She shoots fire at me; her eyes are damn near glowing red now. I get no answer. Not that I expected one.
Regular cabs being fairly rare in this part of Brooklyn, I say, “I’ll order an Uber. I’ll have it drop you off at your place,” and reach into my pocket for my phone.
She doesn’t stop me, which I take as a good sign.
While we wait for the car, I decide to keep my mouth shut. Dakota’s not going to be very reasonable until we can get away from the crowd. This is all one huge misunderstanding and I need time alone with her, and some quiet, in order to be able to explain.
After three minutes of complete silence, Daniel of the blue Prius and five-star rating pulls up to the curb and I put my hands on Dakota’s shoulders to guide her to the car. She twists herself away from my touch and stumbles off the sidewalk to get to the other door. A car is passing at the same time and I rush to her, pulling her out of the way and guiding her into the car. She grunts, mumbles something about not touching her, and I walk back around and climb into the other side.
This is going to be a long night. I put my address into the app, not hers, since I’m sure she won’t want to see Nora, although I’m pretty positive she will be pissed about this, too.
“How are you guys tonight?” Daniel asks.
Dakota ignores him, presses her cheek into her hand, and leans against the window.
“We’re good,” I lie.
No need to drag him into the mess; he seems like a nice guy and his car smells like caramel.
“That’s good to hear, it’s getting chilly out. I have some waters back there if you’re thirsty, and chargers, too,” he offers.
Now I see why he has a perfect five-star rating.
I look at Dakota, thinking she might want some water, but she doesn’t seem interested in much of anything at the moment.
“We’re good . . . thank you, though,” I respond.
Our driver looks into the rearview mirror and seems to take the hint. He turns his music up slightly and drives in silence the rest of the way. He’ll be getting a five from me.
“Where do you have him taking us?” Dakota finally decides to talk to me a few minutes into the drive. I stare out the window. We’re about halfway to my apartment, having just passed Grind.
“To my apartment. I don’t even know where yours is,” I remind her.
The reason I don’t know is because she has barely kept in contact with me since she moved here, and certainly has never invited me over. Does she really have the right to be this mad over my seeing Nora—if you could call what I’ve been doing “seeing her”? Even though it seems to me that Dakota’s being completely irrational, I wonder if I actually deserve the cold silence.
She huffs but doesn’t fight me on it. I assume that’s because I was right and she doesn’t want to deal with Nora or the other roommates who witnessed the entire awkward exchange at the bar. I get the feeling that their living situation is one of those weird frenemy types of relationships Tessa explained to me once while we binge-watched Pretty Little Liars.
Tessa. Ugh, I just left her there. I pull out my phone and send her a text, apologizing. When Dakota gives me the side-eye, no doubt wondering if I’m texting Nora, I sheepishly say, “Just wanted to let Tessa know I left . . .”
Five-star Daniel pulls up to my apartment building and gives me one last sympathetic glance before I step out. I quickly pull out my wallet and hand him a five-dollar bill. Dakota is quick to climb out of the car and slams her door as I step onto the sidewalk.
“Let me help you.” I hold my hand out for the big purse she’s wrestling with.
The straps are wrapped around Dakota’s shoulder in a tangled mess of brown leather. She shrugs and stands still, allowing me to help her. I quickly untangle the straps, trying not to actually touch her, and when it’s free, I carry it for her. I don’t think she wants to, but she leans into me as we walk toward the door of my building. The moss growing on the brick walls of my building seems thicker tonight, more strangling.
Dakota lets go and stumbles to the front entrance. I pull it open for her and she sighs in relief when we step into the warm hallway. My apartment doesn’t have a doorman or any fancy security, but it’s always clean and the hallways usually smell like chemicals. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing, but it’s better than some of the alternatives.
As we walk in silence down the hall, I realize that she’s never been here before. When I first