"Um. Eric?" Echo asks tentatively, placing her hand atop his tight grip in an effort to comfort him.
Eric shakes off her touch, clearing his throat. He powers down his phone, carelessly throwing it in the center console.
With a quick, angry exhale, he visibly relaxes and sticks the key in the ignition.
Echo sits back, deciding to let him start the conversation. She knows he reeling from the fact his girlfriend, who he must really love, cheated on him.
She doesn't want to do or say anything to add on to that turmoil.
They're silent most of the quick ride, most of the road empty from the ungodly hour.
Echo's eyes droop from the smooth ride, loss of adrenaline and her internal clock saying it's way past her bedtime.
Before she can completely fall asleep and start snoring, Eric pulls off and parks on the side of the street, outside of a brick apartment complex.
Eric smirks to himself as Echo tries to reorient herself and make it seem like she hadn't been falling asleep. He turns off the car, palming the keys as he turns to her.
"I'm up on the fourth floor and the elevator doesn't work too well. Are you okay with taking the stairs?"
She glances down at her heels, her blistering feet protesting at the thought of taking four flights of stairs. She bites her lip before nodding.
"I-I can do that."
They both exit the car and while Echo discreetly pulls down her hemline, Eric walks ahead of her to unlock the apartment entry door.
After a moment, the buzzer sounds and he holds the door open and motions for her to walk ahead. Trying to minimize her awkward limp, she shuffles ahead into a dimly lit entryway.
The heavy door firmly shuts behind them, sealing them into the complex. Eric leads the way up, scaling the stairs with familiarity.
Echo tries not to lag behind, but her ridiculously tight dress and heeled feet are not doing her any favors. But they finally make it to his floor, her panting and him giving her an odd smile.
Eric says nothing though, not until they enter his apartment, which happens to be right by the stairwell.
Echo notices the surprising quietness, pursing her lips when she thinks of her own body, party-filled apartment floor.
Once inside, Eric tosses his keys into a dish and faces Echo, crossing his arms as he regards her.
"Are you always so passive?" He asks, truly curious as to how someone can suffer through such unnecessary things.
She had been trying to take in his small place when his blunt question ramps up her heart rate. She tilts her head slightly, frowning with a smile as she says,"I'm not sure what you mean..."
He leans against a doorway that must lead to his kitchen, narrowing his eyes. The question hangs within the tense air, both unwilling to break their heavy stare.
Eric relents first, pushing off the door jam. He watches her shoulders drop in relief. Seems he must have hit a nerve.
He nods over to the bathroom,"You can wash up in there. Use anything you need. I have to go dig around for those dresses."
Echo thanks him, ducking into the room. He notes the bloody back of ankles, sighing slightly at her asinine politeness. He may have a pair of flip flops around here somewhere.
Once in the safety of the restroom, Echo tries not to scream at her reflection. Her curled hair is wet in some places, matted in others.
Her makeup is partially gone on one side of her face, making her look absolutely deranged. Her sequined dress is bunched in places that are typically never highlighted.
Through an unattractive contortionist act, Echo manages to unzip the obnoxious dress. She painfully steps out of her heels, hissing at the bloodied blisters forming around her toes.
She flicks in the sink, needing to wash off the layer of grimy makeup. After a brutal scrubbing, she glances up to look at her dripping face.
The unevenness of her fair skin has always bothered her. She almost never leaves the house without an even base color, but she left her touch up kit at home. Only her phone, wallet, and a chap stick could fit in her purse.
'It's okay. He isn't all that impressed by me anyways. And what did he say? Own my shit? Well, guess that starts tonight' She internally reasons, pulling her dark, thick curls up into a bun atop her head.
Feeling somewhat normal, she cautiously digs around for some ointment and bandaids, hoping to doctor up her feet in a way that will allow for her to wear her heels for another hour.
Just as she crouches down to rummage beneath the sink, there's a solid knock against the door.