Author ~ Consultant ~ Creator at Large

Matthew Wayne Selznick

Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights

How It All Got Started 034: Alex
Free serial fiction from author and creator Matthew Wayne Selznick.

Saturday, June 23, 1984

Heather pulled in front of Alex’s house, put the car in park, and engaged the brake. Her smile was vulnerable, hopeful and guarded. “Here we are.”

“Yep.” Alex smiled back. “I’m sorry about this.”

Her laugh was short and a little frantic. “What about? It’s no big deal.”

They looked at each other. Her smile started to stiffen from the eyes down. Alex leaned forward, gave her a chaste kiss on the lips, and opened the car door. “See you soon..?”

“Not if I see you first,” Heather said.

He laughed politely. “Good night.”

“Good night.”

He stepped out of the car, closed the door, and stood at the end of his driveway until her car was out of sight. It was the right thing to do; he guessed she might check her rear view mirror as she left and he didn’t want to seem like a dick.

Too late for that.

Messing around with someone he didn’t really love. That was new ground. He felt like shit.

He let himself into the dark house, felt his way to his bedroom, closed the door and turned on the light. It was only 12:30.

It was early! Should he risk calling Angel? Would she answer fast enough to avoid waking up her folks? Was she already asleep?

Was she out, maybe on a date with jock-prick Mike Dante?

That was an ugly thought.

Would he be able to call her, talk to her at all, on the phone in the kitchen without waking up his parents? His dad would be pissed…

He stood in his bedroom and weighed it out.

“Fuck this.”

He slapped the wall switch to click his bedroom overhead light off and crept into the kitchen. The way he figured it (and he knew this was twisted, but it felt right) he owed it to Heather to call Angel.

He dialed Angel’s number by memory and touch. She picked up before the end of the second ring.

“Hello?”

“Hey!” Alex kept his voice down. “Did I wake you up?”

“Hey..!” She whispered. “No, but you might have woken up my dad..!”

“Sorry… I… we haven’t talked for a few days. I couldn’t sleep; thought I’d catch up with you.”

Alex was mortified to discover that he was nervous. This was Angel, for Christ’s sake.

Exactly.

“Well…” Her tone told him she thought he could have waited until tomorrow to catch up, but here they were. “I guess I’m all right.”

“You guess? That’s not the same as all right.”

“Guess not.”

Alex couldn’t decide if he felt bad for his friend, or excited that her less-than-optimal mood might be because Mike Dante was being an asshole.

“So? Tell me.”

She sighed into the phone. “Ugh. It’s nothing.”

That was new. There was no “it’s nothing” between them. They didn’t work that way.

“C’mon, Angel. It’s me.”

“Yeah?”

“So?”

He was ready to hear about a bad date. He was ready to be pissed off if Dante had been mean to her, or worse, tried to do something she didn’t want.

“Are you…” She sighed heavily. “Do you like me, Alex?”

He wasn’t ready to hear that.

~

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