Let's Get Textual (Page 13)

“You just called to chitchat?”

“Technically I didn’t call.” I glare at Zoe, who raises her hands in innocence. “My friend stole my phone and scrolled through our texts. By the way, she agrees with me and thinks you’re a complete creeper.”

“I never said that!” Zoe shouts, loudly enough for Zach to hear.

“Ignore her.”

“Ask him out already!”

Zach chuckles. “Oh, so that’s what this is about. She wants to set us up, thinks we’re not capable of getting there on our own.”

“Yes, it would appear so.”

I glance to Zoe, who’s sitting next to me appearing rather satisfied with herself. She grins and mouths you’re welcome. I throw a pillow at her.

“…to dinner?”

“What?” I wasn’t paying a lick of attention to Zach, but I think he might have asked me to dinner.

“Well we’re off to a great start here, Delia.”

“Sorry, Zoe distracted me.”

“Zoe? Ah, the friend?”

“The friend.”

“I asked if you’d like to, I don’t know, go to dinner with me? Robbie thinks us meeting would be a smart idea too, especially after our Netflix night. I think our friends are trying to set us up.”

“It would appear so.”

“Are they right? I mean, should we…meet?”

I worry my fingers together, a nervous habit of mine. Dinner with Zach? I…well, s**t, I don’t know if I want to. I like him—a lot. We’ve been texting non-stop, have even joked about meeting, but actually going through with it? I don’t know if I can. What if he’s not what I’m expecting? What if I’m doing exactly what I did with Caleb—taking a friendship and making it into more when that special spark isn’t there? I’m not sure if I can face him, ruin the image of him I have in my mind, ruin the blossoming friendship we have.

But the curiosity is killing me and my gut is screaming at me.

I think I have to meet him.

“Or coffee, or drinks…or we could forget I said anything at all and tell our friends to butt out of whatever it is we have going on here. Did I ruin everything?”

“Huh? What?”

“Are you distracted by Zoe again? Please tell me it involves naked pillow fighting.”

“Creeper.”

“Guilty…this time. But Delia?”

“Yes, Zach?” I’m out of breath, but my a*s has been planted on this couch since the phone call began. There’s no reason I should sound like I just ran a 5K.

Zoe notices and is up on her knees on the edge of the sofa, perched and waiting for what’s to come. She presses close to me, her ear against the phone so she can hear what he says.

“Will you please go on a date with me? I’d really like to take you out sometime. I’ve been suggesting we meet up for weeks. Please.”

Zoe squeals and falls back with a huge grin stretched across her face like she’s the one who was asked out.

“Why?” Out of the corner of my eye, I see Zoe’s head whip my way in surprise.

“What do you mean?”

“I said what I meant.”

“Delia…” Zach begins, the charm so thick in just that one word.

“I want one reason why I should say yes.”

“Because I’ll let you touch my butt?”

My body quakes with laughter the moment the words leave his mouth.

“What? I’ll have you know I have a fantastic a*s, Delia. You’ll want to touch it, and you’ll want to touch it often.”

Zoe’s staring at me with disbelief, because I’m laughing so hard no words are coming out as Zach continues to wax poetic about his a*s.

“I work out and make sure to do my squats so my a*s is perky as hell. If you say yes, you won’t be sorry, and if you say yes and ask nicely, I’ll even let you see it.”

“You had me at a*s, Zachary.”

“Hey, Delia?”

“Yeah?”

“Bring my p***s potholders.”

Zach: How do you feel about sushi?

* * *

Me: I feel it slide down my throat and quickly come back up. Does that count?

* * *

Zach: Sushi is a no. Noted.

* * *

Zach: What about Mexican?

* * *

Me: Can I just eat the free chips and salsa?

* * *

Zach: No. How about Italian?

* * *

Me: Can you be any more cliché?

* * *

Zach: I’m sure I can find a way.

* * *

Zach: Are you allergic to anything?

* * *

Me: Human souls.

* * *

Zach: Oh good. You’re in great company then.

* * *

Zach: Pick you up at seven tomorrow?

* * *

Me: I’ll text you the address.

* * *

Zach: You know, I should ask…you are eighteen, right?

* * *

Me: Only by 3 years.

* * *

Zach: At least we’re in the clear in that regard. Sweet dreams, Delia.

* * *

Me: Good night, Zachary.

The first thought that runs through my head when I switch off my screen is, He gets me.

I’ve always had friendships where I was understood on a basic level. Apart from Zoe, I’ve never found someone I clicked with all the way, who accepted me for all my strange quirks, not even with Caleb, though it was close…until we ruined it.

But Zach? He understands me on a level I wasn’t expecting, understands my sarcasm and doesn’t get annoyed when that’s the mode I’m in. He appreciates the darkness behind it, and even better, he fires back with his own. Our conversations are seamless, flirty, and I like it way more than I should—not to mention my body tingles with anticipation every time he sends a text because I know it’ll spark an endless string of fun.

Zach makes me laugh, makes me feel light and airy. With him, I don’t have the weight of the real world hanging over my head, don’t have the anticipation of what graduating will bring.

I know I haven’t known him all that long—and hell, I haven’t even actually met him—but I like the way he makes me feel, and it’s not something I’m ready to let go.

I just hope I’m not making a huge mistake by meeting him.

Nine

“He’ll be here in ten minutes, Zoe, and I still haven’t finished my hair! It’s not even dry!”

“First, breathe. You need to calm down before you do anything else, especially operate a hot hair dryer you can swing at my head at any moment.” She reaches for the item in question and carefully extracts it from my hands, sets it on the counter, and faces me again. “Second…” Zoe shakes me hard. “CALM THE F**K DOWN, DELIA!”

She’s not one to raise her voice, so Zoe’s shouting shocks me so hard I jerk back out of her grasp.

“You good now?” she asks, brow raised.

I take a calming breath…then another, and two more for good measure. “I’m fine.”

“Okay, now let’s tame your hair.”

Zoe takes over and dries my hair for me as I finish up my makeup. Before I know it, she has my dark brown hair swept up in a low messy bun with a little teasing on my crown to give it lift. Partnered with my natural makeup, I don’t look too shabby.

“There. Gorgeous!”

I pinch at my plain navy t-shirt. “You don’t think I’m underdressed?”

“Nah, your outfit is perfect, trust me. Besides, the heel on your booties dresses it up.”

“Okay, you’re—”

The doorbell rings and the apartment falls silent. Even the background music we had on ends at the perfect moment.

All at once, we rush around like morons and the music fires up again.

I race to answer the door but Zoe elbows me out of the way. Just before we reach it, she spins my way and halts my movements.

“Stop,” she whispers. “Let me get it. Take a second to collect yourself, okay?”

Nodding, I stand there stunned as she calmly makes her way to the door.

I hold my breath as she opens it and then bursts into laughter at Zach’s greeting: “Do you want to touch my butt now, or later?”

My best friend crosses her arms over her chest. “Oh, honey. Now will do.”

“Wait—you’re Zoe, not Delia.” He sighs. “Oh hell, you can touch my butt too.”

Zoe being Zoe, she motions for him to turn around. Zach complies and before I know it, she’s reaching out and grabbing his a*s.

She peeks back over at me. “It’s firm, girl. Could bounce a quarter off it.”

“Can I have my a*s back, please?”

I manage to detach myself from the spot I’ve been glued to and smack Zoe’s hand away.

“Your girl here is handsy, Delia. She really had a strong grip going.”

I lift a shoulder. “Hey, you said she could.”

“I said touch it, not caress it.”

“It’s all the same to her.”

“Hi,” Zoe says, waving. “Standing right here.”

“Bye. Leaving now.” I shoo her away and turn to my date, taking in his appearance for the first time.

Zach’s almost exactly how I pictured him: tall, lean but muscular, a light scruff with dark mussed up hair. What I was not expecting is the black frames resting on his face over piercing green eyes, and damn is it a pleasant surprise. The Zach I had conjured up in my head? Hot. The Zach standing in front of me with glasses? Scorching.