Always Together

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Chapter 44

Walking inside the mall, I find my friend waving at me. Her expression changes to shock, when I near her.

“What the hell?” She quickly comes to me, looking at me or more precisely at my neck with wide eyes.

“What were you doing last night?” She continues to inspect my neck, “No, scratch that. Who was with you last night?”

“Have you gone mad?” I push her hands away from my neck, “What are you talking about?”

“No, miss, you tell who gave you this?” She narrows her eyes and points at my neck.

“What?” I touch my neck, to check whether I am wearing anything, but find nothing.

“See,” She says while handing me a compact powder.

Opening the compact powder, I stretch my neck to the side and watch my neck in the small mirror.

“Oh, it left a mark,” I say when I see a large red spot on my neck.

“Don’t you think it looks like something else?” She arches an eyebrow.

“I don’t kno-” My eyes widen and mouth hangs open as I realize what she means.

“It looks like a hickey,” she cheekily says, “Somebody gave Avery a hickey,” she says in a sing-song voice.

“No, it is not,” I shake my head, “I think it is a rash which worsens because I scratched it earlier.” I frown thinking, how like a madwoman I was scratching my neck earlier.

“You know it’s a rash, I know it’s a rash but people who are watching don’t know it is a rash.” She smiles mischievously.

“For them,” she whispers, “It is a hickey,” then she suddenly says, loudly gaining the attention of the people around us, earning weird looks for them.

“Shut up!” I whisper-yell as she laughs like an idiot.

“Wow, I don’t even have a boyfriend and here I have something on my neck which loosely resembles a hickey.” I dramatically sigh.

“Well, since you can’t find yourself a boyfriend, at least let’s go and find yourself new boyfriend jeans,” she says, mirroring my dramatic sigh, and drags me to the first clothing store.

After two hours of shopping, we are randomly going through some shops.

We have reached that stage in shopping where we have bought everything which we want, but still, we are eager to buy something which we don’t want. The things which can put a dent in our budget and we will regret them later.

Something catches my eye, on the glass display table and I walk towards it to get a closer look.

“Can you please show me this?” I tap above the glass, asking the salesperson standing behind the counter.

“Sure.” He nods his head and takes out the cylindrical looking keychain.

“It is solar operated keychain and it lights up when you turn the head to the right.” He turns the top part of the keychain on which ring is attached and four wings slightly open and the cylindrical part of the keychain lights up.

“Wow! This is amazing. Just like Firefly,” I take keychain from his hand and examine it, feeling giddy to find something which I can gift Alec.

This is will be the perfect thank you gift for Alec. He calls me Firefly, and I am going to gift him a Firefly.

“Please pack this.” I return the keychain to the salesperson and pay for the keychain.

Keeping Alec’s gift in my bag, I walk to Kris to find her paying on the other counter.

“Done with shopping?” I ask her as we walk outside the store.

“Yes, now let’s eat something because I am starving.” She rubs her belly.

“Oh, yeah let’s get some food for this little one,” I loudly say and pat her belly as she looks at me completely shocked, “Don’t worry, Aunt Avy, will not let you starve.”

“What?!” She looks left and right then whisper-yells.

“Payback time, babes.” I wink at her.

“Isn’t it, uncomfortable?” Kris frowns as she thinks.

“Of course, it must be.” I shrug and take a bite of McNugget.

“Then why people even buy them?” She passes me her fries while stuffing three fries in her mouth.

“I don’t know, maybe they come handy when you need to scratch. Like pull the string, in dipping a tea bag motion, and it might help in soothing the itch,” I say after thinking for a moment then take a long swig of Pepsi.

“What you guys are talking about?” Jake startle us as he suddenly sits beside Kris.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” Kris asks, surprised.

“I was running some errands and you told me you would be here, so I thought I should meet you then I will go home,” he says and steals a nugget from my tray.

“So, what you guys were discussing?”

“Nothing, just how people can walk around with a thread in their buttcrack.” I push the rest of two nuggets towards Jake and pick a cheeseburger from the tray.

“What?!” He chokes as he looks at me with saucer size eyes.

“She is talking about thongs.” Kris rolls her eyes.

“Same thing,” I say nonchalantly.

Jake gets a call and excuses himself, while I and Kris continue our discussion as we wait for Jake.

Jake returns after some time and this time he is not alone Alec is also with him.

“Kris, Alec wanted to meet you, so I called him here,” Jakes says as Alec pulls a chair from another table and joins us on our table.

Kris shares a questioning look with me to which I just lightly shrug. Because I am also as clueless as her.

“Yes?” Kris turns to Alec, “Why did you want to meet me?” She asks.

“I wanted to apologize for that day, as I feel it was our mistake that you had to face such thing. If our security wasn’t lacking that day, then nothing would have happened to you. Things would have been timely handled, and that guy could not have gotten anywhere near you.” Alec’s tone is apologetic as he looks at Kris.

“It’s okay, nothing bad has happened,” Kris says, “You can’t blame yourself for something which was out of your control.” Kris briefly gives me a pointed look and returns her gaze to Alec.

Alec looks unconvinced, nevertheless, he chooses not to stay silent.

“Thank you for being so considerate, Alec.” Kris politely smiles at him.

“Okay, then I will take your leave,” he says standing up from the chair, even though it has been hardly five minutes since he has come.

“But I request you to join me for dinner tomorrow.” He glances at Kris and Jake, then his briefly flickers towards me.

Oh, that is a nice way to apologize.

“That’s is really nice of you, but there is no need for that, ” Kris politely declines.

My friend can be polite when she wants to be, otherwise, she hardly passes any chance when it comes to free food. She is a sweetheart.

“No, please, I insist.” Alec presses.

“Okay.” She hesitantly accepts as she looks at Jake, who nods his head with a smile.

“Jake, I will send you the address-”

“But, hey, what about Avery? She is also invited, right?” Kris interrupts Alec, making me frown mid-bite.

“Why?” I quickly chew and swallow the bite with the help of Pepsi. Thankfully, I took a small bite of cheeseburger.

“Yes, she is,” Alec replies at the same time.

“What, why?” Kris glares at me, “Who says no to free food?” She asks, without caring that we still have an audience.

I guess Kris’s time for being polite is up.

“Me.” I lean forward on the table and point to myself, “Last time when I had free sandwiches from the market, I got food poisoning. So, free food doesn’t sound appealing to me anymore.”

“I will pick up them and, hopefully, we will be able to reach for dinner on time,” Jake loudly says and arches an eyebrow at us, ending our free food discussion.

“Okay, then I will see you tomorrow,” Alec says then leaves.

After ten minutes I decided it is time to leave, as Kris and Jake wanted to have an ice-cream and I am already feeling quite full.

“Why were you saying no for dinner? Alec startles me when I am about to unlock my car.

“Are you fucking mad?!” I quickly turn around and place my free hand on my chest to calm my frantic heartbeat, “Stop sneaking on me. I could have got a heart attack.”

I slap his arm when I find a smug look on his face instead of apologetic, as he looks pleased with himself getting this reaction from me.

“Don’t do this again,” I warn him while unlocking my car door and putting the shopping bags on the passenger seat.

“And since when you want to hang out with me without being sneaky?” I ask him crossing my arms.

“I am not hanging out with you alone, Jake and Kris will also be there. Moreover, I do hang out with people, but they are not necessarily my friends. So, it is not a big deal.” He shrugs slightly.

“Okay, I guess it is fine then.”

“What happened on your neck?” He narrows his eyes looking at my neck.

Of course, Mr.Keen Oberserver would notice this.

“Is it a hickey?” He glares at my neck.

I guess, not so keen observer anymore. Just an idiot who is mistaking a rash for a hickey.

“You said you don’t have a boyfriend?” He asks trying to sound impassive, but you can still hear accusations in his voice along with hurt.

“I still don’t have a boyfriend,” I reply, “And I don’t think I need a boyfriend to get a hickey,” I say with a straight face, enjoying his expression which somewhere between confused and angry.

“Have you met anyone yesterday?” He asks, now his face carries a composed look.

“Yes,” I nod, “Yesterday, I have met Frisky and you, I am sure Frisky can’t do something like this. That only leaves you, so now what do you have to say?” I cough to cover my betraying laugh.

It takes half-second for him to catch on as he removes my hair to clearly look at my neck.

“Well, if I say I was the one who marked you then what would you have to say?” His lips slightly tilt upward while playfulness seeps into his tone.

“Well, I would say, you really need to up your game. Because if I don’t remember any such thing happening between us, it clearly means you were pathetic and boring. And nothing happened which was worth remembering,” I say while maintaining a serious face as I stare at him.

I can’t stop myself from laughing when I notice the corner of his eyes crinkling as he attempts to conceal his laughter.

“I will see you tomorrow.” He lightly chuckles and shakes his head, as he ends the conversation, then heads off probably towards his car.

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