Chapter 8 The photo albums and the easy part

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Flora

"I was a little surprised when you called me," Sean said, steering his car smoothly. "It's only nine thirty. Surely the party just started?"

"Yes, but I've decided it's not very fun going to a party," I said, sneaking a peek at his chiseled jawline, "when I can be sitting in your car instead."

"Oh. Now I'm under the pressure of being more fun than a college beach party."

I laughed. "Don't worry. You already are." My dear god, this was the first time I sat in Sean Foster's car alone! I loved watching him drive.

"Shall I just take you back to your house?" he asked. "Or...maybe you want to do something together?"

"Well, I called early, so I think I earned some more time with you. Plus I want to be rewarded for not having a single drop of liquor tonight."

"Fair enough. Where would you like to go?"

I racked my brain for second date ideas.

Maybe we could go somewhere for food. No. I'm too jittery to eat.

See a movie? But we already did that and we won't be able to talk.

Wander the bookstore? Visit a gallery? Who am I kidding? Let's not pretend to be someone else. I wasn't even sure how late these places stayed open since it was unfamiliar territory.

"Do you want to come to my place?" I took the bold way out. "My parents are still away."

I was aware of how that sounded the moment the words were out. He hesitated, obviously deciphering if this was an invitation for sex.

"I'm not suggesting this to seduce you," I quickly added. "I just think it'd be nice to have someone in the house with me. Most of the time it's really empty." It was the truth, and the thought of going back alone on a Saturday night was a little depressing. "We can just flip through the TV channel together or listen to some music."

"Sure," he agreed.

Two dates in one day. I was too lucky. I needed to donate some money to charity to keep my good karma flowing.

***

Some time later, after showing him my very grand house, we had settled down in my room. It was in its usual state of messiness, but I thought he'd know sooner or later and I assumed he would be cool with it. On any given day, my room looked as if the storage room of Vogue had erupted like a volcano. Clothes, shoes, cosmetics, beauty products were scattered everywhere.

"Meet my assets." I gestured, waving my arm around in a flourish.

"Wow. It's like a whole new world in here," he said, his tone more amused than sarcastic. "What interior design style is this?"

"Minimalism. Can't you tell?" I eyed him with my chin up and he smiled just like I hoped.

I put on a CD recorded by Fishnets, which was our mutual friend Janet's band. They were talking about items they would never wear and fishnets popped up in the conversation, which later turned into band name as a joke. Janet sometimes wore a fishnet glove on her left forearm all the way up to the elbow, which kind of rocked.

As Janet sang "go away before I do something horrible to your cat" with all the teenage angst she could muster, I pulled out a photo album from my book shelf. I didn't really believe in digital photos, therefore I always printed out the photos I took on vacations.

"This is my family vacation in Fiji," I explained, cracking it open. Sean made all the appropriate noises of interest and fascination, until I flipped to a new page and saw one of me lying in the sand next to Alex, a random guy I met there. To be fair, throughout the vacation all we did was maybe rub sunscreen on each other, but it seemed to suggest more on film. I quickly flipped to the next page where more Alexes grinned at me. I could feel all the blood rushing to my face as I snapped it shut.

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