Alan was strangely silent for the remainder of the drive. Occasionally it felt as if he were on the verge of saying something and then changing his mind.
When they reached Holly’s apartment he didn’t get out of the car.
“You’re not coming up?” asked Holly, confused.
“I’m going to go by the house and pick up your phone. I’ll be back,” he answered, not meeting her eyes.
“Alright. Bye.” As she watched him drive away she couldn’t help but think that it didn’t quite add up. He’d come all the way from New York to see her, and now suddenly he was driving off after spending less than an hour together.
She gave a small laugh as it occurred to her that at least he’d successfully distracted her thoughts from last night.
Feeling a little better, she got her keys out of her purse and let herself into the building. She took the elevator up, and as she stepped into the apartment she was met with the smell of chocolate and baking.
“Amy?” She deposited her purse on a side table and went to meet her roommate in the kitchen.
“Holly!” Amy left her mixing bowl and hurried over to give her a hug. “I’m so glad you’re alright! You are alright aren’t you?”
“Yes. I think so. Thanks.”
“Your mom and dad called.”
“Uh-huh. A friend read about it online and told them.”
“I should call them. They’re probably worried.”
“By the time you’re done the brownies will be ready.”
Holly gave a smile, the first one that felt completely authentic since last night. “Thank you.”
True to her word, Amy had the brownies out by the time Holly had hung up the phone. Amy cut one for each of them and poured cups of coffee.
“How were your parents?”
“Alright. Apparently there are a lot of overblown rumors on the web about the incident and they were freaking out over them. But I told them exactly what happened and they’re okay now. Sort of.”
Amy checked her watch. “I’ve got to go soon. I’m working this evening. Would you be okay alone? You could come with me. A dentist office isn’t exactly exciting but you could hang out, read a book, chat when I have some downtime. I’m sure my boss wouldn’t mind.”
“Thanks, I appreciate it. But I think I’m going to be okay. Alan came back early from New York. He’s just dropping by his house but he said he’d be back. I’ll be fine until then.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure,” said Holly.
Amy seemed skeptical and kept repeating her offer as she washed up the dishes and got changed.
“Really, I’m fine,” laughed Holly, as Amy hesitated in obvious doubt in front of the elevator. “Go! You’ll be late for work.”
“Fine. But if you need anything you call.” Reluctantly, Amy left.
Alone, Holly stood up and moved towards the living room. She sat down, trying to shrug off the fact that she took a seat in the armchair so she could keep an eye on the elevator. She picked up a magazine off the coffee table and flicked through it without looking at it. She tried to tell herself she was behaving normally. She tried to force herself to act like she normally would. But unbidden the events of the last night, the noises she had heard, the way it felt to suddenly have Robin there in front of her, kept running over and over again in her head, stubbornly coming back each time she tried to push them away.
She tossed the magazine aside and buried her face in her hands, only to look up again abruptly, wanting to keep watch. It was stupid. Nothing was going to happen. It was safe. There was no need to worry. Still. She wished desperately that Amy hadn’t had to leave.
When the buzzer rang half an hour later, she jumped.
She stood a little shakily and walked over to the intercom. “Yes?”
She breathed a sigh of relief and buzzed him through. When he stepped out of the elevator a few minutes later, she practically threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around him tightly.
“Holly?” he asked concerned, “Are you okay?”
“I am now,” she said, her voice a little muffled from having her face pressed against shoulder.
He stood there for a moment just holding her, and then gently titled her face upwards for him to look at. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she said, shaking her head. “I was just making an idiot out of myself, getting scared over being home alone.”
“No,” he said gently. “It’s completely natural after what happened. Where’s Amy? She shouldn’t have left you.”
“She had to go to work,” said Holly, “Don’t blame her. She offered to let me go with her. I would have been alright. But I am awfully glad you came back.”
“I had nowhere else to go,” he said smiling. It didn’t mean anything. It shouldn’t have particularly caught her attention but something about his tone stuck with her as they walked over towards the couch and sat down.
She leaned into him and he wrapped an arm around her as the two sat in silence for several minutes. It felt good just to be here. It felt safe and it felt secure.
“Holly,” he said at last, gently running a hand across her hair.
“What color do you want the flowers to be at our wedding?”
She looked up at him startled. Of all the things he could have said it was probably the least expected, certainly the most random.
“Our wedding?” she frowned. “I don’t know. I mean we had said it wasn’t going to be too soon so I can’t say I’ve started the planning just yet.”
“I know,” he said quickly. “We’re not planning on it…soon. But I just want to imagine…what it would be like. Please?”
She stared up at him, concerned. His time was so vulnerable, so hurt. But why hurt? There was no reason for that. They were in love, they were engaged. The wedding was going to happen. They would be husband and wife and live happily together until death did them part. Nothing had changed. Had the Robin incident just shaken him? She tried to imagine how she would feel if he had been the one in her position.
But it didn’t really change anything. She was okay. They were both okay. So why was he looking at her like that now, with that unreadable expression of…loss.
She wanted to ask him. She wanted him to tell her what was wrong. But instinctively she knew that wasn’t what he needed. Right now what he needed was a flower color.
She leaned her head back down against his chest. “Purple. Irises I think. Would you like that?”
“Yes. That would be perfect? And music? What music would you like? What would our first dance be to?”