It’s rare that you and Alita manage to get an evening off together. Between her Motorball games and bounty hunting, and your own early mornings it seems like the night is always just out of reach. This time however, the stars have aligned, and you suggest that the two of you go out for the evening. You know a place which she might like, and the mention of adventure always lights a fire in her eyes. She tells you to meet at her place, and you’re happy to oblige. Going out for a proper date is something the two of you don’t often do, and you take the chance to dress up for it. You pick an outfit from somewhere deep in your closet and take the time to properly shave and grab a good jacket to match. The walk to Ido’s clinic is chilly; dark clouds sit low over Iron City. You rub your hands together and quickly make your way through the thankfully thin crowds.
The door to the clinic is shut, but two sharp knocks bring a set of footsteps softly tapping towards you. Even though the two of you have been dating for a while now, this evening feels special. Your nerves are surprising, and you start to fidget slightly as the door slowly opens. In the doorway stands Alita, hands clasped behind her back as she stares up at you with down-turned eyes. It’s not often that you see her shy, and you just want to reach out and wrap her up in a hug. Before you can though, you notice the rest of her outfit. It leaves you breathless. The slick black polymer of her jumpsuit hugs every curve of her body. Over the black is something new; a long beige trenchcoat, cut and tailored to perfection. It shares a colour with the knee-high wrap boots she’s wearing, and the purple and black and cream blend in to a truly unique palette. She sees your reverie and her self-consciousness seems to fade a little. She looks up at you properly and you see the final part of her outfit come to life. Just under her eyes, are a pair of carefully painted silvery streaks. They run down her cheeks to her jawline, and in the light of the doorway you see little sparkles of purple highlighted throughout. You reach out your hand, cursing to yourself as it shakes slightly and gently trace the streaks, from her cheeks to her jaw. She leans in to your hand and smiles; her eyes drawing you closer and closer.
“Ah- hey.” Your voice is filled with awe.
“Do you like the outfit? Nurse Gehard helped me cut the jacket to my size.” Her voice is hopefull, and you can see under the little shyness left a beaming pride.
“Words fail me Ali. You’re the most beautiful person I have ever met.”
Her little smile grows, and she grabs you in a tight hug. The faint smell of white roses drifts over you as you stand entwined in the doorway. Eventually, with a quick kiss you split apart and take her hand. A light snowfall has started around you, and Alita giggles and tries to catch snowflakes as the two of you walk on through the night.
A bright pink and blue neon sign is a guiding light in the dark of the evening, and you lead Alita towards it. A dolphin leaps out of the ocean in three blocky movements as the name of the bar flickers: Waterfall. Alita insists that you watch the full cycle of the dolphin and you oblige before stepping in to the softly-lit interior. More neon tubes cover the walls of the room, and a long bar runs through to the far wall. There’s a jukebox in the corner, and you hear slow guitar picking playing from it. She turns to you with eyes full of excitement.
“This place is so cool! I love the colours!”
You smile back at her and direct her towards a little booth opposite the bar. It’s a quiet night here, with only a few people dotted amongst the tables and chairs of the venue. She sits down in the faux-leather seat, and you touch her arm as you lean in for a comment.
“You wait here, I’ll get us some drinks.”
She nods and settles in to her seat. A few quick words and some credits exchanged with the bartender later and you head back to the table with your drinks in tow. A tall mimosa for her, with an orange slice for garnish, and a whiskey sour for you. You slide down next to her and pass her the drink. She looks at it and then back to you with a curious expression.
“Is that orange juice?”
You laugh a little and explain.
“It is, but it’s mixed with champagne. It’s called a mimosa. See if you like it.”
She takes a small sip, and her face changes to one of immediate joy.
“This is great! What makes it so… fizzy?”
“I don’t know the specifics, but when you make alcohol you’re often left with bubbles afterwards.” You pause for a moment, realising something. “Is this the first time you’ve had alcohol?”
She nods, still sipping away at her drink.
“You’re probably going to feel a little silly and find things very funny when it hits your blood. I’ll make sure to take care of you.”
She smiles and pushes up against your shoulder, nudging you to put an arm around her. You happily do so.
“I know you will. You always take care of me so well.” The warmth in your soul grows as the two of you sit there together. You share stories and jokes, and after a few drinks you find that she’s starting to laugh harder at your stupid comments. She rests her hand on your thigh, and little spots of pink have appeared in her cheeks. When she heads to the bathroom she stumbles a little as she walks, and you stifle a laugh. She’s so cute like this.
She makes it back to the table, and as she’s sitting down again notices the little white tub marked ‘paint’ at the table’s edge. She clumsily reaches over you and investigates it, turning it over in her hands and opening it up.
“What’s this?” Her words are a little unclear.
“It’s body paint; there’s something special about to happen. You can draw something if you’d like.”
She looks up at your face, and with an overly careful focus closes one eye. Her tongue pokes out slightly and you swear it’s impossible for her to get any cuter. She takes the paint tub and draws two streaks down either of your cheeks. The white colour fades almost immediately, and she looks disappointed.
“Why didn’t it work?”
You just laugh and take her hand to guide her two the back of the venue.
“Don’t speak too soon.”
She mumbles a reply under her breath, and you manage to catch the words “… cute face…” Your smile grows as you arrive at the small dance floor. It’s empty for now, and you stare over it with Alita as you wait for the seconds to tick by. You begin to worry but then suddenly it happens.
The lights in the venue dim and switch to ultraviolet. Above the dance floor a series of neon-painted designs spring to life; dolphins play with fish and bright green sea plants, in the streams of a shifting ocean. Alita gasps with joy and points at the ceiling, and as you look at her you’re stunned by the ultraviolet light over her. The coat and boots shine bright, and the purple of her body is highlighted in the darkness around you. Most of all though, the purple points on her slivered cheeks glow; stars in the depths of space. She turns to you and lets out a delighted noise, pointing at your own cheeks. You catch a glimpse of your face in the glass of the bar and see two neon-green streaks down them. They match Alita’s perfectly. You grab her and pull her on to the dance floor with you. The two of you dance, slowly and a little clumsily with the alcohol blurring your steps. Your colours blend together as you step across space and time, feeling the strength of your love entwined together in a green and purple helix. You grow closer and closer, and as you look at your neon angel, the music slows. You lean in and share a soft kiss, slow and longing. The halves of your souls combine; brilliant and gleaming in the darkness around you. And as you sink in to her beauty and spirit, you hear the last bars of the song echo through the bar.
“For I //
Can’t help //
Falling in love //