Chapter Three

"I don't know about this." Allie said eyeing the food in front of her. This was her first time she had seen Alex since the night of the bar. They had been texting as often as they could, but it was weeks before a break in both schedules accommodated a date.

"Oh just try it." Alex replied rolling his eyes. Allie gave him a dubious look before taking a tentative bite As the food met her tongue, she smiled.

"It is good." She said wiping her hands.

"All your traveling and you've never had Cajun food. I'm a little disappointed." Alex said shaking his head. "I bet you've had escargot though." He finished. Allie laughed as she took another bite.

"I'm glad we could finally do this. I had so much fun the night at the bar, but I've been so busy with my class load." Allie said. Alex smiled

"I had a lot of fun too. You're not the only one who's been busy so don't feel bad." He replied.

"What do you want to do after dinner?" Allie asked. Alex smiled at her.

"I was going to take you to a movie, but I felt that was too cliché for us so I made other plans." Alex said, a mischievous glint in his eye. Allie raised her eyebrows.

"What did you have in mind?" She asked intrigued.

"It's a surprise. Though we should leave in about a half an hour." Alex replied vaguely. Allie couldn't help smiling at the thought Alex put into their date. Allie had dated before. Nothing serious, just minor boyfriends through college. None of them would have put this much thought into a date though.

They finished eating and stood to leave after paying. Alex had texted her earlier in the day to dress nicely. The wardrobe Allie brought with her to Boston didn't have anything suitable for this kind of event, so she went shopping. She had settled on a rose pink knee length dress. It was a strapless affair with a shawl to match along with a wonderful pair of wedges. Allie felt she chose right when Alex showed up speechless when he picked her up. He was wearing his dress blues. He looked great in them.

Allie and Alex walked to their next destination as it wasn't far away. Alex stopped and opened the door to a very nice jazz club. Allie smiled as he held the door for her.

"This is wonderful." Allie said walking to a table. The jazz bands playing were phenomenal and the atmosphere and drinks added to the wonderful time Allie was having.

"I heard this jazz club is quite popular around here." Alex said during a lull in the music. Allie flashed him a smile in response.

"It's amazing. Of all the places I've been before, Boston isn't one of them. It's been nice seeing the sites." Allie said.

"Good because we've got one more destination before our night together ends." Alex said standing up. Allie reached for his hand. She was a little sad to leave the jazz club, but she was curious about what more Alex had planned.

They left the club and caught a cab. They drove a little while before exiting by a river.

"What are we doing here?"Allie asked.

"We're going on a Venetian gondola ride down Charles River." Alex replied leading Allie to the elaborately carved gondola. He helped Allie into the boat and they were on their way. The gondola had champagne, cheese, and chocolate for them to snack on as they took in the Boston sites. Italian music played as they glided down the river. Allie was speechless once again that night.

They sat in their gondola talking animatedly about their likes and interests. What they wanted out of their lives. They each were listening to the other intently, genuinely interested in what the other had to say. Alex was not like anyone Allie had ever met. Most men she met were cocky, self-absorbed people who had everything in their lives handed to them and still somehow felt they were entitled to it. Alex had to work for everything he had. He was humble and kind. Likewise, Allie was not like anyone Alex had known. She was somewhat proper and polite, but at the same time extremely down to earth. She had nice things, but she never felt entitled to them and she worked hard to make sure no one thought she got things handed to her. A lot of the girls he had known back home felt the world owed them something and did nothing to change their situation, but complained about it. Not to say there weren't hard working people in his hometown. There were, his parents among them.

The gondola eventually waded back to the starting point. It was dark out, but with the lights of the city, they had no trouble seeing. They decided to walk back the Allie's house to extend their night.

"I miss the stars the most about home." Alex said as he looked up at the sky. "You can't really see them here. Not like I could back home. You could drive a little ways to the middle of nowhere and see the billions of stars in all their majesty."

"I don't really think I've been anywhere where they weren't a billion lights blocking out the stars. I would really like to see that." Allie replied looking up at the sky with him. Alex looked back at her and smiled slightly.

"I'll have to take you to a place like that someday and show you. I think you would love it." Alex replied taking Allie's hand then as they walked down the street. Allie smiled and squeezed his hand.

"I would really like that." She replied and they walked a little ways in a comfortable silence.

All too soon, they arrived at the front steps of Allie's apartment building. She didn't want to go inside and it seemed like Alex didn't want to leave either.

"I had the most amazing time tonight. Thank you." Allie said pulling the shawl tighter around her shoulders. It was getting a little chilly out. Alex smiled, his green eyes sparkling.

"I had a great time too. We really should do it again." He replied.

"How are you going to top tonight?" She asked.

"I'll think of something." He answered. Things got a little serious after that. The atmosphere changed ever so slightly. He leaned into her and she leaned into him in response. He lifted his hand to touch her cheek before gently kissing her goodnight. Allie put her arms around her neck deepening the kiss. Eventually they pulled away from each other and they both had ridiculous smiles on their faces.

"Goodnight Alex. I'll talk to you soon." Allie replied turning around to go into the building.

"Goodnight." Alex said smiling in victory as he walked away to hail a cab to take him home.

Alex and Allie went on many dates after that initial one. They had increasingly good times and soon they could say they were officially dating. Even Kristie and Jake had been out with each other quite often. They hadn't yet spent the night with each other, but it might happen soon as Halloween was just around the corner and they had been invited to a party.

The Halloween party was at the house of a woman Kristie and Allie went had classes with. They were invited to the party and encouraged to bring dates. Alex and Jake were to meet them at their apartment and then take a cab over to the party. Kristie and Allie spent the few hours before the guys were due to pick them up getting ready. Showers, make-up, hair, and costume. Kristie had decided to go as a vampire while Allie chose a slightly more conservative costume as a mad surgeon. She wore dark blue scrubs with fake blood splattered all over them and a lab coat that said Dr. Reaper. "You chose such a lame costume." Kristie complained as she came into the living room. "You wear scrubs all the time, Halloween is about dressing up differently. You should have been a fairy or pirate or something." Allie shrugged her shoulders and stood leaning against the counter.

The doorbell rang not long after that. Kristie walked to the door to answer it. Jake was in the doorway dressed up as a pilot with the bomber jacket and flight suit with Aviator shades. Alex walked in behind him dressed up as a 1930s style mobster with the pinstripe suit and fedora. Allie smiled at him. "You look good." She said to him as he walked toward her. Alex looked at her costume. "Dr. Reaper, huh?" He said with a small smile. Allie shrugged again, but Alex said, "I like it." Kristie clapped her hands. "Well, are we ready to go?" She asked. Everyone nodded and they started walking toward the door. The cab that was called waited for them downstairs. They climbed in and the car ride was mostly silent.

When they arrived at the house, music thumped and lights could be seen from the street. It was decorated with fake cobwebs and plastic bats. They all walked in slowly pushing their way through the crowd. "Do you want a drink?" Alex had to practically yell so Allie could hear him over the music. Allie smiled, but just nodded. Alex pushed his way through more people to the kitchen where drinks of all kind were being kept. Jake and Kristie went off to the makeshift dance floor and started dancing. Allie waited patiently for Alex to return.

When Alex came back Allie motioned for him to move onto a balcony where it was quieter. "Thanks for the drink." She said grasping the red Solo cup with both hands. "No problem." Alex replied. They looked out toward the Boston skyline not speaking. This place really had a nice view. It was a little chilly outside, but it wasn't so bad especially since Allie had never really wanted to go to the party. It was Kristie who pushed her into going and told her to invite Alex to make it bearable.

Alex broke the silence. "Tell me about your family." He said. "My parents are great people. My father owns his own company and they do okay. I'm an only child, but Kristie has been my neighbor for as long as I can remember so we've always been more like sisters." Allie finished hoping that was enough. "Tell me about yours." She quickly changed the focus from herself. "Well, my parents are good people, but they are poor. My dad is always between jobs it seems like. I spend a couple years from the time I graduated high school to joining the Air Force working trying to help them save some money. I have five siblings, three brothers and two sisters. The oldest one is a senior this year and the youngest is only four. I stayed hoping to help them have a slightly better life. It's not that my parents don't try, it's just the area doesn't always have jobs."

Allie smiled wondering how a life like that might be. She'd always been beyond privileged and only really known others who were privileged like her. She liked that Alex wasn't like her, but she worried if once he knew the truth about her and her family it would scare him off. She needed to tell him, she just didn't know when the right time would be. She was always vague when asked about her family.

For the rest of the night, Alex and Allie spend their time on that balcony talking. Even though it was about three weeks away, Allie invited Alex and Jake to Thanksgiving dinner at their place. Allie and Kristie weren't going home for Thanksgiving so they had decided to invite them and some other friends from school.

When Allie and Alex went inside to find the others, Kristie and Jake were still dancing. Kristie had had a little too much to drink so it was time to go home. Jake called a cab to take them back to Allie and Kristie's apartment. When they got there, Jake guided Kristie inside and toward the elevator. Alex told the cabbie to wait for them and walking Allie inside. As they waited for the elevator to get to their floor, Alex held Allie's hand.

"I had a nice time tonight. I'll call you later." Alex said as they reached Allie's apartment door. She smiled at him and got on her toes to kiss him.

"I did too. I'll see you soon." She said about to walk inside when Alex grabbed her by the hand and pulled her back into the kiss. Allie wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled into his lips.

"Okay goodnight." Alex said as Jake made his way out.

"Kristie's in bed. You'll probably have to help her change, but she was passed out when I left. I put the covers over her and put a glass of water by her bed. Goodnight Allie." Jake said squeezing my arm.

"Night guys." Allie said closing the door. She walked to Kristie's room to check on her. She was still in her clothes, but based on how she was snoring, she wasn't going to be woken up to change. She took one last look at her and turned off her bedside lamp and shut the bedroom door. She made her way to her own room. She could feel the alcohol making her mind kind of fuzzy, but she wasn't drunk. She slowly dressed into the large shirt and sweats she usually wore to bed. She laid on her bed looking at her text conversation with Alex. It always made her smile when she thought of him.

With the deep feelings she was beginning to develop for him, she had to think about some hard things. He would be done with tech school soon and would get orders somewhere else. Allie would be in Boston for at least the next 3 and half years. How were they to have a long distance relationship? Could she even handle that? What other options were there then? She could break up with him, but that thought left her with a hollow pain in her stomach. She could follow him, but she's at an Ivy League medical school. Why would she leave her whole future for a man? She knew what the right answer would be of course. Leaving Harvard wasn't even an option. Her parents would never allow it and they would be disappointed in her to find out she left Harvard for a man she hadn't known very long. Allie thought maybe it depended on the man, but Alex wasn't the type of man her parents would think suitable for her. All the thoughts in her mind depressed her except running away with Alex to some far away place where they didn't have to worry about their responsibilities. Allie did have responsibilities. Her parents expected certain things out of her and becoming a doctor was one of them. She always told herself this was what she wanted, but sometimes Allie wasn't so sure. She enjoyed medical school, but she really loved to write. She was good too. She entered contests for her short stories all the time and usually won. Of course she would always do what her parents expected of her and her parents expected her to become a doctor. She couldn't help the nagging thought that was always in the back of her mind. She would write anywhere in the world. She put the thought to rest before closing her eyes to sleep.