Chapter 9, "An Outing"
We didn't find The Place the next day, either. In fact, we searched for the stupid Place all week and turned up nothing.
I asked Christopher what the deal with that was, and she only ever answered that sometimes it was hard to find. All I knew about it was that it involved aliens, and that Hector didn't want me to find it, so it was probably pretty cool.
But all of this boring searching was less cool.
"Guys," I said one evening, before Hector could begin a lesson in alien theory or Christopher could drag me off on a meaningless trek, "I think we should go do something fun tonight."
Hector's head snapped up from the book he had been perusing, a thick tome titled Aliens and Their Natural Habitat: Preserving Our Outer Space. "You mean like...as friends?"
Christopher, too, seemed intrigued by this notion. "You want us to all go out together? In public?" I noticed a quick glance in her brother's direction, as if she felt sad that it wouldn't just be the two of us.
"Yes. I'm not learning anything exciting about killing aliens like I originally wanted, so if we're just hanging around being bored out of our skulls, we could at least do that in a different location."
Hector nodded, smiling broadly. "Yes! That would be a lot of fun! Where should we go?" He shot a look at Christopher, as if daring her to see what would happen if she said The Place.
"We could have some delightful dinner together or something, discuss each others' likes and dislikes, our hopes and fears, that sort of thing," I suggested.
They both looked at me as if I had gone mad. I admit, this was very strange for me, too. This desire for human friendship. I had no idea what was going on, but I felt compelled to get to know them better. And be nice to them. Maybe buy them some pizza.
It seemed a decent enough idea. I tried it out, cautiously. "We could...get pizza."
Christopher nodded slowly. "Pizza sounds pretty tasty."
"Yes," Hector agreed carefully, "I could eat some."
I noted that they both seemed very confused by this whole "going out as a group of friends" thing. I must admit I'd expected a little more enthusiasm from them, considering last year, I couldn't get them to leave me alone, but perhaps they'd become accustomed to my hatefulness? Aw, man, now I kind of felt bad.
"Well...um...I have a car that goes a little faster than your vehicle, Frig," Hector said. "No offense."
"Sounds good. Pizza time, then?"
We all used our legs to make ourselves vertical, and headed towards Hector's vehicle. It easily housed the three of us, with room to spare. And went way faster than three miles per hour. In mere minutes, we had made it to our destination, a restaraunt that served pizza. It was called Pizza Palooza. I remembered with vague aching in the pit of my stomach that this was the same place Xlormp and I had eaten that one time he saved me from some weird animal creature. I'm still not sure what that animal creature was, but one thing's for sure, maybe pizza wasn't the best of ideas. Maybe we should be eating hamburgers instead.
But I had this thought too late! Christopher and Hector were clambering out of the car, and I followed suit, feeling very awkward and weird about this whole thing.
We got seated and ordered our food. Luckily, we did not have the same waiter as the last time I was here, for which I felt grateful. If I remembered correctly, I'd made an overly sappy fool of myself, drooling all over this worthless, cruel creature from another planet. What a waste. I beat myself up for that internally.
I guess it was time to start the conversation, get to know these people, and all that. "So, uh...what do you like to do for fun?" I asked.
Hector cleared his throat. "Um, I like to play chess," he admitted boringly.
"I like to surf the Internet," Christopher provided.
"I like to ruin people's happiness," I volunteered unasked.
This prompted a terribly uncomfortable silence.
"Do you guys like music?" I tried again, valiantly determined to converse like a normal person.
"Only angsty chick rock," Christopher muttered, at the same time Hector was muttering "No."
I twiddled my thumbs, glancing expectantly at my two captive potential friends. My crappy attempts at communicating were graciously put on pause by the arrival of the food.
"Hooray!" I proclaimed, selecting a slice for myself. "Let us now cram this pizza into our faces and use this as an excuse to not try to come up with further topics of conversation!"
"Indeed!" the others agreed, and we all chewed on pizza for a while.
But all good things must come to an end, and we were left staring awkwardly at each other again. Finally, after what felt like a billion years, Hector piped up abruptly. "Which one of us do you like better, Frig?"
The question startled and alarmed me. "W-what?"
He waggled his finger between himself and his sister. "Obviously we both are fond of you. But you can't date both of us, right?"
"Date?" This was getting weird. I felt pretty uncomfortable. Christopher looked like she felt much the same way I did, and gave her brother a death glare.
"Yes, date. So pick. Which one of us?"
"Shut up," Christopher whispered under her breath, through clenched teeth.
I stared blankly at them. Pick? This made no sense. "Why do I have to pick? Why do we have to date? What's going on?"
"I love you, Frig," Hector announced boldly. Christopher dropped her head in her hands and groaned. "Christopher does, too. And now you're hanging out at our house all the time, and...well, frankly, it's upsetting the family."
"I...don't know? I like you both! You are..." the words were foreign, but I shoved them out anyway: "You are my friends."
"Friends," Hector repeated. "And that's all."
Christopher looked as though she may burst into aggravated tears at any moment.
"Yes?" I hazarded. "That's all?"
Hector stood up. "Okay, well, should I take you back home?"
I nodded, still having no real clue what was happening here. All this picking and dating...this was too complicated for me. Aliens, outer space, these things made sense. Human emotions? Not so much.
And so the night ended, very uncomfortably, and I'm pretty sure I didn't get any closer to being friends with either of them.
Chapters of the past
HAPPY HALLOWEEN YOU GUYS, OMG!!! WHAT ARE YOUR COSTUMES, IF YOU ARE DRESSING UP? I AM DRESSED UP AS GWEN STEFANI. AT WORK. IT IS VERY EXCITING.