All of These Things
my place? She’s got me all wired, too, now.” He smiles affectionately towards her.
    “Oh, yeah. Sofie’s great that way,” I say cuttingly and notice her uncovering my bait.
    “Baby,” she starts, “Caroline, doesn’t have time for dreams. She’s on a strict schedule to die a boring, miserable human being.”
    I accept the offence, knowing I full-well started this one.
    “Tosh, Sofie,” Alec interrupts. “I sincerely doubt that. With this one’s determination and spirit…” he says, sloping his head my way. “She’s radiant.” He locks his eyes with mine. “You’re resplendent, love.”
    I’m dazzled.
    Alec is so unnerving—it’s daunting to be tucked between an ego maniac on one side and the superior commander of my life on the other. Sofia-Marie’s always been bossy with me, but is slightly so with all her friends. In school, they generally happened to be boys.
    Sofie never did get on well with girls. They’re apparently too fake or melodramatic for her, and guys are easier friendships to manage. Basically, she has no patience for her sex, and there are very few in our species that Sofie doesn’t mind associating with. But truth be told, she didn’t have it very easy, either.
    Her Early Childhood degree somehow empowered her to self-diagnose. There’s no doubt in Sofie’s mind that she’s mildly Dyslexic and has ADD. Her school days would have been an alienating experience for most people, but not for her. She was in your face half the time and putting teachers in their place the other half. Consequently, something positive did materialize from all of that, and Sofie became the teacher she’d never had, but that didn’t last very long. During a craft with a group of preschoolers, Sofie decided she was more artistic than she knew and began designing and creating her own jewellery. Along the way, a new venture transplanted itself in her overcharged mind. These days, Sofie’s making a business plan for a tea- slash -book shop, and somehow I’m the one woozy and fazed by her life changes.
    “Hey, Alec,” Sofie manages as she spoons a mouthful of chowder. “Does Caroline know about the exhibit?”
    I lurch up.
    “Your work is on exhibition?” I ask before supping up the milk-buttery soup with garlic bread. His beer would really hit the spot now. I eye it subtly.
    “In a shop just out of town,” he explains and slides his golden ale closer to me.
    I startle, practically tottering on the knowledge that we’re synchronously coexisting.
    “I’ll be in Ogunquit later this week for a showing. It’s open to the public. Come with me?” Alec asks abruptly.
    I shudder. “No,” I reply brusquely.
    “Sure she will,” Sofie interferes. “Have you ever been to a gallery, Caroline? No,” she states. “Will you ever make time to go to one back home? No,” Sofie badgers. “You’re on holiday, and you’re supposed to be taking time off from your pathetic life remember?” She grabs some fried fish rings.
    I’m torn. I can’t decide if I want to kick her or hit her with a lobster.
    “We’ll all go.” Jason is trying to help out, but not so much.
    I’m not sure why I’m so adamant about this, but my week here is growing inappropriately congruous to Alec’s existence.
    “Besides,” Jay continues, “all those summer people need a place to stay or maybe some renos.”
    Alec gives a short, quiet laugh. I regret being so rashly discourteous and sit back, quietly embarrassed.
    “I didn’t pack anything fancy. What would I wear?” I ask almost inaudibly.
    There’s a contraction of nerves in my stomach, but by some means, I take a deep breath and turn to Alec, biting my lip and smirking fearlessly.
    Alec’s agape, and it’s so sexy to see him discombobulated this way. I can’t even curb my own elongating grin.
    “It’s not an elegant affair and hardly exclusive. Wear absolutely whatever you like,” Alec says, giving me a beatific smile.

Chapter Ten
    Amalia: Angel

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