I arrived at the subway by bus as usual; glad to be free of campus.  I felt stifled there, cloaked in shadows.  Being out in the city was only marginally better, as I found myself short-tempered.  If someone was pushing on the bus, they received a disgusted glare.  People cutting in line got a caustic remark, and those who didn’t move aside as I came through were the recipients of a jostling shoulder.  Suffice it to say, I wasn’t very popular.

            I waited on the platform and momentarily Lil exited a subway train, wearing her white coat and smiling.  She came close and looped her arm through mine, leading me back onto the subway car.  Lil sweetly nestled her head on my shoulder and we rode in silence for a while.

            “Why do you ride the subway?”  I asked.

            “Why?”

            “Yes, why?”

            “No, I mean, why do you ask?”  She grinned.

            “Because you’re rich.  You can afford better.”

            “I enjoy it.”  She shrugged. 

            “What, the lack of conversation, the grey walls outside, the advertisements on the inside?”

            “No, I enjoy seeing the refuse of society, these ants and rats and vermin.”  Lil said, as cheerful as ever.  “It reminds me that I’m better than they are.  So are you.  I wish you’d start realizing it.”

            She jumped up at the next stop and led me out, up the stairs.  I was still wrapping my brain around her last comment when Lil rushed me outside to a limousine on the corner.

            “Surprise!”  She clapped her hands as I tried to take it in.   It was sleek and black.  I approached it almost shyly, never having been inside one before.  The interior was roomy and comfortable, with its own television and a small bar.  Lil already had glasses ready.

            “Wine for me, vodka and Sprite for you.”  She smiled.

            “Thanks.  What’s the occasion?”

            “Just celebrating the finer things in life.  We’re headed to dinner at a friend’s, and then to the theatre.  I hope you’ll like it.”

            “Trying to tempt me, Lil?”

            “Always.” She grinned flirtatiously, sipping her wine.

            “I’m a little under-dressed for a fancy place.”

            “I thought of that.” She nodded towards boxes on one of the vacant seats.  I found dress shoes in my size, and a dark navy suit.

            “You didn’t have to do this.” I said, shaking my head at the well-tailored clothing.

            “I wanted to.”  She smiled.

            “Do you expect me to change in the car?”

            “If you like.” She winked.

            “I think I’ll wait until we get there.”

            “Embarrassed?”

            “No, I just want to make you wait.  I know I’m irresistible, and want to torture you with it.” I grinned.

            She laughed.  “There’s your sense of humour, I wondered where it was hiding.”

            “Dan and Evan say I average one funny joke a day.  I try to pick my moments.”

            She kept giggling.  “That’s two.”

            “No, you just have bad taste.”

            “Three!” She chuckled.

            “I should stop before one of us gets hurt.”

            Lil laughed every time she looked at me for the rest of the ride.  It helped that, whenever she glanced in my direction, I had this look of innocent stupidity on my face.  We finally arrived at our destination, and she patiently waited outside the limo while I changed in the back.

            I emerged in the suit and she took my arm, leading me into a fancy apartment building.  We rode up in an elevator and exited at the penthouse level.  An actual butler answered the door, leading us into an artfully decorated home.  He led us to a dining room where several people seemed to be in the middle of a conversation.

            A man in black suit stood up from the head of the table, grinning widely.  He was middle-aged, but wore it well.

            “Lil, darling, so glad you made it.  And this must be Ethan.”  We shook hands.

            “Ethan, this is my uncle, Simon Lamb.”

            I recognized the name.  “The film producer?  You’ve been involved with some high profile movies.”

            “My reputation precedes me.  I hope you’re a fan?”

            “I am a big movie fan in general, honestly.  A great way to tell stories.”

            “Lilith says you are an English major.  Does that mean you write stories as much as you appreciate reading them?”

            “On occasion.”  I shrugged.

            We joined the group at the table and met the other guests, who offered polite smiles and nods.  Lil sat across from me on Simon’s right, so I sat at his left.  There was general chitchat about several topics as we ate salad and then moved on to a main course.  I barely paid attention until Simon asked a question.

            “What kind of writing do you do, when the occasion presents itself?”

            “I try to start novels, but they often get side-tracked.  I enjoyed comics, as a child.”

            “Have you ever thought about screenwriting?” He asked casually.

I raised an eyebrow at Lil, who was listening intently over her meal.  “Not really, I haven’t had a lot of interest in the format of scripts.”

“You should try your hand at it.  A very lucrative business.  Always looking for new ideas, you know.”

“Oh?”

“Yes.  Perhaps I could arrange a summer internship with our studio up here, get you some firsthand experience.”

“Thank you, Mr. Lamb, that’s very generous.  I’m not really available this summer, however.”

I caught a glance between Simon and Lil.

“That’s unfortunate.  Let me give you my card, in case you change your mind.”

“Thank you, sir.” I said graciously, as he smiled.  I didn’t speak to Lil for the remainder of the meal.

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