He has never taken the subway before in his life. Not on his own that is. He's been to New York City with his parents plenty of times, but this is the first time he is taking a lone journey to the concrete jungle. He's Nineteen now, finished a whole semester in college. His parents trust him enough to be responsible enough to go to "The Sin City of The East" as his father would call it. They trust him enough to stay at the apartment of a close female friend for the weekend in Manhattan.
He has never taken any drugs that were illegal, and never sipped a drop of alcohol in his entire life, which is the entire truth and his parents know it. The only thing he ever kept to himself was his intimate moments with the opposite sex. If his parents asked him if he has done a certain activity, more specifically if they are going to become grandparents in the next few months, he would tell them truthfully.
Now he's on his way to the apartment of his friend he has had for years. They met on their sophomore year while doing a high school musical together. They never really talked that much, small talk conversations and things like that. He always found her a little superficial, and more of an Ice Queen than the beautiful princess she played. He played the charming Prince, and had to have romantic scenes together until the King banished their love and killed him. Most of the scenes were played out too emotionally to feel realistic, mostly because neither of them had any chemistry together.
Then in their junior year, they both made blogs off the same site, and just followed each other's blogs just for the hell of it. She wrote her personal feelings on her blog, where he wrote his opinions on popular media and current events. Over the next few weeks, she wrote things he thought she would never feel like this before. He didn't realize she had problems with her friends, like he always have problems with his friends. He always thought she had the perfect friends, the perfect life.
She had fears of staying in their hometown they grew up together, how she could never see a different part of the world. He understood all of that, especially wanting to go in a career for the media, such as television and cinema.
So of all things he messaged her on Facebook, and she was completely flattered by his words. She had no idea anyone but her best friend was reading her blog. So after that conversation they became friends, seeing each other, seeing movies or having a movie night, worked on film projects together just for fun. They made a bond he never expected to get from a girl who idolized fashion designers and international Pop stars.
He's nothing like her. He loves indie rock music, thriller movies, and science fiction novels. He uses complete grammar, where she likes to abbreviate words in conversations that have never been abbreviated properly. But somehow throughout it all, they remained friends.
Even back then, he always had a strange attraction to her, something that drew him near her more and more every month of their senior year. He didn't understand it at all, and decided not to pursue to solve the mystery behind his attraction.
So the summer came, and she left their hometown in Massachusetts to settle in her apartment in Manhattan. They always said they would be in New York together for college, majoring in Film production for him and Costume Design for her, and make one of the best student films New York has ever seen.
But his parents thought differently, where they wanted him to stay in Massachusetts for a better Education, preferably in Journalism—his best subject in High School. He tried to fight back more and more as the application deadlines drew nearer, but he gave in, as long as he applied to Boston. He did, and was accepted into Emerson College, while she pursued in Fashion Design at the Art Institute of New York. They didn't expect to go these paths, but that's how it ended up.
So they said their goodbyes, but something was there when they said goodbye that changed their entire friendship.
"I hope you will still talk to me while I'm in Manhattan." She said, looking down at her hands.
"Of course I will New York. Just because you're in a different state doesn't mean I'm not going to talk to you."
She looked at him puzzled, but with a curious smile on her face. "Why did you call me New York?"
"Well you have been talking about going there way more than I have, so I thought it would be a great nickname." He said with a shrug.
"This is coming from the guy who talks about our state the most educated, huh Boston?" she said with a snicker.
"Oh so I'm Boston now? Nice comeback on that one." He said with a laugh.
"Yep, I'm New York and you're—" she was cut off by her yelp as she stepped forward but tripped over a crack in the brick walkway. She was about to fall flat on her face, but he caught her in his arms, her back inches away from the ground. He was bent over her, staring right in her eyes like he never has before. Her arms were wrapped around his shoulders, looking at him in awe.
"You really should watch your step New York. We don't want that pretty face looking bad when going to the Big Apple now, do we?" he said like a whisper.
"Yeah… good thing you have great reflexes." She huffed out.
"Call me Spider-man, as long as you are Mary Jane that is." He said with smirk.
She rolled her eyes and said "I'm perfectly fine with that."
They stood there for a moment, and he lifted her back upright, straightening out her blouse. They gave each other a long hug goodbye, and went on the train to New York. From that moment on things have never been the same with them in their Skype conversations, or phone calls. There was always some kind of tension between them, and it was the negative kind.
Whatever it was, he didn't try to push into flirting. The weird thing is he never realized they were flirting with each other until he took a step back and looked at the situation. It wasn't until last week did he thought about their friendship these past six months.
They had a Skype video chat one night, right after Christmas. He was at home with his family and she was still in New York, for her semester break was shorter than his. She was talking about how she went to go see Late Night Jimmy Fallon before Christmas break, and said it was the best thing she has ever done. He said on how jealous he was that she went to go see his favorite Comedian, and would do anything to spend a weekend at New York and go see him.
"Hey, since its semester break, why don't you come here for a weekend? They do dress rehearsals over the weekends to get more people in audience. You can stay in my apartment if you want." She said.
He gave a skeptical look, and said "What about your roommates? Will they have a problem sleeping on the couch over the weekend?"
She gave a shrug and said "I moved into a smaller apartment remember? All I have is a love seat and my own bed. It would be unfair for you to sleep on that small couch, so why not just bunk with me right?"
His heart skipped two beats when she said that. A year ago she would never even think about sharing a bed together. She would kick his ass right on the floor with a blanket and a pillow. Now she's offering a spot in her bed?
Luckily that moment of shock lasted a split second, for he just laughed and said okay. They continued the conversation, and said he would text her once he talked over with his parents. Two hours later after proving to his parents with evidence of always being the designated driver even with his own parents, flushing down Marijuana down the toilet right in front of them, and how he hasn't made them grandparents yet, he had the O.K. with his parents to go to New York for the weekend.
So here he is, on the subway to Manhattan, on his iPod with a bag full of clothes and hygiene products. He kept to the window, because he didn't know if the people would mug him by looking at them the wrong way.
The one thing that caught his attention was the song that was being played on his iPod. A John Mayer song, titled "Comfortable". It was a slow acoustic song, being played in alternate tuning he could never figure out. It was a song reconciling the times of a past love, how it was 'comfortable'. He didn't know why he was captivated by the song, so it played it on repeat.
By the time the song went on the third time, the station stopped at Grand Central Terminal. The train played its automotive message of telling him where it stopped, and that it was the end of the line for this train. He quickly exited the train, and walked up to vast and large hallway. Hundreds of travelers scurrying by in the Terminal, focused on their destination. Even in late December, the place was still smoldering hot. The body heat was tremendous, but he still kept walking down to the center by the clock in the center, where he said he would meet her.
After he made it to his checkpoint, he took out his phone and texted her that he has arrived. No longer than five seconds later, he felt two small and warm hands cover his eyes.
"Take out your wallet and give me all your money now bitch." She said in her worst imitation of a man.
"Don't hurt me now; all I have is boxer trunks and really bad smelling cologne." He said with his hands up.
She started to laugh, and uncovered his eyes. He turned around and gave her a proper hug, in which she hugged back.
"I'm so glad you could make it. Was the ride here a problem at all or did you keep to yourself like I told you?" She asked him with her hands on her hips, as if she was a protective mother, even though they both know she was nothing of the kind.
"Of course I did. No one bothered me, and I was just playing my music the entire ride. Thanks for the obvious tip." He said with a gleeful smile.
"Well look at you these days, Boston. You turned into a man haven't you." She said, scanning him from top to bottom.
He wore moccasins, leather bound with thick socks to protect his feet from the cold. His navy khakis were crinkled from sitting down so long, but his gray Pea Coat was spotless once he patted himself down. His black scarf wrapped around his neck perfectly, as if it was tie rather than a scarf. His hair was combed to one side, where it looked like he was from the fifties. She brushed his cheek, feeling the five o'clock shadow on his face.
"Your peach fuzz was always so soft to touch," she said with a giggle.
She was wearing a dark coat, the buttons placed on the far left side of her body. She wore black leggings that were covered by her shin high leather boots. Her hair was more a vibrant brunette color, curling down to her chest. She looked far more fashionable than he can remember, and something just made the whole terminal silent.
He swatted his hand away lightly, and they stood there, just staring at each other. He felt this might be awkward to her, so he let out a cough and said "So, where is this lovely apartment of yours?"
Just then she snapped out of her trance, and nodded in agreement. "Right this way Boston, you're about to ride in your first New York cab."
He was sparked with excitement, something he has never done before although it is just a simple yellow car to take you to point A to point B. They hurried out of the Terminal, and he saw the concrete jungle as a winter urban wonderland. Everywhere was topped or sprinkled with snow on top of it; everyone was layered with clothes that could help them survive the arctic tundra. Cars were honking, high heels were clacking, people were yelling about the winter clothes they were selling, everything was going on at once, but nothing at the same time.
"Taxi!" she yelled, holding out her hand to catch a driver's attention. A taxi sped right past her, the car already occupied. Another one past by her, this time empty. She cursed at the driver, and kicked dirty snow to the car. She looks over to him, who seems surprised to see her like this.
"What? You have to learn to be a bitch in this town." she said with a shrug, and an empty Taxi passed right by her, cursing even louder.
He laughed at her behavior and pushed her back gently, and put his two fingers in his mouth. He blew out air, which transformed into a high pitched whistle. The Taxi going right by him came to a screeching halt, the driver poking out his head. He wore a large knit hat and a scarf two sizes too big. "Where we heading kid?" he asked.
He turned to her, who was astounded by his skills of hailing a Taxi. "Well, where are we heading New York?"
"Oh-um, 944 Fifth Avenue." she stuttered out, and he opened the car for her, and she stepped right in. "Thank you for being such a gentleman, Boston."
"Two new things you forgot about Boston: All you need to do is catch some one's attention to hail a cab, and you must always be a gentleman when ladies are present." he said in a mock English accent.
"Oh shut up, not all Bostonians are like that. Some of them are Irish drunks, some are redneck pigs, and-"
"Some are college students from a suburban community trying to get a good education, thank you very much." He said trying to defend his current home. "Besides not all New Yorkers are great."
"Amen to that brother. Boston is a good place too." said the Taxi driver.
"Thank you, kind sir" he said to the driver, while she just rolled her eyes.
"So how has your Journalism studies been lately?" she asked, trying to change the subject.
"Well, a lot of my classmates know everything and everywhere, while I have to keep going to online news website to find something to write about."
"God bless Google, I always say," she said, and on that note the driver slowed down and rolled to the edge of the road. The cab meter beeped to inform the passengers their toll was due. She took out her small hand purse and gave the driver a couple of bills. He nodded in thanks and got out of the car to help them unpack the trunk of the young man's travel bags. The driver placed the young man's bags down on the street, into his car and back to the streets before the young lady could turn around.
"Cab drivers hit the road faster than my bar dates," she said with a laugh, and glided forward to her apartment complex. He felt his chest drop when she mentioned the brief companions at a local bar she went to. He walked over to her, about to ask how was she able to get into a bar even though she was underage. Then he stopped himself, knowing that even in Boston, there are bars that don't even bother to look at your license or I.D to confirm if you are of drinking age.
After going up a flight of stairs or two they arrived at the door of her home: Apartment number 214. She took out her keys that were accompanied by other trinkets from gift shops, all New York themed, just like her personality and fashion. She turned the keys, and with a large clack, the door swung open. He entered the room and felt a bit flustered. The living room was cramped, where there was barely any space between the table and love seat couch. The Television was twenty-eight inches in diameter, a small table-rest anchoring it for viewing pleasure. The kitchen was to the left of him, small as the living room. There was a small table to place trays or food to when preparing a meal and a fridge that was no taller than up to his chest. Inside was no doubt a small carton of milk, fruits, and an endless supply of fat free yogurt she loved so much.
"Put your stuff anywhere, make yourself at home. By home I mean feel like a total slob. It's not like I get maid service every week." She yelled through the hallway, which led to a fully functioning bathroom and bedroom, the two most decorated rooms in the entire apartment. He placed his travel bags next to the table, and sat down on the love seat. He removed his Pea coat, tossing it to the empty seat on the table.
He waited for a few moments until she returned, her jacket no longer wrapped around her. She was wearing a tan blouse shirt, tucked out to show the wrinkles where only she could pull it off and make them look perfectly fashionable. Her small, navy skirt was displayed, her thighs in leggings being shown just for him. He diverted his eyes to look around the room. It may have no real interesting interior, but he wanted to remember this apartment like it was his second home.
She sat down next to him, her elbow propped above the love seat, her head resting on her knuckles. She gazed at him for a moment, her smile forming like a bright light, guiding him the way to paradise. "So," she began her tone perky and bright as ever. "It's time to catch up. I want to know what's going on the hub. The parties you've went to, the friends you've made, the girls you've hooked up with, everything."
He laughed, mimicking the same pose she was making, and said "Fine, as long as you tell me what you have been doing in the Big Apple as well."
"Oh my," she giggled, "This is going to be a long day."