"What if he's a murderer?" Sam asked.
"He seemed nice when I texted him," I said.
"Are you fucking kidding?"
"Move, I need to get my mascara." I shoved Sam out of the way as I walked through the narrow hallway towards my room. My steps were short and quick. My hair was still damp from washing it earlier. Sam followed slowly behind me, as she usually does when I get ready when she's here. Once I got to the room, I stopped for a second, trying to remember what I went there for.
"Mascara," Sam said as if she knew exactly what I was thinking. I offered her a smile instead of a thank you, something we've grown accustomed to. Sam walked towards the nightstand while I looked frantically in my drawer. When I turned to her, she had our framed childhood picture, which I kept on my nightstand. She was staring intensely at it.
"It's a nice picture, isn't it," I said.
"Yeah," Sam's voice was tiny.
She smiled at me, and I smiled back at her, this gesture always gives me comfort. I walked towards her until I could see the picture. There we were, five year old me and five year old Sam hugging and smiling from ear to ear. Her facial expression slowly relaxed into its normal state.
"Do you really think I'm going to let you go on a Tinder date by yourself?"
I sighed before responding. "Let me?" I frowned and narrowed my eyes while looking straight at her, "I'm an adult. I can do whatever I want."
"At least take this," Sam said while handing me a chunky piece of metal.
"What is this?"
"A knife," Sam paused for a moment, "well, it's a box cutter."
"Ugh," I rolled my eyes and took the box cutter.
I walked quickly towards the bathroom, where I had put some eye shadow pots, lipsticks, and lip glosses, dewy blush, and a coconut-shea butter conditioning spray for curly hair. I looked at myself in the mirror, wondering which lipstick color would look better. I settled for a bright red lip balm and shiny lip gloss on top. The lip gloss had a tingling and cooling sensation accompanied by a subtle sweet taste. Then, I proceeded to apply the sparkly eyeshadow on my eyelids. After the eyeshadow, I swept my eyelashes with the mascara wand, instantly making them longer and darker.
"Where is the murderer even taking you?" Sam asked.
"Strand Book Store," I responded without looking away from the mirror.
"Listen," I said, sharply turning my head away from the mirror to face Sam. "I don't need you to start acting up on me again. I'm an adult. I can go on a date if I want to. And god knows I deserve to have a nice night out. I love you, but get out of my way." I walked past Sam, who was leaning in the bathroom's door frame. Most of my body's weight was off of the heels of my feet as I walked quickly towards the bedroom. Once I stepped into the center of the room, I looked around for a few seconds. I then walked to my bed, where I had laid down two outfits: a flowery sundress that would leave my shoulders and part of my chest exposed and a high-waisted skirt paired with a ladybug patterned white shirt.
"That dress looks nice on you," Sam said as she walked into my room "But with all the cleavage, he'll think you're a slut."
"You think I'm a slut?" I gave Sam a pouty face while tilting my head slightly to the right. She knew what I was doing, so she looked at me for a few seconds until I let out a laugh. For a second, I thought about what Sam had said. I know she doesn't think I'm a slut. However, the thought of it made my heart drop. I knew I had to shake off the feeling.
After I got changed, Sam gave me a portable charger, a small bottle of pepper spray, and a couple of condoms. I thanked her and put them in my bag.
"I think you look great," Sam said, "I just think men are shitty and slimy. I don't want anything bad happening to you."
Sam insisted on walking with me to the bus, even though her train was the opposite way. I usually decline because I don't want her to have to go to the trouble. However, I always find it comforting when she does. Sam waited with me. I asked her to not mention the date anymore; I didn't want to feel even more anxious than I was. She complied. I was grateful for that.
As she walked, Sam took her phone out f her pockets. Her headphones were still in her ears. She looked through the contacts on her phone until she found the one. The phone rang three times before someone on the other side picked up.
"I can't believe Ella is going on a date, with a fucking guy, to make matters worst. Is she trying to get killed? I love her, but this bitch needs to be more cautious of the world around her. There are so many horrible people out there, and there has been a rise in violence against women. She's too carefree and pure to even see when she is in danger. What if she drinks too much? What if her roofies her? What if he steals her organs? WHAT IF HER ROOFIES HER TO STEAL HER ORGANS AND SELL THEM ON THE BLACK MARKET AND THEN RAPES HER? What is going to do then? She'll be dead and organless and probably fingerless because the criminal will try to make sure she can't be identified. Fucking men, I swear." Sam said into her phone while walking to the train station.
"Please, stop screaming, sis."
"You don't understand. If something were to happen to her," Sam paused for five seconds to hold back tears, "I would die."
Sam went home, thinking about all the different scenarios Ella could find herself in. She didn't want to think about it, so she plugged her headphones into her phone and listened to music while waiting for the train.
As soon as Sam got home, she sat on the sofa and wrapped herself in a soft blue blanket Ella had crocheted for her two years ago. She took off her shoes without using her hands while sinking deeper into the sofa. Her melancholic heart couldn't help but remind her of the way Ella touched her earlier and how she said that she loved her. Just thinking about it made her feel flushed, even though Ella touched her all the time. She knew that Ella loved her, but hearing those words in her melodic voice while looking at her kind eyes and soft curly locks made her feel a tingle she couldn't explain. Sam looked at her phone, and her heart sank when there was no new text from Ella. Fuck! What was wrong with her?
She decided to text Ella, under the pretense of checking up on her.
"How's the murderer treating you," Sam texted. No response.
Sam couldn't help but daydream about earlier. She thought about the way Ella kept walking back and forth between the bathroom and her bedroom. This was something Sam often witnessed, as it was Ella's way of getting ready. She must have been nervous, otherwise, her steps would have been slower. Sam couldn't take the loneliness of her empty apartment, so she decided to call her friend again.
"What's wrong?" This is how Eddie answered his phone.
"How do you know there is something wrong?"
"You never call."
"That's not true! Don't be an ungrateful bitch," Sam responded, offended at Eddie's accusation.
"What's up, then?"
"I feel blue," Sam said while sitting up on the couch, her voice rising as she went on, "I just don't get it. Why does Ella gotta be like that? All I'm trying to do if lookout for her, and what do I get? Nothing! Meanwhile, some rando she met on fucking tinder gets to kiss her and caress her and touch her and see her naked. She doesn't know how much she deserves, so she just settles for these nothing ass dudes that don't even deserve to breathe the same air as her."
"Wow, that was intense," Eddie, then after a pause, he continued, "maybe there are some things you need to figure out. In the meantime, I think you should just relax."
Sam sighed, "Right, I'm just gonna sleep. I'm too tired of this shit."
"Sounds like a good idea," Eddie was smiling, and Sam could tell even though they couldn't see each other.
Aching and sad, Sam walked to her room with the blanket still wrapped around her shoulders. She let herself fall into bed. She closed her eyes until she was no longer awake.