Adventure of a Lifetime
Part XVII: Going out
After a quiet Friday, I was teaching Allen how to make fresh pizza during Saturday’s lunchtime when Charlie came up to me, sitting cross the counter as I worked the massive dough.
“Hey, my dad wanted to confirm if you are still up for dinner at my place tonight?” She asked.
“Of course. What time?”
“Seven, he likes to have dinner late.”
“Alright, that’s good for me.” I answered with a smile. “Leaves us plenty of time.”
“Yeah…” She mumbled, nodding absently “So… I was wondering if you’d like to go out with me.” She then asked. I stopped what I was doing and stared at her, my heart just stopping.
Holy crap! Has she just asked me out?
She must’ve realized what she said because panic flashed across her face. “To the mall. I mean as an early birthday present kind of thing, how about a shopping trip on me?”
I couldn’t help but snicker at the sound of just how far her foot was up her mouth.
“That sounds great.”
“Alright. I’m gonna go…” She muttered before skipping back to the couch and smashing her face into a cushion in embarrassment.
I finished lunch prep quickly before taking a shower and getting changed out of my flour covered clothes. When I came out, Allen had taken the pizzas out just as I’d instructed and the others were already swarming the kitchen. I waited until the others were served before getting my own share, eating along Charlie.
“Ready to go?” I asked, once we were finished.
“Yeah. The bus should leave in…” She stopped to check her phone. “Nine minutes.”
“We better hurry up then.”
“Yes Ma’am.” She answered with a grin.
We put our coats and shoes on and went out the door. I couldn’t resist taking her hand in mine. She didn’t seem to mind as she laced her fingers with mine, making my heart beat just a smidge faster…
We hurried to the gate where Shavek, the bug person let us through and boarded a special bus waiting only a few steps away. It was about twenty minute ride into town. I didn’t question her when Charlie stopped us at an intersection, then followed her out of the bus and down two streets until we reached an L-shaped strip mall.
“It’s kind of a small place, but some of the shops are decent.”
“Are you kidding? There’s like twice the amount of stores in this spot than in my hometown.”
“Eh, guess I’m used to people thinking Havenport is a tiny backward place.” She said with a shrug.
“They don’t know tiny and backward until they’ve been in the country. There aren’t even any stop lights in my hometown!” That made her smirk.
“Well, you’re free to pick whatever you want, it’s all on me.”
I took her hand again and dragged her forward, exploring the wonders Havenport’s shopping center had to offer. After a few minutes of window shopping, I pulled us into a store that specialized in girl’s clothes. Charlie looked around without much interest, there wasn’t anything in her style.
“I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you don’t come in here often.” I teased her.
“I’ve been here a few times with friends. But yeah, not my place.”
That remark made me wonder. Where were Charlie’s friends? I knew they wouldn’t be at Ravenhold, but she hadn’t mentioned anyone or had any contact beside Ian…
I continued browsing, grabbing a few cute shirts, a skirt and some new sneakers. When we passed in front of the swimsuit area I couldn’t help but stop and examine what they had until my eyes stopped on a polka-dot bikini, which reminded me of a little naked alien…
“Isn’t it a bit cold to be getting a new swim suit?” Charlie asked.
“Oh it’s not for me, it’s for Ahti. You think Ahti would like a bikini or trunks?”
“Not a fan of Itharii streaking?” She answered snarkily.
“Is it weird that it makes me feel weirdly self conscious about my body to see them naked? Like I feel that I don’t get the same freedom and carefreeness…”
She gave me a shrug in answer. “I don’t know. As for your question, why not both?”
I looked around and found girly trunks a little further, getting one of the more neutral pairs. We continued shopping, I even picked an amazing lacy dress which I tried on. It was a little short, but I’d worn shorts under my previous dress so it wasn’t an issue.
“What do you think?” I asked, coming out of the booth.
It took her a moment to answer, as if she was just smitten by my appearance.
“It’s beautiful.” She said, mumbling the words. “Couldn’t be more perfect.” She added with a shy smile.
“Thank you.” I took her hands in mine and smiled back at her. “I think I’m going to wear that one tonight.”
With that, I changed back to my old clothes and continued shopping. When we were done, I had a few more clothing pieces, a box of chocolate homemade truffles from the candy-store, some accessories for my camera and had even managed to get Charlie to sit by while I got myself a manicure.
“It’s six to four.” Charlie said checking her phone as we got out of the Salon.
“We still have plenty of time to kill. You know what would be nice? A movie.”
“Your wish is my command, milady.” She declared, giving me a bow.
“They better be.” I answered, haughtily. “Now come minion.”
Charlie gave me a look and it I couldn’t hold more than a second before cracking with laughter.
“You know with that tone of voice, you’d make a credible supervillain, plus there’s the way you kicked Michael— The Rook’s butt. But you’d need a snazzier name; Wavemistress, Tsunami, something like that. Don’t get me wrong, Housatonic is catchy but it doesn’t have the evil pizzaz.”
Although she’d meant it as a joke, the thought flustered me. I’d make a good villain? Like father like daughter… I didn’t share my thoughts with Charlie though.
“Caroline?” She asked, raising a brow.
“Sorry, got lost in my thoughts… Movie?”
Thankfully there was a movie theater adjacent to the strip mall and we went there. Since it was part of my early, birthday gift she let me chose a the movie and I picked something musical, animated and light hearted. After a movie and way more popcorn than is healthy, we walked out of the theater still holding hands. I couldn’t help but notice some people were giving us some looks. Did they think Charlie and I were a thing? Charlie’s invitation came back to mind; to go out with her… Was this a date?
I felt my skin burn at the thought.
“Are you ready to go for dinner?” Charlie asked, interrupting my thoughts.