She looked in the mirror and sighed.
“Alexa?” her roommate’s voice reverberated down the hall to her room. At 5 feet and 2 inches, Trixie was often overlooked and had learned quickly how to make herself heard in a crowd. Meanwhile, Alexa, at a towering 5’9” wanted nothing more than to blend in.
“Coming!” She yelled back. Patting her pockets for Chapstick, hair ties, and other necessities, she took one last look in the mirror before heading down the hallway. Four of the five girls who shared the apartment with her were either lounging on the plush sectional or in Rebekah’s case, cooking in their tiny attached kitchen. It smelled spicy and made her wish she could stay home and eat with them.
“Alexa!” Trixie chirruped, “Aw, look at you. So pretty. Although I wish you’d let me do your makeup. I could work wonders with your cheekbones.”
“We’re going hiking, Trix. It would just melt off.”
“You underestimate my powers.”
She rolled her eyes and continued to check over her bag – water, sunscreen, some snacks, and hidden in a zippered pouch on the side an impressive number of Reese’s cups considering the small space. They were her reward for enduring this awful date. She pulled one out and indulged in its salty sweetness as it melted in her mouth.
She threw in some matches and a first aid kit just in case, then tugged on the pepper spray hooked onto her belt loop. Her mother had given it to her when she first left for college and upon hearing about this blind date had required Alexa to have it easily accessible.
Another roommate, Angela, stopped texting on her phone long enough to toss her something that she caught clumsily. It was a black whistle with a little skull and crossbones made out of rhinestones on it. It was looped onto a long black cord that tied on one end.
“Rape whistle,” Angela said, attention now back to her phone’s screen, fingers flying.
Alexa raised one eyebrow. “Thanks, Angela, but thanks to Trixie here, I’m going on a secluded hike where no one can hear me scream or whistle. Who’s idea was this again?”
Trixie gave her a sour look. “It’s romantic. I’m sure Christopher will be the perfect gentleman.”
“Besides,” Angela said, ” that whistle isn’t meant to just signal other people. It’ll also break his eardrums, so make sure you plug your ears before you blow it.”
The skull and crossbones made a bit more sense now. Cool. She slipped it over her head and tucked the whistle down her shirt.
Her phone buzzed, and she grimaced as she reached for it.
“Looks like he’s here.” She plastered on a fake smile for Trixie’s sake. The door shut behind her and her smile slid off her face. “Please be normal.”