Author's Note: I finally have a chance to update! Yay!

Chapter Nine

"You what?" My eyes practically burst through their sockets, "Alli...Alli what have you done?" My throat felt as though it was closing shut with nerves.

"Nothing really," she batted her eyelashes innocently, "I just asked him if he had plans for tonight and when he said no, I said good because my friend would really like to take him out to dinner."

"Alli! You did not!"

"I did."

"Alli!"

"What? He doesn't know you're you yet and if it is meant to be, you two will reconnect and have an amazing time. If not, then you know you can move on."

"This is so not a good idea."

"Oh hush," Alli flipped her hair over her shoulder, "I'm giving you my credit card. Go somewhere nice. Buy him dinner and drinks. Talk to him and get to know him."

I bothered my lower lip between my teeth. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all. I mean, it wasn't like I had to tell him who I was or anything. All I would do is go out with him and see if that something I felt ten years ago was still there. And it was Alli's treat.

"You're picking him up after he gets off work at seven."

"Alli..."

"Stop objecting. Now then, I am taking you shopping. You're going to look gorgeous for your date."

There was no use in arguing. We spent the afternoon shopping. Alli kept trying to get me into short skirts and heels but I didn't want to look as though i was trying too hard; besides, it wasn't my style to dress that way. I did pick out a simple black t-shirt and a pair of dark-washed jeans and ballet flats. Alli had scoffed but had fronted the bill for me anyway.

When we got back to her place, she spent a while fussing over me. My phone had rung a few times and eventually she just handed it over to Dave who told Lyndon that I was staying with them for awhile. He wasn't too happy about it, but he wasn't going to do anything to Dave to stop it. Finally, I had some peace and quiet. Alli finished curling my hair in rollers and applying some light makeup for me.

"Turn around," she squealed, clapping her hands together, clearly proud of her work, "So, what do you think?"

It took me a moment to form words. I looked the prettiest I had looked in a long time - way too long. With Lyndon, I did makeup but I didn't feel like getting all done up like I had used to - I hadn't felt like I had a reason to; but tonight I finally had a reason. Eli. My stomach twisted into knots at the very thought of it. The last time I had spent a night unsupervised with Eli, we hadn't been the most behaved. But I was older now, and I wasn't drunk. I would have complete control over myself, so what was there to worry about, right?

At seven, I pulled in front of the record store. He was leaning against the wall with a cigarette balanced between his lips. As he approached the car, I stopped him.

"You're not bringing that thing into my car," I glared at the cigarette. Eli scowled for a moment before flicking it onto the pavement.

"Happy?"

"Overjoyed."

"Good."

He swung the door open and slid into the passenger seat, "So, do you make it a habit to get your friend to ask guys out for you?"

"She kind of went behind my back on that one," I admitted.

"Aw really?" He frowned, "And here I was thinking you were madly in love with me."

"The night's still young."

"It's not every day girls ask me out for dinner. Where are you taking me?"

I realized I hadn't really thought that out yet, "Um...you pick?"

"Okay," he eyed me for a moment before saying, "There's a burger place off the highway not far from here. I'm a cheap date."

I tried to ignore the butterflies in my stomach, "Okay," I said, backing out of the parking space, "Sounds good to me."

"Are you going to tell me about that bruise?"

"Are you going to stop asking?"

"Not until you do."

I sighed, knowing that there was really no point in lying - especially since this was just one night, "My fiance has a temper."

"Ah," he nodded, understandingly, "Not everyday married women try to seduce me."

"No one is trying to seduce you and I'm not married yet. I am doing this humor my friend," I tried to sound convincing but I knew I was failing. Eli didn't say anything. Instead, he reached over and turned on the radio.

"Coheed?" He raised an eyebrow, clearly impressed, when my CD filled the car.

"Yeah. They're my favorite."

"You know, I have never met a girl that actually has heard of them."

"Good to know I've won some brownie points with you," I pulled onto the highway and hoped he couldn't hear how loudly my heart was beating against my chest.

"So...do you have a name?" He asked.

"Everyone has a name."

"So let me get this straight - a strange, crazy woman comes into the shop, her best friend asks me out for her, and she takes me out to dinner but she won't tell me her name. Oh yeah, and she's married..."

"Engaged," I corrected.

"Engaged," Eli mimicked, "So did you like escape from a mental ward or something? Should I be concerned? Scared for my life?"

"No," I rolled my eyes, "Like I said, I am humoring my friend, Alli. She thought we had a connection and wanted me to go out with you tonight to see if she was right or not."

"Oh."

"Yeah."

"And what if she is?"

"What if she is what?"

"Right," Eli bit his lower lip, "What then?"