The piece of paper blew with the slight breeze, fluttering this way and that, doing twists and back-flips before finally whacking me in the face.
I peeled it off my face and looked at it only to see…well, me.
Amber had put up posters of me all around town, each of them with a picture of me posing like an idiot with makeup coating my face.
I frowned, crumpled the paper, and tossed it into a nearby trash-can. Spotting another one, I crossed the street and tore it down from its telephone pole perch. I crushed as many posters as I could find and tossed them all into the city’s wastebasket.
I grinned maliciously as I twisted the latest poster in my hands. I pretended it was the whole Dating Department in my hands. Crush. Tear. Twist. MUAHAHAHAHAHA!
“Wow, Flirt, I knew you were weird, but I never pinned you as maniacal.”
I whirled around to see Aiden standing behind me, brown hair falling into his eyes and hands stuffed into his pockets, a smug expression plastered across his face.
“You, er, heard the laughing?” I asked as I felt heat rush up my neck and face.
“I think the whole block did, Flirt.” He grinned and ruffled my hair. “What are you hiding behind your back?”
“Nothing.” I tried to surreptitiously slip the paper into my pocket but failed miserably. He snatched the mangled paper from my hands and carefully unfolded it.
He started to laugh. “So this is what the photoshoot was for? ‘The Dating Department presents its latest available bachelorette: Riley Noble.’ “ He snorted. “Wow, I certainly hope you’re doing this against your will.”
“Oh believe me, I am.” I narrowed my eyes and grabbed at the paper, but he easily held it out of my reach.
Stupid tall person.
Aiden smirked as I continued to jump for the paper, “You’re so short.”
“Touchy and short, nice.”
“I am not touchy!” I protested, pausing momentarily from my hopping to glare at him.
“They should put ‘effective death glare’ under attributes. That’s a real plus.”
“If it’s so effective, why aren’t you dead?”
He grinned and gestured to himself. “Immunity. I’ve got two little sisters, Flirt, think I don’t know how to survive a death glare by now?”
“Then you’ve got a lot to learn, grasshopper.”
“You’re talking to the headmaster of Hogwarts here, buddy, you really want to call me ‘grasshopper’?” I raised an eyebrow, challenging him.
“You are obviously forgetting who you are addressing, oh powerful Dumbledore, sir.”
“And who might that be?”
He grinned and bent down, put his mouth near my ear, and said, with perfect seriousness, “Batman.”
As he pulled back, I did my very best to keep a straight face, but the urge to giggle was nearly over-powering.
I could feel the giggle building in my throat and threatening to escape my lips. I had to bite down on my cheek to help me keep a straight face, but even that couldn’t hold in the powerful giggle inside of me. Aiden looked at me, face perfectly straight, no trace of amusement visible.
I couldn’t hold it in any longer. The giggle burst forth in all its glory until it became a full grown laugh. Then a chortle. My sides were soon aching from laughing so hard.
I looked up at Aiden but his face was still straight. That sobered me up. My face fell.
Almost imperceptibly, the corners of his mouth twitched before he cracked a grin. “You should have… seen your face.” He gasped between laughs. “You thought…I was serious!”
Seeing my chance, I grabbed at the piece of paper, still hanging loosely from his hand. I cackled in triumph as I ran towards a trashcan and threw it in with as much force as I could muster.
Smirking, I turned back to Aiden, but he wasn’t where I had left him. Frowning I turned back to the work at hand: taking down as many of those stupid posters as possible.
The guys lined up in three rows of five in front of me. I was sitting at the table where Danny, Amber and I had been eating pizza two days before, and I evidently had to choose one guy from each row.
They each wore a number around their necks, a little thing that made them look like they were for sale.
“How much did you pay them to do this?” I whispered to Amber who was sitting beside me.
“Oh, I didn’t pay them, they paid me.”
I turned back to the rows of guys, eyes wider than they were to start with.
“Are you serious?”
“Yup!” She replied, popping the ‘p’.
“Wow…” I breathed.
All the guys were staring at me, some of them shyly, others cockily. I immediately disqualified the cocky guys.
“Hurry up and pick one,” Amber hissed in my ear, “We have three rows to go through!”
“Um…” I cleared my throat. “Number 7.” Why the numbers weren’t in order I will never know.
Number 7 grinned and stepped forward.
“What’s your name?”
“How old are you?”
Ew. Too old for me. “Step back, please.” I pursed my lips and surveyed the row again, looking closer this time. “Number 19.”
He stepped forward.
“Congrats, er, Charles, you’ve made it.” Charles smirked at the first row of people and stepped off the platform.
“Row 1, you are dismissed!” Amber called. “Row 2, step forward.”
The guys stepped forward and I spotted a familiar pair of mischievous hazel eyes. We locked eyes and he winked at me.
I sighed, “Number 13, step forward.”
He stepped forward with a smirk.
“Batman.” I fought to keep a straight face.
I tapped my chin thoughtfully. “What makes you think that I would date you?”
He scoffed. “I’m Batman, who wouldn’t want to date me?”
Oh gosh… I really wanted to laugh.
“Good…point.” I finally forced out, semi-successfully suppressing the laughter boiling inside of me.
“What about you, Flirt? What makes you think that I would date you?”
Amber’s eyebrows shot up as she recognized who it was I was currently talking to.
“I’m Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Batman, who wouldn’t want to date me?”
The corners of his mouth twitched with suppressed laughter. “Good point.”
“Now just what the heck is going on here?” One of the guys in line demanded. “Do you know this guy or something?”
“No.” I shook my head fervently. “No one truly knows Batman.” I was biting my lips by now to keep the laughter inside.
The guy who asked stepped off the stage and went out the door, several others followed.
“I think you’ll do, Batman.”
Aiden bowed low. “I am truly honored, Dumbledore.”