l e d a
the next day, before the dinner with jupiter, i am nervous in a way i never thought i would. everything between us had always been so easy, so simple. but dinner seems more formal, an actual date. i decide i need a friend's reassurance so i stop at the diner and order chili fries and ask for nova, one of the waitresses working here that i'd known almost all my life.
i chew mindlessly on my fries, until nova collapses in the chair next to me, exhausted from the lunch rush hour. she crosses her arms and rests her head on them, her long, silky black curls falling around her face. she flutter her long, thick lashes up and looks a me with her piercing eyes, one an endless ocean blue, the other a timeless, warm earth brown. her beauty has always the rare, exquisite kind, and even her exhaustion does nothing to lessen it.
"what do you want now?' she asks, blowing out a tired breath, and assessing me warily. she listens as i tell that her that i was nervous about the dinner with jupiter.
"what if i say the wrong thing? what if i - "
nova shushes me with a wave of her hand, sighing, and shaking her head like i was an idiot.
"okay, eloise. you and this jupiter -- he's quite the hottie by the way, you lucky bitch -- is head over heels for you. i know it, half of the staff knows, the old lady who always orders pickled eggs knows. hell, i have a bet with the manager that you will at least go on a date by the end of the end of the month." she says, "you could show up wearing those hideous overalls you have for no apparent reason, and he'd still think you look gorgeous. and you could go there and drone on and on about that stupid show you like -- like you do to me almost every single friday -- and he'll memorize every single damn word you say. so just be yourself and you'll charm the pants off him."
she winks slyly at the last bit.
i nibble on another fry, and say, "did you practice that?"
she nods and grabs a fry off the plate, taking a bite before speaking. "well, yes. i mean i heard from mikel, who heard from stacy, that jupiter asked you to have dinner, and i knew you'd freak out and come to me, so i prepared a little speech," she tilts her head, a grin on her lips, "would you like to hear the other half?"
"yeah, no, i think that did the trick quite well, thank you." i blow a breath through my lips.
nova leans forward on her elbows, her smile widening, "what are you going to wear?"
after i get nova's approval on the outfit, we chat until her break ends, and she shoos out with a "don't do anything i wouldn't do!" on my home i think about nova's words and jupiter's big ocean eyes, and his soft, deep laugh, and the way he stumbled over his words yesterday, and his gentle hands enveloping mine and suddenly i can't remember why i nervous at all.