Entry IIX May 4, 2008

During break today Anna pulled me aside. "Kate, today is my niece's birthday! You looked after Andrea Davis, right? Well, my niece is eighteen, so can you help me buy a present later?"

'Sure!" I replied instantly. Then I frowned. "I'm not sure what she'll want though."

'Oh at least you're not as clueless as me...so let's go the mall after our shifts, kaes?"

How hard could it be anyway, to choose a present for a teenager?

Very hard, i later found out. We went to so many shops just to find a perfect present...and in the end, I don't even think we did find it... Manicure shop: "Jess loves doing her nails, but she probably has all the colours." Clothes: "She's a HUGE shopaholic, but I don't know her size...and no, I can't guess...and what if we buy a piece of clothing that she already owns?" "Embarrassing." "Exactly." Records shop: "I don't even know what kind of music she likes!"

In the end, we decided to go for dinner first. As I had a spoonful or noodles, I spotted the bookstore opposite. It spanned the whole level. I hurriedly swallowed the noodles. "Does she like books?"

"Yes! She loves them!"

"Why don't we go to the bookstore later and have a look?" I suggested. "I don't really fancy going to another of the twenty-over shops left in the mall."

We went there and browsed around. After much consideration, Anna decided to buy a book regarding fashion.

"I'll buy this for her." I said, holding up a hardcover bestseller.

Anna looked shocked. "No! You don't have to buy anything for her, I just wanted your help that's all!'

"No it's all right, I want to give her a present." I persisted.

"Kate! There's no need to!" Anna was becoming increasingly alarmed. When I showed no sign of changing my mind, she tried a different tack. "Oh no. I feel sooooo ashamed, Kate, you probably think I asked for your help in the hope you'll got one for her as well..."

"Oh stop it Anna," I dismissed her, grinning. "Do you think she'll like this?"

After purchasing the books, Anna drove us to her house.

The girl who opened the door was tall, with long blonde hair and a slim figure. She shrieked in delight, throwing her arms around Anna's neck. Anna introduced me to her and she hugged and thanked me for the present too.

She surveyed me for a moment. "Kate, will you get me another present?"

"Jessica!" Anna admonished, shocked.

"Anna, you'll find this fun too." she grinned devilishly and turned to me. "Will you?"

"Yes if I can," I replied with a great sense of foreboding and trepidation.

Her eyes lit up and she pulled me into the house. "My parents aren't home, and now I'm eighteen, I want to go with the bar with you and Anna!" I must've looked relieved, because she continued, "That's not all, Kate. You have to wear what I tell you to do."

"What?!" I exclaimed.

"You promised!" She waggled her finger at me severely. "Besides, I just want you to wear this halter-top and mini-skirt. Nothing too skimpy. It'll look good on you!"

"Nothing too skimpy?" I echoed faintly.

"come on!"

In the end, I had to wear this light pink halter-top that bared my midriff, and a white mini-skirt that totally defies 'mini'. That was seriously mortifying. Anna looked amused and apologetic at the same time while Jessica was jumping around in barely suppressed glee.

At my request (no way was I walking down the road in that), we took a taxi to the bar Anna and I usually frequent.

The bartender recognized me and winked. "Alex gone, huh?"

"No!" I hurriedly corrected him. "He's not 'gone'!'

"She has a boyfriend?" Jessica asked Anna excitedly. "Really? What does he look like?"

Anna grinned. "Well..I think he's quite cute, yeah." I glared at her playfully.

"Aw, come on he is!" Anna insisted.

I tucked my hair behind my ear and drank some of the drink Jess ordered. She seemed to know her way around here pretty well...i listened, a little bored, as Jess jabbered on excitedly about all the hot guys. Then suddenly she shrieked. "Oh do you see that guy coming in with the other guy? He's hot! He's waayyyy too old though..." Jess drooped a little then perked up. "Maybe he's gay."

Anna poked her, not looking in that direction. "Don't say that! They're probably related or something..."

Jess pouted indignantly. "You don't have a boyfriend, right? Well he's around your age!"

With a sigh, Anna turned around, then shrieked too. I groaned inwardly. Not her too...

"Kate!" she hissed. "It's Alex!"

I stared at her numbly then glanced in that direction. He was walking in with Henry, wearing a white shirt and pants. I glanced around wildly. "Oh shit! I have to hide!"

"Oh what's the big fuss?" Jess asked indifferently. "Oh he's looking in this direction! Hey!" She waved her arms wildly, shouting.

Anna clamped her hand over her mouth. "Don't!"

But he had already heard. He glanced in this direction and froze when his eyes met mine. After a moment of him gaping open-mouthed at me, I smiled sheepishly. He grinned, making his way over.

"See what you did?" Anna hissed angrily at Jess.

He came over and kissed me gently on the cheek. "Hi I didn't know you're here. Hi Anna, and..."

"Jess. Anna's my aunt." she said. "So you're Kate's boyfriend?"

"Yeah...which reminds me, that's a rather different attire today huh?" His eyes roamed over me and I blushed embarrassedly, feeling very cold and bare all of a sudden.

"No it's not me..." I hastily corrected him. "It's not me, it's this...this girl." I jabbed my finger viciously in Jess's direction.

"Yup!" Anna piped up. "Kate agreed to give her something, then she said she wanted Kate to wear that." She crossed her legs and sipped her drink. "Don't worry, your girlfriend is not a slut or anything..."

I elbowed her. "hey!"

Alex smiled. "Well that's a relief. Since we're here, do you want to dance? You guys don't mind right?"

"Of course not! You two go enjoy yourselves..."

With a smile of anticipation, I hopped off the stool. Alex took my hand and led me to the centre of the floor. As we started to dance, Alex leaned to me and whispered, "I think you look great."

I blushed. "I'm not ever going to wear like this again." I declared.

"Aw." Alex observed playfully. I hit him playfully on the arm. "Stop it, Alex!"

We continued dancing, pressed up tight against each other. Then the song ended and I gazed at him. He bent down and kissed me tenderly, slowly. His arm came to rest on my back as I gripped him, melting into his arms, tingling all over at his touch.

The rest of the night passed in a hazy blur. I remember dancing some more with Alex, drinking some more, chatting with them. And I remember the world tilting crazily around me as I grabbed the table edge for balance. It had been a long time since I last drank; after I met Alex (i mean physically, of course), I didn't find any sorrows I desperately needed to drown. The last thing I remembered before I passed out was Alex's arms around me, lifting me up.

I woke up the next day with a splitting headache and feeling grumpy and moody. Gritting my teeth in pain, I got up somnolently and headed blearily to the kitchen. Good thing it was Saturday. I didn't fancy facing work or Anna, for that matter. Oh my god that was so embarrassing! Fainting in front of everyone after all of three glasses. i wonder what Alex thinks of me and my low alcohol tolerance now. ugh.

Speaking of which...how did I get here? I remember quite clearly I passed out in the bar. And why was I wearing a dressing gown? I undid the sash and was a little relieved and disappointed to see my clothes were still on. Alex was a gentlemen, after all...but...aw too bad...Gulping down a glass of juice, I noticed a small slip of paper on the dining table, held down by my handbag.

Dear Kate,

I hope you're feeling alright...honestly i never realized you to faint after just 3 glasses. well anyway in case you're wondering, i put on the dressing gown for you. in case u get cold at night in those clothes you were wearing. yup. and u really should eat more. you're awfully light...but then easier for me to carry you, huh:)

love, Alex

P.S. do take care of yourself. ppl normally do not faint after just three glasses. maybe u're not well. i dunno...you're the doctor... If you're feeling up to it, wanna go out today?

I smiled as I picked up the phone to call him. How could I miss a chance to go out with him?

Kate Forster