She finches, finding a deeply rooted whisker among those she had elected to remove. Velyra simpers for a minute before resolving herself to the rest. It would all be worth it. Every hair in line, every seam creased and clean. She had finally decided on something that may have been a wedding gown in a previous life. It was this appeal that drew her to it. She took another appraising look in the mirror and smiled. The butterflies were back with full force, her racing mind began trying to tear apart her decisions all over again. It must be perfect.
She hadn't anticipated things going very far tonight, but what if he wanted to take the relationship to the next level? What if they hit it off so well that they want to be with each other tonight?! How she wished she could ask her mother for advice. Unfortunately, she was so religious that Velyra could recite chapter and verse that mother would choose from if she asked. Dad was so distant, and anytime she wanted to talk about anything serious he seemed to get nervous and recite something that sounded like sound advice, but often felt like it came from a self-help book with no contextual relevance.
Velyra wanted to ask her little sister, but she was only 8 and not as experienced as she was with the real world. Even if she was a fairly prominent internet cruiser. She was on her own. She thought silently to herself,
'I'll run out and snag a couple condoms, just in case. Or maybe just one? But what if we go all night? But I don't want to seem like a slut...ugh! Okay I'll keep one in the main pouch and hide the rest.'
As she reached for her money stash in its hiding place behind her dresser, she felt a strange itch rise inside of her. She had everything she'd saved up right here. Daddy insisted she not use a bank, and now it seemed to fit her story perfectly! A certainty of something flooded her mind.
'Maybe we'll run away together! Why should we hide our love? Go someplace romantic like Paris. It'd be nice to be ready.'
She saw no harm in it, placing the tightly rolled cash into her bag, stuffing it down and zipping it into a discreet pocket. The same one she'd hide those condoms in later... tonight was going to redefine her life.
Craig huffed as he sifted through the mail... a bright red envelope catching his eye.
He eyes the contents in silence. Finally heaving a heavy sigh,
"Well, you put up a great fight Commander. No one would argue that."
A long pause filled the air as he stared at the wall in contemplation. Suddenly rising to his feet he whips out his phone,
There wasn't going to be much time for him to prep for this trip, but if he didn't arrive for his squad leader's funeral he'd never forgive himself.
He wasn't going to be home tomorrow. He knew it was going to be a shit show when he got back, but this was too important to him. He hastily scribbled a note and placed it on the counter next to his red letter. He reviewed it one last time,
'Rufus, this came up. I'll be back soon. Sorry.'
He hastily jots at the bottom,
'P.S. feel free to help yourself to anything in the fridge. I might not be back in time to use it myself...'
he jots one last line,
'- but keep your mitts off my honey whiskey.'
Satisfied he moved to the bedroom where he opened the door and shelves of labeled money lay before him. His bed unkempt and looking like someone was fighting in the bed rather than sleeping. He muttered to himself,
"Plane ticket... plane ticket."
Tonight was going to be hell, but it'd be worth the trouble. He wondered if anything had changed with the rest of his squad... Realizing he was distracting himself because he didn't want to deal with the challenge before him, he groans aloud to himself,
"First things first, Craig."
The girl groaned softly to herself,
"First things first, Vel."
She paused outside the door of his house, her heart racing. She decisively pulled a perfume and spritzed the air above her, thankful her mom had already driven off. She straightened up one last time, finger trembling near the doorbell when a crash brought her reeling back! A burst of faint laughter around the side of the house drew her curiosity. Was someone vandalizing Hector's house??
Was that Hector?? Cheers followed and it emboldened her curiosity. With no fence to speak of, she walked along the edge of the house until she turned a corner to find ...
Hector, shirtless and dancing had a beer handed to him by his friend, carefully stepping away from the broken glass at his feet! He popped the cap with rehearsed ease, strutting and smirking at one of the attractive girls in a swimsuit,
"Which beer is this, Hector?"
"This'll be 9! Which is how many lovelies I've laid this month... and tomorrow, it'll be 10..."
He started to chug, staring right where Velyra had appeared. Taking a moment to recognize her he choked on his beer as the bottle sloshed in his grip.
"*cough* Oh fuck..."
Velyra, dumbstruck, said nothing and stared. Hector, trying to save face stuttered,
"Was our... was our date tonight?? I can go clean up and...uh"
Velyra found herself feeling stupid, something that she didn't want to show in front of these strangers, some of which she'd recognized from school. She turned on the spot and found herself running! Where was she going?? Did it matter?? All she knew was that this was some sort of nightmare. That her dream with Hector had just as quickly become a nightmare.
At some point she stopped running. Tears streaming down her cheeks as she choked back sobs and tried to make sense of where she was. Checking her phone she watched it die in front of her, punishment for texting back and forth all day without charging... she'd underestimated how much she was using it. A drop fell on her phone. A tear of hers, but a second drop surprised her. It was starting to sprinkle with rain. Fear grew in her stomach, not wanting to go back the way she came, but not willing to knock on someone's door in her current unkempt state.
The sound of a bus pulling away brought her attention to a bus stop that offered a pale light on the dark street and a map of the neighborhood. She swallowed an urge to bawl and focused on what she needed to find as she took shelter. Taking a bolstering breath she traced the bus routes. There...
She could be on a bus home in minutes. But a second glance at the departing bus dashed her hopes. The next one was in two hours. It felt like a small eternity ahead of her...The pain grew and she felt more tears stream down her face as she leaned on the map for support.
'How could I have been so stupid?!'
How could she go back to school after this? Surely people would be talking now. Had she known about this side of Hector she would have never agreed to a date. Now if she denied it, no one would believe her. She would just be another conquest, another notch on his belt.
She berated herself, struggling to find anything but sadness, contempt, and frustration...
Her eyes found the airport on the bus route map... a distant sense of hope emerged. Thoughtlessly she checked for the next bus... ten minutes... maybe this was 'God' or the universe telling her the next step in her story after all... Paris. Something. Anything. Anywhere but here. Staying here would be a fate worse than death.