The Things That You Do

00: It’s Better Than Not Knowing

Fiddling with the material of her dress, Alexa glanced towards the mirror, scanning her appearance for any slight hint of something being out of place. She knew that she was cutting it fine, her last check on the clock which stood on her nightstand had told her that she only had ten minutes before she was due to leave, but still she wanted to take her time, even if she was certain that she looked alright. She wanted to make sure that she looked as good as she could. It wasn’t like her, usually, when it came to getting ready to have lunch with her friend, she tended to just throw on the first thing she could lay her hand on, but she wanted to make the effort that day, even if it bought a little teasing her way. To her, it was a day which had been a while in coming.

Gently readjusting her skirt, she allowed the material to fall softly against her skin before she heard an amused laugh over her shoulder, something which pulled her attention back towards the mirror, her blue eyes meeting the greens of her roommate who stood behind, a grin pulling at the corner of her mouth. “Did you just laugh me?” she posed as she turned around.

Poppy, who stood in the doorway, smirked, shrugging her shoulders nonchalantly. “Perhaps” she quipped.

Alexa rolled her eyes. “Why?” she posed.

“Because you look all flustered and you’ve not even left you room yet” Poppy replied “What are you going to be like when you actually get to the restaurant?” she posed, plopping herself down at the foot of Alexa’s bed. She knew why Alexa was nervous, after all of the conversations in the previous few days, she knew why that lunch was so important, but she still wanted to try and ease her nerves slightly, even if she was certain that she couldn’t get rid of them. She wanted to encourage Alexa to relax slightly, not wanting her to stick her foot in her mouth which she tended to do when she was nervous.

Alexa, who’d moved to lift her jacket up off of the bed, shook her head. “I’m not that bad” she countered.

“Of course you’re not” Poppy replied sarcastically “That’s why you’ve been in here for the last hour. Because you’re calm and cool about this” she added, laying down against the mattress.

Alexa glanced down at her friend for a moment before she shook her head, letting out a light sigh. “Maybe I am a little nervous” she admitted gently “Is that stupid?” she posed, gently settling down at the foot of the bed.

Poppy sat up slightly before she gently lifted her hand, rubbing Alexa’s shoulder reassuringly. “No” she replied “I know that it has taken you a while to get to get to this point, and I would be very surprised if you weren’t nervous. I know I’ve teased you a lot when it comes to Leo, but I am glad that you’re finally going to tell him. He deserves to know, Alexa, regardless of what he says, and you deserve to know, one way or the other. It’s better than not knowing at all, no?” she posed.

Alexa offered her a non-committal shrug, something which made Poppy sigh before she leant up, hugging her friend tightly. “It’ll be fine” she insisted “Besides, if he doesn’t feel the same way, more fool him. You’re pretty great” she fussed teasingly.

Alexa snorted out a laugh, something which caused Poppy to offer her another tight squeeze before she leant back, nudging Alexa towards the edge of the bed. “Now, go” she encouraged “And I will be here when you get back to hear all about it” she added.

Alexa hesitated for a second, briefly contemplating shying away, before she shook her head, moving to collect her bag before she stepped out of the room, trying to ignore the nervousness which swelled in the pit of her stomach.

Quietly scanning the menu, Alexa lifted her head, sparing another glance towards the door. She knew that he was on his way, the text on her phone confided it, but still she was anxious for his arrival, something which had left her feeling slightly fidgety and uncertain. She knew that Poppy had a point, for too long, she had shied away from the conversation that she planned on having with Lionel that afternoon, but still the thought of saying the words aloud frightened her, even if they were overdue. She didn’t quite know how she was going to force them out of her mouth.

Chewing on her lip, she guided her stare back down towards the menu which sat in her hands before the sound of the seat opposite her being pulled out reached her, causing her to look back up, her eyes settling on Lionel who stood opposite her, his familiar grin on his face. “You OK?” he quipped “You look like you’re in your own little world. I can give you a second if you want” he added, his voice warm and teasing.

Alexa rolled her eyes playfully before she stood up, moving to greet him with a soft kiss on the cheek. “Hola, Leo” she mumbled.

Lionel embraced her gently before he stepped back, taking his seat. “It’s good to see you” he mused “It’s been what, six weeks?” he asked.

Alexa nodded. “It has” she confirmed, fiddling with her napkin shyly.

Lionel watched the small movement of her fingers for a second before he smiled, shaking his head in amusement. “Are you sure that you don’t want a second?” he asked “You seem pretty fidgety” he pointed out.

Alexa’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink before she shook her head. “It’s nothing” she mumbled.

Lionel frowned, slightly confused by her behavior, before he shook his head, moving to slip his phone out of his pocket. “I have something I want to tell you” he mused, placing the phone down onto the table between them.

“You do?” Alexa squeaked.

Lionel nodded his head a little, a soft smile pulling at the corner of his mouth. “I’ve met someone” he breathed out.

Alexa stilled in her seat. “Huh?” she spluttered.

“I’ve met someone” Lionel repeated “We spent a lot of time together over the summer and we’ve decided to give long distance a shot. It might not come to much, but I really like her” he added as he pressed the home button on his phone, causing the screen to illuminate with a picture of him and a pretty brunette.

Alexa glanced down at the screen, trying to ignore the lump which had climbed quickly into her throat, before she shook her head, forcing the best smile that she could onto her lips. “She...she’s beautiful” she stumbled out.

Lionel returned her grin and began to fuss about his new girlfriend, something which allowed Alexa the chance to subtly lift her hand, wiping away a few loose tears which had formed at the corner of her eye. She knew that it was her own fault, for too long, she had skirted around her feelings and shied away from talking to Lionel about them, but still it didn’t soften the blow, even if she didn’t have any real grounds to feel upset. It still stung.