After Asia left, Kolby took a moment to soak in the solitude of his new home. All his life, he had known large, crowded houses. Someone was always at home. There were parties and visitors. He had never been alone before. As he lay across the bed, he closed his eyes and listened to the soft hum of the distant bustle below. The apartment was high enough for the noise not to be bothersome, and it was perfect. He didn’t have the dead silence of Willow Creek but still lacked the excitement of the city.
When he had soaked up all the silence he could handle, he sauntered to the television to watch something. Anything. He didn’t care. He wasn’t a huge TV fan, but it was just so nice to be able to watch something without someone asking to change the channel or being stuck watching something he wasn’t interested in. After Kolby had enough TV time, he turned out the lights, sat in front of the huge picture windows, and watched the sun disappear into the city’s skyline. It was one of the most beautiful sights he’d ever seen. After dark, he ventured below to explore his new neighborhood. It was nicknamed the fashion district. He wasn’t sure why it was called that yet, but it was definitely a very nice part of town and he hadn’t been there since he and his old friends went to Geek Con in high school. The festival must have been in town recently for there were still parts of rocket ships around.
The fashion district looked so different at night, and Kolby was proud to be a resident there. His stomach let him know it was dinner time, so he stopped by one of the food stalls before going home. He was glad the burger and hot dog stand was the vendor of the day. The only bothersome part about city living was he never knew which vendor would be at the food stalls, and Kolby was not very adventurous when it came to his meals. There were two ladies ordering food, so he stood in line behind them. The vendor, however, called him to the stand. They must have ordered already.
“Hi. Can I get a burger with–” He caught a glimpse of the woman to his left. She was so pretty. “Uhh, with lettuce and tomato?”
The vendor made his burger, and Kolby stepped back a little bit. He didn’t want to be weird and stare at the woman. He should have said hello or something but was feeling a bit shy. The vendor gave the ladies their orders, and they walked away. The redhead smiled at him, and he returned a cheesy grin.
“Order up,” the vendor yelled.
He grabbed his plate and found a seat near the smiley redhead. If he didn’t have enough courage to speak to her, at least he could admire her without being creepy.
He debated with himself as he consumed his dinner. It seemed like his nerves had enough excitement for one day, but he didn’t want her to get away. What if she didn’t live around there? Would he ever see her again? Just as he psyched himself up to speak to her, she arose from her seat. Panic struck through his body. She couldn’t be leaving yet. Not before he had a chance to say hello.
She looked directly at him though. He was sure he had some crazy look on his face. Oh good Watcher! She’s coming this way!! Even more panic coursed through his veins, and he began breathing deeply to calm himself and act cool.
“Excuse me,” she said. “This may be a long shot, but are you a piano player?”
She knows me?! Calm down and answer the question.
He cleared his throat. “Uhh, y-yeah. I am.”
She stood next to the seat in front of him smiling.
“Oh, sorry. Would you like to sit?”
Now that she was directly across from him, he thought she was stunning. She had these beautiful gray eyes that looked like they could pierce right through his soul. Her bare mid-drift and fitted pants showed off her perfect figure.
He extended his hand to her. “I’m Kolby.”
She grabbed the offered hand. It was so soft and warm. He wanted to kiss it.
“Nice to meet you.”
Though he was very curious to know how she knew he was a musician, he didn’t mind the opportunity to gaze into those sharp eyes.
“I saw you play. Sorry if I freaked you out.”
“Oh, on Sunday?”
She nodded. The Blue Velvet was so packed, he was quite certain he never saw her.
“I would have loved for you to come say hi.”
He was surprised those words fell out of his mouth uninhibited. He was even more surprised that she blushed.
“I wanted to, but…well, I was chicken.”
Kolby couldn’t believe someone with a face like hers would ever be shy about anything. Who in their right mind would turn her down?
“Chicken? I don’t believe that at all. I was chicken a little while ago,” he admitted, hoping it was the right thing to do. “I wanted to say hi to you.”
They chuckled at their predicament.
“Well, I’m usually not so shy, but…well…you’re a musician. You probably have girls coming at you all the time.”
He snickered. “I’m not, like, famous or anything.”
She blushed again. “I know, but…you know.”
The more she talked the more he felt like he was falling under her spell. He had to make a bold leap of faith and rested his arms on the table and leaned in. She appeared nervous yet eager.
“I need to tell you something,” he said.
“Mmm hmm,” she uttered nervously.
“I hope it’s not too weird, but…”
He was getting cold feet.
She grinned. “Mmm hmm?”
“I think you’re so beautiful.”
She was a bit coyer that time, and he breathed a sigh of relief.
After an uncomfortable silence, Fernanda pushed back from the table much to Kolby’s chagrin. “Well…I guess I’d better get going.”
She’s getting away! DO SOMETHING!
She stood slowly as if she were buying him time to stop her from leaving, but the courage he found to compliment her was short-lived.
She turned around quickly.
“I was gonna go for a walk, but it’d be great to have some company.”
Like the diamond ring of an eclipse, her eyes shined so brightly he thought he’d surely be blinded by her beauty.
“I’d love to.”
“Cool. I live in this neighborhood, so we won’t go far.”
As they walked across the pedestrian bridge, Fernanda couldn’t keep her eyes off the skyline.
“It’s nice, right?” he asked.
“Mmm hmm. It’s actually my first time coming down here.”
“Oh! Where do you live? I mean, if that’s not too stalkerish to ask right now.”
She laughed. “Willow Creek. I actually just moved in over the weekend.”
“No kidding! I grew up in Willow Creek! I just moved here today.”
She grinned. “We’re both newbies.”
Kolby didn’t explore enough earlier to figure out where else they could walk and didn’t want to turn around so quickly. There was a bench up ahead. Maybe it would buy them some time.
Fernanda continued scoping out the scene while Kolby pretended to do the same while trying to steal glances at her.
“So, uhhh, you said you just moved. Where are you from?”
“Nowhere important,” she said still looking around. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to be curt. I just don’t want to talk about home right now.”
“Oh. Yeah, I understand. Don’t apologize.” I just don’t know how to talk to women!
“Do you always play at that club?”
The question made him nervous. He felt like she had this grand idea of who he was in her head when he was basically nobody. “No, I…well…honestly, it was my birthday. I was just so excited I had to sit down and play.”
Her eyes lit up again. “No way! I had my birthday over the weekend too.”
“Twinsies, as my little sister would say.”
Fernanda sighed in a satisfactory manner as she leaned back on the bench. “I’m probably keeping you from something. I should get back across the bridge.”
He wanted to stop her and say she wasn’t keeping him but figured it was ok to let her go that time. He could go home process the evening and be more prepared for the next time he saw her.
“I’m glad we met, Fernanda. I hope we see each other again.”