Chapter 4: Mark and Bryce - Part 0ne

By the time she had got back to Theora's house after her shopping trip with her friends, Bryce had accepted a date with Mark. He had seemed nice enough, and both Jenny and Serena had encouraged it.

Two days before the date, Theora had talked her into buying a completely different dress.

Bryce had liked the one Jenny had helped her pick out, but after discovering where he planned to take her, Theora had told her that it would not be appropriate. So Winnie had taken her to a little consignment shop in the Fringes. There she had bought a lovely Anthropologie Starling Shift which Winnie had said looked absolutely smashing on her.

She had also bought a lovely pair of shoes with a low but flattering heel which matched the dress very nicely.

"Is he here?" Bryce called from the bathroom on the day of the date.

"Its still a bit early," Theora laughed. "You have a whole hour."

"You never know with these genius types," Bryce called back.

"Relax, Bryce," Theora said, joining her.

"Is this too much makeup?" Bryce asked, nervously. "It is, isn't it?"

"Just a bit," Theora agreed. "Here, let's wash it off and I'll help you apply it correctly."

Bryce sat down on the closed toilet and let Theora make her over.

"There," Theora said, approximately fifteen minutes later.

"Was that his car? I think I hear a car," Bryce said, urgently.

"It's only been fifteen minutes," Theora said, though she agreed in her mind that she had heard a car.

There was a knock on her door.

Checking, Theora was happily surprised to see Edison standing there.

"Martinez and I were just on the way to see the scumball game," he said. "Would you and Bryce like to come?"

"I can come," Theora said as Bryce joined them. "But Bryce has other plans."

"Wow!" Edison told her. "You going on a date or something?"

Edison was joking, but the nervous smile that lit up Bryce's face told him that he'd got it right on the first try.

"Theora, how much do we know about this boy… or is it a girl?"

"It's a boy," Bryce told him. "And you can relax, Mark is an old school friend. We're just going to lunch at The Fresh Start."

"Isn't that where you're brother works?" Edison asked Theora.

Theora nodded. "So I'm sure Bryce will be just fine."

A short while later, there was another knock on the door. Martinez had got tired of waiting in the car and had come to see what was taking Edison so long.

"Bryce," Edison said. "We have to go. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet your date. Maybe you can introduce me at the wedding?" he winked jokingly at her.

"Here's a spare key," Theora said, handing it to Bryce. "You'll be home before I am. Be sure to leave one light on when you go out. And remember I want you home at a reasonable hour."

"I will," Bryce promised putting the key into her little white leather purse.

There was another knock on the door several minutes later. Looking outside, Bryce was both happy and scared to see Mark standing there. He was holding a bouquet of flowers.

Bryce opened the door. "Hi, Mark," she said, shyly.

Mark swallowed the lump that was in his throat.

"Yougreatlook," he said quickly running his jumbled words together.

"Hm?" Bryce tilted her head with an amused smile.

"Oh," Mark laughed. "I mean you look great."

"Thank you," Bryce said, blushing a pale shade of pink.

She picked up the light shawl she'd bought, then followed Mark out to his car, making sure to leave on the bathroom light and lock the door as they left.

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