“Aaahhh, kabedon!” Emily squealed, her breathing stuck on exhale. The cards crinkled under her grip. Her nerves brimmed with uncontrollable emotion. Her heart felt like it would leap out of her chest. Her feet shuffled on the chair several times.
Alex’s head snapped up. She frowned, “Kabedon?”
“Yeah, it’s where a person has someone up against a wall. Usually, the person would hit the wall hard and produce a sound called, ‘don’,” her cousin explained, “Eh, Alex. Don’t tell me you didn’t know about it.”
Emily shook her head in disappointment, “You really need to read more romance themed novels. Maybe even just comics or webtoons. You can’t survive long in this world if you can’t recognize if a guy is interested in you as a girl. What if he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing? You’d be in a lot of trouble if you get entangled with someone like that.”
Alex merely sipped from her glass of soda. Her eyes stared off into a space. A memory from earlier replayed in her mind. Was it pure coincidence that she stumbled on the word again?
“Anyway, have you gone on a date yet?” Alex asked, placing her glass back on the table.
Lauren dropped a wild card and said, “Yeah, we went out last Saturday.”
Then, she went back to rearranging the cards in her hand. Her face remained nonchalant. She reached for a potato chip from an open bag nearby. She bit into it, chewing slowly. She held the second half up and squinted at her cards.
Emily slammed a hand on the table. Her eyes glared across the table, “Woman, I need details.”
“She’s just teasing you, Em” Alex chuckled. She could almost imagine a dark cloud around her cousin as she scowled at Lauren.
Lauren giggled. She popped the rest of the potato chip in her mouth, “Sure, but I’m not the only who will talk. You have to tell me what happened to your weekend too.”
“Jae said he was Emily’s boyfriend.”
Like Alex predicted, the cheerleader’s face turned into astonishment. Lauren covered her mouth, yelling, “OH MY GODS—”
“Don’t even go there” Emily cut in. She glowered at Alex, clicking her tongue, “Besides, that’s nothing compared to you kissing Logan on the cheek.”
“OH MY GODS—”
“Can we have one story at a time?” Alex remarked. She ate a potato chip, “We won’t go anywhere if we keep switching topics.”
“You just want to remove the spotlight from you.”
Alex stuck out her tongue at her cousin’s words. Then, she turned to Lauren, “What happened on the date?”
Lauren stood with her hands on her hips. She groaned in frustration and turned around, completing 360°. Several debates echoed in her head. She worried too much to be able to organize them. She ruffled her hair and created more tangles.
“Ugh, I can’t believe this!” She growled, “How hard is it to pick out an outfit?”
Clothes scattered around her pink room. Blouses, tops, jeans, skirts, shorts… littered on her bed, on her carpet, on her dresser and on her study desk. The doors to her closet were ajar. She even pulled out some of the clothes she no longer wore. No matter where her eyes landed, nothing inspired her to create the appropriate outfit.
“This won’t do!” Lauren moaned. She slumped on a chair that had an old blouse on it. She rubbed her palm against her forehead, “How do I ‘woman’?”
She dropped her hand and stared lazily at the mess. Defeat weighed on her shoulders. Her head shifted towards the clock on her wall. She had about 30 minutes left. Yet, she still went nowhere.
She sighed, “Maybe I should ask Colin where we’re going.” Closing her eyes, a scowl appeared on her brows, “But he wanted it to be a surprise. Would it be bad if I force it out of him?”
Her head throbbed suddenly. The thought just added to her stress. Lauren massaged her right temple and fished out her phone. Insensitive or not, something needed to be done about her headache. She’d only cause more trouble if she arrived in the wrong outfit.
The more she thought about it, the more the idea sounded reasonable to her. She opened her messaging app and clicked on her conversation with Colin. It didn’t take long to find since it was at the top.
‘Good morning, Colin. Any advice on what to wear? Should I dress warmly or not?’
Lauren pressed the send button before she could chicken out. She sighed, most of her burdens leaking along with it. To distract her from waiting, she set to arrange her clothes a bit. She gathered all the tops together. She did the same for the bottoms.
A few minutes later her phone sent a notification.
She quickly opened it.
’Good morning, beautiful.
Hope you slept well.
Dress warmly please.
See you soon!′
Her hand gripped the phone harder. Such a short message but the blood inside Lauren went frantic. She felt like she blushed from head to toe. Her heart became a frenzy. Her outfit worries had been fixed but now…
… She worried how she’ll survive the rest of the day!
Lauren stood out of her house, five minutes before Colin would pick her up. She decided on a simple getup. She figured dressing warmly meant they’d be outside. She chose a creamy white loose sweater, its neckline clinging to her skin. She paired it with denim jeans that hugged her snugly. For her feet, she chose black sneakers. Wherever they’d go, at least, they wouldn’t be easily stained.
A silver grey car rolled up in front of her driveway. As Lauren went down the pavement, Colin came out of the driver’s side. He wore a tan cashmere sweater that fit him perfectly, black pants and black sneakers. He smiled at Lauren, walking around the hood and opening the passenger door.
“Have I already told you how beautiful you are?” He greeted her. Lauren’s cheeks before his eyes. His grin only grew wider, “Then, should I say how much more beautiful you are right now after your efforts at dressing up for our first date?”
Lauren pressed her lips together, holding her breath, “You don’t look so bad yourself.”
She mentally patted herself on the back. She, at least, remembered to compliment him back.
“Well, I have to use every means to make you fall for me.”
A lump jumped into Lauren’s throat. The date had barely started and she already lost her ability to breath. Twice. By the end, she feared she’d find herself in a hospital. Her instincts activated at this moment, telling her to escape. She hopped inside the car and forced her lungs to take a deep breath.
Colin closed her door without a word. Lauren fixed her appearance and strapped on her seatbelt. Heaven knew she needed some sort of protection.
The car drove them out of her street and towards downtown. They took a series of turns. The drive was quiet as Lauren stared out the window. Stores and restaurants passed them by in a blur. Soon, the roads hardly had any establishments. She faced the windshield and saw trees. The path in front of them had no cement.
“Can I know where we’re going now?” Lauren thought out loud, “I don’t think I’ve ever been in this part of town.”
Were they going to a beach? She didn’t have any swimwear with her. Wait, Colin wouldn’t have tricked her about what to wear. Then, why did they head for the outskirts? What else was there?
Colin sneaked a glance at her. The frown on her face made his heart flutter. He scolded himself quietly. It seemed silly to be fond of every expression she made. If the others heard about it, they’d say he became whipped.
Nevertheless, the corner of his lip perked up, “We’re going to the pier. It has an amusement park.”