Diana woke up to the blast of a car horn. Her head ached with its usual weekend hangover. She half sat up in bed and looked out the small window. She flinched as another loud honk sounded from the orange car parked on the sidewalk next to the apartment building.
“Shut up! Some people are trying to sleep, you know!”
Diana pulled her head away from the window, worried that the old lady across the street who’d stuck her head out to yell at Jay would see her watching and associate her with the car. The neighbors were unfriendly enough; Diana didn’t need to give them another reason to shoot her distrustful looks. She pulled on a a big black sweatshirt and a pair of leggings and stuck her feet in mismatched Converse high-tops that had been worn so ragged that she used them like clogs.
“You seriously cannot do that. Ever. Got it?” Diana slammed the orange car door after her so hard that Jay looked past her nervously to see if she’d torn the handle off. She was breathing hard and leaning towards him, hair in a messy bun smack on top of her head. She looked ridiculous.
“What? Pick you up for pancakes on a Saturday morning?” Jay fluttered his unusually long eyelashes.
“Don’t play innocent.” Up came Diana’s finger and down came her voice. She was, Jay thought, the only woman in the world whose voice went low when she was angry rather than turning high-pitched and squeaky.
“I’m not – ow! Stop it!” But Diana didn’t. She kept poking his chest and stomach mercilessly while he began to laugh helplessly. He was incredibly ticklish.
“Now here’s what you can do to make it up to me.” Diana leaned back, tired. “First, change this depressing music.”
“It’s not depressing, it’s-”
“Dylan. I know. Poet, artist, musician extraordinaire, blah blah blah. I know. Put on something that doesn’t make me want to slit my wrists, will you?”
Jay rolled his eyes but took out the ancient Dylan cassette and pushed in an equally old Earth, Wind & Fire tape. He watched Diana’s stupid hair arrangement begin to fall down as she bobbed her head to the trumpets and drums. As he began to drive she let her hair down from its constraints. He kept watching the road purposefully. “What’s second?”
“You said that changing the music was ‘first.’ So what’s second?”
“Oh, right. Second… second is you pay for breakfast!” Diana punched the roof of the car triumphantly.
“Can’t. No money. Spent it on gas to pick you up.”
“Oh. So I have to pay?”
“Oh, fine, whatever. But you owe me.”
“Yeah, well, I owe you like a hundred dollars by now. At least.”
“No, I mean you owe me a second thing to make your rude awakening of my neighbors up to me.” There was a grin playing around the corners of Diana’s mouth that made Jay’s stomach turn. His knuckles on the steering wheel turned white. If Diana had looked over, she might have seen this and noted it, but she was busy looking out the window, giving attractiveness scores to the guys she saw passing.