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How It All Got Started 030: Alex

Friday, June 22, 1984

Heather breathed softly, sound asleep next to Alex. She lay on her side, facing him. The back of her hand just barely touched his forearm and moved slightly now and then as, he assumed, she dreamed.

Alex lay on his back and stared into the darkness. Sleep wasn’t happening.

He sighed.

He was with the wrong girl.

Heather was the wrong girl.

Damn it.

He’d mistaken their unusual, emotionally intimate first meeting for something different. Something true.

Man, he’d wanted it to be that. He really, really wanted something true. He really wanted to know what that was like; if it was even possible.

He’d never experienced anything like the night at Grant’s when he and Heather bared their souls while Grant and his girlfriend did their thing in the other room. It had been remarkable.

Now, even lying in her bed after making love, Alex realized that, while he and Heather had shared a lot of facts about each other, they didn’t really know each other. Not really.

It was the sex that drove that point home for him. Alex had only ever been with Eve, but he knew enough to understand that the first time with someone wasn’t necessarily indicative of how good it might get, with time. That was fine; Alex got that.

The problem was that all the emotional intensity he’d felt with Heather on Monday night was flat out missing in action when they’d slept together.

Maybe that was his fault. Maybe he had expected too much; built the whole thing up to be more than it was; more than it could be, yet.

He sighed again. Heather stirred and mumbled in her sleep.

Alex hadn’t asked for the fantasy vision of Angel to pop into his head. He hadn’t known it would happen, and hadn’t expected it to push him into coming.

But it did.

Of course, Alex had imagined Angel… that way… before. Even before she’d started to happen for him, he’d naturally envisioned her very female attributes when he’d masturbated. But that was… well, that was just convenient objectification.

The problem, or discovery, or… complication… was that when she’d popped into his head while he was having sex with Heather, it wasn’t exactly the thought of her body beneath him that troubled him.

It was the recognition that being on top of Angel was where he’d rather be.

Alex grinned a little shamefully in the darkness. It was pretty crass, thinking of it that way, but the point was that he wanted to be with Angel. He had to know if their deep friendship, their multi-layered knowledge of and care for each other, would translate into something more.

And he needed to know right now.

But how? Heather had driven them to her apartment. Damn.

It didn’t matter. He didn’t feel right, being here, and the urge to see Angel, to talk to her, to tell her… well, he’d figure that part out when he got there, but he needed to get there. He’d go find a phone—he remembered seeing a convenience store on the corner down the street from Heather’s place—and call a cab.

Very slowly, with great care, Alex slipped out from under the sheet and out of bed. His eyes were dark-adapted, but it was still a challenge to find all his clothing. Crawling on his hands and knees around the bed, he managed to find his shirt and socks. He buttoned his shirt and started to pull on the first sock, but he lost his balance and sat down quickly on the edge of the bed.

Heather woke up.

“Alex?”

“It’s okay,” he whispered.

“Whuddayuhdoon?”

Her sleep-fuzzed voice was endearing. Alex felt a pang of guilt. “I can’t sleep. It’s okay.”

She turned on the nightstand lamp and squinted at him. She held the blankets tight at her neck.

Alex was very aware that he was naked between his waist and shins. He grinned sheepishly. He spotted his underwear and scooped them up.

Heather frowned. “Where are you going?”

“I’m sorry. I just can’t sleep.”

She shrugged. Alex saw her smile quiver slightly. “We don’t have to sleep. I don’t have to sleep. We can do whatever. Watch TV…”

Alex’s heart clenched. “I—I was just gonna head home.”

She turned her head. “Oh.” She frowned. “Um… how?”

He found his pants and pulled them on. A quick pat of the pockets assured him that his keys and wallet hadn’t fallen out.

“I, uh, I was going to call a cab,” he said. “I didn’t want to wake you. It’s really okay.” He smiled and hoped it didn’t look like mercy. “You sleep.”

Her smile came back, stronger. “It’s a crappy bed. I’ve been meaning to buy a bigger one. Now I have a reason.”

He didn’t know what to say to that, so he laughed quickly and bent to kiss her. She made that a little more of a production than he had wanted. He didn’t resist, but he was the one to break away first.

“Just hang on,” she said. “I’ll take you home.”

“I don’t—”

“Alex, please let me take you home. I’d feel stupid if you took a cab.” She looked uncertain again. “Did you have fun tonight? Did you… was it…”

“I had a great night,” he lied.

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The Sovereign Era, The Shaper's World, Daikaiju Universe, Protector Universe, Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights, How It All Got Started, Thing, Carson Meunetti, Lina Porter, Alex Kent, Crystal Dubois, Abbeque Valley, Dana Cove, Pinnacle Records, Hagar's and related characters, institutions, situations, and representative depictions in media are trade marks of Matthew Wayne Selznick.
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