“I wish I could be your height,” Raina raised her chin while she stood on her toes.
“Ah, no you don’t, I hated it in school, my head always sat above all the others, to include the boys. But hey, I hope this date works out. At least he is tall, dark, and handsome. Finally, a guy I can wear heels with!” Amelia pulled her phone out and looked at the picture of her recent love interest.
Upstairs, Raina and Amelia shared rooms, and as much as they loved sharing one another’s make up tips for a classic Gothic look, they, unfortunately, we’re unable to share much in the way of one another’s wardrobe. Amelia towered over Raina at five feet and ten inches, while petite Raina was just below average at five feet and three inches tall. Together the pair didn’t seem to mind any of those differences because they shared a ubiquitous upbringing and appreciation in clothes and boys.
One difference was Raina, who took on a business interest to work for herself. Esmra gave her the opportunity to purchase the bar she owned, named ‘Nevoc’. It was catchy and suitable being an anagram; Nevoc, spelled backward, was coven.
Raina worked several shifts a week and did not shy away from a day’s hard work or saving every penny, so she could make her own way in life. She saved many tips and her paychecks, stashed away in her bedroom drawer. While she searched for the perfect fishnet stockings to wear, she knocked the wad of money out of her drawer, landing on the floor near Amelia’s feet.
Amelia dug around in the jewelry box. “Raina, can I borrow your black earrings? I have this bracelet, but nothing I have matches them.” She turned around with the bracelet but stopped and glanced down at her feet. “Wow! Raina, you need to open a savings account! Why do you have all that cash, anyway?”
Raina leaned over and snatched up the cash, and she counted the dollar bills with a smile. “Oh, I know. But remember, I talked to Esmra about buying the bar from her. She said a while back it was getting to be too much for her to run, and she wants to retire out of the bar business and focus more on her oil making.” Raina shut her dresser drawer, tipping the dresser back against a poster of one of her favorite guitarists. She sat on the bed and studied her feet as she wiggled her toes. “I need a pedicure. To answer your questions, yes, take what you want to borrow.”
Amelia walked over to Raina’s dresser, covered with perfume, lotion, and bottles for potions that would keep any witch busy, and her eyes surveyed the poster of the ominous rock star posing in the old and tattered poster. “Raina, so did you both agree on the terms?” Her eyes remained on the poster. “You know, I never understood your fascination with, who is this?” Amelia leaned forward, squinting her eyes to read the name printed on the poster. “Mic Mars? The guy from Motley Crue?”
“Well, she will maintain her ownership of the building until I can pay it off, but to start, I will buy the equipment in the bar and make payments to her each month for the payoff of the building, which, with how busy the bar gets, won’t take long for me to pay it off. She wants to get going in the next few months.” Raina jumped off her bed and sifted through her black wardrobe for something to wear. “And stop making fun of my rock star choices. I like him, and I love the band. So what if they are old and from the 80s rock glam? He isn’t like all the rest of them. Maybe that is why I like him.”
Amelia wore a solid black long skirt hiding her lengthy legs, a matching black lace camisole with a dark cardigan that hit right at her small hips. A black charm bracelet adorned her wrist, and with Raina’s addition, long black earrings in her ears. Her pale face had a hint of pink color in her cheeks and stood out amongst her black eye makeup with matching lipstick. “Well, you always had an eccentric choice in music. But I am ready to go!” Amelia took one of Raina’s perfume bottles and gave a quick splash while she watched Raina pull out a sheer, black short-sleeved blouse, and a short black skirt with a red lace overlay. Her matching black heels gave her a few inches to compete with Amelia, but even with her heels on, she wasn’t her height.
The doorbell rang, and the girls just couldn’t pull their selves fast enough to race down the stairs. As they flew down the wooden staircase, Esmra barely left her chair to answer the door, and she stopped to see them jogging to the front door.
“Esmra, no, wait, let us answer!” Amelia shouted
“Why what is the big deal? Besides, whatever happed to make the guy wait a few minutes?” Esmra snickered.
Without another word, Raina opened the door to the best friend guys who were set to take them out on a date. There they stood, smiling at the Gothic best friends, and they seemed interested in the girls. Although, they didn’t seem to share the same fashion tastes as both Amelia and Raina. The boys looked as if they shopped at the local Abercrombie store and had the physiques of football players.
Amelia’s face lit up as her eyes met her date. “Brian! You look great!” She leaned forward and took a deep breath. “OH, and you smell great! What is that?”
Brian, who stood a head over the tall girl who floundered over him, kept his blue eyes locked on Amelia. His smile came with a perfect set of pearly whites, and his sandy-colored hair matched his sandy-colored skin from time spent away with his wealthy family on their yacht.
“Oh, Amelia, I don’t know, Polo? Right?” He shrugged, bringing his arms forward to take Amelia by the waist.
His partner and best friend, Derek, stood shorter and much stockier built from his obsession with his body and working out. He studied Raina, and his grin twitched as he rubbed the back of his neck.
Brian looked to Raina, who kept a watchful eye on his hands wrapped around her best friend. “Oh Raina, you know Derek from the café, I think you both will enjoy each other’s company. I was glad that Derek could come out tonight and neither of you seems to have any issues with a blind date,” Brian said.
Raina nodded, and having realized that she was being watched by Derek, she perked up and smiled, “Of course! I know we will have a lot of fun. So, are we off? Do we tell Esmra we are leaving?”
Amelia waved her perfectly manicured hand, “Ah, nah,” she said, “She knows we have dates! Come on! Let’s get out of here.”
Amelia took off the porch with a spring in her step, pulling her shy date behind her. Brian’s cheeks flushed a bit, and he smiled, but he looked away when Amelia glanced at him.
Derek and Raina, just a few short steps behind, carried a much different ambiance with them; they were more aloof toward one another with less enthusiasm.
She walked alongside her beau for the night, or she hoped maybe for a few more. Her eyes moved in a sweeping motion from his face to the ground as they walked side by side through Esmra’s front yard on the way to Brian’s car.
“So, Brian says that you and Amelia both were raised in foster homes?”
Raina slowed her gait more and right before they were to enter Brian’s car, she said, “Are you always so on point?”
Derek’s face changed from a soft smile to resemble nervousness with Raina’s biting response. “I meant no disrespect, I am sorry.”
Raina didn’t acknowledge his apology. Instead, she jumped into Brian’s car and opted for a quick change in the subject, “So Brian...what do your parents do for a living?”
Brian had just shut his door and put the key in the ignition of his Mercedes sport-utility wagon. “Uh, well, my dad inherited a lot of his money, but he is an investment banker and has been for twenty years. My mother is a doctor.” His eyes studied Raina through the rear-view mirror, not having liked the insinuated question. “You know, I bought this used, and I had to save up for my down payment, and I pay for it on my own,” Brian remarked.
Raina looked out the window as they were pulling away from the house, leaving Derek uncertain of what the night would bring. While they rode through town no one spoke, with only the noise of the radio being audible. They arrived at a small café in the city for supper, before a stop at the local movie theater.
As they walked into the café, all eyes were on Amelia, tall, and her energy drew much attention with her bright and beaming smile, and the server took notice of Amelia and her date.
“Oh, wow! Brian, you sure know how to pick ’em.” The server kidded with Brian, whom he had known from before when his parents brought him into the café.
“Thank you, Willie,” he said as he pulled out Amelia’s chair for her sit down. “I will tell my parents I saw you today and don’t work hard.”
Willie handed out menus for the group and took the drink orders.
Derek took the cue from his buddy to offer a few gentlemanly ways, and he too pulled out Raina’s chair. And she wasn’t used to cordial treatment on a date. Despite uncertainty of his gratitude for her time, in a quick but nervous recovery, Raina obliged by taking her seat with a shy grin.
Amelia gave her drink order and monitored Raina. For most of the dinner, she looked over to Raina several times while she maintained her excitement to her new boyfriend. Brian, who seemed as delighted to have her near him, always opened the doors, pulled out her chair, and remained the gentlemen he was brought up to be.
After the meal and the movie, the boys drove the best friends back to Esmra’s house and dropped them off, but not before Brian was sure to let Amelia know that he was very interested in seeing her again. However, Raina did not receive that same treatment from Derek, who remained silent most of the date and uncertain of the new woman Brian set him up with.
The boys jumped into Brian’s ride and left to go on back to their shared apartment. Brian carried a love stuck face while Derek sat in the passenger seat with his arms crossed, accompanied by an incredulous look.
“What in the hell are you so cheery about?” Derek remarked as he cut his eyes out of his window.
Brian snorted, “What, Raina, not what you expected?”
“Well, for starters, she isn’t my type. She’s too goth or emo or whatever they are these days, but she is attractive. And when we stood in line at the theater, we talked about unique things we like to do. I get it, she is into Wicca, and all, which I guess is okay, and I liked that she was so into traveling and wanted to see the world. That we had in common. I just felt like I offended her more than anything. I can’t figure her out.”
“Oh, Derek, come on, you aren’t the easiest to date. Look, you just got out of a relationship with a prom queen now sorority member. It’s time for a change. You know a lot of those girls are the same. They all are there to party, go to school and have fun. Maybe you need something different. Your last girlfriend already had your kids’ names picked out and what job you would have. You want that?” Brian hissed.
Derek sighed, “I guess I see your point. But she is frustrating.”
“Oh, I get it,” Brian’s eyebrows flashed, “So you want that girl who you can figure out in just a few minutes with no mystery? Easy? Right?”
Derek glared and then sighed. “Okay, you have a point. I can call her. Maybe I can take her to a museum or something. She seemed interested in other cultures and even history. She didn’t ramble on about her latest fashion accessory either, which is an enjoyable break. I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but I don’t know if I could bring her home to meet my parents.”
“Derek, look, I don’t live my life for my parents. They are outstanding people, I love them both dearly, but I live for me. We are nearly out of college. I am not trying to be pushy, but you forget I was with you from the time you started dating Heather through the break-up. I don’t want to see you that down again, that’s all, and I don’t judge anyone by their clothes, background or looks. Enjoy the company of someone that is different.”
“That’s easy for you. Your mom was adopted, so she gets it. Mine doesn’t. I think my parents lived the ‘Leave it to Beaver’ lifestyle. White picket fence, family pet, and all.”
Brian sighed, “Okay, I get it. But just think about it.”
Meanwhile, back at Esmra’s house, the pair of best friends tiptoed up the creaky old stairs, whispering to one another about the boys they went on a date with. Amelia tripped just as they topped the stairs and nearly fell.
“Shh! You will wake Esmra!” Raina said.
Amelia giggled while they walked through their bedroom door and got ready for bed. Raina shucked her clothes onto the floor, leaving her painted face untouched without so much as a washrag. Amelia came in from the bathroom, brushing her teeth, and put her clothes away.
“Aren’t you going to at least brush your teeth?”
Raina adjusted her black pillow and pulled up her red comforter to her chin as if she were cold. “No. I am too tired. Did you have an enjoyable time?”
“I did, Raina. I think I should ask you what gives with you and Derek? Why were you so hard on him? I think he was trying.”
Raina hissed and rolled over. “Please, didn’t he just get through dumping miss whatser lips? The blonde fatale, Miss Prom Queen? Please, you know he doesn’t like my type. At all. I went, aren’t you at least happy about that?”
Amelia stopped brushing her teeth, and sat down on Raina’s bed, and pulled her over, so she could see her eyes. “Raina, he liked you. You were difficult. Stop with this wall and a chip on your shoulder. Let someone be good to you. Not everyone is your father.”
Raina’s face was incredulous, “I haven’t seen that piece of shit in years, and I do not think everyone is my father!”
Raina slammed herself back down into the bed, keeping her face to the wall. Amelia was about to get into her bed, but she stood over her.
“Raina, not every man out there is a villain; not every man out there will hurt you, leave you or deny you. Give Derek a chance. Did it ever occur to you he is looking for something different? We are getting to that age where guys change, they may want something different for the long term than what they would date in college. Remember that.”
Amelia lay in her bed and went fast to sleep, not even checking her phone where several messages had been sent to her by Brian, letting her know just how glad he was they met. The night was uneventful, quiet, and everyone seemed to be well-rested; but that was soon to be a thing of the past.