It was only then that Alexis turned around to face them in full. The woman with Jordan eyed Alexis up and down twice, sneering behind her long fake eye lashes. Her lips looked too fake to be real, and her hair was a stark bottle blonde. Her fake tan was fresh and almost orange. if it weren’t for the fact that her energy was off, Alexis might have called her pretty. Alexis was certain that Jordan could do much better than whom ever this woman was. She also knew she was being too judgmental against a person she had never met, because she was defensive. The woman gave off a hostile energy and Alexis knew she was reacting negatively to that. She tried to see this woman in a better light, knowing that she could not judge her or hate her with no reason.
“Hello beautiful how are you?” Jordan smiled to her and Alexis’ eyes narrowed as she glared at him. She knew that Nate would have told him that she and Nate were officially dating. There was no way that Nate would have kept that a secret, not when Jim had congratulated her the last time they met. She knew better than to listen to his sweet words. She had chose Nate because Nate was a good choice, and she could not have herself swooning over Jordan’s southern accent. Not again.
“Jordy…” The woman tugged at his arm, as if understanding that Alexis was not a threat.
“Alexis this is… Monica. Monica, Alexis.” Jordan said the words almost as if he had forgotten the woman’s name for the smallest of moments. Like a river he ebbs and flows. Alexis now understood even better that which Nate meant. Jordan was unpredictable, and a force to be reckoned with. He had jostled his way into her life again and for some reason she felt as if she should communicate further with him.
“Pleasure to meet you Monica.” Alexis answered. The girl’s head snapped up and starred at Alexis as if Alexis was an alien.
“Where are you from?” The girl asked.
“Brooklyn.” Alexis answered, wanting to believe that was the only question the girl was asking. She saw the way the girl’s eyes trailed Alexis’ features as if Alexis was some sort of specimen. No longer wanting to subject herself to the scrutiny, Alexis reached for a few more dresses and huffed. “I need to try some things on. It was great to see you Jordan.” With that Alexis took what she was holding and stalked off to the changing rooms.
Eight dresses later, and a long sit on the bench in the changing room, Alexis peered out from the stall, and decided it was long enough to leave. Alexis placed all eight dresses on the rack, knowing none of them worked. She then peered around the dressing room searching for Jordan.
“You okay hun?” An attendant asked her.
“You see a blonde man with a leather jacket out there?” She asked him.
“Oh he left some time ago, sweetheart.” Another attendant told her. “I told him you already left when he was hanging around.” Alexis melted at her words and thanked her profusely before she hurried from the changing room and then outside the shop. Alexis checked twice before heading off to another shop.
Luckily, her time in the next shop was not interrupted by Jordan on his date. Unfortunately, she did not find a dress to wear. Shop to shop, Alexis went around the mall growing disheartened with each passing moment. Pulling out her phone, Alexis hurried to see if some of her favorite stores had branches close. Finding one about ten miles away, Alexis hurried from the mall. As she walked out she rounded a corner and a bag was thrown out infront of her. She almost ran into the arm before her, but stopped short holding the white bag. Jordan Brooks stood there, foot propped up against the wall and cigarette between his lips. He huffed out the smoke and then flashed his too white smile at her.
“How many of those do you go through a day?”
“Worried about my health now Alexis?” Jordan laughed. “Don’t worry. It’s not more than a pack a day.”
“A pack a day?” Alexis knew that it was better than to remind him of lung cancer and the fact that he was killing himself with each drag.
“Take it.” Jordan shook his hand, and Alexis took the full weight of the bag. She looked at the label on it and then gaped up at him.
“I can’t take this.”
“No?” Jordan cocked his head. “It should fit.”
Alexis wanted to scream at him about why he could assume that when she realized that Monica was nowhere to see. “Where is—“
“One night stands are one night for a reason.” Jordan huffed again, kicking off the wall and placing his hands in his pockets. “Its tedious.”
“You dragged her around for a date and you’re calling it tedious?”
“She dragged me and she wanted my money.”
“Well when you’re spending it on people who don’t want it, I’m not surprised.” Alexis handed the bag back to him. “I don’t need it.”
“You’re going out with Nate to the party tonight no? Do you have the time to keep looking at new shops?” He asked her. She did not. She had to get home and get ready, so that Nate could pick her up and they could go to the party almost two hours away. They were supposed to go to dinner before, and Alexis knew that she was wasting time talking to Jordan.
“I don’t need your charity?”
“Is that what it’s called when you do a friend a favor?” Jordan handed the bag back to her and stomped out his cigarette. He then whispered to her, hand on his shoulder and lips close to her ear. “Keep it.” He walked off and she spun around to yell at him almost immediately, but he was gone around the corner. She went to chase after him. On the other side, he was no where to be seen. Unease settled in her stomach. Glancing to the bag, she screamed a bit and then scurried to her car. She tossed the bag to the passenger seat. Each time, she looked at it, she wanted to scream again, so she threw it to the back and turned on her car.
She drove off to the next shop and upon parking she looked at the bag again. Taking a blanket from her trunk, she threw it over the bag and tried to find another dress. Shop to shop, Alexis went searching for something. Nothing was the right color, or it was too girlie. Alexis personally thought that she had low standards for what she wore. Although, Tiana always called her high maintenance, Alexis thought that she was only keeping her standards consistent. It was something to reflect her personality, why should she lower her standards for that? Her standards were already so low, picking clothes that were in the beige, white, light grey, and pinks. She was okay with girly things, but somehow nothing worked.
Three shops later and already late, Alexis pressed her head against her steering wheel. Maybe she would just have to use something she already owned. Calling Tiana, Alexis headed home. She promptly began to complain about the day once Tiana answered.
“He bought you something?” Tiana laughed.
“Did you return it?”
Alexis glanced back. “Well, no. I forgot, but’m sure I’ll be able to tomorrow.”
“At least see what it is first.”
“Did you hear me? It’s a Gersalt. I can’t afford to wear Gersalt.” Alexis shook her head as she pulled into the driveway.
“Try it anyway. It’s not all the time that you get to wear a thousand dollar dress.” Tiana did not much care for dresses. She did not care for designers. She was, however, getting a kick out of the fact that this man had been so audacious to presume to buy something for Alexis. Grabbing the bag from the back, Alexis walked into the house. She called out her hellos and then went to her room rushing to get ready. Computer on, record player on, Alexis transferred from call to video chat and then ripped apart her closet finding something to wear. She put it on and then threw her hair into a messy bun so she could do her makeup.
Tiana was lounging on her bed, watching Alexis half focused, half focused on some manual that she was reading. They did not talk for much of the time it took Alexis to get ready, but when she stood up, Tiana’s focus turned to her. Alexis hurried to pin her hair back and tied it with a bow. Only when she was certain she was ready, she showed Tiana.
“You look beautiful mi amor. Problem.” Tiana sighed. “There is a stain on that.”
“No! Where?” Alexis contorted her body to try to see, finding a red stain on the back and remembering the terrible night that she had last worn the dress. How had she forgotten about it? She was supposed to take the dress to a seamstress or tailor to see if they could get the wine stain out. The move had completely messed her up that she had forgotten. “This was the only thing that might have worked.”
“You have the thousand dollar dress.”
“T.” Alexis felt exasperated.
“Lexi…” Tiana whined. “Try it. What’s the worst it could be? Orange?”
“I’d murder him it it orange.” Alexis looked to the bag, interest finally spiked, and she grabbed for it. Inside was a cream colored dress and a shoebox. At a complete loss, Alexis changed into the dress and then looked at herself in the mirror. Tiana’s whistle came from the other side.
“What are you doing?” Tony’ asked from the other side of the camera.
“Look at my best friend. She’s so hot.” Tiana told him.
“I have better things to do than to objectify your friends. Are we going to the show or not?” Tony asked her.
“Yeah right. Sorry. Got distracted.” Tiana then spoke to Alexis who was in awe at the dress’ price tag and how she looked. She could not justify the price for the dress, but she had to admit she looked great. “Wear that. I’ll murder you if you don’t.”
“I’ll murder you if we don’t leave now, T. We are going to miss-“ Tony complained.
“What was that?” Tiana snapped at Tony. He muffled a response, jumping back. “I’m up okay? Go start my car.”
Alexis turned back to the camera in time to hear Tony cussing Tiana out as he walked off. “I can’t wear this. T. It’s three—“
“You’re wearing it. And you’re going to cherish it like its a fucking first edition manuscript from the fifteen hundreds. But you’re going to keep it and you’re going to wear it.”
“Alexis has a manuscript from the fifteen hundreds?” Tori yelled from another room.
“Mind your own fucking business Tori!” Tiana shouted back. “I need to go before Tony realized that he knows how to drive and he leaves me behind. I love you, wear it. You look beautiful. Knock Nate’s socks off.”
“Don’t you think it’s a problem to wear the gift of another man for a date?”
“Sure!” Tiana laughed. “But I don’t respect Jordan Brooks so no. Don’t tell Nate if it bothers you so much.” With that Tiana gave another goodbye and hung up. Fifteen seconds later Nate said he was outside the house. There was a knock at the front door moments later. Tucking the price tag into the dress, Alexis grabbed a bag and placed her things into it before grabbing shoes and not finding any that matched. Dreading what she had to do, Alexis heard her name and reached for the box. She hurried to open it and pulled out the shoes. She unbound them, got them on and tossed the packaging under the bed, hidden from view. She could not have her mother or her sister seeing it.
Alexis got downstairs to see Nate’s face light up when he saw her. The moment she saw him, every instinct she had made her stay silent. She could never tell him. Shoving the thought to the back of her mind, Alexis focused on the date and how much fun she hoped to have with it.