Archy and Totle walked into the neighborhood McDonald’s late in the evening.Afamiliar face caught Archy’s attention.
She sat at a booth across the restaurant. She held her head elegantly. Her hair was brushed over her shoulders and a sleek, dark red. Her eyelashes were thick, like a mahogany frame around the masterpiece of her eyes. They were dark blue, like a clear sea with flecks of pale gold trickling through it. Glasses of thin wire were placed on her small, slightly pointed nose. Her soft lips were curved in a dainty smile that seemed eternally truly cheerful. Her skin was as pale as lace and the veins of her hands shown through her skin. She seemed like she belonged in some classy dining roomwearing a long silken dress,next toa starch tablecloth, rather than at a fast food joint int-shirt and jeans with a bright red tray in front of her.
A glance to the booth facing her was all the invitation Archy and Totle needed. Her smile brightened as she took in the sight of the two brothers.
“Archimedes Alling,” she said, “how wondrous! And, is this your little brother? How wondrous! He looks exactly like you when you were his age.” She smiled tenderly down at Totle. If anyone else had said wondrous so often, they would have been deemed insincere, but she was so earnest it was impossible to think of her as fake.
“It’s been so long since I’ve seen you, Archimedes,” she said. Archy turned an odd shade of crimson.
“Yeah, I guess it’s been awhile,” he said, stuttering slightly. Her smile turned sad for a moment, then returned to normal cheeriness with a vengeance. It reminded Archy of something she’d said years before.
“I hate goodbyes,” her words echoed in his mind, “they’re just so sad. I don’t like being sad.” Because of this, they had only bid each other adieux once before. The last time they’d seen each other.
The girl leaned towardsTotle in an undignified way that was still somehow elegant. Totle was scared she was going to pinch his cheek. She didn’t.
"You don’t know me, do you? I’m Felicity.” She grasped Totle’s hand and gave it a slight shake. Totle smiled at her, grateful he had remained unpinched.
“What’re you reading?” Archy asked, motioning awkwardly towards the opened book laying next to her tray.
“Just something I’m reading for one of my classes,” she flipped the cover over, revealing the textbook’s title. Introduction to Cryptography.
“How’s college treating you?”
“Wondrously. My first final exam is in a few days, so it’s starting to get pretty hectic. What about you? What are you majoring in?”
“I’m not in college.” Dimples formed above Felicity’s thin eyebrows.
“Why not? You’re smarter than me.”
“No, I’m not. Didn’t even finish high school.” Felicity’s thin shoulders slumped.
“Archimedes,” she scolded, “you can fool the world, but you can’t fool me, Mr. Perfect Memory. You are smarter than that.”
“You don’t know me anymore!” Archy shouted. Felicity became very still.
“I’ve been worried about you,” she said, “the only time I ever heard about you for an entire year was when I saw your name in the police blotters.” She had turned completely pale and looked as if she’d lived for a thousand years rather than nineteen. Her dark eyes seemed to stare through Archy and the gold spokes darkened. A shiver ran through Archy’s heart, seeing her look so tired and knowing he’d taken such a toll on her. Archy hated how guilty her eyes made him feel.
“I have to go now,” he looked around wildly for something he had to do immediately and his eyes landed on Totle, sitting next to him, “I have to get Totle settled in at my apartment.”
“Okay,” Felicity said, her eyes still gazing at the spot where Archy’s head had been. Her head moved funnily, as if she had jerked herself awake when starting to fall asleep.
“You will keep in touch this time, won’t you?” Felicity asked, “that would be so wondrous.” Totle spoke up.
“My birthday’s next week on Thursday,” he said, “you could come over.” Felicity smiled. Tilting her head, her hair drooped over her shoulder like a silken curtain.
“That’d be wondrous,” she said.
“Yeah, yeah it would be,” Archy said, his throat drying and his brain scrambling. Felicity blushed slightly, as if rose petals had been placed on her cheeks.
“Well, give her the address,” Totle said.
“Oh,” Archy said, “right.” The three scavenged for the supplies necessary for the address to be written. Archy ended up writing it in highlighter in the margins of Felicity’s textbook.
“Wondrous,” Felicity said. She grabbed her book and her shake and weaved her way out of the door. Archy couldn’t help watching the way her hair swung from side to side like a clock pendulum. Totle sat down and ordered mcnuggets in a smug sort of way.