"What did you do?"
It was the first thing she'd said to him all month. Maybe not. But definitely the first thing that mattered.
"You know what I did, mom!" Chris' voice cracks, spilling down Busiek Boulevard like a can of beer. "I got a date tonight. That's what I did."
In the privacy of an empty intersection, he empties a can of Febreze into the back seat. There's no way he was messing this up, not that he could say exactly what this
was. Actually, on second thought, it was nice
. That's what this was. Really. Freaking. Nice.
When he got to Letitia's driveway, he wasn't sure what to do. He could wait for her and risk waiting forever or he could go up to her door, like a man
, and tell her father exactly what he was going to do with her. Which was...
Before he could remember what manner of devilry he'd perform on Letitia's hypothetical father, her silhouette flickered into place as the front door flashed open and shut. The next thing he knew, she was in the passengers seat and had her cool, sleek hand shepherding him into a warm, chaste, cheek kiss.
"Hey Mister Christer, are you ready to have the best night ever?"
He was not.
As she innocently coddled his forearm, he felt an unholy heat festering in all the folds his clothes hid. He couldn't tell if it was sweat or brimstream that boiled out of his pores. But as she awaited his response, looking into his eyes, breathing minty breezes at him, he lost feeling in his fingertips. As she swallowed his exhalations, seeming to flush fresh oxygen right back into his face, the car grew pregnant with promise of a coming plume of smoke and
"Absolutely," he shifted into Drive, processing the first kiss he'd ever received. "I've never been more ready. What do you wanna do when we get there? I don't really go to parties." It was true. The last party he'd gone to, he had accidentally fused a pedophile's nylon waistline into his flesh. Unsurprisingly, he hadn't been invited back. Or if he had, he'd been too busy being in a detention center to notice.
"Welllllll," she started, "I just want to get to know you, really. I've heard a lot about you but I thought it'd be nice to hear the inside story from the man himself. That, and," her pistachio cheeks warmed to a chartreuse shade, "I might think you're kinda cute? Maybe."
"Oh," he struck his thumb against his kneecap like a spent match, "uh, thank you. You're very pretty yourself, Ms. Green." The one thing that definitely needed to happen
, he thought as he parked as close to the house as he could, was that he would need to return this car before it turned into a pumpkin. He'd take her home.
"I wish we'd gotten here earlier so we could park closer to the house."
"Yeah, it'd be nice to be able to make a quick getaway if cops show up or anything like the other day."
"Last I checked, the town only has four officers to round everyone up on staff tonight. Unless they came back from their mini vacation early on account of The Rock Show the other day but that seems pretty darned far-fetched given that my dad is one of them and hasn't gotten back yet. Besides, at this point, it's not like they could do anything if there was another issue besides wait for the ASA to kill the party. Nothing but--" Chris' rant was cut off at the knees by Letitia's giggle.
"I didn't know you were smart."
"I'm not smart. I'm just a criminal."
"Keep talking like that and you're gonna steal my heart." Chris' cheeks ignited like a gas station in a firestorm. At that, he exploded out of the car, hoping she wouldn't catch sight of his blush, slinking around, and popping her door open. Fizzing out of a blown out stereo down the street, the *now iconic* city-saving remix of Machine Gun buzzed anthemically like a fruit fly in his ears.
"Hey, Henry's playing pong with some skater girl!" Letitia prompted, apparently picking up on the gospel cross-pollinating across the manor. Interesting, Chris though. He wouldn't have imagined that the place could carry a coherent message through the steady percussion of sin and hedonism that stood before him. He'd set a good example by being here. Not drinking. Not doing drugs. Not having sex. Someone had to not do it for others to follow. Letitia held him tight as she drug him right up to the table, in spitting distance of Elle. Ready for the show.
"I believe in you, Henry," Chris said, attempting to fit in
before correcting with an "umm, I also believe in you, Elle."