The silence in the car was deafening even though the playlist never let up. Whatever was on Alex’s mind kept him from even the small talk. And I was being an ass by not talking. I was hurt and upset and I was taking it out on Alex.
I had so little for breakfast that my stomach rumbled and Alex didn’t even ask me if I was hungry or wanted to stop he just pulled over at the first little diner he saw and went inside. I guess that was my cue to follow him inside.
The place was nice and clean. The decor was retro with all that 70s appeal from back in the day. It was cute. The waitresses looked up from their counter with smiles, “Seat your self.” Alex was already sitting down and I sat across from him.
“So we aren’t even going to talk to each other?”
Alex looked up at me with fire in his cold blue eyes. “So now you want me to talk.”
“If you want to talk I won’t stop you.”
One of the girls from the counter came over with her little scratch pad and smiled, “What can I get you boys?”
“We’ll take some coffee first.” It was more of a get lost type comment and the girl took the order with a smile.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes for your order.”
I waited for Alex to say something but he shook his head and picked up the menu. “I hope you can eat something here.”
I sighed and picked up the menu and looked at everything. It wasn’t great, but it was no different than at Bonnie’s really.
When our waitress came back with our coffee she asked, “Did you boys decide?”
Alex ordered first, “I’ll take your big boy bacon cheese burger with fries and a strawberry milkshake.” Alex looked over at me like he was daring me to condemn his choices. As if I fucking cared what he ate.
“I’m gonna have the tuna salad sandwich, two of them. Just the sandwich, and if you can just put one of them on a bed of lettuce I’d love you forever,” I said with a sweet smile.
Her smile lit her eyes and she blushed slightly. “Sure thing, hun. Anything else?”
I shook my head, “That’s all. Thanks Duckling.”
Alex was glaring at me. “Flirt with everyone?”
“Yeah, actually I do,” I said pulling my sun glasses down from the top of my head and ignoring Alex. If he was going to be an asshat so could I. But I mostly pulled the sunglasses down to hide my emotions from him. I sat with my hands in front of my mouth steepled there with my eyes closed and taking small slow breathes as I tried to keep my sanity around me. I felt like I was falling apart.
Our food arrived after what felt like forever and I just let it sit. Alex touched my elbow and I looked at him through the dark tint of the sunglasses. “I’m not good at this.”
“I’ll be fine,” I said, but my voice cracked and I was everything but fine.
Alex laughed, “I may not be in your head, but I can tell you are going to fall apart any second. Earlier today I was wondering how you hid it from me for so long. How I didn’t know. Turns out.” Alex smirked, “I’m a blind idiot because for all the times we spent together in your dreams, you were never okay. This fake smile, the barely keeping it together, it was always there. I just didn’t know what to look for. If last night didn’t reaffirm that you were right, I know you better than I thought, today sure the fuck did.”
“Look, Nox. I suck at sharing. And you won’t even let me. I go to say something and you interrupt. Telling me it’s okay, I don’t have to tell you. Really, you need to make me talk to you if it’s going to make you spiral.”
“I’d rather spiral then hurt you Alex.” It was that simple. I picked up my fork and stabbed into my tuna salad and lifted a forkful to my lips. “All I want is for you to be happy.” I stuffed the food into my mouth and dropped my gaze to the food. It was as tasteless as it looked.
Alex sighed and ate his burger. I ate what I could of the food before I felt like I might get sick. I’m sure it was only partially the food. “I need some air, I don’t feel so good,” I said and put some money on the table. Alex wasn’t going to pay for everything.
I went outside and sat down on the curb in front of Alex’s car. It was pretty. She… I corrected myself. Alex loved his car. Her lines were pretty and I could tell that she was well taken care of. Everything on her was pristine, even her pattern was perfect. Alex might not be a neat freak but his car was perfect.
I looked around and when I saw no one I quickly formed a pencil and paper out of nothing. Simple task, but such a bad thing to do with people looking. I started sketching Alex’s favorite thing. I knew nothing about cars. I couldn’t talk to him about their stats or even knew where to begin about it all. But I appreciated the beauty in it. Much like I appreciated the beauty of the female form. I knew I enjoyed men better, but there was plenty to appreciate in everything else.
I sketched until Alex came out with a disposable cup and a straw and stood behind me, he was blocking the sun I was using. “You ready to go?” I asked.
“If you are,” he said softly. “You drawing Serenity?”
I looked up at him, “Serenity?”
He scoffed and walked over to the car and put the cup in the console and dried his hands on his jeans before he ran his fingers over the car door, “He didn’t mean it baby.”
“Serenity is your car?”
He nodded, “That’s her name.”
I gave him a weak smile. “You really love her.” I took a deep breath and stood up. I handed Alex the mostly finished sketch, “You can have this then.”
Alex took the drawing from me and looked at it. He pretended to show it to the car as I opened my door and climbed inside. “That’s a pretty good likeness,” he said. “That’s for you.” He nodded to the cup in the middle.
“What is it?”
Alex chuckled, “It’s a chocolate protein shake from the guy in the back. Dianah was unhappy you didn’t eat, and she asked me what you’d like. I had no clue, but the cook back there was standing behind her said he could whip you up something.”
I popped the top and it looked like a protein shake. “Thanks,” I said and took long sip and nodded. It wasn’t great, but at least I could stomach it.