The girl in the mirror was smiling.
She had the same white blonde hair, the same soft green eyes and delicate body. Hers was enveloped in a tight celery dress, strapless and swoop-necked, with a skirt that fell nicely around her legs.
The girl in the mirror was not me; she was merely an illusion. The Willow I had been for sixteen years would never have agreed to dinner with a boy she barely knew, never mind his alluring eyes and seductive smile and the way he made me feel beautiful just by saying my name.
The walk to the Metropolitan evoked some kind of inner peace in me, like maybe everything would be okay. The city did that to me sometimes, filled me with such hope and promise of a brighter tomorrow. And maybe there would be. Maybe the sun could shine for me if only I would let it.
I couldnt let sad thoughts invade me, not now. I so wanted to enjoy myself tonight. I wanted to smile a real smile. I wanted to feel Trevor's eyes upon me and just know that there was some magic in the world still.
When I reached the museum he was there, dressed to kill in black pants and a gray button down, offset with a deep red tie. I couldnt help but notice how my breathing faltered when I met his gaze. He was holding a perfect bouquet of red roses.
"I probably should have thought ahead," Trevor said as he approached me. It was obvious that he was way out of his comfort zone. I offered a reassuring smile in hopes that it might calm him down. "I dont know where to put the flowers."
I brushed the matter away. reaching to take them from his trembling grasp. "They're beautiful," I told him sincerely.
"You're beautiful," he murmured. I angled my head up to meet his steely eyes, an unfamiliar sensual smile taking over my mouth. There was an urge sneaking up on me, an unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach. Telling me to kiss him, recalling how smooth his cheek had felt beneath my lips. Instead I stepped back a little.
"Lead the way, Romeo," I teased, but I gasped a little when Trevor took my fingers in his own. Something in the way they fit together seemed right. I didnt pull away. And on we went into the coming darkness of the city, and the few stars I could see beginning to emerge had never seemed so bright.
Small talk had never been my thing. But I found that with Trevor I was capable of rambling for what seemed like hours. I was glad we had decided to walk instead of taking a cab. At that point we could have skipped the dinner and I wouldnt have minded. It all just felt too natural. Not scripted, per say, but certainly easy enough to be comfortable.
But soon we had come to the restaurant, a quaint sort of place I had never heard of. Trevor paused just outside the door, fingers still locked with my own, roses dangling lightly in my other hand. I was so, so aware of that.
"Um..." Trevor trailed off awkwardly.
I tried to reassure him, but the butterflies in my stomach were getting to me. "You dont have to say anything," I managed to get out. "I think I know what you mean."
And I did, surprisingly. I knew that the night was too beautiful to be ruined with words, and that his hand in mine said it all anyway. I knew that summer was going by fast and slow all at the same time, however that worked. I knew that by the end nothing would ever be the same.
"It was wonderful, Harper. He was so sweet, so gentle and kind. The phone was resting between my ear and shoulder as I tore down the covers of my bed. Exhaustion had taken me the moment Trevor and I had parted, once again at the steps. They had become so magical to me, somehow. And I couldnt very well bring him to the penthouse, not with Crimson lurking about.
"Did he kiss you?" Was Harper's response. I rolled my eyes, though of course she couldnt see. There was something off in her voice, like she was keeping something. I had to admit I was sick of chasing down her secrets.
"No," I said simply, perhaps too rough. "But anyway, I have to go." I didnt mean to push her away, I truly didnt. But if Harper couldnt be up front with me about whatever was going on, maybe she didnt want me as her best friend after all.
"Okay," came Harper's wistful reply, and then the line went dead. I couldnt refrain from throwing my phone down onto my bed. I wanted to be there for her. But if she wouldnt open up there wasnt much I could do.
Well, maybe those were her battles to face. Maybe I had my own issues, my own sob story. If she wanted to wallow in her misery, there wasnt much I could do to stop her.