Never Never: Part Three
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“I’d like a hotdog with everything,” I say.
I’m met with blank stares. “Are you drunk?” the receptionist asks me. “Do you need help? What’s your name?”
I stomp my foot and let out a bloodcurdling scream, at which all three of them drop whatever they’re holding and look at each other.
I take their moment of surprise to run out. Silas is waiting for me outside the door. He’s laughing so hard; he’s bent over at the waist.
I punch him on the arm and then we both run for the Rover.
I can hear my own laughter blending with his. That was fun. We jump into the car and peel away just as Grouchy One, Two, and Three walk outside to watch us.
Silas drives for a few miles before he pulls into another parking lot. This time I can see the glowing sign advertising: THE BEST COFFEE AND BEIGNETS IN LOUISIANA!
“We’re soaking wet,” I say, not seeming to be able to wipe the smile from my face. “Do you know how messy beignets will be?”
“Silas says eat ten beignets,” he says stoically.
“Ugh. Why do you have to act like a robot when you play this game? It’s creeping me out.”
He doesn’t respond. We get a table near the window and order coffee and two dozen beignets. The waitress doesn’t seem bothered by our wet clothes or the fact Silas is speaking in a robot voice.
“The waitress thinks we’re cute,” I tell Silas.
I roll my eyes. This is fun. Would Charlie think this was fun?
When our beignets come, I am so hungry I don’t care about my wet hair or clothes. I dive in, moaning when the warm pastry hits my tongue. Silas watches me in amusement.
“You really like those, huh?”
“They’re actually really gross,” I say. “I’m just really into this game.”
We eat as many as we can until we’re covered in white powder. Before we leave, Silas rubs some of it across my face and hair. Not to be outdone, I return the favor. God, this guy is fun. Maybe I kind of see what Charlie sees in him.
She’s into this. She hasn’t smiled nearly enough in the last few days I’ve had with her, but now she can’t stop smiling.
“Where are we going now?” she says, clapping her hands together. She still has powdered sugar on the corner of her mouth. I reach across the seat and wipe it off with my thumb.
“We’re going to The French Quarter,” I tell her. “Lots of romantic places there.”
She rolls her eyes, scrolling through her phone. “I wonder what we actually used to do for fun. Besides take selfies.”
“At least they were all good selfies.”
She shoots me a look of pity. “That’s a contradiction. There are no such things as good selfies.”
“I’ve been through your camera roll. I beg to differ.”
She ducks her head and looks out her window, but I can see the pinks of her cheeks grow redder.
After we park, I have absolutely no plan. We filled up on so many beignets for breakfast, I’m not sure she’s quite ready to have lunch yet.
We spend the first part of the afternoon walking up and down every street, stopping in almost every store. It’s as if we’re both so fascinated by the scenery, we forget we have a goal today. I’m supposed to make her swoon. She’s supposed to swoon and fall in love with me. Get back on track, Silas.
We’re on Dauphine Street when we walk past what claims to be a bookstore. Charlie turns around and grabs my hands. “Come on,” she says, pulling me into the store. “I’m pretty sure the way to my heart is in here.”
There are books stacked floor to ceiling, every which way. Sideways, top to bottom, books used as shelves for more books. A man sits behind a cash register to the right, which is covered in even more books. He nods a greeting as we enter. Charlie heads to the back of the store, which isn’t very far away. It’s a small store, but there are more books than a man could read in his entire life. She runs her fingers along the books as she passes them, looking up, down, around. She actually twirls when she gets to the end of the aisle. She’s definitely in her element, whether she remembers or not.
She’s facing a corner, pulling a red book off the shelf. I walk up behind her and give her another Silas Says task.