Happens after In the Shadows
Katie adjusted the high-necked collar of her teal halter-top style cocktail dress and eyed herself critically in the mirror. She’d twisted up her hair in a pristine ballet bun to show off the open back of the dress with its single silver chain that ended in a teardrop shaped crystal falling from the collar. She’d bought the designer outfit on a whim last week in preparation for her date tonight but was now having second thoughts.
Her closet was full of clothes and the almost overwhelming options made it difficult to make a decision for once. Which was just stupid, because she could make the right call in the field with a cool head while being shot at without any pressure whatsoever.
But a date with Matthew?
“I didn’t think nerves were a thing anymore,” Katie muttered under her breath.
The high hemline of the structured dress and nude-colored high-heeled stilettos she wore helped to show off her toned legs. She’d gone with smoky eyes over a bold lip, diamond tear-drop earrings, and a slew of gold bangles on one wrist.
The outfit was on trend, fit perfectly, she just wasn’t sure.
“Ugh,” Katie said, wrinkling her nose. “This is ridiculous.”
She tapped at the bioware in her left forearm and synced her comms to the embedded control panel in her bedroom, allowing for full holographic visualization of her person. Then she called the only person who could help.
“Don’t you have a date?” Jamie asked when he finally answered the call.
“Yes,” Kate said exasperatedly. She turned to face the controls, glaring at Jamie’s face on the screen. “Matthew is arriving in ten minutes and I don’t know about the dress.”
She waved expansively at the outfit she wore, knowing he could see her entire figure on his side of the line. Jamie blinked at her, looking faintly confused. Katie shook her head, feeling fond despite herself. Some days, she did wonder where Jamie’s intelligence wandered off to.
Probably after Kyle, she thought as she did a slow spin so Jamie could see the back of the dress.
“Pretty sure the style would pass muster with any of the gossip sites. It’s off-the-rack designer and it looks lovely on you, Katie.”
She bit her lip, staring at him with hands on her hips. “You sure? ”
“If your plans are to seduce him, two-thumbs up on dress choice,” Kyle yelled in a muffled voice from somewhere in their apartment. “Seriously, he’s gonna be knocked dead by you.”
“If he’s not, you can send him my way and I’ll straighten him out,” Jamie said.
“It’s our first date, Jamie. Wait until at least the third before you threaten bodily harm over my honor,” Katie said with a laugh.
Jamie waved off her words. “If he doesn’t treat you right, he doesn’t deserve you.”
Katie smiled so hard her face hurt. Jamie was her best friend and she still thought meeting him all those years ago was one of the best days of her life despite the headaches he’d given her.
She smoothed her hands down the skirt of the dress again, the double-sided fabric a bit heavy for the warm summer season but they wouldn’t be in the heat for long. Besides, she’d marched through worse weather.
“You’re sure?” Katie asked one last time, uncharacteristically nervous.
Jamie smiled at her gently, the same reassurance in his gaze that had been there since the first time they’d fought in the field together, despite his wet-behind-the-ear rank. “I’m sure, Katie. You look stunning.”
“Thank you.” She waved at him. “Enjoy dinner.”
“I feel like that’s my line.”
“Enjoy dessert!” Kyle yelled.
Katie laughed as she cut the connection. Giving herself one last look-over in the floor-length mirror, she set about filling her evening clutch with makeup. The attending computer chimed a notification of someone at the door right as she slipped a citrine cocktail ring on her right middle finger.
She left her bedroom and strode towards the front door of her apartment. She palmed the door open and was gratified to see the darkening of Matthew’s blue-green eyes as he took her.
“You look absolutely beautiful,” Matthew told her in a sincere voice.
“You clean up nice yourself,” Katie replied, smiling at him.
The charcoal grey suit Matthew wore fit him like a glove. The expensive bouquet of pale pink roses in his hands smelled lovely when he offered them to her with a kiss to her cheek.
“Thank you.” She put her nose in the roses and took a deep breath. “Let me put these in a vase and we can get going.”
Katie gestured Matthew to step inside before spinning on her heel and heading for the kitchen. The low whistle behind her made Katie smirk.
Dessert for sure tonight, she thought to herself.