Meet Lexi, through the eyes of her best friend in the whole world–this scene takes place before the book starts.
Angie was still fighting off the cough her bout of flu had left behind and her eyes were a bit watery. She nevertheless looked like the personification of health and happiness when compared to her best friend that day.
Lexi had always been the bouncier, more carefree of the two, but she seemed to barely be there, as she sat across from Angie, legs bent, the balls of her feet perched on the edge of the seat. Her sandals hung from her toes and occasionally made a slapping sound when she moved her feet to hit them against the underside of the chair. She was curled into herself as much as being in a public place would allow, arms folded like she was protecting her body from a cold only she could feel.
And she insisted she was perfectly fine.
That was her answer to how work was, and that was her answer to how things at home were, as well as to everything else Angie asked.
Only Lexi wasn’t fine, and as is the duty of best friends the world around, Angie kept asking for information, trying to get to the bottom of whatever it was that seemed to have sucked the life out of her.
When all indirect questions failed to provide useful information, Angie finally cut to the chase. “Lexi, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing!” she said, true to Lexi-form. Angie glared. “Everything,” Lexi amended with a sigh. And just like that, the flood gates were opened.
Lexi was in a numb state of being. Nothing in her life gave her the slightest hint of satisfaction—not for lack of good things, but for lack of change. Her work provided no challenge. Even though the environment was more than friendly, she couldn’t help but think she really was making no difference. She felt no pride in doing the menial work she could do with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back. And hey, that might be a bit more interesting that how she currently did it. It was like nobody expected more of her. Nobody thought more of her.
And she was lonely.
“People have…people. Looking at relationships like yours, or my mom’s with Pedelty, I could even believe there is such a thing as true love. Not for me, of course. But, you know, in general. I sound corny, huh? Not that I’d want true love. Just a good lay and someone to talk to would be nice.” She shrugged. “Do I make any sense?”
“You can talk to me.” Angie pretended not to know what her friend meant, hoping Lexi would come right out and admit to what she was longing for.
“I know, honey. But I need a guy.” Lexi rolled her eyes. “And I didn’t just say that. See how having nothing exciting to do messes with my head? So what’s new with you?”
If ever there was an unsubtle change of subject, that was it.
Angie didn’t press on. “Nothing. Everything is perfectly fine. Only, you know, I mean it.” They both laughed at that, but Angie hated being unable to help her friend.