A/N:

Written for my creative writing class a few months ago. From the point of view of Amy. These are actually the characters Amarynthine and Lite from a fantasy story I'm working on, written as if Lite is on sabbatical to Earth and Amy tagged alone. Yes, their names are insane. Yes, the ending is lame. But I got an A! (WOO) Anyway, hope you enjoy it.


I pull back the pale satin curtains and look out at the sun setting over Boston.

There's a dark golden light falling over everything as the sun empties itself out across the city- the endless subway, the conferences where businessmen meet, the McDonald's standing fiercely American on the edge of Chinatown, the towering hotels and everything that comes alive in the night.

I pout.

Lite ignores me and turns a page of The Complete History of the Eastern Coast, Edition the VIIIth.

"C'mon, Lite," I whine. "It doesn't even have to be a date-date! No one will even think it's a date. I just wanna go out and see the city!"

"No."

"But why not?"

"No."

"But Liiiiiite, don't you want to see the ocean? We've been at Oklahoma State College for so long- aren't you tired of farmy places? Aren't you tired of all your dusty old books and flat old boring goats?"

His pen hesitates underneath a phrase he's circling. "Flat goats? What on earth are you talking about?" Who knows? Who cares? I'm just saying whatever my mouth feels like saying.

I wriggle impatiently on the couch. "I'm bored! Boredboredboredboredbored!"

"Amy, no one's stopping you from going out to get something to eat or seeing a movie or the ocean or whatever it is you're rambling about."

"I want to see it with you! You're my best friend, right? Right! It's more fun when you discover things with friends."

He ignores me (as usual) and repositions himself so his back is to me, muttering about Paul Revere, his pen slicing back and forth across the page. I can't help smiling. He's so cute when he does that talking under his breath thing, trying to keep his scholarly train of thought.

His light blonde hair is getting long over his ears because he's too lazy to go in for a haircut, but I think he must trim the ends every now and then because they don't look scraggly. His piercing green eyes are focused and determined through the reading glasses slipping down his pale, long nose.

"Please try to sit still, Amy, this is quite important and you're making it hard to concentrate. This promotion could slip through my fingers if I can't produce a satisfactory report."

"On what? Old dead guys who rode horses through the streets in the middle of the night, waking people up?" He ignores me. "Boooo-ring. You know what, I hate those kind of people. You're fast asleep, all warm and snug in your bed, and vrrrrrrrr! They go buzzing by on their motor scooters like enormous wasps, one after the other." I pause thoughtfully. "I wonder why they seem to come in herds, a bunch of them all at once. Are they a gang? The motor scooter gang. That's certainly not very threatening."

"Paul Revere wasn't in a motor scooter gang, Amy."

"Then he's hardly interesting enough to write a report on, huh?"

He stabs his pen down against the desk and glares at me over the shining silver rims of his glasses. "Amy! Are you even listening to me?"

I'm about to say Of course not, I never listen. but then I think of something.

It's a brilliant, amazing, dazzling idea straight out of Hollywood! Brighter than the sun's last light piercing through the hotel room window!

"Of course not, I never listen," I say, casually trampolining myself up off of the bed where I've been sitting.

"I know," he mutters. "The horse belonged to a friend…somewhat expensive…"

I casually pad across the room to where he's working at his desk, peer over his shoulder in an annoying way, and turn away. He sighs in relief.

Then I grab the paper out from under his pen tip and run like hell.

"AMYYYYY!" Lite howls after me, and I laugh through my hard breathing as I pound down the hall. He sounds really mad this time. Barefoot across the forest green hallway, leaping down the stairs, coming up hard against my hotel room door two floors down.

I fumble with my card key, which I've conveniently stuck down the front of my ruffled citron dress, and somehow manage to make it into my room before Lite catches up. I pant triumphantly and fall against the wall.

"Amy," he growls through the door. "Give me my papers back right now."

I quickly smooth the report out where my long fingernails gouged into it and scan his perfect, cramped handwriting. It certainly looks pretty boring to me. "I want to see the ocean with you!"

"Amy, this isn't funny!"
"I want to see the ocean at night!"

"Amy, please. Those are very important and I've been working so hard on them-"

"It's not like I'm eating them," I protest, somewhat offended. "I'm just keeping them safe until I can see the ocean. With you."

"Holding them hostage, more like."

"Wow, exactly! You're right!"

I can feel his frustration bleeding into my room.

"Amy, let me in! I'm not going to hurt you, I just-"

"Nuh-uh."

"Let me-" His voice breaks off and gets softer, like he's turned away. "No, miss, nothing. My friend is just playing with me, there's no need to worry. I'm sorry, sir, no problem. I apologize."

I hold my breath.

"Amy!" he hisses. "People are staring! Like they think I'm a stalker or something!"

"Go away, stalker!" I say loudly. Ouch. His death glare easily penetrates the flimsy hotel room door. "The ocean. And… and Chinatown! I want to eat dinner in Chinatown, and ride the subway, and see the ocean. Those're a lot better demands then you'll get from most of the people who take hostages!"

Silence. Did he go away?

"That's not so bad, is it? Going out to see a new city with a good friend? You can spend quality time with A Hysteric of the East Coast whenever you want back home!"

"A History of the East Coast," I can just barely hear. "Not Hysteric."

"You can still get all the information you need, but by actually going out and doing something instead. You'll probably- I know you'll even have fun!"

A sigh. "The ocean, huh? …and you'll give the papers back?"

"The ocean and Chinatown and the subway. And yeah, I promise. You'll get your boring old papers back."

"I guess I'd better put some shoes on."

Less than twenty minutes later, I stand outside of Lite's door and examine myself in its shiny surface. I must say that I'm quite proud of myself: I've done my makeup, accessorized, and changed into a simple, stretchy black dress and purple leggings to complement my eyes, black platform shoes that are strangely (but appropriately) menacing. This particular pair has neutralized more than one overly friendly farmboy.

Lite opens the door, looks me up and down, and sighs. "At least wear a coat."

"I can wear whatever I want to." You just can't trust him when it comes to fashion.

"Coat," he insists, handing me one of his. "Then at least you don't have to put my papers down, er… the front of your dress."

I grin cheekily at him, but slip my arms inside his jacket as we exit the hotel into the wintry Boston night and inhale deeply.

It's wonderful. The city is brilliant in the chilled air, searing my lungs and throat and heightening the comforting scent of Lite rising around me from his bulky down jacket. Chinatown flickers with reds and golds, the street is silver with beaten-down frost and the reflection of taxis, the entire city is cast with shadows crossing over shadows and colors crossing over colors. Everything is cold and crystal and quick.

I peer sideways at Lite and giggle to see that even he can't help being impressed. He roughs up my hair and asks, "So? What first?"

"Subway!" I shout, throwing up my hands- the coat sleeves are so long that the velvety ends flap around, nearly assaulting several innocent passersby.

Lite quickly pulls my hands down and for a split second I wonder if he's going to keep his hold on one of them, but no such luck. The ghost of his warmth fades from my palms. "But Chinatown is only two blocks away."

"Let's take the subway to Chinatown!"

"Amy, that will take even longer than walking."

"Subway first!" I persist.

He rolls his eyes. "Would you stop arguing like a little kid?"

"It works, doesn't it?" But he's not mad. We're both drunk on the glorious lights and fierce roaring sound of the city, and we're too close to take each other seriously.

It's maybe six o'clock at night, and the subway is even busier than the streets. "Crap," I hear him mutter. "You had to pick rush hour, didn't you?" There are people moving everywhere- sounding all around, the footsteps and voices- brown black white red shoes stepping quietly, lights flickering, the brick walls dark and thrown with shadows.

A roar builds in the inbound tunnel, and voices rise to speak over it- there's a swelling of warmth as I'm bumped against first Lite, then a small Asian lady who I almost take down. The ticket booths clang away in the background like maniac wind chimes in a gust of late commuters.

It's getting harder and harder for me to breathe as I'm buffeted against a flock of gray-coated businessmen cutting between me and Lite. He realizes a second too late; a stream of people has formed between us.

Suddenly the train explodes out of the tunnel, screaming past with windows flickering, faces staring blankly. It sends shadows roaring left to right, crossing over and over, the lights playing around and around the arc of the tunnel roof, the posters strobing. The doors hiss open and the people in front of me leap forward and the people behind me batter me into the spaces they've left and meanwhile the people lined up all to the right and left of me are squishing me into a shadow, everyone trying to fit into a few small doors at once.

I'm almost on the train now. "Lite!" I shout, searching frantically for him. "Lite!" Some poor soul (to great verbal abuse) is trying to shove their way through the Commuter Sea like Moses.

"Hey! Hey!" Commuter Moses shouts, grabbing my hand, and I ready the Black Platform Shoes of Death. "Amy, you idiot, it's me! Ow, no kicking!"

"Lite!" I thrash mercilessly until the few people left in between us dissipate and I can hug him tightly.

"Don't a drama queen," he pants. "We were only separated for a few seconds." But I don't let go, and he neither does he.

The train clangs menacingly, its door spasms, and suddenly we have two hundred curious eyes watching us from the train door. "Please clear the loading area," a tinny voice commands. We let go of each other and step quickly out of the red loading area square onto the train. The doors wheeze shut.

No matter what, I'm not letting go of his hand. Until we get to Chinatown, at least.

The subway train lurches forward, catapulting anyone not lucky enough for a seat against the walls, poles, and other unlucky travelers. I bump against Lite more than once as the train suddenly slows down, speeds up, changes directions, or rumbles over uneven track. "Chinatown," the tinny voice announces, and a handful of people exit into the gray subway.

It's much emptier at this station and I can feel the pressure from his hand ease up, meaning Okay, you can let go now. I increase my grip to relatively the strength of the Hulk, meaning Nope.

You don't realize how much warmer the subway station is until you go back out into the icy air, and then you're in for a shock. "Rrrrrr," I shiver. "Let's find someplace to eat quick!"

We stroll down the main street emerging from the depths of Chinatown, hand in nervous hand. "I bet these places all look the same to you, don't they, Amy?" Lite teases good-naturedly.

"Just because I'm not a nerd doesn't mean I can't tell restaurants apart," I retort. "That one is clearly done in a lighter color of brick."

"Oh, the nerd part stings," he says mournfully. "But at least as nerd I know where the best place to eat around here is."

"Don't pretend that you can read Chinese."

"It's called Google, my friend." He smirks but no longer tries to loosen my grip on his hand, despite the my friend part. So that's what he was doing while I was changing. "Turn here."

Lite stares at me across a glossy table in Wo de Mei Yue.

"What?" I ask self-consciously through a mouthful of duck dumpling. I think. It might be beef, or shrimp, or…something. Whatever it is, it's not half bad.

"Nothing. I just didn't think you would be so adventurous when it came to food."

I shrug. Hey, I don't discriminate against food.

"I didn't think you'd like octopus either. Or eat so much."

The Black Platform Shoes of Death strike like lightening under the table.

"Gyrrrhk!" Lite winces over his egg rolls (he's not so adventurous) and says nothing more about my eating habits.

I carefully absorb this separate culture into my mental image of Boston and find that I'm liking the restaurant more and more with every minute. It's a cozy little place, the plain off-white walls hung with streaming red banners and silver moon tiles pressed into each tabletop. Even the air is delicious. The food steams and sizzles and slides around in a little bay of soy sauce on clean china plates, the waiters all have heavy accents. Lite really did do a good job finding this place, I think appreciatively. I even feel a bit sorry about my nerd comment.

Lite sips away the last of his green tea and watches me over the rim. "Well? Ready to see the ocean?"

"Huh? You're not going to eat the rest of your-"

"No, I'm not, and no, you can't have it. You'll get a cramp walking to the ocean because we are not taking the subway again."

"But rush hour is-"

"No."

I puff my cheeks out and glare at his one last egg roll wilting forlornly in an aftermath of sauce. "But look at it. It's lonely."

He rolls his eyes in disbelief. "It's a egg roll, for God's sake. It's not lonely."

"Lonely!" I sing annoyingly.

"Fine," he snaps, and the waitress stifles a giggle. "We'll take it to go and you can eat it back at the hotel, okay?" He sighs and talks to himself under his breath. "Why do I always give in to you?" The check arrives. "Hey, you're paying, right? This was your idea."

I groan.

The waitress returns with my receipt, two fortune cookies, and a cheerful, "Have a good night!" I snatch up the one closest to me and open it. "'You won't be bored for long! New adventures are on their way!' What about yours?" I probe, shoving the cookie part in my mouth and paper part in the coat pocket.

Lite looks at his for a long time, then slowly folds it up and puts it away. "'Love comes in many forms, least of all how you expect it to happen. Don't let someone important to you slip away.'"

"Sage advice," I nod wisely. He picks up the doggy bag and we leave Chinatown behind.

I'm not quite brave enough to take Lite's hand again, but as soon as we're out in the bitter cold again he reaches for mine. It's probably just 'cause he wants warm hands, I argue with myself. Right. One warm hand. There's pockets for that, you know. I retort.

We walk to the pier in silence, and I can't help asking myself: Why do you always give in to me? Is it 'cause you're a nice guy? Or 'cause I'm just a persistent brat? When you let me take the egg roll, was it just to shut me up? Or was it because you wanted me to be happy?

Or was it because you know what it's like to be lonely?

"Well, we're here." Lite stops and his hand- the one not carrying the doggy bag, the one that I was holding- disappears into his pocket. "The ocean."

I stand carefully on the bottom bar of the twisted black guardrail looking out over the harbor, the heels of my Shoes of Death holding me steady. The ocean is long and dark, a little colony of fishing boats and ocean cruisers puncturing the perpetually bright horizon. It's beautiful and impossible to tell how many hours till dawn.

Lite doesn't say anything, but stares straight out ahead and stands so close beside me that I think our feng shui's or chakra's or qi's or whatever raw human energy is react. I imagine Paul Revere looking out over this harbor. We dumped tea in it at one point, didn't we? Good old Americans. I try to watch Lite out of the corner of my eye, because I want to ask him if any tea is maybe still floating around in there, if maybe the fish that live in the water are so used to breathing tea that they couldn't live anywhere else. Even if it's just a stupid question, it's good enough to break the silence and maybe even make him smile. The rail I'm standing on creaks ominously in a sudden wind, making me swing, and Lite's head whips around. I step down onto solid ground again as fast as I can, and he goes back to the dull background hum of ocean.

Or is he mad? I paid for dinner, didn't I? He paid for the subway but that was less expensive anyway, and even though I got lost for a few seconds he said that it wasn't any big deal. Or maybe- is it because I called him a nerd? I was only joking, it's hardly an insult! Or because I dragged him out here at all and wasted his time?

"Hey, Lite, you know…" I twist one long sleeve up in my fingers and then wrench it into a heart shape. "I didn't mean… I mean, when I said you were a nerd, I wasn't trying to be rude, I just- I haven't been very…well, very considerate about tonight and I-"

I'm hoping he'll be a gentleman and cut me off in protest, but he doesn't.

"And I'm sorry."

He tilts his pale face up to the stars for a moment, sleek hair straggling around in the sea breeze, and he looks absolutely radiant. Then he turns to me and smiles.

It's a real smile, something I don't get very often from talking to him while he's trying to study or dragging him out of libraries, and it lights up brighter than all of Boston. "No," he says contentedly. "No, it was a good idea. Thanks for everything, I haven't had so much fun in…well, in a really long time."

I'm happy, I'm so happy that the cold is nothing to me and the subway and Chinatown and the ocean and Boston itself are gone, they've all changed direction just to bring us to this moment. "Yeah!" I smile so hard that my face hurts. "Yeah. Maybe we could do it again sometime?"

"Maybe," he says, but there's something hesitant in his voice that brings winter Boston back under me all at once.

"Maybe," I say without hope, and my cheeks and nose begin to burn, with cold or disappointment or both.

"Maybe next time…" he won't look at me. "Maybe next time we could do it as…a date?"

As a date?

I can't help hugging him.

As I close my hotel room door behind me, giddy and wonderful and exhausted, I realize I'm still wearing Lite's coat, and that his papers are still crumpled inside one of the pockets.

I paw through empty gum wrappers, post-it notes, and a small fortune in pennies before I find them, folded neatly together and waiting for the demands of their kidnapper to be met. As I eat my adopted egg roll, I carefully unfold them and look at his neat handwriting again.

See, they seem to say smugly. I wasn't so boring after all.