by Reese Joans
Chapter Two: Dinner. It's their first dinner together. What could possibly be so wrong?
Both Jack, and Alice found themselves sitting on the couch watching the television. Jack finished getting all of his stuff from his truck to his new room, some even adding to her collection of things in other rooms like the one their in. They were wrapped up in a movie that Alice had put on from her large arrangements of DVD’s. Large, because Alice doesn’t stop at the current movies, her interests take her as far back as 1938. This was just another thing about her that surprised Jack when he seen it.
When it was finished, Alice had realized that neither of them had eaten yet. She got up from the couch, maybe a little too quickly, and walked into the kitchen. Jack watched her as she moved gracefully across the floor. She opened a few cupboards to remember that she meant to go to the store earlier. Jack got up from the couch and sat down on a stool in behind her on her other side of the counter.
“So what kind of work do you do?” Jack asked Alice. Alice was searching cabinets, and didn’t know he was right behind him. She quickly turned around to see where he was exactly.
He sat there smiling, with one hand holding up his chin. “Huh? - Oh.” She stopped searching the cabinets and stood as calmly as she could while she regained herself. “I’m a magazine editor, and photographer.” His innocent look changed, and his hand came down. He looked confused, then impressed. “What?” She said, confused by his expressions.
“Nothing. That just wasn’t what I thought you’d say.”
“And what did you think I’d say? ‘I work in a hair salon’?” She walked out from behind the counter. “Come here, I’ll show you.” She walked over to a door on the other side of the dining room. It was the only room she hadn’t shown him before. Alice opened the door, and walked in. She stopped, and waited for him to do the same. Jack was much more cautious about entering the dimly lit room.
Once they were both inside, she shut the door. “This is my darkroom.” Alice began. “Your eyes will adjust in a minute, don’t worry.” She could sort of see him squinting, and widening his eyes in the dark. All around them were pictures hanging up from strings. Others were in trays waiting to be fully developed. Alice walked over to a bunch that were drying, and took them off the pins holding them to the string. She took them back out into the light. Jack followed her out, and immediately closed them again because compared to the light in the previous room this was very bright. Alice laughed at his actions. She knew that the light would be brighter, and knew how to avoid doing things that Jack was. When he was done readjusting his eyes to normal light, she laid down the pictures on the table. Jack sat down in a nearby chair, and looked at each individually. They were of various things ranging from nature, to her friends, to what her work involved. Jack seemed to favor those.
“Is there a theme to these?” Jack asked after he finished looking at them.
“I take photographs of things that interest me. If I don’t like it, there’s no sense it wasting film on it.” Alice answered. “I haven’t gotten out to take pictures recently. Those are all a couple of months old.”
She walked out of the dark room, and back to the kitchen because she remembered that she was going to get something for dinner. When she opened the fridge for the fourth time, she remembered what she was doing before she left for the darkroom.
Alice was now forced to embarrassingly ask him what he’d like for dinner. Sitting there next to her was a notepad that she picked up and began making a list of food she wants to get.
“What are you doing?” Jack asked. Alice looked up to see him sitting in the same stool as before.
“I’m making a list of food. What else?” She then went back to her list. “Sometimes, I like to be a little organized, if you couldn’t tell.”
Jack looked around the apartment and said quietly, “no, I could tell.” He waited a few minutes, and watched as she wrote, then checked some random cupboard until she finally finished her list. “Do want me to go do that for you?”
“No, it’s okay. I can do it.” She walked out the door where the shoes were in a pile.
“I have a better idea,” Jack said as he walked toward Alice. “Let’s go out for dinner. We can worry about going to a store later.” Alice smiled, and nodded. Both put their shoes on and left the building.
There was a little restaurant down the street a couple of blocks. It was a beautiful night for a walk, and it avoided deciding whose car to take. The restaurant wasn’t every really crowded, and was nice for family dinners, and those who’d much rather forget theirs.
It had been a while since Alice had been to this restaurant, and it seemed as though a few changes had been made. She ended up having to sit at a table by the bar to find one away from children throwing food at other children. Alice at least, never imagined that they actually do those things. Jack didn’t seem to mind where they were; he had a very nice view of the television from where he was. Apparently some team from some sport was playing a “close game” against some other team from the same sport. Alice, not knowing anything about the subject tried to tune out all the oohs, profanities, and YES’s.
The food served turned out to be better than anything Alice could have cook herself. I hope he doesn’t expect me to be able to do things like this, she thought to herself. Conversation with Jack was close to impossible, so she didn’t try. But that didn’t stop her from thinking about him. How cute he was, how she didn’t want to have Kate or Emily to get a hold of him. Whenever he did try to talk to her, it was something about the game. Like I was really paying attention to that, she thought again, I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a huge mistake. Oh my god, I’m living with a sports fanatic! That is horrible; maybe he isn’t like this all the time. Before she could think anymore of it, he turned to her, and cut off her train of thought.
“Do you mind if we sit up there? This table seems to cramped anyways,” Jack said smiling.
“No, I suppose not.”
Both of them stood up, and moved to two nearby stools at the bar. Alice brought her drink with her, but left the rest of food (which were nothing more than scraps) at the table. She was one of two women sitting at the bar. The other seven people were all men. And, yes, they were all very into the sport on the television.
It wasn’t as if he was completely ignoring her. During commercials, or when nothing was going on, he would turn to her to talk to her. It wasn’t long until she finished what was left of her drink, and was bored all over again. Jack didn’t take too long to notice, and soon offered her another one. Instead of getting soda, he ordered something alcohol-based. Of course, she thought. The previous thoughts of how his looks are creeping back into her head. She tried to stop them, but it was close to impossible. So she just took another drink, and let the thoughts come.
To her surprise, the drink wasn’t all that bad. After a few sips, she found herself wanting more. It didn’t even take her long to finish it. In less then an hour, she was wasted, and he was getting there. Obviously he had much more of a tolerance to the substance.
Out of the corner of Alice’s eye she could see one of Ben’s friends, Amos. He was giving her a strange look, but Alice didn’t think much of it at the time. All she was able to really focus on was Jack.
It was a commercial, and Jack was facing her. She was trying not to pay attention to him though. Alice was facing forward, pretending to study the wall of bottles facing her. Eventually she looked back at him, but only because he would not look away.
“You know you are beautiful.” Jack said, without warning.
Alice at first had no response, but blurted “what?” without much thought. “You really think so?” Then immediately wanted to smack herself for saying that.
“Why would I lie?”
“Well, it’s just that no one’s ever said that to me before.” Alice was quite shocked; in fact she was very surprised that she was able to speak so many words at a time. Not to say they were what she would have said, had she not been so stunned.
“Really? I hardly thought I would have been the first.” Jack said, now gazing at the same bottles Alice had been. “I thought maybe the hundredth person, at least!”
Alice smiled at the thought of hundreds of people thinking of her in that same way. Adored by many, hated by none. She picked up the large cup, and drank habitually as she thought. Imagining herself a movie star, or something of that nature. Then remembering who she really was, and where. Though memory of whom she was with perked her back up, with the soon-to-be-envious thoughts of Emily, and undoubtedly Kate. These thoughts made her smile even more. Although Jack thought she was smiling because of his recent compliments of hopeful flirting, and it would not be Alice to break up those thoughts.
Both of them were becoming more intoxicated with each passing minute. After a while, it got to where neither of them should be drinking any more.
Being in the state Jack was in, he decided it was a better idea to leave, and walk back home. He took her arm, and gently brought her to her feet. Although he was a little out of it too, he was still able to find some control in what he was doing. The walk back home seemed longer than the one they took to get there. Alice was unable to restrain herself from bursting into laughter every minute that passed, at nothing that was as funny as she made it.
When they got back to the apartment building one of the female tenants from their floor was coming out, and looked at the two like they were doing the most horrible thing. Alice, being her present self, burst into more laughter at the sight of the woman’s face. It was basically that way until they reached the elevator.
Jack was then practically carrying her. He set her down on one of the closer rails that stuck out from the wall. All four walls were made out of a shiny brass metal. Alice caught a look at herself in a wall, and laughed a bit before thinking out loud. “Wow. I look awful!” Then stood up straight, and laughed again.
Jack turned to her smiling, but not laughing in case she was being serious. He began looking at her face more. “No you don’t. You look fine.” She smiled. Then without thinking much at all, leaned in to kiss him.
“Sorry. I didn-” Alice began, but was unable to finish because he then swiftly kissed her back. It was such a graceful movement, and as sweet as long summer days. All those thoughts from before then rushing back into her mind. When they stopped again, they realized why they were still in an elevator. He forgot to push the button. He pushed the button labeled ‘four’ and stepped back. Awkwardness swept over the tiny space. Alice looked over at him to see what he was doing, to find him staring at her. She looked down shyly, and then looked back up. He was much closer than before, and the sudden movements made her jump a bit.
It didn’t take long before the two were practically on top of each other. His face pressing up against hers. The elevator door opened, but they didn’t really stop. The door to her apartment wasn’t that far, and they walked and kissed at the same time as best they could. Alice was hoping that a neighbor wouldn’t walk out of their apartment. That would have been really awkward. They took a quick break once for Alice to get out keys, fumble with them, and then unlock the door. They started it up again as if there was never a pause. Once they were close enough inside, he put his hands around her hips, and lifted her up onto the counter in the kitchen. His hands then moved up her back as he slowly took her shirt off. He then held on to her as he picked her up and moved into his new bedroom.