Love and War

Bonnie can't help but think life would be so much easier if she didn't have to make choices. If she didn't have to choose between family or a future. If she didn't have to choose between Eli or Alfie. If she didn't have to choose between success or loyalty. If she didn't have to choose between one kind of love of the other.

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4. Four

While we sit at the bar sipping beer (which I find disgusting but I drink it anyway), I tell Alfie I'm going to the ladies' room. When I go on, he same lady who's hand I took earlier is there applying makeup. She has blonde hair piled on top of her head, full red lips and very rosy cheeks. I wash my hands and look at her in awe as she touches up her face. My parents don't want me to use any makeup but powder. They say it looks tarty. She glances at me and smiles a little. 

"You need a little colour in your cheeks, sweetie." she says in a motherly sort of tone even though she doesn't sound like my mother. She picks up her rouge. "Mind if I..."

"No, not at all!" I beam. "I'd like that."

She nods, approvingly and starts dabbing the red on my cheeks and on my lips and she pins my hair back up, like hers. She lines my eyes a little and when I look in the mirror, I don't look heavily made up like her, but there is some makeup there and I look messier but messier in a good way. I don't look so proper. I look more like a real person. 

"Thank you!" I gasp, looking closer. "You know, my mother always said that ladies should stick together and I always wondered what she meant, but I guess this is the kind of thing she was talking about right?" 

The lady laughs. "Oh honey. You're sweet and all, real sweet, but that torn up dress isn't fooling anyone. You're a lady. The rest of us in here are women."

She walks out of the ladies' room and I feel a bit crestfallen. I thought I was fitting in, but apparently not. I walk out back into the noise when somebody grabs my hand, pulling me to the side. It's the young man from earlier. I gasp a little, shocked at how forward he is. I'm used to men asking for my hand, not just grabbing it and pulling me close to them. 

"What happened to your face?" he asks frowning but also smiling a little curiously. 

"That nice lady- woman. That nice woman did it for me." I say, not being able to look anywhere but his eyes. 

He chuckles, taking my hair back down again. "What's your name?" he asks, pulling my hair back around my shoulders before looking at me.

"I'm Bonnie." I tell him. "What's your name?" 

"I'm Eli." he smiles that quirky little smile that tells me he's got some sort of opinion on me. "Can I ask you something?" 

I nod. 

"What's a pretty little girl like you doing in a pub like this?" he asks. The way he called me pretty didn't really feel like a compliment.

"I was bored." I tell him honestly, but he seems to think it was a joke because he laughs out loud. 

"You should get bored more often." he says, leaning forward a little. He doesn't do anything, he just leans forward a bit more. I stare at him, not knowing what to say next. Where have men like this been all my life? Why do I always seem to meet the boring ones when people like Eli exist? 

"How old are you?" I ask. 

"Twenty three."

"I'm seventeen."

"Wonderful."

I frown. "Sorry. Did I just make the conversation boring?" 

"Only a bit." he teases and looks over my shoulder. "Your boyfriend is coming over."

"My what?" 

He chuckles. "Your 'suitor', I suppose. Tall guy, blonde hair-"

"Alfie!" I laugh. "He isn't my sweetheart! He's just my friend!"

"He doesn't want to be your friend."

I frown. "Alfie and I are very good friends, we don't argue."

"No I meant that he wants to be your- oh never mind."

"Wait, what is Alfie doing?" 

"Coming this way. And glaring at me."

"Alfie doesn't glare."

"Not at you."

"Bonnie!" Alfie says over the music. "Let's go!"

I step away from Eli, looking at Alfie. "Why do we have to leave? Please, let's stay!"

"Your birthday party is still happening, if we leave now your parents won't know we ever left." he tells me, glancing at Eli. I glance at Eli as well.

"Go." he nods. "I'll see you around." 

I shake my head. "Probably not."

"You will." he says, almost like he's promising it. 

I nod, smiling a little and follow Alfie back out into the night. We were only in there for an hour but it feels like we were in there all night. I experienced more excitement in there for one hour than I have for the past month. 

"So." Alfie looks at me. "Is he why you disappeared for a while tonight?" 

I laugh. "Oh god, no, Alfie, what do you take me for? A woman was doing my makeup."

"I know you had fun tonight Bonnie, but don't get involved with a man like him." Alfie says, taking my hand in a friendly way. "I'm just looking out for you."

"Thank you, Alfie." I smile. "For bringing me here tonight."

He smiles back. "I had a lot of fun too."

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