Everyone was quiet on the way home. Victoria was staring out the window in the passenger seat, and Mari was nodding her head to the music while driving, but she wasn’t even humming. It was just dead silent, besides the radio. From sitting behind Victoria, I could see her smiling really big in the window reflection. I wanted to ask her why she was smiling so much, but that seemed kinda rude.
All of a sudden Mari broke the silence, “So how did you guys like it today? Meeting everyone and playing Grand Theft Smosh, I mean.”
Victoria and I reply in unison, “It was fun!”
Mari nodded her head and asked what we did when she was editing and Victoria and I both said, “Nothing.”
I can tell what Mari was doing, trying to break the silence in the car, and I give her credit for trying, but it failed because we all went back to sitting in silence once again.
Once we got home, all three of us reluctantly got out of the car, grabbed our things, and went inside. Mack welcomed us at the door and I let him out so he can go to the restroom and play outside for a bit. After changing into some comfy clothes, I stand outside as Mack plays in the grass. I laugh as I watch my little, tan colored, no-tail, mutt, try and catch some bugs that are flying in his face. (A/N: Mack is based off my actual dog and he is part pug, dachshund, and chihuahua so, yes, a mutt. And that makes him a fairly small dog)
After about 20 minutes, Mack wanted back in the house. Both of us head back inside and are immediately greeted by the aroma of the sweet chocolatey smell of someone baking chocolate chip cookies. I go in the kitchen to find Mari slaving over a firing oven.
“Gosh Mari, I didn’t know you could bake!” I say as I steal some cookie dough.
Mari catches me and slaps my hand, “Don’t eat the cookie dough! I need that to actually bake the cookies.” I laugh as I quickly take some more cookie dough and run away before she can get me. I head into my room, giggling, with Mack and lay on my bed. I check my phone to find a new message from an unknown number.
‘Hey it’s Anthony. We met earlier.’ The text reads.
I enter the number in my contacts and smile.
‘Yeah. Hey :)’
It takes a minute before he replied, ‘Oh good, for a second I thought you gave me the wrong number.’
‘No, you needed the support, and it would be stupid to do that to you.’
‘Thanks. Hey, I was wondering, are you free tonight?’
‘Well, Mari and Victoria are both doing their own thing, so yeah I’m free for the night.’
It takes Anthony a little longer to reply back this time, ‘Great I will pick you up at 7 and don’t forget to bring your dog, Mack.’
I take a look at the clock and it reads 5:28pm.
‘Okay, sounds good. See you then.’
It took me almost the whole time to take a shower, get dressed, put on light makeup, and get Mack ready. I had 5 minutes to spare before before Anthony should be here so I stole some cookies from Mari.
“Where are you going, Alex?” Mari inquired as I was getting ready to step out the door.
“Just going to go out for a while. I don’t know when I’ll be back.” Mari reached for something in her pocket, pulled it out, and threw it at me.
“There, your own key so you can come and go as you please,” she says. I smile and thanked her as Mack and I walk out front. As I close the door, I hear a car pull up. I turn to find Anthony is in the car right on time.
I may be a little too excited for this date with Alex. I told her to bring Mack so Pip can have a play buddy and also so she can be a little more comfortable about this. I arrive at Mari’s place just in time because Alex is closing the door behind her as I pull up to the apartment parking lot. She walks so elegantly, even in casual clothes. She opened the passenger door and climbed inside, Mack following her right onto her lap.
“Hey, Anthony.” she says as she puts her seat belt on and I drive off.
“Hey, you look nice. You know we are just playing Mario Kart at my apartment right?” I tease.
She gives me a glare and says, “Shut up, okay. Who knows, it might get late when we are playing and we need to run outside really fast because all your appliances start coming to life and attack anything that smells like chicken, and we just finished having three McDonald’s chicken wraps. So I came prepared.”
I look at her, raising my eyebrows, “Seriously? Chicken? Killer Appliances? Three chicken wraps? What goes on in your head?”
She simply replies, “Who knows? And, yes, I love food, so don’t judge the three chicken wraps.” We both laugh.
I check my phone as Alex goes to the bathroom. It’s almost 1 am! Man, we have been playing Mario Kart for hours. We sure have found out who the true champion is, and it’s Alex. Sure, I beat her a few times, but she won 92% of the time. That other 8% was either me or neither of us. As Alex comes back into the living room, Mack is sitting quietly at the door wanting outside.
“Anthony, I am going to let Mack outside for a minute. I will be right back.” I smile and nod as she leaves. I turn the game off and switch the TV input to the DVD player. I decide that we should watch a movie. I make some popcorn, and get us drinks and snacks before Alex comes inside.
“Okay, so, I got the popcorn. I got the drinks. I got candy and snacks. I think that’s it.” I think aloud to myself. I put everything on the coffee table in front of the TV. My phone notifies me that I got a text, so I pull out my phone to find a message from Alex,
‘Wanna watch a movie?’
I smile, ‘Already two steps ahead of you. What movie do you wanna watch?’
Within two minutes of sending the text Alex and Mack come back inside. Mack goes back to playing with Pip and Alex walks over and plops on the couch.
“Hmm... how about ‘Twilight?’” She asks. I give her a weary smile.
“Oh, uh, yeah, sure.” I say. Seriously, Twilight? All of a sudden Alex bursts out laughing. I turn to look at her wondering what happened.
“I’m kidding, Anthony. Let’s watch ‘Up.’” I laugh as I find the movie, put it in and press play. During the previews, Alex and I grab blankets and pillows to build a fort.
Since it was so late, Alex fell asleep about halfway through the movie. I didn’t realize it until she started moving around a lot in her sleep. She looked scared, like she was having a bad dream.
He was hitting me again. Much harder than he ever had before. He was drunk and yelling at me. I am crying and I can’t do anything but cover my face.
“Dammit Alex why’d you do it?! You knew what would happen if you did!” I was confused.
“What did I do, Josh? I did nothing!” The swings were faster now.
“You just had to go out with him. I told you what I would do if you ever found you with someone else. Now his death will be on you. Same with your pathetic little friends, too.” He stopped hitting me. I heard him go into his room, open a drawer, grab what sounds like his gun, and he storms out of the house. I get up as quickly as I can.
“What are you doing?!” I yell at him when I find him outside.
“I am going to kill everyone you love.” And he drives off. I collapse to the ground, the word 'kill' echoing in my head. I sat and cried.
“Alex! Alex wake up!” I quickly jump up, my breathing heavy. I look around wondering where I am only to find Anthony next to me. We are still in our fort.
“Are you okay? You were crying in your sleep.” He helps me sit up, rubbing his hand on my back, comforting me.
I try to slow my breath before I speak, “Yeah I-I’m fine. Just a-a bad dream.” I say nothing more. I realize I’m shaking. Anthony does too, so he gets up to got me something to drink. He comes back a few minutes later with a bottle of water.
“Here, drink some.” I gratefully take the water and take small sips. Anthony helps me to my feet and leads me down the hallway to the guest bedroom. I climb in the bed, still a bit shocked from the dream. Mack is already on the bed and curls up next to me.
“Sorry, Anthony, for all this trouble.” I say before he leaves.
He turns to look at me with a smile, “It’s fine, Alex. Get some sleep.” I return the smile. After he walks out, I lay there in silence, not sleeping.
“I shouldn’t be doing this. I can’t get Anthony hurt,” I think to myself. I shake the thought out of my head, roll over, and fall asleep.