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I picked at the outfit one more time. It wasn’t that it was necessarily uncomfortable, I was just unused to wearing anything like this. Alex had dragged me out to a store and picked it out for me. Fashion was at least one thing I was willing to take her advice on, as long as she didn’t go overboard.

“Will you stop fidgeting; you’re even making me uncomfortable.”

“Will you stop talking to me,” I retorted back at Rune, “I’m waiting for my date and she’s probably not going to like me having a chat with a cute little redhead.”

A blush formed on Rune’s face and she turned away.

“I’m not cute,” she muttered to herself, picking at her clothing.

Her clothing was also provided by Alex. Although, while mine was a nice button up shirt and jeans that she insisted hung from my hips in that way, her dress was designed to go incognito. Well, that’s at least what Alex has said was the reason. However, Rune was dressed in something like a catholic schoolgirl outfit, and I had a distinct feeling Alex was just trying to play dress up with her own personal Rune doll. Rune had a trench coat and glasses on, which would have made the outfit cool looking if it wasn’t so absolutely ridiculous.

“I still don’t understand why you have to be here at all,” I growled.

“I planned this date; I’m here to make sure that it goes smoothly. Remember, first you go on a walk and get some ice cream. Then you go to the carnival. After that, the café to get something to eat. Finally, the park.”

“I know…”

“You need to get her to say ‘I think I’m in love’ in the microphone. We should be able to just replay her voice to unlock the device later.”

“I know.”

“The recorder is on right?”

“Yes, mom.” I growled.

“And…”

“Rune, I got this. She’s coming, get lost.”

Rune lifted her hood and walked away and I looked up to see Samantha coming down the street towards me. I had called her earlier and told her to meet me here. Alex had insisted that she need to come out to meet me, and that I couldn’t pick her up from her place. It kept me from having to see her parents so I wasn’t complaining.

She was wearing an adorable pink shirt and a white skirt with pink edges. She had done her hair up, using her natural blonde curls to make her hair look even more stylish. On top of that, she had earrings and very carefully placed makeup. Samantha always dressed nicer than I did, but it looked like she was ready to come to prom, not go on a date. When she approached me, she appeared concerned.

“Is there something wrong?” She asked nervously, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear.

“No,” I shook my head, realizing I had been staring, “You just look really nice.”

Samantha blushed, “Thanks, you too.”

Oh God, this was so awkward. Why’d she even agree to go on a date with me anyway? We hung out together all of the time, why did this have to feel so weird?

“Let’s get going then,” I nodded, turning and walking off.

Samantha scrabbled to follow after me, but this was already almost more than I could bear. We walked in relative silence. I could tell she was uncomfortable; she had this big blush on her cheeks and she kept fidgeting with her hands. She kept reaching out towards my arm, stopping, then dropping her hand and twitching uncomfortably. What did she want? I wish she’d just spell it out for me.

I took a breath of relief when we got to the ice cream parlor. I brought her inside. I wasn’t in the mood for any, but I had to do something to push this date along.

“Would you like to share one?” I asked.

“Sh-sh-share?” Samantha went white for a second.

A one scoop sundae was only 20 cents cheaper than a three scoop. The pair of us always bought a bigger size and just shared. Admittedly, it had been a while since we had done anything like that, but why did she have to act like this.”

“Yeah, I mean, why not?”

Samantha nodded her head; her lips tight. Was that the wrong thing to ask? I didn’t seem to understand what she was thinking at all. Why were women so freaking confusing? I ordered her favorite, cookies and cream. Normally, we’d go half and half, my favorite being peanut butter, but I figured this choice might win a few points with her.

When I put the cookies and cream Sunday in front of her, she blinked, “How much do you know about me?”

“I…” I was giving away way too much, “I asked Jane for some pointers.”

“Oh,” Samantha responded, lowering her head. “It’s my favorite.”

I raised an eyebrow, “Would you say you think you love it?”

“Yeah, it’s good.”

“Yeah, but what do you think about it.”

“I think it’s good.” Samantha still seemed a little distracted. 

I guessed that was a little too simple. I had hoped I could get this over with quickly. Still, the way she was acting was starting to get on my nerves. I was her best friend. Why does she get all stiff every time I mention myself?

“Samantha, do you have some issue with Jane?” I finally decided to ask.

Samantha blushed,” Jane’s my best friend.”

“You say that, but you seem all pissed at her.”

Samantha sighed, “I love her, but sometimes I just wished our rolls are reverse. Like I told you before, I just get jealous.”

“What is there to be jealous of? I mean, she so plain looking. You look incredible. You’re blonde, you’re smart, you’re popular, and Jane is… well, just Jane.” Then it hit me, she must be jealous of the boys, “those guys that hang around her all the time. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. They just all kind of hang around for certain reasons. It’s not something to be envious of.”

Samantha smiled, looking down, “I know the boys all drive her crazy and she hates that. However, I’m too close to her to know that deep down she is happy too. In fact, I’d say she is happier than any time I’ve ever seen her before.”

Happy! Samantha thinks I’m happy! I’m freaking miserable. My life is never normal. Most of the girls in school hate me. I’m constantly just hoping that I live through it all.

“It’s just that Jane is so cool.”

I stopped, the mental barrage screeching to a halt, “Cool?”

“She’s so confident. She doesn’t care what other people think. She’s so larger than life at times. I think they call it a force to be reckoned with. She’s brave, and never lets anyone or anything put her down. She’s amazing. I’m not even a little surprised all those guys keep falling for her. I just wish for a moment I could have her confidence. So that’s why…”

“What are you talking about? You’re Samantha! Your smart and do well in everything. All of those stories you write. Even the naughty ones.” I blushed a little.

“You’ve heard about those, huh?”

“Well, I mean, you have to comfortable with that stuff to write it, right? Your old boyfriend Derrek and everything.”

Samantha lowered her eyes, not meeting my own, “Derrek was made up.”

“What?”

Samantha glanced up at me with a shameful look, “Derrek isn’t real. The books I write are just made up. I just emulated some of the author’s I’ve read and played around with my imagination. I’ve never done anything. I’ve never even kissed a guy before, let alone anything else. I wouldn’t even have the confidence to talk to a guy.”

“But… what about your cousin?”

“God! Does Jane tell you everything? My cousin was two, it wasn’t a real kiss.”

“But, you’ve talked with guys all the time in that club we’re… I mean Jane and you are in.”

“Yeah, but Jane’s usually there, and those guys don’t even have interest in me at all. I can just be Jane’s kooky friend and everyone’s okay with it. However, the last time a guy asked me out I made such a fool of myself that he literally ran away. The others have heard about my fan fiction and just assume I’m a slut. That means the ones I like aren’t interested because they don’t want to end up in a fanfiction, and then there are the ones that want to go out because they think if they put on some cheap cologne and take me to McDonald’s I’ll put out.”

A tear ran down Samantha’s cheek, and I impulsively put out a hand and placed it on hers. She glanced up at me in surprise, and then rubbed the tears off with her sleeve.

“Oh great, here I am crying on our first date, practically the first conversation we have. I’m just a complete mess. Who could want this?”

I squeezed her hand, “Samantha, you’re an incredible person, and I’m not going anywhere. I just… wish you could have been more honest… with Jane. She’s your friend.”

Samantha sighed, “I didn’t want Jane to think less of me. At first, I just wanted to seem as cool as she was. Then, I was terrified if she found out I was lying she’d think less of me.”

“I would ne- I think Jane would never think less of you. I think if you’d ask her, you’d find that Jane was as jealous of you as the other way around. She-she didn’t know that you felt this way. I think you should give her the benefit of the doubt.”

Samantha considered my words, and then nodded, “I will. Thank you. I’m sorry I had to dump all of that on you.”

I smiled, picking up a scoop of ice cream and taking a bite. “It’s fine; it is kind of cute, seeing you so vulnerable.”

“Wait! I…” Samantha put her hand out and then stopped, dropping it and sighing.

“What?” I asked, my mouth wrapped around the spoon of ice cream.

“That was my spoon,” she said lightly.

“I looked at the other spoon on the table, still in the wrapping. Oops.

I shrugged, “I’m fine with sharing. Doesn’t matter to me.”

I put the spoon back into the ice cream and Samantha reached over and picked up a spoonful. She started to bring it to her mouth, then stopped and blushed.

“What is it?” I asked.

“It’s… kind of like an indirect kiss.”

I twisted my face. Seriously? That’s what she’s worried about?”

“If it’s a problem you can have my spoon.” I reached out to grab the spoon from her.

Samantha plunged it into her mouth and ate it, as if she was afraid I’d wrestle it away from her. I backed off, pulling my hand away. She moaned a bit in pleasure at the taste. Okay, that was weird.

“You really never have been kissed before, huh?” I asked, and Samantha blushed.

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