Eric looks incredulously at the girl before him. He couldn't help but start laughing. "I-Um-" Echo began and he silenced her with a gesture of his hand. "Seems like you have a fantastic idea. I could go for a cup of coffee."
Echo gives him a very deer in headlights look, frozen in surprise. She didn't think this man she just happened to meet would agree to anything the way he just looked.
Eric sighed. "Echo, since you suggested dry cleaning," he began. "How about you hold onto that and get it cleaned, and we could go stop at my place. I'll bring you a couple old dresses of my sister's? They might fit you, and if one does, I'll get your dress cleaned."
He smiled, watching shock fill her expression as he said those words. "But... I couldn't possibly- why would- we've only just met, and what if your sister saw me in her dress? Wouldn't she be upset?" She babbled, cutting herself off repeatedly.
Eric's smile widened and he let out a throaty chuckle, then ran his hand through his hair. The longish dark brown locks glinted in the light of the street lamp, as did the liquid clinging to his stubble, a mixture of tears and sweat. "Calm down there princess, she won't miss it. She's dead."
Echo's eyes went wide. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bring up anything bad! What happened? Is It bad! I'm so so sorry!" She apologized profusely.
Eric shook his head and chuckled. "It's been years. She was a few years older than me. Died in a car accident. Shit happens. My mom asked me to hang onto some of her stuff in case I found a girlfriend who could wear it. No sense in it all going to waste rotting in a thrift store."
Echo visibly relaxed a little. She was afraid she had already hit a nerve. "Umm... I guess then... If it's not too much of a hassle." She said tentatively.
"It's not a hassle at all. Think of it as good karma. You returned my keys to me, so I'll give you some stuff to wear and get your dress cleaned." Eric responded, with an surprising amount of happiness in his voice.
"You're really sure it's not an issue?" Echo asked again, not wanting to inconvenience him but over-indulging his thanks.
"Seriously. It's not an issue. Need a ride?" Eric replied, his tone slightly annoyed. "I want to get away from here already, so you coming with or not?"
Echo blinked stupidly at him for a moment. "Wait. You're offering me a ride? Are you sure? I don't want to intrude or anything..." She sniffed again. She was kind of embarrassed to get in. She still reeked of whatever drink was spilled on her earlier.
Eric smirked. "Just get in. Before I change my mind. My place is about 7 blocks east of here. We'll stop there, and I'll grab you a change of clothes, and then theres a littke corner coffee shop about a block away from there called Anteiku."
Echo blinked at him again and very timidly stepped over to the car door and opened it. Very carefully, she opened the door and lowered herself into the vehicle. Eric slid into his own seat in a very practiced manner.
Eric's phone rang again. He reached and quickly accepted the call. A smile still on his face. "Hello?" He answered. "Eric, I can't believe you blocked me! This isn't my fault this happened!" Hailey's voice rang out on the other end of the call.
Eric's smile disappeared instantly, replaced by a mask of cold rage."Hailey. What part of go fuck yourself don't you understand? Lose my number. Fast." He responded with venom, and then ended the call. He gripped the steering wheel so hard his knuckles were starting to turn white.