"BAHAHAHAHA!" I cracked up, smacking my leg with my hand.
Chris walked into the room, holding a glass in his hand. He sighed and walked over to the couch. "Angie, are you watching that show again?"
I glowered at him. "Yeah. So what?"
"You have been watching way too much 30 Rock." Chris said, "It's not healthy."
"Yes, because it's completely healthy for you to watch sixteen consecutive hours of Pretty Little Liars." I said, my eyes on the TV.
Chris' lips tightened.
"That's different." He said stiffly.
Watching the TV, I busted out laughing again. I covered my mouth and laughed hard, tears welling up in my eyes. I looked at Chris and he gave me, if possible, a look of even bigger disapproval than the time I laughed at one of Leo's poop jokes in first grade. I laughed harder.
"I'm sorry!" I squeaked, rolling over on the couch.
Chris rolled his eyes and groaned, bringing the glass in his hand to his lips, "You're ridiculous."
My laughter finally slowed and I sat up.
"What the hell is that?" I asked.
Chris wiped the corner of his mouth with his finger and answered cheerfully, "It's a smoothie. I found recipes for all of these super healthy drinkable foods online."
I grimaced. "Ew. Why?"
Chris gave me a look. "Because, Angela,"- Oh, great. -"Modern society is driving us into the ground! People in power are making crazy decisions and if we don't act soon, we're going to end up swimming for our lives in the melted ice caps because of global warming!"
He paused, then added, "Either that or we'll be living on this festering planet in what was formerly the United States, surrounded by idiots and savages and we'll be forced to turn to cannibalism for survival."
Chris stared off into the distance, dazed. He noticed me staring at him and he smiled.
"So... What does this have to do with your nasty smoothie?" I asked slowly.
Chris sighed, "Well, Angie, I just want to be around to help make good decisions for our planet once I'm old enough to actually do something. If I die before I can have a say in how we're going to keep our people and our planet from taking a nosedive into a distopian world out of a science fiction novel, I'll have to get past all of the horrible, greasy junk food society pushes on us. I have to stay healthy."
I stared at Chris. "Okay... Where's all this society business coming from? Since when do you care about the government?"
"Since always." Chris said, looking at me, "It's important. Don't you want your children to live in a world where it's safe to go outside? Where they can breathe freely and drink clean water and not be surrounded by illiterate lunatics?"
"First of all, Chris, just because people are illiterate doesn't mean they're lunatics." I said, "Second of all, you're gay. You can't have kids."
Chris looked shocked. He hissed, "I can adopt. What's wrong with you?"
"Okay, geez, I'm sorry." I dismissed the conversation, not wanting to start an argument. I shook my head and turned back to the TV. I glanced at Chris. "What did you put in that?"
He looked down at his smoothie, then back at me and he smiled again. "Well, I put in some fresh fruit that Mom and I got from the Co-op, some kale from the garden outside-"
"Never mind. I don't care." I grumbled.
Chris looked me up and down. He stood up and snapped, "Fine. You know who'd love to hear about eating right and my plan to save the world?"
"Alice." Chris spun on his heel and walked out of the room. He poked his head back through the doorway and said, "This is exactly the kind of thing that eccentric college professors would be interested in."
"Then it looks like you have a shot." I called back to him, "As long as you don't bore them with your Glee trivia knowledge."
Chris scoffed and disappeared back into the hallway. I grinned to myself and picked up the remote, un-pausing 30 Rock. "Burn."
Chris stepped out the kitchen door and onto the back step, locking the door behind him. He held his cell phone to his ear and waited, walking through the yard.
"Hey, Alice, it's me." He said, opening the gate and stepping out, "Do you wanna do something today?... Okay, awesome... We could go to the mall or something... Cool, see you there."
Chris smiled and hung up, walking down the block to the bus stop.
Chris got off the bus and walked away from it as quickly as possible. He didn't like public transportation. A woman with a stroller was standing near the bus stop. Chris glanced into the stroller. A chubby baby sat inside, staring at him with wide eyes.
"Aww..." Chris said under his breath. He made a silly face at the baby. It stared blankly at him. Chris smiled at the baby and it scowled. Its mother looked at Chris uncomfortably. He smiled at her and she grimaced, pushing the stroller away from him. Chris' face fell.
Was it my smile? He thought. Feeling troubled, he walked quickly up to the mall's front doors. A woman held the door open for him and he nodded to her, his lips together, "Thank you."
Chris walked through the mall quickly, being careful not to open his mouth.
Oh, God, it's my teeth. He thought, People don't like me because of my stupid teeth.
Just then, Chris passed a clothing store with a big sign with the words "Sexy Kitten" written in pink cursive. He studied the mannequins in the window, dressed in tight, glittery skirts and lacy undergarments, and grimaced.
Uch. Look at those stupid outfits. He thought bitterly, I can't believe people actually go to this tacky store.
"Chris," Said a voice.
Chris' face turned hot. Oh, no. He turned and saw someone standing at the entry to the store.
"Geoffry," Chris said uncertainly, "Hi."
"Hi." Geoffry said, smiling. He walked up to Chris and asked, "How are you doing?"
"Fine." Chris answered, looking back at the mannequin display, "Just waiting for a friend. Alice."
Geoffry smirked (with his stupid perfect smile that Chris knew was perfect without him flaunting it around like that) and asked, "Oh. Here?"
Chris glared at him and said sharply, "No, not here. At the mall. Elsewhere."
Geoffry nodded and Chris asked coolly, "So, what are you doing here?"
"I work here." Geoffry replied.
Chris gave him a look. "You do?"
"I thought you worked at the theatre in uptown?"
Geoffry shrugged, "I do. On weekends. I work here Mondays through Thursdays."
"Wow. So, you only get one day off?"
"Yeah, but it's not so bad." Geoffry said, "At least I have company."
Before Chris could ask what he meant, a girl came out of the store and squeaked, "Babe, this chick wants to try on the merchandise, what should I-"
The girl, Mabel, stopped talking and turned her head in Chris' direction. She smiled and said, "Chris Harper, is that you? I didn't see you there!"
She laughed. Chris sneered and began, "Well, I didn't expect y-"
Geoffry gave him a hard look. Chris stopped and he smiled sweetly, "Yes, it's me, Mabel."
"Well, what a coincidence that we run into you in the women's underwear store." Mabel giggled, wrapping her arms around Geoffry's neck. She was wearing the same pink and black Sexy Kitten t-shirt that Geoffry was. She worked there, too.
Still smiling tightly, Chris remarked, "Just as much of a surprise as seeing you here."
Mabel frowned. Geoffry's eyes widened and he looked at Chris. After a short pause, Mabel giggled and turned to Geoffry.
"We better get back to work." She said, twisting Geoffry's collar with her finger, "Our boss won't be happy with all this-" She turned to Chris, "-socializing."
Chris frowned and Geoffry said, "Right. Sure thing."
He looked at Mabel and added, "I'll be right there."
Mabel scowled, not loosening her grip on Geoffry's arm.
"Just a minute." He said softly.
Mabel hesitated. She kissed him on the lips and Chris' stomach lurched. Mabel leaned back and said, "See you in a minute."
She slinked back inside and Geoffry looked at Chris, looking slightly embarrassed. Chris wasn't sure he had ever seen Geoffry embarrassed. Geoffry chuckled and didn't say anything. Chris stood stalk still.
"That was just..." Geoffry said, "Mabel-"
"Works here." Chris said flatly, "Got it."
Geoffry nodded and looked down at the floor. "Um... I'll see you around, Chris."
Chris nodded back, "Yeah, whatever."
Geoffry looked up at him. Chris looked back, his face unsmiling. They held their gaze for a moment before Geoffry turned and ducked back into the store. Chris stormed away, a new heaviness in his chest that hadn't been there before.
It made him angry.