The usuals in our group blinked in confusion as Eve took off running, but the new girl, Alex? acted as if it was a normal occurrence. All attention turned to her in the subsequent moments, but it didn't last long, because she followed in Eve's footsteps and was gone a moment later.
"Class dismissed?" I asked, earning a few shrugs and raised eyebrows. We had all just about finished eating, and one by one we stood to return our trays to the kitchen. "Al" had gone back to pestering Naomi, who looked at pleadingly at Makenna and I for help. We had a marathon to finish, but true to my namesake I couldn't turn down a pretty face nor a damsel in distress. Glancing at Makenna, I motioned over to Naomi, hoping that my intention was more or less clear.
"I'll catch up with you in a bit" I told her, and she nodded, seeming to catch on. She pulled Naomi over to the restroom, shooting a rather challenging pair of eyebrows back at "Al." Good thing she did, because he had seemed about ready to follow the two of them in. Instead he contented himself with waiting outside. I took a gamble and said,
"Hey Dante, mind if I ask you something?"
"Sure go for it," Al said. That wasn't weird in itself. Annie and Dante preferred being directly addressed in communication. What was odd was the absence of the customary pause during which Al would listen to the responses of his ghostly companions.
"That was a rather quick response Al."
He laughed uneasily, "Eh, I've been around Dante so long I practically know what he is thinking."
I nodded, playing along for a brief moment before casually saying, "Any idea if he has some tips on exorcisms?"
"Al's" eyes narrowed and he gave me a hard look before turning sharply on his heel and making his exit.
"I'll leave you two alone then!" I called out after him, or... them, if any of my suspicions were remotely correct.
A few moments later Makenna's head peaked around the corner, and, seeing no one, she stepped out, followed by Naomi.
"Flynn you are... I don't know actually, but thank you. I will consider cancelling out your earlier offense against nature."
It was my turn to chuckle uneasily, "Ha, yeah um, thanks. Very kind of you. Ready to go?" I asked, directing the question to Makenna. "We have a movie to get back to." She nodded, and before properly thinking the action through, I held out my arm. With a snort, Makenna took it, and we returned to my room.
"How was your food?" I asked, trying to fill the slightly awkward silence as I popped in the final disk.
"It was good" she said simply.
"Like, actually good? Or Aragorn eating Eowyn's stew 'good?'" I joked, breathing a little easier when Makenna smiled. I wasn't sure how she would take the arm thing. "Al's" awkward comments had gotten me overthinking everything I had done and was now doing, and my mind raced to see if it came to the same conclusion as "Al's" badly timed observations.
"Well what are we waiting for?" Makenna said gruffly, quoting Gimli, and effectively shocking me from my reverie. I hit play, turned off the lights, and settled in for the final climactic conclusion to the Lord of the Rings.
"I cried the first time I saw that" I commented, as Frodo sailed off, and the movie ended.
"It's hard not to" Makenna agreed. "I mean jeez, if I had a best friend like that, and then they decided to leave for forever, I'd probably jump into Mount Doom."
"I would-... actually, yeah that sounds about right," I laughed. It fell silent again as I got up to eject the disc.
In another attempt to dispel the quiet I asked, "So what is your favorite part?"
"Hm, that's a tough one. I'm not sure I could choose. Yours?"
"The beginning of the second Return of the King disc, with the corsairs. Actually, did you know that the guy who was shot was actually-"
"Peter Jackson?" She cut in with a grin.
I returned the smile and turned away, pretending to fiddle with my DVDs. I didn't know what else to say, and I didn't know how to end the night. Was I supposed to like... I mean was it actually a date like Al said?
I spun around once again to face my guest, and in yet another suave move, I defaulted to repeatedly steepling my fingers. "So... I guess that's it then. Unless you want to like, stay and do something else. I don't care one way or the way other."
Standing, Makenna excused herself, "Nah, I guess I'll call it a night. I'll let you get back to waiting next to your door to startle people." She held out held out her arm like I had earlier, and it took me a moment to figure out that she was waiting for me to accompany her. I walked her down the hall to her room where she turned to face me almost expectantly.
I blinked. Giving my mind enough time to assault me with questions that I still had no answer for. Was I supposed to-
"Um... I should go. Sounds like... Al needs some help... or something"
Makenna cocked an eyebrow, and she... air laughed? Like... you know, with your breath? When you exhale? Maybe you don't know, normal people wouldn't have heard it probably.
"Alright, well, good night Flynn, I had fun," and she turned to enter her room.
My mind had once again begun to assault me, and as Makenna's door was just about to shut, my foot lurched forward to stop it.
"Um..." I began smoothly, "Was this.... like, a... date?" I asked quietly.
"What does you heart tell you?" came the reply, which I recognized as another Star Wars quote. The door shut completely, and I was left in the hallway alone, trying to listen to my heart. It sounded kinda like,
Yep. That just about summed it up.