Chapter Twenty- Five
Just as Alanna was grabbing her swimming gear from the closet in the hall there was a knock on her front door. Figuring it was Terrence coming to see Maria, she wasn’t too concerned about her appearance. When she opened the door, however, and came face to face with Damon, Alanna immediately wished she’d thrown on something nicer than the sweats and hoodie she was wearing. Then reminding herself that they were just friends anyway and he probably didn’t care what she looked like, she pushed those thoughts from her mind and asked,
“What’re you doing here? Crap, that came out sounding a lot ruder than I meant it to.”
Damon just smiled and responded, “I figured we could walk over to the pool together.”
“Sure, let me just grab my bag.”
Damon took her bag as she locked her door and slung it over his shoulder against her protests.
“You know, chivalry is mostly dead because women insist on killing it,”- he paused here to open the front door of the building-“ Feminism can be a good thing but it does destroy some good traditions.”
Alanna laughed because he did have a point.
“Fine. I give you permission to open all doors for the rest of the evening. And, should some gentleman attempt to sully my good reputation, again, you may fight him to the death to defend my honour.”
Damon smiled, which promptly turned to laughter when Alanna, who had been walking backwards ahead of him, slipped and fell in the snow. Alanna was so used to falling down in front of him that she wasn’t the slightest bit embarrassed and proceeded to sling a snowball at him. She had good aim and it hit him right between the eyes. In response, he threw their bags aside and launched a furious assault. Alanna had an advantage as she didn’t have to stoop between missile launches to scoop the snow and so the battle rapidly turned into a massacre. After a few minutes, Damon threw his hands up in mock surrender and advanced towards the enemy. But as he neared her feet, he suddenly crouched and, picking up a rather large handful, attempted a surprise attack. But Alanna would not be taken so easily and shocked him by subjecting him to a leg sweep, that had him flat on his back in ten seconds. Before he could move, she straddled his chest, pinning his arms with her knees. Bringing her face close to his she demanded his surrender. In too much shock to do much else, he nodded and she rolled off him laughing.
“The look on your face was priceless. You really thought you had me, huh?” Alanna laughed.
Damon sat up dusting snow off his clothes and nodded.
“Where’d you learn to do that?” he asked.
“Self- defence class. I started taking them after…” She stopped abruptly and looked off into the distance.
Damon stood up and gathered their bags.
“Still up for a swim?” he asked as he offered her a hand in getting up.
She smiled, grateful that he hadn’t asked her what she had been about to say, and said she’d race him to the pool.
“Girl, you can barely walk without falling down. You really wanna run?”
“Hmmm, you may have a point there. I’m sure it was really cowardice that made you refuse my challenge but my ass does still hurt from when I fell just now, so we can reschedule.”
She didn’t see the snowball until it was too late and then she swore vengeance as he sprinted to the gym with Alanna following close behind. He did beat her, but not by much. She was enjoying surprising him repeatedly with her hidden talents.
“Hmm, I don’t remember Gulliver mentioning that the Lilliputians were expert sprinters. Or do you guys have Terrigen Mists like the Kree that give some of you special powers?”
“First of all, I’m five-three. That’s not exactly tiny. Second, the Inhumans have the Terrigen Mists, not the Kree.”
Alanna doubled over in laughter at Damon, staring at her with his mouth hanging open. Clearly, he was not used to girls, especially black ones, correcting him on comic book trivia.
“Every time I think I’ve got a handle on you, you shock me with something new. You’re a comic-book loving, ninja. Do you fight crime in your sparetime? Leap tall, buildings in a single bound?”
Alanna chuckled and replied, “Hardly. But another fun fact about me - I would like to get some tattoos someday, though. I’m too chicken to go alone and Lexie is against me getting any. She’s weirdly old fashioned about that sort of thing.”
“See, I wouldn’t have pegged you for the kinda girl that’d want a tattoo. I can take you to my guy if you’d like. I’ll even hold your hand the entire time,” he grinned and continued,” Do you know what you’d like to get as your first tat?”
“It’s a latin quote. ‘Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim’. ‘Be patient and tough; this pain will serve you in the future.’”
“Nice. I like it. Let me know when you’re ready to go and I’ll go with, okay?”
Alanna looked at him and smiled. She liked the idea of Damon being there, distracting her from the pain of her first tattoo.
“Okay. See you in the pool.”
She headed to the change rooms. She didn’t look back and so didn’t see Damon staring after her with a thoughtful expression on his face; couldn’t know that right then he was hoping he’d be there to hold her hand through all the difficult periods in her life; that he could help her heal whatever wounds made her hold back when every time she came close to opening up to him.