“Are you following me?”
I swallowed, leaning away from her accusatory tone. I hadn’t expected this, I wasn’t prepared. “I… uh…”
Lana huffed. “It’s a simple question, Andrew. Are. You. Following. Me?”
I was cornered. She already knew the answer, or at least suspected, but saying the truth out loud would set her off. I gritted my teeth, wishing I’d just stayed home today. For anyone else, this question wouldn’t have even come up, but Lana was… special.
“Andrew.” She leaned across the table, blue eyes intense, forehead wrinkled. She poked a French fry at me. “Tell me. Now.”
Well, here we go. I huffed a sigh and slumped in my chair, not bothering to hide my aggravation anymore. “Alright, fine. No, I’m not following you.”
“I knew it!” Lana threw her hands in the air. She lost her hold on the French fry, which sailed a merry journey across the McDonald’s to land in a startled businessman’s takeout bag. Several heads turned towards our table, and I ducked further into my coat collar. “I can’t believe you, Andrew!” Lana railed. “You know how important this blog is to me!”
“Can you keep your voice down?” I hissed, my face heating up at all the stares. I leaned closer, appealing to her in a whisper. “Look, I’m sorry. But I’m just not interested in everything you post. It doesn’t mean we’re not friends!”
“Sure feels that way to me,” Lana snipped back. “And what’s wrong with what I post? Those articles are important!”
“It’s just that… look, it’s not even that I disagree with everything you post. But I go online to relax and maybe escape a little. It’s not exactly the time when I want to get a faceful of animal cruelty pictures and women’s rights ranting.”
“Who rants? I don’t rant!”
I rolled my eyes. “Lana, you are the queen of ranting. If ranting were an artform, you would be the Leonardo de Vinci of the rant.”
Lana rose from the table with injured dignity. “I don’t have to take this effrontery. Fine, I suppose you don’t have to follow me. But I’m afraid this may put a serious damper on our relationship.”
“I can’t believe you just used the word ‘effrontery’ in a normal sentence,” I laughed, relaxing now that the worst had passed. I wasn’t worried about this supposed ‘damage’; if I hadn’t learned how to deal with Lana’s high-strung nature years ago, we wouldn’t be best friends. “Calm down, Lana, it’s just the internet. There’s plenty of people I’m friends with whose blogs I don’t follow.”
“Fine, whatever.” She flipped a hand dismissively at me. “Clearly you hate my guts and the feeling is mutual. Are you still coming to my party on Friday night?”
“Wouldn’t miss it.” I raised my paper cup to her in a toast. “To our continued love-hate relationship.” She rolled her eyes as she gathered up her purse and coat. A good sign that I’d gotten through to her, even though she’d go to her grave before admitting it.
But, of course, she had to get the last word. “You should really consider following my blog. It’s important to support your friends, you know, even if you don’t feel entertained by everything they do,” she said loftily. A true martyr for her cause.
As Lana walked towards the glass doors and I sipped at my Orange Hi-C, a thought occurred to me. I set my cup down, my head tilting to the side. “Hey, Lana…”
She paused and glanced back, ponytail swinging. “Huh?”
We locked gazes, and I let my eyebrow rise just a notch. “Are you following me?”
The shades of red that passed over her face would have made a tie-die artist jealous. With a sputter, a huff, and a quick turn, Lana fast-walked out the door, leaving me to grin into my fries.
(A/N: Sometimes you get funny little random thoughts that look like they’d be fun to explore. This one came from my pondering about how phrases like “are you following me” have gained an entirely new meaning in the internet age. Language and context are funny like that. =) )
(You can read all of my posted short stories by clicking “Writing Shorts” in the top Menu. If you have thoughts about what you liked or how I can improve this piece, please feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks for reading!)