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Alanna had so many new books to read now thanks to Franz’s recommendations, and she couldn’t wait to get started! She fidgeted in her seat at the Blackwheel Bus Station, waiting for her sister to return from out of town.

Alarie had been away at Sim State University visiting her boyfriend, Rafael, for the weekend. She went on the pretense of ‘looking at a potential college option’ to appease their parents but Alanna knew her sister had probably just been sucking face with Rafael in his frat the whole time.

The two o'clock afternoon bus pulled into the station and Alanna spotted Alarie immediately, coming up the steps with her duffel bag in hand, wearing their favorite color as usual, and her hair in yet another style. Alanna set her books to the side and stood to greet her.

“Hey sis,” Alarie dropped her bag and gave her a genuine hug. Alarie must have had a good weekend. Hugs were rare.

“Welcome back, I trust Rafael is doing well?”

Alarie gave a wink, “I’m tired, and I don’t know about you but I could use an afternoon pick-me-up. Buy you a cappuccino?”

Alanna nodded in pleasant surprise and they went to the small coffee shop in the connecting building to the bus station. Alarie must have had a very good weekend.

“So what’d I miss this weekend?” Alarie asked, setting herself at a table and began to sip her cappuccino demurely.

“Well I got a whole new bunch of books to read–” Alanna began to answer enthusiastically but Alarie set her cup down and interrupted.

Bzzzz, wrong answer. You are such a nerd! I am talking about your date with Reginald Orbinson. How did that go and did you get any dirt on his sister?”

Alanna hesitated, “Well it wasn’t a date, it was more of a cultural excursion and I didn’t get much...but I think Evelyn Jane is going to be playing at the Battle of the Bands from what Reggie said about her. He said she wants to ‘win’.”

Alarie pondered on that, “Well if that's true, what the heck is she going to play? She seems too high tone to jam on drums or guitar. Who would even want to be in a band with her?”

Alanna shrugged.

“Did Reginald try to kiss you?” Alarie asked and then grinned, knowing from her sister’s sudden blush it was true, “I told you he would try and it was a date because you don’t go on cultural whatevers if you expect there to be kissing.”

“Oh,” Alanna said frowning, wondering if that were really true, but was then reminded of something else, “I um…have another date.”

“With Reginald?”

“No, Cypress Wellington.”

Alarie’s jaw dropped with disbelief, “Cypress Wellington doesn’t date.”

Alanna knew for a fact that Alarie had the biggest crush on Cypress Wellington in junior high. She would do stupid things like follow him to the arcade and pretend to be into comics so she could watch him from behind the latest issue of Green Lantern. Considering that was a few years ago and Alarie was now into Rafael, Alanna figured it was safe to tell her such a thing and not have another facet of sisterly jealously come between them.

“Well, I have a date with him. Tonight,” Alanna retorted, causing Alarie to start spilling out questions which resulted in Alanna leading her through the whole morning’s events that accumulated up to the current situation.

After everything was explained, Alarie didn't seem jealous, but glad for her younger sister at the fact she was lucky enough to be going on a date with Cypress. She wished Alarie would be in this good of a mood all the time.

They finished their coffee and were about to leave when Alarie wrangled Alanna into a headlock and gave her a noogie, “I can’t believe my little perfect princess of a sister is becoming such a heart breaker!”

Alanna retracted her wish. If Alarie's happiness resulted in joyful and unprovoked noogies, it was better maybe that she wasn't like this all the time.

Alanna sat on her bed and rubbed her head; Alarie’s knuckles were hard. Her sister was downright jovial and had started removing clothes from the dresser in preparation to help Alanna pick out an outfit for her date with Cypress. Apparently, it was a big deal to be going on a date with him.

Cypress had good looks, and Alanna couldn’t deny that she was slightly attracted to him even though she knew next to nothing about him. They hadn’t ever exchanged words until that morning. He always seemed just so…unreachable. He was two grades older than her and somewhat of a local rock star. She had to wonder what his plans were, because it all had happened so fast that she felt there was ulterior motives involved and she happened to have been picked randomly to participate. It was concerning, participating in something she didn't know the rules or the stakes. She realized, maybe she had only accepted the date because she was curious to figure out what they were.

Then there was concern about being called a ‘heart breaker’. While she adored Reggie, neither of them called what they had, a date, and although they did kiss…and kiss….and kiss, he hadn’t called or emailed her since Saturday night when she saw him last. She didn’t know where they stood, but she doubted that she was his girlfriend because of it.

“Okay try these outfits,” Alarie demanded, throwing some clothes on the bed and Alanna shook off her thoughts away to obey.

The first outfit Alanna despised, it showed her stomach which she thought was inappropriate for a first date.

“Why do you always try to hide that navel piercing?” Alarie pointed.

“I should have never have gotten it, and if it wasn’t for you and your dares I wouldn’t have. I need to change before Mom or Dad sees,” Alanna chided and ran back into her room to change. That navel piercing was the only impractically rebellious thing Alanna had ever done and wanted to hide evidence of it.

Alanna thought the second outfit was nice but upon extended appraisal, Alarie deemed it too casual for a date with a guy such as Cypress Wellington.

She checked herself out in the mirror, wearing the third outfit, a nice shirt and skirt. The skirt was shorter than she would have liked but couldn’t disagree with Alarie that it made her legs look fantastic.

“Alanna, this is the one!” Alarie exclaimed.

Alanna had to agree, but she doubted Cypress would even care yet even notice what she was wearing on their date.

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