wear. I had just enough time to get dressed and run a comb through my hair before the doorbell rang. I could faintly hear my aunt speaking, so I figured it must be Alicia. Before Aunt Lisa could finish her sentence, I was already downstairs and standing in the entryway. “Hi!” I said. It occurred to me that I had no idea what else to say, I suppose this is what stage fright must feel like, but I had only an audience of one. A second of awkward silence had passed before Aunt Lisa ushered us out. “Go have fun you two!” She said, shutting the door behind us. I climbed into the back seat of Alicia’s mom’s car. I had no idea what to say to the woman. She was very friendly and outspoken, she asked me a flurry of questions from how I was doing, to how my aunt was doing financially. Some of the questions seemed a bit intrusive, but I was trying to get Alicia’s mom’s approval. I had no idea how much she knew about my past. However, I did notice that she seemed to avoid mentioning my parents. Honestly, I was terrified of saying the wrong thing with Alicia’s mother in the car. As it was, I was surprised she allowed her daughter to spend time with me. I assumed her mom knew about my brush with death and the loss of my parents, I’m sure I had juvenile delinquent stamped on my forehead. Maybe she didn’t know, or Alicia came up with something that sounded better. If so, the last thing I wanted to do was contradict whatever Alicia had told her. I was thankful to be isolated in the back seat while Alicia drove and her mother sat beside her. Alicia suggested we eat in the mall food court, and I agreed. Where we went did not matter to me. I was willing to go anyplace she suggested. We made our way into the mall, finally parting with Mrs. Thomas. She agreed to call Alicia’s cell phone when it was time for us to go. We zigzagged through the densely packed crowd of people, ordering greasy burgers and fries before finding a seat, we managed to find a table that overlooked the first floor and escalators. It was hardly a romantic setting, but none of that mattered to me, I was excited to be on an actual date with my dream girl. “Your mom seems nice.” I was secretly, hoping a compliment might work in my favor. I also hoped that if Alicia had told her mom something about me, she would share it now. “Yea, she’s alright,” Alicia said, popping a fry in her mouth. “I, uh hope she didn’t mind bringing me?” “Nope, I asked her. Trust me she would have said no if it was a problem.” Alicia laughed, rolling her eyes. I nodded, taking a bite of my burger. Alicia was not offering any information, and I had to know. So, I finally decided to come out and ask. “Does she know about me?” I said, locking eyes with Alicia. “Oh, you mean, about the accident?” I nodded. “Well, it is hard to not know about it.” She muttered. Her expression changed. She looked concerned like maybe she upset me or something. “I mean, it is no big deal. I talked to her about it. I told her that you are a nice guy and been through a lot... and our now living with your aunt.” Feeling some stress roll off of my shoulders, I took another bite of my burger. I was not sure what
to make of that, but at least Alicia did not outright lie for me. As we sat, enjoying our noisy meal, I felt more at ease. Alicia was excited to be going back to school soon, and told me about the friends she missed at Mill Creek. Most of the names she mentioned I did not know. “So, what do you like to do?” Alicia inquired. “I read a lot I guess,” I said, feeling like the dullest person alive. “Cool, what do you read?” A small group of teenagers caught my attention on the lower floor. A few faces seemed familiar. They disappeared further down the corridor. I was delighted that they did not stop by the food court because I wanted to bond with Alicia one on one. “Um, fantasy mostly or anything about Greek mythology. The occasional mystery is good too, though.” “I like fantasy. Well, fantasy movies I guess. I don’t read much.” She said, taking a sip of cola. Alicia was fun to talk to; I was no longer drawing blanks the words seemed to be pouring out of my mouth the more we spoke. I loved spending time with her and found her company invigorating. And best of all, she seemed to be enjoying my company as well. The time passed quickly, and I figured Mrs. Thomas would soon be returning. There was something I needed to ask Alicia in private, and time was ticking, so I went for it before my opportunity passed. “So, um, we are friends, right?” I asked. “Yea?” Alicia put her cup down, leaning forward slightly. Her eyes no longer wandered, I had her full attention. “Well, are we...just friends then?” “I’m not really sure.” Alicia laughed. “Are you asking if we are just friends or if we can be more than just friends?” I smiled, “I like you, Alicia.” Before she could respond, I stretch my arm across the table, offering her my hand. For a brief moment, I was terrified that Alicia would not reciprocate. “I like you too, Davis.” She gently placed her hand on mine. “Well, why don’t we be more than just friends then?” Somehow I found the courage to ask—otherwise I would not be going steady with the girl of my dreams. “Ok!” Alicia smiled wide, taking my hand in both of hers. “I would like that very much.” She whispered. I leaned closer to the small bistro table. Alicia did the same, closing the short gap between us. Before our lips could touch, her cell phone rang out, breaking the moment. I sat back, feeling as though I had just been caught doing something wrong. A few patrons at a nearby table turned at the sound of the phone but immediately went back to their meals. Although the moment had been broken, I could not believe how well the date had gone. We were officially a couple now. The girl I’ve secretly had a crush on apparently felt the same about me. “Well, looks like my mom is done and we are to meet at the car.” Alicia sounded a little exasperated by her mother’s unintentional intrusion. We cleaned up our trays and walked hand in hand through the mall. I wondered if Alicia would hear about it if other students from Mill Creek saw us together. She did not appear concerned, so I pushed the thought out of my mind.