“Well,” said Sophie, as she and Andrew pushed through the exit doors onto the sidewalk. “That sucked.” It had rained while they were in the theater; now the streets were damp, reflecting the street lights just beginning to twinkle, and the air felt cool and clean.
Andrew took a deep breath. He had a popcorn kernel stuck between molars, and was worrying it with his tongue. “Yeah,” he said. “I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t.”
Their hands brushed as they made their way down the street, and Andrew said, “What part did you hate the most?”
“Oh!” said Sophie. She took his hand. “The plot made no sense, had no logic, I had no idea why they were doing what they were doing. And obvious giant holes–”
“There was a plot?” said Andrew. “Hey, Subway or Chinese buffet?”
“Oooh red ribs,” said Sophie.
“Every sandwich at Subway tastes the same,” said Andrew. “Meatball sandwich tastes the same as tuna salad. How to they do that?”
“Heh. Anyway now I’m hungry.”
Once their plates were stacked high with glossy proteins and shrimp fried rice, they sat at a booth with red leatherette bench seats. Sophie struggled with the provided chopsticks, while Andrew went straight for the fork.
“You pick the movie next time,” Andrew said.
“I want to see the Wuthering Heights remake.”
“You might like it. It has a plot.”
Andrew laughed. And felt a little doubt nibbling at the back of his neck, like a puppy with sharp teeth.
Sophie felt it too.
They found out, that evening, that both of their mothers had new boyfriends, and that both boyfriends could have been a lot worse. In fact, had been a lot worse.
“The worst was Tim,” Sophie said. “Always staring at me. Always moving in a little too close. Ugh. I called him Timothy Leery.”
Andrew felt a joke had just whooshed over his head. He did his half-laugh, half-snort, which usually sufficed.
Sophie turned out the leaves from the cup that had held her green tea. “Look, a map of Italy,” she said. “Yay. I’ve never been, have you?”
“Went to an Italian wedding once,” Andrew said. “Do my leaves.”
“It’s Optimus Prime!” said Sophie, giggling.
“It looks nothing like Optimus Prime. It looks like a dog.”
“Ok, a dog.”
“As first dates go, this was a pretty good one,” Sophie said as they walked towards Andrew’s granddad’s taxi, which he had lent them for the evening. The skies were clear and full of stars.
“I haven’t had a lot,” Andrew confessed.
“What did you like about this one?”
“You are funny. And smart.”
“Too smart?” asked Sophie.
“No,” Andrew said, and half-laughed, half-snorted. It usually sufficed.