Ariel arrives on time, as she always prefers to do; her outfit is smart but not pretentious. She signed up for this out of idle curiosity, and now sits with a glass of sparkling wine, hoping for a good conversation to arrive.
Shelley runs late. She made sure to put something visible in all of her piercings, because she wants to be taken as she is. She has thrown some loose bills into her quirky little Tibetan purse – hopefully enough for her share of the meal. When she gets there, she enthusiastically throws herself down into the seat opposite Ariel, babbling contentedly about the bus ride while she peruses the menu. She is nonplussed to find a dearth of vegan options; and by now, Ariel is a bit bemused as well, and trying to bite back her lecture about how the health and environmental advantages touted for veganism are oversold. Shelley doesn’t care about any of that; she just doesn’t want to hurt any living things.
Plants are alive, Ariel thinks, sipping her wine, dully aware that she’s crossing over to the point where she’s visibly holding back from being acidic.
Fortunately, Shelley pulls out her notebook and asks if she can do a quick sketch of Ariel. Ariel watches her draw with interest. The girl has a good sense of line and contrast, and in the form of art her peculiarities become charming, the natural adornment of an artistic mind.
So she offers to set Shelley up with a friend who hosts live model sittings for artists. She’s lost interest in being a date for Shelley, but a mentor is another matter.