Finally, the time came to meet Tommy. Frederica dropped her bag off in her room and headed out through the campus gates. She stared at the sky for a while. The sun and the clouds fought a slow motion battle for center stage. Frederica took a deep breath and rose into the air.
She flew downtown, soaring over the tallest buildings. When she reached her destination, she stopped in midair and watched the traffic below. Tommy’s car pulled up to the curb in front of Nico’s Pizza and he climbed out.
She was tempted to keep on flying, but instead she let gravity pull her inexorably to the ground. She touched down behind Tommy and tapped him on the shoulder. He almost jumped out of his skin.
“Jesus Christ!” he snapped, turning. “You get me every damn time.”
“You need to start paying more attention, Mr. Ikeda,” she said. “One of these days, it won’t be me sneaking up on you.”
She smiled, and he smiled back, and for a moment it was almost like everything was back to normal. But the moment passed, and she looked away.
“Should we go inside?” he asked.
They headed into the restaurant, ordered their food, and settled in at a counter overlooking the street. Tommy’s elbow brushed her arm as he took a drink of Coke. She was struck with simultaneous desires to pull away and push closer.
“How was your first day of school?” he asked.
“Good,” she replied. “I think I’ve made a couple friends already.”
“Wow,” he said. “I’m impressed.”
“Didn’t think I had it in me, did you?” she asked.
“Nah, I’ve always had faith in you,” he replied.
He smiled and took a bite of his pizza. They ate in silence for a while, desperately avoiding the elephant in the room.
“When do your classes start?” Frederica asked.