"You what!" Corrine yelled.
Several people walking in front of them turned to stare at her. Like somebody yelling in the middle of a Manhattan street was all that unusual.
"I," Josie said, "am going to find Lucas a girlfriend."
"There's so much wrong with that I can't even begin to process it all." Corrine said.
"Come on Corrine. You've already said you yourself have been trying to fix him up for months. And that he didn't date anyone while I was gone. So that means his love life is basically that girl from camp when he was twelve, Katya, and me. No wonder he's so cranky lately."
"What about you?" Corrine said. "You love life basically boils down to Lucas and Vaughn. Is that why you're so cranky most of the time?"
Josie smacked her playfully on the arm. "I am not in pursuit of romance right now."
"And you think Lucas is?"
"Not sure. But I hate seeing him so unhappy."
"I get that. But you can't force him. I know, I've been trying. Not as hard as Marshall though." Corrine told her as they crossed the street to Josie's building.
"I knew I should have enlisted him to help me." Josie joked. Corrine shook her head and left for class, leaving Josie to plot by herself.
Once inside, she got out a pen and a pad of paper to write down all the girls she knew in New York. There weren't many, and the one's that she thought were good enough for him was even shorter. After much erasing, she ended up with three names.
Just then, Lucas opened the door and called out to see if she were home.
"In here." she yelled back.
Lucas stopped at the doorway into her room. "You look like you're hard at work."
"I have had a brilliant beyond brilliant idea, if I do say so myself." she said smugly.
"I'm almost afraid to ask."
"Are you busy tomorrow night?"
He gulped nervously at the look in her eyes. "I hope so."
"No." Lucas whispered harshly. He was whispering because he didn't want Katrina to hear them.
Katrina was the girl that had showed up fifteen minutes earlier saying she was Lucas's blind date for that night.
"I can't believe you." Corrine added. She and Marshall had been invited over for dinner, or so they thought. In actuality, Josie had been planning on them to help her persuade Lucas to go out with Katrina.
"She's cute." Marshall said, peering discretely around the corner.
Katrina was petite with long auburn hair and wide blue eyes. She was an extremely nice pre-med student in Josie's English class. She also happened to be the first name on Josie's list.
Corrine elbowed Marshall in the ribs.
"That's not the point. I said I didn't want to be fixed up." Lucas hissed.
"Oh come on Lucas, what can it hurt to go out with her?" Marshall asked.
"Fine. I'll go, but just for coffee or something." Lucas agreed reluctantly.
Josie grinned and grabbed his arm, pulling him out into the living room. Katrina stood up, nervousness written all over her face. "Is everything alright?"
"Yeah," Josie said brightly, "we were just helping Lucas…"
"Find his jacket." Marshall finished, picking it off the chair beside him and thrusting it at Lucas.
"Right." Josie added. She poked Lucas in the side to get him to move. He had been standing as still as a statue through the whole conversation. He started slightly, and pushed his glasses up on his nose. "You ready?"
Katrina smiled shyly at him. "Let's go."
He held the door open for her, turning back to glare at his friends before departing.
"So, how long have you and Josie been roommates?" Katrina asked him.
"Two months. But we went to high school together." he replied mechanically, sipping his coffee.
She bit her lip nervously. "Wow. I only talk to like two of my friends from high school. You guys must be pretty close."
She tried again. "Corrine and Marshall, they went to school with you guys, too?"
"Yeah." He took another sip of his coffee.
"Lucas, am I boring you?" she asked finally.
He looked up, surprised. "No."
"Well you could have fooled me. You've been less than friendly all night and now you're barely speaking at all."
He sighed, sitting his cup down. "I'm sorry. I'm just a bit distracted. It's not you at all."
"It's Josie right?"
He felt his eyes widen. "Josie?"
"She pushed you into this. I kinda figured. The way she was talking about you in class, it's obvious you guys are really good friends. I have a feeling you're here more for her than you are for yourself. Am I getting warm?"
He smiled despite himself. "Something like that."
"In that case, would you mind if we call it an evening? You're nice, but I'm not really interested in a guy who doesn't really want to be out with me." she asked bluntly.
"Sure. If I were looking for a girlfriend right now, you'd be a great choice." he said sincerely.
"Well Josie has my number. Remember me when you are looking." With a wave she left. And Lucas was left wondering how he was going to deal with telling Josie that her plan had failed.
Josie wasn't as upset as he thought she would be. In fact, she wasn't upset at all. She had already lined up another date for him the next night with a girl from her job in the school library.
"Josie," Lucas said slowly, "I am not looking for a girlfriend right now. How many times do I have to tell you that?"
"I just want you to be happy." she said. "If you don't like Maddie, then Charolette's great. I bet you two would really hit it off."
He gave her an incredulous look. "Just how many dates do you have planned for me?"
"Me, three. Corrine and Marshall are still planning." she admitted.
Lucas began rubbing his temples. "My head hurts."
Lucas was awoken several hours later by Josie shaking his shoulder. After three weeks of her bring there, he had come up with the idea of going to bed hours before her so he could actually get some sleep and making up for the rest with naps while she was at work.
So needless to say, he wasn't particularly thrilled to have her wake him up on one of the rare nights he had been having a peaceful, and more importantly dreamless, sleep.
"What's wrong?" He groped for his glasses on the nightstand and then realized they wouldn't help as there wasn't a shred of light anywhere.
"The power's out." she said simply. But there was a slight tremor in her voice that Lucas hadn't heard in a long time.
He sat up, placing his glasses back in the general vicinity of his nightstand since he couldn't make anything out anyway.
"It's an old building. The circuits get overloaded from time to time. It'll be back on by the morning." he assured her.
He felt the bed sink as Josie sat down next him. "It sort of reminds me of being in that alternate timeline. There was no power there, and I was all alone… that was the worst time in my life."
Lucas felt his heart breaking at what she must have gone through during that year. More than anything he wished he could go back in time and change it so she would have never had to go through that.
"What can I do?" he asked. "Just name it."
Josie paused briefly, like she was nervous about her answer. Did she really want him to go back in time?
"Can I stay with you?" she asked finally.
Lucas was glad it was dark, for his mouth had to be scraping the covers by now. "Here?"
"I don't want to be alone right now. And I feel safe with you. I always have." she added in a small voice.
He nodded mutely. Then remembered that she couldn't see him. So instead he tugged his blankets down far enough for her to slide under them. Which she did quickly. He laid back down slowly, knowing instinctively that he wouldn't be getting any sleep for the rest of the night. Josie turned over until she was facing him, and scooted closer, so close he could feel air hit his nose every time she took a breath. It wasn't long before her breathing evened out as sleep overtook her.
And Lucas stayed awake all night in the dark, staring as f he could see her, and wondered just how long it would be until this whole thing blew up in his face.