“This is sort of an unusual situation” Daniel said quietly to me as both of us leaned on either side of the hallway. We smiled at each other and I agreed, but assured him I was ok with it. A few feet away the girls chatted together and I looked at them side by side, both of them beautiful in different ways.
I’ve been seeing Laila and that day I’d helped her move into the apartment of Daniel, who she is also seeing. Daniels’s girlfriend Harper helped us as well, as did her mother. I’d never met Daniel or Harper before, or Thomas for that matter. Laila also see’s Thomas from time to time and he’s letting her store some things at his place for a little while. It was a moving day for both Harper and Laila and sort of an opportune moment for me to meet all the people Laila is involved with.
Harper’s mom had her assumptions about the relationship between Laila and I, giving me a lot of advice about what ‘we’ needed to do. I saw a little flicker of worry and then relief on Harper’s face as I played along. She doesn’t know of course and it was best to let her think what she wanted because she might have questions about Laila moving in with her daughter’s boyfriend otherwise.
Harper said my name aloud as I came down the stairs, knowing it without having heard it out loud. Daniel and Thomas did the same; everyone knew who I was already and now I had faces to match the names and stories I’d collected from Laila along the way. There was an almost instant familiarity with each of them, all of us knowing about the others. Laila spent the night before with Daniel, the night before that with me.
When we were finished taking things inside at Thomas’ house, I offered to run to the store across the street and grab some water. Harper said she would come too and then said ‘assuming you don’t mind the company’, which I’d actually been hoping for. We’d chatted in the van, but with the present company it could only go so far and to have a moment alone with her was nice.
“So I understand that you work with some mutual friends? What is it that you do exactly…are you a director?” she asked, not quite sure how much to let on that she knows. Her smile came and went and then was back again.
“Do you mean as in producing content? No, not any more. I used to and I write now, but what I shoot is just for me. I sort of like it better that way.” I said and she smiled at that too. I found out later I’d seen photographs of and read a story by her before, but hadn’t put it into context. I also found out that she’d seen pictures of a mutual friend that I’d taken.
We wandered around the little store together orbiting each other trough the isles. She picked up some snacks and told me about her apartment, which she’d just moved into that morning and had been kind enough to offer the use of her van afterwords to Laila. She picked through snacks, considered ice cream and put it down and then circled back for it before paying. I liked her smile and the way the shape of her glasses framed her pretty eyes.